2:00PM Water Cooler 3/8/2024

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Bird Song of the Day

Clamorous Reed Warbler (Brown), Buak Khang paddies & scrublands, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Clamorous indeed!

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Some readers asked for something table of contents-like, so here are a few highlights amidst the density:

High- and Lowlights

(1) Lisa Page, like a bad penny.

(2) MTG meets Biden at the SOTU.

(3) RFK calls out DSAC, an ugly public-private partnership in the Censorship Industrial Complex

(4) The Full English..


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

Spook Country

Slime pays:

Biden Administration

I will maintain the fiction that the SOTU was not a campaign speech. I will put on my yellow waders over the weekend, and although I prefer always to work from a transcript, this time I’ll actually have to watch it, the horror:

“State of the Union Shows There’s Life in the Old Boy Yet” [Peggy Noonan, Wall Street]. Sadly, I can only quote the deck: “Biden’s speech showed energy and focus, though he blurred some words and thoughts.”

“Biden’s State of the Union speech reinforced mental acuity and age concerns, Republicans say” [FOX]. But they would, wouldn’t they? “‘A lot of the time it was hard to understand what he was saying,’ said House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, R-Va. ‘He was kind of mumbling and slurring.’ ‘We couldn’t understand him. He was so mad,’ agreed Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan. ‘The volume was up and down.’ At several points, Biden did raise his voice to emphasize his points, particularly when referring to Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, remarked the president’s annual address was ‘reminiscent of an old, angry man standing on his porch screaming ‘get off my front lawn.” While Republicans tended to regard Biden’s address as angry and evidence of his cognitive decline, congressional Democrats believed his speech showcased his energy.” But they would, wouldn’t they? More: ‘He was great. He was really fantastic,’ said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who also described Biden as ‘energetic’ and ‘clear.’ Even Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Neb., conceded: ‘I think in fairness, [Biden] had a good night.'” • The Juice, adrenaline, joy of battle, personal animus, partisan and ideological commitment… It’s a wonder Team Biden didn’t wind their guy up too tight!

“President Biden rails against ‘my predecessor’ in fiery State of the Union speech” [Semafor]. “The speech marked an unofficial kickoff of the president’s reelection push, laying out a message that he plans to take on the road to Michigan on Friday and Georgia on Saturday, where Trump is speaking the same day. The campaign and allied groups are also expected to ramp up advertising and build new volunteer and staff infrastructure in the coming weeks.” • We’ll have to see how the campaign trail treats Biden.

“5 memorable moments from Biden’s State of the Union” [The Hill]. One moment: “[Marjorie Taylor] Greene handed Biden a pin when he entered the chamber for his speech that read ‘say her name Laken Riley.’ Greene had distributed the pins to lawmakers ahead of Thursday night’s address. Then, while Biden was discussing the situation at the southern border during his speech, Greene yelled out, ‘It’s about Laken Riley,’ and other Republicans shouted, ‘Say her name.’ Biden held up the pin Greene gave him and responded to the congresswoman from the dais. ‘Laken Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,’ he said. ‘To her parents I say my heart goes out to you having lost children myself. I understand.'” • Showing that famous Biden empathy and stealing a Republican talking point (“an illegal”). Pretty good, even for a younger man. Meeting with MTG after the speech:

“Trump Offers Ranting SOTU Commentary: ‘EVERY LINE IS BEING SHOUTED'” [HuffPo]. “‘DON’T SHAKE PEOPLE’S HANDS GOING OUT – HE KEEPS COUGHING INTO HIS RIGHT HAND!’ he later wrote.” • Reinforcing fomite transmission (though indeed this is one potential case I’d avoid; yech!!). This is also an old Republican talking point — and a legitimate one!


Less than a year to go!

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Trump (R): “Trump is ordered to pay legal fees after failed lawsuit over the Steele dossier” [Associated Press]. ” Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been ordered to pay a six-figure legal bill to a company founded by a former British spy that he unsuccessfully sued for making what his lawyer called ‘shocking and scandalous’ false claims that harmed his reputation. A London judge, who threw out the case against Orbis Business Intelligence last month saying it was ‘bound to fail,’ [why?] ordered Trump to pay legal fees of 300,000 pounds ($382,000), according to court documents released Thursday. Orbis was founded by Christopher Steele, who once ran the Russia desk for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6.” • Six ways from Sunday, and across the Big Pond, too.

* * *

Trump (R): “Intel agencies eye brief for Trump, amid fears he could spill secrets” [Politico]. • I don’t see what the worry is; they could always feed him chickenfeed. So they could pretend to brief him, and he could pretend to listen (or, more likely, try to reverse engineer what they were lying to him about).

Trump (R): “Dr. John Gartner: The world is watching ‘a fundamental breakdown in Trump’s ability to use language'” (interview) [Salon] Gartner: “And finally, there were more examples last week of a fundamental breakdown in Trump’s ability to use language, to think and to communicate. When Trump visited the border, he said: “Nobody [can] explain to me how allowing millions of people from places unknown, from countries unknown, who don’t speak languages — we have languages coming into our country, we have nobody that even speaks those languages. They are truly foreign languages. Nobody speaks them.” In my opinion, Donald Trump is getting worse as his cognitive state continues to degrade. If Trump were your relative, you’d be thinking about assisted care right now.” • On the Gartner quote: Not buying it; I can hear Trump saying those words, and Gartner’s giving an example of how Trump spirals around a topic. I think this is cope and tu quoque though I could be persauded otherwise. Readers?

Trump (R): “Who Really Stands With American Workers?” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “Overall, wage gains have more than kept up with inflation, and wage gains have been most rapid for lower-paid workers. As a result, most workers’ wages adjusted for inflation are higher than before the pandemic, and are actually above the prepandemic trend. In short, there’s a reason the United Automobile Workers endorsed Biden, although many of its members will vote for Trump anyway, imagining that he’s on their side. But Trump isn’t a populist, he’s a poseur. When making actual policy as opposed to speeches, he basically governed as Mitch McConnell with tariffs. Biden, on the other hand, really has pursued a pro-worker agenda — more so, arguably, than any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt — and has presided over a significant reduction in inequality.” • First, to “stand with” workers means to increase their class power; anything else devolves into giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Also, a careless reader would assume that the link for “a significant reduction in inequality” means a decrease in the Gini Coefficient, or some other metric for a diminution of the class power of our oligarchs. Not so. The link refers to “aggregate wage compression.” Obviously, capitalists aren’t wage-earners. Tsk!

* * *

* * *

Kennedy (I): Good for him:

So (see the final tweet) DSAC is an especially rancid public-private partnership. And given the membership of the Executive Board, which includes executives from companies with over $1 billion in sales, you’ve got to ask yourself who’s in the driver’s seat (and not necessarily the Federal government, as Kennedy would have it).

* * *

“Third-party group No Labels is expected to move forward with a 2024 campaign, AP sources say” [Associated Press]. “After months of leaving open whether the group would offer a ticket, No Labels delegates are expected to vote Friday in favor of launching a presidential campaign for this fall’s election, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the group’s internal deliberations. No Labels will not name its presidential and vice presidential picks on Friday, when roughly 800 delegates meet virtually in a private meeting. The group is instead expected to debut a formal selection process late next week for potential candidates who would be selected in the coming weeks, the people said.” • Drawing out the suspense!

* * *

“New Report Mapping Christian Nationalism by State Suggests Election Need Not Be Played Out on Christian Nationalist Terms” [Religion Dispatches]. “Christian nationalism should not be ignored or downplayed, but at the same time the segment of the population that embraces it is punching above its weight. Two states—Mississippi and North Dakota—reach 50% support, and only a handful land in the 40s. The rest of the nation ranges from the teens to the mid-30s. That’s a significant minority, to be sure, but a minority all the same. That means the election need not be played out on Christian nationalist terms. Voters may be less supportive of immigration than they’ve been before, but Democrats are otherwise solidly aligned with the values of the majority of Americans. That Christian nationalists are in a solid minority in places like Ohio, Texas, or Florida also demonstrates the perilous position of hard-right regimes in such states. Were it not for gerrymandering and other anti-democratic tactics, their agenda would be firmly rejected. To put things another way: there are a lot more places that could be opened up as swing states on the basis of rejecting Christian nationalism than the other way around.” • Handy map:

* * *

“Nothing New Under the Sun? Campaign Departures and Parallels” [RealClearPolitics]. “Donald Trump’s presumptive candidacy has clear precedents. He will be the fifth former president to run for reelection … and, almost implausibly, all in that exclusive club were New Yorkers. Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt were former presidents who sought another term in the Executive Mansion – that is, not immediately succeeding themselves. In many ways the contemporary Republican Party could be called the Trumpublican Party, so much has it been transformed. History will sort out how much Donald Trump has been the architect or the legatee. Van Buren had to join the new anti-slavery Free Soil Party; Millard Fillmore was the nominee of the Know-Nothing Party; and Theodore Roosevelt placed second, beating the Republican incumbent, on the Progressive (‘Bull Moose’) ticket. These men ran under new designations because they were unable to transform the party establishments of their former parties. To the extent that Trump has wrought change in his party and across the political landscape, enabling his renomination, there are parallels – if not coincidences – found in the person of Democrat Grover Cleveland and the election of 1888. Cleveland is the only president, thus far, who managed to serve two non-consecutive terms. He was the 22nd and the 24th president – a historical contortion due to the single term of Republican Benjamin Harrison in between. Contested results, corrupt vote counts, and unresolved accusations surrounded the 1888 campaign. Among the coincidences and parallels we observe today, Grover Cleveland (1837-1908) in several ways foreshadowed Donald Trump. An instrument of reform, Cleveland attempted to ‘drain the swamp’ of his time, championing Civil Service reform.”

Republican Funhouse

“Oklahoma said to have the highest rate of ‘long COVID’ symptoms according to recent analysis” [FOX]. “Oklahoma is said to have the highest rate of residents who have been reporting the experience of ‘long COVID’ according to an analysis from helpadvisor.com, with the highest rate of any other state at 34.1%. Half a million Oklahomans are experiencing symptoms after the virus has passed through, leaving them with a cough, fatigue or even long term diagnosis that affects the brain, heart and lungs. ‘The most common symptoms that we see initially with the infection is going to be that cough, that shortness of breath, and what people don’t realize is that a lot of those can linger and some of the most common ones is fatigue,’ said [Utica Park Clinic Family Physician Dr. Matthew Else]. ‘And then we have this extreme other end of things and we don’t understand it quite yet, but as we heard there can be some pretty odd lingering symptoms and some long lasting new diagnosis such as diabetes or cognitive defects.'” • Maybe Republicans will get to Long Covid first, who knows (that Sanders hearing sure went nowhere). The quotes from Else aren’t very good, but at least they understand they’ve got a problem, out there in flyover.

Democrats en Déshabillé

“Reminder: Trump’s Last Year in Office Was a National Nightmare” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “There’s no real question that thousands of Americans died unnecessarily because of Trump’s dereliction of duty in the face of Covid-19.” • We can compare Trump’s records to Biden’s later; suffice for now to say that there are a lot more deaths “under the curve” for Biden, not Trump. But this perspective is interesting:

Yes, the PMC behaved much better under Trump. Remember “flattening the curve”? “Essential workers”? Good times. At least they showed some consciousness greater than whinging about missing brunch.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Why wear a mask to a protest?” [The Gauntlet]. The deck: “Or: why spread illness when you could not do that?” And: “People who typically mock the propagandist claims of the state’s talking heads in this case repeat them verbatim. The willingness of much of the organized left to fall in line with Biden’s pandemic denial and minimization has resulted in much greater social isolation of disabled and immunocompromised people than during the Trump era…. Search twitter for any masked selfie and read the comments. You will see- mostly MAGA trolls- openly calling for masked people to be killed. You will generally not see prominent leftists with large platforms pushing back by encouraging masking and practicing it themselves…. [C]ops and the state are hellbent on peeling masks off of faces due to their illegal and unconstitutional targeting of peaceful protestors and leftist organizers.” And: “Personally, I am now involved in the DC-area Mask Bloc; this group has been attending protests and distributing thousands of free masks. Such groups have popped up all over the world and are doing the difficult and often thankless work of distributing free, high-quality masks, tests, and information. To me, they are the exciting new frontier of the left. More exciting would be the inclusion of this work in more established spaces, by more powerful groups and individuals.” • Excellent post and worth reading in full. Don’t be like Bernie:

* * *

“Conflict in the Age of Fractured Publics” [The National Interest]. Divide and conquer has been an overclass tactic since forever; but perhaps they’ve gone too far? “The fragile level of public support renders mass mobilization strategies, which leaders at the height of the industrial age practiced, nearly impossible…. Aware of the fragility of public support, contemporary countries at war have generally kept taxes low, ensured a steady flow of consumer goods, and placed the burden of warfighting on a tiny minority. Escalation to major war accordingly looks less and less likely. Geopolitical struggle will likely take a form different from recent world wars. Key differences could include the following: First, only a small minority of the population may be involved in the contests…. Second, weak and divided public support could become a persistent feature of the contest…. Third, governments will face a strong incentive to fight wars on the cheap…. Instead of high-intensity wars, countries may find proxy, information, cyber, and economic warfare more attractive ways to sustain pressure on their adversaries.” • Sounds like what we’re already doing. How about Civil wars?


“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!

* * *

Censorship and Propaganda

“America’s split on whether the pandemic is over” [Axios]. One data point: “A February Axios-Ipsos survey found 17% of adults reported wearing a mask in public, down from 30% a year earlier.” • This in the face of the worst wave of propaganda, and the greatest governing class unity that I’ve ever seen. (And there’s a lot of selection bias against when they’re seen, too; maskers tend to avoid crowds, go when stores are empty, etc., so they do not loom large in the public mind.) If the rule of thumb — and I’m just picking this number at random — is that 10% of the population is resistant to peer pressure (here, we might say “are critical thinkers”) then 17% is impressively above that baseline. To deploy the Margaret Mead quote everybody probably already knows: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Celebrity Watch

“Pope appears unable to climb a few steps as respiratory and mobility problems take their toll” [Associated Press]. “Pope Francis again asked an aide to read his remarks and was unable to get back onto his popemobile Wednesday, as lingering respiratory and mobility problems continued to take their toll on the 87-year-old pontiff…. Last Wednesday, Francis went to the hospital for unspecified diagnostic tests, the results of which have not been released. He has been suffering on and off this winter from what he and the Vatican have said was a cold, bouts of bronchitis and the flu.” • Huh. I wonder what it could be?

* * *

TABLE 1: Daily Covid Charts

National[1] Biobot March 4: Regional[2] Biobot March 4:
Variants[3] CDC March 2 Emergency Room Visits[4] CDC March 2
New York[5] New York State, data February 28 (??): National [6] CDC February 24:
National[7] Walgreens March 4: Ohio[8] Cleveland Clinic March 2:
Travelers Data
Positivity[9] CDC February 12: Variants[10] CDC February 12:
Weekly deaths New York Times March 2: Percent of deaths due to Covid-19 New York Times March 2:


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. (Date for data corrected; it was a glitch.)

[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. UPDATE Given the extraordinary and sudden drop-off, I thought I’d check to see if the population being tested changed in some way. Here are the absolute numbers on February 14, at the edge of the cliff:

And here are the absolute numbers on March 3:

As you can see, there’s an order of magnitude decrease in those testing between those two dates. Was there an event on or about February 14 that is a candidate suggesting an account of this massive shift in behavior? Why yes, yes there is:

“CDC plans to drop five-day covid isolation guidelines” [WaPo] (February 13, 2024).

[8] (Cleveland) Flattening, consistent with Biobot data.

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

[10] (Travelers: Variants) Backward revisions remove NV.1 data. JN.1 dominates utterly.

Stats Watch

Employment Situation: “United States Unemployment Rate” [Trading Economics]. “The unemployment rate in the United States rose by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9% in February 2024, touching the highest level since January 2022 and surpassing market expectations of 3.7%.”

* * *

Tech: “Why Citi is rolling out generative AI to all its developers” [American Banker]. “Citi is evaluating hundreds of other generative AI use cases in areas like operations automation, customer service, fraud detection and office productivity.” • How about accounting control fraud?

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 68 Greed (previous close: 74 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Mar 8 at 1:28:39 PM ET.

Zeitgeist Watch

“The foods that make you more (and less) attractive, according to science” [Metro UK]. “If you’re a sucker for a Full English then it’s good news for you. The hangover cure and breakfast of kings makes men more attractive to the opposite sex. Think sausages, bacon, toast, beans, eggs, hash browns, tomatoes – the full works. The combination of fats and proteins, such as dairy and meats, with fewer refined carbs, is a real hit for men with the ladies. On the other hand, chaps who opt for a more continental breakfast of refined-carbohydrate foods – croissants, waffles, pancakes, pastries muffins and cereals – are apparently less attractive, with scientists branding them a real turn-off.” • The Full English, much beloved by Hubertus Bigend….

News of the Wired

“Having Self-Control Leads to Power” (press release) [UC San Diego]. “In a paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers find that showing self-control influences how powerful an individual is perceived to be by their peers, as well as how much power they are granted by those peers. … The researchers also found that people are perceived as less powerful and less suited for powerful roles when they fail to meet ambitious goals, even if their performance is the same as their peers. In an experiment investigating how self-control often leads to power, a group of undergraduate students interacted with individuals who set various reading goals. Some set an ambitious goal of reading 200 pages each week, while others set a more moderate goal of reading 50 pages per week. All of these individuals read the same amount – 100 pages – but those who didn’t meet their goal were seen as less powerful by study participants. Furthermore, study participants were less interested in having those who didn’t meet their goal as the group leader in later tasks. ‘To motivate their employees, organizations often want employees to set stretch goals – goals that are challenging and hard-to-reach. However, we found that setting a stretch goal and not meeting it makes someone look less powerful than setting an easy goal and surpassing it,’ said Rady School PhD student Shuang Wu, the first author of the paper.” • You say “disempower employees” like that’s a bad thing (and do try to maintain an above-average level of executive function, since that helps one maintain self-control).

* * *

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 M:

M writes: “These are alpine flowers from southwest Montana, taken in early July at approximately 8,400 ft elevation. Photos were taken with a Nikon SLR on a tripod with timer. This is an east-facing hillside cover with Larkspur (purple) and limited Cinquefoil (yellow).”

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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. Feral Finster

    A human I knew with demenita had some lucid moments, too, almost until the very end, even though those moments were ever fewer and farther between.

    Anyway, COVID could be like the Black Death now, and the policy would still be the same, as the ruling class want the public united on the wars and not fighting each other over masks ATM.

      1. CA

        Wow, sobering chart!

        [ Why women in the labor force should have a relatively higher disability experience than men since 2020 is unclear as far as I can tell, but needs to be watched. Still, the disability experience of men and women is sobering. ]

          1. Jason Boxman

            If there was a sex strike, we’d have a resolution to the Pandemic overnight, or an avalanche of sexual violence. Given the timeline, probably the latter.

            With a high incidence of long COVID for women, that also removes unpaid caregivers from the labor force. We’re paying for this coming and going in terms of labor supply, to say nothing of needless human misery and death.

            It’s almost as if fire were discovered, but collectively people decided freezing to death, because that’s how things have always been done, is best. And it’s cheaper than retrofitting hunts for burning wood. So freezing to death is the order of the day! And then there’s liability for getting burned. Who wants to pay for that? Let them freeze!

          2. CA

            IIRC, women are more vulnerable to Long Covid.

            [ I can appreciate this, and will pay close attention. Thank you for the help. ]

          3. jhallc

            Yes, I believe physiological differences are a big factor, but also wondering if it might have something to do with the type of work as well. I’m thinking teachers, health care related, health care support aides, nursing home aides which is all indoors vs. construction, oil field work, farming that is more outdoor focused. Anyway my daughter is a elementary school teacher and she’s had covid twice. No long term impacts thankfully.

  2. flora

    re: “The foods that make you more (and less) attractive, according to science” [Metro UK].

    I believe this.

    “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.”
    ― Blaise Pascal

    It’s just possible that over millennia of human evolution, the guys who had the best foods, fats, meats in their diets attracted the ladies because of an instinctive knowing that children’s chances of survival improved when born under such men’s protection, back when famine was always then a threat. / my two cents.

    1. Blut und Borden

      That seems like pretty flimsy reasoning. Did those theoretical men grow that did themselves or take it from the ones that did? How much safer is a child with a man that killed for his breakfast?

    2. nippersdad

      Breakfast at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid, back when famine for her was still a very real memory:

      Sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, grits, orange juice and whole milk. Grandmother was so exhausted that she just had a cup of coffee and benevolently watched us all tuck in. (She died at ninety six.)…..(The men all died of heart disease at fifty.)

      At mom’s house, where any memory of famine was non existent: “Make yourself some toast while I drink my coffee.” [Brothers in unison] “But, Mom, the toaster doesn’t work!” (She is working on eighty now, and will likely make it to a hundred and fifty)

      At my house, where we are both too lazy to make a breakfast of any sort: “The cokes are over there.” (TBD)

      I think the moral of the story may be that women think men should not outlive their usefulness. You only need a few of them to carry on the species. :)

      1. griffen

        Homemade, scratch biscuits properly made and prepared…nothing better. My grandmother may not have received a high school equivalent education but good lord knows she was educated on how proper Southern cooking was done.

        She used to annually process and can home made batch of sweet pickles too. Delicious to a young un.

  3. Reply

    Christian Nationalism, rolling out just in time for Easter. Imagine the creative marketing campaigns. Really? Didn’t see that one coming.

    1. flora

      I’m really confused about this. The Declation of Independence specifically notes “god given rights” for all at the beginning, as opposing the old aristocratic “divine right” rule by the king and his attendants.

      “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

      I do wonder if this sudden aghastitude about a new bogie by the PMC class about god given, inalienable rights for all listed in the Constitution is an attempt to undermine the basis of the Declaration and the Constitution’s legal authority.

      It’s a clever ploy considering the reframing of rights from “divine rights” for a few to “universal rights” for all was the moral underpinning of the Declaration and Constitution against the Crown. So what established social/political order are these new worriers trying to undermine here with this suddenly, newly found “threat”? / ;)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’m really confused about this. The Declation of Independence specifically notes “god given rights” for all at the beginning, as opposing the old aristocratic “divine right” rule by the king and his attendants.

        “Endowed by their Creator” is Deism. “Nature and Nature’s God” is giving something both to the Deists (“Nature”) and the Christian sects in the colonies at that time (“Nature’s God”). The Framers were politicians, after all. (Note that a believer could easily strike out “Nature and.”)

        The idea in some conservative circles that the United States is a Christian nation, and that the Constitution is a Christian document is ahistorical and pernicious (and has many years of false pastoral teaching and a good deal of funding behind it).

        The aghastitude is not new. I am not a fan of liberal Democrat aghastitude, but the Bush administration was riddled with Christianist nonsense. Turned out Liberty University really wasn’t as good as Harvard or Yale, they had problems with competence (and insufficient numbers). My views of this crowd are covered by Matt 6:1-5.

        1. flora

          Not just W. See also Hillary’s membership in The Fellowship, aka The Family. (Maybe hers was purely transactional politics, but still…) / ;)

          1. ambrit

            What??!! Hillary was one of “G-d’s Whores?”
            Great Googly Moogly! A Federal Foreign Policy based on ‘flighty flirting!’

        2. nippersdad

          “I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!”

          John Adams

          We used to hear a lot about the views of early presidents through civics classes in primary school. Especially when talking about the problems in the Continental Congress caused by having too many sectarian issues. I guess they just don’t teach it any more. This is a good primer on Deism in early American thought.


          1. flora

            I think that’s one of the reasons the 1st Amendment includes freedom of religion, including the freedom from religion.

      2. cfraenkel

        They do the clever reframing with the Bible, so why should the Constitution be any different?

    2. Carolinian

      Sounds like they are having trouble finding enough Christian jihadis. Not even Texas? If this keeps up Handmaid’s Tale will begin to seem a rather silly show based on a book written when religion really was a much more prominent feature of American life. Think the Hays Office re movies.

      1. Feral Finster

        I suspect that “Christian jihadis” is one of those scary stories liberals tell themselves around the campfire or when they need to bully the wavering into voting Team D one more time.

        1. JBird4049

          Christian Nationalists do exist, but it is more of America the Divine Nation, Blessed by God, and guided by American Jesus and his Blessed M-16. Like the Family, it is more that they are well organized and live for The Plan, than their numbers would indicate.

          The problem with far too many Americans is that they insist on some caricature of those other Americans as some Big Bad Army of Evil Degenerates. Then there is the problem of assuming that a single category explains everything about a person. A Catholic is nothing like a Charismatic or a Southern Baptist, just as with gun owners, or liberals, or conservatives, but people insist on being stupidly blind.

          1. Feral Finster

            There’s lots of interesting types that exist, but the CN are about as likely to get real power as I am to become the next Pope.

          2. undercurrent

            I believe that the most recent appointment to the Supreme Court, from her position at Notre Dame, is a Roman Catholic and a charismatic one, at that.

  4. Camelotkidd

    “The Full English, much beloved by Hubertus Bigend….”
    I like the “Pattern Recognition” reference
    One of my favorite Gibson books

    1. lambert strether

      Yes, that entire trilogy is very good. I’m obviously a big fan of Spook Country, too.

  5. Carolinian

    Looking forward to your piece on State of the Union since some of us didn’t have any wild horses to drag us in front of the TV set. Not that Biden should take it personally since I never watch it.

    My MSNBC watching brother tells me they are pushing the Trump is just as gaga as Biden line. Biden’s “I know you are but what am I?” was of course made famous by the late PeeWee Herman (Paul Reubens).

    So if Biden, say, has a shaky legal footing then make that the focus of your attacks and lawfare against Trump. Or if your staff and advisors seem to have excessive loyalty to countries not America then make that your attack on Trump (Hillary can play too). The main thing is that it’s always about Trump. For this to work the press has to be part of the team.

    1. griffen

      I think the press will likely oblige with fawning coverage and praise…New Republic, Atlantic, anything from Krugman or Noah…”see and behold our great ruler,look upon his mighty stature and upright gaze into the bold future…”

      Vomit worthy. I really can wait after all for the election in November…I think.

      1. Feral Finster

        We already are seeing this, Biden as Winston Churchill, Julius Caesar, Solon, FDR, Abraham Lincoln, Solomon the Wise, Jesus Christ and your kindly old grandpa, all rolled into one.

        1. griffen

          I’m gonna wait for his approach or a speech as a “Maximus” like character from fiction…come to save our democracy from peril and extreme danger…

          Are you not entertained! Follow me America, if you wish to live and prosper!…\ sarc

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        Currently ferrying mom(sigh), and she tried to goad me with that sort of thing…note. shes same age as biden,lol…so its “see? No senilty!… just takes more time for the wisdom to come forth!”
        I chewed my tongue…
        Bc its a long way home.
        Grayrocking works

        1. Henry Moon Pie


          I had to go look that one up. Yeah, been there, done that. I think I’ve mentioned Scott Peck’s People of the Lie to you before. Since I’d call his approach psychology from a Christian perspective, there’s still some value there if you strip away the theology. He’s trying to get a handle on a particular personality disorder that affects the people around the afflicted individual more than it seems to bother the sufferer.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I don’t think the ‘Trump is just as gaga as Biden” line is going to work, other than with those already voting for GenocideJoe on the grounds that the alternative would be so much worse (still wondering what those TDS-infected think is worse than genocide….).

      Trump for a very long time has been a logorrhea-inclined blowhard, and he still is. Biden has always been a lying, vicious assclown looking for a fight, and still is. But Trump isn’t tripping and falling or slurring or running into walls or staring blankly into space or licking ice cream like a five year old. Biden is, and the decline is obvious.

      But who are you going to believe, the Democrat party or your own lying eyes?

      1. flora

        The Democrat party has constructed an idealized image of America in their computer models and statistics, and think that is the real America we all live in. Read Krugman on how great is the mighty US economy .

        Then the Dem party attacks anyone living in the real world who points out it’s not so great out here away from their cozy bubble. Everything seems to get a little bit worse year by year, a little more expensive, a little less available, a little more of a hassle, bit by bit. People don’t feel better off now than 4 years ago because they aren’t better off for the most part. The neighborhood isn’t better off. The town isn’t better off. The homeless camps expand, crime expands, and the school systems and health care clinics shrink. Increasing riches at the top at the expense of quality of life for most probably isn’t a data factor in the computer models Krugman uses.

        But yeah, who am I gonna believe, the MSM bubblists or my lyin’ eyes? / my 2 cents

        1. Screwball

          Well said flora.

          I told my buddy; he started the speech talking about war. Probably 70% of America doesn’t care about war but how they are going to pay the bills next week. And it didn’t start until almost 9:30 when most working people need to go to bed.

          It only got worse from there. I still can’t believe our political system is this awful. But I probably should.


      2. Butch

        “Trump for a very long time has been a logorrhea-inclined blowhard, and he still is. Biden has always been a lying, vicious assclown looking for a fight, and still is. But Trump isn’t tripping and falling or slurring or running into walls or staring blankly into space or licking ice cream like a five year old. Biden is, and the decline is obvious.”
        This is the most fun statement I’ve seen in days. May I use it? Often and repeatedly?

    3. Hank Linderman

      There’s plenty to dislike about the SOTU, especially if you’ve read and agree with Thomas Frank’s “Listen, Liberal!” and “The People? No!” – but there’s also what I saw as an earthquake: the shoutout to the UAW and their chief Shawn Fain. Unions may succeed where Occupy Wall Street and BLM have failed – putting together a broad based populist coalition to counter the “extractive economy run by a tiny minority of the wealthiest people.” (Wendell Berry)

      The top concern was Joe’s mental acuity, a moderately serious fumble would have been the end. I had been expecting a brokered convention; that looks to be off the table after last night.


      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        A shoutout is just that. Words. Let’s see some action behind it, not just more “fighting for”. Then you’ll have your earthquake.

      2. britzklieg

        Biden’s been telling the same lies for 5 decades, it’s not mental acuity it’s muscle memory. He’s always been a fraud.

    4. The Rev Kev

      Mentioned in Links that I heard him say something that does not appear in the transcripts that I have read so watching the original – and hopefully not edited version – of his speech is important. Found it really on the nose how he said that he will protect social security when his whole career he has made no secret of the fact that he wants to see it privatized. Just imagining Jamie Dimon gambling with your pension on Wall Street. He started out all bipartisan but as the drugs wore off, he really tore strips off the Republicans. And Putin. And China.

    5. Dr. John Carpenter

      “My MSNBC watching brother tells me they are pushing the Trump is just as gaga as Biden line.”

      Every morning, I usually peruse the headlines that Microsoft Edge wants to force on me, just to keep up with the latest propaganda. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been noticing a definite trend of “Trump’s latest speech casts serious doubts on mental ability” type headlines. A recent one claimed “experts” saw Trump saying Obama instead of Biden as an early sign of dementia. After four years of them gaslighting us about Biden’s mental state, it’s laughable (if predictable) that they now care about Trump’s.

    6. marym

      > pushing the Trump is just as gaga as Biden line

      Pro-Dem/anti-Trump twitter accounts often have video clips from Trump’s speeches that they claim show him losing track of what he was saying, slurring words, seeming medicated, making factual errors (calling someone president of country X who’s actually president of country Y), etc. These are just snippets. CSPAN has transcripts, but they’re from “uncorrected closed captioning” so they’re not necessarily a good indicator on word usage or clarity of speech.


  6. scott s.

    On the review of non-consecutive presidential campaigns, I think it is more correct to list Fillmore as nominee of the “American Party”. As an “old Whig” Fillmore and his allies had the problem of forming a national consensus without support from strident pro or anti Kansas-Nebraska men. All politicians saw the Know Nothing movement as a political block to be courted. Fillmore created the “American Party” to co-opt the movement in the hopes of using it as a base for a non-sectional platform that might appeal to all voters.

    “Contested results, corrupt vote counts, and unresolved accusations surrounded the 1888 campaign.”

    That’s what led states to adopt the “Australian ballot” featuring same day, secret voting. Unfortunately to make voting “easier” we’ve abandoned that with mail-in balloting.

  7. Jason Boxman

    Odd to recall, but the super Tuesday primary party for Sanders was probably the second to last event I attended before the Pandemic lockdown in Boston, such as it was. I recall how disappointing it was, to see Biden blowout that night. What a profound sense of loss and hopelessness. After the Biden endorsement, Sanders been dead to me ever since. I didn’t realize he was even still around.

    The situation continues to get bleaker and bleaker.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Christian Nationalism map–

    The way the responses are sorted/ranked implies that Guttman scaling or similar statistical approaches were used. If so, I’d like to see the coefficient of reproducibility for this survey’s results. The first step should have been to demonstrate that the data derived from this survey in fact substantiates the validity of the ranking of the answers.

    Guttman scaling may be obsolete, I suppose. I used it in college with SPSS on data entered with punched IBM cards to demonstrate that working class voters in Lynn, MA were not as lacking in ideological coherence as the Michigan school of political behavior was contending 50 years ago.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Trump is ordered to pay legal fees after failed lawsuit over the Steele dossier”

    British justice at work again. So this spook makes up a whole bunch of lies and puts into a dossier so that it can be used to undermine a US Presidential election. That fact that Steele has not been extradited to a US prison tells you that this was all part of a transatlantic plot. So Trump sues about these lies but a British judge short-circuits the case on a dodgy justification and tells Trump he has to pay the guy several hundred thousand dollars. The UK had better hope that Trump does not win this November or else he will be gunning for them.

    1. Belle

      The Brits have been Russophobes since the Crimean War. In addition, they have interfered in our elections through various means since John Adams. In 2016, they had two people spying on candidates, Christopher Steele spying on Trump (first for Republicans, then for Clinton, presumably for MI-6 both times), and Simon Bracey-Lane spying on Sanders (fellow with the Integrity Initiative).
      As for Trump gunning for the UK, lest we forget, he did nothing to Ukraine after they interfered!

  10. Tom Stone

    Thankfully the Fibbies are focusing on “Potential Domestic Violent Extremists” or DeeVees, all of whom share one characteristic.
    They are Anti Globalist.
    In America being a Nationalist is suspicious and indicative of potentially deviant behavior.

    Thank goodness we have Men and Women like this to protect us!

    1. digi_owl

      The kinds of nationalists they worry about are those without a government uniform.

      And only is as much that they have made nationalism synonymous with racism, as if the only kind of nation is the one based on shared blood.

  11. kareninca

    I get my health care through an HMO that is part of a large teaching hospital. I got a GP for the first time in my adult life about six years ago through that system and then soon afterwards it became impossible to get any appointments with him. So I have literally not seen him in over five years, but he does answer emails. If I have a problem I go to Urgent Care and usually get a physician’s assistant.

    I have a friend who may have covid and his doctor is refusing to give him Metformin on spec, even though there’s no reason he couldn’t take it safely. I really, really want to have it available if I catch covid, so I decided to brace myself and ask. I wrote to my GP:

    Dear Dr. X,
    I am hoping to be prescribed Metformin to have on hand in case I catch covid. Per a Lancet study that came out in June of 2023, taking Metformin upon contracting covid can reduce the risk of long covid by 41 percent. So far I’ve avoided catching it by wearing an N95, using Xlear nasal spray and taking a daily claritin (I’ve declined the vaccine). I’m required to test weekly for my volunteer position because I am not vaccinated and have never tested positive, so it is unlikely that I’ve had an asymptomatic case (I’ve also never had covid symptoms).
    I realize that it may not be possible for you to write such a prescription, and of course I would understand. But I’d like to know now so that I can find an online prescriber before I actually need the Metformin. It seems unlikely that I will never catch covid.
    Thank you very much,
    X X

    To my astonishment, I heard back within a few hours:
    Dear X, Sure, no problem. I have sent a prescription for metformin to your pharmacy on file.Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any other questions.Sincerely,X X, MD X Family Medicine

    This guy is really smart; one of the reasons he is never actually available is because he is busy running studies. So it is worth checking to see if this is something that it would make sense for one to have on hand. Now, rather than arguing with some an uncooperative doctor when one is sick like my friend is stuck doing.

    1. ambrit

      News we can use!
      Do prescriptions have a “Use By Date?”
      Good luck with living in the Wild West.

      1. kareninca

        I am eager to see what the expiration date is, and whether it is in capsule or tablet form.
        I’ve read that expiration dates can be pushed for some medicines; I’ll be checking that, too.

    2. Jason Boxman

      About two years ago I went on an IVM hunt — you can order it online OTC from TN now, fyi — and I found a NP that does online consults, she runs a pay per appointment or annual access approach, no insurance, and she follows the FLCCC protocol, which includes Metformin. So I’m hopefully good to go. But one shouldn’t have to delve into this to get proper treatment; Only in America! What a sick country:

      (Washington, DC – September 21, 2023) – Over the past two decades obesity rates have climbed for all population groups with certain populations of color experiencing the highest rates, often due to structural barriers to healthy eating and a lack of opportunities and places to be physically active. Nationally, 41.9 percent of adults have obesity. Black and Latino adults have the highest obesity rates at 49.9 percent and 45.6 percent respectively. People living in rural communities have higher rates of obesity than people living in urban and suburban areas.

      Trust for America’s Health sounds like some kind of corrupt lobbying organization or NGO, but I don’t think their figures are egregiously wrong on this.

      In a serious country, this would be seen as a urgent crisis, to discover why so many people are facing such a horrific health challenge, one that’s by and large — or should be — preventable. And that leads to demonstrable worse outcomes in. most cases.

      But not in America, lol. Instead we get stuff like Biden’s cancer moonshot, because it’s individualized health, any breakthrough is likely to be very profitable, it’s heavily publicly funded, so mostly profits for pharma, ect.

      1. kareninca

        That showed initiative on your part. I just went with horse paste; it was easier and cheaper (not medical advice). I still eat a blob before a flight or a dental appointment.

  12. kareninca

    I know a guy from zoom church who is 65 y.o. and who is in stunning physical shape; he rode his bike cross country this past summer and his resting heart rate is around 45 and he is a vegetarian and lives on health food. He has had all of the covid shots and all of the boosters, and wears an N95 at all relevant times, and so far he hasn’t caught covid. But he had periodontal surgery last week and the next day was very sick indeed. Terrible cough, chest infection and very red and oozing eyes. He and I assumed it must be covid, since the symptoms do match. But he keeps testing negative.

    So he went to several doctors, including an eye doctor, and the eye doctor hadn’t seen anything like his eye infection before, and he conferred with his colleagues and concluded that it he has systemic adult Haemophilus influenzae.

    This guy is never, ever sick, but it is 9 days since his symptoms started and he is still a mess. I told him he’d better get on the right antibiotic fast (he’s an a useless one) to avoid sepsis, and that he should see an infectious disease specialist. I wonder if the IgG3 to IgG4 shift is a factor here.

  13. Will

    From the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest daily newspaper:

    What is brain fog — and how can we fight it? Experts share simple ways to regain focus (archived)

    If you’re finding it harder to concentrate, recall memories or grasp new information of late, you may be experiencing “brain fog” — a common and sometimes debilitating condition that has leapt into the spotlight following the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Off to a strong start with the first paragraph telling us brain fog is common (so not really a worry?) and only “sometimes” debilitating. And oh, no causal relation to Covid. The two just happened to follow each other. (Follow, since the pandemic is over.) But to be fair, the second paragraph does make the link between brain fog and Covid, along with a range of other causes, such as lack of sleep and multiple sclerosis.

    Some good facts follow, including decrease in IQ after Covid infection. But all for naught as the article returns to throwing up a $hit storm of ‘useful’ information.

    Common causes of brain fog

    In order to treat brain fog, it’s important to address its root causes, Burke said. These are myriad and can range from daily habits to serious medical conditions.

    One of the most common causes is a lack of sleep, he says — many studies have linked not sleeping enough to cognitive impairments. Specifically, it’s been associated with sleep apnea, and may be a sign of the condition or other sleep disorders.

    Stress and poor mood, including disorders like depression, are also common culprits, Burke explained. It’s also “very commonly reported” among patients living with chronic pain.

    “We also definitely see a lot of patients who report brain fog after concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury,” he continued.

    It’s another two paragraphs before Covid warrants a mention. Quickly followed by a long list of other potential causes, including vitamin deficiency.

    The section ends with this wonderful quote:

    “in a certain subset of people, brain fog can persist for a long period after a head injury or infection,” Burke said. “It probably has to do more with the way that person’s brain is wired to begin with, rather than the insult itself.”

    Yup. It’s all your fault.

    And what are “simple ways to regain focus” promised in the article title? Sleep, exercise and meditation.

    “The number one thing I personally have experienced help patients improve their brain fog symptoms, is good sleep,” Zatar said. “That’s the most important thing.”

    This is just one of several articles this past winter addressing topical medical issues, such as that persistent cough everyone seems to have. Those articles followed the same pattern as above. Including absolutely no mention of trying to avoid Covid since the pandemic is over.

    Just to be clear, I do not blame the writers of those articles or the doctors quoted. I don’t think they are acting in malice. I think they are working from established “facts”:

    1. The pandemic is over because vaccines keep you safe.
    2. Lockdowns were necessary but caused many harms that are still being felt today.

    From there, ever more complex explanations to bring reality in line with the “facts”. Funny, in a horrifying sort of way. I wonder how long before red wine consumption among the Covid cautious is used to explain their better health and cognitive abilities.

  14. JTMcPhee

    Reading Lambert’s opening paras under politics, I took in the phrase “congressional Democrats” and somehow transmogrified that into “congenital Democrats.” And on reflection, that actually seems to make a lot more sense.

    1. ambrit

      If you want ‘sense’ from modern Democrat Party faithful, you will have to consult a focus group (and pay for the privilege.)

  15. Jason Boxman

    An office complex in a Boston suburb just sold for a shocking $25 per sq ft – yes, that’s not a typo

    The 236k sq ft complex in Quincy, MA sold for $6M

    The seller bought the property in 2018 for $43M representing an 86% ‘discount’

    What’s going on in commercial real estate has been insane… they’re giving away office buildings and there are few takers



    And employer I know is moving to a smaller office outside Boston. People just aren’t coming in. This is even after being asked to schedule in person meetings and collaboration when it makes sense and have in person interactions. And getting changed to remote from in office designation suspended.

  16. VTDigger

    “Having Self-Control Leads to Power” hence why pop culture is meant to convince you to abandon all self control.

    Why do you think the powerful live such ‘conservative’ lives privately?

    Team Blue has completely suppressed this virtue.
    Team Red makes appeal to it only when economically advantageous to the business community.

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