2:00PM Water Cooler 11/17/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Scaly Thrush, Taichung City, Taiwan. “玉山圓柏灌叢中鳴叫”.

* * *


“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

“Raskin: To Call It Undemocratic To Take Trump Off The Ballot Is Like Allowing Voters To Decide Desegregation, Equal Protection” [RealClearPolitics]. From Raskin’s conversation with CNN host Laura Coates:

The authors of the 14th Amendment themselves dealt with that question. They felt that if someone sets themselves at war against the Constitution and engages in the most profound anti-democratic act of trying to overthrow an election by installing themselves in office with an insurrection, then at that point, they’re constitutionally- barred.

I wish Democrats would stop lying about what the Fourteenth Amendment actually says. It’s unbecoming.

Biden Administration

“Five things we learned from the Biden-Xi meeting [BBC]. • Climate, fentanyl, military communication, continued talks, pandas. And then there’s this:

Well worth watching. Several times!

* * *

“Mayorkas unaware that Clapper, Brennan signed Hunter Biden laptop disinformation letter” [Washington Times]. Also Paul Kolbe. “Mr. Mayorkas went on to defend his decision to appoint the three, calling them ‘distinguished former members of the intelligence community.'” • From the Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

Our Famously Free Press

“NewsGuard: Surrogate the Feds Pay to Keep Watch on the Internet and Be a Judge of the Truth” [Lee Fang, RealClearInvestigations]. “Instead of merely suggesting rebuttals to untrustworthy information, as many other existing anti-misinformation groups provide, NewsGuard has built a business model out of broad labels that classify entire news sites as safe or untrustworthy, using an individual grading system producing what it calls “nutrition labels.” The ratings – which appear next to a website’s name on the Microsoft Edge browser and other systems that deploy the plug-in – use a scale of zero to 100 based on what NewsGuard calls ‘nine apolitical criteria,’ including ‘gathers and presents information responsibly’ (worth 18 points), ‘avoids deceptive headlines’ (10 points), and ‘does not repeatedly publish false or egregiously misleading content’ (22 points), etc. … Critics note that such ratings are entirely subjective – the New York Times, for example, which repeatedly carried false and partisan information from anonymous sources during the Russiagate hoax, gets a 100% rating…. NewsGuard is pushing to apply its browser screening process into libraries, academic centers, news aggregation portals, and internet service providers. Its reach, however, is far greater because of other products it aims to sell to social media and other content moderation firms and advertisers. ‘An advertiser’s worst nightmare is having an ad placement damage even one customer’s trust in a brand,’ said Crovitz in a press release touting NewsGuard’s “BrandGuard” service for advertisers. ‘We’re asking them to pay a fraction of what they pay their P.R. people and their lobbyists to talk about the problem,’ Crovitz told reporters…. NewsGuard’s BrandGuard tool provides an ‘exclusion list’ that deters advertisers from buying space on sites NewsGuard deems problematic.” • Eesh, libraries? Isn’t this what we have librarians for?


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“New York judge lifts the gag order that barred Trump from maligning court staff in fraud trial” [Associated Press]. ” A gag order that barred Donald Trump from commenting about court personnel after he disparaged a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial was temporarily lifted Thursday by an appellate judge who raised free speech concerns. Judge David Friedman of the state’s intermediate appeals court issued what’s known as a stay — suspending the gag order and allowing the former president to speak freely about court staff while a longer appeals process plays out…. At an emergency hearing Thursday, Friedman questioned Engoron’s authority to police what Trump says outside the courtroom. He also disputed the trial judge’s contention that restricting the 2024 Republican front-runner’s speech was necessary or the right remedy to protect his staff’s safety.”

“Trump team moves for mistrial in NY case, AG asks judge for December deadline on decision” [FOX]. “Trump’s team filed the motion for a mistrial Wednesday, citing Judge Arthur Engoron’s past social posts on an alumni page for Wheatley School. In the posts, the judge appears to reference the case, as well as Trump and members of the former president’s family… ‘In this case, the evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming,’ wrote Trump lawyers Clifford Robert and Alina Habba.” • None of the coverage I can find provides any actual quotes from Engoron (I keep wanting to type Erdogan). The Wheatley School Alumni Association has a Substack. The only reference to Trump by Engoron that I can find there is from 2022, and complimentary (search the page for “Trump”). There is also www.wheatleyalumni.org, which the Substack seems to duplicate, in part. I can’t find anything negative by Engoron there, either. From the actual motion:

Since when is “posting a link” a “public comment”? Erdogan, at least at www.wheatleyalumni.org, is explicitly a blogger. See the URLs: “BlogPost/Blogpost-20221005-79.html.” Any blogger knows that posting a link isn’t the same as commentary! Get Atrios to testify to that effect. Or Lambert!

“Trump rails against reports Biden won’t be charged over classified documents” [The Hill]. “Special counsel Robert Hur is expected to put together a critical report of Biden’s [handling of classified documents] but its not likely to result in criminal charges, the Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday. Trump, who faces criminal charges in Florida in a classified documents case, fumed on Truth Social against what he called ‘selective prosecution.’

“The election interference case against Trump is taking shape” [NPR]. “The federal election interference case against former President Donald Trump is coming into sharper focus, as prosecutors assert he is responsible for the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and offer new clues about how they intend to prove it…. Prosecutors say Trump should not be able to distance himself from the mayhem. They say evidence of the attack on the Capitol is ‘powerful and probative’ about his motive and intent. ‘Indeed, that day was the culmination of the defendant’s criminal conspiracies to overturn the legitimate results of the presidential election, when the defendant directed a large and angry crowd — one that he had summoned to Washington, D.C., and fueled with knowingly false claims of election fraud — to the Capitol,’ wrote senior assistant special counsels Molly Gaston and Thomas Windom.” “Summoned”? More: “For the first time, the Justice Department team said they are going to use video evidence to show Trump encouraged the crowd at the rally to go to the Capitol, starting 15 minutes into his speech. They said they will provide testimony, photos and geolocation evidence — essentially, cell phone pings — to show how specific Trump supporters listened to him, then went on to strong-arm police and breach the Capitol…. Trump’s lawyers said the former president called for the rally crowd to be ‘peaceful and patriotic.’ They asserted that most of the crowd at the rally on Jan. 6 did behave peacefully.”

“Donald Trump’s 2024 Trial Schedule Drifts Into Chaos” [TheMessenger]. “In theory, Donald Trump is facing down the prospect of four criminal trials in four different cases next year that clash with the core period of his campaign to return to the White House. In practice, as court filings, judicial rulings, public statements and other recent developments have illustrated, Trump could face just one trial on his road to Election Day 2024. By all accounts, including her own, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has no intention of budging on the March 4, 2024, start date of Trump’s Washington D.C., trial on federal election-subversion charges…. Chutkan has ordered Trump’s lawyers and Smith’s prosecutors by Jan. 9 to come up with a list of potential questions they want to use to vet jurors. The potential jury pool is also scheduled to appear on Feb. 9 at the federal courthouse in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol and site of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that’s central to the case.During an October hearing over a gag order that was imposed on all parties in the case, Chutkan said she had no plans to move dates around despite pleadings from the former president to push everything back until after Election Day 2024…. Yet the trial date could ultimately fall outside of Chutkan’s control.” • Lots of detail on scheduling. It may well be that the real Democrat goal is not conviction, but sucking money away from the Trump campaign into his lawyer’s coffers. Further, a campaign’s most important resource is the candidate’s time; to the extent that Trump is not able to turn the trials into campaign events, the Democrats are sucking that away, too.

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“Speaker Johnson makes 2024 endorsement: ‘All in for President Trump'” [New York Post]. “‘I have endorsed him wholeheartedly. Look, I was one of the closest allies that President Trump had in Congress,’ Johnson (R-La.) told CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box.’ ‘He had a phenomenal first term those first two years.'” Carefully sidestepping Covid, especially Operation Warp Speed. More: “‘We brought about the greatest economic numbers in the history of the world, not just the country, because his policies worked and I’m all in for President Trump,’ Johnson continued. ‘I expect he’ll be our nominee, yeah, and he’s gonna win it and we have to make Biden a one-term president.’ Johnson’s predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), has maintained a friendly rapport with Trump, but has so far declined to endorse him in the midst of the primary.”

* * *

“The Implosion of Nikki Haley’s Social Media Crusade” [Politico]. “‘Every person on social media should be verified, by their name. That’s, first of all, it’s a national security threat,’ Haley said Tuesday on Fox News, because it can spread misinformation. Banning anonymous accounts would get ‘rid of the Russian bots, the Iranian bots and the Chinese bots,’ she continued. On the Ruthless podcast that day, Haley reiterated her pitch: ‘They need to verify every single person on their outlet, and I want it by name.’ Haley earned immediate broadsides from two of her Republican opponents. Vivek Ramaswamy waved the free speech flag as he denounced her proposal as censorship. Ron DeSantis reminded her that the Federalist Papers were written anonymously. Journalists and activists unloaded with more of the same, including Glenn Greenwald, Charlie Kirk and Dana Loesch. By Wednesday, Haley had softened her harsh proposal, saying, ‘I don’t mind anonymous American people having free speech; what I don’t like is anonymous Russians and Chinese and Iranians having free speech.’ Haley’s proposal crumpled under the most gentle scrutiny. In order to prove that you’re an American worthy of anonymous speech under her regime, wouldn’t you have to … identify yourself, thereby losing your anonymity? And that’s for starters. Would such a government-mandated scheme be legal? Probably not. Is the plague of anonymous misinformation somehow unique to the internet, requiring special rules for it? No. How practical would it be to identify every social media account by name? Not very.” • Lightweight.

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“Poll: A majority of Democrats want new candidate to challenge Biden in 2024 primary” [Yahoo News]. “In a sign of growing concern about President Biden’s chances of winning reelection, a majority of potential Democratic primary voters (54%) now say they would like to see ‘another Democrat’ enter the race to challenge him for their party’s 2024 nomination, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. Only 28% say they would not like a new Democratic candidate to primary the president…. At this point, the odds that Biden will draw a high-profile primary opponent are vanishingly slim. Some filing deadlines have already passed; others are fast approaching. Party leaders and resources almost always fall in line behind an incumbent president, and Biden is no exception. Any new challenger would be shunned, risking his or her future in Democratic politics.” • At some point, whatever they’re juicing Biden up with will fail. It has occurred to me that the closer this failure point is to the Democrat National Convention August 19 to 22, 2024, Chicago), the more likely it is that the Democrat candidate will be chosen in the classic smoke-filled room. And really, who doesn’t want that?

* * *

“Biden stokes Newsom presidential buzz at APEC event alongside California governor” [Washington Examiner]. Biden: “I want to talk about Gov. Newsom,” Biden said Wednesday during a reception for APEC leaders. “I want to thank him. He’s been one hell of a governor, man. As a matter of fact, he can be anything he wants. He can have the job I’m looking for.“… Newsom has played a prominent role at APEC, greeting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the airport and hosting a high-dollar fundraiser for Biden on Tuesday.” • Photo op:

I wonder what The Wizard of Kalorama™ thinks of Biden’s quip? It occurs to me that of two potential oligarchical clans vying for hegemony in the Democrat Party, he might prefer one closer to his old stomping grounds in Chicago.

“CNN Exclusive: Special counsel using California grand jury in Hunter Biden probe, subpoenas his uncle James Biden” [CNN]. “James Biden, President Joe Biden’s brother and a one-time business associate of Hunter, is among the individuals who have received a subpoena in recent weeks, according to two sources close to the investigation.” • Not just Hunter — dear Hunter! — then.

* * *

“Schwarzenegger on Trump, Biden: ‘They’re both flawed'” [Axios]. Schwarzenegger: “The bottom line is, I think we need to find new leaders. To me they’re both flawed and I just think we’re at a time now where we need someone strong, where we need visionaries, and not people that tinker around with little Mickey Mouse stuff. They’re [politicians in Washington] killing themselves to get just a simple budget going. I mean, where are we now? You know, it’s just, it’s embarrassing to the rest of the world the way we kind of, like, can’t get things done, we can’t solve the immigration issue, we can’t solve the health care issue, we can’t solve the debt that we’re accumulating and the deficit that we continuously have… all the infrastructure problems…” The endless wars… More: “We don’t know where is Trump going to be, legally. We don’t know what’s going to happen with Biden, if he really is going to stay in. We don’t know if there’s not a third candidate coming. So I think all of this is premature, to talk about poll numbers, to talk about any of this stuff.” • So Schwarzenegger (like me) thinks the story is volatility, not stablity (where “stability” means the Trump v. Biden rematch that so many pundits think is a foregone conclusion.

“Is There an Establishment Plan to Repeal Antitrust Laws?” [Matt Stoller, BIG]. “Here’s Montana Senator Jon Tester, running for reelection in a very Trump-friendly state as a Democrat, attacking consolidation in the meat-packing and seed industries as a point of distinction between the parties… [T]he juxtaposition of very popular antitrust with ham-fisted efforts to weaken antitrust provides fertile terrain for doing some brute politics…. Given where most Republican and Trump voters are on issues of corporate power, the attack ads write themselves… That kind of ad could be done in a Republican primary, or a general election. They could also be used in Democratic primaries, or general elections. It really does not matter. The point is, right now, lower prices are the top priority for over two-thirds of voters. Yet, most voters haven’t heard about what antitrust enforcers are doing… Senator Jon Tester thinks it’s politically salient enough to bring up. It won’t take much more for big business to be on the ballot in 2024.” • Appointing Lina Kahn is one of the very few unambiguously good things Biden has done, and he’s not running on it. Curious.

* * *

NV: “A Snapshot of Biden’s Swing-State Troubles” [Jon Ralston, The Atlantic]. Not that I’m one to hold a grudge, but in the 2016 Nevada Democrat Convention, Ralston propagated a false story that a Sanders supporter threw a chair. So it’s surprising to see him rehabilitated, if that is the word I want, in the pages of The Atlantic. Anyhow: “Nevada is difficult to poll for a variety of reasons. Here as much as anywhere else, pollsters tend to underestimate the number of people they need to survey by cellphone to get a representative sample, and they generally don’t do enough bilingual polling in Nevada, where nearly a third of the population is Hispanic. Nevada also has a transient population, lots of residents working 24/7 shifts, and an electorate that’s less educated than most other states’. … Nevada matters in presidential elections, but we are also, let’s face it, a tad weird… Still, Democrats have reasons to worry. Nevada was clobbered by COVID disproportionately to the rest of the country, because our economy is so narrowly focused on the casino industry…. the state has been slowly shifting to the right—not just in polling but in Election Day results. In 2020, Nevada was the only battleground state that saw worse Democratic performance compared with 2016, unless you include the more solidly red Florida. Nevada’s new Republican governor, Joe Lombardo, is building a formidable political machine. Republicans have made inroads with working-class white voters here, leaving Democrats with an ever-diminishing margin of error.”

Republican Funhouse

“Building now for a conservative victory through policy, personnel, and training” [Project 2025]. “It is not enough for conservatives to win elections. If we are going to rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left, we need both a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on Day One of the next conservative Administration…. The 2025 Presidential Transition Project paves the way for an effective conservative Administration based on four pillars: a policy agenda, Presidential Personnel Database, Presidential Administration Academy, and playbook for the first 180 days of the next Administration.” There is a Playbook (920 pages in PDF). Since the spooks are big players, I thought I’d see what the Playbook has to say about them:

It’s good to see that Republicans, too, appreciated the simple joys in life; in this case, defenestrating Clapper and Brennan. But I thought only liberal Democrats believed in the Norms Fairy. Here is one reaction from an account I like and trust:

Project2025 looks like a line-up of typical Republican reactionaries (see the About Page). Horrid, no doubt, but not Mein Kampf. But why the heck can’t Democrats get it together to do something similar? (The closest example I can think of is Biden’s transition team in 2020, (also) a bloated monstrosity, none of whose deliverables came to anything.) This also looks like a Heritage Foundation production; they’re at least known quantity. Anyhow, there are already plenty of reasons to flee the States, starting with the health care system. More study needed!

“Trumpworld Is Already at War Over Staffing a New Trump White House” [Daily Beast]. “The America First Policy Institute was supposed to add the ideological heft to Donald Trump’s ad hoc, seat-of-your-pants policymaking. But a year out from Election Day, Trump’s allies are signaling that the group may be doing more harm than good—and the campaign is making it clear that Trump, not any outside group, will be in charge of staffing up another White House. The Daily Beast reviewed an internal AFPI email showing staff inside the organization collecting names and seeking recommendations for future Trump administration posts. When Trump campaign operatives got word of that effort, they saw it not only as premature, but also not AFPI’s place. But more to the point, Trump’s associates are telling the think tank to back off from its donors, fearing that AFPI may be cannibalizing campaign contributors and confusing those who want to directly help Trump’s 2024 effort…. Two of Trump’s top advisers—Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita—took the notable step of issuing a joint statement earlier this week clarifying that outside groups do not ‘speak for President Trump or his campaign.’ ‘Therefore, these reports about personnel and policies that are specific to a second Trump Administration are purely speculative and theoretical,’ they said. ‘Any personnel lists, policy agendas, or government plans published anywhere are merely suggestions.” Wiles and LaCivita were apparently reacting to efforts by some people at AFPI and the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 to present themselves as the Trump White House-in-waiting. A key pitch to donors of these groups has apparently become that these staffers will have tremendous power in the next administration; giving now is seen as one way to curry favor later.” • Hilarity ensues!

“Trump is out for vengeance, not Republican political empowerment” [The Hill]. • Who says they’re mutually exclusive? I mean, can’t Repunblicans have fun and work hard too?

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.

* * *

Trump Derangement Syndrome as a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior:

“What we all feel.”


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

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Covid is Airborne

“Indoor Air and Coronavirus (COVID-19)” [United States Environmental Protection Agency]. “Spread of COVID-19 occurs via airborne particles and droplets. People who are infected with COVID can release particles and droplets of respiratory fluids that contain the SARS CoV-2 virus into the air when they exhale (e.g., quiet breathing, speaking, singing, exercise, coughing, sneezing). The droplets or aerosol particles vary across a wide range of sizes – from visible to microscopic. Once infectious droplets and particles are exhaled, they move outward from the person (the source). These droplets carry the virus and transmit infection. Indoors, the very fine droplets and particles will continue to spread through the air in the room or space and can accumulate. Since COVID-19 is transmitted through contact with respiratory fluids carrying the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus, a person can be exposed by an infected person coughing or speaking near them. They can also be exposed by inhaling aerosol particles that are spreading away from the infected person. Transmission of COVID-19 from inhalation of virus in the air can occur at distances greater than six feet. Particles from an infected person can move throughout an entire room or indoor space. The particles can also linger in the air after a person has left the room – they can remain airborne for hours in some cases.” • Too bad CDC and HICPAC can’t seem to get their heads round the concept. Or hospital infection control, so-called.


Just make masking in medical facilities universal and permanent. Why putz around like this?

And why this mealy-mouthed “please


I’ve never understood the argument that the vaccine caused more harm than the virus itself:


But why?

‘Tis a mystery!

“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

To the tables down at Mory’s / Wherever that may be:

The “punchline” is silent:

Just look at those baggy blues!

* * *

Lambert here: Lots of indicators up, starting with wastewater. (The one I worry about the most is ER visits, since I think that data is hard to game, and who wants to go to the ER, anyhow?) I think it’s time to send the relatives those clippings you saved on brain damage (also, of course, the 2022 clippings: here, here. And the 2020 one).

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, November 13:

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:



NOT UPDATED 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 11:

Lambert here: Slight increases in some age groups, conforming to wastewater data. 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 17:

Decline flattens. (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?


NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, November 13:

-1.4%. 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 11:

Lambert here: Increase (with backward revision; guess they thought it was over). 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 23:

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, still from October 23:

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: 1,182,259 – 1,182,163 = 96 (96 * 365 = 35,040 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 17:

Lambert here: Based on a machine-learning model.

Stats Watch

Housing Starts: “United States Housing Starts” [Trading Economics]. “Housing starts in the US rose by 1.9% month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.372 million in October 2023, above market expectations of 1.35 million as limited supply in the resale market has boosted new construction.”

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* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 58 Neutral (previous close: 54 Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Nov 17 at 11:38:50 AM ET. Based on what? Arms dealing?

The Gallery

Flyover country is full of great architecture:

Class Warfare

“Starbucks workers in Greater Cleveland join national strike today” [Signal Cleveland]. “Starbucks workers at three Greater Cleveland stores are scheduled to join a one-day national strike Thursday morning, protesting that unionized workers have not received a contract, the union said…. ‘I decided to participate on Thursday, and helped organize my store to do so, based on the fact that Starbucks hasn’t come to the table to bargain with us,’ [Cameron Stefan] said. ‘Red Cup Day is one of the busiest days of the year and usually one of the highest sales days for Starbucks. This is to show them that we want to bargain. This is a day that can make our point by helping their pockets to hurt.’ … Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said the company hasn’t refused to bargain. ‘Starbucks remains committed to enhancing the partner experience and offering everyone who wears the green apron a bridge to a better future,’ he wrote in an email to Signal Cleveland. ‘We’re encouraged by the progress we’ve seen towards first contracts at stores where union representatives have approached bargaining with professionalism and an actual interest in discussing partner priorities with our bargaining committees.'” • What a load of codswallop from Corporate. Eesh.

News of the Wired

“Our Mission” [Apostrophe Protection Society]. “If you’re looking for guidance on the correct use of apostrophes, you can find this on our Apostrophe Use page. If you have your own photographic examples of misplaced, omitted or excessive apostrophe usage, have a look at the Examples page to see how you can submit your examples for inclusion on the site. You can join the Apostrophe Protection Society to show your support and keep up to date on the Join APS page. It’s free, so why not join today!” • I should create some example’s here….

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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

    A. Blinken’s look said…

    You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

    1. notabanker

      I thought it was more like “the nonsense we spew domestically ain’t gonna fly here.”

      Last time Biden went commando at the G7 or 20 or whatever it is now, the ‘maybe Biden is too old’ op-eds started.

    2. Lunker Walleye

      I interpreted it as, “Please don’t say it, please don’t say . . . . oh, f**k, you said it. And for this I spend my life on airplanes?”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Please don’t say it, please don’t say . . . . oh, f**k, you said it.

        That was my interpretation; a sequence of facial expressions borne of long suffering through similar incidents. I can almost feel compassion for Blinken. Almost.

        1. DJG, Reality Czar

          Lambert Strether: “Compassion for Blinken. Almost.” Indeed.

          Save the compassion for when he is in a rest home somewhere making potholders to keep himself occupied.

        2. Pat

          Oh he knew what was coming. But considering how hard Blinken worked to be in that position and to put the increasingly demented sociopath in the position to be that embarrassing and destructive, I didn’t feel compassion. I merely wondered how many real diplomats have had similar reactions when Blinken speaks, at least until they quit.

        3. Wukchumni

          Joe snatched defeat from the jaws of victory using only his vocal chords.

          {the conversation afterwards…}

          AB: You know you did a bad thing, Joey

          JB: Mao was a dictator and people are starving in China!… eat your food.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I spend way too much time playing with reverse apostrophes.

          ’23 is not the same as ’23 (depending on the font and/or how ‘smart’ the word processing app : |

          Now I’m wondering why andor isn’t a word and why we’re still stuck with that virgule.

            1. ambrit

              Since most apostrophes denote missing letters, that should properly be, according to the majority of appropriately credentialed antiquarians, “…half-ars’ed anti-quote marks….”
              To me, apostrophes are like Schrodinger’s Catullus.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              Thanks for the visualization, which I will now never be able to erase from my brain.

              Who would have thought that “typographer’s” in “typographer’s quotes” — for the olds, remember how great it was that you could type them on the Mac? Couldn’t have done desktop publishing without them! — would turn out to be a euphemism!

              1. Mark Gisleson

                I love how this whole conversation speaks to why I don’t like Optima, a font that laughs at my use of shift-option-rightbracket on a Mac keyboard to create the proper apostrophe for ’23. [using a generic apostrophe for comparison: ’23]

                Proper old-fashioned traditional good-enough-for-the-Bible serif fonts get this one right!

              2. caucus99percenter

                On the Mac keyboard, right out of the box you could even type both kinds of German quotation marks in use at the time: „Gänsefüßchen“ and »reverse guillemets«. Even the corresponding single versions ‚…‘ and ›…‹ were provided.

                I was in seventh typographer’s heaven.

      1. DJG, Reality Czar

        Lambert Strether: One would think that during the current pronoun skirmishes people would notice that pronouns in the possessive don’t take apostrophes:


        But just between you and I, overcorrection is a problem between people trying to make “an impression.”

        1. ambrit

          “… a problem between people trying to make “an impression.””
          Hive mind or multiple personalities’ disorder?

        2. SG

          It’s been about 50 years since I looked at this, but my recollection is that the genitive ending for masculine and neuter nouns in Anglo-Saxon is “-es”. The possessive apostrophe in those cases indicates the elided “e”. There’s nothing elided in the case of the pronouns. We still decline (barely) them and in the third person singular they still have grammatical gender.

        3. SG

          It seems to me that a more vigorous use of the apostrophe might bring the pronoun wars to a happy conclusion. Just replace “he” and “she” with “‘e” . Similarly, “his”, “hers”, “him”, and “her” could just become “h'”. That’s a bit difficult to pronounce, given the absence of a vowel, but perhaps introducing the glottal stop into English would help, at the cost of possible confusion between personal pronouns and a case of the hiccups.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Just replace “he” and “she” with “‘e” . Similarly, “his”, “hers”, “him”, and “her” could just become “h’”.

            This is actually the best solution I’ve heard. Maybe “long e” for “he and she” and Canadian “eh” for “him” and “her”?

            UPDATE Types well in English, too. “E/e”, and “Eh/eh”. The first is not used at all, and I think context would be sufficient to distinguish the second.

        4. John Zelnicker

          DJG – I’m not trying to make an impression, I’m just curious.

          I always thought that the use of “between” takes the objective case, not subjective (between you and me)?

          Am I wrong?

          1. DJG, Reality Czar

            JZ: Indeed. I was engaged in showing how overcorrection is a problem in English-language writing. (Just between you and me.)

            Often, the use of an apostrophe is an attempt to tart up a word to make it look correcter.

            The Jones’es

          2. John Zelnicker

            Thank you, DJG and Lunker. I feel better now. ;-)

            It seems the teaching of English grammar and syntax has seriously deteriorated over the past 50 years. We have far too many high school graduates who are functionally illiterate.

      2. Carla

        Ah, Lambert. One of my favorite errors. When its is possessive, the apostrophe is not used; when it’s is the contraction of “it is” or “it has,” the apostrophe must be employed.

        The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation puts it quite succinctly:

        “Would you like to know the number one grammatical error?
        Hint: The word involved is small and it’s contained in this sentence.

        That’s right: its vs. it’s
        Yet the two rules are actually quite easy to remember.

        Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe.

        It’s a nice day.
        It’s your right to refuse the invitation.
        It’s been great getting to know you.

        Rule 2: When you are using its as a possessive, don’t use the apostrophe.

        The cat hurt its paw.
        The furniture store celebrated its tenth anniversary.

        Note: From what we understand, the possessive was also written it’s until a couple of hundred years ago. While we don’t know for certain, it is possible that the apostrophe was dropped in order to parallel possessive personal pronouns like hers, theirs, yours, ours, etc.”


    1. DJG, Reality Czar

      Steve H.: Nevertheless, the crisis of apostrophes continues. One must remain vigilant, even if the English have slacked off, as they tend to do.


      I am noting that in this case (and not so many others), U.S. style and U.K. style coincide. Interesting.

      The one instance where U.S. usage is over the top is in surnames.

      No: It isn’t

      The Kazantzakis’s.
      The James’s

      It is

      The Kazantzakises.
      The Jameses.

      Now: To kill off the semicolon, the punctuation mark that screams out Indecision.

      And speaking of useless punctuation: Clintonago delenda best

      1. SG

        “The Kazantzakises”

        Thank you. The American “pluralizing apostrophe” is an Abomination Before God. Kill it with fire (along with the use of “begs the question” for “raises the question”).

        1. John Zelnicker

          Thank you, SC!

          One of my big pet peeves is the way that the original meaning of “begs the question” has been perverted. We’ve lost a very expressive phrase.

      2. ambrit

        Woah there pardner. The approved Below the Beltway usage is: Clintonago delenda bast.
        Example: “Why hello there personal aide! What do you have on under that skimpy little blue dress? Let’s find out.”

    2. Lefty Godot

      The semi-colon has rare usefulness, but it is useful in those circumstances. The apostrophe on the other hand is totally useless, since the correct meaning can be inferred from context in almost all cases. And apostrophes in names are the worst example of uselessness. Sorry, OShaughnessy, just collate with the rest of us! Abolish the apostrophe!

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The semi-colon has rare usefulness

        I think that “Yes; but not always”, “Yes. But not always”, and “Yes but not always” are three different sentences. I stan for semicolons.

        If we have “!” for exclamation, and “?” for questioning, then what’s wrong with “;” for indecision?

        1. SG

          I do wonder how the semicolon changed from its role as the question mark in Classical Greek to its current function, but I’m far too lazy to try to track that down.

      2. SG

        Perhaps reverting to the old Gaelic spelling would alleviate the collation problem: ” Ó Seachnasaigh”. No apostrophe, although how one handles that acute accent in English is up for grabs.

        1. scott s.

          Yes; but there is a standard which can be followed, namely the CLDR as implemented in the ICU software libraries which provides a collation service.

  2. Dr. John Carpenter

    “A majority of Democrats want new candidate to challenge Biden in 2024 primary” but the question I’m more interested in answering is how many of those Democrats will vote for him anyway? Because it seems to me irrelevant what they want if they’re still willing to do what the DNC wants.

    Ultimately, I feel if not Biden, the candidate will be chosen in that proverbial smoky back room. The Bernie voter/DNC lawsuit tipped their hand on that. In fact, I have to wonder if they already have a contingency plan in place. Delusional as they are, I can’t believe they really believe Biden is going to make it to the finish.

    1. Hepativore

      Oh, I would not doubt that the Democrats might just remove the pretense of even having primaries at all in the near future, and just start appointing their presidential candidates outright. This way, they can squelch any degree of dissent within the party by removing the possibility of non-sanctioned Democratic Party challengers, and this can also give them more time to focus on “ZOMG! Republicans!” narratives for the general election rather than Democratic Party candidates being publicly forced to make empty policy promises they do not intend to keep like what often happens in the DNC primaries.

      The only option in the above scenario for challengers from the left is to run as third party candidates, but it is even easier for the duopoly and its associated media apparatus to cripple third-party candidates as the DNC and GOP has the entire political infrastructure at its disposal and can change the electoral process on the fly whenever they want to or stall third-party candidates through lawfare, and even if they win the latter, the elections will already have ended.

      Not having Democratic Party primaries will tick a lot of voters off, but the DNC probably feels that they will have nowhere else to go rather than risk Republican victory, and even if this hurts their electoral chances, the Democratic Party cares more about fundraising rather than electoral viability at this point.

      Honestly, I am surprised that the DNC has not gotten rid of their primary process sooner after admitting that that voter choice in the matter is effectively meaningless.

      1. SG

        “The Democrats” don’t actually have primaries – individual states do, in a manner determined by state law. The Convention is free to respect or ignore those primary results, because the credentials committee is (by DNC rules) the final arbiter of who gets seated at the Convention. If a state (like, say, New Hampshire) has a primary that violates party rules, the party (as a private organization) is free to ignore the delegates selected by that primary process, just as it did with the delegates selected by Michigan and Florida in 2008. It’s also free to arm-twist delegates to support candidates other than the ones they were “pledged” to (as also happened in 2008).

        Individual Democrats have no standing to challenge any of this, because neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party is a membership organization. You don’t pay dues to call yourself a Democrat (unlike, say, the Labour Party in the UK). Donations to a political party in the US are just that: donations, given without any obligation to the party to espouse any position, back any candidate, or even follow its own published rules. That’s what the DNC lawsuit established. Caveat donor, as it were.

        1. Carla

          “donations, given without any obligation to the party to espouse any position, back any candidate”

          I don’t think this is true if the donation is sufficiently large. In this country, we buy and sell everything, and the richer you are, the more you buy and sell. Candidates, political parties, Supreme Court justices… all for sale, for a price.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          This is a very lucid explantion of the Democrat Party (“Hail Hydra! Mighty Hydra! Cut off a limb and two shall take its place!”)

          Now if only we could figure out who really runs the Democrat National Convention! (I read the DNC rules once, or tried to, because I gave up rapidly. The main point of the document seemed to be to conceal money flows.)

        3. scott s.

          Since adoption of the “Australian ballot” by states in the 1890’s (or 1890s?) there has been the notion of state recognized party. Access to the ballot for a recognized party is by law or implementing regulation. That generally requires a state-level organization representing the recognized party. The state organization operates under the national party “rules”. The national party issues a “Call to Convention” with specific rules for the nominating convention. Those rules are temporary until the convention meets and elects the permanent chair and the final credentials committee reports out, after which the permanent rules are adopted. The 2024 DNC call to convention rules provide:

          “G. Filling a Vacancy on the National Ticket: In the event of death, resignation or disability of a nominee of the Party for President or Vice President after the adjournment of the National Convention, the National Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee shall confer with the Democratic leadership of the United States Congress and the Democratic Governors Association and shall report to the Democratic National Committee, which is authorized to fill the vacancy or vacancies.”

  3. JM

    Interesting thing I just noticed: I was typing a text message and put put in “covid”, Android underlined it as mis-spelled and when I selected it the suggested fix was “the cold”. If I wasn’t laughing at the absurdity, I’d be crying.

      1. JM

        I’m sending you something in just a minute, but in trying to recreate I think I might have mis-attributed the issue. I’m starting to think it wasn’t a Google/Android spellcheck, but one built into the keyboard app I’m using, which isn’t from Google. It would take more tests to know for sure, but that would explain why I haven’t seen it before, I used Gboard exclusively until about a month ago.

  4. Samuel Conner

    > we can’t solve the debt that we’re accumulating and the deficit that we continuously have

    He’s wrong there. All we have to do is stop importing stuff, or persuade the US private sector to dis-save. Either, or a combination of the two, would at sufficient scale drive the US government sector into surplus.

    The thought does occur that it might require aggressive industrial policy to stop importing stuff. We could take a leaf out of the Russian Federation “playbook” for that.

  5. Feral Finster

    Erdogan, at least at http://www.wheatleyalumni.org, is explicitly a blogger. See the URLs: “BlogPost/Blogpost-20221005-79.html.” Any blogger knows that posting a link isn’t the same as commentary! Get Atrios to testify to that effect. Or Lambert!” [emphasis mine]

    I think you mean “Engoron”.

  6. nippersdad

    As someone who is constitutionally incapable of ever forgetting a grudge, I have to say that there was no need for a rehabilitation of Ralston when he was never in any danger of getting flack from anyone in power in Nevada. Both the state party and the journalistic community have supported him to the hilt since that chair throwing reportage, to the extent that it looked to me like it only enhanced his reputation with them. That he is now writing for The Atlantic just goes to show how they protect their own assets.

  7. Screwball

    I wish Democrats would stop lying about what the Fourteenth Amendment actually says. It’s unbecoming. – Lambert

    Lying is their business model; too bad they suck at that too.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Waiting for a conviction of some kind in a court of law might also be a prudent move. But, no, treating accusations as established fact without the need for a trial also seems to be part of the business model of the cultural pseudo-left that props up Biden and company.

      1. SG

        Exactly. Absent a legal finding of fact that Trump “engaged in insurrection” (i.e., an actual conviction for “seditious conspiracy” – a crime that Trump hasn’t even been accused of) I think these suits are wholly without merit and are themselves an effort at election interference.

      2. notabanker

        Is this the same court of law that is prosecuting Trump for having classified documents in his house and not charging Biden for storing them in his garage? Asking for a deplorable friend.

        1. marym

          It’s the same DOJ but different special counsels, both of whom have held DOJ positions under multiple presidents.

          The court of law for the Trump documents case is in FL. The judge is a Trump appointee whose rulings so far have been very favorable to Trump, much to the dismay of team Blue. I don’t know if there would be a court designated for the Biden documents case, since there are no charges.

          Ironically, if Trump had quietly returned the documents when NARA quietly requested that he do so, Biden and Pence may never have checked to see what documents they had and returned them.

    2. Feral Finster

      Since when did truth matter? All that matter is whether Team D can get a judge to agree,

      If the dogs won’t eat the dog food, the Team D solution is to make competing dog food illegal. Something, something, yay! Muh Democracy Is Saved!

    3. Ranger Rick

      I recognize that “I know this is against the law but they want to do something bad!” construction from previous hand-wringing about why it is right and just to deny neo-Nazis (circa 2017 Charlottesville “they will not replace us” protests, in this timeline) due process and equal protection. This also appeared in 2016, when Lawrence Tribe advocated for outright subverting the election with faithless electors and promised legal support to anyone who did so. It’s totally different this time, and a different party wants to destroy democracy. Uh-huh.

  8. Amfortas the Hippie

    so im takin a break a lil while ago, waiting for WC…and mom sends me a text with a link…saying its a “must read”:

    so i read it…and man…kos and msdnc are her only news sources…aside from the austin nbc and the nbc nightly news.
    i grok that she’s trying to save…or reeducate…me.
    because i’m a putinist trumper, or something.
    the truth, oth…is that i at least attempt to get all around a subject, rather than relying on 2 or 3 “trusted sources”.
    ive encouraged her to go to the kremlin english website and see what putin and lavrov are actually saying…then compare and contrast with what “our guys” say about them…and then(!) weigh it all in her own memory of history, and with everything else she knows about the world…and use her brain to come to her own conclusions.
    when i get on this tack…usually when we’re within a few minutes of the farm,lol…i’ll say a little about Socrates and “i know that i do not know” as the starting point that we must endeavor for.

    but i aint doin that today…because my brother and his golden horde will be here wednesday, and i dont want to argue with her and set her off on an antiamfortas rage event.
    i frelling hate the holidays.

    1. Lee

      “i dont want to argue with her and set her off on an antiamfortas rage event.”

      A worthy and eminently practical sentiment. I am always willing to help out a fellow holiday hater. I can offer but three bits of advice: watch your intoxicant intake, whatever you do end up saying to others, do it with a big smile on your face, and be kind during these darkening winter days to the ideologically challenged.

    2. Boris

      I could not help myself, I had to click on that link, just to make sure it was, as I suspected, something about Trump. Kindly they started out with a Trump image, so I didnt have to read a single sentence before hitting Back!

  9. flora

    “New York judge lifts the gag order that barred Trump from maligning court staff in fraud trial” [Associated Press].

    Zoe my goodness, and going way too far out on a limb here…

    Good. I’m a Dem, but before I was ever a Dem I was a US citizen, and even before that, before I thought parties in this country were more important than country ideas, I was a believer in the Enlightenment principles person.

    Let T speak, let all pols speak. Let them all speak freely. The more free speech the better. I think the US polity is capable of sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

      1. JBird4049

        They want to shoot, stuff, and mount that lion on some rollers with a collar and a name tag saying Truth the Lion.

  10. marym

    > summoned to Washington, D.C.

    Possibly related to his 12/19/2020 and 01/05/2021 tweets – #87 p.32, #96c p.36 of the indictment

    > federal election interference case…coming into sharper focus

    Whatever the prosecutor’s plan for making the election interference case in court, the scope of the indictment is much broader than just the riot.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m objecting to the word “summoned.” I think it implies a degree of control on Trump’s part/lack of agency on the attendee/rioter’s part that would be unwarranted in other cases. Were the protesters in front of the DNC yesterday “summoned”? If not, what is the distinguishing factor?

  11. nippersdad

    Part of the smile on Xi’s face has to be remembering how much of the steel on the Golden Gate Bridge renovation came from China. That T-shirt is a natural for ads about what you can do with Chinese imports.

    1. jo6pac

      Bay Bridge steel came from China. Oakland Longshore wouldn’t allow it to be unloaded on the docks. They brought in crane on a barge and loaded on to other barges. Just saying.

      1. nippersdad

        I doubt that anyone in China will remember a labor action that did not serve to reshore the steel industry. People here do not know where that steel was made, but the Chinese surely do.

  12. Michael Fiorillo

    “What we all feel.”

    The walls are indeed closing in, just not in the way the #McResistance tells itself.

    1. ambrit

      “What we all feel.”
      That would be the Royal “We,” as in “The Democrats!”
      (I don’t know if the Babylon Bee would go as far as the “The Aristocrats!” joke.)

  13. John

    Let’s not forget Raskin: “leave this poor schmuck alone” in regards to trying to make people forget about ray Epps. He is just a mouthpiece for the blob.

  14. Amfortas the Hippie

    on that shay stewart bouley thread about fleeing the country.
    notice how many of the commenters say they’re disabled.
    artifact of her constituency?
    or indicative of something else?

    1. ambrit

      “The American Diaspora.” Sounds legit.
      However, class rears it’s ugly head here. Most foreign countries now maintain fairly high income requirements for immigrants and ex-pats. Poor people need not apply.
      More interestingly, I wonder how much of the American Diaspora ends up like the White Russians did in China after the October Revolution?

  15. SG

    Haley seems to have missed the plain language of the First Amendment: it’s a blanket prohibition on the regulation of speech and expression. It doesn’t just apply to US citizens or even (thank you, Citizens United) to natural persons. While it’s certainly true that it could not have envisaged bots or even end-stage capitalist PR campaigns, the text of the amendment is pretty clear: the government can’t regulate speech, whether it’s the speech of citizens, foreign nationals, communists, fascists, islamophobes, antisemites, pornographers, fundamentalist preachers, radical environmentalists, or corporate shills. Or Donald Trump, for that matter. You can decry the speech of those who offend you, but you can’t ban it.

    She’s a dangerous loon. She should be grateful to live in a country where she’s allowed to be one.

    1. Feral Finster

      Haley cares nothing for the text or plain meaning of the Constitution. Haley cares solely for power and what the courts can be made to permit.

      If she can get a friendly court to hand down a ruling that censorship is necessary for freedom of speech to exist (actually heard a journalist say that once!) then she will do so, Constitution be damned.

      1. tegnost

        It’s pretty straightforward what the dems need to do to change leadership, wait til almost the convention and elevate priztger/newsom in the smoke filled room as lambert points out. Without anything but hopefulness I don’t think trump will be on the ballot and the “way forward” race is pritzger v youngkin…I can see pritzger getting in but not sure how youngkin gets there (the remaining republican field is vapid). It’s going to be a great year, filled with surprises!
        Re pritzger, i put my theory forth in the coffee shop and was asked “who’s pritzger?”and thought…Bingo!

    2. Art Vandalay

      Texas and South Carolina are in stiff competition for greatest per-capita contribution of village idiots who become nationally prominent politicians – Haley, Lindsey Graham, Strom Thurmond, Tim Scott vs. Shrub, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry. I *think* TX takes the win by a narrow margin.

      1. Carolinian

        Hey now. Scott was appointed by Haley so it’s sort of the same thing. As for Thurmond he had plenty of segregationist company in neighboring states. However we do have a small population so “per capita” may fit.

  16. JBird4049

    >>>Eesh, libraries? Isn’t this what we have librarians for?

    Well, yes, but the librarians in those libraries tend to be those troublesome free speech advocates. Some actually keep on the shelves books that they do not personally like. Who knows what dangerous ideas those books might have?

      1. ambrit

        I’m afraid that nothing will change, (sound familiar?) until the sources of power of the elites are seriously threatened.
        Occupy was on the right track. They were developing a threat to the financial system that buys and sells politicians in the United States. Do notice how quickly and forcefully Occupy was ‘put down.’

        1. nippersdad

          Re: Nothing will change until the sources of power of the elites are seriously threatened.

          I don’t know how this will affect the R’s, but the story on lefty black YT is really blowing up. Their audience is clearly identifying with the Palestinian cause. Sabby Sabs, of RBN, is not holding back. She is even bringing up a Palestine speech by Malcolm X* that is not going to make the Democratic party happy given that they are already losing the black vote. They are just losing everyone.

          * Speech at the 27 minute mark.

          1. ambrit

            Thanks for this. Malcolm X has always been an underappreciated American politician and thinker.
            Elijah Muhammad and his clique have a lot to answer for. Of course, they are squarely within the American norms governing ‘religious’ organizations.

  17. Glen

    So I watched all that Biden/Xi foofaraw, and have come to the conclusion that this, somewhat out of date, is what’s in play:

    Yellen Bows Repetitively – America Begging China To Buy $850 Billion Debt, But Beijing Has 5 Demands For The U.S.

    Is that part of what’s going on? Has China stopped buying US debt? Because I really don’t think this “need to communicate on military matters” is really too much in play. The heads of the DoD have plenty of ways to send communications to the PLA, and they don’t necessarily needed it to be as a phone call, and don’t need a reply back. I mean that helps, but it’s not required.

    And that leaves Biden free to do his little “he’s a dictator” song and dance. Which I mean, who the [family blog] cares? China seems to be doing OK. My daughter shocked me by saying if she could figure out how to do it, she would move to China because life for her generation in America is a dead end. She knows it, all her peers know it. Biden better do something to get the Gen Z’s and Millennial interested in voting for his brain dead a$$, and big hint to Biden (and his handlers) calling Xi a dictator aint doing $hit to get their vote.

  18. Wukchumni

    Donkey Show, warling, Donkey Show
    Thank you for finding Hunter’s blow
    Evasion shows, second son don’t you know
    1600 Pennsylvania was the place to give a hoot
    Second son, go Bolivian treat, you take a toot

    Donkey Show, warling, Donkey Show
    Save those lies, warling don’t explain
    I recall the Great Depression started in the fall
    How you said Xi was a dictator in your address
    What a mess, I confess, that’s not all

    Donkey Show, warling, Donkey Show
    Thank you for taking care of he
    I can see additions to the Hunter family tree
    Presidential progeny for all time
    Paternity test quest, that was fine

    Donkey Show, warling, Donkey Show
    Thank you for shocking me again
    Though we go on our separate ways
    Still the memory stays for always

    My heart says dark times ahead, not the usual refrain
    Donkey Show, warling, Donkey Show
    I said thank you for, hmm, shocking me again
    Though we go on our separate ways
    Still the memory stays for always

    My heart says they’re not staying
    Donkey Show, auf wiedersehen
    Danke Schön

    Danke Schön, by Wayne Newton


  19. Skip Intro

    Did the mosaic artist accidentally express a deeper truth? Is a collection of middle fingers spanning the color spectrum, uniting by a single clear message — F. U. — not somehow appropriate?

  20. David in Friday Harbor

    For the thousandth time, I’m sick and tired of the meme (and vile canard) that Brennan, Clapper, et al. called-out a “Russian disinformation campaign.” They did no such thing. As the longtime constituent of one of the signatories, Leon Panetta, I downloaded the spook letter. It clearly states:

    has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information campaign.

    As I have followed the story, this is a significant difference to how it is being reported. Russian “information” is significantly and qualitatively different from Russian “disinformation. The spooks weren’t saying that the Hunter laptop was false — they were simply complaining that Russia!Russia!Russia! and Putin! were directing our attention to information that might weaken the authority of their preferred candidate by passing along truthful “information” in order to influence the election toward the candidate most likely to lead to chaos.

    This cycle the Whizz of Kalorama may be all-in for his Pritzker sponsors, but I think that the functional-illiterate greaser-governor looks like the smoke-filled room nominee (if they can figure-out how to push Kamala in front of a Metro train…).

    Peace. Out.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I disagree. The spook letter is mealy-mouthed, as one would expect. Compensate for that, and the meaning and the authorial intent is crystal clear. I mean, do you really think that “50 intelligence professionals” would sign a letter on the eve of an election to express a tentative hypothesis?

    2. Pat

      You know, you could make some small adjustments in your argument and make the same case for all so called Russian “disinformation”. Yup even back with Hillary. Not that there is any proof it came from the Russian government either time. And that is the point. They didn’t have to use “dis” in that letter, they just had to use Russia and Russian.
      Despite the intended confusion, people who really looked at all this know that the real disinformation is that Russia had some dastardly plot against Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Nope, this was a propaganda campaign to justify war and military action AND to deflect real examination of Democratic nominees. They/it were used as the fall guy to disguise the incompetence and corruption of Clinton and Biden, and in the process foster fear and anger at Russia.
      So I don’t entirely disagree with your underlying premise, just the idea that it gives those who wrote the letter cover. And that it misses the warmongering also in evidence.

  21. Anthony K Wikrent

    Project 2025, “Preventing the Abuse of Intelligence for Partisan Purposes”

    And what are we supposed to do when an entire political party embraces neoconfederate ideas and policies? When the “Federalist” Society was formed, the founders wanted to name it the Anti-Federalist Society, because they themselves understood that is what they really are.

    Nixon’s White House Counsel John Dean warned that the “Republican” Party was tending toward authoritarianism as far back as 2006 in Conservatives without Conscience. And some scholars, such as Corey Robin, have explained how conservatism always tends toward authoritarianism.

    If Dean and Robin and others are correct, then at what point do you designate conservatives as domestic enemies of the Constitution and treat them accordingly? And how do you do it without “being partisan”?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Are you talking about the authoritarian conservatives in the Republican party or the ones in the Democrat party? Hard to tell the difference…

      1. Anthony K Wikrent

        Yes, it is hard to tell the difference, until you look at the philosophy of government of conservatives, which is become explicitly anti-republican democracy and in many cases, openly calling for monarchical government.

        Get to Know the Influential Conservative Intellectuals Who Help Explain G.O.P. Extremism

        [New York Times, via The Big Picture 11-14-2023]

        We shouldn’t grow complacent about just how dangerous it all is — and how much more dangerous it could become. The efforts to overturn the 2020 election failed. We’re told that’s because the institutions held. But it’s more accurate to say that most of the individuals holding powerful positions within those institutions — the White House, the Pentagon, the courts, election officials in Georgia and other states — sided with the Constitution over Mr. Trump’s desire to remain in power.

        But what if key individuals decide differently the next time they are faced with this kind of choice? What if they have come to believe that the country is in such dire straits — has reached a state of apocalyptic decadence — that democracy is a luxury we can no longer afford?

        A coalition of intellectual catastrophists on the American right is trying to convince people of just that — giving the next generation of Republican officeholders, senior advisers, judges and appointees explicit permission and encouragement to believe that the country is on the verge of collapse. Some catastrophists take it a step further and suggest that officials might contemplate overthrowing liberal democracy in favor of revolutionary regime change or even imposing a right-wing dictatorship on the country….

        The Claremont Catastrophists
        Probably the best-known faction of catastrophists and the one with the most direct connection to Republican politics is led by Michael Anton and others with ties to the Claremont Institute, a right-wing think tank in California. Mr. Anton’s notorious Claremont Review of Books essay in September 2016 called the contest between Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton “The Flight 93 Election.” Mr. Anton, who would go on to serve as a National Security Council official in the Trump administration, insisted the choice facing Republicans, like the passengers on the jet hijacked by terrorists intent on self-immolation in a suicide attack on the White House or the Capitol on Sept. 11, was to “charge the cockpit or you die.” …. 

        John Eastman, a conservative lawyer also at the Claremont Institute… In a conversation this summer with Thomas Klingenstein, a leading funder of the Claremont Institute, Mr. Eastman explained why he thought such unprecedented moves were justified….

        …far-right Silicon Valley tech guru and self-described “monarchist,” Curtis Yarvin

        The Christian Reverse Revolutionaries
        …Stephen Wolfe, whose book “The Case for Christian Nationalism” calls for a “just revolution” against America’s “gynocracy” (rule by women) that emasculates men, persuading them to affirm “feminine virtues, such as empathy, fairness and equality.” In its place, Mr. Wolfe proposes the installation of a “Christian prince,” or a form of “theocratic Caesarism.”….

        The Bronze Age Pervert and the Nietzschean Fringe
        Farther out on the right’s political and philosophical extremes there’s Costin Alamariu, the person generally understood to be writing under the pseudonym Bronze Age Pervert.
        He self-published a book in 2018, “Bronze Age Mindset,” which follows Friedrich Nietzsche and other authors beloved by the European far right in proclaiming that Western civilization itself is on the verge of collapse, its greatest achievements far in the past, its present a “garbage world” in an advanced state of decay….

        This is exactly the same process of creating and promoting an anti-republican philosophy of government that occurred in the southern slave states in the four decades leading up to the Civil War.

        So, I agree with Thomas Frank’s assessment three months ago
        that 1) the Republican Party is hopelessly rotten and needs to be destroyed; 2) the institutional barriers erected to stop third parties are too great (though I do not believe this is true on local levels and some US House of Representatives districts — look at the electoral success of Bernie Sanders; and therefore 3) the Democratic Partym despite its many, many flaws, is the only plausible vehicle that remains for insurgent leftist populist activists. Look at how strongly “the establishment” wants an electoral defeat of “The Squad.”

        1. Anthony K Wikrent

          Further reflection leads me to post this:

          The key difference between the Republican and Democratic parties in our time is that the Democratic Party is gripped in a struggle for control between oligarchs and small d democrats, while the same struggle in the Republican Party has been won by the oligarchs who have imposed their explicitly anti-republican and anti-democracy philosophy of government, and there is no trace left of small r republicans.

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