2:00PM Water Cooler 2/27/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, after an unexpected piece of good news, I broke discipine and took a (solo, Aranet4-metered) liquid lunch, so this Water Cooler is shorter than it should be, at least initially. Sorry. –lambert. Adding, my seized-up back is better, although not completely. The personal anesthetic helped, though! And adding, holy moley, that Boeing story (see under Stats). I got a little wrapped around the axle doing it. But my head is down over the keyboard now!

Bird Song of the Day

Winter Wren, Ferd’s Bog, Hamilton, New York, United States. “Long song type.”

* * *


“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 (Eighth Amendment)

“Jeb Bush comes to Trump’s defense after $355M fraud judgment: ‘Damage could cascade'” [FOX]. “Former Republican Florida Gov. Jeb Bush came to the defense of former President Trump in a Wall Street Journal op-ed slamming the recent New York civil fraud court case that ordered the 45th president to pay a $354.8 million fine plus interest. ‘Every American has a right to be critical of Mr. Trump’s politics—one of us ran against him in 2016,” reads Bush’s op-ed, titled, “Elon Musk and Donald Trump Cases Imperil the Rule of Law.’ ‘…But equality before the law is precious, and these rulings represent a crisis not only for the soundness of our courts, but for the business environment that has allowed the U.S. to prosper,” the opinion piece continued. ‘If these rulings stand, the damage could cascade through the economy, creating fear of arbitrary enforcement against entrepreneurs who seek public office or raise their voices as citizens in a way that politicians dislike.’ The column, which was co-authored by Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale, railed against the recent monthslong civil fraud trial against Trump, which resulted in a nearly $355 million fine and bars Trump from operating his business in New York for three years.” • Palantir? Oy. Getting into bed with Jebbie is one thing, but it turns out he brought a friend….

“Judge Engoron’s retribution” [Washington Examiner]. “A frequently made observation about the trial was that inflating the on-paper value of real estate is a rather common thing among New York City developers. Engoron seemed to concede that when he wrote, ‘Indeed, the common excuse that ‘everybody does it’ is all the more reason to strive for honesty and transparency and to be vigilant in enforcing the rules.’ That seemed to be a concession that yes, overvaluing real estate is not a rare occurrence. It also appears to be an inadvertent admission from the judge that the lawsuit was an example of selective prosecution.” • At some point, some opinion-haver needs to go through Engoron’s theory of the case. All this piety about “the harm that false statements inflict on the marketplace.” Sounds like exactly the sort of argument the worst sort of business-friendly conservative could pick up and run with.


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “Fani Willis faces harrowing week amid Trump disqualification bid: What to know” [Washington Examiner]. The headline is a bit overblown, at least for the material it presents. Key summary: “Trump and the 14 remaining co-defendants are facing a 41-count indictment alleging they operated a criminal enterprise to overturn the 2020 election. Willis’s office built a case that relies on several key events that allegedly show the former president’s intention to overturn the election, including a January 2021 call in which he asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to ‘find’ enough votes to offset President Joe Biden’s victory.”

Trump (R): “Abcarian: MAGA Republicans pushing to impeach President Biden don’t seem to notice the egg on their faces” [Los Angeles Times]. “Republicans thought they had a smoking gun, a claim by a longtime, reliable FBI informant that Biden and his son Hunter had secretly accepted millions of dollars from the Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma. Unfortunately for Planet MAGA — including House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer of Kentucky, impeachment resolution author Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and the entire lineup of Fox News hosts, who have been frothing at the mouth over this story — it was allegedly all a lie. The smoking gun is turning out to be an exploding cigar. And the informant? Not so reliable after all. Last month, a federal grand jury indicted Alexander Smirnov, 43, on charges he lied when he told the FBI that the Bidens had gotten $5 million each from Burisma. Not only that, according to special counsel David Weiss, who is overseeing the probe into Hunter Biden’s finances, Smirnov was probably coached to create the story by operatives associated with Russian intelligence in an effort to hurt President Biden as he faces reelection, most likely against Putin apologist former President Trump.” • So, if I have this correct, a long-time reliable FBI informant (nobody seems to be disputing that part), turns out to be a Russian asset? I’m not following this story closely, because I’m still boggling at “Smirnov,” but isn’t a little odd?

* * *

Trump (R): “Trump’s demographic problem” [Axios]. “If America were dominated by old, white, election-denying Christians who didn’t go to college, former President Trump would win the general election in as big of a landslide as his sweep of the first four GOP contests…. Those who went to the polls reflected Trump’s strengths: This was the oldest South Carolina GOP electorate this century. (Chuck Todd) 60% of primary voters were white evangelical or born-again Christians. (CNN) That group isn’t remotely big enough to win a presidential election. He would need to attract voters who are more diverse, more educated and believe his first loss was legit. South Carolina exit polls show he didn’t do that. That’s why Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only Black Republican, remains on Trump’s short list for V.P A bigger problem yet: Polls show these skeptics would be even less likely to swing his way if he’s convicted of a crime — a real possibility among his four ongoing cases, insiders tell us. The strategy: Trump’s campaign says that in the battleground states where the election will be decided, his message will appeal far beyond the GOP base that propelled him to the nomination.” • This is where I am. There’s a pleasing symmetry: Neither Trump’s base nor the Democrat PMC base are powerful enough to win the election or, more importantly, to govern. The “bundle of sticks” metaphor is useful: Each party needs to add sticks to its bundle (and neither party, oddly, is going after non-voters. You’d think the Trump team would think that way, but maybe the disciplined professionals of 2024 can’t think outside the box like the randos of 2016 could).

Trump (R): “Donald Trump’s dominating GOP primary performance doesn’t add up” [Heather Digby Parton, Salon]. “There is a substantial faction of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters who simply cannot stand Donald Trump. Yes, he is overwhelmingly popular among his MAGA base which makes up about three-quarters of the GOP and the majority of them are blindly devoted to the man no matter what he does. They are not just enthusiastic about voting for him, they are ecstatic…. Donald Trump can’t win the general election with just his hardcore MAGA base. He must expand his coalition and he’s not getting that done. In every state so far, he has underperformed expectations. Nevada was a very weird situation with both a primary and a caucus so it’s hard to discern what the electorate was saying there but in Iowa, New Hampshire and S. Carolina, a solid 40% voted against Trump. It’s a primary so that’s not unusual. But who makes up that 40% is a problem for Trump. He’s completely lost self-identified liberals which isn’t surprising. But moderates have abandoned him as well, along with the GOP-leaning independents. And the ongoing shedding of college educated and suburban voters has not abated. It doesn’t matter so much in the MAGA-centric GOP primary, but Trump cannot afford to lose those voters in the general election.” • With a link to the Axios article above. Parton, of course, as a good Democrat, doesn’t consider appealing to non-voters any more than good Republicans do.

* * *

Haley (R): “Nikki Haley says she’s a voice for dissatisfied voters: ‘I’m not doing this to be VP'” [USA Today]. “Haley’s not giving up, despite losing every primary contest thus far to former President Donald Trump. The former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has chosen to continue standing for the significant number of Americans who aren’t satisfied with the current front-runners. In South Carolina, she garnered roughly 40% of the vote, as she did in New Hampshire.” If you think the social norming among Republicans to vote for Trump is as strong as the social norming not to mask, then 40% is not a bad number. More: “‘I’m a Republican,’ she said. ‘At this point I don’t know how you translate that over. The reason people are gravitating towards me is because the tone at the top matters and how you talk about issues matters. People don’t want to be hating each other. They don’t want under this tent of anger anymore. They don’t want the division.” That’s interesting. But I’m not sure Haley has the gravitas to deliver that message (any more than, say, Harris, or Philips). Trump tried the rhetoric on for size, briefly. So it’s out there. More: “‘And so I’m trying to bring it to where we can have an America that doesn’t have that. But that’s through the Republican Party that I do this. So we’ll have to wait and see.'” As Dima would say. More: “”m not doing this to be VP. I’m not doing this to be a third-party candidate. I’m not doing this for my political career. I’m doing it truly out of a love of America. And because I’m worried about my kids and everybody else’s kids.'” • Again, Haley lacks the gravitas to make that message stick. And the media needs the hatred, too. Hate means clicks.

* * *

Biden (D): “Biden’s immigration silver lining” [Axios]. “Foreign-born workers now constitute nearly 19% of the labor force, up from 17.3% when President Biden took office. The recent surge in unauthorized migrants will lead to 1.7 million more workers in 2024, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office analysis. Those new arrivals will help the U.S. economy grow by about $7 trillion over the next decade. More than 3 million migrants are still in the country who were encountered at the southern border during the Biden presidency. An additional one million arrived via ports of entry through new Biden programs relying on the expansive use of parole — a legal mechanism that allows migrants without visas to enter the U.S. An additional 3.7 million people have entered the U.S. through other legal pathways, with the ability to work, according to administration estimates. Some of those new arrivals are captured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which counts an additional 3 million foreign-born workers in the workforce under Biden. Don’t expect Biden to race to the podium to highlight the link between increased immigration and lower inflation, according to aides and advisers.” Then again: “Former President Trump clearly wants to run on the issue, arguing that the influx of low-skilled immigrants into the economy has hurt native-born workers.

‘The biggest victims are African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans,’ Trump said at a rally in South Carolina earlier this month. ‘They’re getting decimated in their hourly wages.’ Wage growth has been the strongest for the bottom quarter of workers, according to the Atlanta Fed’s wage tracker. It’s hard to argue that immigrants are depressing wages when average hourly earnings are increasing and wages are outpacing inflation.” • No, it’s really not. Do the words “even more” mean anything do these people? How about that famous demand curve?

Biden (D): “Michelle Obama: September Savior or ‘Suicide Mission’?” [The American Conservative]. Well worth a read. Best version of this argument I’ve seen: “Forget about doctors; anyone who has cared for an aging parent with cognitive decline can see all the signs and knows what is coming next. Joe can’t remember words, names, or dates, and walks stiffly with his arms locked. He falls often. He gets angry and cusses. It is all there. We all know what is being hidden, just like when Mom refuses her food or rages someone is after her money. It is not a pleasant thing to watch, this infantilization of a person you may have once looked up to, but the decline is obvious, and decline is a one-way street. It hurts, it really does, whether it is Mom or Joe Biden, to watch it all knowing there is nothing that can be done… It is one thing to explain away Mom’s behavior at the dinner-table, another when addressing national security…. If Joe is unfit to stand trial for his casual misuse of classified documents, then he is unfit to be president.” And as for Michelle: “Michelle Obama has the popularity and name- and face-recognition to step in at the last minute for a tired placeholder Joe. September is “the last minute,” given the 50 sets of laws governing how much time is needed to add a candidate to the ballot and still make mailing deadlines for absentee votes. Her own lack of experience is tempered by Barack’s eight years, and, indeed, a quiet selling point among Dems would be that this is indeed a third term for some sort of Obama administration. With Obama’s popularity and bullet-proofing against accusations of racism, no one will worry at all about sweeping Kamala Harris aside, perhaps with the promise of a nice university job to show no hard feelings. Celebrity endorsements would pour in headlined by Oprah and Taylor Swift and someone near immune to Trump’s personal insult style of campaigning would take the rostrum against him. It would be a close election.” • Again, the best version of this argument I’ve seen. I’m not sure Michelle Obama wants this. And whatever The Wizard of Kalorama™ thinks he was put on this Earth to do, I would bet it’s not putting his wife in the White House. The Clintons, yes. FWIW, I don’t get those vibes from the Obamas.

Biden (D): “Democrats are too scared of a contested convention” [Financial Times]. “The odds that this coming August we will have the first Democratic contested convention since 1968 are non-trivial. Were Joe Biden persuaded either to step down, or suffered some forcing medical event, the party would have no choice but to prove history really does rhyme by finding a new standard-bearer in Chicago…. It is easy to picture how it could go disastrously…. Yet I can also picture something quite different; a successful contested convention that rivets the nation’s attention and produces the stuff of Trump’s nightmares — a much younger and more vibrant rival. Whether that would be an unbound and rebooted Kamala Harris, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, or one of the male governors, is anybody’s guess. It is worth stressing though that technology would ensure the process would not be closed-door. It could not be a sordid deal between party bosses. Chicago 2024 would be a democratic exercise of a different kind.” • Totally, yeah, technology. Remember the Democrat Iowa caucus in 2020? Anyhow, Big Gretch does have some local clout, and that spook-orchestrated kidnapping stunt means she’s got backers somewhere, but… “vibrant”? I dunno. Michiganders?

* * *

MI: “Biden Will Win Michigan Easily. It May Also Show His Weakness” [The New Republic]. “The Michigan primary is Tuesday, and there won’t be much drama as far as who the winners, on either side, will be—Joe Biden and Donald Trump are locks. But there is something brewing on the Democratic side that could prove to be consequential. It’s not who’s on the ballot: Biden is, of course, sharing it along with Minnesota Congressman Dean Phillips. Marianne Williamson will be on it as well because she qualified for a ballot line before she dropped out of the race. The box to keep an eye on is the fourth: ‘uncommitted.’ This is the space that political insiders will be watching, and it will determine the narrative flowing out of Michigan. Right now, there’s a lot of general concern among Democrats about Biden’s age, and in the Great Lake State specifically, there is considerable concern about Biden’s pro-Israel tilt in his handling of the Israel-Gaza war, and a movement afoot to deny him support over it. If all roads lead to an unusually large ‘uncommitted’ vote, what Democratic insiders are still now only whispering—that maybe Biden shouldn’t be the nominee—will only grow more audible. The outcome could signal not only that some voters are mad about Gaza, but that others simply don’t want Biden because of his age.”

* * *

Remember the pandemic? Good times:

I think the popular perception is the real one: Trump gives, and Biden taketh away. The CARES Act “put money in your pocket.” The American Rescue Plan, for all its laudable objectives, did not. There’s Bidenomics, right there. Plus, Joe Biden owes me six hundred bucks.


“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!

* * *

Elite Maleficence

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot February 19: Regional[2] Biobot February 19:
Variants[3] CDC February 17 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC February 17
New York[5] New York State, data February 26: National [6] CDC February 17:
National[7] Walgreens February 26: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic February 17:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC February 5: Variants[10] CDC February 5:
Weekly deaths New York Times February 17: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times February 17:


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] (Biobot) Again, no backward revisions. The uptick is real (at least to Biobot). Note this anomaly:

Looks like Covid might not be seasonal? Who knew? Hoerger comments:

[2] (Biobot) Here, FWIW, is Verily regional data as of February 20. CDC Region 1:

And Region 2:

Verily data, then, shows no anomaly. Presumably, Biobot sewersheds and Verily sewersheds do not overlap.

[3] (CDC Variants) “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] (ER) Does not support Biobot data. “Charts and data provided by CDC, updates Wednesday by 8am. For the past year, using a rolling 52-week period.”

[5] (Hospitalization: NY) Not flattening.

[6] (Hospitalization: CDC) Still down. “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] (Walgreens) That’s a big drop! 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] (Cleveland) Flattening, consistent with Biobot data.

[9] (Travelers: Posivitity) Down, albeit in the rear view mirror.

[10] (Travelers: Variants) About time for something to challenge JN.1. But what’s “other”? Something to look forward to, I guess!

Stats Watch

Manufacturing: “United States Durable Goods Orders” [Trading Economics]. “New orders for manufactured durable goods in the United States slumped by 6.1% month-over-month in January 2024, more than market expectations of a 4.5% fall and following a 0.3% decrease in December. ”

Manufacturing: “United States Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The composite manufacturing index in the US Fifth District area increased to -5 in February 2024 from -15 in January.”

* * *

Manufacturing: “Boeing Missing Key Elements of Safety Culture: FAA Report” [Aviation International News]. “The panel further reported that it could not find a “consistent and clear” safety reporting channel or process within the business unit. It also noted that employees do not understand how to use the different reporting systems and which reporting system to use and when. The panel expressed concern that the confusion might discourage employees from reporting what they see as safety problems. The report concluded that, although Boeing previously provided a roadmap to implement an Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) and safety management systems (SMS), the airframer still hadn’t completed the changes described in the roadmap.” • For more on ODA systems, see Leeham News linked to here. Key point from Leeham:

The FAA doesn’t have the resources to do all the certification activities necessary to keep up with an expanding aviation industry.

The FAA gets help using [Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) Unit Members (UMs)] who report to the FAA] for routine tasks allowing the FAA to focus its limited resources on safety critical certification issues as well as new and novel technologies. Designees come from private industry. They are experts in the aviation and medical communities who are familiar with the regulations and certification requirements necessary to issue a certificate. Individual Designees can either be a company employee or an individual consultant.

Examples of such experts might be mechanics, doctors, engineers, inspectors, and pilots. All designees must pass a rigorous screening process to be approved to act in the FAAs capacity in a limited scope. The FAA delegates to approved individuals and companies every task they do. Think of it as a force multiplier in that private industry is doing a very significant amount of the FAA’s work.

Now see the FAA Report–

Manufacturing: “Section 103 Organization Designation Authorizations (ODA) For Transport Airplanes Expert Panel Review Board” (PDF) [Federal Aviation Administration]. Stupidly:

Hence, the screen dump from page 36:

Shorter: Boeing employees muscled the UMs (ODA Unit Members) to make production quotas, wrecking safety. Hat tip, all those pencil-necked MBAs in Chicago! This behavior is going to be hard to weed out, and I very much doubt that the [genuflects] Obama-administration lawyer they just put in charge of HR to bust the unions will be up to the task. Interesting times for our national champion!

Transportation: “Norfolk Southern is bolstering its board as it seeks to fend off a shareholder-activist group waging a proxy battle against the freight railroad” [Paul Page, Wall Street Journal]. “The company is looking to add former Amtrak and airline executive Richard Anderson and former U.S. senator Mary Kathryn “Heidi” Heitkamp to its board of directors as investor group Ancora Holdings presses its own effort to overhaul Norfolk Southern’s leadership through its roughly $1 billion stake in the carrier…. Ancora’s slate of new directors includes former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and that it wants to install former United Parcel Service executive Jim Barber and former CSX official Jamie Boychuk in the top two management posts. Norfolk Southern warns in its proxy materials that Boychuk has a reputation for extreme cost-cutting. That’s a potentially precarious path for the railroad, which faces intense regulatory scrutiny over a toxic train derailment early last year.” • Moar PSR?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 76 Extreme Greed (previous close: 75 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 27 at 1:02:13 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 187. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • Apparently not concerned about the goat sacrificers at all?

News of the Wired

“Botanical gardens can cool city air by an average of 5 °C” [The New Atlas]. A meta-study. Handy chart:

* * *

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 Late Introvert:

Readers, I should recognize this. But I don’t! What is it? (Looks like a beautifully lush and dense garden, from the background. NOTE Not a criticism but a helpful hint for more pleasurable picture-taking: The subject does not have to be in the center, even if your camera tries to get you to do that. See the Rule of Thirds for a more dynamic composition. Like all rules, meant to be broken. But I found that all my photos improved as soon as I started looking at the whole frame.)

* * *

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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. ChrisFromGA

    In honor of Aaron Bushnell. I hesitate to “go there” but I believe I ought to do what small thing I can to keep
    his memory alive.

    We bomb the world

    There comes a time when we heed a certain call
    When the world must come together as one
    There are people dying
    Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand, to life
    The greatest gift of all

    We can’t go on pretending day by day
    That someone, somewhere will soon make a change
    We’re all a part of God’s great big family
    And the truth – you know is quite ugly

    We bomb the world
    We bomb the children
    We are the ones who’re spreading misery
    So let’s stop killin’
    There’s a choice were making
    When we believe our own lies
    It’s time to send our empire days
    To history

    Well, consider your work
    If it supports weapons of death
    You’re an accomplice to assault and battery
    As Rome has shown us
    With rule by iron fist
    Our national funeral is a fait accompli

    We bomb the world
    We bomb the children
    We are the ones who’re spreading misery
    So let’s stop killin’
    There’s a choice were making
    When we believe our own lies
    It’s time to send our empire days
    To history

    When you’re powerless
    There seems no hope at all
    But with one small step
    There’s no way we can fall

    Well, well, well, let’s realize
    Oh that a change can only come
    When we, stand together as one (yeah, yeah, yeah)

    We bomb the world
    We bomb the children
    We are the ones who’re spreading misery
    So let’s stop killin’
    There’s a choice were makin’ when we believe our own lies
    It’s time to send our empire days
    To history


    Melody from “We are the World” USA for Africa, original song written by Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones

    1. griffen

      Well done. That tune, We are the World, had been running through my head somewhere in late January to early February. Drats. And then Netflix has a documentary on that night.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Thanks! This will have to do, as we would wait forever in vain for the big pop stars of the world to come together to do a COG-AID (children of Gaza aid) concert.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        It would be nice if one or two of them to step up. I think Dua Lipa said something about helping Palestine that of course got her into trouble with the thought police.

        I cannot imagine what the Bushnell family is going through.

  2. Jason Boxman

    On Walgreens, the current week has 12k fewer tests. (3k vs 15k) Maybe this relates to the broken pharmacy computer systems courtesy of Change Health, now at Optum, which is United Healthcare.

    Maybe these are the 3k people that can pay cash?

      1. IM Doc

        From personal experience – not a link –

        In our area – one entire grocery system pharmacy is still down – and this is true nationwide – we are told today it may be at least another week.

        One of the major national pharmacies is still down. And it is the same – it may take another week.

        They are completely unable to do any electronic prescriptions. We are having to print them off the EMR – and thank God for 1980s tech – FAX them to the pharmacies.

        The issues however are legion – they are unable to process any insurance payments or authorizations at either place. It is one thing when the patient can just go to the pharmacy down the street. It is another thing entirely when the patient’s employer’s health insurance has a contract with that specific pharmacy. Just overwhelming issues in this area all week.

        The independent pharmacy down the street that has been owned by the same family for generations is having no such issues. Of course, they do not do e-prescriptions – paper and fax only. They have a rudimentary computer to do controlled substances –
        They are having no problems whatsoever. And getting lots of new customers this week.

      2. Jason Boxman

        Since the cyber attack, pharmacies across the country — including those at Safeway, Walgreens and CVS — have been unable to fill some prescription orders because the computer system that forwards prescriptions from doctors and processes insurance was disconnected after the hack at UnitedHealth’s technology unit, called Change Healthcare.


        I don’t know if the pharmacy system is required for getting a PCR test, though. They write:

        Test and Treat Services at Walgreens Pharmacy

        COVID-19 & Flu Rapid Test
        COVID-19, Flu A & B with one swab
        Results available within 30 minutes


        It seems reasonable to conclude it would use their pharmacy computer system.

        I guess we’ll know more when they release numbers next week!

  3. Wukchumni

    In sizing things up~~Johnson isn’t long for the world, and seeing how the Pachyderms struggled mightily to find someone-anyone to be Speaker after My (now divorced) Kevin, was how we initially learned of Mike’s very existence.

    1. ChrisFromGA

      I suspect where you stand is a function of where you sit. I see him as possibly the most effective speaker for the Pachyderms since the Newtster, as he is playing a poor hand about as well as possible.

      He seems to understand the concept of leverage, although he hasn’t played the yearlong CR card just yet which may be his best. That would force a 1% cut across the board to defense, a thing that cannot be in the DC swamp.

      That he hasn’t folded (yet) on Ukraine aid seems remarkable. He’s up against the entire Wurlitzer, Schumer, Freeze Frame, and of course the WH. He seems genuinely convicted of something, I am just not sure what.

      The biggest threat may be literal, as a tragic car accident or blood clot cannot be ruled out. The swamp is starting to show “2 minutes of hate” towards him. They’re no doubt on the prowl for their Brutus to stick a shank in his back.

      1. Feral Finster

        “The biggest threat may be literal, as a tragic car accident or blood clot cannot be ruled out. The swamp is starting to show “2 minutes of hate” towards him. They’re no doubt on the prowl for their Brutus to stick a shank in his back.”

        Surely there is no need to be so crude. Some blackmail can be found or manufactured to get Johnson to fall into line. How do we know that his cleaner’s aunt didn’t date a Russian once? This is obvious evidence that Johsnon is compromised, since all Russians bear blood guilt and are mindless puppets of Putin, to boot?

        1. ChrisFromGA

          He’s apparently a Baptist, so don’t expect to find much in that closet.

          Rumor has it, though, that he once danced to a Kenny Loggins tune.

          1. Lena

            Heh, a ‘Baptist’, my foot. He’s really an Anabaptist Mennonite whose family settled in Russia centuries ago. Clearly a Putin puppet from the cradle. Hillary and Nancy have the goods on him. Wait and see. /s

          2. Wukchumni

            I heard Mike once let his glasses droop down his nose a little ways, but quickly caught himself when his conscience suggested that he was being suggestive.

            1. Amfortas the Hippie

              baptist only means anything if theres other baptists within earshot///otherwise its all good.
              its the same with the rest of the protestant/noncatholic people ive run across.
              (catholics are a whole other animal, especially their young wimmins, at least back in the day)
              ie: herd behaviour…unless you get near one of the Truly Faithful(like my neighbor…cowboy church, identifies as a baptist, but doesnt need a sheepskin to perform weddings or speak at funerals…one of the most honest men ive ever met…seemed surprised that my pagan ass was just as honest)

              !!!!i hear a chick hatching out!!!!

  4. Jason Boxman

    Hence, the screen dump from page 36:

    What’s hilarious about the PDF in general, is that you can actually put these dumps into ChatGPT and it’ll mostly accurately OCR the text. Or you can use actual OCR software if you have access. So this is doubly stupid.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > you can actually put these dumps into ChatGPT

      I think ChatGPT wants my phone. Am I right?

      That said, the Boeing story is just incredibly bad. My thought has always been that Boeing could remain in the business of repairing the planes it has already built, but I think you would need ODAs to do that (perhaps even more, because where is the institutional memory). Yves’ idea that Boeing is headed toward liquidation seems correct (here I’m free-associating to a dim recollection of a parasitic wasp that liquifies the internal organs of its host, so that its progeny can feed, which seems to be what the MBAs in Chicago have done).

      Amazing thing, it’s almost as if labor is the source of all value, and Boeing’s management has removed all the trappings that conceal that truth.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > Amazing thing, it’s almost as if labor is the source of all value, and Boeing’s management has removed all the trappings that conceal that truth.

        D@mn, I love NC commentary!

        I wonder whether somewhere in the ethersphere, the Bearded One may be blushing modestly.

        Thank you, Lambert!

      2. The Rev Kev

        Maybe not liquidation but maybe breaking up? It would be nice if they did so if they could take the McDonnell-Douglas out of the Boeing but the problem is that these days Boeing is McDonnell-Douglas.

      3. Glen

        My understanding of the significant difference between the DER and the ODA FAA authorization systems as implemented at Boeing was Boeing management had much more influence over the ODA system. And that Boeing switched from DER to ODA when it realized it could not deliver airplanes with all the DERs on strike during the Boeing engineering strike. I’m not sure all of that is true. There is much comments on this in the Leeham News and Analysis articles on the ODA woes at Boeing.

      4. Acacia

        Yes, ChatGPT wants your phone number.

        For OCR, there are real OCR apps. Acrobat will do it. ABBY Finereader, etc.

        Tesseract is for OCR and it’s free.

  5. Art_DogCT

    Lambert, you are seeing a tulip blossom at the end of its flowering. It is shown against a backdrop of a happy patch of cranesbill.

  6. Val

    “Biden’s pro-Israel tilt” isn’t just the ahistorical moral black hole that is zionism, it’s also the unending sequence of doltish euphemisms necessary to sustain such degradation.

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    I have added some orts and scraps. 2024 is already wild, and everything I read today makes me think it’s going to be more volatile soon (no one thing, just the topics and the directions commentators are going). Strap in!

  8. Carolinian

    Turley continues this morning’s discussion about whither the NYT


    But Turley is also pushing a press myth–the “objectivity” era

    There was a time when all journalists shared a common “identity” as professionals who were able to separate their own bias and value

    No, what the MSM really cared about during their most respectable era was making sure facts were correct. Therefore Cronkite turned on Johnson’s war when it became clear that his administration and the military were lying about the facts–the “body count”etc. He never questioned the Domino Theory or the underlying premise. Just as now the premise was mostly consensus but getting checkable information wrong would hurt credibility and boost competitors.

    In his latest compilation Calvin Trillin talks about working at Time and the then elaborate editorial process to make sure facts were correct. The Luce worldview of course stood.

    Now we don’t even have this needed but also somewhat superficial level of truth. No doubt part of it is that reporters are expensive but narrative costs nothing. “Too good to check” has been replaced by too expensive to check. If anyone objects then call them the liars instead.

    1. hk

      I do think Turley is right, although not necessarily for the right reasons. Recently, Aurelien has written a piece somewhat misleading titled “Diversity Paradox” (https://aurelien2022.substack.com/p/the-diversity-paradox), which I thought was more about the death of “Weberian bureaucrat” in modern age. The Weberian bureaucrat, in turn, was the professional dedicated to “doing things well” quietly, who are known and respected for doing so, and are renumerated without regard for whether their “output” furthered some cause or not. These were valuable in any organization–not just government, but also private corporations, science, education, and even journalism. That has now gone out the window, in favor of “advancing the cause.”

      Now, I’ll confess that professionalism in journalism was always a shaky proposition–there was a good reason that Woodward and Burnstein were on crime beat (I think) and had nothing to do with politics–because those who covered politics, even back in 1970s, were basically on the take by the people whom they normally covered. But very few professionals of any kind wanted to hang their fates on some “cause” back then.

      1. Acacia

        because those who covered politics, even back in 1970s, were basically on the take by the people whom they normally covered

        And for a great illustration of this, look no further than Spielberg’s The Post (2017), which tries to make the WaPo look heroic but only reveals just how in bed the paper has been with the beltway elite.

  9. Carolinian

    I had seen that AC on Michelle. It does seem bizarrely plausible (bizarre because she is unqualified–plausible because the press doesn’t care about bizarre). But what would the public think?

    1. The Rev Kev

      They would think that this is Barry coming in the backdoor and as soon as the Obamas were back in the White House, Michelle would get pushed to the side as Barry would then start to run things using all his contacts from his previous two terms.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Re: Michelle

    She was a first lady in the mold of Barbara Bush. Laura Bush was more active. To me, its just the Moore Oprah argument. He’s added The Rock and Tom Hanks, but people at least like to pretend the Presidency isn’t an office for the bland.

    I do have to admire the chutzpah of The American Conservative (Eyeroll) by pointing out the selling point is Michelle would have her husband to tell her what to do.

    1. Carolinian

      Well if Michelle does set the precedent and doesn’t win then Trump can get Melania to run in 2028 for his third term. Fair enough, right?

      1. curlydan

        I love the thought, but Melania was born in Slovenia, so Der Trumpster would need to amend the constitution to get her to be qualified. If that happens, it might prompt a primary challenge from Ah-nold who’s no doubt itching to run for Prez as well.

        1. Christopher Fay

          Donald has shot the wad on political ambitions when he was appointed guvnor at the height of his movie popularity. Since then I know he has been in movies again but can’t name a single one. It’s so he was recruited as one of the Has-Beens in Stallone’s series the Deplorables.

  11. Screwball

    Most of my Michigan friends love them some Big Gretch as they call her, but they love anything blue as they suffer from stage 10 TDS. Others can’t stand her and thought she was a tyrant during COVID. They were not happy about some of the things she shut down during that time period. IIRC, she did a TV thing wearing a “that women from Michigan” shirt to troll Trump because he called her that. They thought that was great. I thought it was stupid. I would like to see our pols stay away from that kind of stuff, but that’s just me. My Michigan friends think the kidnapping thing was real, and any deviation from the official line is fake news.

    1. Verifyfirst

      Gov. Whitmer is a bog standard liberal Michigan Dem who likes to dress in motorcycle leathers. She could not be further inside the system, her father was CEO of Michigan Blue Cross for many years, and she herself maxed out her term limits in both the Michigan House and Senate. Her auto insurance “reform” consisted of effectively terminating the benefits of the existing severely disabled auto accident victims, causing some of them to die, actually. On Gaza, her only response is that well, voting uncommitted in today’s Primary could help Trump. I was very surprised she and the Dems eliminated Right To Work when they got the majority, cuz I’m sure they don’t actually care–payback for some past and future UAW favors, no doubt.

      1. Screwball

        Thank you for this. I’m in Ohio so I don’t follow too close, but I always thought she seemed like a swamp rat. Of course, I think that of most of them. Maybe cause they are.

        On top of that, I consider my Michigan friends like Jim Cramer of business television fame. Whatever they think is true, the opposite is likely the truth. It is entertaining the mental pretzels they they turn themselves defending the indefensible.

        1. Carla

          Hey, Screwball. Nice to be able to recognize another Ohioan on here. I know there are many, but I just don’t know [the handles of] many of them…

          I’m working with some folks who are trying to pressure Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost to revoke First Energy’s charter for the company’s role in the biggest corruption scandal in the state’s history and uh, also, for robbing Ohio consumers blind and uh, for fueling climate change, and etc. If you’re interested in learning more about this effort, send an email with First Energy in the subject line to chduplex AT simmertildone.net in the next 24 hours and I’ll get back to you. (The time limit is because I don’t monitor that address too often, but my attention span can last at least another 24 hours)

          1. Screwball

            Hello Carla, thanks for reaching out. I have read a little about First Energy’s shenanigans but haven’t followed it too close. Good luck in the efforts but I have little hope given DeWine and company. Not a fan.

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        About repealing Right To Work . . . . I don’t care if they don’t actually care, because they diddit whether they “care” or not. And we get better government from someone who owes for past and future UAW favors than from someone who owes for past and future Chamber Of Commerce favors, for example.

        Trump was “vibrant”. Obama was “vibrant”. I don’t need “vibrant”.

        1. rowlf

          Probably repealing RTW passed was because one person on the political team heard the union workers’ grumbling that after voting D for so many decades all the union workers ever got was a T shirt.

          Tee up card check.

    2. Alice X

      Just been to vote on this fine May day (in February!) – made my mark on the D – uncommitted, as dark as I could. But in the fall I will vote for Claudia de la Cruz no matter who the duopoly runs.

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        I almost did the same, but decided instead to give nodding approval of the old adage about not being able to beat somebody with nobody.

        One fellow Green who advocated voting for Nikki Haley to try to stop Trump before the general election; another fellow Green encouraged the uncommitted vote.

        I considered Marianne Williamson, but checked her views and found out she wasn’t as anti-war as I hoped.

        I looked into who if anyone had filed the paperwork to be an official write-in candidate (you have to, or else votes for you won’t be counted) — and found the only one was Cenk Uygur, who’s not eligible to serve.

        So I went one better than that, and wrote in Aaron Bushnell. . . .

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        I almost did the same, but decided instead to give nodding approval to the old adage about not being able to beat somebody with nobody.

        One fellow Green encouraged the uncommitted vote; another advocated voting for Nikki Haley to try to stop Trump before the general election.

        I considered Marianne Williamson, but checked her views and found out she wasn’t as anti-war as I hoped.

        I looked into who if anyone had filed the paperwork to be an official write-in candidate (you have to, or else votes for you won’t be counted) — and found the only one was Cenk Uygur, who’s not eligible to serve.

        So I went one better than that, and wrote in Aaron Bushnell. . . .

        1. John Anthony La Pietra

          (Sorry . . . the first five tries, it didn’t look like the post had caught at all — not even to get the edit period — so I rewrote the comment with a few slight edits. If one version can be deleted, please make it this one (the earlier version).

      3. John Anthony La Pietra

        Green here — which probably means my November vote will go to Jill Stein and whoever her running mate will be. (One advantage is that we’re on the ballot here for sure, and I know of no petition drive to put PSL or de la Cruz there — though maybe she’ll get the spot of the state Natural Law Party.)

        I almost cast an uncommitted vote myself (as one fellow Green advocated; another touted voting for Nikki Haley to try to stop Trump before the general election, which the friend felt he would win but she wouldn’t) . . . but ultimately I decided instead to give nodding approval to the old adage about not being able to beat somebody with nobody.

        I considered Marianne Williamson, but checked her views and found out she wasn’t as anti-war as I hoped.

        I looked into who if anyone had filed the paperwork to be an official write-in candidate (you have to, or else votes for you won’t be counted) — and found the only one was Cenk Uygur, who’s not eligible to serve.

        So I went one better than that, and wrote in Aaron Bushnell. . . .

  12. Wukchumni

    Michelle, Obama belle
    These are words that go together well
    My Michelle
    Michelle, Obama belle
    Assemble a 2024 run ensemble
    Tres bien no Biden ensemble
    They love you, they love you, they love you
    That’s all I want to say
    Until I find a way
    I will say the only words I know that you’ll understand

    Michelle, Obama belle
    Assemble a 2024 run ensemble
    Tres bien no Kamala ensemble
    You need to, you need to, you need to
    You need to make us see
    Oh, the Clintons aren’t the only political dynasty
    Until you do, I’m hoping you will know what I mean
    They love you

    They want you, they want you, they want you
    I think you know by now
    It’ll get down to you somehow
    Until they do, I’m telling you so you’ll understand
    Michelle, Obama belle
    Assemble a 2024 run ensemble
    Tres bien no more Four More Wars! ensemble
    And I will say the only words I know that Joe will understand
    My Michelle

    Michelle, by the Beatles


    1. MaryLand

      Perfection! And by the way, I called it on NC a couple of months ago that they would go to Michelle as the only viable candidate.

  13. Tom Stone

    I think Genocide Joe needs a female VP with a tan to counteract the bad press he’s getting for supporting Israel’s defensive genocide/ God ordained ethnic cleansing in Gaza.
    Michelle would be fine, Oprah would be better, Harris would do in a pinch even with her predilection to add poison ivy to her word salads.
    And I think Trump’s best choice for VP would be Tulsi Gabbard.
    She’d lock in the Military/Veteran vote and almost any Female VP would take votes away from the Dims.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      I would still be very surprised to see Gabbard as Trump’s VP running mate. She might well be his choice, but she must know how he uses and discards people.

  14. Wukchumni

    Game show proposal…

    ‘Boeing For Dollars’

    2 contestants bowl against one another and the loser gets a free flight on a Boeing 737 Max, roundtrip hopefully.

  15. pjay

    These articles in places like Axios, Salon, or USA Today on why Trump is weaker than he looks are just oblivious. Trump is *stronger* than he looks. If he is allowed to run he will win.

    I lived in a Midwestern red state in 2016. Bernie had handily won the state Democratic caucus, but of course Hillary won the nomination. A life-long Democrat, I was called by a local party functionary to encourage me to vote. I remember ranting to the poor guy for half an hour on why Trump was going to win, the many problems with Hillary, and explaining that every time I saw one of the snide media reports on Trump and his deplorable followers on the news I figured his support went up by five points. He couldn’t fathom how I would think that Trump could win. I had no doubt. It’s the same feeling I have reading these articles today.

    I drove right down to the County Courthouse and changed my affiliation to “Independent” the day after the 2016 election. Little did I know that things could actually get much worse. They are throwing everything they have at Trump to keep him from running. It will be interesting to see if they succeed.

    1. Pat

      I am in NY. A safe space for whoever ends up on the Democratic ticket, this year is different. Yes, I thought Clinton would eke out a win, but I knew they were severely underestimating Trump. there was a naive certainty to all the commentary in 2016. It really was impossible, and too bad for the rubes. There is a very different feel to the articles today. Now there is desperation. They know it is possible. Deep down they know Biden’s administration has been a disaster for most Americans. And they know Biden is toast, but are grasping at straws so as not to admit it. And that is what I find interesting. After all the speculation, including today’s Michelle “our savior” Obama one, these commentators clearly do not believe the Dems have a cunning plan M to save them from Trump.
      As Lambert says, it is volatile. Lots can change but I honestly cannot think of one way Biden comes out of this with a second term.

  16. Sub-Boreal

    Review article on Long COVID co-authored by Eric Topol (open access): Solving the puzzle of Long Covid.


    More than 4 years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, widespread infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) has left millions of people around the world with Long Covid, which describes the constellation of post-acute and long-term adverse health effects caused by the infection. Evidence generated by the scientific community—with formidable contributions from patient-led research teams—has provided a thorough understanding of the epidemiology and clinical manifestations of Long Covid. Understanding the biologic underpinnings of this disease is also improving, along with evidence that vaccination and antivirals can help prevent it. Yet despite this progress, prevention efforts have stalled, there is uncertainty about governments’ long-term commitment to address research needs in this area, and there has yet to be a treatment option validated with randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

    Despite this cumulative knowledge on mechanisms, epidemiology, and prevention, there are several major challenges. Importantly, the care needs of people with Long Covid are unmet. Patients are often met with skepticism and dismissal of their symptoms as psychosomatic. The attribution of symptoms to psychological causes has no scientific support; it perpetuates stigma and disenfranchises patients from accessing the care they need. Multidisciplinary Long Covid clinics, if they exist at all, are stretched beyond capacity, and they are nearly nonexistent in low-and middle-income countries. The care needs of people with Long Covid around the world must be addressed. This requires training health care providers to recognize and manage Long Covid, expanding access to specialty clinics, and developing care pathways that could be adapted in low-resource settings.

    Tied with the antiscience, antivaccine movement, a tide of Long Covid denialism is rising. This movement sows doubt about the scale and urgency of Long Covid, conflates Long Covid with vaccine adverse events, and seeks to hamper progress on addressing the care needs of people suffering from this condition. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, but like any pharmaceutical agent, they are not free of adverse events. Assessment of prevalence, identification of at-risk groups, and research into the underlying mechanisms of vaccine adverse events should be undertaken. Because of the putative overlap in some of the clinical manifestations, understanding the mechanisms of vaccine injury may offer insights into mechanisms of Long Covid and identify potential druggable targets.

    1. Jason Boxman

      COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, but like any pharmaceutical agent, they are not free of adverse events. Assessment of prevalence, identification of at-risk groups, and research into the underlying mechanisms of vaccine adverse events should be undertaken. Because of the putative overlap in some of the clinical manifestations, understanding the mechanisms of vaccine injury may offer insights into mechanisms of Long Covid and identify potential druggable targets.

      Unfortunately, Pfizer, FDA, and CDC played hide the ball with the data. So we don’t have the kind of extensive information that we have for other — actual — vaccines. It’s hardly a surprise that this has led to widespread distrust, particularly when this experimental modified RNA shot (and Moderna’s) were mandated by the Biden administration, which is dismantled public health apace.

      I suppose it makes sense, as public health is yet another public commons that’s an inconvenient use of neoliberal capitalist profits, and must be avoided.

      1. Cassandra

        How can Topol expect to be taken seriously when he continues to bleat “safe and effective” in *Every*Single*Article* he writes? He readily admits the shots are nonsterilizing with (at best) fair protection against infection by circulating variants, which wanes rapidly to the point of insignificance in a matter of months. He writes in detail about the seriousness of the tsunami of morbidity from the cumulative aftereffects of “mild” infections. And yet there it is at the end of every article– safe and effective. Protect yourself. Get vaxxed and boosted.

        Is it a requirement for visibility? Is his portfolio heavy on the pharma? It gives me the same vibes as the ubiquitous “baseless accusations” and “unprovoked aggression”. Grrr.

    2. Bugs

      Wasn’t there just a huge study of adverse events n=99,000,000? It was linked to on this blog. Article ran in New Scientist too.

  17. hk

    I don’t know how many people thought about this, but this has been bugging me a lot.

    For past couple of days, Judge Napolitano kept bringing up the speech by Nuland where she claims that Russia is bombing Kharkiv (sic), “a Russian speaking city,” and followed by a rant about how she’s being dishonest since, in Napolitano’s description, “Ukrainians are bombing it.” (e.g. starting around 5 min mark of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fg792ih6pG0) I can accept that Napolitano might get cities in Eastern Ukraine mixed up (he seemed to be mixing up Kharkov with Donetsk), but his interlocutors surely know the geography better and they should be able to correct Napolitano that he is in error in his thinking, i.e. that Kharkov is indeed being targeted by Russians (although the nature of the bombing is likely being misrepresented.) I’m bothered that no one has done this: I might be agreeing with most of Napolitano’s guests on many things foreign policy wise, but this has been really eating at my confidence in their integrity with regards to the truth.

    1. britzklieg

      LOL… “eating at your confidence in their integrity re the truth” hahahahahaha LOLROFLMFAO

      send him an e mail if you are so desperately concerned that he might have made a mistake, maybe he’ll respond and tell you it was just that, a mistake. Oy vey, I can not stop laughing at your feigned despair.

      …and I seriously doubt that anyone but you is or should be unnerved by this

      1. hk

        I’m aware of that: I thought it funny that Nuland would mix in the Ukrainian while calling it a “Russian-speaking” city.

  18. Amfortas the Hippie

    adjacent to the michelle obama thing in TAC is this ditty:
    never heard of the guy, but the embedded offering from Schumacher Inst. looks nice.

    since i am a decentralist at heart, and all.
    i want people close enough to yell at ruling over me.
    even better if i know where they live(like my banker…and everybody else who holds power way out here)

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Biden Will Win Michigan Easily. It May Also Show His Weakness.”

    Nice to see this article dismiss the Arab-American vote as not having much consequence. Let’s see how that works out.

      1. flora

        adding : Fetterman in a brick walled basement doing an Addams’ Family Uncle Fester-style promo for B? OK. / ;)

      2. notabanker

        They did a nice piece on Pelosi today too. She is a PR person’s walking nightmare. Her Israeli position are just because. If ever the blind were gonna see, now is the time.

        1. JBird4049

          >>>If ever the blind were gonna see, now is the time.

          They will see the truth when it is far too late, and then they will ask for a do-over, as the mob, coup, global collapse, or the bright flash and mushroom cloud from the horizon comes through the open door.

      1. Lena

        Early returns are showing “uncommitted” getting 10-15% of the vote in most counties. In places like Washtenaw County (Ann Arbor) it is 21%. In Wayne County (Dearborn and Detroit) less than 2% of the vote has been counted, so the percentage of “uncommitted” will not be known for awhile.

  20. John9

    “Palantir? Oy. Getting into bed with Jebbie is one thing, but it turns out he brought a friend….”

    This may take me days to erase from my mind….Peter Thiel, Lonsdale, Jeb and Orange Satan in a fourway.

    1. ambrit

      Golden Showers for everyone! (Just not quite exactly what the “K” Street politico wrangler promised.)

  21. Tom Stone

    Once Joe explains that 2,000 Lb bombs are defensive weapons I’m sure those people will see the light.

  22. VietnamVet

    President Macron statement “The defeat of Russia is indispensable to the security and stability of Europe” is proof that the old feudal aristocracy never left or changed. “They have learnt nothing, and forgotten nothing.” He believes that a nuclear armed nation can be defeated. He apparently has not grasped that France’s 280 nuclear weapons are a deterrence to avoid complete destruction. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) means exactly that. A nuclear first strike is playing Russian Roulette that there will be survivors of the counter-strike who will be able to declare victory.

    Western leaders today are just as incompetent and arrogant as in WWI which is now replaying in Eastern Europe but with missiles and drones. That war lasted four years since both sides thought they could win by force until its last months. It ended when Germany ran out of men and resources. The Deep State is planning a holding action for Ukraine in 2024 and then going back on offense in 2025 – the eleventh year of the Ukraine Russia War that started in 2014.

    Only money matters in the current neoliberal world. This has so distorted reality that wars and pandemics are promoted to fund Profiteers. The current system ignores humanity’s morals, laws, cultures and society. The West no longer has the training, health, men, industry or resources to fight a prolonged war against the Axis of Resistance (Russia, China and Iran). The Western Empire is sure to fall unless peace returns with Armistices and DMZs are built to separate combatants. Good government must be restored so western sovereign nations can live within their means in a multi-polar world with equality for all..

  23. Carolinian

    Re Haley lacks the gravitas–if it’s even relevant to still be discussing Haley how about Haley lacks the authenticity for people to believe her spiel about unity. Trump, with his usual feel for the room, said “it seems like people just don’t like her” and that’s the nub of it. So in that sense even Michelle would make a more credible candidate.

    Haley’s only real pitch is that she’s not Trump and so she may continue to get that 40 percent in the few remaining primaries she appears in, but the money boyz will not continue to fund the “100 million dollar faceplant” based on this rhetoric thought up by the consultants they pay for. Undoubtedly the public would prefer some other candidate but in Nevada that “none of the above” included her.

    Time to move on.

    1. Darius

      Nominating Haley is the only way the Republicans could get me to vote for Biden. She is hateful and manipulative in a much more deliberate, but ultimately ham-fisted, way than the maniacal Trump.

    2. ambrit

      The Nikki Haley barks and the Electoral Caravan moves on? If only it were so. However, I’m getting a strong “vibe” that this will be one of those extremely fractious and overtly dishonest electoral cycles.

  24. Willow

    > Getting into bed with Jebbie is one thing, but it turns out he brought a friend

    Genuine legal concern by Palantir or signalling Trump support to those that matter?

  25. Kfish

    That Biden / Michelle Obama piece is good, but is anyone else a little uncomfortable about the comparison between Joe Biden and an aging parent?

    “It hurts, it really does, whether it is Mum or Joe Biden … ” Are people really that devoted to a President they’ve never met? It can’t be healthy.

  26. none

    bundle of sticks

    Hey, I know the Italian word for that. “Fasces (/ˈfæsiːz/ FASS-eez, Latin: [ˈfaskeːs]; a plurale tantum, from the Latin word fascis, meaning “bundle”; Italian: fascio littorio) is a bound bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe (occasionally two axes) with its blade emerging. .. Italian Fascism, which derives its name from the fasces, arguably used this symbolism the most in the twentieth century.”

  27. none

    “Michelle Obama has the popularity and name- and face-recognition to step in at the last minute for a tired placeholder Joe. September is “the last minute,”

    Not gonna happen. Hillary is reach for her close-up, Mr. De Mille!

    Either way, Kamala would stay on as VP.

    1. JBird4049

      Being serious here, Hilary Clinton and Kamala Harris are political toxic waste. If Michele Obama magically appeared from a brokered convention as a presidential candidate, it would be all over for the Democratic Party. Not because of her qualities as a candidate, although that would be a problem, but because the stench of the event would overwhelm most Americans. They are hard to find, but there are qualified, competent, Democratic candidates, who are even decent individuals, and slotting in someone like Obama would just show how Boeing-like the Democrats have become.

      Donald Trump could die or extremely convincing evidence that he is a pedophile, but how many people would not suspect foul play?

      No, if the Democratic Party was still a political party, not a grift, then they could still beat Trump, but they are, and now we get Trump because of their efforts to stop him.

  28. ChrisPacific

    Going after non-voters works. Bush did it successfully in 2004 by whipping up a moral panic about gay marriage after San Francisco started issuing licenses. He beat Kerry narrowly, in an election seeing the highest voter turnout in almost 40 years. Admittedly it was something of a referendum on Iraq as well, so it’s hard to pinpoint one decisive cause, but there was a clear effort to juice turnout by Republicans with the whole “vote Bush or it will be the end of marriage as we know it” campaign.

    (True to form, the Democrats blamed it all on gays for forcing the marriage issue too soon. If gays had done as they were told, they’d probably still be waiting today).

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