2:00PM Water Cooler 2/23/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, a lot on truckers today. –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

* * *


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

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

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” –Hunter Thompson

Biden Adminstration

“Psaki says binge-watching ‘The West Wing’ got her back into politics” [The Hill]. “Psaki says binge-watching ‘The West Wing’ got her back into politics. The White House press secretary said during a recent appearance on Rob Lowe’s ‘Literally!’ podcast that she was a latecomer to the former NBC political drama, only getting her Bartlet administration fix after leaving the Obama White House in 2011. ‘I’m working at this consulting firm and I started watching ‘The West Wing.’ And I don’t know what prompted me to watch it, but I binged the entire thing,’ Psaki said. Before going on her viewing spree, Psaki said she had been ‘exhausted’ by the work on Obama’s campaign and at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. ‘In a crazy way, [the show] really brought me back to come back to politics and I ended up coming back and doing the 2012 campaign, and traveling with then-President Obama on his reelection.'” • The West Wing was a truly vile show. Allow me to recommend another podcast: TThe West Wing Thing, which is going through every single episode of the show. Here’s an early sample: “The Portland Trip,” “In which Josh (the one on The West Wing, not our beloved co-host) explodes in a fit of misogynistic rage. Hilarity ensues.” Interestingly, misogyny really is a constant on the show, as the hosts show in excruciating detail. So it’s hard to see what Psaki saw in the show. More on the West Wing–

“The Obamanauts” [Cory Robin, Dissent]. From 2019, still germane: “Obamanauts have a range of references to demonstrate their devotion. Hogwarts and St. Elmo’s Fire loom large. The West Wing is clearly the touchstone, however. Gautam Raghavan, who began working for Obama during the 2008 campaign, writes, “Working in Barack Obama’s White House was like watching Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing brought to life. It had all the necessary elements: the brilliant, articulate professor in chief with an unapologetically progressive vision of America; a narrative arc rooted in ongoing themes of idealism and public service; but most importantly, a cast of patriotic Americans who labored every day, as members of the President’s staff, to serve the country they loved.” One collection of testimonials, edited by Raghavan, is called West Wingers; another memoir is called West Winging It.” • Yes, the West Wing has a lot to answer for….

“Squad member to deliver response to Biden SOTU” [Politico]. “In the speech, given on behalf of the left-wing group Working Families Party, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is expected to hammer moderate Democrats who have stymied Biden’s social spending and climate change package. Tlaib will praise Biden’s stimulus bill and make the case that liberals have pushed aggressively for his agenda, according to a summary of her remarks shared exclusively with POLITICO. She is also planning to argue that Republicans and a handful of intransigent Democrats have blocked progress on lowering the cost of housing, health care and prescription drugs. The speech will put on display the deep rifts within the Democratic Party that have marked Biden’s presidency…. While the party out of power typically gives a rebuttal to the president’s State of the Union address, it is unusual for members of the president’s own party to offer an official response. It is not the first time that the Working Families Party has done so, however: Last year, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) gave such a speech following Biden’s first joint address to Congress. During her talk, Tlaib is expected to criticize some Democrats by name….”


The only systematic overview of all the Convoy’s I’ve been able to find (no doubt due to the enormous collective circle-j**k over Ukraine):

From antifa, naturally (accurate or no, this is what we have). And routes:

More from antifa:

“Safe houses”? Not looking forward to a trucker v. antifa meltdown. We’ll see.

* * *

“The vibe shift will favor truck drivers” [Rachel Premack, Modes]. “The [Canadian] #FreedomConvoy is the most successful North American trucker protest in decades — no question. The most recent successful strike dates back to 1973-1974, when drivers nationwide, protesting soaring gas prices, snarled supply chains…. The Freedom Convoy showed to truck drivers that, if they want to capture public attention, they need to talk about things the public understands. As Montreal-based truck driver Rick Blatter told me, this protest was about ‘freedom’ — not a trucking regulation that public doesn’t understand…. Truck drivers who want to protest now understand how to communicate with politicians, journalists, and the public at large. And it seems like some of us are finally ready to listen to them. In my years covering the trucking industry, I’ve been consistently baffled as to why more politicians specifically don’t court truck drivers (and journalists, for that matter). There are nearly two million truck drivers in the US. As anyone who has written an article about truckers and received hundreds of emails can tell you, they are incredibly engaged. Hundreds of thousands of them are small business owners. The majority of truck drivers are white, and many are over the age of 60. Following demographic trends, that means this truck drivers are more likely to vote…. It’s a massive win for the right that they’ve aligned themselves with truck drivers. Drivers have been right-leaning for years, but the Freedom Convoy has been an opportunity for the right to profess their solidarity with truck drivers, an otherwise ignored group….. Blatter, the Canadian truck driver, told me the point of the #FreedomConvoy isn’t just vaccine mandates. It’s about how truck drivers have seen worsening treatment amid the pandemic — despite all your #ThankATrucker memes. While pay has largely increased for truck drivers, there’s still a lack of respect. Blatter, who also heads public relations for the Canadian Truckers Associations, said major multinational corporations have relegated waiting truck drivers to portapotties amid COVID concerns, even as temperatures drop in Canada to negative 20. He said some companies banned drivers from their cafeterias, even though they might keep them expecting their load for up to eight hours — unpaid. ‘We are delivering essentials and medication, but we have no toilets, no showers, no food,’ Blatter told me.” • Little bit of a sandbag on Blatter’s position, there. And there’s the synecdoche again: The assumption that “the truckers” (part) are representative of truckers (whole), demographically, ideologically, whatever-ally. That needs to be shown, not assumed.

“Convoy in the USA” [Freight Waves]. “The U.S. may get a taste of Canada this week via a trucker convoy forming in Barstow, California. The People’s Convoy’s press release states, “American truckers are launching The People’s Convoy, a peaceful and unified transcontinental movement, on Wednesday, February 23, 2022, from the Adelanto Stadium in Southern California.” The convoy’s current itinerary has it arriving at the D.C. Beltway area on March 11. What’s the message? According to the group’s press release, the message is “lifting all mandates and ending the state of emergency” around COVID-19…. Truck protests rarely stick and they often fizzle out…. So, has the Freedom Convoy empowered American truckers and has the Canadian government’s response galvanized protesters’ resolve? Will it actually happen? — When the Department of Homeland Security initially warned of a convoy at the Super Bowl, I thought that was ridiculous. There had been zero realistic talk about that among any truckers or trucking groups I communicate with. The People’s Convoy may be a much different story. Truckers I know who are on the scene don’t have exact numbers on how many they think will arrive but they’re calling it ‘highly organized’ and ‘definitely rolling tomorrow.’…. What also makes numbers hard to nail down is that there are multiple convoy routes as well as convoys. For example, truck parts company owner Bob Bolus told Fox News that his group plans to depart from Scranton, Pennsylvania, for D.C. tomorrow.” • This is a good wrap-up (though surprisingly unskeptical of Bolus).

* * *

Not a lot of local coverate that I can find; perhaps readers will do better:

“Truck convoy delayed after organizer gets two flat tires in Pa.” [WSET]. “The Scranton, Pa. truck driver leading a convoy to DC reported two flat tires and was waiting on more truckers to show up at the staging point — delaying the start of their journey. The group ended up leaving at 10:30 a.m. and are expected to arrive by 3 p.m. Bob Bolus tells 7News he’s leading a convoy to protest federal COVID-19 mandates, inflation and illegal immigration. The convoy is now expected to leave Scranton sometime around 9 or 10 a.m. making stops in Harrisburg and Baltimore before arriving in the DC region. Bolus said about 10 to 20 trucks showed up at the starting point in Scranton, Pa. He waited for two hours because Bolus said that’s wasn’t enough trucks to warrant a D.C. Beltway protest.” • Leveraging his position in Scranton to arrive in DC first?

“Alabama arm of nationwide truckers’ convoy sets out from Dodge City on Saturday” [Cullman Times]. “Cullman County will serve as the jumping-off point for the Alabama contingent of the Freedom Convoy to DC, a nationwide truckers’ movement calling for an official end to all mandates and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Set to get underway today in southern California and head eastward, the “peaceful and unified transcontinental movement,” according to organizers, is a coordinated effort of conservative and constitutional civil liberties groups including The Unity Project, The America Project, Advocates for Citizens’ Rights, U.S. Freedom Flyers, The American Foundation for Civil Liberties & Freedom, as well as truckers, trucking companies, and various faith groups from across the U.S…. “The People’s Convoy will abide by agreements with local authorities, and terminate in the vicinity of the DC area, but will NOT be going into DC proper,” organizers said in a press statement at the convoy’s website, thepeoplesconvoy.org. Cummings said that local coordinators already have contact the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office to request assistance with traffic control at Saturday’s local event, which he said includes law enforcement in its chain of communication…. To follow the Alabama convoy’s progress, as well as learn more about the movement’s policy goals, find the event by searching “PC AL 2022” on Facebook.” • Not a lot of local coverage. Here’s another–

“High Desert activist group opposes ‘People’s Convoy’ that begins Wednesday in Adelanto” [Daily Press]. “A local activist group is opposing the People’s Convoy, a cross-country protest by semi-truck drivers against government COVID-19 mandates that begins Wednesday at Adelanto Stadium. Dubbed the Hi-Desert Science Appreciators, the group says that the convoy and public send-off at the city-owned stadium could be a ‘super spreader’ event of COVID-19 and a threat to public safety. Activist Yolette Rios told the Daily Press she is concerned about the convoy and that her group is calling on the City of Adelanto to put its residents first and to ensure public safety. ‘It’s time to mobilize and to let city leaders know that now is not the time to have a mass gathering,’ Rios said. ‘COVID-19 is not over; yet people want to rush things to end this pandemic. It’s not safe yet. Our other concern is the safety of those on the roadways as hundreds of trucks make their way out of Adelanto toward Washington, D.C.’ Rios is a member of the High Desert Progressive Democrats club, which participated in the Jan. 6 Vigil for Democracy in Victorville, the first anniversary of the U.S. Capitol attack that left five people dead and sent lawmakers fleeing.” • And another–

“Truck convoy protesting COVID mandates set to depart California” [Las Vegas Review-Journal]. “More than a thousand truckers are expected to join “The People’s Convoy” as it makes its way from a town about 85 miles east of Los Angeles toward the nation’s capital, where the convoy is scheduled to disperse on March 5. The convoy is not expected to actually enter the capital city, however. About a dozen trucks were in a meeting spot for the event early Tuesday afternoon. Maureen Steele, national organizer for the convoy, said the goals of the demonstration are freedom, liberty, accountability, ending a national emergency declaration for COVID-19 and for the Constitution ‘to reign supreme.’ She said she hopes the convoy leads to congressional hearings on the handling of the pandemic and investigations at the local, state and federal levels. ‘We can’t have what’s happened over the last two years ever happen again in the future, and we need to put safeguards in place to ensure that it doesn’t,’ Steele said. ‘And in the end, I’d like to see freedom restored, the freedoms and liberties that we’ve lost over the last two years.'”• I’d like to see Congressional hearings, too. Maybe they can explain how two administrations combined to produce a death toll of a million.

* * *

“Pentagon approves National Guard deployment ahead of DC trucker convoy” [The Hill]. “According to the DOD, the approval will allow about 400 D.C. National Guard members to ‘provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements.’ Beginning at 1 p.m. on Feb. 26, ’50 large tactical vehicles’ will be placed at these traffic posts on a 24-hour basis. The deployment has been approved to last through March 7. The deployed troops will not carry firearms, take part in law enforcement or carry out domestic surveillance activities. Aircraft have not been approved for use.” • I suppose the real action will be in the DHS fusion centers? That’s how Obama dealt with Occupy.

“How Canada’s Freedom Convoy could be a wake-up call for the Teamsters” [The Week]. “The trucker convoy protests have little to do with traditional labor issues, and lots of Teamsters view them with disdain; many of those participating in the protests are nonunion owner-operators. The Ottawa convoy’s target is not the boss, but an elected federal government with an incentive to project strength by rejecting demands of a group that are damaging the economy. The disruption caused by the trucker protests was not sufficient to force the Canadian government into serious concessions, and they’re even less likely to do so in D.C. The Teamsters facing off against UPS, on the other hand, have better odds. The union is unlikely to officially support blockades due to potential liability, but legal mass pickets and community campaigns are likely, and it is possible to imagine some truckers (indeed, possibly some of the same truckers — there are, Sasha notes, labor unionists of all races, genders, and political orientations) taking matters into their own hands and shutting down access to major shipping corridors. With the union withdrawing its labor, militant disruptions, and public sympathy, the company could be forced into major concessions. Anyone hoping that the trucker convoys will turn into a durable expression of working-class power is deluding themselves, whether they be naive leftists who see a revolution around every corner, or conservative populists offering ludicrous pronouncements about the Republican Party being a “workers’ party.” But history sometimes takes strange courses, and it is possible to imagine that this display of economic disruption by anti-mandate truckers in Canada and the United States could be remembered as a wake-up call for labor.” • In one of life’s little ironies, it’s the owner-operators who are leveraging control over the means of production for political ends. And if the Teamster leadership — and Big Labor generally — had an ounce of solidarity in their veins, they would have used their muscle on behalf of, say, PPE and paid time off for nurses (also unionized). In the face of a debacle like that, the upcoming UPS contract negotiations seem rather beside the point.

Democrats en Déshabillé

I have moved my standing remarks on the Democrat Party (“the Democrat Party is a rotting corpse that can’t bury itself”) to a separate, back-dated post, to which I will periodically add material, summarizing the addition here in a “live” Water Cooler. (Hopefully, some Bourdieu.) It turns out that defining the Democrat Party is, in fact, a hard problem. I do think the paragraph that follows is on point all the way back to 2016, if not before:

The Democrat Party is the political expression of the class power of PMC, their base (lucidly explained by Thomas Frank in Listen, Liberal!). It follows that the Democrat Party is as “unreformable” as the PMC is unreformable; if the Democrat Party did not exist, the PMC would have to invent it. If the Democrat Party fails to govern, that’s because the PMC lacks the capability to govern. (“PMC” modulo “class expatriates,” of course.) Second, all the working parts of the Party reinforce each other. Leave aside characterizing the relationships between elements of the Party (ka-ching, but not entirely) those elements comprise a network — a Flex Net? An iron octagon? — of funders, vendors, apparatchiks, electeds, NGOs, and miscellaneous mercenaries, with assets in the press and the intelligence community.

Note, of course, that the class power of the PMC both expresses and is limited by other classes; oligarchs and American gentry (see ‘industrial model’ of Ferguson, Jorgensen, and Jie) and the working class spring to mind. Suck up, kick down.

* * *

“What Defines the Democratic Party?” [Sam Rosenfeld, The New Republic]. “The party’s durability, borne of ruthless adaptability more than consistency of cause, may indeed be its one enduring trait across two centuries of electoral life. “Tenacious” is an apt descriptor for the Democratic Party in much the way it is for a weed, or termites… Long the party of religious, regional, and ethnic outgroups, Democrats made a virtue of necessity by turning bargaining and practical-minded teamsmanship—the back scratched, the favor returned—into bedrock ethics of politics.” • Wait. “The party of outgroups.” I stopped reading there….


“The 2024 presidential race has already started online” [Politico]. Awesome. More: “A half-dozen potential GOP candidates, most of whom won’t be on the ballot in 2022, still spent more than $1.4 million each on email list rentals, digital consulting and online fundraising in 2021, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance disclosures. Some were building an online base from scratch, while others were expanding on existing programs. But all of them are already running a race to build the type of fundraising base that can sustain a national campaign and test their appeal to a national audience. The prime example is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), whose campaign committee spent a whopping $13.6 million overall in 2021 — more than almost every senator running for reelection in 2022, even though Cruz’s seat isn’t up for two more years. At least $3.3 million of that went into digital services, while Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) campaign spent $1.7 million online last year. Two PACs started by contenders currently out of office, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, spent $2.4 million and $1.4 million online, respectively. And hanging over everything is former President Donald Trump, whose Save America political operation spent $6.4 million on digital politicking in 2021, including $2.8 million on ads, according to data shared by Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic firm that tracks these expenditures…. Nothing approaching the activity on the Republican side is happening in Democratic politics, with President Joe Biden indicating he plans to run for reelection in 2024 and freezing other activity in the party. Still, prominent Democrats aren’t letting their email lists go stale. For example, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who ran for president in 2020, spent nearly $2 million out of her campaign account last year, even though she’s not up for reelection until 2024.”

“NYC Mayor Eric Adams says he ‘can’t wait’ to get rid of the vaccine mandate” [MarketWatch]. “‘I take my hat off to New Yorkers through masks, vaccines, through social distancing. We were hit with the uncertainty, the fear of COVID. I’m really proud of how we responded as New Yorkers. Every morning I meet with my health professionals because I always say I’m going to follow the science. I’m not going to get ahead of the science because I’m ready to get ahead of all of this and get back to a level of normalcy. But they’re giving us clear instructions. They gave us benchmarks, we’re going to follow those benchmarks,’ Adams continued.” • Note the underlined portion, a message that has distinctly not come from the Biden Administration (prove me wrong on this one, I’m a little jaundiced).

Realignment and Legitimacy

Maybe I should be filing the trucker material here, but I think that remains to be seen.


Case count by United States regions:

Rise like a rocket, and fall like a stick; the slope of the downward curve is more or less the same as the upward curve. Previous peaks — how small the early ones look now — have been roughly symmetrical on either side. But the scale of this peak, and the penetration into the population, is unprecedented. I wonder if there will be plateau when BA.2 takes hold. Since the Northeast has form, that is probably the region to watch for this behavior first.

The official narrative was “Covid is behind us,” and that the pandemic will be “over by January” (Gottlieb), and “I know some people seem to not want to give up on the wonderful pandemic, but you know what? It’s over” (Bill Maher) was completely exploded. What a surprise! This time, it may be different. But who knows?

MWRA (Boston-area) wastewater detection:

Continues encouraging (and independent from the CDC).

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) service area includes 43 municipalities in and around Boston, including not only multiple school systems but several large universities. Since Boston is so very education-heavy, then, I think it could be a good leading indicator for Covid spread in schools generally.

From CDC Community Profile Reports (PDFs), “Rapid Riser” counties:

The little cluster around DC went away. Maine is a data problem. (Remember that these are rapid riser counties. A county that moves from red to green is not covid-free; the case count just isnt, well, rising rapidly.)

The previous release:

Here is CDC’s interactive map by county set to community transmission:

A few more speckles of improvement in the solid red.

Hospitalization (CDC Community Profile):

Sea of green once more, except for the Northern Marianas. From the point of view of our hospital-centric health care system, green everywhere means the emergency is over (and to be fair, this is reinforced by case count and wastewater). However, community transmission is still pervasive, which means that long Covid, plus continuing vascular damage, are not over. (Note trend, whether up or down, is marked by the arrow, at top. Admissions are presented in the graph, at the bottom. So it’s possible to have an upward trend, but from a very low baseline.)

Death rate (Our World in Data):

Total: 963,371 960,157. A continous drop in the death date, which is good news. Sadly, as of February 22, 1,000,000 – 960,157 = 39,843, and 39,843 / 6 days until Biden’s State of the Union Speech is 6,640.5, so I guess we won’t break a million in time. I was hoping for a ribbon cutting ceremony of some kind. Maybe the West Wing staff could have staged a photo op with funny hats and noisemakers. Walensky’s staff could have joined in by Zoom. Ah well, nevertheless.

Covid cases in top us travel destinations (Statista):

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

* * *

Mr. Market: “Traders leave US penny stocks in sign speculative fever is cooling” [Financial Times]. “Trading in unlisted US shares has dropped almost three-quarters from its peak at the height of last year’s retail trading frenzy, as investors rein in speculative bets and regulators crack down on potential fraud in penny stocks. January marked the 11th consecutive monthly decline in volumes of “over-the-counter” equity trades, according to data from Finra, the watchdog for US broker-dealers and exchanges. The total number of trades was 70 per cent below the all-time high set last February. Many of the riskiest areas of financial markets experienced a surge in activity at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, with amateur traders attracted by rebounding asset prices, government stimulus cheques and an escape from lockdown boredom. However, the Finra figures are the latest sign of their retreat as volatility rises and the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates”

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 30 Fear (previous close: 35 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 41 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Feb 23 at 1:27pm.

The 420

“Inside California’s Cannabis Crisis” [Rolling Stone]. ” In the indoor Puffco Pavilion nearby, buyers are examining jars full of frosty nugs and haggling over cannabis seeds and plant cuttings, some of which are selling for up to $1,000. There’s weed everywhere you look. California’s enormous marijuana market, which reached an estimated $4.4 billion in sales in 2020, has seemingly reached peak cannabis capitalism. The mood is decidedly different in a neighboring building where mom-and-pop cultivators were just accosted by uniformed agents from the Department of Cannabis Control. Moments before, they’d entered the room clad in olive green jackets and navy caps, going around to each of the booths — which were given to 27 grows for free as part of the Cup’s new Small Farms Initiative — and insisted that they put away any actual marijuana on display. Since the small farms don’t have retail licenses, which cost upwards of $100,000 a year, event organizers had told them they were permitted to show flower samples at their tables, and direct buyers to a nearby dispensary booth for purchases. They were wrong. The farmers, most of whom had traveled long distances from rural Northern California to show their weed to buyers, were baffled by the agents’ demands. ‘How are you supposed to sell a product that you can’t display?’ asks Nevada County grower Donna Panza. ‘People want to look at it, they want to smell it. Are we supposed to show them a photograph?’ The scale of the DCC enforcement seemed to be indicative of the bureaucratic overreach that’s sinking small farms around the state.” • In my green and salad days, I always pictured legalization as liberating the small growers. Silly me. This is America.

Zeitgeist Watch

“The case against American truck bloat” [The Week]. “This behemoth design trend — particularly the very tall, square front end seen in so many SUVs and trucks today — is both pointless and dangerous. Manufacturers have known for years that this style of vehicle is much more dangerous to pedestrians and cyclists, yet they keep making them bigger, taller, and heavier. Trucks and SUVs now make up fully 70 percent of all new cars sold in the U.S. Their bloated design is killing people, especially pedestrians…. [T]he specific design trend of the massive hood sticking way out in front of the driver, with a cliff-face front grille obstructing the view several feet out in front of the wheels, is entirely a marketing gimmick. The explicit point is to create an angry, aggressive face that will intimidate others, especially pedestrians. Don’t take it from me, take it from the guy who designed the latest GM Sierra HD: ‘The front end was always the focal point… we spent a lot of time making sure that when you stand in front of this thing it looks like it’s going to come get you. It’s got that pissed-off feel,’ he told Muscle Cars & Trucks.” More: “It does seem rather far-fetched to think that automakers are consciously building their biggest trucks to be more dangerous to pedestrians, but that is actually the case.”• Worth reading in full.

“Accused of extortion, Louisville’s top prosecutor drops charges – but keeps cash” [Kentucky Center of Investigative Reporting]. “Two years ago, prosecutors offered a St. Matthews man a deal: give up $380,000 in cash through asset forfeiture, and criminal charges just filed against his family would be dropped. The case has now been resolved, with no criminal convictions for anyone involved — but police and prosecutors still kept the bulk of the cash…. Kentucky state law gives police agencies broad authority to take and keep money if they suspect it’s tied to drugs. For defendants, fighting the seizure is often fruitless and the cost can outweigh the benefit of getting the cash back. ”

News of the Wired

“Impostor syndrome and pretense” [Inquiry]. “Many people in professions or roles that require special expertise suffer from impostor syndrome (IS). In spite of the fact that they possess the credentials required by their profession, or an impressive record of accomplishment within it, they feel (or believe) that they are a fake or a fraud, and fear being found out. They may feel (or believe) that their accomplishments are more due to luck than skill, and/or that they are unlikely to be able to repeat them in the future. ” • All true so far. Look at our national security establishment!

* * *

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 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 (KS):

KS writes: “Coral spawning in the Great Barrier Reef.”

* * *

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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. clarky90

      I read that there was a run on the Canadian Banks. This is after PM Trudeau and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland announced that, bank accounts were being frozen, and possessions siezed, of misinformers and miscreants.

      But OUR Trust is the only card that the banking system is holding. Just trust

      We trust that OUR money is (1) safe, (2) fungible (3) there at our fingertips when we need to buy, say, a sandwich.

      For hundreds of years, The ruling caste has controled the middle and lower castes because WE are trustworthy, (by and large), and we, reciprocally, assume that they, also, are trustworthy. (how could they find it in their hearts, to lie to us? Don’t they already have everything that they could ever wish for?)

      But, the ruling caste are proving themselves, not to be trustworthy.

      Re, the situation in the Ukraine. OUR ruling caste are stupid, incompetent, lazy, spoiled, unimaginative….. “well, why not just bomb them…?”

      We have gone along with their non-sense for my long lifetime…. because most of us have believed in their judgements and motives. (Our family used to get the Sunday New York Times in our little Ohio town,1950s/60s, and I believed everything I read.)

      We (rank and file, lower and middle castes) are trustworthy and would almost never lie about life/death issues (like weapons of mass destruction, ….) Our everyday world would stop functioning without mutual trust.

      So when our high caste leaders, and their experts, their mouthpieces, their enforcers, lie to us, we have naturally, believed them. (of course. It is human nature to automatically trust other human beings. we are one species ….made in the Image of God)

      Until now. Now, more and more rank and file do not trust them. poof

      Therefore, a run on the Canadian Banks. and the lifting of the veil

      1. clarky90

        I had assumed that we (the powerless, lower castes), were up against an ancient, omnipotent, alliance of ne’er-do-wells. But not really..

        The so called “Masters of the Universe” are, in fact, a gang of carnival grifters, confidence artistes, swindlers, circus sharps, shell men, operators. “Legends in their own minds”.

        “Each of these con artists have one thing in common: the power of persuasion to swindle their victims. The successful ones exhibit three similar characteristics—(1) psychopathy, (2) narcissism and (3) Machiavellianism—which have been referred to by psychologists as “dark” personality traits.

        Those characteristics allow con artists to swindle people out of their money without feeling any remorse or guilt. Another thing most chiselers have in common are their egos. …..

        …. such as those committed by Bernie Madoff ….”

  1. anon y'mouse

    i just had to sign new paperwork for the dentist. about 3 separate pages, 2 of which were disclaimers to the effect that they know COVID is airborne, can’t be adequately tested for, and due to the nature of the work in their office, aerosolization may be unavoidable.

    they assure me that they are taking all precautions including cleaning and airing the spaces and screening the patients beforehand, and i had to agree that i knew it might be a risk to be treated that they could not foresee nor prevent.

    more material for my working theory that insurance companies really run the world, and that we couldn’t do anything in this country on the virus because no one could figure out who would be liable for the costs, and insurance co’s didn’t want to pay. well, 2 years has “solved” those issues—no one but the individual citizens will be liable.

    fomites were mentioned once, but aerosols were mentioned at least 4 separate times.

    encouraging? at least Dentists are aware of the reality.

    1. Brian Beijer

      To provide a counter-example, I happened to go to the dentist today here in Sweden. I spoke to the assistant, explaining that the reason I had put off going to them was due to the pandemic. She said she understood, but that I shouldn’t worry. She will be wearing a mask (surgical mask was pulled down below her nose), and the dentist will be wearing a visor (no surgical mask under the visor). She looked at me with her most sincere face and said, “Here, we take Covid very seriously. And we do this (pointing to her mask pulled below her nose) despite the government taking away their recommendations”. I just smiled and said I felt reassured. Meanwhile I was thinking, “Well, I guess we all have to die some day. Why not roll the dice today for my abscessed tooth?”

      I’m frankly shocked that your dentist knew that Covid was airborne. I would trust your dentist more than mine simply because s/he at least exhibited some awareness of the science behind the pandemic. It shows that they at least took the time to learn something. Most people here still seem not to have a clue. In either situation, one is left to fend for ones’ self. At least in your situation, you know that the other people in the room are equally aware that they too must fend for themselves. In my situation, I was in a room with two very kind and very ignorant people who, in reality, did nothing to protect themselves nor me. Ironically, the insurance companies may be helping to increase everyone’s knowledge about Covid more than the CDC. Isn’t that a thought that makes your head spin?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > She will be wearing a mask (surgical mask was pulled down below her nose), and the dentist will be wearing a visor (no surgical mask under the visor). She looked at me with her most sincere face and said, “Here, we take Covid very seriously. And we do this (pointing to her mask pulled below her nose) despite the government taking away their recommendations”.

        This is an impressive level of ignorance, and it took a lot of people working very hard to create it.

    2. Eric Anderson

      Lawyers who advise the insurance companies, anyway. It always comes down to the rich mobilizing their army of lawyers.

  2. Wukchumni

    The various proposed ‘Goombah Rallies’ have very much a People’s Front of Judea feel, or was it the Judean People’s Front?

  3. marym

    Truckers – 2 getting off to a slow start

    Reporter traveling with the Scranton PA convoy
    Earlier thread:
    A few minutes ago:
    “The convoy has never broken above 15 vehicles. They’ve lost some during the pit stop, looks like 1 18w, 1 SUV, 4 pickup trucks”

    Short thread on Adelanto CA
    “There are probably a couple hundred people milling about, but maybe a dozen semis…The plan is to head to a pizza shop in a small Arizona town by tonight and pick up stragglers along the way. The problem is, not everybody’s committing to this thing past the pizza shop.”

      1. TheMog

        A fair amount – I wouldn’t be surprised if they only got about 10mpg bobtailing. Depends somewhat on engine, final drive ratios and obviously the speed they’re running at.

        It’s about 2600 miles, so at 10mpg you’re looking at 260-ish gallons of Diesel. Not sure how much Diesel is out West right now, but at $4/gal that’s roughly a thousand bucks, plus (depending on the age of the truck) the extra costs for DEF. Older rigs might not get the same sort of mileage, so they might spend more on fuel, but may not have the cost of DEF.

        1. truly

          All tax deducted I bet. Whether full legal or not. What tax auditor is going to check whether the fuel purchases were made on a “legit” trip?
          And, I wonder, how many on the long haul will drop off a trailer somewhere in the east and pick another one up on the way out?

          1. flora

            I keep thinking that along with raising money for the drive itself, if the organizers also suggested as an option direct individual donations in the convoys honor to town food pantries along the route that would be terrific PR. It would undermine the official MSM narrative about “selfish wht super-ist truckers”. It’s a southern route – this is February after all, so presumably there are lots of poor hispanic, native american, black, and and white along the route who need help. Direct individual donations to local food banks and soup kitchens also reduce the value of hacking the organizers’ website or having the feds seize all the donations. (But what do I know?)

      2. PHLDenizen

        Fsck the trucks. I appreciate the symbolism, but just find some dudes who own tour buses or disused Greyhounds, collect a reasonable fee per rider, and head down there in that. They’ve all got CDLs, so driving in shifts won’t be a problem. I imagine the camaraderie will lift spirits, too.

        It also has the advantage of not having to deal with your rig being confiscated or impounded — just take another bus back. Still waiting for the independent owner-operators to be victims of civil asset forfeiture. Did the Jan 6 commission not explore this?

        The true creativity of the PMC lies in how to rip people off and dole out the most outrageously punitive measures possible. Aside from that, most are boring as shit.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Maybe the US Air Force can put their B-52s to use – by dropping millions of caltrops along their route. Any ordinary motorist getting flat tires would just be ‘collateral damage’. Good thing that the idea will never occur to those truckers to pick up those caltrops and deploy them in Washington DC’s wealthier suburbs.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          speaking of military aircraft:
          i’m on the eastern edge of the “west texas training area”…and also in the flight path used to mobilise for war in europe, africa and the near east.(100 miles from I-10, so direct line from Nellis, San Diego, etc to Florida)
          during the buildup to both iraq invasions and the afghan war, the number of planes and helicopters increased dramatically…such that i can lay in bed at night and say…”well, that’s a C-130…and that’s a C-5…and that’s a squadron of kiowa’s, etc.
          for the last month or two, i’ve heard or seen(and notably, this is mostly at night, and heading east), a whole lot more military aircraft than I have since iraq/afghanistan.
          even what had to have been B-52’s….nothing quite sounds like them.
          (but that was at night, too—and interestingly, B-52’s paint renders them invisible in a clear blue sky, unless they’re directly overhead…the rumble shakes yer bones, but you can’t see them)
          i have zero clue about where all this stuff is based, or what exercises may be happening and where…but it’s like noticing that the grasshopper eating birds are gone…or that the mesquites are budding early….something is different above my head…and coincides with all the wardrums beating incessantly.
          anecdotal food for thought.

          1. griffen

            News out this too early morning on the east coast is not good. Russia has made invading Ukraine the thing, and markets of all types are heading for a red and downward day. Exceptions made for oil and gold.

            1. The Rev Kev

              Russia is getting hammered on the foreign-exchange markets in Moscow’s and St. Petersburg’s stock exchanges so they have suspended trading. Probably find that they have gamed all this out and will accept any losses-


              Meanwhile, in lighter news – ‘U.S. Army Colonel Alexander Vindman, the star witness in the first impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, has officially served Donald Trump Jr. with a lawsuit alleging witness intimidation and retaliation.’-


    1. marym

      A few updates

      CA – looks like many passenger vehicles in the convoy. If there are going to be more convoys forming, it will be interesting to get some sense of the ratio

      Short video of a lot of passenger vehicles following behind the trucks.

      ““The People’s Convoy” organizer Brian Brase explains how vehicles should queue for the trip to D.C.
      -A lead truck will guide the convoy
      -Trucks without trailers, ‘Bobtails’
      -Then trucks without trailers
      -Followed by Rv’s and motorhomes
      -Regular vehicles”

      PA – Bob Bolus encounters Beltway rush hour traffic…
      Thread: “Bob and her say they are leaving DC now – which they call “bedlam” and are heading back home to Pennsylvania.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > CA – looks like many passenger vehicles in the convoy. If there are going to be more convoys forming, it will be interesting to get some sense of the ratio

        Excellent point.

        Bolus is going home? What a wuss! One sees why the press elevated him as a spokeshole….

  4. petal

    Learned today my rent is going up 10%. I am stuck here because there’s such a bad housing crunch and rental shortage, and I can’t afford to buy because those prices have gone through the roof and made it unattainable-probably ever. Went grocery shopping today, and a pack of butter is up to $5. This past week or two it really seems like grocery costs have gone up a lot. My wages will barely be budging. Suppose it’s one way to lose weight. Dear Democrat Party, what are you doing to help me? Do you have any clue or care how angry people are? Was talking with my cousin in AL about prices, and I said I bet there will be a lot more deaths of despair and homelessness this coming year. The proverbial house is falling down yet all we’re hearing from that lot is about Ukraine.

    1. Verifyfirst

      Ukraine is perfect for the “leadership”–they can run around pretending much gravitas, symbol manipulating away, trying very hard to appear to be competent and in charge…on an issue with zero consequences for them, no matter what happens. The number of Americans who even know where Ukraine is, what the issues are, or care at all, is vanishingly small (under 1%?), so there is zero downside for the “leaders” in the West.

    2. ambrit

      Fear not, our Democrat Party Apparatchiks are on the job … fund raising.
      This time, in today’s post, Phyl got a begging letter purportedly from the office of Jil Biden, who is referred to in the letter as the FLOTUS. I’m guessing that the acronym FLOTUS is a sly reference to that stalwart ideological construct; “A rising tide floats all boats.”
      Begging letters of all sorts are increasing in our postbox. Give one obscure “Save the Wild Weasels” group a dollar and they sell your name and address to anyone and everyone who would consider a weasel enthusiast as fair game. Phyl, being an older Catholic, has an ever increasing flood of begging letters from Friars, Brothers, Sisters, and various Deistic Cousins of every obscure saint ministering to every ‘disabled’ population there is.
      As Phyl sent back in reply to the most recent DCCC letter; “Joe Biden owes us a combined $1200. You can keep a hundred and send us the rest.” So far, crickets from the Dems.
      Our cost of living is steadily going up too. Milk is up to $3.00 a half gallon at the Corner Grocery, (their actual name.) Bread, (a non-gluten type for Phyl,) is up to $5.30 a loaf. “Cheap” gasoline is $3.09 a gallon.
      I’m beginning to think that this November is going to be an absolute blood bath for the Democrat Party.
      There is indeed a rising tide of homelessness to be seen, out of the corner of your eyes if you don’t stare too overtly. We are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of people getting around on bicycles. I’m one, from a combination of vehicular decrepitude and exercise requirements. Tangentially related to the homeless ‘problem,’ is the number of older dwellings that have been torn down rather than been restored. I could point out a half a dozen in our inner ring suburb. Now, a recent joke making the rounds has it, new tennants at the big apartment complexes are required to pay in gold, first, last, and deposit.
      Hang in there. Spring is coming, and the ground will soon be soft enough to dig all the graves for the guillotine’s work in the Town Square this summer.
      (I’ve heard of “gallow’s humour,” but I imagine that “guillotine humour” will soon be the ‘cutting edge’ of comedy.)

      1. Wukchumni

        I gave a few bucks to Save the Wild Weasel Words, and next thing you know i’m getting offers to join Expletive Deleted & Future Misleaders of America.

      2. petal

        Turds can float, too.
        Yes, that $600 they owe us would come in very handy about now. I suppose fundraising is a lot lower effort/high return than attempting to govern-a win win for them. Didn’t look at milk today. After the butter sticker shock I kind of shut down. Agree with the thought November is going to be something out of a horror movie for the dems. Kind of curious to see just how bad it will be. It’s almost as if they’re trying to make it as bad as it possibly could be-historically bad. That would mean they could rake in some serious cash then. And Hillary would have ~2 years of GOP being in power to use as grist for her campaign.
        Since winter started up here, there has been little talk of the various local homeless encampments. There was one in the woods behind our community garden. Trying hard to stay on my mother’s good side in case me and the dogs need a backyard in which to pitch a tent.
        We’re in the midst of one of those 40+ degree temperature swings over 12 hours up here(on the way down-way down to 11 tonight) and staring at a snow storm on Friday. Please take care and give my best to Phyl!

        1. ambrit

          See if you can talk her into a yurt in the back yard. I read they are very comfortable in most weather.
          Phyl says how about a vegetable garden in the back yard with a “shed” to store “gardening stuff” in. Covers several bases. No one can argue against fresh food. (No one who’s sane at least.)
          Stay safe, dry, and warm.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Phyl says how about a vegetable garden in the back yard with a “shed” to store “gardening stuff” in. Covers several bases. No one can argue against fresh food.

            Phyl is correct. Remember, however, that being a peasant is hard work. For me, the hardest part of growing vegetables was the storage, whether drying, pickling, cooking then freezing, or storage in a root cellar. I never did master the complete cycle. All interesting projects though!

            1. petal

              Oh me too, Lambert. Storage is the worst part. I can grow anything, I just have no way to store it. My dream home has a root cellar. My onions all sprouted and started to rot this winter because I had to store them in the back room at RT. Really sucked.
              I don’t know if she’d let us stay long even though she has 50+ acres that used to be farmed in the olden days by actual former Polish peasants. I’ve never been her favourite kid.

              1. ambrit

                Are the “other kids” paying her any attention? You might “sneak in under the radar” as the “one who cares.”
                And, fifty acres! Intense envy emanations coming from down here at the moment. If we had a forty-nine acre “back yard”…..
                Be safe!

                1. petal

                  Don’t be too envious-the soil isn’t very good. It’s clay, and in the back are old ore beds now filled in with water. You’d come back from the lot and your shoes would be caked in like 1-2″ of clay. If the Polish peasants had gone a few miles east, they’d have hit the jackpot with muckland, but no.
                  The golden child has always been the golden child, no matter what. I’ve outperformed in every way but it was never enough. He does help her out once in a while. I had helped her a lot back in the day, but I decided to go no contact for 10 years because she’s so toxic and I had to process a lot of stuff that happened when I was growing up.

                  1. ambrit

                    Very understandable. I was the ‘Golden Child’ until I had my “break from reality,” and got married into the bargain. Suddenly, my middle sister was “The One.” She at least graduated from University, and then the Kansas City Institute of Art. Still works at Hallmark, now vested, waiting for the day when she can go fly fishing every day of the week. Her husband is a “guard” at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank and makes more than I ever did in construction.
                    I can live with the fact that life is not fair and that I must suffer for my noncompliance. However, it chaps my a–e that I cannot conquer the world. I feel distinctly like Pinky the Lab Mouse on a bleary eyed, failure laden dawn.

            2. ambrit

              Second try at a response. (The Internet Dragons must be very hungry today.)
              One implication was that the “shed” could also house that most important of gardening implements, the Gardner herself.
              Being a peasant is indeed hard work. We did a bit of it when we lived out on Phyl’s family mini-farm.
              Try including the loss of high density fuel sources to the food preparation and storage mix. After Katrina, we lived for several months without a refrigerator. That ‘simplified’ things a lot. More precarious food supplies. Simpler diets. More available time switched from “exterraneous” pursuits to food acquisition and preparation, etc.
              After disasters of various sorts, the canny peasants will shoot the pillagers who want to steal their supplies. They make political alliances with those who deal with them in a more ‘civilized’ fashion.
              Stay safe all! (Which is another way in which Western civilization is backsliding.)

    3. Andrew Watts

      All empires come home. I mean take a good look at the governments we’ve support abroad. Then ask yourself if that’s what is intended for us here at home.

      1. JBird4049

        This does explain while all the military equipment sent to the police by the Pentagon. I’m just waiting for the Empire to Strike Back. Or maybe it’s the Attack of the Clones? Yes, I know I am comparing my county’s Republic to a science fiction space opera. But it does feel like Senator Palpatine is planning his entrance.

        I had a too close an encounter to the SFPD back in the eighties. They was scary enough with just the motorcycle hardhats and batons. Scary, but still human and obviously police. I could still see their faces and what they had was not outlandish for riot control, although they were the ones rioting. Modern police all seem to be cartoonishly armored and armed. More so than any modern American soldier or marine. Maybe that is the point. They don’t want to be police. They want to be imperial storm troopers.

        1. ambrit

          The scary part is that all the panoply serves to anonymize the State Security Apparat individuals. Someone who feels anonymous and dangerous becomes exactly that.
          As we used to joke out in the sticks, “You give them a gun and a badge and they think they are G–.”
          The Civil War I feel would be most relevant to today’s situation in America is the Spanish one from the 1930s.

          1. JBird4049

            The police usually want your ID when they encounter you and even become abusive, if they do not get it along with you being grotesquely obsequious when giving it, and yet, they take measures to illegally protect their identity. Often the police become aggressive, even violent, when being filmed. Talk about hypocrisy.

            The police really have become more abusive to the general population, and I believe more lethal to minorities although that last part might be hard to verify, in the past forty years.

  5. FriarTuck

    Re Truckers, “…Steele said. ‘And in the end, I’d like to see freedom restored, the freedoms and liberties that we’ve lost over the last two years.'”

    Freedoms lost over the last two years? What is this guy smoking?

    I mean, we have a national health emergency that has directly resulted in the death of almost a million Americans due to crisis mismanagement, and this guy has the cajones to whine about public health mandates that are at worst inconvenient.


    1. Objective Ace

      I’m not sure what his specific grievance is, but the Biden Administration was making people (who may well have had natural immunity) choose between supporting their family and keeping their job vs experimental jabs. I think that rises above the level of inconvenience

      I agree that much of what is being protested is just an “inconvenience”, which is what makes all the scapegoating and not following the science all the more damning. It gives protesters something legitimate to point to

    2. PHLDenizen

      …Blatter, the Canadian truck driver, told me the point of the #FreedomConvoy isn’t just vaccine mandates. It’s about how truck drivers have seen worsening treatment amid the pandemic — despite all your #ThankATrucker memes…

      Freedom is reified in things such as: economic freedom in the guise of stable employment and income over the long haul, freedom to spend time with your family, freedom from being forced to idle with no pay at ports, freedom from the PMCs saying shit like “… this guy has the cajones to whine about public health mandates that are at worst inconvenient.”, freedom from the FDA giving Pfizer to keep secret their clinical trial data for 70+ years, freedom from the intellectual violence that Fauci and company perpetuate, freedom from being designated terrorists for voicing their displeasure with neoliberalism, and so on.

      The plural of anecdote is not data. There’s also a lot of confirmation bias at play on the PMC side. The PMC also continues their long-standing tradition of sneering at anyone remotely blue collar or no collar. Trudeau is a perfect example — he flat out refuses to engage them in dialog. Trudeau’s best play would have been to head down there and spend a couple of days talking to them sincerely. Not to make grand speeches or engage in performative empathy. “Oh, but they’re all terrorists and violent criminals and he shouldn’t have to fear for his life.” That’s ridiculous hyperbole.

      You can add “freedom from regression to ‘normal’” to that list. The ‘normal’ sucked for truck drivers and wages will likely collapse again, as will the need for drivers, resulting in job losses. These “heroes” are entirely disposable and I reckon those “whiners” know this all too well.

      …national health emergency that has directly resulted in the death of almost a million Americans due to crisis mismanagement…

      Very true. This crisis has existed in the absence of single payer for decades. Millions of Americans can’t afford the healthcare industrial complex. Diabetics, cancer victims, stroke victims, those with CVD, etc. All left to die because it inconveniences the healthcare system’s profit centers.

      So when are you going to get as incensed about single payer as you do the freedom convoy? I can make an easy case that not providing universal healthcare and free college is a form of terrorism. How do I get the Emergency Act treatment to solve those problems?

      1. dcblogger

        the convoy is not calling for economic justice, they are protesting legitimate health safety measures. they want the freedom to infect the rest of us. that is why they have zero public support.

        1. Mantid

          These current experimental vaccines do not address health and safety measures legitimately. They are an experiment run by a company that was fined more than any other pharma corp (Phizer). Fined more than the companies that brought us opioids. “Infect the rest of us”? What are you talking about? The vax do not, I repeat, do not stop or hinder transmission of COVID.

        2. flora

          I guess I don’t get your point. How many nurses, health care workers, hospital staff, etc. lost their jobs because of mandates for this new emergency use vox, a non-sterilizing vox that has almost no long term safety data yet. They worked through the worst of 2020 and 2021, may have recovered and have some immunity, but hesitate on this new type of vox. In the ensuing care-worker crunch un-voxed people were brought in to cover positions. How does that make any sense? The mandates are very much an economic issue. People are losing their jobs.

        3. Fiery Hunt

          C’mon, blogger…you read this site. Don’t let tribalism block your critical thinking skills….
          cuz that’s a straw man argument.

          If vaxxed people can pass the virus, what makes you think vax mandates are in the slightest useful?

          “legitimate health safety measures”, my Aunt Fanny.

        4. clarky90

          Hi dcblogger
          Are you a vulnerable, exhausted, frontline, low wage worker! (possibly a garbage collector, a police, a nurse, a checkout opperator, or an electricity lines-person?) If so, God Bless you and yours, for your sacrifice. You are risking your well being for the sake of OUR community!

          No wonder you are aggrieved!

          1. dcblogger

            no I am retired and have the luxury of hiding in my apartment, but my neighbors here in the 7th ward are not so fortunate.

  6. Tertium Squid

    They aren’t trucks they are minivans with little bitty cargo beds in back. Designed to get you and your carseated crew to Costco and back.

    And speaking of Costco encounters, guy in a big truck next to my parking spot bought a fridge and had to strap it in upright. I think I could have laid that fridge down in the back of my Honda Element and still closed the tailgate.

    1. Duke of Prunes

      Although if you lay your fridge down on it’s back or side, you need to stand it up overnight before you use it. This has to do with getting the coolant in the right places (and how it goes to the wrong places when not upright).

      I don’t know. I think people should be able to buy/drive whatever vehicles they want. Just don’t come whining to me when you can’t afford to drive it anywhere.

      1. Randy

        Never could understand that. It is supposedly a sealed system. To me it shouldn’t matter whether it is sideways, right side up or upside down.

        1. ambrit

          [Thistelbreath below gives an excellent summary of the processes involved in refrigeration units.]
          The oil that the unit uses to do the work is held in a reservoir at the bottom of the unit. The refrigerant changes phase in the unit which is the heart of the process. The condenser liquifies it and then it is pumped up to where it re-enters the gaseous state, this process causing the cooling. Lying on it’s side, the oil sloshes everywhere, including places that should be in vacuum for the process to work properly. So, stand the unit up and allow time for the oil to drain down back into the reservoir.
          How the unit works, the adiabatic process: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adiabatic_process

    2. Eureka Springs

      If you can’t load a rick of firewood in it, it’s not a truck, imo. It’s an suv with an open trunk. That said, it’s not a good idea to lay a fridge/freezer on its side.

      1. Thistlebreath

        Project Aid alumnus here (1972 era) as part of the Model Cities program in the midwest. We would take a medium duty box truck w/a lift gate, pick up unwanted major appliances from middle class people, warehouse them, repair them one at a time, then deliver for free to aid to dependent children families. Nixon finally killed the whole deal. Just in time to get roasted for Watergate.

        Refrigerators: coolant is a gas for part of its heating/cooling cycle, pushed through by oil, which does not compress. Putting a ‘fridge in the upright position for 12+ hours ensures that the oil will drain back down to where it is ready to do its thing compressing a gas. Liquids do not compress.

        Hardest delivery ever: third floor of an old victorian, 2 skinny white guys, one Servel gas refrigerator. No moving parts in that one. Funny, grateful family. That world’s gone for now.

        1. Wukchumni

          Everybody in our cabin community has propane fridges, as there is no electricity in our neck of the woods.

          Most of them are the Servel brand, and some turn them upside down in the fall, although I don’t bother and so far-so good.

          It’s really old technology, I have a passel of old Life mags from the 30’s and 40’s, and saw a full page advert for them in a 1940 issue.

    3. polar donkey

      Funny how those pickups and SUV’s are supposed to big and tough. GM trucks got 1 star review for reliability. They are complete junk. Dodge’s are marginally better and that’s not saying much. $60,000 for a pick up and it will not last as long as one built 30 years ago. I don’t need a computer screen in my truck. Everyone has a cell phone. $4-$5 gas is going to are going to decimate American car manufacturers. Barely able to pay the note and insurance already, drivers will not be able to afford the fill-up of their Silverados.

      1. Tom Stone

        Premium is$5.49 per gallon at the local shell station.
        $5.10 per gallon at Costco..
        Food prices…are Badgers good eating?.
        As far as the Democratic Party the best description of their attitude is
        “Depraved Indifference”, a legal term I became familiar with in the course of performing Jury duty.

      2. Randy

        In my years of experience with trucks GM reliability has exceeded Ford and Chrysler reliability. I will NEVER buy anything made by Ford or Chrysler. EVER.

        I am old enough to have purchased my last 4WD truck though. I use it for plowing my driveway, towing my boat ~20 miles to the lake and the occasional haul of building supplies, etc. I have 8,000 miles on this 2013 Chevy truck. It will never see road salt, that is what kills vehicles around here.

        The ’78 Ford it replaced is still on the road but required a rebuilt engine and clutch to keep it on the road along with floorboard replacement caused by salt. In the past I repaired 95% of my vehicle problems but I am too old for that crap now.

        1. JohnnySacks

          Amen, 30k on a 2010 Canyon (Isuzu) and I know I’m doomed to see it sent off to be crushed running and driving fine with a dashboard flashing warnings like a pinball machine and a DMV rejection sticker on the windshield. Forced obsolescence as a source of profit. Nice money if you’re on the receiving end. I despise everything about automobiles with the heat of a thousand burning suns.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          I got over 300,000 miles out of my last Ford (1997 Ranger).
          At 130,000 on this one. (2006 Ranger…just before they computerized everything).

          Old Fords outlast anything…if you maintain ’em.

          1. orlbucfan

            I will testify to that: very true. First car was a 1971 used Ford Pinto with a stick. Body was an eggshell but the engine and drive train? Rock solid like a tank. Simple basic maintenance, especially keeping the oil changed, and that car ran forever. I drive Toyotas now but will never diss a Ford product.

          2. wilroncanada

            I got over 300,000 miles on our 1969 Volkswagen 9-passenger minivan. Mind, I was down to 2nd gear travelling north from Victoria by the time we got to the top off the Malahat drive (app. 1200 feet). It burned through a number of rear-mounted mufflers. The “heating” system was not anything to write home about, my daughters who rode in the second and third tiers, used to complain. But it carried 40 cartons of letter size 20 lb bond (seats removed) to fulfill contracts with the local school district.
            It reluctantly eventually went to the ‘old volks home’.

  7. hemeantwell

    And if the Teamster leadership — and Big Labor generally — had an ounce of solidarity in their veins, they would have used their muscle on behalf of, say, PPE and paid time off for nurses (also unionized). In the face of a debacle like that, the upcoming UPS contract negotiations seem rather beside the point.

    Whoa. AFAIK the post-Hoffa leadership is only just taking office after their victory last November. They’re just now announcing people in new positions.

  8. Stephen

    Civil asset forfeiture makes my blood boil. I cannot fathom how it can even be possible. Absolute, undeniable system rot. Our court system has effectively made cash illegal.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Minneapolis had a Gang Strike Force that went rogue, they had their own headquarters (club-house) complete with a safe where they were supposed to ‘temporarily‘ store cash confiscated from alleged ‘criminals’.

      The city found out they were abusing their asset forfeiture powers, and raided their club house one night and IIRC, found about $250K stashed in their safe.

      It turned out the Strike Force, among other dubious behavior, was targeting immigrants, most likely because their fear of deportation meant they wouldn’t complain to authorities.

      They also found all the Strike Force officers driving confiscated vehicles, and that some Strike Force officer’s family members were also driving confiscated vehicles!

      We’re talking Cadillac Escalades, Lincolns and big SUVs.

      The Strike Force was disbanded and its victims recently won a $3Million settlement.

      On February 8th Minneapolis’ new temporary Police Chief appointed a former member of the Strike Force who had been fired for misbehavior, to be the department’s new Training Director.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

      1. Tom Stone

        There’s nothing unusual about what happened in Minneapolis, the most famous example of a super duper special forces trained and equipped anti drug task force would be “Los Zetas” in Mexico.
        Officers trained at the school of the Americas, troops carefully selected and highly trained by US Army Special Forces.
        Cops with those jobs can’t ignore how corrupt the system is and with the amount of money and goodies involved…
        And with the example of “Civil Asset Forfeiture” which is armed robbery under color of law no one should be surprised.

  9. nippersdad

    I thought this was a fascinating piece purely due to the many attempted sleights of hand that Albright uses to make her points. It is like playing Where is Waldo.


    Did it ever occur to her that Putin was embarrassed by what had happened to his country AFTER the Clintons sent in their Harvard economics school grads? Fixing that was, after all, why he was elected; why he was there for her to meet in the first place.

    And so on and so forth.

    1. curlydan

      For some reason, I can’t see this article, but I do remember what happened to Germany after their post-WWI embarrassment.

    2. Thistlebreath

      Fun fact: about half the Border Collies I know are named “nipper.”

      Laaarrrrrryyyyyyyy…the same dweeb who said women are unsuited for careers in science. Yeah, that guy.

      When his buds all looted the CCCP’s publicly held assets, courtesy of poker pal Yeltsin, oligarchs were born. Putin inherited a nasty nest of well heeled looters. What to do? Boshomoi (phonetic).

      P apparently ended up getting them to hold some his personal wealth, allegedly in yankee dollars. So he kept them at bay. After all, they had his cash, right?

      But now: Xi and P have made moves to get off the dollar exchange. All the korrupt kronies still have a lot of assets but they’re maybe on the way to becoming what’s euphemistically called ‘stranded assets” as the Yuan/Ruble economy gets cranking.

      So the new ‘sanctions’ against P are aimed at draining P’s personal fortune. Which makes perfect sense to policy wonks whose only settings are ‘greed’ and ‘fear.’

      But….as a very dry humored S. Asian entrepreneur remarked to me 30+ years ago, there’s only so much money one can spend without killing oneself via substance abuse, gluttony, speed, etc.

      That’s where a social conscience has a value that’s hard to reconcile with GAAP.

      Here endeth the lesson for today.

  10. Glossolalia

    As I watch my elderly mother’s mutual funds decline by 10+%, taking probably a year’s worth of assisted living costs with them, I have to wonder how many elderly American’s are wondering when the US Government and its allies in the media will stop beating the war drums. Of course everyone at the top levels of the State Department and Pentagon have nice fat pensions, so it doesn’t concern them so much.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Turned on the telly a little while ago to hear ‘Russia is about to invade the Ukraine!’ They do not give up. Russia has already accomplished what they want although the Ukrainians are still shelling the Donbass Republics. Boris has just said that he will be shipping more lethal aid to the Ukrainians for defensive purposes and the hint in the news was that the Ukraine just needs more military equipment to make things better. So, still beating the drums of war.

    1. ambrit

      It’s probably a reference to Odessyus and his crew of Argonauts, heros all.
      The Obamanauts, in homage to their distant forebears, sail the “crime dark sea” in the ship of state.

  11. Nikkikat

    I had to laugh about Jen being a west wing watcher. Of course she is! This woman is a horrid elitist punk. Her flippant attitude and arrogant replies in most cases aren’t grounded in any sort a realty. Her comments with regard to gas prices going up as a result of the gaslighting on Ukraine and Russia. Do they really think this will go well for them? Myself and most working class people can’t even afford groceries. Now we won’t be able to get to our low paying job. The trucker convoy might be the least of their problems.

    1. Glossolalia

      I don’t think they care. “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone.” Jen will be writing her memoir for an 8-figure advance by then and offering her insights on CNN about why the Dems lost Congress.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Just saw Jen giving a press briefing and talking about not taking any advice from Trump. There was something about her eyes that made me wonder if she might be taking some stress medications or something at the moment. No, not a personal attack but an observation about the expression on her face which I have not seen before. Then again maybe the intensity was just her talking about the WH’s previous tenant.

  12. Wukchumni

    Three men pleaded guilty today to crimes related to a scheme to attack power grids in the United States in furtherance of white supremacist ideology.

    According to court documents, Christopher Brenner Cook, 20, of Columbus, Ohio; Jonathan Allen Frost, 24, of West Lafayette, Indiana, and of Katy, Texas; and Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists. The charge and plea agreements indicate that the defendants knew and intended that the material support they conspired to provide would be used to prepare for and carry out the federal offense of destroying energy facilities.

    “These three defendants admitted to engaging in a disturbing plot, in furtherance of white supremacist ideology, to attack energy facilities in order to damage the economy and stoke division in our country,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew G. Olsen. “The Justice Department is committed to investigating and disrupting such terrorist plots and holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”

    As part of the conspiracy, each defendant was assigned a substation in a different region of the United States. The plan was to attack the substations, or power grids, with powerful rifles. The defendants believed their plan would cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region. They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression.

    In February 2020, the co-conspirators met in Columbus, Ohio, to further discuss their plot. Frost provided Cook with an AR-47 and the two took the rifle to a shooting range to train.

    Frost also provided Cook and Sawall with suicide necklaces during the Columbus meeting. The necklaces were filled with fentanyl and were to be ingested if and when the defendants were caught by law enforcement. Both Cook and Sawall expressed their commitment to dying in furtherance of their mission.


    1. Milton

      Not knowing anything about the case, I’ll bet what’s remaining in my 401k that these defendants were led from first contact to plan fulfillment by those cunning G-men from the FBI.

    2. HotFlash

      Back in our day, many decades ago, we’d have pegged Frost for the informer. Wonder what sentence he’ll get, and if it will help his credentials so he can inform another day?

  13. MT_Wild

    She thinks she is being smart and whitty. People in her circle probably agree. They have no idea how they come across to the rest of us.

    Let them eat cake.

  14. Wukchumni

    1/5th of all Giant Sequoias 4 feet or larger have burned up in the last 2 years, it has been tragic.

    These would’ve been trees that were 500 to 2,000 years old and had withstood out of control lightning caused fires without the hand of man getting involved all that time.

    The losses sustained so far have been in the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia NP largely.

    What really needs to be done, is cutting down all of the lesser species crowding out the Giants, but we have a problem here in Sequoia NP as everything is protected, and there is no will to do what sounds like clear cutting, nor the funds to do so.

    That’s not stopping other agencies from doing what needs to be done to preserve the groves by bringing them back to historical condition as they once were, BLM has one grove that they are in charge of in the state and they did extensive burning last month, and check out what the Calaveras Big Trees State Park is doing, they aren’t messing around, unlike the Feds.

    A nonprofit group advocating for emergency action to reduce threats of a megablaze that could burn up the Mother Lode’s share of rare and dwindling giant sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park continued calling for urgent action Friday, criticizing state parks authorities’ response to their initial call to action earlier this month.

    The state has identified $7 million to invest over the next five years to further advance forest stewardship, reduce forest fuels accumulations, and restore natural fire regimes, “including areas of the park where such management has long been deferred,” Matthew Bellah, a state parks administrator whose job title is Central Field Division chief, wrote to Dr. Vida Kenk, an ecological biologist and president of the nonprofit Calaveras Big Trees Association in a letter dated Feb. 14.

    The funding will help support two seasonal forestry crews, contract work crews and a deal with the U.S. Forest Service to thin and do prescribed fires on 3,000 acres, Bellah told Kenk.

    Calaveras Big trees staff have treated 617 acres to reduce excessive fuel loading since 2018 to help protect the North and South Groves, home to more than 1,100 giant sequoias, and they plan to continue burning sigments in the North Grove and broadcast burn the 1,300-acre South Grove as a “priority project” in 2022, Bellah said.

    “We are extremely concerned that a catastrophic fire could destroy Calaveras Big Trees this fire season,” Powers said Friday in a phone interview. “A fire big enough and hot enough to kill giant sequoias in Calaveras and Tuolumne counties could do just that in the next six months.”

    “We continue to believe that the state’s five-year-plan to cleanup one-sixth of the park is neither fast enough nor comprehensive enough,” Kenk said Friday. “The nature of wildfire is changing. Trees that had survived eighty to a hundred fires in their lifetimes have died. The nature of fires has changed and it is urgent for us to change how we act. Business as usual in the current parks plan is not enough.”

    Big Trees is the only state park with giant sequoia groves, Kenk said. The need to clear massive accumulations of fuels, thin the forest, cut down dead trees, and reduce the dense understory is urgent, Kenk said.


  15. Randy

    Legalized corporate weed.

    Here in northern WI weed is illegal so some people, sorry, consumers, are traveling to the UP where it is.

    Friends went up there. Right across the WI border sits a MI pot shop with a big parking lot full of vehicles with mostly WI plates. Anything you want but prices are high, about $360/oz for buds. I’m surprised LEOs aren’t sitting just south of the border waiting for them to return. That would be easy money.

    Very good quality home grown around here goes for ~$200/oz, same as it always has been. The more things change………….

    1. HotFlash

      Funny! When I was last in WI I was struck by the shops at the interchanges. Neat progression — one porn, one fireworks, one cheese — over and over. We stopped at Tim and Tom’s in Kenosha, ate the cheese but the cheese hat made it home.

    1. neo-realist

      Sounds like a conservative section of Texas that wasn’t much of a stretch to go red. Hard to talk about abortion rights to catholic latinos and transitioning off of fossil fuels when so many jobs are dependent on oil.

  16. Michael King

    Re: Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy. Breaking: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is revoking The Emergencies Act. Surprised by this as I thought he would just let it lapse after thirty days. However, our Senate (upper chamber of parliament) was due to debate and vote on its imposition. If this chamber had voted against the Act, it would have ended. Unlike Monday’s vote in the House of Commons (lower chamber) which passed the Act, the Senate vote would not have been a confidence vote, leading to an election. My first thoughts are that the Senate was going to end the Act and Trudeau is engaging in some face saving. In any case, this turns down the political heat in Canada, at least temporarily. This is a good thing.

    1. flora

      Thanks for this info. Does this mean the bank/financial freeze on user accounts is also lifted? I didn’t see that particular bit addressed in the linked story. Maybe it is lifted by default as part of the original order, but I don’t assume anything anymore. / ;)

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        During the CB craze, which was created when Nixon created the national 55mph speed limit. I put CBs on several motorcycles I had. Best way to learn of every cop on the interstate for 300 miles.

        BTW, just read that Lowell George (who wrote Willin’ and founded Little Feat) played in Zappa’s Mothers of Invention.

      2. Dave in Austin

        I vote for Willie P Bennett’s “White Line Fever”. And a Canadian too.

        Every time I hear about the truck convoy heading to DC to shut traffic down I see the headline:

        “Hundreds of truckers arrested on the beltway for going the speed limit. Biden vows continues crackdown against vigilantism.”

        1. rowlf

          Allow me to tee up the Babylon Bee:
          Freedom Convoy Forms In Los Angeles Blocking Freeway And—Never Mind, That’s Just Normal Traffic On The 405


          Man Donates To Truck Convoy Under Name ‘Hunter Biden’ So Washington Post Won’t Dox Him

          Actually, my coworkers tell me of some engineering students doing a study years ago where they drove around Atlanta at the speed limit side-by-side and jammed up the city.

          The New Civil Disobedience: Obeying the Speed Limit

          Friday March 3, 2006 The story is this. A group of college students got together and decided to hold I-285 traffic to the posted speed limit. (I-285 makes a complete circle around Atlanta.) The Atlanta Journal quotes a spokesman for the DOT as saying that if the students weren’t blocking emergency vehicles and were going the speed limit, “they didn’t do a thing wrong.” He added, “In Atlanta… we expect the people going 75 to move over so the people going 95 can have the right of way.”

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        How random! I was speaking with my oldest, currently in Austin, last week about Gram Parsons.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Willin’ – Little Feat


      I bought the record immediately, back when I had my long hair, on the strength of a Rolling Stone review (they were good back then). What an amazing album, completely different from anything I had ever heard before. Spiky and angular, not “country” at all (a stylistic judgment, not a moralizing one).

      And the later, New Orleans-inflected Little Feat was pretty good too :-)

    2. InThePines

      Long White Line – Sturgill Simpson
      Laced toothpicks and paper logs just aren’t the thing anymore. Trading your life for the road and pocketful of cash that buys none of it back? Oh, that’s still an option

  17. Pat

    One of my closest friends works in NYC schools. The city guidelines for schools have been weakened to the point of being window dressing. The vaccine mandate exists, but that is just window dressing. Everything is window dressing. Hell the report came out that the DOE bought a lot of expensive experimental air filtration units for the schools, the executive offices got high end hepa units that weren’t just more effective, but cheaper. That may have been during the DeBlasio administration, but there have been multiple Covid guidelines released by the Adams administration, each with shorter isolation times, hell the last one was come back the moment you get a negative test. He needs the childcare the schools provide.

    My point being that there is no doubt that title is correct. Adams will let the vaccine and mask mandates fade into oblivion. Just as all financial support for mitigation methods become things of the past, any government demand that other mitigation methods occur will as well. Adams is smart enough to make it because NYers have done so well, but it is all about a return to full classes, restaurants, theaters and most importantly offices ASAP and anything that interferes with that must be disposed of. Science be damned. Getting those offices filled has been an Adams priority from day one. I do find it interesting that he is waiting past the point that thousands will be dismissed. Still I am cynical enough to think that word will go out and most of those dismissed will probably get quietly rehired in the next six months.

  18. Noone from Nowheresville

    BA.2 detected in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Low levels so far.

    Here’s the met council wastewater site.


    Here’s the original Star Trib article:

    New omicron COVID subvariant BA.2 detected in Twin Cities area wastewater

    The Metropolitan Wastewater Treatment Plant in St. Paul saw indications of BA.2 a few weeks ago as part of its ongoing analysis of COVID-19 trends conducted in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

    Last week, researchers found BA.2 was present in 4.4% of samples for the week ending Feb. 14, up from 1.6% the previous week.

    The plant treats wastewater for 1.95 million metro area residents, including Minneapolis, St. Paul and more than 60 suburbs. Wastewater analysis is a good predictor of COVID-19 trends because the genetic material of the virus shows up in sewage before people seek testing, which usually comes after they develop symptoms.

  19. KT2

    Australia. Yr 9 Science. 20% yr mark.

    Site a nuclear power plant. Discus. Basically.

    2 links with assignment.
    1) ANSTO
    2) World Nuclesr Association

    The shadow lobby wins.

    Oh, and we now need a nuclear trained *work for war) force too.

    Nuclear – zeno’s paradox. It’s half life never ends.

  20. Myra

    [Inside California’s Cannabis Crisis”]

    What do you expect? Gavin Newsom is a phony who has turned the entire state over to big business, including the marijuana industry. Have to love those $100,000 state issued retail licenses, eh?

    Same thing in construction as he and his gang of state legislators have eliminated single family zoning statewide through Senate Bill 9, and Senate Bill 10, which are now law, and allow a single family lot to be split in two equal parts with a duplex, a mother in law and an accessory dwelling unit built on each. One house surrounded by greenery becomes six units, by right, no obligation by developer to pay to improve utilities, schools etc. SB10 means an apartment house can be built in a neighborhood of single family homes, four feet clearance from property line. The damage is done and there’s no hope of repealing these absurd laws until 2024.


  21. rowlf

    If one were to pull up the flightradar24 app or website US Northrop Grumman RQ-4B Global Hawks can be seen flying over Ukraine hoping a Russian puts a toe over the border.

    I’m not sure why they have MLAT (military transponder) turned on, but then again the US is probably trying to track the Russian ground forces by their cell phones and Facebook accounts. /s

    1. rowlf

      Weird, the last Global Hawk on station moved out of the area earlier that the previous loiterer. Maybe they went CDC and didn’t want to be asked later if they recorded anything.

      1. ambrit

        The Russians have seemingly had enough. Full on “full spectrum dominance” assault going on now. Airport in Kiev hit by missiles. Odessa being ‘invested’ by sea. Big artillery barrages by Russians against Ukraine military along line of demarcation.
        I joked about an amphibious assault on Odessa by Russian marines. Looks to have happened.
        Putin holds speech, calls for deNazification of Ukraine.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Odessa being ‘invested’ by sea

          One of the sketchy “technical” accounts I follow, three hours ago:

          Two hours ago:

          I don’t know about one hour ago.

          Let’s remember the phrase “fog of war,” and also that none of the various leopards involved will have changed their spots on propaganda, disinformation, etc.

  22. lance ringquist

    oh dear, more bad news on the trump derangement syndrome front, another nothing burger:)

    instead of self reflection in how trump got there in the first place, america would be far better off today if the nafta democrats understood “ITS THE POLICIES STUPID”

    Prosecutors in charge of Trump criminal probe have resigned

    Bragg raised doubts about pursuing a case against Trump himself. No former president has ever been charged with a crime


    Associated Press
    Prosecutors in charge of Trump criminal probe have resigned
    Wed, February 23, 2022, 2:13 PM·5 min read…

    “Perhaps one of the most interesting, if not frustrating parts of the rise of Trump is the inability to get Democrats to accept the idea that the economic policies of Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama set the stage for a man like Trump. I think that among the Clinton Liberals, the madness has reached the stage the Tea Party reached with its “Birther” conspiracies around Obama.”

  23. Senator-Elect

    Trying again to put some accurate reporting into the convoy conversation.
    I’m curious whether people who think this is a working-class protest can square the circle of why all the oligarch bootlickers are amplifying it. You know, FOX News, Wall Street Journal, Economist, NYTimes (to a lesser extent). And in Canada, the National Post newspaper (essentially a right-wing propaganda outlet, conceived as such by wealthy convicted fraudster Conrad Black) and the two right-wing national political parties.
    It boggles the mind that Taibbi, Greenwald and commenters here are not seeing that this is, at best, an astroturf operation a la the Tea Party. In other words, it’s an effort to use wedge issues to divide the working class and turn some of them toward right-wing parties that enact policies that further destroy their livelihoods and communities. That is the story here, as it has been for decades now.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Too early to tell though explosions have been heard in the Ukraine. Supply/ammo dumps perhaps? Hopefully the Russians will not call this plan Operation Arya Stark.

        1. Foy

          This link has some on the ground video clips and reporting as it came to hand. He’s just gone to bed after a long few hours typing. Putin said he was going to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. Looks like he means he’s started


      1. Glen

        Or just Russia’s way of saying – you will not keep this contained away from your cities?

        Yes, too early to tell, and the BS flinging around from all sides afterwards will make it just about impossible to sort out.

    2. Carolinian

      MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he had made the decision to hold a special military operation in response to the address of leaders of Donbass republics.

      “People’s republics of Donbass approached Russia with a request for help. In connection therewith, I made the decision to hold a special military operation. Its goal is to protect the people that are subjected to abuse, genocide from the Kiev regime for eight years, and to this end we will seek to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and put to justice those that committed numerous bloody crimes against peaceful people, including Russian nationals,” Putin said in the television address.

      Justice and truth are on Russia’s side, President Vladimir Putin said in a special television address.

      “The welfare, the very existence of entire countries and peoples, their success and health are always originating from the strong root system of culture and values, experience and traditions of ancestors, directly depending on abilities to quickly adapt to continuously changing life, consolidation of the society, its readiness to consolidate and gather all forces together for moving forward,” Putin said.

      “Forces are always needed but they can be of different quality,” the Russian leader said. “And we know the real strength is in justice and truth that are on our side,” he added.


      Article quoted in full. I’d say that’s all we will know until morning. But “denazification”…whoa

      1. Yves Smith

        That was actually pretty much stated in his Putin’s hour speech but not as crisply. I’d need to look but my recollection is that Putin stated that key individuals who had been targeting the breakaway regions would be prosecuted. This bit from the Saker today is generally consistent:

        By the way, the Russian Investigative Committee has declared that Russia knows, by name, all the folks who on the Ukie side gave orders to shell the LDNR. There are already over 400 criminal cases opened for warcrimes, including 85 top Ukronazi officials, beginning with Turchinov and his military commanders Galetei and Gritsenko, Arsen Avakov and their deputies Shevchuk, Dublian and Gerashchenko. The notorious ZioNazi oligarch Igor Kolomoiskii, the commanders of the Ukie air force and navy (or whatever is left of them by now), the Chief of the Ukie Airborne forces, the Commander of Ukie Special Forces, the main Urkonazi Dmitrii Iarosh and many many more Ukronazis are also on that list.


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Candace Owen

        We need Canada’s water, so yes. In addition, they aren’t wrecking their single payer system fast enough. So we need, once again, to undertake our civilizing mission.

    3. PHLDenizen

      Reading between the lines, it sounds plausibly like the peace keeping mission Putin alluded to earlier. Through the prism of the US insanity. I don’t know enough about Donetsk and Luhansk to offer anything more insightful.

      The CIA appears to be back at it again, “training” Ukrainian forces to act against a possible Russian invasion. I also remember reports about Donetsk being pretty salty about CIA infiltration in the guise of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. It’s hard to find definitive CIA fingerprints, but this was an interesting read: https://orthodoxhistory.org/2019/12/02/greek-archbishop-to-proto-cia/

      So perhaps Russia discovered CIA operators in those two regions and decided to make a show of force to beat them back. If Putin does have proof of such hostilities, maybe he’s holding them close to the vest as leverage?

  24. PHLDenizen

    RE: Tlaib’s renegade rebuttal

    Fully expect that thing to be some weak sauce:

    Progressives hope that by electing more of their own to Congress, they will be able to pass Biden’s social policy and environmental legislation in addition to other liberal priorities.

    Presupposes Biden gives a shit about anything remotely progressive. He’ll claim he’s utterly impotent to cancel student debt, etc. And then Mama Bear Nancy will devise some scheme to keep such legislation at bay.

    Gottheimer, Manchin, and Sinema have zero shame and DGAF about their DINO predilections. Manchin will likely cruise to re-election. Sinema’s arranging her post-Senate wealth augmentation via the usual routes of flattering neoliberals and rapacious capitalism, so she’s got a soft landing in the more than likely event she loses. Gottheimer’s constituency is northern NJ, home to lots of pharma companies and those set to benefit from lifting of SALT caps. He’s not going to budge.

    Anything short of savaging Pelosi’s character and calling Biden a flat out liar isn’t worth the time. At the very least, they can state their plans for a concerted refusal to advance any bills that don’t include their priorities. AOC giggled about all the back room stuff that if only people knew about… Then why doesn’t she just air the sausage factory’s goings on?

    They’re also setting themselves as scapegoats when the Dems get their asses handed to them in the midterms. Dunno how much that matters, other than the prospect of being labeled secret Trumpers.

    Warnock is easy to defeat with ads that prominently display the images of the 2000.00 checks that were plastered all over during 2020. “Biden is a liar, owing you 600.00, and Republicans gave y’all more Covid relief. Warnock helped keep you hungry and broke.” The Dems can spin their nonsensical math, but the reaction to a 2000.00 check never delivered has a pretty visceral effect. Last I checked, that race is a toss-up.

    The Fetterman PA senate race is the important one. That dude is a fearless brawler and seems incorruptible. He may be the tallest, burliest dude in the Senate and looks like he could snap the head off of his adversaries like a preying mantis. The “Team America, fsck yeah” contingent will respond positively, IMO: “I drink Manchin’s milkshake.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > The Fetterman PA senate race is the important one. That dude is a fearless brawler and seems incorruptible. He may be the tallest, burliest dude in the Senate and looks like he could snap the head off of his adversaries like a preying mantis. The “Team America, fsck yeah” contingent will respond positively, IMO: “I drink Manchin’s milkshake.”

      Fetterman certainly looks that part, very much opposed to the next Manchin, Conor Lamb. But we know that regular Democrats are ruthless and effective at enforcing who gets on the ballot (i.e., Clyburn v. Turner, even though, or perhaps because, Turner would certainly have won). So even though Fetterman is well ahead in the polls, and so far as I can tell a good campaigner, the regular Democrats have not yet begun to fight.

  25. VietnamVet

    Looks like a “Shock and Awe” attack in Ukraine is happening right now. Al Jazerra: “Russia has launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War II and confirmation of the worst fears of the West.” Having what the USA did to Iraq done to its vassal state will not go over well. Rational, reality based, decisions are as rare as a snowball in hell in a dying Empire.

    The real problem is that there is neither the will, manpower, or capability to do anything about it. Except threaten to use tactical nuclear weapons if Poland is about to be invaded. This is “Apocalypse Now” if nukes are used. Even if the worst is avoided, the cutoff of natural gas and oil from Russia will result in gasoline lines, energy shortages, freezing in Europe, and hyperinflation. Voodoo Corporations will have a stake plunged into their hearts.

  26. Adam Eran

    About the D’s connection to truckers, it’s worth remembering that Carter showed Reagan how to deregulate by doing so for trucking and airlines, effectively throwing those unions under the bus. Teamsters endorsed Reagan in the next election.

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