2:00PM Water Cooler 1/12/2021 | naked capitalism

by nyljaouadi1
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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, as you know, my workflow woes will only be solved when Apple gives me back control of the iPad I paid them for, eight days from now (on Inauguration Day, oddly). Nice timing, with an overwhelming mass of material from the Capitol seizure. Please check back at 3:00 or so for more material on that, plus at long last some thoughts from me. Sorry for the slowness. Also, comments have returned; please see Yves here. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

The bird singing and that buzzing insect really conjure up the prairie.

#COVID19

At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

I feel I’m engaging in a macabre form of tape-watching, because I don’t think the peak is coming in the next days, or even weeks. Is the virus gathering itself for another leap?

I finally cajoled the 91-DIVOC UI into giving me hospitalization, positivity, fatalities, and above all vaccination, besides case count nationally and in the Big States. I’ll mess around more with them during the week to improve them. I think the new UI will allow me to integrate more data series legibly, especially vaccination.

Vaccination by region:

The South is the national champion for vaccination, so far.

Case count by United States region:

Big states (New York, Florida, Texas, California):

Oh, California!

Test positivity:

Nowhere near 3%, anywhere.

Hospitalization:

Big jump in Northeast hospitalization, but perhaps its reporting. Hospitalization is discretionary; they may also be reducing their admissions rate — relative to cases we cannot see in this data! — to preserve future capacity; or because hospitals have figured out how to send people home. –>

Case fatality rate (plus deaths):

Fatality rate looking a little better, though still not as good as two months ago.

* * *

NY: “New York state will open Covid vaccinations to everyone 65 and over, Gov. Cuomo says” [CNBC]. “Cuomo said further expanding to those 65 and older will open the eligibility to about 7 million people, but the state is only receiving about 300,000 doses per week… Cuomo said the state is still dealing with a ‘drip, drip, drip from the faucet of federal dosage availability,’ which is inhibiting the state’s ability to vaccinate people. The federal government has been withholding more than half of all available vaccine doses to ensure that there’s enough for second booster shots needed to achieve maximum immunity. But the Trump administration will announce Tuesday that the government will begin distributing those doses to states, a senior administration official told CNBC.” • Oy. Pouring more water into a clogged sink doesn’t unclog it. We’re looking at a last mile problem, not a supply problem. That would be the better problem to have!

OR: “Oregon COVID-19 cases creep upward, raising questions about post-holiday surge” [OregonLive]. “Oregon reported 1,225 new cases of COVID-19 Sunday, part of a trend of increasing cases that started in the week after Christmas. The rolling seven-day average of new cases stood at 898 on Dec. 30. But it has increased slightly — to an average of 1,032 on Sunday — raising questions of whether holiday travel and indoor celebrations are the culprit that’s nudging numbers up. State officials haven’t officially declared a ‘post-holiday surge’ is underway, but they do say coronavirus transmission had been ‘decreased dramatically’ between late November and mid-December before starting an upward trajectory.”

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Inaugural

“Troops Flood a Rattled Washington Ahead of the Biden Inauguration” [New York Times]. “Law enforcement authorities, responding to threats of violence before the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, will deploy up to 15,000 National Guard troops to the nation’s capital and set up checkpoints in the city to avoid the botched response that helped rioters overrun the Capitol last week. Sixteen groups — some of them armed and most of them hard-line supporters of President Trump — have registered to stage protests in Washington, prompting deep concern among federal officials about an event that has historically been a packed celebration of American democracy. … Despite the increasing alarm, Mr. Biden’s inaugural committee said he was determined to make an outdoor appearance at the event to call on a divided nation to come together at a time of political and public health crisis. The inauguration’s theme is ‘America United. Mr. Biden also plans to visit Arlington National Cemetery with three former presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — adding another challenge for federal law enforcement authorities…. Fliers circulated in encrypted WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram groups over the weekend calling for an ‘armed march on Capitol Hill and all state capitols’ at noon Jan. 17. The fliers, which include the instruction to ‘come armed at your personal discretion,’ also appeared on the chat sites Gab and Parler, which have attracted far-right voices. Various local militia groups in states like Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan have posted calls on those platforms for their members to come out in force.” • Speaking of those fliers–

“Who Is Behind the Planned “Armed March on Capitol Hill” and Is It a Deep State Plot?” [Gateway Pundit]. I rarely look at right-wing sites, and this is not an impressive site or post. “For the record, these “armed protests” in the coming days ARE NOT sanctioned by the Trump Campaign. We are looking more into who is behind this movement.” • Then there’s a look at one of the flyers for the event, which includes the word “boogaloo.” “Are people really that stupid to put ‘boogaloo’ in their social media posts?” • Well, first, I don’t see why not, and second, clearly any intelligence behind this movement lies elsewhere.

“Trump declares state of emergency in DC ahead of Biden’s inauguration as police reveal three more plots to attack the Capitol – including the ‘largest armed protest to take place on American soil’ – as FBI warns of armed unrest in ALL 50 states” [Daily Mail]. “Donald Trump last night declared a state of emergency in Washington D.C. as police revealed three plots to attack the Capitol ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration – including the ‘largest armed protest in American history.’ It comes as the FBI alerted its staff to possible uprisings at capitols in all 50 states ahead of Inauguration Day, particularly if Trump is removed from office before Biden enters the White House. Trump’s declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate with local authorities as Democrats had been furiously demanding.” • No detail on the three plots.

Capitol Seizure

“Director of Army Staff disputes Capitol Police chief account of National Guard deployment” [The Hill]. “Lt. Gen. Walter Piatt, the director of the Army Staff, on Monday disputed former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund’s account of how and when the National Guard was deployed to assist with Wednesday’s Capitol riots, saying that he did not push back against calls for deployment. The top Army official contradicted what Sund told The Washington Post occurred on a conference call between officials. Piatt said that ‘as soon as’ Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy received the request from the Capitol Police to deploy the National Guard, ‘he ran to the Acting Secretary of Defense’s office to request approval.’…. Piatt said authorization to activate the National Guard came ‘approximately forty minutes after that call initiated,’ though the first National Guard personnel did not arrive on the scene until 5:40 p.m., after four of the five deaths amid the riot had already occurred.” • I think, in all of this, we need to remember that the press and the political class are players. They have same personnel and interests after the Capitol seizure as they did before, and that anything they say needs to be taken with a dose of salts. Hence I tried yesterday to get as much granular and on-the-ground information as I could.

“How Trump’s pied pipers rallied a faithful mob to the Capitol” [Reuters]. “Weeks before mobs besieged the Capitol building in Washington, a bright red bus crisscrossed the United States, emblazoned with a huge image of President Donald Trump in suit and tie with a clenched fist above his shoulder…. At more than 25 stops – in parking lots and airplane hangers in states including Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Tennessee – flight-attendant-turned-political-activist Amy Kremer and other speakers exhorted crowds to join her and others in Washington to fight for Trump and overturn the election. The story of how the pied-pipers of Trumpism enlisted supporters illustrates . The crowds that rally organizers recruited were joined in Washington by more radical right-wing groups that have increasingly become a fixture at pro-Trump demonstrations – including white supremacists and devotees of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which casts Trump as a savior figure and elite Democrats as a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles and cannibals. Others among the diverse array of promoters for post-election Trump protests included a pillow magnate, a right-wing college students’ organization, the newly formed activist network Stop the Steal and an upstart broadcasting group begun by a stay-at-home dad who devoted himself to chronicling Trump rallies, according to a Reuters examination of disclosure records and interviews with protest organizers.” And: “Many in the crowd of thousands took that fight to the Capitol Police with far more than fiery rhetoric, battling officers with a makeshift arsenal that included metal pipes, wooden poles with embedded nails, aluminum baseball bats, a hockey stick, a wooden door ripped off its hinges, and a coffee table, according to Reuters photographers at the scene and other videos posted online. One American flag waver bludgeoned an officer repeatedly with the flagpole as fellow rioters dragged the cop from the building and down a set of outside steps.” • This is the best aggregation of detail I have yet seen.

“Yes, It Was a Coup Attempt. Here’s Why.” [Fiona Hill, Politico]. “I’ve been studying authoritarian regimes for three decades, and I know the signs of a coup when I see them. Technically, what Trump attempted is what’s known as a ‘self-coup.’ Nicolas Maduro perpetrated a self-coup in Venezuela after losing the 2017 elections…. There’s a standard coup “checklist” analysts use to evaluate coups, and we can use it to assess Trump’s moves to prevent the peaceful transfer of executive power. To successfully usurp or hold power, you need to control the military and paramilitary units, communications, the judiciary, government institutions, and the legislature; and mobilize popular support.” • Hill then systemically goes through the checklist and demonstrates that all of her items are hypotheticals. Honestly, if Hill had been handling some Ukrainian coupsters, and one of them stole the Legislature’s lectern and put it on eBay, she’d be off the fascist coup desk permanently. I don’t mean to minimize the event, just to point out that when a national security goon wants to apply her goonish priors to domestic politics, a hermeneutic of suspicion is well-warranted. I note also that Hill does not have a job with the Biden administration.

“What Just Happened?” [Patrick Wyman, Perspectives]. Key point: “The same cast of characters will show up again and again. This ties directly into the last point: The people involved don’t go away afterward. They stick around, becoming key cogs in the next thing, and the thing after that…. People with experience in the last thing usually take part in the next. That’s one of the key takeaways from my fellow history podcaster Mike Duncan’s lovely book The Storm Before the Storm, on the opening phases of the downfall of the Roman Republic: It’s the same people, over and over again. Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus, the three members of the First Triumvirate, were all heavily involved in the prior round of civil wars and disturbances; Crassus led troops for Sulla, Pompey first gained fame as Sulla’s “teenaged butcher,” and Marius, Sulla’s great rival, was Caesar’s uncle. Old grudges carried forward; one line crossed led to another, from the executions of senators to massacres in Rome itself, until finally only the Rubicon was left. We know what happened next…. The only thing that matters now is whether we allow this to become normal, part of the cost of doing business, or whether we re-draw the lines to emphasize that it’s completely unacceptable. If violent extremists want to be violent extremists, they’ll find ways, but we can make those would attempt to benefit from their violence pay the price for their allegiance…. If there’s a lesson to draw from history here, it’s that only consequences – visible and serious consequences – will contain the damage.” • As Ritholtz points out:

Just maybe we shouldn’t have given Hitler a Space Force and more Pentagon money that he asked for. #JustSaying…

* * *

Here are a few ill-formed thoughts on the Capitol seizure and its aftermath.

First, I think the essential question is not “Is this a coup?” but “Is this a fascist inflection point?” Scholar of Fascism Robert Paxton proposes five stages: “(1) the initial creation of fascist movements; (2) their rooting as parties in a political system; (3) the acquisition of power; (4) the exercise of power; and, finally, in the longer term, (5) radicalization or entropy.” We might regard the Capitol seizure as a botched — first? — attempt as a transition between stages (2) and (3). (I do not agree with the definition of fascism as the merger of corporations and the state, because in the ruling class the two are always merged; Gramsci urges that the state and civil society can be seperated only as objects of study. Janine Wedel would agree. I also do not agree that fascism is a European phenomenon; in fact, I think that fascism originated in the post-Civil War South.)

Paxton regards “a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants” as an essential aspect of fascism. I do not think that can be said to be the case today, but the presence of police and lower-ranking military personnel at every level of the Capitol seizure is very, very concerning. (Of course, these “militants” do not have the scale of the defeated troops of the Central Powers who came home after the war and formed paramilitary groups after World War I; or the defeated Confederate soldiers who formed the KKK.)

In my view, therefore, the absolute strategic priority to preserve the Republic would be making sure that a body of “nationalist militants” is never allowed to form. (I should say that I don’t know how to prevent this, at least today; the only present-day parallel I can think of, which may be apocryphal, is when Yassir Arafat sponsored an intelligence operation to defang his (male) militant wing by getting them married and settled down. A more typical American solution would be to throw money at them; if Ashli Babbitt’s business had succeeded she might be alive today. I doubt means-tested tax breaks would do the trick, though.) That said, it isn’t clear to me that the liberal Democrat wing currently in the ascendance has the strategic or operational capability to do this.

Strategically, the overwhelming desire — lust is not to strong a word — of liberal Democrats is to separate themselves from Republicans in the manner of taboo; hence the tactics of moralizing, punishing, shunning, shaming, the emotions of disgust, hatred, and fear, and so forth. (I admit that Republicans not masking when both parties were trapped together for hours in a closed room, which led to Jayapal becoming infected with Covid, is indeed something to be ashamed of.) The same applies to deplatforming them (though the noble efforts of Silicon Valley no doubt have more to do with the change in administration than anything else). The difficulty with a taboo that separates liberal Democrats from conservatives (modulo the pathetic Never Trumpers) is that conservatives will become even more homogenous in terms of both ideology and tactics. Hitherto, the militant right — which I am identifying, rightly or wrongly, with the militias and the Bundy types — has been marked by an almost Protestant-level of schisms and fragmentation. The liberal Democrat shaming and shunning strategy seems almost guaranteed to unify the militias with each other, and them with the conservative mainstream, creating “a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants,” which, for all its faults, today’s Republican Party is not.

Operationally, there is an overwhelming cry by liberal Democrats that Capitol seizure participants — who conservatives will surely come to regard as proxies for themselves if they do not already — be hunted down and punished. That’s fine, I suppose, for those who took selfies of themselves — why? — breaking the law, but how does it scale? Quis custodiet ipses? How do liberal Democrats invoke the police power of the State against militants when police officers, in many cases, are those militants? Perhaps through the intelligence community and the press, as with RussiaGate? Perhaps through leveraging the platforms? Perhaps through financialization? The liberal Democrat lust to punish and their ability to do so seems out of synch, particularly if “committed nationalist militants” are targeting a mass of millions of Trump voters.

I don’t know. Readers, thoughts?

Transition from Trump

“Trump defends remarks before Capitol riots, calling them ‘totally appropriate’” [The Hill]. “President Trump on Tuesday said his remarks to supporters just before they stormed the U.S. Capitol last week were ‘totally appropriate,’ even as they have become the basis for an article of impeachment against him. ‘They’ve analyzed my speech and my words and my final paragraph, my final sentence, and everybody, to the T, thought it was totally appropriate,’ Trump told reporters as he departed Joint Base Andrews to visit the border with Mexico.” • We had vetting. We had the best vetting.

“Trump dropped by biggest lender Deutsche Bank for future business: NYT” [Reuters]. “Deutsche Bank will not do business in the future with U.S. President Donald Trump or his companies in the wake of his supporters’ assault on the U.S. Capitol, the New York Times reported.”

Transition to Biden

“Sanders to wield gavel as gatekeeper for key Biden proposals” [The Hill]. “As Budget chair, Sanders will have the opportunity to shape each reconciliation bill. He addressed that new role on Tuesday. ‘In the past, Republicans used budget reconciliation to pass massive tax breaks for the rich and large corporations with a simple majority vote,’ Sanders tweeted. ‘As the incoming Chairman of the Budget Committee, I will fight to use the same process to boldly address the needs of working families.’” • “Fight to,” ugh. Plus, Sanders and Manchin, a marriage made in heaven. Nevertheless, better than a slap in the belly with a wet fish.

“Biden’s Covid vaccine distribution plan still in flux days before inauguration” [CNN]. “One source close to Biden’s Covid task force and privy to the team’s planning said a number of different ideas to accomplish mass vaccination are being discussed, though those plans remain in flux. The source said even with a lot more aid from the federal government, individual states would still call the shots depending on each of its vaccination needs and how they choose to utilize the serves of the government. Private pharmacies would also continue to have a large role to play, that source said. Some of the challenges on that front include simply having enough medical personnel on site to observe patients for 15 to 30 minutes after they’ve been vaccinated, which requires a lot of manpower and physical space. Biden’s publicly stated goal of getting 100 million shots done in his first 100 days in office is seen as “doable,” this source said, but will require the federal government, individual states and private companies to work together seamlessly — a dynamic that currently does not exist now, they said.”

“Anna Wintour on the Kamala Harris Cover” [New York Times]. “[WINTOUR:] And the picture was taken by a wonderful young photographer, Tyler Mitchell, who had previously photographed Beyonce for us, and also a wildly successful December cover of Harry Styles. And he had the wonderful idea of putting her in front of the colors of her sorority, which are sort of like a pink and a green. And she’s standing in a black pantsuit, and a white t-shirt, and sneakers. [INTERVIEWER:]

Is this her clothing? These are her own clothes? [WINTOUR:] Yes, and she looks fantastic.” • This is Obama’s tan suit, but from liberals. Personally, I don’t see why Harris wasn’t in a police uniform, holding a truncheon and dangling some handcuffs, but I don’t wish to substitute my own editorial judgment for Wintour’s. Anyhow, a thread on this important controversy:

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Small Business Optimism: “December 2020 Small Business Optimism Drops Below Index Average in December” [Econintersect]. “The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined 5.5 points in December to 95.9, falling below the average Index value since 1973 of 98. Nine of the 10 Index components declined and only one improved. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined 24 points to a net negative 16%…. Said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg: “This month’s drop in small business optimism is historically very large, and most of the decline was due to the outlook of sales and business conditions in 2021. Small businesses are concerned about potential new economic policy in the new administration and the increased spread of COVID-19 that is causing renewed government-mandated business closures across the nation.”

* * *

Bitcoin: “Bitcoin Rebounds While Leaving Everyone in Dark on True Worth” [Bloomberg]. “The digital coin rose 4.9% to $35,616 as of 11:30 a.m. in London, following yesterday’s 11% slide. The latest bout of roller-coaster volatility recalls past boom and bust cycles including the 2017 bubble, and has investors debating whether this is a healthy correction or the end of the latest bull run for cryptocurrencies.” • True worth, um…

Tech: “The pandemic proved that ‘the PC is essential’: HP executive” [Yahoo Finance]. “The coronavirus pandemic forced millions of people around the world to turn their living rooms into their new offices. And one of the biggest beneficiaries of this transformation has been the PC market. According to Canalys, the PC market grew by a whopping 25% year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, with more than 90 million units shipped worldwide.” • Otherwise, this is product placement for HP. Yech!

Tech: “Spotify Bets Big on Podcasts as a Path to Profitability” [Bloomberg]. “In the past two years, Spotify has spent close to $900 million acquiring podcast production and technology companies. And it’s spent millions more on exclusive rights to shows from celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and TikTok star Addison Rae. Two of its most popular programs are comedian Joe Rogan’s The Joe Rogan Experience and The Michelle Obama Podcast, and Spotify expects new shows from Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, to put up big numbers, too.” • Those bloodsucking Silicon Valley ghouls are going to destroy podcasting exactly as they destroyed the blogosphere.

Manufacturing: “Boeing’s 2020 aircraft cancellations worst on record, despite December Max orders” [CNBC]. “Customers canceled orders for more than 650 planes last year. Boeing removed more than 1,000 planes from its backlog, taking into account orders it didn’t think would be fulfilled. That marked the worst year for net orders on record for the company, according to data from Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm. Boeing delivered 157 planes in 2020, the fewest since 1984, according to Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group.”

Mr. Market: “Wall Street Visionaries Provide Chilling Views on Next Big Risk” [Bloomberg]. Goldman Sachs: Cybersecurity. Bridgewater Associates: Displacement of the workforce. Two Sigma Investments: “We may be building a world that is not particularly designed for humans.”

Leading Indicator: “Carnival expects 2021 loss but says 2022 bookings are strong” [ABC]. “Carnival Corp. said Monday its 2022 cruise bookings are running ahead of 2019 numbers, a good sign that guests will return once the pandemic has eased…. The company is confident customers will return as it slowly ramps up business. As of Dec. 20, bookings for the second half of 2021 were within historical ranges despite minimal advertising and marketing, Carnival said.” • So cruise cancellations would be something a bear would look at.

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 65 Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Jan 12 at 12:16pm.

Health Care

Handy guide to the naming convention for proteins, a thread:

“What sunspots are whispering about covid-19?” [Medical Hypotheses]. “Several studies point to the antimicrobial effects of ELF electromagnetic fields. Such fields have accompanied life from the very beginning, and it is possible that they played a significant role in its emergence and evolution. However, the literature on the biological effects of ELF electromagnetic fields is controversial, and we still lack an understanding of the complex mechanisms that make such effects, observed in many experiments, possible. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how fragile we are in the face of powerful processes operating in the biosphere. We believe that understanding the role of ELF electromagnetic fields in regulating the biosphere is important in our fight against Covid-19, and research in this direction should be intensified.” • I’m putting this out here as a marker and only because its peer-reviewed (and not, because I really am a trusting soul, as a honeypot for 5G speculation now that comments have returned).

Our school systems really don’t seem to be anti-fragile:

“Infection control theatre” is a keeper. Something to bring up at your local school board….

The Biosphere

“Apollo astronauts left their poop on the moon. We gotta go back for that shit.” [Vox]. “[T]he bigger human footprint on the moon is, arguably, the 96 bags of human waste left behind by the six Apollo missions that landed there…. Around 50 percent of [the fecal] mass is made up of bacteria, representing some of the 1,000-plus species of microbes that live in your gut. In a piece of poop lives a whole wondrous ecosystem…. With the Apollo 11 moon landing, we took microbial life on Earth to the most extreme environment it has ever been in. Which means the human feces — along with bags of urine, food waste, vomit, and other waste in the bags, which also might contain microbial life — on the moon represents a natural, though unintended, experiment. The question the experiment will answer: How resilient is life in the face of the brutal environment of the moon?”

“Tech companies aren’t doing enough to keep their devices out of landfills, and neither are we” [CNBC]. “”Smartphones and tablets are challenging,” John Shegerian, CEO of ERI says. ‘Many of them are no longer made with screws; they’re made with glue. Glue makes things very hard to take apart and recover materials from because it degrades the value of the commodity product itself.’ About 6.9 million metric tons of e-waste was produced in the US alone in 2019, according to Global E-Waste Monitor, a research group that tracks electronic waste. That’s about the same weight as 19 Empire State Buildings. Of that, only about 15% was collected for recycling. And some of the minerals and metals being thrown away with our e-waste aren’t just valuable; they’re toxic. Creating a phone that stayed relevant for four or five years instead of one or two could make a huge difference.” • 

Screening Room

“Matrix analysis (1): Battery” [Marxian Matrix]. “This publication is called the Marxian Matrix and I thought it would be a great idea that we start by a precise analysis of the Wachowskis’ Matrix. After watching the movies again for the purposes of this analysis, I have come to believe that it is not only a great idea, but an indispensable stop on the path of our inquiry into the present structure of social relations. This first part and the next three that follow are, as it were, arguments for this indispensability.” • From 2018, which does not affect its germane nature.

Class Warfare

Innovation:

News of the Wired

I don’t want to pitch for this guy’s store….

… but perhaps the idea springs out of the zeitgeist now (“no idea why I drew this”) with the realization that the platforms can deplatform anybody at any time, arbitrarily (“If your politics depends on a platform, you don’t have a politics”). But that’s not true for good ol’ print which, after all, worked very well for the Bolsheviks….

And I like Fetterman, but he’s getting too much press lately. Still:

Butter Gritty is shlock, totally (i.e., not kitsch).

Words to live by:

However, interesting things happen when you transfer these maxims to the realm of the political class….

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi 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. Today’s plant (SE):

SE writes: “Take your pick–trees or moss! Taken in the woods of West Virginia.”

* * *

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