2:00PM Water Cooler 6/6/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I have some catching up to you from the enormous amount of links that build up when I have an open thread, like yesterday. Plus I had to do Cornel West. Plenty to read now, and do wait for the orts and scraps. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Peaceful Dove, Utopia Environment Reserve, Queensland, Australia. “Cut starts with tail up display then normal call from Peaceful Dove, lower calls from Bar-shouldered dove, subsequent tail up display calls from Peaceful.” I had no idea so many doves growled (“lower calls”). Neat!

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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

Capitol Seizure

“J6 Unmasked: Security footage shows Pelosi evacuating Hollywood-style from Capitol as daughter films” [Just the News]. “ormer House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described having to evacuate a riotous Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 as traumatic. But Capitol Police security footage obtained by Just the News shows the long-time Democrat leader exited Hollywood-style from the home of Congress that fateful day with her daughter filming her as security officers tried to guide her through a secret safe passage corridorThe footage, made available by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and aired for the first time on the Just the News, No Noise television show on Real America’s Voice on Thursday night, provides three different angles of Pelosi’s evacuation the afternoon of Jan. 6. Each show her daughter Alexandra roving around her mother’s delegation with a camera as they moved briskly through corridors, led by members of the Capitol Police protective detail. The video shows then-Speaker Pelosi was not in jeopardy after fleeing the breached Capitol chamber, because the footage shows no protesters or rioters penetrated the evacuation route. Capitol Police confirmed to Congress the woman holding the camera in the footage was Pelosi’s daughter, Alexandra.” • Performative down to their bones. And come on. Pelosi had her documentary-making daughter there, with camera, on the day?


I guess it’s time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“So what if Biden trips up? On the political stage his footwork is the fanciest seen in decades” [Guardian]. “Biden’s negotiating tactics were textbook. Publicly, he took seriously the threats of Kevin McCarthy, leader of the House of Representatives, to cut $4.5tn of spending over a decade, talking up the threat and flying back early from the G7 summit to negotiate, showing the depth of his concern. Privately, he knew the Republican would back off: cuts of that scale would mean that social programmes would be decimated, given that so much federal spending is on defence, which the Republicans did not want to touch. This was not 2011, when the Republicans used the same tactic and meant it, when their libertarian tax-cutting right were in control; now they are big spenders too. Biden read the mood swing well: he knows his opponents better than they know themselves. Taking over the key negotiations himself, I am told [by which single source?], he forced the realities home on McCarthy, who successively scaled back his demand to a headline cuts figure of $1.5tn, which helped him save face. But even that was vastly overstated because of a series of side, off-balance-sheet deals. Federal spending will end up by being reduced by 0.2%, if that, over the next 10 years, while all the huge spending programmes on chips, infrastructure and green investment that Biden has negotiated through are intact. A stunning victory.” • And the only price is kicking the poors. With Biden, I’m reminded of a story I’m too lazy to find, of a surgeon who lost all brain function after a terrible stroke. But put some thread in his hand, and he would automatically tie beautiful surgical knots; that tacit knowledge was so deep in his brainstem no stroke could dislodge it. Biden working DC is the surgeon tying those knots…

“Biden looking at big re-election fundraisers for the end of June” [Politico]. Ow! My eyes!!!

“‘Nothing Was Compromised’: Hunter Biden’s Art Dealer Says His Gallery Has Been Targeted by Hackers” [ArtNet]. The lead is buried. From the final paragraphs: “[Soho art dealer Georges Bergès] also confirmed to Artnet News that, his gallery had received a third letter from Kentucky representative James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, this week. Comer is investigating the Biden family related to charges of influence-peddling. The dealer explained that the letter asks him to ‘turn over documents and communications the gallery has had with the White House and with Hunter and identify who the buyers [of Biden’s artworks are].’ He told Artnet News that he was leaving the question of how to handle the issue up to his attorneys.” • No doubt! Selling Hunter Biden’s artwork — dear Hunter! — is the most obvious money-laundering scheme I’ve ever seen.

* * *

“Cornel West Announces Third-Party Bid For President In A Campaign Video” [BET]. “West is no stranger to third-party politics. He was a senior adviser to former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign against former Vice President Al Gore. West also worked closely with the Green Party’s 2000 presidential nominee Ralph Nader to seek a candidate willing to challenge President Barack Obama for the 2012 presidential election.” • Here is the video:

“Princeton Professor Emeritus Cornel West *80 Is Running for President” [Princeton Alumni Weekly]. West: “‘Do we have what it takes?’ West asked in his campaign video. ‘We shall see. But some of us are going to go down fighting.'” • That is a sentiment with which many agree, and quite different from “fighting for.”

“Cornel West, Progressive Scholar, Announces Third-Party Bid for President” [New York Times]. “Cornel West, the progressive activist and professor, announced a presidential campaign on Monday with the People’s Party, a third party led by a former campaign staff member for Senator Bernie Sanders….. The People’s Party was founded by Nick Brana, who worked on Mr. Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but later broke away. The party tried to recruit Mr. Sanders after his 2016 campaign, but he declined to get involved and again sought the Democratic nomination in 2020.” • The People’s Party website is a little thin, though I like the platform. Where’s the plan to get ballot access?

“Cornel West Announces Presidential Bid … as a People’s Party Candidate” [The New Republic]. “Numerous sources have corroborated sexual harassment allegations against party founder Nick Brana. Last year, former party member Paula Jean Swearengin told journalists Eoin Higgins and Jordan Chariton that she had witnessed Brana try to force himself onto former party executive director Zana Day, who confirmed the allegations herself. Numerous party board members were apparently forced out for encouraging investigations into the allegations and questioning whether Brana was still fit to lead the party. ‘We were removed [from the board] because we were concerned about Nick remaining in his position,’ one former board member, Regina Clarke, said. ‘As the investigation went on, it was clear there was sexual harassment going on; for other alleged acts, there was debate on whether it was harassment or extended further.’ After the allegations were made public, the party’s social media accounts attacked and smeared those questioning the party leadership’s actions. Other former party volunteers and members have accused the party leadership of lacking democratic organizational processes, having opaque finances, and being generally disrespectful, manifesting sometimes in ableism and racism.” • Not different from Democrats, then? (Nevertheless, is West the candidate only, or is he also the party head? How is that relationship going to work?)

“DeSantis’s Revolutionary Defense of the Classics” [Cornel West and Jeremy Wayne Tate, Wall Street Journal]. “Gov. Ron DeSantis just gave a welcome boost to the classical-education movement. He signed legislation allowing high-school students to qualify for Bright Futures scholarships, a state fund for college education, by submitting scores from the Classic Learning Test instead of the SAT alone…. one of the virtues of the classics: They are a means of considering what is true without invoking the blind partisanship that encourages thoughtless action. There is nothing we need more today than the cultivation of reason and understanding. That’s why Mr. DeSantis’s support of classic education has universal merit that transcends partisanship. Education based on values, logic and discipline isn’t Republican—it’s timeless.” • Tate is founder and CEO of the Classic Learning Test.

“RFK Jr.’s presidential bid gains boost from Silicon Valley elite” [CNBC]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s bid for the Democratic nomination for president has gained a boost from several Silicon Valley executives. CEO Jack Dorsey endorsed Kennedy on Twitter on Sunday, while Twitter owner Elon Musk invited the contender to a live audio discussion on the platform. That discussion is set for 2 p.m. ET on Twitter on Monday and will be moderated by venture capitalist David Sacks, another prominent name in Silicon Valley…. Dorsey, for his part, has a history of supporting underdog and nonmainstream candidates, including businessman Andrew Yang and former U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.”

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“TV networks battle for Republican debates” [Axios]. From June 2: ” Debates can make or break a presidential candidacy. And who hosts those debates can have a significant impact on which contenders chose to participate, and how they perform. Trump’s campaign believes his opponents need the primary debates more than he does because they’re behind him in polls. And Trump — feeling slighted by Fox News’ coverage of DeSantis, has indicated that he’s wary of the network hosting debates, two sources told Axios DeSantis, running second in GOP polling, has been pushing back against the Republican National Committee sanctioning a debate with CNN or NBC News, which are both salivating over the chance to host a 2024 primary debate, sources told Axios. And: “CNN boss Chris Licht has told the RNC that CNN would air the [Republican] debate not just on its linear feed, but also potentially on the linear networks of other Warner Bros. Discovery channels, two sources told Axios. By including those channels, Licht has argued, CNN could reach more conservatives than Fox, as well as independent voters.” • Also on June 2, The Atlantic drops its profile of Christ Licht, with subsequent dogpile. The PMC really do not want to lose control of another media property (the “commanding heights,” as Mr. Ulyanov called them).

“DeSantis Relied Heavily on Big Donors in Initial Money Haul” [New York Times]. “Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida made a splash when he announced that he had raised a record $8.2 million in his first 24 hours as a presidential candidate…. The DeSantis campaign said it had around 40,000 donors in May as ‘we raised over’ $8.2 million, according to text messages and emails to supporters asking for more donations. That works out to an average of more than $200 per donor — a figure far higher than is typical for a campaign heavily funded by grass-roots support….. Because of strict campaign contribution limits of $3,300 per person for the primary, campaigns that raise money chiefly from bigger contributors cannot return to those same donors again and again for support. Small contributors are particularly valuable because they can give $30 more than 100 times before bumping up against contribution caps. Tim Tagaris, a Democratic digital strategist who oversaw the Sanders fund-raising operation in 2020, called the number of DeSantis donors surprisingly small. Mr. Tagaris said that 40,000 ‘donations in a week for a leading presidential campaign is either a sign that they didn’t prepare well enough heading into the launch or there isn’t the kind of grass-roots support from regular people they had probably hoped for.’ He added, ‘That’s a donor number you expect from top-tier Senate campaigns, not a leading presidential.'” • Ouch!

“Dee-Santis or Deh-Santis? His team won’t say” [Axios]. • Press in full pulling-the-wings-of-flies mode here. Would you want to have a beer with somebody who pronounced his own name two different ways?

“DeSantis signs Bible, Pence hops on motorcycle at ‘Roast and Ride’ event in Iowa” [Associated Press]. “Amid plates of sliced pork, statement-making leather ensembles and piles of political T-shirts, eight Republican presidential hopefuls descended on Iowa to pitch themselves to voters and, in Mike Pence’s case, hop on a motorcycle….. Pence was the only White House hopeful who participated in a morning motorcycle ride for charity that is a staple of Ernst’s annual ‘Roast and Ride’ event. He wore jeans, boots and a leather vest with patches that said ‘Indiana’ and messages supportive of the military. The former Indiana governor, who has made frequent trips to Iowa over the past year, is expected to launch his long-anticipated campaign at an event in Des Moines on Wednesday.”

“Ukraine must make ‘major concessions’ to Russia so US can focus on China: Vivek Ramaswamy” [ABC]. “‘What I think we need to do is end the Ukraine war on peaceful terms that, yes, do make some major concessions to Russia, including freezing those current lines of control in a Korean-war style armistice agreement. … Which Ukraine wouldn’t want to do,’ he continued. ‘And also a permanent commitment not to allow Ukraine to enter NATO. But in return, Russia has to leave its treaty and its joint military agreement with China.’ Ramaswamy raised concerns of a future invasion of Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing views as a breakaway province. Stopping a war there ‘is a much higher priority,’ he said. ‘China’s bet is that they’re going to go for Taiwan, the U.S. won’t want to be in simultaneous conflict with two nuclear superpowers at the same time. But if Russia’s no longer at China’s back and vice versa, we’re in a stronger position,’ he said.”

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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“Them” who? The Deplorables, of course! And Democrats wonder why they’re hated….

Rep. Maxwell Frost (FL-10):

He is indeed; but I also remember a heart-lifting video of AOC as a BU student dancing joyously on a rooftop, and look how that turned out.


“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

“Have you had long COVID? The Denver Post wants to talk to you” [Denver Post]. “Reporter Meg Wingerter is working on an article about how people with long COVID are recovering, or not recovering, in the fourth year of the pandemic. If you’re interested in sharing your story, please fill out the information below.” • You could always throw some NC links Wingerter’s way!

A better world is possible:

Every school could do the same:

A little thought, a little study, a little discipline…. A little caring….

Lots of masks:

I’ve been reading a lot of trashing of left organizations for not masking (and not doing lots of other things, but that’s an issue for another day). Here we have a masked DSA meeting. Good!

Making do with the market:

Covid Is Airborne

Life’s little ironies:


Oh, good:

If you get it….

Testing and Tracking

“Discontinuation of Universal Admission Testing for SARS-CoV-2 and Hospital-Onset COVID-19 Infections in England and Scotland” [JAMA]. “Stopping universal admission testing in the national health systems of 2 countries (England and Scotland) was associated with significant increases in hospital-onset SARS-CoV-2 infections relative to community-onset infections. Potential mechanisms include more unrecognized present-on-admission infections causing transmissions to other patients and health care workers, who in turn infected other patients.”


“Enteric nervous system as a target and source of SARS-CoV-2 and other viral infections” (PDF) [Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology]. “The imbalance of microbiota diversity, known as dysbiosis, is a possible pathological feature in inflammatory, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases, and it is a hot topic in COVID-19 research. In germ-free mice with their GI tract colonized by co-housing with conventional specific pathogen-free rats, the presence of the microbiota decreased the expression of ACE-2 (85). These results shed light on the possible role of the microbiota in the 362 regulation of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity…. Considering COVID-19 GI and neurological features, we believe that the [Enteric nervous system (ENS)] can be involved in more than one aspect of disease pathophysiology: (1) as a contributor to the severity of GI symptoms, (2) as a neuroimmune activation site and source of hyperinflammatory factors (3) under the influence of dysbiotic microbiota, and (4) a neuroinvasive pathway in the CNS (to infection and/or activation of the CNS).” • Interesting for fans of gut microbiota. Thought-provoking!


“Disentangling the Postacute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2” [JAMA]. The editorial commenting on the NIH study on Long Covid reviewed at NC here. (Couldn’t the editors have gotten either “Long Covid” or “PASC” into the headline? “To optimize our understanding of the long-term impact of post–COVID-19 sequelae and to design and assess potential interventions, it is critically important to establish validated case definitions. Erroneous case definitions, and the resultant misclassification bias, could delay the correct diagnoses by clinicians, will decrease the likelihood of identifying the biological mechanisms underpinning these symptoms, might threaten the ability to demonstrate the efficacy of interventions, and could lead to misdirected, ineffective treatments. However, before developing a case definition for PASC, it is important to consider whether these sequelae represent a single pathophysiologic process or rather multiple different conditions triggered by antecedent SARS-CoV-2 infection.3 In addition, it is important to know whether they are direct sequelae of infection itself or are mediated by specific organ injury and dysfunction. For example, severe SARS-CoV-2 infection that requires intensive care unit admission can result in a well-described postintensive care syndrome with many features that overlap with postacute sequelae.4 Thus, it may be inaccurate to define PASC as a single syndrome classified by a score on a diagnostic algorithm. If these sequelae represent multiple different processes, each might require separate definitions and treatments.” • Fascinating to think of the NIH study as the outcome of a classification struggle (Bourdieu) but so it is! Dang, another post to write…

“Study finds 27% rate of long COVID in infected health workers” [Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy]. “A new case-control study of Brazilian healthcare workers (HCWs) suggests as many as 27% developed long COVID after infection, and multiple infections raised the risk. The findings were published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Estimates of the prevalence of long COVID, defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as new, returning, or lasting symptoms persisting 4 or more weeks after initial COVID-19 infection vary, with some studies showing as many as 43% of infected people will have some lingering symptoms 1 month after COVID-19 confirmation. Because HCWs have occupational exposure to COVID-19 and were vulnerable to infections the pre-vaccination era of the pandemic, they may be uniquely primed for developing long COVID.”

“Significant increase in memory and concentration problems among adults” [National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Netherlands)]. “In the first quarter of 2023, there was a 24% increase in GP visits related to memory and concentration problems among adults (age 25 years and older) compared to the same period in 2020. This is evidenced by the latest quarterly research update from the GOR Network. The increase in memory and concentration problems of adults seems to be a longer-term effect of the coronavirus measures as well as SARS-CoV-2 infections…. The source of this increase in memory and concentration problems is unclear. A possible explanation could be that COVID-19 measures caused accelerated cognitive decline among people who were starting to have problems with memory and concentration (66 years on average). Researchers at the Alzheimer’s Centre at Amsterdam UMC and others also saw a trend in the primary care data that they had already expected to occur at the beginning of the Covid-19 period: an increasing group of people who were suffering from mild memory and concentration problems. A supplementary explanation could be that some of these people have long-term symptoms after COVID-19. Various studies have shown that memory and concentration problems are common in post-COVID symptoms. Other infectious diseases, such as flu, can also cause these symptoms. However, recent studies have shown that long-term memory and concentration problems are much more common after COVID-19 than after flu. In addition, these symptoms are more common in older age groups.”


“Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe” [Nature] From 2020 (!). “Our model relies on fixed estimates of some epidemiological parameters (such as the infection fatality rate), does not include importation or subnational variation and assumes that changes in Rt are an immediate response to interventions rather than gradual changes in behaviour. Amidst the ongoing pandemic, we rely on death data that are incomplete, show systematic biases in reporting and are subject to future consolidation. We estimate that—for all of the countries we consider here—current interventions have been sufficient to drive Rt below 1 (probability Rt < 1.0 is greater than 99%) and achieve control of the epidemic. We estimate that across all 11 countries combined, between 12 and 15 million individuals were infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 4 May 2020, representing between 3.2% and 4.0% of the population. Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions—and lockdowns in particular—have had a large effect on reducing transmission. Continued intervention should be considered to keep transmission of SARS-CoV-2 under control." • Bad for business....

Elite Maleficence

The AIDs struggle and the Covid struggle:

I’m not sure we have that long….

Infection Control whacking more people:

The Jackpot

Birth rate going down too:

Good for the planet, I suppose….

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Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data from June 5:

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.

• It would be irresponsible not to speculate:


NOT UPDATED From CDC, May 27, 2023:

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

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, from May 27:

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.


From Walgreens, June 5:

0.4%. Frequency down to once a week.


Death rate (Our World in Data), from May 31:

Lambert here: I’m happy the numbers are down, but zero they cannot be. Looks 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: 1,166,043 – 1,165,531 = 512 (512 * 365 = 186,880 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 5:

Lambert here: Actually some encouragement!

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

Supply Chain: “United States LMI Logistics Managers Index Current” [Trading Economics]. “The Logistics Manager’s Index hit a record low for a third straight month of 47.3 in May 2023, compared to 50.9 in April. The reading also pointed to the first contraction in the logistic sector in nearly 7 years of history, mainly due to continued softening of the freight market.” • Hmm.

* * *

The Bezzle: “Binance suit could ease Washington’s crypto crackdown” [Axios].

Tech: “Apple reveals its Vision Pro mixed-reality headset, starting at $3,499” [Engadget]. Leaving out the specs, which sound pretty neat (especially that people can see your eyes through the headset). “Finally, to ensure the Vision Pro adheres to Apple’s security goals, the headset is getting a new Optic ID authentication system that users a person’s iris for unlocking and signing on to the device. In addition, Apple claims Optic ID data is both fully encrypted and only stored locally, while info regarding where a user looks will not be shared with any third-party apps or websites.” • Big if true.

Tech: “5 takeaways from Apple’s biggest product event in years” [CNN]. “According to Apple, once a user puts on the device, they’re able to see apps directly projected in front of them. At the event, Apple showed off a range of unique experiences with the product, including apps for medicine, productivity and entertainment. Disney CEO Bob Iger also joined the Apple event to discuss how Disney will create content for the new Vision Pro headset. Unlike other headsets, the new mixed reality headset will display the eyes of its users on the outside, so ‘you’re never isolated from the people around you, you can see them and they can see you,” said Alan Dye, vice president of human interface.'” • Disney, yech. But I can see the surgeon use case. High end manufacturing. Aircraft repair. Perhaps piloting, this being the ultimate heads-up display. Maybe ditch that stupid F-35 helmet?

Tech: “Apple Vision Pro vs. Meta Quest 3: What’s the Difference?” [Decrypt]. “The Apple Vision Pro will sell for $3,499, which is even higher than the rumored $2,000-$3,000 price target. It’s a price point that will ensure that only tech-savvy early adopters jump in early, but that’s hardly an unusual approach for Apple. Meta, on the other hand, is sticking to its consumer target for the main Quest line. The Quest 3 will start at $500, or one-seventh the price of the Vision Pro. Currently, the Quest 2 sells for just $300. The more powerful Quest Pro, perhaps a closer analog to the Vision Pro, currently sells for $1,000 after dropping from its $1,500 launch price last fall.”

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 74 Greed (previous close: 73 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jun 6 at 1:39 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Conservatory

“Spanish Flu: how the deadly pandemic impacted musicians” [Classical Music]. “Perhaps because the Spanish flu was suffered largely in private, there were no grand choral requiems or symphonic laments for the victims of the virus. More characteristic were the seemingly indirect responses, such as The Love for Three Oranges, Prokofiev’s 1919 opera that centres on a hypochondriac prince.” • More:

An extrovert’s lament….

Police State Watch

“‘Cop City’ vote: Atlanta City Council approves funding for controversial project” [ABC]. “The council members voted 11-4 to approve $31 million in public funds for the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, as well as a provision that requires the city to pay $36 million — $1.2 million a year over 30 years — for using the facility, according to The Associated Press. Prior to the highly anticipated vote, hundreds of residents and activists packed into Atlanta City Hall and spoke before the council for roughly 14 hours. A vast majority of them opposed the project that they have dubbed ‘Cop City.'” • I don’t know why Atlanta cops need their own city. It looks like they’ve already got one:

Is “enfilading fire” the phrase I’m looking for?

News of the Wired

“Octopuses, crabs and lobsters to be recognised as sentient beings under UK law following LSE report findings” [London School of Economics]. “Dr Jonathan Birch, Associate Professor at LSE’s Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science and Principal Investigator on the Foundations of Animal Sentience project, said: ‘I’m pleased to see the government implementing a central recommendation of my team’s report. After reviewing over 300 scientific studies, we concluded that cephalopod molluscs and decapod crustaceans should be regarded as sentient, and should therefore be included within the scope of animal welfare law.’ ‘The amendment will also help remove a major inconsistency: octopuses and other cephalopods have been protected in science for years, but have not received any protection outside science until now. One way the UK can lead on animal welfare is by protecting these invertebrate animals that humans have often completely disregarded.’ The review also evaluated the potential welfare implications of current commercial practices involving these animals. It recommends against declawing, nicking, eyestalk ablation, the sale of live decapod crustaceans to untrained, non-expert handlers, and extreme slaughter methods such as live boiling without stunning. It also includes suggestions for best practices for transport, stunning and slaughter.” • OK, but what about homo sapiens?

* * *

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AM writes: “Apple blossoms in Roger Williams Park. They smelled lovely too, reminding me of the ones in the backyard of the house in Hulls Cove, ME where I grew up.” Big apple blossoms fan here!

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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. Carolinian

    Re the Georgia police and firefighter training center–so is this drawn out bit of agitprop finally over? Turns out you don’t, after all, gain possession of a dispute by making up your own cutesy name for the target.

    Atlanta is not Portland and it is in fact a place totally devoted to business even if a boho subculture waxes and wanes. Revolutions need more fertile ground.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Lambert was asking ‘Is “enfilading fire” the phrase I’m looking for?’ but perhaps the military term ‘suppressive fire’ might be closer to the mark.

      1. Carolinian

        The three arrested are accused of funding the protests themselves through a 501c (which has certain regulations) and not arrested for providing bail. As with so much in this dispute fuzzing the details seems to be the mode.

        Of course painting their house rainbow colors–in a regular suburban neighborhood–does seem to be daring the establishment to react. This has all boiled down to a power struggle between activists and business friendly politicians and guess who has the power. If there had really been a mass movement behind the protests that would also have been power. To me the notion that an old prison farm was an irreplaceable bit of nature never seemed credible. The South lost its older trees years ago. The newer ones grow like weeds.

        1. J.

          The three arrested had the door kicked in by a SWAT team for reimbursing themselves for minor office expenses with paypal. The judge who bonded them out commented “I don’t find this very impressive.”


          Keep in mind the Atlanta police swat old ladies and then plant drugs to make it all ok. There’s a reason people don’t want them getting further militarized.


          There is already a Georgia police training facility 30 minutes south of Atlanta that APD can use. They also have a training facility they failed to maintain. For some reason they didn’t bother to rebuild on that site.

          The trees and the watershed being wiped out caused the tree sitting, but those are not the only problems at the new site, although that is likely to cause flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. The underlying issue is that the Atlanta Police Foundation owns the city council, and has decided to take over a park in a Black neighborhood and do no-bid contracts with the governor’s campaign donors for a giant site. And then stick the city with the bill. APF is pretty shady.


          The escalation of policing around Cop City is especially alarming. Petty financial crimes do not require a SWAT team. Even Nextdoor is against Cop City now, so maybe we will see a movement.

      2. lambert strether

        What I meant was, those cops look pretty vulnerable, lined up like that.

        Adding, they have the toys the military has, and the bad attitude, but not the skills. If they are really going to turn the cities into battlefields, they will need to up their game.

  2. Rod

    Boy howdy he’ll snap your head around.
    Vivek Ramaswamy
    Ohio boy, born and raised i believe.
    you may be the very first person to put him out there so that others may hear.
    cool breeze/cold water

    1. LawnDart

      That video was great, and if there’s one to call-out the BS, Dr. West is the man!

      I am excited for his candidacy– this should be fun!

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      Noting your observation: “The People’s Party website is a little thin, though I like the platform. Where’s the plan to get ballot access?” I would add that Cornell West’s site is also a little thin, although he is just starting out. I believe his contributions page could use a little work. I missed entering my credit card information the first time through because it used a different format — no entry boxes. This is inconsistent with the rest of the page. After making my contribution there was no clear indication of success and some of the data fields were reset but others were not. I hope the issues statements will be expanded on in future implementations of the website.

      Watching Cornell West’s video left an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu. I recalled the McGovern campaign, the chaos of his Democratic convention and the chaos I recall from watching a little of a Green convention of a few years ago. I am concerned that Cornell West’s base might pull him in too many directions chasing ‘rainbows’ so to speak.

    3. Louiedog14

      I have mixed feelings. I like the good Dr. a bit too much to want him to subject himself to this.

      On the other hand, it will be a nice change to have someone that I absolutely support running and that I can make a point of voting for. Provided he’s on the ballot. What is a People’s Party?

      Here in PMC hell, his candidacy will be seen as a vote for Trump, so there will unlikely be any chance at having meaningful discussion with people. But I will try.

      1. LawnDart

        I don’t want to see Dr. West and RFK Jr. get on a small aircraft together… my parent’s flashbacks could be genetic, or maybe it’s just a sense that we’ve seen this before.

        MSM is going to trash both (a little garnish with Trump chop-salad) on the few occasions their names make it on the corporate airwaves, so the internet will be all they have (aside from alt-media and maybe some non-captive foriegn press).

        It’d be nice to see the underdog candidates challenge the party-approved candidates to a series of debates, and (as they, especially Bidet, won’t show) set-up an empty chair at the debate for questions be directed toward.

        In addition to the entertainment-value, I really hope to see these underdogs pee in the punchbowl, say the quiet parts aloud, and make an honest ruckus– someone needs to.

    4. Will

      Someone stole your thunder. Announcement was shared in comments yesterday and there was a fair bit of chatter and excitement.

      1. lambert strether

        Presumably the readership is capable of evolving its thinking in 24 hours?

        1. tegnost

          As I think about it I realize I’m still wounded by the bernie experience so am unable currently to work up much enthusiasm. That said I’ve always thought highly of Cornel West and would vote for him conditionally. I didn’t consider voting for hillary, trump, or biden, and didn’t, just stuck to the local elections.

      1. ambrit

        Be of good cheer. At least he is not for repatriations.
        What I am hoping for is that he picks up enough support to force the Legacy Parties a bit to the Left. Otherwise, some venue for organizing a General Strike.

    5. pjay

      “Numerous sources have corroborated sexual harassment allegations against [People’s] party founder Nick Brana…”

      Well that was quick. Does TNR win the “first out of the chute” competition?

      1. lambert strether

        > That was quick

        No, it happened “last year” as the story says. That and a Board fight. Regardless, it needs to be cleaned up immediately.

    6. nippersdad

      This is the first interview with him I have seen:


      I found it very interesting, but it includes the obligatory “Russia as wounded empire” and “Putin is a gangster” memes I was hoping he would avoid. Very strong on support for Palestinians, which is doubly worthwhile in a news cycle dominated by Israel’s 75th anniversary. Kennedy, OTOH, was making out with some right wing Rabbi in New York. It made for a good contrast.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I saw him a coupla times on the Jimmy Dore show where one time he was denied tenure at Harvard and another time when he was supporting ‘force the vote.’ My impression is that he is the real deal and not one for performative theater.

        1. nippersdad

          No, he is definitely not performative. I vaguely remember West from the Nader campaign against Al Gore, and then again in the Kucinich campaign in 2008. Of course, he was also one of Sanders’ most high profile surrogates in both of his runs. He has not hidden from controversy in the past, and it will be a pleasure to watch him campaign now.

          If he has one flaw (that I know of) it is this verbal tic of referencing groups of people as “precious” that is going to become lampooned mercilessly once, as Lambert likes to say, the press starts to go into “pulling the wings off of flies” mode. They are going to do the same thing to him that they did to Marianne Williamson and Dennis Kucinich, but I think he will take it in his stride.

    7. tevhatch

      Interesting man, but nearly zero administrative and executive skills. So what’s his selling point to this party with questionable HR administration and poor financial transparency? Anyone know his past pull in fund raising?

      1. nippersdad

        “So what’s his selling point to this party…”

        He helped to start the MPP. Had he not done so he prolly would have run as a Green like Ralph Nader did. As for his fund raising prowess; no clue. He got us to donate, though, and after both of Bernie’s runs we never thought that would be possible again.

    8. The Rev Kev

      A coupla tweets I just saw that sounds pretty right-

      ‘Defund Ukraine
      The Squad and the Greens are mad at Cornel West for potentially stealing away their voters. Being a fake insurgent force on the left is their turf and how dare West not go along with it’


      And then there is this-

      ‘Defund Ukraine
      Democrats are already blaming Cornel West and they haven’t even lost yet’


      1. Pat

        I suppose most of them are well aware that even with media help too many voters will know that Biden is too far gone before Election Day November 2024. But people not voting for Biden will all be West’s fault.

        1. nippersdad

          Potential Democratic PMC bumper sticker:

          “Vote for the brain dead guy, or else”

          Those should sell like hotcakes./s

    9. Katiebird

      I’m intrigued but a long way from being able to donate money again to a candidate.

    10. CanCyn

      I have great respect for Dr. West and am loathe to see him caught up in what I view as the performative BS of a presidential election. That said, it would be great if his candidacy helped keep the conversation focused on social issues and maybe even push that Overton window towards the left a bit. We have a long way to go to get rid of the neoliberal elite and their PMC helpers. I guess a candidate of West’s stature and leanings is a step in the right direction but I gave up hope for a political solution to our woes long ago.

    11. Rod

      He is inspiring in outlook and explanation, for sure.
      I have enjoyed being in many an Audience/Crowd as he spoke.
      Hooking up with Barber and the PPC is a solid.
      2024s Election is quite the Strategy Game.

  3. LawnDart

    The plantidote appearance is still as reliable and close to schedule as our train(wrecks)… you’re not slippin’, man!

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s):

    Train derailment causes closure to US 400 near Dodge City

    WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A train derailment in Ford County has reduced US 400 near Dodge City has closed one lane in both directions.

    The derailment caused major damage to the tracks and highway. There were no reports of injuries, and a Kansas Highway Patrol representative said there wasn’t any indication of an ongoing public health concern. Railroad crews responded to the scene for repairs, and closures are expected to last at least well into Tuesday.


    The Wickedest Little City in the West

    [Trainmasters would take their red caboose lanterns along when visiting the town’s “soiled doves” – and the term “red light district” came to life.]

    During those early years, Dodge City also acquired an infamous stamp of lawlessness and gun-slinging. There was no local law enforcement, and the military had no jurisdiction over the town. Buffalo hunters, railroad workers, drifters, and soldiers scrapped and fought, leading to the shootings where men died with their boots on. This created a hasty need for a local burial place – Boot Hill Cemetery.


    1. griffen

      When I think of Wichita, I can’t help but think a few thoughts:

      That was the hottest wind ever, in particular there was one time I visited in August, probably 18 to 20 years ago. And secondly, the excellent ditty “Seven Nation Army” which is almost literally playing in every college sports arena and college football game now. That song must be on a short list of heavily played and very loud songs.

  4. Will

    Because of wildfires in the neighbouring province of Quebec, much of Ontario is under an air quality warning. Here in Toronto, there is a visible haze from the smoke and my throat and nose started to burn immediately upon stepping outside. It smells like burning plastic.

    I normal don’t wear my N95 until entering a building but opted today to wear it outside as well. Immediate relief. Sadly, the smoke didn’t prompt an increase in masking by others. Aside from the smoke, it’s a nice sunny day so patios are full of people enjoying the weather without a mask. Brought to mind the meme of a dog declaring everything is fine while seated in a burning room.

    To be fair, pre-Covid I would not have thought to mask or even own one. Ignorance was bliss. Now it seems a point of pride to remain unmasked no matter the circumstance.

    1. marcyincny

      We’ve been smokey here in Syracuse too and I’m grateful to have a supply of masks on hand so I can get out to do a few things in the yard/garden. Still it’s going to be a long week…

    2. notabanker

      17 days of no rain in NE Ohio and looking like at least 4-5 days more. 17 is already top 20, longest streak is 27 in 1963. We’ve been getting smoke here, but not nearly as bad as central Ohio.

      I planted some fruit trees and elderberries early this year in early April and took a chance on missing a freeze. Glad I did, they are stressing now, but probably would’ve been wiped out if I planted them in May.

      1. Carla

        @notabanker — Another NEO resident here. Aphids have invaded my garden and are decimating many perennials and shrubs that were never even slightly susceptible before. My first experience with them was when they killed an ornamental plum tree two years ago, breaking my heart. Last year there was no sign of them in my yard. Now they have infested large stands of previously unstoppable Lenten Roses (Hellebore), a small Hawthorne tree, and 4 previously magnificent Rose of Sharon shrubs that should sport magnificent blue blooms in about 3 weeks time.

        Is anyone else battling aphids? So far, I’m losing and the stakes are high.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > aphids

              I have never had aphids, so I cannot speak from experience. However, this from the Old Farmers Almanac looks good. It may be too late in the season for beneficial insects (like ladybugs), but it’s might not be too late for companion plants (to repel aphids) or sacrifice plants (to attract them so they don’t attack a more important plant), if you can buy some flats.

              Funny, aphids require a layered strategy, just like Covid. Including sprays!

            1. John Zelnicker

              Yes, it is, Late Introvert. Dr. Bronner’s castile soap has been recommended in several articles I saw.

              However, my understanding is that Dawn has only natural ingredients, although I can’t verify that without more research than I have time for.

    3. Greg

      I saw that temperatures in Siberia are unusually warm (pushing 40C) at the moment as well. Wonder if we’re in for another year of “Canada and Siberia burn down”, possibly followed by “Australia provides an encore”.

      ETA: actually I just looked them up and I don’t see those temps in the history or forecast. Maybe it was twitter bollocks again.

    4. Raymond Sim

      Here in the Sacramento Valley we’ve seen some horrendous smoke in recent years, sometimes even coming in from far offshore, but those Canadian plumes are unreal.

      For what it’s worth, our Aranet is a better guide to our outdoor air’s breathability than the official air quality ratings. I don’t know what exactly it’s registering (Solely CO2? It strikes me as unlikely.) but if the outdoor air reads anywhere near 550 my eyes and respiratory system usually register their displeasure pretty quickly, and this can happen when our air quality is officially “good.”

      1. aletheia33

        handy tool for checking air quality in relation to wildfires:

        i’ve followed this map all day, and watched the red marks progress with remarkable speed into the eastern USA. southern new england has taken a very bad hit. here in southern vt the air has been awful, even when just orange on this map, before turning red. there were no wunderground/gov’t air quality warnings until our area went red on this map.

        as a previous commenter notes, it smells like burning plastic. you just can feel the toxicity.
        trust your nose and eyes–when it smells that bad out there, you can be confident you don’t want to be breathing it. i don’t know how many cigarettes’ worth i breathed in today, hopefully not too many, but it’s worth remembering that’s what is out there–death via your lungs. and more than just that.

        as i am right by the connecticut river (thankfully on a bit of a bluff), i always assume that whatever bad stuff is out there is sitting right on me and may hang out longer than it will a half mile away. northampton, ma, down the road, and right on the river, has its own microclimate.
        it’s always interesting to see on the weather maps how the weather is acting in, or on both sides of, the valley of this huge, beautiful river, from vt straight down through ma and ct to the ocean.

        right now the furthest south red mark in USA is on winston-salem, nc. the furthest west is hazard, ky (i kid you not!). furthest east is nantucket. boston proper, just a bit northwest of nantucket, is all yellow, but the western suburbs have a bit of orange, and then all is red.

        at time of east palestine, someone posted here a map showing wind movement in real time, with lots of tiny gray arrows. it was amazing. wish i could find it now.

    5. CanCyn

      I live in eastern ON just north of Kingston, our area is experiencing the effects of the smoke. I am currently out of province but hubby reports that the smoke has been most unpleasant. We had a very dry spring, unprecedented fire ban in April. No black flies to speak of. And so far mosquitoes have been mostly not bothersome. Both bugs require a moist environment to thrive. Not much rain in sight so I fear it will be a while before things are under control.
      Am in PEI, no effects from the Nova Scotia wildfire here. They had almost 50mls of rain on Sunday night. It helped but the fire is still burning!

  5. pjay

    – “So what if Biden trips up? On the political stage his footwork is the fanciest seen in decades” [Guardian].

    When I read articles like this, or the one by Robert Reich in this morning’s Links that is almost as bad, I can’t help but think of this classic SNL skit with Phil Hartman as a Jekell-Hyde version of Reagan:


    Maybe Biden’s public personae is just an act and he is really the Mastermind in charge!

  6. Stephen V

    Re: people’s Party, “ballot access” is the albatross in the ointment.
    I fear most peeps think gathering 10’s of thousands of signatures is fairly simple. I think any insider will tell you that the Party has to hire gatherers. This means $$ as well as scads of volunteers. ALL those signatures have to be pre-vetted for accuracy and identity of reg. Voters.
    Might be easier to just purchase the Secy of State’s offices. /s

    1. notabanker

      Yeah, but if it gets done, the establishment mooks will go apoplectic. That in itself would be fun.

      1. Not Again

        LOL. That’s not how it works. In the unlikely event they get enough signatures to gain ballot access, the Dems sue again and use a different legalism. If that doesn’t work, they try again. Biden won the White House but if 60,000 voters changed their minds, Trump would have won. The Dems will fight to the death to keep any 3rd party out.





        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yeah. this is the biggest murderhornet in the ointment.
          and the vast majority of folks i know, online and off, no less…are totally oblivious to this bipartisan(ie: not just the dems) conspiracy to thwart third parties…and even independent candidates…from ever getting out of the gate
          “Our Democracy” is a sham, period.

          and then theres the issue of msm consolidation and collusion…but thats a whole other can of murderhornets for an independent campaign.

          and then!…debates…if they even choose to have them, lol…rather than just decree that there will be no debates.
          access to those debates is full of wiggleroom.

          Brother Cornell is gonna hafta be loud and proud on the intertubes…and pull zero punches like Bernie did.
          he’s gon hafta walk into places where he’s not welcome to get screen time.
          hard slog…but there might just be enough hunger out there for a hard core truth teller like he has a reputation for being.
          i’ll scrawl his name in black marker if i have to(texas has weird rules for “write ins”, these days)
          knowing that my ballot will be considered invalid.
          whole thing is a racket…and if he did any decent things at all, they’d kennedy him.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Brother Cornell is gonna hafta be loud and proud on the intertubes…and pull zero punches like Bernie did. he’s gon hafta walk into places where he’s not welcome to get screen time. etc. hard slog…but there might just be enough hunger out there for a hard core truth teller like he has a reputation for being.

            Not easy, but could be done. I don’t know if West’s style and manner will scale nationally — not because he’s Black, but because at heart he’s a particular sort of preacher. It could, though. It could.

            I think the media, thinking only of ratings, would l-o-o-o-o-o-v-e a Biden v. Trump rematch (both Biden and Trump would too; their parties are divided, but the Republicans much more so than the Democrats).

            The undercard, as it were, of the primaries presents a challenge as the media waits for the main event. How to boost ratings? The answer is challengers.

            On the Democrat side we have Williamson, RFK, and now West. (Worth noting that these three are outsiders who do not govern, unlike DeSantis, Christie, Pence, etc.) Which of these three the press would anoint is open to question, but of the three — considering only the candidate — I think West has an excellent shot. (Williamson is too crystal-y, RFK is a loose cannon, West is (a) Black and (b) is accustomed to the public eye (no bloopers). I can actually see West getting some Conferate Flag-type voters as a “straight talker,” just like Bernie did.

            Worth noting that it takes a party to elect a present. Williamson has nothing, RFK has (so far as I know), Kucinich, and West has the People’s Party. The PP is bad, but the others are worse.

        2. Daryl

          > The Dems will fight to the death to keep any 3rd party out.

          Not seeing any downside there, really ;)

            1. nippersmom

              I think the point is the death of the Dems would be a good thing, so if they “fight to the death”…

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Re: people’s Party, “ballot access” is the albatross in the ointment.

      IMNSHO, controlling the ballot — who gets on it, who gets the votes once on it, how it is counted — is the single distinctive competence of any political party. The Democrats are feckless and undisciplined in so many ways, when not corrupt, but they know this in their bones, and on the ballot they have an iron grip.

    3. some guy

      That could be why it might take a political culture-movement several decades of sincere work with real results to get to the point where it could form a political movement-party which serious numbers of members would want to sign a petition for.

      And we may not have several decades left. And that would be the tragedy of serious third party cutlure-movement attempts at this point in time.

  7. KD

    “‘What I think we need to do is end the Ukraine war on peaceful terms that, yes, do make some major concessions to Russia, including freezing those current lines of control in a Korean-war style armistice agreement. … Which Ukraine wouldn’t want to do,’ he continued. ‘And also a permanent commitment not to allow Ukraine to enter NATO. But in return, Russia has to leave its treaty and its joint military agreement with China.’

    . . . its not good unless there is a promise of a free ice cream cone to every member in good standing of the free world.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Vivek Ramaswamy looks to be just another establishment muppet and is not to be taken seriously. He said ‘he would “end this war” as long as Putin ended his country’s alliance with China’ which makes him sound like an idiot. The Russia-China alliance is key to Russia’s security in the 21st century and will not be merely thrown away. Why would Russia ‘leave its treaty and its joint military agreement with China’ like he wants for a DMZ that would leave Ukraine as a de facto NATO member? Would Russia then depend on US and EU promises on the Ukraine then? Better to vote for Trump than Ramaswamy as at least you can depend on Trump to say stupid stuff and be not disappointed.

  9. semper loquitur

    Eastern and Western lenses to Analytic Idealism with Bernardo Kastrup and Swami Sarvapriyananda

    This dialogue between philosopher Bernardo Kastrup and Swami Sarvapriyananda is a rich exploration of Advaita Vedanta, a non-dualistic Hindu philosophy, and consciousness. Bernardo commence with the three fundamental philosophical questions, around the nature of reality, self, and knowledge. Kastrup addresses accusations of plagiarizing from the Upanishads, leading to a discussion contrasting Western and Eastern philosophical approaches. The conversation dives into non-dualism, the “nothingness”, and the hard problem of consciousness. Key concepts of Advaita Vedanta, such as Ananda (bliss), Shunyata (void), and the experience of Samadhi, are examined in depth. They also broach the existential perspective of life as a “cosmic error,” countering it with Jivanmukti, enlightenment while living. They tackle idealist interpretations of consciousness, the concept of God in Hinduism, and the difference between Samadhi and sleep. The discussion concludes with an exploration between memory, consciousness, the mind-body problem, and the distinction between the personal and universal mind. Throughout, delightful blending of Eastern and Western philosophical perspectives.


    1. Lee

      Thanks. Resonates nicely with a couple of things I’m currently reading: Zen Doctrine of No Mind by D.T. Suzuki and The Supreme Doctrine, Psychological Studies in Zen Thought by Hubert Benoit. Lately, in old age, I’m revisiting these and related works I read during my misspent youth.

      1. wol

        I meditate daily and am re-reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Lowering expectations for Brother West’s candidacy. Good to remember that life is suffering.

  10. Michael McK

    I will vote for Dr. West in the general election (unless there is someone better) but the People’s Party is hopeless. I have seen interviews with the harrassed and Mr. Brana and he must go. Furthermore, before I ever heard those details I tried for months to get someone from them on my community radio talk show to spread the word about the party but never heard back. I had even given them money. At some point I got a random email from one of them in my state with a different return email and said “Hey, I have a talk show, why won’t anybody return my emails. She got back to me and gave me an email. When I got a reply it was a long questionaire from them to vet that we were important enough to spend their time on. Nobody has ever asked for such info (I always include our website so people can see we are real). Often people just don’t respond but the fact that a political party none of my friends had ever heard of was not jumping at the chance to spread the word made me give up on them as an organization with what it takes to make a difference.
    Anyone want to help found a California independence party based on MMT and eco-socialism in the mold of the SNP until they got comfortable as the loyal opposition?

    1. Raymond Sim

      I’m too decrepit to be of much practical use, but you’d definitely have my moral support. I fear there’s probably a lot of that going around.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > my community radio talk sho

      I’m sure readers would love to hear more from you about your experience with community radio. I certainly would!

      1. Michael McK

        Well, check us out; Kmud.org. There is a small staff but we are mostly volunteers.
        We are far from perfect and like any family there is internal conflict. We are mostly leftish in inclination but many of us have Trump derangement syndrome which gets in the way of cogent analysis.
        About every 2 hours there is a new DJ with a new style.I don’t listen to them all but have definitely had my musical horizons broadened. In the evenings and mornings we have talk shows, mostly live with actual uncensored call ins (often the same characters, some right on, some always wrong, some batshoot craycray). We are a Pacifica affiliate and air some of their stuff like Democracy Now and Letters and Politics. I am a broadcast engineer once a week (plus subbing) and took over a talk show slot from one of my retiring hosts. My show is once a month and deals with anything I am interested in; mainly politics, environment, materials science, and local history.
        Would you be my guest some time to talk about the national media landscape, surviving as an independent media outlet and anything you steered the conversation towards? I trust you can see my email.
        Our community used to have spare cash and treated us well. Now we are poor but (in my opinion) the station seems to act as if there is no need to adjust and I fear we will fall off a financial cliff. When I plead for money on air I often mention that if you are not paying for your media then your mind is the product that is for sale. When not giving enough cash to NC I console myself with the huge number of hours I put in on the local media scene and always credit you when passing on info I learned here. I know some of our listeners are now regular NC visitors.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Ukraine sabotaged the dam

      What?? Just because they’ve been shelling it all the time anyhow, and busting the dam hurts Crimea’s water supply? Ridiculous!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Tucker has about a 10 minute video

      Tucker Carlson:

      “So if you’re wondering why our country seems so dysfunctional…nobody knows what’s happening. A small group of people control access to all relevant information and the rest of us don’t know. We’re allowed to yap all we want about racism, but go ahead and talk about something that really matters—and see what happens. If you keep it up, they’ll make you be quiet—trust us. That’s how they maintain control.”

      Notice, however, that Carlson* leaves the nature and composition of that small group — “they” — very carefully unspecified.

      NOTE * Can we please stop calling Tucker Carlson “Tucker” ? I went through two election cycles calling “Bernie Sanders” “Sanders” and not “Bernie.” Why? Because I’m not on a first-name basis with him, nor am I likely to be, nor is anyone I know. The practice promotes a false intimacy, an parasocial intimacy which simply does not exist.

  11. some guy

    . . . ” Performative down to their bones. And come on. Pelosi had her documentary-making daughter there, with camera, on the day? ” . . .

    Well, why not, in all straight-faced seriousness? The certifying of the electoral votes and the certifying of the election would have been a historic occasion all in itself; and given her distaste for Trump, Madame Speaker would very likely have wanted her daughter there to join in the gloating and the glee and to memorialize it on her videocam.

    I see no reason to invoke foreknowledge of a Trumpanon riot to explain the younger Ms. Pelosi’s having a camera there on such an auspicious day.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The certifying of the electoral votes and the certifying of the election would have been a historic occasion all in itself

      Right, which is Pelosi does it every election! As for gloating and glee, Pelosi has the national press for that; she doesn’t need to call in a documentary film-maker for that. (The gloating is an event, a point in time; the documentary is a sequence of events. Was there any reason to expect an out-of-band sequence of events? I find it very hard to believe that the actual counting of the votes would be interesting film in any way.)

      I’m not saying it’s proof. I am saying it’s weird.

      (Also, note that the film disputes Pelosi’s idea that she was in grave danger.)

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If she was just there to film her mother for some boring procedural vote {because everyone loves watching Pelosi raise her hand and say ‘aye’ – that’s must see TV} and a real dangerous riot broke out unexpectedly, you’d think she might hightail it out of there rather than start filming and then of course after the fact try not to let anyone know she was the one doing it lest suspicions be raised.

    3. Matthew G. Saroff

      I generally agree, but I do not think that Alexandra Pelosi was filming there because it was an auspicious day.

      I think that Alexandra Pelosi was filming there that day because:

      1, Nancy Pelosi intended to use it for fund raising.

      2. Voting out trump was documentarian catnip, and Alexandra Pelosi would make bank from the film.

      3. When juxtaposed with the protests that they KNEW were going to occur, it would work even better for items 1 & 2.

      As to the allegation that there was no threat, the fact that she was being evacuated through a secret tunnel indicates that there was a threat.

      This is yet another implication that it was all just rowdy tourists.

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