2:00PM Water Cooler 8/4/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Western Meadowlark, Fred Hervey WTP (FWTX 4), El Paso, Texas, United States. “Song.”

* * *


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


Time for the Countdown Clock!

* * *

“Is the Trump indictment constitutionally legitimate?” [The Hill]. “If there is no jurisdiction, there’s no case. The question of jurisdiction is a question of the authority of the court in which the case is brought to even entertain it. Importantly, the jurisdictional analysis is irrespective of the criminal culpability of the defendant. The question of criminal jurisdiction in a federal court for a case involving acts of a then-sitting president is legally a question of first impression. It has long been thought that the president enjoys immunity for his acts while in office — at least for those acts connected with his official duties. The DOJ has historically agreed with this and has repeatedly endorsed the position that they cannot indict a sitting president. The Constitution, though, seems to go much further.  As a remedy for the commission of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’ by a president, the Constitution calls for impeachment. The remedy of impeachment is the only one delineated in the Constitution. The indictment in this case, of course, follows a failed impeachment for the same acts. The argument against this is that the president has only ‘qualified immunity,’ meaning that his immunity from prosecution is connected only to acts that are in furtherance of his official duties. There’s a long history in American politics of drawing this line in cases involving the prosecution of other politicians, including state governors. But the American president is different. The president is an entire branch of government embodied in one individual…. n order for a prosecution of this sort to even arguably move past the jurisdictional bar, the government would need to establish — maybe even beyond a reasonable doubt — that the acts in the indictment fall outside the scope of the president’s official duties. That will be tough for prosecutors. The executive has a direct interest in and obligation to ensure fairness in the outcome of elections. For example, an executive who believes an election is being mishandled by public officials certainly has the authority to comment on such and to intervene as needed — “”as needed”” being the operative phrase. In addition to his obligations as the executive, the president also enjoys a First Amendment right to speak about concerns with election legalities as he sees fit.” • A more clever way to frame the “First Amendment” issue than the current state of the art. And while we’re talking about lying and fraud:

I hate to use RNC oppo, but I did search some of the quotes, and they check out. Anyhow, RussiaGate.

NOTE To me, the heart of the case is the “contingent electors.” I see the “lying” vs. “Free Speech” argument as not especially salient or compelling, but instrumental; I would argue that the press and both parties are consumed with it because resolving it one way or the other affects the power and functioning of the Censorship Industrial Copmplex.

* * *

“Trump pleads not guilty to federal charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election” [Associated Press]. “U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya set the next court date for Aug. 28, when a tentative trial date will be set, and directed Trump not to communicate directly about the facts of case with any individual known to be a witness. Three police officers who defended the Capitol that day were also seen entering the courthouse. One of them, Aquilino Gonell, who retired from the Capitol Police after suffering injuries, took stock of the location’s symbolism, noting that it was ‘the same court in which hundreds of rioters have been sentenced. It’s the same court former President Trump is being arraigned in today for his alleged involvement before, during, and after the siege….He addressed the proceedings in a brief statement on a drizzly tarmac at Washington’s Reagan National Airport before he boarded his plane back to New Jersey. ‘This is the persecution of the person that’s leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot,’ he said. ‘So if you can’t beat ‘em, you persecute ‘em or you prosecute ’em. We can’t let this happen in America.'” • This account follows the proceedings. They’re a Trump supporter, but AFACT doesn’t make things up. I like the tart tone:

Worth thinking about.

* * *

Count Two of the conspiracy indictment depends on 18 U.S. Code § 1512 (c)(2) and (k) (from the MSNBC annotated copy of The United States of America v. Donald Trump:

Here are those two sections of 18 U.S. Code § 1512 – Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant:

(c)Whoever corruptly—

(1)alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

(2)otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

That is the crime part. Section (k) is the conspiracy part:

(k)Whoever conspires to commit any offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties as those prescribed for the offense the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

I think “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so” is pretty broad. For example, the Medicare for All activists who disrupted Max Baucus’s sham ObamaCare hearings could have been sent to jail for twenty years under “impede”, and who knows what “influence” might mean; holding up a sign in a Capitol Building hallway? (Not that liberal Democrats wouldn’t applaud all this, of course). But I think it’s worth noting that [genuflects] Jack Smith has previously lost an overly broadly drawn case before:

A unanimous Supreme Court has overturned the corruption convictions of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, ruling that federal prosecutors relied on a “”boundless”” definition of the kinds of acts that could lead politicians to face criminal charges.

If Jack Smith can’t convict Bob McDonnell of corruption, who can he convict? 

Finally, I’m moving into IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) territory here, but I have to believe that the statute’s heading (“Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant”) has something to do with Congressional intent. Whatever Trump was doing, it wasn’t witness tampering. So again, I think Smith has boundary issues. (I’m not the only one who takes the view that 1512 has been interpreted too expansively; see here, here, and here).

* * *

Remember when liberal Democrats were naming their dogs after Bob Mueller? They never learn:

Tracy’s not exaggerating with “slobbering”, either. Just listen.

* * *

Vivek Ramaswamy slipstreaming behind Trump:

“Vivek Ramaswamy Wants a Second American Revolution” (interview) [Bari Weiss, The Free Press]. RAMASWAMY: “But I’ll tell you what my story is. I’m the embodiment of the American dream. My parents came to this country over 40 years ago with almost no money. I’ve gone on to found multibillion-dollar companies that created value by doing valuable things for other people, developing five medicines that are FDA approved today. One of them is a life-saving therapy for kids, another one for prostate cancer. I did it while getting married, while bringing two sons into this world, while following my faith in God, while growing up with the ultimate privilege in this country. And I think the thing that’s extraordinary about that story is that it isn’t extraordinary. It is the story of this country. And I don’t think we’re in decline. I think we are still a nation in our ascent, in the early stages of our ascent actually, a nation whose best days are still ahead. I think it takes someone in my shoes to see our nation that way, too. That’s truly what pulled me into the race.” • He’s exceptional.

“Pence seizes on Trump’s latest indictment as he looks to break through in crowded GOP field” [Associated Press]. “Since the release of the indictment in which he plays a central role, Pence has criticized Trump more aggressively, casting himself as the person who stood up to Trump, averting catastrophe…. But Pence’s new words stand out, in part because of just how staunchly he refused to publicly criticize Trump during his four years as vice president, dutifully and deferentially defending his boss, no matter what. His newly tough talk also contrasts with Trump’s other rivals, who have largely shied away from attacking the former president over his mounting legal troubles and efforts to remain in power.” • I think almost everything Pence believes is wrong, but if there’s a Sleaze Merchant Scale™, he’s not very high on it. (Not the same as vehemently disagreeing on policy, to be clear.)

* * *

“‘Whistling past the graveyard’: Dem fear grows over massive grassroots fundraising hit” [Politico]. “One of the best online fundraising days for Democrats this year was the day of Joe Biden’s campaign launch — but even that day’s haul was meager compared to his campaign kickoff four years ago. That’s among the findings of an analysis of fundraising for the first half of the year through ActBlue, the party’s primary donation processor. Small-dollar giving at the federal level totaled $312 million in the first half of 2023 — a drop-off of more than $30 million compared to this point in the 2020 cycle. The platform also had 32 percent fewer donors in the second quarter this year compared to four years prior, although its total fundraising increased slightly due to several factors, including more recurring donors and greater giving to non-federal groups.’ Because small donors are a proxy for enthusiasm, if people aren’t concerned about the drop-off in contributions, then they just aren’t paying attention or whistling past the graveyard,’ said Ari Rabin-Havt, who served as deputy campaign manager on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. ‘The impact is from top to bottom. You can see it in the ActBlue number, you can see it from the DNC down through every group. There has to be a quick examination among Democrats about what is creating this enthusiasm gap.'” • ‘Tis a mystery!

“”Dark Brandon” is driving Biden’s campaign merch sales” [Axios]. “Dark Brandon” — an online meme that portrays the 80-year-old president as a two-steps-ahead Machiavelli — is driving the Biden campaign’s merchandise sales. More than 54% of the store’s total revenue is coming from Brandon-themed products, his re-election team told Axios.” • You can’t spell “Brandon” without “Brand” (as Devon Archer would doubtless agree):

* * *

Trump Legacy

“How America Changed During Donald Trump’s Presidency” [Pew Research]. • Nothing on economics! Remarkable. This was the most interesting chart, even if not all that useful:

Fascinating that “entertained” is the highest positive for both Democrats and Republicans. 

Obama Legacy

Why are these people laughing?

Democrats en Déshabillé

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

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

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

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

* * *


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

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

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

Resources, United States (Local): AK (dashboard); AL (dashboard); AR (dashboard); AZ (dashboard); CA (dashboard; Marin, dashboard; Stanford, wastewater; Oakland, wastewater); CO (dashboard; wastewater); CT (dashboard); DE (dashboard); FL (wastewater); GA (wastewater); HI (dashboard); IA (wastewater reports); ID (dashboard, Boise; dashboard, wastewater, Central Idaho; wastewater, Coeur d’Alene; dashboard, Spokane County); IL (wastewater); IN (dashboard); KS (dashboard; wastewater, Lawrence); KY (dashboard, Louisville); LA (dashboard); MA (wastewater); MD (dashboard); ME (dashboard); MI (wastewater; wastewater); MN (dashboard); MO (wastewater); MS (dashboard); MT (dashboard); NC (dashboard); ND (dashboard; wastewater); NE (dashboard); NH (wastewater); NJ (dashboard); NM (dashboard); NV (dashboard; wastewater, Southern NV); NY (dashboard); OH (dashboard); OK (dashboard); OR (dashboard); PA (dashboard); RI (dashboard); SC (dashboard); SD (dashboard); TN (dashboard); TX (dashboard); UT (wastewater); VA (dashboard); VT (dashboard); WA (dashboard; dashboard); WI (wastewater); WV (wastewater); WY (wastewater).

Resources, Canada (National): Wastewater (Government of Canada).

Resources, Canada (Provincial): ON (wastewater); QC (les eaux usées); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: anon (2), Art_DogCT, B24S, CanCyn, ChiGal, Chuck L, Festoonic, FM, FreeMarketApologist (4), Gumbo, hop2it, JB, JEHR, JF, JL Joe, John, JM (10), JustAnotherVolunteer, JW, KatieBird, LL, Michael King, KF, LaRuse, mrsyk, MT, MT_Wild, otisyves, Petal (6), RK (2), RL, RM, Rod, square coats (11), tennesseewaltzer, Utah, Bob White (3). 

Stay safe out there!

* * *


Well, why not?

Scientific Communication

“ProMED, an early warning system on disease outbreaks, appears near collapse” [STAT]. “The early warning disease network that alerted the world to the original SARS outbreak and the start of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be in peril. A number of the senior moderators of ProMED-mail, a program operated by the International Society for Infectious Diseases, posted a letter of protest early Thursday, challenging a recently revealed plan to charge for subscriptions to the service. The group of 21 moderators, who announced they were suspending work for ProMED, expressed a lack of confidence in the ISID’s administrative operations, suggesting ProMED needs to find a new home. ‘For most of us, creating ProMED’s content is a labor of love. However, we cannot be expected to continue working on good will alone,’ the moderators wrote.  The prospect of a potential collapse of the nearly 30-year-old program has the infectious diseases community aghast.” • Hey, who needs early warnings when we’ve got Big Pharma? I wrote about the fragility of our genomic surveillance infrastructure back in April:

Of the two essential projects downstream from GISAID [Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data; they started with bird flu], Pango depends on a tiny team of volunteers (!!), and Nextstrain depends on the curation efforts of one person (!!!). Weak, weak, and weak. Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. What happens if when the genomic sequencing tools go down, and genomic surveillance can’t happen, when a new variant is multiplying geometrically? If when that happens, we can’t afford to lose a week!

So while the PMC moans and wrings its hands because the rentier-servicing labor aristocrats of Silicon Valley won’t be getting free massages or truffle-infused vegan stylings any more, or the political class loses its mind because we can’t send the Azovs in Ukraine enough tanks to break down for parts and sell on the black market, genuine scientists doing the work on which millions of lives depend should look both ways before crossing the street. What a situation. Meanwhile, some brain genius at the Rockefeller foundation misplaced a decimal point. They said a million, I guess because they looked under the couch cushions, but ten million would buy some redundancy. Maybe a hundred millions would buy tech doc dull normals could use, who knows. What’s wrong with these people?

I mean, besides brain damage neurological seqeulae. Commentary, and ProMed’s email alert on the virus later dubbed SARS-Cov-2, 2019-12-30:

Platform? Well, maybe… 


“Symptom profiles of community cases infected by influenza, RSV, rhinovirus, seasonal coronavirus, and SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern” [Nature]. “The SARS-CoV-2 symptom profile increasingly resembles that of other respiratory viruses as new strains emerge. Increased cough, sore throat, runny nose, and sneezing are associated with the emergence of the Omicron strains. As SARS-CoV-2 becomes endemic, monitoring the evolution of its symptomatology associated with new variants will be critical for clinical surveillance.” • This will no doubt instantly mutate into the claim that SARS-CoV-2 really is “just like the flu,” but the flu doesn’t give you brain damage. And there’s no such thing as Long Common Cold (I mean, that we know of. I’m not sure we know all that much about viruses, and they may be more pervasive than we think).


An Important Preprint” [Infection Control, Emergency Management, Safety, and General Thoughts (Jason Boxman)]. “This preprint study [linked to yesterday] has some stunning findings. The short version is that even among those who had COVID but no symptoms, there is tissue damage…. I suspect that part of the reason that COVID seems less damaging in younger or healthier populations is that they can more easily handle some tissue damage since the surrounding unaffected tissue can take on some of the load of the damaged tissue. However, as that unaffected tissue ages, it won’t work quite as efficiently as when it was young and healthy, and the impacts of the COVID infection will start manifesting themselves as a number of chronic diseases. The fact that we are seeing many of these in such a short time is extremely concerning. It suggests that we will see massive amounts of chronic diseases among people who had COVID infections in the future.” • Yikes.

“Something Awful”

Lambert here: I’m getting the feeling that the “Something Awful” might be a sawtooth pattern — variant after variant — that averages out to a permanently high plateau. Lots of exceptionally nasty sequelae, most likely deriving from immune dysregulation (says this layperson). To which we might add brain damage, including personality changes therefrom.

* * *


Elite Maleficence

“Experts warn the U.S. lacks COVID resources as cases tick up again” [Axios]. Look at the wastewater data. Whatever that is, it’s not an “uptick.” “Infection levels are still relatively low [since we don’t test, how do we know?], and immunity [fading] from prior infections and vaccinations means the virus is unlikely to reach the same high levels seen during past fall and winter waves [whatever that means]. Still, ‘We [who?] don’t have the resources now to combat it like we  [who?] did and we [who?] don’t have the political will to even push for those resources,’ said Michael Mina, an epidemiologist and chief scientific officer for at-home testing company eMed. This is in part due to the expiration of the public health emergency, leaving Americans with less access to free COVID tests and treatments for the first time since the pandemic began.” • The public health emergency did not “expire.” It was ended. By Biden.

* * *

Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, August 3:

Lambert here: Moving along quite briskly now.

Regional data:

Lambert here: Again, backward revisions. I imagine that dip in the South will be smoothed away.

Interestingly, the upswing begins before July 4, which neither accelerates nor retards it.

Regional variant data:

EG.5 (the orange pie slice) still seems evenly distributed.


From CDC, August 5:

Lambert here:  EG.5 at the top of the leaderboard (after waiting two weeks ffs). EG.5 is big in Japan:

From CDC, July 22:

Lambert here: Not sure what to make of this. I’m used to seeing a new variant take down the previously dominant variant. Here it looks like we have a “tag team,” all working together to cut XBB.1.5 down to size. I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

CDC: “As of May 11, genomic surveillance data will be reported biweekly, based on the availability of positive test specimens.” “Biweeekly: 1. occurring every two weeks. 2. occurring twice a week; semiweekly.” Looks like CDC has chosen sense #1. In essence, they’re telling us variants are nothing to worry about. Time will tell.

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, July 29:

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

NOTE “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.” So not the entire pandemic, FFS (the implicit message here being that Covid is “just like the flu,” which is why the seasonal “rolling 52-week period” is appropriate for bothMR SUBLIMINAL I hate these people so much. Notice also that this chart shows, at least for its time period, that Covid is not seasonal, even though CDC is trying to get us to believe that it is, presumably so they can piggyback on the existing institutional apparatus for injections.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, July 31:

3.2%. Interestingly, people are citing to this, too, as well as Biobot. Vertical, though the absolute numbers are still very small relative to June 2022, say. Interestingly, these do not correlate with the regional figures for wastewater. (It would be interesting to survey this population generally; these are people who, despite a tsunami of official propaganda and enormous peer pressure, went and got tested anyhow.)

NOT UPDATED From CDC, July 10:

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


Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, August 2:

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: 1,169,999 – 1,169,985 = 14 (14 * 365 = 5110 deaths per year, today’s YouGenicist™ number for “living with” Covid (quite a bit higher than the minimizers would like, though they can talk themselves into anything. If the YouGenicist™ metric keeps chugging along like this, I may just have to decide this is what the powers-that-be consider “mission accomplished” for this particular tranche of death and disease). 

Excess Deaths

The Economist, August 4:

Lambert here: This is now being updated daily. Odd. 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 Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The unemployment rate in the US decreased slightly to 3.5 percent in July 2023 from 3.6 percent in June and below market expectations of 3.6 percent…. The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.6 percent, remaining at its highest level since March 2020.”

* * *

Imperial Collapse Watch (via):

And in this country, forget about the California High Speed Rail debacle, a new tunnel under the Hudson has a “potential” opening date of 2035, when we’ve known for years that the existing tunnel is failing, and when it fails, will bring rail traffic along the entire East Coast to a halt. I guess we could use helicopters and air taxis for the truly important passengers, but what about freight?

Superconductor: “LK-99 Is the Superconductor of the Summer” [New York Times]. “Dr. Das Sarma said he knew that the research groups of several prominent physicists were working to synthesize the material and make measurements to determine whether LK-99 is indeed a superconductor. ‘A claim this huge has to be scrutinized very, very carefully,’ Dr. Das Sarma said. ‘And has to be duplicated by independent groups in as many ways as possible before we declare victory.’ He added, ‘I believe this can happen. But that does not mean this has happened.'”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 77 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Aug 2 at 1:47 PM ET. Last updated Aug 4 at 1:49 PM ET.

Our Famously Free Press

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

I believe I’ve run this before, but it still seems apt in so many ways:

NEW This, however, is also apt:

I got this comment via email from desert dog the other day, whose image of Tilford the Turtle graced today’s Links. He said (quoted only in part in Links):

After reading both the Links and your Water cooler I actually get a bit depressed and think it wont be long till it’s all over. Then I get this message photo from fiends down in Missouri. It’s my friend Gregg feeding Tilford the turtle and  it just makes me feel that I am missing the good things in life. I just got to pay more attention to the real life stories?

Well, I don’t want Water Cooler to be an exercise in doomscrolling. That’s why there are birds at the top, in the sky, and plants at the bottom, for the earth. That said, the world isn’t in the best shape, and we do have to report that clearly, especially in the face of denial, minimization, layers of impacted PMC bullshit. That said, “if it bleeds, it leads,” meaning that our famously free press has little incentive to report good news beyond clickbait-y heartwarming anecdotes. That’s one reason I invented, quoting Mr. Rogers, “Look for the helpers” in the Covid section; to relieve the bleakness. Let’s expand the principle! If readers wish to send me more links or photos of helpers in action, you can mail me with “Helpers” in the subject line. Could be Covid, could be any situation. Even helpful animals! –lambert

* * *

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 MT jefe:

MT jefe writes: “Penstemon Montana.” Penstemon is indeed the name of a flower, not [searches] a town in Montana.

* * *

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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. Henry Moon Pie


    He’s an exceptionally shameless bullshitter. And he ought to be paying royalties to Ronnie’s estate or Peggy. Mornin’ in ‘Murca. LOL.

    Reagan peddled that crap 40+ years ago with the result that no problems were faced and no policy changes implemented, or policies were enacted making the problems worse. The PR was just turned up a few notches, and the decline that I would trace to the escalation in Vietnam just went into overdrive.

    I suppose it might work again. We’ve become so well trained at denial, we’re so childishly incapable of facing reality that enough of us might believe that clapping louder might get it done.

    That has not been Trump’s message, unless he’s touting his own “accomplishments.” The key to his success has been in acknowledging that America is no longer great, that the heartland is a wasteland, that the military has a habit of losing. Let the latest feel good snake oil salesmen pitch it if he can’t think of anything better. I hope it falls flat on its face.

    1. curlydan

      Yep, and apparently there’s a little Ramaswamy in all of us: “This is still the country where no matter who you are, or where your parents came from, or what your skin color is, that you can get ahead based on your own hard work and commitment and dedication, and that you are free to speak your mind at every step of the way—that is the American dream, and that is what I am leading us to.”

      Work harder and clap harder–one of the Republican dreams that still lives on.

      1. jhallc

        Yup…Vivek , the old grabbed my bootstraps and made my way in America trope. With no help from the our social, education and family networks. Ok, maybe a bit of luck but, I’m not going to admit that. A Harvard alum through and through.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Reserving my judgment but the remote part of my brain that twitches when I first came across [extremely long list of prominent politicians] hasn’t twitched yet. He’s intensively self-coached and self-driven and that’s hard to read because venn diagram-wise it’s a close overlap with the Jeff Bezos of the world. And I’m also cognizant of not being able to “read” South Asian Americans very well.

      To me, Ramaswamy reeks of sincerity. This is common with ‘citizen-candidates’ but you don’t see many citizen-candidates at the presidential level other than business men with enormous egoes. Most citizen-candidates lose their innocence quickly whether they win or lose which is why it’s rare to see someone like Vivek running for POTUS.

      Assuming he’s sincerely sincere. Haven’t figured that part out yet but if he’s faking, he’s a really, really good faker (fakir?).

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”Reserving my judgment…” I’m not, based only on his “pristine Ivy League credentials” and his connections to the finance industry. No way would I vote for him (if I were an American). I know that’s simplistic so here’s another and perhaps better reason: A particularly shocking (imo) excerpt from PBS’s Firing Line, aired last night:


        HOOVER: You’ve coined the term “climateism.”

        RAMASWAMY: Yeah.

        HOOVER: What does it mean?

        RAMASWAMY: I think it refers to an ideology that says we have to abandon fossil fuels and carbon emissions at all cost to stave off existential climate risks for humanity. I think that is a religious conviction. It is not a scientific conviction. So I think we have to reckon with the facts to say that, are global surface temperature is going up? Yes, it appears to. That’s a fact.

        HOOVER: Because of the emission of carbon–

        RAMASWAMY: Because of broadly manmade causes, including but not limited to the emission of carbon and also not man made causes. Yes. Is that an existential risk for humanity? No, it is not. Does that mean that we should abandon or even abate the use of carbon or carbon dioxide emissions? No, it does not in my book. I think the right question we should be asking is what advances human prosperity? That’s what I care about. That’s what I will care about measuring as the leader of this country, rather than obsessing over a cult of carbon.

        HOOVER: When people point to the 101 degree water temperatures in Florida or the heat waves throughout the country or the unparalleled storms and climate events. How do you respond?

        RAMASWAMY: I respond by saying that if the same shoe fit the other foot and you disagreed with that policy and somebody else were picking up anecdotal data from the middle of Arkansas who didn’t go to Harvard, you’d be laughing them off the stage as a bunch of rubes who didn’t know how to follow data based on anecdotal evidence.

        According to Vivek, the science behind climate change is an “ideology” and a “religious conviction”. Not only would I never vote for the guy, from hereon in I won’t even listen to him.

    3. SG

      …the decline that I would trace to the escalation in Vietnam…

      Pessimist that I am, I tend to trace it to the Bay of Pigs. Or, just perhaps, to the ascent of the Dulles siblings.

  2. RoadDoggie

    Honorable mention today goes to Variant FL.1.5.1 for appearing seemingly without warning or fanfare on the CDC Projected board. They project that it’s exhibiting doubling behavior if I am reading that right.

    Further proving that absolute dismal uselessness of that chart, but at least I get to find out retroactively what was happening a month ago. A-holes.

    1. Roger Blakely

      We have been getting misled by these names. EG.5 is a sublineage of XBB.1.9.2. FL.1.5.1 is a sublineage of XBB.1.9.1. They are not going to take over like XBB or BA.5 did then they first arrived.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > They are not going to take over like XBB or BA.5 did then they first arrived.

        Probably not, but EG.5 is doing well in Japan. Not sure why; it may not be the virus as such.

        1. Acacia

          Actually, latest data (08/03) from Tokyo shows the share of EG.5 is now shrinking:


          Agree with the tweet from T. Ryan Gregory, though, that the current wave of hospitalizations probably isn’t variant-driven. What I see on the streets, in shops and restos is that a majority of people simply aren’t masking. Disinformation is working.

          I did receive a notice from the university that fall courses will begin online — “to avoid congestion in the classroom” —, but that first classes can be conducted face-to-face upon discretion of the instructor.

          Double-duty word: “congestion”.

    2. Adam

      Today’s Anecdata: went to get an mri this morning at a local stand-alone mri center. (Half the price of going to the local Chicago area hospital but still out of pocket cost of over $500. Yes, my supposedly good insurance still sucks.) Nobody masking other than the mri technician (baggy blue) and myself (3M Aura) and they had no masks without any metal for me to use while I was in the mri machine. Lucky me! Hopefully I didn’t bring anything home to share with the wife.

      1. johnherbiehancock

        I just got back from my annual physical. Cases around here (HTX) are rising, and I’ve heard that from a number of people.

        I was the only one in the whole office with a good mask (KN95). One other patient had a baggy blue, and most of the nurses did, but not the office staff. The doctor did not, and told me I “could take [my] mask off” but quickly added I didn’t have to.

        He then told me he was going on a cruise next week but taking two courses of paxlovid with him just in case!

        1. Daryl

          > He then told me he was going on a cruise next week but taking two courses of paxlovid with him just in case!

          Sort of typical of the thinking of a lot of people, where you can take pills and get better. Paxlovid itself is no joke either. Not something I’d want to use unless I couldn’t avoid it.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I would be curious to see how many x-ray technicians mask up at work. They have no problem standing behind a lead shield when they take an x-ray at work and don’t take the attitude that you have to learn to live with the daily x-rays. So does that spill over into wearing a mask at work too?

    1. Reply

      Shoulda tried that Leslie Groves mushroom cloud logo?

      Keeping up with the Oppenheimer movie.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Could’a been worse. You might have gotten your grant only to find that half of it will be allocated to bringing in a consultant to design a new lab logo to show the NIH that you are making progress. :)

  3. Carolinian

    Here’s nominating Pence as the Republican even less likely than Nikki Haley to get the nomination. Of course Trump only picked him for VP to appease the fundamentalists that the Trump haters seem to think Trump himself leads. The cluelessness, it burns.

  4. antidlc


    Cyberattack on Prospect Medical Holdings: Hospitals, health care disrupted in 5 states

    A cyberattack disrupted hospital computer systems in several states, forcing some emergency rooms to close and ambulances to be diverted, and many primary care services remained closed Friday as security experts worked to determine the extent of the problem and resolve it.

    The “data security incident” began Thursday at facilities operated by Prospect Medical Holdings, which is based in California and has hospitals and clinics there and in Texas, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

    More on Prospect Medical Holdings:
    Investors Extracted $400 Million From a Hospital Chain That Sometimes Couldn’t Pay for Medical Supplies or Gas for Ambulances

    In the decade since Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles, bought control of a hospital company named Prospect Medical Holdings for $205 million, the owners have done handsomely.

    Leonard Green extracted $400 million in dividends and fees for itself and investors in its fund — not from profits, but by loading up the company with debt. Prospect CEO Sam Lee, who owns about 20% of the chain, made $128 million while expanding the company from five hospitals in California to 17 across the country. A second executive with an ownership stake took home $94 million.

    The deal hasn’t worked out quite as well for Prospect’s patients, many of whom have low incomes. (The company says it receives 80% of its revenues from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.) At the company’s flagship Los Angeles hospital, persistent elevator breakdowns sometimes require emergency room nurses to wheel patients on gurneys across a public street as a security guard attempts to halt traffic. Paramedics for Prospect’s hospital near Philadelphia told ProPublica that they’ve repeatedly gone to fuel up their ambulances only to come away empty at the pump: Their hospital-supplied gas cards were rejected because Prospect hadn’t paid its bill. A similar penury afflicts medical supplies. “Say we need 4×4 sponges, dressing for a patient, IV fluids,” said Leslie Heygood, a veteran registered nurse at one of Prospect’s Pennsylvania hospitals, “we might not have it on the shelf because it’s on ‘credit hold’ because they haven’t paid their creditors.”

    1. Ranger Rick

      Behind every massive IT security failure is an overworked, underpaid IT department, already aware of their vulnerabilities (or worse, completely unaware of new ones) just counting the days before a breach puts them out of a job. They’ve probably asked for and were denied money for updating their systems and hiring security staff. Management-by-crisis is alive and well.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: the new rail tunnel under the Hudson

    Well, for those who want to warm themselves under tinfoil hats, here’s a scenario: The tunnel will fail right after NYC implements traffic congestion tolls, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (who gets the $$ from the tolls) will rake in truly huge bucks as everything needs to be trucked in and charged for.

    1. ambrit

      What gets me is that apparently no one, in the planning for the municipal subway system, figured on some freight subway rail. Rail is cheaper, can handle more weight, and can be ‘hidden.’ Trucks for the “last mile” delivery. Use TEUs, with cranes at the freight hubs within the metro region to load them onto flatbeds. If size is a worry, there are smaller TEUs already.
      TEU: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-foot_equivalent_unit
      It was done once and can be done again.
      See: https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/collex/exhibits/under-your-feet/chicagos-freight-tunnels/

  6. enoughisenough

    Lambert, thank you for these posts, and thank you Yves, and everyone at NC.

    You cut through the propaganda, and I need that to stay sane, way more than I need platitudes.

  7. lyman alpha blob

    Is it just me, or does “Dark Brandon” look like he’s struggling just a little bit to pick up his own mug?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Can you get a poster of Biden’s Emperor Palpatine speech? The reds and blacks really set the moment.

  8. johnherbiehancock

    re: doomscrolling.

    I definitely feel an impending sense of dread sometimes, both here and from my twitter feed.

    Don’t hold back on us though… I’d rather be grimly prepared for doom than blissfully ignorant of it.

    The plant and bird life is nice, but what we really need is some comic relief. I haven’t heard any good political comedy in a while though. I mean Really on point political commentary. Seems like either no one is really making it anymore, or corporate America has just done a good job of suppressing it.

    I guess some podcasts help. Chapo Trap House’s better moments, especially their “We watched this so you don’t have to” movie reviews are the few times in a week the media I consume makes me laugh.

  9. LawnDart

    (Almost) Daily Derailment(s);
    A subtopic to
    Imperial Collapse Watch

    Freight Train Derails in Upstate New York, Disrupting Amtrak Service

    A freight train derailed in upstate New York on Friday, disrupting Amtrak service and prompting authorities to close roads in the area.

    About 17 cars of a CSX train hauling mixed freight derailed just before 8 a.m. northwest of Albany, a CSX spokesperson said in a statement.

    No crew members were injured and there is no indication of any leak, the freight carrier said.

    Montgomery County Undersheriff Carl Rust said the majority of the cars that derailed were empty oil tankers.


    Train derailment closes railroad crossings in Otter Tail County

    GORMAN TOWNSHIP, Minn.— A train derailment has forced the closure of two railroad crossings near Highway 10 in Otter Tail County.

    There were no injuries and there is no threat to public safety or the environment, according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.


    Never forget (Jesus Christ… it sounds like a lot of these people in Ohio are now the walking dead/living cancer incubators, and that the EPA is lying, again.):

    ‘It feels like an apocalyptic movie’: life in East Palestine six months after toxic train crash

    In the days after a fiery February train derailment that likely poisoned the environment in East Palestine, Ohio with a range of highly toxic chemicals, Amanda Kenner and her family experienced the burning eyes, nose, throat and other symptoms widely reported among the population in the small town near the Pennsylvania border.

    State and federal officials have told the Kenners the water, air and soil is safe, and their health issues have other sources. But the family, which lives several miles south of the accident site, is skeptical and still “relies on the kindness of strangers” who donate bottled water because they suspect their well is contaminated.

    Among other issues, the “controlled burn” likely released dioxin, PAHs and other chemicals that present long-term health threats. The EPA has said the level of dioxins in and around the town is safe, but a Guardian analysis by experts in February found the soil contains dioxin levels hundreds of times greater than the exposure threshold above which Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientists in 2010 found poses cancer risks.

    The EPA has done some testing for dioxin in the area’s soil and has said it did not find elevated results. But that has been contradicted by independent research that found levels thousands of times above background levels.

    Meanwhile, Purdue University researcher Andrew Welton presented evidence that the handheld devices Norfolk Southern’s contractors used to check homes for chemicals were incapable of finding them. His evidence included Norfolk Southern test results that showed no chemical detections in a home where independent testing found high levels. Even though Norfolk Southern’s contractors said they did not find chemicals, they noted they had to leave the home because of the overpowering chemical odor.

    “The testing done on those buildings wasn’t designed to find the contamination that could cause the illnesses,” Welton said.


  10. antidlc

    RE: “Why are these people laughing?”

    Maybe the same reason Mandy Cohen is laughing?

    Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH
    Had a great time meeting with staff today from across @CDCgov
    . We chatted about what makes CDC a special place to work, lifesaving programmatic efforts, and finding joy. Oh, and Barbie!

    (She’s laughing in the photo)

    1. johnherbiehancock

      programmatic” is a word I keep hearing a lot in different places. My old law school just announced a new dean on linkedin and said something about how he’s been successful at “programmatic leadership” whatever that is. I guess a new shibboleth for PMCers to know.

      1. ambrit

        Well, from my execrable knowledge of Greek, the Tetragrammaton is the four consonant “word” that veils the Name of G–.
        So, by using the Arcane Law of Association, “pro-grammatic” is adjacent to the tetragrammaton, and thus imbues the possessor of that quality with supernal status.
        Status is the name of the game in the PMC.

    2. Acacia

      And when did Obama become Biden’s “brother”?

      Is Brandon gonna start saying “Brother Obama” in some pathetic attempt to woo West voters?

      1. Pat

        Not a new affectation, he used it during the presidential campaign as well. In my recollection Obama didn’t go into the same fantasy, but both men have portrayed their relationship during the Obama administration as far closer than most people might have observed over that eight years. Anything to avoid both Orange Man Bad and even worse the grumpy old man who would actually insist that $2000 promise meant $2000 and berate Congress when it wasn’t sent.

    1. ambrit

      Shouldn’t ‘at all’ be in quotes, such that it reads: No comments on “at all?” To which I would have to ask for a link.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I meant to write “no comments on 1512“?

      To reinforce:

      I think “obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so” is pretty broad. For example, the Medicare for All activists who disrupted Max Baucus’s sham ObamaCare hearings could have been sent to jail for twenty years under “impede”, and who knows what “influence” might mean; holding up a sign in a Capitol Building hallway?

      Who, we might ask, determines what “influences”? I would argue that is the disinformation industry would be the experts called to do this. In other words, the stakes in this case really are Constitutional, and do involve the First Amendment, but not only at the level of Trump’s right to free speech, but for any citizen’s.

      So, in my mind, who loses and who wins is not only Trump or Smith, but the Censorship Industrial Complex, and the new conception of a Constitutional order that it embodies (spooks + press + Democrats — all PMC — an unholy merger that began under Obama). So the stakes are enormous.

      1. Pat

        The things they are promoting to indict Trump are far scarier than Trump ever was. I believe you could include it in as part of the illuminating effect he had and continues to have.

        Unfortunately I think TPTB believe they have their ducks in a row and the courts in agreement on the public having no rights to actually try to influence their so-called representation in any effective manner.

  11. The Rev Kev

    OK, I’ll be the bunny that asks. So the judge wagged her finger at Trump and told him not to even dare to try to bribe or influence any witnesses against him. And that comes under 18 U.S. Code § 1512 – ‘Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.’ So how is that different to the Biden DoJ trying to throw a witness into prison just before they were to give testimony against Biden and his son’s corrupt business dealings? Is it a case of ‘It’s OK when we do it.’ This is the sort of thing that you associate with some tin-pot dictatorship in Africa or South America.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This is the sort of thing that you associate with some tin-pot dictatorship

      It is. So is the insistence on “knowingly false statements.” Tin-pot dictatorships like that idea because there are so many opportunities for the arbitrary exercise of power.

      In Smith’s indictment, the proof that a Trump statement was knowingly false is that somebody in a position of authority — say, the Director of National Intelligence — “explained” to Trump (the word “explained” is used over and over again) that matters were other than what Trump seemingly believed. But why believe these authorities and not others? Never, well, explained. An argument from the sort of authority that the PMC respects. That is the litmus test for truth and falsehood.

  12. Pat

    My personal take on Pence is that he is very similar to Joe Lieberman.
    They both wear their faith, there are practically neon billboards around their necks saying this is a good and faithful man.
    They both try to downplay their massively ambitious nature.
    Both like to have it both ways. They play the political games and go along with things that should have them condemning their colleagues but justify it as being about integrity and doing the job they agreed to. But as soon as that doesn’t advance their ambitions, they can denounce everything that was going on and pretend they were released from those obligations.

    Think about it, Pence is now all about how awful Trump was and is, but he was still running to be his VP for a second term. Rather than finding a reason to be with his family and refusing to accept the nomination he continued to “ staunchly support his boss”. He might not be running a family influence peddling business, which obviously puts him lower on the sleaze merchant scale than our current President, but that is a very low bar indeed. But that doesn’t make him honest.
    He just has different style.

    1. barefoot charley

      Excellent, I was trying to figure out what to hold against him! I was impaired by his current role, which I enjoy. Should be good for six percent.

  13. flora

    Lambert, many thanks for the week of Meadowlark song. Cheered me up immensely. No idea why. Though my old 6th grade teacher might have an idea about it. / cheers

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lambert, many thanks for the week of Meadowlark song.

      I do find that the birdsongs bring back memories, Madeleine-style. Very seasonal, very placed. That’s why I like the recordings with background noise like other birds, or trains, or insects, even if the birders take away stars from the ratings because the song is not the only sound.

  14. Tom Stone

    Is it time for Harris?
    She doesn’t have a death wish and might be able to back away a bit from the Biden Administration’s more spectacular failures.
    And watching Hillary’s face at the swearing in ceremony would be delightful…

    1. Acacia

      She’s biding her time until Joe keels over.

      And hearing the endless WH scuttlebutt about the latest Brandon gaff, Harris probably things she’s long long overdue to become POTUS.

    2. flora

      I mean, this is going to sound very harsh, but at this point, maybe calling a spade a spade is a good idea: Replacing a senility guy with word salad gal? Is there a difference? / oy

  15. flora

    Taibbi and Kirn. public excerpt. ~30 minutes.

    Aug 4 •
    Episode 50: America This Week, August 4, 2023, “The Red-Headed Indictment”

    Walter and Matt go through the latest Trump indictment, and confess childhood Sherlock Holmes fixations in reading “The Red-Headed League”


    I love the reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mystery “The Red Headed League.”

    1. ambrit

      Throw in Silver Blaze and it becomes a Red Headed Furlong.
      “And what about the Regulator that didn’t bark in the hearing Holmes?”
      “Elementary my dear Watson. Who can hear a Regulator from inside of a deep pocket?”
      “Gad Holmes! Another sartorial reference?”
      “Indeed. We seem to be overcome by suits.”
      “You mean we are no longer playing three dimensional chess Holmes?”
      “No, billiards.”
      “Oh yes! How droll.”

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Their take was that this man’s phony job existed solely to get him out of his office four hours a day so his employee could dig a tunnel under the office to the bank next door which he then successfully robbed.

        The story reminded Taibbi and Kern of the new disinformation agencies.

    1. ambrit

      “Rolling Stone” owes it to America to sponsor a muck raking political series. “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: 2024.”
      Three guesses who plays Dr. Gonzo.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Three guesses who plays Dr. Gonzo

        Taibbi but they won’t and can’t. But it is a great idea. Another good candidate for The Hunter Thompson Chair in Journalistic Excellence™ would be Thomas Frank, whose name occurs to because of this terrific video (here; hat tip, NippersDad).

        Frank is in top form, but his next book won’t be on (electoral) politics at all; IOW, he was successfully driven out of writing for the mainstream by the very liberals he skewered in Listen, Liberal!*, presaging the outrageous censorship we see in liberal Democrats today.

        It’s a shame that Frank was early. He didn’t have the Substack platform to help him retain his voice, and by the time it developed, his life had taken a different turn (next book to be about [dread word] “innovation”).

        Silencing Frank is a classic and early case of the PMC making everything and everybody more stupid. And it all happened silently and invisibly. He just wasn’t invited to the parties any more…

        NOTE * Implying, to me, “Listen, stupid!”

    2. Carolinian

      Lambert’s Hill link up in Cooler says that Smith doesn’t even have the ability to indict for crimes while Trump was still president (as opposed to the documents). I wonder why Turley hasn’t made this point. Sounds right to me.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Lambert’s Hill link up in Cooler says that Smith doesn’t even have the ability to indict for crimes while Trump was still president

        That’s the legal argument. I don’t know if it’s true, only that it’s coherent and well-urged. IOW, written by the sort of lawyer Trump needs.

        Trump, of course, “can’t find good help.” I retain some hope that a well-regarded greybeard with some stature in the legal community — i.e., from one of the Ivies — will recognize the enormous Constitutional stakes in the case and step up. After all, everybody deserves representation.

        If not, I hope a very young, very bright, very competent, entirely intrepid lawyer sees the enormous opportunity and steps up. I don’t know whether that’s John Lauro or not.

  16. The Rev Kev

    I hope this makes it way through moderation. ‘Pfizer Admits That Their Own Employees Were Given “Different Batch” Of Vaccine Than Public’

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/GbwvVssMKZ0V/ (20 sec)

    Definitely here in Oz and it looks like this was done in front of a Senate investigating committee but seriously, what did those Pfizer employees end up getting? Saline solutions?

  17. Alan Roxdale

    Here are those two sections of 18 U.S. Code § 1512

    I believe this is the exact same statute used by Smith in the Mar-a-lago documents case. Maybe after 3 indictments the office is running out of tricks?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I believe this is the exact same statute used by Smith in the Mar-a-lago documents case

      Correct. From the Congressional Research Service:

      The charges in the indictment fall into three categories. Those categories ared
      • willful retention of documents related to the national defense in violation of the Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. § 793(e));

      • obstruction-based charges, including destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in federal investigations (18 U.S.C. § 1519), witness tampering (18 U.S.C. § 1512), and conspiracy to violate the witness tampering statute (18 U.S.C. § 1512(k)); and

      • false statement offenses (18 U.S.C. § 1001).

      Notice that “witness tampering” is far closer to “Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant” (the heading for 1512) than the much more expansive interpretation of the statute in the United States vs. Trump, as I show in the post.

      One might almost think that this expansive interpretation is the real object of the exercise, the prize for which Smith (and his backers) are playing; certainly it would be very useful to the Censorship Industrial Complex and liberal Democrats generally to suppress any protest on “impeding” grounds, or indeed any communication on “influence” grounds.

      So the stakes in the case really are a new interpretation of the Constitutional Order, brought about by the unholy merger of (avoiding synecdoche) the hegemonic fractions of the spooks, the press, and the Democrats who comprise our governing class.

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