2:00PM Water Cooler 5/26/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Madagascar Lark, Ifaty – Salt Flats By Hotel, Madagascar. “Marine, Mudflat, Pond.” I think the birders downrate for background noise, but I like it.

* * *


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

Capitol Seizure

“Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes Sentenced to 18 Years for Seditious Conspiracy” [Wall Street Journal]. “A federal judge sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison for plotting to forcefully prevent the peaceful transfer of presidential power, capping the seditious-conspiracy case against the far-right group’s leader with the stiffest punishment to date stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol…. Before issuing the sentence, [Judge] Mehta sided with the Justice Department’s request to apply an enhanced terrorism penalty for Rhodes, saying the Oath Keepers leader had committed an offense against an ‘institution of American democracy at its most important moment—the transfer of power.'” • That’s the most important moment?! Seems like a harsh penalty for an FBI snitch, no?

Biden Administration

“Where the debt talks stand six days before default deadline” [Politico]. “Republican negotiators entered Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office on Friday with no meetings with the White House currently on the books, though they say they are in “constant” communication. And while they keep indicating the ball is moving forward, they’re not signaling that Friday will be the magic day they can clinch an agreement with the White House — with a potential default just six days away. Asked Friday morning if he thought they could close out talks by the end of the day, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), one of the GOP negotiators, threw up his arms in a shrug. ‘Here we are night after night after night. And the pressure is more. And the consequences are greater. We recognize that. We know this and the White House surely recognizes this,’ he said. There have been indications that House Republicans and the White House are making real progress. The two sides have all but finalized the spending portion of discussions, a source familiar with the talks told POLITICO late Thursday night.” • The “spending portion” meaning cuts. In particular:

Well, I guess that means everybody knows nasal vaccines are sterilizing. And since that would destroy Big Pharma’s business model for Covid, and take away the revenues that intramuscular injection generates for ginormous hospital monopolies… Well, every cloud has a silver lining, doesn’t it?


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

No reason Trump’s polling lead is permanent:

“House Dems in No Labels-allied caucus are livid with No Labels” [Politico]. “A group of House Democrats with ties to No Labels is turning on the centrist group after it attacked one of their founding members. On Tuesday, No Labels texted people who live in the district of Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), criticizing the congressman for scoffing at their idea for a unity presidential ticket and claiming it could result in Donald Trump’s return to the presidency…. The missive did not go over well with Schneider, who is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus that No Labels helped start on the Hill. ‘No Labels’ attacks are the kind of division the country needs less of right now, and it’s a betrayal of every moderate and every problem solver in Congress,’ Schneider said in a statement to POLITICO. ‘I helped form the Problem Solvers Caucus six years ago to reach across the aisle and find common ground, not to abandon my principles. I am as committed today as I’ve always been to the principles that reflect the values and priorities of my district, and to reaching across the aisle for the good of our country.’ Schneider was quickly joined by other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus in chastising No Labels for attacking one of their own and pushing a unity ticket.” • Lol. With a nice guy like Joe Lieberman involved, how did this ever happen?

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 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).

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Look for the Helpers

They call me Mr. Optimism, but I honestly feel the tide is beginning to shift, simply because the official propaganda is so at odds with, as we say, “lived experience”:



I’m so old I remember when masking was going to be a “respected choice.” That went the way of protecting the most vulnerable, didn’t it??

Helpful advice:

Masking seems lower than it is:

Similarly, the Covid-conscious are less likely to be seen in public spaces. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist!


“Development of a Definition of Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 Infection” [JAMA]. This is an enormous study from the NIH RECOVER Consortium of “Long Covid,” or “PASC” (postacute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection) as the authors insist on calling it. N = 9764. From the Abstract:

A definition of PASC was developed based on symptoms in a prospective cohort study. As a first step to providing a framework for other investigations, iterative refinement that further incorporates other clinical features is needed to support actionable definitions of PASC.

Patients with Long Covid are identified using a weighted checklist of symptoms:

(Note the typo: I don’t like typos, especially in critical tables, because they’re a sign the content wasn’t read carefully by the journal.)

Evaluating the paper is above my paygrade; perhaps qualified readers will give the paper a look. I do notice immune dysregulation doesn’t make the checklist. Here is a thread that summarizes the high points:

However, reaction in the Twittersphere — as with aerosol transmission and masking, Twitter has become essential for Long Covid activism — was not uniformly positive. For example, the weighting algorithm (“least absolute shrinkage and selection operator”):

Besides missing immune dysregulation, the algorithm also missed vascular effects:

And then there’s the reductionism that will come from a checklist:

And then there’s NYU:

Elite Maleficence

“The government giving up on COVID protections means throwing immunocompromised people to the wolves” [Salon]. “The doctrine of the medical model is so ingrained in our culture that it shapes the way Americans understand the concept of health. The medical model focuses on preventing and treating individual conditions in individual bodies, rather than correcting systemic factors that affect people at the community level. It’s a reductive approach that ignores the social determinants and forms of discrimination that shape health outcomes. It’s concerned with correcting deviations from a normal defined by the absence of disease and disability. Individualism — even when it’s billed as morality — cannot protect people from an airborne, ever-mutating virus. This normal is not neutral. According to the medical model and the moral model it evolved from, people who are sick or disabled are abnormal and “bad“, lacking both good health and, presumably, good morals. The medical model is the blueprint for a US healthcare system that profits from the fear of this abnormal. Our for-profit system offers band-aid solutions for individual body parts rather than care for the complex, interdependent relationship between the sick and disabled body and mind. American healthcare is the least effective for those with the greatest needs, and that’s not just an unfortunate side effect of the system– it is the system.” • More stochastic eugenics.

The Jackpot

Word of the Day: “Decompensating”:

Boccara’s book — Psychosocial Analysis of the Pandemic and of Its Aftermath: Hoping for a Magical Undoing — looks really good; one more goddamned book to read (though I’m leery of anything that smacks of idealism (i.e. not materialism)).

* * *

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

From BioBot wastewater data from May 25:

Lambert here: Unless the United States is completely, er, exceptional, we should be seeing an increase here soon. UPDATE Still on the high plateau. Are we are the point in the global pandemic where national experiences really diverge?

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

• “Covid numbers increase across Australia in alarming sign before winter” [News.com]. “Over the past seven days, 41,188 cases have been detected – a 7.7 per cent increase on the week prior – with 14,409 cases in NSW alone…. Experts continue to warn that the best defence against respiratory illnesses is vaccination.” • Sigh…


From CDC, May 27, 2023:

Lambert here: XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.9.1 still on the way up, eating into XBB.1.5. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell. Looks like the Walgreens variants page isn’t updating.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 20:

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 22:

-1.1%. Frequency down to once a week? UPDATE Apparently so!


Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 24:

Lambert here: Zero deaths, for three days in a row. Not possible. Thanks, Johns Hopkins of the $9.32 billion endowment, for abandoning this data feed and passing responsibility on to the clown car at WHO.

Total: 1,164,934 – 1,164,718 = 216 (216 * 365 = 78,840 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).

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED Excess deaths (The Economist), published May 21:

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. )

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for US manufactured durable goods rose by 1.1 percent from a month earlier in April 2023, following an upwardly revised 3.3 percent growth in March and easily beating market expectations of a 1.0 percent decline.”

Personal Spending: “United States Personal Spending” [Trading Economics]. “Personal spending in the United States jumped 0.8% mom in April of 2023, the most in three months, and well above market forecasts of a 0.4% gain, in a sign consumer spending remains robust, supported by higher wages and a tight labour market.”

Personal Income: “United States Personal Income” [Trading Economics]. “Personal income in the United States rose by 0.4% mom in April of 2023, compared to a 0.3% rise in March and matching market forecasts. It is the highest gain in three months, primarily reflecting increases in compensation, namely private wages and salaries and personal income receipts on assets, both personal interest income and personal dividend income.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “Whistleblower Drops 100 Gigabytes Of Tesla Secrets To German News Site: Report” [Jalopnik]. “The publication Handelsblatt got its hands on the data through an unnamed informant. Handelsblatt confirmed the data’s authenticity with Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology, which found no evidence of doctoring or fabrication in the files. Tesla attempted to stop the publication from using this data in its reporting and even threatened legal action against Handelsblatt. The publication, however, decided this was one of the extraordinary circumstances when reporting on such a data breach would be legal under European Union law.” From Handelsblatt: “The Tesla files contain more than 2,400 self-acceleration complaints and more than 1,500 braking function problems, including 139 cases of unintentional emergency braking and 383 reported phantom stops resulting from false collision warnings. The number of crashes is more than 1000. A table of incidents involving driver assistance systems where customers have expressed safety concerns has more than 3000 entries.” Jalopnik: “Throughout the report, there is a refrain familiar to anyone who covers Tesla: ‘Tesla did not answer questions about the allegations from customers.’ Some told Handelsblatt they either sold their Teslas or tried to give them back to the company, saying they couldn’t in good conscience let anyone else drive the car.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 67 Greed (previous close: 62 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated May 26 at 1:15 PM ET.

The Conservatory

“Tina Turner Did Nothing Nice And Easy” [The Defector]. “Violence was all over Tina’s developmental years, from the violence she witnessed between her parents, to her abandonment by both of them over time, to her life with Ike. It was only a newfound Buddhist faith in the 1970s that gave her the power to eventually stand up to Ike and leave him after years of terror and multiple suicide attempts. Her comeback in the ’80s was seen as one of the great triumphs of talent and fortitude—that she was able to become a bigger star in her 40s than she’d ever been before, after all that she’d been through. But it didn’t erase any of the trauma she endured, and it certainly didn’t make it any easier to constantly revisit that pain. When our most famous and successful don’t act grateful for everything it tends to engender resentment. The success narratives built around artists like Michael and Janet Jackson or Whitney Houston almost ascribe their talent to the abuses they suffered, as though the ends justify the means, or that the two are even correlated. But life is messy and ugly and unfair, and money and fame don’t magically erase it or make it easier. In the Tina documentary, she’s unabashedly open about how it felt to be abandoned by both of her parents, how afraid of Ike she was and how violent he had been, how much of her life she spent never being loved or truly cared for by anyone, and how badly it all made her feel. It’s not that people are monsters on purpose, it’s just that we are desperate for role models and reasons to believe in happiness. We are desperate for real-life fairy tales. Tina’s story probably helped scores of women leave their abusive partners. She did represent a light at the end of many dark tunnels. But she also couldn’t pretend that the scars don’t linger, that the nightmares don’t persist. It was part of what made her so bold and so authentic.” • I had no idea Turner was a Buddhist.



“Causal evidence that herpes zoster vaccination prevents a proportion of dementia cases” [medRxiv]. From a very interesting natural experiment in Wales. Results: “We then show that receiving the herpes zoster vaccine reduced the probability of a new dementia diagnosis over a follow-up period of seven years by 3.5 percentage points (95% CI: 0.6 – 7.1, p=0.019), corresponding to a 19.9% relative reduction in the occurrence of dementia. Besides preventing shingles and dementia, the herpes zoster vaccine had no effects on any other common causes of morbidity and mortality. In exploratory analyses, we find that the protective effects from the vaccine for dementia are far stronger among women than men. Randomized trials are needed to determine the optimal population groups and time interval for administration of the herpes zoster vaccine to prevent or delay dementia, as well as to quantify the magnitude of the causal effect when more precise measures of cognition are used. Our findings strongly suggest an important role of the varicella zoster virus in the etiology of dementia.”

“Hundreds of Thousands Have Lost Medicaid Coverage Since Pandemic Protections Expired” [New York Times]. “As states begin to drop people from their Medicaid programs, early data shows that many recipients are losing their coverage for procedural reasons.” • Procedural reasons = Complex eligibility requirements and the PMC performing their gatekeeping role. Everything’s going according to plan!

Class Warfare

“Immigrant workforce reaches a new high” [Axios]. “The share of foreign-born workers in the U.S. labor force reached a record high last year, per new data from the Labor Department. With more Americans aging out of the workforce than entering into it — and at a time of labor shortages — immigrants are playing an increasingly crucial role in the labor market. The share of foreign-born people in the workforce has been steadily rising for decades, but dipped during the pandemic — making last year’s uptick look a bit more striking than it is, said Abraham Mosisa, a senior economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, this is a trend that isn’t going anywhere. The U.S. labor force participation rate of native born men has been consistently decreasing, he pointed out. And the rate for women has stagnated. The number of foreign-born workers in the U.S. increased to 29.8 million in 2022, from 27.9 million the previous year — a jump of about 6%.” • That’s a lot.

“How We Reached Workers While Reporting on Dairy Farm Conditions” [ProPublica]. “[Pro Publica] also developed relationships with hosts at several of the Spanish-language radio stations across the state. They knew that dairy farm workers have long hours and few days off. The radio shows serve as a public square. Workers get their news from the stations and call the hosts when they have been injured, gotten fired or had their wages withheld. Months before the story on Jefferson, the boy who died, was published, Sanchez appeared on one DJ’s show and spoke for nearly an hour in Spanish about the reporting she and Jameel were hoping to do. The team also identified businesses in these rural communities that serve Spanish-speaking customers — the spots where immigrants wire money to their families, buy groceries or do their laundry. They visited more than 60 businesses across the state and hung up flyers seeking sources.” • Odd that political parties can’t do this….

News of the Wired

“That people produce HTML with string templates is telling us something” [Chris Siebenmann]. “One of my fundamental rules of system design is when people keep doing it wrong, the people are right and your system or idea is wrong. A corollary to this is that when you notice this happening, a productive reaction is to start asking questions about why people do it the ‘wrong’ way.” • I can accept the corallary, but I don’t know about the proposition. What about the (so-called) Semmelweis reflex?

* * *

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 SR:

SR writes: “Unknown stripey wetland dwellers. No idea what they are. But the striation is marvelous.”

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. TopHat

    JP Morgan is making numerous claims today that the US Virgin Islands is ‘complicit’ in Jeffrey Epstein crimes. I have no doubt that JP Morgan is trying to distract from their likely criminal relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. But these accusations give some very interesting insight into possible relationships between Epstein and a number of notable billionaires.

    Epstein’s dealings with a former governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands family allowed him to obtain extraordinarily unusual tax exemptions for at least one company that he was operating in their country. According to the Miami Herald:

    “At issue is Southern Trust, a purported data-mining company that Epstein incorporated in the USVI in 2011, and that the government believes was a sham to cover up his illegal activities…In December of 2012, he went before the islands’ Economic Development Authority (EDA), where Gov. Bryan was the chairman at the time, to ask for tax breaks for Southern Trust Co…Southern Trust was given a 90 percent exemption from its income tax and a 100 percent exemption from gross receipts, excise and withholding taxes…the lucrative deal allowed Southern Trust to avoid paying $73.6 million in taxes from 2013 to 2017 on aggregate income of $656 million, according to court documents”

    I find it hard to believe that Epstein was able to generate $656 million in income (its revenues were likely several orders of magnitude higher) over five years running a data-mining company in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Remember – most of the cash running through this company is tax exempt. Something else is going on here. According to another published source:

    “Under former Governor John de Jongh, Southern Trust obtained lucrative tax breaks. At the time, de Jongh’s wife, Cecile, on paper, managed Southern Trust operation. Southern Trust gave thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Virgin Islands politicians, including current members of the Legislature and the territory’s delegate to Congress.”

    My guess is that Epstein was using Southern Trust, and possibly other similarly set up companies to help wealthy individuals evade taxes or launder money. It’s widely known that Leon Black, a billionaire and co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, paid Epstein $158 million over five years between 2012 and 2017. This corresponds to the time period that Southern Trust obtained tax breaks from the USVI. And according to the NY Times:

    “So what did Jeffrey Epstein do to earn hundreds of millions of dollars from a handful of wealthy clients like the private equity billionaire Leon Black? The answer: help rich people pay less in taxes.”

    The Wall Street journal later reported that Epstein was scheduled to meet four billionaires, who were Bill Gates, Thomas Pritzker, Leon Black and Mortimer Zuckerman, on one day in 2014. Bill Gates accompanied Epstein to most of these meetings. Note the year of this meeting also corresponds to the time period that Southern Trust obtained tax breaks from the USVI.

    Lots of billionaires are now associated with Epstein during this time period, either through media reports, or via the U.S. Virgin Islands pending lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase. They include Bill Gates a billionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, Elon Musk the CEO pf Tesla, SPaceX, and Twitter, Sergey Brin and Larry Page the co-founders of Google, Michael Ovitz, the former president of Disney and co-founder of the leading Hollywood talent agency CAA, Mortimer Zuckerman a media owner and real estate magnate, Thomas Pritzker the executive chair of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Leon Black a billionaire and co-founder of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management, and Ariane de Rothschild, chief executive of the Swiss private bank Edmond de Rothschild Group. According to the USVI’s lawsuit, Epstein attempted to maintain his ties with JPMorgan by touting his connections with some of these high-worth individuals as potential bank clients.

    How all of this will play out is anyones guess. But it’s definitely going to be an interesting show!

    1. petal

      Ties between Rep. Stacey Plaskett and Epstein? Maybe I will look that up this weekend.

      1. Michael Fiorrillo

        Mmmm, yummy pizzagate… :-)

        I was thinking the exact same thing. How symmetrical things sometimes are…

  2. Sub-Boreal

    Today’s antidote is horsetail, probably Equisetum arvense. See here. The tubular structures on the tops of the stalks are the pollen cones.

    1. Luckless Pedestrian

      I was thinking the same thing, I was introduced to it by the colloquial “shavegrass.” Turns up periodically in the medicinal/botanical space. It does very well near creeks/water sources here in Marin Co. CA.

  3. griffen

    Today’s plantidote, only thing that popped into my mind was cattails. But, I don’t think I’m gonna win Final Jeopardy with that response exactly.

  4. flora

    re: ” Lol. With a nice guy like Joe Lieberman involved, how did this ever happen?”

    My exact thought. / ;)

    1. fjallstrom

      Ms. Jacobson called the project “an insurance policy in the event both major parties put forth presidential candidates the vast majority of Americans don’t support.”

      Yep, as I said some time ago. Awfully nice of Ms. Jacobson to come out and state it clearly. If after Super Tuesday, there is no candidate to back for the old establishment of the parties, they will run third party. And that third party (really a democrat and a republican with fake moustaches) will be treated as a legitimate third party by the media, which would give them a shot.

      Or in other words, the old establishment thinks that there is a clear and present danger that Kennedy or Williamson might win the Democratic primary.

      1. Skip Intro

        What is NoLabels’ plan for ballot access? Can they get spots from turncoat dem apparatchiks in 50 states?

      2. Not Again

        LOL. The Democrats don’t worry about Kennedy or Williamson getting the Dem nomination because – they will never let that happen.

        The rules of the presidential nominating contest are such that they will continually change the rules until they get the candidate they want. They could nominate a ham sandwich if they wanted to. And they did in 2020

        1. fjallstrom

          I don’t see why they would worry, but I also think the actions of the No Labels speak for themselves (and then in this article they just came out and said it).

          This is the Macron gambit. When the old right and left in France had been run into the ground with austerity politics and were both polling badly, it became necessary to launch a new centrist party to avoid voters ending up with two unacceptable candidates (LePen and Melenchon). Enter Macron, Hollande’s former economy minister, who is launched in a media campaign while the two establishment parties were still selecting candidates.

          Now No Labels, and the capital backing it, is giving the old parties in the US a deadline. By Super Tuesday we want an establishment candidate to back, or we will run one of our own. They will play the Macron gambit.

          Why would they do that unless they think they will be unable to rig a primary?

      3. Hepativore

        There is a not-insignificant chance that Biden will die or be incapacitated before the conclusion of the primary races, giving Marianne Williamson or RFK Jr. an opening…as then the DNC will have to cobble together hasty excuses as to why they cannot have primaries even with the presidential incumbent no longer in the race and why they are cramming Kamala Harris down everybody’s throats.

  5. giantsquid

    Re: “Causal evidence that herpes zoster vaccination prevents a proportion of dementia cases”

    A meta-analysis published last year found that a variety of vaccinations correlated with a reduced incidence of dementia.

    “This systematic review and meta-analysis comprehensively investigated the current evidence regarding the effect of routine adult vaccinations on the risk of dementia, and the pooled results from 17 studies with more than 1.8 million participants showed a 35% reduction in the dementia risk after vaccinations. This reduction was observed to be significant in influenza, herpes zoster, Tdap, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies vaccinations, with similar trends but not significant in other vaccines. The reduced risk did not vary with age, gender, or type of dementia. Compared to the previous meta-analysis on influenza vaccination conducted by Veronese et al, we added four new studies related to influenza vaccination and overall pooled results were similar. Interestingly, we found a dose-response effect of vaccination on the incidence of dementia. More full vaccination types and a greater number of annual influenza vaccinations were associated with a lower risk of dementia.”


    1. tevhatch

      I wonder if vaccination rates, particularly for the expensive and voluntary may correlate with a better diet, better living/work locations(remote from lead/cadmium off of tire tread dust, VOC from industries, etc), etc). Humans are really hard to get a clean model for cause and effect, that’s why I think Chicago/MIT school Economist are just BS artist.

      1. marku52

        Yes the “Healthy User” cofounder. It is difficult to disentangle. But if the characteristic in question also correlates with socio-economic status, then Healthy User is almost certainly part of the effect.

        1. tevhatch

          “the vaccine”? influenza, herpes zoster, Tdap, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies vaccinations? Which one?

      2. marieann

        Yes, I do think your observations could be accurate. I am in Canada where everyone’s got healthcare except when they don’t.
        When the flu vaccine first came out we had to pay for it, same with the pneumonia and shingles shot. We got all the shots because we had the money, I know many people who didn’t.
        We also have the money for a better lifestyle…..which I believe can help one age healthier

    2. Robert Hahl

      About fifty years ago, I read speculation that dementia is probably caused by a sexually transmitted disease, because Catholic nuns rarely developed it.

      1. Revenant

        Alzheimer’s disease is a result of cell cycle dysregulation (the cell cycle is the four step process of G1, S, G2 and M phases by which a cell doubles its genetic material and then divides into two daughter cells).

        AD proceeds stepwise through the brain, from the entorhinal cortex (behind the nose) outwards. The disease predictably hits the same neurones in the same sequence, so much so that Braak & Beaak published a neuroanatomical staging of the disease.

        When one neurone is affected by AD, it withdraws its synapses from its downstream neurones and this loss of connectivity appears to precipitate AD in the next neurone layer because synaptic plasticity and remodelling in neurones operates by reusing the cell cycle machinery which is otherwise suppressed in neurones. Neurones shuttle between G0 and G1 phases of cell cycle in remodelling but AD neurones have an incompetent G1/S cell cycle checkpoint and pass on irreversibly into the S phase but cannot complete the cell cycle. The affected neurones instead live aberrantly in the S and G2 phases of the cycle, the distinctive biochemistry of which is responsible for amyloid plaque and tau tangles and other phenomena, which ultimately kill the neurone and lead to cognitive impairment.

        Herpes Zoster lies dormant in nerve cells and is reawakened somehow in later life as shingles. It is possible that herpes viral infection and particularly its reactivation stimulates neuronal cell cycle reentry and/or aggravates cell cycle checkpoint dysregulation, resulting in greater likelihood if the AD process starting and/or propagating in infected patients.

        1. Tom B.

          Thanks – I was going to ask for a link for this, to me, novel concept, but a DuckDuckGo search on “alzheimers cell cycle disregulation” turned up LOTS of interesting stuff from reputable sources.

  6. Mark Gisleson

    Regarding Pro Publica’s successful outreach to farmworkers, the Democrats’ solution to this would be to hire consultants. The real question then becomes, why doesn’t the DNC hire Pro Publica to help develop ag policy?

    1. jsn

      The Ds goal isn’t to figure out the right ag policy for any community, its to sell Monsanto’s business plan to all communities, regardless of real world impacts.

      Sort of like the Ds goal isn’t the best public health policy, it’s to sell Pfizer’s business plan regardless of its health affects.

      It’s not about where votes might come from, that’s fungible with propaganda, but at scale, where money comes from isn’t: policy is for those who can afford pay for it, whoever pays the most gets the policy, again regardless of real world impacts. The Rs are different only in serving different markets.

      1. Grateful Dude

        I’ve worked as a Systems Architect in large Finance and Pharma companies. Pharma is the worse of these: they paint their products as help for mankind, whereas Finance is just into money. No BS there. Money is their product.

  7. Samuel Conner


    I suppose one can take some encouragement from the possibility that the CV will, via Long COVID, increase the number of people who are covered by the ADA and have the right to demand “ADA reasonable accommodations”.

    Whether by then there will still be enough medical staff in working condition to provide those reasonable accommodations, OTOH, may be debatable.


    Yes, I’m a downer. How does that saying go? Oh yes, here it is:

    “I could count myself the king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.”

    One suspects, on the other hand, that the people who devised the policies that have led to this place … they sleep soundly, untroubled by what they have wrought.

    1. some guy

      One hopes the people who devised the policies that have led to this place . . . all get long covid.

  8. Mildred Montana

    Re: Debt Ceiling

    Bernie Sanders was interviewed on CNN last night and he was in fine fettle. He actually had the courage, for the first time as far as I know, to challenge the MIC and its congressional allotment. He asked (and I paraphrase here), 𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘶𝘵𝘴?

    He went on to ask why everything else was, except that. A refreshing interview and shades of Ron Paul, who also had the courage to ask the unaskable questions ten years ago.

    Btw, for readers interested in the national debt, interest payments on it are approximately one-half of the MIC’s yearly appropriations A not insignificant amount. Unless one thinks that deficits and debts don’t matter.

    1. djrichard

      > Unless one thinks that deficits and debts don’t matter.

      I’m one of those people. And I’m not even an MMTer.

      Check out this article from yesterday: US Treasury debt auction signals June 1 may not be default ‘X-date’

      The Treasury’s Bureau of Fiscal Management said it would auction $119 billion of 3-month and 6-month bills on Tuesday, with the sales formally settling two days later on June 1.

      June 1 is the date that some $117 billion of T-bills matures

      That’s how the interest is paid. New bond issuance covers the interest and principle on existing bond issuance that is maturing. The Fed Gov simply rolls it over.

      And those who receive the pay out will keep it in currency until the next opportunity to roll it back into more treasuries. If they had something better to do with the currency they wouldn’t be buying treasuries in the first place. So whatever interest they received is being plowed back into Treasuries again.

      To put this in perspective, look at how this worked when the Fed Gov used the Lincoln Greenback during the civil war, a currency that the Fed Gov itself printed. During that duration, the Fed Gov issued treasuries denominated in greenbacks. Those treasuries paid interest in greenbacks. The function was the same as now to be the yield of last resort in the marketplace – something better than holding greenbacks themselves. The point isn’t the interest – the point is simply providing a place to park currency.

      1. Wukchumni

        Interest bearing notes refers to a grouping of Civil War era paper money-related emissions of the US Treasury. The grouping includes the one- and two-year notes authorized by the Act of March 3, 1863, which bore interest at five percent per annum, were a legal tender at face value, and were issued in denominations of $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1000.


        1. djrichard

          I don’t think any of those mentioned are denominated in greenbacks from what I can tell.

          It’s hard finding anything on the web about debt instruments denominated in greenbacks. The only place I’ve found so far is “The Lost Science of Money” by Zarlenga

          1. scott s.

            You might have a look at Google e-book “Jay Cooke, financier of the Civil War”, Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer.

      2. Random

        Sovereign deficits and debts don’t matter until they do.
        As long as you have virtually infinite demand from everyone to buy your obligations it doesn’t matter because everyone expects this to continue effectively forever and it is therefore safe.
        The situation right now if very different from the times of the civil war and even 50 years ago.
        One of the factors is the increased prevalence of international trade.
        If decades ago the government (almost any government) could effectively guarantee the prices they want by imposing price controls and such because most goods were produced domestically (one of the tools used to end the 70s stagflation for example), today that is much more complicated because the government has limited power to dictate international prices.
        The other factor are the huge trade deficits that the US is running. You can in theory do this forever if much of the world is happy with buying US financial assets (both public and private) to fund US consumption. I think Europe and other US “allies” will have no choice but to keep doing this. But it’s doubtful that everyone else will be willing to do this now that US financial assets are no longer “safe” for those not politically aligned with the US.
        But no, the US won’t default or anything like that because that would massively affect the oligarchy and who wants that. You’ll get spending cuts in anything except the military and corporate welfare.

        1. djrichard

          China has already had their big think on what to do given it’s now clear their US assets are at risk if China were ever to be sanctioned by the US. And their answer was to stay the course, they don’t have an option. I think ideally they’d have some other trading partner that could serve as the “sink” for all their trade surplus, but in the mean time US will have to be it. Which tell us that China is willing to write if off worse come to worse. It would be interesting if instead of treasuries China was accumulating gold as a store for their trade surplus, would they be willing to write that off? Probably harder to psychologically do that. But it does point to what is going on here. China isn’t running a trade surplus to accumulate treasuries (or even gold if they could). They’re running a trade surplus because it stimulates their economy. Just jettison the surplus at the sun for all the difference that it makes. Not all that different than how some potlatch societies would burn their surplus gifts that had been accumulated as part of the potlatch gift exchange. The point of the potlatch wasn’t accumulation – the point was the exchange.

        2. Scylla

          “the world” isn’t needed to buy US sovereign debt. The Fed takes up the slack, and has been doing so for a long time. When there is a treasury auction and there is not enough interest from private parties to buy all of the debt being auctioned, the fed acts as the buyer of last resort, and simply prints the money into existence via keystroke and buys the debt.
          The dollar/US debt will not have any serious problems unless and until the rest of the world (or even just some key nations that sell us alot of raw materials or finished goods) really gets sick of our shit and places us under embargo and sanctions like we have terrorized the rest of the world with. This is what people should actually worry about.

    2. digi_owl

      Debt matter, but frankly private (aka household and business debt/credit) matter far more than national debt. That is, as long as the national debt is denominated in the national currency.

    3. The Rev Kev

      He may have asked ‘𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘶𝘵𝘴?’ but when it comes time to vote, will he vote with cutting the military budget? Especially if he is told that it is needed to fight Russia with? The other day he came out in support for healthcare for all but the time for that was back in 2020 but that was when he pulled his support.

      1. Cassandra

        The time for that was in 2016. However, HRC had bought the DNC and she never stopped being a Goldwater girl in her heart of hearts.

      2. Hepativore

        Why do we not ask his “friend”, Joe Biden, who took cutting the military budget off the table as well as invoking the 14th Amendment? When another Grand Bargain-style deal is floated on behalf of the Biden administration, will Sanders still make excuses for Biden, then? Sanders still has not figured out that the rest of the Democratic Party does not care what he thinks or how much Sanders castigates them for their malfeasance, they are going to do it anyway. This is because Sanders gave away all of his political leverage in kneeling to the same people that have punched him in the gut, repeatedly; in return.

        Sanders either needs better friends, or it makes me wonder if he got a talking to from the Democrats’ pals in the various intelligence agencies to either fall in line or end up like Paul Wellstone.

  9. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s)

    I wasn’t sure whether to include this, but it seems to be what we have, and I decided that it does fit the criteria:

    Silver Dollar City train derails again, resulting in one minor injury

    Seven months after a derailment cause half a dozen injuries, Silver Dollar City’s steam train has derailed again.

    According to a press release from the amusement park, the front wheels of car three on a Silver Dollar City steam train went off track by less than two inches, causing cars two and three to separate. The incident occured Thursday, at approximately 3:50 p.m.


    Have a great holiday weekend! And if you travel, hopefully your destination is in walking-distance!

  10. some guy

    I suspect the plants in the Plantidote photo to be horsetails.

    some horsetail images . . .

    ( Oh, and I see Judith got there first).

  11. Raymond Sim

    I decided not to use energy on the JAMA PASC definition article, but if anyone has made the slog I’d be interested to know if they’ve even exited ‘diagnosis of exclusion’ territory? To my understanding that’s the first big step that has to happen, and likely to require a hard fight.

  12. Jason Boxman

    What’s troubling is that heaven and earth were moved to get RECOVER funded, and then the NIH did nothing for a year, dithering, and then we’re getting this stuff, or protocols with exercise as a component. The impossible task of securing funding for this by long-COVID suffers wasn’t enough to get the kind of serious research we need; you still have the fight with the funded, entrenched institution, as well. And these people aren’t elected, so what pressure points are there to even apply?

  13. Ranger Rick

    I wish No Labels the best of luck. Splitting is by far the biggest “threat” you can have in electoral first-past-the-post politics, with a long and storied tradition in American history. The best outcome would be a platform change and a ceremonial “everyone over 70 should probably retire” push behind the scenes from the Democratic Party, but the one I’m expecting follows their usual MO: No Labels will get decapitated, and anyone who wins a local race despite opposition from the DNC will get co-opted like a certain congresswoman from New York.

  14. Richard

    Hi Lambert (and everyone else),
    I remember you in the past talking about “overworked words”. Could you give me some examples of this practice, and maybe a working definition? I have the idea that an overworked word is either trying too hard to exaggerate its meaning, or conversely to understate its meaning, so that the word is “overworked” trying to mean too many things at once, or trying to shed meaning altogether.
    Am I on the right track? I am working on a high school age class on propaganda called Death By Paid Speech. I’ve isolated three tells that one is being deceived to share with young people:
    1) Use of the passive voice, to hide agency.
    2) Use of “we”, to imply we are in a group together, to hide/erase class and social divisions.
    3) Overworked words, to disguise meaning itself.
    Anyway, if you or anyone else can add to my understanding of overworked words, I’d appreciate all responses.


    1. Yves Smith

      “Conversation”. Meant to imply genuine exchange when pervasively used in political and other circles to describe a dominant party ‘splaining how things are and will go in a veneer of faux interest over what the non-dominant party would rather have.

      Ambrose Bierce has a great list in his Devil’s Dictionary and many are still germane. My fave is “Parter: When two thieves have their hands so deeply plunged into each other’s pocket that they cannot separately plunder a third party.”

    2. ambrit

      How about the loqution: “Bipartisan.” That word hides a myriad of sins. Yes, bipartisanship is supposedly “positive,” but for who? As deployed, it is not beneficial for the Commons.
      The best of luck in teaching the course.
      Get them while they are young.

      1. richard

        the Blue words like “fighting for” and “movement” are also meant to imply meanings that their butts can’t cash in. Thanks, Ambrit!

    3. tegnost

      1) is the news, but I’ve noticed a lot of adjectives where nouns would suffice, otherwise known as nudges…
      2)Guilty. I do that when I’m trying to imply consensus.
      3) comes to mind as phrases, i.e. free market v competition
      open borders v sovereignty
      globalization v conquest

      1. richard

        “free market” is almost the king of overworked phrases. It means all of the good things, all at once!

  15. antidlc

    Remember the CDC conference that wasn’t an “outbreak”?


    Eric Feigl-Ding
    Welp—Remember how @CDCgov
    claimed there was no “outbreak” at their CDC conference 3 weeks ago? ➡️Now we learn 181 cases of #COVID19 arose of 1800+ CDC staffers/guests…. So basically 1 in 10 folks at a single CDC conference caught COVID. Yet @CDCDirector
    Walensky dismantles reporting and they gaslight us it was nothing. #CovidIsNotOver

    Tally of COVID-19 cases after CDC conference rises to 181

  16. JBird4049

    >>>Hundreds of Thousands Have Lost Medicaid Coverage Since Pandemic Protections Expired”

    This reminds me that I have to fill out that big yellow Medi-Cal package that came in the mail last week. Freaking ghouls.

  17. marym

    Capitol riot: I think it was his #2 guy that was the snitch. Apparently the right is no better than the left (such as it is) at detecting provocateurs and informers in their midst.

    1. digi_owl

      Never mind that many on the right may well be wearing a badge during work hours…

    2. tegnost

      i think the right are much easier targets, the left, historically even if not presently, had teach ins before protests…do nothing illegal…don’t resist… etc…that keep you from getting an extended sentence. The right just found out why you do those teach in’s. As a vet of protests long ago, the j6er’s either screwed themselves, were easy marks, or both

  18. some guy

    About that twitter-recorded exchange which went . . . ” Someone I know told me I needed to “lose the mask.” I asked why they cared if I wore a mask or not?

    “What makes you think you’re so special that you don’t have to get Covid like everybody else?”

    That person is a literal Typhoid Mary Coronavampire, supporting the spread of covid on purpose. That person is just one last final step short of being a deliberate covid-infected cougher-in-peoples’ faces in order to infect those people on purpose.

    Such a person is beyond and beneath reasoning with or even talking to. Such a person should be regarded as a contagious menace and should be made to keep its physical distance from you. If it tries to get close enough to you to pull your mask off so it can cough in your unmasked face, spraying it in the face with bear spray to make it back off is proper self defense. ( Unless you secretly agree with it that you are not so special and you don’t deserve to remain covid-free).

    1. The Rev Kev

      I cannot see any context where that person’s line of reasoning works without being malevolent. Try this for example. It is the gay community in San Francisco in the 1980s-

      ”Someone I know told me I needed to “lose the condom.” I asked why they cared if I wore a condom or not?
      “What makes you think you’re so special that you don’t have to get AIDS like everybody else?”

      See? There is no context where this line of reasoning works.

    2. Acacia

      I can’t help but think there’s something else at play, too.

      While I agree that “such a person is beyond and beneath reasoning with or even talking to,” it would be kinda tempting to say something like:

      “Are you sure you’re not just bothered because masks remind you that you were and are too lazy to protect yourself?”

      1. some guy

        Or one could be snarcastic and say . . . . ” aww, that’s not what you really think. That’s just the brain damage talking”.

        But if you are going to say something like that to such a person in such a circumstance, you’d better make sure first that you are out of reach, and that you have your hand on the bear spray.

  19. The Rev Kev

    ‘One of my fundamental rules of system design is when people keep doing it wrong, the people are right and your system or idea is wrong. A corollary to this is that when you notice this happening, a productive reaction is to start asking questions about why people do it the ‘wrong’ way.”

    Heard about one example of this. Volkswagen was really big in South America and that had engineers stationed there in support. The thing was, if they saw some guy trying to fix one of their engines by using a screwdriver as a sort of chisel instead of the correct screwdriver, they didn’t fly off the handle at the guy. They would call Volkswagen back in Germany and would suggest that they redesign that part so that you could do it that way. They were watching the “bush mechanics” for what worked and what didn’t.

    1. jsn

      This is how Russian weapons are designed.

      Like the French of old, American weapons designers look on from afar and ask, “yes, but does it work in theory?”

      And when it doesn’t match their pet theory, they scoff.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Our university’s password management system is in a constant escalation against the users who are not doing it right.

      I think hiding passwords all the time was a bad move for user cooperation.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Covid numbers increase across Australia in alarming sign before winter”

    My sister on the central eastern coast reports more people wearing masks which she noted as unusual. Meanwhile, the government is running booster ads as the solution to the Pandemic-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUz5VVBVtbE (30 secs)

    I like they way that they end that add with the line ‘The ball’s in your court’ which means that they have off-loaded all responsibility for dealing with the Pandemic to us muppets. You’re on your own – and here it’s bipartisan.

    1. Rainlover

      Just spoke to my daughter in Yass, 40K outside Canberra in NSW. Their high school is experiencing a Covid surge. The administration has asked all students to wear masks; they are opening all the windows even when it’s cold out. They have so many teachers out sick that they are having to combine 2 and 3 classes together. No subs either. At least the admin gets that Covid is airborne.

    1. flora

      adding per wiki:
      “This national observance was preceded by many local ones between the end of the Civil War and Logan’s declaration. ”

      I believe it’s important to note that the “local ones” preceding the later nationally observed holiday were largely the Southern states’ memorials to their fallen Confederate dead. It caught on in the entire country post-Civil War, imo, as an honor to all those who fought in the US Civil War on both sides.

      1. flora

        adding: the US Memorial Day observance is entirely different from the WWI Armistice Day observance or the Remeberance Day observance, later known to us in the US as the Veterans Day observance. The US Memorial Day is entirely different.
        OK. I’m off.

  21. kareninca

    I am so excited by low dose methylene blue that I can barely contain myself. I’ve stopped all of the supplements that I’d been taking ((hawthorn, turmeric, olive leaf extract, natto serra), in order to take it instead (I still use claritin to prevent covid). It helps that it turns out to be (among other things) an antidepressant. I don’t know where to start. Maybe a few interesting studies?


    I am not medically trained at all!!! I am just some dork on the internet. Don’t take medical advice from some dork on the internet.
    Although methylene blue is generally safe (the version for humans, not the fish tank variety), it is very dangerous if combined with SSRIs (you could die of serotonin syndrome), and some other substances, so absolutely ask your doctor first.

    It is very trendy right now as an anti-aging substance:

    I am especially keen on it because of the prospect that it might help with prion disease. I haven’t found anything else that might.

  22. The Rev Kev

    The idiocy – it burns!

    ‘A woman in Finland triggered automatic penalties from the country’s Financial Supervisory Authority, after it mistook payments made to an animal insurance company for a financial transfer to Iran, local media outlets reported on Wednesday. Tehran is currently under EU-wide economic sanctions, which prohibit most financial transfers.
    According to a report by Finnish outlet Yle, the dog’s owner had attempted to transfer a payment of €600 ($643) to Minni Munne’s account to settle an insurance bill, after her dog, Ira, required emergency treatment while giving birth.
    But in the subject field in the online transfer, the banking system mistook the term ‘Ira’s insurance’ (‘Iran vakuutus’ in Finnish) for ‘Iran insurance’ – blocking not just the transfer, but also freezing Munne’s entire account.
    Her account was suspended for a week, Yle reported on Wednesday, forcing her to rely on the support of friends to pay for bills and other necessities.’


  23. rowlf

    Blue Max’s (Medal Of Honor citations in the US using David Hackworth’s terminology) are pretty tough to read and a lot are posthumous. Most are “after service person X was shot and/or blown up, they got very aggressive…” in format.

    This one is mostly positive.

    Jack Lucas and the Battle of Iwo Jima

      1. ambrit

        I am not certain of the origin of the term, but Internet Dragons roughly suggests “fabulous beasties” flying around in the Internet ether, patrolling the transiting bits and bytes for “Wrongthink.” The conceit posits that “Ye Dragons” subsist on tasty communications, and thus, whomever they work for, if such a thing is possible, pay them by letting them consume “Wrongthink” to their heart’s delight.
        The use was triggered by a medium length comment that I uploaded. It instantly disappeared, never to be seen again. This is not the same as a comment being sent to moderation. There, you receive the caption informing you of such. [I am well acquainted with that missive. ] With “Ye Dragons,” no such explanation is received. Your comment has become one with Hamlet; “The rest is silence.”
        In the defense of “Ye Dragons,” I have not developed the habit of backing up longer comments just in case of a visit from “Ye Dragons.” Such is life.

        1. Acacia

          I have found that if a comment includes certain keywords or URLs of certain sh*tlisted sites, it will be nuked immediately, such that “the rest is silence”.

          1. ambrit

            Me too. My question is whether the “nuking” is done on the NC website or if it happened ‘outside’ of said website. I would not be at all surprised to discover that there was a general purpose “Internet Dragons Brigade,” say, like the Microsoft designed, under contract to and on the behalf of, the People’s Republic of China, “Great Firewall of China.”
            Said flying furnaces would wing their ways to delete “Wrongthink” anywhere and anywhen it be found on the Western Internet.
            The “shaping” of the public discourse is magical and glamourous in the extreme. Thus, “Ye Dragons” as the totem aminals for the Valiant fighters for Truth (TM), Justice (see itemized rates below,) and the Neo-liberal Way makes abundant sense.
            Be thou of good cheer and maximal threat avoidance behaviour.

            1. Acacia

              I’d wager it’s handled by the NC web app, and Yves, Lambert, et alia have set up some of the rules for what gets nuked. For it to happen “outside” would involve something akin to what is called a “man in the middle attack”, and this is far less likely.

              The “shaping” of public discourse is real, though. Just to take a recent example, did you see Matt Orfalea’s “Nobody is Safe!” video? If there’s even the slightest doubt that we’re living in a « société de contrôle », this video lays it to rest.

        2. vao

          I see. Well, I think I actually brushed with some of those Internet Dragons in the past — but in truth this has been a rare occurrence.

          1. ambrit

            I think that it comes with the territory. As long as we can keep Egos out of the equation, all will work out in the end. However, as Jim Morrison said: “Nobody gets out of here alive.”
            Be safe and sane.

  24. Jason Boxman

    “COVID-19 Variant Dashboard – USA” really crazy today, XBB1.5 is at only 28% as of 15 days ago. XBB1.16.* at about 13%. That can’t be good. That means a whole lot of other stuff is running wild.

  25. skippy

    Cough OZ and Covid – NSW Health ‘erased’ data used in weekly Covid surveillance reports

    Like many Australians, Xin Yin Ooi found herself “obsessed” with weekly Covid updates — but then she noticed something strange.

    “As a data analyst, the Sydney woman was naturally interested in the detailed statistical breakdowns provided in NSW Health’s weekly surveillance report — so when she noticed a strange figure in one table, she decided to request the underlying numbers to check the work for herself.

    The only problem? The data had been “erased”.

    “It was a big shock,” Ms Ooi said.

    “In the early days of Omicron, our Premier, Health Minister, chief health officer, every day at the press briefing I remember vividly they were saying, ‘The data shows two doses are not enough, you need three to deal with Omicron.’ They kept repeating, ‘the data, the data’ — it’s just unbelievable they would erase the data.” – snip


    1. ambrit

      Oh my. The “cunning plans” come thick and fast.
      I am not certain if the messing about being engaged in by “our betters” is meant to cause the proliferation of conspiracy theories or not. However, I am fairly sure that all of this Elite malfeasance promotes something similar to the physiological effects of the virus, ie. “social systemic dysregulation.”
      Stay safe this winter.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “social systemic dysregulation.”

      Yes. At the level of social psychology too:

Comments are closed.