2:00PM Water Cooler 6/20/2022

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Patient readers, I must finish up a post on Hillary Clinton’s “Lunch with the FT.” Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

Bird Song of the Day

Moustached Grass-Warbler, Taraba, Nigeria; I think competing with a lot of night sounds. There seem to be a lot of warblers!

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Contact information for plants: Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, to (a) find out how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal and (b) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. From TH:

TH writes: “This was a tree at the Huntington Library Museum and Gardens. I was slightly limited on the angle, because I didn’t think I should step off the path, but I actually liked this back-lighting and the background.” I like the square format; it reminds me of my first “serious” camera, a Mamiya C330 that used 120mm film.

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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.

140 comments

  1. WobblyTelomeres

    I’ve told my sons that the greatest waste of a man’s time is maintaining a lawn. However, I am sore afeared that Lambert has bested even that.

    >I must finish up a post on Hillary Clinton

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      Hillary is like ‘Typhoid Mary Antoinette’ runs into Norma Desmond, a faded star who is ready for her close up…

      …Let them eat Trump

      Reply
    2. LawnDart

      Oh god, noooo!!!! Not her! Please stop!

      May it set the tone of what may ensue in this afternoons open comments free-for-all!

      Reply
    3. Big River Bandido

      In Iowa it is said that the biggest waste of time is trying to teach a hog to sing. But I’ve never encountered anyone who had claimed to try, so this is all hearsay.

      Reply
  2. Mark Gisleson

    I miss the Water Cooler but the post on Hillary is worth saving a link to. Her entitlement still knows no bounds and the interview reveals all we need to know (she’s not sorry and it wasn’t her fault).

    Reply
  3. Mike

    Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of the Democratic Left – left behind, left unsaid, left undone. A promise of perpetual incompleteness, except where corporate interests are concerned.

    Reply
  4. none

    How about a post about why the Democrats suck so much? The info and context is all here on NC, but it’s like a hologram, diffused through everything, so you have to stick around for months to get the picture. There has to be a way to put a finger on the most important bits, but it requires greater masochism than I can manage.

    I did like this reddit rant from 2016:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AdviceAnimals/comments/5jdivw/the_dnc_right_now/dbfm9l3/ excerpt (it is longer):

    They have abandoned their core principles. What passes for “liberal” today in America has almost nothing to do with classic liberalism (individual rights, freedom of thought/speech…etc). The great liberal tradition that rejects regressive dogmatic ideologies and which is compassionate to the working class stiffs that build the country is now gone. The left-wing movement in this country, at least going back the last 20 years or so, hasn’t really been one of left-wing economics or individualistic free thinking, or using government to improve the lives of the working and middle classes. What’s passed for left-wing politics in this country is really just identity politics: promising to give various handouts to some identifiable minority group (blacks, women, illegal immigrants, lgbt…etc).

    Also this https://old.reddit.com/r/ChapoTrapHouse/comments/erwvbg/yeah_good_ok/ff7cuj3/ :

    No she’s just a massive narcissist who dreamed of being president since she was a kid, like Buttigieg. She did all the cynical heartless shit she was supposed too, got as close as literally possible but lost to an animated pile of fast food, and now she sees a person with actual principles who doesn’t play the game like you’re supposed to, who might actually win. Meanwhile she spent her best years married to a rapist and even took his last name when she didn’t want to, all because the wonks told her that’s what would play well, and she’s got nothing to show for it except a faildaughter who she’s molded into a genuine psycho accompanied by the fear that the reign of psychotic technocrats is coming to an end. I might feel a little sorry for her if she wasn’t an unrepentant murderer.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      It looks like Reddit banned ChapoTrapHouse for “promoting hate.” I guess honesty must be hateful. Just as some accurate information on Covid is mis or disinformation. And we have always been at war with Eastasia and Jeff Epstein committed suicide.

      With apologies to Dr. Demento:
      “They’re coming to take me away, ha ha.
      They’re coming to take me away, ho ho.
      To the funny farm where life is beautify all the time.
      They’re coming to taaaakke me awwaaay!”

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        The original “singer” of that song is even closer to Hillary. Allow me to present the dulcet tones of Napoleon XIV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xRCbdFrSSc
        I could see Hillary done Napoleon style, with cocked hat and hand hidden somewhere about the abdomen.
        If she does run, I will try to fab up my homage to that Austrian coporal with a poster: Hillary fur Furher. She takes coumaden I read. He took cocaine and amphetamines, courtesy of his personal physician.

        Reply
      2. amechania

        I think the original term was that the community had been quarantined. Huh. And they say PMC never gets anything done.

        Reply
      3. digi_owl

        Reddit, like most of the late to the message west coast tech companies, are in full damage control mode so as to not get canceled by the east coast “social” media mob.

        Best thing those companies can do right now is to turn keiretsu. Set up their own bank to handle all their accounts and transactions, and thus avoid the risk of being canceled out of a revenue stream.

        Reply
      1. none

        Oh I hadn’t seen that, I saw the link in the daily water cooler but I didn’t realize it contained more than the recurring excerpt that had been in that space before. Neat. Thanks.

        I see the first of the two reddit rants I pasted was deleted from reddit by the original author. I have the full text saved offline and it is great, but idk if I should post it here under the circumstances.

        Reply
  5. Verifyfirst

    I’m sorry Lambert, I just can’t….(Hillary). But then Biden called his Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, this morning for advice, so……….

    Reply
      1. LawnDart

        From the comments count, many of you did :-)

        We “took one for the team” and stood by a friend in need: please don’t make a habit of this.

        And burn those damn waders– you need to get a new pair– the old ones should be encased in concrete and burried in a salt cavern in Nevada.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          So that’s what FDR had built in the White House “Deep Basement Annexe.” The swimming pool is really there to shield against energetic particles.

          Reply
            1. ambrit

              Since the land the White House is on is only about 50 foot above sea level, and right next to the Potomac River, which is a northern extension of the Chessapeake Bay, I wonder just how far down the builders could realistically go. How high is the water table there?
              I’m thinking that some of the “structures” purported to lie under Washington would be beyond the skills of even the Masonic Master Builders to construct.

              Reply
  6. Mikel

    Couple of musings on Russia/Ukraine
    1) that talk about years’ of involvement from the administration: because defense contractors have 5 – 10 year business plans…not months long business plans.
    2) I can’t be the only one who still wonders what the real beef with Russia is…they are not communist and they can pass. I have to think some people are still upset about the murder of relatives “Nicky” and his family and friends. Kind of like how the Haitians will never be forgiven for their revolution.

    Reply
    1. Robert Hahl

      It seems like just another Crusade to me only this one is not about treasures and silk, it’s about pipelines and trade corridors. Is it too soon to ask, Who lost Russia? I think it was Billary.

      Reply
    2. bwilli123

      When you start losing the CIA.

      Graham E. Fuller is a former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council at CIA with responsibility for global intelligence estimates.

      …”China’s Belt and Road initiative is perhaps the most ambitious economic and geopolitical project in world history. It is already linking China with Europe by rail and sea. European exclusion from the Belt and Road project will cost it dearly. Note that the Belt and Road runs right through Russia. It is impossible for Europe to close its doors to Russia while maintaining access to this Eurasian mega project. Thus a Europe that perceives the US already in decline has a little incentive to join the bandwagon against China. The end of the Ukraine war will bring serious reconsideration in Europe about the benefits of propping up Washington’s desperate bid to maintain its global hegemony….”

      https://grahamefuller.com/some-hard-thoughts-about-post-ukraine/

      Reply
      1. Mikel

        Still doesn’t answer why the easier route isn’t taken in dealing with that: better relations with Russia.

        Reply
    3. jonboinAR

      Is no real beef. Russia’s the other big kid, over in the next class, nothing more. He may have kicked our ball over the fence at recess,… someone said. I mean, that’s really it, IMSO.

      Reply
    4. Acacia

      The short version seems to be this: Mearsheimer argues that insofar as China is the primary enemy of the USian Empire, the “correct” geopolitical strategy should be to form an alliance with Russia, to peel them away from China, and then try to go after China together. However, the neocons are deciding foreign policy for the Empire, and they are evidently driven by a kind of congenital, rabid Russophobia. They find allies with those who gaze upon Russia’s vast land, oil, mineral wealth, rub their hands together and drool. They are well-versed in the tools of manipulating public opinion, and have deployed these against Russia and Putin in particular (with the Ukraine conflict as but a chapter in this book). Since the EU is already a vassal, the neocons are using their networks of influence there to double down on separating the EU from Russia, in an attempt to isolate the latter — except this policy is now failing, as Michael Hudson and others have pointed out.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Since the EU is already a vassal, the neocons are using their networks of influence there

        And here.

        I would imagine the defense contractors are happy to cash in on the target of opportunity, no matter where it is or who determines it?

        Reply
    5. digi_owl

      I ran into a list of in the ground resources that was in Ukraine, and it read like a proverbial gold mine. Not just oil and natural gas, but a whole lot of metals etc that could be very useful for making EVs and such. Sadly i didn’t bookmark it so i have to go over my various browsers to see if i can find the history entry.

      It gets me wondering if we could be looking at a situation where most of that stuff is in the ground in the Russian speaking areas.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Those stories of hidden riches in Ukraine are largely myths (similar to the many stories that were told about Afghanistan). Yes, there are a lot of minerals and gas in Ukraine, but very little of it is has any commercial or strategic interest. The gas reserves are low quality and fragmentary and the other minerals are not easily accessible. Ukraine basically has good soil and some coal, that’s about it.

        Reply
    6. drumlin woodchuckles

      It may be echoes of the long standing hatred between Latin Rome and Byzantine Orthodox Constantinople . . . . tranferred to Byzantoform Slavic Orthodox Russia/Ukraine/etc.

      And more recent “reasons” could fit right into that old template of memory. ” The beloved enemy . . .”

      Reply
  7. LawnDart

    So with the fhit about to really hit the san, oh boy… …A NATO rat bit the bear in the ass:

    From Komsomolskaya Pravda:

    How Russia will respond to the Kaliningrad blockade: five possible strikes on Lithuania

    1. Revocation of recognition of Lithuania’s independence.
    The idea of recognizing the illegitimate exit of the Baltic Republics from the USSR has been in the air since September 5, 1991

    2. Withdrawal from agreements with the EU on Lithuania.
    Russia recognized the borders of the Republic of Lithuania in exchange for guarantees of uninterrupted transit of Russian citizens and Russian cargo from and to Kaliningrad. Thanks to this recognition, Lithuania was able to join the EU and NATO.

    3. Russia’s demand to return Klaipeda.
    Memel, like Konigsberg, was transferred from Germany to the Soviet Union, and not any of its parts. It was only later that Stalin, by his internal decision, transferred Konigsberg to the RSFSR, and it became Kaliningrad, and Memel was given to the Lithuanian SSR, and it became Klaipeda. Modern Russia is the legal successor of the USSR, that is, Lithuania’s post-Soviet borders are determined by it. And if the European Union violates the agreements that guarantee these borders, then everything can happen to Lithuania…”

    4. Creation of the Suwalki Corridor.
    “The European Union, if it does not immediately correct the impudent withdrawal of Vilnius,” the parliamentarian believes, ” will itself disavow the legitimacy of all documents on Lithuania’s membership in the EU for us and will untie its hands to solve the problem of Kaliningrad transit created by Lithuania by any means we choose.”

    5. Disconnecting Lithuania from the energy system.
    The Balts have long expressed their desire to leave it, fully joining the EU’s energy systems. It is officially announced that this will happen in 2025. However, the energy transition to Europe faces significant difficulties, so the Baltic countries are still highly dependent on Russian electricity. Disconnecting Lithuania from BRELL ahead of schedule is guaranteed to create very serious problems for its economy and the life of the population.”

    KP.Ru kp.ru › daily › 70.5 › 4605154

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      For now, option number 5 looks like the most likely, with the others as follow-up. Number 5 is also political suicide for Vilnius. It seems like they have something of a death wish.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > option number 5

        Russia has a lot of its plate now. Responding to an obvious NATO provocation with the most measured approach, not the least, seems appropriate. Not only that, #5 will have immediate effect and doesn’t require tedious legalisms.

        Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I wonder if, for the natural performative irony of it, that the RussiaGov could also organize a massive sea-supply into Kaliningrad . . . .ship after ship after ship . . . call it the Kaliningrad Sealift.

          Reply
    2. LawnDart

      [Sorry, I f’ed-up the formatting]

      Yeah, going through Russian media, it would seem that the Russians are a little ticked-off about the EU/NATO-approved blockade of one of their territories– it’s like Canada dropping a pair and denying USA road and rail passage through their country to Alaska.

      Ticked-off in the “by all and any means” this blockade WILL be ended type of ticked-off. Lithuania has a history of poking the bear, and I’m willing to bet that Lithuania will lose and arm over this– if lucky.

      Reply
        1. Acacia

          BTW, there is still a monument to the Berlin airlift at the eponymous “Platz der Luftbrücke”, just next to the Nazi-era Tempelhof airport.

          Taxi drivers in Berlin call it “Platz der Luftpumpe”, i.e., the monument to keeping Berlin full of air.

          Reply
    3. Daryl

      > Accustomed to Russian threats, officials in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, took Moscow’s warnings as mostly bluster…’We are not particularly worried about Russian threats. The Kremlin has very few options for how to retaliate.’

      Getting really strong “What are you gonna do, stab me?” – quote from man stabbed vibes from this whole thing.

      Really wish everyone would stop escalating.

      Reply
      1. hk

        Given the history of Lithuania in 29rh century, this sort of arrogance seems to make little sense…but then, the same people pulled this off time and again throughout the 20th century…

        Reply
  8. IM Doc

    I must get something off my chest.

    There is also a lot of very incorrect information circulating about this issue and I feel it needs to be addressed so we can all be on the same page.

    You may have heard that the American Board of Internal Medicine ( ABIM from now on ) has decided to go after Drs McCollough and Kory – 2 of the more famous dissenters from the COVID narrative. This all blew up over this weekend. I am hearing from all kinds of sources online that ABIM is going after their LICENSE.

    Please note – this is NOT THE CASE. Licenses to practice medicine are administered by the states. The ABIM nor any other Board can go after someone’s license. They are however, trying to strip them of their ABIM certification. That is a way in which the ABIM certifies that a doctor has demonstrated expertise in whatever field it is given. These are completely separate issues. The ABIM is duty bound to report anything negative it finds about a physician or their conduct to the state licensing board, but that is the end all to their ability to affect a license.

    Losing your Board Certification however is not without consequences. Most insurance companies will not contract with physicians unless they are certified. Most hospitals will not have them on their staff either. However, a physician can obtain a license from any state in the country and practice medicine.

    The bureacratic overreach of these certifying boards has been the subject of much strum and drang the past 10 years or so. They are very expensive and time-consuming to maintain and have basically become a manner of rent extraction from the plebes to the medical elite. In my and many other’s opinion, the initial certification is of great import – all the rent extraction and multiple tests for the rest of one’s career does nothing but enrich the chosen few of these Board’s leadership. It is very much a scam. The entirety of this can be found documented for years on the following website – drwes.blogspot.com – if you are so interested. In recent times, this has led to multiple states banning the Boards from this onerous behavior.

    Alas, the ABIM has now apparently dragged the AMA into this whole affair. The AMA has put out a very ominous statement in the past few days that they will be going after any and all spreaders of “disinformation” and will be using the social media, media, Medical Boards, State licensing agencies and anything else at their disposal to silence the evil doers.

    As a medical historian and teacher of history for decades, I would suggest to the AMA and I have already personally relayed to the 2 members of the ABIM that I know personally that medicine has a very long history of exactly the kind of behavior they are planning. I am very hard pressed to come up with a single instance where it has worked out well for those going on the witch hunt. In fact, it has often detonated in a very bad way for them. I am going to assume this will end in a similar disaster for these agencies and they should take heed of the warning from history before they have completely torched whatever credibility they have left.

    Medicine is science. And unfortunately, for these people who have decided science is their new God, it is never settled. Just in my career, I have seen aspirin, statins, hormone replecement therapy, and opioids used for years because it was “settled” science only to have that overturned with lots of experience and lots of very good research. I have also sat and listened to countless presentations and debates about these issues that were often very vehemently violent. Everyone watching knew the stakes, and knew the hearts of the partisans on both sides. But the verbal and public debate was critical for our understanding and how to proceed going forward. Those who have their finger on the scales thinking they “know the way” are often proved very very wrong.

    So censoring or punishing these COVID dissenters in a very public way like this is exactly the wrong thing to be doing. These agencies seem to have no clue that they are holding on to just a shred of credibility that could vanish if they are perceived by the public in the wrong way. A much more appropriate way to handle this is to get McCollough and Kory on one side and experts of your choice on the other – and let them have it out online or on national TV. Everyone in this country has a stake in this debate – let the American people watch. Dr. Hotez and Dr Offitt and Dr. Wen, there will not be a better way to make these two like boobs. You are clearly very confident in your position – I would say go for it. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF?

    There as so many examples of this behavior in medical history that have gone off the rails for the witch hunters, it is hard to come up with a “best” one. Probably, the most congruent for a situation today is the case of Dr. Ignasz Semmelweis. I would encourage everyone to read his story. It is so important that the pre-eminent medical historian of the 20th century, Sherwin Nuland, wrote an entire book about him called THE DOCTOR’S PLAGUE.

    Dr. Semmelweis had an idea that he felt would make life much safer for patients in the hospital He went all over Europe and discussed his findings in all kinds of venues. The areas that followed his advice, notably Scotland and parts of France, had marked improvement in the situation. That did not sit well the leaders of the day – most notably Dr. Koch ( famous for his postulates and the Fauci of his day). He and others went about destroying not his ideas – but his reputation, his livelihood and eventually his sanity. They did not really want to argue the merits with him – just tarnish him.

    What was the grave “disinformation” that Dr. Semmelweis was peddling? It is basically local infection control in the operating room , ie the aggressive use of PPE and disinfectants on the skin during surgery. This egregious “disinformation” has likely saved billions of lives since Dr. Semmelweis.

    A Supreme Court justice had a famous line that “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Jesus Christ himself taught us that we will know the truth, and it will set us free.

    ABIM and the AMA – I urge you to get these two on the stage and let’s have a real debate about these issues. If your contentions are so correct, what do you have to lose? Give them everything you have – make them look like morons…….WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

    My concern is they saw the Dr. Fauci/ Rand Paul exchange last week and realize there is actually a lot to be afraid of.

    Reply
    1. voislav

      McCullough has repeatedly lied about vaccine sideeffects, including claiming 50,000 deaths from vaccines in the US. He didn’t do this as a private citizen, he used (and misrepresented) his medical credentials to advance this information. I’ve done tons of scientific research (50+ papers), worked on covid research early in the pandemic, so I am familiar with how bad a lot of covid research is. That is not an excuse to go about spreading lies, lies that cost lives.

      When it comes to McCullough and people like him, I take a very dim view. Criminal charges should be a minimum, forget revoking their medical license. I understand the argument for open discussion, but not when people are dying because of their scummy behavior. There is no reasoned discussion when one side is making stuff up. Show me data, we can discuss how dismal statistical analysis in medical sciences is, but the onus can’t be on one side to disprove assertions made without any evidence.

      Reply
      1. IM Doc

        There are times in emergencies when we as practicing physicians have to not depend so much on exact studies which will come much later. We have to depend on what we are seeing and hearing with our own eyes and pay very close attention to colleagues both in our area and those we know elsewhere.

        So what have I seen with my own ears and eyes? I have one patient in my practice who most certainly died from the vaccine complication. I have done all I can do to report it last April and was completely blown off by both the FDA and CDC VAERS program. Interestingly, it is a very unusual problem that was the demise of this patient that timed perfectly when they got the vaccine. Over the months, this problem has now become a fairly commonly reported issue with these vaccines. I have also had two other patients who just literally dropped dead within hours/days of the vaccine. Both were younger and healthy at baseline. I cannot as safely call them vaccine deaths. It may have been random chance but I doubt it. I have had another patient who had the worst blood clot I have personally ever seen within days of the fourth shot and died from it. I have had 27 severe or critical vaccine complications over the past 18 months, confirmed to me just today by an audit of charts done by colleagues in my hospital noting how much higher this was in 2021 compared to the past two years.

        This is real time information. It will not appear in any published studies for probably years. It is definitely a clue to what has been going on, though. And we cannot ignore the most ominous issue which is the very substantial increase the life insurance companies are having to pay out since the introduction of the vaccines. I am certainly glad that you have read 50 plus papers, but my life’s training and work would say this kind of data will arrive in papers much later. We must react to what is going on now. On the ground docs must monitor all that is going on around them and make judgements.

        I have many colleagues all over the USA who will readily admit that yes they have had at least one vaccine related complication leading to death. It is not uncommon at all. Unfortunately as you state no one on a federal level is too interested in improving data collection.

        A quick Google search reveals there are right at 65000 practicing internists. Let’s say a third can make the 1 death statement. I think that is probably low from discussions. That would be 25000 deaths or thereabouts. Now, we must add the even larger workforce of family and general practitioners who number over 100000 and all of a sudden the 50000 number is not out of the ball park at all.

        I can see where a reasonable person could make that claim. And I would be willing to testify to that in court and even bring these patient’s families if needed and let the jury decide if the timing of the deaths and their nature are realistic for vaccine issues. It may come to that since the FDA does not seem to be really interested in helping us with this issue at all.

        And sorry, your claim of scaring people holds no merit. Look at the rotavirus vaccine disaster of 1999. I believe we had less than 20 deaths from that and it was suspended instantly. The swine flu disaster was less than 50 patients. The denguevax did not even make it out of trials because of this issue. There was a time when we weighed risks and benefits and realized that even 20 or 50 deaths across the country was too high a price to pay. Surely, you must realize there have been way more than 50 deaths from these COVID vaccines. But now Pharma has co-opted our regulatory agencies. We are the blind leading the blind.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > A quick Google search reveals there are right at 65000 practicing internists. Let’s say a third can make the 1 death statement. I think that is probably low from discussions. That would be 25000 deaths or thereabouts. Now, we must add the even larger workforce of family and general practitioners who number over 100000 and all of a sudden the 50000 number is not out of the ball park at all.

          Interesting back-of-the-envelope calculation. Some medical journal should do it officiallly, in some other country if not this one.

          Reply
          1. Basil Pesto

            Well, not a journal but Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration which has purportedly been monitoring the vaccines + their safety pretty closely as this linked report details. They’ve reported 13 post-vaccine deaths, most from AstraZeneca.

            As far as I know, TGA is a pretty rigorous, not unserious body. It’s possible they’re juking the stats I guess but to the extent that they’re hiding 3800 vaccine deaths (which would be the analogous number to that 50k figure adjusted for population compared with the United States, setting aside our higher vaccination rate)? I just don’t see it.

            One difference in Australia’s vaccination campaign, of course, is that there was very little SARS2 in circulation while the campaign was undertaken. I think this makes unique (or close to it)? After we let the virus into the country mid-vaccine campaign about this time last year, the two most populous states (NSW and Victoria) went into lockdown which was gradually eased once vaccination levels reached 70 and then 80% per the (bad) modelling of the ‘Doherty report’ (which besides the bad modelling was also misread, and misused politically, but I digress). Transmission continued in those states during that lockdown period but at a far, far lower rate than it has here since December. The other states and territories locked out the most populous states – without themselves being locked down for the most part – until later in 2021 (a few weeks before Christmas).

            As I understand it, spread of the virus itself was, if not rampant, relatively uncontrolled during the US’ vaccine campaign, which strikes me as a potentially significant confounding factor. Although presumably testing was done on some of these deaths ante- or post-mortem for the virus, or histopathology was done to check for presence of viral RNA.

            Reply
            1. Basil Pesto

              and just as an addendum, here is actuarial data on excess deaths in Australia in the last two years (great thread btw, meant to submit it for links a couple weeks ago when it came out but forgot)

              Our two-dose vaccine campaign (I should have clarified in my above post that I was referring to the two-dose campaign. For the most part boosters have taken place this year) began I think in February (older population first) and went thru December (I had my 2nd AZ dose in December, but I was a straggler as I gave myself a deliberate 12 week interval between doses).

              I am not a data guy by any stretch of the imagination but It seems to me that you would have a hard time discerning something like 3800-5000 excess vaccine deaths over that time period from that data?

              Reply
            2. Yves Smith

              AstraZeneca is adeonovirus vector. Different technology than mRNA. IM Doc does know of cases of vaccine injury from J&J, which was our adenovirus vector vaccine, in addition to mine, but I am pretty sure nearly all/all the deaths in his and his colleagues’ reports were from the mRNA vaccines. Note the freakout about the J&J severe clotting cases looked to be ginned up, since the frequency was trivial (1 in one million).

              Reply
              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Is the J & J vaccine closer to being a classical dead or weakened virus vaccine like the ones most of us don’t object to taking? Or is it just as different from the classical vaccines as the mRNA para-vaccinoid is different from the classical vaccines . . . . only in a different direction?

                Reply
              2. Basil Pesto

                I do understand that; I was just relating the content of the TGA report I linked to (specifically 8 AZ deaths to 5 mRNA deaths, going by their data). Australia used both types of vaccines (both Pfizer and Moderna for mRNA, but predominantly Pfizer – Moderna was approved later I think). AZ was recommended for over-65s (I went with AZ for my first two doses just because Pfizer was in short supply and I couldn’t be bothered waiting/tracking it down; my booster was Moderna). I think the majority of vaccines given here have been mRNA but I don’t have the exact figures on the split (after a quick cursory web search).

                Reply
        2. LawnDart

          “We have to depend on what we are seeing and hearing with our own eyes and pay very close attention to colleagues both in our area and those we know elsewhere.

          So what have I seen with my own ears and eyes?”

          In the military, I was told “it never happened.”

          As a peace officer, the feds(to include the FBI) let Ralph Marrera and Ron Matriciano operate with impunity in Chicago and Northern Illinois– Matriciano was my bosses boss when I was an agent with IDOC. Marrera ran a “cage hotel” at 1007 S. State street: it was truly a shopping mall of crime– everything from murder-for-hire to child prostitution– but check this out: Marrera was allowed to keep the doors open. How? Betcha a dollar Marrera was an FBI informant.

          Reply
        3. Ahimsa

          Thank you IM Doc for replyint to that comment and for maintaining such an even civil tone in your response to the calumnies and slander against Dr McCullough.

          I honestly don’t know how you to it. The scathing vituperation of so much of the criticism against the heretics is simply galling.

          Reply
    2. Fraibert

      I think there’s a larger game in play here.

      You’re right that the most rational and fair way of addressing the dissenters’ views is a public debate. However, that lets the dissenters speak, and the real point is to prevent them from speaking. The method chosen by the elite also discourages future dissenters from getting ideas–my guess is that revocation of board certification (which, as you note, already has serious professional consequences) is just a way point towards the real destination of onerous state licensing investigation and (in the establishment’s ideal world) license revocation.

      It’s all just another variation on “lawfare.”

      To that end, Drs McCollough and Kory are ideal targets. Both were pretty successful physicians if you look them up.

      Reply
      1. IM Doc

        Both are so successful as physicians that it is going to be very difficult to take them down using this tactic. If they succeed in gutting their ABIM certifications, I can guarantee you that the lawyers will be lining up to take their case. I happen to know two of these lawyers who take on Medical Boards and licensing agencies on the behalf of physicians and their nicknames among their peers are Ballbuster and Nutcracker. And they have earned every bit of those names..

        I have read the list of wrong think put forth by ABIM on both physicians. If they do take away their board certification, lawsuits will soon follow. And then in the course of events will be discovery. I know enough about the situation to realize that if discovery proceeds, I am thinking the ABIM may be in a very bad position. Especially in this climate of every month something new comes out. For example, a year ago, both were being cited for discrediting the claim of 98% effectiveness and that the vaccines would cause the vaccinee to be a dead end for transmission. How has that worked out in the fullness of time? There are other things on these lists that I am certain will be just as likely to not go well for the establishment narrative.

        In other words, this has the potential to be very interesting. Stay tuned.

        Reply
        1. Fraibert

          Thanks for your response, and it’s good to hear that you don’t expect Drs. McCollough and Kory to go down easily.

          Still, for the less well-positioned physician, I think the establishment has sent a clear message: you see we’re willing to target our profession’s elite, so don’t get out of line or we’ll come after you. (Dr. Semmelweis wasn’t a “big name”, after all.)

          Reply
        2. HotFlash

          Now what does this remind me of? Let’s see, something something and “Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.”

          Reply
    3. Skippy

      Kinda like – https://peritia-trust.eu/why-trust-raoult-new-peritia-research-article/

      Seems to be another round in the the concept of scientism as it relates significantly to the philosophy of positivism, but also to the cultural rationalization for modern Western civilization.

      Not much Science per se IM Doc, but MBA/Orthodox Economic methods and the reduction of all knowledge to only that which is measured or confirmatory – with in that framework – as it precedes even royal science in policy formation.

      Reply
    4. marku52

      I already consider any peer-reviewed RCT as probably revealing the the exact opposite of the conclusions in the abstract, and is not worth the paper it is written on. Especially if it involved even one penny of Big Pharma money.

      I’ll take the opinion of a Dr practicing on that disease over the RCT any day.

      Medical research? Humbug. Worthless. They have no reputation to lose with me.

      “These vaccines are safe and effective”. I rest my case.

      Reply
      1. Felix_47

        Well said marku52. The results are proportional to the price of the drug or surgery. No one built a career in academic medicine showing that less surgery, less complicated surgery or cheaper medicine or no surgery led to better outcomes. Until we get all health care providers on salary without productivity bonuses or satisfaction bonuses this curse of shit medical care is upon us. The NHS in England has had 80 years to make and fix mistakes. We should adopt it and just fund it better. My experience with the NHS, as well as my kids has been excellent in comparison to navigating the US medical plantation.

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > My experience with the NHS, as well as my kids has been excellent in comparison to navigating the US medical plantation.

          Which would be why the Tories want to destroy it.

          Reply
          1. orlbucfan

            The Tories are made up of the same so-called “conservative” garbage as what we deal with here across the pond.

            Reply
    5. flora

      Thanks for this comment. I saw the Paul-Fauci exchange and agree it raises serious questions.

      Your reference to Dr. Semmelweis, a mid-19th c doctor who I’d never heard of until a few years ago, reminded me that my parents , who were not scientists, insisted we wash our hands before taking a meal or if we’d been outside playing or playing with the dog, etc. 50 – 100 years after Dr. Semmelweis lived and worked his insights were commonly practiced in the homes of regular people for health and hygiene reasons.

      Reply
  9. paul

    They are afraid of losing the ability to bugsplat anyone who might lightly bruise their amour propre,let alone their lifestyles.
    Lowe and Levine’s travails in overturning Herrick’s bed rest orthodoxy of 40 years is a more recent example.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      Stiller seeking political relevance to offset a failing career, unfortunately he appears to have the same ability to choose causes as he shows in picking projects over the last few years.

      Reply
      1. Mark Gisleson

        He appeared very close to having a Something About Mary moment while shaking Zelensky’s hand.

        Reply
      2. Basil Pesto

        Not at all, he just directed the series Severance which was very well received (I watched the pilot but haven’t had the chance to watch the rest yet. It was quite good!)

        Reply
        1. ChrisRUEcon

          LOL … to be sure! But only as a parody of the west!

          Would love to see someone like Boots Riley send it up, and parody Stiller meeting Zelensky for good measure! :-)

          Reply
        2. hunkerdown

          “You do Servant of the People!” barks the young Toria Nuland.

          Oh, yes, it does have potential. Good call, ChrisRUEcon. Would Geo shoot it if we take up a collection and a finished script, hmm…

          Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Turns out that Ben Stiller’s family is from, wait for it, from Poland and Galicia. How about that.

      Reply
      1. Bsn

        And my impression is that Blinken has distant relative in the leadership of Tsarist Russia. If true I wonder why he’s so intent on Russia.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Not sure but I think that Blinken’s family is not from Russia itself but may have been from what is now southern Ukraine. Someday, somebody is going to have to do a paper on the main players in the US in this war and where their ancestral families came from. It should be quite revealing from some of the connections that I have seen.

          Reply
              1. ambrit

                And also, the similarities are more complex than expected. Back then, for diplomatic reasons, Nevsky agreed to have Novgorod be a vassal of the Mongols. So, at the Battle of the Ice, Nevsky had a division of mounted horse archers, ie. Turkic or Mongol troops. They did yoeman’s work in breaking the left wing of the Teutonic Knights.
                And what ultimitely ‘betrayed’ the Knights? Their hubris.
                I see no ‘happy ending’ for this Eastern Adventure.

                Reply
          1. bwilli123

            John Helmer refers to Blinken-Nuland as the “Blin-Noodle Gang.” He offers a translation on the origins of their respective names.
            … “Blin (блин) means a small flat pancake. Nudel, reports the food encyclopedia, is from the 15th century German when the word originally meant a small dumpling or a turd. ”

            http://johnhelmer.net/the-blin-noodle-gang-blinken-nudelman-sinks-from-the-baltic-to-black-sea-and-the-shores-of-tripoli/

            Helmer previously elaborated on Ms Nuland’s family name thus,

            …”Nudelman is the real name of Victoria Nuland, co-author of the February 21 coup d’etat in Kiev; and author of the four-letter expletive by which she disposed, almost, of Germany’s objections to the war against Russia which has followed.

            In Yiddish, Nudelman is generally thought to refer to the culinary trade of making “lokshen”, the Yiddish form that’s closer to the Russian лапша than to the German “nudel”. It’s also related to the verb “nudyen”, which means to whine, nag, or push. The Yiddish “nudzh”, Polish “nudzik”, and the pseudo-Russian “nudnik” are related too. They mean a pestering bore — or a boring pesterer, depending on what she whines about.

            In the history of the Nudelman family, the name change was initiated by Shepsel Ber Nudelman (Sherwin B. Nuland, Victoria’s father), before he got to study at Yale University. Sherwin’s autobiography reveals his father, Victoria’s grandfather, to have been a “nudzh” with syphilitic symptoms.”

            http://johnhelmer.net/nudelmans-war-for-the-ukraine-clintons-war-for-the-presidency/

            Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    Since this is the Water Cooler, it’s around day #13 (…taps arm…) since i’ve been held hostage from Topo Chico thanks to the supply chain getting kinked up, in desperation I walked up to Soda Spring in Mineral King and brought some lemonade powder & after carefully extracting the lightly carbonated goodness from the spring which is heavy on the iron side at the bottom of the 10 inch deep source (we each ‘painted’ one another’s faces Native American style with parallel horizontal lines under the eyes) and the look is more than ocher less than orange in hue-the sediment.

    We shared a liter Nalgene of sparkling lemonade….

    Anyhow, i’ve made do with Perrier & San Pelegrino, but they don’t have that back of the throat soda burn going down tickle that Topo Chico does, nor are they as wet.

    Reply
        1. JBird4049

          Just make sure it doesn’t explode in that imaginary account of yours, just like Richard Pryor’s milk and cookies.

          Reply
        2. ambrit

          Hmmm…. I sense an opportunity to front run BitBong futures. It’s also very good for the inhalation of Hopium.

          Reply
  11. Pelham

    Here’s something that cropped up on Tucker Carlson last week that baffles me: According to a report in the Daily Mail, the diary of Ashley Biden contains a confession of her battle with sex addiction that she attributes in part to her father’s practice of taking showers with her when she was a child. With some caveats (is the diary real, for instance) I found this explosively appalling, as did my typically liberal Democrat wife.

    But in the days since we’ve been checking the news in a number of venues and have found no further mention of this, even in an attempt to debunk it. So what gives?

    Secondly and perhaps more importantly, the FBI supposedly raided a right-wing Project Veritas journalist’s home in a bid to recover the diary. Is this something to be upset about or not? Also, the woman who found the (alleged) diary (allegedly) had attempted to sell it and is now supposed to be under investigation. Is any of this true? If true, is any of it disturbing in any way, and at what scale? Just as with the Secret Service intervening to erase Hunter Biden’s lies on a federal firearms form and the apparent refusal to acknowledge and prosecute the Biden family’s repeated violations of FARA disclosure requirements, something on the surface appears to be radically askew.

    But, truly, I’m questioning both my sources and perceptions. Am I indulging in confirmation bias catering to my own fevered imaginings? If few others are picking up on any of these elements, perhaps the allegations and reports are either false or at least questionable. Or true but basically trivial. I’d really like to get others’ thoughts here.

    BTW, to help clarify where I stand politically, I’m of the opinion now that some fraction of those involved in the events of Jan. 6, 2020, may have intended an insurrection at least in the technical sense, though possibly under the belief that they were actually trying to preserve rather than disrupt democracy. What I find more frightening, however, is the repeated attempts by the blob or the deep state over the years of the Trump administration to defy orders of the president exercising his legal authority (eg, not really pulling troops out of Afghanistan) on a number of occasions. So in this way, I suppose, I straddle two narratives.

    Reply
    1. Acacia

      Am I indulging in confirmation bias … ?

      It sure doesn’t seem like confirmation bias when this (below) is the top upvoted comment on a recent ZH article about how even the editors of The Atlantic have given up on Biden:

      Joe should run in 2024 with his daughter as his running mate. They can do a commercial together in the shower.

      Okay, I know, it’s ZH, Jake, but still… you’re not alone in wondering about this.

      Reply
      1. ambrit

        What is fascinating here is that, suddenly, this subject has become viable as political oppo. JFK couldn’t keep his pants up. Bill Clinton couldn’t keep it in his pants. Some are wondering who in the Obama family really wears the pants. All these are considered passe, and yet, “Creepy” Joe suddenly takes hits for similar stuff.
        The power struggles swirling around Washington are getting uglier than usual. What’s next; “Creepy” Joe comes out of Nan’s closet?
        Meanwhile, the country is quickly going to H—. Glad someone has their priorities ‘straight.’
        All I can say is that many of what were formerly derided as Conspiracy Theories have turned out to be true.
        We need a Tinfoil Hat Day. One a month at least.

        Reply
        1. Acacia

          True, though it’s one thing for JFK to be fooling around with Marilyn, Bill to be fooling around Monica, and Joe to be fooling around with his daughter. I think we can say that a certain line has been crossed.

          Also, beyond the bubble of acceptable mainstream discourse, the hits on “Pedo Joe” have continued unabated from the very beginning, when all those hair sniffing compilations appeared on YouTube. Along with some legit questions about Hunter, drug abuse, and underaged prostitutes, it’s all being ignored or swept aside due to Trump-induced PTSD.

          Anyway, priorities, yes.

          Reply
  12. Appleseed

    I don’t recall seeing any mention in Links or WC of the recent EPA announcement about “forever chemicals“: U.S. issues new warnings on ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water. The Smithsonian Magazine coverage ends with this dreary note:

    “Since 2016, the EPA’s advised limit in drinking water for two of the most widely used of these compounds, PFOS and PFOA, was 70 parts per trillion. Now, the federal agency has slashed the limits to 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS and 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA. The numbers indicate what the EPA has determined to be safe levels in drinking water, also taking into account the fact that people may be exposed to PFAS elsewhere. The new limits are so low that they’re beyond the EPA’s detection capabilities, according to the agency.

    Reply
    1. Lex

      They’re beyond almost everyone’s detection ability and so prevalent in the environment that you’ll get those sorts of levels or higher from random contamination. It’s the only thing I’ve ever sampled where I have to get the lab supplied sample jar analyzed for the contaminant of concern before I take the sample. And then I can’t wash my car 24 hours before taking it, wear goretex, eat fast food or a long list of other benign activities because all of them carry the risk of contaminating the sample to above action limits.

      Maybe your drinking water is 70 ppt, or maybe it was just my lunch. At that point does it matter? A stack of $1T in $1 bills would be like 67,866 miles tall. We’re talking $70 out of that stack.

      Fun fact, during the trump admin the DoD, realizing its PFAS pants were down around its ankles, decided to incinerate large stocks. However, not only does standard (hazmat) incineration not destroy them, it creates new, novel molecular chains within the family! Reverse osmosis gets them out of water, but you’re still left with PFAS … concentrated. Thankfully the new commercial formulations in the family won’t cause a problem. The chemical companies are sure of it.

      Reply
  13. Wukchumni

    My Kevin (since ’07) has been chastised by the Don for going AWOL on the Donkey Show’s doge & pony show.

    I think McCarthy is all mine now, the former Chief Executive no longer claiming him as his.

    Former President Trump derided Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the House minority leader’s “very, very foolish decision” not to participate in the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

    “Unfortunately, a bad decision was made. This Committee – it was a bad decision not to have representation on this Committee,” Trump told far-right-wing podcast host Wayne Allyn Root. “That was a very, very foolish decision.”

    (NY Daily News)

    Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    ‘Travel Armageddon’ impacts over 40,000 flights worldwide, chaos at airports

    I’ve been on a total of 4 domestic flights since 9/11 and last month was the first time we’ve flown in 7 years, and aside from a 2 hour delay @ SF flying to Fresno, all went ok, although everything seemingly costs extra these days, par avian for the course I guess.

    Might be another 7 years before the next flight, oh well-you don’t miss what you hardly ever do.

    Reply
    1. rowlf

      Since pilots have to be in good health to fly I wonder if the airlines have some data sets on Safe and Effective.

      There is also Air Traffic Control not wanting to be left holding the bag for not being able to certify enough new workers. ATC likes to stay out of the news.

      Reply
  15. Tom Doak

    Secretary Mayo Pete had to drive from D.C. to NYC over the weekend due to flight cancellations, so now he is threatening to “take enforcement actions” against the airlines for all their cancellations:

    https://apnews.com/article/pete-buttigieg-government-and-politics-airlines-transportation-c3ebc7fbe4bcfb6402e67e0d626365a0

    He failed to mention such things as COVID, masking, or Amtrak.

    However, the article DID mention the Transportation Department’s most recent enforcement action [against AIR CANADA, lol] was for $2 million, not quite on par with the billions Congress spent to bail out major US air carriers.

    Reply
      1. GC54

        Lets hope driving doesn’t trigger PTSD from all those stressful minutes he spent outside the Green Zone.

        Reply
    1. flora

      See: Pete Buttigieg’s Day Job

      The ambitious transportation secretary has the power to go after multiple abuses by the airlines and signal administration support for suffering consumers. He’s barely touched it.

      https://prospect.org/infrastructure/transportation/pete-buttigiegs-day-job/

      This is a very good explainer about the airlines ignoring the system rules with no push back from Transportation Secretary Buttigieg. For example:

      In the current economic climate, one notorious abuse is the airlines’ failure to hire sufficient crews even for the flights they have scheduled, much less for the ones that they should be adding. This in turn leads to last-minute cancellations that are predictable given inadequate staffing levels, as well as market power to maintain high fares. And of course, short-staffing increases profits by having to pay fewer employees.

      I recommend the article. Next time your flight is canceled at the last minute or you’re bumped due to overbooking or other some other abusive practice you’ll know why.

      Reply
    1. ChrisRUEcon

      > “Kind of thought all of this was behind us now.”

      #Natch … the “let r rip”/”we’re not authoritarian #ZeroCOVID China” chickens of the West are coming home to roost.

      Too late! Too late! – shall be the cry

      Reply
  16. Martin Oline

    In other news today I read that “In recognition for its brutal killing of Congolese independence pioneer Patrice Lumumba, Belgium turned over his gold-capped tooth to members of his family in a ceremony in Brussels on Monday.” It only took them more than 60 years. He was murdered just days before Kennedy was sworn into office.
    I started reading about the death of Dag Hammarskjold this spring. He was the UN Secretary General whose plane was shot down the fall after Lumumba’s murder. After several books it led me to British author Susan Williams. She started researching Botswana in Africa for a book in 2006, but was sidetracked into researching Hammarskjold’s death. She finished that book in 2011, titled Who Killed Hammarskjold? It apparently caused the UN to re-open it’s investigation, the results of which, delayed by COVID, will be released this September. I saw a round table discussion on YouTube by the principal investigators and it looks as though nothing much will be revealed, mainly because the intelligence services of the US, Britain, and even South Africa, refused to open their files to the UN team.
    She has three other titles that deal with Africa; Colour Bar: The Triumph of Seretse Khama and His Nation in 2006, Spies in the Congo: America’s Atomic Mission in World War II in 2016, and White Malice: The CIA and the Covert Recolonization of Africa that was published in 2021. I have been reading White Malice for the last two weeks. It mostly deals with the independence of Ghana, the Congo, and the non-aligned movement in Africa. I think The Devil’s Chessboard attributes more blame to the CIA than is deserved in Lumumba’s murder, but they did conspire with other nations to destroy him.
    I have been reading so much lately about what our government has been doing since WW2 up to today’s news and nothing seems to change. The next book I have to read from the library is Poisoner in Chief a book about Sidney Gottlieb. My feelings of disgust and despair only increase. I feel as if I recently learned an acquaintance from middle school, who I knew casually as an OK person, has been tried and convicted of murdering children and burying their bodies in the basement. How have we as a nation come to this situation?

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Was this the Sidney Gottlieb who was involved in the LSD experiments on unsuspecting Americans here in America a way back in the 1950s and 1960s? (I see via Wiki that he is.)
      Good recommendation. Pair that with the book, “A Terrible Mistake,” by H P Albarelli Jr. about the career and death of US biological warfare specialist Frank Olson, in which Gottlieb plays a part.

      Reply
  17. Amfortas the hippie

    i’ve been lurking…and yall are keeping me grounded(and informed of the idiocy out there).
    here’s what ive been doing:

    Post funeral mass and pre burial.

    So my wife died sundaylast, …boys and i stayed to stand watch, like Klingons…and i helped lift her onto the gurney…and the funeral guys carted her off…and we had a big, impromptu wake out at the Wilderness Bar…all manner of folks showed up.
    Then run around and clean up the whole place for a few days…large dump-day, etc.
    then thursday night, the “visitation”…with an empty casket among the flowers(wife having already gone off to kerrville for cremation)…and the entire town, pretty much, showed up to weep and slobber upon my shoulder…
    I endured, as I always do, these public functions…
    and repaired before the rosary began, to the cowboy pool…fully clothed…
    I got undressed in the pool…all that snot and tears had caked on my right shoulder.
    Brother and I had our own wake…got him drunk…
    bed at midnight, up at 6, and to the funeral home an 9am to line up the cars…cops blocking traffic….and to the catholic church….people stopping work to come to the roadside…
    Everybody was there…standing room only, even in the overflow hall, with the big screen tv.
    Several hundred folks.
    Wife would have blushed, bigly.
    then more crying and lamentation and everybody hugging me who would usually ignore me…
    So then I escaped it all…again, covered in tears and slobber….to the pool and the Wilderness Bar.
    Soon, people began arriving…
    aunts, cousins, friends, family, people from town…kinfolk from as far away as dallas and houston….
    we got drunk…played tejano and conjunto and aunts and cousins did the Grita…
    and then I slept for 2 days/

    while i’m sitting in line in my car at the funeral home, the funeral guy brings me a cardboard box….this is your wife…
    so she’s on the front passenger seat during all of this…and I wept as I brought her into the house…put her on a shelf next to my bed.

    Tried to buy a nice wooden box today for her, but the antique/junk store owner(her tennis coach), would not accept the $20/
    so there my wife is…right there, in a wooden box.
    Waiting for another 2 weeks(as of last saturday) to be buried in our little graveyard, in the oak grove at the front of the place.

    And I find myself talking to the frelling box…

    so surreal….all of it.

    I held her hand, and held her head, and looked her in the eye as she died, saying “i’m right here with you…the boys are right here…”

    surreal.

    all of it

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      the point, i suppose…is i dont have any intellectuals/smart people in my Real Life,lol…and that the “most personal is also the most universal”….
      here, in this time of chaos and great change.
      know that i hold you all in great regard.

      Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Amfortas the hippie
        I cannot imagine the grief and loss that you have experienced. I hope your family and friends console and sustain you in these trying times. I hope your memories can guide you in all your future journeys.

        Reply
      2. ambrit

        You did it right. Who cares about what any particular class of people thinks. It’s your life. Live it however you will.
        Don’t forget to help the boys. They’ll return the favor one day.
        We’ve got your back.

        Reply
      3. AndrewJ

        My life is better for having read your words, and that’s the truth. As my old friends used to say when we parted… Be kind to your dreams, Amfortas

        Reply
      4. BillS

        And we hold you in high esteem as well. Grieve well, brother..you and your memories of your wife are still alive!

        Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      Good to hear from you Amf and that you are still with us. I hope that you and the boys are faring well. I really don’t have the words to say what I want to except to say that I am somehow not surprised at the huge turnout at your wife’s funeral. As a community, they knew the value of her life and this was their saying how much that she will be missed by them and what they thought of her. Peace.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        i expect the tennis complex to be renamed, honestly.

        and i’m fersure not trolling now, after a week.
        i’ve had enough platitudes and niceties for a lifetime.
        i am a Vulcan, after all…
        at least half so……and what is, seriously, to be said?
        and i’m a frelling hermit for a reason, lol…in our familial division of labor, wife was the public face of US…and i showed up for graveside service and stood at the back…because nothing i say comforts.
        similarly for all other public things…from weddings to football games…
        she was point…i was back of the house.
        now, it’s like i have an arm growing out of my forehead when i go to town.
        but thats what regular folks have to do…
        and i must endure it.
        for their sake.
        i keep my responses simple.
        “she went easy”…”it was a hard road”(it really was)…etc.
        because i never learned the smalltalk platitudes of the Mundane.
        they go on and on about god and heaven…and i keep silent about druidry and agnosticism.
        and say nothing of nietszche…or boethius.
        thankfully, ive signed everything i need to sign for now…until the death certificates arrive, at least.
        and…besides a cig run, in the am…i’m staying out here for the next week, at least.

        Reply
        1. sporble

          Haven’t piped up yet, Amfortas, because frankly: what more is there to be said? Somehow, though, I realized I wanted to say… SOMEthing. So here goes.

          I can think of nothing better to have said than “we’re right here with you”.

          I can think of no better way to be than true to oneself. Given our relationship – 2 people at NC who’ve never met – I can only salute your ability to remain true.

          Wishing you and your family the very best.

          And looking forward to whatever else you have to share with us.

          Reply
          1. orlbucfan

            Amfortas, I have read every comment you’ve posted since I signed on here. I have tremendous admiration and respect for you. Stay as strong as you are for your boyz, and know the first class posse on here, including Yves, Lambert, and Jerri-Lynn, have your back. I’m glad to hear from you! Take care and stay safe!

            Reply
    3. Appleseed

      Amfortas, what a beautiful gift you gave your wife – and NC by sharing your private story of her transition and how you endured the public piece. While preparing my wife’s obit, I ran across a file in her hard drive that included this quote, which I offer to you:

      “The key question is, no matter how much you absorb of another person, can you have absorbed so much of them that when that primary brain perishes, you can feel that that person did not totally perish from the earth . . . because they live on in a ‘second neural home’ ? . . . In the wake of a human being’s death, what survives is a set of afterglows, some brighter and some dimmer, in the collective brains of those who were dearest to them. . . . Though the primary brain has been eclipsed, there is, in those who remain . . . a collective corona that still glows.”
      – Douglas Hofstadter, in I Am a Strange Loop

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        thanks.
        i lean towards the non-local consciousness model…dean radin, david bohm, etc.
        and that was the subject of many conversations with wife in the last year, when she was working towards acceptance,.
        she talked about just that, too, in her second to last week…when the wheelchair was still doable, and i’d drag her out to mom’s front porch of an early predawn to talk and have coffee.
        i was pleased that she had been paying attention to such ramblings of mine,lol.
        and i’m like, “yeah, hon…go ahead and haunt me for a bit, if you like”.

        Reply
        1. Left in Wisconsin

          No words to add to what’s been said … as words can’t convey, even with the best of intentions. Glad you have a place to slip off to, to think… or just feel.

          Reply

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