2:00PM Water Cooler 8/11/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Eastern Meadowlark (Eastern)
Sturnella magna [magna Group], Field south of Cattail Pond, Larimer, Colorado, United States, “Song, including counter-singing by two birds. Good rattle call and brief flight song at 4:43.” ~14 minutes of Meadowlark goodness; very summery. Readers really seem to be taking to the meadowlarks. That makes me happy!

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Look for the Helpers

Terrific long form Tweet by Leonardi, concluding:

SARS-CoV-2 represents an unprecedented challenge and I believe we will only rise to meet it by working together. This means putting aside personalities and not getting swept along with the crowd because it is the easy thing to do. It means standing up for what is right and encouraging people to protect themselves, and most importantly their children.

My pinned tweet is a letter a sent to a school board because I think one of our fundamental responsibilities as human beings is to safeguard those who cannot look after themselves. Children depend on adults to protect them, and right now the adults are gambling that repeat infections by SARS-CoV-2 will not violate that trust. The stakes could not be higher: we risk failing in our profound duty to make the world a safe place for the next generation. History will judge.

Don’t follow the crowd. Even if it’s difficult and there is a cost to be paid, do what is right.

The first part of the tweet shows The Semmelweis Reflex™ in action, something we’ve seen rather a lot of recently. Well worth a read.

Last Friday, I wrote:

I don’t want Water Cooler to be an exercise in doomscrolling. That’s why there are birds at the top, in the sky, and plants at the bottom, for the earth. That said, the world isn’t in the best shape, and we do have to report that clearly, especially in the face of denial, minimization, layers of impacted PMC bullshit. That said, “”””if it bleeds, it leads,”””” meaning that our famously free press has little incentive to report good news beyond clickbait-y heartwarming anecdotes. That’s one reason I invented, quoting Mr. Rogers, “”””Look for the helpers”””” in the Covid section; to relieve the bleakness. Let’s expand the principle


Links to stories about helpers are also good:

If readers wish to send me more links or photos of helpers in action, you can mail me with “”””Helpers”””” in the subject line. Could be Covid, could be any situation. Even helpful animals!


“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

“Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund: “It Doesn’t Seem Like People Want To Get To The Bottom” Of January 6″ [RealClearPolitics]. The Interview:

Sund is flogging his book. But it sounds like an interesting book:

“Only the chief of Capitol Police, not the DoD, can revoke permits on Capitol grounds, yet neither man reached out to me to discuss these concerns. Was this because they knew that if they informed me, I would immediately notify the two sergeants at arms and demand military support to protect my officers and perimeter on January 6? Milley has stated he feared that Trump was seeking a “”Reichstag moment”” in which he could invoke the Insurrection Act. But instead of notifying the chief on the Hill regarding the threats of violence, SECDEF Miller and SECARMY McCarthy implemented unprecedented restrictions on military assistance to law enforcement.”

I have not mastered the January 6 timeline. But the LIHOP v. MIHOP framing does seem to crop up rather a lot, and not just for this story.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Judge warns of restraints to what evidence Trump can talk about, agrees to limited protective order” [Associated Press]. “Presiding over her first hearing for the case, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington heard arguments on how to structure a protective order that would prevent a public airing of all the evidence turned over by prosecutors…. The judge said that the more anyone makes ‘inflammatory’ statements about the case, the greater her urgency will be to move the case more quickly to trial to prevent the contamination of the jury pool. She noted that ‘arguably ambiguous statements’ could be construed as intimidation or harassment of potential witnesses….. The prosecutors proposed a protective order barring Trump and his lawyers from disclosing materials provided by the government to anyone other than people on his legal team, possible witnesses, the witnesses’ lawyers or others approved by the court. Trump’s team, meanwhile, asked for a more narrow order that would bar the public release only of the materials deemed ‘sensitive,’ such as grand jury documents. Defense attorneys wrote in court papers that the need to protect sensitive information ‘does not require a blanket gag order over all documents produced by the government.’…. [Chutkan] rejected prosecutors’ broader protective order proposal that sought to prevent the public release of all evidence they hand over to Trump’s defense as they prepare for trial. She instead seemed poised to impose a more limited protective order that would bar the public release only of materials deemed ‘sensitive,’ such as grand jury materials. The government considers the vast majority of evidence in the case to be sensitive. The judge sided with the prosecution on what materials are considered sensitive and therefore protected under the order.”

“Judge delivers mixed ruling on Trump protective order in 2020 election case” [FOX]. The deck: “Judge in former President Trump election cases says only ‘sensitive’ material covered under protective order, then agrees with prosecution’s definition of sensitive.” More: “Trump’s attorney John Lauro then argued that the government’s request was ‘extraordinary.’ ‘We are in uncharted waters, we have a defendant running for president and his opponent has the DOJ bringing charges against him,’ Lauro said. ‘The fact that he’s tuning a political campaign has to yield to the orderly administration of justice,’ Chutkan replied. She suggested that Trump might release evidence about former Vice President Mike Pence’s testimony, for example, to denigrate him as a witness. ‘The defendant’s desire to respond to political opponents has to yield,’ Chutkan said. ‘There are limits. This is a criminal case. The need for this case to proceed in a normal order means there are going to be limits on the defendant’s speech.’ She told Lauro that how a protective order might affect the presidential campaign was not her concern. ‘I cannot and will not factor into my decisions the effect it will have on a campaign for either side,’ she said.” • Except the case, by definition, does everything Chutkan said she did not want to do. For example: Can Trump, as a candidate, say, according to Chutkan, that the case is an example of “disorderly administration of justice”? Can Trump, as it were, go meta?

“Judge Chutkan says Trump’s right to free speech in January 6 case is ‘not absolute'” [CNN]. “The former president has a right to free speech, but that right is ‘not absolute,’ Chutkan said. “”Mr. Trump, like every American, has a First Amendment right to free speech, but that right is not absolute. In a criminal case such as this one, the defendant’s free speech is subject to the rules.’…. Whether or not Trump’s public statements are covered by the protecti]ve order that’s issued, she said, if they result in the intimidation of a witness or the obstruction of justice, ‘I will be scrutinizing them very carefully.” • The issue for Trump’s lawyers — who do look young (see the photo), so the question is whether they are smart and hungry enough — is whether Trump can, for once, use his free speech rights strategically instead of opening his big yap impulsively. (Trump needs a surrogate on the trail. As usual, he can’t find good help.)

“DOJ Wants Trump’s Trial on Election Charges to Be Jan. 2, 2024” [Bloomberg]. “The US Justice Department wants a Jan. 2 jury trial for former president Donald Trump on charges he criminally conspired to obstruct the 2020 election. Trump opposes the schedule proposed by Special Counsel John ‘Jack’ Smith’s office in a court filing on Thursday. The former president’s lawyers already signaled that they’ll argue for a longer time line, citing the complexity of the case and Trump’s crowded legal and political schedule as he seeks a return to the White House. Trump’s response in court is due Aug. 17. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington is expected to set a trial date at an Aug. 28 hearing. Trump has pleaded not guilty. A January trial would make the Washington case the first of Trump’s three pending criminal cases to go before a jury. It also would overlap with the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters — a key event in the prosecution time line — and the Jan. 15 Republican caucuses in Iowa.” • Liberal Democrat hysteria will be at its height. I wonder what that totally uncontaminated jury pool will hear when they go home at night (or think, if they are sequestered. All depends on what their media diet was, I suppose).

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“DeSantis greeted by ‘pudding fingers’ chant in Iowa” [Politico]. “It was an inauspicious start for Ron DeSantis in Iowa on Friday. Chanting ‘Ron DeFascist’ and ‘pudding fingers’ on a megaphone while ringing cowbells, two protesters effectively cut short the Florida governor’s first campaign stop of the day at a large roadside rock painted for war veterans. It was the second notable disruption of a Republican presidential candidate by the left in Iowa this week, after a Democrat on Thursday asked Mike Pence at the Iowa State Fair, ‘Why did you commit treason on Jan. 6?'” At the DeSantis event, Kara Ryan of Des Moines said she and her aunt, Heather Ryan, were there on behalf of a political action committee called ‘Bitches Get Stuff Done,’ that supports abortion rights. A man there to support DeSantis, wearing a hat given out by his aligned super PAC, Never Back Down, at one point tried to stop the noise by attempting unsuccessfully to knock the megaphone out of Heather Ryan’s hands. DeSantis, joined by his wife Casey, still tried to give remarks. ‘People like that,’ he said, referring to the two protesters drowning him out, ‘are what’s holding this country back.’ The handful of veterans gathered erupted in applause. But the event was hurried, DeSantis’ meeting with the veterans brief.” • Independent: “In March, Mr DeSantis chose not to outright deny that he ate chocolate pudding with three fingers on a private flight in 2019. … ‘I don’t remember ever doing that,’ the governor told Piers Morgan in an interview on Fox Nation.”

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“Republicans say an impeachment inquiry is just an investigation: That’s not what they said about Trump” [USA Today]. “When it comes to the politically treacherous push to impeach President Joe Biden, House Republicans have been careful with their words. Republican lawmakers say they’re only interested in an impeachment inquiry to investigate the White House – not necessarily formal impeachment proceedings against Biden to remove him from office. If the claim sounds familiar, that’s because it is. That’s what House Democrats said in 2019 when former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced an impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump. Pelosi had long faced calls from Democratic lawmakers to open an impeachment inquiry, but the former speaker publicly downplayed the prospect…. ‘They’re trying to deflect’: Democrats link GOP push to impeach Biden to Trump indictments.”

“A Timeline Of Joe Biden’s Intervention Against The Prosecutor General Of Ukraine” [Moon of Alabama (Lyman Alpha Blob)]. • I asked for a timeline; ask and ye shall receive!

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IA: “CNN’s John King: Iowa Voters’ Opinions On Ukraine Sound Like ‘The Opening Of An Old Tucker Carlson Show'” [RealClearPolitics]. “CNN’s Jon King and Dana Bash comment on this piece investigating how Iowa voters are approaching the 2024 presidential election. Jon King said listening to Iowa voters’ opinions on Ukraine was ‘like watching the open of an old Tucker Carlson show.’ ‘They’re good people,’ he also said. ‘They raise money for the Girl Scouts, they go to church, but they believe things that would break our fact-check machine.’ ‘And they don’t trust us. They think we’re part of the problem” [pause for hysterical laughter]. More: “JON KING, CNN: If you think the United States should be supporting Ukraine in the fight against Putin, raise your hand. IOWA VOTERS: [silence].” • Asking me to vote with them. Not for (precise) reasons I agree with, but ah well, nevertheless….

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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The Democrats the party of the rich:

Not quite right. As I say above: “The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC,” who have higher incomes than the median American, no question. To me, “the rich” don’t have to work for a living, hence are capital.

Realignment and Legitimacy


“I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.” –William Lloyd Garrison

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; Wastewater Scan, includes drilldown by zip); Variants (CDC; Walgreens); “Iowa COVID-19 Tracker” (in IA, but national data). “Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts” (especially on hospitalization by city).

Lambert here: Readers, thanks for the collective effort. To update any entry, do feel free to contact me at the address given with the plants. Please put “COVID” in the subject line. Thank you!

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); 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: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), 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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Darth Vader’s brother:

Darryl Vader? 

Covid is Airborne

A terrific thread on everything that can go wrong electrically with air filtration units over time:

Celebrity Watch

“Metallica Can’t Force Insurer To Pay for Tour Canceled by COVID-19 Pandemic, Judge Rules” [Billboard]. From 2022, still germane. “A California judge says Metallica’s insurance company doesn’t need to pay for six South American concerts that were canceled when COVID-19 struck, thanks to an exclusion in the policy for ‘communicable diseases.'” …. In a decision on Nov. 30 obtained by Billboard, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly J. Fujie said she didn’t buy it. ‘The travel restrictions which caused the concert cancellations were a direct response to the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic,’ the judge wrote. ‘The evidence … demonstrates that the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the travel restrictions to South America and restrictions on public gatherings. The COVID-19 pandemic was therefore the efficient proximate cause of the concerts’ cancellations.’ Metallica’s lawyers had also argued that the ‘diseases’ exclusion didn’t apply at all, since the exact wording of the policy said Lloyd’s wouldn’t pay coverage stemming from a disease ‘or fear or threat thereof.’ Citing that language, the band said ‘none of its bandmembers felt threatened or fearful.’ But Judge Fujie was similarly unswayed, ruling that the Metallica policy’s language ‘does not require that the policyholders [themselves] feel fearful or threatened.'” • If the origin of the “living in fear” trope was Metallica… that would be a turn-up for the books.

“EXCLUSIVE: Sandra Bullock and Bryan Randall seen ‘exchanging vows’ and dancing in intimate Bahamas ceremony three years before his ALS diagnosis” [Daily Mail]. “During this time DailyMail.com understands that Bullock also introduced strict Covid testing protocol which was still in place at her Beverly Hills residence at the tine of Randall’s death. According to one insider: ‘She just stopped letting people in the house. All the testing was done outside, at the pool house, two, even three times a week. ‘It was a huge undertaking, and the general understanding was that it was because Bryan was in there, in the back of the house, receiving care. ‘It was a horrible situation. It got so the children and even Sandra wanted him out of the house at some times. He was seeing a psychologist too at one point – I don’t know if that was because of the progression of the illness or the mental toll of coping with it.” • Too bad Bullock didnt model the behavior, though I’m sad for both of them.

“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.

* * *

“NTSB releases uninformative preliminary report on United Maui dive” [The Air Current (PI)]. :

The National Transportation Safety Board on April 25 quietly released a bare-bones and uninformative preliminary report as part of its investigation into the United Airlines Boeing 777-200 that went into a sharp dive and recovery shortly after takeoff from Maui in December. The investigation into the still publicly unexplained December 18 dive is unusual for the NTSB, which launched the investigation on February 14 only after the occurrence was revealed publicly by The Air Current on February 12. At the time, the NTSB said that it expected a preliminary report within two to three weeks. The NTSB has had a spate of new high-profile investigations in recent months as investigators, airlines and federal regulators try to understand the causes of numerous close-calls involving major U.S. carriers. The NTSB has stuck to its standard reporting schedule for other incidents.” • ‘Tis a mystery!


Elite Maleficence

I don’t know what happened to the Los Angeles County Public Health department, but whatever, it’s not good. First, the handwashing poster. Now this:

This is a long thread demolishing handwashing propaganda along much the same lines as droplet dogma. The studies are bad:

Worse, the key study is bad:

Sadly, Twitter is what we have. The blogosphere was so much better, for both writers and readers.

* * *

I don’t know what the world has come to when Trump’s Surgeon General makes more sense on Covid policy than any liberal Democrat:

Not that Armstrong is a force in the Republican party. But still.

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Find the smart people round this table:

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Case Data

UPDATED (Saturday) From BioBot wastewater data, August 11:

Lambert here: We blew past Peak #2, and (I would guess) are well on our way to surpassing Peak #4. It will be interesting to see what happens when schools open up. I would like to congratulate the Biden administration and the public health establishment, the CDC especially, for this enormous and unprecedented achievement. And a tip of the ol’ Water Cooler hat to the Great Barrington goons, whose policies have been followed so assiduously! A curious fact: All of Biden’s peaks are higher than Trump’s peaks. Shows you what public health can do when it’s firing on all eight cylinders! Musical interlude. NOTE I’m not happy that Biobot can’t update this data more frequently. 

UPDATED (Saturday) Regional data:

Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it. There is a big surge in the Midwest, but let’s wait for the next drop before drawing conclusions, since backward revision of biobot data is frequent.

Regional variant data, August 5.

EG.5 (the orange pie slice) still seems evenly distributed. Sadly, the Midwest data is not available, so we can’t infer anything about the Midwest surge and any variant(s), one way or the other. 


NOT UPDATED From CDC, August 5:

From CDC, July 22:

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

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, August 5:

Lambert here: Increase is even more distinct. (The black line is “combined”, but it is easy to see that Covid, the red line, is driving everything.)

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, August 7:

3.4%. Interestingly, people are citing to this, too, as well as Biobot. Vertical-ish, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

From CDC, July 24:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data. They say “maps,” but I don’t see one…. 


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 9:

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.” I can’t seem to get a pop-up that shows a total of the three causes (top right). Readers?

Total: 1,171,692   1,170,864 = 828 (828 * 365 = 302,220 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

NOT UPDATED The Economist, August 6:

Lambert here:  No longer updated daily. Odd when it was, odd when it stopped. 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

Inflation: “United States Producer Prices Change” [Trading Economics]. “Annual producer inflation in the US accelerated to 0.8% in July of 2023 from 0.2% in June, above forecasts of 0.7%, amid base effects.”

* * *

Tech: “The Reddit Protest Is Finally Over. Reddit Won.” [Gizmodo]. “Despite the infinite blackout threats, most moderators relented as the weeks rolled by. Three major holdouts were r/aww, r/pics, and r/videos, some of Reddit’s largest communities that account for more than 91 million subscribers. The three subreddits reopened weeks ago but adopted rules by popular vote that prohibited content that did not feature HBO’s John Oliver, rendering the forums useless for their previous purposes. For a while, the subreddits stood strong, but r/videos was the first to backpedal, dropping the John Oliver rule but requiring all posts to feature profanity. Soon that rule was abandoned as well. Last week, the moderators of r/aww announced the John Oliver rule was over, and over the weekend r/pics quietly gave up the protest as well, as reported by the Verge. ‘More than a month has passed, and as things on the internet go, the passion for the protest has waned and people’s attention has shifted to other things,’ an r/aww moderator wrote in a post about the rule change. According to Reddark, a site that tracks the subreddit protest, 1,843 of the original 8,829 protesting communities are still dark. But most of these are small communities, and today only protesting subreddit with over 10 million subscribers is r/fitness. Even if those subreddits never reopen, relinquishing the John Oliver rule officially brings the Reddit protests to a close. Though the Reddit team likely caused permanent damage to the platform and its relationship with users, Spez got his way. But that victory might not mean much. Reddit, along with Twitter (or X, as Musk would like you to call it), still have thriving communities. But the tides are shifting. Even Instagram and Facebook are struggling to secure long-term relevance as competitors like TikTok continue to dominate, and TikTok’s future in the US isn’t certain either as it faces down a potential federal ban. We’re at the dawn of a platform shift. As Google tunes its algorithms and incorporates more AI content into its search results, the business model of the entire internet is undergoing an unpredictable change. Over the long term, Reddit’s scrambling efforts at financial security may prove just as futile as the moderators’ attempts to fight back.” • Returning to the blogosphere would solve all this. No?

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 69 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 11 at 1:54 PM ET.

The Gallery

“Bureaucratic Collage: Ghosts in the System” [Art Institute of Chicago]. The deck: “Bureaucracy is a system of processes that organizes authority across institutions.” Hmm. More: “What often comes to mind when I think of bureaucracy is the circulation of documents, usually in the form of paperwork or media in the form of film and photography. A defining characteristic of this material is its functionality; its intended form fulfills an active purpose within the system it serves. The art of collage is often characterized by frayed seams, revealed edges, and uneven surfaces, and can sometimes appear as a Frankensteinian concoction of substances. Through the combination of disparate elements and material mutations, the assembled work becomes something else. And when it’s combined with bureaucracy, it becomes something else altogether.” For example:

(A collage of the lunar surface).  And:

(A collage of city records on artists.) Neat stuff! Makes me wonder what could be done with the records in Trump’s court cases…. 

The Jackpot

“There is no ‘getting back to normal’ with climate breakdown” [Mark Blyth, Guardian]. From 2021, still germane. “[Climate breakdown] is a giant non-linear outcome generator with wicked convexities. In plain English, there is no mean, there is no average, there is no return to normal. It’s one way traffic into the unknown. As study after study shows, the one thing humans hate dealing with is uncertainty. Risk – odds you can count on – is fine. But systems with truly random outcomes freak us out. We are also terrible at dealing with scale. As evolutionary psychologists put it, ‘Our modern skulls house a stone age mind.’ It evolved to solve problems in a pretty stable mean-reverting world with face-to-face interactions. When we encountered things that freaked us out in such a world, we filled in the gaps with a mutually agreed story (religion or political ideology, for example) that helped us ignore what we could not explain. But now we live in a world we can explain, and yet rather than accept what we know and act upon that knowledge, we increasingly imagine our world to be different from how it actually is.” • I’m not sure Blyth has the causality right here, with all this talk about “stone age minds.” He leaves propaganda out of the question. Hence he leaves class out of the equation. I grant this is the stupidest timeline, but it was made stupid.

Class Warfare

“The Case for More Strikes” [The Nation]. “Today the strategy card deck has been reshuffled, and strikes are on the table again. Reform leaders in the UAW have already started negotiations with the Big Three automakers—Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors, covering 150,000 workers—ahead of contracts expiring on September 14. With the campaign ramp-up on a short timeline, the union isn’t wasting a second, whipping up fighting enthusiasm among the rank and file with contract actions nationwide. We are witnessing an uptick in labor militancy the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Thousands of workers have started picket lines around the country, from striking screenwriters and actors to hotel workers, locomotive manufacturing workers, and Amazon workers. It won’t last forever. The time to build credible strike threats and hit the bricks is now.” • Or one big one. I wonder if the union leadership realizes how tightly coupled the economy really is?

News of the Wired

“Want to pwn a satellite? Turns out it’s surprisingly easy” [The Register]. “In a presentation at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, Johannes Willbold, a PhD student at Germany’s Ruhr University Bochum, explained he had been investigating the security of satellites. He studied three types of orbital machinery and found that many were utterly defenseless against remote takeover because they lack the most basic security systems. ‘People think that satellites are secure,’ he said. ‘Those are expensive assets and they should have encryption and authentication. I assume that criminals think the same and they are too hard to target and you need to be some kind of cryptography genius. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to give this talk.'” • Oh.

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TF:

TF writes: “Hypericum prolificum in Isham Park, upper Manhattan. Sure is popular with these large bees. They bounce around quickly on the blooms.” You can actually see the blooms shake when a heavy bee comes in for a landing.

* * *

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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. Carla


    Excuse me, but is this supposed to be intelligible to the average, reasonably literate English-speaker? Because it is not.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > supposed to be intelligible to the average, reasonably literate English-speaker

      Well, that’s a loaded question, isn’t it?

      LIHOP v. MIHOP originated, IIRC, among the 9/11 “researchers.” I think they’re good acronyms to know, at least for the politically literate.

      As for SECDEF and SECARMY, it’s in a quote from a cop. If this were a post, I would expand them, but here I am always extremely pressed temporally. (Nevertheless, I do try to expand medical acronyms on first use where found, since the risks are greater than for political content.)

      1. Carla

        Multiple, obscure, long acronyms don’t just cheapen and degrade language, they make it incomprehensible. Texting and Twitter did not initiate this problem, but have exacerbated it. Let’s refrain from this lazy adolescent way of trying to be “cool.”

      1. Pat

        I feel guilty as I used LIHOP in a post on 9/11 conspiracy theory yesterday. I still don’t have a problem with the usage, but if bringing it up brought it into the conversation on a greater scale and annoyed people that they might need to ask about it I am sorry.
        Although for the record all the acronyms mentioned are in common enough usage you can search them and get an answer spelling them out similar to looking for a definition of a word you are unfamiliar with.

        1. ChrisRUEcon

          No offense taken by me, Pat … just haven’t really heard the acronyms used in a while … ;-)

          1. Wukchumni

            My favorite acronym I made up pertains to LA freeways in particular:

            BEFNAR = Brakes engaged for no apparent reason

            The bane of every traffic jam, all it takes is one galoot and you get a chain reaction.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I feel guilty as I used LIHOP in a post on 9/11 conspiracy theory yesterday.

          I may have picked it up from your comment. That doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting or useful frame, since there are rather a lot of conspiracies about just now (assuming one can distinguish “conspiracy” from the normal operations of Flex-Nets).

          My issue is the binary. There are some things that are binary, and “let it” v. “made it” is a useful starting point, but this is the stupidest timeline. Many things happen through failures of operational capability, laziness, stupidity, chance…. One might simplify The Sleepwalkers to argue that World War I happened because the saner heads of state were on vacation (Europe/August even then) and all the decisions for war were made by warmongering mediocrities…. “LI” v. “MI” doesn’t really apply, there. It’s both, or neither.

      2. Ian

        Into the mix of 9/11 “conspiracy” theories, I’ve always thought that LIHOP and MIHOP should be joined by the theory the 9/11 Commission put forth: MINOR – Massive Incompetence, No One Responsible

    1. some guy

      There is also the less-used HIHOP ( Help It Happen On Purpose) in between LIHOP and MIHOP.
      And I agree that these acronyms have been used often enough by enough people that they are neither long nor obscure.

      1. Ian

        Re: HIHOP – some guy, that’s good; never saw that before!

        LIHOP = Let It Happen On Purpose


        HIHOP = Help It Happen On Purpose


        MIHOP = Make It Happen On Purpose


        (Official Stance -9/11 Commission):

        MINOR = Massive Incompetence, No One Responsible

        * Pick your own CT (Conspiracy Theory) *

  2. flora

    re: “Judge warns of restraints to what evidence Trump can talk about, agrees to limited protective order” [Associated Press]

    I’m taking a wild guess: the Prosecutor’s office will leak like a sieve. / ;)

    1. ambrit

      What really made me laugh was the assertion by the Judge that politics would not be allowed to interfere. The entire process is political. This looks like a classically PMC mind set.
      If the Judge is at all serious in this, she will do a hard sequestration of the Jury. Put the Jury up at the Willard’s Hotel and on the weekend they can all go along with “Creepy” Joe Biden to Ford’s Theatre to see the revival of “Our American Cousins.” What could go wrong?

      1. Pat

        I’m not sure that will help.(although exposure to Joe might offset any ideas that there is a more Presidential President in this.) parroting flora here, if the past few years are any indication, the prosecution will be as big or a bigger problem as Trump and his team.

        Can the jury questionnaire be used to eliminate anyone who has watched a newscast on anything other than the weather channel in the last two years before voir dire? Then the hard sequestration, in a new venue…

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The entire process is political.

        Yes, the politics of it will keep re-emerging, like the skeletal hand of a zombie from the earth of a grave.

        The judge is annointing herself as apolitical (and by extension annointing the effort (and the class backing/driving it)) as apolitical, and in proper ceremonial form, in a properly hallowed place. Bourdieu would love this.

        Agreed on sequestering the jury.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    Lambert, yesterday you mentioned you needed a timeline regarding Shokin and I couldn’t get the comment to post, perhaps due to the url. I emailed the link to you, but in case you didn’t see that, if you check the MofA website for posts from 11/5/2019 you will find a quite comprehensive timeline.

    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      lyman alpha blob: It is linked to above, and thank you for finding it.

      Gosh, golly, intervening to force dismissal of an important law-enforcement official in another government. There’s no stench of corruption about that. Who does Biden think he’s deceiving?

      Nothing unusual here~! >>

      Jan 19 2017 Burisma announces a donation of between $100,000 and 249,999 to the Atlantic Council
      Aug 2017 U.S. supported National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) closes its case against Zlochevsky
      Oct 27 2017 Zlochevsky is estimated to have $535 million in assets, more than double than a year earlier.
      Jan 23 2018 Joe Biden brags publicly how he blackmailed Poroshenko into firing Shokin.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    ” I’m not sure Blyth has the causality right here, with all this talk about “stone age minds.” He leaves propaganda out of the question. Hence he leaves class out of the equation. I grant this is the stupidest timeline, but it was made stupid.”

    I was pretty much where you are on this, but Hagens and Rees have convinced me that these evolved traits play a big role. This is a link to a quickie version of the course Hagens teaches at UMinn. It’s 20 minutes and covers adaptive human behaviors that worked great when we were hunter gatherers, and which have been overwhelmed by the pace of change in how humans live over the past 250 years. This is a link to William Rees’s presentation to an academic group combining a discussion of these traits with species overshoot causes. It’s the first 20 minutes.

    I think it’s fair to say that both Hagens and Rees would say that culture can overcome these proclivities, but not our current culture.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I think it’s fair to say that both Hagens and Rees would say that culture can overcome these proclivities, but not our current culture.

      One might also urge that humans are able to display adaptability through culture, and that this ability is also an “evolved trait.”

      It will be interesting to see what The Jackpot brings, in terms of cultural adaptation/evolution, whatever one might all it. Or perhaps, given The West’s handling of Covid, we already know.

  5. John

    LIHOP- Little insects have open pores OR large inebriates have other plans. … and so and so forth. I grow increasingly weary of inscrutable acronyms, which, like paywalls and the ubiquity of X or twitter or whatever it is this week cause me to skim, not read, my way through much of Water Cooler and Links. I suppose Lambert and Yves and Company have to work with what is available to them, but I do not have to like it. The Internet was once a wondrous resource. Now that the snoops … register! email please! … and the monetizers envelop it like fungus, it is losing its appeal.

    I’m a long read person and that is increasingly out of fashion.

    1. britzklieg

      My favorite is ianal (I am not a lawyer) because for those who use it the most it seems to be a self-descritptive Freudian slip, to which I would respond: “you sure are!”

    2. Mark Gisleson

      It should be pointed out that long acronyms are old school blogging fare. There were times I’d stop reading Atrios for a while and when I’d come back they’d have a new acronym I didn’t know but once it was in play good luck ever seeing it used w/an explainer. That was always frustrating and when holding on to an audience negatives accumulate quickly.

      OTOH…some phrases get to be tiresome to read as well as type out and so acronyms have been known to happen.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > That was always frustrating and when holding on to an audience negatives accumulate quickly.

        And yet the baby blue blog still survives…. So there’s something to be said for old-school blogging. We used to invent acronyms, throw them out there, and see if they stuck. I don’t due that anymore, but it was fun. I don’t do it, of course, because sadly there’s no more blogosphere and hence no community to propagate them within (except possibly Reddit, home of AITA* and IIRC IANAL; but I don’t do Reddit).

        NOTE * Am I The [glass bowl].

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Different rules, you adjust. I for one will never apologize for appropriating material without attribution. Links I’ll attribute, thoughts I’ll attribute, but if you coin a phrase or word I find helpful to the cause, well, thank you for your donation. Do not expect attribution, it slows down the meme.

          NC has given far more than it has taken. That’s in the best tradition of blogging. Which is still not an excuse for acronymonious dialogue.

    3. Carla

      John, I’m in your club, the Anti-Inscrutable Acronyms Club, and stated so with two remarks at the start of this Comment thread. Apparently, Lee tends to agree with us, so we now have a club of at least three — the sky’s the limit!

      1. Wukchumni

        Its quite acronymious around here, isn’t it funny how newfangled Gregg shorthand replaced words?

        Try this on a young adult:

        Read them something with multi-syllable words and have them spell it out for you either on computer or longhand, you’ll be amazed at how spelling errors emerge.

  6. Terry Flynn

    COVID anecdata. I’ve finally had some progress from the NHS regarding my 3 year COVID experience. I deliberately demanded (even knowing I’d have to wait ages as she is both popular and very good) a consultation – even just a telephone one – with the deputy senior partner at my General Practice. Yesterday morning I got the call.

    She was great. I very calmly acknowledged that the “box ticking” culture regarding my blood tests was getting me ignored; that taking a more holistic and longitudintal view – namely that I had a pattern of blood counts suggesting my body was “taking cumulative damage with each COVID infection” and my immune system was a mess, with blood counts all “trending the wrong way even if still within reference range” etc – and all the “usual suspects” (all the Heps/HIV/etc were ruled out). She asked, out of left field, if I’ve been on treatments for infections for long periods. “Yes – topical antifungals and now antibiotics for scalp issues almost continuously for 3 years under my dermatologist who is fully on board that this is COVID related; the IV antibiotics I received during i/p 24 hour admission at hospital following bite from feral cat in April and stuff I overheard the trauma surgeon’s team said (not realising that I, although not a physician, had a PhD in med stats and know the jargon) which suggested the hospital thinks “there’s something really weird here and nothing else about the patient can explain this”.

    So my results and those over last few years will be evaluated by an immunologist. Progress. Finally. Not a moment too soon. Attneded funeral of family friend Wednesday – cardiac aneurysm burst. I was only person masked (FFP2 – not ideal, but better than surgical). Two teenagers still have nasty coughs after 2-3 weeks. Various people trying to cover up coughs and other respiratory symptoms. I have a bad feeling some of the older people attending will be in trouble soon….

    1. Raymond Sim

      Well done! I’ve been haranguing my family quite a bit lately, in an effort to at least get everyone used to hearing that immunological challenges may await us. The next task is to figure out in broad terms what the best way to approach the healthcare system might be. I’m pretty clueless on that score.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks Lambert, will do. The NHS (around here) has “reached the point of realising what is GENUINELY or strongly suspected to be covid related”. The issue is that the lack of cash is stopping it from moving fast enough to follow up on all these types of issues NC identified yonks ago!

        Yeah the coronary issue was no surprise to me, though a surprise to everyone else.

        My main pleasant surprise in all this was that I encountered an orthopod with good bedside manner and holistic patient-centred skills. Caveat – I worked a lot alongside rheumatology bods who often dislike orthopods – but getting one who seemed so good on the “people skills/holistic” side rather than “simple trauma/bits of meat” side was a pleasant surprise in these difficult times!

  7. Bruno

    “a Democrat on Thursday asked Mike Pence at the Iowa State Fair, ‘Why did you commit treason on Jan. 6?’”
    Whether or not Jan. 6 was a “Reichstag event” (I think America already has had that event, on Sept. 11. My reaction that day, 5 miles north of the WTC–“that smells like a burning Reichstag”) the heckle of Pence (for whom I have the utmost contempt) “Why did you commit treason on Jan. 6?” by “a Democrat” is outright slander. If Pence had as much courage as a mouse he would have brought suit then and there for defamation.

    1. marym

      Generally speaking it’s maga/republicans who think Pence did the wrong thing and pcm/dems who think he did the right thing when he accepted the electoral ballot count.

      Pence called it a fair question and said he was happy to answer…He responded that he followed the U.S. Constitution, recalling his oath of office as vice president and urging the questioner to “read Article II of the Constitution.”

      The man who asked the question was David Stelzer, a Democrat and Joe Biden supporter from Parker, Colorado. He told the Register he doesn’t believe Pence committed treason on Jan. 6. “Heck no, I don’t believe he did,” Stelzer said. He said he asked the question because he wanted Pence to face the issue head-on. “That’s the elephant in this campaign,” Stelzer said. “And lately he’s been very good, but he’s partly responsible for why 70% of Republicans do not believe the election was fair.”


    2. lambert strether

      > If Pence had as much courage as a mouse he would have brought suit then and there for defamation

      Pence didn’t get in the car. Now he’s throwing that away?

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Even the dullest of insiders hears things. I strongly suspect Pence has heard first-hand accounts giving credibility to the ‘theory’ that the insurrection was faked by law enforcement embeds.

        If a riot is exactly what happened that day, it is beyond curious that the Democrats have been so crazily protective of the security camera footage or that the 1/6 cmte was so Chaplinesque in their exertions of authoritay. The footage shown has been curiously limited. That they brought in Hollywood producers to edit such small pieces of video is frankly extraordinary. That they had the nerve to cut the sound and provide their own is frankly crossing a line into sedition imo as a former professional propagandist (marketer, same thing).

          1. The Rev Kev

            Kinda like the Panama Papers that emerged in 2016. Some juicy bits released and then the rest were deep-sixed. Funniest bit about that episode was that news articles plastered Putin’s photo on articles about those papers – the one man who was not listed in them.

          2. Lambert Strether Post author

            Not good either way. There are very few right wing sources I would trust not to game the tapes. OTOH, we don’t want a bunch of poor schlubs to be dogpiled on the Intertubes either. Too bad they jailed Assange. He had good editorial judgement about what to show and what not to show.

            1. some guy

              Did Assange ever even begin to train a successor? An apprentice? Or did he keep wikileaks frozen at the stage of being one man’s personal stage . . . his own?

              ( Though his release of the ” East Anglia Global Warming E-mails” calls into question in my mind what was so good about his editorial judgement about what to release. Those emails were very useful and maybe even an inflection point in the global warming denialists getting a whole new lease on life and a whole new burst of traction.)

              If so, that is also too bad, because it means that there is no one who can carry on the least vestige of wikileaks’s work if Assange is Guantanamized or Padillafied for good in a permanent way.

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m going to go completely off the reservation.

      Where I start is with Milley’s meeting with subordinates on 1/6:

      Milley also summoned senior officers to review the procedures for launching nuclear weapons, saying the president alone could give the order — but, crucially, that he, Milley, also had to be involved. Looking each in the eye, Milley asked the officers to affirm that they had understood, the authors write, in what he considered an “oath.

      That says something about Milley’s mindset that day. It’s like a scene out of “Seven Days in May.”

      So Milley was “on the team,” but very worried about who was and who wasn’t “on the team.” Pelosi was “on the team.” So was McConnell. Chief Sund was definitely NOT “on the team.” That’s not to say he was a Trump loyalist, it’s a recognition that those who were “on the team” did not trust him.

      I also think Milley and Pelosi were worried that the Virginia and Maryland National Guard troops/commanders might not be “on the team.” They weren’t willing to roll the dice until things were so out of hand that there was little choice.

      So whether or not this was an FBI-induced riot, whether or not there was ever any realistic possibility that Trump would succeed in whatever it was that he was trying to do, the people “on the team” were very uncertain about the loyalties of a number of players which made them overcautious, even unprepared (“But who else can we bring in on this?”). Fortunately for them, Flynn didn’t have the loyalty he thought he had, and the rest of the Trumpers were scatterbrained or drunk, so Milley and Pelosi prevailed.

      1. Pat

        I’m going to state it full out, documentation and facts that keep coming out make it clear that the police presence on January 6th was deliberately inadequate. And his documentation shows that Sund, the man responsible for protecting the main target, was kept entirely out of the loop. Something that not only “supposedly” endangered Congress, but absolutely no question endangered the Capitol Police under his command. And there is no question that was totally outside of standard protocol. There is also evidence that the DC police were similarly out of the loop and that the National Guard leadership was not, hence the totally novel orders issued to their forces on the street versus the usual for a demonstration day (according to National Guard working that day.)
        So If by not part of the team you mean not willing to allow an incident that endangers his people and that which he was sworn to protect, you probably have it correct. Everything about that day says that violence was being largely instigated and enabled by insiders determined to create an incident leveled not at Congress, but ultimately at Trump and his supporters. And being cauldroned and directed away from the Capitol (standard police procedure) by an informed, adequate and correctly equipped security force (the Capitol Police, the DC Police and yes the National Guard) did not advance that agenda.

      2. flora

        “On the team” is an interesting phrase. Whose team? Did Milley think Pelosi (Speaker of the House is 2nd in line of succession to the Presidency) was his Commander in Chief or something. Very very odd phrasing, it sounds in context like some sort of cabal, though it’s hard to imagine something like that.

      3. marym

        I always figured part of the reason there was no plan for a militarized police presence in DC was that a protest by conservative middle class white people wasn’t seen as a threat.

        1. JBird4049

          So did I, but let’s be fair here, a riot-coup was unlikely.

          However, why does anyone think that such a coup would have been successful? The United States is a blasted mess, but the process of certifying the election in the House is open; taking control of the process and changing the results using violence could have started an actual civil war or at the very least make running the government unlikely. The average American is not a fanatic, nor is he pro-violence.

          If this is true, and I am open to anything that say differently, just what was the purpose of 1/9? Did the people “running” the government forget that a government needs to have the approval or at least not the active resistance of most of its people to exist.

          1. Dr. John Carpenter

            This has been my point since it happened. At most, this would have been a temporary disruption and symbolic but even if they had been organized, armed and sized the capital building, so what? They’d still have to be recognized as a legitimate government and they’d have to defend their position from the military/National Guard/cops/NATO/etc. No way that was going to happen.

            Now id point to Niger and say that is how you do it. But, even then, that’s a much smaller country. Still, it’s baffling to me that people apparently believe you and a bunch of your friends could just waltz into the capitol and say “we’re taking over” and all the levers of power would just magically be turned over.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > a protest by conservative middle class white people

          By income, Trump supporters are above average. By class, petty bourgeoisie (as I showed soon afterwards).

          But in liberal Democrat propaganda — and in their hive mind, as well, if (mixing metaphors) they drank their own KoolAid) — dangerously out-of-control working class people bearing terrifying symbols (confederate flags, and so forth). In this case, the lack of a police presence is distinctly odd.

  8. Contadina

    More of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s “freedoms.”

    Any medical professional who even mentions the word “Ivermectin” will lose their state license.

    Now it turns out that the FDA claims soverign immunity for basically lying about the drug.


    Search.brave.com for
    “Ivermectin proponents ask Fifth Circuit to revive lawsuit against FDC”

    Will Fauci end up in a federal supermax prison?

  9. pjay

    IA: “CNN’s John King: Iowa Voters’ Opinions On Ukraine Sound Like ‘The Opening Of An Old Tucker Carlson Show’” [RealClearPolitics].

    It has been so long since I watched CNN that I almost forgot why I quit. Thanks for the reminder. King and Bash’s arrogant, condescending certainty of their worldview takes your breath away when you actually know what (useful) idiots* they are.

    (*I realize this might be considered an ad hominem attack. My defense is that most NC readers know what the term “useful idiot” means and understand why this description of King and Bash is accurate (they *could* be witting agents of government, but in their case I’ll go with “idiot”). I also claim that “arrogant, condescending certainty” is an accurate description of their dialogue on Iowa voters. But I would be happy to elaborate if required to do so.)

    1. mrsyk

      Go on. My head is still nodding along. Add in “tone deaf”. They remind me of elites from the capital in the book “The Hunger Games”.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i watched the whole series this spring during my downtimes.
        and yes.
        pretty bad that such fiction is so accurate.

        also see the series “Versailles”, for some interesting…ummm..similarities.
        i think its on netflix.

        and frelling Downton Abbey,lol.
        meant as a wistful fluffer for the ancien regime, as near as i know(Julian Fellowes)…ended up, for me, as a study in 1. the blind arrogance and harmful backwardsness of “our betters” and 2. the lower orders being trained well and having internalised their inferiority.
        i gnashed my teeth through all however many seasons.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > frelling Downton Abbey

          I was on a long-haul flight once and watched a lot of Game of Thrones, followed by a little Downton Abbey. The social dynamics (master and mistress/servant) seemed unsettlingly similar.

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      > It has been so long since I watched CNN that I almost forgot why I quit.


      ” … and they don’t trust us. They think we’re part of the problem.”

      Because you familyblog are … John.

  10. Chuck Harris

    Thanks for featuring the Eastern Meadow Lark this week. I remember when they were very common and it’s been years since of seen or heard one. Another meadow bird that used to be common but seems to have vanished is the Bobolink. That would be a good one to feature sometime.

  11. Wukchumni

    In hot regards to 9/11 CT talk in links, lets play devil’s advocate and say evidence comes forward showing it was indeed an inside job and is revealed for all to see…

    How would that change things going forward, some 22 years later?

    1. brooke

      I agree and think this is a helpful way to frame it. I don’t believe the official story on 9/11, jfk, etc, and I eagerly read/watch/listen to as much conspiracy stuff as I can, but I also get so tired of what I take to be a naive liberal belief in these spheres along the lines of: If only the truth got out there, then the people would revolt and change things.

      If this stuff is true, we really got a big problem on our hands and we need to work together to makes things right. If this stuff is **not** true, well, we really got a big problem on our hands and we need to work together to makes things right.

      I find personal satisfaction in looking into conspiracy stuff, but I consider it basically a personal exploration and not political.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      i’d feel justified and smug in my hill country fastness.
      that’s enough for me.
      (I’m a LIHOP guy-see: Mike Ruppert)

      1. LifelongLib

        Every time I hear anyone in government referred to as a “leader”, I realize that we in the U.S. don’t understand the Declaration of Independence.

      2. The Rev Kev

        For our corporate overlords, the American Declaration of Independence is just like a contract. And thus always up for negotiation, especially when they have the whip hand. That is why the Koch brothers were always so keen on a Constitutional Convention – so that they could change the bits that did not suit themselves, especially that nasty Bill of Rights.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      My reflexive Clue solution is Richard Perle and Prince Bandar agreed to found a flight school.

      I buy the idea that the perpetrators exploited bored humans doing a rote job. And high performance steel shouldn’t be warmed up to any great extent. So if it’s aliens, I’m gonna need a bigger hat.

      If the invisible controlled demolition thingy and the holographic plane projector are revealed that would be a boon to industry and defense.

      Lately my inner nerd has been wondering how much energy is exchanged in stopping a fully loaded 767 at higher than cruising speed.

      Oh, and, to your question, like they needed an excuse.

    4. Pat

      I don’t know if it would work, but it could put a dent in the justification for Homeland Security and much of the Patriot Act. Unfortunately I think sanity of a different type would have to be restored to battle the growing censorship calls by so many so-called liberals/leftists. I think it will take years of the truth regarding both Russia and the supposed interference in 2000 using Facebook and daily shouts of incompetent Hillary Clinton listing all the lies and incompetence over and over to make a dent in the pathological belief that her loss wasn’t her and her campaign’s own fault.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      He’s an appealing musician.

      Rod Dreher sent out emails about this today. A guy named Jason Howerton tweets that he backed the making of the video. Howerton is currently promoting strong fathers, and his Youtube channel is interesting.

      I just like to know the context of everything these days. “Where’s the money come from?,” is always a question I ask.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      thanks for that.
      in playlist at Wilderness Bar, now…for the further corruption of the youth.

    3. earthling

      I looked up the lyrics, and got to the part about fat people using food stamps for chocolates, and I didn’t finish listening to it. Started out strong, but then specifies Welfare Queens are the real root of our problems, deja vu Reagan. So here we go, firing up another generation about that bogeyman, while the Rich Men carry on ruining our country.

      1. poopinator

        Yeah, my hearing’s not that great and I didn’t pick that up unfortunately. It’d be infinitely better without. There also sounded like there was an Epstein reference to children on islands. That one I’ll happily let pass.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “Welfare Queens”

        I heard that too, and clicked away. Big roach on the wedding cake, there, and no wonder Dreher is a fan.

        Also, besides the politics of it, points off for inauthentic language.

        Yes, I know you have to start with the working class where they are, but where is this guy, really?

        1. some guy

          I once tried coining the word ” richfare” as a counter to “welfare”. It never went anywhere at the time.

          1. JBird4049

            Wealthfare? Having a counter helps if it sounds like what it is countering as in using equity as a replacement for equality.

    1. ambrit

      Soon we’ll be reduced to endless reruns of ‘YouTubey Tubbies.’
      [Two will get you five the ‘system’ uses “Creepy” Joe Biden’s face for Mr. Sun’s in the run up to next year’s election.]

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      speaking of which…whenever Ritter’s mentioned on twitterx, those who dwell under bridges emerge in force and start yammering about how he’s a pedophile.
      anybody know the real story on that?
      i went a wanderin a few times, but…such is our world…cant tell fact from fiction.
      phishing honeypot?

      1. jo6pac

        The last I read about it was a complete setup by the forces that don’t like him. We all know who they are that hate the truth. The judge threw the case out.

        1. anahuna

          Yves pointed out a few days ago that the charges were sexting with supposedly underage girls (actually police posing as éphèbes). His computers were seized and no kiddie porn was found. Did sound like a setup, his behavior foolish but not criminal.

          I confess I find Ritter, or at least his onscreen presence, which is all I’m acquainted with, very likable. Possibly that leads me to minimize in his case?

    3. Henry Moon Pie

      I think we all knew this day was coming. Does this send a message to the Duran or Napolitano that they’re next if they bring Ritter on?

      Will Ritter use Rumble now?

  12. upstater

    Maskstravaganza, upstate NY cancer center edition:

    Visited 2 breast cancer centers with my wife in the past week after her positive biopsy. Obviously a place with women (or those “assigned at female at birth” according to NCCN literature) with active cancers or post-op… of a dozen or more patients both places, maybe 2-3 masking. Same for staff and physicians.

    Even more outrageous, at the main reception area at one place we entered and checked in wearing KN95s, the first thing the receptionist said was “masks are not required”. This was a medical school facility. A WTF moment.

    At my ophthalmologist appoint Monday, same level of masking of patients. The visual field/OCT tech saw my mask and put on his N95. My ophthalmologist and his tech were unmasked. In such an exam you’re closer to a person short of kissing. I now regret for not calling him out.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      having been through my own wife’s cancer adventure, may i offer my sincere well wishes…and a recommendation: obtain a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations…and both of you read it.
      it helps, really.
      i wouldnt wish all that on my worst enemy.

  13. The Rev Kev

    “CNN’s John King: Iowa Voters’ Opinions On Ukraine Sound Like “The Opening Of An Old Tucker Carlson Show”

    Saw that clip on Simplicius’s Bitchute channel and it was funny. That was not the reaction that CNN would have been wanting but it is surprising that they aired it. Now that Biden is asking for another $24 billion for the Ukraine, that will make those voters dig in even more on their attitudes.

  14. ChrisRUEcon


    > Find the smart people round this table …

    No. Intelligent. Life. Detected.

    1. ChrisRUEcon


      > I wonder which of the previous peaks (#1, #3, or #4) we’ll surpass next.

      My money’s on #4 …

  15. Lambert Strether Post author

    Readers, I normally don’t update the charts over the weekend, but the Biobot data didn’t drop in time, so I’m posting revised Case Data today.

    Looks like the current surge is moving along quite nicely! Stay safe out there…. Open air camping on Labor Day, no? Far from the madding crowd? 23 days away…. And you drive, as opposed to flying? Just a thought!

  16. some guy

    Between LIHOP and MIHOP is a zone of HIHOP ( Help It Happen On Purpose).

    Look for the HIHOPPers to guess where and when certain troubles may start?

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