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2:00PM Water Cooler 8/12/2022 | naked capitalism

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Hen Music of the Day

White-winged Triller, Western Australia, Australia. Energetic

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Politics

“However what’s authorities itself, however the best of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They’d realized nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

“Right here’s meals for thought, had Ahab time to assume; however Ahab by no means thinks; he solely feels, feels, feels” –Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Biden Administration

“Astonished Democrats set to clear end line with local weather, tax, well being care bundle” [The Hill]. “Home Democrats of all stripes are lining as much as approve the Senate’s $740 billion tax-and-spending bundle on Friday when the decrease chamber returns briefly to Washington, sending the laws to Biden’s desk and securing an enormous win for the president and his get together lower than three months from the midterm elections. It appears seemingly the invoice might clear the Home with out a single Democratic defection, whether or not from the left or heart of the get together. The common accolades mirror, at the very least partly, the Democrats’ astonishment that they’re voting on any main a part of Biden’s home agenda in any respect. Just some weeks in the past, the prospects of enacting an enormous local weather bundle this yr seemed to be useless, buried underneath the opposition of centrist senators — most notably Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — cautious of exacerbating inflation with new federal spending. The invoice’s revival — a deal labored out privately between Manchin and Senate Majority Chief Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) — has drastically expanded the Democrats’ legislative accomplishments underneath Biden, offering them a late political increase as they head into midterm elections which might be anticipated to shift management of the Home to the Republicans. ‘This can be a huge deal. That is historic. And I’m anxious to get it to the ground, cross it and get it to the president’s desk,’ Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Home Guidelines Committee, informed reporters within the Capitol Wednesday evening. ‘Individuals like me wished much more, proper? However the backside line is ,’ he continued. ‘And in another Congress, if we have been to cross one in every of this stuff — one part of what’s on this reconciliation invoice — it will be big.’” • The Democrats have hitherto solely interpreted the world in numerous methods. The purpose, nevertheless, is to alter it.

“Yellen tells IRS to not improve middle-class audits if it will get extra funding” [Reuters]. “Yellen informed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in a letter launched by the Treasury Division that any new IRS personnel ‘shall not be used to extend the share of small enterprise or households beneath the $400,000 threshold which might be audited relative to historic ranges.’ The IRS is a bureau of the Treasury Division. Yellen stated, ‘opposite to the misinformation from opponents of this laws, small enterprise or households incomes $400,000 per yr or much less is not going to see a rise within the possibilities that they’re audited.’”

2022

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NY: “Is Cash Sufficient?” [Ross Barkan, Political Currents]. After all cash is sufficient. What else is there? Extra: “Within the closing weeks of the aggressive race for the open tenth Congressional District in New York Metropolis, a former prosecutor named Dan Goldman has emerged as a front-runner. Most well-known for serving to to question Trump the primary time, Goldman constructed up a big social media following as an MSNBC analyst. He’s a lot telegenic. He appears the a part of a congressman. With a bevy of connections within the enterprise, actual property, and political worlds, he has been a powerful fundraiser. As well as, as a result of he’s an inheritor to the Levi Strauss fortune with a internet price as excessive as $253 million, he can self-fund. Up to now, he has given his marketing campaign $1 million. It’s believable, because the August twenty third date attracts nearer, he’ll unload much more of his personal money on the race. He may need to if he truly desires to win…. Along with Jones and Goldman, who clearly don’t like one another, there are 4 different prime contenders: Metropolis Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon, and former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman. Many imagine the largest issue within the race can be who the editorial board of the New York Occasions decides to endorse. The Occasions is the totem for the extremely educated and well-off, and that describes a superb portion of the Democratic voter base there.”

2024

What can be unsealed, and what is not going to:

So, by way of proof, we don’t actually know something till the affidavit is launched (or till anyone begins leaking). I’m so bored of this. (I hate the “bored of” locution — as an alternative of “tired of” — and I take advantage of it to emphasise how tired of this I’m.)

“‘It Might Be Something’: Specialists Inform Us What Type of Nuclear Secrets and techniques Trump Might Steal” [Vice]. “The issue is, due to the way in which nuclear secrecy works within the U.S., it’s doable Trump took one thing with out realizing it was labeled. Presidents have carried out related issues earlier than almost about nuclear secrets and techniques. I reached out to a number of nuclear weapons specialists, and so they all informed me the identical factor: They’d no thought what it was, and the checklist of potentialities was monumental. The class of “labeled paperwork regarding nuclear weapons” is so broad as to be meaningless…. The nuclear secrets and techniques the FBI is searching for might be innocuous, or they might be world-shattering. The probabilities are so massive that there’s no option to know. Traditionally, the implications for stealing nuclear secrets and techniques in America are fairly dire. Early Trump lawyer and mentor Roy Cohn made his profession by prosecuting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for stealing nuclear secrets and techniques and passing them to the Soviet Union. Cohn received the case, and the Rosenbergs have been executed within the electrical chair.” • Lol.

“Occasion venues (like Trump’s Mar-a-Lago) usually are not good locations to retailer nuclear secrets and techniques” [Philip Bump, WaPo]. “On Monday, as you might be little doubt conscious, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and procured a lot of containers of fabric from the property. It was the most recent stage in a protracted effort to safe materials that Trump took with him when he left workplace, together with, it appears, labeled paperwork. Amongst these, The Washington Publish reported Thursday night, been ones pertaining to nuclear weapons.” • Oh. Let the walkback start!

“The Draw back for Garland in Talking” [Andrew McCarthy, National Review]. “So here’s what persons are occupied with: Did Trump do one thing hostile or uncooperative which left Garland no cheap different however to hunt a warrant — one thing price blowing up a 230-year norm of not utilizing hardball investigative ways towards a former president of the USA? And is Garland positive there was possible reason for a criminal offense right here that justify the issuance of a search warrant? If Garland had made no assertion, we’d assume affirmative solutions to those questions. We’d assume that he simply wasn’t explicitly offering such solutions as a result of (a) the DOJ doesn’t converse publicly about investigations, and (b) he acquired a magistrate-judge to signal the warrant, so he can financial institution on the courtroom’s discovering of possible trigger. However he did converse. In the event you’re going to talk, you’ve acquired to handle the questions that truly matter to folks. He didn’t. Within the meantime, Trump is talking. He says he cooperated with the FBI and the DOJ and is shocked that, after two months of silence, they instantly went to DEFCON 5 with a warrant to rifle by his dwelling. When Garland speaks however doesn’t refute, and even try and refute, what the previous president has stated publicly, it’s cheap for folks to infer that he’s not able to rebut Trump’s claims. One closing, associated level. The extra one thinks about it, the extra unbelievable plainly the White Home knew nothing about this. The Justice Division — specifically, these leaking on its behalf — speaks as if the problem right here have been the peril the nation could be in if the intelligence in Trump’s possession fell into the fallacious fingers. That’s not a law-enforcement drawback; it’s a national-security drawback. Even when Biden have been proper that he mustn’t ever “intervene” within the Justice Division’s work (and he’s constitutionally illiterate on this level as a result of the Justice Division workouts his energy as his delegate), we aren’t speaking right here about political interference within the administration of justice. We’re speaking concerning the protection of the USA from hostile forces. That is likely one of the president’s essential duties — in all probability his most consequential and solemn obligation. So how does Garland not inform Biden? I can consider 1,000,000 issues they could have carried out wanting a search warrant. However I can’t consider a single situation wherein, if the details are as authorities sources declare they’re, Biden wouldn’t have been within the loop.” • My reactionary previous grandfather learn the Nationwide Overview. Now I’m [bangs head on desk].

“Trump Hires #BillionDollarLawyer” [New York Times]. “Amid a deepening swirl of federal and state investigations, former President Donald J. Trump has employed a outstanding Atlanta lawyer to characterize him in a prison inquiry into election interference in Georgia. The lawyer, Drew Findling, has represented an array of rap stars together with Cardi B, Gucci Mane and Migos, and is understood by the hashtag #BillionDollarLawyer. However he’s additionally nicely regarded for a variety of prison protection work that he has carried out in Georgia, and his hiring underscores the seriousness of the investigation — in addition to the potential authorized jeopardy for Mr. Trump.” • I’ve been muttering for awhile that Georgia was much more harmful to Trump than any of the opposite election-related occasions. Seems to be like Trump believes this too,

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“An uncommon deal gave Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin $8.5 million in money and tax-free standing to his virtually $200 million in inventory, a lawsuit says” [NBC]. “In January 2020, Glenn Youngkin, now the Republican governor of Virginia, acquired some welcome information. A posh company transaction had gone by on the Carlyle Group, the highly effective personal fairness firm that Youngkin led as co-chief government. Underneath the deal, accredited by the Carlyle board and code-named ‘Mission Phoenix,’ he started receiving $8.5 million in money and exchanged his virtually $200 million stake within the firm for an equal quantity of tax-free shares, in keeping with courtroom paperwork. … Now, that transaction is underneath assault by a Carlyle shareholder in Delaware Chancery Court docket. The go well with, filed final week by town of Pittsburgh Complete Municipal Pension Belief Fund, says the $344 million deal harmed Carlyle’s stockholders, who acquired nothing in return after they funded the payday. In the meantime, the Carlyle insiders who acquired the payouts escaped a tax invoice that might have exceeded $1 billion, in keeping with the criticism, which accuses Rubenstein, Youngkin and different Carlyle officers of lining their very own pockets on the expense of individuals like law enforcement officials and firefighters.”

Republican Funhouse

“‘Cease the Steal’ Is a Metaphor” [The Atlantic]. “Elaine Godfrey: Inform me what connection you see between the Tea Get together motion that you just studied and the Trump-inspired Cease the Steal effort. Theda Skocpol: There’s a particular line. Opinion polls inform us that individuals who participated in or sympathized with the Tea Get together—some teams are nonetheless assembly—have been disproportionately indignant about immigration and the lack of America as they comprehend it. They turned core supporters of Trump. I’m fairly sure that some organizations that have been Tea Get together–labeled helped set up Cease the Steal stuff. Trump has expanded the attraction of an indignant, resentful ethno-nationalist politics to youthful whites. However it’s the identical outlook.”

Democrats en Déshabillé

I’ve moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Get together (“the Democrat Get together is a rotting corpse that may’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I’ll periodically add materials, summarizing the addition right here in a “stay” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It seems that defining the Democrat Get together is, in truth, a tough drawback. I do assume the paragraph that follows is on level all the way in which again to 2016, if not earlier than:

The Democrat Get together is the political expression of the category energy of PMC, their base (lucidly defined by Thomas Frank in Pay attention, Liberal!). ; if the Democrat Get together didn’t exist, the PMC must invent it. . (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” after all.) Second, all of the working components of the Get together reinforce one another. Go away apart characterizing the relationships between parts of the Get together (ka-ching, however not totally) these parts comprise a community — a Flex Internet? An iron octagon? — of funders, distributors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with property within the press and the intelligence neighborhood.

Be aware, after all, that the category energy of the PMC each expresses and is restricted by different lessons; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial mannequin’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to thoughts. Suck up, kick down.

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“Beau Biden (Child) Is My Lovely New Child” [Gawker]. The deck: “I need to smooch my new king.” • Properly, it’s Gawker. However.

“Josephine Baker Was the Star France Wished—and the Spy It Wanted” [The New Yorker] • Hearken to Black girls! Particularly after they’re spooks! (No knock on Baker; it’s solely that the New Yorker and its readers… have misplaced their minds.

“Holder Discusses Ongoing Battle for Voting Rights at Winery Writer Sequence” [Vineyard Gazette]. “Ms. Smith then requested Mr. Holder if he would cost Donald Trump and his allies for his or her position within the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. To reply that query, Mr. Holder turned to Lanny Breuer, the previous head of the prison division on the DOJ, who was sitting within the crowd. ‘So Lanny, would we convey this case?” Mr. Holder requested. ‘We’d convey it in a minute,’ Mr. Breuer responded.” • Lol. This basic parody video of Lanny Breuer describes his position within the Nice Monetary Crash very precisely:

#COVID19

I give them awards, however they maintain begging for extra:

And:

Why are these folks smiling?

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• Maskstravaganza:

• Maskstravaganza:


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In the event you missed it, right here’s a submit on my queasiness with CDC numbers, particularly case depend, which I (nonetheless) contemplate most essential, regardless of what Walensky’s psychos at CDC who invented “community levels” assume. However these are the numbers we now have.

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Case Rely

Case depend for the United States:

It’s virtually as if the West and the South dance the identical stately quadrille as Texas and Florida.

Instances are undercounted, one supply saying by a factor of six, Gottlieb thinking we only pick up one in seven or eight.) Therefore, I take the case depend and multiply it by six to approximate the actual degree of circumstances, and draw the DNC-blue “Biden Line” at that time. The earlier depend was ~108,700. Immediately, it’s ~102,600 and 102,600 * 6 = a Biden line at 615,600 per day. That’s moderately plenty of circumstances per day, when you concentrate on it. (Keep in mind these information factors are weekly averages, so every day fluctuations are smoothed out.) The black “Fauci Line” is a counter to triumphalism, because it compares present ranges to previous crises. A minimum of we now have affirmation that the extraordinary mass of case anecdotes we’ve seen have a foundation in actuality. Nevertheless, I’m not seeing the quantity of anecdotes I did on the Twitter. What are readers experiencing?

Regional case count for 4 weeks:

The South:

The South (minus Texas and Florida):

Encouraging on Georgia and North Carolina. In the meantime, South Carolina discovered some circumstances in a drawer? I suppose we’ll have to attend every week to search out out!

The West:

As a verify on the California case information, right here is San Diego wastewater as of August 10 (an enormous information dump at this time):

We are able to see that case counts tracked wastewater properly beginning again in Fenruary 2021. As of ~July 15, 2022, they diverged. Why? (The identical can be true for Encina and South Bay, though the curves are formed in another way.) Do we now have any California wastewater experts who can observe down whether or not the identical is going on in different cities? (We want the case depend vs. wastewater comparability, not simply wastewater.) Is that this an attention-grabbing catch, or only a glitch?

UPDATE New information, and the wastewater depend drops (although not in alignment in circumstances). San Diego is each a vacationer city, and near the Mexican border (i.e., employees come from over the border). The surge begins July 4 and peaks roughly August 1. There are a number of events over that span — July Fourth Fireworks, Pleasure, ComicCon — I’m questioning if we might have noticed the primary peak within the wild the place the contaminated are vacationers, who don’t present up as circumstances or in hospitals? Readers, is that this believable?

NOTE To be honest, Santa Clara County covid figures are persistently down, far more in keeping with the case information. Ditto Los Angeles County (though CDC stories “no current information” on its wastewater map; maybe CDC is attached to this project from the California Department of Public Health, the place there isn’t any Los Angeles information charted after April 20 [bangs head on desk].) Neither have case information comparisons.

Positivity

From the Walgreen’s test positivity tracker, August 9:

0.4%. (I ponder if there’s a Keynesian Magnificence Contest impact, right here; that’s, if folks encounter a sympotomatic individual, whether or not of their social circle or in regular exercise, they’re extra prone to get a check, as a result of they imagine, appropriately, that it’s extra seemingly they are going to be contaminated.) Beginning to seem like positivity has peaked, at the very least for Walgreen’s check inhabitants.

Transmission

NOTE: I shall most definitely not be utilizing the CDC’s new “Community Level” metric. As a result of CDC has mixed a number one indicator (circumstances) with a lagging one (hospitalization) their new metric is a poor warning signal of a surge, and a poor option to assess private danger. As well as, Covid is a illness you don’t need to get. Even if you’re not hospitalized, you possibly can undergo from Lengthy Covid, vascular points, and neurological points. For these causes, case counts — identified to be underestimated, resulting from dwelling check kits — deserve to face alone as a quantity to be tracked, regardless of how a lot the political operatives in CDC management wish to obfuscate it. That the “inexperienced map” (which Topol calls a “capitulation” and a “deception”) remains to be up and being taken critically verges on the prison. Use the neighborhood transmission instantly beneath.

Right here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to neighborhood transmission. (That is the map CDC wants only hospitals to look at, not you.)

Some blue in flyover. Some orange in Maine, yellow in Nevada. Enhancing!

NOT UPDATED Fast Riser information, by county (CDC), August 10:

I’m virtually able to say “All is quiet.” Boy howdy, does that really feel bizarre. I suppose that if circumstances are certainly degree, it’s seemingly there could be few fast risers.

Earlier Fast Riser information:

NOT UPDATED Hospitalization information, by state (CDC), August 10:

Unstable. What’s up with the Northeast?

Lambert right here: When the minimize the frequency of those stories, they stated the stories would come out Wednesday and Friday. Ah nicely. Get pleasure from performing your weekend private danger assessments with out present information.

Variants

Lambert right here: It’s past irritating how sluggish the variant information is. I regarded for extra charts: California doesn’t to a BA.4/BA.5 breakdown. New York does however it, too, is on a molasses-like two-week cycle. Does no person within the public well being institution get a promotion for monitoring variants? Are there no grants? Is there a single lab that does this work, and all people will get the outcomes from them? Further sources from readers welcome [grinds teeth, bangs head on desk].

NOT UPDATED Variant information, nationwide (Walgreens), July 30:

NOT UPDATED Variant information, nationwide (CDC), July 23 (Nowcast off):

BA.5 transferring alongside properly.

Wastewater

Wastewater information (CDC), August 8:

Many extra orange dots, which is nice information.

Lambert: I added gray. Gray, not on the legend at backside proper, is “No current information.” How is there no current information for New York Metropolis, a significant worldwide hub and already the epicenter of at the very least one surge? How is there none for upstate New York, which solely just lately was filled with rapid-riser counties? The identical with West Virginia, Michigan, and Oregon. If I have been the paranoid kind, I’d theorize that CDC moved in on the one correct information supply we’ve acquired, with a view to corrupt and destroy it.

Lambert right here: Maine additionally has gray dots, so its drop in transmission (CDC) though rise in positivity (Walgreens) can’t be confirmed. What a PITA.

Deaths

Demise fee (Our World in Data):

Lambert right here: If in truth the drop in circumstances is actual, as CDC appears to imagine, we should always begin seeing deaths, which lag, drop round September 1.

Total: 1,061,346 – 1,060,755 = 591 (365 * 591 = 215,715; at this time’s new regular. Fluctuates fairly a bit, however even the low numbers are unhealthy). I’ve added an anti-triumphalist black Fauci Line. It’s good that for deaths I’ve a easy, every day chart that simply retains chugging alongside, in contrast to every little thing else CDC and the White Home are screwing up or letting go darkish, good job.

Alert reader Deschain asks: “Is it simply me or do COVID deaths seem like a cup-and-handle formation?” I don’t know. Readers?

Stats Watch

There are not any official statistics of curiosity at this time.

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Tech: “Amazon’s Roomba Deal Is Actually About Mapping Your House” [Bloomberg]. “Amazon.com Inc. hasn’t simply purchased a maker of robotic vacuum cleaners. It’s acquired a mapping firm. To be extra exact: an organization that may make maps of your property. The corporate introduced a $1.7 billion deal on Friday for iRobot Corp., the maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner. And sure, Amazon will earn cash from promoting these devices. However the actual worth resides in these robots’ potential to map your home. As ever with Amazon, it’s all concerning the information. A sensible dwelling, you see, isn’t truly terribly good. It solely is aware of that your Philips Hue lightbulbs and linked tv are in your sitting room since you’ve informed it as a lot. It definitely doesn’t know the place precisely the units are inside that room. The extra it is aware of a few given area, the extra tightly it could choreograph the way in which they work together with you.” • I don’t assume it’s choreography that’s the purpose…

The Economic system:


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Immediately’s Worry & Greed Index: 54 Impartial (earlier shut: 52 Impartial) [CNN]. One week in the past: 49 (Impartial). (0 is Excessive Worry; 100 is Excessive Greed). Final up to date Aug 11 at 1:03 PM EDT. Mr. Market crusing on Darkish Brandon?

Groves of Academe

“Inside Lockheed Martin’s Sweeping Recruitment on School Campuses” [In These Times]. “To an informal observer, the Black Hawk and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters could have appeared incongruous touchdown subsequent to the coed union on the College of Connecticut’s pastoral inexperienced campus, however this explicit Thursday in September 2018 was Lockheed Martin Day, and the plane have been the primary attraction.: • ”Lockheed Martin Day”?

Class Warfare

Good thread on the WASPs:

I don’t “determine as” a WASP. I am one.

They hate you. They actually hate you:

Information of the Wired

“Have Students Lastly Deciphered a Mysterious Historical Script?” [Smithsonian]. “Immediately, solely a handful of millennia-old scripts stay unreadable. Because of a staff of European students led by French archaeologist Francois Desset, one of many final holdouts would possibly lastly be deciphered: Linear Elamite, an obscure system utilized in what’s now Iran…. Elam was a part of the world’s first surge of cities to make use of written symbols to manage an more and more complicated society…. Writing techniques make use of a lot of strategies to precise a spoken language. English, for instance, makes use of Latin letters to precise explicit sounds, whereas Chinese language is predicated on footage, or logograms, with particular meanings…. Cuneiform and hieroglyphics use symbols denoting each sounds and logograms. However Desset argues that Linear Elamite takes an strategy extra like the trendy alphabet. He concludes that the script attracts solely on syllables, making it the oldest identified writing system to take action.” • Attention-grabbing.

Ever useful:


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Contact data for crops: Readers, be at liberty to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) learn the way to ship me a verify if you’re allergic to PayPal and (b) to learn the way to ship me photos of crops. Greens are advantageous! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary crops! In order for you your deal with to seem as a credit score, please place it firstly of your mail in parentheses: (thus). In any other case, I’ll anonymize through the use of your initials. See the earlier Water Cooler (with plant) here. From RM:

RM writes: “A pair poppies popped out this morning on my morning stroll. They’re so flashy and so they seem like they need to be on the town moderately than the place the cows graze.”

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