2:00PM Water Cooler 12/28/2023

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Oriental Stork, Муравьевка (Muravyevka Park), Amur Oblast, Russia. A duet for percussion and winds.

* * *


“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

“Colorado’s top court disqualified Trump – will the Supreme Court overrule?” [BBC]. “The Colorado court said it had found ‘clear and convincing evidence that President Trump engaged in insurrection’ at the time of the Capitol riot and disqualified him from running for president, citing an amendment [the Fourteenth] to the US Constitution.” • Here is what “clear and convincing evidence” means:

“Clear and convincing evidence” is a medium level burden of proof which must be met for certain convictions/judgments. This standard is a more rigorous to meet than preponderance of the evidence standard, but less rigorous standard to meet than proving evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. The clear and convincing evidence standard is employed in both civil and criminal trials. According to the Supreme Court in Colorado v. New Mexico, 467 U.S. 310 (1984), “clear and convincing” means that the evidence is highly and substantially more likely to be true than untrue. In other words, the fact finder must be convinced that the contention is highly probable.”

The Federal statute against insurrection, 18 U.S. Code § 2383, is a criminal statute, hence “beyond a reasonable doubt” would apply (although the “clear and convincing” burden also applies in some criminal cases, the examples given don’t seem as weighty as insurrection). One might speculate that Jack Smith didn’t charge Trump under it because he couldn’t meet the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden. A cynical observer might conclude that CREW did some jurisdiction shopping for an all-Democrat court that would minimize the burden of proof, and found one in Colorado.

“Colorado GOP asking US Supreme Court to overturn ruling disqualifying Trump from 2024 ballot” [FOX]. “‘By excluding President Trump from the ballot, the Colorado Supreme Court engaged in an unprecedented disregard for the First Amendment right of political parties to select the candidates of their choice and a usurpation of the rights of the people to choose their elected officials,” attorneys for the state Republican party wrote in a petition of the Dec. 19 ruling.”

“Gavin Newsom blasts effort to block Trump from California ballot: ‘We defeat candidates at the polls'” [FOX]. “Gov. Gavin Newsom critized fellow Democrats for considering blocking former president Donald Trump from California’s 2024 presidential primary ballot, saying that, ‘we defeat candidates at the polls.'” Well, except for RussiaGate and Dear Hunter’s laptop. But certainly in theory! More: “‘There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy,’ Newsom said in a statement. ‘But in California, we defeat candidates at the polls.'” • Good for Newsom, however.

“The Non-Originalist Decision That May Save Trump” [Adrian Vermeule, The New Digest]. Lengthy, but fun: ” The irony looming over the situation is that our current Court, stocked with a supermajority of Justices who consider themselves ‘originalists,’ may well end up ruling in Trump’s favor on the basis of a precedent that is profoundly non-originalist in method. Indeed that precedent, Griffin’s Case, decided in 1869, underscores what I have called ‘the paradox of originalism.’ Today’s originalists look backwards to anchor the meaning of law in the public understandings of earlier eras — either the founding era or, in the case of the Reconstruction Amendments, the post-Civil War era. But the public legal cultures, and public understandings of law, of those periods were not themselves originalist…. [Chief Justice Salmon P.] Chase held [in Griffin] that the disqualification embodied in Section 3 is not ‘self-executing.’ … Chase argued, in essence, that the consequences to the constitutional order from holding Section 3 to be self-executing would be intolerable, creating a kind of political-legal chaos and inflicting forms of targeted injustice inconsistent with the “general spirit of the Constitution.” Avoiding such consequences was itself a good legal reason to weight the scales of interpretation against self-execution.” As I have been saying from the beginning; see the heading of this section [lambert blushes modestly]. More: “Interpreting Section 3 as non-self-executing would be a far more reasonable construction, Chase argued, because it would require Congress to create an orderly, regular and fair process for determining who had or had not participated or engaged in ‘insurrection.'” Chase concluded: “To accomplish this ascertainment and ensure effective results, proceedings, evidence, decisions, and enforcements of decisions, more or less formal, are indispensable; and these can only be provided for by Congress.'” • Well worth a read. Makes clear why the “self-executing” crowd pounds the table so hard when it comes to Griffen.

“Some belated thoughts on the Colorado Supreme Court’s historic ruling” [Roger Parloff, ThreadReader]. A long thread, well worth a read. The author is a Senior editor at Lawfare. so clearly an expert in the field. From near the end, Samour’s dissent, on due process:


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“The mysterious whereabouts of Melania Trump” [The Telegraph]. “Her conspicuous absence from the campaign trail, and the courtroom, as her husband fights criminal charges and works to win back the presidency, has come to the attention of Mr Trump’s rivals…. Addressing a crowd in Iowa, [Trump] said: ‘You know, our first lady hates it when I do. She says: ‘Darling, I love you so much, but this is not presidential when you do the weightlifting, this is not presidential, or when you do the swimming thing … or when you dance off the stage’. ‘Technically, she’s probably right. But what the hell,’ he added.'” • That’s our The Donald!

* * *

“What Biden’s rough 2023 in the polls means — and doesn’t mean — for 2024” [NBC]. “Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg said, ‘Trump’s Olympian levels of baggage and the struggles of MAGA in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023 are being wildly over-discounted right now,’ referring to Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ political movement. What’s also being discounted right now, Rosenberg said, is the Democratic Party’s performance in elections after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to an abortion. That election performance includes the Democrats’ keeping control of the Senate after the 2022 midterms, as well as key electoral victories in Kentucky and Virginia in November.”

* * *

They write letters (here in full):

The best part:

On December 13, Mr. Biden did not appear for the deposition as required by the Committees’ subpoenas. Instead, Mr. Biden appeared on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol with his attorney and Representative Eric Swalwell…. Mr. Biden indicated that he would not appear for the deposition as required by the subpoenas and that he would only testify in a public forum, a demand for special treatment that the Committees had previously rejected…. Later on December 13, when asked whether President Biden had watched Mr. Biden’s statement, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that President Biden was ‘certainly familiar with what his son was going to say.’. Ms. Jean-Pierre declined, however, to provide any further details about the President’s actions or whether the President approved of his son defying congressional subpoenas. Nonetheless, Ms. Jean-Pierre’s statement suggests that the President had some amount of advanced knowledge that Mr. Biden would choose to defy two congressional subpoenas.

Whoops. Couldn’t happen to a nicer Press Secretary.

* * *

“Nikki Haley declines to say slavery led to Civil War during town hall in Berlin” [WMUR]. WMUR is a New Hampshire radio station:

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley avoided using the word slavery at a town hall in Berlin Wednesday night after an attendee asked her, ‘What was the cause of the United States Civil War?’ Well, don’t come with an easy question or anything. I mean, I think the cause of the Civil War was basically how government was going to run the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do,’ the former governor of South Carolina initially responded. She then asked the attendee what he thought caused the Civil War. ‘I’m not running for president,’ the man said. ‘I wanted to see your view on the cause of the Civil War.’ Haley then added, ‘I think it always comes down to the role of government and what the rights of the people are [like owning slaves], and I will always stand by the fact that I think government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms [to own slaves] of the people [(as least those who don’t own slaves, supposing them to be people)]. That was never meant to be all things to all people.'”

Here is the video, which is every bit as vile and stupid as you would expect it to be:

She gets some applause, too!

“”Haley declines to say slavery was cause of Civil War”” [Election Law Blog]. “This could be an easy question to answer in light of the leadership of the Republican Party in ending slavery, ensuring voting rights, and building a multiracial democracy in the South.” • Oopsie. Trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube–

“Nikki Haley in damage control says ‘of course the Civil War was about slavery’ insisting it’s the ‘easy part’ and claiming a PLANT was sent in to ask the question” [Daily Mail]. “Nikki Haley was on clean-up duty Thursday morning in clarifying that her comments about the Civil War didn’t mention slavery because ‘that’s the easy part.’ Haley told CNN that it’s ‘unquestioned’ that the Civil War was about slavery, adding: ‘But it was also more than that.'” No, it really wasn’t. More: “‘It was about the freedoms of every individual. It was about the role of government,’ she insisted. She also said in an interview with Pulse of New Hampshire radio show that she was answering the question by putting it into the context of what it means to Americans in the present day.” • RIght, by erasing it!

“Haley blames a ‘Democratic plant’ for Civil War question that tripped her up” [Politico]. “‘It was definitely a Democrat plant,’ said Haley. ‘That’s why I said, what does it mean to you? And if you notice, he didn’t answer anything. The same reason he didn’t tell the reporters what his name was.'” • Yeah, and he got you but good (and why not ask the same question of every candidate? It’s a good litmus test; I’d like to hear some “moderate” Democrats answer it). Reminds me of 1968, when George Romney shot himself in the foot by saying he’d been “brainwashed” by officialdom over Vietnam. Fine, but who wants a President who can be brainwashed? Ditto Haley. Who wants a President who gets entrapped by a plant?

One good reason to believe that the Civil War was about slavery is that’s what the soon-to-be Confederates said it was about — in the press, in their supposed Constitutions, and in the speeches of the “commissioners” who spoke before legislatures to persuade them to secede. Here is one such:

Here are two excellent podcasts on this topic, each copiously documented here with plenty of quotes. Feel free to pass these along to anybody with doubts on this matter.

“#24 “REBELLION THUS SUGAR-COATED” (podcast) [Rich and Tracy, The Civil War & Reconstruction]. “In which we continue our discussion by asking if the southern states had a right to secede, or if secession was rebellion. Then, we look at the message the secession commissioners spread throughout the South in late 1860/early 1861. Our book recommendation for this episode is “Apostles of Disunion” by Charles B. Dew.” • The “apostles” are the commissioners.

“11 – Slavery and State Rights, Economies and Ways of Life: What Caused the Civil War?” [David Blight, The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877]

* * *

RFK and Israel:

I can’t find independent confirmation, but Horton is reliable.

RFK and GBD:

Happy (with the House) to end gain of function research, but “many, many other diseases”? Really?

* * *

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:

d>. (“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.

* * *

Well, so much for Ruy Tiexiera’s “coalition of the ascendant”:

“My Hero of 2023 Is the Trade Union Movement” [Bernie Sanders, Daily Beast]. “As the chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I will be doing all that I can do to strengthen and expand the trade union movement—the true heroes and heroines in America not just in 2023, but in every year.” • All that’s fine, but the time to consolidate the union movement into a political force was 2020. And where were you when the railroad workers got screwed over by Biden?


“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 (wastewater); BC, Vancouver (wastewater).

Hat tips to helpful readers: Alexis, 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, Tom B., Utah, Bob White (3).

Stay safe out there!

* * *


Big Hospitals masking up (weeks too late, of course, since they’re driven by lagging indicators):

MGH is one of the drivers of HICPAC’s project to downgrade PPE, including masks, in hospitals and nursing homes. Think this’ll change their minds? Not on your Nellie!


“New COVID strain quickly becomes most dominant in U.S.” [Axios]. “JN.1’s surge suggests it’s either more transmissible or better at evading our immune systems than other strains in circulation, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it’s too early to tell how much it will drive an increase in infections or hospitalizations this winter.” On hospitalizations, look at New York. I’m not so sure. More: “JN.1 estimates shot up from 21.3% to 44.2% over the two weeks ending Dec. 23, according to the CDC, which noted the variant is showing up in more travelers and wastewater surveillance.” All of which has been documented here for many weeks, good job Axios. More: “Because it doesn’t appear to pose additional risks, CDC said it was not changing its recommendations, which include getting updated vaccines and testing if respiratory symptoms arise.” • Do let us erase not only masking and ventilation, but asymptomatic transmission! This is so bad I think I’ve got to write them a sternly worded letter; contact page here.

Seems like a self-licking ice cream cone:

Clearly, our elites are conducting a massive experiment in serial passage on the entire population, without informed consent (although with, one might say, disinformed consent). I wonder how it will all work out….

“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

We haven’t even transitioned to “mistakes were made”!

* * *

Case Data

NOT UPDATED From BioBot wastewater data, December 23:

Lambert here: Still going up. As a totally “gut feel” tapewatcher, I would expect this peak to meet or exceed the two previous Biden peaks; after all, we haven’t really begun the next bout of holiday travel, or the next rounds of superspreading events celebrations. Plus students haven’t come from from school, and then returned. So a higher peak seems pretty much “baked in.” And that’s before we get to new variants, like JN.1. The real thing to watch is the slope of the curve. If it starts to go vertical, and if it keeps on doing so, then hold onto your hats.

Regional data:

Regional split continues.


NOT UPDATED From CDC, December 23:

Lambert here: JN.1 now dominates. That was fast.

From CDC, December 9:

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 23:

Lambert: Return to upward movement. 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 27:

Lambert here: I don’t like the slope of that curve one bit, and notice we’re approaching previous peak levels (granted, not 2020 or 2022, but respectable).

NOT UPDATED Here’s a different CDC visualization on hospitalization, nationwide, not by state, but with a date, at least. December 16:

Moving ahead briskly!

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?


Lambert here: Notice that for both Walgreens and the Cleveland Clinic, that although the percentage of positives is stable, the absolute numbers have greatly increased; Walgreen’s doubled. This speaks well of people; they’re getting tested before the holidays (and in face of a shit*tstorm barrage of propaganda and peer pressure to minimize, too).

NOT UPDATED From Walgreens, December 26:

-2.3%. Down. (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 23:

Lambert here: Plateauing. I know this is just Ohio, but we’re starved for data, so….

NOT UPDATED From CDC, traveler’s data, December 4:

Turning down.

Down, albeit in the rear view mirror. And here are the variants for travelers, December 4:

BA.2.86 turns down. This would be a great early warning system, if the warning were in fact early, instead of weeks late, good job, CDC.


NOT UPDATED Here is the New York Times, based on CDC data, December 16:

Stats Watch

Employment SItuation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose by 12,000 to 218,000 on the week ending December 23rd, above market expectations of 210,000, to suggest some softening in the US labor market before the end of the year. In the meantime, continuing claims rose by 14,000 to a one-month high of 1,875,000, as expected by markets.”

* * *

Retail: “Amazon gets FDA letter on potentially harmful active pharmaceutical ingredients” [Seeking Alpha]. “An investigation by the FDA revealed that products labeled as energy-enhancing supplements or dietary supplements on Amazon’s site contained undisclosed and potentially dangerous active pharmaceutical ingredients, including sildenafil and tadalafil, as confirmed by laboratory analyses.”

Tech: “ChatGPT will lie, cheat and use insider trading when under pressure to make money, research shows” [Live Science] • Turing Test, here we come!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 77 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 76 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Dec 28 at 1:19:01 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“On Christianity” [Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Medium]. From 2022, still germane. “Ironically, modernists fall for what I have called the opiate of the middle classes[i.e., the PMC], that is social science and stock market speculation. They refuse religion on rational grounds, then fall for economic forecasters, stock market analysts, and psychologists. We know that economic forecasts work no better than astrology; stock market analysts are more pompous but much less elegant than the bishop, and psychology papers do not replicate meaning their results do not hold. My co-author Rupert Read and I have argued (using evolutionary arguments) that religion, via interdicts, allows the intergenerational transmission of survival heuristics and is effective in nudging people into some classes of behavior[16]. By some irony, “nudging” theory developed by social scientists (which earned Richard Thaler a Nobel in economic sciences) has been recently shown to be nonreplicable, owing to a statistical artifact[17]. Nonreplicable is the polite scientific term to mean that it is no different from astrology. Listen to the bishop — the recipient of generations of survival wisdom — not the psychologist.”

News of the Wired

“How to Build a Small Solar Power System” [Low Tech Magazine]. ” This guide brings all the information together: what you need, how to wire everything, what your design choices are, where to put solar panels, how to fix them in place (or not), how to split power and install measuring instruments. It deals with solar energy systems that charge batteries and simpler configurations that provide direct solar power.” • I bet we have readers who have done this. Readers, what do you think?

* * *

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 TH:

TH writes: “Call in the ladybugs, there’s aphids on those rosebuds!”

• Kind readers, I’m running very short of plants. More fall harvest photos would be nice. Or snowy scenes. Even Christmas trees. Or whatever! Thank you so much!

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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. Calexpat


    Johnny James wrote this:

    “PG&E charges the highest rates in the US, and it’s going up another 15% after the 1st, while asking for an ADDITIONAL rate hike later in the year. The so-called PUC is just a rubber-stamp for monopoly price-gouging. PG&E awards their senior management 10s of millions, spends 10s of millions on advertising and PR etc. The CEO a couple of years ago was paid 53 million for one year. High Crime pays, the law and taxes are only for the “little people”. Of course, both D and R politricksters are fully bribed, so it’s gonna get worse. The incentive for PG&E is to continue to extort the public, and asset-strip the system.”

    Got our first $600 monthly utility bill yesterday. This is for a small home with all LED lighting, no A/C, a gas stove and furnace, and no car charger. Come January it will probably be $650 a month.

    Meanwhile, Newsom appointees on the P.U.C. rubber stamp these price increases, along with lots of social justice blather. Newsom’s wife gets $800,000 handed to her by PG&E for her “educational film company.” Utter corruption. “No problem at all” says the corrupt greaseball of her husband.


    1. scott s.

      Don’t think the rates in CA are higher than HI. Last report from the EIA was for Sep 23, but we are 38% higher and that’s before PUC passes on the “Lahaina effect”.

      scott s.

    2. kareninca

      We live in a 1068 s.f. condo and the monthly PG&E bill that just came in was for $277. We have all LED lights, but we do have an electric stove and a stand alone cube freezer and I do a lot of laundry (dog and elder pee pads), although I line dry inside what I can. We also have three hepa filters going all the time, in case one of us has covid without knowing. We only heat one room, using a space heater (we don’t want the elderly relative to freeze; his area is warm since he likes it that way). It is pretty cold in the rest of the place this winter since it’s getting down to 38 at night and up to 58 during the day.

      I am wondering how you got such a high bill. We also have a $980/month association fee; at least you’re escaping that.

  2. skippy


    7. Naked Capitalism

    Naked Capitalism, launched in 2006, features contributions from various authors with credentials in economics. Originating as a response to perceived underreporting of risk in credit instruments, the blog critically analyses policies since the 1970s, attributing them to events like the 2008 Financial Crisis. Naked Capitalism aims to challenge the status quo that, in its view, contributed to a recession impacting ordinary workers, making it essential reading for understanding the Financial Crisis and its aftermath.

    9. New Economic Perspectives

    Featuring contributions from various highly qualified economists, legal scholars, and financial market practitioners, New Economic Perspectives analyses global economics. Originating after the 2008 Financial Crisis, the blog seeks to provide an accurate understanding of the crisis’s causes and offers fresh ideas on addressing ongoing economic weaknesses.

    Going to be 40 C here today with epic storms on Sat/Sunday …

  3. Feral Finster

    “Nikki Haley declines to say slavery led to Civil War during town hall in Berlin” [WMUR].

    Any stick to beat a dog, but I can think of criticism of Haley that is more relevant than her ignorance regarding the cause of the Civil War.

    1. Random

      It’s not ignorance.
      Everyone knows the “correct” answer but for some obscure American partisan reasons they can’t say it.
      I mean technically the correct answer would be the divergent economic models between the industrial North and the plantation South.
      But the Southern economic model relied on slavery.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Nikki Haley has the South Carolina Republican primary coming up. She was governor there, and even if she does well in NH, getting crushed in SC would end it for her.

        We had two kids receive the full “War of Northern Aggression” treatment from their junior high social studies teacher in a rural school district. I doubt she was the only one who taught that in the state school system.

        If Nikki were to give the standard “Yankee” answer, she’d be alienating a lot of primary voters in a state where there are still whites-only “academies.”

        The “planted” questioner knew that Haley was in that bind, and asked question in a NH forum.

        1. scott s.

          Agree that it’s something of a gotcha.

          I also sometimes hear hair-splitters try to differentiate between the cause of secession and the cause of actual “war”, under the theory that if the war was really about slavery, the better course would be for the north to let the wayward sisters go. As it is, there is a body of evidence that, for the north, the “cause of war” was unionism. That seems hopelessly abstract today; Manning’s “What This Cruel War Was Over” makes the case by presenting writings of average people, not PMC types, which she attributes to the Second Great Awakening religious movement out of which came the idea of “American Exceptionalism”, that US government was uniquely established by God, so any attempt to alter or abolish it was an act against God. In her argument, contact of the union armies with average southerners changed soldiers’ views, in that they saw the common southerner as unwilling to labor and that attitude was considered degrading to the northern men. They saw the cause of that as an effect of slavery, thus eradication of slavery would be necessary to the betterment of the common man. She argues that this change of view was communicated back home forcefully, eventually putting pressure on the PMC to adopt slavery as a war aim.

          (Considering Lincoln’s writings/speeches, he seems to have been attuned to the religious “exceptionalism” argument through his biblical allusions, certainly the “new birth of freedom” can be seen as a need to fix the failings of the government’s original sin.)

          1. Carolinian


            I don’t think there’s a lot of room for historical interpretation on this much discussed topic. The war was of course about slavery since no slavery, no war. But many or most people in the North were against the institution of slavery while not particularly in favor of black people who they wanted to send back to Africa. The real issue was whether slavery would be allowed to die as even the slave owning founders thought or caused to thrive by extension to new states and territories. The practice was already waning in the Southern border states while vicious and highly profitable exploitation continued in the deep cotton states. In part secession was a play by those still thriving slave economies to bring the border states back in the fold.

            Have just been reading a book about Southern general Longstreet and it says roughly a third of the Southern soldiers owned at least one slave and about a quarter of the Southern population as a whole did so. So it wasn’t just a “rich man’s war” as the lost causers like to say. In all the years after the war the sentimental myths about the antebellum South have been handy fodder for the lingering oligarchs to divide the poor. But it’s not just about them or even the South. For the first half of the 20th century racism was as American as apple pie.

            1. fjallstrom

              If I remember correctly, supporting white men of modest means in buying their first slave was a strategy in the south to shore up support of slavery. So that one third of soldiers and quarter of the population would to a large extent been owners of one slave being loyal to the owners of thousands. System working as intended.

            2. Jeff V

              My father-in-law grew up in East Anglia (in England) during the Second World War, and he recounts how the US Army stationed there asked the local pubs to ban black American soldiers, as the white American soldiers did not want to socialise with them.

              The locals refused, saying they would either accept all Americans, or no Americans, and I feel very proud of them for doing so.

              1. The Rev Kev

                Apparently trouble broke out in New Zealand in WW2 too-

                ‘Some American servicemen in the Services Club objected to Māori soldiers also using the Club, and on 3 April 1943 began stopping Māori soldiers from entering. Many New Zealand soldiers in the area, both white (Pākehā) and Māori, combined in opposition. The stand-off escalated when Americans took off their belts to attack those who wanted to let the Māori in. Fights broke out and at one point at least a thousand servicemen, as well as several hundreds of civilians, were involved in the subsequent fracas, which was broken up by civil and military police. The major brawl lasted from 6 pm to 8 pm, with some brawls lasting for perhaps another two hours. Dozens of people were injured. The fighting spread to the ANA (Army, Navy and Air Force) Club in Willis Street and to Cuba Street. At the time, hotel bars closed at 6 pm, the six o’clock swill, and inebriated patrons were then ejected into the streets.


              2. Michaelmas


                ‘In his essays George Orwell alluded to the oft-quoted assertion that American GIs were “oversexed, overpaid and over here”. But he qualified this with the observation that: “the general consensus of opinion is that the only American soldiers with decent manners are Negroes.”’

                ‘Bullet holes found in the wood surrounds of the NatWest Bank in Bamber Bridge, in Lancashire in the north of England, in the late 1980s led to the rediscovery of an event that saw some of the few shots fired in anger in England during World War II … These were not shots fired by invading troops, but by American GIs against their own military police.

                ‘Intrigued by his discovery, Clinton Smith, the black British maintenance worker who discovered the holes in the woodwork … was told that they were the remnants of the Battle of Bamber Bridge, when black American troops stationed in the town faced off against white US Army military police on the night of June 24-25, 1943 ….

                ‘That evening in 1943, black troops and white locals were stretching out “drinking-up time” in a pub at the end of the evening. Words were exchanged, and military police arrived and tried to arrest Private Eugene Nunn for not wearing the proper uniform. But they faced new solidarities: a white British soldier challenged the military police: “Why do you want to arrest them? They’re not doing anything or bothering anybody.” ‘

      2. skippy

        Slavery = facilitate monoculture crops [Tobacco/Cotton] for export.

        The Norths early industrialism did have a nasty child labour aspect if not born into the right class.

        Either way, across the Atlantic there was a huge investor aspect – too all of it – once one removes the Slavery talking points.

      3. flora

        Yes. The South’s plantation system built it’s wealth on the commodities trade – cotton, tobacco, rice, coal – and a captive labor force.

        The South became alarmed at the prospect of more states joining the Union that would come in as “free states” and at some point vote in Congress to make slavery illegal in the US. The whole Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 that repealed the Missouri Compromise foreshadowed the Civil War, imo.

            1. Carla

              As long as it’s contributing to her bottom line, or that of her owners, she’s just fine with it. Isn’t any capitalist?

            2. nippersdad

              I would be interested in seeing what Joemala think of it. The word salad would be wondrous to behold.

        1. scott s.

          Kansas-Nebraska was used to create the concept of a PMC “slave power” that was corrupting government for its own ends. In a sense, “MAGA” of its day was a call to take government out of the hands of the slave power and return it to the people.

          1. Throckmorton

            Funny you should mention “slave power”. I think you, Carolinian, Flora et al have parsed well the complex reasons for the civil war. My unoriginal (forgot the historian/book) nuanced contribution is that the war was fought not to end slavery per se but to end “slave power” ie the power of the slave holding states to count property (enslaved human beings) as 3/5ths a person (more representation in the House of Representatives = more political power). Lincoln vowed to end this advantage by stopping the spread of slavery in the new states (thus letting slavery “wither on the vine”). In this sense ending “slave power” was synonymous with “preserving the union”.

          2. JBird4049

            Because of the three-fifths clause in the Constitution, the slave owning elites had more power than the rest of the nation. Slaves could not vote, but they did add to the individual state’s number of Congressional representatives, and the South was the richest part of the country because of the value of the slaves. Each individual was worth roughly that of a car.

            However, the North was increasingly wealthy and populous. It would soon be more economically and politically powerful than the South. The Slavocracy was leaving the Union just as it looked like the dominance of the South was ending. Interesting timing.

            1. flora

              A complete aside about counting people, citizen or not, for the purpose of assigning numbers of a state’s Representatives in the US House. In a way, the same is true today, but now the peoples counted include illegal immigrants. I suppose I could don by foil bonnet here and point out that CA, IL, and NY are all losing population a may lose numbers in their Congressional delegations. AT the same time B is now keeping the US-Mexican border open and millions are crossing… and being transported to IL, NY, and CA. Is this a bid to hold or increase the Congressional Representatives in those blue states? / foil bonnet off.

              1. flora

                A report:

                Ohio will have three fewer seats in 2020 than it otherwise would have had but for the presence of all immigrants and their minor children in other states. Michigan and Pennsylvania will have two fewer; and Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin will each have one fewer seat. California will have 11 more seats in 2020 than it otherwise would have; New York and Texas will have four more seats each; Florida will have three more seats; New Jersey will have two more seats; and Illinois and Massachusetts will each have one additional seat.

                Of the 26 seats that will be lost, 24 are from states that voted for Donald Trump in 2016. Of states that will gain House seats because of immigration, 19 seats will go to the solidly Democratic states of California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Texas is the only solidly Republican state that gains, while Florida is a swing state.


      4. Feral Finster

        Regardless whether we are talking ignorance or feigned ignorance, it’s hardly the worst of Haley’s sins.

        1. ambrit

          This could be a subtle way to try and malign the entire Republican Party as Pro-Slavery. She is promoted as the Republican Party’s “bright new hope” also known in certain circles as the “great white hope,” so, she is used as a surrogate for the Party in psychological attacks.
          Actually a fairly subtle smear campaign against the entire Republican Party using “guilt by association.”

        2. Carolinian

          But ignorance is the worst of her sins. Not to be snobby but she’s really dumb. Haven’t we had enough of that in the oval lately? Some of us remember when presidents used to boast about how many newspapers they read every day. Now politicians think it’s all about attitude. They think they are in a Marvel movie.

  4. Samuel Conner

    > Haley declines to say slavery was cause of Civil War

    Maybe she’s been listening to the Civil War podcast. Slavery didn’t cause the Civil War — the war was caused by the Southern states’ secession (and US determination to preserve the Union),…. but … the Southern states seceded because of (their determination to preserve) Slavery.

    Re: the Yougenicist count, in reflection on this AM’s Links item about elevated mortality in China on account of the current predominant CV variant, it seems conceivable to me that the “let ‘er rip!” approach to public health in the era of CV might be regarded, by some among the ruling classes, as a way of rebalancing unbalanced demography. Is it time to coin a new term? “Eudemographism”, perhaps?

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      I think that’s a lot better term than “eugenicist” in this case. It may be that certain genes make us more or less susceptible to Covid, but it seems dubious that letting Covid rip would make the gene pool “better” in the sense eugenicists mean. What it does best is remove the old, thus “rebalancing” demography, reducing social costs.

  5. Barncat

    ” How to build a small solar power system”…My starter solar power system was two recycled Arco panels wired to two Exide GC4 deep-cycle batteries, wired two J C Whitney automotive headlights, lighting up a US Army surplus forward command-post tent in an arroyo in New Mexico. The year was 1984.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      About the same time, we had 10 of those panels, four Exides and a Tripp-Lite inverter. There was a power panel that showed charging level, etc. This was on an adobe we built at 7,500 feet in the Sangre de Cristos.

      There was a 65% tax credit: 40% from the feds and 25% from the state of New Mexico.

  6. griffen

    Pity poor Hunter, won’t those mean Republicans allow him to continue his personal journey as a developing artist? Notice I left out the struggling to feed himself description.

    Yeah I’m sure Joe will be “aw shucks”, come on man standard operating procedure. It’s out of the manual! Joe loves his son, we get that. Hunter defies subpoena because he can do so. Tax cheating on federal tax laws should be so easy for the rest of us.

  7. ThirtyOne


    The US House of Representatives has ordered an investigation into whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects as biological weapons.

    In an amendment passed last week, the House calls for the Defense Department’s Inspector General to look at whether any such experiments were done between the years 1950 and 1975.

    The amendment was introduced by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith who said he was inspired to write it by “a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons.”


    One of the books RFKjr probably read:

    1. John

      Plum Island is 17 miles from Lyme, Connecticut. I remember when Lyme disease seemed to be confined to Connecticut 40 and more years ago. I know people whose lives have been stunted by Lyme disease. I nearly died from babesiosis, a disease carried by ticks which also carry Lyme disease. I do hope it is not true that the government experimented with these diseases as bio weapons. If true, add a circle or two in the depths of Dante’s inferno for those who authorized it and those who carried out the experiments. Let there be an endless supply of infected ticks for them to play with.

  8. griffen

    Biden’s rough polls at this stage before an election year compare rather, unfavorably, to certain predecessors and not just Trump. For added insult, apparently the pollster cited in the news article had this nugget; “The economy, including the cost of living, is showing real and significant signs of improvement”. Others Mileage May Vary.

    Yeah about that. While I could not view or read, a well read PMC-adjacent friend had shared a link (last week maybe) from the NY Times, depicting how good the economy is performing today vs Trump circa late 2019. I would hasten to add, it all depends on how one views and / or juggles the statistics. The US economy fine, jobs are plentiful ! Inflation is not just moderating down, it is falling like a statistical Ginsu knife! Happy days….Sunday Monday Happy Days…Saturday, grooving all week…

    1. Screwball

      There was an article in an alternative news outlet just the other day in my little town of Cornhole, Ohio about the costs of electric. Ohio AEP. I sent them a two page document showing 2 years of AEP bills broken down by charges that I have been tracking into an excel spreadsheet. I then played with the math. Interesting stuff. At the end of the day, my costs have went up twenty eight percent in 2 years.

      The most impressive number: my electric cost is forty eight percent of my bill, the fifty two percent is fees. Imagine that. To save money you must become a commodity trader, and you are only trying to control half your bill. I don’t know how this scales. I use between 500-1000 kWh a month depending on season.

      They can spin the inflation narrative all they want – the truth is – we are getting hammered in many ways.

      1. griffen

        Bragging about oil prices and lower gasoline prices, on average, is what they will run against Trump in 2024. Ignoring anecdotes like the one above, or widespread increases on all manner of insurance will not be discussed.

        Watching CNBC to start my Friday morning. If you owned a basket of key stock market indices since the bottom levels in 2022, then your basket of market indices would be performing quite nicely on a year to date basis. I write this with the knowledge of prior experience dating to 1998 with my own planning. Up markets are better than down markets, and makes the plan for retirement still seem somewhat hopeful. Deferred living, as it were!

        This is what Joe Biden has got. Government spending gooses the MIC industries, and all the rich folk with “401k” are doing great, jobs are plentiful for anyone who needs a second one, and inflation has been tamed into the corner.

        1. Screwball

          Yep, and the market…We are almost at the all time highs of the S&P. I find that kind of amazing. I said, kind of. :-)

  9. upstater

    ‘I Feel Like I Don’t Matter’: East Palestine Waits for a Presidential Visit NYT

    The White House has said that Mr. Biden still plans to visit the site of a toxic derailment in February. But his absence feels like disrespect to many people in East Palestine, Ohio.

    In March, when he was asked by reporters if he had plans to visit, Mr. Biden said he would be out there “at some point,” without specifying a timeline. “I’ve spoken with every official in Ohio, Democrat and Republican, on a continuing basis,” he said.

    In September, he was pressed on the issue again.

    “I haven’t had the occasion to go to East Palestine,” Mr. Biden said as he prepared to leave for the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. “There is a lot going on here and I haven’t been able to break.”

    Too busy hugging Bibi and Zelensky. There are fundraisers to attend.

    “We do not live in the United States of Norfolk Southern,” said Ms. Wallace, who formed the Unity Council for EP Train Derailment to keep track of the derailment response and the community’s concerns. “We live in the United States of America.”

    I think Ms Wallace may not be correct.

  10. MicaT

    Lyme disease dates back tens of thousands of years across many continents.
    It was found in the iceman, about 3500 years old. He was found in the early 90’s.
    JFK has lost me, he’s nuts.

    1. chris

      True that Lyme disease been around for a while. And RFK Jr. lost me too, over his unhinged defense of Israel’s actions in Gaza. But, is it possible that the US messed with the ticks or tested them as a vector for a bioweapon? We have a history of doing stupid things with nature and testing it on an unsuspecting public. I would rate that claim as unlikely but not impossible.

    2. JBird4049

      JFK might be nuts, but the United States was the major proponent of eugenics, was officially racist for centuries, if you include the founding colonies, and has a history of human experimentation of Americans including both nuclear, biological, and medical.

      His specifics are probably wrong, but his suspicions are quite reasonable, so, maybe he is not quite as nuts as one might think?

  11. Roger Blakely

    In today’s Osterholm Update Dr. Michael Osterholm points out that today in the Netherlands wastewater concentration numbers for SARS-CoV-2 are the higher than they have been for any point during the pandemic and that the variant causing the spike is JN.1.

    1. flora

      A para from the longer article:

      The “Dictator” essay got a ton of clicks, but Kagan revealed himself a bulkier, less introspective version of Shakespeare’s Brutus, who was also over-convinced of his aristocratic rectitude while completely misreading the public. Kagan must have missed the “Brutus is an honorable man” speech, and its lethal lesson for patrician leaders lost up the backside of their own self-regard. Antony’s final address is considered a standard-bearer for political oratory, but Shakespeare’s point is that it didn’t need to be, because the Roman street was already seething at the plotters’ arrogance, and could have been knocked over with a feather. Julius Caesar is literature’s most famous warning to elites about the perils of ignoring popular sentiment, and ours don’t get it.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        It may be much easier “ignoring popular sentiment” in this age of mass surveillance, and unconstrained police violence. Romans did enjoy some privacy within their domiciles and “private” conversations I am not sure we still enjoy. Do elites need regard popular sentiment when they control Media, and monitor private expression as they can now?

      2. Carolinian

        Seems to me it’s more about Shakespeare, the committed royalist, commenting on how easily the masses are manipulated. For him the common people were “rude mechanicals.”

        However re the article all Wapo bashing is golden. They’ve even incorporated that stupid slogan into their logo. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never read a newspaper that claims to be about “democracy.”

  12. Carolinian

    and claiming a PLANT

    Her next play is to say Putin behind the whole thing.

    Obviously Trump is already inside her head with “high tax Haley” and she thought she was giving the on message libertarian answer. Which as it happens was also the secesh position. The correct answer is that for the leaders of the South it was of course about slavery but for the North it was about saving the Union. Lincoln had to get the Charleston dunderheads to attack Federal property in order to launch the fight against rebellion.

  13. Joe Well

    FYI, WMUR is a TV station, ABC affiliate, the biggest TV station in NH, most of whose people are served by Boston stations.

  14. Joe Well

    Re: Latinos in Texas

    Every story about Latinos in the context of elections needs to break down the numbers by age and citizenship status–under-18s and non-citizens don’t vote, and even for citizens, the younger you are the less likely you are to vote.

    Also, stats about Latinos’ voting preference exaggerate support for Democrats when they don’t control for age, since this is a younger demographic and the younger you are, the less likely you are to support Republicans–and also the less likely to vote at all.

    1. NYMutza

      What difference does it make who any of us vote for? The man behind the curtain is never on the ballot.

  15. The Rev Kev

    Bernie is down with Covid in spite of having seven (?) vaccine jabs-

    ‘Bernie Sanders
    I have tested positive for Covid. My symptoms are minimal and I will continue to work from home in Vermont while isolating in accordance with CDC guidance. I am glad to be fully up to date with the vaccine.’


    One person replied-

    ‘Not voting for Genocide Joe
    “I am glad to be fully up to date with the vaccine that has been shown repeatedly to not work”‘


  16. Matthew G. Saroff

    I have little sympathy for RFK, Jr.

    I want to see him pilloried in the public, preferably over something Epstein.

    But I understand his position on Israel. His dad was assassinated by a Palestinian activist.

    That sort of thing tends to scar one for life.

    1. ThirtyOne

      Kamala Harris sighting back in 2012

      In the recent federal court filings, state prosecutors led by California Attorney General Kamala Harris argue that even if there were a second gunman involved in the Kennedy shooting, Sirhan hasn’t proven his innocence and he’s still guilty of murder under California’s vicarious liability law.


      According to the autopsy report, the coroner concluded that the senator’s body and clothing were struck from behind, at right rear, by four bullets fired at upward angles and at point-blank range. Yet witnesses said Sirhan fired somewhat downward, almost horizontally, from several feet in front of Kennedy, and witnesses did not report the senator’s back as ever being exposed to Sirhan or his gun.

      1. j

        Fellow I coached football with for years would sometimes say of a less than stellar prospect, “He’s not quick, but he’s slow.” You had to be quick to catch the tone of voice. I can hear just how he would have put Tom Stone’s observation about Nikki Haley. The slight hesitation before the, “but,” emphasis on “at least” and a quietly voiced, “she’s vicious.” For a second you might think it was a compliment.

  17. ChrisRUEcon

    I know it’s early but … in #2024IsGonnaBeWild news, Trump is apparently back on the ballot in Colorado (pending Supremes appeal), but now off the ballot in Maine. Props to Newsom for not going full TDS on this issue. Trump should be beaten at the ballot, not via lawfare.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Well obviously if you are going to save Democracy™ from Trump, you have to become a Banana Republic first. :(

  18. lambert strether

    Maine strips Trump from the ballot, inflaming legal war over his candidacy Politico

    More jurisdiction shopping, and an even more relaxed burden of proof. The further I read the opinion, the more I think that Chase decided Griffen correctly. It makes no sense to have no national standard for the Presidential ballot line, whether for primaries or the general.

    Also, I’ve been muttering for some time that control over the ballot — who’s on it, how it’s cast, how it’s counted — is the distinctive competence of the modern political party. I was more right than I ever imagined….

    1. Pat

      And the Democrats have form on ballot cleansing. They also have form on election cancellation, at least attempted ones.

      None of which bodes well for the coming year.

  19. VietnamVet

    To understand if the 2024 election will ignite a second US Civil War, what triggered the earlier US revolts needs to be understood. First, it is always about the political economic system and the powerful getting richer. Then, as now, the economies were similar — the extraction of wealth from natural resources and human labor. Except for the peculiar situation in the Americas where money could be made from owning humans growing cash crops on virgin land. Growth depends on continual expansion. After the Civil War, slaves became sharecroppers. The landowning Southern aristocracy in the Great Compromise was integrated back into the North American Empire and re-seized control with the intelligence agencies on Nov. 22, 1963. The New Deal was terminated. Today the USA is a neo-globalist colony and 90% of the population are worthless – not worthy of life, liberty or happiness. The global corporate Brahmans have united. The southern border situation is the culmination of the business scheme to import cheap labor to replace the dead, ill and handicapped workers. The cause of the sharply decreasing US life expectancy is never explained except to blame the victim. The WaPo does point out there is no political interest in fixing it.

    The next revolt will be ignited by the young downgraded from the ruling hierarchy and rightfully regaining their positions in society (unless Donald Trump can gain the support of other oligarchs and form a new Confederation). More likely, the USA cannot hold the logistic global choke points anymore, like Singapore, the Red Sea’s Gate of Grief, Suez Canal, and Gibraltar against the Eurasian Axis and everything simply falls apart as supply chains break and inflation soars.

  20. digi_owl

    Not sure where i ran into it, maybe it was Hudson, maybe it was someone else, that mentioned that archaeologists have found texts that are very similar to the early biblical ones but where the offence is against society rather than god.

    All in all religion is this weird thing where it seems to have started out as rules of thumb for survival (those rules on what not to eat likely came from seeing people get sick and die soon after eating such things, as pigs for example have a parasite that an jump to humans when eaten). but with it being wrapped up in the language of ancestral worship taken to the extreme and thing have taken a turn for the dogmatic given millennia.

    And yeah, the PMC has basically replaced on religion for another. Much of it seem to be some variant of Wicca or Chaos Magic (believe and it will happen). It was all there in some latent form as we entered 2000, but kept in check by the western economy booming so they could be confined to academia on scholarships.

    But come 2007-2008, many of them were evicted into society. And by 2011 the effect was becoming noticeable.

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