2:00PM Water Cooler 6/22/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Common House-Martin (Western), Blåvand Fuglestation, Region Syddanmark, Denmark: “Flight calls, nest chatter. Seen. In and around the nests two days after arrival from wintering grounds.”

* * *


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


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Ron DeSantis decries public defecation, crack smoking during San Francisco stroll” [New York Post]. • Let it never be said of Ron DeSantis that he lacks political courage!

“Glenn Youngkin’s Opening in Virginia” [Wall Street Journal]. “Virginia’s off-year elections are regularly worth watching as a political harbinger, but this year’s could be a triple whammy. Beyond showing how the electorate is trending, November’s results could give the GOP full control of Richmond, and they might even—although it’s a big maybe—slingshot Gov. Glenn Youngkin into the 2024 presidential race…. Perhaps a few GOP candidates in iffy races can ride Mr. Youngkin’s coattails over the finish line. A poll this month by Roanoke College put his approval at 51%, down from 57% in February. Those are nice figures for a Republican Governor in a purple state full of the suburbanites who fled the GOP amid the Trump years. If Mr. Youngkin can take back Richmond and pass a few good bills, who knows what he might do in 2024.”

* * *

502 days is a long time in politics:

One shouldn’t underestimate Biden’s viciousness and lust for power, or that of his supporters. But for a sitting President with — supposedly — a stellar record, and the unanimous backing of his party (modulo Joe Manchin, that creep) Biden’s support feels soft, to me. RFK + Williamson, 18%? Really? And leaving aside the economy (cardboard box sales are down, a good proxy for trouble to come), a Ukraine debacle even if he can gin up conflict with China in time, liberal’s odd fancies about sex and gender, and a hard core of Covid conscious who might just stay home, what happens if he slips a cog?

“DOJ, FBI, IRS interfered with Hunter Biden probe, according to whistleblower testimony released by GOP” [FOX]. “The House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday released testimony from two IRS whistleblowers who said the Justice Department, FBI and IRS interfered with the investigation of the tax evasion case against Hunter Biden…. According to testimony released by the committee, one whistleblower, IRS Criminal Supervisory Special Agent Gary Shapley Jr., said decisions in the case seemed to be ‘influenced by politics.’ ‘Whatever the motivations, at every stage decisions were made that had the effect of benefiting the subject of the investigation,’ Shapley said. ‘These decisions included slow-walking investigative steps, now allowing enforcement actions to be executed, limiting investigators’ line of questioning for witnesses, misleading investigators on charging authority, delaying any and all actions months before elections to ensure the investigation did not go overt well before policy memorandum mandated the pause. These are just only a few examples,’ he added…. Shapley, who oversaw the IRS probe into the president’s son, said the IRS obtained a WhatsApp message dated July 30th, 2017, from Hunter Biden to Henry Zhao, who the New York Post previously reported is a Chinese Communist Party official and CEO of Harvest Fund Management. ‘I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight’ Biden wrote. ‘And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.’ Shapley testified that communications like that message ‘made it clear we needed to search the guest house at the Bidens’ Delaware residence where Hunter Biden stayed for a time.’ However, Shapley testified that Assistant United States Attorney in Delaware, Lesley Wolf, told him “optics were a driving factor in the decision on whether to execute a search warrant.'” • Ah well, nevertheless…

“‘Back Off Joe Biden!’ MSNBC Analyst Loses It At House Republicans Outraged Over Hunter Biden Plea Deal” [Mediaite]. “‘And by the way, everybody needs to back off Joe Biden about this. He loves his son. Back off! It is okay for him to love his son and there’s nothing wrong with it,’ [MSNBC political analyst Claire McCaskill] concluded. ;They have no evidence of any kind of wrongdoing by Joe Biden. And it infuriates me that they’re using this heartbreak against Joe Biden in this way. It’s just not right.” • Gad.

“Typography 2024: For America! For America’s Best” [Practical Photography]. “Biden’s reelection site is largely a step down from his very good 2020 effort. The fonts have been upgraded to the excellent Decimal and the Caslon-inspired Frame. Otherwise, however, it’s just weird: the cream-colored background, the Mortal Kombat-inspired tagline finish the job, the scribbles on the page purporting to be Joe’s handwriting, and new wavy stripes in the Biden wordmark reminiscent of Andrew Yang’s baconesque 2020 logo. A quintessential example of what happens in design projects when a large budget is handed over to a large committee: by trying to be everything to everyone, it avoids being anything to anyone.” • Fun read. Here is the Biden site:

Yes, once you see the bacon you can’t unsee it.

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“Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s presidential run gets support from Wall Street veteran Omeed Malik” [CNBC]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the anti-vaccine activist who’s now running for president, has another wealthy backer in his corner: veteran Wall Street executive Omeed Malik. Last month, Malik took Kennedy to a swanky private dinner at the Bellagio in Las Vegas to rub elbows with an array of political power players, according to people familiar with the matter. Attendees at the dinner, which coincided with the SCALE Global Business Summit, included former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, ex-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Democratic megadonor Marc Lasry, the people said. While these people said Kennedy didn’t pitch himself as a candidate, his attendance at the dinner represents another way to beef up his presence in the political conversation despite having publicly pushed numerous conspiracy theories, including debunked takes on vaccines. The people declined to be named to in order to speak about private deliberations and conversations. The election was nonetheless on attendees’ minds at the dinner. A person familiar with the matter said there were some, including Clinton, who suggested that President Joe Biden’s age could be a hurdle that he’ll need to shrug off to voters. Clinton also cheered on Biden’s tenure as president, another person said.” • Wait. “Shrug off” a “hurdle”? Did an AI write this?

“RFK Jr., Speaking in New Hampshire, Bills Himself as the Peace Candidate” [New York Sun]. “In a speech in New Hampshire Tuesday night, Mr. Kennedy called for a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine and an end to military adventures abroad. He peppered his speech with anecdotes and quotations from his late uncle, President John F. Kennedy, to frame his calls for peace as a continuation of President Kennedy’s policies…. ‘Every empire ends itself through over expansion of its military abroad,’ Mr. Kennedy said. ‘I therefore call on our present leadership to adopt President Kennedy’s maxims and start de-escalating now.’ ‘We’ve become addicted to comic book good-versus-evil narratives that erase complexity and blind us to the legitimate motives and legitimate cultural and economic concerns, and the legitimate security concerns of other peoples and other nations,’ Mr. Kennedy said.” • The article includes this photo from RFK’s campaign launch, April 19, 2023 at Boston, Massachusetts:

Kennedy’s advance team managed to get a group of photogenic and properly diverse people into the background of this shot. So apparently his campaign is professionally run (a good sign, if you’re into victory in electoral politics).

“Jill Stein enlisted to help build Cornel West’s third-party presidential campaign” [CNN]. “‘She is helping him transition to the Green Party as he is building his team,’ a source close to both West and Stein said Thursday. On Wednesday night, Stein described herself as the nascent campaign’s ‘interim coordinator’ in an interview with Bloomberg News…. West, a prominent surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his two presidential campaigns, announced his own plans to run as a candidate with the little-known People’s Party in a video earlier this month. But he quickly broke off from that group, which has limited infrastructure and concerns about ballot access, to join the Greens and seek their nomination. ‘When it comes to infrastructure and institution, it’s much broader and deeper. Access to the ballot, much broader,’ West said on the ‘The Katie Halper Show‘ earlier this month. ‘But in the end, as you know, any candidacy to run the empire, in order to dismantle the empire, has to be part of a movement.'” • This speaks well of Stein.

“Pritzker quickly wields expanded authority to freeze noncitizen health care enrollment” [The Dispatch]. “Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration wasted no time last week in exercising new authority granted by lawmakers to limit the number of enrollees in a pair of state-funded health care programs for low-income noncitizens. In a move that drew intense backlash from immigrant rights advocates, Pritzker on Friday signed House Bill 1298 then immediately filed emergency rules authorized by the law to “temporarily” pause enrollment in the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults program as of July 1. That state-funded program serves individuals aged 42 to 64 years who would be eligible for Medicaid benefits based on income levels but not their citizenship status. A similar program serving noncitizens age 65 and older, known as Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors, will remain open unless enrollment reaches 16,500, at which time it will also be paused. ”

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“State lawmakers join forces with the Forward Party” [City & State Pennsylvania]. “Andrew Yang’s newly established Forward Party is taking root in Pennsylvania. And based on the reception the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate received from state lawmakers in the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Wednesday, there seems to be at least some appetite for new political solutions in Harrisburg. Longtime Democratic state Sens. Lisa Boscola and Anthony H. Williams both announced their affiliation with the Forward Party – and while the two will remain registered Democrats, both expressed frustration with the tribalism in the nation’s politics in general and the chamber’s in particular, and made the case for a collaborative, reform-minded approach to governing. ‘We’re here today because, one, we see the edges creeping into the main of our politics,’ Williams said, noting that his voting record can, at times, stray from that of his own party. ‘I refuse to be bullied or intimidated by an ideology that, frankly, doesn’t represent the interests of my people.'”

“A No Labels candidate would likely throw the election to Trump” [Al From and Craig Fuller, WaPo]. “We agree on three points: (1) In a head-to-head general-election contest, Trump faces the same challenges to winning the popular vote as he has in the past, perhaps worse; (2) a moderate independent third-party candidate on the ballot gives Trump the best possible chance of winning reelection; and (3) with Trump saying he will seek reelection even if he is convicted of crimes, we can’t just hope that this threat will go away.” • The bios say it all: “Al From, founder of the Democratic Leadership Council and author of “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” is an adjunct professor of graduate studies in government at Johns Hopkins University. Craig Fuller is a longtime Republican strategist and served as assistant to President Ronald Reagan for Cabinet affairs and chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush.” These two worked as hard as anyone to create the conditions that made Trump who he is today.

Spook Country

Life is unfair:

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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Realignment and Legitimacy


“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.

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!

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Look for the Helpers

14,000 members certainly leaves room for expansion:

You can always start a Meetup in your area, if you are so inclined. IIRC, Meetup site is not horrid to run or use. Meetups certainly worked well for the Howard Dean campaign, back in the day!


Slowly, the tide turns (1):

Slowly, the tide turns (2):

Hard core!

“Mask mirroring” isn’t patient-centered care:

Censorship and Propaganda

“Why are some of us suffering from lockdown amnesia?” [Financial Times]. “In a survey conducted this week by market research firm Prolific, shared with the Financial Times, a quarter of a representative sample of almost 1,000 respondents said they only have “a vague memory” of how they spent their time during lockdown. A study published last month, meanwhile, in the science journal PLOS One, found that participants, who were surveyed in May 2022, were just as bad at recalling the timeline of major news events from 2021 as they were for events that had happened three or four years earlier. Lockdowns, the researchers concluded, had a similar effect on our memory to that which has been observed in people who have served time in prison — our ability to recollect distinct points during that period has been impaired… Arash Sahraie, lead author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Aberdeen, tells me that monotony is partly to blame… Stress and unhappiness probably contributed too…. The commonality of the lockdown experience, in other words, is exacerbating our collective amnesia.” • Blah blah blah, blather blather blather. The author doesn’t even consider the idea that memory problems are a physiological effect of Covid infection! All we get is potted psychologizing. (This is also yet another example of Covid optimizing conditions for its own reproduction.)

“Middle schoolers’ reading and math scores plummet” [Axios]. “American students’ test scores in math and reading got significantly worse last year — continuing a decade-long freefall. The decline in math scores last year was the biggest in the past 50 years, according to newly released federal data…. Reading and math scores of elementary school students also plummeted, demonstrating the far-reaching effects of education changes during the pandemic.” • Blah blah blah, blather blather blather. Once again, no consideration given to the possible effects of Covid itself. It’s teh lockdowns!

Testing and Tracking

Denial is the universally preferred strategy:

Scientific Communication

“Scientists shouldn’t debate gaslighters” [Science]. “Hucksters like RFK Jr are skilled at flooding the zone with garbage. Kennedy recently told Rogan that Wi-Fi could open the blood-brain barrier and cause cancer. Absurd statements like this are a trap for scientists. A scientist wants to explain how conservation of energy works and why Kennedy’s assertion violates just about every principle there is in chemistry and physics. This approach sets up two huge problems. First, it gives RFK’s garbage equal footing with principles that have been established by centuries of science. The second is that to a lay listener, the scientist just comes off as fitting the stereotype of a nitpicking nerd and RFK looks like a powerful communicator. Hotez debating RFK about vaccines would produce the same result. I’ve fallen into this trap a few times myself. I went to the Heterodox Academy to be on a panel that also included the conservative pundits Richard Lowry and Batya Ungar-Sargon, who rattled off all kinds of misinformation about COVID-19. Each thing they said would have taken 15 minutes to refute based on the evidence. So, I picked one and did the best I could. (BTW, they were both gracious participants and very cordial in the green room.) But my knowledge of the evidence and burning desire to cite it all was no match for their rhetorical skills. When scientists refuse these ‘debates,’ the other side gets the opportunity to say that they are turning them down for fear of being challenged. The opposition can claim to be ‘just asking questions,’ even though they don’t care about the answers. But these reactions are preferable to giving them a platform.” • tl;dr: Never sh*t a sh*tter. Fair enough. But who then?


“Survey finds 8% Omicron-positivity rate after medical meeting” [CIDRAP]. “Of attendees at the in-person 2022 German Society of Ophthalmology meeting who completed a survey 3 weeks later, 8% reported testing positive for COVID-19, according to a research letter published yesterday in JAMA Network Open. A team led by Saarland University Medical Center researchers sent online surveys to attendees of the meeting, which took place during the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant wave. Held in Berlin, the conference was the first face-to-face meeting in 3 years due to the pandemic. Infection-prevention measures such as COVID-19 testing, confirmed vaccination, and mask wearing were not required.” • PMC wholly committed to the bit. Globally. But I bet they saw a lot of smiles!


For those who want their children to get sick to toughen up their immune systems:


“VUMC researchers study long term neurological impacts of COVID” [Newschannel5]. Nashville. ” It’s something Dr. James Jackson sees every day. ‘It’s far more than a fog,’ he said. ‘It’s really disruptive functionally, it’s impairing and it’s disabling.’ Dr. Jackson is the Director of Behavioral Health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s ICU Recovery Center. He is studying why some long COVID patients struggle with their memory. He works with hundreds of long COVID patients. Many of them exhibit similar symptoms. ‘It is putting metal in the microwave, it is backing into cars in the parking lot, it is stopping at green lights, driving through red lights,’ Jackson said.” Lots of anecdotal data here. More: “Jackson said long COVID may have accelerated dementia symptoms in older patients. In younger ones, he’s seen signs of ABI, or ‘acquired brain injury’. ‘When you have an ABI there’s no external mover, there’s not traumatic event that happens,’ Jackson said. ‘There are medical, internal, biological processes at work — not getting enough oxygen, developing delirium, having something we call neuroinflammation.'” • “Acquired brain injury” (ABI) is in fact a real term of art (and not invented by some minimizing charlatan).


Personal Far-UVC devices another layer but not a substitute for masks:

“Something Awful”

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). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

* * *

Elite Maleficence

“Taylor Swift Has Rocked My Psychiatric Practice” [New York Times]. “A few months ago I started joking that half of the treatments in my psychiatric practice had become ‘Taylor-based.’ Many of my patients are adolescent girls and young women, and they have leaned on Taylor Swift as a kind of big sister…. But as the Eras tour steadily lurched toward our favorite city, the Taylor-based therapy issues reached a boiling point. ‘How am I going to stay calm before she goes onstage?’ ‘I need to do remote today because I can’t get Covid before the concert.'” • Here in perhaps its most debased form, is the intensely propagandized “personal risk assessment” paradigm: Increase your protections so you can go to a concert? Instead of maintaining your protocol at a steady high level?

Another data source gone dark, with curious timing:

One can only wonder why. Given that this is Hospital Infection Control, the possibility that they stopped gathering data because there was no longer a problem is nil.


* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 20:

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


NOT UPDATED From CDC, June 10:

Lambert here: Looks to like XBB.1.16 and now XBB.1.16 are outcompeting XBB.1.9, but XBB.1.5 has really staying power. 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 June 17:

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, June 19:

2.0%. Still chugging along, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say.


Death rate (Our World in Data), from June 21:

Lambert here: Theatre of the absurd. I can believe that deaths are low; I cannot believe they are zero, and I cannot even believe that all doctors signing death certificates have agreed to make it so. Looks to me like some administrative minimizer at WHO put the worst intern in charge of the project. And 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: 1,167,387 – 1,167,381 = 6 (6 * 365 = 2,190 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 June 20:

Lambert here: Still some encouragement! Not sure why this was updated so rapidly. The little blip upward?

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

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits were at 264,000 on the week ending June 17th, above market expectations to match the prior week’s upwardly revised value, the highest since October 2021. The result aligned with other recent data that reflects some softening in the US labor market after a prolonged period of stubborn tightness, as US businesses start to feel the impact of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening campaign.”

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 80 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 82 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 22 at 2:09 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

Readers, especially those of you who “meet the public,” can you confirm with any anecdotes?

Guillotine Watch

“The Biotech Edge: How Executives and Well-Connected Investors Make Exquisitely Timed Trades in Health Care Stocks” [ProPublica]. “Among the notable examples: The chairman of a biotech company bought shares in a corporate partner just as the partner was reaching the final stages of secret negotiations to be purchased. The chairman of a bone health company made aggressive bets on a medical technology firm run by an adviser to his board just before its sales took off, netting him $29 million in a series of options trades. A wealthy investor with ties to a niche area of cancer research personally traded, for the first time ever, in a company in that sector just before it was taken over. He bought high-risk options that earned him a quick $1 million in profit. An information edge can be lucrative in any industry, but especially so in the health care sector. Many of its companies are built around only one or a handful of products, making their shares particularly volatile and ripe for profit by investors with inside knowledge. Biotechs and other up-and-comers face clear make-or-break moments: Clinical trials, signals from regulators or takeover rumors can cause wild swings in share prices.”

Class Warfare

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union:

“The labor force is smaller than you think and that’s making the Fed very nervous” [Fortune]. “The leading cause of the worker shortfall, according to research by the Fed, is a surge in retirements. In his recent speech, Powell noted that there are now about 3.5 million fewer people who either have a job or are looking for one compared with pre-pandemic trends. Of the 3.5 million, about 2 million consist of ‘excess’ retirements — an increase in retirements far more than would have been expected based on pre-existing trends. Roughly 400,000 other working-age people have died of COVID-19. And legal immigration has fallen by about 1 million.” • Notice there’s no mention of Long Covid at all; deaths is the only metric. It’s entirely possibly that Long Covid is the primary cause for many of those “excess retirements.” And it’s entirely possible that many workers decided that a commute to the workplace was a death march to a death trap, and decided they wanted no part of it.

News of the Wired

“Crews Searching for Missing Submersible Find Debris Field in North Atlantic” [Wall Street Journal]. “One of the vehicles looking in the North Atlantic for a missing submersible with five people aboard discovered a debris field during its search, as crews mounted a desperate hunt for the lost craft. The source of the debris wasn’t immediately clear. Experts are evaluating the information about the debris field, which was found Thursday by a remotely-operated vehicle near the Titanic, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a tweet…. ‘We continue to find in particularly complex cases that people’s will to live really needs to be accounted for as well,’ Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger, who is leading the search, told NBC’s ‘Today’ on Thursday morning.” • It’s never been clear to me why we should assume incentives operated to, well, preserve the lives of all five….

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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 EMM:

EMM writes: “A great man once said ‘I’m bourgeois enough to regard an unkempt lawn as a serious moral failing.’ I let the lawn go crackers and I can’t say I regret it. Purple Clover.” For what it’s worth, I have successfully used white clover as a deer decoy. I plant it round the edges of the garden, they start munching on it, and don’t to further.

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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. KD

    In his recent speech, Powell noted that there are now about 3.5 million fewer people who either have a job or are looking for one compared with pre-pandemic trends. Of the 3.5 million, about 2 million consist of ‘excess’ retirements — an increase in retirements far more than would have been expected based on pre-existing trends.

    Its pretty clear we have to cut social security benefits to save the economy. Larry Summers needs to have a talk with Biden soon. /sarc

  2. William Beyer

    RFK Jr. going to dinner with Larry Summers, Mike Pompeo and HILLARY??!! Now that’s disqualifying.

    1. nippersdad

      And going on the arm of a Wall Street financier. Seems like only yesterday RFK Jr. was decrying the deleterious effect of big money on politics. I guess he should know.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Listen to what he says. He’s a libertarian. Markets are supposed to solve everything, including climate, about whose reality he hems and haws.

        Bizarre guest list at that dinner.

    2. ThirtyOne

      You shall know the person by his company

      nah, he’s just sizing them up for a brutal thrashing during his campaign.

      1. t

        I’ve started wondering if Steve Bannon has a much better sense of humor than I previously thought. He thought Trump was a hooand he’s trying to top himself with RFK.

    3. PelhamKS

      Krystal Ball rates RFK Jr. among a group of parties and candidates she labels as “fraudulists,” or populists pretty much in name only. More specifically, RFK appears to embrace a Hayekian philosophy holding that the marketplace can be trusted to solve most problems and achieve great things. As it was supposed to do with the regulation- and safety-deficient little sub carrying billionaires to view the Titanic.

      1. Benny Profane

        I tried to listen to the Joe Rogan/RFK kid podcast on a long drive, because I want to like him, considering what the state of his uncle’s party has dropped to, but just couldn’t, and went to the Duran. He spent way too much time establishing his “environmental activist” cred, which was typical political lying. At one point, in his chest beating about cleaning up the Hudson, he claimed a ton of credit for this ( and by enriching lawyers on both sides in the cleanup battle, of which he was one, and knew many), trying to say his organization was successful, but, not really, because he mentioned the Tarrytown GM plant literally turning the Hudson different colors according to what the predominant paint scheme was for the day. Well, that plant no longer exists, it’s a massive condo complex with a view of the Palisades, because that manufacturing capacity is in Mexico, or where ever, where their water is turning the body color du jour. His beloved party was responsible for sending those Tarrytown jobs to the third world, along with hundreds of thousands in NY state alone. I remember when he took over River Keepers, it was sort of a thuggish move. He stole the thing, to have a platform, after he dried out from heroin, which he mentions in the Rogan interview. “Got sober”, he said. He wasn’t drunk.
        He is just another Dem political scam artist who enriched themselves with globalization ( the Kennedys sat in a special box at the conventions nodding in approval to Clinton/Obama), and now he’s doing a Hail Mary late in life with a bad voice to revive the brand. Shame. We need as many anti Ukraine voices as possible, but, I dont trust him.

    1. shinola

      TV nooze now reporting debris on ocean floor positively identified as the sub (or pieces thereof)…

      1. nippersdad

        It’s all fun and games until your carbon fiber tube implodes, now it enters the realm of dirty laundry…..


        …at which point one loses interest. I really do pity the family members, but had I been one of them their Christmas presents to those guys would have included the Darwin Awards books. It sounds like there were plenty of warnings about that thing, and if you are going to invest a quarter of a million in “an experience” wouldn’t you at least do a little due diligence?

        All I need to know about cruise lines is that they are a germ warfare vector, and, worst case, that would only involve a few days of relative discomfort. The opportunity to get squashed like a bug near a rusty ship that one could see better on a National Geographic special would appeal to me even less.

        Why do our “best and brightest” never seem all that bright?

        1. Cat Burglar

          Carbon fiber. I’ve seen it fail in tent poles, pack frames, mountaineering boot shanks, and ice climbing tool handles — always suddenly and completely. Never trust the stuff.

      2. FreeMarketApologist

        A song lyric popped into my mind related to this (a Cole Porter tune), and the wikipedia entry on the subject topic (Beebe & Barton’s bathysphere), subection on the year 1932 will provide a suitably grim outline of what probably happened.

        1. nippersdad

          I have one of those Beebe bathysphere books from the Thirties, and the pictures are awesome! I have been fighting off the urge to cut them out and frame them for about fifty years now.

            1. anon in so cal

              US Navy heard the submarine implosion days ago?

              ◆ WSJ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
              U.S. Navy Heard What It Believed Was Implosion of Titan Days Ago
              Underwater microphones designed to detect enemy submarines first detected Titan…

    2. Benny Profane

      So that means there is a small fleet under that giant swirling trash pile in the Pacific?

    3. Paradan

      “On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.”

    1. Raymond Sim

      To my way of thinking this study ought to mean that those recently touted symptoms lists get trashcanned.

  3. Joe Well

    >>Readers, especially those of you who “meet the public,” can you confirm with any anecdotes?

    My friend works at a medium-high-end resort, the kind that costs a few hundred $ per person per day.

    He loves to make fun of the petulance of many of the guests. The biggest is people who want to check in a few hours early even though they have access to almost all facilities except their own rooms, including bars, restaurants, restrooms, lounges, gardens–and throw a tantrum when they’re denied because there literally is no clean room matching the one they reserved.

    Also a lot of complaining for the sake of complaining, using words like “unacceptable” because they didn’t like the tone of an employee who spoke to them.

    On the other hand, most are not bad at all and some of the Americans tip like they’re Rockefeller handing out dimes.

    He just started out so no idea if this is worse than before.

    1. britzklieg

      “Bu, bu, but…I am a country member!!!!” (posh British accent)

      “Oh, yes sir… I do remember!”

  4. Jason Boxman

    Readers, especially those of you who “meet the public,” can you confirm with any anecdotes?

    I can’t speak to this, but I’m reading The Dawn of Everything, and thousands of years ago, humans in various places actually practiced all kinds of different egalitarian societies, although without written records, we can’t really know specifics. But rank and hierarchy wasn’t a guaranteed outcome, and even cities of sizes into the hundreds of thousands upon examination are showing no signs of a ruling class. I’m only 50% of the way in, so there’s doubtless more surprises to come.

    Suffice to say, the story we’ve all been fed that humans inevitably get agriculture, and then complex hierarchies and masters, isn’t borne out by evidence. Early societies in many cases opted out of hierarchies, and farming, and still managed complex societies, harmoniously with nature.

    1. Raymond Sim

      On the other hand agriculture also does not seem to be a prerequisite for complex social structures, because it turns out not to be the only way to produce surplus food on a mass scale.

      I’m not convinced though that absence of archaeological evidence for palaces or ritzy neighborhoods ought to be interpreted as evidence for lack of hierarchies. Just as archaeologists from agricultural societies have been rather blind to the significance of alterations to the landscape by hunter-gatherers, I think our notions of what’s swag might blind us to ancient ostentation.

    2. Benny Profane

      How, without written records, can that even be known? What evidence is there? Or, is this all speculative fiction??

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Until around 1700, written records are dicey because what we have is often dependent on one source with questionable practices. There are exceptions. The Battle of Agincourt happened, but both camps had followers who wrote about the battle and told largely the same story. There are questions about where the men-at-arms actually were relative to the archers and Henry. Alexander the Great had followers from all over who were free to write when everything fell apart.

        The US Congress made a conditions of the American Revolutionary War pension submitting to an interview about war experiences. The movements of George Washington are basically known from the time he takes command through Yorktown. He’s constantly with literate soldiers who aren’t his officers.

        But again until 1700, we have journals and fantastic stories because no one is capable of checking. To a large extent, everything has been speculative fiction, but now we have the ability to pull information in an instant and do census level work that wasn’t possible for grad assistants until the last few decades. Things like diet qualities can be determined. Satellite and radio mapping exist and are much more available. Richard III was found under a parking lot. Memory is it put the battle in an odd spot, but the injury matched the reports he was done in by specific French mercenaries.

        Then there is the obvious flaw with memory. Archaeology digs and memory don’t often match.

  5. Jason Boxman

    It’s never been clear to me why we should assume incentives operated to, well, preserve the lives of all five….

    So book two of the Three Body problem actually explores this, although I’d hate to spoil it, but there’s essentially a prisoners dilemma over survival. It’s an interesting Sci-Fi series overall, and probably why it got good reviews. The English translation from Chinese is great, with footnotes for Chinese cultural context that non-Chinese readers would lack in key passages. While the end of book three gets a big crazy, it’s still overall pretty good, particularly sword holders and deterrence theory.

    1. MaryLand

      One of the best sci-fi book series ever written IMO and I’ve been reading sci-fi for many, many years.

  6. John k

    …Slips a cog…
    Haven’t all the cogs been stripped?
    Was wondering… if we get a 2020 rematch, might each have the advantage that their opponent is the only guy they might be able to beat?
    But one claims he never started a war… seems irresistible just now, granted 500 days is a long time.

  7. Objective Ace

    “Absurd statements like this are a trap for scientists.”

    And who exactly gets to be the arbiter of what is “absurd”? It used to be absurd to consider the earth is round. I get it – a scientist may not be the most social and at ease in a live debate, but the least you can do is prepare a written response.. rather then spending your time defending why you will not respond at all

    1. Raymond Sim

      Gish gallops win debates. It’s as simple as that.

      The appropriate response to this “debate me!” stuff is to pour well-deserved derision on the “debate” format. There are hours and hours of video of simpletons like Shapiro and Peterson spewing demonstrable idiocy available for the task. The only hitch is that, as was noted, cleaning up the rubbish takes so much longer than dumping it out, meaning it can’t be done on an equal time basis.

      1. Chris Smith

        Gish Gallops are really easy to defeat, but they require you to remain very disciplined in sticking to a single point. You may even need to interrupt your opponent on occasion when the “gallop” begins to very derisively mock their inability to stay on point. (Of the form, “We’re talking about X, sounds to me like your conceding the point by avoiding the topic.”) The only way to lose to a Gish Gallop is to break discipline and try to address multiple points.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          iron will defeats that nonsense…at least as far as any audience is concerned.
          ie: in my experience, gish gallopers arent interested in actual debate, nor in finding truth or agreement.
          ive eviscerated many a good christian in many an east texas beerjoint(!!), back in the day.
          had to be careful in the parking lot many a time, too.

        2. Raymond Sim

          All well and good without time and ‘civility’ constraints.

          But even so it’s a recipe for a technical win that’s really a loss. I would imagine that almost everyone reading this has had an experience of this in an interpersonal conflict.

          In our current state of affairs, where utter clowns like Ben Shapiro are seen as intellectual heavyweights, the first task to hand is alerting such fraction of the populace as may be reachable to the news that professional wrestling is fake.

          1. ambrit

            Indeed, it may be a given that anything where the acquisition of money is one of the goals is “fake.” The dreaded financial time and space warp function comes into play.

      2. lambert strether

        > The appropriate response to this “debate me!” stuff is to pour well-deserved derision on the “debate” format.

        I like the idea of written debates.

  8. Fastball

    No anecdote, but I think the rich are angrier than ever before because they know how deeply they are hated by most everyone else. While people including myself choose who gets to contribute to their feed on social media, my feed simmers with images of guillotines, economic justice memes, laughter at the fate of the fallen submarine five, etc. There is hate, and also rage. People who know that almost everyone despises them, tend to get angry in turn, in my experience.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I think the notion that a lot of people experiencing unaccustomed feelings of powerlessness are comforting themselves by bullying others also has merit.

  9. FlyoverBoy

    That nasty little move by Pritzker to starve aging immigrants of their healthcare is out of character for his generally decent governorship. I take it as a tea leaf that he’s positioning himself to run for President. Quite a system we have that makes gratuitous cruelty a prerequisite for election success.

  10. Reader_In_Cali

    Lambert – I’ve been mulling this over for a few weeks, so here goes:

    I have a hard time reconciling the graph from the Biobot national wastewater data with the Walgreens graph and its consistent positivity rate of around or more than 20%. These two graphs are communicated wildly different scenarios of what’s likely happening on the ground. Of course we’re all flying blind here because the powers that be need to hide the pandemic, so who knows. But I think the Walgreens graph is probably closer to accurate than Biobot at this point.

    What are y’alls thoughts?

    1. Raymond Sim

      I agree that the evidence has been hard to reconcile.

      My response recently has just been to use my energy elsewhere, but Twitter anecdotes about severe acute illness seem increasingly common – and accounts from overseas are also concerning.. I’m going to try to go over the Bay Area wastewater info fairly closely in coming days.

    2. lambert strether

      The absolute numbers in the Walgreen’s graph are very, very small. I think it’s self-selected sick people confirming, lost in the Biobot noise.

      On Biobot, I’d be more worried about variants outrunning the tests (pure speculation) or data manipulation of some sort (ditto).

  11. orlbucfan

    Lambert: Off Topic but did you ever get my $50 donation via snail mail sent last April? I followed your instructions per paper checks/snail mail. I’ve been checking my bank account, but so far, it has not been cashed. You have it. Please let me know, okay? Thanks! Just confirm on this comment thread.

    1. Randy

      Lost in the mail. Happens all the time.

      My friend who was a postal employee said mail pieces don’t get “lost”, they just get sent to mail heaven in small pieces by sorting machines.

    2. Cassandra

      Lambert, I also sent a check through the post in April. Could you let me know if it was received, please?

  12. Tim

    In that twitter figure of the democratic ticket. Shouldn’t “Everybody Else” read “Anybody Else”?

  13. Tim

    “Wait. “Shrug off” a “hurdle”? Did an AI write this?”

    This made me ponder: Is AI writing indistinguishable from those that speak and write a “stream of consciousness? (I.e. no critical pre-evaluation of the words coming out of their mouth” The ground level logic involved is probably way too similar between the brain and AI for comfort.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      as a Beat scholar(?), i say no.
      ai is, at best, a bad imitation of stream of consciousness writing.
      glorified autocomplete, essentially.
      nowhere near Skynet(my cousin has latched onto that idea,lol)
      Skynet/Omnius will emerge from the web…without us….having slowly gained sentience, on its own…like Pando, or that ancient SeaGrass colony off of Corsica.
      like them, we’ll likely not recognise it as sentient until its too late…given our hubris and cognitive defects, in aggregate.

    2. hunkerdown

      No; GPTs have more “attention heads” than marginally literate journalism grads do.

  14. nippersdad

    ” Together we can FINISH THE JOB on the American people” (Or something like that)

    Why does this remind me of Newt Gingrich’s Contract on America? They really do hate us. They can’t even get through a headline without sounding menacing.

  15. tevhatch

    Kennedy’s advance team managed to get a group of photogenic and properly diverse people into the background of this shot. ….

    I enjoyed the worried look of the Secret Service Agent, probably pondering if he’ll get hit, which means he’s not inside the game… yet.

    On C02 and covid, tried to post some very useful links to peer reviewed papers, but the AI ate them, would not let me repost and didn’t confirm it was held for inspection yesterday. Is there a list from the server farm available on verboten US & UK government medical websites?

  16. John Beech

    DeSantis and political courage? More like the B-team is running the show. I’m no operative but had I been involved in his campaign, within 5 minutes of the I-95 bridge disaster in Philly, he’d be earnestly looking into the cameras saying . . .

    ‘Governor Shapiro, we’re all in this together. Florida’s got your back. Have your DOT call our DOT. Anything Florida’s got helps get I-95 up and running again is yours.’

    News cycle? His.

  17. John

    Seems all manner of “orts and scraps” are lining up to run for president. Wake me if one comes along that might actually be up to the job.

    1. lambert strether

      The three with sufficient stature are, in my mind, Trump (when he does A/B testing and doesn’t run his mouth), Biden (properly juiced up), and (it pains me to say this) RFK Jr. (when he’s not regurgitating indigestible CT).

  18. upstater

    NTSB Hearing in East Palestine, day 1 (streaming on the NTSB website)

    NTSB hearing on East Palestine derailment begins with look at first-responder concerns Trains magazine

    Thousands of pages of documents posted by NTSB

    Hearing Agenda first half of day 2 is wheel bearings, second half tank cars.

    Unfortunately the NTSB can only present findings and make recommendations. Amtrak Joe, Mayo Pete and the FRA have regulatory powers that are unused. Regulatory capture.

    1. tevhatch

      Even the NTSB has been captured. The Director and Vice-Director were both recruited (ie: revolving door) from a K-street firm (non-engineer) and from Lear Jets (former salesman and non-engineer).

  19. nippersdad

    It is great to see Jill Stein associating herself with West’s campaign. I hope she runs on his ticket. I have been voting for her since ’16, whether she has been running or not, and I would appreciate a stronger rationale in voting for her this time than I did last.

    C’mon Jill! Do me a solid!

  20. semper loquitur

    “Pritzker quickly wields expanded authority to freeze noncitizen health care enrollment”

    We can only hope that this isn’t extended to the trans non-citizens. How will they get the Care™ they need? They need an advocate! What’s Sam Binkman up to these days? Stealing panties from Wal-Mart?

    But perhaps not. An exception will be made, I think. Given the extensive investment in the trans industry by the Pritzkers, I cannot imagine them dinging their own bottom line…

  21. JBird4049

    >>>Fun read. Here is the Biden site:

    The Biden website reminds me of either a site from the very early aughts or those benefits portal things you need to use for public benefits like SSDI although those sites seem to have improved slightly in the past year.

    I would assume that the Democratic Party would have the spare change for a better site or has it all gone to wine and canapés?

      1. nippersdad

        looks like he is going to need a top-up from the Strategic Drug Supply. Biden on the effects of his Xi is a dictator comment:


        Shorter Biden: His friends understand that nothing fundamental will change in his approach to China, but he is still totally going to visit Xi in the future. I sense a problem, here. If the guys in his ear (piece) didn’t, then they have one as well.

    1. hunkerdown

      They might be trying to style a “normcore” image to pander to Sanders “realists”, austerians, and people who like to wear business dress when returning to the office. The stochastically parroted politico-religious pablum still to come from #NAFO/#KHive will give the people a little something to swallow a bit on Priest Formation Day next November. Don’t think they didn’t spend lavishly on the site (the purpose of capitalist politics) or didn’t get exactly what they wanted.

      Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks worth of bacon.

  22. playon

    RFK presenting himself as the “peace candidate” while in the media he’s the “anti-vaccine candidate”. Obviously having trouble getting his message out…

  23. Jason Boxman

    I didn’t go back far enough; Good Trends back five years, “smell” becomes elevated during the Pandemic. It’s never receded. “taste” tracks it identically almost. I can’t think of a control term to search for. I tried Trump as a comparison, and searches for that absolutely dwarf either of the former two, unsurprisingly. So I don’t know if search volume is enough for COVID-related searches to mean anything at all; Google “normalizes” the score, so the search volume is unknown. Is it 10s of searches a day, 1,000s? I don’t know. Is it enough to have predictive value? I don’t know. The Pandemic trend is definitely consistently elevated, though; make of that what you will.

  24. Otis B Driftwood

    I followed the Greenwald tweet to the Rumble video of RFK. Therein he outlines the problem of income inequality and the decline of the middle class and follows this by claiming Trump was the only politician who spoke about this. Trump did plenty of talking, and didn’t actually do a thing about it while president. Quite the opposite.

    Meanwhile, RFK can’t be bothered to mention Sanders at all.

    I can’t believe this guy is serious.

    1. flora

      Well, wait a minute. T did scupper the terrible anti-US worker trade deals known as the TPP and the TPIP, (which O and Hils were desperate to pass and take credit for passing. Thus the intra-party fight over who would pass them first). T policies did increase wages for working class (while, black, Latino) workers because he shut off the flow of cheap, powerless labor coming into the country. So, actually, much as I am loath to say it, T did do something for the working classes economic situation. / oy, do I ever hate to say this.

      As for RFKjr, he’s threading some sort of needle and is managing to say a lot of things that need to be said, imo. Rest assured the Dem estable won’t let him near the nomination.

    2. lambert strether

      > Trump did plenty of talking, and didn’t actually do a thing about it while president. Quite the opposite.

      Not true. The CARES Act took a massive whack at poverty. Can’t have that, so naturally the Democrats axed it as quickly as they could.

      1. Pat

        Which was massively shortsighted of them. Just keeping the portions having to do with children would have been both good for the economy and provide political good will for them.

        They are not just hypocritical and subservient, they are stupid.

  25. The Rev Kev

    “‘Back Off Joe Biden!’ MSNBC Analyst Loses It At House Republicans Outraged Over Hunter Biden Plea Deal”

    Obviously Claire McCaskill is pretending that she does not know what things like nepotism are. Having Trump on all those charges from a WW1-era law while Hunter Biden walks away virtually free from any serious consequences is not a good look. And they still don’t want to go near what is on that laptop because that will drag in the big guy. I suppose Claire McCaskill would say that that laptop is irrelevant or Russian disinformation.

    1. flora

      Claire McCaskill. Good lawd. To think I was gullible enough to send her a campaign donation in her first run for congress. / oy

      Mel Carnahan should have stayed off that small plane, like so many others. You good guys, Please!, stay off small planes.

        1. flora

          AOC knows who her sugar daddies are. She’s a Pelosi wannabe. Even calls Pelosi her “momma bear”. But hey, she has entertaining twt and tictoc videos. She REALLY respects her voters. / ;)

        2. nippersdad

          I wonder how well that is going to fly with all of the Sanders supporters who have been being called Russian assets/stooges/trolls and Putin puppets for the past seven years.

          That should do wonders for her small dollar fundraising.

        3. SocalJimObjects

          I am sure she would take a look at herself in the mirror everyday and say “it’s all for the greater good …..”

      1. griffen

        Quickly scanned the article, could not bring myself to actually watch the clip. I imagine a shrill, high pitched “dog whistle” sort of vocal response about “leave him alone…” By the bye, I keep seeing varied hints at nefarious underhanded dealings and to possibly investigate those Saudi dealings with dear Jared and Ivanka post administration. I think I’ve seen one column about it earlier this year. Surely if something is there….the feckless Dems can root out the grisly details ? On second thought, they’re all feckless with how the sausage is made.

        Dear Hunter…let this young man piece his life together. He’s still learning at the age of 53 how to behave and be responsible for almost all his sins (there is that young girl in Arkansas however).

  26. Mikel

    “The labor force is smaller than you think and that’s making the Fed very nervous” [Fortune].

    And speaking of those retiring:
    In many ways, it’s a bunch of people trying to take a bite out of the same Apple.

    (drum roll…crash)

    1. flora

      Er… um… what? People retiring after 35-40 years of working a job are trying to take a bite out of the current neolib apple. Um.. I don’t think so. Maybe a few, but not most, imo. I’d venture to guess that most who began their careers in 1975-1985 still believed in the New Deal system of Social Security and defined benefits pensions for a lifetime of work. But what do I know? / ;)

      Maybe, MAYbe, the fed is nervous because they know that businesses , having trashed the old pipelines of bringing up younger workers into the fold because “markets”, the fed suddenly realizes there are no well mentored younger workers in the pipeline ready to take on the old guards’ responsibilities. Young worker mentoring is a cost loss, don’cha know. / My 2 cents.

      1. flora

        adding: Institutional knowledge? Who needs it. Ya can’t compute institutional knowledge on a spread sheet so it’s worthless. At all levels of the organization it’s worthless. Right?

      2. Mikel

        “A bunch” is not saying all.
        There are people able to fully retire who invested in stocks and obviously where the quip was directed.

  27. griffen

    Diagnosing Swifties on the couch…egads. Far be it from me to grasp the inner thoughts of adolescent girls and young women, and I am quite removed from being a devoted Swift fan (albeit her trajectory has been a fascinating ascent). My only counter to these supposed trials of first world life, would be my desire as a teenage kid and middle ’20s young man to “Be Like Mike”. For you see, to that younger self Michael Jordan became the top tier of how someone could succeed both off the court and on the court. And in pre social media days, MJ became a global icon without a Tweet or an IG post. Okay, granted the ’92 Olympics, Nike, Gatorade and Hanes all get an assist in that regard. Adding a shameless plug for watching “The Last Dance” in its entirety, twice. Excellent series.

    Alas I would never Be Like Mike. Not at 5’11” with limited skills! There are plenty of us in the accounting and financial analyst fields though, so reality has turned overall okay.

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