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Friday, June 17, 2022

Links - 17th June 2022 (2 - US Media)

Nate Fischer on Twitter - "“Fact checkers” perform a valuable service by bringing to attention claims that are easy to miss but worth consideration. Look past their nitpicking to the narrative they’re trying to suppress."

Fact check: COVID-19 transmission, death risk isn't easily calculated - "Based on our research, we rate PARTLY FALSE the claim that a given person has a 2.4% chance of getting COVID and a 0.05% chance of dying from it. These figures are roughly correct on a global scale, but at an individual level the risk varies hugely, experts say.  The chances of getting sick or dying from COVID-19 vary based on individual factors like age, health history and location."
The Meme Policeman - Posts | Facebook - "I don't identify as a fact checker now because of how bad that field has become.  Also, I never use the term "partly false" in a breakdown. It's either false or something else (misleading, non-sequitur, fallacy, etc.) False means something in the claim is false (rarely is anything completely false). The job of a fact checker should be to point out what is false and let the reader determine the severity of it. Often one lie among several truths can be more malicious than several errors. Partly true/false verdicts are simply ways to insert bias into a fact check. In this case, the rating should be misleading (or shouldn't be done at all). If someone quotes a correct statistic, that's not "partly false." Saying there's an X chance of dying from Covid is sort of misleading as a blanket statement, since the elderly are hundreds of times more likely to die than a child. The aggregate average is often useless in regards to a particular individual. But it's not false."

Is 'fact-check' journalism doing more harm than good for media outlets? - The Hub - "The election of Donald Trump in 2016 took a burgeoning media innovation, the journalistic “fact-check” story, and made it a staple of just about every major outlet in North America... The growth of global fact-checking operations grew by nearly 100 percent from 2014 to 2019, according to a recent census by the Duke University Reporters’ Lab. The census found 342 global fact-checkers in the world this year, compared to 277 in 2018 and, despite a slow-down in the last two years, the numbers are still growing... And all this in a media industry that appears to be contracting in just about every other way. But amid this steady global growth, it’s worth asking the obvious question: is fact-check journalism accomplishing its goal to better educate the public?...  fact-check journalism seems to be effective at correcting people’s mistaken beliefs, but that it can also make them more hostile to the media organization and the journalist publishing the story. Other research has shown that it rarely changes readers’ perception of a candidate... Do fact-checks miss the forest for the trees?... The Chicago gun laws fact-check story used by the researchers is also a good illustration of the more nebulous issues with this kind of journalism. The fact-check piece corrects several incorrect statements by Trump, but fails to tackle the substance of what he was arguing.  Trump said Chicago has the strongest gun laws in the nation and the highest crime rate: both inarguably false statements. But, it’s also true that Chicago has a high crime rate (ranked seventh in murder rate) and has strong gun laws (Illinois gets an A- and is ranked 8th in this scorecard)."
Considering that much "fact checking" is just a political cudgel to spin the truth, the results are no surprise

Fact Check: Was Teacher Fired for Not Meowing Back at Student Who 'Identifies as Cat'? - "The video's creator does appear to be a high school teacher, according to her past videos, but the story is entirely made up—ironically, as an exercise to "create awareness" of what kids are going through at school, according to other videos posted several days later by the same account...        "I'm grateful for the people who reached out and asked me about it, but I'm disappointed ... how fake news is made. I was not fired," she concludes... Curiously, this is the second piece of misinformation purporting that students are identifying as animals this week.  Earlier, a Michigan school superintendent was forced to debunk a rumor, which stemmed from a video from a December school board meeting, where an attendee claimed that the school is installing litter boxes for students that "identify as cats."  "It is unconscionable that this afternoon I am sending this communication," the superintendent of Midland Public Schools, Michael Sharrow, wrote"

Skepticism Beats Snopes as an Antidote to Fake News - WSJ - "When oligopolistic producers ruled, they provided reliability to the extent their readers wanted it. At one end supermarket tabloids published stories and grainy pictures of extraterrestrial landings and improbable celebrity shenanigans. At the other end were publications like the New Yorker and—surprisingly to me—Inc. magazine. They catered to different subscribers, ranging from literary lefties to conservative small-business owners. What they covered (and how) naturally reflected the interest of their readers. In my experience, both magazines checked the accuracy of the articles they published with more rigor and ferocity than prestigious scholarly journals do. Technology made this model hard to sustain. Google and Facebook sucked away the advertising that supported news reporting—and the fact checking. More competition for fewer readers and advertisers tempted traditionally staid news outlets toward tabloid sensationalism and fantasy, albeit in a more political and (usually) less salacious vein. And what is now called “fact checking” is a competitive gotcha effort, not an exercise in controlling the reliability of a news organization’s own product. Technology has also brought into the fray ideological amateurs who have no reporting costs—or reputations to worry about. Anyone with a mobile phone—that is to say, anyone—can tweet or post on Facebook and with modestly more effort hold forth on a blog. Cameras in mobile phones give everyone the capabilities of photojournalists and documentarians. Even amateurs who don’t expect payment often hope for attention, swelling a race to the bottom in sensationalism. And while mobile phones have made photography and videography cheap and easy, software has enabled the doctoring of images. Faking still pictures is already within nearly anyone’s reach; doing the same with movies will soon be as well. Citizen-reporters, those whose political convictions self-justify their means, thus add to the inaccuracies of professional journalism. And while some freelancers may expose media falsehoods rather than produce their own, how are we to know which ones? Independent policing of the news has a natural appeal, but it raises the question posed in Juvenal’s Satires: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? “Who will guard the guards themselves?” Snopes’s myth busting can’t stop fantasy masquerading as fact either. It’s a for-profit business whose complete reliance on advertising exposes it to the same forces that stoke fakery: Survival requires more web traffic than debunking true urban legends can easily attract. And according to critics, Snopes is biased to the left... we should treat skepticism as a vital civic virtue. Rather than obsess about ferreting out falsehoods and punishing liars, we can avoid much harm by asking: What if widely reported facts are wrong? Better to acknowledge how little we know than to persist in believing what just ain’t so."

How Political Fact-Checkers Distort the Truth - "Senator Bernie Sanders said, “Three people [in this country] own more wealth than the bottom half of America.” And Glenn Kessler, who leads The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker” blog, wrote, “This snappy talking point is based on numbers that add up.” But Kessler, having checked the fact and confirmed that it was true, for some reason continued checking. “People in the bottom half have essentially no wealth,” he helpfully pointed out. “So the comparison is not especially meaningful.” That seems like a judgment call best left to, say, a “meaning-checker,” but Kessler, a former business section editor who happens to be a descendant of Royal Dutch Shell and Procter & Gamble executives—an actual member of the American elite and a likely member of the one percent—makes Sanders the regular target of his attempts to police the bounds of acceptable political realities from his perch at The Washington Post... Because Kessler is particularly bad at his job—or, rather, because he is doing a different job, that of a centrist columnist disguised as a fact-checker—he has deflected attention from his competitors, most of whom also routinely mistake elite conventional wisdom for truth. In September, PolitiFact, the venerable fact-checking operation run by the nonprofit Poynter Institute, waded into a fight between Julian Castro and Joe Biden over their health care plans, and found a disputable but eminently supportable claim Castro has made—that there is a “big difference” between a plan people are automatically enrolled in and one they opt into—to be “mostly false.” When Elizabeth Warren blamed trade policy for American job losses, an Associated Press fact check said, “Economists mostly blame those job losses on automation and robots, not trade deals.” Some economists have indeed made that claim, but others vehemently disagree—pointing out that very little, if any, evidence exists to support the automation thesis. What may look like the unquestioned assumptions of centrist economists appear to these organizations, somehow, as cold, hard facts. Fact-checkers did not always have such an expansive bailiwick. Prior to its establishment as a public-facing industry, there was already a job with that title, but primarily in magazines, not newspapers. People holding that job were not responsible for determining whether a magazine story was true (i.e., is campus political correctness a threat to liberal democracy?) but whether the discrete statements of fact within it were true (i.e., did the College Republicans event with Tommy Robinson happen on this date?). As for determining “truth,” at least for the purposes of feature writing, Aristotle nailed it: “To say of what is that it is, or of what is not that it is not, is true.” When our current titans of fact-checking were founded, they seemed determined to practice their craft with Aristotelian restraint. The industry was born in the George W. Bush era—FactCheck.org dates back to 2003, PolitiFact to 2007—and their style (including the cutesy lingo) reflects an era in which the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center’s official version of reality suddenly had to compete with Glenn Beck’s. Like their magazine counterparts, these fact-checkers would only check that a statement was technically true... Ironically, had fact-checkers kept to this narrow interpretation of the facts, they might actually be useful today... The trouble is, fact-checkers have expanded their purview from checking strictly empirical statements to “checking” contestable political statements... It is odd that fact-checking was so narrowly defined when a narrow mandate served the interests of power, and that its brief has now expanded considerably at a time when an overly broad mandate serves those interests. Perhaps the endless appetite for eyeballs and engagement that now distorts the entire media industry led these projects to drift away from their original mission, causing them to create an endless supply of “facts” to be “checked” for the sake of feeding the content maw" A relatively rare criticism of "fact checking" from a leftist

The Breaking News Consumer's Handbook - "This is our Breaking News Consumer's Handbook.  Rather than counting on news outlets to get it right, we're looking at the other end. Below are some tips for how, in the wake of a big, tragic story, you can sort good information from bad. We've even made a handy, printable PDF that you can tape to your wall the next time you encounter a big news event.
1. In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will get it wrong.
2. Don't trust anonymous sources.
3. Don't trust stories that cite another news outlet as the source of the information.
 4. There's almost never a second shooter.
5. Pay attention to the language the media uses.
Whether you realize it or not, the language the media uses tells you how reliable it is. Here's a helpful glossary:
"We are receiving reports" - sources are claiming something has happened, but it has not been confirmed.
"We are seeking confirmation" - the news outlet is confident, but still can't confirm.
"We can confirm" - information has come from multiple sources, and the news outlet feels confident that it can claim something as an actual fact.
"We have learned" - how a news outlet declares it has a scoop. As Andy Carvin says "on the one hand, it could mean that they’re the first ones to confirm something. Or they’re going out on a limb and reporting something that no one else has felt comfortable reporting yet."
6. Look for news outlets close to the incident.
7. Compare multiple sources.
8. Big news brings out the fakers. And Photoshoppers.
9. Beware reflexive retweeting. Some of this is on you."
Far easier to attribute all wrong reports to "psy ops"

Meme - Brian Stelter @brianstelter: "GOP's ante streak summarized: Governor of one of the biggest states in the USA says citizens should "assume" news outlets are lying to them"
Nicholas Sandmann @N1ckSandmann: "Howdy"

Rod Dreher on Twitter - "Just heard NPR report about funeral for Bronx fire victims. Reporter quoted local activist blaming white supremacy for fire. One leader said this like Emmitt Till murder. No pushback from journo. Then came NPR segment on why ppl distrust media. These ppl are clueless."

MSNBC's Joy Reid Smears DeSantis Without Evidence Over Alleged Sex Trafficking Investigation - "Joy Reid and Glenn Kirschner at MSNBC baselessly speculated about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis being involved in the DOJ investigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz... CBS’ “60 Minutes” produced a deceptively edited report on DeSantis, claiming he was involved in a pay-to-play Publix grocery store conspiracy that has been debunked on a bipartisan level. The network notably left out several minutes of footage of DeSantis denying the reporter’s narrative. They also failed to request some interviews with key figures, while intentionally leaving other interviews out. CBS’ Sharyn Alfonsi doubled down on the reporting and mocked readers last week for having objections to the conspiracy."

Why Is U.S. Media So Negative? - Freakonomics - "You know, the music that C.N.N. and other cable-news networks play to make sure you know that their “Breaking News” alert is really important...
These are real examples from C.N.N.; the “breaking news” text is being read aloud by our producers.
ANNOUNCER: Breaking news: No winner yet in America’s historic election.
ANNOUNCER: Breaking news: Titanic Sunk 102 Years Ago Tonight...
Yes, every writer and editor and producer wants their work to get attention, and they want to be paid. But the argument being made by Bruce Sacerdote goes beyond that. He says that the major American media outlets are primarily driven by profit-maximizing, and that the best way to profit-maximize is by accentuating the negative...
DUBNER: Do you know anything about how American the taste for negativity is, and assuming it is an anomaly, why that’s the case?
SACERDOTE: We take the opposite view on this, which is that it’s not actually the people that are different. And I’ll give you some data on that. If you look at the most Facebook-shared and the most-liked stories on, say, The New York Times or the B.B.C., the most-liked things from the B.B.C. are also super-neg. It’s just that the B.B.C. is not supplying nearly as much of those super-negative stories. What we, my co-authors and I, think is going on is it’s not that Americans are fundamentally different than the British or the French or the Italians. We think what’s going on is the structure of the industry is different in these different places. The U.S. major media outlets explicitly focus on the negative because, we believe, that’s what drives viewership and clicks and keeps people staying on the page or on the show.
DUBNER: Okay, but why would that not be the case in France or England or Australia?
SACERDOTE: In most of those other countries, you have a big public player like the B.B.C. or the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. As a libertarian-leaning person, you think I wouldn’t be pounding the table for public interference in this industry. But I think in this industry, they have less of a profit motive. They are somewhat less motivated by driving clicks and engagement and somewhat more motivated by the truth...
Rathje, like Bruce Sacerdote, embarked on a big study. He and two co-authors — Sander van der Linden and Jay Van Bavel — analyzed nearly three million social media posts to learn what makes a post more likely to attract other users. Their analysis covered the years 2016 to 2020; they focused on posts from conservative and liberal media platforms and Republican and Democratic members of Congress. So, what’d they find?
RATHJE: What we found is that each additional word referring to the outgroup increased the number of retweets or shares of that post by 67 percent. The “outgroup” meaning someone on the other side of the political aisle."


Chinese Propaganda Outlet Paid Millions to Washington Post, Wall Street Journal - "A Chinese propaganda outlet paid millions of dollars to The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal to run advertisements that look to some like news reports.  China Daily paid more than $4.6 million to the Post and nearly $6 million to the Journal since November 2016,...   Over the past few years, it has spent millions running supplements—called “China Watch”—containing propaganda disguised as news, in major U.S. newspapers including the Journal, The New York Times, and the Post."

Biden To Introduce New Medal Of Honor For Bravery In Journalism | The Babylon Bee - "Joe Biden says he is introducing a new award: The Medal of Honor for Bravery in Journalism, a new Medal of Honor that is given to reporters who do really brave things like say that President Trump is bad.  The award will be presented to journalists who bravely endured the Trump years. Biden called these journalists "braver than D-Day soldiers, fighting off an even worse Hitler.""

Alex Marlow: 'Breaking the News' Reveals Media Corruption Beyond Bias - "Ownership of America’s largest news media companies by complex conglomerates creates conflicts of interest in news media reporting"

Snowflakes at Politico freaked out and even held an emergency meeting after Ben Shapiro was allowed to guest-write a "heavily edited" piece for Politico Playbook
Ben Shapiro on Twitter - "My point: conservatives believe that Leftists want to ostracize them as evil, and then shut them down
Politico staff: conservatives ought to be ostracized as evil and then shut down"
When you're terrified of intellectual diversity

Escape The Echo Chamber - Posts | Facebook - "I’ve been critical of the press’s coverage of the Steele dossier for nearly five years. It seems that the latest criminal charges against those involved has opened up some eyes in the liberal-leaning press. In a refreshing move, the liberal Axios Media is acknowledging the massive failure of the press to not properly vet the Russian dossier. The Washington Post has recognized some of their errors and has removed and editing several stories. Meanwhile, others in the media have hunkered down knowing this will blow over with most readers being none the wiser. No doubt they will continue publishing essays lamenting the public’s loss of faith in news organizations."

The Media’s Hypocrisy Is On Full Display After U.S. Soccer Team Is Pelted With Debris By Fans Of Mexico - "There was immediate outrage from the media — and rightfully so— after NBA players were on the receiving end of attacks from fans. However, they used the opportunity to make it a conversation on race — highlighting the fact that the instigators were white and the players black... Disrespectful and uncalled for actions by white fans toward black athletes are viewed as racist acts — always.  So, what do we call the actions of non-white fans showering USMNT players with garbage? Nothing apparently... We quickly forget that the word “fan” is short for “fanatic.” Fans aren’t rational. The love for their team — mixed with copious amounts of alcohol — drives them to do incredibly stupid things. Like dumping popcorn on a players head, throwing a water bottle as an athlete departs the court, and flinging debris at the opposing team after a game-winning goal.   The media can’t have it both ways. Either every time a fan throws something at a player, it’s racist, or it isn’t. You don’t get to pick and choose based on the race of the offenders. Additionally, categorizing every bad interaction between fans and players as “racist” cheapens the word and diminishes acts of real racism"

Establishment reporters praise LA Times column decrying balanced news coverage | The Post Millennial - "After a columnist denounced reporting on Democrats with a critical eye, left-wing journalists from multiple outlets supported partisan calls to end "both-siderism" in media coverage and advocated for even harsher treatment of Republican subjects. Los Angeles Times columnist Jackie Calmes published an opinion piece entitled "Why journalists are failing the public with 'both-siderism' in political coverage." In the op-ed dated Oct. 15, the LA Times opinion columnist lambasted the "journalistic pressure" placed on reporters to produce balanced stories that prevents journalists from reporting what she dubbed "the new truth."... She went on to claim that numerous news reports suggest that President Joe Biden is "politically liable" for the persistence of COVID-19, when the establishment media has lobbed the septuagenarian soft balls since Inauguration Day yet continues to cast blame upon the previous Trump presidency.  After four hate-filled years attacking former President Donald Trump for even the most minute misgivings, the hard-hitting muckrakers have transformed into Biden's public relations team, fawning over the commander-in-chief's love for ice cream while allowing him to walk away from the podium without taking questions.  Calmes even claimed that the mainstream media is silent on the GOP's opposition to Biden's efforts promoting vaccines and masks. When in actuality, the left-wing outlets have pounced to publish fear-mongering rhetoric that conjures images of packed emergency rooms and a tsunami of ivermectin-related poison control calls... Calmes and her left-wing colleagues are trashing objectivity in pursuit of "the new truth," labelling viewpoints right of center "misinformation" and "conspiratorial.""

What Is ‘Dune’ About? What Is ‘Dune’ Even? - "A hero’s tale set simultaneously in space and the desert; is Dune actually Star Wars?  Though I have seen neither film, I do not think Dune is Star Wars. I know it is not Mad Max: Fury Road because I have seen Mad Max: Fury Road, and le petit Monsieur Chalamet never showed his finely chiseled face. But suffice to say, Dune combines the dustiness of the latter with the spaciness of the former. Apparently, Dune had some influence on Star Wars, so you will be forgiven for believing the two franchises are one and the same; if it helps you to think of them this way, that is fine with me."

California's population exodus is intensifying - Los Angeles Times (January 2021)
The California exodus is a myth. But that doesn't stop the haters - Los Angeles Times (April 2021)

David Hines on Twitter - "How a closeted media feedback loop works:
1. Someone writes an insane easily debunked column like Milbank
2. But people like Jong-Fast at The Atlantic or Margaret Sullivan at Wash Post retweet or take it seriously
3. Media's janitor amplifies it because these are friends."
"This is how a lot of Hard Lefty journos amplify their stuff — one of them covers it, then one of their friends at another publication writes about their having written about it, etc., but the process also works for stories get newsified by more mainstream journos."

Patriots say viral New York Times White House photo was misleading - "The Patriots say a viral New York Times photo of their trip to the White House on Wednesday was misleading. The photo compared New England's turnout to the White House this year to its trip in 2015. The tweet was shared over 44,000 times and had 65,000 likes."
It's only fake news if Fox or the Daily Mail do it. The liberal media get a free pass

Ben Shapiro on Twitter - "Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer used an outmoded word to refer to developmentally disabled children during a recent podcast appearance"
"Interesting how it's just "outmoded" when a Democrat says it"

Meme - "Kyle Becker ia kylenabecker It looks like we've pivoted from gaslighting to an entirely new phenomenon: Gasless-lighting. The media doesn't report the news, therefore you're crazy for thinking it's news."

Andrew Sullivan on Twitter - "The name “Pulitzer” now means activism and narratives not journalism and the search for objective truth."
"There are societal structures that uplift and empower certain groups based on their intersecting identities and experiences, while at the same time marginalizing and erasing others; we acknowledge that these inequities were developed over time and have continuing, lasting impact."

Seamus (FreedomToons) on Twitter - "In high school I tried using anonymous sources instead of real citations, but this was not allowed because I was a 9th grader and not a journalist"

Trust In Media Hits Record Low… New Study Blames Readers For Lack Of Confidence - "The reason U.S. trust in the media reached an all-time low this year has nothing to do with the quality of the coverage, according to a recent study. Instead, the problem is that “not all Americans universally embrace core journalism values.” The “major study,” co-sponsored by the world’s largest news organization found that most Americans want the facts — they just don’t want reporters’ spin. And they disagree with the legacy media’s insistence on showcasing the nation’s problems... the vast majority of U.S. citizens agree with only one of the five pillars it considers foundational for journalists: 67% of Americans endorsed “factualism,” the “idea that the more facts people have, the closer they will get to the truth.”   Only one other value – “giving voice to the less powerful” — received support from 50% of the American people.   The other half said that journalists’ skewing stories to “amplify the voices of people who aren’t ordinarily heard” is “overdone” and that their news coverage “doesn’t help” the people featured.  Readers overwhelmingly rejected the media’s single-minded focus on America’s alleged faults, defects, and deficiencies.   “There is least support for the idea that a good way to make society better is to spotlight its problems,” the survey found. “Only 29% agree.”  The study labeled this coverage “social criticism.”   Readers also said the media spend too much time attacking those in authority, and they should put national security ahead of transparency. “Sometimes all of the information” — such as classified information — “cannot be released.” And “without the right context,” these stories can “hinder progress and leave room for gross misinterpretation,” readers said.  Only about one in 10 Americans support these values, which guide the story selection and framing of the Associated Press, which co-sponsored the study.  “While journalists may consider the five journalism values we identified as universal,” the study said, only 11% of the American people share the reporters’ worldview.  And the legacy media’s least critical consumers tended to be overwhelmingly on the Left...   The largest group of Americans “consumed a lot of news, but at the same time they were fairly suspicious of the news media.” They make up 35% of the population, and “only half of these people were Republicans.”...   The Media Project’s survey is a tortured way of refusing to state the obvious: The legacy media are out of step with the vast majority of the American people. Their reporters’ values align with fewer than one out of every five readers — and they are almost exclusively on the Left of the political spectrum. Instead of changing the way they cover the news, legacy media outlets blame the fact-starved public for lacking the sophistication to understand what journalism is."
Clearly the people are ignorant

New York Times employees feel they can't speak freely: survey - "About half of New York Times employees said in a recent internal survey that they don’t believe they can speak freely at the paper.  In response to the statement, “There is a free exchange of views in this company; people are not afraid to say what they really think,” only 51% of Times employees responded in the affirmative.  In company comments that accompanied the December poll’s findings, which were viewed by The Post, the 51 percent was noted as being 10% lower than the “benchmark.” One insider said the benchmark likely refers to the average among similar companies surveyed on that statement... the former paper of record is embroiled in a seemingly endless parade of scandals. Most recently, a decision to oust veteran science reporter Donald McNeil over his non-derogatory use of a racial slur during a Times-sponsored trip with students has divided the newsroom. A column from their in-house conservative columnist Bret Stephens criticizing the McNeil dismissal was personally spiked by publisher A.G. Sulzberger...   In June, The New York Times suffered another woke revolt after the paper’s opinion section published an op-ed from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton urging that federal soldiers be sent to US cities to quell antifa and BLM violence during the summer. Dozens of employees publicly protested the piece’s publication, saying it put “Black @nytimes staff in danger.” The fallout led to the resignation of Op-Ed editor James Bennet. Other leading opinion staffers, including Bari Weiss, left in the months after Bennet’s departure... “There is a group of younger reporters and a fair number of tech people and people on the audio side who do not come out of the tradition of journalism at the Times. … They see their role as to be more active,” Alex Berenson, a former NYT business reporter, told The Post. “There’s a lot of anguish among older people” about younger, woke staff"
No problem with the media today, no

Slate Star Codex: New York Times Reporter Threatens to Dox Blogger Scott Alexander - "The popular pseudonymous blogger behind Slate Star Codex claims that he’s been forced to delete the blog after a New York Times reporter threatened to reveal his identity. It is the latest example of the paper’s willingness to grant anonymity according to inconsistent, ideologically self-serving criteria... Alexander explains that he wished to remain anonymous because his day job as a psychiatrist and his personal safety — he claims to have received many death threats — demanded it...   “After considering my options, I decided on the one you see now. If there’s no blog, there’s no story. Or at least the story will have to include some discussion of NYT’s strategy of doxxing random bloggers for clicks”... A February 2015 story about renovations to the Port Authority’s Bus Terminal quoted a woman “who asked not to be identified because she has always wanted to be an anonymous source... Indeed, in a profile published earlier this year of “Chapo Trap House,” a popular socialist podcast hosted by unofficial Bernie Sanders surrogates, the Times identified one of the podcast’s co-hosts as “Virgil Texas,” explaining that “he lives and works under that pseudonym.”Why the Times denied “Scott Alexander” the same right it granted to “Virgil Texas” is unclear. But since Donald Trump’s election, anonymous sourcing has come roaring back at the Times, with Baquet admitting that the 2016 had changed the way the paper would cover and write about the president.It appears the exceptions made for Trump-related coverage have bled into the coverage of a pseudonymous blogger."

Justin Kan ❄️ on Twitter - ".@nytimes threatens to dox @slatestarcodex. This is despicable. I've cancelled my subscription."

Facebook - "As someone pointed out, the New York Times has published 1,500+ articles on Banksy while respecting his pseudonymity. Yet they cannot do the same for 1 article about Slate Star Codex? Of course, they can!Look at it this way. Nobody at the New York Times would be capable of writing articles of such outstanding quality as Scott Alexander. Doxxing him was the easiest way to eliminate another increasingly popular competitor who was endangering their interpretational sovereignty."

The death of the private citizen - The Spectator - "The fact that news outlets are using their investigative skills and public reach to out individuals for no good reason should be chilling to anyone currently maintaining some semblance of privacy on the internet. And the New York Times isn’t the only media outlet drunk on its own power.  The Washington Post recently reported on a two-year-old staff Halloween party in which a graphic designer was accused of wearing a racist costume. The woman was not a public figure and apologized to the hosts of the party shortly after the incident for her mistake. Even so, the Washington Post named her in its story and reached out to her employer about the incident, ultimately resulting in her firing.CNN has a similar track record of thrusting private individuals into the spotlight because of their internet activities. In 2017, the outlet dug into a Redditor who created a meme shared by the President, and a CNN editor said the only reason they did not reveal the man’s identity was that he apologized for the meme and promised not to do it again. The admission was akin to political blackmail. Similarly, in 2018, a CNN reporter showed up with a cameraman on a woman’s lawn to scold her for sharing a pro-Trump Facebook account that was allegedly set up by Russians. The exposing of random internet users is not just a sign of the media’s narcissism. It also has dire consequences for online discourse. Some warn that granting internet users a cloak of anonymity leads to extremism. It also leads to progress. Good ideas that are nonetheless considered controversial by society’s standards can never gain traction if people are too scared of cancellation to post and debate them. The Times and its brethren are doing society a great disservice by becoming the gatekeepers of internet anonymity."

Blocks Take the Lead in Fight Against Disinformation - "NYT Blocked
Blocks Take The Lead in Fight Against Disinformation
New App Blocks 800 NYT Reporters In Seconds"
Lots of good stories on the New York Time's failings here too

‘We Spent The Day Hearing From Quite A Few Old College Classmates’: Tucker Says WaPo Looking For Dirt On Him - "Fox News’ Tucker Carlson blasted Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and the paper’s media columnist, Erik Wemple, claiming that Wemple had contacted people who had known Carlson when he attended college and asked them for information that could damage Carlson... “Fox News generally, and Carlson specifically, have been frequent subjects of Wemple’s columns. He has referenced the host in the headlines of five columns this year,” The Hill noted.  As far back as 2017, Wemple was targeting Carlson; he wrote an opinion piece in November 2017 in which he noted a long exchange he had with Carlson in which Wemple asked Carlson about a reporter whom The Daily Caller, which Carlson had founded, had hired back in 2014 who had previously posted racist tracts... “People are very complicated and they do bad things, then they get better and they change their mind, and you know what I mean?” Carlson asserted. “This is real life. This is not some pretend thing where you’re the sum total of the dumbest thing you ever wrote on the Internet. I hope that’s not the world you live in.”"

US Murders, Guns and Outlier Cities

I saw this tweet shared in the form of a picture:

Johnny U on Twitter

"The US has the 3rd highest murder rate in the world ,
If you remove
Washington DC
St Louis

The US is then 189th out of 193 countries in the world . All 5 cities have the strictest gun control laws and all controlled by democrats .

Immediately, I knew that these numbers were off, so I decided to see just how off they were (apparently it's a modified version of a 2012 meme: "The United States ranks 3rd in Murders throughout the World. But if you take out Chicago, Detroit, Washington DC and New Orleans, the United States is 4th from the Bottom for Murders. These 4 Cities also have the toughest Gun Control Laws in the United States. All 4 are also controlled by Democrats").

The US is only 59th in the international murder rate rankings, with 20,982 murders in 2020 and 6.3 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

Chicago had 770 homicides in 2020 and has a population of 2.7 million.

Detroit had 327 homicides in 2020 and has a population of 672,000.

Washington DC had 198 homicides in 2020 and has a population of 702,000.

St Louis had 262 homicides in 2020 and has a population of 305,000

Philadelphia had 499 homicides in 2020 and has a population of 1.6 million

So excluding these 5 cities, we get 18,926 murders in 2020, over a population of 324 million (i.e. excluding these 5 cities), i.e. a murder rate of 5.8 per 100,000, and the US would drop in the murder rate rankings from 59 to 65.

Furthermore, it is reported that "Missouri gun laws are some of the weakest in the country" and there aren't any reports that St Louis has particularly strict gun control. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is rated a B- in gun control laws by Giffords, so it's not particularly tight, and Philadelphia is not allowed to enact its own gun laws. And Michigan is rated a C+, so it has even looser gun control than Pennsylvania, and there aren't any reports that Detroit has specific strict gun control in addition to state laws.

Ironically, gun nuts like to claim that gun control in the US will be useless because weapons will just be smuggled in from Mexico (when the flow of weapons is actually in the other direction), while insisting that the fact that cities with gun control still see high gun crime means that gun control doesn't work.

Presumably this is because weapons can be smuggled across the Mexican border into the US, but weapons cannot cross US state or city boundaries (and no, this doesn't mean gun control never works due to smuggling, since we don't see that in other countries - but of course we know that what works in countries of up to 126 million will somehow never work in a country of 330 million, because something magical happens in between 126 million and 330 million which ensures that the US will always be special).

Keywords: Memphis, Baltimore, Democratic Cities, Top 10, top ten, remove cities

Links - 17th June 2022 (1 - General Wokeness)

“S’pore hasn’t pushed us away, the government has embraced us,” says migrant worker in a heartfelt note - "  The migrant worker, JM Jasim, relayed his gratitude through a heartfelt Facebook post, which was translated into English by his friend and edited by Project Dorm.  In his post, JM Jasim said,  “During this pandemic, Singapore hasn’t pushed us away, the government has embraced us. Singaporeans have helped us as they are spending money on us. When coronavirus was creeping into our lives, Singapore government’s support came as a light of hope in darkness. Singapore government as well as other Singaporeans have showered us with support, love, respect, and warmth. They showed appreciation to our efforts in building this country.”... He then went on to list out the long list of help in which migrant workers have received from the government.
These include:
Budget for treatments for foreign workers
Levy waived
Request every company to continue paying their employees
Health services for workers
Free food in every isolation dormitories, SIM card for workers with 100 GB internet and 100 mins talk time
Medical team in every dormitory
Many in quarantine are staying at hotels and nice places for free
Top class hospital treatment
Eid gifts for most workers
Instructions from MOM to companies to check on employees"
The activists must be very upset since migrant workers are kept prisoner

(PDF) The Link between Muslim Religiosity and Negative Attitudes toward the West: An Arab Study - "Religious Fundamentalism (RF) and the intrinsic component of the Intrinsic/Extrinsic (I/E-R) scale were both used to measure Muslim religiosity in an Arab-Muslim sample of 608 participants that were collected from 17 Arab countries. Also, Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Dogmatism (DOG) were included to test their mediated effects on the relationship between Islamic religiosity and anti-Western attitudes. The results indicated that Islamic fundamentalism was the dominant predictor of unfavourable attitudes toward the West, followed by intrinsic Muslim religiosity and dogmatism. The findings also showed that RWA and DOG partially mediated the relationship between intrinsic Muslim religiosity and anti-Western attitudes"

Meme - "Year 2008: "My fellow liberal - left. me (happy) - center left. conservative - right.
Year 2012: my fellow liberal? *runs left* me (puzzled and stationary) - center. conservative (stationary) - still right.
Year 2021: woke "progressive" - far left: "Bigot!". me (shocked) - center right. conservative - still right: "LOL!""

Meme - Arthur Chu @arthur_affect: "I know, that's why I said YOUR kids That's the fun irony of the culture war, isn't it? Parents waking up and finding out their kids have abandoned their traditional values? Bunch of Christian parents pumping out kids with their DNA who then go on to absorb the ideas of childless weirdos like Foucault and Adorno and Judith Butler as filtered through various influencers on Tiktok and Tumblr and Twitter, who also don't have kids And wow bunch of assholes who never physically reproduced and whose bloodlines died with them see *their* thoughts running around like cuckoos in the brains of parents whose biological fecundity served only to provide them a vessel Isn't it fun to watch? It's my favorite thing"
Weird. I thought it's a myth that liberals want to indoctrinate kids
Full thread archived

Reza Aslan on Twitter - "If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire fucking thing down."
It's only violence if it comes from the right

SCOTUS battle prompts threats, calls for arson: 'Burn Congress down' - "Reza Aslan tweeted. He later responded to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's vow to hold a vote on President Trump's nominee. "Over our dead bodies, literally"... A Canadian political science professor called for arson, prompting accusations he made a terroristic threat. "Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS," Waterloo professor Emmett MacFarlane tweeted. In response, Canadian attorney Ezra Levant worried about the consequences for MacFarlane's students.  "Macfarlane is a professor at @UWaterloo, promoting violence against his political enemies," he said. "If you were a young woman in his class who was a Trump supporter, would you risk being a target of his violent rage if he found out about you? Should you transfer to a different class?"... A member of Wisconsin's ethics commission, Scott Ross, ordered Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., to "burn it all down" if he couldn't stop McConnell. "F-----g A, Ed. If you can't shut it down, burn it down"... Fox News host Greg Gutfeld responded to the controversy by criticizing anyone who might mock people for worrying about political terrorism.  "[L]eftists promise violence and 'burning it all down'" if they don't get what they want. Then their enablers in media mock you for worrying that there might be violence and 'burning it all down' when the leftists don't get what they want""

'Burn Congress down': Celebrated figures urge violence if RBG replaced before election - "Author Aaron Gouveia, whose latest book is about toxic masculinity, tweeted:  'F*** no. Burn it all down.'... Trump also retweeted a comment noting that the Senate filibuster for judicial nominees had first been abolished by former Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, eliminating the 60-vote super-majority once needed to confirm federal justices.  'Thank you Harry!' commented Trump... Trump had retweeted a former Obama administration official who wrote: 'Harry Reid will go down in history for having handed the court to conservatives when he took the first step toward eliminating the 60-vote requirement for confirmation.'"
Inciting political violence if you don't get your way has got to count as toxic masculinity
Democrats keep calling for the filibuster to be abolished. But they will be very upset when Republicans take advantage of that to pass *their* agenda

Left-handed? You are now just as oppressed as black people, gays, and hamsters

Meme - MAKHACHEV.ETH on Twitter: "One of my friends is a primary school teacher. A Muslim kid told some teacher he has 2 mummies. The school got excited and starting telling everyone how brave he is to accept LGBT stuff as a Muslim etc. Anyway turns out his dad has 2 wives 😂"

Alex Renton On The Blood Legacy Of The Slave Trade | HistoryExtra Podcast - HistoryExtra - "‘The first thing that really shook me, was just how like me, culturally and philosophically, my ancestors were. They clearly were from, from the same era, they were highly educated people, you know, from an age that believed in the rights of Man. They were moral, you know, and even the jokes in their letters between the brothers, you know, I get them. So it seems to me really interesting, because in the sort of strange, skewed history of British slavery that comes down, slave owners are sort of frothing psychopaths out of American movies. But these were members of the intelligentsia, liberals, liberal MPs, and that seemed really important...
When the whataboutists go, well, I get this all the time, you know, would you have me ring the Italian Embassy and demand reparations for the Romans raping people in Britain? You'll go: oh no, of course I wouldn't, because it isn't, doesn't materially affect our lives today. But there's a host of evidence around to tell us that racism today was engendered and encouraged by the systems of the enslavers because it made what as we've already said, what they did possible, and, and also that that lives in this country and the Caribbean are still impaired by the inherited damage done through the brutality of the generations that went before.'"
Weird. It's almost as if imperialism, colonialism and a history of violence don't condemn their victims to an eternity of misery and that dysfunction must be explained, at least in part, by other factors as well
"Whataboutism" is a great way of exposing logical inconsistency and hypocrisy

Illinois town holds Pride and Juneteenth parades, cancels July 4th celebration - "The town of Evanston, Illinois, is holding Pride and Juneteenth parades during the month of June, but canceling July 4 fireworks and Independence Day festivities... The decision to cancel the Independence Day events appears to be based on COVID-19 safety protocols"
The woke virus strikes again!

Female mob TWERK ambulance through crowd celebrating Juneteenth to get the scene of a shooting - "Multiple women were seen twerking on the top of an ambulance in Lake Merritt in Oakland, California on Saturday night, as paramedics attempted to make their way through to the scene of a shooting in which one person was killed and at least seven others were wounded.  The ambulance was stopped in its tracks by the crowd which was said to be around 1,000-strong as people gathered to celebrate Juneteenth after it was declared a federal holiday.   As the ambulance arrived at the scene, the revelers continued to party, with no apparent regard for the seriousness of the situation that just occurred nearby... Six male victims ranging in age from 16 to 27 and one 21-year-old female suffered gunshot wounds, and a 22-year-old San Francisco resident died."
Is twerking the new civil disobedience / protest? If the victims die due to the delay is it the fault of "white supremacy"?

Unmasking another white professor allegedly posing as a person of color - "Another week, another unmasking of a white professor allegedly posing as a person of color: this time it’s Kelly Kean Sharp, a scholar of African American history who resigned abruptly Tuesday from her assistant professorship at Furman University.  Like other apparent racial fraudsters before her, Sharp was outed by an anonymous post on Medium. The writer of the post identifies him or herself as having “distantly” known Sharp when she was graduate student at the University of California, Davis. Sharp had never publicly identified as Latinx back then, the writer said, so they were recently puzzled to learn that Sharp had since started referring to herself as Chicana, including on her now-private Twitter profile. According to screenshots included in the post, Sharp has tweeted about her abuela, or grandmother, from Mexico, and posted elsewhere about her “abuela who came to the U.S. during WWII who worked hard so I could become a teacher.”  The writer said they started talking to others who knew Sharp, and these colleagues were similarly “confused.” Some then allegedly asked Sharp about the “newfound identity,” and Sharp allegedly said her grandmother was originally from Mexico. Yet when the scholars looked into that explanation, “we found that Kelly had no grandparents who were born outside of the U.S. or had Hispanic names.”...  “Perhaps she won the job simply because she investigated the role of slave women in shaping consumption and markets in the antebellum South. But is it possible that the complex identity provided by her imagined Mexican immigrant grandmother helped her to secure this diversity hire?”...   This year alone has seen the unmasking of a handful of white academics who have posed as nonwhite: BethAnn McLaughlin, Jessica Krug, C. V. Vitolo-Haddad and Craig Chapman... academia gender balance"
She didn't know about "white privilege"
If "minorities" don't benefit from affirmative action and there's no "minority" quota, was anyone really hurt by this (beyond the usual psychic harm)?
Given that most nontenure-track academic staff in the US are female, and 44% of tenure-track faculty are too, it's oh-so-convenient to blame this on competition for resources

BBC staff told attending LGBT pride protests in any capacity can breach new impartiality rules - "BBC staff who are required to be politically neutral have been told not to attend LGBT pride protests under new impartiality rules... David Jordan, the corporation’s director of editorial policy and standards, told a meeting of senior executives on Wednesday that the new rules include not attending “political protests”, such as Black Lives Matter events and LGBT protests.  According to sources, there was pressure to extend the ban to pride events over concerns the BBC could be seen to take a side in the debate around transgender rights... The guidelines only apply to staff who are expected to be politically neutral, such as in news and current affairs. The new policy is said to have angered some LGBT staff. One source told i the change is “obviously to please the Daily Mail and to make the BBC less of a target by rowing back”... In previous years the BBC has had a presence at some of the UK’s largest pride events, including in London and Manchester. Its internal LGBT staff network, BBC Pride, has not Tweeted since July. It is understood the network was not consulted by management on the new rules."
Of course, the staff who are angry also want to fire those who go to conservative protests

'I did something I thought was funny': Bill Murray says badly judged joke halted film - "The actor Bill Murray has said a poorly judged joke led to his being accused of misconduct, triggering the suspension of his latest film... what he thought was funny in his youth was no longer acceptable today... Murray was due to star alongside Seth Rogan in Being Mortal — a film version of surgeon Atul Gawande’s non-fiction book about end-of-life care.  It was the directing debut of Aziz Ansari, an actor and Golden Globe-winning comedian.   Neither Ansari nor Rogan were included in the complaint, which led to filming being abruptly brought to a halt by Searchlight, the production company.  The film was halfway through production when work was suspended.  Murray, the winner of a Bafta, a Golden Globe and two Emmy awards, described the incident as a “difference of opinion” with a woman working on the production."
Halting a movie over a joke. This is really getting out of hand.
The perils of hiring the woke. How much money is going down the drain?

Meme - Rose Blanch: "Can someone make a list of farmers that are not racist Fuck! also want to know where these local groceries stores are buying their fruits and vegetables from. We need safe grocery store chain and more BIPOC farmers"
They can purge the farmers and starve

Now even the term ‘BAME’ is racist - "UK Music, which represents record labels and musicians, says the term – short for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic – is ‘outdated and offensive’. It wants the ‘misleading and inappropriate’ abbreviation to be dropped by the music industry"
The "myth" of the slippery slope

Meme - ">Claims Snow White is offensive >Refuses to elaborate
>Puts seven of his fellow dwarf actors out of the job
Bravo, Dinklage"
"Once you climb up, kick the ladder. Classic move."

Disney Instantly Caves To Woke Criticism Of Live Action Snow White Film From Peter Dinklage - "The Walt Disney Company instantly caved to woke criticism from Game of Thrones actors Peter Dinklage for their upcoming live-action Snow White film starring a race-swapped Snow White in Rachel Zegler... “Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. Because you’re progressive in one way but you’re still making that f*****g backward story of the seven dwarfs living in a cave. What the f*** are you doing, man?”...   It’s not surprising that Disney would instantly cave to these criticisms from Dinklage given the fact that the company attempted to force Gina Carano into struggle sessions as well as apologize for her pronoun usage.  Carano told former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, “Earlier on last year before The Mandalorian came out, they wanted me to use their exact wording for an apology over pronoun usage.”  “I declined and offered a statement in my own words. I made clear I wanted nothing to do with mocking the transgender community, and was just drawing attention to the abuse of the mob in forcing people to put pronouns in their bio”...   As part of their Reimagine Tomorrow campaign, journalist Christopher F. Rufo published documents that show Disney is actively instructing their employees to be racist.  One of the documents instructs employees to “not question or debate Black colleagues’ lived experience.” It also tells employees to “challenge colorblind ideologies and rhetoric (e.g. ‘All Lives Matter,’ or ‘I don’t see color.’) It is harmful and hurtful, as it is a form of erasing the real and specific ways racial identities affect lived experiences.”   Not only are they instructing their employees to be racist, but they also claim, “The murders of Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Rayshard Brooks, Adame Traore, and countless others are part of a long history of systemic racism and transphobia.”"

Dwarf actors slam Peter Dinklage for canceling seven dwarves - "Dwarf actors have reacted furiously to Disney canceling the seven dwarves from its Snow White remake after Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage called them offensive, saying the decision robs them of work and the chance to fulfil what for some is a dream role. Speaking to DailyMail.com after Disney's decision to 'rethink' the characters, multiple actors and agents said there are plenty who would have happily accepted the jobs that Dinklage - a Golden Globe winner who was paid $1.2million per episode of Game of Thrones - said were 'backwards'.     The actors say Dinklage is not the authority on what the community as a whole finds offensive and that in canceling the roles, Disney has done far more damage to them than good. Some are now begging Disney to bring the parts back and are begging for the chance to audition for them.  'It makes me so sick to my stomach to think that there are seven roles for dwarfs that can't get normal acting roles, or very few and far between roles, and now they are gone because of this guy.   'Peter Dinklage is the biggest dwarf actor probably of all time but it doesn't make him king dwarf,' Dylan Postl, who played Hornswoggle the leprechaun in WWE for 10 years and has also acted in The Muppets... 'When he was cast as a little person role in Lord of the Rings or in a Game of Thrones or in Elf or this that or the other thing... those checks cashed just fine.   'He had no issue then. But now he wants to be progressive? Come on man.' I don't know if Peter Dinklage is still acting or if he is done now but I don't know... it's pretty selfish. People came before him. If it is his mindset that he wants to be the only one then you gotta grow up man.' 'It's not helping our community it's taking jobs away from our community that are very few and far between as it is,' he said. The story, Postl added, has become the latest victim of our 'woke nation'.   'We are in a society and a time of woke and progression and I get that - to an extent-  but this is a fairytale.   'This is a fairytale about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Dwarves are one of the focuses - they are literally in the title."... Jeff Brooks is a 62-year-old actor who lives in Dallas. He has been working as a dwarf actor since 1979, when he was cast as a winking Christmas elf in a holiday commercial for Joske's. He played the yellow dinosaur on The Barney Show on PBS from 1994 to 2001... He said in the duration of his 30-year career, he has rarely been offended by the roles he has been offered.   Snow White, he said, depicts dwarfs in a historically accurate way. 'Dwarfs did work in the mines. They did jobs that were easier to complete by people who are small. They worked in mines, manufacturing, they built planes, cars - all kinds of things that involved a cramped space. Dinklage claimed in his interview that the story perpetuates a story of the dwarves living in caves which is inaccurate.   'In the movie they had their own house. They had a house and they worked in the mines,' he said.   Brooks said it was not offensive to cast little people in the roles or even keep the characters in the film because dwarfs are real... 'He is one guy out of millions of people with dwarfism.   'They are all wanting to be him. If he doesn't want the competition then that is pretty selfish for him to deny other people the right to work.'     'Making the dwarves in Snow White now normal sized people is like taking the cast of Roots and making them white."

Disney’s Clash With Florida Has CEOs on Alert - WSJ - “The No. 1 concern CEOs have is, ‘When should I speak out on public issues?’ ” said Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic and now a senior fellow at Harvard Business School. “As one CEO said to me, ‘I want to speak out on social issues, but I don’t want to get involved in politics.’ Which I said under my breath, ‘That’s not possible.’ ”  Some executives might be relieved. The old idea that CEOs should focus on shareholder returns and stay out of politics lingers in some corporate suites, even in a politicized age of public social-media discussions and more-activist workforces... David Berger, a partner who specializes in corporate governance at law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, said politicians seem increasingly comfortable taking on business when it is advantageous for them. “It used to be that Republicans especially—but both parties—liked big business,” he said. “And now what you’re seeing is both parties like to use big business as political footballs one way or the other.”... Some of the topics of employee pressure involve Republican-backed measures, such as the new abortion law in Texas and new voting laws. Democrats have pushed executives to weigh in, and Republicans have pushed them to keep out. Climate and diversity issues also are hot buttons, as is the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol... Most current CEOs rose by gaining customers or boosting profit margins, not navigating hot-button social issues, and so aren’t trained on how to respond"
Liberals are only against corporate involvement in politics when it goes against causes they like

Backlash prompts State Farm to end program donating trans books to schools - "Insurance company State Farm is discontinuing its support for the controversial GenderCool Project amid backlash following reports that the company was donating books about transgender issues, targeted at 5-year-olds, to schools .  "State Farm's support of a philanthropic program, GenderCool, has been the subject of news and customer inquiries," the company said in a statement to the Washington Examiner late Monday. "This program that included books about gender identity was intended to promote inclusivity. Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents. We don't support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations."...   The swift backlash against the widely recognizable insurance company came after a whistleblower provided the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Consumers' Research with a copy of an internal email encouraging State Farm agents in Florida to help donate packets of books on transgenderism targeted at children aged 5 and over to schools and public libraries.   The company initially defended its support of GenderCool but denied that the books were provided to schools. However, a Facebook post from a Tacoma, Washington-area private school thanking the company for donating the books cast doubt on the company's denial."

How manic bipolar episodes have caused some impulsive hair changes
Since we know many liberals are mentally ill, this coheres

An Excess of Woke Thinking May Harm Mental Health or Relationships - "In practice, the concepts and habits of Wokeism also play out not only in social movements but also in individual personalities and relationships, with conscious or unconscious goals that may be less noble and less healthy. As people instinctively attune to new inverted social hierarchies, some create competitions for social status based on victimhood. Individual relationships can get structured around factors that may aid societal change but are toxic interpersonally: a litany of insults or harms, coupled with frustration, anger, resentment or debts owed. Blaming other people—or the system—can become a habitual response to frustration or disappointment; anger and resentment, a chronic mood state.  Woke people who by accidents of birth (sex, race, etc.) are designated as oppressors, especially straight white males, cannot take this route to legitimacy. But they can gain standing or status as allies, assuming a position of contrition for the sins of their tribe while unquestioningly supporting the oppressed. In doing so, some internalize a sense of chronic shame or even self-loathing.  Given these dynamics, it shouldn’t be surprising that some activists develop habits that can be hard on psychological and relationship health. We know from decades of research that certain kinds of emotional regulation and habits of thought promote individual mental health and positive relationships. Some of the psychological and social dynamics that characterize Wokeism run in the opposite direction... Wokeism elevates intuition, emotion and narrative (lived experience), which are associated with female and indigenous knowledge—sometimes in contradiction of rationality and scientific inquiry, which are seen as “Eurocentric masculinist” ways of knowing. “This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” professor Phoebe A Cohen at Williams College told the New York Times recently.  But evidence-based approaches to mental and interpersonal health (for example, cognitive behavioral therapies, acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive processing therapy, or dialectical behavior therapy) seek a balance between emotion and reason. These approaches improve wellbeing in part by offering alternatives to irrational thoughts and what psychologists call “emotional reasoning.” One goal is to see rather than be our emotions...  Woke social justice theory downplays individuality. Instead, it emphasizes continuity of group identity, treating individuals as proxies for victims or victimizers, past and present... By contrast, developmental psychologists see individuation as a key part of forming healthy adult identity... To avoid false equivalencies and victim blaming, Wokeism encourages external focus rather than introspection on the part of victims. If something bad happens to me or someone like me, I look at outsiders, the role they played, and what I want them to correct rather than interrogating any errors I might be able to correct...   But a focus on the roles of other people or society to the exclusion of my own options and errors can create a mindset that serves social change while simultaneously harming the individual. The question “Why?” easily becomes an accusation rather than an expression of curiosity and a prompt for careful analysis. The scramble to blame someone, preferably some member of another tribe, is a very common normal part of elevated tribal identity, “Who is guilty?” “Who owes something?” “Who deserves to be shamed or shunned or punished?”   By contrast, in thriving individuals and relationships, problem analysis is forward facing, less about guilt than about fixing things... Wokeism broaches little dissent because disagreement is commonly seen as moral failure—racism, sexism, homophobia, or broad indifference to injustice. This leads the woke to call political centrists like Sam Harris or Stephen Pinker as enablers of the “far right.” A person is either an ally or against us. The price of connection is agreement.   By contrast, relationship coaches and counselors often encourage a very different approach to disagreement, one rooted in humility...  One element of woke orthodoxy is that interactions are competitions for power. Members of disadvantaged tribes often assume others are acting to oppress—scanning for and calling out micro-slights that provide confirmatory evidence. In some communities this functions much like religious signalling; members gain status with each other for being particularly quick to denounce transgressions.   Marital therapists, game theorists, organizational consultants and ancient wisdom traditions vary in their terminologies and rationales, but virtually all give relationship advice that runs counter to Wokeism. They generally suggest that we start with a set of positive expectations about other people, make opening overtures that are generous or friendly, seek positive interpretations of their behavior, deliberately overlook small slights, be slow to anger or to escalate conflict, form mutually-beneficial alliances where possible, and move to a posture of defense or aggression only when these fail... Woke theory creates more challenges than most when it seeps into the therapy office because the worldview it prescribes is all-encompassing and evangelistic, akin to some religions. This worldview encourages harm inflationand promotes habits of mind that can run counter to psychological and relationship health."
I like how irrationality is labelled "more than rational" and coded as feminine - a tacit admission that women are irrational

MIT alums: We can't support a school that caved to woke mentality - "We object to MIT’s politically correct measures, including the firing of its Catholic chaplain... We also deplore MIT’s new mandatory diversity training. In the autumn of 2020, MIT sent an email to new and current students informing them that they would be unable to register for spring classes if they failed to undergo wokeness instruction. In the email, MIT outlined two required trainings: one on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” and the other entitled “Sexual Assault Prevention Ongoing: Healthy Relationships.” The compulsory videos contain deftly worded but fatuous questions implying that straight white males are at the “intersection” of all oppressive behaviors. Everyone else is an oppressed victim, with extra points for being a member of multiple minority groups. Thus, the concept of “intersectionality” is a kind of conspiracy theory of victimization.   The most vivid illustration of how far the university has sunk is the disgraceful cancellation of University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot... Abbot had committed the mortal sin of arguing, in Newsweek, that the implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives on college campuses “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.” He proposed instead “an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.”   Instead of championing Abbot’s presentation on Earth’s climate and the identification of planets in other solar systems, MIT pandered to a Twitter mob and canceled the lecture. Princeton’s James Madison Program in Ideals and Institutions invited Abbot to deliver the lecture, which he did (marvelously, we hasten to add) on the day his MIT lecture had been scheduled. The fiasco has, deservedly, received worldwide attention. Pointing out MIT’s lapses and withdrawing our financial support of the offending institution is insufficient. We would like to suggest a way for MIT to return to our good graces and hope it will consider adopting the following principles of fairness."

Cancel Culture Backfire: Princeton U. Picks Up Lecture Axed by MIT After Prof Targeted by Woke Mob - "Abbot said the students wrote a letter claiming he had threatened the “safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the department,” and send it to his department chair.  “The letter demanded that my teaching and research be restricted in a way that would cripple my ability to function as a scientist,” the professor said...   The professor added that “the fact that such stories have become an everyday feature of American life should do nothing to diminish how shocking they are, and how damaging they are to a free society.”  “I view this episode as an example as well as a striking illustration of the threat woke ideology poses to our culture, our institutions and to our freedoms,” he said. “I have consistently maintained that woke ideology is essentially totalitarian in nature: it attempts to corral the entirety of human existence into one narrow ideological viewpoint and to silence anyone who disagrees.”... George announced in a follow-up tweet that the lecture had reached its Zoom limit, adding, “We’ve requested an expansion of the limit to accommodate more people. We’re delighted.”"

Manchester Arena: Man admits vandalising bomb victims' memorial - "A man has admitted vandalising the memorial to the 22 people killed in the Manchester Arena bombing.  Anwar Hosseni, 24, caused £10,000 worth of criminal damage to the white marble halo bearing the names of the people who were murdered in the 2017 attack."
It's all the fault of Islamophobia

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Links - 16th June 2022 (2 - Covid-19)

Had COVID? You’ll probably make antibodies for a lifetime - "Ellebedy’s team tracked antibody production in 77 people who had recovered from mostly mild cases of COVID-19. As expected, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies plummeted in the four months after infection. But this decline slowed, and up to 11 months after infection, the researchers could still detect antibodies that recognized the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein."

A long-term perspective on immunity to COVID - "when the authors obtained samples 4 months later (11 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection), the number of such plasma cells had remained stable in all but one of the individuals analysed. Those plasma cells did not proliferate, which classifies them as bona fide memory plasma cells. Their numbers equalled those of memory plasma cells found in the individuals after vaccination against tetanus or diphtheria, and which provide long-term immunity to those diseases."

We must stop ignoring natural immunity - it’s now long overdue! - "There is now growing body of literature supporting the conclusion that natural immunity not only confers robust, durable, and high-level protection against COVID-19, but also better than vaccine induced immunity"
All this is for natural immunity alone. For those who have completed a primary vaccination series as well as gotten infected, immunity is going to be even more robust

COVID Vax 5 Times More Protective Than Natural Immunity
Maybe those who have gotten vaccinated but not been infected should be subject to Covid Apartheid (VDS in Singapore) to "protect" them

Do you need a second booster shot? An epidemiologist scoured the latest research and has some answers - "In one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists assessed the rates of infection and severe illness after a fourth dose – or second booster – among more than a million people ages 60 and older in Israel. The researchers found that after a fourth dose, the rate of COVID-19 infection was two times lower than after a third dose. However, this protection quickly waned after six weeks. They also found the rate of severe disease was four times lower compared to those who received only three doses. It’s important to note, though, that hospitalizations among both groups were very low.  Importantly, another study assessed the effectiveness of a fourth dose among younger health care workers in Israel. The results confirmed that antibody levels dropped significantly five months after the third dose. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of the fourth dose was no different from the effectiveness of a third dose in this population of younger health care workers. In other words, there may not be meaningful benefit of a second booster of the same formula for young, healthy populations...  The combination of being both vaccinated and having experienced a COVID-19 infection is called “hybrid immunity.” More than 35 studies have shown that hybrid immunity offers complimentary and broad protection. This is because immunity from the vaccines targets the spike protein – after which the COVID-19 vaccines were designed – and infection-induced immunity aims more broadly at the whole virus.    So, it is not unreasonable to skip a second booster with a confirmed infection of omicron. This doesn’t mean that people should purposefully get SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But it is clear that hybrid immunity is a viable path to protection."
"Science" in Singapore is very different from in the rest of the world

Covid worsens asthma in children; booster after infection not as beneficial vs Omicron - "Among people who were previously infected with the coronavirus, a third dose of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna may not boost their protection against the Omicron variant of the virus, according to new data.  Researchers studied nearly 130,000 people tested for Covid in Connecticut from November 2021 through January 2022, including 10,676 with Omicron infections. Roughly 6% to 8% had been infected with previous versions of the coronavirus, according to a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review. Two doses of an mRNA vaccine did help protect against Omicron among people with prior infections, but “we did not detect an additional benefit of receiving a third booster dose among this population”... A separate study from Canada, also posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review, similarly found that more than two vaccine doses “may be of marginal incremental value” for protecting previously-infected individuals against Omicron. The message, Lind said, “should be that (1) people should get two doses of mRNA vaccine regardless of if they have had a prior infection or not, that (2) people without prior infections should get a booster dose and that (3) people with prior infections should consider a booster dose, especially if they are in a high risk group for life threatening complications, but recognize that it may not provide significant additional protection against infection above two doses.”"

Second COVID-19 booster not recommended for people aged 60 to 79, but jabs will be offered if requested: MOH - "The EC19V has also recommended a booster dose for recovered persons aged 12 and above who have completed their primary vaccination, in view of waning immunity. This booster should not be delayed beyond nine months after completing the primary vaccination series, and should be received at least 28 days after the infection.   From Jun 1, these recovered persons will need to receive the booster dose within nine months of their last primary vaccination dose, in order to maintain their vaccinated status...   Dr Mak said this recommendation takes into account recent evidence that the immune protection in recovered people can vary significantly between individuals and wanes over time.  "We cannot assume that a recovered individual will have enhanced immune protection after their recovery from an infection compared to a non-infected individual at a comparable time point following their vaccination"... Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that further booster shots will be required as COVID-19 becomes endemic -  the only question being that of timing. This is the consensus among scientists around the world, and MOH and the EC19V agree...   A "worst-case scenario" would be a variant that is more deadly and more transmissible than Omicron, he warned.  "We may then need to hunker down for six months or more, while scientists develop a new variant-specific vaccine. And this is one of the worst-case scenarios that we need to be psychologically prepared for.""
Covid apartheid is being relaxed, but this is two steps forward, one step back
Wonder what "science" they are looking at to shove a second booster down Singaporeans' throats, with more on the way, as well as pretending natural immunity is useless. GIC must have invested a lot of money in Pfizer and Moderna
Looks like Singapore doesn't believe the vaccines work, since they are prepared to lockdown again

Martin Kulldorff on Twitter - "Lockdowns have protected the laptop class of young low-risk journalists, scientists, teachers, politicians and lawyers, while throwing children, the working class and high risk older people under the bus"

California forgot transgender people in vaccine equity push - Los Angeles Times - "This kind of vaccine hesitancy in the transgender community is common, yet, even on International Transgender Day of Visibility, which was on Wednesday this year, it has been invisible... What data does exist shows that those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, thanks in part to a higher prevalence of underlying health conditions. According to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, LGBTQ people report higher rates of heart disease and obesity than straight people. We’re also more likely to be smokers... California, like most states, has focused most of its vaccine equity efforts on closing income, race and ethnicity gaps, with scant attention paid to sexual orientation or gender identity."
Nothing will ever be enough for liberals, since grievance mongering is their bread and butter
Weird how if trans people are vaccine hesitant, the government needs to hold their hands. But if white conservatives are vaccine hesitant, they are selfish plague rats who deserve to die

The Black community is right to be suspicious of the medical establishment right now | Salon.com
Weird. I thought it was selfish, irresponsible and downright dangerous to excuse vaccine hesitancy

Paraic O'Donnell on Twitter - "Pausing to salute these baby welders who are doing their part to keep key industries running."
The inhumanity of covid hysteria

Thread by @akheriaty on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App - "Japan's ministry of health is taking a sensible, ethical approach to Covid vaccines. They recently labeled the vaccines with a warning about myocarditis and other risks. They also reaffirmed their commitment to adverse event reporting to document potential side-effects. Japan's ministry of health states: "Although we encourage all citizens to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, it is not compulsory or mandatory. Vaccination will be given only with the consent of the person to be vaccinated after the information provided." "Please get vaccinated of your own decision, understanding both the effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases and the risk of side effects. No vaccination will be given without consent." "Please do not force anyone in your workplace or those who around you to be vaccinated, and do not discriminate against those who have not been vaccinated.""
Damn "covid deniers"!

E.U. Says the Emergency Phase of the Pandemic Is Over - The New York Times - "The European Union said on Wednesday that it was moving out of the emergency phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, while focusing on vaccination, pandemic surveillance and testing in preparation for a possible new pandemic wave in the fall.  The move comes as the number of deaths and hospitalizations across Europe has dropped significantly because of the prevalence of the less severe Omicron variant, as well as high immunization levels. Three quarters of Europeans are fully vaccinated, and over half have received a booster shot. As the burden on health care systems by the disease has decreased in recent weeks, several E.U. nations have dropped coronavirus restrictions, creating a confusing patchwork of measures across the bloc."
Time to slam the EU for being dangerous spreaders of misinformation

M'sia will ban the sale of tobacco products to individuals born after 2005 - "the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) said that the ban would affect businesses, The Star reported.  According to Free Malaysia Today, the chamber also predicted an "uncontrollable black market" for tobacco products if the ban took place.  Its executive director, Shaun Cheah, reportedly said that the chamber criticised the "arbitrary setting of policies" which will drive consumers to "unregulated hazardous black market sources".  "Malaysia's tobacco black market currently commands 57 per cent share of the total tobacco market, making the country number one in the world for illegal cigarettes""
John Duffield on Twitter - "Jacinda Ardern is bringing in a law which says that anyone born after 2008 will never be able to buy cigarettes in their lifetime - regardless of their age.   She is a literal dictator."
"Just remember. In the People's Republic of New Zealand tobacco is very bad but enforcing the drugs laws is racist.…"
After the farce of covid lockdowns and covid apartheid, this is nothing.
First, they came for the "unvaccinated"...

Konstantin Kisin on Twitter - "They're not demonising the unvaccinated to get more people protected against COVID. Nearly 93% of adults in England have COVID antibodies. Politicians want the majority to blame the minority for one reason and one reason only: so we don't blame them."

Ben Davis on Twitter - "They locked you in your homes for a year, destroyed businesses, damaged relationships, prohibited you from seeing your loved ones, banned you from attending weddings, birthdays, and funerals, and you’re going to let them convince you that the “unvaccinated” are your enemy?"

Robert W Malone, MD on Twitter - "I am going to speak bluntly. Physicians who speak out are being actively hunted via medical boards and the press. They are trying to deligitimize and pick us off one by one. This is not a conspiracy theory - this is a fact. Please wake up. This is happening globally.
I was labeled as a "terrorist" in the Italian press when I was in Rome for the International COVID Summit. My crime? Advocating for early treatment of COVID-19 disease. I suggest that merits a bit of meditation."
TheRealTachyon on Twitter - "Can confirm. In Alberta the CPSA sent out a letter to physicians threatening them with disciplinary action or loss of medical license for:
-Publicly questioning covid or vaccination policy
-Trying alternative medical treatments on patients
-Giving medical exemptions!"
"The science" and "the experts" are unanimous - because anyone who questions them is silenced

Bernie's Tweets on Twitter - "AUSTRALIA - The army is now transferring positive Covid cases and contacts in the Northern Territories to ‘Quarantine Camps’ by army truck. So it wasn’t a conspiracy theory then. #COVID19 #Australia"

Covid-19: Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is “likely” responsible for deaths of some elderly patients, Norwegian review finds - "The Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 vaccine is “likely” to have been responsible for at least 10 deaths of frail elderly people in nursing homes in Norway, an expert review commissioned by the Norwegian Medicines Agency has concluded... The group noted that more thorough assessment of the benefits and risks of vaccination could have been made for some very frail elderly people, particularly during the first few weeks of the vaccine’s use.  People with a very short life expectancy have little to gain from being vaccinated, it said, noting a genuine risk that the time of death will be brought forward and that they will experience adverse reactions to the vaccine in the last days of their life.  The benefits of vaccination for very frail people with very short life expectancy should therefore be carefully assessed against the associated risks, and it may often be better not to vaccinate... officials suspended the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine because of concerns about blood clots, and in April the Norwegian Institute of Public Health recommended no further use of that vaccine.3  Geir Bukholm, director of the Division of Infection Control and Environmental Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said, “Since there are few people who die from covid-19 in Norway, the risk of dying after vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine would be higher than the risk of dying from the disease, particularly for younger people.”"
Why is Norway so ignorant of "the science"? They need to be ostracised as a nation for being "covid deniers"

We need more scepticism, not less - "John Ioannaidis, a world renowned Stanford epidemiologist, also questioned the lockdown and failed to see how long the pandemic would go on for. But the attacks on Ioannaidis have gone beyond criticism. One fellow epidemiologist even said that scientists like him shouldn’t voice their dissenting opinions in public. Speaking to the Washington Post, Steven Goodman, a colleague of Ioannidis at Stanford, said debate about lockdown should have stayed with the scientists:   ‘Debates among scientists about the evidence are healthy. But if conducted in public the rules change. They can confuse people and undermine the consistent messaging needed for public health.’  This view that only an elite is capable of nuanced discussion would not have seemed out of place in the time of William Tyndale, the radical Protestant who translated the Bible into English – the language of the common people – in the 16th century. His attempt to make the scriptures accessible to the masses was fiercely opposed by the religious establishment in his day. Of course, scientists who make consistently bad predictions should be challenged. But we should also be very careful not to punish people for getting things wrong. That is how science works. People form hypotheses that are proved or disproved... critics of Gupta ignore the key things she has got right. For instance, she was completely correct to warn of lockdown’s disproportionate impact on the poor – particularly in the developing world. This warning has even been echoed by the World Health Organisation, which has advised governments not to use lockdowns as their primary method of controlling the virus. Critics of lockdown have also been right to warn about worsening mental health, damage to children’s education and increases in domestic abuse. I worry that the bullying and hectoring towards lockdown sceptics will lead people to conform out of fear rather than conviction. The debate has become stiflingly moralised: people on one side are good, the other side bad. There is also a startling lack of empathy for how different people might be coping during lockdown... We have foregone so many freedoms this year. Please please please can we keep freedom of inquiry?"
Of course, covid hystericists get a free pass to fearmonger in public

Debt-saddled restaurants desperate for a re-open with staying power | Toronto Sun - "They have seen this horror movie before:  Reopening, Part Four... But there is no guarantee.  “We’re not making money.  We’re dying.  We’re bleeding.  It’s like death by a thousand cuts.  It really is,” said Ginger Robertson, co-owner of The Edmund Burke, on Danforth Ave., and Off the Hook, on Broadview Ave.  She does not understand why restaurants were singled out, while places like the Eaton Centre and food operations at airports continued to have crowds.  “The inconsistencies are killing us,” she said  “It’s been really heartbreaking to have to tell people for the fourth time that you don’t have work for them.”...   The restaurateur said he has run up $200,000 in debts during the pandemic.  “We are getting financially crushed for the greater good while the rest of society — especially the public sector — hasn’t got a financial worry in the world.”  Using debt as life-blood is a move some 80% of restaurants had to make in order to survive, according to Restaurants Canada...   Nearly half (43%) of those in debt said it will take more than 18 months for their business to recover.  Both Danforth restaurant owners are hoping this was the last lockdown. But they just are not sure...   Markakos is just slightly more optimistic “unless some other crazy variant comes along.”  “The other frustrating thing,” he said. “Outside of Ontario and Quebec, is there anywhere else on Earth you can’t go out and have a meal?”"
From January

LILLEY: Ford owes restaurants apology for bizarre reopening decision | Toronto Sun - "Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieran Moore, warned the population against the dangers of allowing children to yell “trick or treat” on Halloween. on Saturday night — a full three weeks before Halloween when children should be careful of yelling “trick or treat” outside — there were nearly 12,000 people yelling and cheering inside Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena as the Leafs hosted the Senators.  While the fans cheered on restaurants in Ottawa and Toronto were left wondering why they were at half capacity or less...   Welcome to the “science” guiding Ontario’s reopening."
From October
When the establishment is hypnotised by masks

LILLEY: Science Table top doc tells restaurant workers 'stop moaning' | Toronto Sun - "The arrogance and utter lack of compassion that some parts of the expert scientific community have shown during the pandemic was on full display... One of the lead scientists on Ontario’s self-appointed and self-important Science Table told restaurant workers and owners to “stop moaning” as he called for their incomes to be cut dramatically...   “What’s the problem with going back to 25% capacity in a restaurant?” Juni asked. “Life will continue.”...   I’m pretty sure this academic researcher who has not missed one of his generous government-funded paycheques during the pandemic thinks little people who don’t earn the high salary he does are just moaning as they worry about their future.   It’s well past patio season in Ontario and putting restaurants down to 25% capacity will mean job losses and business closures. I’m not sure Juni, sitting in his plush Toronto home conducting TV interviews demanding others suffer, really understands this.  His comments were a stark contrast to the comments from the actual head of the Science Table earlier in the day. As he released the Science Table’s latest modelling, Dr. Steini Brown said decisions have to consider the impact on people’s livelihoods... We saw in the recent report from the Canadian Medical Association that thousand of people have died as a result of the impact of public health restrictions. There are those who died as a result of missed surgeries, treatments or diagnostics and then there is the opioid overdose crisis.  Opioid overdose deaths in Canada went from an average of 10 per day prior to the pandemic to 20 per day in the early months of 2021. Substance abuse, driven by despair, is a real issue that elected officials need to consider as they weigh next moves.  Juni doesn’t need to consider issues like this, he sits in his ivory tower producing models that are wrong more often than right while asking people below him to pay the price for his mistakes."

Opinion | How Much More Can the Restaurant Industry Take? - The New York Times - "The week before Christmas, one member of our 41-person staff tested positive for Covid, forcing us to close for the weekend. Over two days, our restaurant lost over $38,000 in revenue. Inspecting our walk-in fridge, I saw thousands of dollars worth of foie gras, white truffles and ducks that had been dry aging for two weeks. I felt a sickeningly familiar sense of uncertainty and fear. I was one of many chefs and owners who felt that old angry exhaustion once again as restaurants big and small confronted yet another challenge... The biggest challenge has been deciding when to reopen, which hinges on the health of our team. On that recent weekend we closed because of the positive Covid case, only five of our employees could secure an appointment for a Covid test. After a long search, I wound up with a cart full of at-home tests and a new membership to Sam’s Club. All told, my chef-partner Aaron Phillips and I spent just shy of $800 on 106 tests. My staff burned through half of them by the following Wednesday, allowing us to safely reopen. Lazy Betty has been lucky. We made smart investments at the start of the pandemic and our reservation policy allowed us to closely manage our food and labor costs. We share our service charges with the front- and back-of-house, which has helped us retain staff. We’ve also delayed paying back our investors and distributing profits to owners to increase our operating capital by roughly 50 percent, which we’ve spent on pandemic-related upgrades.  Others haven’t been so lucky. Some chef friends tell me they are considering another career. No one would fault them... Supply-chain lapses, the rising price of goods and the labor shortage have driven up costs — yet diners still expect prepandemic prices. We need them to continue coming in to eat with the understanding that higher prices are necessary if our industry is to survive."
From December
Living with covid means not shutting down over what is, to vaccinated people, less deadly than the flu

Moral panic about “covidiots” in Canadian newspaper coverage of COVID-19 - "Moral panics are moments of intense and widespread public concern about a specific group, whose behaviour is deemed a moral threat to the collective. We examined public health guidelines in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canadian newspaper editorials, columns and letters to the editor, to evaluate how perceived threats to public interests were expressed and amplified through claims-making processes. Normalization of infection control behaviours has led to a moral panic about lack of compliance with preventive measures, which is expressed in opinion discourse. Following public health guidelines was construed as a moral imperative and a civic duty, while those who failed to comply with these guidelines were stigmatized, shamed as “covidiots,” and discursively constructed as a threat to public health and moral order. Unlike other moral panics in which there is social consensus about what needs to be done, Canadian commentators presented a variety of possible solutions, opening a debate around infection surveillance, privacy, trust, and punishment. Public health communication messaging needs to be clear, to both facilitate compliance and provide the material conditions necessary to promote infection prevention behaviour, and reduce the stigmatization of certain groups and hostile reactions towards them."

'Don't tell me what to do': How Canada underestimated the anti-vaccine community - "Says Driedger: “It’s this tension, right? We’re starting to see this now, of course, within vaccine decisions and it’s so easy to get into a, ‘What’s wrong with all of these people? These people who aren’t accepting of the vaccines. The vaccine is what works, we know it works, what’s their problem?’” “And often that’s really a white liberal discourse in many respects,” said Driedger, an expert in public-health risk communication. “There is often a lot of power and privilege within society, and particularly for white society.”... Van Bavel is co-author of a global study published this week that found a shared sense of national identity leads to more support for public-health measures. “If people don’t feel a need to support their country, or see themselves as an alienated subgroup, then it might undercut their willingness to get vaccinated,” he said.  What worries Caulfield is that the debate over vaccine mandates is increasingly becoming about ideology, misinformation and polarization. “It’s never about the science — it’s about silencing and censorship.”... Once the pandemic dust settles, “we may end up with hesitancy not only for the COVID vaccines, but for other vaccines proven effective.” Health leaders need to reflect on what could have been done better, he said. Mistakes were made around science communication. Some of the language emanating from public health was too dogmatic, Caulfield said. “It didn’t reflect the uncertainty and evolving nature of the science.”  The message “take the first vaccine you’re offered” was changed to mRNA’s are the preferred shots. “Stick with the same vaccine for your second dose was changed to ‘get an mRNA vaccine if your first dose was a viral-vector vaccine,’ or, ‘it’s okay to mix Moderna or Pfizer because they’re basically the same,” Driedger said. “All of these moments start to undermine trust in the recommendations made and the reasons behind them.”"
In other words, demonising the unvaccinated makes them even less likely to get vaccinated. But since they are demonised for political purposes, it's a small price to pay. Governments need scapegoats for covid's spread, since that cannot be controlled

KINSELLA: Delving into the minds of the millions of unvaccinated | Toronto Sun - "government pandemic communications have ranged from incoherent to incomprehensible.  Remember our erstwhile federal minister of health demanding that we don’t wear masks? And then flip-flopping and insisting that we do? Or her insinuation that anyone who wanted to close our borders was a crypto-racist, and then reversing herself on that, too? Or the politicians and the alleged public health experts saying AstraZeneca was safe, then withdrawing it, then saying it was safe again, then withdrawing it yet again? All in a period of a few weeks?  With our leaders and experts so often publicly contradicting each other — and themselves — it should surprise no one that enthusiasm for getting a potentially life-saving jab would drop precipitously. Millions lack confidence in vaccines simply because they have lost confidence in the very governments who are pushing vaccines... Plenty of other factors have contributed to our collective failure to achieve the elusive herd immunity. Geography, education, fear of deportation and lack of access to regular health care are all in the mix, too."
From August. Weird, I thought the vaccines were never designed to bring immunity?

Canadian company under fire for job advert only hiring unvaccinated - "“Please DO NOT apply if you have taken any vaccines for COVID-19,” the Souris River Canoes’s job posting said. “We will only be considering unvaccinated individuals.”"
Of course, hiring only the vaccinated is not just fine but good

GRANT: I'm a doctor who supports vaccines but opposes lashing out at the unvaccinated | Toronto Sun - "While we want everybody at risk to be vaccinated, we are making a mistake if we choose to see bad people, rather than a bad decision. A bad decision can be changed, but a bad person is bad by character.  What reason does a “bad” person have to keep the social contract? This loss of connection and feeling of alienation is manifesting with the increasingly loud and disruptive protests around the world. We must avoid the trap of thinking all people who are unvaccinated are anti-vaccine. Or that all anti-vaccine people are irrational. The unvaccinated are our co-workers, neighbours and friends. They continue to contribute to society, as they always did... If we were to only offer healthcare to people who have never had too much to drink, have always driven below the speed-limit, or who never eat junk food, we wouldn’t be doing a whole lot of health care. I certainly wouldn’t qualify...   I want to leave my last paragraph for the politicians, media outlets and Twitter trolls: If you really, really want more people vaccinated, meet them where they are, acknowledge and understand their fears, be honest, compassionate and patient. Understand also that there are those who will never agree."

Ontario judge declines to impose COVID-19 vaccines on children - "An Ontario judge says he is not prepared to accept as fact that vaccinating children against COVID-19 is what’s best for them simply because it’s encouraged by the government, noting a number of factors – including the children’s own preferences – must be taken into account. In a decision issued last week, Superior Court Justice Alex Pazaratz rejected a father’s motion to have his two younger children – ages 12 and 10 – vaccinated despite their mother’s and their own objections, and cautioned against dismissing certain viewpoints without evidence... Pazaratz warned against allowing personal attacks, rather than debate based on evidence, into the judicial system.  He also cautioned against applying judicial notice in cases “where expert opinion is unclear or in dispute,” noting the government has historically been wrong on many issues, including the residential school system. The judge further noted that health directives have “constantly changed” during the pandemic as new information emerged."

Israel Detects First Case of Florona, A Combined Infection of COVID & Influenza - "A doctor at Cairo University Hospital, Dr Nahla Abdel Wahab, told media sources in the country that the double infection might be indicative of a massive collapse of the person's immune system"
When you need to pump up the fear

From 9/11 to COVID, Every Emergency Means Bigger Government - "For two decades, Americans have been governed by emergency. These emergencies have become excuses for permanent political power grabs, for restrictions on individual liberties large and small, for mass bureaucratization and mass expansion of government spending, trillions of dollars' worth of non-solutions to deep-rooted problems. With every crisis, government grows. And now the crisis is government itself.   You can see this tendency in the response to 9/11...   What did Congress do in response to a threat that exploited America's bureaucratic obesity and dysfunction? It created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a super-bureaucracy charged with organizing a gaggle of other bureaucracies, many of which had little or nothing to do with each other. The solution Congress proposed to the problem of too much bureaucracy and too little bureaucratic coordination was even more bureaucracy, at a higher level. And of course, it hasn't worked; DHS has been plagued by serious management and morale problems, by coordination issues stemming from the large portfolio of unrelated subagencies it oversees, and by wasteful spending. Terrorism, meanwhile, remains a real threat. It didn't solve the problem. It became the problem. And government grew and grew along the way. The DHS was not the only federal byproduct of 9/11. Congress also created the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which proceeded to spend years harassing flyers who pose no threat, installing invasive scanners that nonetheless miss bombs shaped like pancakes, molesting children while failing to catch guns and bombs, and demanding that grandmothers strip off belts and shoes in exchange for the privilege of going from one place to another. In response to a genuine threat, Americans were treated to a new federal agency dedicated to mass groping. The emergency justified it.   The emergency also justified two new wars, one of which we're still fighting today, and thousands upon thousands of casualties, not to mention more than a trillion dollars in spending to fund the war effort.   No one is safer because of these wars; if anything, the opposite is true. But they have helped fuel a bigger, more powerful federal government, one that is more costly, more intrusive, more bureaucratized, operating on a permanent emergency footing, despite doing little or nothing to solve the underlying issue.   The pattern set after 9/11 repeated itself, in a variant form, during the next great emergency, the 2008–2009 financial crisis. Again, the crisis was real—a mass collapse in the economy that put millions out of work and resulted in home values collapsing. People, especially ordinary middle-class people living on tight budgets, were suffering. So Congress, in its wisdom, used emergency powers to hastily set up a system—arguably unconstitutional—to bail out big banks.  After Barack Obama became president, there was a stimulus package too, designed to fund "shovel-ready" jobs that didn't exist. Instead, Obama's stimulus ended up paying make-work projects and boosts to state budgets and official counts of jobs created or saved that made no attempt to actually count the number of jobs created or saved...   The virus was used to justify any number of emergency measures—stay-at-home orders, forced business closures and strict capacity limits, restrictions on gatherings and personal mobility—many of which are still in place, in various forms... it's clear that the broad-based lockdowns and shutdowns that went into effect in March and April of last year were costly, ineffective, and deeply damaging to the country's social and economic infrastructure. And the federal response, especially from agencies nominally charged with defending public health, was marked by a succession of delays and failures, ineptitude and inaction, that doubtless made the pandemic's toll worse.   The good news is that the terrifying death, hospitalization, and infection, numbers that have defined the pandemic so far are dropping, and dropping fast... Which means that the old justifications for emergency measures to fight the spread of the virus are rapidly disappearing. Yet politicians and policy makers do not seem especially ready to end emergency governing, or the general sense of alarm that has fueled so many emergency measures over the last year. As Ross Douthat argued in The New York Times this week, we are rapidly approaching something resembling normalcy, but our political and policy elites don't seem eager to embrace it... Biden is pursuing a massive stimulus package, framed as coronavirus relief, that has little to do with the coronavirus. Instead, much of the aid package is a wishlist of preexisting Democratic policy priorities, from bailing out pensions and padding Obamacare subsidies to raising the federal minimum wage to $15, that are either irrelevant to the crisis or would exacerbate it.  Will we emerge from this crisis safer because of these measures? More nimble? Better prepared for a novel threat? It doesn't matter. It's an emergency...   Something has changed in the relationship between the individual and the state. Something is changing. Little by little, day by day, with every new incursion on liberty, however minor, with every new support program for every business category and demographic group, always justified by extraordinary times and circumstances, the balance of power is shifting. The problem, of course, is that there is always something out of the ordinary, some crisis, some threat, that can be deployed in the name of expunging all risk and variability from daily life. Somehow, this always turns out to require an expansion of government control. We are witnessing this not only in the United States, but in much of the democratic world. In the United Kingdom, which is vaccinating faster than any other Western country, The Wall Street Journal reports that "advisers to the British government say that mask wearing or working from home may have to be reintroduced in winter time to curb outbreaks," and the U.K. Treasury is expected to propose continuing economic support throughout the coming year. The emergency never ends, because someone, somewhere, always needs the emergency to continue."

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