2:00PM Water Cooler 12/12/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Arctic Loon, Finnmark, Norway. “Large expense of open water on the river. Other Behaviors: Counter Singing.”

* * *


“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

‘I’m a Zionist’: Biden Promises to Back Israel Until They ‘Get Rid’ of Hamas. But There Is Fine Print [News18]. “‘I ran into trouble and criticism when I said a few years ago that you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist. We continue to provide military assistance until they get rid of Hamas. Were there no Israel, there wouldn’t be a Jew in the world who is safe. As I said after the attack, my commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, and the security of Israel, its right to exist as an independent Jewish state, is unshakeable,’ Biden said…. ‘But, but, we have to be careful — they have to be careful. The whole world’s public opinion can shift overnight. We can’t let that happen,’ Biden said, referring to the growing death toll in Gaza.” • Fine print, but you need a magnifying class to read it.

“Biden’s State Dept. paid NewsGuard to tar organizations like ours” [New York Post]. “NewsGuard bills itself ‘The Internet Trust Tool’ and purports to offer ‘transparent tools to counter misinformation for readers, brands, and democracies,’ which admittedly sounds impressive. But what is the likely outcome when the US government funds this corporation through something called the Global Engagement Center? A lawsuit Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed in federal court Wednesday along with The Daily Wire and The Federalist declares the outcome was the State Department funding technology that could ‘render disfavored press outlets unprofitable.’ And when they’re suppressed, their advertising revenues drop. And if their advertising revenues drop far enough, they will eventually be forced to exit the market. We know this to be NewsGuard’s modus operandi because it did this to us at the American Institute for Economic Research. In October 2020, AIER hosted the conference that produced the Great Barrington Declaration, a statement that opposed the use of lockdowns during the COVID pandemic. The GBD’s text went viral, but it also provoked the wrath of the federal government. National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins instructed Anthony Fauci to wage a ‘quick and devastating published take down’ of the document, which was the first major scientific challenge to their disastrous lockdown strategy. The GBD also placed us on NewsGuard’s radar, prompting the organization to conduct a ‘fact-check’ rating of our website. Although it represented itself as a neutral and unbiased company, it quickly became clear NewsGuard intended to push a pro-lockdown agenda.” • GBD was a polemic device, not a “scientific challenge” (one of the authors was an economist from that house of ill-fame, Stanford, ffs). GBD’s eugenicist authors are scum. As is NewsGuard, which should be dismantled. (If you really want fact-checking, reconstitute the blogosphere, where such matters were rapidly crowd-sourced with no platforms.)

“‘We’ll Be at Each Others’ Throats’: Fiona Hill on What Happens If Putin Wins” [Politico]. “Hill sees U.S. domestic politics as the main obstacle to Ukraine’s ability to win. She has long warned, including in a book published after she left the White House, that high levels of partisanship in the United States promote authoritarianism both at home and around the world. She’s been talking to some lawmakers about Ukraine, and she’s worried that their partisanship has blinded them to the dangers the country faces if Putin gets his way. ‘The problem is that many members of Congress don’t want to see President Biden win on any front,’ she said. ‘People are incapable now of separating off ‘giving Biden a win’ from actually allowing Ukraine to win. They are thinking less about U.S. national security, European security, international security and foreign policy, and much more about how they can humiliate Biden.'” • And how, pray tell, is Ukraine to be “allowed to win”? Nukes? NATO boots on the ground? Wunderwaffen? (The headline is deeply ironic, since Hill basically took point on Trump’s second impeachment, ostensibly over his call to Zekensky, but in reality about The Blob asserting its authority.)


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Special counsel reveals plans to use Trump’s phone data at trial” [Politico]. “Special counsel Jack Smith has extracted data from the cell phone Donald Trump used while in the White House and plans to present evidence of his findings to a Washington, D.C. jury to demonstrate how Trump used the phone in the weeks during which he attempted to subvert the 2020 election. In a court filing Monday, Smith indicated that he plans to call an expert witness who extracted and reviewed data copied from Trump’s phone, as well as a phone used by another unidentified individual in Trump’s orbit. The data from Trump’s phone could reveal day-to-day details of his final weeks in office, including his daily movements, his Twitter habits and any other aides who had access to his accounts and devices. The data, for example, could help show whether Trump personally approved or sent a fateful tweet attacking his vice president, Mike Pence, during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. It’s unclear, though, what the extent of Smith’s access to Trump’s phone was. While Smith described in the filing using the data to view images, websites and locations, it’s unclear if he accessed the substance of Trump’s communications or if anything was shielded due to executive privilege or other limits.” • The walls are closing in?

* * *

“Joe Biden has an electoral math problem to solve” [CNN]. “Assuming Trump secures the Republican nomination (a pretty good assumption at the moment), if he can flip Georgia and Michigan and their 31 combined Electoral College votes, he would need to flip just one more battleground state that Biden won in 2020. These include Arizona, with its 11 Electoral College votes; Pennsylvania with 19; or Wisconsin with 10…. A swing of a few hundred thousand of the nearly 5 million votes from Georgians expected to cast a ballot in 2024 is the key to the state’s 16 electoral votes. In 2020, Biden got 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Trump needs to pick up 38 more electoral votes beyond what he won the last time to reach the magic number of 270. In Michigan, part of the ‘blue wall’ Biden rebuilt in 2020, he beat Trump by 154,188 votes, a decisive improvement over 2016, when Clinton lost to Trump by just 10,704 votes. Today, Trump is polling at 50% in CNN’s Michigan poll compared with Biden’s 40%. It’s telling that 10% of registered Michigan voters said they won’t vote for either man, but the frustration seems to be breaking against Biden at the moment in a hypothetical race for the state’s 15 electoral votes.” • I hope Trump pays his airplane mechanics extremely well….

“Poll: A fifth of Black voters want ‘someone else’ instead of Trump or Biden” [Politico]. “One of the best-respected polls of voters of color shows President Joe Biden is facing strong headwinds among his most loyal base of support: Black Americans. In the GenForward survey released on Tuesday and shared first with POLITICO, nearly 1 in 5 Black Americans, 17 percent, said they would vote for former President Donald Trump. And 20 percent of Black respondents said they would vote for ‘someone else’ other than Biden or Trump. According to the survey, about three-quarters of Black respondents said they would vote if the presidential election were held today, a figure that trails the number of white voters who said they would vote today by 10 points… Black adults backed Biden more than any other racial group in the survey, but the president notched just 63 percent among this bloc. It also represents a significant jump for Trump among Black voters overall. During the 2020 presidential election, AP VoteCast found Trump won 8 percent of Black voters, versus 91 percent voting for Biden.”

* * *

“With the Indictment and Inquiry, Democrats Now Face a Moment of Maddening Truth” [Jonathan Turley]. “One of the false narratives being bandied about is that there is no proof that the influence peddling of Biden’s son and brothers benefited the president himself. Thus, the argument goes, even though he was the subject of the influence peddling, Joe Biden did not legally or constitutionally benefit from the payments to constitute bribery or other crimes. That is utter nonsense. The courts have repeatedly found that benefits to family members (far more modest than the millions in this case) can constitute bribery for a politician. That has also been the position of the Justice Department in past cases. Regardless of whether Hunter or his associates were speaking truthfully about handing over percentages of these funds to Joe Biden, he practically and legally benefited from the millions going to his family. Even if members insist that they are not yet convinced, it makes no sense to insist that there is no direct evidence while opposing efforts to establish such evidence.”

“Who Is Sara Biden? Joe’s In-Law Emerges as Central Figure in Foreign Cash Deals” [RealClearInvestigations]. ” Sara Jones Biden has emerged as a key figure in the mushrooming Biden foreign influence-peddling scandal. GOP lawmakers seek to question the 64-year-old licensed attorney as part of their investigation of President Biden for possible impeachable offenses, including bribery. They are especially interested in subpoenaed bank records that include almost a quarter million dollars in checks Sara Biden wrote to her brother-in-law Joe, conspicuously marking them as ‘loan repayment.’ Republicans want to ask her about the origin of those loans and whether checks ‘were funded by Biden influence-peddling schemes with China.’ …. Although Hunter and Jim Biden’s questionable business dealings – and their possible blessing from the president – are drawing increasing scrutiny, Sara Biden has drawn little attention until now. But court records and other documents show she has been a central player in the Biden family business for decades. They show how her and her husband’s desire for a lifestyle they could not quite afford has repeatedly led them to form relationships with shady figures and enterprises that often ended in lawsuits and even criminal investigations. Looming over it all is Joe Biden. Documents recently obtained by government watchdog America First Legal, under a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal that Sara and Jim’s main business, the Lion Hall Group, shows up in more than 3,735 emails generated by the former Vice President Biden’s office. The sheer volume of communications concerning his brother and sister-in-law’s business appears to contradict Biden’s repeated claims over the years that he was never involved in, or even aware of, his family’s business dealings.” •

“Hunter Biden tax evasion indictment shields president from Burisma scrutiny” [Washington Times]. “The nine-count tax fraud indictment against Hunter Biden delves into sex workers and drugs but overlooks unpaid taxes from his million-dollar salary at Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that new whistleblower emails suggest received a helping hand from then-Vice President Biden. The president’s son faces up to 17 years in prison for evading $1.4 million in taxes…. The federal charges leave out a key period of tax evasion: Hunter Biden’s first year serving on the board of Burisma Holdings, where he was hired, according to witnesses, to help the company evade a corruption probe through the help of his powerful father. The indictment also excludes charges for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, despite Hunter Biden’s efforts to sell the “Biden brand” to foreign business partners.

* * *

CA: “‘A political dust storm in the Central Valley’: McCarthy’s succession is getting messy” [Politico]. “Soon after McCarthy announced his plans to step down, his onetime district director, Assemblymember Vince Fong, opted not to run for the seat. Other state and local politicians similarly declined, effectively clearing the field for state Sen. Shannon Grove, who started her political career on McCarthy’s urging. Grove, though, stunned Central Valley political circles late Sunday by announcing that, “After prayerful consideration and thoughtful discussions” with family, she would not run after all. Fong followed up with his own change of heart and launched a congressional bid a day later…. An orderly torch-passing is easier said than done.”

* * *

Penny Pritzker is a busy lady:

IL: “Partnerships Provide Momentum for Ukraine Industrial Base” [Military Spot]. “Among the interagency pathways is a newly announced Ukraine Deal Team comprising representatives from the Defense, Commerce and State departments focused on helping U.S. companies access Ukrainian markets.  ’This deal team will deploy all available U.S. government tools, including resources and expertise, to help U.S. companies compete and succeed in the Ukrainian defense industry,’ said Penny Pritzker, the U.S. special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery. ” Commentary:

IL: “As Harvard president faces pressure to resign, some faculty show support” [New York Times]. “[Harvard President Claudine] Gay last week told The Harvard Crimson that she had the support of Penny Pritzker, leader of the 12-person Harvard Corporation, who is a former Obama administration official. Gay is also a member of the Harvard Corporation. Pritzker could not be reached for comment Sunday.”

Republican Funhouse

“Gubernatorial candidate Mac Warner: ‘The election was stolen, and it was stolen by the CIA'” [MetroNews]. Nineteen paragraphs in, we get to the theory of the case: “Warner’s basis for questioning the 2020 presidential election, discussed briefly during last week’s gubernatorial debate, has taken a twist. By pointing toward the Central Intelligence Agency, he is making an argument that information about Hunter Biden’s laptop recovered from a repair shop in October 2020 was suppressed from full consideration by voters. Warner said all was revealed ‘when Mike Morell testified under oath to Jim Jordan that, yes, he colluded with Antony Blinken to sell a lie to the American people two weeks before the election for the very purpose of throwing the presidential election. How does it not get stolen if the FBI covers it up and Mark Zuckerberg pays $400 million to put his thumb on the scale? That’s not fair.'” That’s a big tangle to parse.” • Yes, that’s how The Blob works: Lots of tangles (though I missed The Zuckerberg™ having anything to do with Dear Hunter’s laptop, so I don’t know what Warner’s on about there). Certainly “But Hunter’s laptop!” is just as valid as “But her emails!” Much moreso, in fact, since the suppression of the New York Post’s story was a major operation that involved United States government actors working for a political party, on behalf of one candidate and against another. I’ve muttered for some time that Trump should have made this story the lynchpin of his “stolen election” campaign, and not election fraud — theoretically possible, absolutely question, but unproven in this instance — first because it had the great merit of being true, and second because it directly assaulted his real, or at least, political enemies.

“Project Veritas CEO Jumps Ship After Finding ‘Evidence of Past Illegality'” [The Daily Beast]. “Hannah Giles, the CEO of conservative nonprofit Project Veritas, announced her resignation ‘effective immediately’ on Monday, saying she’d unwittingly ‘stepped into an unsalvageable mess’ upon taking the job earlier this year. Giles was named the group’s chief executive four months after its messy breakup with founder James O’Keefe in February. In a statement posted to X, she claimed she’d taken over an organization ‘wrought with strong evidence of past illegality and past financial improprieties.’ Suggesting she’d had no prior knowledge of the infamously embattled nonprofit’s alleged improprieties, Giles continued on to say that once she’d ‘discovered’ the evidence, ‘I brought the information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.'” • O’Keefe was a piece of work. Not on the scale of WMDs or RussiaGate, of course; penny ante grifting.

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.

* * *

“How Tax-Exempt Nonprofits Skirt U.S. Law to Turn Out the Democrat Base in Elections” [RealClearInvestigations]. “More than 150 progressive nonprofits spent $1.35 billion on political activities in 2021 and 2022, according to data compiled by Restoration of America, a conservative political action committee. Although there are no readily available estimates of comparable conservative efforts, observers say they are overmatched…. The groups work around legal restrictions on nonprofits that accept tax-deductible donations by selectively engaging in nonpartisan efforts including boosting voter education and participation. But, like the estimated $332 million that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated to public elections offices to help run the 2020 elections, much of it winds up in the hands of groups that operate in liberal strongholds and work with reliably Democratic constituencies. Much of the switch from party and campaign activity to nonprofits stems from a changing political landscape, which de-emphasizes the short-term goals of candidates (winning elections) to a longer-term vision for party dominance, said Sasha Issenberg, author of ‘The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.'” • I think Issenberg has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. If the Democrat Party outsources “party and campaign activity” to NGOs, instead of keeping what I would have thought was a core competence in-house, that means that the NGOs are looking upward to squillionaire funders, seeking to service their whims, instead of outward to voters, seeking to meet their needs. As we indeed see. This is the very reverse of a project for “party dominance.” As we also see.

“A Democratic campaign deploys the first synthetic AI caller” [Politico]. “Voters in south-central Pennsylvania began getting calls over the weekend from a completely artificial person campaigning on behalf of a Democratic congressional candidate.” • Voters in south-central Pennsylvania began getting calls over the weekend from a Democratic congressional candidate campaigning on behalf a completely artificial person. Makes as much sense either way. Maybe they’ve been using an AI to generate that mail I keep posting. Who knows, who cares…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Thousands of blue state residents flock to Idaho, bringing conservative politics with them: data” [FOX]. • Fortunately, you can get ticky-tacky suburbs in Idaho just as well as you can anywhere else:

“Ranch,” ffs.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay safe out there!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Christmas Cheer:

“To avoid getting sick on a plane, choose your seat wisely” [Sydney Morning Herald]. “According to the same study, which tracked 1500 transcontinental airline passengers in the US, an aisle sitter interacted with an average 64 people over the course of a flight, while for a window sitter this dwindled to just 12 other people…. Irrespective of where you sit, you can reduce your chances of infection by wearing a mask and turning on your air vent. Drinking alcohol reduces your immune system, and so does dehydration and a dry nose. Stay hydrated and use a nasal spray.” • No matter the form of transport, I arrange the air vents so they blow air away from me. NOTE I left out a sentence that said if you sit next to an infected person you’re “doomed.” I would want to know the confounders on that (like, say, a Darth Vader mask).

” Brits told to ‘elbow bump’ family members this Christmas as 100-day cough that can crack ribs & cause seizures runs rife” [The Sun]. The deck: “People should also wear masks to stop the spread of the disease, experts say.” • So, fomites in the headline, masks in the deck. Better than nothing, I suppose. NOTE: I did do a cursory search to see if whooping cough, UPDATE now having a resurgence in the seemingly immune dysregulated UK, is airborne. Most of the sources say “droplets,” and coughing or sneezing, and not talking or breathing (and confusingly, the bureaucratic fudge “aerosol droplets” is now propagating in that field). Now, I have big priors on aerosols vs. droplets, as readers know, so all the droplet dogma from the usual suspects triggers my hermeneutic of suspicion. That said, although whooping cough is very contagious, I find no mentiona of a very high R0, or any epidemiology showing superspreading. And I suppose it does make sense that a disease optimized to create “whooping” “cough” would indeed spread by that mechanism. Readers?

* * *

“Bioaerosol” [Wikipedia, sorry]. “Bioaerosols (short for biological aerosols) are a subcategory of particles released from terrestrial and marine ecosystems into the atmosphere. They consist of both living and non-living components, such as fungi, pollen, bacteria and viruses. Common sources of bioaerosols include soil, water, and sewage. Bioaerosols are typically introduced into the air via wind turbulence over a surface. Once in the atmosphere, they can be transported locally or globally: common wind patterns/strengths are responsible for local dispersal, while tropical storms and dust plumes can move bioaerosols between continents. Over ocean surfaces, bioaerosols are generated via sea spray and bubbles Bioaerosols can transmit microbial pathogens, endotoxins, and allergens to which humans are sensitive.” • It would be wonderful if some clever person would devise a cellphone sensor that detected bioaerosols, and displayed them as an overlay with whatever the camera sees. That way, I could hold up my phone, and see (for example) PM2.5 particles as a haze of grey, and, ideally — I’m sure this isn’t easy, and I’m not sure it’s even possible — SARS-CoV-2 in red….


Masks are for scientists, not the little people:

“She” being Maskless Mandy.

Scientific Communication

“Reporting on Long Covid Taught Me to Be a Better Journalist” [Ed Yong, New York Times]. “As the pandemic wore on, many grim outcomes I warned about came to pass, and most societal changes I hoped for did not. I watched two successive administrations make avoidable mistakes, and then make them anew with each successive surge or variant. I witnessed almost every publication that I once held in esteem become complicit in normalizing a level of death once billed as incalculable. It was galling, crushing work that wrecked my faith in journalism and its institutions. But the solace that many long-haulers drew from my pieces gave me solace in turn. It convinced me that there is still a point to this horrible work, a purpose in bearing witness to suffering and a reason to continue shouting into the abyss. Sometimes, even if just slightly, the abyss brightens.” • Citizen science is a bright spot, as Yong points out. Well worth a read.

ChatGPT reflecting how conventional wisdom — which is what the Large Language Models of AI aggregate — has been changing. In a good way:

Love “somebody tell Bonnie Henry.” And those GBD goons, too; loud and well-funded as they are, they’re slowly losing (unless they start manipulating the training sets, I suppose; I wouldn’t put it past them or, more to the point, their funders, the Koch Brothers).


Unexpectedly, “personal risk assessment” tends to involve other people:


“Post-acute COVID-19 complications in UK doctors: results of a cross-sectional survey Get access Arrow” [Occupational Medicine]. Survey. From the Abstract: “Of 795 responses, 603 fulfilled the inclusion criteria of being a UK-based medical doctor experiencing one or more post-acute COVID complications. Twenty-eight per cent reported a lack of adequate Respiratory Protective Equipment at the time of contracting COVID-19. Eighteen per cent of eligible respondents reported that they had been unable to return to work since acquiring COVID. Post-acute COVID (Long COVID) in UK doctors is a substantial burden for respondents to our questionnaire. The results indicated that insufficient respiratory protection could have contributed to occupational disease, with COVID-19 being contracted in the workplace, and resultant post-COVID complications. Although it may be too late to address the perceived determinants of inadequate protection for those already suffering with Long COVID, more investment is needed in rehabilitation and support of those afflicted.”


“Inhalation of a fog of hypochlorous acid (HOCl): Biochemical, antimicrobial, and pathological assessment” (preprint) [ResearchSquare]. “Evidence is emerging of the beneficial effects of inhaling microaerosolized hypochlorous acid (HOCl) as an intervention in the prevention and treatment of respiratory virus infections, including SARS CoV-2. However, little information is available about the effects of inhalation of homogenous HOCl solutions in normal human subjects or in experimental animals. In this report we establish through independent laboratories that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is rapidly inactivated by exposure to HOCl. Inhalation of an aerosolized form of the same HOCl solution by rodents, in accordance with a US-EPA acute 4-hour inhalation toxicity protocol, then provided observational, gross pathological, and histopathological evidence that their pulmonary exposure did not result in any difference when compared to control animals. During the pandemic lockdown, subjective impressions of exposure to aerosolized HOCl were submitted as self-reported responses by employees of a machine-tool shop located in Tacoma, Washington, about 35 miles from Seattle. At that location exposure to HOCl was adopted by a subset of employees as a routine for entry into the facilities. Under short-term, controlled conditions those individuals breathed HOCl misted from a reservoir containing 180 ppm free active chlorine (FAC). Their reports were used to arrive at inferences regarding the effects of exposure.” • I would not try this at home; I’m posting this to lay down a marker (and it does seem that a mister would be a good way of distributing some SARS-CoV-2 lethal subtance. But that’s just my priors talking).


“Saline nasal irrigation and gargling in COVID-19: a multidisciplinary review of effects on viral load, mucosal dynamics, and patient outcomes” [Frontiers in Public Health]. “With unrelenting SARS-CoV-2 variants, additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies are needed. Oral and nasal saline irrigation (SI) is a traditional approach for respiratory infections/diseases. As a multidisciplinary network with expertise/experience with saline, we conducted a narrative review to examine mechanisms of action and clinical outcomes associated with nasal SI, gargling, spray, or nebulization in COVID-19. SI was found to reduce SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal loads and hasten viral clearance….. Prophylaxis was documented adjunctive to personal protective equipment. COVID-19 patients experienced significant symptom relief, while overall data suggest lower hospitalization risk. We found no harm and hence recommend SI use, as safe, inexpensive, and easy-to-use hygiene measure, complementary to hand washing or mask-wearing. In view of mainly small studies, large well-controlled or surveillance studies can help to further validate the outcomes and to implement its use.” • As usual, NPIs get no funding. No rents!

“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.

* * *

“Coronavirus epidemic broke out in East Asia around 25,000 years ago, gene study shows” [ABC Australia]. “Coronaviruses have sparked some massive disease outbreaks in living memory, but we’ve actually been battling them for millennia, according to a new study… [A] team of Australian and US scientists has discovered that a coronavirus epidemic broke out in East Asia around 25,000 years ago. According to their study, reported today in Current Biology, evidence of this can be seen in the genomes of modern-day people from the region. ‘It wreaked havoc in the population and left significant genetic scars,’ said study co-author Kirill Alexandrov, a synthetic biologist at the Queensland University of Technology.” • So how’s that herd immunity project coming?

“Replication-Competent Virus Detected in Blood of a Fatal COVID-19 Case” [Annals of Internal Medicine]. N = 1 (autopsy). From the Discussion: “Our case proves that replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 can traffic in blood during COVID-19 and seed tissues throughout the body. … Further studies are needed to determine the implications of our findings for persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 variants, those with mild illness, persons recently vaccinated, or persons with waning immunity after natural infection or vaccination.”

Elite Maleficence

Fun with words:

The quote is indeed from Herbert’s Children of Dune (from the Bene Gesserit’s Panoplia Prophetica. Not sure whether they applied this dictum to their own thinking).

Pro-infection avant la lettre:

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, December 11:

Lambert here: At last Biden’s beaten every one of Trump’s previous spikes, so a round of applause for The Big Guy. The slight plateauing in the national numbers doesn’t make sense to me because I can’t see an organic reason for it (unless the spread from Thanksgiving is somehow being damped out, which seems implausible). I’m guessing backward revision will make the plateau go away. Only 14 superspreading days until Christmas!

Regional data:

Hard to see why the regional split (and it sure would be nice to have more granular data). Weather forcing Northerners indoors? Seems facile. There’s snow in the Rockies (green color, West), for example.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, December 9:

Lambert here: JN.1, shown on the NowCast for the first time, coming up fast on the outside, while BA.2.86 fades.

From CDC, November25:

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, December 2:

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.

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. And of course, we’re not even getting into the quality of the wastewater sites that we have as a proxy for Covid infection overall.


Bellwether New York City, data as of December 12:

Steadily up. New York state as a whole looks more like a spike. (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]).

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

Up, up, up!

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, December 11:

0.5%. Up. (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, December 2:

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.

From CDC, traveler’s data, November 20:

Turning upward.

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, November 20:

BA.2.86 zipping right along. If this data were delivered in anything like a timely fashion, it would be a pretty good predictor.


NOT UPDATED Here is the New York Times, based on CDC data, December 2:

That the absolute numbers of deaths are down, but the percentage of deaths is up, is interesting.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States Consumer Price Index (CPI)” [Trading Economics]. “The CPI in the United States increased by 3.1% year-on-year to 307.05 points in November 2023, slightly above the market’s expectations of 306.9 points. The rise in prices for food (2.9%) and shelter (6.5%), among others, counterbalanced declines in energy costs (-5.4%) and used cars and trucks (-3.8%).”

Business Optimism: “United States NFIB Business Optimism Index” [Trading Economics]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index in the United States fell for a fourth consecutive month to 90.6 in November 2023, a new low since May, compared to 90.7 in October and forecasts of 90.7. “Job openings on Main Street remain elevated as the economy saw a strong third quarter. However, even with the growing economy, small business owners have not seen a strong wave of workers to fill their open positions. Inflation also continues to be an issue among small businesses”, said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.”

* * *

The Bezzle: “The Telecom Industry Is Very Mad Because The FCC MIGHT Examine High Broadband Prices” [TechDirt]. “We’ve long noted how the FCC (regardless of party) largely ignores how muted competition and monopolization drives up prices for consumers. The agency often talks a good (if ambiguous) game about ‘bridging the digital divide,’ but they don’t collect and share pricing data proving market failure, nor are they capable of admitting monopolies exist and are harmful in public-facing messaging.,,, Back in November, the agency issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) pondering whether they should more seriously analyze the cost of broadband when making those determinations (yes, duh)…. But even the faint possibility of the FCC looking at expensive U.S. broadband has been enough to send telecom lobbyists into a tizzy, with cable lobbying organizations arguing in filings that even asking the question is ‘inappropriate’…. The majority of Americans live under a monopoly or duopoly for broadband access protected by state and federal corruption. This muted competition consistently results in spotty coverage, high prices, slow speeds, and comically terrible customer service. And again, FCC officials can’t even openly admit there’s a monopoly/duopoly problem, much less field concrete solutions to the problem…. The fact that it’s 2023 and the FCC and [National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)] have only fairly recently realized they should be considering affordability in broadband access policy genuinely speaks for itself.”

The Bezzle: “Column: This porn company makes millions by shaming porn consumers” [Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times]. “Since September 2017, Strike 3 has filed more than 12,440 lawsuits in federal courts alleging that defendants infringed its copyrights by downloading its movies via BitTorrent… The lawsuits follow a standard road map. Strike 3, like other similar plaintiffs, starts by identifying the defendant only by his or her IP address, a designation typically assigned to users’ computers by their internet service provider, ostensibly used to download content from BitTorrent. At that stage, the defendant is identified in court papers only as ‘John Doe.’ The plaintiffs then ask a federal judge for permission to subpoena the internet service provider — which could be AT&T, Spectrum, Frontier, or another provider — for the name and address of the subscriber with that IP address. Judges have almost invariably granted these requests routinely. Armed with the name, the plaintiffs proceed by sending a letter implicitly threatening the subscriber with public exposure as a pornography viewer and explicitly with the statutory penalties for infringement written into federal copyright law — up to $150,000 for willful infringement or $750 otherwise…. It’s impossible to pinpoint the profits that can be made from this courthouse strategy. J. Curtis Edmondson, a Portland, Ore., lawyer who is among the few who pushed back against a Strike 3 case and won, estimates that Strike 3 ‘pulls in about $15 million to $20 million a year from its lawsuits.’ That would make the cases ‘way more profitable than selling their product.'” • Much more appalling detail in the article.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 67 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 11 at 1:08:05 PM ET.

The Gallery

“Monet: Painting Is Terribly Difficult” [London Review of Books]. “These men weren’t struggling for the rent, occasionally stretching the rules to put food on the table; they were, or had become, institutionally – and constitutionally – corrupt. But is it surprising? The art market is international and barely regulated; its products are easily transportable, squirrelled away in freeports or swiftly turned into cash. Grifters, fakers and thieves naturally abound. There is often a cosy nexus between artists, dealers, gallerists and critics; value – or at least, price – is constantly moving, usually upwards; and there are an increasing number of very rich people for whom art is a status symbol. Authenticating a work is difficult, and a lot may depend on it. How might a grateful owner or potential purchaser reward such connoisseurship? The classic example is that of Bernard Berenson – in Hughes’s mocking words, ‘the disinterested, Goethean sage of I Tatti’ – who charged his employer 25 per cent on the sale of any work he had authenticated. Today there are art advisers at the shoulder of new money; the deference might be difficult, but parts of the job must be pretty easy. Warhol, tick; Koons, tick; Basquiat, tick; Picasso, tick; Freud, tick; Banksy and Bacon, tick tick; and so on. When and where did it all start? Probably in Paris; more unexpectedly, when the Impressionists came along For centuries, the Salon had ruled over taste, over what was and wasn’t art, and therefore over most artists’ incomes. There had been the famous Salon des Refusés in 1863, but that experiment in imperial permissiveness was not to be repeated. So the Impressionists, following Courbet’s example, put on their own exhibitions, the first in 1874. They made little money but received a good deal of publicity. Gradually, the stranglehold of the Salon was loosened: it had traditionally been such that some collectors, seeing a work in an artist’s studio, might offer to buy it as long as the Salon jury found it good enough (and uncontentious enough) to be hung on their walls. At the same time, a younger generation of more imaginative dealers came along, looking for new buyers not just on the home market but abroad, especially in London and New York. Then there was the press: both the critics themselves and the hacks who sought scandal and sensation. Critical mass had arrived: that nexus of artist, dealer, critic and curator, plus shock value and a rising market. Monet, as leader of the Impressionists and the group’s highest earner, was at the heart of this new world.” • Interestingly, Bourdieu believes that Manet, not Monet, devised a new modality of the visible (reproducing his thesis crudely). But it looks like Monet… Well, the best things in life are free. But you can give them to the birds and the bees, I want Monet…


“The Invisible Bunnies That Power World of Warcraft” [Kotaku]. “‘A lot of stuff behind the scenes that you wouldn’t expect to be a spell in WoW runs using the spell system,’ [WoW encounter designer Nathaniel Chapman] said. ‘Spells need casters, so we often have to rely on spawning in an invisible creature to be the one to actually ‘cast’ the spell. Other things that creatures are good at doing would be hard to implement any other way, so we use an invisible creature instead.’ … Different games use different invisible creatures. For WoW, it’s mostly bunnies. Chapman pointed me to a list of bunnies in the game, noting that every bunny on the list that’s not categorized as a “critter” is an invisible bunny oompa-loompaing around in the background of WoW’s endless chocolate factory. The list, I should add, is 1,000 damn entries long. These bunnies have some incredible names, too. For instance, there’s the Projections And Plans Kill Credit Bunny. I’m also partial to Pony Gun Bunny. Why is WoW a front for a morally questionable bunny labor operation? The short version is, programmers’ time is limited, and [Non-player character (NPC)’s] time is not.”

Guillotine Watch

“Bay Area CEO accused in lawsuit of enslaving assistant, taking her into ‘dark abyss of sexual horror'” [Mercury News]. “On Thursday, a woman identified as Jane Doe sued Tradeshift and [CEO Christian] Lanng, claiming Lanng, within months of her hiring as his executive assistant, coerced her into signing a ‘slave contract.'” • That “slave contract” is straight up Silicon Valley libertarianism, reminding me of Andrew Dittmer’s glorious six-parter, “Journey into a Libertarian Future” (2019):

ANDREW: Still, as a libertarian, aren’t you against coercion?

[CODE NAME CAIN (CNC)]: Coercion? Obviously you don’t understand what you’re talking about. Coercion is only when someone interferes with rights someone else actually holds. Criminals can forfeit their rights through their own choices. When that happens, requiring them to make restitution for their actions doesn’t violate their rights.

ANDREW: Will there be any other people in the free society who will be slaves?

CNC: Slaves?! Don’t you know that the first condition of a libertarian society is that everyone owns themselves?

ANDREW: Sorry, I meant to say: effectively slaves in a rights-respecting manner.

CNC: Oh. Hmmm. Let me think about that.

ANDREW: For example, suppose someone signs a business contract and then, later, can’t fulfill the terms of the contract. What would happen?

CNC: In a libertarian society, sanctity of contract is absolutely fundamental.

ANDREW: Let me be a little more specific. Suppose some guy can’t pay his debts. Would he be allowed to declare bankruptcy and move on, or would he become, in a rights-respecting manner, the effective slave of whoever had loaned him the money?

Class Warfare

News of the Wired

“The evolution of the On/Off power switch symbol” [Commonsense Design]. “Then we start to see the form shown in the two photos above right: a bastardized version combining the 1-in-a-circle with a 1 in the same symbol. This makes no sense at all – the correct representation would have been 1/0, for On slash Off. Instead we get On slash OnOff. Sloppy thinking… Such erroneous contractions are often seen in spoken language – as in ‘IT technology’, which expands to ‘information technology technology’ (there’s even a company by that name, and its slogan, amusingly, is ‘We make sense of IT’). But now we see the same error invading the more compact space of visual symbols.” • The photos:

* * *

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

CM writes: “Death and rebirth! An island on Lake Huron.”

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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. SomeGuyinAZ

    Are you all starting to see this in your areas: in AZ I’ve seen several new housing communities being built, but when they finish them they don’t go on sale – they’re setting these all up as “for lease/rent” only.

    I think the old American Dream of homeownership is in the oligarch/PE crosshairs…. Not like normal people could afford them anyway.

    Just strange.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Imagine growing up in a political system where you couldn’t own land and had to pay someone rent constantly.. oh wait that was what the original settlers of North America were running away from.

      American aristocracy here we come.

    2. GF

      In the photo near the top of this page showing the housing development, it appears that the east and west sides of the homes have no windows – could be due to the closeness to the neighbors or an energy/cost saving feature. Ugly development but what one gets at “affordable” prices.

    3. griffen

      I’ve seen stories speaking to this from a city nearby, north of Charlotte, NC. Whereby the builder was upfront and designating these homes as being specific for rental. Yeah more of the cookie cutter approach in this regard. Maybe that was late 2022 or early 2023, my recall was the housing rent was roughly $2,000 per month on a standard 3/2 home.

  2. Feral Finster

    ““Hunter Biden tax evasion indictment shields president from Burisma scrutiny” [Washington Times]. “The nine-count tax fraud indictment against Hunter Biden delves into sex workers and drugs but overlooks unpaid taxes from his million-dollar salary at Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company that new whistleblower emails suggest received a helping hand from then-Vice President Biden. The president’s son faces up to 17 years in prison for evading $1.4 million in taxes…. The federal charges leave out a key period of tax evasion: Hunter Biden’s first year serving on the board of Burisma Holdings, where he was hired, according to witnesses, to help the company evade a corruption probe through the help of his powerful father. The indictment also excludes charges for failing to register as a foreign lobbyist, despite Hunter Biden’s efforts to sell the “Biden brand” to foreign business partners.”

    All this is entirely intentional. After the judge rejected the first plea deal, this is an attempt to create a less blatantly obvious sweetheart deal, but at the same time, a sweetheart deal that doesn’t take a peek under the kilt, a sweetheart deal that doesn’t Go There.

    The historical analogy is to Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 sweetheart deal. In that case, it was abundantly obvious that prosecutors really did not want to be put in the awkward position of having to prosecute Important People, influential people who could do big favors who also were vengeful people with long memories. (see, e.g,, Clinton, Bill)

    Of course, all this begs the question of why it would be so bad to Go There. And we all know the answer – because Joe Biden and Young Hunter both have plenty to hide in their dealings in Ukraine. This also explains why Biden is so desperate to come up with more money for that nasty little tyranny.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      The glorious drive to get $105B for genocidal maniacs hit another pothole. Apparently. Speaker Johnson’s meeting with the grifter from Kiev did not go well, per news reports.

      1. Feral Finster

        Couldn’t have happened to a nicer grifter. I hear his minder Yermak even came along, to no avail.

        ‘course, if Ukraine’s collapse is inevitable and cannot be delayed until after Election Day, I would think that Biden and his Brain Trust would prefer that it happen sooner rather than later.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Old Joe just gave Zelensky $200 million. That must have come from the White House Petty Expenses account.

            1. Wukchumni

              Washington: The United Nations has ordered one of its former officials to repay $97 million personally, after he lost a vast amount of UN funds by entrusting them to a man he met at a party, according to court filings.

              The $US63.6 million penalty that the UN is seeking to impose on the former official, Vitaly Vanshelboim – once the second-in-command at the UN’s logistics agency – is the latest fallout from a scandal that The New York Times first reported last year.

              Vanshelboim, who is Ukrainian, was fired by the UN in January after an internal investigation. In a recent filing with the UN’s internal court system, Vanshelboim revealed other aspects of his punishment: He said he was fined a year’s salary and told to repay $US63,626,806 personally. If he does not repay the money, the filings said, he will not be eligible for a UN pension.


    2. .human

      One can only imagine what Zelenski and his oligarchs have on the Bidens. There must be a “man-sized” safe somewhere in the manner of J Edgar, though smaller ;-)

    3. Screwball

      The Biden’s are not the only people with things to hide from Ukraine dealings, which is why it will be as Epsteined as possible.

  3. Wukchumni

    CA: “‘A political dust storm in the Central Valley’: McCarthy’s succession is getting messy” [Politico]. “Soon after McCarthy announced his plans to step down, his onetime district director, Assemblymember Vince Fong, opted not to run for the seat. Other state and local politicians similarly declined, effectively clearing the field for state Sen. Shannon Grove, who started her political career on McCarthy’s urging. Grove, though, stunned Central Valley political circles late Sunday by announcing that, “After prayerful consideration and thoughtful discussions” with family, she would not run after all. Fong followed up with his own change of heart and launched a congressional bid a day later….
    While it isn’t gonna be exactly easy losing my Kevin (since ’07) as a personal patsy, this Fong ghoul looks promising, feeding on a political corpse as it were.

    My Vince since 2023 doesn’t have the same rhyming quality, sadly.

      1. Wukchumni

        In theory its all a moot point, as Fong is already registered to be running in another race, and Cali law prohibits you from being in two elections at one time, but i’m sure somebody will make an exception for him.

        1. ChrisFromGA

          My Christmas wish to you is that the gods of politics deliver to your district a stooge worthy of your satirical and lyrical genius.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      Vinny the wimp.

      Over here on my side of the country, I’m represented by a former MD who sends out flyers boasting how tough on Putin he is. Rep. Rich McCormick apparently thinks he’s running for the position of neocon pet of the month.

      Richie the clown?

      enRich the MIC?

      Doesn’t have the same ring as “muh Kevin.”

  4. Rob Urie

    Re: We’ll Be at Each Others’ Throats’: Fiona Hill on What Happens If Putin Wins

    Can the rest of us watch?

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      are we really certain that Fiona is a “russia expert”?
      i’m just not feeling it…unless the extent of her studies in Atlantic Council publications and the twitter account at FP/
      aside from all the opposite day stuff…such people never seem to examine their assumptions: what business is it of ours if china annexes outright tiawan?
      or has their navy in the frelling South China Sea?
      that is hardly our back yard,lol.
      and not one mention of Russia’s/Putin’s reasons for all of this…aside from a passing insinuation that he’s an imperialist bent on world domination….as i said the other day, i’ve seen exactly zero indication of this.
      so where to these Blob Dwellers get this idea, that putin wants to annex europe and beyond?
      i also take issue with numerous other bits and pieces…like printed $ = more arms produced…and …well…just a whole lot of things.
      this is what passes for realism in DC, i guess.

      1. pjay

        I’ve said this before, but for me one of the scariest moments of the whole anti-Trump Russiagate hysteria was the testimony of Hill during the first impeachment. What shook me was that unlike so many Establishment propagandists, Hill – one of our “leading Russia experts” – actually seemed to believe the bulls**t she was saying! Cynical empire apologists are often “realist” enough to fold when in danger of losing big. But True Believers can lead us into WWIII.

        I thought we were finally rid of Hill, but I see they are trotting her out again to save the West from the “authoritarian” menace. Her old prof Richard Pipes would be proud of how thoroughly his student has internalized his neocon worldview. But did she understand the part about the Straussian “Big Lie”?

    2. The Rev Kev

      After reading that Fiona Hill piece, I wouldn’t trust her to select our dog’s dog food. I, for one, will be laying in the popcorn when this war winds down as there will be a glorious fight in Washington about ‘Who lost the Ukraine’ and whose fault it is. It will be split along party lines but those who made the most profit out of this war will deliberately muddy the waters to hide how well they did. Of course they may do an Afghanistan and just stop talking about it after a coupla weeks.

      And of course Project Taiwan beckons.

    3. eg

      I really want to like Hill (I found the biographical elements of her book pretty compelling) but she is clueless with regards to the military situation in Ukraine and in case she hadn’t noticed they are already “at each other’s throats” in American politics.

  5. Ghost in the Machine

    Poll: A fifth of Black voters want ‘someone else’ instead of Trump or Biden”

    I want to see the question. No way only 1/5 of any race is dissatisfied with these two choices.

    1. Lou Anton

      No link to the source material on the politico page, but I think the question was probably some variant of “Who do you plan to vote for?” with choices of Biden, Trump, and then either a “Someone Else” option or they could say whomever they want and the those responses were netted up into Someone Else. Anyway, I think the data would go:

      Biden: 63%
      Trump: 17%
      Someone Else: 20%

      Those are awful numbers if you’re Team Biden. Biden got 90% of the black vote in 2020 (source vox), so even if he got ALL of the Someone Else vote, he’s still underperforming.

    2. Feral Finster

      Holmes, I suspect that more than 1/5 of Biden’s and Trump’s immediate families want someone other than the two imbecile choices on offer, even if they cannot or will not say so out loud in public.

    3. Tommy S

      No kidding. Since it is likely voters, well that’s “!/5” of the blacks that make up 50% that will usually even vote (of VotingAgePopulation). ….but even that sounds too low to me, when we’ve seen tons of polls of 60% of entire country doesn’t like either. Of course opinion, and who then STILL turns out and votes for them is odd…exit polls showed near half of Clinton voters, didn’t even like her policies. Either way, almost half of African American working class VAP don’t vote as it is…similar to poor whites. The organizing against the system opportunities are huge! We are many they are few….indeed. Sad ‘my real left’ in the USA, isn’t picking this fact up and running with it…..

  6. Wukchumni

    The dramatic change from housing bubble numero uno and the current one is that second tier big city homes such as Boise went up quite a bit, with equity refugees filling in the void and tripling the value of homes in the past dozen years.

    I’m thankful for the potato state in that our local wacky evang militia/tax evader cult hightailed it up there about 7 years ago…

    Idaho’s gain is our gain~

  7. Matthew G. Saroff

    Lamberth, when you say:

    If the Democrat Party outsources “party and campaign activity” to NGOs, instead of keeping what I would have thought was a core competence in-house, that means that the NGOs are looking upward to squillionaire funders, seeking to service their whims.

    I think that you are not only wrong, but extremely optimistic.

    I think that what really is going on is that party functions are outsourced to organizations so that they can hire consultants at levels of remuneration that would be completely unacceptable at the party organizations.

    The Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment) is operating as a grift whereby the consultants, after having entered and left the official organizations of the Democratic Party though the proverbial revolving door, go to places like NGP/VAN,

    The problem is not just the looting though, it that the structure incentivizes bad campaigns and bad candidates, because the consultants define the strategies and tactics used, and so lobby for weak candidates with lots of money, because with a weak candidate, you spend lots on media buys, and the consultants get a percentage of those ad buys.

    Until the problem of excessive influence from, and skewed incentives for, the consultants who are often mandated by the Democratic Party establishment (There is no Democratic Party establishment), we will continue to have lousy campaigns and lousy candidates.

    The issue is not the consultants kowtowing to squillionaires, it is that they are incompetent goniffs.

    1. Feral Finster

      I would say that the consultants are doing just fine out of this gig. See, the Biden Gig Economy works! (if you happen to be one of the connected…..)

      To be fair, Team R have done similar shenanigans, such as the infamous 2012 Mitt Romney ORCA get out the vote fiasco, which was also outsourced to consultants. So was the Romney campaign’s data mining, which turned out to be a similar clownshow.

      If Mitt Romney ought to be good at recognizing anything, he ought to be able to recognize when the consultants are fleecing their client. I suspect that he knew full well what was happening and both cases, and he did nothing.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Ties in with ““A Democratic campaign deploys the first synthetic AI caller” [Politico].”

      You can use AI to research your pitch, that could be helpful. But if you’re qualified to write a pitch for a major political party, you don’t need AI to help you do that. If the party is using AI to write the actual copy, it means the people who made that decision and/or are supposed to be doing this themselves lack the chops to do so. AI is better than these folks in their own opinion.

      They have no writers on board, just people who think an A on a grammar test made them a writer. Like thinking that passing a driver’s test makes you a mechanic and then getting cronied into a job in a Formula 1 racing pit crew.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      I agree that consultants are an issue, but they are a layer between the squillionaires and whatever party program emerges from the aggregation of funded projects (per Ferguson et al’s industrial model). Think of the consultants as brokers, or, more to the point, cut-outs.

      Interestingly, I well remember Nomiki Konst’s on-point rant at the DNC’s reform meeting, where she said that billions of Democrat money were controlled by six? five? consultants, and the DNC didn’t even know where the money was going. The individuals were never named, and to my knowledge have not been. But a broker can make a good deak of money, and a cut-out can have a good deal of power.

  8. lyman alpha blob

    “The data, for example, could help show whether Trump personally approved or sent a fateful tweet attacking his vice president, Mike Pence, during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.”

    Could, but will it though? This would be digital evidence after all. Just because a given tweet was sent from Trump’s phone doesn’t mean he sent it. It makes it likely, but it’s not proof. Someone else could have used his phone, or someone could have remotely planted the “evidence” on it. To me, actual proof would be video evidence of Trump typing in the words himself that later appeared on Twitter. And that’s before you get to arguing whether saying mean things about Mike Pence is a criminal action.

    That’s what I’d have my lawyers argue at least if I were facing the slammer.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Could, but will it though?

      The walls are closing in! We’ve seen stories like this over, and over again, back from the time when liberal Democrats were naming their dogs after Mueller. Rarely — never? — to they pan out.

      My view is that the J6 events at the capital have the greatest emotional charge for the defenders of “our democracy”, hence clicks, hence revenue, but that the “contingent electors” scheme has the potential to hole Trump below the waterline, because innocents, dull normal believers, were sucked into it (i.e., not beardos with Confederate flags; those images are so triggering on all sides that people lose their minds). Now, whether Trump had knowledge of the scheme eludes me…

  9. Ghost in the Machine

    No matter the form of transport, I arrange the air vents so they blow air away from me.

    On a plane, I always point the vent to my face. My thinking is, the air is supposedly filtered and I can only point it in one direction. I imagine the ‘cleaner’ air is keeping diffusion from other directions at bay. If this thinking is incorrect I welcome corrections.

    1. Raymond Sim

      If I trusted the filtration that’s what I’d do too. The streams of air from the vents will likely entrain a lot more air than comes out of the vents. If the streams are directed at you that would, one would hope, mostly be air that recently passed through the filters.

      If the vents were pointed away from me I’d be concerned the air currents produced by the entrainment might end up conveying air from my neighbors to me.

  10. CA

    I am so grateful that President Gay has been supported at Harvard. There seems to me more worry about being honest on campus than I have experienced since 1990, and those at Harvard have generally always been cautious:


    Arnaud Bertrand @RnaudBertrand

    Extraordinary post * by John Mearsheimer – America’s most renowned political scientist – on Gaza, which he says he wrote because he “wants to be on record so that when historians look back on this moral calamity, they will see that some Americans were on the right side of history.”

    His main point is that “what Israel is doing in Gaza to the Palestinian civilian population – with the support of the Biden administration – is a crime against humanity that serves no meaningful military purpose”.

    He explains this in seven points (read his post for more details, this is a summary):

    1) “Israel is purposely massacring huge number of civilians, roughly 70 percent of whom are children and women”
    2) “Israel is purposely starving the desperate Palestinian population by greatly limiting the amount of food, fuel, cooking gas, medicine, and water that can be brought into Gaza”
    3) “Israeli leaders talk about Palestinians and what they would like to do in Gaza in shocking terms [which leads prominent scholars] to conclude that Israel has ‘genocidal intent.’ ”
    4) “Israel is not just killing, wounding, and starving huge numbers of Palestinians, it is also systematically destroying their homes as well as critical infrastructure – to include mosques, schools, heritage sites, libraries, key government buildings, and hospitals”
    5) “Israel is not just terrorizing and killing Palestinians, it is also publicly humiliating many of their men who have been rounded up by the IDF in routine searches”
    6) “Although the Israelis are doing the slaughtering, they could not do it without the Biden administration’s support”
    7) “While most of the focus is now on Gaza, it is important not to lose sight of what is simultaneously going on in the West Bank. Israeli settlers, working closely with the IDF, continue to kill innocent Palestinians and steal their land.” …

    1. pjay

      The Mearsheimer article was posted in Links this morning, but it is well worth recommending again here. It is a forceful statement from, as he says, “the right side of history.”

    2. Acacia


      Mearsheimer concludes:

      As I watch this catastrophe for the Palestinians unfold, I am left with one simple question for Israel’s leaders, their American defenders, and the Biden administration: have you no decency?

      Rhetorical question. And then there’s “I am a Zionist” Biden, noting that “the whole world’s public opinion can shift overnight” — except maybe it already shifted some time ago, as the goodthinking Western liberals who “stand with Ukraine Israel” are but a tiny minority of world opinion.

    1. ambrit

      Do you store unused “orts” in the ‘cloud,’ or do you prefer physical media? (I know this question is way out there, but, well…..)

  11. Roger Blakely

    NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, December 11:

    The last version of the BioBot SARS-CoV-2 wastewater data had the line going straight up. This version of the BioBot SARS-CoV-2 wastewater data has the line leveling off.

    Has the wastewater SARS-CoV-2 concentration peaked? No. If you look at the peak for December 2022, you will see the mid-December head fake. We are in the mid-December lull before the peak in the first week of January. It looks like the 2023 holiday peak will be slightly lower than the 2022 holiday peak.

  12. Art_DogCT

    Re the ‘Mac Warner’ and ‘Tax-Exempt Nonprofits Skirt U.S. Law’ links:

    Lambert, I think an answer to your parenthetic question, “Lots of tangles (though I missed The Zuckerberg™ having anything to do with Dear Hunter’s laptop, so I don’t know what Warner’s on about there)”, is in the second link.

    “The groups work around legal restrictions on nonprofits that accept tax-deductible donations by selectively engaging in nonpartisan efforts including boosting voter education and participation. But, like the estimated $332 million that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan donated to public elections offices to help run the 2020 elections, much of it winds up in the hands of groups that operate in liberal strongholds and work with reliably Democratic constituencies.”

    Unless he has other evidence, Warner has inflated the amount The Zuckerberg™’s cash participation in an operation to swing the election both by suppressing the laptop information (recall the Aspen Institute war games with spooks, platforms, and journos months before the NYPost broke the story) and in funding projects that might operate in the wink-and-a-nod world of NGO and political party collusion. I don’t doubt that the Reps exploit similar collusion for their ends, but the Dems have developed it to a very slick grift. His allegations seem plausible to me.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Lambert, I think an answer to your parenthetic question, “Lots of tangles (though I missed The Zuckerberg™ having anything to do with Dear Hunter’s laptop, so I don’t know what Warner’s on about there)”, is in the second link.

      Sloppy, sloppy, giving a full explanation of one theory of the case, and a cryptic allusion to another. (Also, the Hunter laptop story is a disgrace and potentially election-delegitimizing. I think the Zuckerberg story is far less clear-cut, although it does show how awful the Democrats are — why oh why not have a universal program? They apparently simply cannot conceive of that one. Same in Florida 2000, where Gore only sued in districts he thought he won, surrendering the moral high ground without firing a shot.

  13. JonnyJames

    On a totally different topic: Domestic and international politics is too bloody depressing. To help balance all the negative, I listen to upbeat, positive music. Radio stations from the islands like KCCN FM 100, Island 98, Q103 play new music from local Hawai’i and Pacific Island artists. Of course, you can livestream these stations from anywhere.

    This music has become tied into local Hawaiian and Polynesian identity and culture, and the Hawai’i sovereignty movement, and is interesting as a social and cultural movement.

    This is a new tune from Hawai’i that I can’t stop listening to: the seemingly simple lyrics are pure wisdom (if you can understand them)

  14. Wukchumni

    The CEO of The Arena Group, publisher of Sports Illustrated, has been fired just weeks after the magazine was accused of publishing articles generated by artificial intelligence.

    Ross Levinsohn was terminated “to improve the operational efficiency and revenue” of the company, Arena Group said in a statement.

    It comes amid a wider purge of a number of senior executives at the company since the scandal broke.
    Manoj Bhargava will take over as CEO.

    But a spokesperson for Mr Bhargava – founder of the 5-Hour Energy drink – told the BBC that Mr Levinsohn’s removal “had absolutely nothing to do with the AI issue at all”


    Where have you gone, Frank Deford?
    Our nation turns it lonely eyes to you
    Woo, woo, woo
    What’s that you say, Mr. Roboto?
    Frankly Frank has left and gone away
    Hey, hey, hey
    Hey, hey, hey

  15. The Rev Kev

    ‘Michael Tracey
    Zelensky met with US arms manufacturers yesterday in Washington, DC. Here he is pictured alongside executives from Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, and others. Looks like many lucrative business opportunities still ahead for these valued partners’

    More likely Zelensky is looking for gigs as a consultant to some of these creeps. After all the money that he has sent their way, it is the least that they could do.

  16. Carolinian

    Another good Patrick Lawrence


    Corinna Barnard, my colleague at Consortium News, published a superbly to-the-point piece Sunday on the congressional hearings last week wherein the presidents of Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania were subjected to four hours of abusive questioning pointedly intended to show the rest of us the consequences of maintaining our sanity amid a grotesque psyop to convince us that First Amendments rights must be swept aside as the only way to rid ourselves of some rampant anti–Semitism that now besets us. […]

    it is a measure of America’s swoon into another of its purification rituals. From the 17th century Boston hangings through the various red scares, Russiagate, and all the rest, it is always the same theme: We must remove from among us those elements that are impure.

    This is done by requiring everyone to denounce or repudiate what they are told to denounce or repudiate, and to do so with prescribed degree of vehemence and illogic. One is otherwise exiled, one or another way, from the circle of the Elect.

    The cynical might almost suspect that the “safe space” movement has been conjured into being precisely for these moments when protest against the extremities of power must be suppressed in the name of hurt feelings. The cynical would be right. But that doesn’t mean the censors will win.

  17. Wukchumni

    I’ve mentioned this local young adult from Tiny Town before who is a ‘kick streamer’ whatever that is, and has quite the following, along with an amazing gambling problem, which is pretty common among known online knowns. (Drake the rapper is another bet-a-million or 2 on a game, race or match, kinda guy)

    Popular Kick streamer Adin Ross is known for his gambling streams. In a recent gambling broadcast, the content creator admitted to having lost $4 million. This caught the news and made headlines, with fellow streamer FaZe Banks imploring Ross to end the stream. The latter recounted the incident the following day and admitted that he manipulated his mother to give him money to gamble.

    The particular section from his livestream has gone viral on social media. In the clip, Adin mentioned that his mother is in possession of his ledger wallet and has hidden it somewhere. He also claimed to have felt bad for manipulating her, stating:

    “I said, “Mommy, where’s the ledger, where’d you hide it? I owe people money, and if I don’t send them the money, I’m gonna get bopped.” She freaked out! And I felt bad I manipulated and lied to my own mom to gamble.”


  18. The Rev Kev

    CNC: In a libertarian society, sanctity of contract is absolutely fundamental.

    So a ‘libertarian society’ is the exact same thing as a ‘business society’ where every relationship is reduced down to a contract – as it was for that creep Christian Lanng. Maybe business is not quite the right word and needs a better synonym, one that has connotations of feudal relationships and where human life is reduced down to a market where you have buyers and sellers with wealthy buyers buying up anything that they want – including people. Hmmm, libertarian society. Noted.

    1. eg

      “Libertarian society” is an oxymoron. Just who do these anti-government loons think is going to adjudicate and enforce their precious contracts?

      1. Polar Socialist

        Obviously trying to figure the answer to that question can earn you the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel!

        That’s how you turn loons into “serious persons”.

  19. kareninca

    The bad news is that I have a friend who is in a skilled nursing facility here in Silicon Valley, and she can’t move at all, and they are having a covid outbreak and her roommate has covid. My friend has been wearing N95s all along; I have refreshed her supply and sent her some Xlear. The person who has been visiting her in person had told me that visitors have been offered nothing but blue surgical masks. But the good news is that now that has changed; the blue surgical masks are gone and visitors are now offered and obliged to wear N95s. That is something.

    1. Raymond Sim

      Hmmm. I’m glad they’re doing it, but I can’t but infer that things are likely pretty bad. I’ve been procrastinating familiarizing myself with the current wastewater reporting, but I guess I’ll get to it.

      1. Raymond Sim

        So “100 day cough” is just another common name for Pertussis? What’s next on our menu, Diptheria?

        GM’s one of the few people I’m aware of who was consistently more pessimistic than myself about the direction public health was headed in, and damn if he hasn’t been right every time.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > . But the good news is that now that has changed; the blue surgical masks are gone and visitors are now offered and obliged to wear N95s.

      Call me Pollyanna, but I think the tide is turning, albeit slowly (not on the disease, but on NPIs). And with no official or elite help whatever, and in the face of a well-funded and vicious anti-mask campaign (and also in the of a sort of reverse Keynsian beauty contest, where nobody wants to be the first to break an existing norm).

  20. Darthbobber

    Fun thing I encountered from one of yesterday’s links. The piece from Russiapost (GWU’s propaganda website) mentioned that it was reposted in a slightly shortened form from the site it originally posted from. So I went to that link, a site called so real, as I recall, and the site logo includes the icon of Radio Liberty. Then the about part of the menu includes the radio liberty site proper and a link to another locally branded radio liberty spinoff. (and they all have helpful info on defeating blocking)

    1)Radio Liberty is now doing regional spinoffs and
    2)US domestic propaganda like George Washington University’s site, is picking the stuff up and reposting at one remove so as to keep the Radio Liberty connection less explicit.

  21. Wukchumni

    ‘I’m a Zionist’: Biden Promises to Back Israel Until They ‘Get Rid’ of Hamas. But There Is Fine Print [News18]. “‘I ran into trouble and criticism when I said a few years ago that you don’t have to be Jewish to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist.
    I too am a Zionist, but only in southern Utah.

    1. Carolinian

      Biden–what a maroon. Aren’t the Mormons supposed to be a lost tribe or something? Israel and Utah could switch places and peace would break out. Albert Brooks suggested Israel and the state of Georgia but Utah is a better climate fit.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I suggest we kill two birds with one stone. Here is a map of the “Pale of Settlement” pre-Balfour Declaration, in 1901:

        The Jewish population of Keiv in the Pale was 12%, comparable to the Jewish population in Palestine in 1922 (12%, page 5).

        Population transfer of Israel to Ukraine. It’s the only way to be sure.

        (Of course, any Israelis who accepted a one-state solution, the only way to prevent or at least ameliorate apartheid, could stay in whatever that State would be named).

  22. Tom Stone

    For those following the Biden Corruption saga please keep in mind that the DOJ and FBI had verified that Hunter Biden’s laptop was legit by mid 2019.
    And they let Hunter off the hook for about a $2MM tax liability by letting the statute of limitations expire.
    Don’t forget the unprecedented “Plea Deal” that would have given the young feller immunity for everything except criticizing Israel.
    Interesting times indeed.

  23. Tom Stone

    And a book recommendation: “Up and Down California” in 1860-1864, the letters of William H Brewer.
    It’s a delight.
    From the Library book sale along with “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” by Twain, which was definitely not in my High School Library.
    That Librarian’s complaint was the excuse for asking me to move to a different High School, I wanted to read one of the most influential books of the last few Centuries and asked if it was available…
    “The Communist Manifesto”.

    1. Wukchumni

      We were just talking about Brewer and the names he placed all over the Sierra Nevada, many of which really don’t belong and need to be changed as they mean nothing to the area. Changing the name of something is incredibly difficult, so it’ll never happen.

      Silliman Peak, Creek & Pass here in Sequoia NP are named after a teacher of his back east who never had been here, or other things named after obscure 19th century scientists.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’d rename Silliman and change it to Brigadier General Young Peak, Creek & Pass…

        When Captain Charles Young, the new military superintendent, arrived in Sequoia and General Grant national parks, he had already faced many challenges. Born into slavery in Kentucky during the Civil War, Young’s life took him to places where a Black man was rarely welcome. He was the first African American to graduate from the white high school in Ripley, Ohio. Through competitive examination, he won an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point in 1884. After years of struggle, he went on to graduate with his commission, only the third Black man to do so.

        Young’s military career flourished in the cavalry. In 1903, while serving as a Captain of an all-Black regiment at San Francisco’s Presidio, he was asked to take his troops to Sequoia and General Grant national parks (what is now Sequoia National Park and a small portion of Kings Canyon National Park). Here, he became acting superintendent for the summer. On May 20, ninety-six enlisted men of troops I and M of the 9th Cavalry, known as Buffalo Soldiers, departed San Francisco for their new assignments at the parks.

        At that time, Sequoia and General Grant national parks were thirteen years old but they were still relatively undeveloped and difficult to access. Park management became the responsibility of the US Army beginning in 1891, and for the next ten summers they worked to stop the poaching of wildlife, illegal logging, and sheep grazing. Beginning in 1900, however, Congress authorized $10,000 annually to aid the parks with increasing access. The Army began improving an old wagon road that went to the Giant Forest from what is now Three Rivers, California.

        Progress on the road prior to 1903 was slow, and after three summers, barely five miles of road had been constructed. Hoping to outpace the progress of previous military administrations, Young asked to begin work early and poured considerable energy into the project. Supervising a construction manager and civilian roadworkers, his crews soon made dirt and rock begin to fly. By mid-August of 1903, wagons traveled to the sequoia groves for the first time. Still not content, Young kept his crews of men working and they soon extended the road to the base of Moro Rock. Young reported that the road was built with less than an 8% grade and that it “should in future insure a thousand tourists where in previous years there have been but a hundred.” And so began an era of tourism in the parks.


  24. Greg

    “Inhalation of a fog of hypochlorous acid (HOCl): Biochemical, antimicrobial, and pathological assessment” (preprint) [ResearchSquare].

    Woah! You’re saying that *inhaling bleach* could defeat covid? That’s hilarious, given the history of the idea…

    OCl− + H2O ⇌ HOCl + OH−

    A more chemistry-inclined journo might have traced back that workshop and seen whether they were influenced by the Orange Bad Man before they started their HOCl experimental protocol.

    ETA: It also would indicate that those Chinese workers misting the streets (with bleach?) may actually have been doing something useful, as much as they got mocked for fomite-transmission-fails at the time…

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ETA: It also would indicate that those Chinese workers misting the streets (with bleach?) may actually have been doing something useful, as much as they got mocked for fomite-transmission-fails at the time…

      I certainly mocked them! But then again, if it turns out that the spray in the air was the preventitative, and not on the surfaces

      On chlorine misting (“bleach,” for which Trump was unjustly dogpiled, per the transcript*), I’m agnostic (I did say “don’t try this at home”). But in the proper, I assume extremely dilute, concentration, it just might work. At this point, are we really not to try every possible measure? Reasoning by possibly false analogy, chlorine works in swimming pools, after all. The article also intrigued me because it was the second “misting” story of the day, so that concept is, as it were, in the air.

      NOTE * Which you must always check whenever Trump is quoted.

  25. Big River Bandido

    …a completely artificial person campaigning on behalf of a Democratic congressional candidate

    A perfect fit. Thanks for the chuckle!

  26. The Rev Kev

    “Coronavirus epidemic broke out in East Asia around 25,000 years ago, gene study shows”

    Oddly enough when the Coronavirus showed up here in Oz, the local Aborigines were determined to be more at risk of it where you would think that they would have an extra measure of protection from these earlier strains. Strange that. One thing that I will dispute is where the author says-

    ‘The proof we can get viruses under control is what we pulled off with the Spanish flu, and to a certain extent the Ebola epidemics.’

    That may be true of the Ebola outbreaks but it sure as hell is not true of the Spanish flu. It going away – kinda – had nothing to do with us at all.

  27. thousand points of green

    Here is a 9 minute video called The Permaculture Vegetable Garden. It is narrated in what I believe to be German-accented English and with very complete gracefully-ponderous thoroughness. Perhaps worth watching by those interested in “permaculture approaches” applied to gardening.

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