Links 2/4/2022

Kleptomaniac New Zealand parrot steals GoPro, films airborne escape Guardian

Alabama man accused of keeping meth-fueled ‘attack squirrel’ faces new charges NBC

Investors wipe more than $220bn from value of Facebook owner Meta FT. That’s a damn shame.

Blockchain startups landed record $25B in 2021 Payments Dive

Food Prices Approach Record Highs, Threatening the World’s Poorest NYT


More on that horrid and institutional credibility-destroying (here; here) Johns Hopkins meta-study:


* * *

The Covid Vaccine We Need Now May Not Be a Shot NYT. Nasal vaccines. One more thing that should have been done a year ago.

South African scientists copy Moderna’s COVID vaccine Nature

* * *

High Rates of Rapid Antigen Test Positivity After 5 Days of Isolation for COVID-19 medRvix (Stillfeelinthebern). From the Abstract: “More than 40% of vaccinated HCW who felt well enough to work still had positive RAT tests when presenting for a first test between days 5 and 10. Boosted individuals were nearly 3x as likely to result positive on day 5, their first day eligible for return, and ~2x as likely to result positive on first RAT overall. New guidance provides clearance to exit isolation after 5 days from symptom onset, without the need for a negative rapid antigen test to exit, as long as symptoms are beginning to resolve. Per CDC, the guidance was driven by prior studies, mostly collected before Omicron and before most people were vaccinated or infected, that reported on symptom onset beginning one or more days after peak virus loads.” “Per CDC, the guidance was driven.” Commentary:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (Variant Delta) from Pet Hamsters to Humans and Onward Human Propagation of the Adapted Strain: A Case Study (Lancet preprint) SSRN. From the Discusssion: “Our findings provide the first documented evidence of efficient animal-to-animal transmission of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 in pet Syrian hamsters, hamster-to-human zoonotic jump and further onward spread between humans.” Nature’s clickbait headline — “How sneezing hamsters sparked a COVID outbreak in Hong Kong” is reprehensible less than responsible. Neither Nature’s own article nor the full preprint paper discuss the method of transmission (whether aerosol, droplet, fecal, or anything else). The headline is, however, useful since — hold onto your hats here, folks — it reinforces droplet transmission.

Use of disinfectants an effective way to keep Omicron at bay The Nation (Furzy Mouse). I can’t track down the Japanese study, but the source is credible. So this is an issue to watch:

So now we have to worry about fomites, for real? (Fortunately, the headline reads “an” not “the,” so, layered defense.)

SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers paracrine senescence and leads to a sustained senescence-associated inflammatory response Nature. In vitro and mice. From the Abstract: “The sustained infection-induced paracrine senescence described here may be involved in the long-term inflammation caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

* * *

CDC introduces a wastewater dashboard:

Good idea, should have been done a year ago.

Medicare Will Start Covering Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests NECN. There is, naturally, an eligibility requirement: Medicare Part B.


Cocktails and hazmat suits mingle in the Beijing Olympics bubble Reuters. The author seems shocked and insulted that journalists from the “Let ‘er rip” West are subject to precautions…. Ya know what wouid be really dystopian? Millions of Chinese people choking to death from the red mush in their lungs. That’s what. Video:

You reap what you sow. More from the same reporter:

“One of the workers said wearing the protective clothing put him at ease, which is understandable.” Dystopian indeed!

Putin and Xi rebuke US at summit that underlines closer ties FT


NUG’s forces carry out bomb attacks across Yangon on coup anniversary Myanmar Now. During the “silent strike.”

Crisis, climate and emerging roles for armed ethnic groups Frontier Myanmar. “Many of the most extensive old growth forests and biodiversity hotspots in all of mainland Southeast Asia are located in areas under the control or influence of Myanmar’s ethnic armed organisations….”

Why we are here Mekong Review


PM launches Partygate purge: ‘Party Marty’ Reynolds and Chief of Staff Dan Rosenfield are axed as No10 reels from shock resignations of Boris’s key policy and comms aides – while ‘coup plotting’ Rishi Sunak REFUSES to back his boss over Jimmy Savile jibe Daily Mail. Good thing for the Tories their bench is so strong. Oh, wait….

EU to remind Britain that N.Ireland border checks are required France24. Commentary:

Spain passes landmark labor reform thanks to ‘computer error’ Deutche Welle

New Cold War

Lawmakers emerge from Russia-Ukraine briefings bracing for invasion The Hill

Russia plans ‘very graphic’ fake video as pretext for Ukraine invasion, US claims Guardian

US offered disarmament measures to Russia in exchange for deescalation of military threat in Ukraine El Pais

MSM Pundits Push Idea That Criticizing US Policy On Russia Makes You A Russian Agent Caitlin Johnstone. As does the Biden Administration:

For me, the most frightening part of all this is the slowly dawning realization that these “officials” are not being Machiavellian; they actually believe what they’re saying. All of which renders them unfit to be running a lemonade stand, let alone the foreign policy of a nuclear power.

The Hymn of the World War also Thanksgiving War and Dead Harp from the Mirror Mirror cycle Hinko Smrekar. From 1933, still germane. More here.

UN names Moscow best world city to live in RT

Biden Administration

Get used to the Powell Ratchet Axios

Feature Article: Robot Dogs Take Another Step Towards Deployment at the Border (press release) Department of Homeland Security. Commentary:

‘Havana Syndrome’ symptoms in small group most likely caused by directed energy, says U.S. intel panel of experts NBC. This story just won’t die. So far as I know, The Blob has never assessed the possibility of mass hysteria as a cause.

Supply Chain

Supplier Goodwill toward OEMs Has Run Dry IndustryWeek

What happened to the chocolate milk? In rural Maine, a supply chain mystery. WaPo

Our Famously Free Press

CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota says Jeff Zucker resignation ‘feels wrong’ CNN

Reactions to the US Military Operation Against ISIS Leader Narratives Project. Hmm….

Health Care

Neither Chaos Nor Quest: Toward a Nonnarrative Medicine Boston Review

Imperial Collapse Watch

Ray Dalio: America ‘On Classic Path To Civil War’ Heisenberg Report. So go long…. what?

Class Warfare

Byron King On Canadian Maple Leaf Revolution Andrei Martyanov, Reminiscence of the Future

All-American Hell Is Breaking Out in Canada Charles Pierce, Esquire

Using military to end trucker protest ‘not in the cards’: Trudeau Agence France Presse

As Workers Resist, the Left Recoils Wrong Kind of Green

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GM Mexico workers elect independent union by wide margin Automotive News

A sad defeat:

Money is power Cory Doctorow, Pluralistic. “Monopoly was converted to money, money to power, power to policy.” And so it goes.

EchidnaCSI: Engaging the public in research and conservation of the short-beaked echidna PNAS. Citizen science.

The Anarchist-designed DIY Heaters Saving Lives of Unhoused People HyperAllergic

Antidote du jour (via):

Bonus antidote. It’s been a long time since I looked in at Maru:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. Rusty Winkler

    Regarding the Johns Hopkins study:

    Maybe it’s only a coincidence, but that university is *deeply* in bed with one of its billionaire alums, Mike Bloomberg — his donations to Hopkins total $3.55 billion, “the largest amount any philanthropist has given to an American institution of higher education.”

    And Mike Bloomberg *really* wants people to go back to the office.

    Only a coincidence, I’m sure.

    1. Juneau

      And what precautions are taken at the former Mayor’s headquarters in NYC? Does anyone know? I have it from a good source (employee) that they have always had access to state of the art, easy testing and vaccines and test all employees frequently. So the boss protects himself and his people through screening. The rest of us can wait for our 4 free swabs (2 weeks and counting) while we drop social distancing precautions to get back to the office. OK! /s

    2. Maritimer

      Where is a Forensic Epidemiologist/Scientist when you need one?At the Covid Contaminated Crime Scene, studies, trials, reports, etc are generated ad nauseum. All of which are suspect since Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, for starters, are proven criminal organizations. The Journals also are suspect.

      So what totally independent Scientist or Scientific organization is vetting the mountains of contradictory Covid confusion?

      Dr. Markopolos, Code Blue!

  2. Samuel Conner

    > “One of the workers said wearing the protective clothing put him at ease, which is understandable.” Dystopian indeed!

    How dare the servants want to stay healthy!

    There are days when a giant meteor strike doesn’t seem so bad. Perhaps earth needs a reboot. Maybe something better could evolve in future.

    1. griffen

      Seems like a better plan than the square of plexiglass or what not betwixt you and the counter, be that the check out line with a human on other side accepting your pharmacy order or calculating the grocery bill. At the very very least in this corner of the southeastern US, I do see use of masks again but not widespread use.

      We could always have or hope to have the dystopian future world of the Island, an otherwise fun film to watch McGregor and Johannson in white track suits. Gazillionaires plan accordingly to their projected needs for an organ replacement.

  3. Larry

    Re: leftists and working class protests against vaccine mandates –

    I’m sympathetic to action against the mandates. I have two family members who work in dangerous professions who refuse to get vaccinated (my cousin is a prison guard and his wife is a nurse). My cousin’s mother begged her son to get vaccinated for Christmas, but he won’t budge. Neither have strong rationales for not getting vaccinated other than it is a complete lack of trust in authority, that’s my conclusion. Nobody in the family is shunning or rejecting them, we just tell them we’re worried about them.

    With that said, I fully support mandates of some form. I also support methods to control surges so that hospitals aren’t overrun and schools aren’t functioning on a ridiculous schedule. But messaging from the start of the pandemic has been so heavily politicized and confusing to most people that people in the Western world can’t agree on a path forward in the best interests of everybody. Trump waffled on doing anything until the pandemic couldn’t be ignored. Biden was going to control the virus, but didn’t plan for new variants at all, nor developed any type of cohesive message. So we’re left with angry people reaching their limits. Workers are angry at being forced to take a vaccine they don’t trust while a whole swathe of workers are angry at protesters for not doing their part.

    While that’s at a national level, State level politics are quite different. Massachusetts is far from perfect, but I personally witness much less resistance to mask mandates and other methods of control. Our governor is far from perfect, but is a moderate Republican (RHINO in today’s parlance) who is massively popular and hasn’t used the emergency powers or his platform to be divisive. There is a lot in his policies to poke holes in, especially now by disallowing remote schooling during surges. But he is far from a politician like Desantis that politicizes every single action he takes to bolster his own presidential ambitions. I don’t trust that Desantis thinks at all about public welfare. I believe Charlie Baker does.

    1. Carolinian

      a complete lack of trust in authority

      These debates keep going around in circles but perhaps “authority” is the real issue here. Some of us come from a generation where authority had totally discredited itself and some from a generation that prefers to see authority as a safe and protective space. This desire for safety is so intense that observed reality–i.e. the vaccines are not a solution and were never claimed to be if you read the fine print–is set aside with appeals to authority as the counterargument.

      And that’s the reason for the circles. When subjectivity is celebrated then no meeting of the minds is possible. Friendships dissolve and we as a populace and not just our State Dept become “not agreement capable.” Emotion and most especially fear is in the saddle.

      Perhaps instead of tut tutting those relatives you should explore their reasons. They might be right.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        Circle of Ouroboros: the middle class is eating itself. Something is sure to be born out of all this.

      2. ChiGal

        “Nobody in the family is shunning or rejecting them, we just tell them we’re worried about them.”

        doesn’t sound like tut-tutting

        1. Carolinian

          Tu-tutting their reasons for resisting the vax (it must be more than mere stubbornness).

          But fair enough. However one should point out that there’s plenty of shunning and rejecting going on elsewhere in society.

      3. Larry

        You missed this part of the comment:

        Nobody in the family is shunning or rejecting them, we just tell them we’re worried about them.

    2. Jonny Appleseed

      The only reason that Charlie Baker has not imposed a sensible mask mandate (in a state in which most residents would gladly comply) is that he thinks he is going to be the next President. He doesn’t want to make himself vulnerable to criticism from his own party on that particular issue.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Yeah, I think Charlie’s done with electoral politics, frankly. The experience of Geoff Diehl and the Trumpian MAGA crazies taking over the MA GOP seems to have made cashing in in the private sector a lot more appealing to Baker.

          I do also think he thinks at some minimal level about the public good and safety, but typically refracted through a business class lens. Not substantively that different than Deval Patrick, though better at managing than Patrick was (which is a low bar).

    3. Glossolalia

      This country is too big and unwieldy to do much at the federal level. You’ll have big, powerful red states who will fight every measure. At the state level it’s a bit easier, but still, it’s really at the local level that seems to make a difference. I’m in a very blue county (too blue sometimes), but very high vaccination rates and mask mandates have made this surge manageable. Our hospital situation has remained below critical, businesses been able to stay open, kids in school, and everyone I know who got covid in the last 8 weeks recovered pretty quickly (I know, long covid, etc.).

    4. kareninca

      We have a family friend who is a prison guard in CT. He is double vaccinated and boosted since he does trust authority. He just tested positive. We are hoping his case is mild and does not lead to long term problems, and hoping has not inadvertently infected several elderly relatives; it looks like he may have.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      We’re two years in and I’m still waiting for that data concerning the thousands and thousands who died because the hospitals are overcrowded and they couldn’t get a bed. While I have seen an occasional anecdote, I would also imagine there were times pre-pandemic when a given hospital filled up requiring a few to go elsewhere. I also remember the reefer trucks being lined up to deal with opioid overdose deaths a few years ago because the local morgues were already full, but no one seemed to give a damn about that.

      At this point if we are still wringing hands about these overcrowded hospitals, perhaps it’s time to build some new hospitals rather than just humping vaccines and more vaccines?

      1. Mikel

        “perhaps it’s time to build some new hospitals rather than just humping vaccines and more vaccines?”

        Exactly. Not a peep about those that could have survive with timely treatment.

        And that’s part of the “normal” that will be returned to if everyone puts blinders on and plays pretend it never happened.

    6. orlbucfan

      Anecdotal info from a long time central Floridian: a lot of folks are wearing masks, getting the shots, being very aware of open/safe ventilation, safe distancing, etc. We ignore DeathSantis and the Tallahassee FRightwing looneytunes aka the majority in state government. We’ve been on our own for quite sometime. Not everyone living here is a Bible Belt moron or tRump groupie.

      1. Joe Well

        A note from super-blue eastern Massachusetts:

        In the city of Boston and immediately abutting municipalities, it is more like 95% in stores and public transportation but much lower in other places like hair salons. Meanwhile, in the outer edge of Greater Boston, mask use is maybe about 70% in stores despite local mask mandates and sky-high case and death numbers.

        Florida Man does not have a monopoly on this covid foolishness.

        1. Yves Smith

          None to be seen here in this blue pocket of red Alabama, except among most store staffers and at the Jewish Community Center, where they are required. But one employee there keeps wearing his as a chin diaper, pisses me off.

        2. The Historian

          Anecdata from ND:

          My daughter-in-law teaches at a local high school. Last week there were days when less than half of the students and teachers showed up so they had to cancel school. Everyone else was out with Omicron.

          I had to go grocery shopping yesterday. Very few masks except on the store staff (and me, of course).

          I also attended a state gymnastics meet last night because my granddaughters were competing. Of about 400 people there, 8 of us were masked.

          And this is just after Omicron peaked here. The number testing positive has finally started going down in the last few days.

  4. Roger Blakely

    SARS-CoV-2 kicks my butt. I wish that I could be cavalier about going back to normal life. I feel awful every day from minimal exposure. At work I am virtually alone in my suite of offices. I work in a five-story office building that is only 20% occupied. The only time I take off my respirator is to drink a cup of coffee. And that exposure alone keeps me miserable every day. I don’t need a booster shot. I get my Omicron BA2 booster in the office every day.

    1. Annieb

      “I feel awful every day from minimal exposure.” Why? How do you know you are being exposed? Would you explain more about this please?

  5. The Rev Kev

    “All-American Hell Is Breaking Out in Canada”

    If there was a mandate for unvaccinated Canadian truckies to go into compulsory quarantine upon return from driving into the US, I can see their point. Since even vaccinated you can carry and transmit the virus, they would be asking what is the point? And from what I have seen – and Canadian readers may correct me if I am wrong – but Trudeau seems to be listening to only one person about the pandemic and that is himself alone and he has been using a very heavy hand. So let’s say that those truckies had sent a delegation to go see him to protest. Even if he had consented to meet them (unlikely), he would almost certainly fobbed them off. So what do you do? You use the tools that you have at hand – trucks in this case.

    The author says that ‘Some protesters pressured staff at a homeless shelter to give them food’ and of course this is a CNN story. This is strange because a few days ago I was reading how those truckies had set up a kitchen to not only feed themselves but also the homeless. The author then says ‘Being a dumb American, I don’t see how the constant honking of dozens of horns from dozens of semis qualifies as respectful—or serious—dialogue’ but this is an elitist view as what else were those truckies suppose to do? Form a lobby group? Hire a top tier pr company? And having truck protest is nothing new. There was one that blockaded parts of Sydney in Oz way back in ’79. I am thinking that the author should have stuck to sportswriting. His main idea is ‘This is the concept of freedom as convenience, and tyranny as temporary bother’ but what it really is is proof that when you deny a large part of your population a voice and label them as disreputable, then you should not be surprised when they fight back with what they have in hand.

    1. juanholio

      “Trudeau seems to be listening to only one person about the pandemic and that is himself alone and he has been using a very heavy hand”

      Maybe he had the right idea? Canada only has 900 deaths per million, USA has 2800. That’s over 70,000 lives saved.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Maybe. But remember that Canada has a population of only 38 million whereas the US has a population of 335 million people. How this works out in practice is that Canada has far fewer concentrations of populations and I believe that over 11 million Canadians alone live in the three biggest cities. The US on the other hand has far more populated cities with concentrations of people and this makes it easier for the virus to transmit itself and we saw how bad New York City alone got hit. You’d have to ask an epidemiologist if this is how it really works out though which I am of course not.

        1. juanholio

          That doesn’t help explain the high deaths (3800/m) in spread out places like Arizona and Mississippi etc. The big cities in Canada are much more dense than anywhere in most of the US states.

          The difference is probably better explained by the higher on average civility of Canadian society vs US. Better hearth care, public health system and a more considerate and intelligent population.

          1. The Rev Kev

            Well, I will grant you that Canada’s decentralized, universal, publicly-funded health system has really helped Canadians out as compared to the American healthcare system which has been characterized as throwing people to the wolves after bankrupting them. I see that total cases in Canada is dropping but worryingly the amount of deaths seem to be accelerating. Seeing the same in Oz-


            1. juanholio

              Trust me, it’s spread out. Phoenix is huge. There are a couple of blocks on 1 street of what you might call a city, surrounded by 500 blocks of suburbs, strip malls and golf courses. You hardly ever see a pedestrian.

              1. lordkoos

                That was my impression of Phoenix — when we were there ten years ago, the downtown felt so empty, no one walking around, few bars and restaurants — it was dead. Certainly not my idea of urban living.

              2. Lambert Strether Post author

                > There are a couple of blocks on 1 street of what you might call a city, surrounded by 500 blocks of suburbs, strip malls and golf courses. You hardly ever see a pedestrian.

                Which explains why Waymo is testing its robot cars there….

              1. Bart Hansen

                Wikipedia lacks another entry for ‘The Point’, the name given to Stevens Point, Wisconsin, by the locals.

              2. Wukchumni

                It’s a long way to Mississauga
                It’s a long way to go

                It’s a long way to Mississauga
                To get away from Uncle Dough

                Goodbye Biloxi
                Farewell Oxford Square

                It’s a long long way to Mississauga
                I’m as good as there.

                1. ambrit

                  “Take a trip and not even leave the farm.”
                  (Of course, you could be unlucky and take a “Wrong Turn.”)
                  All these “degenerate country folk” film makers should take a master class in this sort of plot from Sam Peckinpath. His “Straw Dogs” sets a high bar.

                  How about some Blue Check approved music?
                  “Pack up your bubbles in your old kit bag,”
                  “And pile, pile, pile.”
                  “While you’ve a resource to buy the hype,”
                  “Pile boys, thats the style.”
                  “What’s the use regulating?”
                  “It never will get done.”
                  “So, pack up the bubbles in your old kit bag,”
                  “And pile, pile, pile.”
                  (An inferior effort, I admit, but it gets the idea across.)

                    1. ambrit

                      Thanks, and I’m wondering about the usefulness of an entity named “Blue Check Records.” It could be the “Home of Woke Music.” “Welcome Home!”
                      Also, as for “…you’re all you’ve got.” Somehow, on gloomy, cold, and wet days like this, well, let’s just say; “Honey. Where’s the laudanum?”
                      What sort of weather does the Evil Marmot Meanace prefer? Do they like higher and cooler climes, or the opposite?

            2. Carolinian

              AZ has high numbers because it’s full of retirees who mostly live in Phoenix and Tuscon. It is nothing at all like Mississippi. AZ’s deaths per million is practically the same as NY and NJ, from whence some of those retirees come. There are regional differences all over the country (between NC and SC for example). Facile political explanations are just that.

              1. juanholio

                Saying that superior health care provision and greater social cohesion had yielded better outcomes in an epidemic is the obvious, rather than facile, explanation.

          2. Louis Fyne

            More % of Americans are fat, have diabetes or prediabetes.

            High numbers of comorbitdities…then add everything else. being Fat = gasoline on the Us health care dumpster fire.

            1. tegnost

              More americans are fed HFCS when young so they need insulin when they are old, plus a bonus if you can get them to die one year before social security kicks in. More gasoline for the banksters bentley.
              Follow the money.

          3. Maritimer

            Here and in other posts the myth of the excellence of the Canadian healthcare system is perpetuated without any supporting references. The reality is that Canada ranks 14, USA 18 out of developed nations:


            Other sites give similar results. And, oh, the concept that it is FREE, well, no it is paid with tax dollars or printed money. And, if the treatment is late and lousy, well FREE may be a detriment. BIg Pharma and other healthcare predators are alive and well in CDN Medicine.

            Many other problems with CDN healthcare unaddressed by CDN MSM.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > the concept that it is FREE,

              “Free at the point of care.” Nobody serious thinks health care comes without cost. Don’t straw man.

              That said, I’m sure a serious look at the Canadian health care system would reveal plenty of neoliberal infestations. It’s just that we have so many in the US it’s hard to look elsewhere, and anything better must be “good.”

        2. TimmyB

          Eighty five percent of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border. For these people, there is little difference between living in the US or Canada.

            1. Roger

              And general civility (in most people with some exceptions) and a tendency to trust the government (Premier Ford is making that harder every day here in Ontario, thankfully we have an election this year).

              1. JEHR

                There is a difference between living in Canada and in the US even if we are all about 100 miles from the border (where the soil is richest and the weather less harsh too). We have a health-care system; we have good education facilities; we have two languages and cultures that share equally in politics; we have a tradition of helping others because the climate is harsh and the distances are wide; we have a respect for our democracy and we are learning to listen to the indigenous and black people and others who have made Canada their home. Our Prime Minister is the leader for this idea. We have faults but we still try to be kind and listen to others.

                I do not understand why the truckers are staking so much claim on their need for “freedom.” When the mandates are made it is for helping our health care system to survive the infections caused by the virus. We believe that the lives of the elderly, the people who suffer from comorbidities and the susceptible people who may die because of virus infection should be protected by the mandates. We should be our brothers’ keeper.

                We started with the idea that people’s lives were more important than running the economy; now the protesters would have us believe that the economy deserves equal status with the lives of the vulnerable. It is hard to have both these positions of equal importance. We make our choices.

                1. Jeff

                  Seems that it’s difficult for some people to understand that not everybody agrees that the financial burdens of the mandates is justified.

                2. Lambert Strether Post author

                  > their need for “freedom.”

                  “Freedom is how a conservative says [frack] you.”

                  I’m sick of that word, it’s so polluted.

                  We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…

                  Why, it’s almost as if “liberty” by itself is not able to secure all the other benefits…

                  1. lance ringquist

                    so well said. a preamble sets up a story, the story is article one, with section eight being one of the most important parts of the story.

                    no where in this story does it say small government, laissez-faire, free markets and free trade, it says the opposite.

                    that is why its time for a truth commission on what was done to america from carter onwards. with the worst stuff done from 1993 onwards.

                    otherwise the inevitable blowout from the collapse of free trade is heading our way. a lot of finger pointing and blame cannons, because you got to keep the deplorable at each others throat.

                    the ensueing blood bath will open the door to the koch types rewritting the constitution, then we will get a true legal RAND paradise with a pinochet police dept. to back it up.

                    remember, nafta billy clinton was enthralled with pinochets policies, even had a pinochet advisor.

    2. Wukchumni

      On our family Zoom calls, sometimes our Canadian cousins from Calgary chime in for an hour, and their Covid restrictions the past couple years seemed more draconian than anything in the USA, only so many people could be in a store-with lines of prospective shoppers outside, and while you could buy essential items in a store-other parts of the store might be roped off-this is no time to go clothes shopping!

      And also, it took a lot longer to get Canadians vaxed than it did here, my 65 year old cousin only getting her 2nd shot in August.

    3. no one

      In fact, between 80 and 85% of truckers here are vaccinated and most are not participating in the demonstration.

      For context, Canada has seen multiple protests to protect natural resources, and, as in the US, the police forces turn out with clubs, drones and bulldozers to prevent legitimate outcry in those circumstances.

      In this instance, the cops haven’t exercised their usual thuggery. As an expat American, I find nothing outrageous about this protest and I applaud the minimalist police action.

      But the pearl-clutching here is spectacular to behold: The protesters are flying Nazi and (US) confederacy flags! They desecrated the Terry Fox statue! They crashed shelter kitchens! The noise! The inconvenience! It’s a protest, folks. Of course it’s disrespectful.

      And Trudeau is being his usual centrist self, alienating people of all political stripes. Despite the invective, however, the only casualty of the uproar — so far — has been the head of the Conservative Party, who will not be missed.

      1. Roger

        Terry Fox has mythical status in Canada, f**king with his statue is heretical – hence the oversized reaction. Also, messing with the tomb of the unknown soldier was stupid, just supplies the MSM with attack ammunition.

        1. The Rev Kev

          How do you discredit a protest group in the US? Have one of your people turn up carrying a Confederate flag or even a Nasty flag and let the media film it. And now you have just listed how to discredit a Canadian protest group. Having police show up in civilian garb to commit acts, sometimes even violent ones, to discredit a group goes back a very long time. In marches they can sometimes be spotted by being the people that talk into their collars.

          1. wilroncanada

            Rev Kev
            Most of your commentary on most issues has been reasonable, whether agreed to by others in NC or not. Your commentary on the Canadian situation has quickly morphed from hyperbolic to nonsensical.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I am actually thinking of real world examples. During the WTO Seattle protests back in ’99, some “protesters” starting causing serious damage and they were stopped & restrained by other protesters that realized that these people were wearing police-issue boots (true event). And remember ‘Umbrella man’ whom police let walk away during the Minneapolis George Floyd protests? How about the dozens of people that were identified after the Capital Building incursion whom the police have never, ever picked up? Man, this stuff happens all the time-


              1. marym

                Protesters should always be wary of the possibility of infiltrators and provacateurs, and watchful for participants who appear to be more “radical” than the general tenor of the event. It may well be the case that at any given event someone with a Confederate or Nazi flag may be there to undermine the event.

                However, it’s also true in the US that lots of people don’t consider themselves or their cause to be discredited at all by the display of the confederate flag, at public events, on their vehicles, or at their homes. Do a search on ways to purchase a flag to see how it’s marketed. Here’s a link about displays of the flag at NASCAR.

                It’s at least as reasonable to assume that a USAmerican appearing with a Confederate flag believes in what it stands for as it is to assume that person is a a cop. Or both

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                Because while the FBI and American cops do such things, the Mounties never would?

                I would really like evidence for Rev Kev’s claim; that said, it’s ridiculous to rule it out a priori; if anything, the tendency is the other way.

                I am not aware of a case of an agent provocateur waving a flag. It’s true that flags are almost as photogenic as violence, and flags certainly provoke aghastitude. But as Marym points out, there are plenty of people willing to wave flags on their own.

                Perhaps the organs of state security regard flags as a provocation as having too low a return; violence has a much bigger bang for the buck. You get all the photos you want, plus arrests, plus endless discussions and splits about “diversity of tactics,” etc.

          2. Basil Pesto

            I’m not sure why you think hypothetically faux-confederate/nazi flags are necessary to discredit a group whose would-be policies are pretty much in line with the Australian state- and federal- governments, whom you (and I!) grizzle about almost daily – Let Er Rip for the majestic freedom of unprecedented illness and death ??‍♂️

            1. The Rev Kev

              Agreed. It is just that we have a media that will ignore thousands of protestors to zoom in on a ratbag element that you never know are real or not. Sometimes the media actually coaches some protestors to do and say stuff like CNN was caught doing in the US once. I always thought it ironic though that all those ratbag protesters pulling stunts in the streets to remove all restrictions, masks, etc. here in Oz were exactly in alignment with the true policies of the Federal government. I hope that they are happy that they got what they wanted.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  It was only several years ago and I saw it as a video. It might have been in New York but cannot confirm. This female reporter was filmed helping a protest be more visible and it was blatant that she actually was coaching them to get better footage. I have tried to find it but it is buried too deep on the net now. But I can see it clearly in my memory.

                  But here is a link to my claim that in the 1999 Seattle WTO protests that undercover police were caught when it was shown that they had police boots on (images included)-


          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            > In marches they can sometimes be spotted by being the people that talk into their collars.

            Agent provocateurs are a real concern, as we know from black bloc in Occupy as well as multiple FBI cases. That said, I’m not aware of a particular operation waving flags. Or a liberal NGO seeking to discredit a conservative protest using that tactic either. So I need links.

            1. The Rev Kev

              I’m almost tempted to suggest this one-

              ‘In October 2021, a group of five people organized by the Lincoln Project, carrying tiki-torches and dressed like the white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, appeared in front of the campaign bus of Glenn Youngkin, the Republican nominee for governor of Virginia in the 2021 election.’

              They are supposed to be Republican but they attacked a sitting Republican President and told people to vote for a Democrat as President instead thereby getting the praise of Democrats. Not sure if they meet your criteria though.

      2. Kouros

        You forget the presence of sharpshooters as well that accompanies the repression of certain protests (anti-logging, natives)

      3. Aumua

        If these protests were really just against the covid vaccine mandate because of distrust of or lack of faith in the covid vaccines, then I would be much more inclined to get behind them. I also wish we would stop ignoring the glaring fact that most vocal and visible of these kinds of protesters are not against just the covid vaccines. They are are often against any vaccines, against mask use and/or against lockdowns or any other mitigation measures, and covid denial is what really underlies their existence. These truly useful idiots are really “protesting” in favor of the Capitalist system and the ruling classes domination of us through that system, and they are being goaded into this by right wing media programming.

        I’m not saying every protester, I’m just saying a lot of the most visible ones.

    4. bob

      “Trudeau seems to be listening to only one person about the pandemic and that is himself ”

      He won’t even admit that Trailer Park Boys is Canada’s greatest export. Ever.

      1. Wukchumni

        O Canada
        We got a few Lornes, Neil, Joni & Monty*
        True expatriate love, such a bounty
        With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
        The talent fleeing ye
        From far and wide
        Owe Canada, we appreciate thee

        *pronounced like ‘mountie’ in this instance

        1. Mildred Montana

          >*pronounced like ‘mountie’ in this instance

          Isn’t that pushing poetic license a bit far? Just wond’ring. ;)

    5. wendigo

      The Shepards of Good Hope have a Twitter thread about their experiences Saturday night.

      Roughly the same % of people live in urban areas in the US and Canada ( 80 % ) according to Statista. In the north people tend to live together in small villages, not spread out on homesteads.

    6. MichaelC

      Sadly, the trucker convoy is having the (unintended , I’m sure) consequence of becoming a super spreader event, if this data from Ottawa is objectively reliable, rather than govt propaganda.

      The truckers are blameless in my mind since vax does nothing to mitigate spread. Assuming they are as vaccinated as the general public, targeting them just highlights the vulnerability of the general population to supply chain facilitating spreading in both the US and Canada.

      Seems to me no govt has the tools to control that vector, short of shutting down the supply chain till covid disappears.

    7. Ahimsa

      A night with the untouchables
      “I live in downtown Ottawa, right in the middle of the trucker convoy protest. They are literally camped out below my bedroom window. My new neighbours moved in on Friday and they seem determined to stay. I have read a lot about what my new neighbours are supposedly like, mostly from reporters and columnists who write from distant vantage points somewhere in the media heartland of Canada…”

    8. Sub-Boreal

      It’s important for foreign observers trying to understand the response to COVID in Canada to recognize that federal powers here are actually pretty limited. Canadian provinces have jurisdiction over health care, so over the past 2 years we’ve seen a fragmented spectrum of policies ranging from quasi-American (e.g. Saskatchewan) to almost-NZ (e.g. Nova Scotia, at least initially). In general, the provinces tend to be susceptible to economic pressures to err on the side of re-opening prematurely, thereby increasing the amplitude of the oscillations as successive waves roll in.

      That’s part of what makes the #TruckerTantrum so ludicrous – not just its faux populism, but the fact that almost all of the pandemic policies that it wants rolled back are not things that Trudeau controls.

      Certainly, I’d be the last to defend Trudeau, a PMC centrist to the core, but it’s hilarious to read foreign leftish commentators gushing over this spontaneous proletarian uprising in the Great White North. There will always be deluded parade-followers who are generally decent in daily life and got sucked in, but the leadership is drawn from the nutbar Right – a weird stew of Alberta separatists, evangelical fundamentalists, anti-vaxxers etc.

      In my central British Columbia forestry town, the class base of this uprising was clearly on display last Saturday. The ~ 2 dozen trucks that congregated in the local casino parking lot for their honkfest were almost all logging trucks, and that sector is dominated by owner-operators – the local petty bourgeoisie. And the rest of their merry cavalcade had lots of the spiffy big pickups that I’d never be able to afford.

    9. Richard

      Any Google search will tell you that we have our own newspapers up here in Canada and yes, the Shepherds of Good Hope shelter was harassed by a group of occupiers

  6. noonespecial

    Re Prasad article in Uherd

    Read the article and note how it reinforces the “let er rip” mentality and the herd just needs to get used to living with this thing. In the coming decades as various peoples in various nations grapple with the scourge of long COVID, will authors in conservative journals such as this one also favor significant government spending to aid those affected? Or will will it be simply a matter of social darwinism having its turn at the plate again? Are parents now supposed to tell children, “Sure you might bring home a little bug from school, but no worries, grannny will be just fine.”?

    The following is from the Unherd piece and am slackjawed.

    “By rebuilding population immunity among the least at-risk, moreover, we help buffer risk for those most vulnerable…With Covid, the nadir of risk is between 5–11 years old — an age where children develop more robust and durable immunity from infection than adults, even with asymptomatic silent infections…But it is important to remember that exposure to Covid-19 is inevitable. Vaccines protect against severe disease and side-effects such as MIS-C, but they cannot stop breakthrough infections, and the rapidity of Omicron’s spread suggests that no matter what we do, we cannot avoid the virus.”

    1. Sutter Cane

      rebuilding population immunity

      There is no building, or rebuilding, population immunity with a disease that you can catch multiple times in the space of a few months. There’s not a guarantee that subsequent cases will be less severe than the initial ones, even for the vaccinated. There is no herd immunity. This is not a secret at this point but the bromides keep getting repeated.

  7. griffen

    Video of the kleptomaniac, thieving bird from the New Zealand based story above. That’s a fun story, even whimsical way to start your Friday morning.

    And given all the week’s discussion about musicians and their art / so forth, how about a tune suggestion. Freebird! (Although I’m southern I do not get into, nor have really ever been into Skynyrd)

        1. Mildred Montana

          I was lucky. My college FM radio station played a lot of those extended prog-rock songs and I am forever grateful. Although many of them turned out in the long run to be self-indulgent experimental drek the good stuff survives, including “Green Grass and High Tides” and “Freebird”. Love the twin lead guitar work in both of them.

          Speaking of twin lead guitar bands, here’s one of my favorites from my all-time favorite band Wishbone Ash. “Handy” clocks in at 11 minutes, and besides the guitars it has a bass solo, a drum solo, and some jazz-inspired scat-singing.

          1. juno mas

            Wow! Thanks for that! That is truly a jazz-inspired group. Very talented musicians. Each taking the music into a different space. This is a clear exposition of Call and Response at a regular beat (no shuffle beat here).

            Thanks again.

          2. lance ringquist

            you could call these guys the godfather of extended songs, it was written in 1967, before iron butteflys 1968 hit “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida


            The Chambers Brothers are an American psychedelic soul band, best known for their eleven-minute 1967 hit “Time Has Come Today”.

            argus was a good album, i still have a 8-track of it:)

    1. Wukchumni

      NZ was pretty much a ‘bird world country’ for close to 20 million years until the Maori showed up 759 years ago on a Monday.

      They killed off the largest 2 legs good denizen in no time flat, hmmm… finger licking Moa, imagine a 10-12 foot tall Emu?

      But it really took 3 ill-advised 4 legs bad invasives to really do a number on docile bird life, with Stoats, Possums (Aussie) & Rabbits taking down large numbers.

      Still to this day the birds are pretty docile, i’ve been within 20 feet of a NZ Falcon maybe a dozen times, which would never happen here where birds of prey have a built in wariness.

      Keas are definitely mensa material and the only alpine parrot in the world. They love to mess with humans, and frankly who can blame them?

      One of the best dayhikes in NZ is in Arthur’s Pass NP… up to Avalanche Peak and down, and at the top, Keas play good parrot-bad parrot with one of them giving you a perfect Kodak moment while the other is pinching your stuff, as in this photo:

      They also screech out their human given moniker: ‘KEA!’, so aptly named.

      Keas like to show off, I watched one on the Keppler Track pull a 2 pound rock out of the dirt with it’s beak & claws just for my benefit, see what I can do?

      1. MT_Wild

        I played tag with a juvie kea at the first cabin on the Milford track. I was eating dinner outside when it hopped up on the picnic table and stared at me. I went to shoo it off the deck and it just hopped along in front of me. When i stopped it stopped. So I turned and it followed along after me the same way. We did this back and forth for a little while until I looked over at the cabin and saw the rest of the hikers staring out the window at me. Properly shamed for being weird, I sat back down and finished dinner with the kea watching on. Absolutley wonderful birds.

  8. JohnA

    Re The Hill article about another ‘imminent’ Russian invasion of Ukraine

    “If we now live in an era where someone can move into a country and just take it over and claim it as their own, I don’t think it’s going to stop at Ukraine,” he [Rubio] continued.

    Well that certainly did not start with Ukraine either, as plenty of Palestinians will vouch for over the past 70+ years.
    Has Rubio or the US government ever not fully supported the continuing encrouchment onto Palestinian land and property?

    1. jsn

      How exactly was it the US became a Continental nation?

      And what exactly are we up to in Ukraine?

      Do as we say, not as we do (only we get to DO that!)

      1. TMoney

        Oo-oo I know this one. (Deep Narrator Voice) “Somewhere between 1945 and 1950. The US as the new “World Policeman” with the new reserve currency, patrolled the Old World in an attempt to stop the violent and backward Euros from disrupting US business markets. The Warsaw Pact and the Soviet threat kept everyone in line for 40 years.
        When the USSR disintegrated, lots of the old Warsaw pact opted out. Russia was looted, but the home grown looters proved very resourceful and it did not become a US market. (It is Russia).
        Ukraine was the Russian’s breadbasket and defensive plain – just look at all the famous battlefields there – and (in the olden days) the Ukrainian wishes didn’t matter much. Putin wants it back. The US wants more markets.”

        Cue epic music,roll intro…..

    1. griffen

      I think certain cities and counties from oh, Florida, look upon this article with envy. Hey, that guy should be dealing meth where we are(!) Seems to stretch credulity, to accept the accused felon’s assurance that the squirrel was not on meth.

      Squirrels are curious creatures to watch. Ones in North Texas were the biggest I recall ever seeing.

      1. Wukchumni

        We have the Chickaree in the Sierra-also known as the Douglas Squirrel, and I think they have the loudest voice to size of any animal i’ve seen, the little Rocky types can really belt it out.

    2. Dr. Robert

      Squirels in the South-east, especially Florida, can be extremely aggressive. I think it’s a separate subspecies down there. I’m sure someone took a joking comment about the squirrel being on meth too seriously and unfortunately the man who lived there had a method habit.

      1. ambrit

        Robot dogs marking their territory with electrical discharges out of their ‘nether regions.’ Just look for the scorch marks at about waist height. There is also that distinctive odour of ozone to warn you.

      2. CanCyn

        That Black Mirror episode was scary! The Boston Dynamics people apparently made the robot dogs in that episode.
        Sorry no link but I know I read it somewhere

    3. fresno dan

      The Rev Kev
      February 4, 2022 at 8:11 am

      Holy Hand-Grenade of Antioch to take it down-
      which thou must lobbist at the count of 5 …. wait…

  9. Tom Stone

    Those white house reporters should start calling the Kremlin after each Psaki performance, on air,and get their response.
    Just to be fair and balanced…presenting both sides of the matter.
    And thank the WH for the suggestion when you do it.

  10. Michael Ismoe

    ‘Havana Syndrome’ symptoms in small group most likely caused by directed energy, says U.S. intel panel of experts NBC.

    Don’t forget that – even though it doesn’t exist as of last week – that any State Department employee who “suffers” from Havana Syndrome can retire at full pay for a “service-connected disability.”

    I know we have lawyers who specialize in Social Security Supplemental payments but are there lawyers in DC who specialize in getting HS payments for State Department employees?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Never really thought about it but your comment and that article made me wonder. It is well know how when the IMF doles out loans, that they attach a whole bunch of neoliberal conditions such as privatizing public assets, union-busting, pension reductions, etc. even when it is for no apparent reason. So what happens if going forward that loans from organizations like the IMF will now attach the condition that there be no anti-pandemic measures such as lockdowns, off-shelf medicines, etc. on the grounds that it will artificially restrict the economy and fetter it with restrictions? I could see this happening very easily and likely such a clause would be unpublished in any loan agreement.

      1. Mikel

        “So what happens if going forward that loans from organizations like the IMF will now attach the condition that there be no anti-pandemic measures such as lockdowns, off-shelf medicines, etc..”

        And imagine what happens if an organization like the EU gets populated with more people with those ideas?

          1. Count Zero

            The institutions of the EU are already populated with people with those ideas — and have been for several decades.

  11. Stephen V.

    Thanks for 4 minutes of Maru Lambert! A temporary cure for cabin fever on snow day 2 here in flyover.

      1. curlydan

        I’m not sure if I can explain it, but Israel had been “leading” the world in COVID cases per capita over the past 2 weeks with more than 600 cases per 100K per day. In other words, at least 8.4% of the country has tested positive just in the last 14 days and probably more likely 10%+.

        If deaths lag cases, then that line should continue to spike upwards.

        It might be interesting to see a comparison of Denmark to Israel, though, since Denmark has had similar super high rates the past two weeks as well.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Israel has two groups that cover themselves: orthodox jewish men and covered Muslims women, groups with noted vitamin d deficiencies. Then they have effective control groups with covered Muslim women and Orthodox communities in NYC.

          In a study way back, they surmised anecdotal reports of smokers not getting sick at expected rates was they spend more time with their face uncovered, concentrating vitamin d production in the area where Covid gets a hold.

        2. Lemmy Caution

          Both Denmark and Israel have nearly 600K active Covid cases.

          In Denmark, about 33 of those are classified as serious or critical.

          In Israel, about 1300 are classified as serious or critical — nearly 40 times the rate in Denmark.

  12. Pate

    “For me, the most frightening part of all this is the slowly dawning realization that these “officials” are not being Machiavellian; they actually believe what they’re saying. All of which renders them unfit to be running a lemonade stand, let alone the foreign policy of a nuclear power.”

    Now Kool-Aid on the other hand …

    1. ambrit

      They seem to have fallen into the most basic of traps that bedevil drugs sellers everywhere; If you sell it, don’t use it.
      “True Believers” always have the worst outcomes.
      That ‘article’ about the Expected False Flag attack by Russian ‘agents’ in the Ukraine is classic double bluffing. Now, with the groundwork in place, literally anyone could carry out such an enterprise and the Russians can be tagged with the responsibility. It’s a classic “True Believer” strategy; accuse your adversary of doing what you have done. The blame is ‘projected’ onto another.
      The other aspect of this is the “get out of jail free” card. If the scheme fails, always accuse domestic opponents of “stabbing” you “in the back.”

        1. Pate

          I’m not so sure it’s a “mistake” by ‘foreign policy elites’ to make this “all about Putin”. What Ritter should be telling his audience is that this is a feature not a bug. It is an often used technique and he should know better. The “evil dictator” Saddam Hussein got the same ‘personal treatment’ when Ritter was trying to warn us about the non existence of WMD.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Not all donors are completely heinous. Many are just trumped up versions of local democratic committee social club types. They want to know where the money is going at some point. After all, Biden’s approval rating doesn’t seem like a good return. Biden promised to get things done. Emily’s List hit Sinema. I suspect they are in full blame everyone else mode. We’ve had Klain stories with six anonymous staffers.

        Now they tried the Shrub “we got the number 2 in Al Qaeda” routine with an Obama style photo op.

        The horizon is Kamala. People are openly talking about storing her on the Supreme Court. Fundraising follows polls. People don’t back losers. Money was poured into Terry McAuliffe. Team Blue isn’t doing anything to stop the forces that elected AOC and others. Centrist Connor Lamb raised a bunch of general election money, and he is getting stomped by Fetterman by every metric.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          If Fetterman somehow wins the nomination, the Democratic Party will come together to ensure his defeat in November. They did it to Joe Sestak and they will do it to Fetterman.

          Bernie is getting long in the tooth. They will strangle this infant in its crib before they allow a replacement to emerge.

      2. Bart Hansen

        To see the power of MSM grade Kool Aid, just check out the comments on any Washington Post article on Russia, Ukraine or Putin.

      3. lyman alpha blob

        Shouldn’t the diligent US officials who exposed this potential false flag attack now be patting themselves on the back for calling Putin’s bluff and averting a war?!?

        The insanity and wrongheaded conclusions to gin up a war are really hard to believe. You’d think they’d have developed some better propaganda in over 20 years of this neocon warmongering for fun and profit.

  13. Tom Stone

    If these officials actually believe what they are saying I can only assume that it is due to bad acid and huffing each other’s farts.
    These assertions by the WH and US “Intelligence” agencies are as believable as the ravings of an alcoholic crack whore with the DT’s.

    1. David

      I’d point to this comment by Dr RV Jones, one of the most senior British scientific advisors in WW2, who often had to deal with questions of this kind:

      “No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated.”

      In other words, if you are convinced from the beginning that Russian intentions are hostile, you will interpret every piece of information that comes your way as supporting that view, no matter how complicated the argument has to be. Thus, (runs the argument) if the Russians were really going to invade, they’d be doing everything they could to disguise the fact, and so everything that looks innocent in fact conceals a guilty purpose. After all, deception in war is hardly unknown, attacks have been launched under cover of exercises etc. In this kind of game, you can’t prove a negative, you can only argue that no positive evidence exists. But then, as in many other cases (death of Epstein anybody?) the very absence of incriminating evidence becomes itself proof of just how subtle and ingenious the plot must be.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated”

        I searched on this quote (a.k.a Crabtree’s Bludgeon) and found this in Jones’s obituary:

        And then – and here whimsicality took over – he adumbrated Crabtree’s Bludgeon, a fearful blunting of Occam’s Razor: “No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated.” In which case, he observed, all the Intelligence Officers can do is to stand by Occam. But Crabtree? Unmentioned by obituarists so far, he was Jones’s greatest spoof, though his genesis was shared with a number of contemporaries, including a distinguished Professor of German and a subsequent Public Orator of London University.

        He and his cronies at the Athenaeum created a fictitious character, 44 Christmases ago, as a joke on the literary fraternity to see how many of them would be honest enough to acknowledge that they had never heard of him. He is still commemorated by the annual Crabtree Oration, and it was for this some years ago that Jones mused on

        the human tendency to seek complicated explanations that I have often seen in intelligence committees and elsewhere. It almost became necessary in Crabtree’s case because, although we early orators took great care never to have Crabtree in two places at the same time, subsequent orators sometimes threw such caution to the winds

        – which led to some bludgeoning.

        So Jones was an early Sokal (or an earlier Grievance Studies japist).

  14. s.n.

    Don’t know if this one has been noted yet, but it should be, as, only in America, the Pat Boone-certified Talisman of Napoleon is being auctioned with top estimate a mere 250 million [US$, not Turkish lira]…. It has an unimpeachable provenance:

    …a Dutch trench digger found it. He brought it with him to the U.S. in fleeing World War II, passed it to his son, who in turn put it on eBay, ultimately trading it for a set of Ping golf clubs to its current owner, G. Randall “Randy” Jensen, “a Mensa member and one of the world’s leading authorities on antique golf memorabilia.”

    Because of his acute intelligence, “Randy realized the Talisman had tarot coding 45 minutes into his initial examination.” He then embarked upon a six-year mission to unlock the symbols coded into the patterns of gems in the bibelot, 114 in all.

    The results led Jensen to his belief that it was once the personal talisman of Napoleon Bonaparte. These findings are laid out in a 120-page research document and summarized in a 15-minute video in which Jensen decodes the details of the relic.

    1. Maritimer

      “The results led Jensen to his belief that it was once the personal talisman of Napoleon Bonaparte. These findings are laid out in a 120-page research document and summarized in a 15-minute video in which Jensen decodes the details of the relic.”
      Ah, the billions if not trillions that have been made on the back of Provenance! Forget Wharton MBA, just study the concept of Provenance and then head into Mammon to make your pile. Maybe contact an MBS rater for a premium education.

      Watched a BBC art series years ago where each episode they would take a painting and then an expert would shop around for Provenance which usually was found. Show would end on a happy Kachingaling note.

      Yes, think about all that Provenance for Covid injections.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      $250 million for a YouTube seems like a pretty sweet deal. Randall “Randy” Jensen clearly is smart, though not, perhaps, in the way ArtNet thinks, unless the article is completely tongue-in-cheek?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        In an older study, the key point was the Israeli Health System prescribes vitamin d tinctures that are absorbed orally, leaving takers with high localized vitamin d levels where Omicron gets in.

        They had no way to track otc supplements, but they noticed the people getting the tinctures weren’t getting sick. Communities in the US which is a fourth world country don’t have that kind of Healthcare. They addressed reports of smokers not getting sick. They get everything especially lung problems. The speculation was smokers are getting much more natural vitamin d production around their face due to running out to smoke. Israel has similar anti-smoking in public places laws as the US.

  15. William Hunter Duncan

    So is Charlie Pierce now on the side of the bosses? Did he lose the memo that said if you trash the working class as a bunch of knuckle draggers they aren’t going to vote for your precious party? Dozens of trucks, eh?

    Speaking of that, I have been wondering why NakedCapitalism which I have very much appreciated over the years seems to appreciate the Chinese lock-down approach, but makes so little of the fact that doctors are still hogtied about treating covid with off-label drugs?

      1. William Hunter Duncan

        I imagine working in the PMC/MSM, it might feel feel a bit like living in a Monarchy/Aristocracy, such that deviating from the Narrative will make you prey to the sadism of the King.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      Pierce’s attitude toward the Canadian trucker protest is consistent with the viewpoint of his 2010 book Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. Pierce thinks truckers objecting to a vaccination or quarantine requirement when crossing an international border is stupidity. As the “deck”, or subheadline – a term I have learned at NC – puts it, “The trucker blockade manifests the concept of freedom as convenience, and tyranny as temporary bother“. As it is now quite clear that the vaccines, while less than perfect, are making a major difference in how the pandemic progresses in countries varying in the degree of immunization of the population, I am inclined to agree with him.

    2. lordkoos

      In regards to your second paragraph, this site has been outspoken about failure to consider treatment options and the demonizing of drugs like Ivermectin.

  16. griffen

    Today’s article linked under Imperial Collapse, perhaps not a must read but I suggest a scanning of the summary report, and if inclined the reader can click through further to the complete source article authored by Dalio. His summary is not over wrought, and leads me to a few conclusions that follow below.

    Decadence. Yesterday’s links featured a story about superfounder Bezos and his superyacht. And prior to that, recent columns about real estate purchases by titans of the hedge fund industry or the latest wealthy from the emerging cryptocurrency technologies.

    Bureacracy. Well there is frequent articles and discussions about the absolute, unimpressive display of the latest technological advances in the US military. Insert your personal favorite, my first choice is the Littoral Combat Ship which after nearly 20 years is proving, well, ill suited to the purpose.

    Rule following or lack therof. Well this is known all to well. Rules are for little people and the suckers. Examples too numerous to list.

    Much to unpack off the summary and report, and Dalio’s concluding position on the stage we find ourselves at.

      1. griffen

        It’s the vicious feedback loop. It will work once we shower yet more defense spending upon this vaunted flying apparatus. \sarc

  17. Mikel

    “High Rates of Rapid Antigen Test Positivity After 5 Days of Isolation for COVID-19”

    “More than 40% of vaccinated HCW who felt well enough to work still had positive RAT tests when presenting for a first test between days 5 and 10. Boosted individuals were nearly 3x as likely to result positive on day 5, their first day eligible for return, and ~2x as likely to result positive on first RAT overall. ”

    58% Pos on Day 6 (72% if Boosted!)
    • 50% w high virus load
    • **Positivity 2x-3x HIGHER if Boosted**
    These stories were selected to highlight the issues with shorter isolation periods.

    Using terms like “test positivity” or “viral load” isn’t getting directly to the concern of: How much more contagious are they and for how long? Period.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “Reactions to the US Military Operation Against ISIS Leader”

    I’m willing to bet that the Turks sold him out. When you look at a map of where he was killed, it was just a very short trip to the Turkish border so obviously the Turks have been protecting him the past coupla years as they use ISIS to keep control of Idlib province. Any trouble and he could just skip across the border for protection and a safe house. Maybe that US strike team came from Syria but maybe it came from that US base in Turkey itself. So maybe Biden offered the Turks something in exchange for this guy’s head as Biden needs the publicity to ‘look Presidential’ and get a distraction from current domestic woes.

  19. Mikel

    “Ray Dalio: America ‘On Classic Path To Civil War’ Heisenberg Report” So go long…what?

    Isn’t Dalio usually hawking gold? Or do I have him confused with someone else.

    But if you want to go long anything and it’s war on your mind…stock up on food and durable goods.

    BTW- anybody remember the discussions that took place on NC in 2019 anout people noticing canned goods and certain seemingly on short supply?

    1. ambrit

      I for one remember that extended Thread Meme, but now note that what was then remarked upon as being ‘transgressive’ has now been internalized as a “new normal.”
      “Empty Shelf Fatigue.”
      I can only hope that the NC ‘population’ has begun viewing the “prepositioning” of basic supplies as a “standard operating procedure.”
      Stay safe all. Plan ahead.

      1. Wukchumni

        I use Underwood deviled ham as my indicator of shelf fulfilling prophecy, in that should there be an absence of the only gift-wrapped canned food (makes a fine under $5 xmas exchange gift-just add a festive bow!) i’m aware of, well quite frankly that sets off alarm bells in my stomach, that people would actually want what appears to be pre-masticated pork, oh the humanity.

        1. Ranger Rick

          Fond, fond memories of Underwood deviled ham sandwiches for lunch on long road trips as a kid. I guess you could call it “pork salad” in the Midwestern tradition.

          (On a whim, I had it again a few years back: it’s just as bad as I remember. Canned chicken is infinitely better.)

          1. ambrit

            Oh my. I get the Angstalgia in this. For me, the exemplar of “poor folks food” is vienna sausages. I would prefer generic bologna over those “miniature missiles of maleficent meatiness” whenever both were on offer. (This coming from a kid who loved it when Mom made ‘Bubble and Squeak’ for breakfast.)
            All things considered, I can confidently say that the “Underclass 99%” must make do with a ‘Bubble and Squeak’ economy. The choice cuts are going to Ol Marse’s table.
            Stay safe! Steal what you can. (As above, so below.)

            1. Wukchumni

              I do love a good mystery novel involving potted foodstuffs, and Vienna sausages could be bush meat if it weren’t for a can.

              1. ambrit

                I always wondered where the slang term “potty” came from. Now I know that it is all stirred in with a melange of delicious detective dainties. The term “Mystery Meat” now makes perfect literary sense.
                As for Bush meat, well, there was Irak…. Cannibal Cuisine at it’s finest.

    2. griffen

      Paul Tudor Jones, perhaps another hedge fund guy who had staked out a position in gold. He was also encouraging bitcoin last summer as an inflation hedge / inflation alternative.

      1. Wukchumni

        I put most everything in a Myrrh ETF, allows me to sleep better knowing i’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

          1. ambrit

            And what about the third leg of that ‘Stool of Wealth?’
            Frankincense was renamed Freedomincense after those pesky Frenchies refused to live up to their “participation” opportunity in the Petro Wealth Extraction scheme.
            Don’t blame Wuk too much. The whole process is more than a bit cryptic.
            Oh, and as for the sandalwood box.

    3. HadEnough

      “Food prices have skyrocketed globally because of disruptions in the global supply chain, adverse weather and rising energy prices”

      American food price inflation is caused mostly by lockdowns, that it turns out were useless for stopping Covid, but sure were a good excuse for Bailout #3 of the financial services, MBS and market debtors.

      Their $9 Trillion came along just in time for the elite and boosted their ability to pay whatever it takes to buy gourmet food and get the supplies ahead of the peons. The Billionaires are, of course, insulated from the erosion of cash, savings, wages and salaries, so who cares how much the useless eaters have to pay, now that the pandemic relief crumbs they gratefully gobbled are gone?

      Their children will get to pay off the
      $30,000,000,000,000 in U.S. debt.

      1. JBird4049

        Much of dying in the major famines of the 19th occurred not because there was nothing to eat, but because food shortages made all food too expensive for the poorest especially when the merchants shipped overseas usually to England for a greater profit. Under the protection of the army. Ireland was shipping out even when people were dying on the roads of starvation. Whereas the British government’s policy in the early famines of the 18th century was to save lives, and they usually did, in the 19th century it was money over everything. Libertarian ideology stripped of any humanity.

        I wonder who might be Lord Trevelyan this time?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Their children will get to pay off the $30,000,000,000,000 in U.S. debt.

        Federal taxes don’t fund Federal spending. Why do we have to keep repeating this?

  20. JTMcPhee

    Re latest Special Ops “great success” in Syria:

    Why no reflection on the ridiculous assumption that IS, in part a creation of the US, poses any threat to “US interests” other than maybe the illegal (international law, anyway) presence of US troops occupying part of a sovereign nation (Syria) and their involvement in looting petroleum? US troops are still in Syria and nobody can give a good answer as to why — The U.S. military’s presence in Syria is a mission looking for a strategy

    And now we have left-right agreement that droning and black and special ops, especially if they can be characterized as “successful,” even without evidence of a shattered corpse, is just part of doing the Empire’s business in “keeping us safe and free ™…”

    Imagine reaction to a (fill in current “hostile power” here) Special Ops squad infiltrating Northern Virginia and killing some functionary, and his-her family, of (fill in agency actually raising hell in said foreign “hostile power”) — Katie, bar the door!

    But hell, “we” are exceptional, so the Phoenix Program and rendition and color revolutions and all that sh!t are to be applauded!

    Go Team USA!

    1. JBird4049

      >>>But hell, “we” are exceptional, so the Phoenix Program and rendition and color revolutions and all that sh!t are to be applauded!

      Well, we already have this in the USA. Everyone does realize that death squads in the United States are a thing, right? A fair number of activists were murdered by the police in the 60s. Or those multiple suspicion deaths of black activists after Ferguson?

      We all know that some individual police officers, sometimes entire departments, regularly plant evidence, usually drugs on people? Of confessions via torture, threats to loved ones, murder parties in places like Vallejo and Los Angles? Certain departments that assassinate trouble makers and potential witnesses especially in states like Louisiana? Of various drug or gun task forces that are quite often corrupt, often violently so in many cities like Chicago, Detroit, and Baltimore? Chicago PD’s Homan Square Black site? The War on Drugs?

      I could go on, but all this should show that we exported the internal methods of control and exploitation for external use. Or maybe it’s the other way around after the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, the Occupation of Haiti, etc. None of this is new.

  21. Mikel

    “CDC introduces a wastewater dashboard”

    It still hasn’t occured to anybody that toilets with no lids to close before flushing are dangerous and more disgusting by the minute the more you think about it.

    1. anon y'mouse

      i’ve known many who wouldn’t use public restrooms based upon that (ever seen a public restroom with a toilet lid? yeah, no kidding), and all of the other setups that are so common which prevent one from getting clean.

      touching the stall door both before and after using the facilities.

      faucets that don’t operate, or only operate if used by one hand. making you touch the control that others have all touched. of course now they’re automatic, but so bad that they hardly operate. and there’s never any soap, or only a soap dispenser you have press a button or lever on.

      air hand dryers that blow everything remaining all around.

      i am beginnning to view any restroom with an exterior door that everyone touches and not a blind alley open entrance as deliberately designed to infect, much less frustrate the handicapped.

      1. Mikel

        And how about airports? Rows of lidless toilets auto flushing and sending up aerosols and often no doors on the restrooms because of the luggage people are toting.

  22. Otis B Driftwood

    For those who also subscribe to or watch Breaking Points, they had Prasad on as a guest a week or two ago. He is a medical doctor, iirc. Of course, what continues to bother me about this show is their reluctance to present alternative points of view.

    I also wanted to update he commentariat on the family next door whose 8 year old had COVID. I reported that I gave them my corsi box. All 7 wore masks inside and had the kid isolated in his room for the duration. I am happy to report the child is fine now and no one else in the family got sick.

    1. Screwball

      RE: Breaking Points. I watched the segment with that doctor. I found it strange. They claimed he was going to set the record straight about what was true and false in the Rogan interviews with Malone & McCullough. They also linked to a 3000 word article he had written (I read it). I wasn’t sure what exactly he proved or didn’t prove, even though Krystal brings it up all the time in order to bash Malone and anything that resembles an anti-vaxx outlook. You can tell she hates that guy.

      I also saw him in a Jimmy Dore segment not too long after that, or at least Dore used his material (I can’t remember if he interviewed him or not). It seemed to me he wasn’t claiming the same type of things on Dore as he was to Krystal & Saager. In other, words, he came off to me as someone who would go on your show and make a case for whatever side you wanted him to be on – using the science of course (and data).

      It seems to me, all these people are missing the point on one thing in particular. They all talk about the Rogan, Malone, McCullough controversy, but never talk about Dr. Kory, which would be a guy on the front lines using the drug that cannot be named – and does it WORK????

      Breaking Points is a much better alternative to MSM news, but they are not without bias too. And to be honest, I’m not sure they are better since leaving The Hill. I wonder if some of their money comes from a sponsor given the lack of covering alternative views as you say. And Krystal still suffers from stage 5 TDS.

      1. ProNewerDeal

        Saagar seems smugerant on Covid.

        Specifically, it seems he thinks COVID is either recovery or death, little or no mention of Long Covid. Afaik Longer Organ Damage & T-Cell Depletion/Increased Cancer Risk that GM mentions.

        I don’t see GM/IM_Doc type perspective that emphasizes Longer Organ Damage & T-Cell Depletion in the media outside of NC here.

        1. Screwball

          Agree. I think he’s changed his tune to be more like you describe. He was more paranoid (not sure if that is the right word to use) before.

          They didn’t get into details I thought they would about all things COVID. But to be honest, I think Krystal had an agenda to push so their conversation was limited to what she wanted to get across.

          That doctor mentioned above who was on that show – to separate the truth from fiction – just Tweeted out the article they referenced on their show that he wrote. I read it again. I don’t think I’ll be reading anything else he says. I’m not convinced he’s playing in good faith, but has an agenda to promote.

          Here is the article for anyone who wants to read it;

          We need to talk about the vaccines

          1. Basil Pesto

            I’m not convinced he’s playing in good faith, but has an agenda to promote.

            That is an accurate assessment.

    2. Basil Pesto

      Of course, what continues to bother me about this show is their reluctance to present alternative points of view.

      Well, quite. The same goes with Rogan as well. Notable by their absence are actual clinicians on the frontlines treating Covid patients.

      And look, the shortcomings of MSM are both manifold and manifest, but the ‘MSM = bad, ASM = good’ heuristic doesn’t get you very far if, in counterpoint, ASM turns to Vinay effing Prasad instead. He is a malicious charlatan (in the way that, say, Barack Obama is malicious charlatan, if NC readers want a frame of reference). If you’re uncritically turning to Vinay Prasad for The Real Story on C19, your powers of discernment range from somewhere between undetectable to nonexistent, or you have a very particular axe to grind.

  23. Mikel

    ‘Havana Syndrome’ symptoms in small group most likely caused by directed energy, says U.S. intel panel of experts “NBC

    “The panel did find that some of the symptoms experienced by intelligence operatives and diplomats “could be due to hypervigilance and normal human reactions to stress and ambiguity, particularly among a workforce attuned to its surroundings and trained to think about security.”

    I probably can’t imagine what they are told before leaving for different countries and they have to be a certain level of BS compliant to get these jobs.
    It won’t be told exactly (and I mean exactly) what all of them were doing in those jobs.

    But I can imagine this becoming a bigger psyops to see if the symptoms can be generated thru suggestion and repetition in a larger population.

  24. Jeff W

    “So now we have to worry about fomites, for real?”

    I think it still depends on the amount of virus actually deposited on surfaces in real-life situations, as Emanuel Goldman pointed out in his original comment in The Lancet back in July, 2020.

    (The Japanese study referred to by EarlyGray says “the relationship between the amount of virus remaining on the surface and the risk of transmission is still unclear at this stage” and it’s not clear to me if, in any case, the researchers were trying to replicate real-life situations in terms of the amount of virus on surfaces.)

  25. timbers

    “….they actually believe what they’re saying.” (about Russia invading)

    HAL 9000: “It’s puzzling, Dave. This sort of claim has been made before and is has always been due to human error. If something is imminent, it should have already happened based on how long these claims have been make. Each time, fuel prices rise which benefits Russia and makes it harder for incumbents to win re-election. It’s like shooting yourself in the foot, Dave.”

    “I would recommend turning off the TV and waiting awhile to see what happens. If nothing happens, try turning the TV back on.”

  26. Carolinian

    This is interesting and one can get it on a browser.

    Greenwald is saying that the Dems in Congress have been using the threat of antitrust against big tech to perhaps make them less monopolistic but also to intimidate them into more censorship. The Dems viewed Twitter blocking Trump as a big victory. Says he If in fact a political party or their politicians are telling a private company to censor and who to censor then it becomes a Constitutional issue.

    There has been talk here about Biden beefing up the antitrust division. Given the Biden admin enthusiasm for censorship could this beefing up also have an ulterior motive?

    Not that I’m foily.

      1. Carolinian

        The way Biden is going Trump won’t need a blueprint. He polls higher than Biden right now.

        But I doubt Trump will really run and hope he doesn’t.

        1. cnchal

          > But I doubt Trump will really run . . .

          After all these years of eyewitnessing Trump, narcissistic personality disorder eludes you.

          Of course he will run.

    1. Screwball

      I wouldn’t put anything past these people. Trump was a buffoon, but he didn’t scare me. These people scare me.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Given the Biden admin enthusiasm for censorship could this beefing up also have an ulterior motive?

      I have always thought this. As soon as Lina Khan gets real leverage over the platforms the Democrats will yank her choke chain and make a deal, probably involving censorship (in addition to money).

  27. Brian Beijer

    This isn’t a direct comment about any article, but it is relevant to the changing circumstances around Covid-19 that many of us are facing. In Sweden, like in many Scandanavian countries, all restrictions will be lifted as of Wednesday and Covid will no longer be considered a deadly disease. This means that people will no longer be required to isolate when they have Covid. Covid will be treated like the cold going forward. My guess is that they will soon end even PCR testing and keeping statistics about Covid.

    Unfortunately, I and many others who aren’t retired, need to consider how to live our daily lives in a society that no longer acknowledges the dangers of Covid while taking preventative measures against it. For me, this raises practical questions about masking that I’m hoping the NC brain trust can help answer. I know that there is a lot of research showing that group masking is highly beneficial in reducing Covid transmission, and that even individual masking is beneficial in brief encounters. These two scenerios aren’t very realistic for people who work and live in a country like Sweden. For example, I commute to work using public transport. Will wearing an N95 mask be of any protection during the hour commute if I’m the only one wearing a mask? I will also be required to attend twice monthly, four hour long meetings with 40 other collegues in a cramped room. Will being the only one wearing a mask do me any good? Of course, sociaI distancing will be totally out of the question. I can continue taking vitamins and taking care of my health despite these changes, but masking will become increasingly sociallly damaging and I wonder if the benefits of being the only one masking will be worth the social costs. I hope by posing these questions will also be beneficial to others as well because eventually all of us working Joes in every Western country will find themselves in the situation I’m facing now. Any thoughts?

    1. AndrewJ

      No social benefit is worth damaging your brain for. If your colleagues are giving you lip about it… well, in a few years’ time, we’re going to see what happens when a novel virus that reinfects multiple times and messes up your gray matter is let loose in the population. You’ll want to have been one of those that avoided infection as many times as possible.
      I tried 3M’s 9210 mask after a few recommendations here, and I’m hooked. Very comfortable. In Europe you can find their FFP3 rated equivalent 9300 series. I’ll miss my cloth masks I made from batik fabric, but this Lewy body news has me spooked.

    2. aletheia33

      agreeing with the previous suggestions.
      is there any way to do part of your commute on foot or bicycle or even carpooling with like-minded people?
      can you keep a corsi box in your workplace and bring it to those 4 hour meetings? perhaps even persuade some colleagues, maybe using literature, to make and bring in a couple more for the workplace?

      i hope you keep us posted here. i would be surprised if you are the ONLY one who isn’t drinking the koolaid. you may have colleagues who are immunocompromised or otherwise vulnerable–maybe 2 or 3 can put heads together?

      one could even perhaps, over time, change jobs . . . find a way to work from home . . . move closer to the city . . . one has no more valuable asset than one’s good health, or worse consequences if/when that tanks.

      if it were me, i would not give up yet. i would resolve not to be intimidated if anyone has a problem with my masking. i would work up my courage and try to distribute N95s in meetings to anyone willing to wear one. here in USA i’m handing them out to people all the time. when requested to in a polite and friendly way, they are usually happy to learn how to put them on and check the seal. and they like hearing that they can reuse them for a good while.

      and wait and see how the situation actually unfolds in your society . . . helpful changes may occur, sooner than later, that are impossible to anticipate.

    3. Brian Beijer

      I appreciate the responses, especially JSN’s remarks. You succintly captured my thoughts and feelings that I’ve been unable to put into words.

      To answer aletheia’s questions/ suggestions, Sweden has a very different culture than the US. The social pressure to conform is much more immense in Sweden than the States. Think of Sweden as being the Western version of Japan. Once the government has declared Covid not to be a disease of concern, passing out masks to co-workers would be almost an act of treason. It would definitely be something that would identify one as part of the fringe, “conspiracy theory” crowd. There are several people at my workplace who are over sixty and/or have serious health problems. I am the only person who has ever worn a mask at work during the entire pandemic. Once Anders Tegnell dismissed masks as an effective tool against Covid early on in the pandemic, the vast majority of Swedes stopped wearing them. Only a minority of people wear masks on public transport or public indoor spaces, and no one I know wears them at work. Ever.

      The reason why I’ve asked this specific question about masking is that it appears that getting Covid even once causes Lewy bodies to form in the brain (if I’ve understood the macaque study correctly). That means I already have those as I’ve had Covid at least on two occasions. That leaves the possibilities of long Covid and T-cell exhaustion/ derangement in play. The situations I’m most concerned about are situations of long exposure (1 hour-4 hours) to Covid in poorly ventilated environments where my only possible protection is my mask. I know that masks afford protection against short term exposure (5-15 min), but I’m uncertain if they provide any benefit in the situations I’ll be facing. Sure, one might receive less viral load, but when you’re talking hours of exposure, would that really make any difference? In the masking studies that I’ve seen discussed on NC, I don’t recall any studies looking at the benefits of only one person masking in situations of long exposure , i.e. more than 15 minutes.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Will wearing an N95 mask be of any protection during the hour commute if I’m the only one wearing a mask? I will also be required to attend twice monthly, four hour long meetings with 40 other collegues in a cramped room. Will being the only one wearing a mask do me any good? Of course, sociaI distancing will be totally out of the question. I can continue taking vitamins and taking care of my health despite these changes, but masking will become increasingly sociallly damaging and I wonder if the benefits of being the only one masking will be worth the social costs.

      On the commute: I believe that single masking (with a well-fitted N95) is better than no masking. If you want even more protection, perhaps one of the Darth Vader-style respirators. Still has to be well-fitting though.

      On the meeting: Optimistically, you will not be the only one wearing a mask; perhaps others are just waiting for someone to take the lead. More pessimistically, Covid is not like the flu, and so people in these closed, crowded, close-contact situations will start dropping. Masks will then be more sensible. If assholes make the cost of wearing a mask too great, you might consider Povidone irrigation before, during, and after the meeting. (I wonder also if there is some less obtrusive nasal plug arrangement, but I’ve never heard of one.) You might consider masking up for some other reason if you need permission; like asthma (if you could induce a friendly doctor to “diagnose” you). You might also consider advocating for better ventilation for other reasons; apparently the productivity benefits are significant.

      I’m sorry this is your situation. It’s grotesque.

  28. Hank Linderman

    I am fully vaccinated, taking D3, NAC, Zinc, dosing myself with Povidone when I am going to be around others (while wearing a kn95 outdoors and an n95 indoors). Oh, and zinc lozenges every so often.

    But – I am confused. The amount of contradictory info is overwhelming – not so much in the articles posted on NC but in the comments section.

    (ducking to avoid incoming rotten fruit and veg…)


    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Huh. I do the (Arizona Slim approved!) povidone-iodine-saline flush after I go out, not before. But, if you know you’re infectious, I guess spraying before going out and about would be appropriate. Staying away from others, if one can, would be as well, no?

      1. Hank Linderman

        I haven’t had covid yet afaik, although I went to an international trade show in Jan 2020 and was exhausted for a few days the next week.

        I am taking the approach of preventing sharing of bugs in case I were infectious and didn’t realize it, and preventing picking them up if I’m in the presence of infectious others – who also might not be aware yet.

        I asked a friendly doc who told me they spray patient’s nostrils before bringing them in to the surgery. But now I’m wondering if before and after might be wise…

        I have a flight next week. Multiple doses sound like they might be in order.


    2. Bart Hansen

      If you are only taking 400 units of D3 daily, I would up that amount considerably. I have been taking around 3000 units for several decades to keep my blood level somewhat higher than average.

      The range for blood level for 25 OH Vitamin D is 20-80 ng/ml and I keep mine at around 60. Not knowing your age, it might be a good idea to have D3 included in your routine blood work. Talk to your doctor about how much to take in the time of covid.

    3. Tom Bradford

      But – I am confused. The amount of contradictory info is overwhelming – not so much in the articles posted on NC but in the comments section.

      Yer pays yer money and takes yer choice.

      The amount of contradictory info in NC’s comments is one of the reasons I regularly plough through them. If all you want are answers there are plenty of sites where everyone sings the same song, which are fine for the narrow-minded but if in NC I come across a comment I reject I like to try to examine why I reject it. Doesn’t always work but at least it can remind me that I might be wrong if I don’t know why I am right.

    4. jsn

      The various turns of events in the last few weeks have me completely disoriented. Brian Beijer’s question above and your observation have been on my mind non-stop. Our hosts here manage the external information flow in an amazing way, but as Lambert likes to say, the COVID narrative “has become overly dynamic.”

      It is a frequently mutating corona virus, mutations may be more or less dangerous along multiple vectors with each one, Omicron appears to evade immunity, the COVID suite appears to permanently degrade T cells opening previously closed paths to cancer, the organ damage COVID causes is frequently permanent and cumulative across successive infections, Long COVID can debilitate from between a couple of months to the rest of your life, and we are on our own to deal with it in a for profit medical system.

      Successive waves will impact most vulnerable populations first: the old; those with co-morbidities; those in stressful, concentrated work environments; the poor and immunocompromised. As the old die and COVID re-cycles which it will now do unobstructed, what is “old” will become systematically younger. As more and more of the working poor vanish from the workforce along the spectrum of disability and death, the shortages will drive price hikes to be defeated by Fed interest rate hikes forcing more people into the desperate working poor to repopulate the kill off cycle. If we are very lucky, the virus evolves to be less dangerous and a new, higher mortality equilibrium arrives that we “learn to live with.”

      If we are unlucky and the virus mutates into more virulent strains, we are spiraling down a drain for civilizational suicide. I’m at a loss as what to do collectively at anything near the speed and scale these issues will play out along.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      Your regimen is my regimen (except without NAC and with The Drug That Shall Not Be Named).

      So far, I’ve escaped. But I’m an introvert, so I don’t do crowds or go outside my very small bubble.

  29. Ahimsa

    The Canadian trucker protests are a phenomenal demonstration of mobilisation and solidarity among the working class.

    Postcard from the Truckers For Freedom Rally in Ottawa

    Being here in Ottawa, on the ground, experiencing this extraordinary moment in our history is one of the most moving experiences of my life. After two years during which we have been trapped in divisiveness and isolation, the truckers have burst the dam and the healing process has begun. On the doorstep of our Parliament, people from every part of this country are coming together to support the truckers convoy, laughing together, crying together, sharing food, dancing, telling our stories about what we have been through over these past two years as the world went mad around us, and, most of all, we are celebrating freedom together.

    First the journeys of the convoys and now the block party that is growing up around the truckers (calling it a protest actually misses the point: it’s more like Mardi Gras; a giant street festival) is uniting people from all across this country in a way that has never happened before in Canada’s history. What was done to us was done to us all. What is happening now, thanks to the truckers, is a bottom up, grassroots phenomenon in which we are taking back control of our lives, rescuing our loved ones from the clutches of fear, and rebuilding the sense of community that was so cruelly taken away from us over these past two years…

    1. Wukchumni

      The On-to-Ottawa Trek was a result of the unrest of unemployed single men in federal relief camps. Federal relief camps were brought in under Prime Minister R. B. Bennett’s government as a result of the Great Depression.

      A public meeting was called for July 1, 1935, in Market Square in Germantown (now the site of the Regina City Police station) to update the public on the progress of the movement. It was attended by 1,500 to 2,000 people, of whom only 300 were Trekkers. Most Trekkers decided to stay at the exhibition grounds.

      Three large moving trucks were parked on three sides of the square concealing RCMP riot squads. Regina police were in the garage of the police station which was in Market Square. At 8:17 p.m. a whistle was blown, and the police charged the crowd with batons from all four sides. The attack caught the people off guard before their anger took over. They fought back with sticks, stones, and anything at hand. Mounted RCMP officers then started to use tear gas and fired guns. Driven from the Square, and with the RCMP blocking the roadway back to the Stadium grounds, the battle continued in the surrounding streets for six hours.

      Police fired revolvers above and into groups of people. Tear gas bombs were thrown at any groups that gathered together. Plate glass windows in stores and offices were smashed, but with one exception, these stores were not looted, they were burned. People covered their faces with wet handkerchiefs to counter the effects of the tear gas and barricaded streets with cars. Finally, the Trekkers who had attended the meeting made their way individually or in small groups back to the exhibition stadium where the main body of Trekkers were quartered.

    2. mistah charley, ph.d.

      This celebration of the Freedom Rally is well written. The problem with it, from my perspective, is that the “Freedom” being sought and celebrated is based on what I regard as mistaken beliefs about the pandemic and what appropriate measures to deal with it are. I guess no one ever says “false consciousness” these days, anymore, but I’m an old guy and I still recall that phrase.

  30. Eclair

    Re: idea that criticizing US policy towards Russia (and drum-beating war over Ukraine) makes one a Russian agent.

    Is it still Groundhog day? In the late 50’s I stood in candlelight vigils with white-haired Quaker ladies and later threw things at the TV screen when the daily ‘Viet Cong kill reports’ were announced on the evening news. If my arithmetic was correct, we had killed off triple the population of Viet Nam!
    And, spent a terror-filled week in October 1962 as JFK pronounced that Soviet nukes in a country that borders the US, were an unacceptable threat.

    In the 2000’s I had to keep my mouth shut among my Orange County, California friends, who would happily brand me as a traitor if I made public my opposition to the Iraq invasion. And snuck up to LA, to march in anti-war demonstrations. Then listened as TV news routinely announced that we had killed yet another Al Quaeda top leader (how many was that?)

    In the 2020’s I find myself agreeing with Russia’s JFK-like stance that US nukes in countries that border Russia are an unacceptable threat. And deploring our leaders’ suicidal rush into a confrontation of two nuclear-armed states.

    That makes me a Viet-Cong/Al Quaeda/Russian agent. Sigh.

  31. newcatty

    I am with you in many ways. To be brief and to summarize in many points, as a college student in late 60’s I was born again and became a hippy! It was amusing that all hippies were painted with the same brush, as far as attributes and behavior. Of course they were not. The protest against war was indeed a common cause. Here we are in 2022 and Groundhog Day never ended from those “candlelight vigils, at the least, in the 50’s”. A favorite slogan, “Keep the faith”. What ever that is defined for you. To Eclair.

  32. Raymond Sim

    Regarding fomites, ever the ‘semisolid’ aerosols’ piece a week or two back I’ve been pondering (again) whether human respiratory aerosols eventually deposit as fomites in dust, and how longlasting Covid dust fomites might be.

    Thanks to their foraging habits grooming behaviors fomites in dust might be a good route to infecting the digestive tracts of murine species.

    Human populations almost always are intermixed in close association with murids, ungulates and carnivores, all groups of animals SARS-CoV-2 seems to like. Anybody know anything about the evolution of pathogens in multi-species host populations? I daresay tuberculosis is an example of such.

  33. The Rev Kev

    Colour me surprised. ‘GoFundMe shuts down Freedom Convoy fundraiser.’ GoFundMe did say that all donors may now submit a request for a full refund until February 19, 2022 so any donors have only a fortnight to do so. But GoFundMe also said that it wants to remain a “trusted platform” and insisted that it “supports peaceful protests.” Yeah, I bet they did. Just like when Pay Pal shut down donations to Wikileaks way back when-

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