2:00PM Water Cooler 10/31/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Spectacled Finch, Seri Paya, North-West Frontier, Pakistan.

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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 foes test insurrection theory in legal case to block him from 2024 ballot” [Washington Times]. “The trial, which kicked off Monday in Denver, tests the novel theory that Mr. Trump should be blocked from the 2024 primary and general election ballots in Colorado because of his actions after the 2020 presidential election…. In Colorado, the case was brought by six plaintiffs identified as Republican and independent primary voters and led by the left-wing activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. They said Mr. Trump led an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of angry protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol while lawmakers were certifying Mr. Biden as the winner of the 2020 election. ‘Trump incited a violent mob to attack our Capitol, to stop the peaceful transfer of power under our Constitution,’ Eric Olson, an attorney for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, argued in an opening statement peppered with footage of the riot. ‘We are here because Trump claims, after all that, he has the right to be president again. But our Constitution, or shared charter for our nation, says he cannot do so.”• Which is why Biden’s Justice Department charged Trump with insurrection. Oh, wait…. But seriously, I understand the theory of the case. But do we really want state election officials of one party throwing candidates of another party off the ballot? And do we really want Secretaries of State and election officials generally making what are in essence prosecutorial decisions?

“Trial begins in lawsuit attempting to block Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential primary ballot [Colorado Sun]. “Dozens of cases citing Section Three of the 14th Amendment have been filed in recent months, but the ones in Colorado and Minnesota seem the most important, according to legal experts. That’s because they were filed by two liberal groups with significant legal resources. They also targeted states with clear, swift processes for challenges to candidates’ ballot qualifications.”

“Ban Trump from 2024 ballot? Why courts should rule he can’t serve as president again” [Laurence H. Tribe and Dennis Aftergut, USA Today]. The cases in Colorado and Minnesota “have been brought under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment: ‘No person shall … hold any office … under the United States … who, having previously taken an oath [1] to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.'” • Yes, that ellipsis is in the text. I have helpfully underlined the, er, original text that Tribe and Aftergut elided: “as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State.” As readers know, the question of whether the President is “an officer of the United States” is contested. But Larry, Larry, Larry: You just left that part out! That’s sheer dishonest lawyering. Unsurprisingly, I might add.

“The 14th Amendment Case to Bar Trump From the Ballot Is Politics At Its Worst” [Newsweek]. “Think about it: If the 14th Amendment is used to bar Trump, what’s to stop Republicans from using the 14th Amendment to disqualify anyone who endorsed or condoned riots following events like George Floyd’s killing? This would inject an unprecedented level of subjectivity into the electoral process and potentially suppress legitimate political dialogue.” • A debater’s point that may resonate with some. The wording of the amendment is what will “stop Republicans,” since the Amendment does not apply to “anyone.”

Biden Administration


“Listen to Black women.” Especially the pro-apartheid ones!


Time for the Countdown Clock!

Only six more days until a full year to election day!

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* * *

“Biden’s Primary Challenges Are Much More Serious Than DC Insiders Think” [The Nation]. “It is true that US Representative Dean Phillips, the 54-year-old Minnesota Democrat who on Friday formally launched what he admitted was a “last-minute campaign” against Biden, seems to be running primarily on none-too-subtle arguments that the incumbent is too old and too vulnerable to be handed the 2024 nomination. But Phillips is wealthy, he’s hired some skilled strategists and he’s wisely decided to gamble on the New Hampshire primary to test his appeal to “the exhausted majority” in a state where Biden’s name won’t be on the Democratic ballot.” • So, “the exhausted majority” trope made it through the filters tout suite. Interesting.

“Biden backers launch write-in campaign amid 2024 primary fight with New Hampshire” [USA Today]. “President Joe Biden’s supporters in New Hampshire launched a write-in campaign Monday morning aimed at winning the first-in-the-nation primary for the incumbent Democrat who declined to put his name on the ballot. Their website implores New Hampshire voters to join the ‘grassroots movement of Granite Staters who are pledging to stand up for our democracy by writing in Joe Biden for President in the New Hampshire primary in January 2024.’ ‘The fate of our democracy itself hangs in the balance in the 2024 election,’ the website says.” “Our democracy,” twice. Grassroots? Really? More: “New Hampshire is in a fight with the Democratic National Committee over its expected primary date, which has not been announced but is expected to take place in January. Biden did not file to appear on the state’s primary ballot, as a result, and Democrats backing his reelection bid went ahead with a planned write-in campaign on Monday instead.”

* * *

“3 Expert Shoemakers Say Ron DeSantis Is Probably Wearing Height Boosters” [Politico]. • Press now in full pulling-wings-off-flies mode.

* * *

“Virginia restores 3,400 to voting rolls, but questions remain” [Axios]. “Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has restored the voting rights of nearly 3,400 residents who were wrongly taken off the state’s voting rolls…. ‘We have no way to know if that 3,400 is actually correct,’ [Shawn Weneta, a policy strategist with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia,] said. ‘When they acknowledged the mistake, they said it was only 270 people. Well three weeks later, they say it’s more than 10 times that number.’… Critics of Youngkin still have questions about how the voter purge happened and what they call a lack of communication from the governor’s office.”

“Big companies donate millions on Newsom’s behalf, raising concerns about corporate influence” [Los Angeles Times (Bill Brand)]. “With no limit on how much money can be donated by organizations or individuals at the behest of the governor, millions of dollars flowed in to prop up public services during the pandemic and fund Newsom’s favored programs…. The corporations say they were simply trying to help the state in a time of need. But no matter how noble the cause, critics fear the donations could allow corporations to hold more sway in state government. They noted many of the donors have other business before the governor, received no-bid government contracts over the last year or were seeking favorable appointments on important state boards, which they say creates the appearance of a pay-to-play system.” The jargon for these so-called donations is “behested payments.” More: “Google gave $7 million on April 9, 2020 in a behested donation to Newsom’s office for public health ads. Days later, Verily, the health-focused subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet, was awarded an expanded no-bid contract for $13.1 million for coronavirus testing. Verily was ultimately paid more than $68 million for three testing services contracts before the state ended the agreements earlier this year.” • Verily, eh?

* * *

“The Third Party Wild Card” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “None of these [third party] candidates, individually, would have a prayer of winning barring some truly incredible change in American politics, nor are they even guaranteed to be on the ballot everywhere. Collectively, though, the level of support they get will be interesting to monitor, and it may be that the third party vote ends up disproportionately hurting one of the major party nominees over the other, although that is not certain.” Handy chart:

Not a swing state among them….

Republican Funhouse

“EDITORIAL: New speaker on to something with debt commission” [Las Vegas Review-Journal]. “Speaker Johnson’s committee should conduct its business openly and consider a wide range of potential solutions to controlling the red ink — even those that are anathema to one party (tax hikes) or the other (spending cuts). It’s admittedly a long shot, but fostering vigorous discussion and debate on the debt may be the first step toward accepting and implementing solutions.” • You can bet there won’t be any MMT representatives on this “commission.”

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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Realignment and Legitimacy

“Can public officials block you on social media? It’s up to the Supreme Court” [NPR]. • Making a market for moderation services?

“The Great Reordering” [Washington Monthly]. “Rather than speaking to Goldman Sachs, Biden spoke to autoworkers.” • The railroad workers didn’t fight for their contract in an election year. Anyhow, this article is worth a read. Perhaps a wee bit triumphalist.


“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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

If we treated the air like a swimming pool:


Happy holidays:


We will check back with Hoerger in a month:

“Something Awful”

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

* * *

Elite Maleficence

More “Green Map” thinking. Idea: “Let’s just jigger the numbers:

They write letters:

Worth the clickthroughs to the images.

“Alberta doctors, nurses call on province for more transparency amid discrepancies in COVID-19 hospitalization data” [CTV]. “An internal Alberta Health Services document obtained by CTV News indicates that the number of patients hospitalized provincially with COVID-19 has surpassed 900, despite available public data revealing just a third of those numbers. As of Friday, the province’s respiratory virus dashboard(opens in a new tab) showed 320 hospitalizations for SARS-CoV-2, indicating the data was up-to-date as of Oct. 21. However, an internal document obtained by CTV News shows there were actually 898 COVID-19 patients province-wide as of Oct. 21, with an average of 912 COVID-19 patients in hospital over the previous seven days. The internal document also shows among major medical centres in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge, 273 patients ended up testing positive for COVID while in hospital for something else as of Oct. 26. To have upwards of 900 hospitalizations for COVID-19 would mean that these types of hospitalizations have roughly doubled in about a month.” • Well, I never. This would never happen in the United States!

Jay, Martin, Suneptra, good job:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, October 30:

Lambert here: Cases leveling out to a high plateau wasn’t on my Bingo card!

Regional data:


NOT UPDATED From CDC, October 28:

Lambert here: Top of the leaderboard: HV.1, EG.5 a strong second, with FL.1.15.1 and XBB. trailing. No BA.2.86 (although that has showed up in CDC’s airport testing). Still a Bouillabaisse…

From CDC, October 14:

Lambert here: I sure hope the volunteers doing Pangolin, on which this chart depends, don’t all move on the green fields and pastures new (or have their access to facilities cut by administrators of ill intent).

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

Covid Emergency Room Visits

NOT UPDATED From CDC NCIRD Surveillance, October 21:

Lambert here: Flattening? Only a week’s lag, so this may be our best current nationwide, current indicator until Verily gets its house in order (and working class-centric, since I would doubt the upper crust goes to the ER).

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 October 31:

Hospitalization is leveling out, too. (I hate this metric because the lag makes it deceptive, although the hospital-centric public health establishment loves it, hospitalization and deaths being the only metrics that matter [snort]).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. October 21:

Lambert here: “Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates weekly for the previous MMWR week (Sunday-Saturday) on Thursdays (Deaths, Emergency Department Visits, Test Positivity) and weekly the following Mondays (Hospitalizations) by 8 pm ET†”. So where the heck is the update, CDC?


From Walgreens, October 30:

1.3%. Increase. (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 Cleveland Clinic, October 28:

Lambert here: Slight increase. I know this is just Ohio, but the Cleveland Clinic is good*, and we’re starved for data, so…. NOTE * Even if hospital infection control is trying to kill patients by eliminating universal masking with N95s.

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, October 9:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers:

Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance.


NOT UPDATED Iowa COVID-19 Tracker, September 27:

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: 1,180,405 – 1,180,403 = 2 (!) (27 * 365 = 730 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, October 27:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, fell marginally to 44 in October 2023 from 44.1 and below market forecasts of 45. The reading marked the 14th consecutive month of solid contraction in business activity in the Chicago region.”

* * *

Tech: “.US Harbors Prolific Malicious Link Shortening Service” [Krebs on Security]. “The top-level domain for the United States — .US — is home to thousands of newly-registered domains tied to a malicious link shortening service that facilitates malware and phishing scams, new research suggests. The findings come close on the heels of a report that identified .US domains as among the most prevalent in phishing attacks over the past year. Researchers at Infoblox say they’ve been tracking what appears to be a three-year-old link shortening service that is catering to phishers and malware purveyors. Infoblox found the domains involved are typically three to seven characters long, and hosted on bulletproof hosting providers that charge a premium to ignore any abuse or legal complaints. The short domains don’t host any content themselves, but are used to obfuscate the real address of landing pages that try to phish users or install malware…. .US is overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an executive branch agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. But Uncle Sam has long outsourced the management of .US to various private companies, which have gradually allowed the United States’s top-level domain to devolve into a cesspool of phishing activity.” • On brand for the Empire of Lies, no?

Tech: “Here’s what Apple really means when it says ‘shot on iPhone'” [The Verge]. “Behind-the-scenes footage of Apple’s Monday evening Scary Fast event reveals how it was filmed using an iPhone 15 Pro Max… with the aid of a full suite of professional recording equipment and studio lighting. Still images and a video reveal that (unsurprisingly) a great deal of fancy equipment — from drones, gimbals, dollies, industrial set lighting, and other recording accessories — is still required to make iPhone footage look this good. Apple has utilized similar but far less extreme setups for previous events that were filmed using iPhones, including the Burberry spring / summer 2014 fashion show. It’s a neat way to promote the recording quality of iPhone cameras, but it’s not like everyday folks can recreate these kinds of results at home unless they happen to own a shedload of ludicrously expensive equipment. The gear shown in the ‘Scary Fast’ behind-the-scenes footage is fairly standard for big studio productions, but Apple’s implication with these so-called ‘shot on iPhone’ promotions is that anyone can do it if only they buy the newest iPhone.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 29 Fear (previous close: 30 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 35 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 31 at 12:25:30 PM ET.

The Gallery

“Ever-enduring Dürer” [The New Criterion]. “Whether he was in fact the first modern artist to also be notably narcissistic seems unlikely, but what Dürer created does indeed show astonishing genius—genius that he himself was unafraid to recognize…. the crowning and most personal works of the artist’s career are his three painted self-portraits. Ekserdjian traces Dürer’s career through these self-portraits, alongside such highlights as Adoration of the Holy Trinity (1511), the Protestant Four Apostles (1526), and a number of other magnificent altarpieces and portraits. But it is in the three surviving self-portraits that one finds the most skill. Ekserdjian writes that “Dürer painted at least four independent self-portraits, whereas most artists of the period did not execute even one.” These works, in addition to the many studies and commissions where Dürer inserted himself into the frame, reveal his novel interest in his own image. Portrait of the Artist Holding a Thistle (1493) shows a twenty-three-year-old Dürer gazing out at the viewer, as he does in all his self-portraits. His clothes are elegant, and yet an adolescent quality remains on his face. The Prado Self-Portrait (1498) depicts the artist as a twenty-six-year-old, this time in even finer attire, his golden hair done in tight ringlets, with any look of uncertainty now absent from his visage. Finally, the Self-Portrait at the Age of Twenty-Eight (1500) is the artist’s Meisterwerk. Here, his image is merged with the iconography of Christ. These paintings display both the ingenuity and mastery with which Dürer melded artist and subject into one, thereby realizing the ideal of the self-portrait.”

I like the later Hopper much better:

Although Hopper was only 1912 – 1884 = 28 when he painted this.

Class Warfare

“UAW reaches deal with GM, ending strike against Detroit automakers” [Reuters]. “General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) struck a tentative deal on Monday, ending the union’s unprecedented six-week campaign of coordinated strikes that won record pay increases for workers at the Detroit Three automakers. The accord follows deals the union reached in recent days with Ford Motor and Chrysler-owner Stellantis – significant victories for auto workers after years of stagnant wages and painful concessions following the 2008 financial crisis. ‘We wholeheartedly believe our strike squeezed every last dime out of General Motors,’ UAW President Shawn Fain said in a video address. ‘They underestimated us. They underestimated you.'” As far as two-tier: “The contract reverses years of efforts by GM to create lower-paid groups of UAW workers at units such as component plants, parts warehouses and electric vehicle battery operations…. The contract also restricts use of lower paid temporary workers. ‘We have slammed the door on having a permanent underclass of temporary workers at GM,’ Fain said.” • Presumably the contrac language will be forthcoming, so we can make sure that two-tier, per se, is gone, and Fain and the UAW leadership didn’t nibble round the edges.

“Return To Office is all about power” [Werd I/O]. Unlike… Unlike… Oh, wait…. “The essential flip is between an employer-controlled environment and a worker-controlled environment. In the former, employees can be observed and their behavior influenced. In the latter, not so much…. This balance of power, at least for knowledge workers, is what has flipped forever. Nobody’s willingly going back to an environment of predominant employer control — at least not without significant concessions. No matter which way you cut it or which tools you use, remote work does depend on trust in your employees, more devolved power and distributed equity, high transparency, and great, bi-directional communication. If those are challenging to an organization, there just might be deeper problems that need to be addressed.”

News of the Wired

“Tesla Model Y Owner Adds Buttons to Touchscreen, Gets Flamed by Tesla Fanboys” [The Drive]. “The installation was shown in a video from an unknown Chinese social media platform, which has since spread to Twitter. In it, a Model Y owner installs a plug-and-play button panel beneath the touchscreen, which controls functions such as climate control, door locks, and the trunk release. On top of letting the driver operate these (and other functions) without taking their eyes off the road, the row of buttons fits with the Tesla’s design and color scheme, looking like it could’ve been factory-installed. All in all, a win-win.” • Surprised there’s no after market for this.

“Can I remove my personal data from GenAI training datasets?” [Knowing Machines]. “How can you remove personal data from training datasets when you do not know if your data is even there? One way may be to ask nicely…. Another way is to sue…. But likely the most promising method to learn whether your personal data is in GenAI training datasets and to seek its deletion is to send a request under the CCPA, which is only available for California residents…. For now, there is no foolproof way to force companies to disclose whether, how much, and what kinds of your personal data have been used as training data for their GenAI products. Even if there was a way, however, it is currently technically impossible to fully remove data from training datasets without influencing deep learning models in unpredictable ways…. In a few months, we may see some technical progress on this issue; until then, companies may be unable to comply with data deletion provisions in laws like the CCPA.” • The companies can comply; it’s just that their AIs won’t work. So who’s problem is that? That’s what happens when you build your bullshit generation business on theft at scale.

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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 Chet:

Chet writes: “Goldenrod is one of the most significant flowers, since it blooms in the autumn at a time when most other flowers are on the way out.”

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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. CanCyn

    Some COVID anecdata from Ontario. My brother and his wife were visiting relatives in Sudbury ON and went north to visit other family in Sault Ste. Marie. Stayed for a couple of days, ate out, went to a casino(!). Back to Sudbury, 2 days later COVID +ve. My brother has had a heart attack in the past and a triple by-pass so a little worried for the next few months. He got Paxlovid (from the pharmacist, no doc required!) Quite ill but nothing hospital worthy. He had a regular check up scheduled with his cardiologist for next week for next week. Still testing +ve yesterday, he called to see if he should re-schedule… wait for it …. Receptionist told him to come if was feeling better, not if he was testing -ve, just feeling better. Oh, and she also said he was her 10th call in the last couple of days from people with COVID wanting to re-schedule.

    1. Michael King

      Thank you for your post. Reality checks like this are ever more common. Here in BC it’s as if Covid is over. On a recent trip to Vancouver Island we were the only people wearing masks (ferry, supermarket etc.) Same at home in Vancouver. Yet, Covid hospitalizations and wastewater counts are as high as at any time during the pandemic, except for Omicron. Bonnie Henry has not surfaced for weeks. Best wishes for your brother.

          1. CanCyn

            I have been thinking about that for quite some time now. Not only are the devils here, they all seem to be in government!

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              you’d love the gravy im eatin rn.
              deer fricassee.
              penne, butter and salt are from elswhere.
              the rest is from right frelling here.

          2. marieann

            I come from a dysfunctional family. My mother always said she never worried about going to hell…she was already living it.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              to nail it down with a word–Covert Narcissism–was pretty goddam liberating.
              only took 40 years,lol.
              but, for all my studyin in psychology, i never even looked into narcissism.(because i was tryin to fix myself)….and when i did, i came across a blue link to the Covert kind..and it was an epiphany.
              there was my mother!

              maybe you have such an epiphany in your future, Marieann.

            2. Pat

              That was my mother’s take as well. My line is it is only in the last two decades that I understand how “May you live in interesting times,” is a curse.
              Whether such views are a sign of problems, well a friend’s take is I was raised by wolves, while another has a variation on Tolstoy – all families are dysfunctional it is only about how dysfunctional.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                What Tolstoy actually said:

                “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Of course, I’m identifying “functional” with “happy,” which could be mistake, depending on how one view the function of the fqmily.

      1. CanCyn

        Thanks. I am noticing a little more masking when I am out but still not a lot. Our public health folks have mostly disappeared too.

    2. midtownwageslave

      More anecdata to add to this. Some much belated.

      Here in the NYC Metro area from about mid September to about mid October, I have come across roughly 10 people who have contracted COVID. Some were cautious, some not. This number includes friends, family and coworkers. Very reminiscent of the omicron wave that spread like wildfire.

      During this time there was also a noticeable uptick in people wearing masks in public. Also a noticeable uptick in coughing and wheezing on public transport.

      From what I remember the waste water numbers didn’t necessarily reflect what felt like an infection wave, but the available data isn’t great, so who knows.

    3. CanCyn

      Our wastewater numbers are high but it just isn’t in the news at all. My brother was surprised when I told him that there were a lot of cases in northern Ontario where he is visiting. I have shared the wastewater site before but it is something you have to check and they’d forgotten about it. At least his pharmacist knew enough to advise him against the COVID vaccine but then implied that he would be immune for some months to come because of having been ill. I had to object and tell him he may have some immunity but that he could still be re-infected and to be sure to mask when he is out and about. I didn’t want to overly frighten him but just made it clear that he needs to protect himself and that a reinfection could be worse than the first time. He had a couple of pretty bad days so even though unaware of potential future health problems, he doesn’t want to get it a second time. It is really difficult to tell people about the long term effects and possible future problems from having COVID – they are so unaware.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > she also said he was her 10th call in the last couple of days from people with COVID wanting to re-schedule

      If there was a monopoly in medical scheduling software, they might have an interesting dataset.

  2. Nikkikat

    Take a look at photos from White House Halloween party last night. On Sputnick news website. Antony Blinken took his small children dressed up as Zelinsky and the other wearing a dress made to look like the Ukrainian flag.

    1. Carolinian

      So they found an old t-shirt of the right green shade?

      And at least one of them isn’t dressed as a Jdam which seems more appropriate for the night.

      One of my neighbors has Barbie in cursive neon over her door and an old swing set totally painted hot pink in the yard. This is extremely cute.

    2. NYMutza

      Blinken should have had the boy dressed as Hitler and the girl dressed as a swastika flag. That would be more honest at least.

    3. Bugs

      Wildly inappropriate. Next year they’ll go to the underground Virginia government shelter Halloween bash as neutron bombs and mass graves, I suppose. Smoke em if you got em.

    4. nippersdad

      How terrible to politicize your own kids. To be both sick and a cretin is bad enough, but to initiate your kids with the secret handshake into those kinds of rites is just, shall we call it, deplorable?

      1. Feral Finster

        Blinken is a sociopath, or at least displays behavior indistinguishable from that of a sociopath.

        He’d barbecue his own children alive if that would get him the wars and empire he so craves.

    5. Wukchumni

      I would have thought that Blinken’s kids would be dressed as punchbowls with messaging to donate as much as possible to the Ukrainian cause into them.

  3. Hepativore

    What I would like to know, is that if companies make a profit collecting and selling our data to advertisers, the NSA, FBI, and CIA as well as using it to train their AI programs, why is not the person that they are collecting data from entitled to a cut of the profit that is made selling your data which you often have no means of opting out of?

    It seems that there should be laws in place for people having their data collected to be paid “royalties” as compensation.

    1. GramSci

      Welcome to the life of a farm animal. Perhaps a better life, in the short run, than being unguarded in the wilderness, but there’s little incentive in it.

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      apparently, the computer that can parse that kind of data hasnt been invented yet.
      similar to the dividend i reckon i’m owed for 40+ years of their bullshit and trickle up.
      i mean…just how much has been stolen from me over my whole working life?
      not just lack of living wage…but also the cia budget, productivity gains going upwards, lack of healthcare(in spite of whatever “access” i may theoretically enjoy),and on and on and on.
      add big tips for the mountains of bullshit spewed every day by mouthpieces…

      i dont think even the GINI coefficient is gonna cover it.

      how does one force majeur a buyout from an empire?
      i’d like to sever ties.
      call it irreconcilable differences.

      1. rowlf

        Yer pushing my red buttons. I look at my tool chests and see all the Snap-On, Matco, Mac and other tools I bought when I was a mechanic in the mid-1980s/early 1990s and compare to what I can buy now and I can see the trend. Same as how my healthcare kept getting crappier over time and pension got frozen and the 401k kept adding fees.

        I also try to buy maintenance medicines for my family when I travel overseas. (That’s an eye-opener.)

        We are not being offered chocolate.

    3. fjallstrom

      Instagram in EU is kind of implementing that, but the other way around. They are offering to not violate your privacy if you pay them. Otherwise sign the terms please…

      One round about way for EU citizens to get a bit of the cash is to get it into their state’s coffers. You report suspected GDPR violations to your states privacy agency and then they can fine the company up to 4% of their turnover. Do the patriotic thing and report an AI company today, your state needs it!

      (With eurozone states being currency users and inflation, they really do.)

    1. lambert strether

      Thanks, fixed. I really do think there’s a Twitter bug involved in whatever copies the embed code yo the clipboard….

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      i’ll prolly abstain, in protest…none of the above, at all.

      Lambert:”But do we really want state election officials of one party throwing candidates of another party off the ballot? And do we really want Secretaries of State and election officials generally making what are in essence prosecutorial decisions?”

      this already obtains…and has obtained.
      its why its so hard to be a write in…and why its so hard to get a third party on a ballot(let alone on a debate stage)…and thats without even considering the structural obstacles(single member district, first past the post).
      numerous party-based barriers to entry and other obstacles.
      even if the parties’ fingerprints are obscured.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        and, i must add…reading all this nuts and bolts…as well as the horse race maneuverin bs…feels like reading a bad translation of Livy.
        even as the republic is long gone.
        so perhaps Plutarch, or something.
        not exactly a rhyme…but a hum, like in Taos.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          re:las vegas thing on newspeak-ers debt fetish:
          sounds like a new catfood commission.

          must be being talked about on daily kos and or msdnc, because mom’s last 3 attempts to obtain her narcissistic supply from me involved 3 pop-ups that all told her, over a month, that there was some magical way for me to get healthcare and/or dentistry(there’s not) without resorting to SSI(which i refuse to do).
          she’s insistent that i hurry up and stop being a doomer about all that.
          i thought mere covert narcissism was hard to deal with,lol…add in 1. cognitive decline, and 2. a terminally polluted information space….
          i obtained my exit, finally, by saying:” we can send billions to nazis in ukraine and billions more to genocidal maniacs in israel, but cant find any change in the couch for poor americans….and i aint gonna live as long as you have…(81)”
          and that set her off,lol…as intended…”no nazis in Uk…hamas is genocidal, israel is the victim…etc”
          so i could stomp off muttering…which i guess gave her her Supply, after all…ha!
          as my captive representative sample of PMC….well, i think they’ve all lost it,lol.
          confirmed by my other samples: the 3 “aunts” she grew up with.
          same sort of thing…except one of them is a trumpy teabilly woman,lol.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            and oh, look! further down in WC:

            indicating pretty hard that its, in fact, getting worse,lol.

            i dont pay any mind to kos or msdnc…latter only when im over there.
            and then, its like being dragged back into the Cave.

            …and, being charitable, that means i have redlines i wont cross in my own mind.
            much like my pet PMC samples.
            but i like to think that i, and not them, have so ingrained Socratic Perplexity into my mental architecture that this serves as an sort of vaccine to bullshit.
            they prolly think the same thing about themselves,lol.
            and so it goes.
            mindfuck worked like a charm.

  4. Feral Finster

    RE: Team D primaries: don’t kid yourselves. The DNC will nominate Biden, primaries be damned, unless they don’t want to, in which case, primaries and primary challenges will have jack-all to do with their decision.

    The handicap that honest people always face when dealing with sociopaths is that they are bound by rules, and worse, assume that the sociopaths play by the same rules as they do. Sociopaths don’t play by any rules that are inconvenient at that particular moment, other than power.

    1. nippersdad

      “The DNC will nominate Biden, primaries be damned, unless they don’t want to, in which case, primaries and primary challenges will have jack-all to do with their decision.”

      I think that would be too obvious, even for the DNC. They are going to have to let the primaries proceed lest they prove the contention that everything about them is rigged. Far more subtle to use Biden as a stalking horse and Pied Piper up a nobody when they think no one is watching them.

      1. Feral Finster

        I dunno, what are voters going to do, vote for the other corporate imperialist muppet?

        Team D repeated 2016 in 2020 and face no backlash as a result.

        1. nippersdad

          I think we have been seeing the backlash since ’16. Remember, they had to take extraordinary measures to heave Biden’s carcass over the finish line in ’20, and that is something that everyone remembers. The DNC thinks they can engineer something again, but I’m not sure they can. There were only forty thousand votes last time in toss up states FTW, and a lot of the true believers, a lot of them elderly, just literally will not be there for them this this time around.

          They are in a tight jam, and they are going to need to pull off something slick to get out of it.

          1. Feral Finster

            They’re already using more extreme measures this time around and Team R hasn’t even officially chosen a candidate.

          2. Acacia

            I think we have been seeing the backlash since ’16.

            Yep. Nine million Obama-Trump voters.

            But according to the DNC Clintonista narrative, it’s all the fault of those horrible white working class deplorables, because, you know, Saint Obama was doing such wonderful work, and it was “Her Turn”, but none of those ungratefuls appreciated this and then the whole entire US just suddenly went full-on cray-cray hater, xenophobe, racist, gun-owner, etc. and that’s how Trump wuz elected.


      2. The Rev Kev

        They’ll just get Obama to make a few phone calls to get all the other candidates to stand down again leaving old Joe a clear path to shuffle down.

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          perhaps a general voting strike.
          independents abstain.
          turn your back to it.

          if whomever “wins” with 51% of 20-30% of eligible voters….does that still mean they have a “Mandate”?
          by what metric?
          “will of the people”, and all…
          let the illegitimacy shine forth, i say.

          1. fjallstrom

            In 2000 Aristide got 2.6 million votes.

            In 2010 after Aristide had been deported and his party prevented from fielding a candidate, the winner in the runoff got 0.7 million votes. Legitimacy, schmetimacy.

        2. nippersdad

          Or, they see there is a need for more primary material in order to remain relevant and extend the deadlines for registry. Do the opposite of clearing the decks and flood the zone with ringers.

          It would at least have the benefit of novelty. Not betting it will happen, but it would liven up a year that looks like it will otherwise be a political massacre of historic proportions.

  5. 5th and Mission


    Despite all the blah blah ’bout diversity, pretty much white people;
    Welcome to the Newsomverse

    “Jason Kinney, the longtime friend and adviser who caused Newsom a good deal of trouble in 2020 when the governor attended his swanky 50th birthday party at the French Laundry while encouraging Californians to avoid gatherings. That misstep follows Newsom to this day (especially in Fox News circles), but it hasn’t been enough to sever ties.”

    “Then there’s Lindsey Cobia, his longtime former deputy chief of staff who was known to stick with Newsom like a shadow, often seen darting around press events and major announcements. Cobia has now moved onto Newsom’s next big venture — she’s listed as treasurer for his “Campaign for Democracy” committee that is helping him venture into red states.”

    These are the counselors who have helped guide Newsom’s emergence over the past two decades as a national Democratic figure, and they will likely be there should he launch a long-anticipated presidential run.

  6. anaisanesse

    Estimates were given that 100 trucks/day were needed, but only a few were allowed to enter after nearly two weeks. Now I do not know. How can anyone survive?

    1. ambrit

      Most evidence suggests that the Israeli plan is for most Palestinians to not survive. Those that escape are expected to become Permanent Refugees in tent cities in the Saini. This is stealth genocide, not just an ethnic cleansing. What Tel Aviv isn’t factoring in is the “other” Palestinians living in the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. They come from the same background as the Gazans. They can see that what happens to Gaza will soon happen to them.

      1. Feral Finster

        Of course. This was obvious from the get go. What does anyone propose to do about it?

        Moral arguments are meaningless to sociopaths.

    2. nippersdad

      If they haven’t turned the power back on so that the Palestinians can get some water, all the aid trucks in the world will not help them. Huge numbers of them must be reaching the stage of inanition by now, so all talk about “aid” ring hollow when they do not address the Israeli responsibility for a good water supply to a people living in a concentration camp in the desert.

      1. GramSci

        “Inanition”. The English language very much lacks a word for “death by thirst” that has the force of “starvation”. “Dehydration” doesn’t do it. Soon the whole planet will regret the lack of such a word.

  7. nippersdad

    Re: “So, “the exhausted majority” trope made it through the filters tout suite. Interesting.”

    Lambert made a point yesterday that this “exhausted majority” thing sounds new, but from my perspective it sounds more like a retread stolen from Schlafley (Moral Majority) and Nixon (Silent Majority) that would appeal to focus group drones in the Democratic Party who would not have the least problem lifting something that worked. It was even handed to them on a plate by Pew last September….


    …no doubt as a means to reach the “Outsider Left” that they are losing in droves. Also from Pew:

    “Democratic coalition
    The Outsider Left are younger liberal voters that are skeptical of the political system and both major political parties. They make up 10% of the public and 16% of the Democratic coalition. Nearly all of the Outsider Left believe that the American political system unfairly favors powerful interests, and about half say that the government is wasteful and inefficient. They are the group most likely to say that no political candidate represents their political views and the group least likely to say that there is a “great deal of difference” between the parties. 94% of the Outsider Left voted for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. In the Democratic primary, 38% supported Bernie Sanders, 18% supported Elizabeth Warren, and 12% supported Joe Biden. Demographically, the Outsider Left are the youngest group, with 83% being under the age of 50. The group is racially diverse, with only 49% being white Americans. They are also one of the least religious groups, with 51% identifying as religiously unaffiliated.[6]”


    So Lambert’s point about seeking a populist image for a run of the mill Reagan Democrat is valid; there is a good reason that it “made it through the filters toute suite.” 16% of the Democratic coalition going on strike is something to worry about with such thin margins in presidential races, and that 94% of them voted for Biden sounds like it would be an attractive demographic to target. Obama thought so, and it worked for him.

    It is just a reiteration of the “Hope and Change” mantra from a few years back by someone who could just as easily have said, and with much more honesty, that “Nothing will fundamentally change”.

    1. Feral Finster

      Of course the Outsider Left is correct as far as it goes. However, as long as they dutifully show up on Election Day and vote Team D, it doesn’t matter whether they vote wholeheartedly, with misgivings, because they respond to the old stimuli about Roe, or out of habit.

      Their votes count exactly the same.

      1. nippersdad

        But will they? It is striking to me, watching all of the various demographics, how consistent they are in saying they will just be staying home.

        I’m calling a wave election early; they are going to lose both the Senate and the Presidency. The numbers just look disastrous for the Dems next year.

      2. GramSci

        My critique is that the electorate doesn’t know its left from its right. In this situation, “it doesn’t matter whether they vote wholeheartedly”. The only question is, have they learned?

        They would have to look beyond the ‘learning’ that is served them.

        1. fjallstrom

          Read a comment on Tumblr the other day that went something like:

          “I know I am the guy who always goes on about the importance of voting but it will be really important to support the few progressives who supported the Palestinians.

          Biden? He is on his own.”

          So, this is an account that has the profile of “remember to vote, your vote matters” among young USians on the left, and they have written of Biden.

  8. Irrational

    A contribution to the crapification topic:
    My mother-in-law booked a flight US-Europe and back (a stop in the US, a stop in Europe both ways) on the website of United to join her son and myself on a holiday close to Europe.
    A few days before the flight she checked her booking and the European leg (with European airlines) was missing in both directions. After 4 calls to United they claimed to have fixed it, but when she got to Zurich Swiss told her they had no record of a booking. They did put her on the next flight – 4 hours later – as a gesture of goodwill. Of course, her bags arrived on the flight after that – though still the same day.
    On the return: flight msising from the itinerary again. After two hours with United, they claimed to have fixed it, but that it could take up to 24 hours to confirm. Since the flight less than 20 hours from now, we were not impressed and even less so with United’s suggestion that we re-book at our expense at a later date. They finally gave us a phone number of the other airline and we got the right booking reference to check her in. Again, the bag did not make it, but finally appeared 2-3 days later.
    United is busy washing their hands of this failure to transport passenger and luggage, blaming the other airlines for something that looks like a United IT or other communications problem and refusing compensation. I realize this is not quite “drag-down-the-aisle” worthy, but I still find it astonishing and pretty harrowing for a lady in her 70s on her first solo international trip ever.

    1. Joe Well

      The last international flight I checked in for, on American, the elderly gentleman trying to check in next to me was told that he had made a “reservation” but that reservation hadn’t been “ticketed” and so he was dead out of luck, no flight for him unless he wished to purchase at the extortionate rate the airline would charge then and there at the counter.

      What a mess they’ve made out of travel. I’m so sorry for your mother-in-law, I’m glad she was able to make it back safely.

  9. Wukchumni

    “3 Expert Shoemakers Say Ron DeSantis Is Probably Wearing Height Boosters” [Politico].
    …a sequel to Hedwig and the Angry Inch?

    1. rowf

      In Georgia (USA) we would likely say you have a Peach Pass to Hell. /s

      I’ll see you in the fast lane. If we are on the express bus I have dibs on the window seat.

  10. ChrisRUEcon

    #BidenPrimaryChallenges #TinkerTailorAllTheThings

    > So, “the exhausted majority” trope made it through the filters tout suite. Interesting.

    Ha! Remember when Smiley and Guillam are sitting in the Citroën after Smiley’s has hid chat with Prideaux?!

    Both Smiley and Guillam realize something is odd: how on earth did Esterhase hear about “tinker tailor”?!

    One gets the same feeling here … to me it feels like a trial balloon. Float Phillips, and if he stirs “the exhausted majority”, maybe that’s when Pritzker and/or Newsom jump in … ?

    As always, though … it may well be just another flat out deception. To wit … (via X/Twitter)

    1. nippersdad

      Josh Gottheimer would have been on my presidential bingo card as the insurgent but for the glee, and subsequent high profile that it gained him, with which he tried to use the tattered remnants of the BBB for property tax cuts for rich people on the coasts.

      Otherwise, I think Pritzker would equal Bloomberg this cycle. Could Newsom be the new Deval Patrick?

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > Otherwise, I think Pritzker would equal Bloomberg this cycle. Could Newsom be the new Deval Patrick?

        Ooooooh … spider senses tingling here … the courtesy phone in Kalorama remains untouched!

        1. lambert strether

          You are quite right, IMNSHO, to include “the courtesy phone in Kalorama” (nice trope) in the mix. Note that the Pritzker clan Illinois-based, and long-time Obama funders.

          I say clan because oligarchs often choose that primitive and reactionary way to organize themselves. Newsome too (the Gettys).

    2. marym

      During the Trump years “I’m so exhausted” was a very common team Blue reply to tweets about something he said or did.

      It’s odd to see it in this new context. I’d imagine those who were devoted to the point of exhaustion to monitoring and commenting on Trump would be “our democracy hangs in the balance” Bidenists.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        > During the Trump years “I’m so exhausted” was a very common team Blue reply to tweets about something he said or did. It’s odd to see it in this new context.

        Yes, yes … thanks for this reminder … so turning that trope inward (from a team Blue perspective) is indeed noteworthy. Have the Bidenists been caught flat footed? Or is this another attempt at sheep-dogging via a fauxlternative?

        Once again, #TinkerTailor:

        ” … I’m afraid someone in the Beltway Circus knows how crap Biden is all about Mr. Tarr … and is doing everything they can to discredit him.”

      2. rowlf

        Even if I do not agree with everything you post you do bring up good points and supporting references.

        Thanks for keeping it real and digging up stuff. I’ll take facts over narrative anytime. Kudos.

  11. Tom Stone

    Did the People of Palestine stop being Semites before or after they became Dangerous “Human Animals” that need to be eradicated?
    Asking for a Friend…

  12. Wukchumni

    Isn’t it weird that no cameras are still not allowed in most courts in the USA and thus it keeps courtroom artists in business doing their ersatz LeRoy Neiman-like portraits (he seemed to be all about speed-how quick could he bang them out?) of perps.

    I really want to see Samson B-F in the flesh, but for now a reasonable facsimile will have to suffice.

    Bankman-Fried looks like he’s going to the all-bar motel for an extended stay, his defense essentially falling back on the time-tested sobriquet of many a promising juvenile delinquent:

    ‘The dog ate my homework!’

    1. Wukchumni


      The amount of money we’re talking about with FTX was in the neighborhood of $30 billion, and around the turn of the century Enron took California to the tune of about that much, and at the time I remember thinking $30 billion was all the money in the world, but now its just a slight trifle… we’ve moved onto trillions.

    2. GramSci

      Be careful what you wish for, Wuk.

      The motto of most courts in the US is “Democracy dies in darkness”.

      1. Wukchumni

        I guess it just strikes me as quaint…

        …imagine the only guns the public was allowed to possess were flintlock rifles, despite technological advances since then?

  13. Jason Boxman

    Ban Trump from 2024 ballot? Why courts should rule he can’t serve as president again

    So the fact that he omitted key text gives up the goat here; this is a dishonest act of politicing, trying the case in the court of public opinion, rather than based on the actual text and intent of the amendment. Given the gravity of the situation, you’d think we’d want to get this right, rather than simply omit key portions of the actual text in question. What a joke.

    We can play this game with any part of the Constitution, just ellipsis out whatever is undesirable. Doing it for the middle of a sentence on which the whole theory turns is truly top marks though.

    1. lambert strether

      > a dishonest act of politicing

      Wait, this is Larry Tribe we’re talking here. Are you sure about this?!

      Actually. I nailed a [genuflects] constitushimalous lawyer on a fine point in a case he should know intimately. I am but a humble blogger, sparked by simple joys such as this.

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Trial begins in lawsuit attempting to block Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential primary ballot’

    Having got my legal license from the back of a box of corn flakes, one thing struck me about all this lawfare. They are trying to strike him off from running because he “said stuff” on January 6th that makes him guilty of insurrection or something. Naturally they are using a law that was designed for use against ex-Confederates but since the last Confederate died some 65 years ago, that is a bit of a stretch. Point is, don’t they have to find him guilty in a court of law first of those original charges? And I ain’t whistling Dixie here. They appear to be making things up as they go along and I should not be surprised. When you push for a rules-based order, it is only a matter of time till this idea makes it’s way back home.

    1. nippersdad

      The mere idea that Jan. 6th had any resemblance to firing on Fort Sumter is laughable. In this case, were I the judge, I would be asking the prosecutors for pictures of the cannons used that day.

      If the glove don’t fit you have to acquit, right?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Point is, don’t they have to find him guilty in a court of law first of those original charges?

      Not if you buy Baude and Paulsen’s argument that Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is self-executing. August 15:

      “The constitutional case that Donald Trump is already banned from being president” [Vox]. “On Baude and Paulsen’s read, Section 3 is ‘self-executing‘ — meaning it does not require an act of Congress to enter force and binds those public officials in the position to act on its dictates. Basically, if a single official anywhere in the US electoral system finds their constitutional analysis compelling, Baude and Paulsen urge them to act on it.” [•] No court determination needed. Agree or disagree, that is what Baude and Paulsen say.

      I find Baude and Paulsen’s “self-executing” argument a reasonable reading (albeit a clear change in the Constitutional order). Not compelling at all is the reading that the President is an “an officer of the United States.” If they are not, then Section Three does not apply to Presidents.

      I believe that there is a least one secretary of state (too lazy to find the link) who has, in fact, said that they have to wait for a court to make the determination that Trump is an insurrectionist (which will be hard, because he’s never been charged with that (oddly)). But that doesn’t mean that Section Three isn’t self-executing; it just indicates that the self-execution did not have the outcome desired by some.

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Ryan Grim
    The White House just compared “anti-Israel protesters” — the phrase used by the Fox News reporter in his question — to the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville.’

    That reporter was feeding her those questions, that much is clear. Funny how the White House can get people to hate a country like Iran and that is OK but once you start hating a country like Israel, suddenly it is all about antisemitism, Trump, hate speech and the like. Are you allowed to like Israel but hate Zionism? They are not actually one and the same but the political establishment wants them to be so. The worse thing about the present Gaza war is that it has forced a lot of governments, media and right-thinkers to get undressed in public because of what they are saying – and it is not a pretty sight.

    1. Wukchumni

      When you’re in Utah, its Zions this & Zion that, and I think according to Moroni and his golden plates, Mormons were descended from an ancient Jewish tribe, so there’s that.

      But you don’t get that Zionism vibe.

    2. nippersdad

      That was the real issue back when the Congress was trying to empower into law the IHRA definition of anti-semitism a few years back. I don’t think it actually passed, but it is not as if that mattered to anyone with the power of the bully pulpit…..

      “The fight against antisemitism must, however, be approached in a principled manner, lest it defeat its purpose. Through “examples” that it provides, the IHRA definition conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists, and that the state of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews. We profoundly disagree with this. The fight against antisemitism should not be turned into a stratagem to delegitimise the fight against the oppression of the Palestinians, the denial of their rights and the continued occupation of their land.”


      ….and now it is coming back to bite them in the butt. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of toe rags, IMHO.

      1. lambert strether

        > the IHRA definition conflates Judaism with Zionism in assuming that all Jews are Zionists, and that the state of Israel in its current reality embodies the self-determination of all Jews

        I believe the IHRA was what PLP + Brit spooks + Brit press + the Israeli embassy used to smear and take down Corbyn. So the most vile and tendentious stuff imaginable. Now coming to an election near you!

    3. SG

      More to the point, Rev Kev, are you allowed to favor Zionism (as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people) but dislike the current Israeli government and its policies? And if you believe that Israelis are “living on stolen land” (in spite of being just as indigenous to it as the Palestinians) and ought to lose their nationhood (if not their lives) as a result, why do you not feel the same way about Americans or Australians? If you think a “militant” from Hamas is justified in breaking into a home in a kibbutz and killing its residents, would you be similarly tolerant of a Penobscot “militant” doing the same to a house in Bangor (or Deo nolente to our own Mr. Strether)? There seems to be a bit of double standard at work here.

      1. The Rev Kev

        @ SG – Personally I do not care what religion a person is which is why I never ask. It is not my business. They are free to say that the are Catholic or Protestant or Islamic to me but as far as I am concerned, that is like them saying that ‘I have brown hair’ or ‘I vote for this party.’ So for me it is a case of don’t know, don’t care. What I do have a problem with is the extremists of any religion and I mean any religion. So Christian Fundamentalists trying to bomb an abortion clinic and kill the women and staff there? Yeah, I certainly have a problem with that. Islamic extremists beheading people who don’t follow their particular brand while blowing up world heritage sites. You’d better believe that I have a problem with that. Ultra-Orthodox extremists in Israel who says their religion entitles them to not only kill the non-believers but also their children and even their babies? Bloody oath I have a problem with that. And guess what? The guy who said that last quote was soon after made the Head Rabbi of the Israeli Army. It is always the extremists of any religion that are the worse people that you can find and cause untold suffering and misery.

        As for the issue of Palestinian lands, I would ask what the Israeli end game is. They have sabotaged any possibility of a second State ever since the Oslo Accords so that is no longer possible. So what does Israel intend to do with the 7 million Palestinians that are still there? What are their plans for them? How do they all see this ending? And as the Utra-Orthodox have six or seven kids each, where is Israel going to get the land from to house them all as each year passes? Even if they steal Gaza and the West Bank, in another generation they will need still more land. What you see now in Gaza is simply the beginning of a wider conflict.

        1. Acacia

          And as the Ultra-Orthodox have six or seven kids each, where is Israel going to get the land from to house them all as each year passes?

          A good question, that. We should also consider the land for all the ultra-Orthodox immigrants that Israel continues to welcome, e.g.:

          ‘Cleansed by the Torah’: Why These Afrikaners Converted to Judaism and Moved to Israel [Haaretz]

          Among the first Afrikaner converts to make aliyah were the Taljaards from Randfontein, a gold-mining city near Johannesburg. They came in the mid-1990s and began raising sheep in the settlement of Susya, where they were often involved in violent clashes with Palestinians from nearby villages in the South Hebron Hills. Jacob, the eldest of 14 children in the family, was killed in a tractor accident several years ago. He once famously told an Israeli television reporter that he “loved” the apartheid system and thought it was “the best thing in the world.”

          When they tell you who they are…

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          “I don’t care what anybody does, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”

          This applies to religion as well as sexual behavior (assuming the two to be different). And settler or settler-adjacent Israelis attempting to sacrifice a goat on the grounds of the Al Aqsa mosque definitely falls into the category of “frighten the horses.”

  16. SG

    Press now in full pulling-wings-off-flies mode.

    Given the governor’s prior experience at Gitmo, that seems strangely appropriate.

  17. SG

    As much as I dislike Trump, I think these “14th Amendment” challenges are really dangerous. Trump hasn’t even been charged with sedition or insurrection. For a state official to preempt the judicial system in this way just seems not only like appalling overreach, but I think it denies him the presumption of innocence to which he is entitled. Beat him at the ballot box, for [family blog]’s sake.

    1. Acacia

      Beat him at the ballot box, for [family blog]’s sake.

      Yep. They’re using lawfare because it may be the only way they can ‘win’.

        1. ambrit

          That would depend on the definition of “deimos.”
          That sounds ‘catchy,’ “deimoscracy.” Feels eerily familiar.

    2. Pat

      The Democrats have spent most of the last decade at least trying desperately to keep anyone who might even remotely offer what their brand used to stand for off the ballot. When all you have to offer is candidates continuing and expanding things introduced by the supposed opposition it gets harder and harder to win at the ballot box. Somebody, even if unlikely to win, pointing out how empty their campaigns are makes that even harder. Getting people off the ballot is their go to. That it is finally directed at a major candidate and is about an event that has their grubby little fingerprints all over it is just the ultimate escalation.

  18. Taurus

    Re: NH primary- it is very likely that the write-in campaign is going to fail. In NH you can declare at the polls which primary you want to vote in by switching your affiliation (if I remember a plurality maintain independent affiliation for this purpose).

    There are no warm feelings towards the DNC by even registered Democrats because of “first-in-the-nation” loss.Remember, Biden pushed for it.

    My guess is many people stay home for the primaries, Biden doesn’t make it, and you might get a large enough group behind Kennedy to make some noise in NH for the general.

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