2:00PM Water Cooler 6/28/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, this is a bit light because I’m on the road and fighting connectivity issues. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

American Goldfinch, Mount Pleasant, Tompkins, New York, United States. “Song from a perched male, then flight calls as he flew away.”

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


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“At 43%, Biden’s Job Approval Rating Highest Since August” [Gallup].

* * *

“Column: Here’s Trump’s outlandish and dangerous plan to beat the classified documents case” [Los Angeles Times]. “[A]ddressing a rally and then a candlelight dinner at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club for donors who paid $100,000 apiece for the honor, Trump found his voice and proclaimed that he ‘had every right to keep’ the classified documents at issue. The day’s events reflected the Janus-like political and legal strategy that Trump will follow going forward. Outside the courtroom, he will beat the drums and raise money off what he portrays as a witch hunt; in court, his team will strive to put off a trial he can’t possibly win on the merits. Trump is engaged in an outlandish and, for the country, very dangerous plot to delay the case until he can end it by winning the presidency in 2024. At that point, he could just order the Department of Justice to stand down.” • I think both prosecution and defense have the electoral calendar very much in mind.

“Trump valet arraignment delayed after losing Florida lawyer over fees dispute” [The Guardian]. “Donald Trump’s valet charged in the classified documents case had his arraignment on Tuesday delayed for a second time to July by a magistrate judge, after he was forced to abandon his top choice Florida lawyer over a dispute about legal fees, according to two people familiar with the matter…. Two weeks later, Nauta remains without a lawyer admitted to practice in the southern district of Florida after the person at the top of the shortlist drawn up by Nauta’s defense team decided he needed to charge higher fees to represent him the night before the arraignment, the people said.” • No man is a hero to his valet….

“Was Garland Lying? New York Times Confirms Weiss was Blocked from Bringing Additional Charges” [Jonathan Turley]. “I recently wrote a column entitled ‘Who is Lying? Merrick Garland or the Whistleblowers?’ after the allegations of IRS whistleblowers and the categorical denial of Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Hunter Biden investigation. I noted that it would not be a difficult question to answer given the highly specific account of the whistleblowers of meetings, including witnesses. Now the New York Times has confirmed one of the key allegations. While the newspaper buried the major fact in the 21st paragraph of the story, it confirmed that U.S. Attorney David Weiss did attempt to bring additional charges in California and D.C. but was blocked. Many have observed that the placement of the disclosure in the Times is a classic example of ‘burying the lede.’ If this were Bill Barr, the confirmation of the story would have been a banner headline. Instead, the confirmation is found in with the baggage 21 cars down the train.”

“IRS whistleblower Gary Shapley says he was barred from taking ‘certain investigative steps’ that could’ve led to President Biden” [New York Post]. “The IRS whistleblower accusing the Justice Department of interfering in the Hunter Biden tax fraud probe claimed in a new interview that his team was prevented from taking investigative measures that ‘could have led us to President Biden.’ IRS supervisory agent Gary Shapley, who delivered bombshell testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in May related to the five-year-long tax fraud investigation of first son Hunter Biden, made the assertion in a sit-down with CBS Evening News that aired Tuesday. ‘There were certain investigative steps we weren’t allowed to take that could have led us to President Biden,’ Shapley told CBS reporter Jim Axelrod.” • Shapley is still working for the IRS.

“Appeals court dismisses Ivanka Trump as co-defendant in civil fraud case against Donald Trump” [CNN]. “A New York appeals court has dismissed Ivanka Trump as a co-defendant in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil fraud lawsuit against Donald Trump, his children and the Trump Organization, according to a court order filed Tuesday. James filed the lawsuit against the former US president, three of his adult children, and the Trump Organization, among others, last September, alleging they were involved in an expansive fraud lasting over a decade that the former president used to enrich himself. The court order dismissed the claims against Ivanka Trump as untimely after finding that she was not a party to an August 2021 agreement between James’ office and the Trump Organization to toll the statute of limitations.”

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“GOP presidential candidates struggle with response to Trump’s unprecedented legal troubles” [Associated Press]. “Even the most aggressive have layered their criticism of Trump with attacks against the Justice Department — for bringing charges against him — that make it difficult at times to determine exactly where they stand on the former president. And that’s precisely the point, given Trump’s continued popularity among GOP voters and his rivals’ desire to dent his lead without alienating his base. Indeed, most of Trump’s competitors are making a risky bet — for now — that the weight of his extraordinary baggage will eventually sink his reelection bid. They believe it will take time.” • It’s hard to imagine a more gigantic upraised middle finger than electing a former President indicted — or convicted! — by his political enemies. So Trump’s baggage would have to be more extraordinary than it already is; “dead girl or live boy“-level, which classified document mishandling — legal, apparently, for Democrats — is not.

“GOP presidential field embraces Trump’s border wall” [Axios]. “Almost every Republican running for president supports constructing a wall along the southern border, including candidates who were previously skeptical of the idea such as former Govs. Nikki Haley and Chris Christie. The GOP’s full embrace of a border wall — a concept that most Republican candidates mocked or criticized during the 2016 primary — is the latest example of how Donald Trump has transformed the party’s approach to immigration. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled a sweeping immigration proposal at the border Monday, calling it a ‘no excuses’ plan to finish the wall and execute other promises Trump failed to deliver on. ‘Obviously, you did have some wall built, but not nearly enough,’ DeSantis said about Trump’s immigration policies in a Monday press briefing. ‘I think a lot of the things he’s saying I agree with, but I also think those are the same things that were said back in 2016. And here’s the thing: We’re not getting a mulligan on this one, OK?’ he added.

“Miami GOP Mayor Francis Suarez jumps into presidential race” [Politico]. “Last month Kellyanne Conway told POLITICO reporters in D.C.: ‘I’ve not been shy about telling President Trump that Suarez should be on the short, short list for VP should Trump be the nominee.’ Suarez has argued that Democrats have been ‘reckless’ in their branding and ‘messaging’ with Hispanics. He argued that Republicans in general have a ‘tremendous opening’ in part because Trump supported rolling back policies the Obama administration had put in place for Cuba.”

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The Twitter Files still reverberating:

Here, at least, RFK is 100% right. Not only that, nobody else is saying it!

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“Cornel West is running for president to dismantle the US empire” [Al Jazeera, YouTube].

“Can Cornel West Win in 2024?” (interview transcript) [Cornel West, Glenn Loury (!)]. Here’s the video:

Williamson: “Abolition wasn’t politically feasible”:

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The scale of Mayo Pete’s ambitions:

23 buses! Just imagine!

Republican Funhouse

“Supreme Court rules against North Carolina Republicans over election law theory” [SCOTUSblog]. “In a major election-law decision, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that although the Constitution gives state legislatures the power to regulate federal elections, state courts can supervise the legislature’s exercise of that power. By a vote of 6-3, the court rejected the so-called ‘independent state legislature theory,’ holding that the North Carolina Supreme Court did not violate the Constitution when it set aside a congressional map adopted by the state’s legislature.’… Republican legislators came to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, challenging the state supreme court’s decision. They argued that when it set aside the legislature’s congressional map, the state court violated the ‘independent state legislature’ theory. That theory, which the Supreme Court has never endorsed in a majority opinion, rests on two provisions of the Constitution. In Moore, the legislators point to one of those provisions, Article I’s elections clause, which provides that the ‘Times, Places and Manner’ of congressional elections ‘shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.’ Article II’s electors clause provides that states shall appoint presidential electors for the Electoral College ‘in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.’ These provisions, the theory’s proponents contend, mean that state courts lack the power to supervise how state legislatures run elections for Congress or the president – including, as in this case, the power to set aside congressional powers. The ‘independent state legislature’ theory first made an appearance at the Supreme Court in a concurring opinion by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Bush v. Gore, the case that halted the recount in Florida in the 2000 presidential election. In an opinion joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Thomas, Rehnquist contended that the recount ordered by a state court violated the legislature’s authority under the electors clause because it conflicted with the deadlines set by the state legislature.” • Bush v. Gore. Memories…

“___ don’t let the sun set on you in Florida”:

Of course, many Republicans believe that liberal Democrats are socialists (or communists (or Marxists)), which is analytically the sloppiest knee-jerkery imaginable (and I have a vivid imagination). Do you see liberal Democrats calling for the ownership of the means of production by the working class? No? Then they’re not Marxists (or socialists (or communists)). Because that’s the Marxist project in a nutshell. And trust me on this — Democrats hate the working class just as much as Republicans do.

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.

* * *

Obama Legacy

“Obama’s Personal Investment Deals Mirror Tax Strategies He Once Criticized” [Lee Fang]. “Barack Obama campaigned extensively during his presidency to eliminate the ‘carried interest loophole,’ a tax strategy that allows billionaire investors to evade ordinary income taxes… Obama, while in office, said this ‘loophole’ leads to ‘folks who are doing very well paying lower rates than their secretaries.’ However, since leaving the presidency, Obama has employed a similar tax strategy to potentially only pay capital gains taxes for the services he has provided to private business interests. One example of this is Obama’s strategic partnership with NBA Africa, which was announced in July 2021, as part of an expansion of Africa’s largest men’s basketball league. According to private information I obtained, the deal is structured as a ‘profit interest’ share.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Trump’s Kryptonite: How Progressives Can Win Back the Working Class” [Jacobin]. “The Center for Working-Class Politics (CWCP) sees its work as part of this larger project. We aim to provide research that will help progressives expand their appeal among working-class voters, in the hope of achieving our shared political goals. In November 2021, together with Jacobin and YouGov, the CWCP published findings from our first original survey experiment, designed to better understand which kinds of progressive candidates, messages, and policies are most effective in appealing to working-class voters. Among other things, the survey found that voters without college degrees are strongly attracted to candidates who focus on bread-and-butter issues, use economic populist language, and promote a bold progressive policy agenda. Our findings suggested that working-class voters lost to Donald Trump could be won back by following the model set by the populist campaigns of Bernie Sanders, John Fetterman, Matt Cartwright, Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez, and others. Yet our initial study left many questions unanswered and posed many new ones. Which elements of economic populism are most critical for persuading working-class voters? Would economic populist candidates still prove effective in the face of opposition messaging and against Republican populist challengers? How do voter preferences vary across classes and within the working class? Can populist economic messaging rally support from working-class voters across the partisan divide? To address these questions, we designed a new survey experiment in which we presented seven pairs of hypothetical candidates to a representative group of 1,650 voters. We assessed a vast range of candidate types (23,100 distinct candidate profiles in total) to better understand which candidates perform best overall and among different groups of voters.” • Oh. A survey. (On the CWCP: Matt Karp is on the Board, which speaks well of the project. That said, I could wish for the presence of some board members from outside academe. From the same axis–

“What Running on a Jobs Guarantee Could Mean for Democrats” [The Nation]. “In fact, one of the clearest findings from a new survey launched by the Center for Working Class Politics (CWCP) is the persistence of support for progressive jobs proposals as part of a broader economic strategy. In our first study, titled ‘Commonsense Solidarity,’ we found that candidates who run on bread-and-butter economic issues like jobs policies fare better with working-class voters than candidates that do not. In the survey we just launched, ‘Trump’s Kryptonite,’ respondents were given the choice between candidates with a variety of demographic characteristics and policy positions, including two jobs policies: one a more moderate and mainstream jobs proposal, and the other advocating a bold federal jobs guarantee. Both policies were broadly popular across the group of respondents, underscoring the continued importance of jobs policies for American voters. Democrats, regardless of class, overwhelmingly supported the federal jobs guarantee in our survey by a margin of nearly four to one, signaling the popularity of this proposal across the Democratic base. But our results revealed important differences in support for these policies based on the party and class of respondents. First, and most significantly, while both policies were popular across the pool of respondents, the progressive jobs guarantee was most popular among working-class respondents—and not just those who identified as Democrats but also working-class independents and Republicans as well. Importantly, working-class people from either party were more likely to prefer progressive economic policies than their middle- and upper-class counterparts. Working-class independents were also much more likely to support a jobs guarantee than middle-class independents by as much as 20 percentage points. Not only did some Republicans and independents respond favorably to this policy, but the jobs guarantee was also the only economic policy proposal viewed positively by respondents across all parties, which could indicate that it is less likely to generate electoral backlash for a political candidate in a competitive district. In fact, we found that even in the face of Republican opposition messaging, broad support for a jobs guarantee actually increased slightly. The power of the jobs message surprised even us.” • Too bad the Democrat base isn’t the working class, but that’s where we are. For example:

And again:

And again:

The so-called left — the left we hear about, the left of the NGOs — is just as “commmitted to the bit” as any other PMC fraction, that is, totally.


“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). NEWInfection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

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 (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

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Why not roll back Semmelweis too?

Covid is Airborne

Aranet tip:

“Reckitt creates ‘air sanitizing spray’ effective against coronavirus” [Reuters]. ” Reckitt’s (RKT.L) Lysol disinfectant brand said on Tuesday that it would start selling in the U.S. an ‘air sanitizing spray’ that kills 99.9% of airborne viruses and bacteria. The spray, which Reckitt said helps reduce the spread of airborne pathogens such as cold, Influenza and Coronavirus, has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Reckitt, Clorox (CLX.N) and other disinfectant makers benefited from a boom in sales of surface cleaners and wipes. At the time, there were no products suited to sanitizing air, though some anxious consumers took to spraying surface cleaners into their surroundings. ‘We’d actually been investigating previously around air transmission, but I would say that the inflection point was really born out of COVID,’ Chris Jones, Reckitt’s category group director for R&D for Lysol & Harpic…. The formula contains active molecules that are hygroscopic in nature, which allows the molecules to attach to microorganisms suspended in the air. Once attached, the molecules break down the structural membrane of the microorganism, leading to its destruction, Reckitt said.” • Maybe. It’s very bad of me, but I’m picturing myself whipping out my spray bottle and hosing down a gaggle of anti-maskers…

Arts community committed to the bit:


“Promises and challenges of mucosal COVID-19 vaccines” [Vaccine]. From the Abstract: “Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are given intramuscularly and they have been shown to evoke systemic immune responses that are highly efficacious towards preventing severe disease and death. However, vaccine-induced immunity wanes within a short time, and booster doses are currently recommended. Furthermore, current vaccine formulations do not adequately restrict virus infection at the mucosal sites, such as in the nasopharyngeal tract and, therefore, have limited capacity to block virus transmission. With these challenges in mind, several mucosal vaccines are currently being developed [nobody ever mentions Bharat, or Cuba] with the aim of inducing long-lasting protective immune responses at the mucosal sites where SARS-COV-2 infection begins.” And from the Conclusion: “The information still emerging from research on the basic biology of SARS-CoV-2 and also clinical outcomes of infections and vaccinations, likely, will allow us to design second generation vaccines that are superior to natural immunity, either through vaccine design and/or vaccine schedule. Mucosal vaccines show great promise in solving the limitations of first-generation vaccines and providing needle-free alternatives to the vaccine hesitant.” • A good wrap-up, worth reading in full.

“Safety, immunogenicity and protection of heterologous boost with an aerosolised Ad5-nCoV after two-dose inactivated COVID-19 vaccines in adults: a multicentre, open-label phase 3 trial” [The Lancet]. N = 11 ,410. “Aerosolised Ad5-nCoV is one of the first licensed mucosal respiratory vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in the world; however, the safety profile of this vaccine has not been reported in a large population yet.” From the Discussion: “[D]ue to the relaxation of restrictions in China on Dec 7, 2022, a major outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the dominant omicron subvariants BA.5.2, BA.2.76, and BF.7, occurred. The outbreak provided a chance to compare the protection level of aerosolised Ad5-nCoV versus inactivated COVID-19 vaccine as a booster following the priming immunisation. Aerosolised Ad5-nCoV showed a relative protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection of 35·1% (95% CI 23·0–45·2) over inactivated COVID-19 vaccine around 12 months after the boost, regardless of the disease severity. Participants who received aerosolised Ad5-nCoV had a slightly longer interval between the booster immunisation and breakthrough infection than those who received the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine, indicating a potential benefit associated with aerosolised Ad5-nCoV to delay infection.”

Immune System Dysregulation?

“More than 9,000 US flights delayed or canceled after severe storms” [CNN]. “The head of United Airlines, in a strongly worded memo to staff, blamed the FAA’s air traffic controller staffing problems for ‘unprecedented challenges’ this past weekend that impacted ‘over 150,000 customers on United alone.'” • Challenges? I wonder why?

“A surge in child strep throat cases is baffling N.J. doctors” [NJ.com]. • ‘Tis a mystery!

Science Is Popping

“This Blood Type Could Make You More Vulnerable to COVID-19” [Time]. “While working with scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a blood-based test for COVID-19, Dr. Sean Stowell, an associate pathology professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, learned the finger-like projections jutting from the SARS-CoV-2 virus were very similar to those from blood groups on human cells. The connection is important because the virus uses those projections, or proteins, as the entryway to bind to and then infect human cells. If the virus recognizes the blood group proteins, then that might mean certain blood groups could enhance the viruses’ ability to infect cells. That would provide an explanation for how blood type might play a role in COVID-19 risk….. With his team, Stowell did a series of experiments to understand the connection, and reported the results in a paper published this week in the medical journal Blood. He found that, indeed, the cells from people with blood type A were more likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 than cells from people with blood type O. Type O is essentially a clean slate when it comes to blood type proteins, so it can serve as a universal donor and be transfused to people with type A, B or AB and not trigger an immune response. Types A, B and AB, however, each contain different groups of proteins, or antigens, which, as Stowell learned, makes them interact differently with the COVID-19 virus.”

“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.

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Elite Maleficence

“Rochelle Walensky: Our Pandemic Despair Is Fading Too Quickly” [New York Times]. Oh no. No. “Yet I fear the despair from the pandemic is fading too quickly from our memories, perhaps because it is too painful to recall a ravaged nation brought to its knees.” Note lack of agency in “fading,” which Walensky’s gaming the data (see the “Green Map”) did so much to bring about. More: “As the leader of ‌the C.D.C., I had the privilege of a unique perspective, seeing public health in the United States for both its challenges and its gifts. And yet the agency has been sidelined, chastened by early missteps with C‌ovid and battered by persistent scrutiny‌‌. ‌We tackled the aforementioned threats and barreled forward to address the hard lessons learned along the way.” • I haven’t seen any signs of “chastening,” certainly not in this screed. And the agency’s flip-flops on masking, tooth-and-nail resistance to airborne transmission, and total subservience to Biden’s policy of mass inection without mitigation hardly qualify as “barreling forward,” unless into the abyss of stochastic eugenics.

Life’s little ironies:

“DC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel” [CDC]. “CDC Yellow Book: Health Information for International Travel is a resource for health professionals providing care to international travelers. It compiles the US government’s most current travel health guidelines, including pretravel vaccine recommendations, destination-specific health advice, and easy-to-reference maps, tables, and charts.” Here is their Covid advice:

Inhalation of virus particles and deposition of virus on mucous membranes can be prevented by wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator and avoiding crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation. Handwashing can help prevent transmission from contact with contaminated surfaces (fomite transmission). Used in combination, layered interventions (e.g., mask wearing, avoiding crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, testing, isolation, quarantine, vaccination) are measures that can reduce risk of transmission.

Actually not insane, three years in. At least they mention “layered intervention.” However, I have never seen evidence of fomite transmission; we can cross out that passage as due to institutional factors at CDC, probably Hospital Infection Control. Nor does their notion of layered protection include sprays, whether Enovid, or Betadine, or even good old saline. (My mother was an intrepid international traveler long before Covid, and used saline to prevent dryness.)

I was hoping or some sort of airport transmission map from CDC’s “Traveler-based Genomic Surveillance” program, but no such luck. I guess they’d rather be writing articles….

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data from June 26:

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 24:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. 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.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from June 24:

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 26:

-1.5%. Still chugging along, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say.


Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, June 21:

Lambert here: The WHO data is worthless, so I replaced it with the Iowa Covid Data Tracker. Their method: “These data have been sourced, via the API from the CDC: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Conditions-Contributing-to-COVID-19-Deaths-by-Stat/hk9y-quqm. This visualization updates on Wednesday evenings. Data are provisional and are adjusted weekly by the CDC.”

Total: 1,167,832 – 1,167,763 = 69 (69 * 365 = 25,185 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

Excess deaths (The Economist), published June 28:

Lambert here: Still some encouragement! Not sure why this was updated so rapidly; it used to take weeks. The little blip upward? 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

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

“Mining lithium in the birthplace of Alberta’s oil industry for tomorrow’s EVs” [Bloomberg]. “The Leduc oil field was discovered in the 1940s, when a group of Imperial Oil Ltd. workers stumbled upon a well so profuse with petroleum that, on first drill, it burped a gaseous fireball almost 15 metres into the air. The discovery effectively birthed Canada’s oil and gas industry. Before long, prospectors were drilling thousands of holes across Alberta in pursuit of black sludge. Oil companies drilled more than 4,000 holes in the Leduc field alone. Today many of those wells have been depleted and abandoned. The cavities have been filled with cement, and some of the salvageable areas are now occupied by wheat farmers. What remains underneath these vast expanses, now that the oil’s gone, are large deposits of saltwater known as brine that contain traces of lithium, the coveted ingredient in electric-vehicle batteries. Early-stage mining companies such as the one Doornbos runs, E3 Lithium Inc., are betting they’ll one day be able to extract lithium from those underground aquifers at commercial scale.” • Oh, swell.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 75 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 28 at 1:48 PM ET.


And we’re working hard to bring the same system to Canada and the UK!

Zeitgeist Watch

I can’t quite hear the name of the creed. The “sparkle” creed?

I suppose this creed is as intellectually tenable as the Nicene Creed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with Mary over there somewhere, but were I to believe in a God, that God wouldn’t have human characteristics, or even characteristics (that we could apprehend)).

A floating Petri dish:

What a bloated, decadent monstrosity.

Guillotine Watch


News of the Wired

“Dreaming” [Becky Hansmeyer]. “Every day I drive down a small stretch of our town’s Main Street in order to drop my kids off at the elementary school, which is nestled a block over in the midst of a tightly-packed residential area, full of quirky old houses and frustratingly-narrow streets. The town has around 7,000 residents and, contrary to popular belief about small-town Nebraska, is wonderfully diverse…. I’ve been dreaming of having a little shop in this town for a long time, but I was never sure what exactly I would want it to be. A bookstore? A café? A few weeks ago an idea cropped up in my mind and has been nagging at me ever since: what about a yarn shop? I could offer a place to buy supplies, gather, take classes: a lovely third space for people who like to knit, crochet, sew, quilt, weave, whatever. There could be coffee, lots of plants, comfy couches.” • One for the knitters among us….

* * *

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 NM:

NM writes: “Lichen on a Trellis in my Backyard. I hope lichen qualify for water cooler posting. I was dumbstruck when I happened to see it.” Lichen qualify, under the “Fungi and coral” clause. I would wish for better depth of field here, but an oddity worth documenting!

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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. IM Doc

      I would add a bit more historical data to your observation about the Gulf Coast.

      Before WWI, the Gulf Coast was where malaria was HYPERENDEMIC in the USA.

      Malaria was ENDEMIC in the entire USA – with the exception of the Rockies, the Sierra, most of the PNW and the highest of the Appalachians and the northernmost parts of New England. In many years during this era, there were tens of thousands of cases.

      The eradication of malaria in the USA was not accomplished until after WW2.

      This is potentially not just a Gulf Coast problem, although that is where it will most likely be concentrated.

      1. Keith Howard

        Charles G. Mann, in 1493, discusses the introduction of malaria to the Americas. My own father, born in 1924 in rural East Texas, told me of his dad’s effort to suppress the vector mosquito by tossing coke bottles with a little old engine oil into every pond he could reach. He had a case of such bottles in the trunk of his car. My grandad didn’t mind ruffling a few feathers. Some of the ponds doubled as swimming holes.

      2. Daryl

        If I’ve learned anything from governments, health officials and mainstream media on covid, it’s that something being endemic makes it perfectly safe. Looking forward to learning to live with malaria!

        I just hope a bunch of buzzkills don’t come along and tell us we should use mosquito nets instead of MRNA vaccines.

        And also that healthcare providers won’t be asked to masks around patients with malaria. What could be more healing for a protozoan illness than seeing those smiles?

      1. ambrit

        Thanks. We have had an upsurge in mosquito infestation recently. I remember the scene in “Jezebel” where her suitor, played by Henry Fonda, is standing outside of the plantation front looking towards New Orleans and remarks about the virulence of Yellow Jack in the town. Then he slaps a mosquito biting him. The rest is classic melodrama.
        The cynic in me views the reemergence of formerly “eradicated” maladies as a part of The Jackpot Project. No active malice needed. Simple sloth and incompetence will do the trick.
        Stay safe.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          out here in northwest texas hill country, we’ve been pretty dry for most of our history.
          when i moved out here 30 or so years ago, from austin and east texas before that, i was amazed that there were no mosquitos.
          in the one town, they had the big culex house mosquitos…but out here in the country, none.
          town has a spray truck that goes down all the streets after dark during the season.
          about 12 years ago, when we were living in town, i noticed that the asian tiger(aedes albopictus) had somehow gotten itself established.
          this little guy comes out of hiding in the afternoon, and goes back into hiding after dark…so its not out flying around when the spray truck comes.
          this species has now made it out here to the country…still no cluex, though
          the asian tigers are distinguished by their habits, too…ankles, wrists and wastelines and inside the elbows and behind the knee.
          i remember culex, back home in houston, liking the face and neck.
          the aedes are also a whole lot smaller.
          we spray up around 3pm all summer…by sundown, the mosquito threat is over.

          1. ambrit

            We have the asian tiger species here as well. Little black buggers with white stripes. Very aggressive and evening biters. Our town spray truck operates at night. I’ll have to mention the habits of the aedes next time I’m downtown. Our problem is that south Mississippi is a fairly wet climate with numerous ponds and lakes. Not to mention the junked tyres dropped off at the ends of some of the rural roads. (I’ve seen that personally.)

            1. tevhatch

              That and open sewage fields because many of the rural poor can no longer afford to have their septic tanks and drains pumped out and kept in repair. Seems that this business has also been taken over by enterprising venture funds who secure control over where the trunks can dump, and then kill off competition. Parts of Mississippi and Alabama make the Congo look safe. Das Capital, baby!

            2. Amfortas the hippie

              yeah. the asian tigers apparently dont even need “standing water” to reproduce.
              just a few drops on a shady leaf.
              the only way to get rid of them is to go where they are…in the brush, like between houses in the barrio…in the tall grass under the shelter of those trees growing in that alley that’s not an alley any more, etc.
              at the time, i suggested to the mayor that what was needed was backpack sprayers and snakeboots…and actually entering people’s lots.
              (wouldnt fly here,lol)
              because the spray truck…well not only is it operating at the wrong time of day for this species, its not spraying where they’re at, ever.
              these guys dont fly around all over the place like the culex.
              they stay close to their shady abodes.
              ie: in the azaleas and boxwoods and privets that folks put around the borders of their back yards.

              1. JBird4049

                I wonder if a lack of insect eaters might also be a problem? I don’t know about the South, but in the Bay Area the numbers of insects and birds seems to have gone down a lot over the decades. I no longer hear the annual sounds of birds, insects, and frogs that would happen, and I don’t think that it is because my hearing or sight has gotten that much worse. Don’t get me wrong. It is not a complete absence, but one does get a sense when living in the same area for decades, and an ecosystem with problems is more likely to have invasive species.

                One of the reasons for the increasing number of ticks is the lack of both the numbers of predators and of the right combinations of them. If we actually had the proper proportions of black bears, mountain lions, wolves, coyotes, foxes, even bobcats as well as all the various prey species we would not have the proper conditions for ticks. Well, we would because of the warmer winter, but currently the makeup of plants has changed for the better for the ticks since the makeup of the plant eaters has changed. I assume that the reduction of insect eaters as well is a problem as well.

                It is all interconnected. Would Americans be more acceptable of mountain lions (or jaguars around the Rio Grande as well), bears, and other animals? I can see freaking out about grizzlies because they can be very dangerous, but all the others? If Californians can accept cougars…

                I keep reading about all the rampant deer infestations, which hunters being unable to kill enough of them, but people getting squirrelly with the suggestion of bringing back all the locally extirpated predators.

                Then there is the declining bat populations, which normally eat at night.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Not to worry! I hear some squillionaire is going to release another few million castrated mosquitos and fix the whole thing up.

  1. Wukchumni

    In regards to Buttigieg’s 23 bus skidoo….

    {Imagines Ike proclaiming that soon 23 Sherman tanks will be on the battlefield, providing good jobs and helping the war environment}

    1. Robert Hahl

      And more than one million dollars per bus. Pretty soon you’re talking real money.

    1. Raymond Sim

      I’m having computer problems, and the SCAN page on my phone is more than my strokified brain can handle most days, so I haven’t been paying attention. I’ll start now though. Thanks for the heads-up.

    1. Pat

      It should never have been submerged. That Scott wasn’t fined into bankruptcy and sent to prison for that still sticks in my craw. That the mechanism for doing just that has been actively blocked from becoming enshrined in law and in practice in right up there with corruption fueling my hatred of the political class.

  2. Wukchumni

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday declared Donald J. Trump the “strongest political opponent” against President Biden, rushing to make clear his loyalty to the former president just hours after suggesting in a televised interview that Mr. Trump might not be the Republican presidential candidate best positioned to prevail in the 2024 election. (NYT)

    My Kevin (since ’07) has a short leash and choke collar, who’s a good poodle?

    1. Pat

      Not to give any props to your Kevin, but currently Trump is the strongest Republican opponent against Biden according to the polls. Short leash or no, he is merely stating a fact as things currently stand.

      (Sometimes I just want to weep as I watch this play out. I don’t know how anyone can look at Clinton/Trump, Trump/Biden and a very likely Biden Trump election and not see a massively broken system.)

  3. flora

    2 years ago: company releases millions of genetically altered mosquitoes in Florida.


    This summer: malaria discovered in local transmission in Florida and Texas.

    Not to worry. There’s a plan.


    Why do I get the feeling all this geo-engineering is all about profit? Naw, that can’t be right. / ;)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s really not sufficient to juxtapose two events, yarn diagram-fashion — that doesn’t even rise to the level of a post hoc fallacy!

      If you want to add value, propose a mechanism!

      1. Synoia


        Postulate: The Malaria virus has a symbiotic relationship with Mosquitos, possibly in the volume of or composition of the blood drawn by the mosquito enhances the malaria’s abilities.

        In a mixture of Non infecting and Infecting Mosquitos, the infecting mosquitos are preferred in mating

        The life cycle of mosquitoes are very short.

        The infectious Mosquitos crowd the non infecting in 4 cycles of mosquito feeding.

  4. pjay

    Donald Trump (from WSWS article in today’s Links):

    “Using federal law, section 212 (f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, I will order my government to deny entry to all communists and all Marxists. Those who come to join our country must love our country. We don’t want them if they want to destroy our country… So we’re going to be keeping foreign Christian-hating communists, socialists and Marxists out of America. We’re keeping them out of America.”

    Rick Scott: “I’m warning socialists and communists not to travel to Florida. They are not welcome in the Sunshine State”

    I’m definitely sensing a theme here. But is it really true that the Republican base still falls for this Joe McCarthy/George Wallace “red-baiting” crap today? I’ve learned never to underestimate the political ignorance of Americans from *all* walks of life, but Biden Democrats as commies? We’re being invaded by “communists, socialists, and Marxists”? Really?? Is there no sense of decency in political rhetoric, at long last?

    1. LifelongLib

      It’s been 50 years, but FWIW I don’t recall Wallace as a red-baiter. IIRC most of his rhetoric during his national campaigns was directed against “pointy-head bureaucrats”, mainly federal. In his platform he supported expanding social security and Medicare, which in my book puts him above most politicians of today, in practical if not rhetorical terms.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      For some, “Marxist” has become a full-on synonym for “evil.” “Marxist” has a very malleable content. I heard a Rumble right-wing preacher rail against the “Marxist” Peter Thiel. Obviously, socio-economic views had nothing to do with that accusation.

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      such nonsense absolutely does work.
      after 50-100 years of having it beaten into their brains, right wingers and mere apolitical right leaners believe that hillary is the embodiment of godless communism.
      that all the woke totalitarianism is “far left”, and derived…somehow…from Marx.
      before i finally gave up, my conversations in the feedstore parking lot …instigated by me bernie sticker…often had me guffawing at assertions just like that(parrotted from faux newts or rush imitators on the radio)..
      me:” hell no, hillary/biden/etc sure as hell aint communists…and the demparty is certainly not “left wing””!
      and to the resulting disbelief and confusion:” how do i know? because i’m the frelling Far Left…and the dems dont even answer my calls…here, let me tell you what mere milk toast socialism(sanders) can do for you…”
      and then proceed to turn a redneck to the side of the Light.
      (all undone by trump and the dems reaction agin him, of course….people are more like geese than any would care to admit)

  5. Synoia

    Democrats hate the working class just as much as Republicans do.

    I believe the word “despise” is more accurate than hat. And I cannot explain why. Possible it is the social connotations form my British opinion, which is built on various shades of inter class prejudiced..

    – Hate: To feel strong dislike for or hostility toward.To feel dislike or distaste for.

    -Despise: To look down upon with disfavor or contempt; to contemn; to scorn; to disdain; to have a low opinion or contemptuous dislike of.

      1. ambrit

        “You’ll slide over your floors just as easily as it slides down your throat!”
        “Another fine product from the creative people at C.M.O.T. Dibbler Industries LLC.”

  6. hunkerdown

    re: rick Scott declaring “socialists” persona non grata, the lede is buried downthread.

    Rachel Vindman 🌻
    Hi, as a constituent, I would kindly like to ask you to work for us rather than doing this because 1) it’s pointless 2) you look ridiculous 3) you’re paid to represent us so kindly get in with it.
    9:10 AM · Jun 27, 2023·32.6K Views

    On behalf of just which “us” is Ms. Vindman speaking so glibly as if governor were some kind of mere servant? (Not that it’s a bad example of how we should act towards people such as Scott, as well as her and her husband, but the executive executes the law.) I suppose there are hidden power relations here) One also wonders, how many states does she presume herself a “constituent” in?

    Scott could win the Internets with “Florida isn’t Ukraine, sweetie. We believe in laws, values, and historical truth.”

    1. Pat

      Just an FYI, Scott is former Governor Scott, but is now Senator Scott.

      Florida cared so little for laws, they elected a major Medicare scammer to two prominent offices. Looks to me like corruption sells there as well as in Ukraine.

      1. hunkerdown

        I blanked on that title change somehow. Mea culpa!

        Still, Senators’ constituents are the States, so if she’s pulling a little “l’etat, c’est moi” rank on behalf of her national security hobby (an archaic term for prostitute, but that’s neither here nor there), that is Interesting.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      Thank you for not apologizing for making today’s Water Cooler so wonderfully long. More is always good : )

  7. Jason Boxman

    Remember when Biden stopped The Wall as soon as he took office? Oh, right:


    Six days after Traphagen’s visit, U.S. Customs and Border Protection confirmed that work on the border wall that began under Trump is revving back up under Biden. In an online presentation Wednesday, CBP — the largest division of the Department of Homeland Security and home to the Border Patrol — detailed plans to address environmental damage brought on by the former president’s signature campaign promise and confirmed that the wall will remain a permanent fixture of the Southwest for generations to come.

    (bold mine)

    So Biden sure has a lot to run on, doesn’t he? The hated Wall that liberal Democrats led by Pelosi shutdown the government over funding for… is still an active work in progress! How much collateral damage was there from that stunt?

    These people are a joke.

    1. Hepativore

      Remember, Republicans rely on the Democrats to carry out Republican policies.

      When Social Security gets hacked to pieces as it probably will be in the next few years it will be a Democratic president that does it, even if the Republicans have been trying to do it for decades. The Democrats have also been slowly trying to privatize Medicaid, as they kept the process in place that was initiated by Trump.

      Why choose Diet Republican (Democrats) when you can have the real thing in the form of Republican Klassic?(Republicans)

  8. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    The week started off slowly, but we’re getting caught-up with–

    Amtrak train derails in Moorpark

    An Amtrak train derailed Wednesday in Moorpark, and passengers were evacuating while a fire burned, officials said.

    Authorities did not provide an exact time and location of the derailment, saying only that it occurred in Moorpark in Ventura County.

    It was not immediately clear whether there were any injuries or deaths.


    No injuries reported after train derailment near Marshall depot station

    MARSHALL, Texas — Evans Street in Marshall is closed after a train derailed near the Marshall Depot Wednesday morning.

    The city of Marshall said in a Facebook post the derailment included eight freight cars on the side north of the Amtrak depot. No injuries or environmental issues have been reported.


    1. upstater

      Add this one to the pile up (pun intended) :

      News photos: CPKC derailment in Iowa (Trains magazine)

      DAVENPORT, Iowa — Clean-up is under way after 21 cars of a CPKC train derailed Tuesday evening at Nahant Yard in Davenport, Iowa. A CPKC representative reports 21 cars derailed in a slow-speed incident; no injuries or spills of hazardous materials occured. Three cars involved were carrying liquid asphalt but did not leak any of their cargo. The cause of the derailment is under investigation, but preliminary findings indicate there were no mechanical issues with the rail equipment or track structure, and that signal systems were operating properly.

      Looks like 5 tank cars on their sides.

      1. Screwball

        Incredible. That paragraph says it all, doesn’t it?

        Nothing to see here, move along. But 5 cars are living where they shouldn’t be. I looked at the pictures and have a hard time visualizing that mess and a “slow-speed incident.” I would like to see a view looking along the same view as if you were going down the tracks. Could some ground collapsed under the tracks to make it lose level? Is it on a hill?

        I’m sure we will find out more, but that doesn’t seem normal, nor should be.

  9. Jason Boxman

    Of course, many Republicans believe that liberal Democrats are socialists (or communists (or Marxists)), which is analytically the sloppiest knee-jerkery imaginable (and I have a vivid imagination). Do you see liberal Democrats calling for the ownership of the means of production by the working class? No? Then they’re not Marxists (or socialists (or communists)). Because that’s the Marxist project in a nutshell. And trust me on this — Democrats hate the working class just as much as Republicans do.

    The kind of bloviating that Criminal Scott does here is essential to our facade of a two party system; This perpetuates the mindless tribalism, without (or maybe with) any underlying understanding of the charges made. Remember how popular calling Pelosi a socialist was, back when she was making big bank trading on inside information as House Speaker, and stating blunting that liberal Democrats are capitalists, and that’s just how it is.

    Elections based on popularity and charisma do not lead to a functional system of government for the working class, that’s for sure.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      All this talk about the Espionage Act has them drooling over the Red Scare. Throw all the Emma Goldmans out of the country! Or put them in front of a firing squad like Joe Hill. Them was the good ol’ days.

      Not so funny is what they are doing to the African People’s Socialist Party in St. Pete, doing a middle-of-the-night Swat raid on an 85 year-old man.

      I hear a lot of crying on the Right about the fate of the 1/6 folks. They’re tasting just a little of what’s been dished out to the Left for decades.

  10. Jason Boxman

    So I still don’t get this. I don’t think advocates for IVM were ever saying you need to start taking within 10 whole days of infection, and you’ll get a positive result. So here’s another study that shows if you take it too late, it doesn’t result in any faster recovery than if it isn’t taken. I’m not sure how this is a surprise?

    Study staff verified eligibility criteria including age of 30 years or older, SARS-CoV-2 infection within 10 days (positive polymerase chain reaction or antigen test result, including home-based tests), and experiencing at least 2 symptoms of acute COVID-19 for no more than 7 days from enrollment. The protocol defined “mild to moderate” as having symptoms as noted above self-reported at the time of enrollment, and symptoms were graded by participants as none, mild, moderate, or severe. Symptoms included fatigue, dyspnea, fever, cough, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, chills, headache, sore throat, nasal symptoms, and new loss of sense of taste or smell. Exclusion criteria included hospitalization, ivermectin use within 14 days, and known allergy or contraindication to the study drug (Supplement 1). Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 was allowable, as was concurrent use of standard therapies for COVID-19 available under US Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization or approval.


    Trial Procedures

    A central investigational pharmacy distributed the study drug (either active or placebo) using a next-day priority shipping service. Delivery was tracked and participants needed to have received the study drug within 7 days of enrollment to be included. Confirmation that the study drug was delivered to the participant’s address was required for the participant to be included in the analysis. Receipt of study drug was defined as study day 1.

    Participants were asked to complete daily assessments and report adverse events through day 14.

    Wait, day one starts when you get your meds?!

    Not sure how this contributes anything we didn’t already know. Starting IVM late in the game yields no benefit.

    We’ve all been made very aware that you’re supposed to start on Paxlovid as soon as possible, for example. Why would a delay be permissible for IVM or any other treatment? LOL.

    Effect of Higher-Dose Ivermectin for 6 Days vs Placebo on Time to Sustained Recovery in Outpatients With COVID-19

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “…Why would a delay be permissible for IVM?…”

      obviously, so it wont work…thus “proving” that the scolds were right all along.

  11. Cervantes

    But Lambert, ponder the epistemology of the Christian God. He is said to be incomprehensible except for his own actions to reveal himself. So your intuition that he cannot be understood normally is quite right, except that he makes himself known. But this revelation necessarily relies on imperfect analogies, e.g. his care as parent for child, or his role akin to a Bronze Age suzerain. Your comment about the Nicene Creed comes across dismissive, but this is classical theology 101.

    1. clarky90

      Re “God”


      “From a distance, the sun may seem calm and steady. But zoom in, and our home star is actually in a perpetual state of flux, transforming over time from a uniform sea of fire to a chaotic jumble of warped plasma and back again in a recurring cycle.

      Every 11 years or so, the sun’s magnetic field gets tangled up like a ball of tightly wound rubber bands until it eventually snaps and completely flips — turning the north pole into the south pole and vice versa. In the lead-up to this gargantuan reversal, the sun amps up its activity: belching out fiery blobs of plasma, growing dark planet-size spots and emitting streams of powerful radiation.

      This period of increased activity, known as solar maximum, is also a potentially perilous time for Earth, which gets bombarded by solar storms …..”

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      The assertion of the Trinitarian God is supra-rational. I think Feuerbach’s thesis is helpful. Transcendent gods tend to be projections. Eastern religions, with an understanding of the divine as immanent, don’t fall into this tendency.

      Your identification of two gods is the core of the Lutheran doctrine of the proper separation of Law and Gospel. I was taught in a Lutheran seminary to think of it this way: the God of the Law is your suzerain; the God of the Gospel is your loving parent. The two should be preached as two different gods, full blast. The only place they are connected is the cross.

  12. tevhatch

    Covid – Antiviral Spray “Once attached, the molecules break down the structural membrane of the microorganism, leading to its destruction”

    Mmmm, that sounds just like what tar, soot, and nicotine in tobacco do to lung tissue, so be sure to inhale deeply. Wasn’t there some rumors about heavy smokers not getting covid-19?

    1. Raymond Sim

      I think this is a flat-out scam. Whatever it is will have a distinctive smell and people will find it comforting.

      As I recall Dr. Lister started out misting his operating theater with disinfectant. The main elements of what came to be accepted as standard practice: sterile drapes, sterile scrubs, sterile masks – these barrier methods all amount to filtration.

  13. lyman alpha blob

    RE: God whose pronouns are plural

    What makes these people think the ineffable requires any pronouns at all? Other than of course people constantly creating gods in their own images despite the Xtians at least claiming it’s really the other way around.

    I think any extant deity would say “eff you” to all that.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > What makes these people think the ineffable requires any pronouns at all?

      This comment says it better than I did. I wonder what “effable” means?

  14. The Rev Kev

    ‘Taylor Lorenz
    Wild how fast they went from “we support workers rights and healthcare for all!!” to “get back to work at ur shit min wage and don’t you dare ask for healthcare if you get long covid, which is made up btw”

    I’ll match that tweet with this one-

    ‘Defund Ukraine
    Biden won office by promising a $15 minimum wage, a public option for healthcare, and a return to normalcy and instead he delivered $114 billion in weapons to Nazis in Ukraine and a pardon for his crackhead son’


    And I will note that it is precisely the same people that called Trump a fascist are the very same ones now who are now demanding censorship by the government, the Constitution be damned. Oh yeah, and they also want to go fight the Bear.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that and I have it bookmarked to read later. I wonder if the same happened to Tupperware?

  15. The Rev Kev

    “Trump’s Kryptonite: How Progressives Can Win Back the Working Class”

    Doesn’t really matter this. The only thing that works is actually doing stuff that people want and delivering on the goods. Look at AOC. She campaigned on healthcare for all and now she just demands more money and weapons to the Ukraine. I think that Americans want the former than the later. The end of Roe-Wade was a perfect demonstration of how any important issues will be neglected for decades as for reps the only reason to care about it is to fund raise off of it. It could have been codified into law and even though Presidents like Obama ran on it, say afterwards that they have other priorities.

      1. .human

        Why is this meme so hard to dispel? In ’09 and ’10, Obama had a Dem controlled House and Senate.

  16. some guy

    Since lichens are very tightly interwoven symbiotic assemblies of particular fungi and particular algae all bound together into lichen-forms, the algae-part would certainly get them qualified as plants. The fungus part only honorarily. ( I have read that fungus and animals are considered to have branched off from some pre-funganimal common ancestor very long ago. So fungus might well be called honorary animals if one were in the mood.)

  17. Acacia

    Re: Trump living rent-free in the minds of many

    Had a social meeting the other day with some academic friends. They are lefty, very concerned about racism in the US, and on-board with idpol. When I brought up Cornel West’s bid for the presidency, they dismissed him straight away, the logic being that he has “no chance to win” and that they are instead all-in on voting for Biden, because “anyone but Trump”.

    I tried to argue that (1) there’s no meaningful difference between the parties, and that Trump didn’t start any new wars he sh*tcanned the TPP, and (2) that voting for the duoparty is how nothing will ever change. These points were all just waved away, because my friends are deeply freaked about a possible return of Trump, and are firmly convinced that he represents fascism. They agree that no real changes are possible now through electoral politics in the US, but somehow they also think they should absolutely vote Team Blue.

    The weird thing is that they formerly voted third party, and I believe didn’t vote for Biden in 2020, but since then somehow the specter of Trump has come to really freak them out.

    1. Carolinian

      If Trump returns to power he has no ability to do anything domestically on his own except more court appointments and if he’s racist or not it wouldn’t make much difference. It’s Trump’s supporters they are afraid of. In A Distant Mirror Barbara Tuchman wrote that the French medieval middle classes hung with the king instead of the scary masses with their pitchforks. Some things never change.

      Of course presidents have plenty of power to do fascistic things overseas. We are seeing it right now.

      BTW Trump will be in upstate SC on Saturday. If any mob riots break out I’ll report.

      1. Acacia

        Agree that the real object of fear is the followers. Apparently, there’s some idea that MAGA hat wearers — and possibly even the entire GOP — have “obviously” morphed into a kind of neo-brownshirt movement. I don’t get this reading at all. Was it the effect of all the brouhaha around 1/6? Is this the deeper level of TDS, fear of deplorable mobs?

        Again, though, if I point out something like the leader of the Proud Boys working with law enforcement and other P.B. members with the FBI, this is met with confusion — like this news was “missed” or doesn’t fit into the narrative — and then more hand-waving dismissal.

      2. griffen

        Should Trump return to power somehow, in spite of the large obstacles in his path, will it be like the ending of the LOTR trilogy? All the wonderful hobbits, Legolas, Faramir, and of course King Aragorn ready to reign in his rightful place. Nah, that’s too creepy and weepy.

        Trump and Kevin, walking into the fires of Mt Doom to destroy the precious! Only to have creepy Joe there to foil their plans. It’s mine! \ Sarc

  18. Camelotkidd

    The “dead girl, live boy” reference is why I read NC religiously
    Lambert blushes modestly

      1. ChrisFromGA

        Just watched Alex Mercouris’ latest video. He theorizes that Biden basically had a “rage fit” when he when off-script last week, calling Xi a dictator. Apparently, he did not take it well that Blinken got lectured by the Chinese. No idea if this readout is true, but it sounds plausible. Dementia can result in poor impulse control:

        “Get off my grass, punk!”

        1. Yves Smith

          Except Blinken strongly affirmed what Biden said. Blinken was asked and he could have said something like, “The President feels strongly about democracy” or some other less than full endorsement. Instead he said, The president always speaks candidly, he speaks directly. He speaks clearly, and he speaks for all of us.”

          1. Pat

            Well besides lying like a rug more often than nought, Blinken has also gone all in on some of the most delusional theories and foreign policies the Beltway has embraced for years. Biden reacting with rage induced demented ramblings and Blinken still thinking it’s rational and affirming it both strike me as very possible.

    1. Daryl

      If they aren’t going to charge this knucklehead for shooting at someone who posed him no harm, can they at least charge him with bad aim? 30 rounds from an AR-15 and not a single hit?

    2. griffen

      Next time the pool cleaner visits, were it my turn to do so, I’d be sure to make that water a shade of yellow just to make a point. Ah, the gift of the Florida man is a gift that continues giving.

      Alternate theory, throw in a floating candy bar which looks like a turd.

  19. Jake

    ” Of course, many Republicans believe that liberal Democrats are socialists (or communists (or Marxists)), which is analytically the sloppiest knee-jerkery imaginable (and I have a vivid imagination). Do you see liberal Democrats calling for the ownership of the means of production by the working class? No? Then they’re not Marxists (or socialists (or communists)). Because that’s the Marxist project in a nutshell. And trust me on this — Democrats hate the working class just as much as Republicans do.”

    The reason for this is that the democrat PMC uses it’s liberal base to push policies that appear to be socialist but are actually incredibly capitalist. I watch the democrat leadership in Austin do this over the last 10-12 years. They convinced everyone that if they just scream “housing is a human right” or “you can’t criminalize homelessness!!!!!1” and then let people who are addicted to meth camp under the highways, the homeless will be much better off. Also of course anyone who disagrees just hates homeless people. The end result was the real estate industry made a buttload of money off of all the people leaving Austin. It’s still a growing city because there are so many people escaping the west coast cities that have been so much worse for so many years that Austin still feels like a small upgrade.

    So now after all these years the city is horribly divided and I look at the liberals in that town and I see socialists who destroyed a half decent city so they could strut around acting like they are superior to everyone because they are so compassionate, while the rest of us become a little less liberal every time we have to pick up human feces. Democrats often come off as crazy socialists because the democrat PMC uses them as pawns and makes them appear that way when it benefits them. And as much money is being made in real estate in Austin, destroying the quality of life by conning libs into turning the city into a meth camp actually has made the real estate industry a lot more money. And that’s why I now hate American socialists, especially the DSA and Greg Casar. They stole my neighborhood and home and they used the libs in Austin to do it. And all those libs are still strutting around like they haven’t been conned and didn’t turn the city into a huge meth camp. This is why repubs and independents like myself see democrat voters as socialists, and not in a good way.

  20. B Flat

    Glen Loury/Cornell West interview was a pleasure. And nice to see it here as Loury’s site is one of the daily stations of my news cross along with NC.

  21. spud

    not one word about free trade. a jobs guarantee would mean more money for made in china goods and services, driving inflation even higher, let alone what it does to the environment.

    “What Running on a Jobs Guarantee Could Mean for Democrats”

    it would be much easier to push trump in the needed direction, than the democrats who have fully embraced bill clintons disastrous policies.

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