2:00PM Water Cooler 1/26/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, I apologize if this Water Cooler is a little disjointed. Doing the workup on Abbott’s letter on immigration took a bit longer than I expected. More soon!

Bird Song of the Day

Pine Siskin, Brown, Indiana, United States. “Flock.”

* * *


“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 (Insurrection)

“Maine’s top court dismisses an appeal of a judge’s decision on Trump’s ballot status” [Associated Press]. “Maine’s top court has declined to weigh in on whether former President Donald Trump can stay on the state’s ballot, keeping intact a judge’s decision that the U.S. Supreme Court must first rule on a similar case in Colorado…. In a unanimous decision on Wednesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court dismissed Bellows’ appeal of the order requiring her to await the U.S. Supreme Court decision before withdrawing, modifying or upholding her decision to keep Trump off the primary ballot on Super Tuesday.”

The Constitutional Order (Invasion)

On invasion, the Constitution contains two relevant texts:

Article IV, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.

Article I, Section 10 (the “Compact Clause”):

No state shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another state, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

What then does “invasion” mean?

“The Meaning of Invasion Under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution” (PDF) [Texas Public Policy Foundation]. “It should first of all be highlighted that, as only entry plus enmity constitutes invasion, the unlawful entry of people into the United States cannot be construed as an invasion. Nor, for the same reason, can the prospect of further illegal entry in the imminent future be so construed…. The phrase ‘actually invaded’ in the Compact Clause refers to the presence of flesh-and-blood enemies on the soil of the invaded state. The phrase ‘imminent danger’ in the same clause refers to the possibility of such enemies coming to be present soon.” • The Texas Public Policy Foundation, if you look at the About page, isn’t exactly composed of bleeding heart liberals.

Here is a copy of Abbott’s statement (thank you, Elon. Seriously). I have helpfully highlighted and annotated the Constitutional issues:

[1] Article I, Section 10 (as above).

[2] I don’t see “enforcing the law” as relevant, pragmatically, because Biden will have his own lawyers who will say they are enforcing the law.

[3] Ditto, and to be settled by impeachment, if it comes to that.

[4] Ditto.

[5] Ditto.

[6] There is trespass, but there is no “invasion,” since there’s no “enmity” (all most of the immigrants want is jobs). Hence Article IV, Section 4 is not triggered.

[7] The cite is to a dissenting opinion, so not relevant.

[8] The text of the Article 1, Section 10 does not “reserve to this [(?)] State the right of self-defense.” That interpretation may be in the penumbra of the text, but it’s not in the text.

[9] “Supersedes any Federal statutes” makes the border crisis a Nullification Crisis, so this topic really is important, even if Abbott is reasoning from false premises. (It doesn’t help that the Blue Cities, with their idiotic and ultimately self-canceling “sanctuary” concept, have also been practicing Nullification.)

“”Hold the line”: Republicans rally to Abbott’s defense in border standoff with Biden” [Texas Tribune]. “Abbott’s statement was quickly condemned by some legal scholars, who said it was blatantly unconstitutional and amounted to a usurpring of the federal government. ‘By this logic, states could use their own determination that an ‘invasion’ exists as a justification for usurping control of whichever federal policies they don’t like,’ Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas at Austin law professor, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. ‘Imagine blue states taking this approach: ‘We’re being invaded by drugs.’ ‘We’re being invaded by pollution.’ The right of states to defend themselves does not, and was never meant to, provide a hook for supplanting federal authority.” • As Andrew Jackson wrote in the previous nullification crisis:

The Constitution of the United States, then, forms a government, not a league, and whether it be formed by compact between the States, or in any other manner, its character is the same. It is a government in which all the people are represented, which operates directly on the people individually, not upon the States–they retained all the power they did not grant. But each State having expressly parted with so many powers as to constitute jointly with the other States a single Nation, cannot from that period possess any right to secede, because each secession does not break a league, but destroys the unity of a Nation, and any injury to that unity is not only a breach which would result from the contravention of a compact, but it is an offence against the whole Union.

* * *

“Trump urges states to surge National Guard to Texas as Abbott standoff with Biden accelerates” [FOX]. “Former President Donald Trump on Thursday gave his backing to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott amid the latter’s feud with the Biden administration over border security — urging states to send their National Guards to the border and promising to work ‘hand in hand’ with the state to combat the ‘invasion’ if he is inaugurated again in January 2025. In posts to Truth Social, Trump backed Abbott and accused President Biden of ‘fighting to tie the hands’ of the Republican governor ‘so that the Invasion [sic] continues unchecked.’ A feud that has been bubbling for months between Texas and the administration exploded in recent weeks after Texas seized the Shelby Park area of Eagle Pass and blocked Border Patrol from entering — sparking protests and threats of legal action from the administration.” • Abbott endorsed Trump back in November 2023. Speculating freely: If Trump came up lame — say, Trump Force One flew into a cloud and all that came out the other side was shredded aluminum and broken glass, or the spooks somehow get past his food taster and feed him an exploding Big Mac — that many Republican voters would look with favor on Abbott in a way they would not on DeSantis or Haley (let alone Romney),

“Texas Defies Joe Biden By Recruiting Volunteers To Bolster Border Fight” [Newsweek]. “Texas has continued to defy President Joe Biden on the border issue and is offering cash for Texas Military Department members to man the border. The Lone Star State is seeking ‘to deploy border security assets to high threat areas to deny criminal organizations the ability to illegally move drugs and people into Texas,’* according to TMD’s website. This comes amid ongoing tensions between Governor Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over the border with Mexico. On Monday, the Supreme Court sided with the Biden administration and held that federal Border Patrol agents were authorized to remove the razor wire installed under Abbott’s orders near the border city of Eagle Pass. Volunteers will work with the Texas Military Department full-time for up to $55 per day, according to the agency’s website.” • NOTE * That is, not an “invasion?”

“Joe Biden Faces Growing Calls to Federalize Texas National Guard” [Newsweek]. “State National Guards ordinarily fall under the control of their respective governors, but they can be federalized by a mechanism known as Title 10 status, which places them at the direct disposal of the president and defense secretary, with active duty officers taking over day-to-day command. In 1957, the Eisenhower administration federalized the Arkansas National Guard after the state’s governor ordered them to prevent Black students from attending the Little Rock Central High School during the segregation era. Under federal control, the Arkansas National Guard, together with federal troops from the 101st Airborne Division, instead ensured the students were able to attend the school. The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) is campaigning for the Lone Star State to break away from the United States and become a fully independent country, using what it regards as the federal government’s failure to control the Texan-Mexican border as one justification. If Biden does federalize the Texas National Guard, Daniel Miller, the TNM president, is urging Abbott to massively expand and militarize the Texas State Guard and deploy them to the southern border instead.” • I don’t think even John C. Calhoun advocated that…. Readers?

“Republican Governors Band Together, Issue Joint Statement Supporting Texas’ Constitutional Right to Self-Defense” [Republican Governors Association]. “”We stand in solidarity with our fellow Governor, Greg Abbott, and the State of Texas in utilizing every tool and strategy, including razor wire fences, to secure the border. We do it in part because the Biden Administration is refusing to enforce immigration laws already on the books and is illegally allowing mass parole across America of migrants who entered our country illegally. The authors of the U.S. Constitution made clear that in times like this, states have a right of self-defense, under Article 4, Section 4 and Article 1, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution. Because the Biden Administration has abdicated its constitutional compact duties to the states, Texas has every legal justification to protect the sovereignty of our states [plural] and our nation.” • In the same way that government is not a household, a State is not a gunhumper “standing his ground.” See discussion above.

“The Supreme Court’s Silent Rulings Are Increasingly Troubling” [The New Republic]. “On Monday, the Supreme Court lifted an injunction that had blocked Border Patrol agents from cutting through razor wire installed by Texas along the southern border. The move was a victory for the Biden administration, which claimed Texas officials had obstructed them in performing border enforcement duties. It was also a defeat for Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his Republican allies in Austin, who have aggressively opposed current border-related policies. When normal cases are heard before the court, there are extensive briefings and oral arguments and, eventually, a written decision on the ruling. But this dispute reached the justices on the “shadow docket,” the court’s mechanism for reviewing stays and injunctions issued by the lower courts. As a result, the court’s announcement at this stage in Department of Homeland Security v. Texas was perfunctory and unenlightening.”


Less than a year to go!

* * *

“Fed Fears Being Sucked Under a Trump Riptide” [John Authers, Bloomberg]. “A final problem concerns politics and the way it affects both the Fed’s potential decisions and the data on which they’ll be based. There’s a widespread belief in markets that the FOMC will want to do all it can to avert a Trump victory in November, and therefore cut rates sooner than otherwise. Whether or not this is true, it does make it harder to cut; Donald Trump would doubtless call foul, and heap derision on Jerome Powell and his colleagues. It’s only human that they’d want to avoid that. Politics complicates the decision and makes it much harder to predict.”

“Will politics or economics win out in 2024?” [Gillian Tett, Financial Times]. “Greg Jensen of Bridgewater, for example, thinks investors are ‘under-discount[ing]’ the inflationary threats that could arise from any putative Donald Trump presidential victory, since Trump would probably appoint a compliant Federal Reserve governor, impose high trade tariffs and unleash expansionary fiscal policy. Of course, central bankers themselves are not allowed to factor in such risks in their models, or at least not officially. But risks of this sort explain why the Davos mood music was at odds with the market pricing. And it points to two key lessons: first, economists of all stripes urgently need to study supply-side issues, not just demand cycles; and second, it is smart for CEOs and investors to hedge this year. The potential range of outcomes is extremely wide.” • Volatility!

And then there’s the labor market:

The chart is confusing, since the x-axis is not time, but issues (“Tarriffs”, at left, “Immigration,” at right). The chart shows the difference between “broadly accepted” and “polarizing” (in the red box).

“The Coming Working Class Election” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot]. “Here is a simple truth: how working-class (noncollege) voters move will likely determine the outcome of the 2024 election. They will be the overwhelming majority of eligible voters (around two-thirds) and, even allowing for turnout patterns, only slightly less dominant among actual voters (around three-fifths). Moreover, in all six key swing states—Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin—the working-class share of the electorate, both as eligible voters and as projected 2024 voters, will be higher than the national average. It follows that significant deterioration in working-class support could put Biden in a very deep hole nationally and key states. Conversely, a burgeoning advantage among working-class voters would likely put Trump in a dominant position. This very trend explains a lot about Biden’s current poor position in general election polls, where he is running behind Trump both nationally and in most swing states. In 2020, Biden lost working-class voters by 4 points, while carrying college-educated voters by 18 points. Biden would have lost the working class by more (and perhaps the election) if he hadn’t actually done slightly better than Hillary Clinton among white working-class voters; among nonwhite working-class voters, especially Hispanic voters, he did sharply worse. In current polls, we see a marked decline in Biden’s support among both components of the working-class vote with the decline among nonwhite working-class voters if anything larger than the decline among white working-class voters.” • It’s nutty to bifurcate the working class by race. Teixeira just can’t quit identity politics!

* * *

Trump (R): “RNC draft resolution to declare Trump as party’s nominee withdrawn” [Axios]. “Republican National Committee draft resolution seeking to declare former President Trump as the party’s presidential nominee was withdrawn on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter said. The withdrawal comes after Trump said Thursday evening that the RNC shouldn’t move forward with the resolution — which, if approved, would have named him as their 2024 candidate at a time when Nikki Haley has no intention of dropping out of the race…. Trump said on Truth Social Wednesday before the withdrawal that while he greatly appreciates the RNC wanting to make him their presumptive nominee, ‘and while they have far more votes than necessary to do it,’ he feels ‘for the sake of PARTY UNITY, that they should NOT go forward with this plan.’ He continued saying he should do it the ‘Old Fashioned’ way, and finish the process off AT THE BALLOT BOX.'” • Maybe Democrats could take a cue from Trump?

Trump (R): “Inside Trump’s Cutthroat Conquest of Iowa and New Hampshire” [New York Times]. “That night, the former president and his usual coterie of top aides were joined by about a dozen Iowa staffers headed for New York, boarding the plane his campaign calls Trump Force One. Not everyone was invited. Mr. Trump had lost Johnson County, home of the University of Iowa, by a single vote. The regional political director who had overseen the area was not given a seat on the plane. The next morning, according to two people familiar with the matter, she was informed by a terse email from her supervisor that her contract with the Trump campaign was not being renewed. It was the type of ruthlessness the Trump team had deployed in the prior 14 months: Win — or else.” Pour encourager les autres…. • This headline is deceptive, because some editor wanted to make it all about Trump, the personality who’s probably invaded their dreams. However, the piece, which is worth reading in full, shows Trump at the head of a really effective, well-organized campaign.

Trump (R): “With Texas primary looming, Donald Trump is riding an improved political operation” [Dallas Morning News]. “Trump’s dominance is indicative of his campaign’s stout political and voter turnout operations. He’s been relentless in locking down support in critical states, including Texas. ‘What everyone seems to forget is that the Republican Party today has been built by Trump,’ said GOP political consultant Matthew Langston. ‘Like it or not, he has had eight years in the public spotlight, so that’s an incredibly powerful force to have to go up against.’ His political machine is more efficient than in his previous presidential campaigns, when his fresh popularity drove voters to the polls… An improved campaign organization has helped him maintain his standing as leader of the Republican Party at a time when his focus is split between running for president and dealing with legal challenges…. Texas has the second-most delegates in the primary race, trailing only California. That makes it a critical battleground in the Republican race for the White House. Before Trump solidified his front-runner status, Texas would have served as a firewall. Now the Super Tuesday contest could be his coronation. Trump’s approach to locking down Texas has been replicated in other states, which is why thus far, he’s on track to win the GOP presidential nomination without much resistance.” • Supporting the Times story above.

Trump (R): “The Victorious, Censorious, Malicious Donald Trump” [Frank Bruni, New York Times]. “CNN, which I happened to be watching, went live to Nashua and stayed with him for maybe 10 minutes, maybe less — the new fashion is to mete out attention to Trump modestly, carefully, lest he get too big a megaphone for his lies — and yet that abbreviated encounter provided ample information.” • I like the casual mention of “met[ing] out attention.” Not exactly censorship, I suppose…

* * *

Trump (R): “The conservative legal world lines up behind Donald Trump at the Supreme Court” [CNN]. “As Donald Trump wages a Supreme Court battle to stay on state presidential ballots, a potent contingent of the conservative legal world has united behind him. His new principal attorney for the case, Jonathan Mitchell, is a former Supreme Court clerk connected to the right-wing elite who devised the 2021 Texas abortion ban that helped lead to reversal of the Roe v. Wade landmark decision. The Texas law, which included a shrewd mechanism impeding judicial review, prompted liberal Justice Elena Kagan to refer disparagingly to its masterminds as ‘some geniuses.’ Also backing Trump, with ‘friend of the court’ briefs, are the Republican National Committee and GOP establishment forces, similarly represented by elite appellate advocates who’ve worked for the justices and speak their language. They include former Trump Solicitor General Noel Francisco, George W. Bush-era legal adviser John Yoo and other ex-clerks of conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.” • Ugh, torture advocate John Yoo, now at Stanford. Naturally.

Trump (R): “Former President Donald Trump walks out of court during closing arguments of defamation trial” [Associated Press]. “Former President Donald Trump abruptly walked out on closing arguments at his defamation trial Friday as a lawyer for writer E. Jean Carroll urged a jury to award her client at least $12 million damages, saying Trump had shattered her reputation and her world by unleashing a flood of hate toward her through his public statements branding her a liar…. The unexpected departure prompted Judge Lewis A. Kaplan to speak up, briefly interrupting the closing argument to say: ‘The record will reflect that Mr. Trump just rose and walked out of the courtroom.’ … Trump, who was not required to attend the civil lawsuit proceedings, had appeared agitated all morning, vigorously shaking his head as [attorney Roberta Kaplan’s] closing arguments got underway. The walkout occurred shortly after Roberta Kaplan said: ‘Donald Trump has tried to normalize conduct that is abnormal.'” • The Norms Fairy!

* * *

Haley (R): “Haley Tries to Run As Outsider in State Where She Was Governor” [Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine]. “You can’t blame Haley for trying to make a virtue of necessity by treating her lack of elite and popular support in South Carolina as the product of an arrogant Establishment she is bravely battling, just as she did 14 years ago (which seems like 40 years in terms of the changes the Republican Party has undergone since 2010). To a limited extent, it might even work. A wild card in her 2010 victory was an ugly spate of racist and sexist comments and rumors about her (most notably undocumented claims of extramarital sexual activity) that reinforced her image as a courageous woman of principle fighting piggy rednecks.” • These claims are documented now; the Daily Mail printed affidavits, after which the story, oddly, dropped like a stone.

Haley (R): “Alex Castellanos: Nikki Haley “Represents A Republican Party That Doesn’t Exist Anymore,” Donald Trump Killed It” [RealClearPolitics]. Republican strategist Alex Castellanos: “It’s a tough situation for Haley. She ran a great campaign. And, by the way, she is a spectacular candidate. She certainly has a big future in the Republican party. But she represents a Republican party that doesn’t exist anymore and that’s the Republican party that is dominated Mitch McConnell, the Washington establishment, insider Republicans, and the donor class. Donald Trump killed that Republican party.”

* * *

Biden (D): “Could weed policy woo young voters back to Biden?” [Politico]. “The president has seen an alarming erosion in support among young voters in recent months, with a spate of national and state polls showing him with a narrow lead — or even running behind — Donald Trump with that demographic. Weed could be the unlikely way back into their hearts for Joe Biden. It’s no small matter for Democrats because young voters are a crucial part of any winning coalition: Biden crushed Trump by 24 points among voters under the age of 30 in 2020, according to exit polls. A recent national poll shows that young voters overwhelmingly support Biden’s moves to loosen federal marijuana restrictions. A whopping 65 percent of 18- to 25-year-old likely voters expressed support for the administration’s recent recommendation to move marijuana to a less stringent classification under federal law, compared to just 14 percent who indicated opposition. Veteran Democratic pollster Celinda Lake, whose firm conducted the survey, argues that the issue could help woo back young voters who have grown disaffected with Biden, particularly over his unwavering support for Israel since the outbreak of the Gaza war.” • Why putz around? Why not just take marijuana off Schedule 5 1?

* * *

RFK, Jr. (I): “Democratic concerns grow amid RFK Jr. ballot push in battleground states” [The Hill]. “Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s announcement Tuesday that he had amassed enough signatures to qualify for the New Hampshire ballot for the general election, after already getting on Utah’s, is drawing fresh concern from Democrats over how he could transform the race… The spoiler theory — that there’s another potentially lethal force lurking, in the form of Kennedy — has been minimized in the discourse, at least publicly, as Biden looks to project confidence as voting commences. That hasn’t stopped Kennedy from trying to play his cards well. He has taken the unusual step of manufacturing an entirely new party as a way to circumvent ballot signature requirements for independent candidates in states with tougher benchmarks to meet than New Hampshire, which only needs 3,000 signatures. According to a release sent by his campaign earlier this month, the effort, dubbed the ‘We The People’ party, is showing that Kennedy can get on ballots in Biden’s home state of Delaware, the reliably Democratic California and Hawaii, as well as North Carolina and Mississippi. His campaign said it also created a similar party in Texas, on Democrats’ wish list each cycle, under the name the ‘Texas Independent Party.'” • Handy map:

I have asterisked the swing states where RFK, Jr. has a ballot access effort under way: *Arizona, *Georgia, Michigan, *Nevada, *North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

* * *

Republican Funhouse

“Trump Privately Pressuring GOP Senators To ‘Kill’ Border Deal To Deny Biden A Win” [HuffPo]. “‘Trump wants them to kill it because he doesn’t want Biden to have a victory,’ said the source. ‘He told them he will fix the border when he is president… He said he only wants the perfect deal.'” Plausible, but single-sourced. More: “Trump’s meddling generated an “emotional” discussion in a closed door meeting between Senate Republicans on Wednesday, as senators vented their frustrations for hours about the largely secret negotiations over emergency aid for Ukraine, Israel and immigration. The conference is splintering into two camps: those who believe Republicans should take the deal, and those who are opposed at any cost.” • It might also be that Trump doesn’t want money to go to Ukraine.

“U.S. Senate Republicans insist they won’t bow to Trump demands to quit immigration talks” [Missouri Independent]. “Despite the push from Trump to quash the talks, some Senate Republicans said that they have an obligation to address the Southern border. GOP Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who endorsed Trump earlier this week, said that ‘Texas can’t afford to wait 11 months,’ referring to a potential second Trump presidency in 2025. ‘Some people have said, well, the (immigration) issue is going to go away, and so that’ll be denying President Trump the issue. I think that’s a fantasy,’ Cornyn said. ‘You’re not going to turn off what’s happening at the border like a water faucet, so this is going to continue to be a problem and it’s obviously a very, potent, political issue.’ He said that while Trump is ‘an important voice,’ the Senate ‘has a job to do, and we intend to do it.’ Lankford echoed the same sentiments, and expressed doubt that Republicans would be able to get substantial immigration policy done under a second term with Trump because ‘we tried to do some immigration work while President Trump was president (and) Democrats would not join us in that conversation, and I’m not sure that they would in the next administration in that time period as well.'”

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Willie Brown’s Old Clothes Now On Sale Through Goodwill In the ‘Willie Brown Collection'” [SFist]. “We kid you not, former SF mayor Willie Brown is now selling his clothes on Goodwill, and you can own Da Mayor’s old clothes. There aren’t any fedoras on sale, but you can buy one of his puffy Patagonia vests, and… his old coat hangers?…. It’s called the Willie Brown Collection, but the clothes are not for sale on the rack at your local Goodwill. They’re up for bid on eBay. And eBay is a pretty standard platform for charitable bidding fundraisers…. This is apparently not the first time Willie Brown has sold some of his old clothes in a Goodwill fundraiser — he did it back in 2021 as well. So maybe this latest batch of items just doesn’t fit anymore, or maybe his new sidepiece doesn’t like them. So yes it’s great that Willie Brown is doing a charitable turn for Goodwill, but he’s still no angel. Shortly after President Biden took office, Brown teamed up to start a political consulting firm with some veterans of a pro-Trump super PAC, and apparently that’s what Brown is doing these days. In San Francisco, that’s the sort of thing that burn a lot of good will.” • What?! Talk about burying the lead!

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Demiocracy, Chapter 5: History’s Hints — The Venetian Republic’s Electoral Procedures” [Equality by Lot]. “[In Venice,] to prevent tensions between the ruling families, sortition was introduced as way of appointing a new doge, but in order to ensure only a competent person could become ruler, the procedure was combined with elections. The result was an unbelievably roundabout system that took place in ten phases over a period of five days…. The Venetian system seems absurdly cumbersome, but recently several computer scientists have shown that this leader election protocol is interesting in that it ensured the more popular candidates actually won, while nevertheless giving minorities a chance and neutralizing corrupt voting behavior. Furthermore, it helped to bring compromise candidates to the fore by amplifying small advantages…. In any case, historians agree, that the extraordinary, lasting stability of the Venetian republic, which endured more than five centuries, until ended by Napoleon, can be attributed in part to the ingenious selection of ballotte. Without sortition the republic would undoubtedly have fallen prey far sooner to disputes between ruling families.” • The argument would be that this did not scale, but if we had more subsidiarity?


“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!

* * *

Covid is Airborne

Here is one view of Far-UV:

The estimable Naomi Wu takes issue with it here; the whole thread is worth reading:

Not sure where I come out on this (except I really worry about businesses screwing a blue bulb into a high-up socket and calling it good). But the discussion is fruitful. The airborne community on the Twitter remains one of the best around.


“Long COVID is associated with severe cognitive slowing: a multicentre cross-sectional study” [The Lancet]. From the Abstract: “We identified pronounced cognitive slowing in patients with PCC, which distinguished them from age-matched healthy individuals who previously had symptomatic COVID-19 but did not manifest PCC. … Together, these results robustly demonstrate pronounced cognitive slowing in people with PCC, which distinguishes them from age-matched healthy individuals who previously had symptomatic COVID-19 but did not manifest PCC. This might be an important factor contributing to some of the cognitive impairments reported in patients with PCC.” • Yikes! Yesterday, Tom Stone asked:

Has Covid had an effect on Humans that encourages risky and extreme behavior?

Driving is noticeably worse since the pandemic hit and the extremists appear to be more extreme than in the past while the deranged ( Nuland Et Al) are behaving in an even more deranged manner than they have previously.

There’s lots of anecdotal evidence like this on the Twitter. But this article, to my mind, lends it real backing (I realize that cognitive slowing isn’t, say, road rage per se, but one can certainly see imcomprehensibly lost capacities as a trigger.)

Elite Maleficence

How odd to characterize those who with to project others and themselves from an asymptomatic, airborne, Level Three Biobazard as a “cult” (although, to be fair, no doubt the Romans felt the same about the Christians):

For Dore and his ilk, the phrase “death cult” comes to mind, I think with more reason.

Joe, Jeff, Ashish, Mandy, good job:

WHO sabotages search on “airborne” and “aerosol”:

“Inhalable Respiratory Particles spread like smoke.” Has a nice ring to it!

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot January 23: Regional[2] Biobot January 23:
Variants[3] CDC January 20 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC January 20
New York State, data January 25: National [6] CDC January 13:
National[7] Walgreens January 21: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic January 20:
Travelers Data
Positivity[8] CDC January 1: Variants[9] CDC January 1:
Weekly deaths New York Times January 20: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times January 20:


1) for charts new today; all others are not updated.

2) For a full-size/full-resolution image, Command-click (MacOS) or right-click (Windows) on the chart thumbnail and “open image in new tab.”


[1] Even after a decline, we’re still higher than any of the surges under Trump.

[2] Steep decline in the Northeast!

[3] “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.

[4] “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.

[5] Decrease for the city aligns with wastewater data.

[6] “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†”.

[7] -0.7%. (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.)

[8] Lambert here: Percentage and absolute numbers down.

[9] Up, albeit in the rear view mirror.

Stats Watch

Inflation: “United States PCE Price Index Monthly Change” [Trading Economics]. “The personal consumption expenditure price index in the US increased 0.2% month-over-month in December 2023, in line with market expectations, and following a 0.1% drop in November. It is the first increase in PCE prices in three months.”

* * *

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 77 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 26 at 1:54:35 PM ET

News of the Wired

“Dana-Farber retractions: meet the blogger who spotted problems in dozens of cancer papers” (interview) [Nature]. “The prestigious Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Massachusetts, acknowledged this week that it would seek retractions for 6 papers and corrections for an additional 31 — some co-authored by DFCI chief executive Laurie Glimcher, chief operating officer William Hahn and several other prominent cancer researchers. The news came after scientific-image sleuth Sholto David posted his concerns about more than 50 manuscripts to a blog on 2 January.” And: “You recently left your 2,000th comment on PubPeer. What keeps you coming back? [DAVID:] I enjoy the ridiculous back and forth with the authors over e-mail. I care a lot about the animals [that are killed for life-sciences experiments] as well. The level of expectation we should have when we’re dealing with animals and high-profile institutions is that they’re super careful and that they get things right, so it’s frustrating when you see errors.” • See, we can make a difference!

* * *

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, lichen, 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 CW:

From Alaska. CW sends us a picture of lovely snow-covered trees, plus a moose. Moose are big, so that snow is deep!

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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. Janie

    Inhalable respiratory particle – IRP, pronounced “urp”. Junior high cafeteria chant – urp, slop, bring the mop. Mothers winced visibly when 13 year olds said it. Wanna guess how often 13 year olds went out of their way to say things like “Susie urpped up her lunch”? Just my chain-in-the-brain working overtime.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Strontium Unit is a unit used to measure the amount of radioactivity from strontium-90, a radionuclide found in nuclear fallout. But once upon a time they tried to label it as – and I kid you not – a Sunshine Unit. This renaming is more of the same.

      Never forget that back in 2020 when all the conditions had been met to declare a Pandemic, the WHO actually removed the word Pandemic from their official lexicon for a few months so that they did not have to do so.

        1. The Rev Kev

          He is certainly fond of his ‘P’ words. I can give him six more. Proper Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance.

    2. NYT_Memes

      The key is to keep the public focused on “particle”, which most people disassociate with true aerosols like smoke. Since smoke visibly lingers in the air, the normal connection is that smoke is so light it is more like a gas, not some “particle” that eventually falls to the ground. Perhaps a decent analog would be coal particles (if you are old enough to experience the impact of coal furnaces for home heating). Coal particles mostly eventually settle to the ground, resulting in soot coated snow banks, but I confess to not being an expert on what else remains in the air from coal pollution. Keep thinking it’s a particle which drops to the floor.

      Just my first thought, after recognizing that changing names also makes internet search screens more difficult for tenacious trackers of elite misinformation.

  2. steppenwolf fetchit

    My theory remains that WHO deliberately wishes to keep spreading Covid to everyone everywhere over and over again. On purpose with malice aforethought.

    Why else would they still be trying their weaselly hardest to suppress the fact of airborne covid and render blind, deaf and dumm every mind their website can pollute?

  3. Carolinian

    Re RFK–his position on Gaza is horrible. Genocide Bobby? Perhaps living in L.A. with an actress wife may have some impact on that.

    But the way things are shaping up RFK seems like more of a threat to Biden than Trump. There don’t seem to be a lot of fence sitters when it comes to Trump.

    1. Feral Finster

      This is why DeSantis’ timing was so suspect, regardless of his Trump endorsement.

      There are very few people for whom Trump is their second-favorite republican.

    2. Phenix

      RFK’s major funders are rabid Zionists. He has a much more nuanced position in the past. He even had Max Blumenthal on his podcast which is why Max was shocked to hear his position on Israel/Gaza.

      RFK’s position is terrible but I do appreciate his willingness to point towards the billionaire class in the Middle East. RFK does not know history. Max, Joy Gray, or Katie Halper would demolish him in a debate but he has kept that consistent theme.

      I do not know why you decide to smear his wife and his association with Hollywood. The man has a very long and distinguished resume…. unfortunately he sucks….like every other American politician on this conflict.

      Libertarians and some Republicans are much better than progressive politicians on Israel.

      I do not count the squad since they will not use their power….it’s all theater.

      1. Carolinian

        I do not know why you decide to smear his wife and his association with Hollywood.

        I wasn’t “smearing” Cheryl Hines but only pointing out that RFK is part of that milieu and it’s a milieu where, say, Barbra Streisand does fund raisers for the IDF. And it is one which is substantially pro Israel. I believe the reported fundraiser where he just raised 5 million dollars took place in LA.

        People are of course entitled to zero in onto single issues as the price of their support and that goes for the rest of us too. I will not vote for RFK jr. When it started out he seemed to be going up against Biden and now he is agreeing with Biden on a key issue–at least key to some of us. It speaks to his judgment. Foreign policy is where presidents have most of their power.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Funny to hear the term “power” applied to The Squad ™. Lapdogs that do it for Pelosi. Better call them the Squat.

    3. steppenwolf fetchit

      Someone is going to be President. That can’t be prevented.

      If we vote not-Biden and not-RFK in the hopes that the electoral punishment registers and teaches the lesson intended, we should have some follow-up actions for exploiting the Biden or RFK defeat. The point would be a longer term push to make American electoral politics friendly and supportive to good-on-Gaza officeseekers.

      If it is just a feelgood gesture of punishment with no political conquest follow-up, and if Trump turns out to be just as bad-on-Gaza, then what will have been the point?

      ( By the way, I think DeSantis’s gesture of humiliating surrender and support and loyalty for Trump is a bid for the VP nomination. Will he get it? I don’t know).

  4. Samuel Conner

    > ‘Inhalable Respiratory Particle’

    not sure what the point of the middle word is; it seems redundant with the first.

    “Particle” is a nice touch; “infectious pathogen” would be more accurate, but maybe that would defeat the purpose.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Respiratory

      I would imagine the point is to fit Covid into the same box as other respiratory viruses, even though they don’t cause vascular damage, brain damage, are not pandemic, etc. “Just the flu.”

  5. Greg

    Here is a copy of Abbott’s statement (thank you, Elon. Seriously). I have helpfully highlighted and annotated the Constitutional issues:

    Thankyou so much for doing this, and I appreciate how much work it is.
    I’ve been struggling to get a handle on the Texas situation, and separating the election year dramatics from the underlying real issues is very difficult. Your walkthrough of the constitutional angle is very helpful.

    Incidentally, the telegram channels I normally monitor for .ua/.ru developments are rife with memes about Texas at the moment, so I fully expect the Dems to start making accusations of Russian interference presently.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Incidentally, the telegram channels I normally monitor for .ua/.ru developments are rife with memes about Texas at the moment, so I fully expect the Dems to start making accusations of Russian interference presently.

      Gad. Thanks.

      1. anon

        “There is trespass, but there is no “invasion,” since there’s no “enmity” (all most of the immigrants want is jobs).”

        There is the hole in your argument. Who are those not in the “most”? What are their intentions? What are their numbers? Do they have “enmity”? If the “most” is 90%, then almost 900,000 are outside the most. If 99%, then 90,000 are outside the “most”. Would 900,000 or 90,000 with enmity be an invasion? Would 9,000 (0.1%)? The problem is that nobody knows the number not in the “most”. As I read the constitution, the onus is on the government (federal and state) to protect the citizens of the US from those “not in the most” with enmity, even if it limits the “most.”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          A clever argument, but I’m not buying it. Is the point that “economic migrants” are human shields for “enmity migrants”? If so, how is the enmity operationalized? Suppose 1940’s Battle of France had been comprised of hundreds of thousands of sales-hungry beer wagons and bratwurst vendors plus unemployed Germans looking for work. Would that really constitute an “invasion,” except in a tendentious, legalistic, table-pounding sense? Trespass, certainly. Invasion, no.

          Now, just to pre-empt cries that “This monster in human form equated coyotes and dealers with bratwurst vendors ZOMG!!!” see this from the Texas Public Policy Foundation — again, as conservative as they come — once more. They give the point you comment attempts to make a fair hearing:

          An analogy between some of these groups, if large or harmful enough, and the pirate bands whose incursions were held to constitute invasions by one of the leading architects of America’s constitutional order, may be warranted. Recent and disturbing instances of cartel members showing violent contempt for U.S. sovereignty along the U.S.–Mexico border certainly strengthen the case for that analogy, as do rising fentanyl deaths (Lepore, 2021; Casiano, 2022; Farberov, 2022). But we must underline that just as the unlawful entry of pirates into a jurisdiction was by itself insufficient to constitute an invasion during the Founding era, so too the unlawful entry of criminal groups into a jurisdiction is by itself insufficient to constitute an invasion at present. What needs to be shown in order to prove that the activity of such groups constitutes an invasion of a U.S. state is evidence that they have committed or are manifestly intending to commit acts of hostility, such as murder and armed robbery, against state officials or the people of the state; and that, moreover, they have committed or are intending to commit such acts on a scale or with a degree of organization that deliberately overthrows or curtails the lawful sovereignty of the state. For, to repeat, only such acts of enmity, in conjunction with entry, constitute an invasion as defined by the Constitution.

          “These are bad guys” doesn’t cut it, any more than a kludge of “what if there are some bad guys mixed in with the good guys” does.

          > As I read the constitution, to protect the citizens of the US from those “not in the most” with enmity, even if it limits the “most.”

          No. I take a more draconion position than the Texas Public Policy Institute. In the claim “the onus is on the government (federal and state)”, the word “and” elides the key point.

          As Jackson says, “The Constitution of the United States, then, forms a government, not a league.” If any state, claiming sovereignty, can unilaterally determine it’s being invaded — so clearly not the case here, one can only wonder if there’s something tendentious at work, beyond Abbott’s thirst for higher office — and then take military action against the putative invader, then that state itself functionally secedes, becomes a nation, and there is no Constitution of the “United” “States.”

          Constitutionally, and therefore necessarily putting aside any blunders on immigration policy by Biden (and Trump (and Obama (and Bush the Younger (…)))), if the Federal government has not determined there’s an “invasion,” then there isn’t one. To put this another way, if the burden of proof to show there is not an invasion is on the Federal government, then any state can simply declare itself invaded, and functionally secede (again, the moronic Blue State policy of “sanctuary cities” does exactly the same thing on a smaller scale, so there’s plenty of blame to go around here).

          So, no, there is no invasion, and yes, Abbott actually is inciting a nullification crisis.

          NOTE * If I were pounding the table before the Supreme Court, I would argue that the word “actually” in the Compact Clause — “actually invaded” — is a dead letter. The Battle of New Orleans, for example, was fought and won (by Andrew Jackson) two weeks after a peace agreement between the US and the UK was signed (the treaty of Ghent), such being the state of communications technology in the 18th and early 19th century. In that context, “actually” makes sense, because only those in immediate proximity to the event could, say, spot British warships off the coast, and it would make no sense to wait weeks or months for the Federal government to act. With today’s technology, such a time lag does not exist; the British invasion would be spotted by (a Federal government) satellite.

          1. John

            I call what has been happening in Texas “soft secession.” For the most part not big dramatic gestures but small moves, a kind of drip, drip drip withdrawal. Abbott … Texas …will lose in the Courts. The precedents are clear. That is not the point. What next? This is an election year and one looking more and more like 1824 with a dash of 1832 just to spice the soup.

          2. JimThomson

            It seems to me that this definition of invasion is closely related to the concept of insurrection.
            So similar reasoning could be applied to the Jan 6 events, especially the last underlined sentence.

    2. Feral Finster

      Since when did the conspiracy theorists need a factual basis before they started throwing out wild accusations?

      1. ambrit

        Add “conspiracy fabricators” to ‘conspiracy theorists.’
        {The ‘conspiracy theorists’ think the schemes up, and the “conspiracy fabricators” manufacture them. Sounds legit.}

    3. FreeMarketApologist

      Lambert: Thank you for digging through that. Very informative.

      Re: “The Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) is campaigning for the Lone Star State to break away from the United States.

      There will always be those who think going it alone is better than building a community. Texas seems to have rather a lot of them. Yes, well fine. Let them go back to being their own country. We can build an even higher wall around their northern border, and let them work out a new treaty with Mexico. If they’re lucky, MX will annex them, and the rest of the US will be grateful.

      1. Not Qualified to Comment

        Then New Zealand’s Prime Minister Robert Muldoon observed in the context of large numbers of New Zealanders moving to Australia for work, that every time a New Zealander moved to Australia it increased the average IQ of both countries.

        You could argue that Texas leaving the US and joining Mexico would also raise the IQ of both counties, but perhaps that’s unfair on Mexico.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Texas: ‘So Biden. You maintain that those millions of people that have been coming across the border are not invaders but at worse trespassers because you allowed them in and even helped them in.’

      Biden: ‘That’s right, pal.’

      Texas: ‘So that would be exactly like all those ‘trespassers’ that went into the Capital Building on January 6th?’

      Biden: ‘Yes, uuhh, no. Wait!’

  6. Lambert Strether Post author

    [taps mike]

    I added orts and scraps, including an important study on Covid and cognition.

    Please pay attention to the Abbott “invasion” stuff; it’s important (and, naturally, not being properly covered).

  7. Bosko

    With respect to Biden/marijuana link above, isn’t weed a Schedule 1 drug, like heroin? I could be wrong.

      1. IM Doc

        Marijuana itself is still a Schedule I drug. The basic essence of what that means to the FDA can be summarized by the following statement from their website –

        It has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

        I can assure you from years of experience of having hippies, flower children, stoners, etc using it for nausea, there may be no better nausea medication out there. So there is that. After the past 4 years especially, I am very skeptical of the clause “No currently accepted medical use”.

        There are however a few marijuana derivative drugs – namely MARINOL ( generic dronabinol ) – that are directly made from the actual THC molecule. This is a schedule III drug. Much less stringent that actual marijuana, cocaine, heroin and all the others that are schedule I. Marinol has many uses – nausea, a weight loss adjuvant, anxiety, none that I readily want to get involved with as a physician – there are much better alternatives. There is then over the counter CBD oils and potions that are largely over the counter for all kinds of things from muscle pain to insomnia.

        Please note – all of these state laws legalizing recreational or medical marijuana – every last one of them – are in direct defiance of the federal laws regarding schedule I drugs. The whole “medical marijuana” construct is especially a hoot – it has been deemed as having no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the USA.What a scream to consider this against all the ivermectin moralizing.

        It is interesting that in this instance state laws are allowed to be in direct defiance of federal laws – without a hint of irony what is going on in Texas.

        As a physician who sees patients using marijuana every day of my life – it is very popular in my area – I can also assure everyone that the marijuana today is nothing like our golden memories of Cheech and Chong. It is much much stronger and causes horrific issues in a huge number of people that use it. Indeed, it works wonders for nausea in all kinds of people – but on the flip side one of the big problems is a severe hypervomitting syndrome that is common in many users – lasting for long periods of time after cessation. Severe long-lasting hallucinatory problems are common. Severe psychic issues are not uncommon at all. It is not “fun” and “benign” and often leads to all kinds of life-altering problems for people. But as with so many other things, I feel like a voice crying in the wilderness.

        1. Carolinian

          Wow. Thanks for the info. Not that I was ever much into it despite being from Cheech and Chong times.

        2. skippy

          Thank you IM Doc …

          If you will pardon me as one that is not as experience/knowable as yourself, but does have not only knowledge and experience, which such a person like you might have not been exposed too and its ramifications.

          Its a hell of a thing Sir to have lived and watched the whole dynamic from a kid in the 60s, moved around a bit, West, Midwest, HS, Military, early 80s Calif, how having something to take the edge off life/reality ended up in a quest for the perfect high – see crack smoking. Oh and I did read and live all the literature at time in how it shaped/corrupted any notion of society pre 50s.

          I knew some of the big white collar kids from the best famialys back in the days that went down this road and all the entertainment sorts that fleshed it out.

          l could regale you with so many stories, but what would it do …

    1. The Rev Kev

      Back in 2020 Biden went into the White House saying that he would be friendly to marijuana users. He then turned around and fired anybody in the White House who had admitted using it. But cocaine users are still OK.

        1. divadab

          Biden is a prohibitionist. A hypocritical prohibitionist. Worst president ever.

          I’ll never vote Dem again, ever. Democrat party = Fascist Party of America.

  8. flora

    re: “The chart is confusing, since the x-axis is not time, but issues (“Tarriffs”, at left, “Immigration,” at right). The chart shows the difference between “broadly accepted” and “polarizing” (in the red box).”

    Thanks for this. Whenever a chart displaying a Y over X fuzzies up either the Y or the X category then I have questions. / ;)

  9. JM

    The “follow science” tweet: Forgive me, this isn’t completely worked out, but I was just thinking a few hours ago how this is now a personal bugbear that I just cannot stand…

    I don’t really recall them ever saying that, they’d say to follow “The Science”. Which give the impression that there is a rock solid conclusive end which we had, that’s nonsense, as science is a process and there is never a 100% settled consensus (though it gets close sometimes). What they were doing was slight of hand to put their authority, and dogma in the place of critical thinking. That’s what has led us to where we are today, with millions of people potentially permanently disabled and more added each day. If there was ever an actual commitment to the scientific method, messaging would have been different from day 1.

  10. Feral Finster

    “Willie Brown’s Old Clothes Now On Sale Through Goodwill In the ‘Willie Brown Collection’” [SFist]. “We kid you not, former SF mayor Willie Brown is now selling his clothes on Goodwill, and you can own Da Mayor’s old clothes.

    How much you want to bet that the auctions will be won by bidders who might just be seeking a favor or tow?

  11. Feral Finster

    “The Coming Working Class Election” [Ruy Teixeira, The Liberal Patriot].

    Even if Team D were to hold its nose and promise things that actually matter to working class Americans, what one earth makes Teixeira think that Team D would actually follow through on any of them?

    Even if Team D held the White House and Senate and took the House, they’d hem, they’d haw, they’d make excuses and offer half-measures (well, the stimulus is $2,000 when you count in the other checks….), and they’d quickly forget their promises.

  12. Otto Reply

    re: bird song of the day
    This may seem mighty trivial, given everything that’s going on, but I can’t locate Brown, Indiana anywhere on maps of the Hoosier State. We’ve got some interesting place names, Mecca, Loogootee, Paoli, New Harmony, etc., but no Brown, Indiana. Perhaps it’s Brown County? Certainly a birders paradise.

  13. Sub-Boreal

    Likely to be overshadowed by the day’s events:

    Total organic carbon measurements reveal major gaps in petrochemical emissions reporting (open access)

    This new study in Science reveals enormous under-reporting of emissions of volatile organics from operations in the Alberta tar sands (I refuse to use the cute “oilsands” euphemism).

    Media coverage here and here.

    I note that the Guardian intermingles both “tar sands” and “oil sands” about equally in its piece, while CBC sticks to using only “oilsands”, which is the term now dominant in Canadian MSM, as well in verbiage from government, industry and tame NGOs. This may seem like arcane quibbling over terminology, but “oilsands” is a new arrival, and a successful example of greenwashing. It’s not hard to find older (1980s and before) geological reports which generally used “tar sands”, as well as occasionally more recent scientific outlets sticking with the original term, like here. Today, it’s almost exclusively hardcore greenies who use the orginal term.

  14. Dornbirn Panther

    I find it very unlikely that young voters are going to flock to Biden thanks to marijuana policy. Joe has done as little as he possibly could to end prohibition. The few crumbs on offer are more insulting to those young people who see legalization as inevitable, just foot dragging to delay the victory as long as possible.

    Support for rescheduling shouldn’t be mistaken for support of his overall position. It’s like asking anti-war activists if they’d be in favor of reducing the military’s size by 1%. On paper they would overwhelmingly support it, but in practice it’s not even close to what they want nor enough to motivate them to get out and vote on your behalf.

  15. herman_sampson

    When did all college grads fall out of the working class? I dare say many with (unforgiven) college loans are working class, especially those who are not working in their degree’s field. Biden sure isn’t asking for their votes.

    1. eg

      This. These categories rarely retain validity for very long, the one exception being your position on the income and wealth distributions. Obfuscation of which keeps armies of consultants and PR flacks permanently employed …

  16. Glen

    File this under the EU gets bitch slapped by Biden AGAIN.

    President Joe Biden Halts Approvals of Liquified Natural Gas Exports

    Blow up the Nordstream pipeline and now this? I do not understand why the Europeans deciding to align with any of the rather old and demented coots running America is in their national interests.

    1. nippersdad

      I saw that a couple of days ago and had to laugh. I know that sounds mean, but the EU leadership really can take a beating and still come back for more. It just has to be Stockholm Syndrome over there on steroids, but hopefully their constituencies are not as inured to it all as their leaders are.

        1. divadab

          It’s all for show – there is massive LNG export capacity already approved and in process, tho’ not yet operating. More BS from the “Biden” “Administration”.

  17. Carolinian

    Re orts and scraps and Nikki

    that reinforced her image as a courageous woman of principle fighting piggy rednecks

    What principles are those again? “Finish them [the Gazans]”? Putin is behind Hamas? Unions are bad?

    If you are fighting sexism and condescension–and undoubtedly she was to a degree–then you don’t counter the sexist stereotype by coming across as a boob. Perhaps the oddest part of this are the self proclaimed liberals that think Haley is some kind of anti establishment Republican whereas she was right in line with the business Republicans–not rednecks–who run this state. They were all George W. Bush supporters and Bush’s neocon ideology was in her wheelhouse and still is. When Trump came here in 2016 and dissed the Bush family they booed.

    Yes our current governor is a Trumpie and Graham and now Scott show allegiance to the de facto head of the party as did Haley herself by switching from Rubio to the bete noir of feminists and working for him. Nikki’s “principles” are fully negotiable.

  18. flora

    re: “It follows that significant deterioration in working-class support could put Biden in a very deep hole nationally and key states. Conversely, a burgeoning advantage among working-class voters would likely put Trump in a dominant position. ”

    And to think that once upon a time the Dems used to ride to victory on working class voters’ votes. Whatever happened? ( I hope Thomas Frank is working on a new book.)

      1. flora

        Sadly, indeed. Owen’s is wrong here. The Southern Strategy was first employed by the GOP during Nixon’s time after George Wallace’s ill-fated run for president. Later, a different form of the Southern Strategy – an anti-working class politics instead of an anti-race class politics – was taken up by the Dems in Clinton’s time. imo.

        1. flora

          adding: the mid-1960s GOP party was courting the old Southern Dem “Dixiecrat” politicians like Strom Thurmond. And the GOP party succeeded in many cases to draw old Dixiecrats away from the Dem party into the GOP. Even as many of the old Dixiecrats were once staunch defenders of FDR’s New Deal programs in their younger, Dem party days race was then a bridge too far. It’s interesting that B himself was well regarded by the old Dixiecrats, later Republicans, and was asked to give one of the eulogies at Sen. Thurmond’s funeral service.

        2. LifelongLib

          Wallace used racist rhetoric to get elected but in office was a roads-and-schools liberal. I’ve read (should research) that the schoolhouse door thing was staged — he’d agreed in advance with the feds to get out of the way once he’d made his speech. As a presidential candidate his platform included expanded social security and Medicare, which would have been a better deal than any president of either party has offered since. Not saying he was a saint, but he wasn’t quite a demon either.

          1. flora

            Yes, you are right. He ran as he needed to in his state to get across the threshold. From everything I heard then and read later he wanted everyone – everyone – to do better than from whatever was their starting points in life.

            1. rowlf

              Yes, well said. Wallace was complicated and not the cartoon character many want him to be or projected on.

              Haven’t we seen this now with many political figures?

          2. hk

            Wallace ran in his first attempt at a major elective office (House, I believe) as a liberal on race, too (I think he was endorsed by NAACP). Then he got race baited and lost badly. Supposedly, that’s when he learned his lesson on how to run for office in the South (at that time, anyways.)

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > that’s when he learned his lesson on how to run for office in the South

              What Wallace said “to friends”: “They just out-segged me. They’re never going to do that again.”

              Looking at this purely mechanically, as kicking down on an out-group, without moralizing, Democrats are gearing up for forty years of “They just out-MAGAed me.” But the Democrat base isn’t nearly as strong as the base Wallace captured in the segregated South. Too many deplorables out there.

          3. Pat

            Yet today’s “liberal”…
            Today’s email missive from Levi Strauss heir and My Dan since 2022 was largely about January 6 outrage and going after Elise Stefanik. It also reposted a couple of federal announcements. I should be happy to know that his office made a call to the Post Office, probably firmly worded, after complaints about mail theft. He “helpfully” listed actions his constituents could personally take that weren’t really helpful if you just send things with a first class stamp.
            Per usual there was not much of real benefit to his constituents but he sure is fighting for Democracy. It made me long for a Charlie Rangel. Corrupt, sure, but he tempered that by being tops in constituent services. My old guy Jerry Nadler couldn’t touch Charlie, but he had an okay record there. (Probably still does, but I don’t want to depress myself by looking into it now that he is the representative for a different area of the city.) But My Dan is too professional and too upwardly mobile for such prosaic concerns. He is a New Democrat.
            I am sure that Eventually that will not be enough, but he will be one of the last to have to adapt or perish since so much of his district is in Manhattan.

        3. flora

          An aside for readers unfamiliar with the US 1960s politics: The then Dem president LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Southern state former governor of Alabama George Wallace ran for the presidency on the American Independent Party ticket in 1968 against Nixon and Humphrey. He was publicly and politically anti-segregation. Wallace won the electoral votes of 7 states of the old deep south. Nixon ultimately won and adopted a Southern Strategy going forward for future elections, hoping to pick up those state’s votes.

          And, an aside without regard to the current pres race, Wallace’s hope was not to win outright but to throw the pres contest into the House of Representatives. But that did not happen.

          Adding: I believe Wallace’s campaign was the product of his time.

    1. eg

      I think poor Thomas Frank is exhausted from having played Cassandra to the Dems sleepwalking into electoral disaster all these years. I feel sorry for him, especially the extent to which he has been de-platformed and shunned by corporate media for the sin of holding up a mirror to DNC perfidy.

  19. flora

    re: “Trump urges states to surge National Guard to Texas as Abbott standoff with Biden accelerates” [FOX].

    Abbot oversteps. Biden oversteps. Trump oversteps. This feels like watching a national political game of chicken.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good thing that there is nothing going on overseas that might be distracting Biden from this game of chicken.

          1. JBird4049

            More like the turkeys are coming home to roost. Ever seen a flock of turkeys lumber up into the trees to roost at night? And then thump onto the roof coming down in the morning?

            They are not that fast really, but you certainly notice when they arrive. Thump!

          1. flora

            “culinary jest”?
            zomg. lol. still laughing.
            A quote from Looney Tunes Sen. Foghorn Leghorn no doubt. / ;)

  20. flora

    re: ” I don’t think even John C. Calhoun advocated that…. Readers?”

    Sounds to me like the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) is foolishly idealistic in this case. Their hearts might be in the right place for them, but their heads are absent given the larger questions about so many things, imo. This dust-up, or standoff if you want to call it that, seems like a recalibration test or refocus of state/fed rights and duties. Consent of the governed, and all that. imo.

  21. JBird4049

    >>>(all most of the immigrants want is jobs)

    (I am speaking here very extemporaneously. Please forgive any possible confusion or mistakes.)

    Honestly, I have given this kerfluffle over the border crossings and therefore just speculating, but I do have to ask just when does a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind? Six million people is two percent of the entire population, and I assume the majority is of working age, pushing wages and weakening unions while benefiting the PMC, corporations, and finance, while hurting everyone else. Would ten, fifteen, thirty million people justify calling an invasion?

    I am a fairly strong proponent of the Second Amendment. However, if someone showed up at a divorce court session with a submachine and reloads, plus hand grenades, even if he was a perfectly fine, extremely law abiding, very peaceful person with no hostile intentions to anyone, I would hope he would be asked to at least hand them to the deputy over for safe keeping during the session. Even if it was perfectly legal to keep them.

    As with pretty much all of our rights, proponents on all sides and the courts as well have used the most extreme, even absurd, arguments using specious reasoning to justify the expansion, contraction, nullification, or even the creation of “rights” while ignoring the reasons for something existing or not.

    So, I am looking at not only the letter, but the spirit and intentions, of law and my extremely inexpert legal opinion is that the governor of Texas has a point. Unfortunately. The Republican Party is just as self-serving, duplicitous, and corrupt as the Democratic Party, and I really wish I could avoid giving any to them.

    But I am also speaking as an American and a Californian, just what are my rights and when as well as how do I defend them? I also speak of everyone in the middle of the middle class on down to the poor and the close to 200,000 homeless Californians or the one million homeless Americans. (Funny that. One million homeless and the most expensive housing in American history, while six million immigrants arrive.).

    I know what the government wants, and what the elites wants, and big business, as well as most of the courts since they are all of the same voice, the voice of the American Empire, but what of the nation of people called Americans and its country, the Republic of the United States of America? What do we want, what should we have? Forget about what the comfortable, the wealthy, and the powerful want.

    I am speaking as an old school, classically liberal, old style American leftist and socialist, plus a nationalist of the Charles Schurz variety: “My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.” (My emphasis.)

    And I really find it annoying that I have to keep saying that I am not of today’s pseudo liberal and left, nor of the White Nationalist kind either. The propagandists have done well in twisting, even reversing, the meanings of almost every political and social term of their meanings. This does make saying what you mean and having others understand what you mean very difficult. It even makes it hard to know what you think you know and mean difficult in your own mind, which is the whole point.

    1. flora

      Yep. re:

      “So, I am looking at not only the letter, but the spirit and intentions, of law and my extremely inexpert legal opinion is that the governor of Texas has a point. Unfortunately. The Republican Party is just as self-serving, duplicitous, and corrupt as the Democratic Party, and I really wish I could avoid giving any to them.”

      Indeed. Thanks.

  22. KD

    In any case, historians agree, that the extraordinary, lasting stability of the Venetian republic, which endured more than five centuries, until ended by Napoleon, can be attributed in part to the ingenious selection of ballotte. Without sortition the republic would undoubtedly have fallen prey far sooner to disputes between ruling families.

    Or was it the secret police and the universal anonymous denunciation process leading to potential investigation by the secret police that created that stability:


    If only the Venetians had had re-education camps for deviationists!

  23. anahuna

    Yves dealt with Joe Lauria’s interpretation in advance. At 8:47 this morning she wrote, in relation to the press coverage so far:

    “They are doing their best to find a glass half full. As indicated in the post, South Africa had asked for a ceasefire, but no way, no how could the court credibly grant that. It would not just invite Israel defiance but correctly open the court up to criticism. They came up with the best functional equivalent they could with the requirement that Israel stop military action against Palestinians, as in the people.”

    1. anahuna

      I wrote this as a reply to Carolinian’s link to Joe Lauria in Consortium News. That comment was in the International Court of Justice thread. Can’t figure out how the reply ended up here.

  24. Carolinian

    New Taibbi on how the regime change spooks are gearing up for 2024.

    Many who couldn’t stand Trump, would never vote for him, and have been willing consumers of the awesome amount of propaganda published on the Trump subject, now need to face the fact that they’ve been had. Transformed into the avatar of all bad things — a crude domestic combo platter of Saddam, Milosevic, Assad, and Putin — this vision of the über-villain, Trump, has been used to distract mass audiences from the erosion of “norms” at home. “Protecting democracy” in the Trump context will be remembered as having served the same purpose as Saddam’s mythical WMDs, the shots fired in the Gulf of Tonkin, or Gaddafi’s fictional Viagra-enhanced army. Those were carefully crafted political lies, used to rally the public behind illegal campaigns of preemption.


      1. Carolinian

        He put up two of them. This one’s good too.


        Twenty years and multiple political upheavals later, the Democrats are taking the sabotage game it played in 2004 up a notch or ten. It’s taken the position that all of Joe Biden’s potential challengers within the party and without are, in effect, new Naders, whose presences are “distorting” the real election. The major difference between 2004 and now is that thanks to major changes in both the Democratic and Republican parties, current Democrats have the money and institutional capacity to attempt a legal campaign to “Naderize” even the likely GOP nominee, Trump, essentially seeking to ballot-block their way to victory.

        Democrats first disenfranchised internal party challengers like Marianne Williamson, Dean Phillips, and (initially) Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. through tactics like declaring the New Hampshire primary “non-compliant” and “meaningless” and canceling the Florida primary. Then, when Dr. Cornel West, Kennedy, and a new party called “No Labels” decided to seek third-party ballot access, money from LinkedIn billionaire Reid Hoffman, former “Right-wing hit man” turned Clintonian organizational assassin David Brock, and a group fronted by former presidential candidate Dick Gephardt was quickly deployed, leading to a meeting of Biden advocacy groups in which one of the participants warned potential third party entrants, “If you have one fingernail clipping of a skeleton in your closet, we will find it… We are going to come at you with every gun we can possibly find.

        In other words they are willing to do everything except the very very obvious step of finding a better candidate. At a time when everything seems to be falling apart would it be too much to say that the Democratic party is falling apart the most? Their only rationale for existence seems to be as un-Republicans and above all else un-Trump. To make this seem important the threat then needs to be inflated.

        1. flora

          “the very obvious step of finding a better candidate.” Exactly what i’ve been saying to my “true blue” friends. And as for those less than enamored of the B candidacy as being people “distorting the outcome”, I may have the tagline “#distorter” printed on a tee shirt. (That’ll flummox the viewers. “Is that a science fiction movie reference?” ) / ha.

  25. Old Sarum

    American and a Californian? If you step over the border into Oregon (and get yourself the local driving permit) are you not instantaneously “Oregonian”?

    Fascinating fissiparity!


    ps Us Brits only have to open our mouths to reveal our supposed loyalties.

    pps Ireland for the Irish, Peckham for the the peckish.

    1. JBird4049

      I believe it is up to the individual state to decide who is a citizen of that state, which is different than being a citizen of the United States. It really does not mean as much as it used to, but it is there, although the only thing personally that would concern me is college tuition. IIRC, you have to been in California to be a California resident and pay in-state tuition, which is much less than out of state.

      However, there is still that bit of being part of and from a state with one’s accent still having a part. Historically, people could and did put themselves as a citizen of their state before their being a citizen of the country. The accents and regional loyalties have greatly decreased, but an old family from Bostonian can have a very different accent than an old family from parts of New York City, or New Orleans, or between the states of Texas and California. Some people want to believe that it is all one big unhappy American family, but that is not quite the case. There are still different loyalties at times, even if the elites want even loyalty to one’s country to dissipate or think of it as not that important. It makes it easier to sell out their fellow citizens.

      1. hk

        I got taxed by CA on out-of-state income when I was working elsewhere most of the year. I’m not sure, if I had a kid going to college, he/she would have qualified for in-state tuition at the same time.

  26. Jason Boxman

    From fin Twitter.

    Something I didn’t expect approaching ~50 years old:

    Learning peers/friends having extremely serious health issues going from a huge rarity (in my 30s) to a weekly occurrence.

    Knowing or being connected to people with Stage 4 cancers, weird other diseases, etc.

    No mention of the Pandemic though.


  27. flora

    Adding this comment as a stand alone to JB’s comment in case it’s seen as too gruff or rancorous and so not published.
    I’ve had too many friends and family, fully trusting the safe and effective pitch, pay a terrible price. I dread what may happen to others who did the same. The B admin pushed the mandates even when they knew, per Birx, it was only “a hope.” T trumpeted the things, too. but at least did not mandate. I will not forget come election time. I will never forget. “We meant well” is no absolution, “we hoped” is no excuse.

  28. steppenwolf fetchit

    Did Jimmy Dore ever catch covid? If so, is he brain-damaged? Does he have a touch of covidementia?

    1. The Rev Kev

      No. But he was damaged by the vaccines which has made him bitter on how the whole Covid response program was done and the lies. Here he is on the Joe Rogan program talking about his experiences-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiLGSVH_UPA (13:20 mins)

      In one of his videos he praised his doctor as she was very responsive to what was happening to him. Most people aren’t so lucky and mine did not want to know.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I wouldn’t wish vaccine damage on anyone. That said, vaccines have literally nothing to do with non-pharmaceutical interventions — except to reduce the need for vaccination, an idea that never seems to penetrate — and so Dore’s “mask cult” smear is off-point. Dore has never been a preferred analyst of mine, if analyst is the word I want, and his knee-jerk, knuckle-dragging, pro-infection stance fully confirms me in my priors [dopamine hit, aaaaah].

  29. lambert strether

    More on the Compact Clause:

    No state shall, without the consent of Congress … keep troops… in time of peace

    This implies that the word “National” in “Texas National Guard” is important, and that it only exists with Congressional sanction. So in some sense it is already “Federalized.”

    There is, apparently, a 14,000 troops-strong “Texas State Guard,” but surely the Compact Clause affects it as well, unless its somehow grandfathered in from when Texas joined the Union, back in slavery days.

    1. JBird4049

      While true, the states have had the right or at least the ability to form their own military units since the colonies with the these units being a major part of any major war through the Spanish American War. It was assumed that there would be no large American central or federal military, and was that tried really hard, but that war showed just how inadequate it was, especially if you were going to have an overseas empire.

      The federal military had alway really small aside from any large wars and the navy until the Korean War/Cold War when a permanently large military, including an army, was created. The state militias along the way were converted to the National Guard with the incentive of federal funding and promise that the states would always be able to use them if they wanted or needed.

      So, we have a reality that was, if not de jure, was de facto a truth. What worries me is the idea that the federal government would refuse to follow its responsibilities and use its own military to enforce that refusal and to overturn a system that has existed, at least in shadow form, for over four centuries to do so. At best, it is a destruction of one of those norms for the pursuit of power. A norm being unnormed by the Norms Fairies because it is an obstacle for the Ruling Class and the Professional and Managerial Class like so much else.

      Like so much else in a society of any kind, the expectations, customs, traditions, all the unspoken norms are usually more important than any laws. The law, what is left of it, is being used to destroy them usually by using the letter to kill the spirit of the all the rules of any kind that blocks or even slows the will of the powerful.

      1. lambert strether

        I don’t think this comment is responsive. How does any of this square with the Compact Clause? Texas, AFAIK alone among the states, actually has a Texas Military Department (!), “in time of peace.” Swell, I’m happy for them, but what’s the legal mechanism?

        1. JBird4049

          I an not quite what is meant by being not responsive unless it means that I am confused or even wrong. I can point out that California has its State Guard, which looks more aspirational than real, but it does exist. The state also has the Californian National Guard with a website looking somewhat similar to the Texas Military Department.

          Looking at the Compact Clause:

          “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.”

          At first reading, it does appear that only Congress can approve a military. With no legal knowledge whatsoever about the legalities of it, I can mention of states having their own volunteer militia has been a thing for centuries. I guess that they being volunteer units made a loophole that allows the state to organize their own militias. Although much of the time it was marching together very badly once a month and then getting drunk together afterwards.

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