2:00PM Water Cooler 9/12/2023

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin, Audrey Carroll Audubon Sanctuary, Frederick, Maryland, United States. “Dawn song.”

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“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

“Trump faces another 14th Amendment candidacy challenge, this time in Minnesota” [CNN]. “The new Minnesota lawsuit was filed in state court by Free Speech For People, one week after another group initiated a similar challenge in Colorado.” NGOs doing yeoman work. More: “The lawsuit was filed on behalf of eight Minnesota voters, including a former GOP-appointed state Supreme Court justice, a former Democratic secretary of state and an Iraq War veteran who ran his county GOP chapter. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, acknowledged in a statement last week that Minnesotans have the right under state law to challenge in court a candidate’s eligibility for office, and pledged to ‘honor the outcome of that process.'” • The lawsuit. Jena Griswold, also a Secretary of State, is a defendant in the Colorado case. So the (granted, small) pattern we have so far is non-swing states with Democrat Secretaries of State (or, presumably, other election officials). If this is the pattern, the Democrats are making exactly the same mistake here that they made when suing for recounts in Florida 2020: While preening themselves about defending democracy, they also only sued in counties they thought Al Gore could in, not merely ceding the high ground, but rushing from it into the depths. Come on, dudes! Sue in some states with Republican Secretaries of State! Or is all the yammering about “our democracy” just noise?

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“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), this has been more of my continuing coverage of Section Three.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

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“How Jack Smith can prove Trump knew he lost the 2020 election” [The Hill]. “The prosecution will almost certainly call witnesses who will swear that Trump privately acknowledged losing the election. Cassidy Hutchinson, former assistant to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, testifying before the January 6th House Select Committee described conversations in which Meadows and other White House staff reported hearing Trump admit he lost.” • So Hutchison is repeating what Meadows et al. said they heard?

MAGA missing the point:

The point is not the Iranian hostage deal (though no doubt some frothing and stamping can be worked up). Rather, Trump is saying: “I’ll see you the Fourteenth and raise you the Twenty-Fifth” (also, and amusingly, a “Section Three” and “Section Four” issue).

“Trump is explaining exactly how wild and extreme his second term would be” [CNN]. “Trump is a highly skilled demagogue whose facility for injecting falsehoods and conspiracies into the country’s political bloodstream creates a swirl of chaos and acrimony in which he alone seems to prosper. And his words shape public opinion.” • I’m so tired. RussiaGate ffs. “You are protected.” Ukraine. You’ve gotta admire Trump, in a way; his bullshit is artisanal, whereas Democrats have the press and the spooks, both enormous institutions.

“Republican megadonors wait for their anti-Trump champion” [Financial Times]. “Billionaire Republican donor Thomas Peterffy wants to bet on someone he thinks can win the White House in 2024. But this year, he gave $2mn to a political action committee supporting Virginia’s governor Glenn Youngkin — who is not running for president. Like other Republican megadonors, Peterffy fears frontrunner Donald Trump would lose in another run-off with Joe Biden. He does not love the former president’s primary rivals either. He told his friends not to back any other candidates until January, by which time he hopes the Virginia governor has changed his mind. ‘We’re hoping for Glenn Youngkin,’ Peterffy, who founded Interactive Brokers, told the Financial Times. The yearning for Youngkin is a sign of the donor dilemma: for some deep-pocketed Republicans, no single, compelling alternative to Trump has emerged in the primary. And while the billionaires want to see such a candidate break from the pack before giving, the candidates need the money first to help them make that break. ‘Is Trump beatable? Yes, but the first step is the field consolidating,’ said an adviser to one donor. ‘Without consolidation, there’s not a viable path.’ Several big GOP donors — from billionaire hedge fund bosses such as Paul Singer and Ken Griffin, to Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late casino emperor Sheldon Adelson — are now on the sidelines. Peter Thiel, who gave $35mn to two Senate candidates in 2022, ‘does not plan to donate to any 2024 race’, said a person familiar with his thinking. Traditional conservatives in the party are urging both donors and contenders to face reality before it is too late, fearing that the hesitancy could help pave the way for Trump to win the nomination. Utah senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, has said donors must push underperforming contenders out of the race by late February, but has been discouraged by donors’ reaction.” • Youngkin has little to distinguish himself from the field — I grant he doesn’t carry himself like a chiselling small-town auto dealer, unlike DeSantis — except for the events that swirled round Loudon County schools. The problem is, that’s red meat for the base, exactly what the megadonors hate and fear.

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“Speaker McCarthy directs a House panel to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden” [Associated Press]. “Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing a House committee to open an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings, launching historic proceedings ahead of the 2024 election. McCarthy said the House Oversight Committee’s investigation so far has found a ‘culture of corruption’ around the Biden family as Republicans probe the business dealings of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, from before the Democratic president took office. ‘These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption, and they warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,’ McCarthy, R-Calif., said outside the speaker’s office at the Capitol. ‘That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden,’ he said. The announcement comes as the Republican leader faces mounting pressure from his right flank to take action against Biden while he also is struggling to pass legislation needed to avoid a federal government shutdown at the end of the month.” • As I saying, I thought the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has done a good job; no hysteria, no hairballs, timelines, a general air of sobriety (in other words, fit to govern, at least in tone). If House Republicans can manage to stay that way, they might get taken seriously outside the circle of true believers.

“Fact check: Biden falsely claims he was at Ground Zero ‘the next day’ after 9/11” [CNN]. “Biden, returning from a whirlwind trip to Asia, said in his Monday remarks at a military base in Alaska: ‘I join you on this solemn day to renew our sacred vow: never forget. Never forget. We never forget. Each of us – each of those precious lives stolen too soon when evil attacked. Ground Zero in New York – I remember standing there the next day, and looking at the building. And I felt like I was looking through the gates of hell, it looked so devastating because of the way – from where you could stand.’ Facts First: Biden was not at Ground Zero the day after 9/11. He actually went to Ground Zero nine days after the attacks.” • As a Certifiableed Old Codger™, I’ve gotta say I don’t think being give-or-take a week off in recollecting an event twenty-two years ago is worth a dogpile. Now, if Biden had said he met his old friend “Corn Pop” at the site….

“What an unprecedented Biden ad blitz says about his reelection fight” [Politico]. “The election is still 423 days away, and Biden and an affiliate of his chief super PAC are already running TV ads in nearly every major battleground state — far earlier than normal for a presidential election… The election is still more than a year away, but the early ad bookings provide clues to Democrats’ perceived path to victory. Both Biden and Future Forward are spending in six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All six were 2020 battlegrounds Biden won by close margins ranging from 0.2 percentage points in Georgia to 2.8 points in Michigan. Biden’s campaign is also advertising in North Carolina, which voted for Trump by 1.3 points in 2020. Thanks to its growing population, North Carolina now has more electoral votes (16) than Michigan (15) for the first time since Reconstruction and now has the same weight as Georgia. The two general-election campaigns will likely dip their toes into other places, but those seven states represent the 2024 battlefield on which both parties will do the vast majority of their fighting. The only state decided in 2020 by 5 points or fewer that’s missing from the ad buys is Florida — which went for Trump by 3.4 percentage points and is perceived by both parties as continuing to drift toward the GOP — though Biden’s campaign did briefly run ads there earlier this year.” • Hmmm.

“Naomi Klein’s new book hints at a roadmap for Biden’s re-election” [MSNBC]. “…the world has understandably hastened to put the global pandemic behind us… ” What subliterate life form wrote that sentence? [hums: “the world is us… we are the people…”]. Anyhow: “‘And because the system is rigged, and most people are indeed getting screwed,’ Klein writes, ‘without a firm understanding of capitalism’s drive to find new profit sources to enclose and extract, many will imagine there is a cabal of uniquely nefarious individuals pulling the strings.'” It’s not a cabal. And its not an identity vertical. It’s a class. More: “During the 2020 campaign, Biden ran on a return to normalcy — an end to what he called the “aberrant” Trump presidency. On the one hand, unlike his predecessor, Biden follows the law. But Americans clearly still feel overwhelmed in the post-pandemic malaise. ‘People need very robust policy solutions to these crises,’ Klein told me, ‘and if they’re not seeing them manifest, then they will be more attracted to a kind of a counterfeit anti-elitism, which is what the Bannons of the world are selling.'” • As opposed to liberal Democrat counterfeit anti-elitism. I mean, Naomi, is the solution to capitalism’s “drive to find new profit sources to enclose and extract” really a “robust policy solution”? (When I did IT in the Beltway, back in the Age of Steam, my definition of “robust” was “big honkin’ three-ring binder.” A new doorstop for every American worker!)

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“EXCLUSIVE: Inside Ron and Casey DeSantis’ meeting with 9/11 families in New York – as Florida governor demands the Biden administration declassify any files showing Saudi Arabia was involved” [Daily Mail]. “Ron DeSantis called on President Joe Biden to declassify information regarding the planning and financing of the September 11th terrorist attacks and to reassure Americans he will make no plea deals for some of the planners. ‘We as a nation still owe full transparency and accountability to these grieving families. Yet too many politicians have broken past promises to them, and that is wholly unacceptable,’ said the Florida governor in a statement. He and Casey DeSantis spent the 22nd anniversaryy [sic] of the attacks at Ground Zero at the invitation of family members of September 11th victims. ” • Not a bad idea. Why didn’t Bush do it? Or Trump?

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IA: “Trump, Biden both tumble in Iowa: poll” [The Hill]. “An Emerson College poll of Iowa Republican caucus voters showed support for Trump currently sits at 49 percent, a drop from 62 percent in May. Meanwhile, a poll of Iowa Democratic caucus voters showed that Biden’s support now sits at 50 percent, a drop from 69 percent in May. Both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and former Vice President Mike Pence’s numbers also dropped from May; DeSantis’s numbers went from 20 percent to 14 percent, and Pence decreased from 5 percent to 3 percent support. Meanwhile, conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) appeared to be gaining some ground, both rising 5 points. Ramaswamy increased from 2 percent to 7 percent, and Scott from 3 percent to 8 percent.” • Volatile.

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“Yang confirms ‘conversations’ with No Labels” [The Hill]. “Yang has stirred some questions about his future plans with the creation of his Forward Party, which he has described as a centrist alternative to the two main parties he argues are too extreme. He left the Democratic Party to become an independent in 2021 and launched the Forward Party soon after. No Labels has meanwhile been trying to gain steam to get its presidential ticket potentially composed of one Democrat and one Republican on the 2024 ballot in states across the country. The organization has called for national unity behind what would be a bipartisan ticket. … Yang slammed the idea of Trump and Biden being the two main nominees, calling it “terribly unrepresentative and borderline ridiculous” and mentioning their ages. Biden is currently 80, while Trump is 77… Yang described a situation in which third-party candidates could hurt Biden in a potential rematch against Trump next year. He said he expects Green Party candidate Cornel West to win 2 percent to 3 percent of the vote and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running in the Democratic primary, to run as a Libertarian for not getting a “fair shake” in his challenge against Biden.” • The national percentages don’t matter. What matters is the swing states. (Which is why the GP’s ballot access matters so much….).

Obama Legacy

“A Day that Never Ended” [Matt Taibbi, Racket News]. “It’s forgotten, but Barack Obama was sent to the White House in what a lot of the voting public at the time considered a referendum on the security state. The genteel Obama played up ‘constitutional lawyer’ credentials, announcing in a national security address at the Wilson Center in 2007 his opposition to the ‘color-coded politics of fear’ and ‘a war in Iraq that should never have been authorized.’ Candidate Obama added it was time to ‘turn the page’ with more peaceful means of ‘drying up’ support for terrorism, a strategy that hurtled him past favored Hillary Clinton in primary season. Privately however he’d already met with people like Richard Clarke, who told him, ‘As a president, you kill people.’ This is who Obama would actually be in office, an ‘idealist without illusions’ who expanded the buildup, institutionalized the ‘kill list,’ and in one of his last major acts, created a new counter-disinformation authority that helped birth the censorship state.” • I’m always felt, although with no real evidence, that Obama’s refusal to prosecute spooks for torture in Iraq cemented an alliance between the intelligence community and the Democrat party, leading to their current Cthulhu-like merger. Also, Obama started out with a “kill list,” but when his extra-judicial system for whacking “terrorists,” including US citizens, really got rolling, the list morphed into the Orwellian “disposition matrix.”

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. (H opefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

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

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

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Realignment and Legitimacy

“Do Geezers Run the World? Should They?” [Counterpunch]. • Do Walmart greeters run the world? From a putatively left publication!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

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Look for the Helpers

Your grandmother could do this, too:

Also libraries, church groups, bridge clubs… shooting ranges.


Covid is Airborne

Testing and Tracking

“Registration is currently paused”:

I can’t think why….

“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.

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Case Data

From BioBot wastewater data, September 11:

This time, it’s the South bringing down the curve

Regional data:

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


NOT UPDATED From CDC, September 2:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: EG.5 (“Eris“). No BA.2.86 here, not even in the note, but see below at Positivity.

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, September 2:

Lambert here: Another Labor Day weekend drop, like Walgreens? Typically, three-day weekends don’t coincide with peak infection!

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

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.


Bellwether New York City, data as of September 9:

Still climbing. I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive.

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. September 2:

At least now we now that hospitalization tracks positivity, which is nice. Even if we don’t know how many cases there are. And positivity as high as it’s been at any time, except for Omicron.


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, September 11:

0.4% Still thinking the dip is Labor Day data. Or perhaps people were actually testing for Labor Day, and stopped. 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, traveler’s data, August 21:

A drop!

No BA.2.86 for two of the long-delayed collection weeks.


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 6:

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: 1,174,631 – 1,174,580 = 51 (51 * 365 = 18,615 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, September 12:

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

Business Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States decreased to 91.3 in August 2023 from 91.9 in July, below market expectations of 91.6. Twenty-three percent of small business owners reported that inflation was their single most important business problem, up two points from last month. Also, the number of small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined.”

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Tech: “United States takes on Google in biggest tech monopoly trial of 21st century” [NPR]. “A court battle kicks off on Tuesday in which the U.S. Justice Department will argue that Google abused its power as a monopoly to dominate the search engine business. It’s the government’s first major monopoly case to make it to trial in decades and the first in the age of the modern internet. The Justice Department’s case hinges on claims that Google illegally orchestrated its business dealings, so that it’s the first search engine people see when they turn on their phones and web browsers. The government says Google’s goal was to stomp out competition. The company says its search product is superior to competitors and that is why it dominates the industry. Google says if people don’t want to use its search engine, they can just switch to another.” • That passes neither the laugh test nor the smell test. Google search, as a consequences of the enshittification cycle, sucks. Stoller is in his element:

Tech: “Google Chrome pushes ahead with targeted ads based on your browser history” [The Register]. “Google has been gradually rolling out Chrome’s ‘Enhanced Ad Privacy.’ That’s the technology that, unless switched off, allows websites to target the user with adverts tuned to their online activities and interests based on their browser histories. A popup announcing this functionality has been appearing for some folks since the July release of Chrome 115, which included support for Google’s Topics API, which is part of the tech titan’s Privacy Sandbox project. It would appear more and more people are now seeing this popup as those not keen on Chrome mining their browsing histories to support Google’s advertising profits have been speaking up. We understand a small percentage of Chrome’s users are being pulled into the Topics API regime at a time, so you may not have noticed or been offered or alerted to anything. And how the Chocolate Factory asks you to agree to or accept the ad targeting depends on where you live, or rather, the laws of where you live…. Topics essentially works like this: rather than using cookies to track people around the web and figure out their interests from the sites they visit and the apps they use, websites can ask Chrome directly, via its Topics JavaScript API, what sort of things the user is interested in, and then display ads based on that. Chrome picks these topics of interest from studying the user’s browser history.” • Guess I’m gonna have to look more seriously at Arc. It’s wicked fast, but I need to open a boatload of tabs at the same time, and that’s the one thing Arc doesn’t do well (though it probably also tries to do too much, but that’s another story).

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 58 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 12 at 1:36 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

I like it that somebody painted over the spikes. What were they thinking?

Class Warfare

“Exhausted, Injured and Angry: Autoworkers Are Ready to Strike” [In These Times]. “Some of the union’s top demands are cost-of-living adjustments, an end to wage and benefit tiers based on hiring date, and an end to the mistreatment of temporary workers. ‘When I took this job, it was not a traditional job for women. I love my job. I have pride. I want them to show they have respect.’ Those demands apply not just to Ford but to all the ​’Big Three’ automakers — Ford, General Motors and Stellantis North America (the parent company of Chrysler and Jeep). UAW’s contracts with all three, covering some 146,000 workers, run out at the same time, a momentous opportunity for joint labor action across employers from a union that recently saw a big shift in leadership. Reform challenger Shawn Fain won the union presidency in March, calling for a new era of militancy, more democratic decision-making and new organizing. Fain has struck a confrontational stance towards the Big Three automakers — and the wealthy class overall—criticizing the greed of corporate executives and making bold demands, like a 32-hour work week with no reduced pay. Other demands Fain has presented to all of the Big Three include enhanced profit sharing, improved wages, more paid time off and the right to strike over plants closing. And as the Biden administration subsidizes a boom in electric-vehicle manufacturing, the union also wants a just transition to ensure electric vehicle jobs are good jobs and do not drive down labor conditions.” • Commentary:

Let’s see if Biden busts the auto workers like he did the railroad workers.

“Several hurt in ADM central Illinois plant blast; corn, soy processing down” [Reuters]. ” Several employees were hospitalized after an explosion and fire late on Sunday at a massive Archer-Daniels-Midland (ADM) (ADM.N) facility in Decatur, Illinois, that severely damaged crop processing operations, the company and the local fire department said. Eight workers were injured at the ADM East processing plant and six were taken to hospital via ambulance, the Decatur Fire Department said in a statement on Monday. Five remained hospitalized on Monday morning, ADM said. The company said it was evaluating the extent of the damage and investigating the cause of the incident. Several structures were severely damaged in the blast, including a 10-story building and adjacent buildings, the fire department said. A plant that crushes soybeans into soybean oil and white flake for soy protein production was down on Monday, ADM said. An adjacent corn processing plant was also ‘temporarily down until we can safely resume operations,’ the company said. A prolonged outage at the massive processing facility in the heart of the U.S. Corn Belt would put downward pressure on crop prices just as Midwest farmers are preparing to harvest their corn and soybeans. U.S. crop prices, especially for corn, have declined as export demand has slumped.”

“Why You Should Rest—a Lot—If You Have COVID-19” [Time]. “Stories like Zimmernan’s—illness, improvement, exercise, crash—are common in the Long COVID world. And they highlight what many researchers, patients, and advocates say is one of the most powerful tools for managing, and potentially even preventing, Long COVID: rest. The only guaranteed way to avoid Long COVID is not to get infected by SARS-CoV-2. But if someone does get sick, ‘Rest is incredibly important to give your body and your immune system a chance to fight off the acute infection,’ says Dr. Janna Friedly, a post-COVID rehabilitation specialist at the University of Washington who recovered from Long COVID herself. ‘People are sort of fighting through it and thinking it’ll go away in a few days and they’ll get better, and that doesn’t really work with COVID.’ Researchers are still learning a lot about Long COVID, so it’s impossible to say for sure whether rest can truly prevent its development—or, conversely, whether premature activity causes complications. But anecdotally, Friedly says many of the Long COVID patients she sees are working women with families who rushed to get back to normal as soon as possible. ” • Paid leave would help. What’s the point of giving advice to people that they have no power to take? It’s sadistic.

Once again, stop thinking in bell curves, and start thinking in power curves:

News of the Wired

“September Song: The 50 Autumns of the Leaf Blower” [James Fallows, Breaking the News]. “The focused 200-mph wind out of these blowers, an intensity unknown in nature, destroys plant and animal habitat, blasts away topsoil, converts animal remains and animal feces to aerosol, and is generally bad. Do you miss the fireflies you used to see in the summer? One of their big enemies is blowers that eradicate the organic shelter in which their eggs and larvae would spend the winter.” • [gasps, amazed].

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

Desert Dog writes: “It is always nice when a weed patch pops out with a surprise.”

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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. ambrit

    “Let’s see if Biden busts the auto workers like he did the railroad workers.”
    The tell would be if Hunter gets put on the boards of some auto manufacturing companies.

    1. griffen

      Dear Hunter has the requisite experience. Burisma was a fossil fuel focused company, primarily exploration I suppose, and automobiles are machines that run on fossil fuels. It’s a natural fit! ( sarc). Plus he has experience in American transport industries, once upon a time I believe with Amtrak.

    2. some guy

      If that is taken as the tell, and Hunter does not get put on any such boards, does that cause the people looking for the ” Hunter on boards” tell become less than properly alert to other ways the Biden Admin might try breaking the auto workers’ strike?

      1. ambrit

        True. For signs of ‘magisterial’ union busting methodology, a close scrutiny of the Truman Administration would be enlightening. For signs of administrative corruption, the Harding Administration.
        Ah, for the Halcyon days of “Billy Beer.”

  2. upstater


    The cancer ward report… dropped my beloved wife off for double mastectomy University of Rochester Highland Hospital. Maybe one third of patients and staff were masked. Cried in my beer at lunch for everything.

    Apparently no COVID here… 😥

    1. ambrit

      Good luck attend the lady!
      Do like our family, extended no less, does in similar cases. At least one member of the family stays with the patient at all times. A family values version of a Patient Advocate. I know it must be hard on you, but the extra care will pay off in many different ways.
      Stay safe and strong!

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > dropped my beloved wife off

      Eesh. Best of luck. (One-third is definitely better than some numbers I’ve seen. And you can also fight the hospital to get the people attending her masked, if you have the energy. Might be something to do?)

    3. Tom Stone

      I had to stay in the hospital overnight earlier this year and had no problem bring in my own HEPA filter.
      Good luck to you and yours!

    4. aletheia33

      having had unilateral mastectomy this past winter, i may have some idea of your and your wife’s very challenging experience.
      at my northern new england hospital, i was sent home after a few hours in surgery without going to a hospital bed for an overnight stay, as is the more common practice.
      my surgeon told me they do this because “in the hospital you get infections, and you get stress.” they have a special day surgery unit in a separate building.
      i’m just mentioning this because i learned from this that i was fine coming straight home. a friend stayed with me for a few days and helped with the drains. medicare covered nurse home visits to check and make sure everything was going OK.
      your wife may be in much worse shape than i was going in, but i thought this might be helpful for you to know, in case you might want to get her out of the hospital ASAP.

  3. jsn

    On Obama and the Spook State, if you read this as a coda to Russ Bakers, “Family of Secrets”, you see why Michelle was hugging George Jr: he’d just given her the keys to the kingdom.

    That place in Kalorama is a very specific kind of “family office” for a very special family business.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a great link. Yech. These vile people are so good at what they do.

      “There in stately splendor, far above the squalid village below, they fight their petty battles over power and money.”

  4. Cat Burglar

    Obama’s vote as a Senator in favor of FISAA, immunizing Bush and his flunkies for their industrial-sale felony FISA violations, that was when I knew what we were going to get. It turned out even worse than I thought it was going to be. Obama was always a good spook.

    1. flora

      Weird. I was going to leave a Rumble video of a Tucker Carlson interview link here, and said link existed yesterday, but now Rumble says that Tucker Carlson site is 410 Gone. In fact, the entire Carlson Rumble site is now ‘Gone’. Weird. Has Rumble been rumbled. I mean, what, starting to sensor from the edges in? Who knows? oy. / ;)

      1. flora

        That Rumble Tucker Carlson channel had 70.5 k (thousand) followers. Now it’s ‘410 Gone’, though it still appears as a clickable link in Rumble if you seach on ‘Tucker Carlson.’ Weird.
        So we aren’t supposed to listen to the president of Hungary? Or we’re only supposed to listen on ‘X’ or twtr or whatever? Very weird.

        1. flora

          adding: Matt Stoller had a great segment on Breaking Points this weekend about monopolies. I saw it, thought about linking it but decided not to, and now when I go to find it to link it… it’s gone in the utube algo results. I’m sure it’s still out there somewhere, somewhere, but I’m having a hella hard time finding it. The best I can find with a quick search is this:


        2. The Rev Kev

          Alex Christoforou of the Duran has been reporting bad troubles with Rumble the past few days without going into specifics.

  5. Carolinian

    I have a Chromebook that my brother gave me but I don’t use Chrome. Which may seem contradictory but it’s an excellent small laptop from Acer. Instead I use Firefox as part of the Linux that you are allowed to load as a kind of virtual machine. Hardware access still goes through Chrome kernel.

    Firefox doesn’t seem to get much use any more by the public but it still seems to be the most configurable of the browsers and some of us are control freaks–in a nice way of course.

    1. digi_owl

      The one issue i have with Chomebooks is the Google login.

      This means Google basically holds the system hostage.

      If governments want to do the sane thing, big if i know, there would be a mandatory local account option.

      1. Carolinian

        You can do that–on my model at least–and the web will tell you how. However Google has blocked the dual boot option that had worked on my previous Samsung Chromebook so I’d have to open up the back and unplug the battery temporarily to kill the write protect. After that the available boot hack will eliminate Chrome from the built in drive altogether and you can install linux with the proviso that there’s no guarantee the Linux kernel will support all the laptop hardware. May no longer have sound for instance.

        Just seems easier so far to do it Google’s way. You do have to still log in to start the computer and periodically let it update which is annoying. But it’s not like Google doesn’t already likely know every single thing about us–assuming they care enough to find out. I do try to stay as anonymous as possible.

  6. Carolinian

    Re our president who is perpetually Making Things Up–so not lying but senile? Very reassuring. Some article I saw said the Republicans are the stupid party and the Democrats these days are the evil party. ????

    Certainly the Repubs seem more openly what they are. Lying seems more at home on MSNBC where Klein says Biden “follows the law.” Some of us are so old we can remember when mainstream Dems resented having to defend the philandering Bill Clinton. Now they are eager to defend Biden.

    1. griffen

      Per George Costanza on Seinfeld, “It’s not a lie if you believe it…” heh heh…Joe means well but sometimes he just veers into his usual territory. There are reasons aplenty to explain his patently obvious flubs and obfuscations as just a good old grandfather who can get a bit confused. Isn’t it time for ice cream in the afternoon yet?

      The Rob Reiners’ of this world, and the Reid Hoffman’s too, can defend it and fund his next election efforts to their heart’s desire. America is Back (as$wards).

    2. Lois

      I am just amazed about how many Dems online just insist that talk of Biden’s infirmities is “fake news”. Like we can all see it with our own eyes!! And they just say it is Republican ridiculousness. The ability of the human brain to fool itself is truly a wonder to behold.

  7. notabanker

    I like every, single, person, I, know, can remember where I was at on 9/11, the day after and the day after that, with vivid recall. If I had flown to ground zero the day after, or nine days later, I would also vividly recall the circumstances.

    Can I remember where I was on 9/11/2000? Or 9/11/2003? No, I have no idea.

    Point here is there is a humongous difference between random recall some twenty odd years ago, and the events around 9/11/2001. Whether Biden is outright lying or his brain is defective makes no difference to me. He clearly ought not to be in any position of power.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I remember the event, and where I was (though I certainly don’t remember the day of the week).

      I certainly don’t remember what I did the day before. On the day after, for example, a laptop with some important (to me) data on it got trashed when I had to leave it behind a bookstore counter; that seemed fitting, at the time. But could I swear it was the day after? No. Could I have compressed the time? Sure.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        The fact that it’s arguable make it an excellent ‘limited hangout.’

        This was time not spent discussing Biden’s falls or frailty. If you have to talk about Biden’s fitness — and we must! — then let it be about confusion over dates two decades ago. They may not understand geopolitics or modern warfare, but Team Biden gets an A+ for messaging!

      2. Pat

        Well travel was limited in the first week following 9/11 Air travel was shut down except for the Bin Laden family and select politicians. Biden was also in a different category than most people. He had to be in contact with multiple officials. He should know that he was not there so quickly because it was just not possible.

        (I know what I was doing the night before, the day, and the day after. At that point things blur, but then I live and lived in NY on the border of the lockdown. But I am also in a different situation than most.)

    2. Sub-Boreal

      I remember 9/11/1973. It was just after the start of my first semester attending university in my hometown in Ontario, and that evening I went out for Chinese food with my parents and brother. I recall that my mother was mentioning news reports about the coup in Chile.

    3. Wukchumni

      I was hiking hut to hut in the French Alps when 9/11 happened and didn’t get the skinny until a day after, peering in Pralognon at a French color tabloid newspaper photo of the second jet hitting the building.

      Was in Paris on the 13th, never seen such a police presence as I witnessed that day, and onto see Ötzi the Iceman in Bolzano on the 14th.

      Saw so many ad hoc street memorials in the 4 countries we were in until Sept 27th when we flew home and what greeted me on the 405, but every other vehicle sporting a plastic old glory fluttering madly from a window jamb or 2.

  8. furnace

    I feel a bit ashamed commenting this, especially given you folks have been tracking Covid so closely, but do you have any tips for someone who just accepted it as having been essentially “over”? Here where I am, masks are a bygone relic. No one really talks about Covid anymore, and people have essentially accepted the vaccines as having solved the issue (disclaimer: I did take all doses and boosters). I did get Covid last year, and it was utterly terrible, so I’d like to avoid the experience.

    Should I still be realistically concerned? Are there any primers on why “it’s not really over”? Is another big wave like the previous years to be expected?

    I’m really ignorant, so any pointers would be nice.

    1. chris

      Don’t be ashamed. You’ve been told by our leaders that COVID is over and you need to move on. I’m sure others in commentariat will give their opinions, short of medical advice. Here is my list…

      Are we going to have another big wave? it’s uncertain. All I can say for sure is that if we do experience one we’ll only discover it in retrospect because we’ve destroyed the test and report and sample system we had in 2020 and 2021. Read up above in Water Cooler for all the frustrations and snark Lambert is putting in the updates about COVID data. But I would suggest that waiting to see if we’re going to have a bad wave before coming up with a plan is the wrong approach. I’d suggest having a plan that keeps you and your people safe first. Then hope you don’t have to use it.

      Masks may be out of style but they’re still cheap and easy to get. I’d recommend carrying one or two in your daily go bag/jacket pocket/satchel/purse. One for you and one for someone else. This site has shared opinions about mouthwash and nasal sprays in the past. Read up on what the NC people said and consider adding those into your daily routine if necessary. If you share a living space with someone else, make a plan now for a COVID suite so people can be isolated if needed. Work on get healthier. Take daily vitamins like vitamin D supplements. Try to find out about the air flow in the places you frequent. Get a HEPA filter or build a Corsi box for your place for the winter. Think about storing food in case you need to be shut in for a week or more with an illness.

      I’m sorry you feel like you need to apologize for being concerned about your own health.

      Good luck!

      1. ChiGal

        To stay informed subscribe to a free substack: Your Local Epidemiologist by Katelyn Jetelina and listen to the (now biweekly) podcast The Osterholm Update.

        Both meant for a lay audience with clear advice on how to stay safe.

        In addition to N95s I like KF94s esp the LG Airwasher which though it only has earloops (around the head is better) has a tiny extra loop on each side that allows you to tighten it up after it’s on your face.

        I also swear by Enovid, the “magic nose spray” as my sister calls it, not cheap but available here https://www.israelpharm.com/online-pharmacy/enovid/

        Good on you for asking and stay safe!

    2. ambrit

      First, as you must see, this commenteriat is basically in the “It’s Not Over” camp. As long as people are dying from the coronavirus-2019 and associated issues, ‘it’ is not over.
      Check out the FLCCC co-operative. Medical professionals who do not accept “appeals to authority” in answer to medical questions.
      See: https://covid19criticalcare.com/
      Take control of your health. Events have demonstrated that the “Official” Medical Establishment does not have your best interests at heart.
      At a minimum, get some heavy duty masks and wear them when you are away from the house. If anyone gives you grief over it, just tell them that you have come back from Burning Man and do not want to spread the Ebola. They will quickly adopt “social distancing protocols.”

      1. PelhamKS

        Great answer for mask questioners. I simply say that I have symptoms and I’m not sure whether I have Covid but am wearing a mask to prevent its spread. I count it as a Straussian noble lie.

    3. JM

      Like Chris says, it’s being broadcast everywhere that COVID is over, there’s no shame in believing it as it seems weird to think so many could be wrong.

      I don’t have any medical advice. I do suggest looking at the links above for your area to see what the local tracking shows for prevalence, assuming it hasn’t been shut down. And then assume that the actual case numbers in the community are several times what’s reported.

      I’d also suggest masking when in any enclosed space with others, or where others have been recently. I’m about the only person masking most of the time, but have never had any negative interactions because of it. Maybe people assume you are sick if you’re masking now, which is fine by me… But overall you want to minimize time in contact with COVID, that means as many changes of air as possible, and/or filtration. That means: masks, Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, open windows, etc. Some swear by gargles and nasal sprays but I haven’t really used them.

      For more general information, I think the John Snow Project has some good primers: https://johnsnowproject.org/. And I like these weekly round-ups every Thursday: https://www.patreon.com/violetblue/posts?filters%5Btag%5D=Pandemic+Roundups.

      You can also check the “Health Care” tag under the Topics to the right for some deep dives over the past few years, unfortunately there isn’t a COVID specific one.

      I don’t think anyone can really say if there will or won’t be more big waves. It seems to me like the base rate has gone way up compared to before, and with that the waves might not be as huge; but the number of people getting (potentially permanently) ill and dying probably averages up significantly higher as well.

    4. curlydan

      As long as Long Covid rates stay near 10% and no one can predict who will or will not get Long Covid, I think it will not be over. While metformin or Paxlovid can reduce the chance of Long Covid, it goes from a 1 in 10 chance to maybe a 1 in 16 chance at best from what I’ve read.

      Also, we still don’t have a good idea of the possible long-term effects of the virus and multiple exposures. Viruses have a way of doing something weird later (e.g. HIV to AIDS, chickenpox to shingles, etc). We still see death rates among the 25-54 population well-above pre-Covid times.

      I would be extra careful when indoors with crowds. The louder and more compact spaces, the more danger. Travel is also a major risk unfortunately. So many people take a trip and come back with Covid.

    5. ChrisPacific

      Echoing Chris, don’t feel ashamed. You should be able to trust your leaders to tell you the truth, and the fact that you can’t is what’s shameful in all of this.

      Some basic rules of thumb that I use, and things we take for granted here that you may not be aware of:

      COVID spreads primarily through airborne transmission, i.e. shared air. What matters is ventilation and air quality. All of the advice about handwashing, sterilizing surfaces etc. is outdated. Unfortunately it’s still everywhere.

      Because COVID is airborne, surgical or cloth masks do little to help. Both are designed to prevent droplet transmission. You need a respirator – N95, P2 or similar. These are more expensive, but you can reuse them with some precautions (rotate them out for a few days after wearing to give them time to sanitize) which helps with the cost.

      Learn the three Cs (closed spaces, crowds, close contact settings – there is a good graphic on this from Japan). Use them to assess situations for risk. Now that the world has decided COVID is over, you have no choice but to take controlled risks to participate in society or else be a hermit. Learn to evaluate them so you can recognize truly high risk situations and steer clear. Learn who is taking COVID safety seriously and/or has good ventilation (there are a few, though not many) and give them your business. Consider getting a CO2 monitor to check air quality.

      Think about your routine – things you do over and over. A medium risk activity once a week may be a bigger threat to your health than a high risk activity once a year.

      I’m sure others will have suggestions or be willing to compare notes.

    6. Verifyfirst

      At least for now, whether there are waves or not going forward, there is a baseline level of covid in the US that is not going away. This is a new thing for my generation and location (b. 1960, Chicago). We have not had an airborne infectious disease of any magnitude that is endemic. And you cannot tell, who is infectious and spreading virus, nor is there any way to predict, what will happen to your body if you get the virus.

      So the risk is constant.

      The question is how will you decide to deal with that? It is simple enough to educate yourself on effective preventive measures (Twitter has been a good source, and of course NC). In the process of doing that, you will collect vast numbers of studies that support making an effort to avoid catching covid, if you yourself or anyone else needs to be persuaded. It’s remarkable, the quantity and quality of information out there, freely available to all with online access.

      But don’t expect to persuade anyone else–most people want to believe it is over. Personally, I assume every person I meet could be infectious because, you know, they could be. And I assume I could be permanently and totally disabled by covid because, you know, I could be. (I’m vaxed to the max, but that is no guarantee of anything). And I act to protect myself and mine on the basis of those two assumptions.

      To do less than that seems to me more like russian roulette than anything else–you may get lucky for a while, but play long enough, and you will lose.

    7. furnace

      Thanks a lot folks! In lieu of answering one by one, let me just thank you all as a whole. This really is the best place to get informed. I’ll be more prepared and attentive then, and I’ll read more closely what you guys and Lambert share on the subject. Looks like we’ll be dealing with Covid for a while still.

  9. DJG, Reality Czar

    As I have had to mention to some friends of mine, one knows the Democrats are in the shitz when Trump is the peace candidate.

    One knows the Democrats are in the shitz when Trump is the one defending ballot access and voting rights.

    Let us recall that the Democrats have a history of abuse of the ballot. The mentions above the Hill article and Yang and his Forward Party, Cornel West and the Greens, and that Yang’s weird speculation about RFKJr and the Libertarians (please send a pound of whatever you’re smoking) made me recall the shenanigans of the Democrats in North Carolina to get Matthew Hoh, the Green candidate, off the senatorial ballot:


    In Chicago, among the Democrats it was one signature challenge after another. Plain old harassment.

    Ergo: Once the Democrats have dispatched Trump through their usual tactics, who is going to defend the Greens, the Peoples Party, Forward, the Social Workers, and so on? The U S of A has plenty of “third” parties that will have to be put into the wood chopper.

    Ahhh, for the olden days of Gracie Allen and the Surprise Party.


    It didn’t matter that Allen’s platform made no sense. One of her proposed programs involved offering correspondence courses for unemployed workers, so they could fail to find jobs in three or four different industries. She also refused to share the ticket with a vice presidential nominee, claiming she didn’t want any vice in the White House, and promised to settle the Florida-California border dispute.

    1. Tom Stone

      Don’t forget the 2016 California Primary when Alex Padilla decided not to count 3,000,000 ballots cast by those with “No Party Preference”.
      Mine among them.
      Which handed the State to HRC.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    I have read it so that you don’t have to: That MSNBC article by Democratic Party loyalist Down about the confusion between Naomi Wolf and Naomi Klein as detailed in Klein’s new book is a mess.

    Klein somehow is trying to make the point that policy matters, but the attempt to deep-six Wolf gets in the way.

    Unless you have a taste for word salad, it’s an article to avoid.

    I suspect that Naomi Klein has allowed herself to be used by her publicist and by MSNBC. She knows better.

  11. griffen

    Joe and Don Fell Down in the Polls,
    According to 893 voters on the Rolls,
    As goes Iowa so goes the nation,
    Go long corn and SSI cat food rations.

    893 voters does not seem, perhaps a statistical needle mover but that is just my opinion I am supposing. Donald seems (still) pleasantly leading in the R polls. Democrats are running with Biden, and it is hard to figure the selling point. Reduced benefits from SNAP, or more child poverty? The Pandemic was Ended Prematurely? Inflation continues to be tamed and trending lower? Yeah unemployment is historically lower than ever before in the written history of mankind itself. I grant that some things are not within the President’s scope to truly manage, such as inflation.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “…some things are not within the President’s scope to truly manage, such as inflation.”
      I suppose inflation is not entirely within the President’s scope but I blame some of the increase in inflation on Biden’s foreign policy and perhaps he helped fight inflation by quashing the railroad unions.

  12. Hepativore

    What legal authority would the president have to do that? I know that he Railway Labor Act basically lets the Federal government to smack down railroad workers if they get too uppity, but I am not sure if there is a premade law for Biden to use on the UAW.

    I know that the president can just make something up on the fly to give himself the ability to do so, but I thought that if Biden intervened in a private strike it would be technically illegal…not that rule of law means anything anymore to either Party.

    1. Random

      It’s a national emergency, we can’t let those silly unions cripple our economy in a crucial time in our fight with those evil dictatorships, etc.
      I’m sure something about national security can be justified.

      1. Feral Finster

        Nothing so crude will be needed.

        Biden can call in some good old fashioned Team D favors from the union leadership, who will be thrilled to sell their members down river for a pat on the head from Team D. After all, if Team D doesn’t stay in power, Jones will come back!

        1. Carolinian

          WSWS says the fix is in with the UAW head–that they might allow a couple of limited symbolic strikes. FWIW

    2. Glen

      Apparently the Taft-Hartley Act has provisions to force striking workers back to work, and it has been used in the past to do just that:

      Steel strike of 1959

      In that particular case, the DoD was concerned that the lack of steel was a national security issue. Given what is now considered “national security”, I don’t think it’s too far fetched that it could be invoked to stop a UAW strike, but at some point Biden will be flushing all of the blue collar vote if he hasn’t already.

  13. Art_DogCT

    Unfortunately the NIH-funded Test to Treat program is not enrolling participants at this time. “Registration is currently paused. Please click here to leave your email and we will get back to you soon.”

  14. SG

    I mean, Naomi, is the solution to capitalism’s “drive to find new profit sources to enclose and extract” really a “robust policy solution”?

    Well, at the risk of sounding Clintonesque, that depends on what your definition of “robust policy solution” is. My definition would include what a very wise fellow on the Intertubes once called “concrete material benefits”, so I’m eagerly anticipating those robust policy decisions. I will probably continue to anticipate them for decades.

  15. noonespecial

    Comment on More Perfect Union social media post quoting Shawn Fain re possible strike: “…the economy that only works for the billionaire class…”

    To wit, posting this from AP News since some kool aid drinkers think that folks are gettin’ by just fine and dandy.


    Child poverty in the United States more than doubled and median household income declined last year when coronavirus pandemic-era government benefits expired and inflation kept rising, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau…’This represents a return to child poverty levels prior to the pandemic,’ Liana Fox, an assistant division chief at the Census Bureau, said during a news conference. ‘We did see the child tax credit had a substantial decrease in child poverty.'(ya think?)…Opponents objected to extending the credit out of concern that the money would discourage people from working and that any additional federal spending would fuel inflation…”

    so, yeah, beat on the poors because it’s not as if working families figure into those benefits-scrounging folks; apparently (as Lambert would say) the plan unfolds some more.

  16. SG

    It’s forgotten, but Barack Obama was sent to the White House in what a lot of the voting public at the time considered a referendum on the security state.

    I do not understand how anyone over the age of six could have fallen for this after The Lighbringer’s volte-face on telecom immunity. Once Obama figured out that he could actually win, he made damned sure that the Security State was completely operational and ready for his own use.

  17. SG

    The Justice Department’s case hinges on claims that Google illegally orchestrated its business dealings, so that it’s the first search engine people see when they turn on their phones and web browsers.

    And just this morning, I noted that my employer’s VPN no longer allows me to connect to Qwant. As time goes on, I see less and less difference between Corporate America and the CCP. It’s a funny ol’ world, ain’t it?

    I suspect it’s only a matter of time before it blocks Nekkid Capitalism as a suspected p*rn site (this actually happened at a previous employer).

  18. Henry Moon Pie

    Who’s got the biggest…yacht? These people have yachts designed so that you don’t even know you’re on the water. Floating palaces so huge you could just as well be atop a skyscraper or on your ranch near Santa Fe.

    We had a couple of Presidents who actually liked to be on the water.

    This one is a site devoted to the USS Potomac, FDR’s Presidential yacht. There’s a little history and a lot of great photos. The nighttime picture taken of the stern with the lights on really evokes a feeling of nostalgia in me. I wasn’t even alive when Roosevelt was around, but you can almost imagine him in a wheelchair, among friends. Beautiful boat, designed and built during the New Deal administration.

    The second page is a history of Kennedy boats. If you scroll past the PT-109, then past the “Honey Fitz,” the Kennedy family yacht, you come to pictures of the Manitou, called the Floating White House in the day. There’s a shot of Kennedy on deck with staffers (?), then there’s a shot of Manitou under sail. If I understand the caption correctly, it’s Kennedy at the helm, and he has her heeled to the rail. Daredevil.

    But those were men who liked the water. The man who owns that absurdly huge ship neither likes nor dislikes the water. He is unaware of its existence except insofar as its related to profit and loss. And his giant yacht keeps the water’s presence from intruding on his consciousness.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Thanks for that USS Potomac link. Roosevelt and Kennedy were guys that really were what we call here “yachties” – guys who appreciated the ocean and being able to get away from it all there. Bonus points because the ships were small and you could put a hard limit on the number of staffers aboard.

      As for that mega yacht. Can you imagine what would happen if it was in the Baltic and the Russians confiscated it due to sanctions? Hilarity would ensue.

      1. Wukchumni

        Hold on there a country second, the USS Sequoia was FDR’s Presidential Yacht…

        President Franklin D. Roosevelt used the yacht more frequently, with over fifty recorded outings between 1933 and 1935. On March 25, 1933, what was now known simply as Sequoia and no longer Sequoia II, became the official presidential yacht after it was transferred from the Department of Commerce to the Naval Department. An elevator was installed to enable access for the polio-stricken President, who, like Hoover before him, enjoyed fishing aboard Sequoia and also used the vessel for important meetings and summits.


  19. ChrisPacific

    Re: the luxury launches video (I’m not going to call them ‘yachts’ since they lack sails)

    Note that there are more people visible on the smaller one, and it’s being actively used. The large one is dormant and seemingly empty. This is an illusion to some degree – a boat that size needs a large crew to operate – but it’s clear that it’s not being used for its intended purpose.

    This is typical, and indicative of yet another step in the wealth scale. There was a launch like that big one that used to appear at our local dock from time to time (I lived in a region that was popular for holidays). It was owned by a billionaire, one of the Microsoft-connected ones. I never saw it used. It just showed up, sat there for weeks or months, then left again. It turned out that it was there because billionaire dude thought that he might visit at some point in that timespan, and wanted it waiting for him in case he did.

  20. fjallstrom

    According to Craig Murray’s website he will be speaking in DC tomorrow.

    If anyone has the opportunity of attending, I figured you would like to know. (Just search for Craig Murray, his website is named after himself.)

  21. Antagonist Muscles

    September Song: The 50 Autumns of the Leaf Blower

    I wish more people would have as much animosity towards leaf blowers as I do. The landscaping men come once a week to my apartment to clean up the accumulated leaves and dirt. Although I do not live on the ground floor, the sound of the leaf blower to my ears sounds like Armageddon. I have to close all my windows and wear ear plugs in order to prevent the leaf blower from exhausting me. I also can’t think clearly, and the smell of gasoline is something I would rather avoid.

    Strangely enough, other wind/noise making machines—in particular, white noise machines—cause me even more consternation even though the volume is considerably lower. It is puzzling why naturally loud wind noises like heavy storms don’t cause me any distress. Upon hearing thunder and lightning, I usually think, “Wow, this is awesome. I should take a closer look.”

    1. Carolinian

      Oh you’re not the only one. They barely have any mufflers on those things. I do have a leaf blower myself that plugs into an ac outlet so you might curse me as well. It does make noise.

      But it’s nothing like the racket from those gas blowers which are a lot more powerful than mine. Apparently the word “rake” means nothing to your Ford 150 driving professional landscaper.

      1. Antagonist Muscles

        Unless, of course, this landscaper has the literary chops to know about the rake in the Casanova sense. From thefreedictionary.com, a rake is “A usually well-to-do man who is dissolute or promiscuous.” Surely, Shakespeare was perverted enough to make a double entendre about rakes, right? That dirty pervert made a double entendre about country affairs and a certain four letter word that rhymes with bunt. In Hamlet of all places! They taught me complete garbage in high school and university, but this is the dirty stuff that should have been discussed.

  22. Willow

    Armenia finally makes the stupid move Türkiye, Russia and Iran have been waiting for. Rebuilding ME economic relations becomes a lot easier without having to accommodate Armenia. Politically, Armenia & the Kurds become the natural enemy of ME Muslim countries. Giving strength to the growing détente between Sunni & Shia countries. US diplomatic competence now so poor that can’t help itself in being desperate to capture whatever small tactical victories are available against Russia even though over the longer term these come at a much greater strategic cost.

    1. The Rev Kev

      There has been recent talk of how the Armenian President wants to go to war against Azerbaijan again because this time he will win for sure. There has even been talk about how Iran may get involved this time if there is a war as they have their own issues.

      1. Willow

        Yeah, nah.. Armenia are on their own. The emerging détente between Türkiye, Iran and Saudi Arabia means Armenia gets thrown under the bus. There’s just way too much money on the table with the creation of new trade routes/pipelines for either Iran or Russia to be on the wrong side of Azerbaijan.

        1. ambrit

          The Armenians had better be very careful. The Turks have ‘form’ when it comes to liquidating large segments of the world’s Armenian population. About the only thing it has going for it is it’s affinity to the Russian Orthodox Church via the Arminian Apostolic Church.
          See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Apostolic_Church
          If the Turks formulate a ‘fatwa’ against the Armenians, the Russians could easily promote a Crusade in opposition. (A Crusade wouldn’t even need State sanction. Let the Patriarch call for one.)

          1. Willow

            There’s side flip going on. Russia is ditching Armenia for Azerbaijan (& Türkiye) while US is doing the opposite. For US it gets to consolidate control over Kurdish/Armenia areas in the middle of the Middle East (plus paint narratibe as a Russia loss). But given this area is enclosed you’ve gotta question the logic & required resource commitment.

            “Today, Vladimir Putin officially renounced Russia’s security duties towards Nagorno Karabakh, placing the blame on #Armenia. In doing so, the Russian president also cancelled a statement he authored on November 9, 2020, outlining Russia’s commitments in the region.” https://twitter.com/robananyan/status/1701686982122901846

  23. Wukchumni

    Let me keep my job, give me security
    Give me a chance to survive
    I’m just a poor soul towing the Trump line
    My God, I’m hardly alive

    The Red Scare, my Freedom Caucus friends
    You see them laugh in my face
    But I’ve got the power, and I’ve got the will
    I’m not a charity case

    I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds
    Keeping My Kevin in the keyhole
    If it takes all that to be just what I am
    Well, I’m gonna be a Freedom Caucus man

    Make me an offer that I can’t refuse
    Make me respectable, man
    This could be my last time in my dais day job
    So like it or not, I’ll take those

    I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds
    Keeping My Kevin in the keyhole
    If it takes all that to be just what I am
    Well, I’m gonna be a Freedom Caucus man

    Keeping my mind on a better life
    When happiness is only 2 missed heartbeats away
    Paradise, can it be all I heard it was?
    I close my eyes and maybe I’m already there

    I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds
    Keeping my back to the wall
    All that to be just what I am
    Well, I’m gonna be a Freedom Caucus man

    Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
    (You don’t understand)
    Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
    Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
    Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do

    I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds
    Keeping My Kevin in the keyhole
    If it takes all that to be just who I am
    Well, I’m gonna be a Freedom Caucus
    Gotta be a Freedom Caucus-
    Gonna be a Freedom Caucus man

    Believe it

    Blue Collar Man, by Styx


    1. tegnost

      “Discovered as a slave on Tatooine by Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker had the potential to become one of the most powerful Jedi ever, and was believed by some to be the prophesied Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force”

      Art imitates life?

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