2:00PM Water Cooler 9/8/2023

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Iberian Chiffchaff, Fonte Benémola, Loulé, Faro, Portugal.

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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

“Routine Disqualification: Every State Has Kept Ineligible Candidates Off the Ballot, and Trump Could Be Next” [POGO]. The headline is deceptive. “Trump could be next,” indeed, but not as result of the cases described by POGO, as we shall see. “[R]emoving disqualified candidates from the ballot is not [unprecendented]. It is a standard and essential tool used by secretaries of state and other state election officials to maintain the integrity of their electoral processes by barring individuals who are not constitutionally qualified to run for or hold office. Secretaries of state should exercise this authority, consistent with their states’ laws, to implement [the bipartisan U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol] recommendation to enforce Section 3 by excluding from the ballot candidates who are ineligible to hold office.” This report was published on January 6, 2023 (a nice touch). The Section 3 recommendation is on page 690; so this thing really has been bubbling for some time; it took Baude and Paulsen to blow the the lid off. More: “In anticipation of the likelihood that individuals who violated Section 3 will seek office in the future, this report highlights examples of how states have excluded disqualified candidates from appearing on ballots in the past. The historical record shows that this is a common occurrence, with examples from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and involving candidates seeking local, state, and federal office, including the presidency. Below, we highlight notable cases from our survey of ballot disqualifications in 10 states.” Case study #1: “residency requirement”; #2: “10 years of law practice”; #3: “not a natural-born citizen”; #4: “term-limited”; #5: “convicted of an infamous crime”; #6: “running mates be from different states”; #7 age requirement; #8: “convicted of felonies”; #9: “ineligible to serve in an office whose salary was increased”; #10: “exceeded the state’s statutory retirement age.” All ten cases are cut and dried. They are not judgment calls. Further, in the case of crimes, conviction was a requirement. The Trump matter is a judgement call, and he has not (yet) been convicted of the relevant crime for Section Three (insurrection). This is dreck, and I’m shocked that POGO has produced it; they should stick to their lane, which is taking down the F-35.

“Was Trump ‘an Officer of the United States’?” [Michael Mukasey, Wall Street Journal]. “To the extent its text is relevant here, [Section Three] denies to a discrete category of people—including those who have taken an oath ‘as an officer of the United States . . . to support the Constitution of the United States’—the right to serve as a ‘Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office . . . under the United States’ if they ‘have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against same.’…. The use of the term “officer of the United States” in other constitutional provisions shows that it refers only to appointed officials, not to elected ones. In U.S. v. Mouat (1888), the Supreme Court ruled that “unless a person in the service of the government . . . holds his place by virtue of an appointment . . ., he is not, strictly speaking, an officer of the United States.” Chief Justice John Roberts reiterated the point in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010): “The people do not vote for the ‘Officers of the United States.’… [Trump] didn’t take and thus didn’t violate an oath as an ‘Officer of the United States,’ and so cannot be barred by the 14th Amendment from seeking re-election. Even a criminal conviction wouldn’t bar him from seeking and winning the presidency. The Constitution specifies only that a person seeking that office be at least 35, a natural-born citizen and a 14-year U.S. resident. If Mr. Trump is to be kept from office, it will have to be done the old-fashioned way, the way it was done in 2020—by defeating him in an election.” • Seemingly overlooked in this controversy is the fact that President, alone among all officials, is elected by the population of the entire United States (granted, indirectly, through electors). Obviously, that’s not true of any appointed officials, and so their case is different from a President’s.

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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.

Biden Administration

“Biden appears to be over Covid protocols” [Politico]. “For two days straight, the White House told anyone who would listen that President Joe Biden was taking his Covid exposure seriously by following a strict set of public health precautions. Then Biden strode into a room full of people on Wednesday and reduced those precautions to a punchline. ‘I’ve been tested again today, I’m clear across the board,’ Biden said, smiling as he held up his face mask. ‘They keep telling me, because it has to be 10 days or something, I gotta keep wearing it. But don’t tell them I didn’t have it when I walked in.’ The joke earned muted laughter from the audience. But outside the State Dining Room, it served as further confirmation of what many public health officials and outside experts have long come to believe: The president who once pledged to eliminate Covid altogether has grown significantly less worried about it. And may be all but over it on a personal level. ‘It’s unfortunate,’ said Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and former Covid adviser to the Biden transition. ‘Because as we begin to see the number of deaths rise in the country, Covid is still with us.'” • Biden pandering to one of the worst impulses in American political life today. Which gives me a hook for the following:

Both Biden’s behavior and the press’s coverage of his pre-Labor Day photo op Eliot-Hine Middle School was disgraceful even by today’s standards. I don’t have time to write up the links I collected, sadly. The conservative press amplified and dogpiled a short clip of Biden coughing into his left hand while shaking hands with schoolchildren with this right; the artfully written headlines (“‘Nasty and Disgusting’: President Joe Biden Ridiculed After Suffering Coughing Fit While Shaking Young Students’ Hands“) I read conveyed to me the impression that he was coughing into and then shaking with the same hand (“Will no one think of the children?”, who I would estimate to have been three or four in number). I couldn’t run down the original clip in the fever swamp of conservative posturing (not C-SPAN), but it’s noteworthy that professionals, including conservative professionals, must have thought the incident too trivial to write up. Meanwhile, the real scandal was that Biden wasn’t masked, and so wasn’t protecting the children. Naturally, the professionals didn’t this either, and equally naturally neither did the putative left. My concerns that the Bidens and their entourage had either created or been involved in a super-spreading event at Eliot-Hine were amplified when Dr. Jill Biden tested positive for Covid only five days later. There was naturally no press followup on that question [bangs head on desk]. The Bidens have shared a callous and savage disregard for the well-being of school-children since the first days of the pandemic, supporting neither ventilation nor masks, and upholding plexiglass barriers as an effective solution.


Time for the Countdown Clock!

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“BREAKING: Fulton special grand jury recommended 39 indictments” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. Lotta ham in that ham sandwich! One wonders what principle Fani Willis used to prune back the indictments. “The 28-page document was finalized in January but most of its contents were quickly sealed by a judge at the request of Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis.” And getting our grand juries straight: “In August, a separate criminal grand jury handed up a 41-count racketeering indictment against 19 people, using testimony and other information that was collected in part by the special grand jury…. The special grand jury met for nearly eight months between May 2022 and January 2023, hearing testimony from roughly 75 witnesses and issuing subpoenas for evidence…. Jurors organized their recommendations based on sets of events that occurred in Georgia in the aftermath of the 2020 election, including the infamous Jan. 2, 2021, phone call Trump placed to Raffensperger; a set of legislative hearings in which Giuliani and others aired false claims about the vote count in Georgia; and the appointment of a slate of Trump electors in Georgia even though Democrat Joe Biden had won the state.”

“Georgia panel urged criminal charges against Lindsey Graham and other Trump allies” [Politico]. “The special grand jury recommended charges against Graham, Perdue and Loeffler, among dozens of others, for their role in a ‘national effort to overturn the 2020 election.’ It’s unclear precisely what facts the panel based its recommendations on, and the document doesn’t elaborate on the rationale behind any of its findings.” • Here is the report. Jurors added footnotes to the report if they wished to express dissenting views, which is interesting, and could point to a hung jury in future. For example:


I would not characterize the view of either juror as ill-thought-out.

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“Democrats wake up to red flags over Biden’s latest poll numbers” [The Hill]. “Democrats woke up Thursday to yet another poll showing a large percentage of voters are concerned about President Biden’s age and data that showed most GOP primary candidates fared well in hypothetical match-ups with Biden. A CNN poll contained numerous red flags for Biden and Democrats. It found 46 percent of registered voters said any Republican presidential nominee would be better than Biden in next year’s election, and 49 percent said Biden’s age was their biggest concern about him as a candidate in 2024. Biden’s overall approval rating in the poll was 39 percent, and just 74 percent among Democrats. And in hypothetical head-to-heads, Biden is neck and neck with most of his potential Republican opponents, including former President Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP nomination. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) led Biden by 6 points in a theoretical general election match-up between the two, according to the CNN poll.” • Panic in Kalorama?

“How not to have a psychic meltdown when you see new Trump-Biden poll numbers” [MSNBC]. “In The Wall Street Journal’s latest poll of the 2024 election, President Biden and former president Donald Trump are locked at 46% each. Other recent polls have shown essentially the same thing. While there will be many twists and turns before next November, at this point the race is a toss-up. If that makes you feel like your country has gone mad, you’re not alone.” Those of us who have long argued that the Democrats could win a permanent majority by delivering universal concrete material benefits feel Democrats have gone mad. (These are, after all, the people who blackballed Thomas Frank after he wrote Listen, Liberal!) More: “While political reporters obsess over the anger and resentments felt by blue-collar white men in Rust Belt diners, liberals’ emotions are seldom considered worthy of the same kind of exploration.” Well, except for the constant preening self-regard in venues like MSNBC. But let that pass. More: “[P]art of me looks at those polls and wants to respond not with calm and reason, but with a blood-curdling scream of rage.” That’s a damn shame. More: “My informal canvas of liberal friends reveals that this feeling — something like incredulous despair verging on panic — is not unusual. We tamp it down and joke about it, but it never disappears.” Film at 11! More: “Like many on the left, I will never again be seduced by the inspiring feeling of hope and belonging we felt when Barack Obama was elected in 2008. But the emotions of 2020 were supposed to be less naïve. When Biden won, it felt like a return to sanity.” • Well, I have to stop now. Worth reading in full!

“‘I’m OK, but Things Are Terrible'” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “If President Biden loses his bid for re-election, a key factor will be the widespread perception that the economy is doing badly on his watch. Poll after poll shows Americans rating economic conditions as very bad and giving Biden very low approval for his economic management. The strange thing is that these bad ratings are persisting even as the economy, by any normal measure, has been doing extremely well…. So why are people so negative about an economy that by all standard measures is doing very well?…. There’s substantial evidence that people don’t feel that they personally are doing badly. Both surveys and consumer behavior suggest, on the contrary, that while most Americans feel that they’re doing OK, they believe that the economy is doing badly, where ‘the economy’ presumably means other people. What explains negativity about a good economy? Partisanship is surely a factor…. Beyond that, the events of the past few years — not just inflation and higher interest rates but also the disruption Covid caused to everyone’s lives, and perhaps the sense that America is coming apart politically — may have engendered a sourness, an unwillingness to acknowledge good news even when it happens.” • Gig economy, offices as death traps, ditto hospitals and schools… I would re-interpret what Krugman is saying this way: Inside the household, people may well be holding on (consumer spending, for example). But outside the household (that is, “the economy”) nothing is working (especially true if you are young). Every so often, I list the American systems I would run rather than be involved with: the health care system, the law enforcement system, the financial system, the university system, the school system (if I had kids), the welfare system, the political system… It’s a long list. The conservative trope here is “crime,” and the liberal trope is “gunz,” but I think there is a general, low-level sense that safety is not just about crime, or guns, and that safety is lacking, generally, out in “the economy.

“The Story of Our Universe May Be Starting to Unravel” [New York Times]. • Stop projecting! “Our democracy” is enough. “Our universe” is too much.

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“Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Unravel The Warfare Machine That Is Bankrupting This Country” [RealClearPolitics]. RFK, Jr.: “Number one, we have to unravel the warfare business, the warfare machine, that is bankrupting our country. Paul Kennedy, a Yale historian, has done this extraordinary history on the decline of empires. And every empire in the last 500 years, its death knell was overextending its military abroad. We’ve spent $8 trillion on war in the last 20 years, since 2002, that has gotten us nothing. It has made us less safe. The Chinese spent $8 trillion during that same period building ports, bridges, roads, schools, universities, and hospitals. And they’re now the principal creditor for almost every nation in Latin America and Africa.” • He’s talkin’ sense, Merle.

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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.

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“Bernie Sanders Champions ’32-Hour Work Week With No Loss in Pay'” [Common Dreams]. • It’s too late. 2020 was the time to pivot to the working class, when Sanders had a movement, a list, the national spotlight, and a cresting wave of unionizing to ride. Right now, I feel like I’m listening to a version of the German Socialist Party after they voted for war credits in 1914. What’s the point? Very saddening, but true.

Our Famously Free Press

“Donald Trump Destroyed Horse Race Journalism” [Politico]. “For a generation or longer, it has been the abiding wish of press critics like Jay Rosen and a smattering of regional papers to eliminate ‘horse race journalism’ from campaign coverage. Horseracism, to lift a 20-year-old neologism by Brian Montopoli, offends because it draws on sports reporting to reduce campaigns to athletic contests where sides are ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ instead of surfacing and analyzing substantive issues. Political polls, fundraising numbers, endorsements and debates are the coin of this realm as journalists deploy race-track metaphors — so-and-so is ‘surging’ or ‘breaking away from the pack’ to describe the races rather than directly address the election’s political stakes… This year, the anti-horseracists finally got their wish as the reporting conventions that have served journalists for so long have proved useless in covering the Republican side of the presidential race. … Former President Donald Trump commands such a dominant position that it makes more sense to rely on the metaphors of weather to portray the campaign as a hurricane or avalanche rather than a sporting event. There is no neck-and-neck reality for reporters to reflect upon. … How did Trump do it? … Trump stymied the usual flow by running as an incumbent president, not an aspiring one, and GOP primary voters accommodating him…. In many, if not most, Republican minds, Trump is as much of an incumbent as Joe Biden is to Democrats.” • Re: stability vs. volatility, this is a stability take.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Presidential Libraries of Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan and More Warn About State of US Democracy in First Ever Joint Statement” [Mediaite]. “Presidential Libraries for multiple former U.S. Presidents have written a joint statement for the first time to warn about the state of American democracy. The statement is co-signed by libraries for past presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George & Barbara Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. The presidential library for Donald J. Trump is notably absent, mainly because it does not yet exist similarly. It is thought to be their first-ever joint statement on American democracy and includes the ominous phrase ‘others see our own house in disarray.’ ‘Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home,’ the statement reads. ‘But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray.’ ‘The world will not wait for us to address our problems, so we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for U.S. leadership,’ it continues before calling on ‘Our elected officials must lead by example and govern effectively in ways that deliver for the American people. This, in turn, will help to restore trust in public service.'” • Fine words butter no parsnips.


“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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“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 8:

Leveling out? I would attribute this to Labor Day data issues (a note above the chart no longer visible says the data was delayed) but I would expect this to be consistent across regions, which it isn’t.

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 7:

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

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 4:

-2.7% Big drop, probably due to Labor Day travel, 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.)

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: 1,174,558 – 1,174,467 = 91 (91 * 365 = 33,215 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

NOT UPDATED The Economist, September 7:

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

Inventories: “United States Wholesale Inventories” [Trading Economics]. “Wholesale inventories in the United States fell by 0.2% from a month earlier in July 2023, compared to the preliminary estimate of a 0.1% decrease and following a 0.7% drop in the prior month.”

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Retail: Alert reader Arizona Slim (their book) shares the following communication, “AZ Attorney General Complaint CIC# 23-010955”:


I would like to express my strenuous objection to this part of T-Mobile’s response to this complaint:

“In May 2023, T-Mobile began notifying customers about changes to the program for AutoPay bill credits. The majority of our customers use their bank account or debit card for AutoPay and will continue to receive a bill credit. However, customers enrolled in AutoPay with a credit card or through Apple Pay or Google Pay must change their AutoPay payment method on file to a debit card or bank account (ACH) to continue receiving the AutoPay monthly bill credit. Any customers impacted by this change received multiple notifications, via text message and bill message, before the bill credit was discontinued advising them how to keep the receiving [sic] the AutoPay bill credit.”

While T-Mobile claims that the majority of their customers use their bank account or debit card for AutoPay, what they don’t say is that those methods of payment lack the consumer protections that credit cards have built in.

Furthermore, T-Mobile has experienced several major security breaches in recent years. Having all of those customer bank accounts and debit card numbers exposed has to be a major temptation to hackers. Think they aren’t paying attention to this AutoPay policy change?

I would like to conclude by referring to that old expression: If everyone else is jumping off a bridge, does that mean you should do the same?

Me, I would prefer to have the consumer protections that a credit card offers.

And I’ve also read that T-Mobile is using the excuse that credit card processing fees are so high, that’s why they’re removing the credit card AutoPay discount.

Well, news flash: T-Mobile isn’t some poverty-stricken small business. It’s owned by Deutsche Telekom and can easily afford to handle credit card processing fees.

So, consider this my protest against their decision and the excuses made to justify it. This is nothing more than a back-door price increase that could cause financial ruin to T-Mobile’s customers if the company experiences another data breach.

I hope this complaint has a happy outcome, and that Arizona Slim share it with us.

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 52 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 57 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 6 at 1:26 PM ET.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“The Sanitary Commission’s Other Agenda” [JSTOR}. “Woefully inadequate medical facilities during the early years of the Civil War resulted in the formation of the United States Sanitary Commission. The civilian organization, funded by donations from Northern women’s aid societies, helped improve battlefield medicine and recuperative care. The Commission especially advanced the ideas and practices of public health, hygiene, and sanitation…. For, as historian Leslie A. Schwalm documents, the Commission’s white male leadership didn’t want the organization’s legacy to be as a ‘mere relief association.’ Instead, they touted their work for the advancement of racist science that ‘rationalized, naturalized, and justified racial hierarchies.’ According to Commission President Henry W. Bellows, the organization’s ‘truly scientific work’ was what Schwalm describes as a ‘large-scale endeavor to identify and catalog anatomical and physiological evidence of racial inferiority.’ … The Commission’s Secretary, Frederick Law Olmsted, was also committed to what he called ‘scientific inquiry’ into the ‘mental and moral peculiarities’ of the ‘negro class of the South.’ The white women who were the backbone of the organization did their part by largely excluding Black women from participation at the grassroots and completely excluding them from leadership positions.” Frederick Law Olmsted… Say it’s not so. More: “‘The promotion of racial knowledge was neither a southern nor exclusively a pro-slavery enterprise,’ concludes Schwalm as she details ‘race-making‘ in action. The results would reverberate for generations, not least in health disparities: ‘racial exclusion and segregation continued to shape the infrastructure of medical education, practice, and research’ all through the long years of legal segregation and beyond.” • A “classification struggle” (here; here) with terrible consequences.

News of the Wired

“Ken Isaacs. How to build your own living structures” [We Find Wildness]. “How To Build Your Own Living Structures explains on how to build furniture, small houses and even vehicles using basic tools and materials… This book is a beautiful guide about how to make a variety of flexible experimental indoor interiors, storage units, and a microhouse. The microhouse is a flexible creation of architect, Ken Isaacs. The modular design is based on stacked tetrahedrons, which can be moved in and around each other providing shelter and dividing living space in a creative way. The book gives you step-by-step instructions with plans for many different versions of Isaac’s original designs interspersed with ideas about simplicity, and getting rid of our personal possessions. The book is type written and spiral round in a nice Do-It-Yourself aesthetic, and Isaacs writes in a genial manner as if he were sitting across the table from you. He muses on the philosophical meanings of surplus and uses the designs as a means of addressing life as whole; a simple place to raise a family and house extended family that has a low impact on the surrounding natural environment – by the The Library of Radiant Optimism for Let’s Re-Make the World.” • Seems to have contemporary relevance…

* * *

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 Petal:

Petal writes: “There’s a small hillside on campus with 4 or 5 different types of mushrooms growing. There are so many of them, looks like a fungus farm.”

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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. Margot

    Here’s an example of the young leaders produced by the California Democratic Party and supporting governor Gavin Newsom.

    Can’t wait for this young person to control a state budget and help remedy past injustices.

    Her dad is accused of attacking Paul Pelosi. Her mom is a nudist. She’s a Bay Area activist

    At 21, after an unorthodox and at-times turbulent upbringing, Gonzalez was between jobs with no high school diploma and limited job prospects. Gonzalez never received a diploma, though as an adult she went to Berkeley City College to study web design as she created a site showcasing her poetry, photos and paintings.
    Today, Gonzalez is co-managing a $1 million project to build tiny houses for homeless youths in Richmond. She is also making money selling paintings and murals and living in a thriving artist colony in Oakland, all while studying for a real estate license.


    1. Carolinian

      Gorgeous Gavin has said he won’t be running in 2024 no matter what and that he agrees that Kamala is Biden’s understudy and apparently agrees that running against her would be racist. Or something. We right coasters know little about the guy.

      1. Max

        He lies. Or, he’s just plain wrong. He will be “reluctantly pulled in” after Biden drops out, or perhaps Kamala decides to accept a hundred million to go away.

        As mayor of San Francisco, along with the disastrous Kamala Harris who was the alleged District Attorney…

        “In ten years all the homeless will be housed and there will be no need for homeless services nor shelters…”

        Maybe the reason the Dems are lining up behind sure loser Harris is they want Trump to win because they know we are heading into a depression and they don’t want to be blamed?

  2. Arizona Slim

    Well, look at that! A shout-out in the Water Cooler! Thanks, Lambert!

    And you know what? I’m feeling frisky, people!

    To the point where I’m going to give that newfangled Clover thingie a whirl and toss a fundraising campaign donation into the Tip Jar.

  3. Tom Doak

    Obama already has Bernie Sanders’ new proposal beat: he effectively lowered the hours for many working Americans to 29 per week [with no benefits], so that employers would stay under the 30-hour threshold requiring them to pay for their employees’ health insurance.

    But, whocouldanode?

          1. ambrit

            As the fictional Walter White would say; Vote Blue, No Matter Who.
            I can see the Dems gobbling hands full of “Energy Meds” just before joining the fray in Congress.

            1. JBird4049

              “Now more than ever, our city needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery,”

              Pelosi’s comment is precious, isn’t? If the woman had a conscience and a soul as well as the energy and metal acuity that Sanders apparently still has, I could see voting for her, but as she is missing all four, I’ll pass.

  4. nippersdad

    Something I saw this morning which seems to fit in with the Realignment and Legitimacy story on the Presidential Libraries story was this….


    ….an article about “rebranding” our foreign investments to keep up with the BRICS. Most of the critique will not be new to anyone here, but the idea that it came out of Politico seems significant insofar as the new owner said last year that he would print nothing that could hurt the US government. Admissions against interest that the forty year long neoliberal project has reached its’ conclusion were a surprise from a publication like that in much the same way that the presidential libraries of the neoliberal presidents are now saying that their namesakes project is failing.

    So now that they are admitting that neoliberalism has failed they need to explain how doubling down on it through things like privatizing municipal water systems and crushing unions should make us believe that their Road to Damascus moment is anything but a whitewash.

    1. Carolinian

      That Mediaite story is very odd. Do Libraries have agency? Will they become op-ed writers for the Times?

      Mediaite is run by this guy


      a former TV news personality for NBC and MSNBC. While it prints the supposed joint statement I can’t find another link in the article other than this one


      which has nothing to do with it. ????

      1. nippersdad

        It sounded like a warning to the political establishment, the clue coming from the part of the Declaration of Independence that they did not cite:

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

        Shorter presidential librarians: “If y’all don’t start to provide concrete material benefits for the Plebes here at home you cannot expect foreigners to believe that we will do so for the empire either. The corporate state is reaching an inflection point. Pull yourselves together before we lose our rice bowls.”

        Which is not much different from what that judge is saying. “There is no Republican party” due to a Washington Consensus that has virtually eliminated public input into governance of the people. That just sounds like Gilens and Page 101.

        Maybe they have finally noticed that they have lost legitimacy to the point where they do not feel further rigging of the system is politically sustainable? Squeals of TDS, intellectual uniparty style?

      2. Pat

        Dan is back. Gosh I haven’t seen him since MSNBC and the NY local NBC station stopped having him on to pretend to be a nonpartisan legal analyst. He usually sounded reasonable, until you actually listened and realized it was gobbledygook under the veneer at least 60% of the time.
        (Full disclosure, I knew someone who dated him. It lasted way too long. She wasn’t my favorite person but he managed to make me think she deserved a lot better.)

        1. RA

          “Gosh I haven’t seen him since MSNBC”

          He has his own show on cable NewsNation. I find that channel slightly less nauseating than MSNBC or CNN but just slightly. His show isn’t high on my list.

          Or you can find him kissing cop a** as host on the real-time cops show “On Patrol Live”.

          He’s found some niches.

          1. Pat

            Thanks for the warning. I avoid most cable news any more, even if the local stations still get some views. It won’t be hard to continue to avoid him. But it is no surprise that Dan would find a “niche”.

  5. antidlc

    President Biden tours the revamped situation room

    He is wearing a mask for only part of the tour.

    Video at the link.

    And then we have Mandy:

    Mandy K. Cohen, MD, MPH
    Busy day meeting with Senators – appreciate the support and partnership!


    In the photos, she doesn’t mask for Romney Both she and Romney are unmasked.
    She masks for Tim Kaine and Ossof. Kaine and Ossof are unmasked.
    She masks for Baldwin. Baldwin is also masked.

    Does she know how ridiculous this is?

    1. t

      Based on my worklife, I can guess there is way more testing going on than any of them will ever admit to and assistants keeping track. Or they could be idiots.

  6. Steve H.

    > Ken Isaacs. How to build your own living structures” [We Find Wildness].

    I’ve got a copy of the book, in the section with Soleri and Ken Kern and Bucky. Cool in theory, not so livable. Think about if you had a back strain, Granny’ll break her hip. No insulation. Great for funhouses.

    Two relevant tangents. The morning link to Syria’s ancient adobe houses threatened by war, displacement Al Jazeera made clear that these ancient structures only are because of constant maintenance. The decay is fast.

    A modern version of adobe is aircrete, highly insulating cement with tiny entrained bubbles. Unfortunately, Old Blighty is having a bit of a scandal about half-century old autoclaved aircrete blocks not holding up well as structural elements, given moisture issues. Hundreds of millions of samoleons, hospitals and schools about to collapse, pallets of ricebowls seen unloading on the docks.

    We’ll see, we just got a very cool system that injects the foam under the cement for better mixing. I’ve got some secret sauces to help with the moisture issue, so we’ll be having some fun experimenting.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            You’ve been an inspiration..not by feed store chautauqua but NC’s version.

            Am in escrow for 6 acres of old walnut orchard surrounded by vineyards nearly 3 hrs from where I make my living…Gonna be 4 to 5 years til I can build the house and transition.

            Buying it and going for it. Retirement? What’s that?

            Looking forward to getting out to where the stars still shine.

            So deep thanks to ya, Southern Thoreau.

            1. RA

              “Looking forward to getting out to where the stars still shine. ”

              Sigh. I remember once, somewhere else a good while back, seeing the milky way in the sky with my naked eye.

              Now I’m lucky if I can see much more than Sirius.

              Is it any wonder that we’ve lost respect for the actual world we all live in.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “Air Concrete” sounds a lot like what is called cellular concrete in the u.s. As far as I know it was never sold as a structural material. It is light-weight, and is often used in the flooring of multi-story steel structures — reinforced by a steel grating structure. Wall panels strengthened with plastic fibers serve as wall sections in the caribean BUT in as structural elements. Steel or re-enforced concrete or pre-stressed concrete sections provide structural support. Cellular concrete has nice heat and noise insulation properties.

      I am very enamored of cellular concrete for the possibilities it offers as a non-bearing wall structure that can be poured and possibly raised into steel or types of concrete structural elements using non-standard cranes [cellular concrete can be made much lighter than standard concrete] to assemble one-story ’tilt’ structures for housing and storage. I also believe cellular concrete might be a way to use far fewer carried in materials for construction at remote or difficult to access work-sites.

  7. Feral Finster

    “Democrats wake up to red flags over Biden’s latest poll numbers” [The Hill]. “Democrats woke up Thursday to yet another poll showing a large percentage of voters are concerned about President Biden’s age and data that showed most GOP primary candidates fared well in hypothetical match-ups with Biden. …l.”

    I see that as a negative for Trump and a positive The Deep State, the Blob, the Borg, whatever you want to call it, They aren’t married to Team D. In face, a President Haley or Pence would suit them just fine.

    So all they gotta do is either keep Trump from getting the Team R nomination and the voters can choose between two carefully vetted corporate imperialist muppets, or if Trump gets the nomination, they can keep him off the ballot in enough swing states to ensure that Biden wheezes in. Either way, they win.

    1. Phenix

      Trump is the Republican nominee. They will have to permanently remove him to prevent his victory.

      He is probably our next president. I do not see how Biden can win Pa next cycle.

      1. Lee

        A Justice Department memo from 2000, cites the following:

        Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 of the Constitution states:

        Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than
        to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any
        Office of honor, Trust, or Profit under the United States: but the
        Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according to Law.

        However, from the conclusion:

        We conclude that the Constitution permits a former [’resident to be criminally
        prosecuted for the same offenses for which he was impeached by the House and
        acquitted by the Senate while in office.
        As the length of this memorandum indicates, we think the question is more
        complicated than it might first appear. In particular, we think that there is a reasonable argument that the Impeachment Judgment Clause should be read to bar
        prosecutions following acquittal by the Senate and that disqualification from federal office upon conviction by the Senate bears some of the markers of criminal
        punishment. Nonetheless, we think our conclusion accords with the text of the
        Constitution, reflects the founders’ understanding of the new process of impeachment they were creating, fits the Senate’s understanding of its role as the impeachment tribunal, and makes for a sensible and fair system of responding to the misdeeds of federal officials.


        I shall now consult my tea leaves for a more clear cut answer.

        1. Not Again

          He wasn’t convicted. Ergo, he was not responsible for the “insurrection.”

          How can a state secretary of state contradict the federal government that was supposedly being overthrown?

      1. Pat

        It’s early. I’ll worry about her when she if she wins or really challenges in a primary, AND remains a favorite a favorite in more than one state after campaigning.

        A lot of people who watched the GOP debate supposedly were impressed by her. But I fully expect every non Trump Republican to have their day in the sun as PMC Republicans (and Democrats) desperately search for the candidate that will continue the status quo but can win. They will get shot down as likely voters reject them both in polls and primaries. The PMC have yet to accept that the majority of likely voters do not want the status quo, they want it disrupted and preferably destroyed.

        1. Carolinian

          She has her press cheering section going back to the UN because she is devoted to all things neocon and so are many of them. Her other “principles” are negotiable which they like as well but the Republican faithful not so much.

          Intellectually she makes Biden look like Einstein. That’s not being snide. She really is quite dumb,

    2. some guy

      What if West ran hard in whatever states Trump was de-balloted from? The West campaign could tell people in those states that voting for West instead of Biden wouldn’t risk Trump getting elected in those states because Trump is not on the ballot. So go ahead and vote for West in those states if you feel like it.

      1. Acacia

        Yes, though that’s assuming the Greens will actually get on the ballot in all of those states.

        It’s also worth drawing attention to the DemParty using lawfare against BOTH Trump and the Greens (in the case of Trump, meanwhile saying it’s some “self enforcing” mechanism, like holding their hands up in the air to try and act as if they’re not doing anything).

        Aiming to kneecap all the competition — this is real banana republic stuff.

  8. Feral Finster

    “Bernie Sanders Champions ’32-Hour Work Week With No Loss in Pay’” [Common Dreams]t’s too late. 2020 was the time to pivot to the working class, when Sanders had a movement, a list, the national spotlight, and a cresting wave of unionizing to ride.”

    In 2020, Sanders also had a Team D that needed his support and that was cruising to solid majorities in both houses of Congress. He will never again have more leverage over Team D than he did in 2020.

    What did Sanders do with that leverage? He sold out for some feel-good rhetoric and vague promises of some unspecified actions to be taken at some point in the future.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      “He sold out for some feel-good rhetoric and vague promises of some unspecified actions to be taken at some point in the future.” If this was the carrot, what was the stick.

      I still believe in the essential ‘goodness’ of Sanders. I am still very angry with the way his campaigns mysteriously crumbled, with his lassitude in accepting defeat and quietly subsiding into obscurity — or what is not far from it in terms of national politics.

      I strongly doubt that “He sold out for some feel-good rhetoric and vague promises of some unspecified actions to be taken at some point in the future.” I am also skeptical that abandonment by his mercenary staff lead to his abandonment of his candidacy. I suppose I might be a little inclined toward conspiracy theories but after the politics of the 1960s and 1970s — I suppose I might be forgiven.

      1. Acacia

        Where is Sanders on Ukraine or Covid? Too busy “fighting for” working USians?

        In a recent interview on Rising, Cornel West spoke to why he withdrew support from “Brother Bernie”, noting that: “I think deep down in his heart [Sanders] knows that the Democratic party has no fundamental intention of speaking to the needs of poor people and working people” — which sounds about right.

        For meanwhile, Sanders continues with the tired and false exhortation that we’ve “got to make a decision as whether we stand for democracy or authoritarianism, or whether or not we’re going to represent working-class families”, as if the Democrats are somehow not authoritarian at all, and are actually interested in representing the working class, when clearly they have been an enemy of the Left for decades now.

    2. Jason Boxman

      I was just thinking about this, earlier this week, on a walk, as I am wont to do. Sanders and his campaign had built up an entire movement, it seems, with huge fundraising numbers. That is a lot of engagement. As you pointed out, that’s potentially an extraordinary amount of influence to flex, in the midst of a global Pandemic, to push for real policies to help working people and keep Americans safe. And this dude literally folded up shop. For someone calling for a political revolution, that’s unforgivable. True, he did say it isn’t him, it’s “us”. But when his campaign was the central organizing vehicle for “us”, what is a movement to do exactly?

      This was probably one of the greatest movement failures in recent history, right up there with Obama ending OFA; Although that isn’t a surprise because Obama is a scrumbag. But then Sanders clearly didn’t see himself as a movement leader, either, so I guess again no surprise. Still unforgivable. And irrelevant, for my part, as no one cares what I can or cannot forgive, in comments I post on the Internet. There’s not much left to redeem this country, or many of those within it.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Brother Boxman,
        I would whisper to you that the lament that “there’s not much left to redeem this country, or many within it.” mistakes the good that exists both in this country and in the vast majority of its inhabitants.

        Even people in my delusional Blue State, Blue City sea are becoming bold enough to call the Emperor naked. Lots of deep frustrations…
        The children running the legacy media (P. Krugman’s article!) have no idea how deeply fried, horribly scared, absolutely disgusted MOST of us are…

        BLM support/Defund the olice has become “Crime is out of control!”

        “Covid is over!” has become “Everyone I know has Covid!” and “yeahh, not taking another shot of something that doesn’t work!”

        “Unions just suck!” has become “Pay us!”

        It’s takes a while for the American public to pay attention and demand change.
        We’re tired. Been a hard couple of decades.

        But as is my motto…

        Ain’t broke me yet.
        And they, the few bastards that are trying to break this country?
        Well, they ain’t broke us yet either.

        Hold fast, mate.

        (For Lambert: the public doesn’t have any idea what to do. But they’re at least aware of the…”seasonal swell” was the term I heard on the local news radio station today…seems “spike” is too dangerous, gotta manage that visual language. :)

      2. kurtismayfield

        When Sanders did nothing but 100% support Biden and then dropped all of his supporters, he lent credence to that yes he was just a sheepdog. The fact that he has done nothing with his distro list since supports it even more.

  9. Feral Finster

    “Presidential Libraries of Obama, Bush, Clinton, Reagan and More Warn About State of US Democracy in First Ever Joint Statement” [Mediaite]. “Presidential Libraries for multiple former U.S. Presidents have written a joint statement for the first time to warn about the state of American democracy. The statement is co-signed by libraries for past presidents, including Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George & Barbara Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Harry Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover….”

    I read the statement. Even pretending that the United States is a democracy, much less “our democracy”, what threats exactly do these libraries have in view?

    1. ambrit

      I see something sinister in the fact that the libraries themselves are being given ‘selfhood’ in this. The reach of the Citizens United case keeps expanding.

      1. Carolinian

        Turning to DDG apparently it’s something cooked up by the Dubya library

        The effort, which was organized by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, marks the first time presidential foundations and centers have come together to deliver a statement to the American public.

        Missing from the bipartisan group of signatories is the Eisenhower Foundation, which said in a statement that it declined to sign the letter because there had been “no collective discussion about it, only an invitation to sign.” David J. Kramer, executive director of the Bush Institute, said former president Donald Trump is not represented in the letter because he does not have a presidential institute or library yet.

        Shorter Dubya Presidential Library: “please be polite and don’t call us international war criminals”?


    2. Hepativore

      Including “Bush” and “Democracy” in the same sentence instantly undermines any credibility of the statement itself, as he basically threw the doors wide open for Obama, Trump, and Biden to ignore most of the Constitution with impunity as well as vastly-expanding the MIC and Deep State.

      1. nippersdad

        Very true! At this point there really is no appreciable difference between GWB I and GWB IV. They are all Republicans now, and as I didn’t vote for George it should come as no surprise to them that I will refuse to support any of his clones.

        1. Fiery Hunt

          Matt Taibbi today stated that Junior was by far and away the worst President and I’m like..yep.

          And then I think about the recuperation the Dem establishment has done for that war criminal and his damn VP, Darth Vader…and I’m thinking, wait, that’s some (family blog).

          Obama was a clear Silver Medalist but Ol’ Corrupt Joe and the proxy war with Russia(!) is coming on fast..

          And Ol’ Nancy P. deciding to run AGAIN? Mitch still standing, let alone voting?

          Rancid turtles all the way down.

      2. skippy

        Wipes tear from eye for the hug on the beach in Haiti with Bill and Jeb … helping out the down trodden post natural disaster … billion dollar pro sports apparel industry thingy … cholera was just door prize …

    3. Tom Stone

      Trump embarassed every single Newspaper and MSM outlet by winning, these are not people who forgive being made fools of.
      Even the Salt Lake paper endorsed Hillary, the first time they had endorsed a Democratic Presidential candidate in 150 years.
      And that’s really the source of TDS, in many cases, Embarassment.
      “Donald the Magnificent” gobbling big macs and saying the quiet parts out loud horrified the PMC, it was a MUCH worse crime than Guantanamo Abu Ghraib, the various invasions and murders. Even the murders of 16 year old Abdul-Rahman Awlaki and Ambassador Soleimani were no big deal compared to pigging out on fast “Food”.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Had a friend say Trump being “uncouth” was unforgivable.
        Preferred his “statesmen” to be “well-spoken” and “educated” when they lied.

  10. DJG, Reality Czar

    This business of “Presidential Libraries” issue a collective statement is something that I find puzzling. In a search, I find the foundations and libraries listed as making the statement:

    Obama Presidential Center
    George W. Bush Presidential Center
    Clinton Foundation
    George & Barbara Bush Foundation
    The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
    The Carter Center
    Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
    Richard Nixon Foundation
    LBJ Foundation
    John F. Kennedy Library Foundation
    Truman Library Institute
    Roosevelt Institute
    Hoover Presidential Foundation

    Are there individuals involved? Or is it just a bunch of NGOs-as-persons bloviating? As Lambert Strether often points out, does a non-human (a charitable foundation) have agency?

    Next up? Colonial Williamsburg announces its foreign policy and the importance of respect for tricorne hats?

    Bess Truman’s Ozark pudding recipe declares itself a national monument?

    Arlington National Cemetery announces that to heal the nation after the Civil War it now wants to return itself to Maryland?

    What is the purpose? I am detecting a strong whiff of liberal panic. Does anyone in the U S of A believe that presidential libraries and foundations have influence? Do people go on pilgrimage to the Richard Nixon Foundation for succor and wisdom? You’d be better off making your way to Fatima.

    1. pjay

      Yes, the insanity – or inanity – just keeps getting worse. But this inane example is quite symbolic of the completely unified Establishment hysteria toward Trump. The Great Bipartisan Council of Presidential Libraries has spoken! I couldn’t help but notice, though, that their “statement” was such a general, cliche-ridden piece of mush that it provided no clues as to the *specific* persons, groups, or actions that were such a grave threat to our “freedom,” “democracy” and “civility.” Was it the massive expansion of our surveillance/censorship state that worried our esteemed, uh… libraries? Were they referring to the four-year coup attempt by our National Security establishment, their Democratic pals, and their media lackeys to overturn the *2016* election by falsely framing a sitting President of treasonous collusion with a foreign power?

      Of course we all know the “threat” to which our bipartisan group of Presidential monuments refer. It’s a big club, but I’m afraid Trump ain’t in it. It’s useful, in fact I’d argue that it is crucial, to ask why this is. It has nothing to do with his actual policies as President, since almost nothing he did was worse that that done by his predecessors. So what, then? I wonder if he’ll be allowed to have a “Presidential Library,” or will that be denied to him as well?

    2. ambrit

      I have been reading that the Ronald Reagan Beatification Committee has been collecting evidence of miraculous cures being associated with relics of the former President Demeritus.

    3. Val

      Attempts to revivify ominous American boilerplate nonsense like “..we must both continue to strive toward a more perfect union and help those abroad looking for U.S. leadership,’ suggest that the kakistocracy is even more disturbed than usual and that a larger-than-typical spectacle is being vectored and choreographed, one to dazzle both credulous and bloodthirsty slaves alike. A spectacle of plausible deniability with many conveniently exploitable features…

  11. notabanker

    Man, I have such contempt for people like Krugman. He is intentionally being intellectually dishonest. He knows damn well that inflation has not only eaten into family and personal budgets to the tune of 20% or more, but also has significantly eroded savings and future retirement by an almost equal measure. And it is also quite plain to see and has been well documented that the primary driver of that inflation is corporate profits. Even Stewart has made that leap.

    This goes beyond just disagreeing on politics. It is flat out lying with a net result of more dead people, more poor people and more future poor people. But I suppose it’s our own damn fault if you can’t knock down $500K a year lying to the public.

    1. pjay

      Between Krugman’s piece of oblivious crap and the hysterical Trump derangement in Waldman’s MSNBC screed, I am starting to realize that, as critical as I have been, I am still underestimating the degree to which the liberal bubble is completely insulated from what the rest of us experience as reality. That’s damn scary. Liars are bad enough, but True Believers are even more dangerous, especially when they are in positions of power and influence.

    2. CloverBee

      I keep hearing this trope about why don’t we think the economy is great, don’t we know how great is? We buy the same food every week, and meat comes from a local rancher separately from the groceries. Weekly groceries have doubled. A LOT of families I know are talking about how this is negatively impacting them. Jobs are more precarious (lots of layoffs) and have people scared, but there seems to be a lot denial about cutting back on extra expenses.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      “Americans rating economic conditions as very bad and giving Biden very low approval for his economic management. The strange thing is that these bad ratings are persisting even as the economy, by any normal measure, has been doing extremely well….”

      I used to read Krugman’s column regularly … long long ago … From long reading of comments here and elsewhere, I believe Krugman should begin to question whatever “normal measure” he is referring to by reference to “any normal measure” for measuring the economy. My own impression, and I believe that of many of the commenters here and elsewhere, is that the normal measures for measuring the economy do no such thing.

    4. The Rev Kev

      People have been complaining about rising prices and the cost of living here on NC for a long time now but I guess that all the people that Krugman knows are doing quite well – as are their portfolios.

    5. skippy

      Heh … its right up there with debating some credentialed economic sorts and after heaps of pointing out the failures of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School the respondent replies …. yeah but … what about all the good things he said …

  12. Sub-Boreal

    File under Quiet Part Out Loud:

    B.C. hospital sees fast spread of COVID-19, but no outbreak declared due to ‘negative connotations’

    “It is very clear that the word ‘outbreak’ has very negative connotations to the public and would have media attention, possible patient shunting to [other local hospital] beds, and closing of all admissions to the affected units,” reads the response from Island Health.

    “There is now a more informed approach that does not alarm the public and staff that should have the same outcomes as when outbreaks were previously called.”

    That approach involves setting “enhanced measures” — the same protocols put in place in the event of an outbreak, without using the word “outbreak” and reporting it publicly.

      1. PelhamKS

        Yes, as this one-ups Orwell. Not only is the terminology changed but we’re also told why in a still further assertion of the power of authorities to do whatever they please.

    1. notabanker

      Since pandemic is now verboten, maybe it can become epizootic? That a nice fancy word that means the same thing but no one really understands it. And it’s kinda fun having a zoo in the middle of it!

      1. Sub-Boreal

        SO VERY glad to be on day 4 of my retirement, and not having to go back to teaching this fall – which I otherwise enjoyed – on a campus where almost nobody was wearing a mask. The continual low-level stress from worrying about the risk to my health really killed my love for that part of the job. That – and also wondering what social value we were producing when my department (consisting mostly of PhD biologists) was no more COVID-aware than a random sample of the general public.

        Spending the afternoon making chutney and salsa from my garden harvest is doing a lot to repair my mood …

    2. skippy

      You know sometimes it seems some want to control fear for the own best interests and really get done in the head when something they cannot control screws with that agenda … per se a novel virus … that can not be Bernays’ed out of existence ….

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          I do too!!! The banyan tree, even more than the human community, symbolizes Hawaii to me. After on visit to the main island I fell in love with the beauty of these islands.

          I recall a much earlier visit to Japan where I went to an English conversation school in Roppongi to talk with the Japanese. Primarily Japanese Businessmen and aspiring salary-men attended. The year of my visit was 1985. I asked what the u.s. produced that might sell well in Japan. The answer was … nothing the u.s produced … but Japan would very much like to purchase Hawaii. I could only sympathize with their sentiment.

      1. scott s.

        That is a reasonable video. I don’t see the Maui fires as significantly changing anything, other than the look and feel of Lahaina itself, which to me had been Californicated. But in watching that video realize that the state definition of Native Hawaiian means “one drop of blood” typically 1/32. That has led to the concept of “local”, though local-ism doesn’t seem as important today as in years past (I assume the end of plantation agriculture is the main cause).

    1. The Rev Kev

      That should make it easier to get to the brand new Lahaina Superyacht Marina that they will be building.

  13. Jeff N

    for Covid hospitalizations, I noticed that the *percentage* will get skewed if there are other things putting people into the emergency room, like a heat wave

  14. flora

    The DNC lawfare against any perceived strong political opponent seems like an admission they know they can’t win in an open contest, imo. The DNC becomes more Lilliputian with every trick they play. / ;)

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I very strongly admire your use of ‘IMO’ in place of ‘IMHO’. I believe opinions should be strong and strongly expressed. The only humility possible in doing so, is the humility of being human and fallible — traits I admire and aspire to and would never let dampen the strength of my opinions.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      It’s the same as Ukraine, double down. Deny the reports.

      I really hadn’t anticipated the Senator from MBNA being this bad. I guess I hoped we dodged the bullet with Hillary.

  15. flora

    re: “How not to have a psychic meltdown when you see new Trump-Biden poll numbers” [MSNBC]

    When NYC’s Mayor Adams starts sounding the teensiest bit like T there must a lot’a surprised New Yorkers. / ;)

    “Mayor Adams basically conceding New York City is done because of illegal immigration and warns New Yorkers illegals will flood ALL neighborhoods.”


    1. Pat

      So Adams has realized he is a dead man walking. Too bad Hochul (along with most of our brain dead City Council) hasn’t figured it out yet.

      I have said for awhile that sending the immigrants to Democratic strongholds was going to be a huge winner for both the Governors doing it and for the GOP. I don’t have an ounce of respect for Adams, but he is truly screwed by this. And clearly he finally knows that continuing to hold to the Democratic Party line on this isn’t going to keep him viable in politics and in the Party as the city fails and quickly takes it out on him.

      And there are indications this is happening in other target cities and by extension the states as well. Maybe not as quickly, but Hochul and Adams are both particularly ambitious and stupid and didn’t understand they had no real backroom power to shift both the consequences and the blame for a coming debacle. They might not have even realized that the buses could keep coming forever and no real help would come from Washington. Instead They went heavy on the hypocritical posturing in the media thus doubling down on the stupid and so made themselves the biggest targets.

      As with so many things that our oligarchs want that enabling politicians enable to keep their labor costs low and profits artificially high, open borders has proven to be a neoliberal nightmare.

  16. SG

    Seemingly overlooked in this controversy is the fact that President, alone among all officials, is elected by the population of the entire United States (granted, indirectly, through electors).

    There’s actually no Constitutional requirement to hold any sort of popular vote for President, so the notion that the President is elected (even indirectly) by the people is more an accident of history and custom than intent. It’s the way every state (so far) has chosen to allocate electors, but there’s nothing in the Constitution that requires them to do it that way.

  17. upstater

    Driverless containers on railroads. What could possibly go wrong?

    Details emerge of Genesee & Wyoming plans for first test of autonomous container equipment

    Parallel Systems is founded by SpaceX alumni. They propose to have unmanned shipping containers on battery powered frames traveling singly or in multiples on rural branch lines in Georgia. How many unsignaled, ungated grade crossing are there? How many small towns will these things be passing through? Look at Parallel’s home page video. Does this creep you out?

    How bad is this a idea? Probably worse than Waymo and Cruise in SF.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      It is long long past time for the u.s. government to step up and rip the ownership … AND MAINTENANCE … AND DEVELOPMENT … of the railroad lines, out of the hands of the railroad Cartels.

    1. flora

      I’ve gotten several CloudFlare errors today when clicking an NC link – host error – only to click out of the CloudFlare message and re-click the NC link and have it come up OK. Very strange. So Mercury is the culprit? Good to know. / ;)

      1. Acacia

        I’ve seen Cloudflare CDN issues on other sites over the past day, tho happily not NC. The main speed issue with NC always seems to be Twitter. All the NC-hosted content loads quickly, but embedded tweets in WC and Links slow down everything.

        According to downdetector DOT com, Cloudflare is okay, but it also shows a fair number of social media comments w.r.t. capacity issues in Cloudflare. YMMV, per usual.

  18. Acacia

    Mask tech news:

    Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd. DD02V-S2-2K

    Dunno if these can be found in North America, but this Japanese-made Shigematsu N95 is the most comfortable I’ve found yet. You can get them with or without an exhaust port. It has a fabric-style adjustable strap (with a sliding grommet) that feels easier than the rubber straps on my 3M Aura. The nose fit is also a little softer, and doesn’t use the kind of foam strip on the Aura.

    Shigematsu makes all kinds of really serious full face masks (like for crawling inside the reactor buildings at Fukushima), so I assume this company knows something about mask design.

  19. The Rev Kev

    Latest Biden-Harris ad-

    https://www.bitchute.com/video/mdr0pfn9fica/ (59 secs)

    If you look at the 44 second mark where Biden and Zelensky are climbing a flight of stairs, you will see a second Zelensky still at the bottom of the stairs confirming Zelensky’s use of body doubles. But in that ad they forgot the bit where they asked the Russians if old Joe could go into the Ukraine before doing so.

    1. Pat

      So much is wrong with this…(and I thought I was down on Biden, then I read the comments.)

      But I would so use this ad as the base of an opposition ad or ads. It could be used to point that he isn’t running to be President of Ukraine, yet his priority was and is Ukraine while America has numerous disasters, a bad economy for most of its citizens, etc. if the policies weren’t bipartisan I could also see one could also be used to highlight the growing undemocratic policies of Ukraine and in the US and showing “standing strong for Democracy” the lie it is.

  20. Jason Boxman

    This is just bizarre.

    I can describe the power of partisanship in a polarized age. I can explain the incentive structure that keeps Republican politicians in line behind Trump. I can tell you why Biden gets no credit for bringing the economy back from the depths of recession. I can explain why, despite the fact that he has literally the best one-term job creation record of any president in history; inflation has fallen to 3%; and he has signed legislation providing some of the most important investments in decades, most Americans think Biden has done a poor job on the economy.

    So did groceries just go down in price by 25%, back to pre-Pandemic levels, and I didn’t notice? Sure, Biden unleashed the strategic petroleum reserve to get prices down a bit, eventually, on gasoline to goose the election, but mostly that’s been a consequence of the world market and China’s lackluster performance economically. Health care costs continue to increase astronomically. Wage increases have petered out. Biden stands with capitalists, not unions, as was so blatantly demonstrated last year with the rail worker’s reasonable demand for days off, which would mess with precision scheduling, and thus was absolutely verboten.

    Wake me when Biden gets my costs down. Auto insurance went up $100 last year, clean record, had to switch. Internet is up $15 over the past 12 months. Groceries, everyone knows! Gasoline is a rare bright spot, still around $3.50 here, steady. Oh, and if you’re looking to buy a house? LOL. Sure, that’s the Fed, and limited supply, but presidents get the good and the bad with the economy, even when they rarely have any direct impact in the near term, so Biden owns that as well. (Oh, forget education inflation.)

    Waldman clearly lives in another dimension. Telling people repeatedly how great their lives are when objectively they are not, doesn’t seem to work. Surprise.

    None of this is unknown to readers here!

    Also, found this:

    A 2019 Pew Research Center survey showed that among Americans who named MSNBC as their main source for political news, 74% are ages 50 or older, with 44% ages 65 or older. 95% of those who named MSNBC as their main political news source identify as Democrats; among the eight most commonly named main sources for political and election news by US adults, MSNBC and Fox News have the most partisan audiences.[80]

  21. The Rev Kev

    “How not to have a psychic meltdown when you see new Trump-Biden poll numbers”

    Not only does the author – Paul Waldman – have Trump living rent free in his head but Trump also has a summer home there. Here is a selection of his columns-


    If Trump happens to win next November, I really don’t know how he and his friends will take it. Badly I suspect.

    1. Acacia

      A summer home there Lol

      Is it bad that I’m kinda looking forward to this aieeee nuclear PMC mass head-explosion event in the morning after a possible Trump victory?

      1. ambrit

        If Trump wins in 2024, my money’s on the PMC states moving to secede by 2026.
        The PMCs can then find out the hard way just how reliable their “Immigrant Levies” are at real fighting.

    1. Enter Laughing

      Nice! The 25 or 6 to 4 cover is phenomenal. The whole band is super tight, but the lead guitarist nails the solo with such precision and clarity that Terry Kath himself would approve.

  22. ashley

    Both surveys and consumer behavior suggest, on the contrary, that while most Americans feel that they’re doing OK, they believe that the economy is doing badly, where ‘the economy’ presumably means other people. What explains negativity about a good economy?

    even if you are doing ok, look at everyone around you. there’s homelessness everywhere, housing unaffordable and unobtainable, the looming takeover of AI amid all of the tech layoffs, and a federal reserve policy designed to engineer a recession because labor has a little too much power for capital’s taste. even those in the “good jobs” who “did everything right” can sense how precarious it all is. and most of us are one medical emergency away from bankruptcy and homelessness…

    we need term limits desperately, our political class is completely clueless and living in an alternate reality.

  23. some guy

    In that Paul Waldman article about Trump, Biden, polls and etc., I noticed he mispelled the word “canvass” in this sentence . . . ” My informal canvas of liberal friends reveals that this feeling” etc.

    ” Canvas” , Mr. Waldman? “Canvas”? Surely you meant to mean “canvass”.

    Its a small thing, but still . . .

  24. some guy

    if Cornell West really wants to kick some “zhyt” over sideways and stomp on it in the coming election, he might wait until RFK Jr is thoroughly rejected and abused at DemCon 2024 . . . . and then offer RFK Jr the slot as VP running mate on the Green Party ticket.

    Cornell West should be smart enough to know that he is not going to win the election. Is he at least tough enough to want to inflict some non-recoverable-from damage on the Democratic Party on his way to defeat?
    Does he at least want to shove the Democratic Party’s face into a kitchen sink garbage disposal? If he doesn’t even want to do that, then why is he even bothering?

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