2:00PM Water Cooler 2/29/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Winter Wren, Wayne, New York, United States.

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“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)

“How Democrats Could Disqualify Trump If the Supreme Court Doesn’t” [The Atlantic]. “[State of Colorado lawyer Jason] Murray and other legal scholars say that, absent clear guidance from the Supreme Court, a Trump win could lead to a constitutional crisis in Congress. Democrats would have to choose between confirming a winner many of them believe is ineligible and defying the will of voters who elected him…. In interviews, senior House Democrats would not commit to certifying a Trump win, saying they would do so only if the Supreme Court affirms his eligibility. But during oral arguments, liberal and conservative justices alike seemed inclined to dodge the question of his eligibility altogether and throw the decision to Congress.” And: “As Republicans are fond of pointing out, Democrats have objected to the certification of each GOP presidential winner since 2000. None of those challenges went anywhere, and they were all premised on disputing the outcome or legitimacy of the election itself. Contesting a presidential election by claiming that the winner is ineligible, however, has no precedent.” And finally: “The scholars also warned that serious political instability and violence could ensue [if a Democrat Congress disqualified Trump]. That possibility was on Raskin’s mind, too. He conceded that the threat of violence could influence what Democrats do if Trump wins. But, [Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland] added, it wouldn’t necessarily stop them from trying to disqualify him. ‘We [who?] might just decide that’s something we need to prepare for.” • Oh. Maybe wargame it out?

“Judge orders former President Trump removed from Illinois primary ballot, but puts order on hold” [CBS Chicago]. “The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the matter soon. If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Mr. Trump’s favor, most of the efforts to keep him off the ballot – in Illinois, Colorado, Maine, and elsewhere – would likely be tossed out. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller pointed out the highest court has two cases regarding the former president, and said as a result, the Cook County court decision is ‘absolutely meaningless.’…. The case went before the Illinois State Board of Elections in January, but the board ruled it did not have the authority to remove Mr. Trump from the ballot. But a judge later gave the petitioners a green light to continue their effort to get Mr. Trump removed.” • Here is the opinion.

So again the Colorado opinion gets grandfathered in as a finding of fact. IANAL, let a alone a trial lawyer, but I’m not sure allowing that to happen was the Trump team’s smartest move ever.

“Cook County judge boots Trump from Illinois primary ballot” [Axios]. “[Cook County Circuit Judge Tracie R.] Porter immediately suspended the ruling until Friday, so votes for Trump will continue to be counted in Illinois this week as early voters cast ballots ahead of the March 19 primary.” • Porter is a Democrat.

Capitol Seizure

“The Pipe Bombs Before Jan. 6: Capital Mystery That Doesn’t Add Up” [Julie Kelly, RealClearInvestigations]. This is the most curious factoid for me: The presence of Kamala Harris at the DNC after the bomb had been placed: “Other aspects of the pipe bomb story started to raise eyebrows. After nearly a year of misleading judges and defendants, federal prosecutors revealed in late 2021 that Kamala Harris was at the DNC and not at the Capitol on Jan. 6; the government was forced to disclose her whereabouts to correct court filings that stated Harris was in the Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6. Harris left the Capitol following a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing and arrived at the DNC around 11:25 a.m. She remained inside the building until she was evacuated at 1:15 p.m. The timeline generated even more head-scratchers. How did her security detail, which included Secret Service agents and D.C. Metropolitan police officers, miss the device sitting in relatively plain view?” • Real life is messy; there are a lot of oddities; not everything adds up. But it does seem that in this story, there are things that should add up, but don’t (exactly as with the famous gallows).


Less than a year to go!

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Because you can’t tell the players without a score-card, here are case trackers for Trump. Summarizing: All criminal. Federal: Jack Smith, Florida (“Classified Documents”); Jack Smith, Washington, D.C. (“Election Interference). State: Fani Willis, GA (“Election Interference”); Alvin Bragg, NY (“Hush Money”).

Trump (R): “Trump Investigations: Tracking The Cases” [Associated Press]. • Very useful resourcs (multipage, tabbed, timelines, updated).

Trump (R): “Donald Trump cases: Tracking civil, criminal charges against former president” [FOX]. • A wrap-up, including the disqualification cases.

Trump (R): “Here’s where all the cases against Trump stand as he campaigns for a return to the White House” [CTV]. This one’s from Canada! “From allegations of plotting to overturn a lost election to illegally stowing classified documents at his Florida estate, former U.S. president Donald Trump faces four criminal indictments in four different cities as he vies to reclaim the White House. The cases, totaling 91 felony counts, are winding through the courts at different speeds. Some might not reach trial this year, while one is set to begin in a matter of weeks.” • There are 91 felony counts because Jack Smith, in the Classified Documents case, charged Trump for each document.

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Trump (R): “Supreme Court stalls Trump’s federal election trial while weighing his immunity bid” [Politico]. “Donald Trump’s federal trial for seeking to subvert the 2020 election is likely to remain on hold for several more months while the Supreme Court takes up his argument that he is immune from prosecution for actions he took while president. In a one-page order Wednesday, the court set an expedited schedule to hear the immunity issue, with oral arguments to be set during the week of April 22. In the meantime, proceedings in the trial court will remain frozen….. But the court’s decision to keep the pretrial proceedings frozen is a blow to special counsel Jack Smith’s effort to bring Trump to trial this year. Smith has charged Trump with four felonies stemming from his bid to subvert the 2020 presidential election…. The decision by the justices also places extra significance on the impending decision by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon regarding the schedule of Trump’s other federal criminal trial for hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Cannon is expected to reconfigure the timeline of that trial, currently set for May 20, after a day-long hearing on Friday…. In addition to his two federal criminal cases, Trump is facing state criminal charges in New York and Georgia…. Trump is set to go on trial March 25 in the New York case, over claims Trump falsified business records to cover up payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to women claiming sexual encounters with him. No trial date has been set in the Georgia case, where Trump is one of 15 defendants charged in a racketeering conspiracy to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election in that state.”

Trump (R): “The Un-American Campaign against Donald Trump” [National Review]. Hopping on board the Trump train. Nevertheless, in the NY civil fraud case: “The prosecutor, New York attorney general Letitia James, wielded an incredibly broad statute meant to target consumer fraud. Executive Law 63(12) doesn’t require any finding of intent to commit fraud or illegality, or require actual victims. The judge in the case, Arthur Engoron, said it didn’t even matter whether Trump’s exaggerated valuations of his assets were relied on by anyone. It is, in short, the magic bullet of anti-fraud statutes and the perfect weapon in the hands of a politically motivated prosecutor looking for any reason to nail one specific person whom she and all her supporters passionately hate.” And the NY criminal case: “This is before Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg comes in with his criminal case, wherein the elected Democratic prosecutor has bootstrapped what should, at most, be a misdemeanor involving hush money paid to a porn star into 34 felony counts. Bragg’s fraud case, in what’s becoming a theme, doesn’t allege that anyone actually was defrauded, and was brought only after Bragg was criticized by allies for taking a pass on charges that, to quote Abraham Lincoln, are ‘as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.'” And: “These prosecutors are acting as if they consider the famous speech by then–attorney general and future Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson not as a warning, but a road map. He called ‘the most dangerous power of the prosecutor’ that ‘he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted.'” • Not wrong!

Trump (R): “Judges in Trump-related cases face unprecedented wave of threats” [Reuters]. “As the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – and a defendant in four criminal cases alleging 91 felonies – Trump has fused the roles of candidate and defendant. He attacks judges as political foes, demonizes prosecutors and casts the judicial system as biased against him and his supporters. These broadsides frequently trigger surges in threats against the judges, prosecutors and other court officials he targets, Reuters found. Since Trump launched his first presidential campaign in June 2015, the average number of threats and hostile communications directed at judges, federal prosecutors, judicial staff and court buildings has more than tripled, according to the Reuters review of data from the Marshals Service, which is responsible for protecting federal court personnel. The annual average rose from 1,180 incidents in the decade prior to Trump’s campaign to 3,810 in the seven years after he declared his candidacy and began his practice of criticizing judges.” • No doubt, though we also don’t know if any of those calls are sh*tstirring by the Okhrana. How would we?

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Trump (R): “Beyond shock and awe: Inside Trump’s potential second-term agenda” [Politico]. “Trump’s campaign has repeatedly dismissed media reports about his potential second-term agenda, saying in a statement in November that policy recommendations from his conservative allies ‘are certainly appreciated and can be enormously helpful’ but ‘are just that — recommendations.’ ‘Unless a second term priority is articulated by President Trump himself, or is officially communicated by the campaign, it is not authorized in any way,” the statement from campaign advisers Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita said.” Good staffwork. More: “But both supporters and critics of the ex-president predict that a reelected Trump would wage a more focused and aggressive attack on the status quo. This time, they say, he would be far more knowledgeable about the mechanics of wielding executive power. Having placed so many conservatives in federal judgeships, he would face less resistance from the courts. And he would be more determined to place loyalists, not rules-obsessed traditionalists, in senior roles.” • Yeah, OMG, this time around we might actually pull our troops out of that colonial outpost in Syria…

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Biden (D): “Exclusive: Hunter Biden sees his sobriety as key to keeping Trump from winning” [Axios]. “Hunter’s initial sobriety date was the day they married — May 17, 2019, the day before Joe Biden’s official campaign kickoff in Philadelphia. Hunter acknowledged in court last July that he had a ‘drink or two’ soon after, and said June 1 of that year was his official sobriety date.” • Big thumbs up. One day at a time. Sobriety is something I would never mock (and this is why, if Hunter Biden and that slippery little vat-grown scut Pete Buttigieg were facing off in a Democrat primary, I’d vote for Hunter. Hunter has lived, at least. Would I buy a used car from him? No.

Biden (D): “Defiant Hunter Biden defends business moves, invokes Kushner deals” [The Hill]. “[I]f Republicans were hoping to dig up the elusive evidence of financial wrongdoing to back their allegations, they didn’t seem to find it in the nearly seven hours of closed-door questioning with the president’s son…. Wednesday’s testimony marked the latest in a long series of closed-door depositions conducted by Republicans on the Oversight and Judiciary committees as they scramble for proof to back their allegations that the president’s family conducted shady overseas business deals that leaned heavily on the powerful Biden name…. Despite Comer’s rosy assessment, Hunter Biden’s lackluster testimony appeared to be the latest setback in the House GOP’s floundering impeachment inquiry, which has struggled to present evidence substantiating various claims of financial misconduct by the president and his family. The biggest blow to the probe came earlier this month when the Justice Department indicted an FBI informant who was central to the GOP’s key claim — that Joe and Hunter Biden each received a $5 million bribe from Burisma. Authorities said the informant, Alexander Smirnov, fabricated those allegations, and he later told investigators he received information from “officials associated with Russian intelligence.””

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Biden (D): “Biden critics look to replicate Michigan’s ‘uncommitted’ vote in other states” [The Hill]. “Meanwhile, a separate movement, Abandon Biden, is urging voters to reject the incumbent altogether. ‘When we say ‘abandon,’ it truly and without any trepidation implies ‘abandon.’ We completely abandoned him because he abandoned us,” said Hassan Abdel Salam, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a founding organizer of the #AbandonBiden National Coalition…. Abandon Biden campaigns launched earlier this month in Minnesota, which votes on Super Tuesday next week; Arizona, which votes in mid-March; and Pennsylvania, which votes in late April. The movement also has its eyes on New Jersey and North Carolina, Salam said…. But with ‘uncommitted’ an option in just a few other states — including Washington, Maryland, Kentucky and Tennessee — the Great Lakes State’s results will be hard to replicate, said Democratic strategist Eddie Vale.”

Biden (D): “Joe Biden Should Endorse Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Step Aside” [Newsweek]. “Why Whitmer? For one thing, she would be the first female president, and it’s about time. She would not be hobbled by the baggage of Hillary Clinton, and has executive experience, a centrist mindset, decency, relative youth, and evident intelligence…. A pragmatic and bipartisan approach, track record of results, and lack of glaring absurdities, make her the ultimate anti-Trump.” • First trial balloon for Big Gretch in the national media! Be still, my beating heart….

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“How No Labels’ Spoiler Bid Suddenly Entered Full Meltdown Mode” [The New Republic]. “No Labels faces a problem that runs deeper than the lack of high-profile candidates willing to take the third-party plunge: The group’s core argument has proven impossible to sustain, and everyone paying even cursory attention to its activities knows it. For months, as No Labels has sought to secure a line on ballots in as many states as possible—the group claims 16 as of now—its officials have sworn vehemently that they have no intention of mounting a candidacy that only functions as a spoiler or helps Trump. Joe Lieberman, the group’s founding chairman, often says as much. The true intention, it says, is to answer the public’s alleged call for an alternative to the two parties with a “unity ticket” that will birth a new coalition of public-spirited voters who value bipartisan compromise over petty partisanship and dysfunction. But no matter how hard No Labels strains to project such pious intentions, the all-but-certain impact of such a plan has proven impossible to disguise. It is borderline impossible for such a bid to win outright in enough states to assemble a majority of 270 Electoral College votes—Ross Perot and Ralph Nader won none; the last third-party candidate to win any electoral votes was George Wallace, 56 years ago.” • And Joe Manchin was their last, best hope?

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CA: “California’s Primary Could Fell Prominent Dems, Elevate Newcomer: [Banning-Beaumont Patch]. “California’s Senate race was expected to be a three-way Democratic prizefight, but the possibility of a record-low turnout is elevating the chances of Republican Steve Garvey, a former baseball star, and could derail the congressional careers of two prominent progressives…. After the death of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in September, all [Porter, Schiff, and Lee] entered the race… Presidential elections usually drive Democratic turnout in California, but that hasn’t been the case this year, with President Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump on track for a second matchup in which both are viewed unfavorably by many voters. ‘This is a low-interest, low-turnout kind of election cycle. That generally creates an electorate that is older, more conservative, whiter,’ said Paul Mitchell of Political Data Inc., a research firm that closely tracks voting trends and works with Democrats, independent candidates and academics. While the dynamic could shift by the time primary voting ends, Mitchell said it’s possible that Garvey ends up with the highest total as the Democratic candidates splinter votes on the left.”

Republican Funhouse

“The insider’s guide to the McConnell succession race” [Politico]. “The Kentucky Republican isn’t stepping aside until November, but three potential heirs have long loomed large in the Hill’s calculus. Somewhat confusingly, all three are white men named John: Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), former whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) and GOP Conference Chair John Barrasso (R-Wyo.).”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The two-party doom loop” [Boston Globe]. “The US electoral system needs a more modern system of representation — proportional representation, which elects multiple representatives in each district in proportion to the number of people who vote for them — to better represent both the diversity and pluralism of the nation and, more practically, to allow for more shifting coalitions that could find creative compromises on issues like immigration…. By contrast, winner-take-all systems like the United States’ are associated with higher levels of polarization and a greater risk of political violence. Re-legalizing fusion voting — where multiple political parties can nominate the same candidate on the ballot — would also be a powerful step toward a multiparty democracy and would allow for a uniquely American version of proportional representation within the context of existing single-winner elections.”

“Poll: Almost a Third of Americans Say the First Amendment Goes ‘Too Far'” [Reason]. “The survey also asked respondents to read a dozen controversial statements and pick the one they found most offensive. The most disliked beliefs were that ‘all whites are racist oppressors,’ followed by statements like ‘America got what it deserved on 9/11’ and ‘January 6th was a peaceful protest.’ The survey then asked respondents whether they’d agree with allowing this opinion to be expressed in different circumstances. Half of the respondents said that their community ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ should not permit a public speech expressing the opinion they found most offensive. A whopping 69 percent said a local college should ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ not allow a professor who holds such an opinion to teach there. Over a quarter of respondents said that someone who previously said the offensive opinion should be fired from their job. These results indicate that though the average American is concerned about protecting free speech rights, a significant portion of the population seem poised to welcome increasing censorship.” • Maybe Biden could pick up a few votes by making liberal Democrat pro-censorship views explicit? The believe it, why not run on it?

“Fetterman condemns ‘recreational cruelty’ toward Boebert family” [Washington Examiner]. • Which I think speaks well of him, even if he’s unsound on policy.

WI: “Assembly leaders concede Michael Gableman violated records laws during fruitless 2020 election review” [Journal-Sentinel]. “MADISON – Assembly officials have admitted former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman violated public records laws while taxpayers paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars to probe the 2020 election — an investigation that did not turn up any evidence to question President Joe Biden’s victory…. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos hired Gableman to review the 2020 election and has since said he regrets doing so. Gableman accrued more than $2.5 million in costs to taxpayers and a steady drumbeat of explosive court hearings and rulings in lawsuits over Gableman’s desire to jail election officials and mayors who refused to be interviewed behind closed doors, and his decision to ignore requests from the public for records related to his probe.” • Bumptious!


“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!

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“Neuroimaging findings in children with COVID-19 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis” [Nature]. Systematic review and meta-analysis. From the Discussion: “Our findings reveal that a substantial proportion of pediatric COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms exhibit abnormal neuroimaging findings, with 43.74% of children in the included studies demonstrating such abnormalities. These findings underscore the importance of considering neurological complications in the management of pediatric COVID-19 cases.”

“Cognition and Memory after Covid-19 in a Large Community Sample” [New England Journal of Medicine]. N = 112,964. “In this large community-based study, we found that Covid-19 was associated with longer-term objectively measurable cognitive deficits. The difference of approximately −0.2 SD in the global cognitive score in the groups of participants who had symptoms that had resolved, as compared with the no–Covid-19 group, is classified as “small” according to Cohen’s effect sizes24; this deficit would equate to a difference of −3 points on a typical IQ scale, in which 1 SD equals 15 points. Participants with unresolved persistent symptoms had a greater mean difference of approximately −0.4 SD.” And: “Multiple findings indicated that the association between Covid-19 and cognitive deficits attenuated as the pandemic progressed. We found smaller cognitive deficits among participants who had been infected during recent variant periods than among those who had been infected with the original virus or the alpha variant. We also found a small cognitive advantage among participants who had received two or more vaccinations and a minimal effect of repeat episodes of Covid-19. Furthermore, the cognitive deficits that were observed in participants who had been infected during the first wave of the pandemic, when the original virus was predominant, coincided with peak strain on health services and a lack of proven effective treatments at that time, and the probability of hospitalization due to Covid-19 has progressively decreased over time.” • A 3-point IQ drop isn’t nothing, let alone a 6-point drop, especially if the effect is cumulative (Author Elliott argues not). I’d also note that the data comes from “an online assessment of cognitive function.”

“‘Brain fog’ is one of Covid-19’s most daunting symptoms. A new study measures its impact” [STAT]. “Researchers from Imperial College London found that even people who recovered from their Covid symptoms in four to 12 weeks had the equivalent of an IQ score three points lower than in uninfected people. Among those with long Covid — defined as symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks after testing positive — the drop was six IQ points.” But: “[senior study author Paul Elliott, chair of epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial College London], who is also director of the REACT program, sees hopeful signs in the new study results. First, as the pandemic progressed from the original virus to Omicron, the association between symptoms and cognitive deficits weakened. Second, around a third of people with persistent cognitive symptoms saw them resolve. ‘The important thing is that if they had persistent symptoms and then those symptoms resolved, they looked cognitively like the other people who’d had Covid, the short-duration people,’ he said. ‘I think it’s encouraging that if once it resolves and you no longer report symptoms, then basically you look much more like everybody else who’d had Covid, rather than looking like the people who’ve still got ongoing symptoms.'” • The finding that the brain fog is not cumulative is interesting, but I’d like to see at least speculation on a mechanism? Why would that be?

Elite Maleficence

Amazing to me that WHO hasn’t deleted this atrocity. But maybe reporting it will do the trick:

Maybe Dr. John Conly threatened to resign if the tweet didn’t stay up. Can’t have that. He’s essential!

No backsies!

The Jackpot

“A pandemic that won’t go away – as COVID enters its 5th year, NZ needs a realistic strategy” [The Conversation]. “It wasn’t meant to be like this. The main wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic swept through New Zealand in eight weeks, killing 9,000 people – almost 1% of the population. Then it was largely gone, returning as a new seasonal flu virus. In doing so, it defined how pandemics were expected to behave. This model was written into pandemic plans and collective thinking across the globe. But COVID is still circulating four years after New Zealand reported its first case, and more than two years after the Omicron variant arrived and infection became widespread. Constantly present, it is also occurring in waves. Unexpectedly, the current fifth wave was larger than the fourth, suggesting we can’t rely on the comforting assumption that COVID will get less severe over time…. In the face of this continuing pandemic threat, we need a response that is evidence-informed rather than evidence-ignored.” • In what sense is serial passage through the entire population combined with a policy of mass infection without mitigation not a “realistic strategy”? If depopulation is your goal, it’s entirely so.

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TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot February 27: Regional[2] Biobot February 27:
Variants[3] CDC February 17 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC February 24
New York[5] New York State, data February 28: National [6] CDC February 17:
National[7] Walgreens February 26: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic February 24:
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) Biobot drops, conformant to Walgreen positivity data (if that is indeed not a data artifact). Note, however, the area “under the curve,” besides looking at peaks. That area is larger under Biden than under Trump, and it seems to be rising steadily if unevenly.

[2] (Biobot) Regional separation re-emerges.

[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

Inflation: “United States Core PCE Price Index MoM” [Trading Economics]. “Core PCE prices in the US, which exclude food and energy, increased by 0.4% from the previous month in January 2024, the most since February 2023 and in line with market expectations. It follows a downwardly revised 0.1 percent increase in December. Core PCE prices rose by 2.8% from the previous year, the least since March 2021 and slowing from 2.9% in December.”

Personal Income: “United States Personal Income” [Trading Economics]. “US personal income rose by 1% month-over-month in January 2024, up from 0.3% in the prior month and largely exceeding market forecasts of a 0.4% advance. It was the strongest increase in personal income in a year, primarily reflecting increases in government social benefits, personal income receipts on assets, and compensation. The increase in government social benefits was led by social security benefits, reflecting a 3.2% cost-of-living adjustment, and other government social benefits, primarily reflecting an increase in Affordable Care Act enrollments. The increase in personal income receipts on assets was led by an increase in personal dividend income, reflecting information from company financial statements.”

Employment Situation: “United States Initial Jobless Claims” [Trading Economics]. “The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the US jumped by 13,000 to 215,000 on the week ending February 24th, rebounding sharply from the five-week low in the earlier period and firmly above market expectations of 210,000.”

Manufacturing: “United States Kansas Fed Manufacturing Index” [Trading Economics]. “The Kansas City Fed’s Manufacturing Production index surged to 3 in February 2024, marking its highest point since August 2023, a significant improvement from the -17 recorded in January.”

Manufacturing: “United States Chicago PMI” [Trading Economics]. “The Chicago Business Barometer, also known as the Chicago PMI, fell further to 44 in February 2024 from 46 in the prior month and below market forecasts of 48.”

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Tech: “Malicious AI models on Hugging Face backdoor users’ machines” [Bleeping Computer]. “At least 100 instances of malicious AI ML models were found on the Hugging Face platform, some of which can execute code on the victim’s machine, giving attackers a persistent backdoor. Hugging Face is a tech firm engaged in artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning (ML), providing a platform where communities can collaborate and share models, datasets, and complete applications. JFrog’s security team found that roughly a hundred models hosted on the platform feature malicious functionality, posing a significant risk of data breaches and espionage attacks. This happens despite Hugging Face’s security measures, including malware, pickle, and secrets scanning, and scrutinizing the models’ functionality to discover behaviors like unsafe deserialization.” • Who the heck thought “Hugging Face” was a good name, and why? A realistic name, sure….

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Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 79 Extreme Greed (previous close: 78 Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 29 at 1:22:26 PM ET.

News of the Wired

“A Social History of Jell-O Salad: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon” [Serious Eats]. “[F]ew foods can tell us more about life in 20th-century America than the wobbling jewel of domestic achievement: the Jell-O salad…. Jell-O tapped into one of the biggest culinary currents of the era: domestic science, also known as home economics. Food historian Laura Shapiro, in her sweeping study Perfection Salad, explains that, around the turn of the century, many women in the emerging American middle class began linking the changes brought into their homes by industrialization and scientific advances—gas stoves, electric irons, the telephone—to the domestic work they performed every day and reimagining housework. This spirit of domestic reform embraced efficiency, purity, cleanliness, and order. Instant gelatin fit the bill. It was fast, unlike the traditional method of making gelatin. It was economical: A housewife could stretch her family’s leftovers by encasing them in gelatin. And, since sugar was already included in the flavored mixes, the new packaged gelatins didn’t require cooks to use up their household stores of sugar. It was also neat and tidy, a quality much valued by the domestic-science movement as well as by its Victorian forebears, who were mad for molded foods of all kinds, says Belluscio. Jellied salads, unlike tossed ones, were mess-free, never transgressing the border of the plate: ‘A salad at last in control of itself,’ Shapiro writes. Cooks in this era molded everything from cooked spinach to chicken salad, with care to avoid the cardinal sin of messiness.” • As long as there aren’t any marshmallows!

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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. antidlc

    I doubt anything will come of this…

    U.S. Opens UnitedHealth Antitrust Probe
    Investigators question industry officials who compete with the healthcare giant

    The Justice Department has launched an antitrust investigation into UnitedHealth
    , owner of the biggest U.S. health insurer, a leading manager of drug benefits and a sprawling network of doctor groups.
    The investigators have in recent weeks been interviewing healthcare-industry representatives in sectors where UnitedHealth competes, including doctor groups, according to people with knowledge of the meetings.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      along with the recent career of Lina Khan, its weird that these little sidegigs of fedgov keep happening…usually well under the radar, as it were.
      seems anomalous…given the monoparty’s history since at least the clinton regime.
      make no mistake, i am all for such endeavors…and just wish they were more widespread…and with bigger fangs…as well as more “on the radar” of MSM and the public.

      1. jsn

        In aggregate, people are decent.

        However rotten the system and the people it selects for are, it isn’t and they aren’t perfect and a Lina Khan can slip through.

        And occasionally, even the deeply bent rise to the occasion and when they see it do the right thing (LBJ comes to mind)!

      2. notabanker

        Hard not to view this stuff without the Hunter Biden or Sackler lens. Cop a plea and walk away with immunity before the stuff really does hit the fan.

  2. Reply

    Jello, and its ugly cousin, aspic. Made worse, if that is possible, with, gasp, Miracle Whip.
    Yuck. YTMV

      1. steppenwolf fetchit

        I remember that. What was most fun was to pour it still melted into a tall-ish serving glass and then stably support it tilted sideways till it set up. Then serve it standing back up with the tiltied layers held in place. Much visual fun.

    1. Bugs

      I always loved finger Jell-O. You add Knox gelatin to the mix and pour it into a shallow baking pan. Once it sets and is cold, cut it into squares and enjoy. Little jewel-like delicacies. And good for your nails and hair to boot.

    2. jsn

      As a plebe at a military school, a necessary skill to master was, while walking at attention with a food tray, with one hand to fork the green jello and with wrist motion and a good fork as a lever launch it to the gilded, coffered ceiling where it would stick.

      At some random moment later it would drop with frequently entertaining effect.

    3. Jeffrey R

      Interesting “turn of the century” use. Here they mean 1900 but the [last] turn of the century was 2000. Time to revise the linguistics.

  3. lyman alpha blob

    RE: How Democrats Could Disqualify Trump If the Supreme Court Doesn’t

    So if Trump wins and the Democrat party doesn’t think he deserves it, they’ll do what – put up an alternate slate of electors?!?! Note to Democrat party – people have noticed the gaslighting.

    Smarter timeline, please.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      yeah,lol…protecting “our democracy” by killing democracy altogether.
      my specimen in a box of PMC(msdnc clade)(ie:my mom)…is all for this…even states outright that “we must protect democracy from trump voters.”.
      can’t even see the…ummm…irony.
      i in-advisedly poke:”how about trying to appeal to voters with better policies, or even…shocking, i know!…better candidates?”
      met with derision and a parrot impression.
      but then this specimen also went from “fbi/cia/pentagon=evil manipulators and unamerican”, to “(same) are protecting “Our Democracy” from trump/putin”.
      good news for the erstwhile republic/smoldering pile on a hill is that my representative sample is 81 years old, well along on the dementia slide, and has no friends,lol….aside from her 3 cousins who are equally as old and demented and obsolete.
      (ie: warmongering, censorious karencrats)

    2. Carolinian

      Insurrections are ok when they do it. After all if you could disqualify Hitler before he invaded Poland wouldn’t you cast precedent aside?

      Dems are the pre-crime party.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        it baffles me….how they cannot see, not only how these various actions deprive them of the right to call themselves “the democratic party”…but also will be used against them to institute/justify the very Republic of Gilead that they fear.
        “democracy” does NOT “die in darkness”…but in the blinding light of wall to wall media…and to “thunderous applause(padme)”
        and most of all, due to the blindness and ignorance, willful or no, of its erstwhile defenders.

      2. John Anthony La Pietra

        As Benjamin Franklin says to John Dickinson in “1776”:

        Everyone knows rebellion is always legal in the first person, as in “our rebellion.” It’s only in the third person, “their rebellion”, that it is illegal.

  4. AndrewJ

    Maybe a firm with a name like “Hugging Face” chooses that name to attract employees with negotiable morals? In the same vein as those people with car window stickers of stormtrooper helmets and the Imperial insignia from Star Wars, the only explanation I have for which is that the driver is fully conscious of their role in our real-life Evil Empire and is signaling that with a dose of pop-culture irony by choosing the “side” of it’s fantasy analog.
    Hugging Face is the weirdest, creepiest name…

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      “I identify with the worst parasite ever imagined”.
      just add it to the list,lol…”hitler wasnt so bad/performed an eschatological and/or biblical function”, etc
      i attribute at least some of this phenomena to the second, through sixth-hand influence of people like Mencius Moldbug/Curtis Yarvin.(because few seem to have actually read him, when interrogated)…larded on top of the Randian Sensibility in Libertardianism that prevailed thru Obamatime.
      i, on the other hand, am forthright in my new-new dealism.
      leavened with paeons to jeffersonian agrarianism and a bit of bookchin thrown in as well.

    2. LinearPerk

      It’s the name of the emoji which is their logo.

      It’s open source / user driver. Has a large and dedicated community sharing their work.

    3. hunkerdown

      A chatbot app targeted at teenagers was Hugging Face’s original project. No joke. Wisely, they pivoted away from that to open-source, releasing a very large language model and building the GitHub-like service they provide today.

  5. lyman alpha blob

    Pretty sure the cookbook referenced here is the one my mother-in-law has – https://newjoyofjello.net/table-of-contents/

    Looks like the person who started the website prepared each of the recipes, and has photos and reviews of each one. What’s not to like? Apparently, quite a bit depending on the recipe….

    The Jello mold my aunt used to put out at holiday gatherings is still a favorite, now passed down to my better half. There was some fruit cocktail added along with mini marshmallows(!), but these days I think the Jello masters have replaced the marshmallows with cream cheese.

    My favorite recipe is Green.

        1. barefoot charley

          At my cousin’s wedding reception in rural Kansas decades ago, the ladies laid out all their finest family Jellos, and very little else. It’s remarkable what you can suspend in the stuff, even apart from eating it.

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            i remember those jiggling molds with apple chuncks and whatnot suspended from my paternal grandma, circa maybe 75-85.
            my maternal grandma, otoh, made a whipped cream dish with fruit(same fruit).
            (the latter also, along with real fudge, which i haven’t had the likes of since she passed, made something called “divinity”…a too sweet white substance, hard but melted in mouth, sorta…with ground nuts and such in it….haven’t seen that since she went, either)
            and mom…both winter holidays insists on making “Tea Rings”///which nobody eats but the chickens.
            uses great grandmother’s recipe with considerable pride…in spite of the consumption/demand patterns,lol….and goes to considerable effort with them.
            i cant stand the things….similar, i suppose, to the proverbial fruitcake.

            1. nippersdad

              Divinity, fudge and Jello salads, we must have had the same grandmothers. This whole Jello thing is bringing back memories of repasts past, and shredded chicken and nuts suspended in Jello is not one of the better memories. I don’t remember who inherited all of the surplus frozen Claxton fruitcakes, but I imagine they are still inedible somewhere.

              My grandmothers, all five of them, were great cooks but those were low points in their repertoires, IMHO.

              1. Dessa

                Were any of the savory Jellos good? I was born a few years too late for these, and I’ve got a powerful curiosity to try one.

                I also found a recipe for Doritoes Consommé that sounds so gross I can’t not try it before I die

                1. nippersdad

                  I think I can definitively say no to the idea that any of the ones I ever tried were any good. For a perfectly disgusting culinary experience you might try lime Jello with mayonnaise, shredded carrots and chopped pecans.

                  My paternal grandmother was a home economist with three boys, and to this day I am convinced that she purposely served that to get the boys to go somewhere else for dinner. I’m sure she saved a lot of money that way. That Doritos consomme’ sounds like the modern equivalent. That should definitely go on the menu mailed out to family members you don’t want attending Thanksgiving dinner!

              2. Amfortas the Hippie

                only thing i remember, besides fried chicken, from either of my grandmothers that i’d want to replicate today, exactly as they did it…is scrambled eggs with that “government cheese”…she called them “cheese eggs”, but really they were omelettes…but with that distinctive pseudocheese that was almost velveeta, but stronger, somehow.
                i have a rather strong memory-taste of that.

                1. nippersdad

                  Oh, man! What I wouldn’t give to sit down at my grandmother’s table again. Fried okra! Those green beans that turned black in the cast iron skillet…turnip greens…crowder peas…squash casserole and bacon corn bread! Wonderful! I bought a copy of Mrs. Dull’s cookbook, but have yet to manage to replicate it all properly.

                  On second thought, maybe it really isn’t much of a wonder that the men in this family don’t live all that long.

                    1. nippersdad

                      You are right, I did! This recipe works really well for me:

                      Five or six ears of white corn (yellow is too sweet), slice the kernels two or three times and scrape the cob. One stick of butter, maybe a little bacon grease if you have some, one glass of water. Dump it all into a well seasoned cast iron pot. Bring to a boil covered and then simmer for about thirty to forty five minutes, stirring frequently. Pick out any silks you have missed. Should be thick and still have a little bite to it. Finish off with salt and black pepper; serve hot. Freezes well.

                      Nothing better with a thick slice of tomato!

                2. ambrit

                  I fondly remember “government cheese.” It came in big chunks, wrapped in plastic. I was the only one in our family that liked the stuff. I do remember making sets of grilled cheese half sandwiches. Take a slice of bread, put a thick slice of the ‘cheese’ on it and put it all under the broiler for a minute or two. For breakfast cover one of those with a pile of baked beans. No wonder I have “essential hypertension” today.
                  We got it at the monthly USDA food giveaway, usually restricted to families making below the median income for their size. That was back when the Government actually did things for ordinary people.

                  1. Amfortas the Hippie

                    thats the thing, aint it?
                    neither of my sets of grandparents were poor…thoroughly middle class…and the ones im talking about were by that time upper middle class by the late 70’s.
                    i even went with her to collect the goverment cheese and sacks of beans and rice.
                    no shame…no big deal at all.
                    nobody sideeyed us(i was a weirdo at school,already…so i was particularly sensitive to such things..ie: i would have noticed, even then)
                    this was mid-to late 70’s/

                    1. Amfortas the Hippie

                      and mac n cheese with government cheese!…..
                      the current velveeta version is as close as ive come,,,and is, therefore, a comfort food…reminding me of my earliest.

                      of course, sometimes i long for fritos and beandip and a quart of milk for dinner,lol…
                      or get a hankerin for chips and a can of rotell.

                      poverty never really leaves you.

                      wife just had to have “chip sandwiches”, on occasion

                3. NYT_Memes

                  I remember that experience. We survived on “government cheese” and “government pork”. Plus day old bread bought in quantity at the outlet bakery store, which was frozen. Later we were old enough to trout fish, so things slowly got better. Eventually the federal government started paying living wages to its workers and the hard times mostly ended. Dad never did stop squeezing every penny – twice. Great Depression impact on teens of that time.

    1. Jen

      I remember a Thanksgiving with the step family that included, I kid you not, mountain dew jello with whip cream and marshmallow. Obviously I’m still scarred by the memory.

    2. caucus99percenter

      Having grown up in Hawai‘i back when sugar cane and pineapple were still economic mainstays bigger than tourism, I recall having it drummed into me that one should never try to make Jell-O anything using fresh pineapple. Quoth General Foods’ official instructions: “use only cooked or canned.”

      1. petal

        Hey upstater! Thanks for the shout-out, been a lousy day. I have been to LeRoy, but we didn’t hit the Jello Museum, sadly. We’d visit my father’s aunts and cousins in Caledonia, and I had soccer tournaments in Batavia at GCC. Maybe if I go home to do some genealogy I’ll make a trip to the museum just because. Oh, no wonder we didn’t go-it didn’t open until 1997. I left for college in 95 and my father died in 97.

        My grandmother fed us a lot of jello. My favourite is strawberry. Once in a while, like for holidays, she’d put fruit in it, but otherwise it was usually plain. We were pretty poor so a new prep of jello was a big deal and much looked forward to. It was definitely a treat, along with fruit she had canned like pears, cherries, and peaches.


  6. RoadDoggie

    Quick FYI re: travelers data, Variants graphic.

    If you hover your cursor over that bar, a tooltip appears and it is showing me as that 12.5% is HV.1 and not “Other”. Though the colors are very very close when I inspect the page elements they are slightly different as well.

    What I cannot tell in right click “inspect” on it is if someone mislabled it. It could be HV.1, it could be Other…. ugh.

    1. lambert strether

      Thanks! I will try to investigate. The floodgates have opened on both the election and Covid, and it’s not easy to keep track of it all.

  7. Big River Bandido

    that slippery little vat-grown scut

    Lambert, you have come up with some great pithy descriptions of things and people over the years I’ve been lurking here. But this one is truly, positively Twainesque in sound and function. Completely sums up my own impressions of the plastic man and why I would never vote for him either.

    Now I must go look up the meaning of the word “scut”.

    1. Big River Bandido

      According to Merriam, “the stubby, erect tail of something, as in a hare”. Appropriate context given such a tail’s lack of substance and its proximity to the excretory exhaust, but especially for the prosody — can’t beat the sheer sound of the word.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        dog, cat and the baby chick thats the first to hatch from this batch are all upset at yall for this exchange…after the 30 minutes ago loud laugh at Lambert’s initial exquisite jab to the smooth, unoffending groin of mattelman
        this is the Best that we can do? Mayopete?

        1. ambrit

          Just wait for the “New and Improved Low Sodium Mayo Pete.” (I’m told the low sodium is to preclude “puffery.”)

  8. J.Vitale

    The legacy of Kamala’s Kids.

    The Honduran drug dealers shielded from deportation by her when she was San Francisco D.A. are now in the 3rd generation and have built quite a successful marketplace for themselves. So much so that a large percentage of those actually arrested for rampant drug use in the city are “drug tourists” from out of town. Bonus, they can and do collect up to $712 a month in cash assistance, an amount set by a local ordinance. More of ex SF mayor Newsom’s “California Freedoms!”


    And the Democrats actually believe that they can run her in the Fall?

  9. antidlc


    Healthcare providers hit by frozen payments in ransomware outage

    Healthcare providers across the United States are struggling to get paid following the week-long ransomware outage at a key tech unit of UnitedHealth Group (UNH.N) with some smaller providers saying they are already running low on cash.
    Large hospital chains are also locked out of processing payments with some absorbing the upfront costs of being unable to collect, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA), which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals, healthcare systems, networks and other providers.

    The problems began last week after hackers gained access to UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare unit, a vital lynchpin in the complex U.S. system for making and clearing insurance claims. It also affected electronic pharmacy refills and insurance transactions, particularly among independents, with some reverting to paper transactions.

    (bold mine)

    1. curlydan

      hmm… I called my primary doc this morning and asked about the results of my strep culture that they took 8 days ago when I had sore throat, no fever, no cough, fatigue, and Covid negative via multiple RATs. They said something about an outage affecting a lot of people’s lab results. I’m guessing this was it. Just what we need…more infectious people walking around than normal. BTW, I feel better than 8 days ago fortunately.

  10. Henry Moon Pie

    As might be expected, Chris Hedges wrote a good essay about Aaron Bushnell.


    But to go to this extreme requires what the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr calls “a sublime madness in the soul.” He notes that “nothing but such madness will do battle with malignant power and spiritual wickedness in high places.” This madness is dangerous, but it is necessary when confronting radical evil because without it “truth is obscured.” Liberalism, Niebuhr warns, “lacks the spirit of enthusiasm, not to say fanaticism, which is so necessary to move the world out of its beaten tracks. It is too intellectual and too little emotional to be an efficient force in history.”

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      ive been too overwrought of late to really engage with the flaming airman…although i did accidentally view the vid, with sound, the morning after.
      and that day, too, i was drawn in to Malcolm/swordmercury’s offhand analysis of the event, which i pretty much agree with(giant brass balls)

      (overwrought, due to the Plum Blossom Effect the other day(wife), and the numerous
      waiting on other peoples’ bullshit to resolve/pay me what i’m owed things that are still currently up in the air(fafsa and medicaid for Youngest, selling my shares in dad’s shell LLC(no assets), selling my portion of dad’s salt marsh that precludes me getting ssi(like i want to wallow in that swamp, again,lol), normal end of month poverty on 1100/mo tiny teachers pension and waiting for the tax return(now has happened…sigh..so ive made the seed order, and have cash in hand for 2 guys for 2 days to effect roofing the big greenhouse, finally, obtaining the components of the electical systems of the various infrastructure projects underway, getting all the rest of the shit i need to finish those, and even paying down the only debt…to the local hardware lady….and maybe even enough to go a-whorin/honkeytonkin with my cousin in san antonio some near weekend)

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        now ive read the whole chris hedges thing on the flaming airman…and wow.
        one of his best.
        let him who has ears to hear, and all

  11. Randall Flagg

    The Tree in the photo, that is a positive to the leaves falling off in the fall. One can better admire the structure of the branches that make a tree like that so majestic. Thanks for sharing that picture.

  12. Hepativore

    Does anybody have anything on the Assange extradition kangaroo court case, yet? I am pretty much assuming that the UK court will give the greenlight for Assange to be shipped off the US, as they have violated Assange’s civil and human rights six ways until Sunday, so why should they stop, now?

    From what I can gather, I think the US plan is to have him quietly languish inside some horrible prison in the hope that he dies as they might put his mock “trial” in some very future date. If he dies while in prison in the US, they do not have to have the pretense of a trial with the resulting media circus or protesters for our media to pointedly ignore.

    What this whole thing shows when compounded with the Gaza situation, is that civil and human rights mean nothing to US leadership and never did, and all of the empty rhetoric about rights that you hear about in civics class will be tossed aside by our elites the moment it becomes inconvenient for them.

      1. Samuel Conner

        > not expecting the establishment judges to push too hard against the prosecution

        I take some hope in the thought that the ICJ judges exceeded gloomy expectations in the recent case vs Israel. Sometimes people, faced with a history-making responsibility, rise to the occasion. Perhaps it will happen twice in the same year.

  13. lambert strether

    I added orts and scraps. Much more on Covid and pandemics generally that I could not get to. I will try tomorrow.

  14. Skip Intro

    Contesting a presidential election by claiming that the winner is ineligible, however, has no precedent

    It seems like just yesteryear that the rabid, anti-Obama Clinton Trump supporters claimed a certain president was ineligible because he was a furriner without a long-form birth certificate!

    1. anahuna

      “Born in Kenya” was the claim. Made not just by Trump supporters, but Trump himself, if I recall correctly.

      1. anahuna

        From Politico, 6/25/2012, quoting a Lloyd Grove interview with DJT:

        “A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book,” Trump went on, “he said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital.”

        The article explains that Obama,’s literary agency made an error in an early bio

        “But Trump isn’t buying it.

        “That’s what he told the literary agent,” Trump insisted. “That’s the way life works… He didn’t know he was running for president, so he told the truth. The literary agent wrote down what he said… He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia… Now they’re saying it was a mistake. Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, ‘Oh, I mean Hawaii.’ Give me a break.”

      2. steppenwolf fetchit

        Maybe it was first made by Trump. But the first place I saw it was on a pro-Clinton blog called No Quarter by Larry Johnson. Did Johnson get it from Trump or did Trump get it from Johnson? Or did they both get it from the same prior source of infection?

  15. flora


    “How No Labels’ Spoiler Bid Suddenly Entered Full Meltdown Mode” [The New Republic]. “No Labels faces a problem that runs deeper than the lack of high-profile candidates willing to take the third-party plunge: The group’s core argument has proven impossible to sustain, and everyone paying even cursory attention to its activities knows it.”

    So, um, RFKJr and Tulse and Manchin, none of them having ideas that align as far as I can tell, rejecting the No Labels platform makes me wonder what the heck the No Labels platform even is. Is it only a branding operation hoping to catch a big fish pol for name recognition to secure Wall St. funding? Does No Labels stand for anything except it’s own singlular brand name prominence? / sheesh

    1. britzklieg

      All three have at least enough sense to reject anything associated with the odious Joe Lieberman. There were a lot of reasons to vote for Nader (and I would have voted for him in any case) but Lieberman as VEEP was the clincher. imho.

  16. Wukchumni

    It was touch and go on the Marble Falls trail today in Sequoia NP, as apparently just after our 6 hour hike, said trail was hacked and held hostage by ransomware types online, probably eastern European hackers is the thought.

    If NPS doesn’t send them $30 million in Bitcoin, forget about seeing the trail that dead ends at a beautiful waterfall ever again.

      1. Wukchumni

        The thought is that its a Leap Year Bug, and now there’s a data breach, boot prints muddying things.

    1. steppenwolf fetchit

      Here’s an idea for a surrealistic jello salad: 50% cottage cheese and 50% kraft miniature marshmallows all mixed throughout a mold of bright green jello. How to achieve even spread? I don’t know. Perhaps first mix the cottage cheese and miniature marshmallows evenly and pour in just enough jello to evenly infill and cover. Then chill it. Then chill some other jello to near hardness and mix and distribute the c.c. and k.m.m. jellow evenly through that and then chill it all the way.

  17. steppenwolf fetchit

    About WHO still determined to spread the omnigenocidal Big Lie that covid is droplet-borne, not airborne . .
    maybe snark will work to discredit WHO somewhat, but I would still like to see people openly stating that the WHO is an omnigenocidal conspiracy devoted to spreading covid everywhere to everyone, and as such the WHO is a common enemy of all humanity.

  18. Screwball

    So many above said things better than I could ever imagine of saying. Thank you, and thanks to this site.

    I’m almost 68 years old and I can’t believe what I see today, and maybe most unbelievable is how some of our fellow Americans think. Or don’t.

    Thanks again, and good luck to all.

  19. nippersdad

    In the event that this has not been linked yet, this was a presentation at the ICJ over the Israel occupation that was just awesome. The question is no longer whether or not Israel is implementing a genocide, but whether or not it has a legal right to exist at all.


    Well worth a watch.

  20. hk

    I’m deeply disturbed that anyone is still shilling for PR, especially after PR doomed Germany to insanity once and again (wrt “Two Party Doom Loop”). PR ensures that the crazies get to be the kingmaker, and Germany today has a seriously toned down PR that weakens small parties. The problem is internal governance of the parties (and how elected officials are held accountable…or not to the electorate.).

    Personally, I think US has a potentially better electoral system than any PR, in the sense that it can be properly steered. But, as James Madison said, without virtue in society and politics, “No theoretical checks–no form of government can render us secure.”

  21. Brian Beijer

    Regarding the King of Sweden X post, trust me, the ONLY reason why Carl Gustaf would ever admit that Sweden’s policies during Covid failed is because there is the potential to make more profit and/or gain more power through a drastic policy change, i.e. joining the the WHO’s global agreement. No one who sees this should expect any improvements in Swedish public policy, but rather it’s a signal that Sweden will welcome the new global authoritarian regime of the “private-public” actors behind the WHO. This isn’t at all surprising considering the Swedish government’s urgent bid to join NATO without even a public referendum. The Swedish power players sense that in some way the sh*t is about to hit the fan, and they’re seeking protection from the real Dons of the collective West.

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