2:00PM Water Cooler 11/14/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I am on the road today, so I am posting Water Cooler when I have connectivity, as opposed to having burnished it to a gloss of perfection. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Hermit Thrush, Shindagin Hollow SF–Shindagin Hollow Rd. Wetland, Tompkins, New York, United States. “Single agitated bird perched on rocks on ‘cliff’ face.”

* * *

Look for the Helpers

“Eldercare, Family Caretaking, and End-of-life Logistics: Stuff I Learned” [Cogito, Ergo Sumana]. • Begone, Debbie Downer! If any of you are in this situation, you will find lots of good information aggregated here. This caught my eye, as something to arrange: “That music kept him company, and was playing when he died.” I played my mother Schubert, from some CDs that she had.


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

Biden Administration

“Billionaires discuss $50 million anti-Hamas media blitz” [Semafor]. Interesting:

Wall Street and Hollywood billionaires have discussed in recent weeks a plan to spend as much as $50 million on a media campaign to “”define Hamas to the American people as a terrorist organization.””

Real-estate billionaire Barry Sternlicht launched the campaign in the days after the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, and in an email viewed by Semafor, sought $1 million donations each from dozens of the business world’s wealthiest people.

He wrote that he’d had “”a great conversation”” about the effort with CNN owner David Zaslav, and that Endeavor CEO and talent agent Ari Emanuel had agreed to coordinate the campaign, though spokespeople for both men said they aren’t involved now.

The campaign would aim to “”distinguish between anti-Semites and the Palestinian situation,”” he wrote, as U.S and global media increasingly focus coverage on deaths in Gaza, potentially eroding sympathy and support for Israel.

“”Public opinion will surely shift as scenes, real or fabricated by Hamas, of civilian Palestinian suffering will surely erode [Israel’s] current empathy in the world community,”” he wrote. “”We must get ahead of the narrative.””

The email was sent to more than 50 household names, including media mogul David Geffen, investors Michael Milken and Nelson Peltz, and tech luminaries Eric Schmidt and Michael Dell. All told, the recipients have a net worth of nearly $500 billion, according to Bloomberg and Forbes data.

It’s unclear how far the effort has advanced or who is on board, but it has raised several million dollars, hired Josh Vlasto, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to advise it, and quietly launched a website, people familiar with the matter said.

Some of those on the chain have been vocal already. Investor Bill Ackman and Apollo CEO Marc Rowan criticized universities for their handling of pro-Palestinian student demonstrations, and Michael Bloomberg donated $44 million to Israel’s nonprofit emergency medical service.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump dances:

(Subtext: Let’s see Sleepy Joe do that!) As to liberals, but to his tune, did they know it:

One thing that has always fascinated me about coarse liberal rhetoric is how shoddy and ill-thought-out the writing is. They just don’t do it well. (I mean, the idea that Trump would towel off his ginormous cullions personally. He has people for that!)

* * *

“Biden family’s big-money deals in China in background when president meets with Xi Jinping” [Washington Times]. “House and Senate lawmakers have exposed evidence of Mr. Biden’s at least tangential involvement in his family’s lucrative foreign business deals, including contracts that raked in nearly $5 million from companies linked to the Chinese Communist Party. Critics say the Biden family’s deals with China will be among the factors that weaken the president’s hand with Mr. Xi. Mr. Biden’s visit with Mr. Xi is set for Wednesday in the San Francisco area during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Meanwhile, House investigators are accelerating an inquiry into Biden family foreign business deals and what role Mr. Biden played while serving as vice president and shortly after leaving office. Companies tied to the Chinese Communist Party figured prominently in the business portfolios of Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden and the president’s brother James Biden and brought the family the most money. According to records obtained by congressional investigators, deals with the now-defunct Chinese energy company CEFC brought in nearly $5 million for Hunter Biden and James Biden. House investigators have linked a $40,000 check that James Biden sent to Mr. Biden in 2017 to a CEFC deal. CEFC is linked to the Chinese Communist Party and its military, the People’s Liberation Army.” • Again, $5 million? That’s all? And there are a lot of Bidens, so whent the split was complete I can’t imagine any of them did very well out of it. New marble countertops, maybe. A backyard pool.

* * *

“Here’s How Biden Can Turn It Around” [Politico]. “For Biden to win reelection, however, he must make changes. I spoke with dozens of Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans about what the president can do on personnel, presentation and strategy to improve his prospects. Their suggestions (pleadings?) are below. The level of despair was striking….. What’s notable is both the uniformity of these anxieties — there’s no faction in denial — and how they mirror the discontent of the broader public. Far from being merely the stuff of “”Beltway chatter,”” as Biden’s aides dismiss any criticism, there’s no divergence between Democratic elites and the electorate. That’s because the main causes for concern are clear as day: Biden’s age and the cost of living.” I saved the deck. Here it is: “Top Democrats agree that the president needs more aggressiveness, more help from his friends and a few more friends. Liz Cheney, Rahm Emanuel and Mitt Romney can help.” Oh my. The article also includes this striking passage: “Calling David Axelrod ‘a prick,’ as a person who has heard Biden use the word says he does in private, is not a strategy to win 270 electoral votes.” • Biden is not notably thick-skinned, but in this case, I think it’s The Wizard of Kalorama’s grinning visage, peeking out from behind his puppet, that has Biden ticked off. And on the other side of the pond, the Daily Mail amps up the fun part–

“‘Get out or get going’: Furious David Axelrod demands Biden, 80, offer hope to the American people after president called him a ‘pri**’ for calling him too old for White House and highlighting his dismal polling” [Daily Mail]. “Democrat political strategist David Axelrod has hit back at Joe Biden for calling him a ‘pr***’ – by telling him to ‘either get out or get going’ with his 2024 campaign. It marks bubbling tensions between the political heavyweights reaching a boiling point, after Axelrod – Obama’s chief strategist – sparked their feud by highlighting Biden’s advancing age and declining position in the polls.” • There’s a timeline!

“Biden Is Losing Black Voters. Here’s Why It Matters” [Wall Street Journal]. “Heading into 2024, Democrats are sounding alarms about losing voters like Smith. Black voter turnout fell during the 2022 midterm elections compared with the previous midterms, and polling and interviews with voters show growing dissatisfaction over the economy and Biden’s leadership. Any decline with these voters could be fatal for the re-election of Biden, whose path to victory depends on building a diverse coalition of voters in six or so closely fought battleground states. Wage gains have cooled more dramatically for Black workers than other Americans. Median weekly earnings for Black workers employed full time rose 4.2% in the third quarter from a year earlier, versus a 10.3% gain the prior year. Overall wages rose 4.5% last quarter, down from a 6.9% increase in the third quarter of 2022. Party leaders are chiefly concerned about diminished Black voter turnout, but are also worried that some of these voters will instead back Republicans… Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black vice president and first of Indian descent [what an awkward formulation], is also reaching out to Black audiences, visiting historically Black colleges and gatherings of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically Black sorority.” • So Harris is, in a word, bougie? That should bring out the voters! Like the voters who cheered Trump’s motorcade on his way to his booking in Atlanta…. 

* * *

“How Nikki Haley is trying to seize the moment and take out DeSantis” [Washington Examiner]. “Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has reserved $10 million for advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two first nominating contests, as she seeks to overcome Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) as the top alternative candidate to former President Donald Trump. The television, radio, and digital advertising will begin the first week of December and marks Haley’s first advertising reservation, according to the Associated Press. The campaign will run through the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire’s primary. In contrast, DeSantis’s campaign has reserved a $2 million ad buy in Iowa that will begin this month and run through the Iowa caucuses… DeSantis has made Iowa the cornerstone of his campaign’s path to victory in the GOP primary. He won the coveted endorsement of Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) last week and has pledged to visit all 99 counties in the state.” • Also campaign manager hakka.

* * *

“Can Trump and Biden Bring Down the Two-Party System?” [Wall Street Journal]. “The possibility in our current political moment is a strange inversion from the last time a serious third-party contender ran. In 1992, the two main party candidates were both, for all their flaws, plausible and mainstream political figures. Bill Clinton was the New Democrat who had repudiated much of the unelectable left-wing extremism [(!!)] of his party in the 1970s and 1980s. He might have campaigned promising a big stimulus, but he reversed course and governed on fiscal prudence. George H.W. Bush was the model of genteel moderate Republicanism, a successful president ambushed by a brief moment of national angst.

Yet Ross Perot, campaigning on the single issue of deficit reduction, might have done even better than his 19% he got if he hadn’t—thanks to a weird and apparently paranoid grudge against the Bush family—seemed just too unorthodox for the presidency. In 1992 then we had two main party candidates who essentially campaigned and governed from the center, almost bested by a third-party eccentric focused on a single issue.

This time around we have two main party candidates who in their different ways are outside the historical mainstream, unorthodox and extreme, and a potential third-party candidate who embodies a craving for orthodoxy. If the third party came as close as it did in 1992, could it get even closer in 2024?” • Hmm.

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.

* * *

“Rep. Abigail Spanberger Announces Run for Virginia Governor” [The Messenger]. • Spanberger 2028! (Spanberger is. of course, a CIA Democrat. Wny not, after all, give the spooks direct control over the executive branch? Working through cut-outs is so annoying!) 


“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!

* * *


“AITAH for going on vacation with COVID?” [r/AITAH, Reddit]. Because I can’t bear to edit this down:

Me (M26) and my wife (F25) married about two months ago, and finally saved up for a proper honeymoon to Paris about a month after our wedding. When the time rolled around last Saturday, I was unfortunately quite ill (coughing, etc, all the works) – so much so that I decided to take a COVID test, which, of course, had to come back positive.

This posed an issue as I knew if I told my wife she would likely want us to cancel/move the honeymoon, and the package we had purchased would have meant this would be a costly venture. Instead, I told her it was negative and just a common cold, so, we set off in time.

Having landed in Paris and arrived at our hotel, we were discussing plans for the first few days, and she started an argument over my illness, saying that she didn’t think it would be good for me to go somewhere yet, as I was ‘too ill’. I told her that if that was a problem, why did we go on the flight? The argument continued, and ended when I made the misjudgement to tell my wife that I had covid, and that didn’t prevent me going on the flight in the first place.

Despite trying to explain to her my logic, and how expensive not going in time would be, this revelation has put a spanner into our honeymoon plans thus far, and we’ve not done much since – aside from her arguing and berating me for going with COVID in the first. Is she right, and AITA, or was I right to care about expenses?

EDIT: I should add that I made sure to take precautions at the airport/in-flight. I wore a mask, throughout the entire flight, and tried to stay away from crowded areas at much as possible.

I kept scrolling down the responsses, and “YTA” was near-universal. Progress is being made!

“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

“Critics Say CDC Advisors’ Infection Control Guidance Isn’t Strong Enough” [MedPage Today]. “Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN, president of National Nurses United (NNU), called the draft guidance ‘permissive and weak’ in a statement following the meeting. ‘This draft guidance will only further degrade the already dangerous working conditions of nurses and other healthcare workers,’ she said. Several groups — including NNU, Cal/OSHA, the People’s CDC, and Project N95 — have rallied opposition to the draft guidance, which updates recommendations from 2007. Ever since HICPAC presented the evidence review for the guidance in June, these groups have chargedopens in a new tab or window that it doesn’t go far enough to adequately protect healthcare workers and patients. They’ve organized public commentary and have urged the CDC to incorporate stronger protections into the guidelines. That evidence review concludedopens in a new tab or window that there’s no difference in seasonal respiratory virus infection rates for healthcare workers whether they use N95 or surgical masks during routine patient care. In an email, a CDC spokesperson told MedPage Today that ‘Additional analyses have been performed to address feedback that has been received since the initial presentation [of the evidence review] in June 2023. The evidence reviews have been posted on the HICPAC website to ensure full transparency and to allow for more in depth review by stakeholders.” • See here and give the HHS Inspector General a call. The process is far from transparent.

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 6:

Lambert here: Cases up, just in time for Thanksgiving (and tinfoil hat time: This is the, er, inflection point CDC was trying to conceal when they gave the contract to Verily and didn’t ensure a seamless transition).

Regional data:



From CDC, November 11:

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 28:

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, November 4:

Lambert here: Still 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 November 13:

A definite decrease. Should be up in two weeks, though! (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. November 4:

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, November 13:                                                                                       

0.6%. But bouncing around. (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, November 4:

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.

From CDC, traveler’s data, October 23:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, still from November 2:

Sudden big BA.2.86 appearance. This variant chart has not been updated, which makes me wonder if CDC is gaming the data, and BA.2.86 is worse than we think.


Total: 1,181,894 – 1,181,872 – 1,181,863 – 1,181,620 = 22 (22 * 365 = 3285 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, November 14:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Business Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States edged down for a third consecutive month to 90.7 in October 2023, the lowest since May, from 90.8 in September, but beating forecasts of 90.5. 43% of all owners reported job openings they could not fill, unchanged from September.” • Wow, what could have happened to the labor market?

* * *

Shipping: “The Panama Canal is so congested that one ship owner just paid a record $4 million to skip to the front of the line” [Fortune]. “A shipper has paid nearly $4 million to jump to the front of the line at the congested Panama Canal waterway, a record high.” 

Tech: “Adobe’s $20bn deal to buy Figma faces fresh challenge in Brussels” [Financial Times]. “Adobe’s $20bn deal to buy Figma is facing a fresh setback as regulators in Brussels prepare to file anti-competitive charges against the companies, an escalation that signals the EU believes the acquisition will harm rivals in the digital design market. The charges, which might come as early as this week, will flesh out the EU’s concerns that the merger could lead to less innovation and higher prices, according to two people with direct knowledge of the probe.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Fear (previous close: 40 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 13 at 1:52:13 PM ET.

Class Warfare

“UAW workers at major Ford and GM truck plants vote ‘no’ on record contract deals” [NPR]. “According to vote trackers on the UAW’s website, 54.5% of the 4,118 ballots cast in Kentucky — Ford’s largest plant — were no votes, the results showed Monday. The plant, which builds Ford’s F-Series Super Duty pickup trucks among other models, is estimated to employ 8,700 workers. This indicates that the road ahead for the UAW may not be as smooth as union leadership had hoped for, after reaching record agreements with all three major automakers following a six-week auto strike. This comes after another loss last week, when 52% of the 3,425 ballots cast at General Motors’ Flint Assembly plant were also no votes. Roughly 4,700 workers at that plant build Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.”

“Why thousands of UAW autoworkers are voting ‘no’ on Big 3’s ‘life-changing’ contracts” [NPR]. “Jerry Coleman, who’s worked at the Stellantis Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, as a temporary employee since 2018, says he’s a definite no vote. ‘If I could vote no ten times, I would,’ he says. A large part of it is distrust. After reading the contract language, he’s not convinced Stellantis will follow through with what’s been promised, including a conversion to permanent status for temps like himself. But beyond that, he’s frustrated that only by 2027 will autoworkers’ wages reach what they were twenty years ago, when adjusted for inflation. Concessions made just before the 2008 financial crisis cut auto wages in half and ended lifelong retirement benefits, relieving the Big 3 of a crippling cost burden. ‘[Autoworkers] lost everything in one contract,” Coleman says. “There’s no reason why they can’t give this stuff back to us in one contract.'” • Hysteresis….

“Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean AI’s not after you” [The Register]. The deck: “Brit telco BT’s digital boss asks people ‘how did horses feel when cars were invented? They didn’t complain or go on strike.'”

News of the Wired

“Many Popular Houses in L.A. Were Part of a Scam by a Con Artist Who Disappeared” [Atlas Obscura]. “For the location of his next con, Janes chose the unincorporated rural community of Altadena in northeast L.A. The clean air and secluded location had long made the area a haven for tuberculosis patients and bootleggers alike, but it was cheap land, low taxes, and a booming population that attracted Janes. Within a few months he had dispatched scores of construction workers across dozens of newly cut lots. Like Keystone Cops with hammers and saws, they assembled a house a day. Altadena did not require building permits, so no blueprints were filed, but it appears that Janes tweaked widely available single-story house plans to include English cottage touches such as nested, ‘cat-slide’ gables and steep Coldswold-inspired roofs with warped (composite) shingles. He then hawked his quaint properties relentlessly. By day, sedans emblazoned with ‘E. P. Janes, Builder of Fine Homes’ chirred around town. By night, the E. P. Janes Concert Hour aired on KFWB, the new Warner Brothers radio station. He rebranded the real estate pages of local newspapers ‘The E. P. Janes Section’ and filled them with breathless stories, shilling for tradesmen, dissing greedy landlords, and hyping amenities such as in-ground sprinklers, Batchelder tile, 56 electric outlets per home, and grounds ‘all dolled up with lawn, shrubbery, walks, etc.’ In the fall of 1925, cars jammed the streets of his ‘sun-bathed, fog-free, exclusive’ subdivision as 50,000 gawkers traipsed through the three-bedroom models of his ‘Homes Beautiful’ expo.” Great stuff! Key point: “He dealt only in trust deeds, which protected him in case a borrower defaulted, leaving a bank to clean up the mess.” • Of course, in Los Angeles, it’s houses. In San Francisco, it’s firms! The perennial rivalry… 

* * *

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TH writes: “So, Agave (maybe blue?) and I’m always mixing up yellow flowers – are these Mexican Sunflowers?”

* * *

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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. Wukchumni

    “Many Popular Houses in L.A. Were Part of a Scam by a Con Artist Who Disappeared” [Atlas Obscura]. “For the location of his next con, Janes chose the unincorporated rural community of Altadena in northeast L.A. The clean air and secluded location had long made the area a haven for tuberculosis patients and bootleggers alike, but it was cheap land, low taxes, and a booming population that attracted Janes.
    I read an account from the 1880’s LA housing bubble that homes which had non-citrus trees on the lot, had oranges pinned on them in a bit of 19th century staging, nothing ever changes!

    1. Lee

      Wildlife news from down your way: A wolf pack has been established in Tulare County

      I had no idea that wolves had ranged that far south in our state. Just as elsewhere, ranchers are not happy. They might have to actually get out there and tend their livestock or hire others to do so.

      According to the article the report comes from the California department of “Fish and Wildfire”. Somebody needs a copy editor.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > California department of “Fish and Wildfire”.

        That does seem wrong. The department responsible for Wildfire is under the Public Utilities Commission, or so I have heard.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘I read an account from the 1880’s LA housing bubble that homes which had non-citrus trees on the lot, had oranges pinned on them in a bit of 19th century staging, nothing ever changes!’

      Back during the Florida land boom of the 1920s, a block of land might get sold and re-sold several times until someone would go to check on it only to find that it lay under twenty feet of water-


  2. Samuel Conner

    Re: plantidote, those don’t look like the Tithonia/Mexican Sunflower species with which I am familiar (short, leaves too small, blossom location biased to the top of the plant), but maybe the genus is bigger than I’m aware.

    > Wall Street and Hollywood billionaires have discussed in recent weeks a plan to spend as much as $50 million on a media campaign

    It seems to me that a central premise of this effort must be that American public opinion is meaningfully determinative of what happens in the world.

    The “rest of world” seems to be moving beyond the “unipolar moment.”

    Are they high on own supply?

    1. jo6pac

      On this weekend 49er game there was an ad for how Jews were becoming crime victims at a very high rate.

      Propaganda at its finest.

        1. Feral Finster

          A couple of years ago, we were assured that there was a terrifying wave of violence against Asians. Not only did the statistics in many cities not bear this out, in many other cases, the rates of violent crime against Asians were so low that a few additional reports of violent crime would cause the relevant statistic to spike.

          If a population suffers three incidents in a given year, reporting four incidents the next year seems like a huge increase when it’s more likely statistical noise.

          Of course, this was at a time when Asians were needed to fall in line and vote Team D, so encouraging Asian fear (since many Asians see Team R as the party of white Christian nationalism) was important at that time.

        2. nippersdad


          One sees things like that and wonders if they aren’t forgetting somebody; all those black people getting whacked by the police every day could be forgiven for wondering about that. But the obvious answer to all of these problems is to convert to Judaism and move to Israel.

          That should do the trick very nicely.

  3. John k

    I belatedly looked at west’s speech in WC, thanks for that, very powerful. I’m gonna waste my vote on him.
    Imo he’d be even more dangerous to Biden if he got back into the race for dem nom, granted it would be dangerous. If he keeps this up to the election I suspect he’ll suck up a lot of votes from dems and indies, even sone from reps.

    1. Mark Gisleson

      I keep seeing RFK Jr tweets (I do follow him) but I also follow Cornel West and rarely see his tweets. This ticked off my inner reptile (who btw writes all my political comments and, for a reptile, is very good looking and quite charming ; ) so I went to CW’s profile page where I discovered he was tweeting at least once a day, often two or three times and always about serious matters.

      The less I use Twitter/X, the less useful it is to me because now I mostly see chaff. Then again, there’s a lot of chaff everywhere. My gut brain (who I have wisely given veto power over my inner reptile) has no sense of what’s actually happening right now (right or wrong my gut always has an opinion). Chaff is a tell. You see it when other things are being covered up. ‘There’s a dead elephant in the living room? All I see are stacks of old newspapers…’

      Things are leaked to distract from worse things and it’s hard to sort out the unraveling from the depantsings as the public finally sees the things that can’t be unseen. Whatever’s happening right now may change things, at least my sources say you may rely on it. I realize this is single-sourced but my trust in this forecaster goes back decades.

  4. Reply

    RFK, Jr. is looking better to many because of a perception that the current two-party system is broken. That system works for electees and keeps them rolling in soft money, getting re-elected and grifting. The electors, not so much.

    That is before stopping to consider whether any of those electees follow the will of their constituents. Easy question, and the answer is Not only No, but Hell No.

  5. Samuel Conner

    > “Biden Is Losing Black Voters. Here’s Why It Matters”

    YouTube has for several weeks been serving me adverts about how “Biden’s economy is working for Black Americans”. It’s pretty good electioneering, in my doubtless badly informed opinion, but it would be better if they didn’t include a clip of JRB ambling across a lawn. He looks very frail.

    1. nippersdad

      I had been wondering why I have seen nothing from the Democratic party on my feed these days, but it looks like the algorithms do not like all of the RBN’s and Sabby Sabs type of channels that I have subscribed to. AI must have given them up as a lost cause, and it was right for them to do so as those channels are making no bones about their contempt for the Democratic party.

  6. Carolinian

    Does anyone other than those smug millionaires and Biden himself think that four more years of this guy wouldn’t be a nightmare? At least with Trump we’d have the nightmare we already know and it wasn’t nearly as bad. Trump, for all of his loudmouth ranting, is a lot more cautious. Plus the media would be against him and that could be helpful.

    And from the sounds coming out of the ongoing impeachment inquiry Biden may need to resign just to protect himself. He is our Mad King Joe.

  7. Benny Profane

    Does Seth Myers still have a tv show?

    I’m getting old, so I rarely stay up late to watch these shows, but the NYT likes to summarize them for me, which I only read the headlines, and think, huh, there’s a ton of Trump and Republican haters watching these shows and getting low quantities of sleep. I couldn’t imagine staying up until midnight to listen to a mid level comedian go on about the Republican debates. I mean, seriously, who cares?

  8. Feral Finster

    “Yet Ross Perot, campaigning on the single issue of deficit reduction, might have done even better than his 19% he got if he hadn’t—thanks to a weird and apparently paranoid grudge against the Bush family—seemed just too unorthodox for the presidency. In 1992 then we had two main party candidates who essentially campaigned and governed from the center, almost bested by a third-party eccentric focused on a single issue.”

    IIRC, Perot was actually leading Clinton and Bush for a while in 1992, when he decided to drop out. Later, he decided to drop back in again, thus alienating all but diehards.

    That said, had Perot not returned to the race, Clinton probably would have lost in 1992 and been a footnote in history.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      I think Perot’s “… you people…” gaffe at the 1992 NAACP convention was what did him in. It was the ‘deplorables’ of it’s day.

      (and thanks, Lambert, for ‘cullion’. New word to use & abuse.)

      1. vao

        “Cullion” looks like the English equivalent to the French word “couillon” (whose usage is quite frequent).

          1. vao

            I suspect you are thinking about an archaic term for “balls”, but cullion does not seem to apply there. The Webster dictionary gives “a mean or base fellow” as a definition — which is also what “couillon” basically means (with a nuance of “stupid”).

            In French, there is of course “couilles” (very frequent usage) for “balls” (from which “couillon” is derived, of course).

            I probably should not have started this thread on comparative etymology.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      Funny how the WSJ remembers Perot’s main issue to be deficit reduction. I seem to remember something about a giant sucking sound that was not about deficits.

    3. fjallstrom

      If one translates Washington Post’s use of center and centrist with “reliable neoliberal” I think one gets closer to the truth. Clinton and Bush were reliable neoliberals. Perot wasn’t. In my impression he wanted to keep industry in the center of the US empire, instead of replacing it with finance.

      Washington Post’s story continues in present day with setting up the narrative of a need for a new center, i e a reliable neoliberal. It is the Macron gambit, when the voters are tired of both their neoliberal options, present a third neoliberal option as the alternative. And we already know that No Labels are already preparing for that, and they have previously been nice enough to spell out the time table. If by Super Tuesday the oligarchs are not happy with their options, a new one will be presented. He or she will be presented as the serious third party candidate and will be handed so much media presence. And here we are with the narrative being tested.

  9. nippersdad

    Re: “How Biden can turn it around.”

    Every part of that article is just pure PMC gold; I’m not sure it could be more out of touch were it to have been written as a satire to begin with. The mere idea that the Clintons could solve the problems in the ME is just….something else. I doubt they have forgotten what Hillary did to Libya yet, and do they really want that to happen to them?

    And then there is the rest of it.

    1. Adam

      My favorite part: there’s no divergence between Democratic elites and the electorate. Do these fools actually believe this nonsense or just hope that we do?

      1. nippersdad

        When one considers that the Democratic party has confessed in court to being a corporation that only serves itself, that is actually true. Their “electorate” are the ones that fund their campaigns and vacations, not the voters. The “democracy” that they want to “save” is not ours.

        I think we are at the point where we need the official DNC codebook and the decoder ring that goes with it if we are to make any sense out of anything they say (in public).

        1. flora

          I think the final few minutes of this Breaking Points report about Manchin’s retirement is pretty interesting. I remember the 1990’s when both national parties eliminated seniority in favor of fund raising for consideration to important chairmanships. Seniority means nothing now, committee seats are up for “purchase” by politicians demonstrating fund raising ability. (Hello, lobbyists.)

          BREAKING: Manchin RETIRES Imperiling Dem Senate 2024 Chances


          Knowing this is the only magic decoder ring I need to see why both parties act the way they act. From Roll Call:


          1. flora

            adding: this is exactly why the D.C. pols don’t really care about what their voters want or think they voted for, imo. With no seniority guiding committee seats and expecially chair positions, moving up in Congress isn’t about pleasing one’s voters and being re-elected and gaining seniority anymore. This explains a lot, imo.

  10. nippersdad

    The hippie punching has commenced:

    “The leader of Israel’s center-left Labor Party says something has gone “very wrong” with the political left around the world, with supposed progressives now aligning themselves with Islamist militants who oppose the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people.”


    Presumably she refers to equal opportunities to be killed by the IDF, but reading further (surprise!) that is not the case.

    1. Aurelien

      At least in France, this has little to do with Hamas or the fighting in Gaza. The same criticism has been made of the Left in France for the last twenty years, under the name “Islamo-Leftism.” (Though a photo of a group of activists holding up a banner saying “LGBQ etc. for Hamas” was much shared in the French media last week.) It refers to the long-standing practice in parts of the Left of patronising the Muslim community, and using them as electoral raw material. In true intersectional style, Muslim fundamentalists and sexual minorities are natural allies, because they both come from marginalised and persecuted communities, so their interests must really be the same. A few of the brighter figures on the Left do realise that Political Islamist movements (of which Hamas is one) would string homosexuals up from the nearest lamppost if they were able to do so, as well as sending women back to the kitchen, but the grip of intersectional ideology is such that no-one is allowed to say it.

      1. Roger

        Funny that in Muslim Iran women represent the majority of university students and many women hold senior positions in research labs, hospitals etc. Malaysia is also a Muslim nation. Islam is just like Christianity and Judaism, there are the moderate elements and the extremists (ISIS, Nazis, extreme Zionists, certain very right-wing Christian sects in the US etc.), attempting to paint a whole religious community by the actions of its extremists is simple bigotry. It was only relatively recently that many Christian nations legalized homosexual relations.

        Extremism is many times the product of subjugation and external influences, as with the Taliban in Afghanistan (the nation was a secular moderate Muslim nation in the 1970s as was Iraq and Syria, and Iran before the British and US security services overthrew the democratically elected government in 1953.). Also just because someone is LGBT does not mean that they cannot support the freedom of other groups from subjugation, peoples are not just defined by the sexual orientation and identity.

        1. Carolinian

          Thank you for making this important point. The extremism was provoked by the West rather than their religion. Any religion can be twisted into something bad as we see with those Israeli settlers and their enthusiasm for genocide.

        2. Aurelien

          I don’t think you’ve quite got it. This is not about Islam as such, nor Iran, nor Malaysia or any other Muslim nation. It is about the strange de facto alliance which has developed between certain sections of the Left and extreme Political islamists, both as regards their recent activities in Europe and their activities in, for example Syria. Political Islam has a long and well-documented history beginning in the eighteenth century and assuming its modern form in the Muslim Brotherhood a hundred years ago (Hamas is very close to the MB by the way.) It’s a theocratic movement which. regards the nations and civil states created in the Muslim world since independence as sinful, and their leaders and supporters apostates worthy of death. The origins of modern groups such as ISIS are well known and have extensively been studied, and have little to do with the West, unless, by comparable logic, you are going to blame the Waffen SS on the Treaty of Versailles. Their members are not the poor and wretched of the earth: they tend to be better educated than average, and their leaders are sophisticated political operators. In particular, because they are articulate and well-funded (from countries such countries as Qatar and Turkey) they have managed to push themselves forward in Europe as representatives of Muslims generally, although in fact they are a small minority in those communities. By extension, they have managed to persuade many on the Left in Europe that any criticism of their activities (threatening and attacking teachers for example) is “Islamophobia.” Many people on the Left in Europe support the Palestinian cause, but have been deluded into thinking that it is therefore necessary to support all Muslim groups, no matter how extreme. In reality, the ideologies of these groups are about as far away from the concern and norms of the traditional Left as you can imagine, and they have only contempt for the individuals and ideas of the Left itself, even if they are tactically useful in the short term.

          1. lambert strether

            I try to avoid using, quoting, or linking to any of the *-phobia tropes, because IMNSHO they are lazy and sloppy NGO-speak.

          2. Carolinian

            So what you are saying is that Muslims in general are not terrorists but TPTB in the West insist on treating them all as such. Who is the problem here? Without a doubt Hamas provoked terror with their 10/7 attack but there are now indications that a great many Israelis were killed by their own soldiers and helicopters. If the MB is a false representation then how much greater is the falsity in almost everything we know about Middle East conflict?

            When some people cheer on Hamas or even terror attacks in France it could be because extremism is the only thing that seems capable of getting Empire’s attention. In an objective sense it’s all about power and its excuses on both sides, but one side here has always had a lot more power than the other. That may be changing.

      2. Feral Finster

        It’s an old joke that opposing intersectional idpol is unforgivable bigotry, unless you are a Muslim, in which case pointing out your bigotry is Islamophobic.

        Comedy gold.

      3. Benny Profane

        There was a movement in the NYC public school system to require and fund bi lingual classes in the 90s or whereabouts. The immigrant parents shut that down fairly quickly. They knew their kids had to learn English ASAP, and no coddling.

      4. Vicky Cookies

        I am of the opinion that the contradictions you point to, while real, should not keep people of conscience from either doing their utmost to advocate and work for an end to the slaughter in Gaza/the West Bank, or from linking struggles, especially on a class basis.

        That said, I have had some interesting conversations in the last month with involved people, in which the general character of Hamas has come up. I have pointed out (I’m in the U.S.) that we have movements like that here: we call them Christian nationalists, and many wouldn’t urinate on them if they were on fire.

        It does seem that oppressive conditions are likely to harden irrational beliefs. There is also the long-standing policy of the undermining of the PLO and Fatah, with parallels all over the region as religious fundamentalists have been favored by the West and its clients over secular nationalists. What remains unexamined in all this is nationalism itself, and who benefits from it.

        I’m glad you’re sharing your knowledge on this blog and through your own! I’ve learned a lot. I also criticized one of your (somewhat) recent newsletters here: https://open.substack.com/pub/jliamdevitt/p/anti-imperialist-imperialism?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android&r=1rk8c4

        Thanks again for engaging in these conversations.

      5. The Rev Kev

        ‘A few of the brighter figures on the Left do realise that Political Islamist movements (of which Hamas is one) would string homosexuals up from the nearest lamppost if they were able to do so, as well as sending women back to the kitchen’

        Amusingly enough, the exact same thing can be said of the Israeli ultra-Orthodox.

        1. JohnA

          TBF, many ultra orthodox Jews are opposed to zionism who argue along the lines that God did not give the land to Jews, they have stolen it and therefore acted contrary to God’s will.

          There has recently been footage of Israeli police assaulting orthodox Jews there for the temerity to wave Palestinian flags and banners saying no to zionism.

    2. fjallstrom

      I noticed the shift from the Israeli soldier with the rainbow flag and the rethoric about Israel being the only country in the Middle East that is safe for LGBTQ+, to the “racism-fluid” etc hippie punching. I would say the shift happened over the last week.

      I would interpret it as the Israeli propaganda giving up on on young left wing USians, and now instead focusing on the US right wing. Will common enemies against people with blue hair and pronouns be enough to keep the right wing in line behind Israel?

  11. VietnamVet

    The 1992 election was as much an inflection point as 2024. It marked the end of the Cold War and finished the nuclear MAD duopoly – the Soviet Union and NATO. Except, instead of peace, it was a green light to exploit Russia and the rest of the world to enrich the wealthy with no consideration of the consequences. Since then, the only thing of value is money that is driven by greed.

    Unless good government by and for the people is restored, the Western Empire will fall and North America will splinter into its eleven or so ethnic enclaves next year.

    Look at the five GOP candidates other than Donald Trump. One Black who has withdrawn. Two of East Indian descent. One of Mediterranean ethnicity. And the last who is all of New Jersey.

    Who in the world is going to give Americans what they really need; democracy, the rule of law enforced for all, and most importantly peace? (Not Kamala Harris, Cornell West, RFK Jr. or a repeat of the 2020 election)

    1. Carolinian

      Of course looking at US history getting a good president is more accident than the norm. A republic if you can keep it.

      But the mass media era seems to be the most distorted ever. The old style and often corrupt machine politics at least showed some responsiveness to the masses. Now it’s just a big TV show.

  12. Sub-Boreal

    Briefly arising from the fainting couch to write this:

    “as opposed to having burnished it to a gloss of perfection” Please, “towel off his ginormous cullions” is quite enough burnishing, thanks.

    1. petal

      Lambert is a poet of the highest order. Yeats, Burns,…Strether.
      It was a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything at the time or my laptop would’ve needed a towel.

    2. ambrit

      Probably because of his years of experience in real estate hucksterism and “reality television” programming, (of which the wrestling is but a part,) The Donald is an accomplished “Poll Dancer.”
      Trump needs to complete his attempted hostile take over of the Republican Party.
      So, it goes like this:
      The American Party (Trump et. al.)
      The Republican Whig Party (The Republican Rump with various Democrats In Name Only.)
      The Democrat Party (The Technocrats, Meritocrats, Deep Staters, and “Natural Aristocrats.”)
      The Third Way Coalition (More ingredients than Slumgullion Surprise!)
      The UN Peacekeepers
      Stay safe. Vote early and vote often.

  13. petal

    Dear reddit a-hole’s wife: run. It’s not too late. If you can’t trust him to be honest about covid, what can you trust him to be honest about? He lied to you over a few dollars, and put you and a ton of other people at risk. What’s going to be next? (Red flags: lying and selfishness. Never a promising sign.)

      1. ambrit

        A discrete hit man is often cheaper.
        “How much to make it look like an accident?”
        “Oh, XXXX dollars.”
        “Really? I’ll recommend you to all my ‘special friends.'”

  14. notabanker

    If the billionaires are that concerned with Hamas, I am happy to have the US Gov hand them over the fanciest automatic weapons we have and send them into Gaza. Show us the way o’ exalted leaders!

    1. nippersdad

      IIRC one of them, Emanuel, was in the movie biz. He should make sure that he brings some film crews so that he can get it all on tape. They need to do a Little Bighorn remake anyway, a good old fashioned Hollywood blockbuster, and this way they could do it on the cheap (without all of those expensive extras) to ensure maximal profits back here in the states.

      As they say, never let a disaster go to waste!

  15. Jason Boxman

    Love how Walgreens positivity is tied for the highest trough we’ve had in the Pandemic so far, granted on a substantially lower level of tests than 12-18 months ago. Oh, and in other news, Paxlovid rebound is real:


    1 in 5 people had evidence for viral rebound, most without symptoms

    Covid-19 rebound affects 1 in 5 people after taking Paxlovid

    In a recent study, people who took Paxlovid, which is made up of the medicines nirmatrelvir and ritonavir, were just over 10 times more likely to experience “covid-19 rebound” – when the virus increases in the body after an initial decrease – compared with those who didn’t take it, suggesting that the former group may still be contagious post-treatment.

    (bold mine)

    1. Verifyfirst

      The Topol linked article says: “…”those taking N-R (n = 72) were older, received more COVID-19 vaccinations, and more commonly had immunosuppression.” It also says: “Virologic rebound was more common among those who started therapy within 2 days of symptom onset (26.3%) than among those who started 2 or more days after symptom onset (0%) (P = 0.030).”

      So what am I to make of the study? If I’m 60, not immunosupressed, and wait at least 2 days to start after symptom onset, I probably won’t get rebound?

  16. swangeese

    Yesterday lyman alpha blob was looking for a video of a Chinese official’s talk pertaining to Biden and Trump in 2020. I think I found it. The original was deleted from YT, but was reposted on rumble.

    TL:DW China uses allies on Wall Street to influence and get their way in the United States. Trump was a problem because he was antagonistic towards Wall Street. Biden’s elected and dear Hunter has a global foundation. Well there are lots of deals in those foundations and the insinuation is that China was/is influential in those.
    The goal is to open up markets for China and decouple China from the United States.
    The whole talk is 18 minutes and is well worth a (re)watch.

    I have it cued to the pertinent Biden part: https://rumble.com/vbojf1-cp-expert-opening-up-financial-sector-as-goodwill-to-biden-as-we-cant-fix-t.html?start=601

  17. SG

    “Yet Ross Perot, campaigning on the single issue of deficit reduction…”

    Well, he also campaigned against trade agreements that would have cost American jobs (remember the “sucking sound”?). He was right about that, even though he was pilloried for saying it.

  18. The Rev Kev

    ‘Brit telco BT’s digital boss asks people ‘how did horses feel when cars were invented? They didn’t complain or go on strike’

    No, when cars replaced horses the horses were sent to pet food and glue factories where they had their heads chopped off.

  19. ambrit

    Mr. Scrooge at the beginning of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is the perfect embodiment of Neo-liberalism.
    Petitioner: “Many can’t go there, (the workhouses,) they would rather die.”
    Scrooge: “If they would rather die, perhaps they’d better do so and decrease the surplus population.”

    1. griffen

      It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. “The economy is great, jobs are plentiful.” Jobs are the path to your American dream, and more than one is or may be required to fulfil one’s destiny of course….

      Adding a favorite, frequent nugget from CNBC talking mavens, “the American consumer is strong and still spending….” There is one occasional bit of truth, more recently “these weight loss drugs are ridiculous, we’re not all going to be skinny. Buy Coke or Pepsico, people still want Pepsi or Coke and eat unhealthy snack foods…”

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