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Offline Eddie

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Nearly Half Of The Twitter Accounts Discussing ‘Reopening America’ May Be Bots
CMU Researchers Say Sophisticated, Orchestrated Bot Campaigns Aim To Sow Divide


They are not Russian Bots or foreign bots of any kind.  The only place bots that promote the re-opening of America come from is America itself.

No one said they are Russian bots. Although the aims of Russian money and big American money are pretty congruent these days.

If you do a search for Russian you will find it on the page.  You are right 'No one said they are Russian bots.' That is the art of it.

"Russian and Chinese playbooks"

So? Are you saying their assertion is wrong?

Force me to take a stand why don't you.  Yes, I will say their assertion is wrong.  I will also say that is the only way they could get their article published.

It isn't the Russians and Chinese who are so hot to reopen......that's what Occam's razor tells me.
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Offline Surly1

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It isn't the Russians and Chinese who are so hot to reopen......that's what Occam's razor tells me.

I think that's quite true. It's likely not their portfolios that are suffering. But both countries have a keen interest in fostering internal discord, which the virus-slurping lunatics offer them.
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Found this and wanted to bring it here. My own thought was that the widespread lack of faith in the government stems from the Kennedy Assassination and the Warren Commission, which was an utter and complete whitewash of what was essentially a right wing coup. From there it's been downhill. The Pentagon Papers were huge. The distaste of three-letter-agency types for reading their secrets splashed across the front page of national newspapers has led directly to the rise of today's surveillance state. And along the way, give full credit to anti-vaxxers, Agenda 21 types, Q-Anon, Benjamin Fulford devotees, and the entire constellation of crackpots. Most sane people just want to turn it off and work in a garden.


From Vietnam to COVID-19, the Arrogance of Ignorance Keeps Killing Americans

CONDEMNED TO REPEAT
The bitter divides in the United States are not new, and unfortunately neither is the multiplication of error that can turn wars—or pandemics—into quagmires.




Clive Irving

On the morning of May 8, 1970, around a thousand mostly young people gathered at the junction of Wall Street and Broad Street to honor four students who had been shot on the campus at Kent State University four days earlier by the Ohio National Guard during a demonstration against Richard Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War.

I was in Lower Manhattan that day and watched as the streets became a battleground that foreshadowed the sort of political polarization in America that remains to this day.

The student demonstration was disrupted suddenly by about 200 construction workers who materialized from nearby sites. Their response had flared up spontaneously from atop scaffolding. They'd shouted derisory taunts of “commies and pinkos” and hurled debris down at the students.

The construction workers in their hard hats yelled “All the way, USA!” with the passion of men who felt that the long-haired war protesters not only were an affront to patriotism but an offense to the commitment of their own families, who had willingly sent their sons off to war. There was a palpable blue collar sense of national duty versus a middle class that was educated and felt entitled to question the logic of war—and also was able to defer the draft, or to dodge it entirely.

There was no reconciling the two factions. The hard hats easily broke through the police lines and set about beating any students they could catch. 

The sudden counter-protest was an unexpected boost for Nixon and hard-hat demonstrations swiftly grew in numbers. On May 20, 150,000 pro-war marchers went unopposed through the streets of Lower Manhattan. Six days later a group of labor union leaders presented the president with a hard hat of his own to show their solidarity. 

Of course, blind support of a catastrophic war did not stop with Vietnam. But it is that conflict which, in its numerous escalations and miscalculations, best reveals the persistent flaw in American political leadership—in both parties—that curses us to this day: the multiplication of error, the doubling down on mistakes.

In Robert Asprey’s masterful 1975 analysis of guerrilla wars, War in the Shadows,he called this the "arrogance of ignorance compounded by arrogance of power.” And what we have learned this year is that the arrogance of ignorance can be every bit as dangerous in a "war" against a pandemic as it was in wars against guerrillas.

ESCALATION

In 1965, the CIA’s analysts took a look at the military’s plan to escalate the bombing of North Vietnam and take out its supply lines of gasoline. They decided that this was “unlikely to cripple the Communist military operations in the South.”

At that point the CIA—or, at least, its politically neutral analysts—had recognized something that future U.S. military planners never were ready to accept: that they were in an asymmetrical war where their massive firepower and weaponry was of very limited use. 

A year later, in 1966, after the U.S. had flown 148,000 sorties against the North and dropped millions of bombs, nothing had blunted the Viet Cong’s offensive in the South. They had no bombers, no helicopters and no heavy artillery, yet they were winning.

President Lyndon Johnson’s defense secretary, Robert McNamara, was infamously dedicated to the doctrine that America, as the pre-eminent technological superpower, was invincible, and remained so. 

The full extent of the error multiplier at work in that war was not publicly known until 1971, and the revelations contained in the Pentagon Papers, first published in the New York Times.

“The slog into quagmires had been dictated by combinations of military hubris and falsehoods.”

These were the contents of a report commissioned in 1967 by McNamara that reviewed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam from 1945. 

The report disclosed an extraordinary history of failures: four administrations, those of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson, had been drawn deeper and deeper into following the so-called Domino Theory, which said that communism would capture the whole of South East Asia unless stopped in its tracks—Vietnam being seen as the first domino, which must not be allowed to fall.

The Kennedy and Johnson administrations launched numerous and often illegal covert operations while they concealed real casualty numbers and the repeated setbacks being suffered on the battlefield. 

One of their persistent motivations was to avoid having to admit a humiliating defeat, and nothing multiplies errors more quickly and dangerously than a scramble to save face.

Johnson had claimed that he wanted “no wider war” while secretly extending it into Cambodia and Laos. He had consistently lied to both Congress and the public. 

REVELATION

The Pentagon report was not delivered until a few days before Johnson left office and it was rejected by his successor, Richard Nixon. Its findings would have remained unknown but for the fact that one of its authors, Daniel Ellsberg, revealed them to the Times.

The impact of the revelations on war vets often was deeply traumatic. As one of them recounted:

“I wasn’t pro-war, I wanted to end it. I knew the body counts were bullshit. I wanted a real end with some justification for all the men who had died. I thought, ‘they should have pulled us out in 65.’

“I was rolling around on the floor of my apartment. I couldn’t fight the pain, I couldn’t succumb to it—it just blew me the fuck away.”
— A Vietnam vet talking about how he felt when he read The Pentagon Papers

“I didn’t know what happened until one Sunday morning I woke up and went downstairs and bought the the New York Times. I opened it up and there were the Pentagon Papers. I read as much as I could on that Sunday afternoon. I became violently ill. … I was rolling around on the floor of my apartment. I couldn’t fight the pain, I couldn’t succumb to it—it just blew me the fuck away.”

In August, 1965, polls showed that 61 percent of the American public supported the war and only 24 percent thought it was an error. By April 1968, 40 percent supported the war while 48 percent thought it an error. By May 1971 only 28 percent still supported the war.

When America finally—and humiliatingly—fled Saigon in the spring of 1975 The Washington Post editorialized: “The fundamental lesson of Vietnam surely is not that we as a people are intrinsically bad, but rather that we are capable of error—and on a gigantic scale.”

LESSONS UNLEARNED

President Barack Obama came into office 34 years later, and he was clear-eyed about how his immediate predecessor, George W. Bush, had been suckered into two more unwinnable wars, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Once again the slog into quagmires had been dictated by combinations of military hubris and falsehoods like those about nonexistent weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 

But Obama soon discovered, as many leaders over the centuries have ruefully admitted, that wars are much easier to start than to finish.

In 2009, Generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen persuaded Obama that, instead of pulling out, he should “surge” in Afghanistan as Bush had done in Iraq, by adding another 33,000 troops to the 68,000 already there.

Once more, the military were offering the hallucinatory idea that increasing the forces would be enough to reverse a failing war. 

“Donald Trump’s aversion to inconvenient truths delivered by science fatally set the conditions for the way he would deal with the novel coronavirus.”

But as soon as the surge forces were pulled out in 2012 the Taliban reappeared and expanded their grip on the countryside. Today they are not only resurgent, they are setting the terms for a U.S. withdrawal in negotiations that keep collapsing and, if completed, will amount to another humiliating defeat for America.

In Iraq, Obama honored an agreement made by Bush with the Iraqis to withdraw all U.S. forces by the end of 2011 (with the support of three-quarters of the American people). 

As in Afghanistan, the withdrawal was followed by disintegration and bloody anarchy. The centuries-old blood feud between the Sunnis and Shiites reignited and a vicious new menace appeared, the so-called Islamic State. By 2016 there were 5,000 U.S. troops back in Iraq, assisting the Iraqis to drive ISIS from its stronghold in Mosul and crush the so-called caliphate.

Obama was prudent enough to fear the error multiplier, and refused to join in the Syrian war even when his chemical weapons "red line" was crossed by the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Yet he was was led into one intervention that he later confessed was the worst mistake of his presidency, joining the NATO-led bombing of Libya in 2011 that led to the death of Muammar Gaddafi and the disintegration of the country that still plagues it today. 

OMISSION STATEMENTS

This long trail of American entrapment in foreign wars always involved multiplying what were fundamentally errors of commission. But now, as we are locked in a global struggle with the novel coronavirus, the multiplying errors in the White House are the reverse of that, errors of omission, and they can be just as deadly.

After the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the National Security Council’s remit was expanded with the inclusion of the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense. 

“Yes, much is re-opening, but with consequences only the arrogance of ignorance could obscure. ”

Its staff were essential canaries in the coal mine, part of a global network of scientists who had tracked the development of SARS, “an atypical pneumonia” that first appeared in southern China in 2002, and MERS, a virus identified in 2012 that may have originated in Egyptian tomb bats. To the experts, both were ominous precursors of what they feared would be a potent new virus capable of triggering a pandemic.

None of the scientists believed, however good the intelligence, that a new virus would ever be stifled at birth. They did believe that with proper planning an outbreak could be contained before becoming an epidemic or a pandemic. Quick response was of the essence, and governments should never let a virus dictate its own speed of contagion.

MAGICAL THINKING

After John Bolton became national security adviser, the directorate was shut down and the canaries were dispersed. Donald Trump’s aversion to inconvenient truths delivered by science fatally set the conditions for the way he would deal with the novel coronavirus threat, dismissing it for two months as no worse than the flu and asserting that by some “miracle” it would leave America virtually untouched. 

Unfortunately for us, this was the mother of all multipliers. For every day that was lost before the states began to lock down, thousands of people died. 

Added to the magical thinking was the kind of blatant cooking of the statistics that the U.S. military indulged in during the Vietnam War. When Trump did not like the mortality predictions of the administration’s own scientists, he turned to someone with no medical acumen at all, Kevin Hassett, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“Trump, incapable of admitting any errors, will, for sure, go on repeating them.”

Hassett concocted what he called a new “cubic model” for predicting the American death rate, with a graphic that showed the rate falling to zero by May 15. This backed up Vice President Mike Pence’s asinine happy talk that it would be safe for the whole country to open up by Memorial Day. And yes, much is re-opening, but with consequences only the arrogance of ignorance could obscure. 

Meanwhile the University of Washington’s epidemiologists have been predicting 135,000 deaths by August 1, assuming the “premature relaxation of restrictions” that is now under way. 

Long before that, on current trends, the death rate in America after just six months of the pandemic will be more than double the number of Americans killed in the 20 years of the Vietnam War, 58,318.

And so it goes. Trump, incapable of admitting any errors, will, for sure, go on repeating them. He has a lot of company.

« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 03:41:17 AM by Surly1 »
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Surly1

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People
« Reply #4278 on: May 27, 2020, 03:38:29 AM »
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People
By Masha Gessen



The culture wars around the coronavirus pandemic center on conflicting ideas of freedom, revealing an utter lack of national common cause.Photograph by Peter Zay / Anadolu Agency / Getty

May 26, 2020

Late last week, a video compilation started making the rounds, showing customers in public places of business—Costco, Walmart, a Red Lobster—refusing to wear masks or to observe social distancing, and, when called out on their negligence, demonstratively coughing and even spitting on the mostly low-wage employees who were trying to enforce basic safety guidelines. These are the images of the current culture war, fought and framed, like other American culture wars, around conflicting ideas of freedom. “I woke up in a free country,” a disgruntled Costco customer says. “What freedom is being sacrificed by wearing a mask?” a Twitter user asks. “The freedom to not wear a fucking mask,” another responds.

Political theorists have long made a distinction between negative freedom and positive freedom, or, as the social psychologist Erich Fromm put it, “freedom from” and “freedom to.” Negative freedom is the freedom from constraint, the sort of freedom that teen-agers demand when they want you to stop telling them what to do. This is also the sort of freedom Americans most often mean when we talk about freedom: individual liberty.

Positive freedom is the freedom not from others but with others; one might call it social and political freedom. In a classic lecture, titled “Two Concepts of Liberty,” Isaiah Berlin, the twentieth-century British thinker, said that the “positive” sense of liberty comes to light if we try to answer the question not “What am I free to do or be?” but “By whom am I ruled?” or “Who is to say what I am, and what I am not, to be or do?” The connection between democracy and individual liberty is a good deal more tenuous than it seemed to many advocates of both. The desire to be governed by myself, or, at any rate, to participate in the process by which my life is to be controlled, may be as deep a wish as that of a free area for action, and perhaps historically older. But it is not a desire for the same thing.

Positive freedom, Berlin said, is the freedom to be intentional: “I wish to be the instrument of my own, not of other men’s acts of will. I wish to be a subject, not an object; to be moved by reasons, by conscious purposes, which are my own, not by causes which affect me, as it were, from outside. I wish, above all, to be conscious of myself as a thinking, willing, active being, bearing responsibility for my choices and able to explain them by references to my own ideas and purposes. I feel free to the degree that I believe this to be true, and enslaved to the degree that I am made to realize that it is not.”

Berlin was not arguing that one concept of freedom is better than the other. A student of Russia, he was keenly aware that tyrannies can be built on ideologies of a greater good, and that extreme oppression can be propped up with rhetoric of freedom. But seeing freedom as merely the absence of coercion, he thought, was insufficient. His argument was that the two concepts of freedom have to coexist, even if sometimes they collide.

Wearing a mask can be seen as an act of positive freedom: the choice of a conscious member of society. It is difficult to consider enforced mask-wearing as a form of unfreedom, for even the individual-liberty fundamentalism of John Stuart Mill drew a line at actions that can harm others—one person’s freedom can end where another’s safety begins. To claim that being compelled to wear a mask is a violation of one’s liberty is to reject either the premise that wearing one can protect others or the humanity of those who are being endangered. Anti-lockdown protesters and mask resisters routinely misrepresent or misinterpret the risks of coronavirus transmission. When they cough and spit on others, they dehumanize those who might dare to tell them what to do.

The long-term effects of living our social lives at a distance, with half of our faces covered, are profound, and the threat we as a society are facing—the number of people who have died, and will die, and the economic devastation wreaked alongside the deaths—is hard to overstate. Because the stakes are so high, mask-wearing and social distancing have to be embraced as a common project, an undertaking in positive freedom, and not merely a curtailment of individual liberty. But, for that to happen, we need to be able to speak about common cause—a way of speaking that seems nearly extinct in American politics. In a speech last Friday, the Republican governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, nearly came to tears as he tried to convince the residents of his state that wearing a mask was not an irrational act or a sign of belonging to the Democratic Party. “If somebody wants to wear a mask, there should be no mask-shaming,” he pleaded. “The first thing that somebody ought to assume is that they’re doing it because they’ve got people in their life that they love and that they’re trying to take care of.” New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has released a P.S.A. in which he frames mask-wearing as an act of respect for others, as a statement and a sacrifice but not an empowering act. “This mask says, I respect the nurses and the doctors who killed themselves through this virus to save other people,” Cuomo’s message begins. New York State ran a contest for thirty-second video ads to promote the use of masks. Of the five finalists, only one frames mask-wearing as collective rather than individual action.

For a sense of common cause to appear, there has to be a sense of us: a community that is facing a threat and mounting a response. But we have vastly different experiences of the pandemic and vastly different expectations of the government. The anti-mask people in the viral videos are all white, and, it appears, all or most of them live in suburbs or exurbs. They seem to see mask-wearing as a kind of tyrannical virtue-signalling; they expect to be served and assume they are safe, both from the virus and from facing any consequences for flouting the rules or physically harming others. In my neighborhood, in Harlem, which is one of the hardest-hit areas of New York City, common cause is a scarce commodity for starkly different reasons. Here the city’s guidelines are enforced by police officers who started by aggressively arresting people for failing to social-distance, and who now pull up to gaggles of mostly maskless teen-agers to try to get them to disperse. The police cruiser’s flashing-blue display of a social-distancing message taps into a long-familiar experience of over-policing that has little to do with keeping the neighborhood residents safe.

The real threat to freedom in the pandemic is not the threat to individual liberty; it is the threat to positive freedom, the freedom to be a community, a society, a polis. The screaming arguments about masks and lockdowns serve as a distraction from that much more difficult question, and from a sacrifice that is made much too lightly, as when Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York, saidearlier this month that demonstrations in the city would be broken up by the police even if protesters are observing social-distancing guidelines. Twice in the weeks leading up to those remarks, police had stopped protests by L.G.B.T.Q. activists against Samaritan’s Purse, an explicitly anti-gay organization that ran a field hospital in Central Park in April.

Two weekends ago, the protesters were back in Central Park, marking the departure of the field hospital. A couple dozen people stood at least six feet apart. Several held a rainbow-flag banner, narrow and very long, to enable holding it while maintaining social distancing. Whenever someone approached the protest, one of the marshals would say, “You are welcome to join. Please wear your mask and maintain at least six feet distance.” One of the people on the lawn, the lawyer and longtime activist Bill Dobbs, regarded the protest with sadness even as he participated. “To have serious resistance, you have to have a meeting of the minds,” he told me. “And, for that, you have to have people in one room.”

In our public space, one person continues to claim the freedom to be in a room with others. The President, as is his talent, succeeds in shifting our attention from that which is truly remarkable—the spectacle of him speaking with others, meeting new people, travelling—to an absurd game of suspense: Will he or won’t he wear a mask? His supporters, meanwhile, succeed in shifting our attention from considering the essential question of freedom during the pandemic—the question of how to forge and maintain common cause—to thinking about the freedom to spit on others.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Cam

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Re: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People
« Reply #4279 on: May 27, 2020, 05:50:19 AM »
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Spitting on Other People
By Masha Gessen



The culture wars around the coronavirus pandemic center on conflicting ideas of freedom, revealing an utter lack of national common cause.Photograph by Peter Zay / Anadolu Agency / Getty

May 26, 2020

Late last week, a video compilation started making the rounds, showing customers in public places of business—Costco, Walmart, a Red Lobster—refusing to wear masks or to observe social distancing, and, when called out on their negligence, demonstratively coughing and even spitting on the mostly low-wage employees who were trying to enforce basic safety guidelines. These are the images of the current culture war, fought and framed, like other American culture wars, around conflicting ideas of freedom. “I woke up in a free country,” a disgruntled Costco customer says. “What freedom is being sacrificed by wearing a mask?” a Twitter user asks. “The freedom to not wear a fucking mask,” another responds.

Political theorists have long made a distinction between negative freedom and positive freedom, or, as the social psychologist Erich Fromm put it, “freedom from” and “freedom to.” Negative freedom is the freedom from constraint, the sort of freedom that teen-agers demand when they want you to stop telling them what to do. This is also the sort of freedom Americans most often mean when we talk about freedom: individual liberty.

Positive freedom is the freedom not from others but with others; one might call it social and political freedom. In a classic lecture, titled “Two Concepts of Liberty,” Isaiah Berlin, the twentieth-century British thinker, said that the “positive” sense of liberty comes to light if we try to answer the question not “What am I free to do or be?” but “By whom am I ruled?” or “Who is to say what I am, and what I am not, to be or do?” The connection between democracy and individual liberty is a good deal more tenuous than it seemed to many advocates of both. The desire to be governed by myself, or, at any rate, to participate in the process by which my life is to be controlled, may be as deep a wish as that of a free area for action, and perhaps historically older. But it is not a desire for the same thing.

Positive freedom, Berlin said, is the freedom to be intentional: “I wish to be the instrument of my own, not of other men’s acts of will. I wish to be a subject, not an object; to be moved by reasons, by conscious purposes, which are my own, not by causes which affect me, as it were, from outside. I wish, above all, to be conscious of myself as a thinking, willing, active being, bearing responsibility for my choices and able to explain them by references to my own ideas and purposes. I feel free to the degree that I believe this to be true, and enslaved to the degree that I am made to realize that it is not.”

Berlin was not arguing that one concept of freedom is better than the other. A student of Russia, he was keenly aware that tyrannies can be built on ideologies of a greater good, and that extreme oppression can be propped up with rhetoric of freedom. But seeing freedom as merely the absence of coercion, he thought, was insufficient. His argument was that the two concepts of freedom have to coexist, even if sometimes they collide.

Wearing a mask can be seen as an act of positive freedom: the choice of a conscious member of society. It is difficult to consider enforced mask-wearing as a form of unfreedom, for even the individual-liberty fundamentalism of John Stuart Mill drew a line at actions that can harm others—one person’s freedom can end where another’s safety begins. To claim that being compelled to wear a mask is a violation of one’s liberty is to reject either the premise that wearing one can protect others or the humanity of those who are being endangered. Anti-lockdown protesters and mask resisters routinely misrepresent or misinterpret the risks of coronavirus transmission. When they cough and spit on others, they dehumanize those who might dare to tell them what to do.

The long-term effects of living our social lives at a distance, with half of our faces covered, are profound, and the threat we as a society are facing—the number of people who have died, and will die, and the economic devastation wreaked alongside the deaths—is hard to overstate. Because the stakes are so high, mask-wearing and social distancing have to be embraced as a common project, an undertaking in positive freedom, and not merely a curtailment of individual liberty. But, for that to happen, we need to be able to speak about common cause—a way of speaking that seems nearly extinct in American politics. In a speech last Friday, the Republican governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum, nearly came to tears as he tried to convince the residents of his state that wearing a mask was not an irrational act or a sign of belonging to the Democratic Party. “If somebody wants to wear a mask, there should be no mask-shaming,” he pleaded. “The first thing that somebody ought to assume is that they’re doing it because they’ve got people in their life that they love and that they’re trying to take care of.” New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, has released a P.S.A. in which he frames mask-wearing as an act of respect for others, as a statement and a sacrifice but not an empowering act. “This mask says, I respect the nurses and the doctors who killed themselves through this virus to save other people,” Cuomo’s message begins. New York State ran a contest for thirty-second video ads to promote the use of masks. Of the five finalists, only one frames mask-wearing as collective rather than individual action.

For a sense of common cause to appear, there has to be a sense of us: a community that is facing a threat and mounting a response. But we have vastly different experiences of the pandemic and vastly different expectations of the government. The anti-mask people in the viral videos are all white, and, it appears, all or most of them live in suburbs or exurbs. They seem to see mask-wearing as a kind of tyrannical virtue-signalling; they expect to be served and assume they are safe, both from the virus and from facing any consequences for flouting the rules or physically harming others. In my neighborhood, in Harlem, which is one of the hardest-hit areas of New York City, common cause is a scarce commodity for starkly different reasons. Here the city’s guidelines are enforced by police officers who started by aggressively arresting people for failing to social-distance, and who now pull up to gaggles of mostly maskless teen-agers to try to get them to disperse. The police cruiser’s flashing-blue display of a social-distancing message taps into a long-familiar experience of over-policing that has little to do with keeping the neighborhood residents safe.

The real threat to freedom in the pandemic is not the threat to individual liberty; it is the threat to positive freedom, the freedom to be a community, a society, a polis. The screaming arguments about masks and lockdowns serve as a distraction from that much more difficult question, and from a sacrifice that is made much too lightly, as when Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York, saidearlier this month that demonstrations in the city would be broken up by the police even if protesters are observing social-distancing guidelines. Twice in the weeks leading up to those remarks, police had stopped protests by L.G.B.T.Q. activists against Samaritan’s Purse, an explicitly anti-gay organization that ran a field hospital in Central Park in April.

Two weekends ago, the protesters were back in Central Park, marking the departure of the field hospital. A couple dozen people stood at least six feet apart. Several held a rainbow-flag banner, narrow and very long, to enable holding it while maintaining social distancing. Whenever someone approached the protest, one of the marshals would say, “You are welcome to join. Please wear your mask and maintain at least six feet distance.” One of the people on the lawn, the lawyer and longtime activist Bill Dobbs, regarded the protest with sadness even as he participated. “To have serious resistance, you have to have a meeting of the minds,” he told me. “And, for that, you have to have people in one room.”

In our public space, one person continues to claim the freedom to be in a room with others. The President, as is his talent, succeeds in shifting our attention from that which is truly remarkable—the spectacle of him speaking with others, meeting new people, travelling—to an absurd game of suspense: Will he or won’t he wear a mask? His supporters, meanwhile, succeed in shifting our attention from considering the essential question of freedom during the pandemic—the question of how to forge and maintain common cause—to thinking about the freedom to spit on others.

The sign saying 'resist the muzzle' is interesting to me. Not because it also says masks kill, that's only if you try and swallow one and choke on it maybe. What are muzzles for exactly? To stop dogs from biting other dogs and hurting them. Okay. What are masks for? In my view they are a way of protecting others from yourself incase you unknowingly have the virus. They stop, or at least reduce the risk of you 'biting' (infecting) someone else. Of course I know I am in the minority when it comes to that view. Most people, here in my town at least see masks as a way to protect oneself with very little thought to others safety. Four months into this pandemic I STILL am getting bewildered looks from people when they see me with a mask on. On my good days when I get those looks, I'm pretty patient and think about how this is a strange cultural change for all of us. On my less patient days I want to yell at people to do some goddamn reading and maybe some actual thinking about their actions before giving me a weird look for covering my mouth and nose. I've been asked about it quite a few times now, and people expect something like, "This virus is very deadly and I need to protect myself!" I actually say that it is to protect other people in case I'm carrying the virus and don't know it. I usually add that the more mask wearing people the better. Then they look sort of uncomfortable and change the topic. More and more people are wearing masks now which is a delight to see. People might be beginning to think in terms of the collective. Or they're just focused on protecting themselves. Either way, it helps everyone.


It's always interesting to see the American perspective then to compare it to how things are here in the Great White North.



Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4280 on: May 27, 2020, 06:30:45 AM »
I'm guessing that you could do some interesting studies that would show that mask wearing is more common in people with better educations...and maybe just higher IQ's in general, than it is in the general population of the Great Unwashed.

Dumb people get it when somebody they know personally coughs up their lungs and dies drowning int heir own fluids. Otherwise it's "I can't see it so it isn't my problem".

What this pandemic will do, one way or another, is to educate the uneducated and even the intellectually challenged...which will eventually lead to this "anti-mask" social phenomenon  fading into history.

They will learn or they will die.....if this disease lingers for long, and keeps killing people.

The mask people will live and the unmasked will die....because wearing mask does protect the wearer as well as other people. But people are inherently selfish, and so saving oneself is a higher priority.

It takes a higher level of being civilized to care about the other...or indoctrination. In Asian countries there is a lot of the latter..and so the public good is an easier sell.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline RE

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4281 on: May 27, 2020, 06:40:27 AM »
I'm guessing that you could do some interesting studies that would show that mask wearing is more common in people with better educations...and maybe just higher IQ's in general, than it is in the general population of the Great Unwashed.

Dumb people get it when somebody they know personally coughs up their lungs and dies drowning int heir own fluids. Otherwise it's "I can't see it so it isn't my problem".

What this pandemic will do, one way or another, is to educate the uneducated and even the intellectually challenged...which will eventually lead to this "anti-mask" social phenomenon  fading into history.

They will learn or they will die.....if this disease lingers for long, and keeps killing people.

The mask people will live and the unmasked will die....because wearing mask does protect the wearer as well as other people. But people are inherently selfish, and so saving oneself is a higher priority.

It takes a higher level of being civilized to care about the other...or indoctrination. In Asian countries there is a lot of the latter..and so the public good is an easier sell.

As George Mobus said in our chat, it's a question of how many Darwin Awards we will give out, and to whom.

Repugnants will have a hard time electing anybody if half of them are dead.

RE
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Offline Surly1

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4282 on: May 27, 2020, 06:47:35 AM »
I'm guessing that you could do some interesting studies that would show that mask wearing is more common in people with better educations...and maybe just higher IQ's in general, than it is in the general population of the Great Unwashed.

Dumb people get it when somebody they know personally coughs up their lungs and dies drowning int heir own fluids. Otherwise it's "I can't see it so it isn't my problem".

What this pandemic will do, one way or another, is to educate the uneducated and even the intellectually challenged...which will eventually lead to this "anti-mask" social phenomenon  fading into history.

They will learn or they will die.....if this disease lingers for long, and keeps killing people.

The mask people will live and the unmasked will die....because wearing mask does protect the wearer as well as other people. But people are inherently selfish, and so saving oneself is a higher priority.

It takes a higher level of being civilized to care about the other...or indoctrination. In Asian countries there is a lot of the latter..and so the public good is an easier sell.

Yep. This flap will look much different in 18 months. And it will be viewed by the survivors, the people who wore masks.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline Cam

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4283 on: May 27, 2020, 07:26:37 AM »
I'm guessing that you could do some interesting studies that would show that mask wearing is more common in people with better educations...and maybe just higher IQ's in general, than it is in the general population of the Great Unwashed.

Dumb people get it when somebody they know personally coughs up their lungs and dies drowning int heir own fluids. Otherwise it's "I can't see it so it isn't my problem".

What this pandemic will do, one way or another, is to educate the uneducated and even the intellectually challenged...which will eventually lead to this "anti-mask" social phenomenon  fading into history.

They will learn or they will die.....if this disease lingers for long, and keeps killing people.

The mask people will live and the unmasked will die....because wearing mask does protect the wearer as well as other people. But people are inherently selfish, and so saving oneself is a higher priority.

It takes a higher level of being civilized to care about the other...or indoctrination. In Asian countries there is a lot of the latter..and so the public good is an easier sell.

Yep. This flap will look much different in 18 months. And it will be viewed by the survivors, the people who wore masks.

Yeah the 'education' is certainly happening. Just a month and a half ago I would get eye rolls from some middle aged folks who saw me covering my face. Now they just look scared. And quite a few of them have started to have some sense.

Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4284 on: May 27, 2020, 11:54:04 AM »
I'm guessing that you could do some interesting studies that would show that mask wearing is more common in people with better educations...and maybe just higher IQ's in general, than it is in the general population of the Great Unwashed.

Dumb people get it when somebody they know personally coughs up their lungs and dies drowning int heir own fluids. Otherwise it's "I can't see it so it isn't my problem".

What this pandemic will do, one way or another, is to educate the uneducated and even the intellectually challenged...which will eventually lead to this "anti-mask" social phenomenon  fading into history.

They will learn or they will die.....if this disease lingers for long, and keeps killing people.

The mask people will live and the unmasked will die....because wearing mask does protect the wearer as well as other people. But people are inherently selfish, and so saving oneself is a higher priority.

It takes a higher level of being civilized to care about the other...or indoctrination. In Asian countries there is a lot of the latter..and so the public good is an easier sell.

Yep. This flap will look much different in 18 months. And it will be viewed by the survivors, the people who wore masks.

Yeah the 'education' is certainly happening. Just a month and a half ago I would get eye rolls from some middle aged folks who saw me covering my face. Now they just look scared. And quite a few of them have started to have some sense.
yup, from where I am it all seems so crazy. Wear a damn mask in public and save grandma... Anyways, here is social distancing northern style... 31 degrees celcius at 1 pm...
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4285 on: May 27, 2020, 11:57:58 AM »
Looks colder from here....lol. But beautiful, nonetheless. What's the water temp?
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4286 on: May 27, 2020, 12:41:53 PM »
Looks colder from here....lol. But beautiful, nonetheless. What's the water temp?
21C 72f? close to the surface much colder about 4ft down.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

Offline Eddie

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4287 on: May 27, 2020, 12:49:21 PM »
Brrrrr. I would love to jump in that lake.....for five seconds.....in about another month..hehehe.

Truly beautiful, I would love to see it in person. Nice looking place to camp, for sure.
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Offline Nearingsfault

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #4288 on: May 27, 2020, 01:00:15 PM »
That is right off the boat launch on the lake at the end of my road.
Usually it's just a firepit for bugs or an afternoon cookout. The girls spent 30 minutes in the water. I topped out at 15.
If its important then try something, fail, disect, learn from it, try again, and again and again until it kills you or you succeed.

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Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening
« Reply #4289 on: May 28, 2020, 06:54:38 AM »
Red States play three-card monte with the figures. How do they figure they will get away with this?

Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening
Test counts inflated, death tolls deflated, metrics shifted.



Healthcare workers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment check in with people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 at the state's first drive-up testing center. | Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus' spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly.

In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from POLITICO, other news outlets and the states' own admissions. Some states have shifted the metrics for a “safe” reopening; Arizona sought to clamp down on bad news at one point by simply shuttering its pandemic modeling. About a third of the states aren’t even reporting hospital admission data — a big red flag for the resurgence of the virus.

The spotty data flow is particularly worrisome to public health officials trying to help Americans make decisions about safely venturing out. The lack of accurate and consistent Covid-19 data, coupled with the fact that the White House no longer has regular briefings where officials reinforce the need for ongoing social distancing, makes that task even harder.

New examples seem to sprout up daily. The District of Columbia this week became the latest jurisdiction to endure scrutiny, with the city using a “community spread” metric — excluding nursing homes, correctional facilities and others — as a justification for reopening the area.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters that the state will share information about outbreaks at meatpacking plants only upon request. And Georgia has only just begun to differentiate between the two types of coronavirus tests it's been adding into its testing totals for weeks.

“All these stories about undercounts, overcounts, miscounts, are undermining our ability to deal with the pandemic,” said Irwin Redlener, a public health expert at Columbia University. The country, he said, is confronting an “unheard of level of chaos in the data, the protocols, the information.”

The problems are widespread and have infiltrated federal health agencies as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blended diagnostic and antibody tests, boosting the nation's overall testing numbers.

The Department of Health and Human Services took out of context data on the danger of “deaths of despair” from overdoses and suicides amid an economic debacle, according to the authors of the report in question. On Tuesday, an ethics center at Harvard rebuked the White House for misleadingly citing numbers from one of its studies to buttress the administration's national testing report.

Nearly half the U.S., meanwhile, has registered rising caseloads as states press ahead with reopening the economy. While some of that reflects increased testing, an accompanying uptick in hospitalizations is worrying experts, including former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.

The White House, which has insisted it's following a “data-driven path” to reopening, did not respond to questions about the data that it’s relying on.

But within the Trump administration, some officials aren’t merely ignoring the warning signs. They’re also selectively using scientific advice and models in their quest for a swift reopening. For instance, HHS Secretary Alex Azar warned during a recent Cabinet meeting that the U.S. could see 65,000 additional “deaths of despair” if the country does not get back on track to normalcy soon.

In reality, the study he cited explicitly warned against lifting lockdowns before health data showed it was safe to do so.

“Some might use this report to argue that this is why our economy needs to open up fast. But that’s NOT what we are saying,” wrote the authors of the report, which was published by the American Academy of Family Physicians and Well Being Trust. “Even as of today parts of the country are opening, data suggest that this is premature due to a lack of consistent testing, which allows public health authorities to trace, treat and isolate to prevent further spread.”

Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics similarly publicly chastised the administration. HHS used one of the center’s testing models to suggest the U.S. was already testing enough people to contain the virus — when the center was arguing that testing is woefully inadequate to ensure a safe reemergence from “stay at home.”

“The Department’s Report does not provide an accurate summary of the modeling supporting our recommendations,” said the center’s director, adding that HHS had cited a “nonprimary” model in the study’s appendix and then adjusted the assumptions underpinning it.

The data challenges are making it even harder for the states to balance health and economic imperatives. In addition to pulling back from its historic role as the central health authority during public health crises, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established few firm standards for how states should monitor Covid-19 and made little overt effort to coordinate its messaging with state and local health departments.

That’s created a patchwork system where key health information is collected and communicated with little uniformity, and amid rising concern over whether Americans are receiving reliable reports about the pandemic fight.

At least a half-dozen states have admitted to inflating their testing figures by mixing two different types of tests into its totals, a practice widely derided as scientifically unsound.

In Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp has been among the strongest proponents of reopening, the inclusion of antibody tests inflated the state’s overall testing count by nearly 78,000 — a disclosure that came a few weeks after officials posted a chart of new confirmed cases in Georgia with the dates jumbled out of order, showing a downward trajectory.

Like several other states, Georgia's health department began listing separate totals for its antibody and diagnostic test counts only after reporters discovered it had been quietly combining the two.

Georgia's count of hospitalized coronavirus patients also includes only those who were already in the hospital when their diagnosis was reported to the state, a limitation that the state has openly admitted likely creates “an underestimation of actual hospitalizations.”

“It’s going through political filters there in the same way that maybe we’re seeing some information go through political filters at the federal level,” said Harry Heiman, a professor at Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, of the state’s coronavirus data. “It makes it really hard to know what’s going on.”

Florida has weathered a string of controversies over its evidence to support GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ boasts that the state is faring better than most, including an attempt to block access to information on nursing home deaths and the firing of a health department official who now alleges she was pushed out for refusing to manipulate the state’s data.

A separate dispute involved the health department’s attempt to suppress the coronavirus death count published by Florida’s medical examiners — a figure that was initially higher than health officials’ tally.

“Never, before today, has the Department of Health raised an eyebrow that this information is confidential and privileged,” said Stephen Nelson, the district medical examiner for Polk County, Fla.

By the time the examiners’ death toll was finally released almost two weeks later amid public pressure, the number was lower than the one published by the health department.

Quote
"I have never seen politicians come in like this and question the science."

Melissa Marx, public health professor at Johns Hopkins University
States led by Democratic governors haven’t been immune from transparency questions either. New Jersey revised down its nursing home coronavirus death count by about 1,400 after concluding it would only count those with a lab-confirmed diagnosis of the disease, a move a GOP state legislator called a “whitewash.”

And Illinois briefly drew fire after it limited its public reporting on nursing home cases and deaths to only those with “active” outbreaks — a decision that the state quickly reversed.

Nursing homes have been particularly weak on transparency, with state leaders trying to give the appearance of a blunted impact for older Americans.

“Political leaders would like to trim their numbers, and a convenient way to do that is to count only those deaths that are proven by testing to involved Covid-19,” said Joanne Lynn, a former geriatrician and current analyst at Altarum. Some officials within the Trump administration have embraced this approach amid skepticism over the rising national death toll.

Data suppression in nursing homes is a particularly hard blow in a sector that has historically struggled for transparency. In a Senate Aging Committee hearing last week, one expert noted: “Right now, [patients and caregivers] can't easily find which ones have Covid outbreaks. We need to give them that information so they can make good decisions.”

Those abrupt alterations make it more difficult to track the progression of the virus as the pandemic response fragments — and to hold political leaders accountable for their decisions.

“I have never seen politicians come in like this and question the science,” said Melissa Marx, a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University and former CDC official. “In my mind, it’s unprecedented.”

Yet unlike in past public health emergencies, the Trump administration has signaled little interest in overseeing how states combat the pandemic in this next phase, and what evidence they rely on to do it.

In response to questions about states manipulating and altering their coronavirus data, an HHS spokesperson told POLITICO that “state leaders have the clearest insights into the situation on the ground in their states, and we stand ready to provide support as states begin to reopen safely.”

As for the CDC, the vaunted public health agency spent the past week under fire for its own data issues, after confirming it, too, was combining different types of tests in calculating the nation’s testing totals. The CDC, which blamed the lapse on combined testing numbers reported by individual states, said it will break out figures for the different tests “in the coming weeks.”

It’s an environment that threatens to erode public trust, experts warn. “You want people to trust what authorities are telling them,” said Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and that trust is going to be difficult to earn.

Sam Sutton contributed to this report.
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

 

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