2:00PM Water Cooler 8/28/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am finishing a post excoriating the New York Times for its lazy reporting on school ventilation, front-paged though the story may be. So talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Eastern Whip-poor-will, Bleuetières Rang Saint-Joseph, Les Bergeronnes, La Haute-Côte-Nord, Quebec, Canada. Antrostomus vociferus. Vociferous indeed!

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Carla writes: “This purple coneflower volunteered next to our compost bin. It is one plant!” Coneflowers are not, apparently, invasive. But they might as well be!

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. petal

    I’ll start things off!

    Sen. Bernie Sanders visits New Hampshire to show support for Biden reelection

    “GOFFSTOWN, N.H. —
    As the 2024 presidential election nears, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) threw his full support behind President Joe Biden during an appearance in New Hampshire on Saturday, quashing any questions that he might consider throwing his hat in the race for a third time.

    “It is no secret that I want Joe Biden to be reelected president,” Sanders said. “He and I shared the goal of beating back right-wing extremism.”

    Sanders’ appearance comes as Biden has yet to make a formal campaign appearance in New Hampshire this election cycle as he looks to follow a new primary schedule. Back in February, The Democratic National Committee pushed to make South Carolina the first in the nation primary state ahead of New Hampshire.

    During his speech at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics on Saturday, Sanders called on members of both parties to acknowledge the current struggles of working middle-class Americans and their families.

    “In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, which is what we are now, tens of millions of people struggle to put food on the table, find affordable housing, affordable health care, affordable prescription drugs, affordable childcare and affordable educational opportunities,” Sanders said.

    Sanders also said he plans to keep pushing Democrats to take reformative action toward addressing LGBTQ+ rights, health care concerns, and safe and equitable abortion access.

    “If we are going to defeat creeping authoritarianism and right-wing extremism, there has got to be an ideological change, of course,” Sanders said. “But Democrats are serious about winning elections and addressing the major crises that we faced. They must go further.”

    In a jam-packed room full of supporters, Sanders went on to praise the state for having a 1.7% unemployment rate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation during the month of July.”

    1. ambrit

      Alas, I have learned the hard way not to trust any apparatchiks, none.
      When Bernie calls for the public ownership of the means of production, he will get my vote. Nothing less anymore. Incrementalism has been shown to be a ‘stalking horse’ for the Capitalist Political Class.
      As the Doors put it in one of their songs” “We want the world, and we want it now.”
      Doors, “When the Music’s Over.”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOJSmXSFCWk

      1. JBird4049

        I’m thinking that Bernie Sanders might not have fooled anyone as much as he folded when got a shiv in the back during the last national election. “Lovely family you got there. It would be a shame if anything happened to them.” Or to use another phrase, he was offered a choice of “plata o plomo” meaning silver or lead. In this case, a total destruction of his career, maybe his family and friends as well, and he chose the money, and like an obedient, bought puppet, he has followed orders ever since. No, I do not mean his actual death as would happen in any country from Mexico on down. There are plenty of ways to horrible destroy a man without out killing them.

        The senator should have spoken up and told everyone what he was being offered. I am thinking even many Sanders haters would have listened because what was done to him was just wrong. However, he took the safe way, which is a shame.

        1. Ferc

          You could say that he’s more a grandfather than a revolutionary. At his age, I can’t say I blame him.

        2. Raymond Sim

          My wife and I were shocked when we saw his face on the night of the long knives. He looked bad enough that I pretty much anticipated everything since.

          I’m not so sure that explicit threats of violence are out of the question. What would make you think so, other than lingering traces of American exceptionalism?

          1. JBird4049

            There is a history of threats, bribery, blackmail, beatings, false arrests and convictions, arson, and murder in American politics, particularly in the South, but historically it has appeared in every state, which is ignored by the schools, the media, and certainly the establishment. It has been our fortune that the past thirty years has only been the first five items of my list although I suspect that particularly loud and effective protestors from Ferguson, MO were whacked by the police. However, that is only based on my gut feelings, not anything solid. There were examples of white protestors from Occupy Wall Street who were framed and forced to take plea bargains, which prevents them from being protestors unless they want to spend life in prison.

            Another example of how being white gives you more protection than being black, but really not that much. Death versus life imprisonment in the normally horrific American prison is not much of a choice.

            If we had a news media even as effective as it was in the 1980s, there would have been reporters, even teams of them from multiple outlets all over this, but we do not, do we? The reporting would have been slanted towards the establishment, but it would have existed.

            1. some guy

              Kennedy and King may have been killed “in” the South, but they were not killed BY the South. They were killed by professionals acting for the Nazi-Paperclipping Deep State. Same as X and the Other Kennedy who were killed in the non-South by professionals acting for the same people.

              And in case people think Wellstone’s plane went down by “accident”, here is a little article giving such people a reason to rethink that thought.


          2. Cassandra

            Ray, Sanders had to have known the score going in to 2020. Take a look at his videos immediately after the CA primary in June, 2016.

            At that time, barring a large movement of superdelegates to his camp, he knew he did not have the numbers to secure the nomination. And yet, he was urging his supporters to attend the convention and make their voices heard. In my opinion, his face was alive and engaged. Then on June 9, 2016, Sanders and his wife had a meeting with Obama at the White House. Immediately after, he had a press conference with Harry Reid where Reid announced that Sanders accepted HRC as the nominee and would be supporting her candidacy. Sanders said nothing, but, in my opinion, his face was eloquent.

            So, again in my opinion, Sanders had to have known the score in 2020. He may have been surprised when Elizabeth Warren put the shiv in during the debates, but he had to know what it meant when Obama said he would not get involved unless “it look[ed] like Bernie was running away with it.” I suppose he could have spoken up as you suggest, but Sanders is famously devoted to his family.

            Such a shame Sanders didn’t retire after his heart attack in the fall of 2019. It was the perfect excuse and he could have retained some shreds of his reputation.

        3. GramSci

          This is why I like RFKjr. He knows the price, even if Caroline et al aren’t willing to pay it.

        4. digi_owl

          If you want to character assassinate someone these days, there is one topic that can ruin someone completely by mere accusation…

      2. Henry Moon Pie

        There were some prophets around when we were young, ambrit. So is Morrison thinking of Bacon when he writes those lines about what we’ve done to the Earth? Or is it just Morrison going for the most affecting image he can muster? And where is he coming up with the Earth as sister rather than mother? We can be sure that it’s not because Morrison is shy about putting “mother” in that sexual context.

        The Music’s over. Turn out the lights.

        The context connects that line with Morrison’s personal habits and their trajectory, but that’s the fun part of prophecy–and I guess art–when another part of the same context ties it with our fate because of our abuse of the Earth.

        Reminds me of Hendrix’s “Up From the Skies.” Jimi’s playing a character from another planet (or is he?) on a return visit to Earth:

        I have been here before, the days of ice
        And of course this is why I’m so concerned
        And I come back to find the stars misplaced
        And the smell of a world that has burned
        A smell of the world that has burned

        Yeah well, maybe
        Maybe it’s just a change of climate
        I can dig it
        I can dig it baby, I just want to see

    2. nippersmom

      If Bernie’s goal were “beating back right-wing extremism” he would not be supporting the corrupt, racist, serial-harassing, fascist war criminal, Joe Biden.

      I think it’s possible he was coerced in 2016; those bruises on his face at the Convention weren’t from walking into a door. But anyone with the integrity I once credited him with would have withdrawn from politics rather than offering his full-throated support to this pack of ghouls ever since then.

        1. chris

          Yeah. This is awful. He at least called out Clinton on the appearance of corruption with Goldman Sachs. But nothing for Joe? No comments on how Joe is running a basement campaign, rather than being out among the people like Bernie said was required?

          I could maybe vote for RFK. I will vote for Dr. West if given the chance. Otherwise these people are dead to me.

      1. Pavel

        Thank you for your first paragraph. Pretty much sums it all up. With all the corruption, blatant lying, hypocrisy and especially the chronic war mongering, Biden gets my vote only for worst POTUS in living memory. Including GWB, whose illegal wars and torture were enabled and ignored by Joe.

        To echo maipenrai above… won’t get fooled again!

        1. bassmule

          I’m really OK with having supported Bernie. What would you have done? They let him live. Kinda. They certainly burned his reputation to the ground. Maybe we’re being warned to stop even thinking about climate change, single-payer, higher education for all, automatic weapon bans, etc. You can bet exactly none of these will be more than touched on in the election itself. Two nasty old con-men: One who thinks letting his son make a few mill off Dad’s connections is “a family affair,” and one who assumed that of course he could just buy 11,779 votes.

    3. ChrisRUEcon

      Sad … sad … sad …

      You know there was a video of Bernie from the 2016 campaign where he said something like “if you ever see me advocating for something or someone dodgy, don’t listen to me”. After #HRC won the nomination, that video effectively disappeared from the internet … but I think of it sometimes. If he could, I think Bernie would be “blinking twice” to tell us he’s being held hostage … LOL

      But yeah, seeing Bernie basically devolve into a #VBNMW (Vote Blue No Matter Who) stumper for Biden “because democracy is on the line” (again) truly represents the end of the road.

      1. Feral Finster

        Sander’s isn’t being held hostage. He’s sold out, convinced himself that we should be content with crumbs, that’s all.

        If the Establishment is good at nothing else, it is very good at determining whom to co-opt, whom to buy off, whom to neutralize, whom to ignore.

        For is it not written, that “personnel is policy”?

        1. JBird4049

          Personnel is policy, but just as I said in my earlier comment, they offer people a choice between silver and lead, creating or molding people into the kind of the personnel they want, not hiring them.

          1. Feral Finster

            Don’t matter how they got the personnel, as long as they get them.

            Obama cultists used to excuse their hero by saying that Mean Republicans twisted poor widdle Obama’s arm. Even if that were in fact true (it wasn’t), it doesn’t matter – his assent counts just the same.

            1. JBird4049

              >>>Don’t matter how they got the personnel, as long as they get them.

              That is the whole point. American politics has often been brutal, but there has usually been an agreement, even if unspoken, about the limits for the last century. As the country becomes poorer, more corrupt, more incompetent, and the ruling class more desperate, the gloves are going to come off. The people doing the daily work of the government, the average bureaucrats, will likely face violence.

              One can look at politics including the union movement between the Civil War and the Second World War and see what happened. People assume that there will not be violence because of the law, but the law. merely codifies the often unspoken agreements, the customs, and habits of the people in the system. When the violence starts, those agreements go away and the violence spirals upwards, whatever the law says about it.

              1. chris wardell

                “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.”
                ~Frederic Bastiat

                1. JBird4049

                  I do not think that I am in agreement with Bastiat ideas on socialism, but that on this, I am very much so. He might have been thinking of socialism, but this statement is true for most societies where a group has taken control; they start to alter their society to facilitate and glorify whatever ways they control and plunder it.

                  1. digi_owl

                    In the end all systems are flawed because humans are flawed. Because deep down we are still an ape looking for the next meal etc.

                    If we want a better system, we likely will need to detach its enforcers from worldly needs. And i do not see how that will be possible.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      If you check Useful Idiots podcast from earlier today at about the 20:27 mark, you will see the CoronaJoe-supporting Bernie Sanders being rebutted by none other than….Bernie Sanders. Tried posting the link but it wouldn’t work.

      I too am extremely disappointed in this turn and find it unbelievable that he touts anything to do with Biden’s economy. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can see these Bidenville tent cities popping up everywhere you look and getting larger by the day.

      Question for Bernie – what kind of person is it who tells railroad workers threatening to strike over poor pay and working conditions to get back to work rather than supporting the strike, only to have a poorly maintained train blow up a town shortly afterwards, and who then doesn’t lift a finger to help? Would that person qualify as a right wing authoritarian?

    5. some guy

      Sanders is decades older than most of the people who feel let down by Sanders. He grew up during the Depression and the Rise of Naziism period and the World War Two period. So his whole political memory will be shaped by a personal view of how Hitlers rise and what Hitlers do if they can.

      So he quite sincerely believes Trump to be America’s ” John the Baptist” paving the way for whatever Hitler figure will arise after Trump. He also considers parts of Trump’s Base . . . . the Unite The Right community and etc., to be America’s White Power Fascists and on the way to becoming a Nazi Movement with Stormtrumpers and everything else. He did, after all, hear Trump praising some of the Nazi Movement people at the Unite The Right demonstration as “very nice people”.

      So when Sanders sees election 2024 offering a choice between 4 more years of Brezhnevian Stagnation or a rise of White Power National-Cultural Fascism, he will whole-heartedly support the Brezhnevian Stagnation candidate.

      Younger people may want to reject his views as obsolete, given the novel size and scale of the problems and breakdowns we face. But I am just old enough myself that I will not question the sincerity of his intent even though I lament his lack of a killer instinct and a willingness to dance on his opponents’ faces with golf shoes on as a way to win primaries. He showed a lack of that willingness against both Clinton and Biden when he appeared with them on TV debates.

      If he got into the primaries yet again, I would not vote for him because he is just too nice a guy who does not believe in “killing” his enemies. And we need a hate-driven candidate who believes in “killing” his/her enemies. If we had such a candidate, and if I decided that his/her enemies were also my enemies, I would vote for such a candidate.

      1. nippersmom

        And yet, despite his knowledge of the rise of Naziism, he voted not only to send obscene amounts of money to Ukraine, but to block any oversight of the money being sent. Also, too, anyone with a passing familiarity with Biden’s record knows he is also a blatant racist. Even his selection as Obama’s VP was a dog whistle to racists that “the right people” were still going to be in charge. Biden is not ” Brezhnevian Stagnation”; he is an integral part of the system the created the situation we find ourselves in– income disparity, trammeling of civil rights, constant and ever-expanding war, rampant corruption. Cornel West, also not a young man, can see this. Sanders should be able to.

        While I am certainly younger than Biden or Sanders, at 61 I don’t think most people would put me in the “younger people” category. Some of us are just no longer willing to be apologists for bad choices.

        1. nippersmom

          If it weren’t for the Joe Bidens, there would be no Donald Trump. Dr. Frankenstein doesn’t get to complain about the creation of the monster.

        2. notabanker

          Bernie is definitely part of the problem, because he sure as heck ain’t part of the solution.

        3. some guy

          That’s a debate well worth having with Sanders himself, to perhaps get him to clarify his thinking on the matter.

          His primary concern with Nazis seems to be with American Nazis right here in America.

          I am doing my best to understand how I think Sanders understands things and why he supports and opposes what he supports and opposes. People who grew up decades after he did will see the situation through their own more current very different sets of understandings.

          Cornel West is decades younger than Sanders. Sanders would be the person to debate with about whether Sanders can be convinced that he has made bad choices. We youngers can decide for ourselves whether we think his choices turn out to be bad. We will just have to make better choices, then.

          But I am not going to join in the general jilted-lover hatefest directed towards Sanders just because I may not think his choices or his approach are proper for our present and future times. He did his best according to his best knowledge of the political mortal-combat battlespace he operates in as he understands it to be.

          Sanders’s big problem is his personal personality weakness, in terms of his moral failure to hate his enemies and his functional failure to think in terms of how to destroy them. Tucker Carlson said it best . . .

          1. nippersdad

            Error of fact: West is eleven years younger than Sanders, and he participated in the same civil rights movement that Sanders placed front and center in his two campaigns. So, yes, that would be a good debate to have. And that is why we may never see one.

            1. some guy

              11 years is 2/3rds of a generation. The civil rights movement lasted for decades. Two different people could participate in that same movement at two different times from eachother.

              Were Sanders and West as children raised on the same tales of the same parts of the “recent past” as eachother?

              If you are looking for personal or social salvation from a political Jesus-figure or Moses-figure, you are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place. There are no Jesus or Moses figures in politics, and no salvation either.

              1. nippersdad

                A generation is usually considered to be between twenty and thirty years; the time it takes to be born and then to replace oneself. At twenty five eleven would be less than half of that. West was in high school watching people like Sanders get dragged off by the police when he was in demonstrations himself.

                No, they undoubtedly were not raised on the same “tales”, which is clear from their interviews, but the subject matter of their advocacy was the same; racial and social justice. Both derive much of their philosophies from such as MLK and other civil rights leaders of the time, and that is where the Venn Diagram for their association converges. Any debate they had would revolve around those civil rights figures and what they had to say as a means to quantify what they feel should be done now to rectify the increasing wealth and social justice disparities still to be found in our society today.

                Seems like that would be self evident.

                No one is looking for salvation, merely some leadership. Obama led what ultimately proved to be a false revolution for hope and change. Sanders, for whatever reason, failed that test as well, and that is the rationale for West taking up the baton. People are yearning for a means to change the present political paradigm, and Sanders, by stumping for his “good friend Joe” and backing all of his plays is not getting the job done.

                If he wants to play the sheepdog then I think his fifteen minutes are up. We have seen this play before, several times, and he no longer has the legitimacy that he thinks he does. As Nippersmom said above, he should have just retired rather than tarnish his own name by being a surrogate for the worst of our present political system.

                1. some guy

                  Somewhere in my pile of books I have The Collected Reviews, Letters and Essays of George Orwell.

                  Somewhere in one of those essays he referrenced a concept of “cultural cohorts” as bunches of people all youthfully-brainformed by the same commanding input field they were all exposed to in their formative years. I suspect Sanders and West to be in two different cultural cohorts in those terms. So I stand by what I said about ” generation”.

                  Someone should ask Sanders why he thinks Trump represents the even worser side of our political system than Biden does. If someone asked him, he might say. Unless he has already said so in the various stuff he has said on the subject. Which I suspect he has.

                  So if Bernie has worn himself out by remaining too long in the game, there is West now. Meanwhile, people who could have become a movement during the Bernie runs might look into finally becoming a movement now, Bernie or no Bernie. And the people who organize for West might look into becoming a movement with or without West once West is also ground down by whatever ground Bernie down. Since Bernie and West both function within the same Narco-Intelligence Industrial Complex matrix-forcefield. And they did or will do what they could or can till they were or will be ground down.

                  So people who want Leadership might have to BE the Leadership they want to SEE in the world, as Gandhi once said.

      2. John

        Bernie Sanders was born in 1941 … September 8 to be precise… three months before Pearl Harbor was bombed. By then Nazism had risen and the war in Europe was going into its third year. The Pacific War was either four ot ten years in, depending on which “beginning” you pick.

        Are Bernie’s views somewhat influenced by his personal history? I am sure they are, but inventing a personal history for him does not do him justice.

        1. some guy

          You are correct. I thought he was older than that. Well, I just betcha his views were very based on his immediate family’s total immersion in that very recent-for-him past. And his views are just as much shaped by that regardless of his technical age.

      3. Amfortas the Hippie

        “i’m with you in Rockland.”
        he’s older than my mom, FFS.
        i’ll leave my Bernie 2016 sticker on my truck tailgate.
        still sends the signal i intend, way out here.
        …as in, these folks dont know about the stolen primaries, “night of long knives”, etc.
        “Bernie” is still an In with them if, if they’re so inclined, to ask me what i believe.
        there’s too few opportunities to have that conversation in the proverbial feed store parking lot.
        and remember, 90+% of the people within 30 miles of me think biden…and hillary…are communists.

        1. nippersdad

          Yep. My ’16 Sanders bumper sticker is still on there, too, with the Stein one slightly covering it up. The ’20 one has now been plastered over by Wests, but they have held up well. The only one I ever really remember getting comments, though, was the one that said to “Send Bush to Baghdad”.

          I wish they had one of those for Biden. I would love to see him on the Eastern Front, fighting with those he believes in.

        2. GramSci

          I prefer my “Free Health Care for All People” bumper sticker. It got many nthousands of petition signatures at the flea markets outside of Cincinnati. Would that I could move back for an encore!

      4. Random

        Please remind me what exactly allowed the right wing in Germany to succeed.
        The failure of the left wing to properly organize and the complete inaptitude of the ruling classes to deal with the issues at hand without the far right.
        Bernie is contributing to both of those factors.

        1. britzklieg

          I sent Bernie a message yesterday.
          I pulled no punches.
          You can too by going to his website’s “contact us” page using a fake name/e mail and VT address (street names, area codes and zips are all provided in his VT office location info)
          It will have no effect, of course, but I can’t allow his peeps, even if it’s just the one who reads it, to believe he can lecture anyone on anything anymore after brown-nosing the scumbag Biden and his Democrat concubines.

        2. Verifyfirst

          I think Bernie is right if we get Trump and a Republican Congress, with this Republican Supreme Court, we could get as close to fascism in the US as we have been in my lifetime (b. 1960). Trump has made no secret of his desire to be a dictator, and he has learned that to do that effectively he needs his people in places of power, so he intends to make wholesale personnel changes as soon as he gets in–in fact, lists are already being made. He will be much more dangerous the second time around, and a Republican Congress is unlikely to do anything but support him.

          Where Bernie is wrong is in thinking if we just get past today’s dictator wannabe, we’ll be ok. No–as others note above, Biden and the Dems created Trump, and they are going to keep creating more Trumps, since they won’t change.

          I agree as others above that he should have quit after the night of the long knives, and he should have said what happened. But apparently, having spent his life working to climb the food chain–purportedly to serve the greater good– his ego could not resist getting a few crumbs of power–Chair of a big committee in the Senate.

          He is human, I guess I’d still rather have him there today in the Senate than not. But he’s not offering any solution to our actual problems.

          1. Objective Ace

            All these people you are talking about Trump replacing arent exactly progressives. They bullied, bribed, and coerce the media and social companies to censor what should be free speech. They spend trillions of dollars wrecking havoc and slaughtering millions of lives in third world countries. Domestically, they lock up and ruin the lives of another couple million individuals for trivial non-violent offences. And in a recent development, they threaten imprisonment and arrest their political opponents

            Even if Trump is more dangerous [to those currently in power] its really not clear how that gets us any closer to Fascism

            1. nippersdad

              I think the question of whether or not we have a fascistic government was pretty much laid to rest in 2015 with the Gilens and Page study. A government wherein only ten percent of the population have any meaningful input could hardly be called a democracy, much less one worthy of “saving”. The question of “whose democracy?” is always worth asking.

              The problem is not that we have the potential for fascism, but how much more of it we will endure.

      5. Michael Fiorillo

        As the great Alexander Cockburn used to ask of young interns when he wrote for The Nation: “Is your hatred pure?”

    6. The Rev Kev

      I knew Bernie was really finished when in April of 2020, just as the pandemic was really ramping up alongside the mas deaths, that he shelved medicare for all and said that it was for some future time. The best possible time to force in medicare for all and the guy cans the whole idea.

  2. kareninca

    mrmickme (on twitter) and others are saying that although the RAT tests are still working, it is not clear that the primer for the PCR tests and wastewater tests is working for some of the new variants. I have no way to know if this is right, but for the present I am going to take that possibility into account when looking at the Walgreen’s index and local wastewater numbers.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Yeah, and I’m noticing what seems like more than the usual number of anecdotes of people sick, with the sort of gi symptoms, muscle pains, fever and malaise that seems characteristic of recent Covid, but they don’t test positive for that, or anything else. Yesterday it was about 50/50 HCW anecdata and personal accounts from sick people.

      It seems transnational, maybe worst in India?

      Thank goodness they cut back variant surveillence right? I might have run out of things to worry about!

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        i had it in february 2021, and february 2022…i know i had it, because wife and boys all tested positive…like the worst sinus infection ever, plus smell weirdness.
        but i tested negative both times.
        nurse in moon suit confirmed that there were false results galore, even then.

        ive seen no indication, officially or anecdotally, that the testing has either, 1: kept up with the mutations, nor. 2. Improved in efficacy otherwise….i mean…pandemic’s over, right?

    2. Jason Boxman

      This. I mentioned this maybe 3 months ago, that we no longer have any independent check on whether waste water is accurate any longer. That perhaps newer variants shed less in wastewater, or can’t be detected so readily. That’s disturbing to see that I might not have been completely nuts on that guess.

  3. skippy

    Oh Carla … how I want to put my loving Festool gear on that wall and window frame, lovingly apply 3/4 coats of fat paint, and let the sheen set the backdrop for whatever grows …

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      as my stepdad used to say.
      only one here at NC that makes me look up more words is Yves.

      1. skippy

        As some with a few decades of protective coatings, on all kinds of substrates, for all kinds of functions, concrete, metals, timber, et al, I weep at all time spent prepping stuff until my Festool gear. All these hardwood or pine houses, some over 100 years old are a joy to work on and look terrific. It is specialty work and gear is not cheap but, its a nice way to spend my post 60s years.

        Have requests for work on 3 houses after they have seen what we have done to the currant job – before and almost done. Heck no advertising, word of mouth/referral only can knock back work if were sus on it or anything else.

        Bang that wall out in a couple of days and look better than new …

    1. notabanker

      No worries, Joe has you covered. He told me and a few million friends so back in February.

  4. Robert Hahl

    Freedom Beets Soup

    Really good, with sour cream. I happened to make this recipe today and never use gloves to handle beets; nothing bad happens. A regular swivel-bladed vegetable peeler works fine with beets, and they cook in 30 min. I don’t know why people are afraid of them.

  5. Mark Gisleson

    Skipping the thread so as to speak to all those who are disappointed by Bernie.

    I’m going to be cruel and just say it flat out:

    this is the grown up part of politics

    No one you follow or vote for will ever be better than you hoped and rarely as good as you expected.

    Bernie hasn’t changed but your expectations have.

    In 2015 I was at one of the events where the crowd cheered Bernie on and helped convince him to run. His genius as a politician has always been hard work and a sense of opportunism. There are few opportunities for him here. If West somehow wins, I suspect he and Bernie will get along just fine.

    Bernie stepped up when we needed him in 2016. He performed miracles and forced the DNC to reveal itself. Nothing since then is on Bernie. The Blob is increasingly exposed and trust in old media channels (do we still say “channels”?) has radically eroded.

    I repeat, Bernie stepped up when no one else would. Had he not, there would be nothing to blame him for.

    We are too unforgiving to our “losers” especially when we should instead be honoring them for their service.

    1. Jay Ess

      The authors of this left out an important detail, namely that leaving them to sit for 6 hours reduced VOCs by 95%.

      The original study was, “Measuring the quantity of harmful volatile organic compounds inhaled through masks”.

    2. ThirtyOne

      I just stuck my environmental monitor (HCHO, TVOC, PM2.5, PM10) in a new bag of KN95s. TVOC read 0.045 mg/m3.

  6. Pat

    I will always love Bernie Sanders for trying to correct the trajectory of the Democratic Party. That he was not the killer needed, and that a killer with the right ideas didn’t arrive is not his fault. Or the fault of those who supported him. Am I disappointed that he has withdrawn from the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party and cannot even be honest enough to admit that it has rejected and despises the people it once represented, of course I am.

    But looking at what they have thrown at a fighter like Donald Trump, I have to admit I worry about anyone who does take on the Democratic branch of the uniparty we now have. Both Sanders and Trump took them by surprise so 2016 was not the mine field it has been since. I am more cynical now, so I have not given allegiance to anyone yet, but I do worry what will befall RFK Jr and Cornel West should either be considered a real threat. Especially since I do not think the darker forces will wait until it is clear they really are being embraced as an alternative to the approved choices.

    1. JBird4049

      >>>Especially since I do not think the darker forces will wait until it is clear they really are being embraced as an alternative to the approved choices.

      And the likely violent response of the little people, the average American? The liberal establishment, which the Democrats used to be functioning part of as well as parts of the old Republican moderate wing, the Eisenhower Republicans, were both tools of the establishment.

      The establishment, which controls the system used these tools to maintain control and to use the system’s ability to let out the pressure build up and letting enough necessary incremental reforms and rising newcomers in to prevent a collapse or a war.

      The American Dream isn’t anymore. It is fantasy, and the more people see it gone, the more likely there will be violence. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Our ruling class seems to either have forgotten this or they think that they can keep in control. More fool them.

    2. Hepativore

      I would not be surprised if somebody in either political party or both parties working together would have a successful and truely left-wing candidate assassinated. I doubt it would be as obvious as shooting them in public, but I would not be surprised if our political and financial elites arrange for said candidate to have an “accident” if it looks like he is going to win the presidency.

      Perhaps that is what happened with Sanders…he was shown that the brakes on his car might suddenly fail, or that he might suddenly have another and fatal heart attack if he continued on his path of challenging the DNC establishment and to kiss the ring of Biden or else.

  7. Fred1

    As to all the comments up thread about Sanders: so who in this cycle is running on Universal Concrete Material Benefits? Also how long will we have to wait until another candidate runs on Universal Concrete Material Benefits?

      1. Fred1

        I like West. And I agree with your citing of him. However, I want the promotion of Uniform Concrete Material Benefits to be front and center of all federal campaigns. I want the Rs and establishment Ds to be constantly on the defensive having to explain why we can’t have nice things. This can only happen if the top of the ticket is someone like Sanders.

        Anyone who genuinely wants Uniform Concrete Material Benefits is really going to miss Sanders. Those who don’t, can dismiss him and consign him to the memory hole.

        1. some guy

          It would have to be someone younger and not as worn down. And someone who accepts the risks of assassination.

          Ideally such a person would have the benefit of a movement of millions of armed followers ready to take revenge on their own for any such assassination. That way, at least the younger Sanders-type will not have been assassinated ” for nothing”.

    1. flora


      “And all these guys [politicians] can talk about is what China is going to do to us and Russia and make up these bogeymen to keep the military-industrial complex in the cash. But what about what’s really happening in this country [is that] the wealth is being stolen by corporations with the cooperation of these government agencies. And we need to start actually talking about the real issue, and it’s not happening.”


      1. notabanker

        I’ve seen him on JRE and Tucker’s show, countless interviews and uni talks on youtube. I’ve yet to find an issue with anything he’s said. He’s exposed what is really going on at the border, Ukraine, big pharma, CIA and has been spot on with all of it. I think he is an extremely credible speaker. As a personal injury lawyer, he has the discovery and as a Kennedy he has the government connections. He speaks from first hand experience or knowledge. That is pretty powerful.

        But I can’t get over him running as a Dem. The DNC is unreformable. He has zero chance of being on the Democratic ticket. He has to know that, so why the campaign?

        1. Bsn

          His position on Israel/Palestine is poor – he’s all Israel all the time. But, at the very end of his long interview with G. Greenwald he said, when confronted about how much we give Israel in military and other funding, “Oh, I’ll look into that”. He has changed his mind over the years when confronted with facts, so he at least shows he can listen and change his position. That is a rare quality in a candidate.

          1. Mark Gisleson

            That would be the hope. Not to shock anyone, but I transported his mother and sisters on the campaign trail in 1980 and they never missed a Sunday mass. The Kennedys are Catholic. I think we’ve all but forgotten what that means for D candidates other than the Pelosis who seem to always get a pass no matter how they vote.

            RFK Jr is a real Democrat. Israel and less permissive abortion are part of that. It’s just that it’s been so long since we’ve seen a real Democrat, we’ve forgotten what they look like but many older voters haven’t.

            I haven’t just learned how to spell Ramaswamy. I can now more easily understand Kennnedy’s raspy speech. I could live with eight more years of hearing him talk but that’s silly: they are going to kill him if he comes close to the nomination.

            1. some guy

              If a candidate is good on nine out of ten things, and bad on one out of ten things, and we decide to say that the one Bad Thing out of Ten Things is a deal-breaker, we will never accept a candidate who is good on the nine other things.

              And Lefto-Purists reject a candidate because of the One Bad Thing and Nine Good Things. This is why we can’t have Nice Candidates.

              The Evangelical Right did not reject Trump because of his Bad Things. They new he would advance their agenda. And he did. So because they accepted a candidate with One Good Thing and Nine Bad Things, they got a Nice Candidate from their point of view. The Evangelical Rightists are not “just too good for this world” and so they get some real thing from their agenda.

              If the Lefto-Purists could learn to become Lefto-IMpurists, they too might get Nice Candidates to use for getting themselves Nice Things.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Saw this weird article where the Guardian is going nuts over the fact that there are Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISIS. One America astronaut they found to take up their case – Terry Virts – said that it was like doing an Arctic expedition with German scientists in 1943. And that guy says that he feels profoundly betrayed that his Russian colleagues backed their own country over this war and has burned down all his friendships with them as a result-


    1. ChrisRUEcon

      The Osprey remains a uniquely beautiful but problematic aircraft. When the family was recently on vacation in SouthWestermost (a.k.a. San Diego), we saw Ospreys flying pretty low along the coast. I couldn’t help the occasionaly sense of trepidation given their record. Luckily, no crashes witnessed (historical record via Wikipedia)

      1. digi_owl

        I recall there was plans for a civilian version, but i suspect it has been shelved given the track record. After all, i seem to recall that POTUS is barred from flying in one.

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