Links 2/8/2022

Reader Amfortas comments:

wife is dying.
first clinical trial: cancer spreads/
i get to watch

I am sure readers will join Yves and me in wishing the absolute best for them both, and their family and community, today, and in the days to come. –lambert

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

Contortion Nation Doomberg, Anthony Bourdain and migrant workers, plus pipelines. Something for everybody!


Corporate Climate Responsibility Monitor 2022 New Climate. “Targets for 2030 fall well short of the ambition required to align with the internationally agreed goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid the most damaging effects of climate change. Among the companies we assessed, 15 of the 25 prominently report interim climate targets. However, our analysis finds that the average emission reduction commitment of full value chain emissions between 2019 and 2030 is just 23%.”

Climate barbarism: Adapting to a wrong world Constellation


70 percent of Americans say it’s time to accept COVID and ‘get on with our lives’ The Week. Missed this last week.

Charted: America’s divide on ‘moving on’ from Covid-19 Advisory Board. This survey:

“Get on with our lives” is carefully undefined. What non-pharmaceutical interventions are contemplated? Well–

Poll: 27% of Americans Believe Worst of Pandemic Yet to Come MedScape. The West has a history of relaxing restrictions too soon when Covid is on the downslope; “live your life” looks to me like exactly the same process, except with more anger behind it, and meme-age better than in past valleys between peaks. So far as I can tell, there’s no science behind the concept that Omicron will be the last wave; only handwaving and vague profit-driven hopes. I dread the possibility of tragedy to come. After all, the flip side of “live your life” is “we’re f*cked (good and hard (and proud of it)).”

Long Covid now major cause of long-term job absence, say quarter of UK employers FT (KLG25). Live your life. Such as it is.

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Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know CDC

Omicron BA.2 variant to become dominant worldwide – WHO regional director Jerusalem Post

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I compiled a list—as exhaustive as possible—of all peer-reviewed & published research articles that evaluate the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions, specifically lockdowns on COVID-19” Marc Bevand, Threadreader (MR). Important!

Landmark study says children DO find it more difficult than adults to recognize people wearing masks – and it could affect their ability to make friends: Demands mount to set our kids free as COVID levels plummet Daily Mail. Right, right, that’s why we keep reading those stories about small Asian children wandering about, lost, unable to recognize family or friends. Holy moley, “Landmark,” my Sweet Aunt Fanny.

Blue states move to drop mask mandates Axios

Stark County schools invest in air cleaning technology to prevent the spread of COVID-19 The Repository (MR). Canton, OH. “A majority of the school districts have turned to a new technology, called bipolar ionization.,,, Money sent to school districts to help them with COVID-19 mitigation strategies, known as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, has covered the cost of nearly all of the projects.” The EPA:

[Bipolar ionization] is an emerging technology, and little research is available that evaluates it outside of lab conditions. As typical of newer technologies, the evidence for safety and effectiveness is less documented than for more established ones, such as filtration. Bipolar ionization has the potential to generate ozone and other potentially harmful by-products indoors, unless specific precautions are taken in the product design and maintenance.

As opposed to HEPA, a proven technology. Yet another opportunity squandered by the Biden Adminstration, who really have a unparallelled track record for this sort of thing. Where was the CDC on this? (If your district got suckered by biopolar ionization salesman, make sure the device conforms to UL 2998 standard certification (Environmental Claim Validation Procedure (ECVP) for Zero Ozone Emissions from Air Cleaners. Note this is mere safety, not effectiveness.)

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Covid vaccines: the race for a single shot to prevent new pandemics FT. “Race” in a headline is a bullshit tell….

Deaths among the vaccinated:

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Long-term cardiovascular outcomes of COVID-19 Nature. n = 153,760 (from the VA). From the Abstract: “Our results provide evidence that the risk and 1-year burden of cardiovascular disease in survivors of acute COVID-19 are substantial.”

Clinical predictors of acute cardiac injury and normalization of troponin after hospital discharge from COVID-19 The Lancet. n = 4,248. The Interpretation: “Persistent cardiac injury is common among COVID-19 survivors. Readily available patient data accurately predict ACI recovery post-discharge. Early identification of at-risk patients could help prevent long-term cardiovascular complications.”

Something to watch (karenica):

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Assessment of a Smartphone-Based Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification Assay for Detection of SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza Viruses JAMA. Findings: “In this cohort study of saliva samples from 50 community-based patients, the smartphone-based LAMP assay detected SARS-CoV-2 infection and exhibited concordance with reverse transcriptase–quantitative polymerase chain reaction tests.” And:

The smartphone-based LAMP assay detection system consists of a hot plate, cardboard box, and LED lights. The system is inexpensive to set up and portable; it can be fabricated for less than $100 (in addition to the smartphone cost, which is approximately $200 used or approximately $400 new). The smartphone-based LAMP assay thus offers the potential to leverage a readily accessible technology to inexpensively deliver state-of-the-art nucleic acid diagnostics for quantitative pathogen detection at the POC.

Staten Island white-tailed deer found with omicron variant, study says Staten Island


China watching in the ‘New Era’: A guide Charles Parton, Sinocism

Commentary: ‘Zero-COVID’ is no longer the real goal for China Channel News Asia. Interesting.

Why betting on recovery in Chinese property stocks requires a leap of faith South China Morning Post

How China’s Communist Officials Became Venture Capitalists Bloomberg


The Tatmadaw’s Flawed Theory of Victory 9DASHLINE. Good roundup. Interesting nugget: “Recently the [Ethnic Armed Organisations and People’s Defense Forces have] targeted jet fuel supplies, which should impact the Tatmadaw’s air attacks.” Meanwhile:

I don’t think we can treat take any given data point as trustworthy without provenance. That said, there’s a big, big absence: Tatmadaw behavior that would indicate they think they’ve won.

Myanmar reaches a political impasse Bangkok Post (Furzy Mouse). “The [PDF] plan is to encircle the capital Nay Pyi Taw.” Hmm. Remember this?

That’s what Nay Pyi Taw looks like…

Deciding the future of the ‘Karen Revolution’ Frontier Myanmar

New Cold War

France says Vladimir Putin is moving towards de-escalating Ukraine crisis FT

Ukraine — “The Crisis!” Matt Bivens, The 100 Days

How to Break the Cycle of Conflict With Russia Foreign Affairs

What Putin Wants Blll Totten’s Weblog

War/Where: 3 Fronts Dr. Pippa’s Pen and Podcast (parts one and two).

From the Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are:


Didn’t those enraged at Boris Johnson’s ‘smears’ of Starmer defame Corbyn at every turn? Jonathan Cook

‘CIA Sidekick’ Gives £2.6M to UK Media Groups Declassfied UK. I wonder how much of that money made its way back across the Atlantic.

Mobbing of Keir Starmer increases cross-party pressure on Boris Johnson FT

The Caribbean

Haiti faces more instability as Moise’s term officially ends Al Jazeera

Canada Truckers

Canada pushes back against GOP support for COVID protests AP

Ottawa declares state of emergency over trucker convoy COVID-19 protests USA Today

Removing trucks could be almost ‘impossible,’ say heavy towing experts CBC. Can any truckers or towers in the readership comment?

Biden Administration

Scoop: Biden reinvents migrant detention Axios. Monitoring with “various trackable devices, including cellphones, bracelets and smartwatches,” as opposed to for-profit detention centers.

IRS abandons plans to use third-party facial recognition NBC

Big Tech Should Answer to the Public, Not to Speech Regulators Josh Hawley, The New Atlantis. Interesting, especially on interoperability (Doctorow’s hobbyhorse). But I’m not sure that lawsuits under Section 230 would be any less “vague” than regulations.

Supply Chain

Clogged supply chains won’t hold back trade Hellenic Shipping News

Chip supply problems might mean Wi-Fi 6E is skipped over for Wi-Fi 7, says analyst The Register

Imperial Collapse Watch

The Pentagon Wants to Ruin China’s ‘Sputnik Moment’ Foreign Policy. With “asymmetric [i.e., cheaper] countermeasures.”

US military faces crisis in Hawaii after leak poisons water AP

Class Warfare

‘Our raises have been pennies’: US cake-makers strike for fair deal as company makes billions Guardian

When Private Equity Becomes Your Landlord Pro Publica

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus Antidote:

I don’t want to be “All Maru, All The Time,” but readers appreciated his return. So here, Maru goes sledding.

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. Queenslawyer

    So sorry to hear about Amfortas’s wife. As a lurker I can’t say we’ve ever exchanged words but his comments are so vivid (and valuable imo) that I feel like I know him. He and family are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is a way to contribute financial support and it would not violate the rules of the community, I hope someone will post the instructions

    1. Ahimsa

      I also feel like I kinda know Amfortas from all his contributions here.

      Dear dear Amfortas, am sending you some Love and Light for the days and nights ahead.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      I’m sorry to hear Amfortas’s bad news. Wish I were closer to help him with the chores.

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I can only add to my sympathies, it must be a terrible time. I think we all appreciate his wonderful BTL contributions here.

    4. RockHard

      Indeed he’s one of the people on here who offer unique perspective.

      2022 seems to be shaping up to be more horrible than anticipated. I have about a half dozen friends who are really struggling now, and even the virtual friends and acquaintances are having a rough time of it. It’s another tragedy on a pile of tragedies.

      My sympathies, amfortas.

    5. Irrational

      Deeply sorry to hear. Wishing you strength. Please reserve the stories and the laughs for your wife and cry on the shoulder of the commentariat when need be – they are broad.

    6. ChrisPacific

      Also very sorry to hear this. It’s never pleasant when bad things happen to people you care about. You have our support (we may be just words on a blog, but as you can see you have a lot of friends here).

    7. MartyH

      Our sympathies of course. At an age, getting to watch, to BE THERE, is a privilege and a responsibility.

    8. swangeese

      I’m so very sorry to read this news.

      My 9 year-old niece originally said this about Covid, but it applies to cancer as well: “Cancer is an A in the hole.”

      I will add you Amortas, your wife, and your family to my prayer list.

    9. Foy

      The outpouring of words says it all Amfortas, everyone is with you and your wife and family in thought at this sad time. You are dear to many people here.

  2. Juneau

    Amfortas words are so limited. I am so sorry your wife has cancer. I wish you and your wife and family peace, consolation and healing.

  3. Colonel Smithers

    @ Amfortas: I am truly sorry to hear about your wife. Your wife and loved ones and you are in my thoughts and prayers. Warmest regards and good wishes.

  4. BillS

    Dear Amfortas – my condolences. I know from experience how hard it is to watch someone you care about leave this world. These are moments that put the ancient Virtues to the test. I wish you and your wife peace and serenity and may these last days allow for a proper farewell.

  5. Steve H.

    It is one with this gift of freedom that the children of Men dwell only a short space in the world alive, and are not bound to it, and depart soon whither the Elves know not. Whereas the Elves remain until the end of days, and their love of the Earth and all the world is more single and more poignant therefore, and as the years lengthen ever more sorrowful. For the Elves die not till the world dies, unless they are slain or waste in grief (and to both these seeming deaths they are subject); neither does age subdue their strength, unless one grow weary of ten thousand centuries; and dying they are gathered to the halls of Mandos in Valinor, whence they may in time return.

    – Tolkien

  6. paul

    What an awful thing to read first thing in the afternoon.
    My heart is with the hippie and his family.

    1. paul


      So sorry to hear about Amfortas’s wife. As a lurker I can’t say we’ve ever exchanged words but his comments are so vivid (and valuable imo) that I feel like I know him. He and family are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is a way to contribute financial support and it would not violate the rules of the community, I hope someone will post the instructions

      My wallet is fairly empty, but there would be something for amfortas.

      Many a mickle makes a muckle as we say here.

  7. fresno dan

    Amfortas: I always read your posts as they provide great insights. I hope all the wisdom you have amassed over the years helps you and your wife.

  8. John Beech

    Hell of an opening gambit to learn of the pain Amfortas is going through. May God bless the both of them during this trial. Words fail me and thus, I fall back on, I am so very sorry.

  9. petal

    Amfortas, I’m so, so sorry to hear the news. Sending hugs, and will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers to the universe that comfort and peace will surround all of you.

    1. mistah charley, ph.d.

      At a difficult time in my life I wrote down a version of the following and carried it in my wallet. The original is from the early 20th century, in French – along the way someone named it in honour of St. Francis, and many now believe he was the author – Wikipedia says this is not true, and has other interesting facts in its article. I have slightly edited the most common English version to remove theistic language.

      My goal is to be an instrument of peace.
      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      Where there is injury, pardon;
      Where there is doubt, faith;
      Where there is despair, hope;
      Where there is darkness, light;
      Where there is sadness, joy.

      I seek not so much to be consoled, as to console;
      to be understood, as to understand;
      to be loved, as to love.

      For it is in giving that we receive.
      It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
      and it is in letting go of a smaller self that we are able to recognize our wider identity.

  10. LaRuse

    Amfortas, you are loved and supported here. I am sure Lambert and Yves can serve as a conduit of information – if we can support you in ANY way, whether that is via a WaterCooler type fundraiser or meal delivery or cleaning services, or any other thing we can send you that would allow you to give your full time and attention to your lady, let us know.

    1. Laughingsong

      Indeed, we’re not in the room, but we’re with you as closely as possible given the circumstances. Please please please do not be shy and let the NC community know what we can do to help, and get you whatever you need….. we will together find a way to give some support and solace.

    2. Pelham

      Yes, if there’s anything that might help, let us all know. There’s quite an outpouring here, testimony to the community you’ve added so much to. We’d like to help.

    1. Janie

      Amfortas, may the wisdom you have acquired over the hard times see you and your family through this.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Been there Amfortas & I wish you both were not heading down that hard road. There was an unexpected bright light of her acceptance within that darkness for us before we parted, so I wish you both your own version & overall the best of a very bad job.

    1. Rainlover

      Dear Amfortas, only you could compose a haiku from your pain. I’m so sorry to hear about your loved one’s decline. Sending you love and hugs during this difficult time.

  11. Edward Jones

    Trucks in Ottawa can easily be moved by military tank haulers. They pull tanks out of combat for repair. Most likely how this will end. If air brakes are off it may damage the brakes. This will put pressure on rig owners to turn the air on. Pretty sure the military will say tough luck.

    1. elRoy

      It sounds like the wrecker operators don’t want to be involved. The parking brakes can be released manually. It takes a bit of work and involves getting under the rear of the truck, but wrecker operators do it all the time. In fact they would most likely tow them from the rear. No parking brakes on steering axle. So tie off the steering wheel, chain rear axles to truck frame, pick the rear up until tires clear road and away you go.

        1. juno mas

          Covid my arse! Wreckers are cowering in fear, it appears.

          elRoy knows his tows. Strap the steering wheel to keep the wheels straight and haul the rig away on short notice. Now a shortage of large wreckers may be a problem, but an impounded $100K rig is big problems for its owner.

      1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

        To me, this situation is beginning to recall the 1918 Seattle General Strike. Hope it ends differently.


        1. Captain Obious

          How the Ottawa residents were abandoned by all levels from an Ottawa resident on reddit. A sample:
          “First of all: Ottawa is not just a short-hand for Parliament. It is not just a collection of old buildings filled with boring stuffy MPs. It is not just empty space where people come to get drunk on Canada Day. Downtown Ottawa is a vibrant and densely populated area with huge residential buildings (homes and apartments) baked inside.

          The people making the decisions don’t live there. I repeat, none of the MPs, MPPs, diplomats, Official Opposition, experts, the individuals speaking on TV live in the so-called Red Zone. Many live in wealthy suburbs like Rockcliffe and/or are away from the noise.

          Unless you’ve been kept up by the non-stop train horns, it’s abstract to you. Unless you’re breathing in the toxic fumes of the exhaust from the hundreds of vehicles, it’s abstract to you.

          Unless you’ve stepped on the crap, the human excrement, in the streets or dodged a yellow snowbank filled with urine, it’s abstract to you.

          Unless you’ve been harassed, assaulted, intimidated for wearing a mask or for the colour of your skin, it’s abstract to you.

          Unless you’re disabled in a wheelchair; or blind with no way to walk around/navigate in the noise; or a senior living alone unable to get groceries because no transportation’s able to come to you, it’s abstract to you.”

            1. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

              And, many people were pissed-off by the Seattle General Strike (I said “’18,” it was “’19”), too, particularly the Seattle business elite (what a surprise). It’s an interesting parallel to me, being February of a pandemic year and a highly disruptive labor action initiated by shipping workers. The Seattle strike was put down and I imagine this one will be too, and trodding on man-poop or wading through pee-snow won’t last long, I reckon.

            2. Captain Obious

              Maybe Don Trump can make an appearance to inspire the confidence for the troops. Is 90% vs 10% anywhere near accurate?

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > the list of demands of the convoy

        I don’t think that’s fair (and I do have a sense of irony about “demands,” since “What are their demands?” was asked of Occupy very much by the usual suspects…).

        I welcome correction — I do understand that Canada is a different country from the US, at times very different — but my impression is that the only entity that could be said to speak for the trucker convoy is Canada Unity, and they withdrew their “Memorandum of Understanding” apparently having understood that they were calling for the overthrow of the Canadian Constitutional order.

    1. flora

      Thanks for the link. Good to hear in their own words directly, not ‘filtered’ or ‘spun’ by major media outlets. I listen and decide for myself what I think. Quaint idea, ‘eh? / ;)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > their own words directly

        Well… Digital evidence is not evidence, and I do note that “they” is a little ambiguous. A Martian would see guys in a room and faces but no names.

        That said, it’s an impressive video (until the guy at the end starts ranting).

    2. marym

      I’m not Canadian, so please advise if my impressions/sources on these points are wrong. Is it not the case that

      – a large percentage of Canadians, and of truckers are vaccinated?
      – in the last election a large percentage of people voted for parties that support some pandemic mandates? (no link, I think I read that recently)
      – hundreds, or even thousands, of trucks can fill the streets and shut down the city, but reflect a far lesser number of actual protesters?
      – tactics that include incessant honking of horns in residential areas, and harassing healthcare workers, may not be indicative of a working class movement or a credible path to such a movement?

      Again, not being Canadian, I don’t know the process of calling for a vote of no confidence. In the US, recall elections, censure, and impeachment proceedings are legitimate forms of holding elected officials accountable.

      It doesn’t necessarily mean that people calling for these proceedings represent the will of the people. They may actually be thwarting the will of a majority of the people. They may hope to be, and rhetorically claim to be (as in the video 8:05) “the voice of patriotism, unification, democracy, and freedom,” but that is yet to be seen.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        In the US, protest is also a legitimate means of holding elected officials accountable, and there is no requirement that those protesting follow the opinion of the majority. Pretty sure the same is true in Canada.

        If we only allowed those following majority opinion to protest in the US, we likely would not have had a civil rights movement, to name just one example.

        You may not agree with what people are protesting, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do it. That’s how things are supposed to work in countries that are not police states.

        1. marym

          I didn’t say a word against the right to protest, or to call for a vote of no confidence (as referenced in the demands) if that’s a legitimate process in Canada. I don’t even question their right to claim to speak for patriotism, democracy… etc.). Many protests on many issues make such universal claims as far as values.

          In the US we have, similarly, an “Our Democracy” contingent and a “Real America” contingent, whose claims about who and what they stand for are open to discussion based on their demands and their actions.

        2. Pelham

          But shouldn’t protest be done in such a way as to elicit at least sympathy from those who disagree? The US civil rights movement with its nonviolent approach and inspiring rallies made a solid case for modest, reasonable demands. If marym’s points are valid, and I think they are, it appears the truckers are ticking people off.

          OTOH, these are working-class guys. It’s a pity that the alleged Left in Canada and the US has turned its back so emphatically on working stiffs that there’s no possibility of reaching out to them in any constructive way, leaving only denunciations and utterly nonsensical charges of fascism.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            I’d say people should listen to the protestors and decide for themselves. There are other links posted here today that give a different story of what’s happening on the ground than what the anti-bubba corporate media is claiming.

      2. HotFlash

        Ya’know, Mary, I have a pretty long memory. I wasn’t there, but the police admitted it — sorry, cannot locate police admissions, but remember it happening on MSM. This video was hard enough to find. Using very specific terms I got offered videos for various shiny objects — car flipping, 15-minute dinners, a few for lingerie, then “No more videos match your search” — never had that happen after less than a page of suggestions!

        But I was there when the OPP (Ont Provincial Police) “broke up” not a demonstration but a scheduled speech by our local MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) Cheri DiNovo. It wasn’t even a demonstration. Can’t remember what she even said, just OPP on motorcycles kettling and cordoning. Yeah, she got the same treatment.

        That’s the same place where the famous “Officer Bubbles” incident occurred.

        Lots more footage was available at the time, now disappeared down the memory hole, and a lot of stories from real people I know/knew. But yeah, I can easily believe that the Nazi and confederate flags (if any) were brought by guys on government payroll.

        1. marym

          I can’t comment on that topic for Canada. In the US people who aren’t at a protest display confederate flags at their homes, businesses, on their vehicles. Mississipi retired their state flag with Confederate battle insignia in 2020. Whether US protesters are displaying these symbols because they believe in them or because they’re cops should be questioned, but the answer shouldn’t be assumed.

            1. marym

              If you’re asking for a source on whether people in the US display confederate flags, or whether confederate insignia was part of the MS flag, here are some links. If you’re asking for a source on whether people who display flags at protests are people who may display them in their personal sphere, or cops, I tried to phrase that as a valid question, not something to which I have an answer. Apologies if that wasn’t clear. The NASCAR link is kind of a little of both isn’t it – personal and protest?


          1. Yves Smith

            The entire two and a half years I have been in Alabama, I have yet to see a Confederate flag, including on a bumper sticker or car decal. But having said that, Tommy Turbeville’s campaign logo clearly nodded to it.

            1. anon y'mouse

              i did, in the area around Dothan. and a definite “you need to get in your car and drive away from here, rapido-rapidamente” at the gas station even before i saw the flag.

              also saw Southern Nationalist (black cross on white background) flag being carried around a townlet near Clanton in some kind of demonstration that very few (about 20)appeared to be involved in directly.

      3. Sub-Boreal

        A useful corrective:

        “This weekend’s idiotic pageantry was thus a political consequence of the decades-long class project to remake the trucking sector, a project which has dismantled a highly unionized industry, formerly made up of relatively well-paying and stable jobs, and replaced it with a poorly regulated labour market of hyper-competition among small owner-operators and other precariously-positioned workers.”

        The Trucker Convoy Is Not A Workers’ Revolt

        1. Sub-Boreal

          Statement from Teamsters Canada

          “The so-called “freedom convoy” and the despicable display of hate lead by the political Right and shamefully encouraged by elected conservative politicians does not reflect the values of Teamsters Canada, nor the vast majority of our members, and in fact has served to delegitimize the real concerns of most truck drivers today.

          We firmly believe in the right to protest government policies and voice a wide array of opinions, but what is happening in Ottawa has done more harm to Teamsters members, be they Truck Drivers who were trying to deliver their loads, or hotel, restaurant and healthcare workers who were intimidated, abused or prevented from accessing their workplaces, by several protesters.”

      4. DJ Forestree

        [Responding to marym]
        I am Canadian, writing from BC. I can tell you that these protestors represent a minority in this country. Most truckers are vaccinated, and doing their job. Almost 90 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated. All of your points about the most recent election in Canada, etc., are correct.

        Harrassing the citizens of an urban core, making their lives miserable, defecating on the streets, trying to burn an apartment building in the area you are occupying, and proudly displaying among other symbols, Nazi emblemas, doesn’t sound to me like a protest about Covid or vaccines. Follow the money and the ideological and political support. It will take you, in most cases, from Ottawa to Florida and Texas, and to many other interesting places within and outside of Canada.

        This protest IS NOT about vaccines or mandates, even though some or most of the people protesting in Ottawa are opposed to those. This is about energizing a political movement that is being used and will be used as an instrument by the most reactionary ideological forces in today’s Canada, which happen to be at the far right of the political spectrum, including of course a big chunk of the Conservative Party, etc. There are a number of strange bedfellows joining in, and they are being used very effectively as well by the same reactionary, ultra-neoliberal forces behind this “protest”.

        By the way I didn’t voted for the Liberals in the last election, I don’t care about them, and I care even less about the Conservatives. Luckily in Canada there is more diversity than the duopoly Americans have come to accept as “democracy”.

        1. Yves Smith

          I don’t see how you can speak so confidently when you are in British Columbia, no where near the protests, and therefore are getting your information from the media.

          It is clearly true that most truckers are vaccinated. However, it is also true that the truckers have denounced any Nazi symbols, and their presence seems to be considerably exaggerated by the press.

          In addition, I can tell you from Occupy that that movement was often afflicted by violent anarchists, as in the “Black Bloc” who were not part of Occupy but were hangers on, trying to use it to advance their own agenda, which was almost entirely different. It isn’t hard to imagine, particularly in light of the denunciations, that to the extent there are radical right wingers present, they are trying to seize the PR spotlight from the truckers.

  12. FreeMarketApologist

    “…we just need to get on with our lives…” is best read as “…we need to get back to not caring about people who aren’t us…”

    1. Mike

      Well, it worked so well for Bush the Younger (“Mission Accomplished” … “heckuva job, Brown”) and for mass shootings in schools.

      One wonders where the “think of the children” set was when it was time to think of the impact of mass shooter drills and lockdown training on kids, but maybe that’s just me.

    2. griffen

      It worked for the Obama admin and the implementation of the Holder doctrine. And of course, foam the runway Timmy Geithner combined with a toothless DOJ. We can’t enforce actual laws on these white collar rule breakers!

      Pay the fine and move along.

    3. Pelham

      I’ll begin listening to and assessing arguments for getting on with our lives as soon as those arguments take full account of the likely consequences of endemic Covid eventually leaving tens of millions hobbled up with and possibly deranged by Long Covid.

  13. Kevin Smith

    Removing trucks: the Canadian army has equipment for moving heavy things like tanks, and for that matter tanks themselves could be used to tow those trucks out of the heart of Ottawa. Might be kind of hard on the trucks [maybe hard on the pavement too] but c’est la vie …

    1. juanholio

      Have the vehicles been physically disabled? Couldn’t they just commandeer the trucks and drive them to be impounded somewhere, or are they scared they will be assaulted if they tried?

      1. JTMcPhee

        Interesting. Would the Canadian army, which is all volunteers and is only 42,000 troops, “draw down on” the truckers and their partners? Might be an interesting test of how well the US oligarchy might fare in a parallel circumstance. Interesting that someone here goes to the notion of using the Army to ‘get the damn trucks out of the way…’ “Might be kind of hard on the trucks [maybe the pavement too] but c’est la vie.”

        “I can pay half the working class to kill the other half.” Jay Gould, robber baron.

        There is no “we” in America, it would seem…

        Further interesting, in that light:

        Canadian Army Troops Volunteer with Sentinel Program to Assist Comrades

        Close to 700 compassionate Canadian Army soldiers have volunteered their services to keep a watchful eye out and guide their comrades in trouble to appropriate resources. These volunteers have proudly taken up the mantle to be part of the Canadian Army Sentinels Program.

        “The program’s values lie in the human contact that remains the best way to encourage members to seek out the tools they need to face the difficult situation that may arise in their lives,” said CA Command Chaplain, LCol. Guy Bélisle.

        The Sentinels Program consists of volunteer non-professionals whose role is to keep an eye out within their units to support and assist those in any kind of distress. Their job consists of directing them to the right resources and ensures that individuals, if needed, are immediately transferred to the Chain of Command or caregivers like a chaplain, social worker or doctor.

        “One of the main objectives of the program is to ensure, on the ground, an informal presence able to detect, support, and refer,” added Bélisle.

        Sentinels are recruited from all ranks across the Canadian Army and tend to have strong people skills, the skills to quickly establish relationships with and demonstrate compassion for others.

        Also — does not seem to be even a bit of commentary on the parallels between the Canadian Gilets Jaunes in France, which has also seen trucker and farmer “popular actions.”

        What would be the equivalent in the US? C.W. McCall’s monstrosity, that hymn to anomie, sung out in that very popular single, “Convoy”? Or would some inchoate seed crystal catalyze a “no more of this sh!t!” response in GodBlessTheUSALand?

        Close with prayers for you, amfortas, and your family. Been through that with my family, no double many here also — I wish all others could be spared that misery.

        1. Henriux Miller

          [Replying to JTMcPhee]
          I believe you are assuming that the protestors in Ottawa are mostly working class. Where did you get that information? How do you know this?
          It reminds me of the “working class” Americans participating in the January 6 Capitol take over. Once people took a closer look, they figured that there was class in that mob, yes (there is always class, of course, in socioeconomic terms) but it wasn’t the working one, for the most part.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Once people took a closer look, they figured that there was class in that mob, yes (there is always class, of course, in socioeconomic terms) but it wasn’t the working one, for the most part.

            “People” being, er, me. I think NC was first out of the box on this, clearly first at this level of detail.

            1. Henriux Miller

              Absolutely true, Lambert. You and NC deserve all the credit for this important observation, which has been confirmed by others. Thanks for pointing that out.

  14. DJG, Reality Czar



    Your elegant haiku points to a long tradition in the past and points to the here and now. In spite of everything, you have shown the great value of poetry–words directly from one heart flowing into another heart, across space-time.

  15. griffen

    Cancer still and always ever, sucks. Encouragement and well wishes to you in the hill country homestead. Very sad to hear.

    And if encouragement will help, I like watching a speech by Jim Valvano or Stuart Scott that both have given at the ESPYs. Jim Valvano’s speech holds up over time. I watch it once per year.

    1. juno mas

      Yes, you gotta believe and “Never Give Up”. Those words helped me struggle past cancer.

      Amfortas: believe in the possible, recognize the struggle, and cherish every moment of life as you share it with your wife. Peace. Love.

  16. liam

    Amfortas: I was deeply sorry to read the news today. There are places and things I value in this world, that I will never visit nor see, but I am deeply grateful that they exist nonetheless. Knowing that they do so, outside of my own experience, is a joy to me. I would not know you, but for your words, yet, I have always read your comments with curiosity and delight. The world is better that you and your family are in it. I hope you can cherish the days that are left with your wife, and when she passes know that, like that place you cannot visit or see, her presence resides in you. We dream and then we wake. My love to you today.


  17. Tom Stone

    I am sorry to hear about Amforta’s wife.
    Cancer treatments are so much better these days that I had hopes of a long term recovery.

    1. You're soaking in it!

      So beautiful

      “Look! The gods weep, the goddesses all weep,
      for the beautiful perishes, for even the most perfect passes away.”

      – Schiller

      Bless you, Amfortas

  18. salty dawg

    So sorry to learn about Amforta’s wife–that is so sad and difficult.

    Regarding the CBC article about the difficulties of towing the trucks in the Ottawa protest. As a former (many years ago) truck driver, I thought the article was quite accurate–the driver needs to cooperate.

    Yes, the drivers could be arrested and the trucks taken (most of those trucks are probably owned by their drivers, and no matter what constitutional violations Trudeau implements, taking the trucks is stealing them). But who with the ability to drive a truck would do this? I certainly won’t, and I don’t know anyone who would. Most people with the ability to safely drive heavy trucks have heard Trudeau, and don’t in any way support him (to put it mildly).

    I suppose you could order the military to take the trucks, and Trudeau could have his Tianamen Square Moment, but how could they encourage truck drivers to work afterwards?

    This is a serious protest, and the government needs to negotiate, not just declare the protesters a “fringe minority with unacceptable views” as Trudeau has.

    Here is a lighter take on the protests that you may enjoy,

      1. Maritimer

        See link below(start at 3:40) where Premier Doug Ford elected ruler of 13.6 million people admits his capture and capitulation to unelected Public Health Officials:

        Sure looks like Stockholm Syndrome.

        Go Truckers, you are doing what all CDN Institutions, Academe, Law, Medicine, Finance, etc. have failed to do: ensure that there is Rule of Law and Due Process in Canada. There are a number of well drawn cases before CDN Courts that have been there for months and months while the Judiciary delays and delays. The Truckers had no choice but to protest.

        As for all those on the side of criminal organizations Pfizer, AZ and JJ, others do not want to deal with criminals no do they want their Governments dealing with convicted criminals and doing their bidding.

    1. LinearPerk

      It’s a pretty fringe protest if you ask me. They needed to use big trucks to fill up space. Traditionally, when you protest WITH popular support you fill the space with people…

      One of the reasons that this protest can’t gain popular support is that they can’t articulate a specific demand.
      The other reason is that they can’t seem to stop flying swatikas. Food for thought.

      1. LawnDart

        …they can’t seem to stop flying swatikas.

        Can’t seem to find any images on DDG or GOOG of this, nor of any damage and vandalism during the Canadian trucker protest– reports, yes; video evidence, no. But I did find this gem shot in CA (California, USA) where no attempt to hide very disturbing nazi imagery that deplorable anti-vaxxers imposed upon the public:

          1. LawnDart

            Looks like he’s comparing Trudeau to nazis, and the article implies the same– I’ve used Jews for Genocide (TM) when criticizing the Israeli state and I find that it really piszes people off, as intended, though I feel that a genocidal aparthied state accurately describes the state, as it would have in USA with our actions, genocides, and forced sterilizations of “Indians” that lasted into to 1970s.

            So we have this consistant narrative, even in wording, from NPR through Globe and Mail, depicting the protesters as fringe nutters, and loyalists/authoritarian followers swallowing as gospel. I got the shots because I have more than one of the common comorbidities and I’d rather have a vetter chance to go out in a blaze of glory than in prone-position, tube down throat, lungs dissolving and s#!tting myself with a pretty nurse looking upon me with both pity and disgust–that’s just me, and my vanities. But I think I’m with the fringe nutters on this one: vaccine restrictions are bulls#!t.

            As an aside, or observation based on extensive travels throughiut USA, to some, the confederate flag is known as the rebel flag, or as a battle flag, and to others it’s a symbol of white supremacy– its meaning or the intended message is not always clear-cut and apparent.

      2. RockHard

        They’re protesting for freedom and liberty because nothing says freedom and liberty like a swastika.

        Also they’re anti-socialism, which explains why they align with National Socialists. Or something.

      3. jr

        I did an admittedly quick image search for “ottawa truckers swastika”, every single instance of Nazi symbolism I could find was in direct reference to Trudeau and his policies. Inappropriate, yes, but that’s the point. White supremacy? Nah.

        There were a few Rebel battleflags as well, a symbol with definite white supremacist correlations:

      4. MT_Wild

        As has been pointed out elsewhere, if I wanted to discredit a protest, I’d buy some rebel/nazi flags and pay some people to LARP the protest. Not sure how you’d ever know for sure without a paper trail.

        But it seems like the majority are not embracing such regalia, so a minority for sure.

        1. LinearPerk

          The thing about a protest like this, one that has so few members to begin with, is that you have to be vigilant about that type of thing. You also have to communicate about it clearly as in: issue condemnations, name and shame, create clear boundaries. This is par for the course for any political protest that cares about its legitimacy.

          My firsthand experience here in Calgary, for what it’s worth, is that these symbols are common at the regular weekend protest and the rhetoric even more so.

      5. lyman alpha blob

        From a link flora posted above, which is the account of someone who lives in downtown Ottawa and actually went outside and talked to the protesters –

        “At Manitoba Corner a boisterous heavily tattooed man spoke to me from the cab of his dually pickup truck – a man who had a look that would have fit right in on the set of some motorcycle movie – pointed out that there are no symbols of hate in the convoy. He said, “Yes there was some clown with a Nazi flag on the weekend, and we don’t know where he’s from, but I’ll tell you what, if we see anyone with a Nazi flag or a Confederate flag, we’ll kick his fucking teeth in. No one’s a Nazi here.” Manitoba Corner all gave a shout out to that.”

      6. polecat

        So, that flag-wavingTrudeau and his feckless (p]sycophants.. Got it!

        Ok, now about those mostly unpeaceful truckers, and their multiples of the fringe public waving them on …

        pull the other gloved finger why dontcha.

    2. salty dawg

      This just came in my inbox and I thought it was worth sharing. It is from one of the groups involved with protest in Ottawa, and explains their point of view on the protests, the press coverage, and the government’s decision to block refueling of the trucks:

      For an opposing point of view, is Canada’s Propaganda Service, and it writes extensively about the protests and the mandates.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > from one of the groups involved with protest in Ottawa, and explains their point of view on the protests

        I looked at the Action4Canada press release. This struck a discordant note:

        As did this petition from 2021: Petition: Protect Our Kids, Remove the Masks (see here for their views on masks generally).

        Much to ponder on their site. One might wonder if some version of their bundle of political views will take hold here, if the right genuinely attempted to capture the working class base the Democrats abandoned.

        NOTE I don’t know enough to make a call on the “working class” roots of the convoy; IIRC, 80% of the Canadian truckers are wage workers. These are owner operators, hence their class composition would be similar to that of the Capitol rioters.

  19. Jason Boxman

    That CDC page is hopeless garbage.

    We have the Tools to Fight Omicron

    Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect yourself and others against the Omicron variant.

    Well-fitting masks offer protection against all variants.

    It is important to use all tools available to protect yourself and others.

    You won’t find “N95” anywhere on the page. Misrepresents effectiveness of vaccines in preventing spread. Reinforces personal responsibility as the only way forward.

    Utter garbage.

    A pandemic isn’t a great way to find out that a supposedly preeminent institution in your country sucks in its own area of expertise. Oh well.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And nary a word about early treatment or preparing your own terrain so that your body can resist infections.

  20. bassmule

    Amfortas: I feel for you. My wife’s childhood friend is wasting away with brain cancer, and it is horrible to witness. Yours is a truly unique voice here; I hope grief does not quiet it.

  21. Carolinian

    Re New Cold War–this is an important column by Alastair Crooke on what the Russia ultimatum was really about.

    It is unlikely that Moscow ever entertained any grand illusions about their ‘non-ultimatum’ ultimatum. The documents were never intended ‘to lure’ the West into ad aeternam negotiations. The point is that Moscow had already decided to break in a fundamental way with the West. What is afoot is today is the manifestation of that earlier decision.

    and what Russia will do if a complete break

    Russia clearly understands the geo-political and geo-economic pressure points that it controls. They can see that the U.S. does not want to raise interest rates, but has to. They can also see that they can force inflation far higher, inflicting significant economic pain. They can see that food prices are soaring, with potash from Belarus blocked, and Russia banning the export of ammonium nitrate.

    The consequences for fertiliser prices – and therefore European food prices – is obvious, as is the consequence of European spot energy prices, were Russian gas to be barred from Europe. That is how economic pain works. The West slowly is discovering that that it has no pressure point versus Russia (its economy being relatively sanctions-proof), and its military is no match for that of Russia’s.

    In the Middle East, a number of interesting developments have quietly taken place: Russia is mounting joint air-patrols with the Syrian Air Force over the Golan, and in the wake of Israel’s recent attacks on the port at Latakia, Russia has stationed its own forces there (meaning that Israel must stop attacking the port). Similarly, Israel recently complained to Russia that its’ blocking of the Global Positioning System (GPS) over Syria was adversely affecting Israeli commercial air traffic using Ben Gurion airport. The Russians replied, ‘Well, too bad’. And, in a forth blow to Israel, Russia has begun allowing Iranian planes carrying weapons supplies to land at the large Russian base in western Syria.

    Is then, one military-technical action to block Israeli overflights of Syria? Might this also be a prelude to Russia enabling Damascus to regain control over the geographic extent of Syria – allowing the Syrian Arab Army to expel the jihadists from Idlib, and the Americans from north-east Syria, where they and their allies control Syria’s energy resources? The exodus of jihadis (some 2 million with dependents) would traumatise Turkish politics, damaging Erdogan’s re-election prospects, and terrify the Europeans with the threat of another migrant refugee crisis.

    In short Crooke is saying that the cooked up Ukraine crisis is Biden’s tar baby, not Putin’s, and that it is really Russia that is holding the cards.

    1. flora

      The US hasn’t had a good, real politic, Soviet/Russia diplomat since George Kennan, imo, and that’s going back a while. There were able bureaucrats after Kennan, but even the able ones were eventually replaced by stuffed-shirted yes men and neocons after the mid-1990’s, after the end of the Soviet rule. (Hi, Tony Blinken. (waves) )

      1. Kouros

        I wonder what Kennan’s strategy would be in a world where the technical genie is out of the bottle, and the opponent is no longer hobbled by ideology, but pragmatic as hell…?

          1. Kouros

            In terms of re-organizing the internal society and interacting with the world.

            It is the west that has become the most ideologized party nowadays.

    2. Maxwell Johnston

      Today’s link to Matt Bivens (“Ukraine – The Crisis!”) is excellent. The money quote: “One suspects the Kremlin believes it has a winning position in a carefully played chess game, and their only concern now is that their opponent keep playing chess, instead of freaking out and sweeping the whole chess board to the floor.” That just nails it. Bivens wrote for the Moscow Times many moons ago when the MT was an actual journalistic enterprise, as opposed to today’s stenographic enterprise. Things fall apart.

    3. Detroit Dan

      Thanks Carolinian!

      I find it SO predictable that Putin is outsmarting the U.S. foreign policy establishment again.

      1. Goad the U.S. into making a big public deal of having intelligence saying a Russian invasion is imminent, and then sending “lethal” weapons to Ukraine, while threatening the biggest, baddest sanctions ever.
      2. Sit back and watch U.S. credibility erode. (The boy who cried wolf strikes again.)
      3. Deal around the world with countries such as Venezuela and Iran, laughing when the U.S. inevitably cries “wolf”.
      4. Enjoy the economic boost as anti-Russian sanctions lose effectiveness amid the return to a multi-polar world.
      5. Watch the U.S. continue to weaken as the divided U.S. public unites in anger at the exposed leadership.

      As a U.S. citizen I’m not happy about this, but i do think it’s good that some are standing up to our misguided leaders.

      1. Rainlover

        The situation brings to mind the Russian retreat from Moscow that eventually trapped Napoleon and his army into a winter retreat from which they could be picked off by Russian snipers. Your second point correlates with this historic tactic. Putin and Macron are the only adults in the room.

  22. John Mc

    RE: US Faces Crisis in Hawaii

    Hey US government!

    Before you go invading Ukraine and making another mess, could you please pick up the poisonous leaks in Hawaii first? We know you haven’t been yourself since China-Russia started dating (or maybe you have been yourself and go from one mess to the next), but you probably should take care of paradise before creating another hellhole.

    —- Mother

  23. Wukchumni

    I’ve mentioned numerous times how the big cruise ship companies are just about giving away cruises-which is an indication that even price doesn’t fix things. A typical $1000 weeklong cruise is now a few hundred bucks…

    But we’re talking about cruises that cater to people of average income for the most part, whereas on the other end, Crystal Cruises is obviously in a world of hurt and their clientele is 1%’ers or aspiring 1%’ers, and 2 of their floating palaces were seized by US Marshals the other day in the Bahamas after failing to pay almost $5 million in fuel bills.

    If all the cruise lines went belly up, i’d have to get my ducts in a row and squeak out a tear or two.

  24. The Rev Kev

    Been thinking of you and your wife all day long, mate. Just to say that you will be, like the Hospitaller said, both be today the subject of my prayers.

  25. griffen

    If you have the time to invest, one should really really read the link above from ProPublica. It isn’t just that new landlord actions are reprehensible in regards to existing or new tenants. How in the heck does building security suck so badly, in the example given from a San Francisco apt complex?

    Cue up the vitriol for Freddie Mac too. It isn’t enough for these private equity landlords to jack up rent and cut services, they get a boost from a cheaper funding source. This is just another example of governmental support, whether direct or indirect, causing serious distortions that cause real life stress and excess concern for renters.

    1. Peter

      The recently passed, by 51%, Proposition 19 forces the sale of inherited property by raising property taxes to the current assessment level, which ends up passing the rent increase onto tenants.
      Goodbye inexpensive rents in multi-generationally owned buildings. Also rent control in San Francisco, prevents raising the rent, or evicting tenants for higher paying ones, which basically bankrupts any owner who is then forced to sell. The real estate hustlers and the tax authorities love it.

      Newsom is trying to get rent control statewide. It will be a state of high price rents, or people packing four to a room into barrio housing.

      Petitions are being signed which will force the revocation of Prop 19 onto the ballot.

    2. Michael

      Same company, Greystar, cut a deal with a local church here in San Diego.

      Church owned a square block near Balboa Park and wants to assure their survival long into the future. Sold half in 2019 and got some freebies in the new 20 story highrise to be built.

      Greystar then used CA density bonus ruling from 1979 to add 57 units to the 147 proposed by promising to include 18 affordable units. Building height went up 40+ft! Local planning group sued saying it wasn’t the vision in the community plan and lost. Appealed and lost.

      Now the good part. Appeal Court judge declared this was now precedent thru out the whole State. SD City Attorney said Wait! we don’t want that. We just want it to be a local ruling. Don’t want to be blamed statewide for similar projects.

      Deadline to appeal to CA Supreme Court is March 14.

  26. Bob


    I’m truly sorry to hear the news of your wife’s illness. I hope you can find some small measure of peace to help you through what is a devastating time.

  27. Tvc15

    Amfortas, we are similar in age and have lived in the same places. I grew up in Clear Lake. Lived in Central Tejas, Austin and San Marcos to attend Southwest Texas before the name change. Always read your posts and thinking of you in this difficult time. My 80 year old Mom is in the hospital w congenital heart failure and I will also be losing a loved one. Take care.

  28. Wukchumni

    I broke my blockade on watching the olympics and took in a few hours yesterday, and thoughts on a scorecard:

    The Chinese are obviously very serious about stopping Covid, I don’t think there was hardly anybody with a face mask on in the NFL games I watched last week on the sidelines and in the crowd shots, whereas in the olympics aside from when being in competition, not only do all the athletes wear masks, but all the coaches and staff as well.

    The USA hasn’t won a gold medal yet and kind of like commerce, you get the feeling that we outsourced our competitive edge, the ability to manufacture winning outcomes.

    What little crowd there is at the venues is mysteriously in the cheap seats where the camera never pans, while the prime lower seats are empty, how weird.

    The only crowd we are allowed to see is the athlete’s family back home, and it plays as you would expect, Some skier from Montana’s family of about 10 had no masks on in their 15 seconds of fame, while another athlete from Cali has all dozen family members masked up.

    1. Carolinian

      Apart from a few stars doesn’t the US always lag in winter sports versus the summer games?

      And the outdoor venues have an audience (still wearing masks).

      1. Wukchumni

        We had the 4th most medals of any country in the 2018 winter olympics, now we’re 17th in this games.

  29. Dr. Robert

    I’m not so sure everything will be fine in Ukraine. There have been lots of military convoys spotted headed from the staging areas that were so hyped up in the past month, to border areas on either side of the Dnieper, on Crimea itself, and on the Russian border near the Sea of Azov. High-level meetings of Belarus’s security council and all provincial governors – the transit of those landing craft into the Black Sea – announced nuclear drills – it all seems to be culminating in the next week or so.

    Maybe Putin looked at how the West responded to the pandemic and is convinced he has nothing to worry about if he invades.

    1. ambrit

      Pull the other one mate. It has “bells and whistles” on it. Smoke and mirrors too!
      First, Putin is not Russia, just the latest public “face” of that country.
      Second, Russia does not need to invade anyone. They just have to “support” the Donbass and Lughansk against invasion from the West to win.
      Third, seeing how Kiev has “beefed up” their own forces opposite the Crimea, a Russian countermove is natural. (What part of “Crimea voted to re-join Russia” do you not understand? It’s called a Plebiscite.)
      Fourth, if Ukraine is stupid enough to attack actual Russian territory, those landing craft will be very useful in doing what they are built for, landing troops. Probably in Mariupol and or Odessa.
      Fifth, considering the delusional state of Western Neocon thinking, a first strike atomic attack against Russia by the West cannot be ruled out. Thus, nuclear drills are a rational precaution to take.
      Maybe, just maybe, Putin, looking at how the West responded to the Pandemic, and the subsequent debacle, is worried that Western leaders are eyeing a “quick, victorious war” in the Ukraine to take their subject population’s minds off of how bad things in the West are about to become.
      Same “facts,” different conclusions.
      Good luck in your new job at the think tank!

      1. flora

        Been thinking about WWI, where the then 5 great powers hadn’t stopped fighting wars for several previous decades but most of those ‘wars’ were imperial skirmishes in conquered territories where the imperial firepower vastly overmatched opposing forces: rifles against spears or gatling guns and maxim guns against sabers and rifles. The idea of easy-ish victory (some battles were lost) became a default thinking in the great powers of the late 19th c. imo. However, in a war of great power again great power, of gatling gun against maxim gun, the confidence of quick victory blew away in a murderous slog through the trenches. (Not sure where I’m going with this. It seems sort of relevant here. Whatever happened to the MAD doctrine? Why is this Dem admin so eager to saber rattle? )

        1. Pat

          Because they are delusional enough to think of military engagement as a PR win and they are flailing about like a fish on land domestically.

          I realize that was probably a rhetorical question, but I needed to repeat the word delusional as that cannot be said often enough regarding much of this administration’s actions most particularly in regard to Russia and the Ukraine.

    2. Carolinian

      “Putin about to invade” is an annual USG claim. Since it hasn’t happened yet maybe they are making it up?

      To be sure Russian forces were in Crimea but they were already there at Russian bases and among an ethnic Russian population. No invasion necessary.

  30. Sutter Cane

    Amfortas, I enjoy reading your comments and getting an on the ground perspective from your corner of the world. I’m so sorry you are going through this.

    As for this:

    Poll: 27% of Americans Believe Worst of Pandemic Yet to Come

    I guess you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    For the entirety of the pandemic the pessimists have been proven correct, and if anything, they were in retrospect generally too optimistic. I remember early predictions of a mere 100k deaths being derided as doomer b.s.

    I don’t know how the current “get on with our lives” mindset is going to handle the next variant, but the stage seems to be set for ignoring it entirely no matter what we see with our lyin’ eyes.

  31. antidlc

    RE: 70 percent of Americans say it’s time to accept COVID and ‘get on with our lives’

    And those of us who are in the 30 percent not willing to “accept” the deaths and illness are considered the crazy ones.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It’s weasel wording. An ipsos poll shows rollbacks of mask mandates are unpopular. The US isn’t providing any support, so they are making decisions based on that. Some people have to go back to work.

  32. Questa Nota

    Your online community is thinking of you and your wife during this painful time.
    Best wishes,

  33. Elizabeth

    Amfortas, I’m so very sorry to hear about your wife. I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts and feel like I know you. Peace, comfort and love to you always.

  34. ambrit

    Having lived through my wife’s brush with cancer, I can only say that Amfortas can use all the compassion and help he can get. It won’t be immediately apparent, but it will ‘help’ him in the long run.
    Everything we can do at a distance for the lady. She is facing hell on earth.
    If and when the end comes for the lady, Amfortas will be faced with survivor’s guilt. That’s when the power of community will manifest.
    Never doubt Amfortas. You are strong enough. Strong enough for two.
    I’ll say no more. There isn’t very much left to say.

  35. Cas

    Amfortas, I join the commentariat in sending condolences and whatever positive energy I can muster to you and your wife. As someone who went through what you are experiencing, I can only say each moment is its own world, collect them while you can before she is gone. Peace, brother.

  36. Tom Stone

    As to how much of that money will make it across the pond, it’s usually 10% or so.
    Some is lost in the spin cycle,just like socks.
    About 5% in a Government authorized laundry,a multiple of that if it’s private.

  37. Mikel

    Would like to see more polls about covid policy, if there are any, that breakdown opinions by occupation.
    That would be a better way to address concerns and divisions. It would go further toward saving lives than focusing in political parties and age.

  38. lyman alpha blob

    More hypocrisy from the liberalgoodthinkers-

    I mean if you really think everyone should be wearing a mask, how hard is it to put one on for a brief public appearance!?!?!?!?!?!?! Especially around every politician’s favorite heartstring pulling excuse for everything, whether it’s starting a war or humping vaccines, the children?

    FFS. And yet they wonder why nobody wants to follow their mandates when they routinely won;t follow them themselves. This really isn’t hard to understand.

  39. ChristopherJ

    Amfortas, so sorry man. Been reading your insightful posts here for a long time. You have shared your life story and your family for a long time in this place. Thank you and I wish you some happiness ahead.

  40. Wukchumni

    When it comes to collecting meteorites, there is no doubt which area is king: all hail Antarctica.

    Since the first 1976–77 dedicated field season, the United States as well as other nations has sent teams every year to collect meteorites from the glaciers of Antarctica. The U.S.-led team, called ANSMET (for the ANtarctic Search for METeorites), generally takes between six to twelve volunteers to camp and search along the slopes of the Transantarctic Mountains. Each season lasts around six to seven weeks, with the weather largely dictating how much time is spent in a nine-square-foot tent, potentially wishing for a better companion for such tight quarters.

    But this insane number of meteorites was not collected by expeditions just looking around the ice randomly. Collection areas are chosen for a variety of reasons, but one of the most important is to look in areas where the downward flow of a glacier meets the base of a mountain. As it turns out, the glaciers of Antarctica are providing an incredible service to the meteorite community, acting as a giant (but slow) conveyer belt of meteorites.

    Like anywhere on Earth, meteorites can and do land on top of glaciers. Since glaciers are giant rivers of ice slowly creeping downhill, any meteorite that lands on a glacier catches a free ride on the flowing ice. If a glacier runs into a mountain, the ice and all of its passengers pile up at its base. As this happens, dry Antarctic winds ablate the ice as it piles up, exposing the meteorites. When this process is continued over great spans of time, this results in far higher concentrations of meteorites at the base of the mountain than would be on any random stretch of ice, making the bases of the Transantarctic Mountains an absolute wonderland for meteorite collection.

    Speaking from experience, the event is absolutely surreal, whether or not you are into rocks. The event is so large, it is not simply held at a convention center, but is spread out across the city of Tucson. Meteorite dealers in particular seem to try to avoid the main convention hall, where enormous mineral displays and spectacular fossils are the prime attractions. Instead, the space rock folks gravitate to hotels like the Days Inn, the Ramada, the Howard Johnson. And I don’t mean hotel lobbies or banquet halls, I mean the individual rooms. Many dealers routinely rent a room for the week and spread their merchandise across the floral patterns atop king- size beds. Potential buyers walk from room to room awkwardly navigating narrow passages searching for deals. It sounds shady as hell, but it would not be weird at this show for someone to spend $150,000 in the kitchenette of a Days Inn to legitimately purchase a piece of Mars.

    1. HotFlash

      Hmm. Most meteorites contain iron and nickle, so mightn’t they be attracted to earth’s magnetic poles?

  41. shinola

    Amfortas – such sad news – my most sincere condolences to you & your family.

    I must say that I’ve never seen such an outpouring of kindness & sympathy on any blog before this. The NC “commentariat” has shown me the concept of “community” has not been lost.

  42. Eclair

    Amfortas, I’m sorry for your troubles. You have given so much to the NC community with your insightful comments (know that I have attempting to follow your advice and ask ‘Socratic’ questions during political discussions), so allow us to give back to you and accept the knowledge that we are thinking of you and your family during these days.

  43. Maxwell Johnston

    Amfortas, I wish you and your wife all the best during this difficult period. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful and humane comments.

    1. griffen

      Just hook them up to an oxygenator and that could help. Maybe not the same impact for pain relief, I suppose. Don’t take my word for it, according to master conspirator Tyler Durden, oxygen gets you high…

  44. marku52

    Amfortas, I can’t add anything to what has already been said, but thanks for all you have shared, and my thoughts for your best.

  45. CanCyn

    Sending my deepest condolences to Amfortas. Wishing you love and peace as well as the strength you need in the coming days. So many of us in this community gain so much from your presence here, I can only hope that our good wishes provide you with at least some small comfort.

  46. Carolinian

    Obviously sitting here in South Carolina I know nothing about British politics but for the many here who do this may be of interest.

    The prime minister’s crime isn’t that he has “smeared” Starmer. It is that – out of desperate self-preservation – he has exposed the dark underbelly of the establishment. He has broken the elite’s omerta, its vow of silence. He has made the unpardonable sin of grassing up the establishment to which he belongs. He has potentially given ammunition to the great unwashed to expose the establishment’s misdeeds, to blow apart its cover story. That is why the anger is far more palpable and decisive about Johnson smearing Starmer than it ever was when Johnson smeared the rest of us by partying on through the lockdowns.

    1. Maritimer

      “He has broken the elite’s omerta, its vow of silence.”


      Wonderful explanation.

      The Omerta in the US is stunning. Take the Police for instance. I can count on one hand books on how the corruption, nudge-nudge-wink-wink, systemic crime, etc. really work.

      Same with the Judiciary. The only book on judicial corruption I can ever remember was about Chicago city courts. No other.

      On and on it goes, throughout all of America’s Institutions. Billions and billions, if not trillions of crime and corruption and very few books about it.

      With the above background, one can easily see the Omerta Culture that attacks, besmirches, threatens, intimidates the likes of Joe Rogan, Drs. Malone and McCullough and many other ethical citizens.

      1. griffen

        The US system of rule and law as you suggest is a model of corruption and the inter-connected nature of regulatory capture at the highest levels. Key examples exist from both a D and an R admin. Mary Jo White, Eric Holder, Jay Clayton to only name a few whose exploits have been covered here during the past decade plus. State examples too numerous.

        The system is working for those it serves best.

  47. Raymond Sim

    Am I missing something, or is China’s “new” policy what we would call “zero covid”?

    Their overall defenses are under strain, and lower level authorities are now being given more responsibility for the nature of local responses. This strikes me as indicative of competence and confidence.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Am I missing something, or is China’s “new” policy what we would call “zero covid”?

      It struck me as Zero Covid 2.0, certainly by comparison with any baseline we’re willing to establish.

  48. Goingnowhereslowly


    I am so sorry about your news. You are such a delight and inspiration here. Peace and strength to you and your wife.

  49. griffen

    IRS abandons plan to use facial recognition technology. Scoring one into the “Win” column for today! This topic was discussed recently and I’m certain the majority opinion was “bad, very bad idea”.

    Maybe it is a small win, but some wins you take regardless of the look.

  50. B24S

    My deepest condolences. May her passing be eased by your presence and love, and the sorrow you feel be lightened by the love you shared….

  51. Permanent Sceptic

    Dear Amfortas,
    I was very sorry to hear about your wife. I’ve always enjoyed your posts and learn a lot from them. Wishing you both love and peace.

  52. drumlin woochuckles

    Moving heavy trucks would be almost impossible? Aren’t there such things as very heavy ” freight-lift” helicopters? Wouldn’t it be possible to use such helicopters to pick up a truck, fly it out of town, and then release it to fall to earth? And then another truck? And then another one?

    And if the Canadian government brought in enough helicopter gunship air-support to suppress any counter-action by unhappy truckers, couldn’t the Canadian government just keep lifting trucks, flying them out of down, and then dropping them, until the owners of the remaining trucks got the point and drove their trucks away?

    Is there any technical/technological reason why this wouldn’t work?

    1. juanholio

      The problem is that it would be so funny to watch the pile of broken trucks grow, that a lot of people might die laughing, or get a nasty infection after their sides split. Canada’s NHS just can’t afford to stitch up all those sides!

    2. rowlf

      How many heavy lifts can a helicopter do in a day? One safely? Have you ever tried to hook up the load?

      Are you also anti-labor?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It begins to look as if these particular “truckers” are not motivated by labor concerns. They seem to be more motivated by semi-fascist Trumpanon culture-aggression against the rest of Canada.

        If certain sectors of labor decide to go fascist, should I support those sectors or get called “anti-labor”? Should I support Blue Fascist Police Unions because they are “labor”?

  53. tennesseewaltzer

    Amfortas, I add my voice to the outpouring of support and good wishes for you and your family during this most difficult time.

  54. Lunker Walleye

    Dear Amfortas,

    It was a very sad beginning to the day to see your comment. Best wishes to you and your wife. Perhaps you and she might be comforted by some of the teachings at The difficulties seem to be mounting for so many. Peace.

  55. anon y'mouse

    words are inadequate to comfort one who is going through the death of a spouse, or any dear one, to something like cancer.

    so i’ll just say, if i may presume an overfamiliarity between us—we’ll be here when you are ready to get back, buddy. take what time you need.

  56. CarlH

    Words escape me at times like these, as none seem adequate, but my sincere thoughts are with you and your family Amfortas.

  57. Susan the other

    Amfortas, I’m so sad to hear about your wife. I hope she is not in too much pain. And you as well. All my love.

  58. Kate

    Amfortas, your short stark poem expressed so truly what I went through 3 years ago losing my husband to cancer, our youngest kid barely 21. I remember how few words of moment passed between us; it’s an experience quite beyond words, but not beyond love or even laughter. He died watching his Warriors win. I wish you and your family exceptional peace and fortitude. I hope there’s some way we can be of material help.

  59. Late Introvert

    So sorry Amfortas. Thanks for turning me on to Marcus Aurelius, I sent a copy to my brother who has mesothelioma.

  60. Rodeo Clownfish

    Dear Amfortas,

    May all the strength that you need find its way to you and your family. I would gladly send some of my own, if I could, as would we all here. Let us know if there is any way we can help.

  61. JBird4049

    Amfortas, any words that I can give would be mere drops of comfort in an ocean of pain, but for what it is worth, both of you are in my prayers. Keep putting one foot in front of the other as it will get better.

  62. Boris

    Amfortas, I read so many of your great posts here that it feels like we are friends. I think of you and wish you strength.

    1. Henriux Miller

      Wishing Amfortas and his family peace and the best comfort they can find at this moment of pain. His contributions to this site are always so good, so instructive, a wonderful read. Peace and love to you!

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