2:00PM Water Cooler 8/16/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, yesterday I devoted most of my time to a (necessary) deep dive into Section Three. Today I had to continue that work, and get a handle — any handle — on Trump’s Georgia indictment, too. I will shortly fill in some Covid blanks; there will be plenty more Covid goodness tomorrow, when I assault HICPAC yet again. More soon! –lambert UPDATE All done!

Bird Song of the Day

Bobolink, Finger Lakes NF–Horton Pasture and Interloken Trail, Seneca, New York, United States.

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“Are Libraries the Future of Media? [Popula (TH)]. 

Library Futures and Hearken [a company that helps newsrooms practice “”engagement journalism””] approached Albany Public Libraries and the Times Union about working together. So the coalition put out a survey and, to the surprise of everyone involved, close to 800 Albany library patrons and residents replied.

“”That’s unusual for us,”” said DiCarlo. “”Usually we put out a patron survey and we’ll get a couple hundred responses. The fact that 800 people were interested in local news and how it’s changed for them over the last couple decades… was [remarkable].””

The survey surfaced a lot of useful findings, but one stood out: according to the final report, 65% of those surveyed who did not use Times Union indicated that lack of access was the reason. “”Subscriptions were the most cited need for patrons to improve access [to news].””

“”At the beginning, we thought it would be amazing if there were a different relationship [between] libraries and [paywalled] newsrooms, in that newsrooms could offer consumer-grade versions of the news to library patrons,”” said Brandel–in contrast, that is, with the library’s clunky, hard-to-use access tools, such as Newsbank, that were currently in use. “”But that breaks a lot of the business model logic, which is a bigger, stickier issue.””

(If you’re wondering why it makes sense for purveyors of information to charge for access to information that is both about and for the public, you’re asking the right question.)

And so, instead of offering a digital, consumer-grade version of the paper to library patrons for free, the coalition decided to produce original journalism together. A budget of about $100,000 funded the group’s collaboration and the production of eight stories. Both the APL and the Times Union would own the articles, retaining the right to publish them on their own websites and digital channels, free of any paywall, and thus free for all to read.

TH writes: “Yes, there’s the Betteridge’s Law violation but librarians are great civic helpers. (Full disclosure, I love libraries so much, I married a librarian!)”


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

The Constitutional Order

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare says the two households are “alike” in dignity, but he doesn’t say how much dignity they actually have. If Verona’s households are like our parties, the answer is “not much.”

* * *

“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” [William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen, University of Pennsylvania Law Review]. I highly recommend this piece (and the ensuing discussion at NC, starting here). As a former English major and a fan of close reading, I’m not averse to “originalism,” of which Baude and Paulsen provide a magisterial example, in the sense that understanding the law as a text must begin with understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written. That’s how I read Shakespeare, or Joyce, so why not the Constitution? Just as long as understanding doesn’t end there! In any case, I’m working through it. One thing I notice is that there do seem to have been rather a lot of rebellions and insurrections, not just the Civil War. To me, this is parallel to one lesson I drew from Mike Duncan’s Revolutions podcast (episode 1): There are rather a lot of revolutions, too. Alert reader Pensions Guy summarizes Baude and Paulsen as follows:

The authors go through an exhaustive textual and originalism analysis of Section Three, and their Federalist Society leanings do not deter them from reaching their conclusion that officials in every State who are charged with determining candidate qualifications should conclude that Donald Trump is disqualified from being on ballots because of the oath he took on Inauguration Day 2017 and subsequently violated through his role in the insurrection that took place on January 6, 2021.

Taking “insurrection” as read (I need to do more reading), here is another aggregation on Section Three.

* * *

“The constitutional case that Donald Trump is already banned from being president” [Vox]. “On Baude and Paulsen’s read, Section 3 is ‘self-executing‘ — meaning it does not require an act of Congress to enter force and binds those public officials in the position to act on its dictates. Basically, if a single official anywhere in the US electoral system finds their constitutional analysis compelling, Baude and Paulsen urge them to act on it.” No court determination needed. Agree or disagree, that is what Baude and Paulsen say. More: “As a matter of law, I find their arguments quite compelling…. But as a matter of politics, encouraging state election officials to go rogue [framing!] and kick Trump off the ballot is a recipe for disaster. And that disconnect, between what the law says and the practical barriers to implementing it, speaks to some deep problems in American democracy that led to Trump’s insurrection in the first place….  Imagine — just imagine — that local election administration officials in states like Georgia, Wisconsin, or Arizona acted on Baude and Paulsen’s advice and knocked Trump off the general election ballot…. Worst case — well, the January 6 riot could have been a lot bloodier than it already was…. Similarly, a serious effort to render Trump ineligible would run up against the practical problem that he is a near-lock to be the candidate of one of the two major parties — which, in a highly polarized system, means he’ll be the candidate of roughly half of the electorate. There is little reason to believe courts enjoy enough legitimacy among Republicans (or Democrats, for that matter) to be in a position to kick a major-party candidate off the ballot. The systemic consequences of such an attempt could well be devastating.” • IOW, both the Never Trumpers and the liberal Democrats are setting the country up for a civil war. And if they believe they can win it, they’re as delusional as the slaveholders who formed the Confederacy. 

“Enforcing the 14th Amendment’s Bar on Insurrectionist Officers and Candidates” [American Constitution Society]. The ACS is the New York Generals to the Federalist Society’s Harlem Globetrotters. “State election officials charged with determining ballot access in the presidential primaries will have to make an initial determination on whether he is eligible to serve under Section Three. Some of these officials will invariably say that Trump is ineligible, and he will then challenge those rulings in court. While there is authority holding that Section Three is not self-enforcing in an area under federal jurisdiction (for instance, in the District of Columbia), states did enforce Section Three on their own during Reconstruction and can do so again. The Supreme Court will almost certainly be asked to hear at least one of the state cases on Trump’s eligibility. Nevertheless, Congress should take action to enforce Section Three against anyone engaged in the January 6th insurrection. There is currently no federal statutory authority to enforce Section Three, and if this deficiency is not addressed many problems will follow. First, some states may simply choose to ignore Section Three or do minimal enforcement. Second, having each state enforce Section Three in its own way will result in a haphazard system especially ill-suited to resolving a question of presidential ineligibility. Third, if former President Trump runs again, his eligibility must be determined promptly–before any elections take place–otherwise the Republican nominating contest will be thrown in chaos.” • I’m assuming only Democrat election officials would rule Trump ineligible. And even they will want cover in the form of expert opinion — cover which I am sure the dense network of NGOs and think tanks that comprises the Censorship Industrial Complex will be primed to provide. Commentary:

One big happy! (NOTE: These associations don’t show that the Georgia indictment is anything other than the work product of the Fulton Country prosecutors office. But they are suggestive nonetheless.

“States have the power to judge the qualifications of presidential candidates and exclude ineligible candidates from the ballot, if they want to use it” [Election Law Blog]. “But I wanted to focus on one small (but important!) piece, the ballot access issue, which I’ve written about extensively over the years–these are my own views that try to synthesize the Constitution’s text and structure with a long liquidated practices of the states. In short, states do hold the power to judge the qualifications of presidential candidates and may exclude ineligible candidates from the ballot. But they need not do so, and it is up to the legislature in each state to decide whether to implement rules to adjudicate qualifications…. Think of it this way. The state legislature wants to ensure that the state is represented in the selection of the president and vice president. If the state’s electoral votes are later discarded in Congress (think Congress discarding votes for the deceased Horace Greeley in 1873), the state really has no opportunity to participate effectively in the Electoral College. This is different from congressional elections, in my judgment. Congressional elections are about the people’s unfettered choice. If the people choose to elect a candidate who is not qualified to hold office–and they have repeatedly done so in the past, with candidates of questionable age or inhabitancy qualifications–it is on the people to do so, and on Congress to decide whether to seat. And if there is a vacancy, the people have another choice to fill the seat, albeit with a vacancy that exists for some time. There is no such analogous direct interest of the people in presidential elections, as the Electoral College is designedly created of representation from the states, and from rules promulgated by the legislature. (This is a contentious proposition, to be sure, but I think is the best way of addressing the differences between the two.)” • Hmm. It’s hard to imagine a group, let alone an identity, seceding, or a political entity like a county. But a state, on the other hand…. For that, there’s precedent. One wonders what would happen if a Republican state passed a law nullifying, or purporting to nullify, Section Three? (Would that be all that different from “sanctuary cities”?)

“The Looming Supreme Court Nullification Crisis” [Washington Monthly]. Starting out with Alabama’s defiance of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Allen v. Milligan that a districting map violated the voting rights Act. Then: “Since 2016, Republicans’ shameless political meddling with the Court—the blockade of the Merrick Garland nomination, the issuance of Donald Trump’s list of judges, and his promise that his judges would “”automatically”” overturn—were radical events. Those and what followed made the Court a different institution than it had been since at least the 1930s when the ‘switch in time’ ended its vendetta against the New Deal. Simply put, it is not acting like a court; it will not be treated indefinitely by friend or foe as if it were one. The problem with contemptible behavior is that it draws contempt from friends and foes. Let’s get serious: Everyone sees at least some members of the conservative majority for what they are—not simply intellectually but, to a stunning degree, actually dishonest, the kind of traffic-court hacks who can be bought with dinner at Applebee’s, a dime-store award plaque, and a weekend at Myrtle BeachBlue states would be foolish not to try blocking future high-profile, adverse Supreme Court orders.” • Just the kind of Court we want ruling on a challenge to Trump’s removal from the ballot under Section Three. Either way. Bush v. Gore2, or, depending on the number of states involved, Bush v. GoreN.

“Forget the Trump trials. He might already be ineligible for 2024” [WaPo]. “Ideally, this case would be settled before the primaries begin in January. Realistically, however, that might not be possible. As long as the Supreme Court resolves this issue before the Republican delegates meet in Milwaukee for their presidential nomination convention, their party can avoid nominating a candidate who is constitutionally ineligible for the presidency. That way, voters in November 2024 would not be making a choice in which one of the two major-party contenders would be ineligible to serve if elected. What would be disastrous for democracy would be for Trump to appear on the November 2024 ballot as the Republican nominee, then to win the election, and afterward be disqualified and denied a second term. Yet that could happen if, without a Supreme Court ruling before the GOP convention, Congress were to decide for itself that Trump was disqualified and so it must nullify the will of the voters when it convenes to count the electoral college votes in January 2025.” • The Republican National Convention will be held July 15 to 18, 2024, in Milwaukee, WI. Perhaps I should set up another countdown clock….

“The Insurrection Bar to Office: Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment” [Congressional Research Service]. From 2022. “Congress last used Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1919 to refuse to seat a socialist Congressman accused of having given aid and comfort to Germany during the First World War, irrespective of the Amnesty Act. The Congressman, Victor Berger, was eventually seated at a subsequent Congress after the Supreme Court threw out his espionage conviction for judicial bias…. As shown in the Berger experience discussed above, Congress has previously viewed Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment as establishing an enumerated constitutional qualification for holding office and, consequently, a grounds for possible exclusion.” • Obviously, Wilsonian Democrats would have no more trouble disbarring a socialist from office than today’s Democrats, but Republicans might well consider whether members of their party who oppose the Ukraine could be disbarred for giving “aid and comfort to the enemy,” as was Berger.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“The State of Georgia v. Donald Trump [et al.]” [Fulton Country Superior Court]. Most of the coverage of this case seems to focus on “false statements” and the riot at the Capitol on January 6. (This is understandable, since the first reinforces the power of the Censorship Industrial Complex, much beloved by liberal Democrats, and the second is involves conspiracy, where everyone can become their own counterintelligence service. The Georgia case also has Trump’s “perfect phone” call, but (a) Trump surely had lawyers with him when he made it (readers?), and (b) are we really to believe no Democrat ever made a call to get an election official to “find” votes? Or, in the sad case of Sanders, to lose them.) However, I believe, as with Smith’s indictment, that the counts involving the “contingent electors” are by far the most dangerous, both from the standpoint of winning a conviction, and morally as well. Here is the conspiracy count:

And one of the acts in furtherance of the MR SUBLIMINAL Bud from Legal insists I add this alleged conspiracy:

Legally — of course, people with prosecutorial expertise may disagree; IANAP — the elector counts seem easier to prove, first because there are no pesky First Amendment issues (like Trump tweeting to God and the universe being an Act), and second because they’re tangible; meetings are organized, so there’s a chain of command; documents are distributed and signed, so there’s a paper trail; ballots from the electors are sent and received. Morally, it’s important to remember that many (I don’t know how many) electors were recruited on the explicit commitment by the Trump campaign that their votes would be used only if Trump won a court challenge showing or intimating election theft at least one state, which is why they were called “contingent”; but the Trump campaign then went on to violate that commitment. That’s wrong, and using and discarded supporters reflects very badly on Trump. IMNSHO, this is the charge that could hole the Trump campaign below the waterline.

“Why Trump’s Georgia charges would be the hardest to pardon” [The Hill]. “Article II of the U.S. Constitution grants the president the sole power of issuing pardons for offenses “”against the United States,”” but that power is only for federal charges, not state ones. The governor of New York can issue pardons for state crimes, which could clear Trump in the case over 2016 hush-money payments made to porn actress Stormy Daniels that led to charges of falsifying business records. Experts say those charges are the least likely of the four cases to result in prison time for the former president. But the governor in Georgia has no such pardon power.  Instead, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles is responsible for overseeing all requests for clemency. The governor is responsible for appointing the board’s five members with state Senate approval, but they otherwise have no influence over the board’s decision-making. Members serve seven-year terms that are staggered. And Trump wouldn’t even be eligible to apply for a Georgia pardon until at least five years after completing any sentence, including parole and probation. An individual also cannot be considered for a pardon if they have any pending charges, so he could not receive a preemptive one.  Trump could serve extensive time if convicted of the Georgia charges.”

“Georgia Indictment Throws Everything at Trump—and Some Might Stick” [Jonathan Turley, The Daily Beast]. “Welcome to the Jackson Pollock school of prosecution. The 98-page indictment from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is the legal version of Pollock’s style of throwing paint splatters on canvas as artistic expression. It basically makes every telephone call, tweets, and meeting a separate conspiratorial act. There are 161 separate acts. Not surprisingly, everyone then becomes part of the conspiracy…. But for all the disparate acts that Willis says constitutes a criminal conspiracy, part of this emerging picture should worry Trump….. There are three reasons why this indictment could be the most perilous for Trump, as opposed to the Jan. 6 indictments, which present serious threshold constitutional questions. First, the racketeering cases tend to be iron-plated before trial because challenges concern the interpretation of facts, which are traditionally questions left to the finder of fact (in this case a jury)…. Second, in D.C., special counsel Smith is essentially trying to create new law, or at least stretch existing case law to the point of breaking down. Conversely, elections are left largely to the states, and state prosecutors routinely bring election-based prosecutions. Willis may be stretching the evidence, but she is not stretching the law. Racketeering laws are routinely used far afield from their origins in combating criminal gangs…. Finally, as a state action, this is not a prosecution that can be ended prematurely with a presidential pardon…. Many of us disagreed with Trump after the election and publicly rejected the claims of systemic voting fraud. However, Trump had a right to not only challenge the election but to be wrong. That is why the Willis indictment is a serious threat to Trump but also to our system of democratic process. Pollock once said that ‘when I am in my painting, I’m not aware of what I’m doing.’ Unlike painters, prosecutors do not have the same luxury. What Willis is doing here is excessive and it is dangerous.”

“Who is Fani Willis, the Georgia district attorney who indicted Trump?” [Al Jazeera]. ” Willis is known for pursuing RICO charges, which she said allow for a more complete picture of criminal cases. A divorced mother of two, Willis grew up mostly in Washington, DC, with her father, whom she describes as a criminal defence attorney and former Black Panther. She attended Howard University, a historically Black university in the US capital, and earned a law degree from Emory University in Atlanta. She worked as a lawyer before joining the Fulton County district attorney’s office as an assistant prosecutor. Eventually, she challenged and unseated her former boss, Paul Howard, as the county’s top prosecutor. Willis, however, faced criticism from social justice activists and election rivals in 2020 for receiving an endorsement and campaign contributions from a major police union during her campaign. Police unions often defend officers involved in misconduct.” • The Cop-Loving Black Woman Who’s Going to Bring Down Trump! Let the votive candles be prepared! And let’s not mention Stacey Abrams, bless her heart, previously beloved of liberal Democrat Schwärmer.

“Scott McAfee Has Been a Judge Six Months. He Is Now Assigned Trump’s Georgia Case.” [Wall Street Journal]. “McAfee, 34 years old, has spent much of his career as a prosecutor, first for the Fulton County district attorney and later for the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta. McAfee was randomly assigned the case, but he has worked for key people involved in the events of 2020: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a fellow Republican whom Trump attacked repeatedly for not joining his effort to overturn Trump’s loss; former U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak, whom Trump forced out of office for not joining the effort; and Fani Willis, the Democratic district attorney in Fulton County whose more than 2½-year probe led to the charges. Attorneys in Atlanta call McAfee smart and professional. Those qualities will be tested in a gigantic case that will involve Trump, who has adopted an often brazen approach to his legal proceedings. The case will involve other well-known defendants such as former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a brigade of lawyers, complex jury selection, a cascade of legal motions from both sides, jurors who will have to serve for months at least, a horde of reporters, and intense security issues at the Fulton County courthouse and surrounding area in downtown Atlanta.” • 34. Less than half Trump’s age. And Biden’s.

* * *

“Donald Trump indicted: The former president’s one big advantage as criminal charges pile up” [Washington Examiner]. .But Trump is uniquely suited to the post-2000 American divisions in a way that Mitt Romney and John McCain were not. This is true of some of Trump’s other rivals inside the GOP…. This is why Trump has survived Access Hollywood, the Russia investigation, two impeachments, the 2020 election loss, Jan. 6, and indictments in four cases spanning multiple jurisdictions. He leads nearly a dozen other Republicans by a margin that has never been overcome even at this early phase of the race in modern primary history. And he trails Biden by less than a point. Trump is going to make the argument that his legal troubles stem from Biden’s Justice Department and partisan Democratic local prosecutors trying to ‘lock him up’ while turning a blind eye to more serious crimes, including their own. That might not get him out of his legal jam. But it could be enough to make Trump the Republican presidential nominee for the third straight election. And after that, anything can happen.” • What frosts me the most is the Party of RussiaGate, Ukraine, and mass infection without mitigation howling and yammering about “false statements.” Howling and yammering, if one can do so, with straight faces. Vociferously and continuously.

* * *

“Opinion: The lesson Obama could teach DeSantis” [CNN]. “[DeSantis] has stumbled in interviews, and often parses his answers in nakedly political ways — especially when asked about Trump. This has set up a contrast among Republican voters, who view DeSantis as an ambitious, conventional politician versus Trump, the audaciously authentic and potent avatar of an anti-establishment populist movement. The contrast was especially clear last weekend at the Iowa State Fair, where Trump received rock-star treatment — and DeSantis, by and large, did not. DeSantis’ flaws as a campaigner are problems that cannot easily be fixed, in part because the candidate may be resistant to their fixing. Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have once said, ‘A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.’ The same can be said of a candidate for president who runs his own campaign. One of the concerns that has long bounced around Florida political circles is DeSantis’ overreliance on his own political instincts and those of his wife, Casey DeSantis, a former television news anchor. Maybe DeSantis has been chastened by the humbling opening stanzas of his campaign. But it’s not clear how much of a shake-up last week’s change really represented as DeSantis moved his manager — a longtime political aide — to the position of chief strategist and summoned his chief of staff from Tallahassee to become the new manager… Still, while this midsummer drama is a sign of distress, it’s too early to count DeSantis out. Iowa has traditionally broken late and often in unexpected directions…. There are reasons to doubt whether DeSantis can live up to his extravagant advance billing. But he, like Obama, is placing all his chips on Iowa.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

Patient readers, it seems that people are actually reading the back-dated post! But I have not updated it, and there are many updates. So I will have to do that. –lambert

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *


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

Resources, United States (National): Transmission (CDC); Wastewater (CDC, Biobot; includes many counties; 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!

* * *

Celebrity Watch

And speaking of Taylor Swift (see below):

Love Potion #19…. 

Hackers, too:

Censorship and Propaganda

Kudos to Twitter (1):

“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.

* * *


* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, August 14:

Lambert here: Not much of a jump over the last three days. Happy memories of tape-watching days! 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. 

Regional data:

No backward revisions; perhaps the Midwest surge, and leveling off everywhere else, is real. Let’s wait and see. Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.

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

From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, August 12:

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.

• Similar data from Japan:

I would hazard a guess that Japan’s emergency response system is far more functional than our own, and so a better proxy for Covid’s rise.


I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive. Nevertheless, here’s New York City:

Could be worse, and doubtless will be. But how much worse?

“COVID hospitalizations accelerate for fourth straight week” [CBS]. “A total of 10,320 patients in the U.S. were newly hospitalized with COVID-19 for the week ending August 5, according to the figures published Monday, an increase of 14.3% from the week before.  Levels remain far below the summer peak that strained hospitals at this time last year, when 42,813 admissions were reported for the week of August 6, 2022. Hospitals across the Southeast are continuing to report the nation’s highest rate of COVID-19 admissions. In the region spanning Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, 4.58 new patients were reported per 100,000 residents. The Southeast has also been reporting the highest rate of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents. Weekly infections are now close to the worst rates seen during 2021’s summer wave in the region, but below more recent peaks.” • The wastewater data (unless revised) says hospitalization in the South should level off soon. Let’s wait and see.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, August 14:

-0.7%. A pause here, too? 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.)

NOT UPDATED 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: 1,172,148 – 1,172,112 = 36 (36 * 365 = 13,140 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

The Economist, August 16:

Lambert here:  Back to almost dailiy. Odd when it is, odd when it stops. 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

Housing: “United States Housing Starts” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US rose by 3.9% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.452 million in July 2023, above market expectations of 1.448 million.”

Manufacturing: “United States Industrial Production” [Trading Economics]. “Industrial production in the United States fell by 0.2% from the previous year in July of 2023, extending the 0.4% decline in the previous month.”

Capacity: “United States Capacity Utilization” [Trading Economics]. “Capacity utilization in the US rose to 79.3% in July of 2023, compared to a downwardly revised 78.6% in June and slightly above forecasts of 79.1%. ”

* * *

Finance: “Apple Card’s Savings Account Reached $10 Billion in Deposits” [Daring Fireball]. “That works out to a nice even $1,000 average per Apple Card user. I’m guessing though, that the median is much lower, and the mean average is $1,000 because a smaller number of users have transferred large amounts to take advantage of the 4.15 percent interest rate.” • And 10 million users.

Real Estate: “An Office Is Not The Office” [Dror Poleg]. “the whole argument of the back-to-office puritans is that you cannot innovate or build culture “remotely.” But in reality, this battle has already been lost. Having people collaborate across multiple locations is now the norm. Whether these locations are offices, homes, or coffee shops is a sideshow. Work is becoming distributed. Even if demand for office space will return to its pre-Covid level (and it won’t), the demand will be for space in many new locations…. At the moment, there is a significant mismatch between office demand and supply. Many people would love to have access to an office near home. And not just people; many companies would love such access as well. But such space is not available or is too expensive. Meanwhile, the office space that is available is in the places where people used to commute to but no longer wish to. As I wrote in The Office Won’t Budge, this is like a Monopoly game that went off the rails: ‘The landlords still have a monopoly. But demand is growing outside of the monopoly board. And since buildings can’t move, those who own them are at a disadvantage. I call this the Poleg Paradox: A situation in which higher demand is bad news for incumbents. It can be observed when one party to the zero-sum game can suddenly play by different rules.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 55 Neutral (previous close: 56 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 16 at 1:45 PM ET. Mr. Market is having a sad!

The Conservatory

“How ‘American Graffiti’ Invented Classic Rock (and Changed My Life)” [The Honest Broker]. “You may find this hard to believe, but rock radio stations all focused on new music in the 1960s. They might occasionally play an “”oldie,”” as they were called back then, but few people considered old rock a genre in its own right. But around the time George Lucas was filming American Graffiti, the hottest music radio station in Los Angeles, KHJ—93 on the AM dial—was trying to figure out what to do with its FM bandwidth. For a while, it played the same current hits on AM and FM, but in late 1972 they decided to try something different—they renamed the station KRTH (101) and decided to focus entirely on rock songs from 1953 to 1963. By pure coincidence, George Lucas was relying on these same old rock and roll songs for the soundtrack of his movie. And with amazing results—the soundtrack album was even more popular than the film, and soon broke into the Billboard top 10.

 he 41 songs on the double album defined this new genre. It didn’t even have a name back then. The folks at KRTH called it the gold format. But the American Graffiti soundtrack did even better than gold—it went triple platinum.” • Focusing on “new music.” Imagine!

Zeitgeist Watch

Oh noes:

“The dark truth about Taylor Swift” [Unherd]. “It’s common knowledge that women like love stories. And those which gain iconic status tend toward tragedy… What’s less well-recognised is that this kind of emotional intensity, and the motif of doomed passion that serves as its carrier, has roots in a thousand-year-old religious schism. And while its origin story has been largely forgotten, the spiritual hunger it encodes lives on in a perplexing trait often seen in the young, and perhaps especially young women: a craving for romantic transcendence that’s difficult to distinguish from self-destruction. Nowhere does this kamikaze mysticism hide more flagrantly and influentially in plain sight than in the wildly popular music of Taylor Swift, and the worldwide cult of ‘Swifties’ she has inspired. … Our love-affair with doomed love begins in early 13th-century France with the two-decade Albigensian Crusade which saw the Cathar sect persecuted, tortured, slaughtered and scattered by the orthodox Christian Knights Templar, leading to the deaths of an estimated 200,000. …. that violent religious struggle also had another, subtler and further-reaching legacy stemming from what happened to the Cathar faith. For it didn’t disappear: it went underground. And the origins of the recurring theme of doomed passion in Western culture, according to the Swiss medievalist Denis de Rougemont, lie in the survival of Cathar heresy, hidden in plain sight in ‘courtly love’ literature. This work was created by the ‘troubadours’, poets and composers attached to Provençal courts — who were, de Rougemont argues, at least Cathar-influenced if not all secret heretics. For there are eerie parallels between their poetic mythologisation of knights and ‘courtly love’, and the heretical faith they were slaughtered for. If, as it was for the Cathars, every soul was trapped in a state of longing for reunion with the Divine, when the troubadours sang of unrequited love of a knight for his ‘Lady’ that wasn’t a literal love story. On the contrary: it stood for that spiritual pain and longing. And because such a longing could only be attained by escape from the prison of flesh — which is to say, by death — the love of a knight for his ‘Lady’ could not be consummated, except by the death of one or both. In other words: to convey its esoteric meaning, the narrative ‘romance’ couldn’t have a ‘happy ever after’. In these terms, the only real happy ending is death.” • Hmm. I have literally never listened to Taylor Swift; I prefer K-Pop. Should I?

Class Warfare

The closest America ever came to a European-style welfare state was under Trump, with the CARES Act:

Stochastic eugenicism proceeding apace, I see. Joe, good job.

News of the Wired

“LK-99 isn’t a superconductor — how science sleuths solved the mystery” [Nature]. “[A]fter dozens of replication efforts, many experts are confidently saying that the evidence shows LK-99 is not a room-temperature superconductor… The South Korean team based its claim on two of LK-99’s properties: levitation above a magnet and abrupt drops in resistivity. But separate teams in Beijing, at Peking University3 and the Chinese Academy of Sciences4 (CAS), found mundane explanations for these phenomena. Another study, by US and European researchers, combined experimental and theoretical evidence to demonstrate how LK-99’s structure made superconductivity infeasible. And other experimenters synthesized and studied pure samples6 of LK-99, erasing doubts about the material’s structure and confirming that it is not a superconductor, but an insulator. The only further confirmation would come from the Korean team sharing their samples, says Michael Fuhrer, a physicist at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. ‘The burden’s on them to convince everybody else,’ he says.” • I was hoping for a little bit of good news. Probably others were, as well. Although it’s good news that science, or at least materials science, still functions!

* * *

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 RM:

RM writes: “The western Spiderwort just popped out on the prairie around here after the major rain we have had. Much different than the drought conditions that I experienced when in Michigan last month.”

* * *

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

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

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

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

About Lambert Strether

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


  1. upstater

    East Palestine aftermath

    One Family’s Toxic Train Wreck Ordeal: Illness, Exile and Debt

    >The Albright family left town after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near their Ohio home. Now, they are back, facing personal, medical and financial crises in a newly divided community.

    Norfolk Southern is making it (neoliberally) right! Meanwhile the already gutted Rail Safety Act of 2023 is derailed after a senate committee vote.

    1. mrsyk

      Thanks for the link. I truly hate the Times. They publish a story full of sadness, managing to point out the ice cold negligence of both state and federal leadership without ever calling for any kind of action. Instead, for example:
      “The derailment and burning of the train’s toxic freight generated hundreds of unknown compounds, scientists say. However, linking any health issues directly to the toxins is difficult, since even the ones detected are not fully understood. Six months later, residents still have little information about how they might be affected by any lingering chemicals, making it impossible to assess long-term risks.”
      Seriously, WTF. Snarky translation is “It’s a real shame but we just don’t know enough to be absolutely 100 percent super certain that the train wreck and subsequent controlled burn destroyed your lives.”
      So, it’s a big middle finger you get, not any kind of assistance or mandated remediation. Good luck with that go fund me.

      1. Screwball

        Ohio here, couple hours away. What has happened there is criminal negligence IMO. I can’t believe what I see in our country today. So sad.

  2. Lou Anton

    Illinois wastewater right on trend with the regional data. Also, happy first day back to school kids!

  3. nippersdad

    While I am amazed at the tenacity of that guy looking for a date, with those kinds of numbers I would be even more interested in finding out why he could not get one. Maybe he should be looking into moving to the Philippines, or Ukraine, as they are the only properties I can think of that seem like they are in more distress than he is.

    Is it possible to be that much of a horror show? Someone should take pity on the guy, if only so that they could come up with some new material for an updated Frankenstein, the new Prometheus.

    1. Anon

      With modern dating, all of the apps are appearance focused compared to the old ways. In the past, maybe that guy/girl didn’t look the greatest, but there were other attributes that could compensate (great laugh, socially connected, etc.) – you can’t really pitch that on Hinge/Bumble/etc.

      Also, with the modern dating apps, there’s no point in maintaining decorum because there’s effectively near-infinite choice, so there’s no need to feel bad if something doesn’t pan out.

      1. nippersdad

        Forty three thousand rejections, though. That has got to hurt!

        Seems like he would have a better percentage by getting a hobby (basket weaving?) and taking a class to get up to the next level (underwater basket weaving?) so that he could meet fellow enthusiasts. Sounds old school, I know, but it works.

        1. Nippersmom

          Really makes me wonder who he’s targeting. Is he a heavy, balding, middle-aged guy who only swipes right on slim, attractive twenty-somethings?

          1. NoFreeWill

            Online dating is better for everyone: the law of large numbers assures you get much more opportunity, text/voice/video prompts let you clearly explain your passions/values, dealbreakers are easy to spot, and people don’t have to hit/get hit on in public spaces whether they want to or not (obviously this still happens, but that’s beside the point).

            Personally I’ve had multiple girlfriends and many (probably 100+ at this point) great dates and have been using it since waaay before it became socially acceptable.

            People who have problems are A)using Tinder, which is a bad platform B) don’t know that they should swipe only on roughly compatible people, not just on attractiveness C)don’t have a good comment/message game (which is easy, just pick something in their profile and ask a question about it) D) woulld probably have the same problems or worse irl dating and should go to therapy/seek advice from their friends

    2. Adam

      My adult daughter is going through the same problem of looking for Mr Right on many of these same dating apps. Per my wife, who has been helping her, “they’re all putz’s”

    3. Tom Stone

      Take dance classes, and don’t be a dick.
      Women have women friends, make a Female friend or two (By not being a dick) and you will meet more Women.
      Soon or late you will end up with a partner.

      If you are looking for a hookup it’s also a numbers game.
      Go where the Women are and ask, if you don’t smell bad you will likely have a success rate of 8% to 10% .
      Being able to dance well helps…

    4. The Rev Kev

      Another factor is that so many women will not, among other factors, will not choose a guy unless he is very tall. I forget the minimum number but I think that it was six foot two which is only a very small percentage of the male population. In fact, there are even tall dating sites because of this preference-


      Yes, some guys like tall women but from that page you can see that it is really targeted for women. Personally I am of the opinion that all people are the same height – laying down.

  4. IM Doc

    An open letter to Pfizer, Moderna, FDA and CDC from me –

    Dear All,

    As a primary care provider for 30 years, I have a few questions regarding the upcoming release of the latest COVID-19 mRNA vaccine boosters that I have heard tentatively are going to be coming out in the last few weeks of September.

    As you may know as well, I have been alerted by the flu vaccine manufacturers of exact dates, timing, variants, efficacy numbers, and concerns in information that was sent to my office weeks ago. We have ordered our flu vaccinations and will be all ready to go in a few short weeks in October or so. I have had ample time to look over all of the data and the studies and numbers and feel very prepared to discuss issues with my high risk patients when the time comes.

    As has been the case with each and every mRNA booster release, I have heard not a word from any Pharma company or agency about any details of the COVID boosters. I have had to rely on reading things online or listening to lectures or word-of-mouth from colleagues about them. The same is true this time – not a word. Is this a responsible way to handle a release of any kind of pharma product, much less a vaccine?

    Are these new September boosters going to be actual product labeled Comrinaty and Spikevax? Or are we still going to be NOT using approved product and still be using only those allowed under the emergency use? If this is so, how are you going to justify that since the emergency has been declared over? After all, if millions are having their Medicaid funding cut that was no longer justified by the emergency being over, certainly we will not be having non-approved emergency formulations at this point?

    Are we going to continue to be demanded to have the patients sign an informed consent document that these injections are for the express purpose of “prevention” of COVID-19 even though we now know that is no longer possible with these injections? I just checked this AM, this is still being done with the current bivalent boosters. Are we still going to force the patients to sign informed consent documents that this is being given under an emergency declaration and that complete safety and efficacy data are not available or is that going to be changed?

    I understand from press reports ( nothing official from any agency or company) that the government will no longer be funding these vaccines since the emergency has been declared over. I have seen various reports over the past few weeks that the cost of an individual booster will likely be anywhere quoted from $90 to $225 that the patient or their insurance company will need to pay. Has CMS formally stated that Medicare will be paying this whole cost? Will patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans be covered since they often have large co-pays for various other vaccines? What about the patients on Obamacare programs that often have deductibles in the $10K range? It will be likely that a family of four would likely need to have close to $1000 dollars to pay for theirs. What about all the other commercial insurance companies that are in the past few years repeatedly running through pre-authorizations for drugs like Losartan and Medrol dose paks that cost less than $10? Are we as primary care providers going to be deluged with pre-authorization forms for COVID boosters that cost $200? My staff is already completely overwhelmed with pre-auth documents for drugs costing $5 a month. Is anyone aware that this will likely completely paralyze primary care offices all over the country?

    Are we as primary care providers going to receive any kind of trials or data that you have done about safety and efficacy on these new boosters? Maybe some risk stratification for age and medical status? Or are you like the last time going to weeks later release the only data available on a handful of mice?

    I would urge complete and total communication with the primary care providers of America. We are, after all, the first line with the entire population of this country. And we have heard virtually nothing. It is a very uncomfortable feeling.


    IM Doc

    1. sporble

      Thanks for posting this, IM Doc.

      “It is a very uncomfortable feeling” really hits the mark. So much news – and policy – gives me a very uncomfortable feeling, even moreso since early 2020. Lambert (and others) might argue “this is all part of the plan”. I wish they were wrong but fear they’re not.

    2. Joe Well

      I hadn’t fully realized until now that you are a primary care doctor.

      They are truly the Rodney Dangerfields of the US medical profession, virtually the only US medical doctors, along with a few embattled specialties, who are probably not overpaid.

      Keep fighting the good fight.

    3. Mikel

      Is the only immunity still the immunity provided to pharma comapnies if something goes wrong?

      Look forward to seeing if your letter gets an answer.
      Good stuff.

  5. nippersdad

    Here is something else to throw over the transom that might amuse:

    No Labels has just had it with dark money attempts by our extreme two party system to take over our democracy, and they are not going to take it any more.

    “Naturally, those who benefit from the broken status quo are calling the effort dangerous — because for them, it is.”


    That would be comforting to know if they would ever disclose their dark money donors. But since this bears the imprimatur of such luminaries as Joe Lieberman maybe we can take it at face value.

    1. marym

      (I know there are reasons to be cautious about the political bias of the fact-check sites, so readers may choose to re-evaluate the explanations. I added an additional link regarding the 3,000 ballots.)

      “A rough estimate by the AJC indicates the errors identified by investigators amounted to about 3,000 too many absentee votes counted for Biden during the audit, which was not used as Georgia’s certified vote count. Despite inaccuracies in the ballot batches that were investigated, the overall count in the audit was close to the official machine results.”

      1. flora

        I always appreciate your counter to my comments. Wide ranging discourse is a feature of NC that few other sites still have or allow, imo.

      2. rowlf

        I’d like to see Fulton County GA vote one week earlier than than the rest of the state, or maybe over Friday – Saturday – Sunday before everyone else votes on the following Tuesday. The county has a long history of having polling problems and difficulties, so why not make it easier for them to get their vote counting done?

        Maybe make them turn in their results a few days early so they are no longer the last to turn in results. This practice could help Savannah too.

  6. Henry Moon Pie

    I’m not interested in wading through Baude and Paulson, but I do have a question. Where is the adjudicated set of facts going to come from? There’s a Due Process Clause tucked into that same 14th Amendment, and Trump has an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present his own evidence before there’s a final determination that he participated in an insurrection. Is that going to take place before the individual Secretaries of State? What procedures will be in place? What will be the burden of proof: preponderance or beyond a reasonable? Or will Trump have the burden of obtaining his own due process by challenging in court a SoS’s ruling that he’s ineligible? What if five SoSes rule Trump ineligible, he challenges all five, and the trial courts come in three affirming and two overruling? Does SCOTUS then consolidate and pick and choose among the facts?

    The Berger had an adjudicated set of facts, namely the conviction in Landis’s court (Landis was brought in as MLB Commissioner after the Black Sox scandal). Congress had that to rely on when they refused to seat him in the House. When SCOTUS overturned the conviction, Berger got his seat.

    Trump is Trump, but even he is entitled to due process. It has never been determined in an adversarial proceeding in which Trump had an opportunity to participate that he participated in an insurrection.

    I’ll admit I’ve been wrong about what courts are willing to do in these political cases. The Equal Protection Clause argument to stop the vote counting looked ridiculous to me, but old Orrin Hatch kept saying, “This will end up in the Supreme Court,” and he had the votes counted right. Of course, SCOTUS had to say, “This ain’t precedent for anything,” but Bush still ended up in the White House.

    But this thing looks like calling a draw play on third and twenty-eight.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m not interested in wading through Baude and Paulson, but I do have a question. Where is the adjudicated set of facts going to come from?

      When I finish wading through, I’ll let you know. However, my current reading is that “self-executing” means just that. I quote other sources to that effect. In this reading, there is no outside entity required.

      That said, the officials who would do the execution are most likely election officials. If you will re-read the post, you will see that I have given one answer to your question:

      I’m assuming only Democrat election officials would rule Trump ineligible. And even they will want cover in the form of expert opinion — cover which I am sure the dense network of NGOs and think tanks that comprises the Censorship Industrial Complex will be primed to provide.

      Of course, that’s not really adjudicated, but then Obama whacked at least one US citizen* based on his “kill list” — sorry, “disposition matrix” — and that wasn’t “adjudicated” either. “‘I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury, said cunning old Fury.'” I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.”

      NOTE * Abdulrahman Awlaki. An accident, or so it was said.

      1. notabanker

        Hi Lambert, I admire your tenacity on this, but I just can’t bring myself to have any interest in it whatsoever. PMC nerds coming up with some esoteric Legal reason to disqualify Trump, based on the Constitution no less, is about as predictable as it is hypocritical and ridiculous. We have a full blown surveillance state, with the CIA actively spying on Americans in the US, the Patriot Act destroyed the Bill of Rights, multiple wars not sanctioned by Congress, etc, etc…yet now, yes NOW, the Constitution is to be interpreted literally to eliminate political opponents. Gimme a break.

        This is like a bad Larson cartoon of 2 scientists trying to diagnose the mold spores on a loaf of bread while sitting in front of 50 starving people because they are trying to save them an upset stomach. It’s not going to end well. And frankly, it shouldn’t.

        1. Carolinian

          I agree totally. There’s a common sense aspect to all this that says such a drastic legal move against Trump is only justified if Trump was obviously, unambiguously attempting an “insurrection” in the conventionally understood sense. That would mean Seven Days in May style that he had the military on his side since–in case the legal beagles haven’t noticed–coups and insurrections almost always involve a country’s military.

          Obviously Trump was trying to discredit Biden’s election in the same way that Hillary and Obama and Brennan and many others tried to discredit Trump’s election via the FUD route. But haven’t I just been reading somewhere that Trump himself never thought such an effort would succeed?

          I’m sure all the lawyers involved in this sincerely think that Trump is a person of low character who is unworthy to be president once much less twice but that’s for the voters to decide if the people are indeed sovereign. One could argue that in many ways all this started with Watergate and that however bad Nixon was that once you start taking down a president with lawfare you are opening a Pandora’s Box. And while Kay Graham may have said later “we’ll have no more of that” she was obviously wrong.

          1. Old Sarum

            Re: “..voters to decide if the people are indeed sovereign”.

            Did I miss the electoral college being abolished?


            ps as an non-USAsian, I find US politics (exceptionalism and all that) such a jape mainly because I keep in mind those lines in an Elvis Costello song:

            I used to be disgusted
            Now I try to be amused

        2. Jason Boxman

          My primary interest is how it actually plays out; If liberal Democrats overplay their hand on this, and actually get Trump tossed from the ballot in some several states, we’ll have truly entered uncharted territory. It won’t be liberal Democrats bloviating about the orange bad on MSNBC and the NY Times anymore, it’ll getting very real out in meat-space. And I don’t think that’s going to end well.

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        In the end, I don’t believe that Section 3 will “trump” Section 1. “Experts” get to be cross-examined if there’s going to be due process. Trump gets to present his own evidence before the finder(s) of fact. Otherwise, due process has no meaning in this highly visible circumstance.

        All this discussion did prompt me to check out ballot access in 1860. Lincoln was not listed on the ballot in 10 southern states in 1860 and neither was Fremont in 1856. I couldn’t find anything online providing a real explanation of why. Did the Republicans simply not try to get ballot access or were they barred in some way?

        It seems to me that the Libs are deathly afraid of Trump, especially considering the popularity and competence of their candidate. This is crazy, crazy idea.

        1. fjallstrom

          According to Wikipedia’s article on the 1860 election, there was at the time not one particular ballot to appear on, but instead ballots with electors pledged to a candidate was organised by the campaign, and you voted by choosing which ballot to use. The Lincoln campaign didn’t organise any ballots in the South.

      3. lampoon

        Lawfaremedia.org has good coverage of the Georgia indictment. They helpfully translated the indictment into readable English narrative prose and separately published a long, detailed article on the unauthorized access to the voting machines in Coffee County GA, including information from depositions in related civil lawsuits and Jan 6 committee testimony. They also have a podcast interviewing a Michigan journalist about the criminal charges brought by the Michigan State AG against the 16 ‘fake’ electors appointed by the Michigan Republican Party to cast their votes for Trump in place of the electors who were voting for Biden in the electoral college. These Republican electors went so far as to sign a certificate stating they were the duly appointed Michigan electors and had met and voted for Trump as president, then sent the certificate to the National Archives. Apparently, the Trump campaign coordinated and advised the Michigan Republican Party on this effort. Other criminal and civil lawsuits in Michigan are also discussed, including a criminal case involving illegal possession of voting machines by the unsuccessful 2020 Republican state AG candidate. Taken altogether, the brazen stupidity/naivety of these people is astounding. I can’t help but think that one of the unindicted coconspirators has to be Mel Brooks, because these reports read like a treatment for his newest comedy. Blazing Ballots, anyone?

      4. skippy

        The whole McCrazzypants[tm] part of this is Trump was a Democrat before running for Preznit, all that time, only donned the flexian garb of Republican when he saw an opportunity to make himself a lighting rod within that camp e.g. suits his vulgar style better than the new identity sorts in the DNC. I mean previously the DNC sorts were the ones that played the let your hair out style, Trump has just flipped that on its head e.g. took the same arts and crafts media style the neo left deployed and made it a middle finger to the DNC.

        All the vulgar things about the Right the DNC sorts hated he promoted as getting your freedom and liberties[tm] on about. The only thing about all that is he did not colour in between the lines like the rest of the GOP camp, completely trashed his parties incumbents as an inoculator without regard to established norms.

        Yet at the end of the day this is all about him, his legacy, his offspring, in a bear pit of oligarchical positioning and not much more. Yet at the end of the day he is completely irrespective of the core economic factors which are turning America into a cesspit of disparity which will cause so many dramas.

    2. Lee

      Whatever happens, I think Lambert’s take may be right: “… both the Never Trumpers and the liberal Democrats are setting the country up for a civil war. And if they believe they can win it, they’re as delusional as the slaveholders who formed the Confederacy.”

      As the two major parties and their various satellite entities continue in their efforts too crawl up each others asses with ill intent, I do sincerely hope that they both encounter there the Snark and then quietly vanish. Ever the giddy optimist, me.

      1. pjay

        I have only made it about half way through the article, but I would already argue that the authors’ “exhaustive” analysis is open to debate and alternate interpretations. Yet, they not only state their conclusions with absolute certainty (that Trump is ineligible to run for office), but they say that all government officials have a *constitutional obligation* to deny him that opportunity. Given the possible consequences, reflected in Lambert’s quote, this is about as extreme an example of academic hubris as I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a *lot* over the years), not to mention irresponsible. And their “expert” analysis is already being promulgated in the media. The Vox article (surprisingly – Vox?) does a good job of noting some of the dangers of this obvious – and it is *absolutely* obviously to the majority of the electorate — political lawfare against Trump.

        Most of us have said this over and over – we do not like Trump. He’s a narcissistic demagogic con-man. Many of his actions under current dispute was reckless. But this s**t is MUCH bigger than Trump. It is accelerating an already dangerous descent of our shaky political system. And those behind this are much more dangerous than Trump himself. If sanity among at least a segment of the elite doesn’t prevail pretty damn soon, there is going to be some major trouble.

        1. Lee

          “…If sanity among at least a segment of the elite…”

          That “if” is doing some heavy lifting in that sentence, as one might argue that the statement assumes facts not in evidence.

        2. Carolinian

          How does it go? The worst have fanatic certainty and the best lack all conviction?

          Ultimately the only certainty that matters when it comes to the Constitution would be the Supreme Court and how likely is it that the current court with agree with the out there legal theories of Smith etc.? Just as Trump was trying to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt that is what the lawfare crowd is doing only they have a lot more lawyers on their side or so it seems. Perhaps like Trump they don’t expect to win either but only to sow enough confusion to stop him from being elected. In other words the pot is calling the kettle black as the old timers would say.

      2. some guy

        Trump and the Trumpers are also setting the country up for a civil war from their end by promising that if Trump loses the next election, they will declare it rigged and stolen and refuse to accept their defeat, however real it might be. Such a civil war would be more like the Spanish Civil War or the Syrian Civil War than like a romantic historical re-enactment of “the” Civil War.

        And if Trump wins the election, he and the Republicans will try rolling out an Argentine Dirty War against whatever they choose to call their “enemies”. If those “enemies” are prepared enough ahead of time for that kind Argentrumpian Dirty War violence and Intrumpahamwe Militia violence which the Trump forces like to think they can practice without opposition, those forewarned and forearmed and prepared “enemies” might again be able to make Trump’s hoped-for Argentine Dirty War into a Spanish or Syrian Civil War anyway. That prediction would only be proven right or wrong if Trump gets re-elected for real and beyond any doubt. Since I don’t want to see that prediction proven right or wrong, I will be voting for whatever placeholder the Democrats nominate.

        People who hate the Democrats enough that they will try to get Trump re-elected to get revenge on the Democrats or in hopes of a ” Leninist Russian Revolution” outcome are free to place their bets that way. And no doubt will.

        1. Lee

          I and another codger cogitated for a time over this question today and agreed that the coming civil war will consist of stochastic terror perpetrated by one side and oppressive law enforcement measures taken by the other. As for politically motivated mass killings, I’d hate like hell to see that happen. What country on earth would have the guts to take in political refugees from the very bastion of democracy?

          1. some guy

            I see that someone suggested over on Ian Welsh’s blog that the way for Canada to prevent an “illegal American immigration crisis” would be for Canada to invite a hundred million Chinese to settle along the Canadian side of the Canadamerica border. The Chinese settlers would have to agree to all be armed and trained and be a live-in garrison force keeping the illegal Americans out.

            Sort of a Great Chinese Wall of Canada.

        2. nippersdad

          The only reason that Trump was ever even an issue is because of who the Democratic party insisted upon nominating. Sometimes you get what you beg for.

          When Trump is reelected with Marjorie Taylor Greene as the VP, even the Democratic party normies will know it has peaked in its’ efforts to find “placeholders” that no one else could stomach.

          1. some guy

            The DemParty is to the Clintonites as the ant with a brainfungus inside its brain is to the brainfungus inside the ant’s brain.

            The Clintonites ( and Obamazoids) are the brainfungus which currently rules the DemParty brain. The DemParty got what the Clintonites begger for and engineered for.

            ” We put about 18 million cracks in that Glass Ceiling.” –Her Imperial Herness

  7. Adam1

    Libraries & news…. one of my hobbies is genealogy and often local libraries are an awesome archive of local information. That information often was some prior generations news. News is important for so many reasons, it shouldn’t be bound by a profit expectation.

  8. marym

    >Trump surely had lawyers with him when he made it (readers?)

    “In addition to Mr. Trump and Mr. Raffensperger, others on the call from the Georgia secretary of state’s office included [chief lawyer for GA secretary of state’s office Ryan] Germany and Jordan Fuchs, Mr. Raffensperger’s deputy. On the line as well were Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, and Cleta Mitchell and Kurt Hilbert, lawyers working for Mr. Trump.”

  9. Bruno

    “states do hold the power to judge the qualifications of presidential candidates and may exclude ineligible candidates from the ballot”
    This strikes me as erroneous. According to the Constitution, the President is not elected by popular vote–the President is elected by the votes of *presidential electors* who are those that the people voted for on election day. Under what constitutional standard can a candidate for the office of *elector* be excluded from the ballot? A professed “commitment” to vote for a putatively ineligible presidential candidate should not supply such grounds, since all agree that an elector is *legally* (though not morally) free to vote for any candidate despite having pledged to do otherwise.

  10. Sailor Bud

    I have never listened to Taylor Swift. Should I?

    If you like the music, then yes.

    She is, like all our mass culture, a product of top-down corporate shoveling, though. It wasn’t mass grassroots following that elevated her music to stardom. She is attractive, young, and got signed. If she didn’t exist, someone else would fill the void. Perhaps we’d have Jenny McGillicuddy instead, and instead of Swifties, we’d have Cuddies.

    That star-struck phenomenon of fandom is mostly social, if I remember high school right. The fact that most pop stars are also vanished as easily as created always makes me wary of them. We’re not hearing much of Ms. Gaga, or Madonna, or Ms. Perry these days, after all.

    I often think of the Spice Girls when I think of things like this. They held auditions, and I believe thousands of women showed up for them until the magic five were chosen. If – say – Victoria ‘Posh’ Spice sprained her ankle that day, then there would have been a different one, and perhaps that girl would be married to David Beckham today.

    As always, I prefer local talent if it’s available, and always prefer making my own music or playing some composed stuff most of all.

    My advice there is to take up an instrument and then avail yourself of the thousands of music theory videos on YT, if you dare, even though most of them don’t teach the complete system because most of the people in the videos never learned beyond the basic circle of fifths. This includes some cats that shred it up, like Victor Wooten, where there is a video of him saying some things that are outright wrong, like ‘there are thirty keys in music’ (there are more than that, including keys with normal names, like G#, D#, and A# major, and Db & Gb minor, all of which are theoretical keys but not of the thirty key signature ones). He also says that the modes ‘aren’t keys, but scales.’ (They can be “keys” just fine, as in Debussy’s Pour l’egyptian, which is entirely in G dorian, i.e. written in key sig of F maj/D min.)

    It doesn’t mean you’d want to pass up lessons with Wooten, though! Probably, it would be one of the best you ever had. He’s a monster bass player.

    Dunno. Dig around. Music is discoverable and knowable, at any starting age. It doesn’t have to be Taylor that’s the most celebrated, tho, just because the TV and magazines say she is. Someone here at NC hipped me to Billy Strings last month, and I’d much rather spend time with his music.

    1. marieann

      I also have never heard Taylor Swift and since I don’t frequent shopping malls I know I have never heard her there either.
      I am afraid the chance of me taking up an instrument is also impossible as I am tone deaf, my son (when he was four) told me not to sing.
      However I like the music I like…The Drums and Pipes of the Highland Bands et al. Stan Rogers, Kenneth McKeller, Kenny Rogers……yes, I am old and I know ‘real” music when I hear it.

      1. Alex Cox

        50th anniversary of punk coming up in 3 or 4 years. Imagine how Rolling Stone and the MSM will game that, to exclude the Pistols and the Clash.

        1. orlbucfan

          No great loss excluding the Sex Pistols, but, on the other hand excluding the Clash, criminal.

      2. some guy

        If you are rhythm-hearing, could you take up one of many kinds of drums where I believe tone or tune is not an issue?

      1. britzklieg

        Thank you. For those uninterested in following your link, here’s the opening paragraph:

        “The massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign is the first time that mRNA vaccines have been used on a global scale. The mRNA vaccines correspond exactly to the definition of gene therapy of the American and European regulatory agencies. The regulations require excretion studies of these drugs and their products (the translated proteins). These studies have not been done for mRNA vaccines (nor for adenovirus vaccines). There are numerous reports of symptoms and pathologies identical to the adverse effects of mRNA vaccines in unvaccinated persons in contact with freshly vaccinated persons. It is therefore important to review the state of knowledge on the possible excretion of vaccine nanoparticles as well as mRNA and its product, the spike protein.”

      1. britzklieg

        And yet another good argument for referring to our current situations as a “pandemic of the vaccinated.” Turn about is fair play.

  11. albrt

    CARES act:

    I have often said, I agree with much of the Democrat platform, but there is a greater chance of a Republican enacting the Democrat platform by accident than the Democrats ever doing it on purpose.

    Near-universal healthcare being enacted under Trump and then ended by the Democrats pretty clearly proves my point.

  12. Pat

    I also love libraries, and librarians have a history of being staunch defenders of education and of civil liberties. Some of my biggest heroes in the aftermath of the Patriot Act were librarians.

    So thanks for the reference, TH. And for having the good taste, and the good qualities needed, to marry a librarian.

  13. Joe Well

    >>I have literally never listened to Taylor Swift; I prefer K-Pop. Should I?

    You literally have heard it if you’ve been in public spaces where background music is blasted in the US. Pretty inescapable. Out of curiosity I played a few of her most watched Youtube videos and they were all familiar, just not interesting enough to have made me Shazam them before.

  14. Darthbobber

    Aah… The 14th amendment, the faithless electors 2023 edition. So a century and a half later, and after several things that looked closer to actual “insurrections” taking place without this being invoked against their participants, we have legal scholars and allied journalists coming out all at once and opining that it’s totally clear that this is how it is.

    No standard for an insurrection other than the personal opinions of secretaries of state, and complete chaos if they differ with each other.

    One suspects that opinions aside, the courts quickly intervene if this happens.

    Is there really so little confidence in the efficacy of the unending stream of indictments that this silliness is seen as worth the risks (which are considerable)?

    One could easily see various secretaries of state disqualifying either Hayes or Tilden, depending on their political preferences, after the rather long list of antics engaged in during the 1876 election.

    I will admit that it’s easier to read this into the 14th amendment than corporations as persons entitled to due process, and that didn’t turn out to be a bridge too far.

  15. Joe Well

    Re: Covid, are people still making their own povidone Iodine sprays? Any links to the most explicit how-to’s? I’m in Mexico where I can’t import any of the sprays written about here (customs extremely strict) and I don’t know if I can trust the locally available ones. One I researched seemed to be hopium.

    1. John Beech

      Joe, 5-hours later, if you come back to look . . .

      Something of a tedious read. I’ll save you the trouble, nasal lavage works. Doesn’t seem to matter if it’s straight saline with a bit of buffer, or saline with Povidone iodine. Nevertheless, reviewing is worth your time in my opinion.


      The formula . . .
      1. Buy and drink down (or pour out) a 2L bottle of Mt Dew or Coca Cola.
      2. Mix 3Tbsp of non-iodized salt in a large pot of water and boil (covered it’s less than 5 minutes, uncovered takes longer).
      3. Once cool, fill 2L with salt water.
      4. Add 20cc of Betadine (works out to a 0.5% solution in the salt water). Turns brown like tea.
      5. Half to a full bottle and hork our your nasal cavities out with this after being anywhere you may have inhaled COVID19 virus particles. This is very similar to using a ‘neti pot’, OK?

      Me? After a trip to the grocery store, pharmacy, (and both before and after a visit to the doctor’s office/dentist because we’re in a small enclosed room), I’ll push a half bottle through my nasal cavities. It mechanically washes virus out and the iodine in the solution breaks it down – twofer.

      Squeeze bottle – https://www.amazon.com/RSSZL-Irrigation-Free-Nose-Rhinitis-Allergic/dp/B07Q36LYBS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=RSSZL&qid=1607638233&sr=8-1

      This one is the 500cc size. They have a 300cc for the same price. I like the big one and fill it half way 90% of the time but sometimes (when I’m a little concerned about the number for folks I’ve been around) I’ll fill it up and squirt the entire 500cc through my nose.

      The trick is simple, just hold your breath and give it a squeeze. It’ll pour out your other nostril and you won’t feel a thing. Note, I’m used to it so if I run out of non-iodized salt I’ll use the regular stuff, which stings slightly. Not end of the world stinging, just a little bit, but until you’re used to it you’re best off with the non-iodized salt. Oh, and you need Betadine (providone iodine) and a syringe.

      Betadine 16 oz – https://www.amazon.com/Dynarex-D1415-Povidone-Iodine-Solution/dp/B005R8580M/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=betadine+16+oz&qid=1607638754&sr=8-5

      10cc syringe – https://www.amazon.com/ACU-Life-True-Childrens-Dosing-Syringe/dp/B00PXRZRA8/ref=sr_1_20?crid=190IKE8DPETYB&dchild=1&keywords=10cc+syringe+without+needle&qid=1607638794&sprefix=10cc+syringe%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-20

  16. Pat

    If you like KPop, I don’t see you going for Swift.
    I also think that analysis is putting a very heavy thumb on the connections.

    But take this with a grain of salt. I like a few Swift tunes, but am in no way a Swiftie. I enjoy watching her in the same way I enjoyed watching Madonna in the eighties and nineties. I consider Swift to be this period’s version. She is more deeply gifted musically than Madonna, but where they are similar is they both are good business women who have mad marketing skills. So Swift has tapped into and played with a zeitgeist that resonates with young women using music, her supposed personal story and great social media skills, which may be about all I agree with from the article.

      1. Acacia

        Ditto. Invoking Denis de Rougemont for “reading” corporate pop like Taylor Swift? Give me a break.

    1. ChrisPacific

      Agreed on the article – I find it hard to swallow that Swift is an expression of a deep-seated cultural tendency grounded in a thousand-year old heresy. When arguments like that are applied to contemporary politics, we call them conspiracy theories.

      I’m largely in the same boat regarding Swift. I admire her as a businesswoman and artist. I like a lot of her tunes without really being emotionally connected to them or experiencing her music as a ‘Swiftie’ would. She might be of interest to Naked Capitalism readers on the subjects of ‘economics, politics and power’ from the tag line. She’s popular enough to be a power in music now, but an insurgent one who has often been at odds with the industry establishment, and has frequently had to fight to control her career. She famously advised budding artists in the music industry to get a good lawyer.

      In the highly unlikely event that she and Yves were ever in an interview or panel discussion together, I suspect they would find a lot to talk about.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I like Taylor Swift in that I get the appeal. She’s basically an organic Disney pop star. She lacks the gratuitousness Disney pushes, and her songs though possessing a certain banal quality are catchy and not that sanitized. Her voice is okay but recognizable. Anyone can sing along in the car. Lady Gaga has a great voice. People can’t sing like her. This applies to country music too. She’s sanitized, but I think she’s genuine too.

        She’s inoffensive, and in this homogenous culture where we don’t have trends traveling the country and becoming different as they hit different regions, she simply exists in a world without DJs to promote alternatives.

        I would hazard she’s nice in a mean country except to Tina Fey. She hates Tina Fey.

        Swift needs to be put into context of Selena Gomez (hispanic; I like her voice in her later songs as it deepened.) and Miley Cyrus (white), both budding Disney nice stars meant to suck up the oxygen. Swift essentially killed “Party in the USA” and that mountain song Miley Cyrus to a point Miley Cyrus had to go super madonna. Taylor Swift murdered Hannah Montana. Unlike the other child stars, Taylor was picked by the audience, not corporate execs. Her dad was in the business, but she is talented. She’s no Amy Winehouse, but she’s talented.

    1. britzklieg

      Not to criticize the substance of Taibbi’s article but it’s telling that he begins with the familiar caveats now required before any criticism of US war mongering can go forward, even more so that he makes sure the reader understands who the authors are: “Christopher Layne, the Robert Gates chair of National Security at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government, and Benjamin Schwarz, a onetime national and literary editor of The Atlantic and former analyst for the RAND Corporation.”

      “The authors didn’t excuse Vladimir Putin or his invasion of Ukraine, writing that “even if Moscow’s avowals are taken at face value,” the country’s actions could be “condemned as those of an aggressive and illegitimate state.””

      I wonder where they stand on Kosovo as relates to UN article 51 found in Chapter VII of the UN Charter:

      Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression:

      “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defence shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

      So, let’s talk about Kosovo, the independence of which remains unrecognized by the UN, the conflict on-going, and NATO (self-described as a defensive organization) and Bill Clinton. The parallels are uncanny to say the least, yet the Guterres’ UN has done just the opposite in its tacit (some might say mendacious) support for Ukraine despite the latter’s post-Maidan aggression against the independence seeking Donbas.

      That’s a discussion few are willing to engage. And I reject outright any suggestion that it amounts to nothing more than “whataboutism.”

      Meanwhile, looking at the situation through the prism of “Realpolitik,” the world holds its breath as 2 nuclear powers face off with global devastation as a real consequence.

      1. nippersdad

        The parallels are uncanny because the US changed the law after the fact to make the Kosovo intervention look legal and Russia followed that protocol to the letter. I would love for someone to ask Hillary Clinton what she thinks of R2P now.

        If Russia was hoping that we would abide by our own laws they were mistaken. We are, as ever, agreement incapable. Something that they had noticed a long time before it became an international truism.

  17. Grumpy Engineer

    “LK-99 isn’t a superconductor — how science sleuths solved the mystery”

    Gah… Stuff like this makes me despair. Not that “science sleuths” debunked the claim, but that the claim was made in the first place. The South Korean “inventors” apparently never bothered with the most mundane of experiments, which is to make a rod 1.0 meters long and 10 mm in diameter and then push 1000 amps through it. If the voltage drop across the rod is ZERO volts, the you have a superconductor. If not, you don’t. Stupendous amounts of theory, but no basic test of electrical performance? This is no way to do science.

    And I fear that the recently-touted “carbon-cement supercapacitors” coming out of MIT (https://cleantechnica.com/2023/08/04/cement-carbon-black-water-supercapacitor/, with paper at https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2304318120) is going to meet the same fate. The paper features a whole lot of theoretical discussion about material properties, but I saw no basic tests to determine dielectric constant, dielectric strength, and volumetric ESR characteristics. This is standard stuff when characterizing a dielectric material to use in capacitors, and its complete absence from the discussion bodes poorly.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Obviously you missed the part in that paper where they used a special alloy to get those superconductor results and which was made up Unobtainium. :)

      1. Grumpy Engineer

        Ha ha! And I’ll stay tuned for MIT’s follow-up paper that touts “carbon-cement flux capacitors”. Who needs 88 MPH from a DeLorean when a concrete floor will do?

    2. flora

      Thank you. My fear is that even those who are now charged with teaching science at the college level no longer understand what that means, what science is as a physical test of theory in the physical world. When, however, grant funding depends on certain claims and declared results… that is not science, that is milking the funding sources. Not all scientists succumb to that monetary entreaty, fortunately.

      1. some guy

        Charles Walters Jr., the one-time founder and editor of Acres USA, once decades ago referred to the reality of ” grant funding depends on certain claims and declared results ” as ” gangsterism in science.” He also once reported an Iowa State University agronomic research scientist as having told him . . . ” for a hundred thousand dollars, we can prove anything.” He may have been paraphrasing, though.

    3. Jason Boxman

      Their mistake was choosing to do this in material sciences, rather than life sciences, where you can get away with faking results and it’s more challenging to debunk.

  18. Jason Boxman

    The Southeast has also been reporting the highest rate of COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents.

    What’s amazing about this is, as a rapacious capitalist, how are you going to bilk state medicaid if you murder all your ATMs, er, residents. On the other hand, nursing homes have extremely complex legal setups that shield the principals from any responsibility, so legal liability doesn’t seem to be a concern; why not let it ride I guess?

    1. nippersdad

      Long COVID to the rescue. All this really means is that they can speed up the sale of former Medicaid recipients houses to Black Rock. They are just going to shove them through faster.

  19. The Rev Kev

    It occurs to me that if Trump is going to be banned from running as President and that this is a result of what is coming out of Georgia, that conservatives across the country might Bud Lite the entire State as a warning first. FYI, the Bud Lite boycott never went away and seems to be embedding itself into American culture. Forget the tens of billions of dollars that Anheuser-Busch has lost already, they are having to shut down facilities and are selling parts of their empire. Bud Lite sponsored events have few visitors and lots of places you do not want to be seen with a Bud Lite can in your hand, much less a booze shop. Now imagine that happening to Georgia with businesses and conventions cancelling all events in that State, contracts being torn up, tourists staying away, social media campaigns and memes focused on avoiding Georgia. That could mess with Georgia’s economy and there is a history of this happening before. It could very easily happen.

    1. Glen

      Polling has made it clear that American voters really don’t want Trump or Biden. Biden’s really doing nothing to get votes other than the whole “Trump evil” mantra. What if Trump goes away? Then why vote for Biden? What about a Trump endorsed candidate?

      ‘I’m proud that Trump likes me, I want to bring people together’ | RFK Jr. Town Hall

      1. Acacia

        RFK will be nuked by the DNC, and saying Trump endorsed him will only increase the megatonnage.

        For now, the plan seems to be run Biden — Trump or no Trump — and then swap in Harris after Joe keels over. If before the no-longer-happening primary, Biden has falls down the steps of AF1 and lands in Walter Reed, another candidate will be chosen.

        Voters are only raw material for manufactured consent. The DNC and the DNC alone will choose the candidate.

        1. The Rev Kev

          I would guess that they have to eliminate Trump from the running before they can go after RFK. Both at the same time would be too hard but if Trump is eliminated, then the task to eliminate RFK would be much easier.

      2. ChrisRUEcon

        > What if Trump goes away? Then why vote for Biden? What about a Trump endorsed candidate?

        In other words (abbreviated as IOW) … Democrats have learned nothing from elevating Trump in 2016 only to lose to him. Who’s the “Pied Piper” they prefer for Joe this year? De-Santis? Scott? They refuse to face up to the truth that no one wants to vote for Biden. But … who knows? Maybe “Too Tall Jones” is gonna end up making that call from Kalorama.

    2. Lee

      In a just and sensible world But Lite would never have existed and Anchor Steam would still be in business.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “An Office Is Not The Office”

    Said before, with the advent of the internet thirty years ago there should have been a massive trend of working from home over all those years. And yet it did not work out that way and you can see that big business is almost frantic about forcing people to go back to those cubicles. They are demanding that this happen and are threatening people if they do not return. And this while we are still in the middle of a Pandemic mind. So perhaps the real reason why work from home never really developed all those years ago was because it was corporations that have been holding this back from happening and creating a log jam to prevent it happening. In terms of social development, it would have been like businesses telling their workers after WW2 that they had to keep on living in the cities and that they did not want them moving to new suburbs and were actively sabotaging rail and highway systems to stop it happening.

    1. digi_owl

      Not even cubicles. The latest pre-covid trend was hot desking. Think submarine hot bunking but with office desks.

      1. Acacia

        The latest pre-covid trend was hot desking.

        My office remodeled for that. They call it a “co-working space”, though mostly it’s people in their own bubble staring at their devices, all parked at one big desk.

        As for air quality/safety — who knows. The one time I inquired, they snorted that of course there was no policy. They can’t be bothered, it seems, and others have told me that it would be “very confrontational” or even “accusatory”(!) to measure or even ask about CO2 levels. I am very fortunate in that I can WFH, but it’s very isolating. So, the calculus seems to be: experience that veneer of sociality in the “co-working” space but risk getting Covid from people who are indifferent to the disease, or WFH and guard my health. For now, it’s the latter.

  21. SocalJimObjects

    Speaking of Taylor Swift concert goers, the one who will go to her concert most often is most certainly …. Taylor Swift herself with 146 shows across 5 continents, meaning her chance of getting Covid is super high. Has she done anything in terms of set design, etc to protect herself? How is she so certain she will not be getting Covid? In addition to being a very popular singer, she’s always struck me as a pretty shrewd person, so I’ve found her behavior to be baffling.

    1. Pat

      At the beginning of the Beyoncé tour there was a story about her stopping her concert because the fan that was supposed to be on her was not. Now this could have been a temperature thing, but it struck me as odd that it was important enough to Beyoncé to make what would surely come off as a Diva with a capital D move, rather than wait until she could signal the crew subtly that there was a problem. Well that was until I wondered if this was a ventilation mitigation where a fan or fans with filtered air were always to be directed at Beyoncé.

      Of course they might not be concerned because the emergency is over you know, and there would certainly be issues especially sound issues. Yet if they are concerned, air filtration strategies for the stage could be incorporated into their extensive stage designs that travel with them.

  22. Acacia

    Minor addendum to the tweet on “difficult emergency transport in Japan”:

    As some may already know, there is an established phenom in Japan that people call an ambulance in an emergency, it arrives, but is then unable to find a hospital that will receive the sick person. So, the ambulance is parked, while the crew is speed dialing a bunch of different hospitals and clinics, looking for one that will receive them. “Difficult transport” in this graph is being defined as at least 4 hospitals were contacted and the ambulance was parked at least 30 mins. Eventually, all of these cases found a hospital, but not sure what the average delay was in these cases (> 30 mins). This has been a known problem for years, but here we can see that it’s getting worse.

    For the graph shown in this tweet, the thick orange line on the graph, whose peaks are not waning, represent cases in which SARS-CoV-2 is suspected (i.e., reported to the ambulance crew). The thin red line at the top is the number of difficult cases relative to the baseline of 2019 (Reiwa year 1), i.e., pre-Covid.

    It may also be worth noting that while official numbers suggest that Japan has really a lot of hospital beds per capita, the method of counting them is different, such that in fact the figure is below average for OECD countries. Anecdotally, I have been in small hospitals that seem to have lots of empty beds, and my impression is they are understaffed and simply don’t admit patients for all of the beds they do have.

    1. britzklieg

      Because my undergraduate school had a vigorous exchange program with Japan, many of my classmates, including my sister, ended up there and many stayed a long time (late 70’s). I learned then that a hospital stay in Japan was a completely different experience and that the family of the hospitalized were expected to carry a lot of weight (food, basic nursing care and attention) while their loved ones recuperated. A friend broke his leg skiing and if not for so many friends there to help, his hospital stay would have been difficult and lonely. That tells me that nurses and staff are not plentiful.

      1. SocalJimObjects

        Same in Taiwan and China, except in the later you can literally hire people on the spot to provide nurse like services that might be provided by nurses in more advanced countries. Apparently nurses in China are responsible for only basic things like administering medicines, taking measurements of patients’ condition, and one or two more things and that’s it.

  23. britzklieg

    I found this discussion to be extremely compelling and believe many would find it so and worthy of consideration, especially the contribution of Baudet. I don’t agree with everything said, but that’s a plus not a minus in my book. Apologies if it has been linked before:

    “Denying liberty, eroding democracy with Thierry Baudet, John Laughland and Alexander Mercouris” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFlNITXYPII

  24. Anthony K Wikrent

    I very much doubt if it is possible in our day and age to achieve an “understanding the plain, public meaning of the words used when the text was written” because the founding principles of civic republicanism have largely been discarded and replaced with liberalism. Where is any of these articles is there any mention of the dangers of oligarchy? In his article on Section Three over a year ago, Gerard N. Magliocca, law professor at Indiana University, writes:

    When the Thirty-Ninth Congress convened in December 1865, Senators and elected Representatives from the ex-Confederate States showed up ready to take their seats. Among those members-elect were many rebel leaders, including Alexander Stephens, the Confederate Vice President, two Confederate Senators, four Confederate Congressmen, and several military officers of the Confederate Army.[18] The presence of these unrepentant rebels infuriated most Republicans in Congress. As the Joint Committee on Reconstruction explained in its report, the elections in the South “resulted, almost universally, in the defeat of candidates who had been true to the Union, and in the election of notorious and unpardoned rebels . . . who made no secret of their hostility to the government and the people of the United States.”[19] The Joint Committee thus recommended “the exclusion from positions of public trust of, at least, a portion of those whose crimes have proved them to be enemies to the Union, and unworthy of public confidence.”[20]

    The ensuing language of Section Three was introduced in the Senate as a substitute to the House’s proposal.[21] Representative James G. Blaine, who later served as the Speaker of the House, recalled in his memoir that when the proposal “was under discussion in Congress, the total number affected was estimated at fourteen thousand, but subsequently it was ascertained to be much greater.”[22] In the discussion of the Senate proposal, one objection was that exclusion would make ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment impossible in the South.[23] Another Senator said that sidelining the old local political establishment would greatly hamper cooperation with the Union: “Do you not want to act upon the public opinion of the masses of the South? Do you not want to win them back to loyalty? And if you do, why strike at the men who, of all others, are most influential and can bring about the end which we all have at heart?”[24] The Joint Committee’s response to this type of claim was: “Slavery, by building up a ruling and dominant class, had produced a spirit of oligarchy adverse to republican institutions, which finally inaugurated civil war. The tendency of continuing the domination of such a class, by leaving it in the exclusive possession of political power, would be to encourage the same spirit, and lead to a similar result.”[25]

    The Joint Committee’s logic for what became Section Three evoked an abolitionist mantra that a “Slave Power” of Southern elites was to blame for the Civil War. Prior to the 1860s, many in the North believed that rich enslavers were conspiring secretly to extinguish liberty.[26] Although there was a paranoid aspect to that view, there was a pragmatic reason to single out the political class once the war was over. Giving other whites a pass arguably raised the prospects for reconciliation in much the way that the Nuremberg Trials did for Germany after World War II by focusing on Nazi leaders and not on their followers.[27] There was also a plausible thought that the Confederate leaders were not truly representative of their voters and chose to exercise their independent judgment in a destructive manner.[28] A new group of leaders, one could hope, would produce a different racial and political stance.

    Gerard N. Magliocca, Amnesty And Section Three Of The Fourteenth Amendment, Constitutional Commentary, University of Minnesota Law School, Spring 2021.

    How many of these articles even reference the debates and discussions which occurred in Congress on the design, writing, and adoption of the Reconstruction Amendments?

    A good place to start is Forrest A. Nabors, From Oligarchy to Republicanism: The Great Task of Reconstruction, Columbia, Mo., University of Missouri Press, 2017

  25. Pat

    I’m just wondering what happens if some red state official decides to try to make a case that Biden’s influence peddling is endangering the US and meant to start WWIII without following legal procedure enriching himself and his cronies and thus is a form of insurrection. And then removes Biden from the ballot.
    Now I realize this is unlikely, not the least of which is having a problem with war with Russia. But could we end up with an election where no candidate could win because neither can get sufficient electoral votes due to ballot exclusion and it gets thrown to the House. Or how about Trump gets thrown from the ballot in states he never would have won anyway (like NY and California) but still manages to get enough electoral college votes to win.

    I do wonder if the idiots who came up with this, have even considered the real world consequences of this stop Trump strategy. I realize they were hamstrung by both their unappealing shallow bench AND that they have stopped even pretending to like most of the American public much less want to actually govern with their concerns as a priority so they have nothing to offer as an alternative. Still this should not have been an endgame.

  26. Daniil Adamov

    “Our love-affair with doomed love begins in early 13th-century France with the two-decade Albigensian Crusade which saw the Cathar sect persecuted, tortured, slaughtered and scattered by the orthodox Christian Knights Templar”

    I’ve never heard of the Knights Templar being involved in the Albigensian Crusade. The only connection I can find on short notice are highly dubious claims that Cathars infiltrated their ranks. If anything, I’d think Knights Templar may have been on the author’s mind as another example of culture martyrs.

  27. Conrad Schumacher

    I quite like Taylor Swift and applaud her efforts to take back control of her back catalogue by re-recording all her old albums so she has total ownership of all the rights involved.

    But the most interesting songs I’ve heard lately have been from independent artists. Oliver Anthony’s Rich Men North of Richmond seems like it could have been sung by some if the commentators here. And Ren continually astonishes me with his versatility and wit. Start with Hi Ren, a song the late Sinead O’connor described as making ‘all other music sound like a 3 year old’s birthday party at Burger King’, and then work you way through his channel.

Comments are closed.