2:00PM Water Cooler 8/29/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

As usual after a weekend and a Monday dereliction of duty, I have far too much material, and so the Covid section is shorter than it should be. Tomorrow I will do better! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Eastern Whip-poor-will, Flycatcher Flats, Sleepy Creek Rd, Berekely Co., Hedgesville,WV
Berkeley, West Virginia, United States. “Adult male Eastern Whip-poor-will singing vegetation near the road.”

* * *


“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), more on my continuing coverage of Section Three.

* * *

“Trump 14th Amendment: New Hampshire GOP Feuds As States Grapple With Disqualifying Trump From Ballot” [Forbes]. “Bryant ‘Corky’ Messner, a New Hampshire attorney who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020 with Trump’s endorsement, has suggested he intends to file a legal challenge questioning Trump’s 2024 candidacy under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment… Messner met with New Hampshire’s Republican Secretary of State David Scanlan on Friday to discuss the issue, Scanlan said, prompting pushback from the state’s Republican Party, whose leader Chris Ager said the party ‘will fight to make sure that candidates are not denied access to the ballot.’ … Beyond New Hampshire, Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson told MSNBC she intends to seek a legal opinion on the issue from the state’s attorney general ‘when the time is right,’ and suggested she would work in conjunction with her counterparts in other battleground states like Nevada, Pennsylvania and Georgia to determine how to proceed. Voters have filed lawsuits in Florida and Michigan challenging the constitutionality of Trump being on the ballot, which could force state election officials’ hands, and legal disputes over the issue are widely expected to make it to the Supreme Court.” 


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Trump drops 6 points in post-debate GOP poll” [The Hill]. “Former President Trump saw a slight decrease in his support among Republican primary voters after he skipped the first GOP debate last week, according to a new poll from Emerson College.” • Trump’s lead is so enormous that a six-point drop is “slight”:

Yes, only one poll, but note it contradicts the narrative: DeSantis, Pence, and Haley took votes from Trump; and Ramaswamy was a loser.

“The meme that still holds true about Trump’s maddening lasting power” [MSNBC]. “During Donald Trump’s first presidential run and time in office, there was a recurrent meme that was applied to him: ‘#nothingmatters.’ No matter what Trump did or said, no matter how offensive, controversial or hypocritical his public statements, none of it affected how Republican voters viewed him, and none of it brought any consequences for him. For 2024, it’s increasingly clear that ‘#nothingmatters’ needs to return — though for a slightly different reason. This is a campaign in which, literally, nothing matters. Voters long ago made up their minds about Trump: About 40% think he’s great, and the rest of the country can’t stand him. In a general election, his numbers will be a bit higher because there are Republicans who don’t like Trump but can’t imagine voting for a Democrat. But there won’t be a broad swath of the electorate giving him a new look…. Barring the aforementioned unforeseen circumstance, Trump will win the 2024 GOP nomination, face off against Biden in the general election — and likely lose. And nothing that happens before November 2024 will matter.” • This seems to be the conventional wisdom; 2024 will not be volatile. I find that hard to believe.

* * *

The Times version of a complex and tragic story:

“The Story Behind DeSantis’s Anecdote About an ‘Abortion Survivor’: [New York Times]. “Ron DeSantis wanted to dodge a debate question about a six-week federal abortion ban.” That’s not reporting, unless the reporters are telepaths. But more: “So the Florida governor pulled out a personal story, one that had recently become part of his pitch to voters on the need for greater regulation of abortion rights. ‘I know a lady in Florida named Penny,’ he said. ‘She survived multiple abortion attempts. She was left discarded in a pan. Fortunately, her grandmother saved her and brought her to a different hospital.’ … The jarring anecdote caught the attention of viewers on social media, who speculated that Mr. DeSantis was fabricating the story. But Penny does exist. Mr. DeSantis’s campaign says the governor has met her. She is Miriam Hopper, who goes by Penny and is an anti-abortion activist who lives in Florida and calls herself an ‘abortion survivor.’ … In a 2013 interview with the Florida radio station WFSU, conducted in the middle of a statehouse debate over new abortion restrictions, Ms. Hopper said that her story was based on what she had been told by her family. She said that her father, raised during the Great Depression, did not want another child and that she suspected a botched abortion had sent her mother to the hospital with the complications…. Ms. Hopper’s mother, aunt, father and grandmother have died. It does not appear that the incident was covered in news reports [Wrong! See below]…. Ms. Hopper said that her story was based on what she had been told by her family. She said that her father, raised during the Great Depression, did not want another child and that she suspected a botched abortion had sent her mother to the hospital with the complications.” • Family history reminds me of Liz Warren’s Cherokee ancestry. Read on–

The Miami Herald version:

“DeSantis said at debate a woman survived ‘multiple abortion attempts.’ Here’s the real story” [Julie Brown, Miami Herald]. “Penny is real and her last name is Hopper. But DeSantis failed to note key details from her remarkable story: The person who tried to end Penny’s life in the womb was not a doctor or even an illegal abortion provider — it was her father…. This article is based on previous recorded statements made by Hopper, newspaper clippings, public records and an interview with a family member who after speaking to a journalist at length asked not to be identified. She confirmed that Hopper’s version of events has been told in family circles for years.” • So the Times bungles the sourcing and gets the father’s role wrong (besides burying it paragraphs deep). 

* * *

“There’s More Than Meets the Eye to Ramaswamy’s Climate Comment” [Time]. “It’s worth unpacking Ramaswamy’s debate comments in greater depth. He started by declaring, brashly, that the ‘the climate agenda is a hoax’ and then followed up saying that the ‘anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy.’ He concluded arguing that ‘the reality is more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.’ Ramaswamy makes clear from the jump that he opposes climate policy, but nowhere does he actually deny that human behavior is contributing to climate change. Indeed, by talking about the ‘agenda’ rather than climate change itself he tacitly acknowledges the reality of climate change, or at the very least that the old positioning of climate change as a hoax is no longer apt. In interviews following the debate, he twisted climate science, but he didn’t deny the phenomenon of climate change even when given multiple opportunities to do so. But Ramaswamy did have a lot to say about the validity of the ‘agenda,’ presumably referring to policies being implemented by the Biden Administration to slow emissions. Ramaswamy’s argument has an obvious political logic to it. Polling shows that the vast majority of Americans know very little about the Inflation Reduction Act and other Biden climate policies. And while Americans increasingly view climate change as a threat, they rank it far below economic concerns. Indeed, one poll released earlier this year showed that only 38% of Americans would be willing to pay a $1 per month carbon fee to address climate change. In short, for many voters, fear of a weak economy will outweigh fears over climate change. By branding climate policy as an economic downer, he and others can poison the well for any future climate policy.” • To repeat:

Hmm. I can see how Biden’s climate agenda is a hoax — though not in the way Ramaswamy meant — but that’s not what Ramaswamy tweeted.

* * *

“Bernie Sanders downplays fellow octogenarian Biden’s age: ‘Seemed fine to me'” [New York Post]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday downplayed fellow octogenarian President Biden’s age, recalling a recent meeting in which the 80-year-old commander-in-chief ‘seemed fine.’ ‘I met with the president, I don’t know five or six weeks ago. We had a great discussion. He seemed fine to me,’ Sanders told NBC News’ ‘Meet the Press.'” Sometimes Biden is fine; I’d speculate because his staff juices him up. Other times, he’s not fine.

Daou on Sanders:

“Sanders hits at Cornel West over criticism of Biden” [Politico]. “‘Where I disagree with my good friend, Cornel West, is I think in these really very difficult times, where there is a real question whether democracy is going to remain in the United States of America. … I think we’ve got to bring the entire progressive community to defeat Trump or whoever the Republican nominee will be, [and] support Biden,’ Sanders said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.'” “‘However, progressives still must ‘demand that the Democratic Party, not just Biden, have the guts to take on corporate greed and the massive levels of income and wealth inequality that we see today,’ Sanders added.” • Sad to see. 

* * *

“Burisma’s Devon Archer met with then-Secretary of State Kerry just weeks before Shokin was fired” [FOX]. “‘I have said repeatedly in my previous interviews that [then-Ukrainian President Petro] Poroshenko fired me at the insistence of the then-Vice President Biden because I was investigating Burisma,’ [Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin] said in the interview. ‘[Poroshenko] understood and so did Vice President Biden that had I continued to oversee the Burisma investigation, we would have found the facts about the corrupt activities that they were engaging in. That included both Hunter Biden and Devon Archer and others.” And but: “However, in a statement to Fox News, the White House pointed to indications that Shokin was fired because he had been too soft on corruption. The White House also stated that Shokin’s office had not been investigating Burisma or Hunter at the time of his ouster in March 2016, and it pointed to three reports published within weeks of each other in 2019 by the Washington Post, Associated Press and New York Times that said Shokin’s office wasn’t investigating Burisma.” • That’s fine, but after seeing how the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop was suppressed by those same venues — not to mention the Twitter files, which show an unholy emblobbification among the press, the intelligence community, and the Democrat Party, the White House’s argument from authority no longer holds water.

“Khanna says Biden aides heard his message on being overprotective: ‘Let him be out there'” [The Hill]. “When asked on CBS’s ‘Face The Nation’ if Biden’s top aides got Khanna’s message in April that they are too overprotective of him, Khanna said, ‘I think they do. The president has a great story to tell.'” More Covid deaths with Trump? A proxy war with a nuclear power, and one we’re losing? More: “He’s [Biden] a better politician than anyone who works for him,’ Khanna said Sunday.” That is actually true, which is pretty frightening. ‘Let him be out there.'” • If I thought Khanna was Machiavellian, I’d say he was setting Biden up for a fall; and sooner, rather than later.

* * *

RFK asking for my vote (1):

Private equity shouldn’t even be in the housing business. 

RFK asking for my vote (2):

The intelligence community shouldn’t even be in the news business. 

* * *

“Op-Ed: Cornel West, A Prophet For President” [Osagyefo Sekou, NewsOne]. At the end: “[E]lectoral politics are filled with swift transitions. Poised the raise $70 billion by next year, the centrist No Labels Party is courting maverick Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), which has adverse effects on the Democratic and Republican establishment. Surprisingly, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (D) received 15% support among a sample of the Democratic Party’s primary in a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll. His bombastic personality and star power make him a prime candidate for an independent run after a Democratic primary that he is surely going to lose. Donald Trump’s legal troubles could shave off just enough confidence that he loses a tightly contested Republican primary, and he will not go quietly into the night. So then, if No Labels Party, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Donald Trump run independent candidacies, splintering the Democratic and Republican Parties, all bets are off. The popular vote and Electoral College could be divided in at least four ways. The basic challenge for West and the Green Party manifold: 1) gain ballot access; 2) create a comprehensive ground game; 3) raise enough money to be effective; and 4) build out a political discourse that will shape public conversations.  In this scenario, there is a path to the White House for Cornel West.” • In short, 2024 will be volatile.

* * *

Williamson asking for my vote:

* * *

“No Labels to host nominating convention in Dallas in April: Joe Lieberman” [The Hill]. “‘If we run it’s going to be a bipartisan ticket, so not only will we have concluded that it really can win, but because it’s bipartisan we’re confident it’s going to take equally from both parties, so the idea that we’re going to spoil it and reelect President Trump just isn’t realistic,’ Lieberman said. No Labels has been pushing for a bipartisan ticket to land a third-party bid to the White House and has recently launched a campaign in New Hampshire…. Ben Chavis, the Democratic co-chairman of No Labels, also told NBC News in June that the group ‘is not and will not be a spoiler in favor of Donald Trump in 2024.’ No Labels confirmed to The Hill at the time it will end its third-party push if Biden is ahead in the polls next spring.” 

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.

* * *

Primaries? What primaries?

“Column: Nancy Pelosi on Dylan, the Grateful Dead, a wild night in Argentina — and the healing power of music” [Los Angeles Times]. “She’s friends with Weir and drummer Mickey Hart, having seen the Dead and assorted iterations more times than she remembers. On several occasions, the elegantly styled lawmaker has been seen dancing in the wings, 4-inch heels and all.” • As a palate cleanser: 

Unexpectedly funny and sweet. (I’m also please the reviewer singles out Lesh, my hero, first!)


“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!

* * *


On school closures:

Elite Maleficence

“Hospitals are killing patients because they don’t feel like doing infection control” [The Gauntlet]. “I can’t believe I have to say this, but infection control is not something that can happen part time, in some cases, or only during surges. As with gloves for bloodborne or hand washing for fomite transmission, protocols for airborne infection control are a set of practices implemented permanently and consistently to protect patients and healthcare workers alike. We don’t stop hand washing because norovirus cases are down. We don’t stop wearing gloves because HIV cases are down. As a doctor, if you’re arguing that you should be able to expose patients to COVID because infection control annoys you, you should not be a doctor. Find a new career. I bet you’d love denying insurance claims. I bet you’d be a natural. Making this picture even more hair-tearingly frustrating for disabled people avoiding healthcare settings is that the counter-argument for proper airborne infection control really is nothing beyond “”don’t wanna.”” There is no logical argument for allowing the spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings. There is no scientific debate about the ways in which COVID is spreading. There is no risk analysis which shows that cancer patients or people who’ve just had heart attacks should consider a COVID infection to be no big deal. There is literally no excuse for this bizarre, unscientific mistreatment of patients other than gross incompetence, institutional negligence, and systemic ableism.”

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED!!! From BioBot wastewater data, August 24:

Lambert here: Happy memories of tape-watching days! Closing in on a Trump-era surge level; Biden’s, of course, are higher. 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. As we can see, the national flattening is due to the Midwest downward swoop:

Regional variant data, August 19:

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. 

• “Anthony Fauci on the recent spike in Covid cases” [BBC]. “In a wide ranging interview about his life after retiring as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci tells the BBC’s Katty Kay that 96% of the US population has a degree of immunity again 


NOT UPDATED From CDC, August 19:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). I’m not highlighting the BA.2’s because the interactive version shows that these BA.2’s been hanging around at a low level for months.

From CDC, August 5:

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 19:

Lambert here: I changed this ER chart to a Covid-only chart broken down by age. Note the 0-1 age group.

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.


I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive. Nevertheless, here’s bellwether New York City, data as of August 29:

Still getting worse. But how much worse?

Here is CDC’s map…. “In Past Week,” because there’s no [family blogging date]:

Orange = “substantial increase” (more than 20%). Now that it’s too late, maybe we’ll swing into some of half-assed action.


Walgreens, August 28:

So, Walgreens is back in the game (and how the heck did that debacle happen? We breathlessly await the news coverage). The percentage of positives is the highest ever, though absolute numbers are still small relative to past surges.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, August 7:

Lambert here: This is the CDC’s “Traveler-Based Genomic Surveillance” data, confirming the current surge, only two weeks late. Sure would be useful to know if there were any BA.2.86 in those samples, though!


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 23:

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: 1,173,422 – 1,173,081 =  341 * 365 = 124,465 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). 

Lambert here: First negative number (!). Optimism?

Excess Deaths

The Economist, August 29:

Lambert here:  Back to almost daily. 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

Employment Situation: “United States Job Openings” [Trading Economics]. “The number of job openings declined by 338,000 from the previous month to 8.827 million in July 2023, marking the lowest level since March 2021 and falling below the market consensus of 9.465 million. It also represented the third consecutive month of decline in job openings, indicating that the labor market is gradually slowing after months of unprecedented monetary policy tightening by the Fed.”

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 50 Neutral (previous close: 48 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 47 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 29 at 1:57 PM ET. C’mon, Mr. Market! One way or the other!

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 185. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most!

The Jackpot

“The Doomsday Prepper’s Daughter” [Jessica Wildfire, OK Doomer]. A wild story from Kentucky, worth a read. But can readers confirm? Here’s the moral, spoiler removed: “Most survivalists don’t spend their time hoarding food and guns in underground bunkers. They focus on learning how to grow food, honing their skills, and developing relationships. The rich do the opposite of all this. They think they can hide in steel boxes from all the chaos they created. [C. Wesley Morgan’s] story shows us how well that turns out. The rich aren’t really planning. They’re indulging in survivalist fantasies.”

Class Warfare

“COVID-19 and Education: An Updated Survey of the Research” [Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland]. “Achievement levels on a variety of standardized tests fell during the pandemic…. Evidence suggests that test scores during the pandemic were related to the choice of instructional mode. Depending on the exact statistical specification, Jack et al. (2022) find that in-person schooling is associated with about a 13 percentage point or 14 percentage point higher pass rate in mathematics and an 8 percentage point or 9 percentage point higher pass rate in ELA than with virtual schooling, while hybrid schooling is associated with about a 7 percentage point or 8 percentage point higher pass rate in mathematics and a 5 percentage point or 6 percentage point higher pass rate in ELA than with virtual schooling. The effects are largest in the lower grades. Goldhaber et al. (2022) find that remote instruction is associated with widening achievement gaps, primarily because the negative effects of remote instruction are larger in magnitude at high-poverty schools and to a lesser extent because high-poverty schools are more likely to use remote instruction.”

NGOs gotta NGO:

News of the Wired

“The World’s Oldest Cat Door Has Been Letting Working Cats Enter the Cathedral Since the 14th Century” 

News of the Wired

I am not yet feeling wired today.

* * *

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 REH:

REH writes: “Buckwheat flowering in the high desert of Oregon.”

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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. Reply

      Buckwheat, not just for pancakes anymore!
      Those sure are tasty with some butter and real maple syrup.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        I make buckwheat like rice and eat it with sauteed mushrooms. I used to put sour cream on it too – that was really good.

        Is that Deschutes County?

    2. Randal Flagg

      The better half will plant it in the garden in between and around the sweet corn after it has sprouted a few inches in height, and in between rows of some veggies. It will suppress the weeds, add organic matter and deter pests.

  1. Reply

    Influenza used to be a thing, with autumn leading to flu season. News about that seems diminished compared to past years. Do people get the flu and Covid together, or is it one or the other?

  2. flora

    re: Peter Daou’s twt.

    Very bittersweet: both very funny and very sad, it’s bittersweet ’cause it’s true. / sigh…

    1. Verifyfirst

      Has Bernie said a single word about; a) democracy within the Dem party, or b). the twitter files, or c) Russiagate? If he did, I missed it. Just trying to guage how deep in the tank he has gone…..

      1. Feral Finster

        Sanders had many things to say about Russiagate, namely that he was all-in on that particular conspiracy theory, just as he has proven a staunch supporter of the Nazis in Ukraine.

        Sanders has, AFAICT, been silent with regard to the Twitter Files and democracy in Team D.

        Also, I feel weird finding myself agreeing with Peter Daou on anything.

        1. lambert strether

          > Also, I feel weird finding myself agreeing with Peter Daou on anything

          People can change. He’s an interesting character. He made amends. I’m inclined to take him seriously (as a commentator. Not sure how I’d feel about him joining the fray).

          1. Mark Gisleson

            Daou has made amends but has not proven himself any wiser. He was gulled by Hillary Clinton’s minions which showed a stunning lack of political awareness. The first thing HRC’s team did was to hound old school liberals and leftists from the party. No one could have participated in that purge without being aware of what a radical strategy it was, assuming as it did that the people you forced out would still vote for you. Every old head out there saw the obvious flaw in Clintonian triangulation which is why new pundits like Daou were recruited.

            I’m still in on Bernie because if what I think is happening is happening, we won’t know about it until well after 2024.

            Right now Biden desperately needs Bernie’s support. I assume he’s paying a high price for that support. They just trumpeted ten drugs (incl insulin) to negotiate lower Medicare prices for. Maybe that’s not a head fake and Bernie’s locked them into following through on that. Or something else. I assume it’s something good or Bernie wouldn’t be humiliating himself like this.

            It’s a risky gambit and you need a safe seat to do it, but by defending Biden now, Bernie is collecting beaucoup chits he can cash in later.

            Or I’m wrong and Bernie’s being used w/out getting anything back. But here’s the acid test: what would Bernie’s condemnation of Biden achieve? Would it force Biden from power? Or would it just turn the party against Bernie again?

            I also cut AOC slack. People expect way too much from officeholders. Yes, an entirely new Congress selected by sortition would be great, but we’re not getting that. We got what we got and the few folks on our side need encouragement not forensic dissection.


            1. Art_DogCT

              “the few folks on our side” presumes any such exist within the ranks of US national politicians. If one presumes bad faith and self-interested motives instead as driving those worthies, no matter how ‘left’ sounding their lip-flapping, none merit exemption from ‘forensic dissection’ ever, at all. Nothing in my near 70 years’ experience argues against applying my recommended presumption.

            2. Verifyfirst

              It would have to be something a whole bigger than negotiating 10 drug prices, for me to follow Bernie on this. Medicare For All and taxing all earnings for Social Security would do it……

              1. katiebird

                Medicare for All and NOT taxing ANY earnings for Social Security (and mean it) would be the minimum for me.

            3. notabanker

              If Bernie’s support is that critical and he’s trading it for future chits, he’s not a very astute politician. He should be trading it for something tangible right now. Unless you enjoy having Lucy pull the football. Every. Single. Time.

              What would Manchin or Sinema do? They would squeeze it for all it’s worth and hold the whole thing hostage until they got what they want. Bernie’s gonna get some chips to a poker game he’s not invited to?

            4. nippersdad

              It is hard to believe that he would not remember the DNC platform commission. Those ten drugs were something agreed to during those meetings so that they would not have to bring up M4A, and were panned at the time as a cynical pander to the left base that is now reeling from having Trumps Medicaid expansion dumped..

              If the best he can do is to ensure just one of the sops from two and a half years ago is implemented how long will it take to get the rest of them, much less any new ones?

              1. Mark Gisleson

                So the drugs and whatever Bernie’s up to if anything are unrelated but please note I never said Bernie said that or that this was anything but my wild guess of an example of a possibility. We don’t know so everything is fair conjecture including positive scenarios (as well as ones more negative than I’ve read here).

                It must be my advanced age because I keep writing lectures instead of comments but the only bottom line here is winning elections and you do that with more votes which you get with larger coalitions. Or by cheating. Larger coalitions is the better path.

                1. ambrit

                  Alas, the Democrat Party has institutionalized Cheating. Yes, it does go a ways back, but today it is shamelessly flouted.
                  I would also go so far as to observe that today’s Democrat Party has shrunk the ‘coalition’ that it panders to.
                  Pay to Play.
                  Or, as I like to put it; Pay to Prey.
                  A corrupt base is a rotten foundation upon which to build.
                  (These “aphorisms” just about write themselves. ‘Things’ are that bad now.)

            5. Feral Finster

              Phrases like “I assume” and “I think” are doing a lot of work there.

              “It’s a risky gambit and you need a safe seat to do it, but by defending Biden now, Bernie is collecting beaucoup chits he can cash in later.”

              Even if what you hope for is in fact the case, which I doubt, good luck cashing those chits in. The time to extract a price for one’s support is when the support is most needed, not after the crisis is past and the supporter can safely be forgotten.

              How did that work out with HRC? Oh, the DNC shafted Sanders again in 2020.

              1. Mark Gisleson

                I agree that it sucked so now I’m trying to think of ways to make 2024 suck less.

                I really hate this part of the cycle. This is when old school campaign workers had to bury the hatchet as folks realigned. Of course that hasn’t happened since the neolibz hijacked the party.

                But to win in 2024, we’ll need for all of us to be willing to rub shoulders in solidarity with people still wearing HRC gear, MAGA hats, KHive swag, etc. It’s the worst part of winning, but if you don’t do it, you don’t win.

                And if the Democrats refuse to budge from Biden or his ilk, Cornel West is a helluva fall back position but again, you will be rubbing shoulders with people you used to hate. Much as it sucks in real time it’s a good thing. I think. OK, more like a hunch.

                1. ambrit

                  “United Front” has always been vilified, because it so often works. As someone or other has often remarked, it’s almost as if the Party is more interested in displaying ideological “purity” than winning elections. That is usually a sign that the Party Apparat has been hijacked by Careerists.
                  I personally am partial to the Spanish slang term for corrupt, self serving career politicians: Politico.
                  Be of good cheer.

            6. some guy

              Why should we assume Sanders is bargaining/ has bargained to get anything from the BidenDems in exchange for supporting them?

              Maybe Sanders is just that frightened and appalled at the mere thought of a President Trump Term Two. If so, he could be right or wrong to be that frightened and appalled at the thought of it. But it is reasonable to suppose he really feels that way and therefor doesn’t ask for anything at all.

              1. Gus

                I think he’s more frightened by what will happen to his family if he doesn’t do what he’s told.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Bernie is still with it but obviously Biden wanders off into left field from time to time but Bernie defends him anyway. Bernie was also defending Dianne Feinstein just a few months ago and her ability to still keep working when everybody can see that she is a train wreck too. Defending the undefendable is never a good look and makes you question why he is doing it at all. Keeping failing geriatrics in office is not something that you should be seen doing.

      1. Darthbobber

        No reason at all why the good people of California shouldn’t be represented by a person incapable of handling their own legal affairs.

        In the west we have DiFi. In the east we have Menéndez, who’s only at liberty because the supreme Court gutted a half century of anti-corruption law while his case was ongoing.

        And if Biden’s not the rest of the way into Feinstein land by election day they’ll be lucky.

        But what’s wrong with having the powers of the presidency exercised by a cabal from the shadows?

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Buckwheat blintzes with farmer cheese and wild Maine blueberries, or savory with a strained yogurt, roasted garlic, jalapeno and cilantro dip!

      1. Harold

        Savory French crepes are traditionally made with buckwheat, also. Blintzes sound like an excellent idea.

  3. bob

    Bernie Sanders has turned out to be another establishment hack who loves the perks of office. Just like the squad, say one thing, do another. Hipocrisy thy name is politician.

  4. notabanker

    Not sure which is more sad, Sanders actually believing his democracy schtick, or just outright bs’ing about it.

    Either way, it is clear where his loyalty lies.

  5. ChrisRUEcon


    “This org was founded by a former Bernie staffer …”

    Never forget that the likes of now-MSNBC talking head Symone Sanders (no relation, via MSNBC) can call themselves “former Bernie staffer”.

    Turns out there were quite a few merc’s working for Bernie.

    1. lambert strether

      > Turns out there were quite a few merc’s working for Bernie

      A big big problem. There’s a lot of technical detail to be handled in a campaign; sadly, one must turn to those paid to develop the skills. IMNSHO, the 2020 campaign was utterly polluted by staffer idpol, but mercs with idpol were the only skilled technicians to be had.

      1. some guy

        Maybe a service West can render unto the future is to begin the process of funding the development of a whole new cohort of mercs/skilled technicians without such idpol. If indeed West sees himself as starting up a movement prepared to spend the next few decades grinding its way towards conquest of the political system.

    2. ChrisRUEcon

      #Khanna #Machiavellian

      > If I thought Khanna was Machiavellian, I’d say he was setting Biden up for a fall; and sooner, rather than later.

      Exactly. I wonder is this is a bit of “accelerating the end game”.

    3. ChrisRUEcon


      How freaking sad … totally agree with the excerpted quote.

      I saw the article posted here recently about the billionaires buying up all that land outside SFO. Perhaps as a class, they are relenting a bit. They’ve gone from bunkers to sea-steading to let’s-just-build-this-city-on-rock’nrollcrypto-n-web3.0 … they’re gonna come full circle and just start gentrifying neighborhoods like they used to in the good ole days.

      1. Henry Moon Pie


        Someone’s always playing corporation games.
        Who cares, they’re always changing corporation names?

        We Built this City

        (Yes, that’s Grace with 80s hair. Grace’s best days were with Balin and Kaukonen and Casady. But it’s catchy in a Foreigner sort of way, and the line about corporations sounds like Grace.)

  6. Lee

    “… Anthony Fauci tells the BBC’s Katty Kay that 96% of the US population has a degree of immunity…”

    And just how does one determine one’s own or anyone else’s “degree of immunity”, a mood ring?

    1. Angie Neer

      In the linked video, he says it’s OK because only the vulnerable will get very sick and die. Very reassuring.

      1. nippersmom

        That man is a ghoul. I’d like to see him subjected to some of his own experiments, then exposed to a particularly virulent strain of COVID.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          The experiment where they put a bag over the dog’s head and then released the parastical bugs, that one?

        2. Val

          Stuffed Fauci dolls were an actual thing in the recent past. The line between demonic manifestation and psychological operations is not always clear-cult.

          Anyway NIH doesn’t fund much actual voodoo doll research, so these studies must be conducted by citizen scientists. A potential low cost, emotionally satisfying research opportunity, as long as personal shielding is in place. Don’t skimp on the ritual end, my dear Cuban friend with a lot of very interesting stories tells me.

      2. Lee

        In just one more indication that we are disposable beings: because I can’t take Paxlovid because of medications that I and millions of others take, I’ve been checking online for Remdesivir infusion sites near me in the greater metropolitan San Francisco bay area. So far, the closest ones I can find in the online locator sites that occupy the first page of search results are in Los Angeles or Oregon. From my conversations with doctors, I know for a fact that is not true. What a public health information sh*tshow.

    2. Angie Neer

      Has immunity always had different “degrees”? I thought immunity meant essentially impregnable resistance. Now it’s being used as a synonym for any degree of resistance.

  7. Carolinian

    Sanders: barking like a sheep dog?

    And re Trump’s 40 percent–isn’t Biden’s approval rating lower than that? How about after all the sleaze comes out, the war fails and the economy too? As the article says Trump’s negatives are out and visible and constantly highlighted including–going by past history– the things he didn’t say but the press says he said.

    Meanwhile they can’t cover for Biden forever. I’m more inclined to believe insider accounts conveyed by Hersh and others that say at least some Dems are panicking over Joe. And if they aren’t they should.

    1. polar donkey

      Liberal Democrats are in total denial about Biden. Trump is pulling 20% of black voters, much better than the 8% he got in election. I saw a poll a week or two ago, showing Trump doing 23 percentage points better with working class people as a whole than last election. I try to explain that breaking the railworkers unions, then East Palestine and the non-response to disaster is bad. Piled on all the things listed by Peter Dou. Now you have Maui and videos of locals hating his guts after awful response there. My liberal Democrat friends aren’t even aware of collapse of American power and influence internationally. Trying to explain that Biden is an epic disaster gets a dismissive “what does Joe Rogan know.” Ok….Its not just Rogan, polls, talking to normal people, living in America the last 3 years, after the previous 20. Everything sucks and everything is getting worse. And democrats trying to throw Br’er Rabbit into the Briar patch with these indictments is proving independents that democrats don’t give a damn about democracy. They are going to get crushed if they keep Biden.

      1. Randall Flagg

        >Liberal Democrats are in total denial about Biden. Trump is pulling 20% of black voters, much better than the 8% he got in election. I saw a poll a week or two ago, showing Trump doing 23 percentage points better with working class people as a whole than last election.

        Regarding the T-Shirts of Trump’s mug shot, some have now added the words: “They’re after you, I’m just in their way”.

        I can now see Trump t-shirt campaigning for the Black vote, a mug shot with the words: ” I understand what you have gone through for decades, having injustice inflicted upon me by the so called Department of Justice”
        Good job dems, keep it up, you’re making it too easy for Trump.

    2. some guy

      Perhaps it is those panicking Inner Insider Dems who are panicking who are driving the process of revealing more and more about Huntergate in hopes that it will get Big Guy deleted from the ticket even if Big Guy doesn’t want to leave.

      1. digi_owl

        I guess they are panicking because it is less and less likely he will leave feet first before the term is over, and thus make room for madam president Harris.

        But it may well be that it will blow up in their face, as it seems that more and more of the Dem high ups had their offspring involved in Ukraine. With Hunter just being the most flagrant of them.

        History may not repeat, but it sure do rhyme…

  8. shinola

    Thanks for the musical interlude. Interesting to watch someone hearing the Dead for he 1st time. My dear spouse was kinda “meh” about them until the 1st time I took her to see ’em live. She was fascinated with all the dancers in the audience. After that she was just as enthusiastic as I was to attend their concerts whenever they came to town.

  9. VegasSon

    We drove down to Southern California from Las Vegas during the “First Tropical Storm to ever hit Los Angeles,” as the media screamed. What a bunch of overblown hype.
    Yes, it rained hard for about 12 hours. There were a few spinouts on the freeway.

    Watching TV, one would have thought that the end of the world was here. One road washed out which was build down the middle of a desert wash. Surprise! There was a debris flow in Wrightwood. Big f’ing deal. The same spectacular video of Oak road with mud shooting up in the air and then aftermath was shown, over and over.

    More interesting was the agony of the capped teeth “newscasters” making a big deal out of nothing. You could tell they were embarassed to peddle this horseshit, but that’s their job, to create filler between commercials.

  10. Lex

    I like how someone sent him a Franklin’s Tower full of vocal mistakes, one of those endearing things about the Dead. It feels very ’76 (which is about as early as a Franklin’s Tower is going to get played) but I can’t place it exactly. It was a lot of fun to watch his reaction and his opinion was interesting.

      1. britzklieg

        I’ll take that bet. Nothing about Pelosi is “better” and she merits no such consideration. Being a Deadhead is just that and insinuates nothing more about one’s character, imho.

  11. Jason Boxman

    “‘Where I disagree with my good friend, Cornel West, is I think in these really very difficult times, where there is a real question whether democracy is going to remain in the United States of America.'”

    So it’s a good thing I’m banned from Twitter pending an emotional assessment or whatever, because I’d only be able to respond to this with profanity, and get banned again. How outrageous. This dude has lost his grip on reality, just like liberal Democrats.

    But for them, it’s all about “their democracy”, not an actual Democracy, which we don’t have, and we certainly don’t have during liberal Democrat primaries, as was demonstrated against none other than… Bernie Sanders.

    Man, you can’t make this stuff up.

    1. Darthbobber

      There’s a real question as to whether democracy can be resuscitated in the United States of America.

      There’s no question at all as to whether either party has that high on their agenda.

  12. nippersdad

    This is a really good interview with Cornel West. Maybe it is just because I am a Southerner, but I find his cadence and subject matter very compelling…..


    ……even though I was not brought up in a fundie type of church. Is it just a Southern thing or do others from elsewhere just feel that in their bones like I do? Sanders was someone that I listened to and sympathized with, but this guy one just feels. I can’t wait to see his stump speeches down here.

    1. petal

      He(West) spoke up here a few years ago in a smallish lecture room. Sat just a few rows back. His speaking style is very bewitching and powerful.

    2. Acacia

      Thanks for this link. I really hope more people listen to West, as he’s saying a lot of things that can really resonate, and speaking to a demographic that the Dem Party has abandoned. Agree that his delivery is very compelling.

      As for Bernie… he just looks worse and worse. Notice in the clip of Bernie right before the interview switched to West, he (Bernie) says:

      I think the progressive community in general and the American people have got to make a decision as whether we stand for democracy or authoritarianism or whether or not we’re going to represent working-class families…

      Bernie really thinks the Dem Party is going to represent democracy and working-class families..? Lol

      So, Bernie, I guess that means we should vote for Cornel West… ?

      In response, West is charitable to say “I think deep down in his heart [Bernie] knows that the Democratic party has no fundamental intention of speaking to the needs of poor people and working people”, and pretty much nails it when he notes that the Dem Party is “beyond redemption at this point, when it come to seriously speaking to the needs of poor and working people”.

      Also interesting was the query to West about why he voted for Biden in 2020 and what’s different now. He notes there is a paradox of sorts, that, as he puts it:

      The neo-fascism that’s escalating is predicated on the rottenness of a system in which the Democratic party facilitates that frustration and desperation, because it can’t present an alternative, and if the system — if America — is unable to present an alternative to the Democratic party in the end, then we’re going fascist, yeah.

      Looking at the bigger picture, if people are freaked out about “fascism” (and this is the effect of TDS on many, it seems), then pointing out that it’s bipartisan and the Dem party is pretty much an enabler — this strikes me as a good response.

    3. some guy

      I have only heard a very little of West from time to time. One verbal affectation he has is to call everybody “brother”. ‘Brother’ this, ‘brother’ that. To borrow a line from Lambert Strether, every time I hear Professor West call somebody ‘brother’, my back teeth itch.

      My immediate response to somebody calling me ‘Brother’ Whatever would be captured in the very first line of this little Clint Eastwood movie clip . . . ” I’m not your brother.”

      Calling somebody ‘brother’ this or ‘brother’ that sounds deeply hokey and smarmy to me. That wouldn’t stop me from voting for West for political war-fighting combat reasons. ” Politics is the pursuit of Civil War by pre-violent methods.”

  13. Tim

    It’s getting more and more clear that how truthfully a candidate speaks and how good of solutions they offer to problems facing the majority of Americans is inversely proportional to their likelihood of getting elected.

    I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps it is the man behind the curtain that only allows those that they know can’t win to speak openly, and those that can win get “groomed.” Or perhaps it is simply that those that actually care about others are incapable of winning an election against someone that only cares about getting elected. Maybe it’s both, both the candidate and the system they work within.

    1. Carolinian

      Larry Johnson, in the link I posted above, thinks the Web is winning the info debate over the MSM but can Big Tech stop that? Once again can’t get Strategic Culture–don’t know why– which is a site I like that does come out of Russia but features Western commentators. Obviously the whole “disinformation” concept was cooked up as an Orwellian or perhaps Madison Avenue framing of the desire to make sure that information is suppressed.

      I’ve cut way back on the Google services that I use while sticking with some that I need. But they seem to be a behemoth that really needs taking on by antitrust. Perhaps it’s that very threat that makes them want t go partisan.

      1. Paradan

        It’s at .su now instead of .org
        I won’t link it here cause it’s on the Treasury’s poop list.

  14. flora


    Democracy vs. machine politics.


    Even if the vote doesn’t go my way, I think machine politics are worse than an honest vote counting going my way because, silly and naive as this might sound, I trust the great voting broad group of voters. I trust the US voters in the large aggregate. Does that make me a naif or an idiot?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    For RFK Jr’s outspoken candor about Operation Mockingbird, and for his spoken beliefs regarding the CIA’s role in the assassination of his uncle, it stands to reason that he has made himself a likely target of that very same disinformation apparatus. Not only must he fight his own party, and the opposition party, but a vast array of interests threatened by his message.

    From where I sit, his candidacy is a threat to a myriad of industrial complexes (military, pharma, intelligence … Black Rock, Democratic Party insiders), and what I see has been, and likely will continue to be, a concerted effort to sideline him by framing him as a kook using disinformation and influencers in the media to shepherd the public’s opinion. Pay close attention to what he says and how the media report on it. His candidacy may be an object lesson in modern techniques of Operation Mockingbird.

    1. notabanker

      Biden refusing to provide him Secret Service detail is really something. Just proving what a dispicable human he really is. I don’t know how you can hand wave that away.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Trump, being a former President, would have some form of Secret Service detail which brings up an interesting point. Some main stream media types were drooling at the thought of Trump being temporarily put into prison and into general pop. Forgetting the fact that those cons would probably cheer for the guy as he too now has a mugshot, how would that work out for his protection? Would you have Trump surrounded by his Secret Service detail in the prison yard? Would they have their guns with them? Would they be his cell-mates and coming in and out by shifts? What about the female members of his detail? How does that work out. This is what you get when the leader of a country uses State powers to put into prison the leader of his opposition. The main problem is that Biden is a neocon and an outstanding characteristic of a neocon is that they have no reverse gear. When things blow up in their faces, they just keep on doubling down.

        1. marym

          Despite the dreams of the anti-trumpists, if he gets convicted of anything, my guess would be house arrest (resort/mansion arrest) with golf outings. If he gets re-elected he can pardon himself.

        2. some guy

          What if JFK Jr were to ask Trump for his kind assistance in assembling a truly trustworth highly-professional private security detail?

      2. jsn

        Read he last chapters of “The Devil’s Chessboard”: Secret Service works for the Secretary of Treasury, not it’s charges.

        This is occasionally important.

        And why Trump has always kept his own security, not to praise Trump, but to observe he knows how to go on living.

      3. some guy

        Yes, this in particular cannot be handwaved away. And the entire DemParty is probably unanimous in withholding this protection. And RFK Jr probably understands exactly why that is.

    2. jo6pac

      My only problem him is when went from no support of Iseral to they are family. I would vote for comrade West but I’ll wait and see. Then vote for RFK jr. at least he’ll stop the war machine if the machine kill him first.

  16. petal

    Hmm No Labels campaign kicking off in NH? Guess I’d better check my mailbox and see if anything’s rolled in. Tried to post the night of or before the debate about the latest round of mailers but my comment got eaten twice. I did save it in case anyone would like to hear about them. One of DeSantis’ is pure gold. Almost have to see it to believe it.

  17. Lex

    Is Ramaswamy Trump’s VP? He’s rich enough for trump to be not racist about it. He’s either got or is effecting a similar trump swagger. It would be an interesting ticket but would depend on whether the fundamentalist Christians are assuredly behind trump.

  18. some guy

    If the DemParty is trying to keep the Green Party off of various ballots, are there any well-funded Lawyer Groups counter-trying to keep the Green Party on all those same state ballots? And shove it onto even more state ballots besides?

    If such a group were to emerge, would people donate to it enough money to pay for the neccessary Lawfare against the DemParty anti-Green ballot efforts to neutralize the DemParty threat? If such a group would not emerge by itself, might some determined people held to emerge it on purpose?

    Separately, if RFK Jr is more of a non-lame revolutionary that Sanders was, when he is cheated even out of his rightful presence based on “earned delegates” at DemCon 2024 . . . . would he join West as West’s VP running mate on the Green ticket? Would West have the understanding of political combat-warfare to put RFK Jr onto the ticket if RFK Jr would agree to be there?

    And if a West/RFK Jr Green ticket were to emerge, would the Greens be able to get on the ballot in just enough Electoral-Vote-Heavy states to where if the Green Party won the Prez-Race in those states, they could deny either brand-name party a path to electoral victory on the states remaining?

    1. Acacia

      An answer to some of your questions might be found here:


      For 2024, apparently, the Green party is only on the ballot in 21 states, and not including some of the biggies like PA, OH, and IL. Legal action is happening in NY, IN, KS, and OK. They need volunteers. Nothing about lawyers on their volunteer form, tho they might need them too!

      Relatedly, it will be interesting to see what happens next year when it’s time for TV debates.

      I expect the Commission on Presidential Debates will look for their usual excuse to refuse non-duoparty independents (e.g., West), but what if Biden is K.O.’d by some medical problem (e.g., falls down the steps of AF1, has an aneurysm, etc.), and the DNC says Harris is henceforth their candidate (maybe their sooper secret ‘cunning plan’ anyway)?

      Imagine a Trump vs. Harris televised debate, former cop vs. alleged criminal Lol

      1. some guy

        This would be a fine opportunity for the League of Women Voters to start a You Tube channel ( if You Tube wouldn’t pre-censor them from even doing that) and have a true classical League of Women Voters Debate between all the candidates on their You Tube channel.

    2. some guy

      And you know what? A serious question occurs to me. Seriously . . . in all seriousness . . . if the DemParty is suing and doing other things to get the Green Party thrown off of State Ballots, is the Green Party counter-doing anything to stay on those ballots? Counter-suing? At least showing up in court to defend itself? Seeking any kind of assistance from ACLU or National Lawyers Guild or anyone else?

      Or is the Green Party still the same pack of preening dilettantes that I remember from the early 1980s who can’t even be bothered to enter the political combat battlespace where such pitched mortal kombat fights-to-the-death are won and lost? If so, what of West himself? Is his fan base able and willing to go to Lawfare against the DemParty to keep the Green Party on those ballots and maybe even shove it onto even more ballots?

      Well, is he? Are they?

  19. some guy

    . . . . ” There is literally no excuse for this bizarre, unscientific mistreatment of patients other than gross incompetence, institutional negligence, and systemic ableism.” . . .

    There may not be any “excuse”, but there could very well be a true secret undisclosed reason. That reason would be committing mass disable-cide in such a way as to make it look like fate or an accident.
    ( If people don’t like the phrase ” mass disable-cide”, perhaps they would like ” mass euthenasia” better.
    The Kevorkian-Industrial Complex deliberately on purpose is working to kill hundreds of thousands of disabled people in hospitals with covid and numerous other infections. Deliberately. On purpose.
    In my purely intuitive opinion.)

    1. ambrit

      This is actually a subject where a resort to comparisons to the NAZI Party is legitimate. They had an institutionalized, active Eugenics program.
      Eugenics is one of those areas where some people try and play G–. Hubris of the highest order.

      1. some guy

        Given that the NAZI Party learned a lot of its procedural and goal-design-engineering material from the White Purity Ruling Class in America, such comparisons should be accepted as perfectly natural a lot more than they currently are.

        There are a lot of mid-level and upper-level anti-health bureaucrats and leadership professionals in America who need and deserve a ” right royal ” Nuremberg Trialing.

        Another phrase came to mind about what the Hospital Infection Anti-Control Professionals are doing, possibly on purpose. I hope the phrase is evocative enough that it will just naturally enter the American English language.

        And here it is . . . the phrase . . . stochastic mass kevorkicide.

        ( And as I suggested in another long-gone comment, the Hospital Infection Anti-Control procedures can work at two levels . . .
        Level One : Killing enough patients with carefully propagated hospital infections that a demographically significant number of people die from the hospital infections themselves.

        Level Two: Millions of people see this happening and become so afraid to go into a hospital that they die of terminal-due-to-neglect diseases which would have been curable if attended to early enough. But fear of “hospital gangrene” ( which I am told a many-decades-ago member of my extended family died of) will keep them out till they become too terminal to save, thereby killing even more people.)

  20. Darthbobber

    I have great difficulty seeing 2024 elections as anything but volatile. 2023 is already pushing well beyond the bounds of traditional politics, and I can’t see the centrifugal forces doing anything but continuing to grow.

  21. Daryl

    So we have a party saying democracy is at risk while at the same time trying to short circuit the already incredibly manipulable primary system. I don’t disagree with the thesis but I can’t see that either of these parties are doing anything other than pouring gasoline on the fire.

    1. some guy

      I watch videos after work . . . more than is good for me perhaps.

      I have lately stumble apond some videos by someone called Steve Schmidt who has created a video-cast series called The Warning. He used to be a classical establishment Republican. Then he became Independent. Then he became Democratic. His videos are talking-head videos of him talking. He is a slow-speaking speaker which is good because I am a slow-thinking listener. He is very anti-Trump.

      Very recently he released a video called ” Steve Schmidt explains the rise and inevitable fall of Donald Trump”. What was Trump’s appeal to begin with? And to whom? He comes oh-so-close to getting it sometimes. ( Michael Moore got it so completely that he predicted Trump’s victory in 2016, in a video which I have a hard time finding at all any more.)

      This video also comes oh-so-close to an article I once read by Chris Hedges and have never seen again. But it doesn’t quite get there either. The Hedges article was about how he knew people who were cultural-religious conservatives but voted for Democrats as long as those Democrats defended their economic bare-survival interests. But when just enough of those Democrats ( the Clintonite ones) joined the Republicans to pass all the Free Trade Agreements, they made life so bad for these people Hedges wrote about that they decided the government which now ruined their lives would never offer anything again but more ruin. So they retreated into magical thinking and magical voting, because reality had nothing left to offer them. Hedges didn’t call this a “mistaken” belief on their part. Hedges called it a basic fact. After the Democrats became Clintonites and got all the Free Trade Agreements passed, reality really did have nothing to offer these people anymore. And it still has nothing to offer them.

      Hedges predicted that these people in their tens of millions would become a rising perma-base for the rising Magical Thinking wing of the Republican Party. He called these people, literally, ” Clinton’s children” as I remember.

      Anyway, here is the link to the Steve Schmidt video in which he gets oh-so-close to where Trump’s appeal came from, but in the end can’t quite face the core of it. There is no transcript. So for those who can stand to watch videos ( like me) , here it is.


    2. digi_owl

      Post-enlightenment “democracy” is rebranded plutocracy.

      After all, the first ones came about to protect the growing wealth of the non-aristocrat land owners etc from the old aristocracies.

      But over time they had to begrudgingly expand suffrage to stave off rebellion.

      So now they hijack the system by limiting the choices the masses can make to those that will maintain the power of the plutocrats and their PMC entourages.

      Basically we are back at aristocracy, but with corporations replacing fiefs.

  22. divadab

    “Williamson asking for my vote”

    Nope – not voting for a warmonger who’s all in on the Ukraine operation. Such a disappointment.

  23. ashley

    i recently needed to do a bunch of body work to my car to pass vermont’s absolutely ridiculous and classist – hate the poor – inspection rules. part of the work was spray painting with color matched paint to the rest of the car. a friend of mine who suggested i do this work rather than sell my car and get a new one also suggested that maybe it was time to remove my peeling “this car climbed mount washington” sticker and my bernie 2016 sticker. then i could give the slightly rusty bumper a new coat of paint. i said no, i was proud of having both, even though last time i went on a trip out of VT i was harassed for the bernie sticker. i canvassed for his campaign and donated to it as well in 2016, despite not having much money, i was a true believer. sure, he wasnt as left as i wanted, but he was good enough and his heart has usually been in the right place his whole career.

    i was proud of both stickers (let me tell you, the road up mount washington is white knuckle, even for me, someone who likes sketchy roads). but now? maybe my friend is right.

    bernie disappointed me in 2016 for not fighting the obvious DNC corruption and election theft. but i forgave him, i remember him coming from that meeting with obama late in the election fight looking disheveled and terrified. i assumed (with many others) that they threatened him/his family. then 2020 came around, and while i still donated a bit to his campaign, i didnt bother canvassing, as it seemed like a lost cause and he seemed far more neutered that go around, like the campaign was all for show and not real. then the super tuesday bullshit happened and i was even more disappointed in him than ever before.

    and now this? im voting for cornel west for sure in the general. and because VT has open primaries, i will be voting for the least insane republican – probably nikki haley. biden didnt earn my vote, he threw it away. bUt ThE sEnAtE pArLiAmEnTaRiAn WoNt LeT uS! give me a fucking break. republicans will move heaven and earth to deliver for their voters, while democrats its always been a bait and switch my entire adult life (first election was 2008, i voted for ron paul, knowing that obama was totally full of shit and not going to end any wars nor close guantanamo, which is still open). after all, their capitalist masters will never ever let the proletariat have a few more crumbs out of the pie. at least the republicans dont even pretend to care about us.

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