2:00PM Water Cooler 3/18/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

American Robin, Suffolk, New York, United States. “American Robin singing from the top of a building before dawn.”

* * *

In Case You Might Miss…

(1) Trump can’t put up the surety bond for his $450 million+ fine.

(2) How that bogus Long Covid paper from John Gerrard made it into the Guardian.

(3) Keef!


“So many of the social reactions that strike us as psychological are in fact a rational management of symbolic capital.” –Pierre Bourdieu, Classification Struggles

Biden Administration

About that TikTok Trojan Horse:

$8 a month is even less than the money the Internet Research Agency paid Facebook!


Less than a year to go!

* * *

Trump (R): “Trump has been unable to get bond for $464 million judgment, his lawyers say” [NBC]. “Former President Donald Trump has not been able to get a bond to secure the $464 million fraud judgment against him, his lawyers said in a court filing Monday…. ‘Defendants’ ongoing diligent efforts have proven that a bond in the judgment’s full amount is ‘a practical impossibility,” the filing said. ‘These diligent efforts have included approaching about 30 surety companies through 4 separate brokers.'” See NC here on “surety” (supersedeas) bonds. More: “Their efforts, including ‘countless hours negotiating with one of the largest insurance companies in the world,’ have proven that ‘obtaining an appeal bond in the full amount’ of the Judgment ‘is not possible under the circumstances presented,’ the filing said. The other bond companies will not ‘accept hard assets such as real estate as collateral,’ but ‘will only accept cash or cash equivalents (such as marketable securities),’ the filing said. He also noted those companies typically ‘require collateral of approximately 120% of the amount of the judgment’ — which would total about $557 million. ‘In addition, sureties would likely charge bond premiums of approximately 2 percent per year with two years in advance—an upfront cost over $18 million,’ the filing said. That $18 million would not be recoverable even if Trump wins his appeal. In all, the filing said, the ‘actual amount of cash or cash equivalents required ‘to collateralize the bond and have sufficient capital to run the business and satisfy its other obligations’ approach[es] $1 billion.'” • All this for a case of puffery in New York real estate!

Trump (R): “Trump Legal Fees Threaten to Cause Cash Crunch by July” [Bloomberg]. From February, still germane. “Donald Trump will likely drain his war chest for legal fees this summer, leaving the GOP frontrunner crunched for cash just as his presidential campaign ramps up spending for an expected rematch with President Joe Biden.”

* * *

Trump (R): “The Republican Veepstakes, Part One: Picking an Apprentice, Donald Trump’s Way” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Vice presidential selection in modern times turns on three variables—the presidential candidate who orchestrates the process and makes the decision; the pool of available selectees; and the political context. In each decision, a selector considers a distinctive set of options in a unique setting and makes strategic choices. Continuities shape vice presidential choice but every selection has idiosyncratic aspects because of the variation in decision-makers, pool, and historical setting as well as the interaction of those variables. It’s useful examining familiar patterns, as is done below and in Part Two, but with Trump dictating this year’s Republican selection process, it’s certain to be unique. It already is…. Conventional wisdom sees Trump as insistent on abject loyalty and accordingly likely to choose someone who has demonstrated uncritical support. Sone campaign surrogates/VP wannabes behave consistently with this expectation. Perhaps that’s a correct read, but Trump’s 2016 process might counsel some caution in forecasting that Trump will select the biggest sycophant. Before Trump chose Pence from a relatively shallow pool, Trump’s camp apparently approached then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a rival and critic, to join his ticket. Kasich reportedly declined these overtures but that data point might suggest some willingness to reach out in search of electoral advantage. Trump’s success in converting former critics into subordinated supporters (think Vance, Rubio, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, among others.) might encourage him to expect similar success with another politically ambitious critic.” • Well worth a read.

* * *

Trump (R): “How Trump’s Allies Are Winning the War Over Disinformation” [New York Times]. From the index propagandists for RussiaGate and Iraqi WMDs. “The arguments strike at the heart of an unsettled question in modern American political life: In a world of unlimited online communications, in which anyone can reach huge numbers of people with unverified and false information, where is the line between protecting democracy and trampling on the right to free speech?” • Let’s not be silly. The line is “electing my guy.” Next, please. Commentary:

Looks like the Times hates Mike Benz as much as the Wall Street Journal hates Lina Khan…

* * *

Biden (D): “Behind the scenes, Biden has grown angry and anxious about re-election effort” [NBC]. “Surrounded by protective aides who want to minimize the chances of a flub, the 81-year-old president has chafed at restraints that he sees as counter to his natural instincts as a retail politician, a third person familiar with internal discussions said…. ‘Biden stood up in front of the whole world and said, ‘I’m ready. I’m the guy who can take down Donald Trump,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. ‘So, he goddamn well better do it. We don’t have time for him to be worried about whether or not people are saying things right or the poll numbers are where they should be. I want focused energy and not defensive anger.’… Biden has on occasion directed his ire at his tightknit senior staff. Given the successes he has had in passing consequential bills and improving the economy, Biden was irritated that his message wasn’t sinking in with the broader electorate, the sources said…. At times, Biden gets suggestions that conflict with one another. Some advisers have told him he should walk faster out of concern that his gait feeds impressions that he’s too old. And yet the White House is sufficiently worried about him tripping that he has taken to boarding Air Force One via a shorter staircase through the belly of the plane, forgoing the iconic image of the president waving from the main doorway high above the tarmac. ‘He’s probably a little mad at himself for not being more forceful with the staff,’ a person familiar with internal discussions said. Privately, Biden questions whether he should trust his gut instincts over the guidance coming from the array of advisers tending to his political interests, this person added.” • Well, at least Biden hasn’t bitten anyone. So there’s that.

* * *

Kennedy (I): “Who is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and why is he running for president?” [Associated Press]. The staff: “Kennedy is looking to his family and his allies in the anti-vaccine world to staff his campaign, building a leadership team that is light on experience working in politics. His campaign manager is Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, his daughter-in-law who served as a CIA officer and has not worked in politics before. His communications director, Del Bigtree, is founder of the Informed Consent Action Network, an anti-vaccine group…. Press secretary Stefanie Spear was an editor for the Children’s Health Defense news website. Charles Eisenstein, a New Age author, is an adviser. Kennedy also has staff and volunteers spread throughout states and focused on gathering signatures to get him on the ballot.” • I wish Kennedy had stuck with Waterkeeper Alliance….

Kennedy (I): “RFK Jr. to name wealthy attorney Nicole Shanahan as running mate in prez run: report” [New York Post]. Who? “Shanahan, a Democratic donor who was once married to Google cofounder Sergey Brin, funded Kennedy’s pricey Super Bowl campaign commercial, Mediaite reported Saturday.” • Nominating Shanahan may seem like a smart move to RFK (money) but it will be seen for the genuinely stupid idea that it is the first time she opens her mouth on the trail, or the first smidge of oppo is released. RFK is like a ship with no keel, blown hither and yon by the wind.

Democrats en Déshabillé

Oh, for what once was:

That’s a happy warrior!

“Will Bernie Sanders’ proposed 32-hour workweek pass Congress?” [ABC News]. • Only if Biden wants a shot at winning a second term.


* * *

“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!

* * *


I wondered how John Gerrard’s wretched Australian piece on Long Covid got platformed on the Guardian, parallel to being instantly amplified by Murdoch and his merry men. Here’s why:

Elite Maleficence

“Health workers fear it’s profits before protection as CDC revisits airborne transmission” [NBC News]. #HICPAC. “Now, [Peg Seminario, an occupational health expert, and a former director at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations] and many others worry that the CDC is repeating past mistakes as it develops a crucial set of guidelines that hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and other facilities that provide health care will apply to control the spread of infectious diseases. The guidelines update those established nearly two decades ago. They will be used to establish protocols and procedures for years to come… ‘If we applied these draft guidelines at the start of this pandemic, there would have been even less protection than there is now — and it’s pretty bad now,’ Seminario said.” Where the hell was the AFL-CIO then, and where is it now? More: “Although critics are glad to see last year’s draft reconsidered, they remain concerned. “The CDC needs to make sure that this guidance doesn’t give employers leeway to prioritize profits over protection,” said Jane Thomason, the lead industrial hygienist at the union National Nurses United. She’s part of a growing coalition of experts from unions, the American Public Health Association, and other organizations putting together an outside statement on elements that ought to be included in the CDC’s guidelines, such as the importance of air filtration and N95 masks.” And the last line: “But that input may not be taken into consideration.” • If the current #HICPAC membership has their way, the answer to the “outside statement” will not be “No.” It will be “Hell, no.”

Why didn’t we just make Vanness Hudgens head of the CDC?

If only somebody would write the same book for the United States!

Wish I had a PDF… I’d review it!

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot March 18: Regional[2] Biobot March 18:
Variants[3] CDC March 16 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 9
New York[5] New York State, data March 15: National [6] CDC March 9:

National[7] Walgreens March 11: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 16:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC February 16: Variants[10] CDC February 16:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 9: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 9:


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) Our curve has now flattened out at the level of previous Trump peaks. Not a great victory. Note also 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) Midwest ticks up.

[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) “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) Leveling out.

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening.

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

[10] (Travelers: Variants) JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of interest today.

* * *

Manufacturing: “The Whistleblower And The Corporation: The Case Against Boeing” [FITSNews]. “[Robert] Turkewitz, who had represented Barnett from the beginning of [his whistleblower retaliation] case, told reporters ‘it made no sense’ for Barnett to take his own life when he was so close to final vindication.” • This is an excellent round-up from a South Carolina source not only the Barnett case, but why Barnett was blowing the whistle. Worth reading in full (and where the heck is the prizewinning Charleson Post & Courier on this? Their last story on Barnett was March 14. Can’t they find their way out of the tank? Oh, and FITS advances the story by publishing the incident report. Things I want to know: Why was the gun in Barnett’s hand? Why did the police dust the car for finger prints (below)? What did the note read? Where is Barnett’s computer?

Manufacturing: “Inside Boeing’s shocking personnel scandals: Drug dealing, love triangle and murder-suicide” [New York Post]. “[S]ources previously told The Post police had dusted [Barnett’s] car for fingerprints inside and out, a highly unusual move in suicide cases.” • First place I’ve seen this claim sourced.

Manufacturing: “The last days of the Boeing whistleblower” [Fortune]. “The previous day, Barnett had been on a roll as a video camera recorded the event. “John testified for four hours in questioning by my co-counsel Brian,” says Turkewitz. ‘This was following seven hours of cross examination by Boeing’s lawyers on Thursday. He was really happy to be telling his side of the story, excited to be fielding our questions, doing a great job. It was explosive stuff. As I’m sitting there, I’m thinking, ‘This is the best witness I’ve ever seen.” At one point, says Turkewitz, the Boeing lawyer protested that Barnett was reciting the details of incidents from a decade ago, and specific dates, without looking at documents. As Turkevitz recalls the exchange, Barnett fired back, ‘I know these documents inside out. I’ve had to live it.’ That Friday, Barnett’s testimony ended at around 5 PM, and the parties reconvened an hour later. ‘John was really tired and didn’t want to testify any more that day,’ says Turkewitz. ‘He wanted to drive home to Louisiana starting that evening, as he had planned. He’d told his mom that he’d be home on Sunday, and it took him two days to drive home. I suggested that we break for a week or two. But the Boeing lawyers took the position that no more depositions could be taken until Barnett completed his testimony.” • Again, where’s Barnett’s computer? (And where are his backups, if any?)

Manufacturing: NC gets a shout-out (“Swampy” is Barnett):

* * *

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s Pain Spreads to Travelers as Airlines Cut Back on Plans” [Bloomberg]. “Boeing Co.’s disastrous start to 2024 is spilling over to airlines and their passengers as production delays at the US planemaker exacerbate an already nascent shortage of single-aisle jets that form the backbone of commercial air travel.

United Airlines Holdings Inc., Southwest Airlines Co. and Ryanair Holdings Plc are among the companies scrambling to respond to reduced deliveries from Boeing as the planemaker focuses on fixing quality lapses exposed by the Jan. 5 accident on an Alaska Airlines flight. With the busy summer travel season in view, carriers say they’re trimming schedules and looking for alternatives to 737s they’ve already ordered, while also contending with issues afflicting narrowbodies from Airbus SE. Even Boeing seems uncertain when the planes will be ready as an army of US inspectors sift through its factories, meaning the company can’t make any firm predictions when things might return to normal.” • Crowded planes and airports this summer, more than usual, oh joy.

Manufacturing: “Boeing Criminal Probe Widens With Seattle Grand Jury Subpoena” [Bloomberg]. “The department appears to be operating on two tracks. It’s looking into whether the door plug blowout falls under and violates the government’s 2021 deferred-prosecution agreement with the company over two previous fatal crashes of its 737 Max jetliner. The department also could determine there’s enough evidence to consider the Jan. 5 incident as a standalone criminal investigation.”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 73 Greed (previous close: 70 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 70 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 18 at 1:04:02 PM ET.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186. (Remember that bringing on the Rapture is good.) NOTE on #42 Plagues: “The coronavirus pandemic has maxed out this category.” More honest than most! • Goat sacrificers irrelevant? Atlantic meridional overturning circulation irrelevant?

The Conservatory

“Five strings, three notes, two fingers and one a**hole – that’s all it takes to play guitar!” Keith Richards: The complete 1992 interview” [GuitarPlayer]. Great fun. ” I always found the islands like Jamaica and reggae so fascinating. To me, it was just another manifestation of the movement of rhythm and harmony and melody over the face of the planet. That’s what counts to me. I look upon things in a weird light. I can give you the history of the world – just give me their music. Give me a tribe’s music, and I’ll tell you how they live, what they smell like, almost. That would give me more information than talking to them or looking at ’em. I can get more information out of their music first-off than anything else. There’s no lying when you’re playing music.Exactly. This is why the Iron Curtain went down. It was jeans and rock and roll that took that wall down in the long run. It wasn’t all those atomic weapons and that facing down and big bullshit. What finally crumbled it was the fuckin’ music, man. You cannot stop it. It’s the most subversive thing.” • Not sure. Maybe Keith should say in his lane, which is a pretty amazing lane. Or maybe not!

News of the Wired

I am not feeling wired today.

* * *

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:

Late Intovert’s file name: “FrontYardFromAtticWindow_05.jpg.” Looks gorgeous (and nice camera angle). Wouldn’t be nice to walk on those paths in bare feet!

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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. Sub-Boreal

    The Blair Williams piece on letting it rip down under appears to be available in its entirety at Google Books. Looking forward to a great read!

    1. The Rev Kev

      It sounds like a great read. As PM, Scotty from Marketing was totally the wrong person to lead the country through a Pandemic. He already stuffed up badly during the massive fires that we had when he secretly shot through to Hawaii for his holidays. Being a neoliberal, he hated the restrictions that Oz was under and sought to constantly undermine them. But the real change came when he returned from the G-7 Summit in Wales in June of 2021. I think that it was there that he got his marching orders to open up the country and let ‘er rip as he was making the other G-7 countries look not only bad but homicidal.

      1. Jeff V

        Doesn’t affect your point at all, but the June 2021 G7 summit was in Cornwall rather than Wales.

        Per the Gov.UK website, “Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought the world’s leading democracies together to reach major new agreements to help the world fight, and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future.”

        So at least we’ve got a greener and more prosperous future to look forward to!

        1. The Rev Kev

          My mistake. I meant to write Cornwall as I was watching this summit so don’t know why I put down Wales. Would you believe that in writing this comment that I nearly made the same mistake again? Do’h! That was the summit where old Joe was wandering around an outside cafe lost until his minders remembered him and went to retrieve him

  2. t

    What is a silver pistol? An antique Colt that’s too big for my hand? A dainty little pocket pistol? A replica WWII Luger? At least we know it wasn’t 3D printed plastic pistol in a garish color.

    A week out and the fam doesn’t have a statement on where it came from? LE hasn’t checked the serial number? Or is search just so broken now I cannot find this info without Lexis/Nexis?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Good questions those. An odd expression to describe a gun as a silver pistol. Was it his? How long did he have it if so?

    2. Mikel

      They aren’t publishing much about the gun. They’d need their propanganda tighter than the half-assery they get away with most of the time.
      Americans know their guns.

      If this was a set up, then they only used a gun because they were pressed for time.

      1. lambert strether

        Not as competent as the hired killers in Michael Clayton, otherwise he would have had a “heart attack” in his room the previous night.

        Nevertheless, at this point I don’t think we can assume competence at any level….

        1. Pat

          I don’t think they believe they need to be even. This one is less obvious than Epstein, but has as many questions as Rich. They know the public is too busy and the media has compromised itself. They’re safe.

        2. steppenwolf fetchit

          If the killer(s) are never found, that would show that they were competent enough to do the killing and not get found.

          They weren’t trying to make it look like a suicide. They were trying to make it look like a bungled effort to make it look like a suicide. The message they meant for this suissassinide to convey is that they can suicide anyone they want to, any time, anywhere, and get away with it totally. Same as with Silkwood, Cassolaro, Epstein, etc.

    3. Acacia

      By chance, watched Prosperi’s Professional Killer (1966) the other day. Pretty good poliziesco that follows a hard boiled killer from New York to France. It’s got a gritty New York vibe mixed with Eurocrime ambiance.

      In one scene, the assassin and his sidekick discover an apparent suicide. Pro assassin points out that in an actual suicide the gun never stays put in your hand, followed by camera close-up on the dead hand holding the pistol.

      Whoever offed Barnett doesn’t watch many movies.

  3. griffen

    Trump and the apparent lack of success in obtaining the necessary requisite surety bonds. Note to self. Should Republicans ever wield this manner of lawfare, they would be just as repulsive and repugnant. No harm to the lenders, but in the wise counsel and mind of Letitia James the state of New York was harmed to the tune of (quickly checks) a few $000 short of $500 million. IDK what is legally fair and balanced here, and I really have problems with Trump the business man and Trump the former POTUS. Real estate developers in New York State really believe their businesses are clean I do suppose. Egregious and proud of it.

    Nice laws you got there. Meanwhile, securities firms such as Citigroup or a Morgan Stanley, a Barclays / Lehman that were or could be proved to inflict harm on homeowners (undue foreclosures, title processes) and also investors with a pithy lack of disclosure were “slapped on the wrist” relatively in comparison. What was that weeping sound again…oh yes Assistant AG Breuer gnashed his teeth at night that he could “cause irreparable damage to an important entity of the FIRE sector”.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Biden’s problem is he passed a highway bill and tax incentives. The highways were never in doubt, and the tax incentives don’t help his base. He can’t conceive he hasn’t been great. After all, he’s done more than Obama, so changing course is out of the question. Team Blue already promised to not be so heinous if young voters would save them in 2022. A third cycle of empty promises is a bridge too far. Someone should explain to Biden that votes are for sale since he’s a capitalist.

        Biden put genocide on the table, so at this point, changing course is impossible. Whatever else Trump is, he hasn’t committed active genocide.

          1. britzklieg

            He said Netanyahoo should “finish the job” so indeed, Trump is equally if not more rancid than Genocide Joe re Israel. And once again, Israel serves to triangulate any voter who has a conscience.

            With the exception of Jill Stein, who can’t win, “Don’t vote” or “Vote for unbridled, in your face,TINA evil” are the options.

            I won’t be voting.

            1. Acacia

              The tenacious hold of this “X can’t win… we must vote for a winner” idea convinces me that nothing will ever change in USian politics.

                1. Acacia

                  Oh, I agree that Stein can’t win. Not voting for that reason just means your opinion is considered meaningless and that third parties will never have any viability.

                  If, on the other hand, people let go of “must vote for a winner”, things might change.

                2. Pat

                  Think of it this way, if even half of the voters who don’t vote decided that voting but for a third party or a selected write in candidate did so the whole political landscape would change. Parties can fade, but only if voters move to another. In fact, if a majority of these discouraged voters coalesced around a single candidate, Stein or more likely RFK, could not just get Perot level numbers, but major candidate numbers. The scenario where the election is thrown to the House becomes not just possible but likely.
                  And that would force the Republicans and the Democrats to rethink their current major strategy, which is to convince unhappy voters to stay home. They would face replacement in a decade or less otherwise. But only if voters start voting for the candidates who “can’t win”

      1. Mark Gisleson


        I didn’t figure it out until I started watching his lips. Too truthful to be real for sure.

        1. ambrit

          Is this a reference to the old joke: “If you can see his lips move, he’s lying.”

    1. Glen

      So, Trump cannot come up with money for court? Did he just pick up the “There’s no way I can pay this [family blogging] bill/ticket/rent/food/utilities” vote? Cause that’s like the overwhelming majority of American voters.

      PMC Dems are working overtime to turn Trump into an ordinary beat down American that the majority of voters can recognize by looking in the mirror.

    2. Mikel

      Trumps collateral is CRE.
      Come to think of it… that should have crossed people’s mind when wondering about a Fed rate cut.

    3. lambert strether

      The Eighth Amendment:

      Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

      Is a fine so large that the surety bind market cannot cover it “excessive” by definition? (Granted, “cannot” is a bit hazy).

      1. griffen

        Not sure about that answer. I am more certain that quite likely, the donor class which features the likes of Reid Hoffman to start at the top, are quite happy to throw as much firepower at the Trump family as possible. Legal or otherwise.

        Does there exist any sort of “collegiality” among real estate and CRE developers, which is something I have not sorted out? “Hey if AG James is playing for keeps this time, I better watch my steps in an upright manner…”

  4. Ed

    How many sleepy top level union leaders will actually support a 32 hour work week? Sounds insane that they won’t but remember many now oppose a national health system free of profits despite the fact that it would provide better coverages at less money. They hang on to the small business mentality that this will take away the control of running their own health and welfare funds and reduce the ability to organize members by eliminating this “selling point.” This same mentality will be used as the bosses will ask these tops to be “partners” with the capitalists so as to save “jobs” Hope I am totally wrong. We’ll see…

    1. Pat

      There was a small movement in the film and television industry for a twelve on twelve off schedule.but at least while I was active it had a hard time gaining traction. For anyone who doesn’t know this is an industry where people joke about eight hours being a part time day, fourteen even eighteen hours are not uncommon. And over the years required dropped from twelve to ten and on many contracts nine hours. There is a tragic accident where someone dies on their commute every few years, taking others with them sometimes.
      The people behind this are passionate, they even financed studies showing that it was a financial benefit to producers even. But some of the biggest impediments to this were not just the producers and unions, but the workers themselves, because despite it being a health and safety issue overtime is how you make a lot of money. Usually if you got a chance to walk people through it, people would come around. But you have to be able to show that the base income still works for them with only 20 hours of overtime a week. (And this was a group of very privileged and protected workers by American standards…very privileged.)

      Just a long way of saying that it isn’t just union leaders that will need to be reassured…and protected.

  5. Henry Moon Pie

    “RFK is like a ship with no keel, blown hither and yon by the wind.”

    Rudder maybe? The primary purpose of a keel on a monohull sailboat is to counter the force of the sails to cause the boat to heel or lean over. The secondary purpose is to prevent the boat from being blown perpetually to leeward, but no to and fro.

    Without a rudder, you could be blown in any direction, including backward.

    Diagram of forces

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I immediately dismissed RFK as a viable candidate, and as anyone I would vote for, as soon as I read about his stance on Israel’s ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian problem.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        Thank you for tipping me off to the adventures of Jack and Dr. Maturin. Reading them in order I just made it to “The Far Side of the World.” The pre-steampunk “tech” livens things up nicely, the French are dastardly and I’m really enjoying the sea battles/cannon fights.

        1. Cassandra

          Patrick O’Brian’s mastery of language is a delight. He lays on adjectives with an impressionist’s skill.

        2. lambert strether

          I enjoy watching Aubrey think like the masterful and efficient predator he is, totally adapted to his niche. And of course the relationships, and the spying, and the travel writing, and the sea

  6. i just dont like the gravy

    Today at 4 PM ET Jensen Huang will announce that $NVDA stock should hit $2000 before year end (then he makes a poo on stage)

  7. Victor Sciamarelli

    In spite of the lackluster report from the AP, I think it’s a real possibility that RFK, Jr., can become president.
    When god created the universe he did not include electing the president by popular vote. Humans invented the Electoral College and stipulated that of the 538 Electoral Votes a candidate must receive at least 270 to become president. Absent 270 EVs, the election will be decided by the House of Representatives.
    In a three way race with Kennedy having a high favorability rating, it’s possible he will win a few states. And a few states is all you need to deny 270 EVs to both Trump and Biden, and send the election to the House.
    Under Article 12, the House will select a president from among the top three electoral candidates but the catch is each state delegation has one vote. Thus, Idaho and New York each has one vote and a candidate needs 26 states to win. The Senate will choose the VP.
    The American people want something else besides Trump and Biden. More importantly, the visceral hatred of Trump by the DP and of Biden by the RP makes compromise impossible. Moreover, as the country is set to explode the election results, the House might be forced to choose Kennedy as the only viable choice for president to stabilize the country.

    1. Carolinian

      Oh please no. And a more likely scenario is that he will take votes away from Biden and give an even bigger Trump win. After all it’s the Bidenistas who are fighting so hard to keep him off the ballot.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Also on the plus side for RFK – he supports the Gaza genocide just like the rest of the ruling class.

      1. rowlf

        Is it possible to exist in the US political ecosystem by not supporting Israel?

        (Asking for a friend.)

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Under Article 12, the House will select a president from among the top three electoral candidates

      I think a scenario like this is at least plausible, givent that this is the stupidest timeline.

  8. Dr. John Carpenter

    “Biden (R)” A Freudian slip? (Understandable. It is hard to tell the Ds from the Rs these days.)

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Oh and the associated article from NBC reads like “ramping up” the blame cannons than much of anything else

  9. JM

    This might be of interest to someone, a long post testing some “naive” (or what a lay person, not adept at the topic or the vagaries of search engines) searches on various search engines and checking the quality of the results. The poster does have their own niche search engine they maintain, but seemed reasonable about it to my non-exhaustive reading. It gets me wondering about Yacy, which was linked a while ago; I might try installing it and see how it goes.


    1. Jason Boxman

      Not to be the marketing department for Kagi, but I think this speaks to bringing back the real Web:

      At Kagi, we are committed to providing our users with the most accurate and dependable search experience possible. We adhere to a philosophy of using AI to enhance, rather than create, search experience, and only when explicitly requested by the user. To ensure result quality, we automatically downrank pages with advertising and tracking, which are often associated with low-quality or machine-generated content. Our personalization features allow users to customize their search feed according to their preferences. Furthermore, we strive to promote authentic content from personal blogs and websites through our “Small Web” initiative, which aims to increase the visibility of genuine, high-quality content.

      (bold me)

      Granted, it isn’t free to use, although $5/mo gets you 300 searches. I still haven’t actually signed up, so that’s how hard it is to actually sell search. I still even use Google by habit as a default, sigh.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I do not enjoy watching/listening to youtube or other video providers on my computer. Would you please elaborate on Mike Benz’s EXPLOSIVE revelations?

      1. flora

        You can also watch or click on this utube link.
        Under the description click the …more word.
        When full description opens, click on the show transcript link. Transcript displays.

        I seldom use utube for videos likely to be truncated or disappeared with no warning by the tube.


        1. flora

          Adding transcript displays in the live chat area.

          Or, on utube you can turn on close caption by clicking the cc icon on the video task bar, where the sound and size icons are.

          You’re welcome.

        2. lambert strether

          It takes too much work to make YouTube’s machine-generated transcripts readable.

          1. Late Introvert

            It’s a nightmare if your video has a stroke victim speaking. Some of the translations were obscene, literally.

    2. GF

      Rumble does not provide closed captioning or transcripts. I think the authors need to do that but I may be wrong. Glenn Greenwald provides a transcript a day or so after the video goes out.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Noted too that Yves’s prediction has come true. Now all the Russians need are some bearded men.

  10. The Rev Kev

    ‘Her only source is Dr. John Gerrard, the chief medical officer of Queensland. How did something this at odds with peer reviewed science make the international edition?’

    The guy is a medical hack who will do what he is told to by his betters. The fact that that that article got amplified internationally sounds like Murdoch wants the message spread that everybody has to go back to work and Long Covid is not real. He does not have to worry about such things as he is 93 years old so nothing is long for him. He can get away with it here as being a small country, we have a very tightly organize and controlled media which he controls a good share.

  11. Benny Profane

    “I wish Kennedy had stuck with Waterkeeper Alliance….”

    So back to his wide elbowed thuggery post junkie years? He stole that organization for his own rehabilitation in the world’s eyes, probably thinking of a political future. He’s a Kennedy, after all, born to entitlement. They didn’t take no for an answer.
    I was ready to vote for him, before he revealed himself as an AIPAC lackey.

  12. Old Sarum

    Elections (anywhere): Why do I not see the word “Anocracy” much if at all in NC?


    ps I am somewhat bored by the current repeated Pierre Bourdieu quotation; how about some lines from Elvis Costello?

    Oh, I used to be disgusted.
    And now I try to be amused.

  13. steppenwolf fetchit

    Hmm . . . I listened to that Vanessa Hudgins muskX blurt from 4 years ago.

    All I can say is . . . . if she were to get Long Covidementia, how would anyone even be able to tell?

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