Archive for August, 2021

Live Free Or Die

August 29, 2021

            “Live free or die.” May be the New Hampshire state motto, but it could also be applied to the logic of many staunch anti vaxxers. In characteristic analytic gallows humor fashion, Analysis wonders if, at the funerals of anti vaxxers who have succumbed to Covid 19 (recently Caleb Wallace in addition to the previous passing of Marc Bernier, Dick Farrel, David Parker, et al.), attendees didn’t casually remark that the deceased died doing what they loved – being free. Liberty IS an oft repeated core rationale of those opposed to vaccines. “Mitt Romney to unvaccinated: ‘Your liberty affects my health.’” By Bryan Schott for The Salt Lake Tribune (8-27-21) gives one pro vax rebuttal by a former presidential candidate: “The most vocal anti-vaccine and anti-mask citizens like to point to individual liberty to justify their choices, Romney said. “People say, ‘I want my liberty.’ Well, your liberty affects my health. When that occurs, we have to come to some sort of agreement,” he said. Romney also favors vaccine mandates for private businesses. If he was still in the private sector, he said he would require his employees to be vaccinated or be responsible for getting tested every week.”CNN EXCLUSIVE ‘Something has to be done’: After decades of near-silence from the CDC, the agency’s director is speaking up about gun violence by Elizabeth Cohen, John Bonifield and Justin Lape, CNN (8-28-21) “For the first time in decades, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the nation’s top public health agency — is speaking out forcefully about gun violence in America, calling it a “serious public health threat.” “Something has to be done about this,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “Now is the time — it’s pedal to the metal time.” This summer alone has seen a spree of gun injuries and deaths, and the weekends have been especially violent, with an average of 200 people killed and 472 injured by guns each weekend in the United States, not including suicides, according to an analysis done by the Gun Violence Archive for CNN. That’s nearly 3.4 people shot every hour every weekend.”The scope of the problem is just bigger than we’re even hearing about, and when your heart wrenches every day you turn on the news, you’re only hearing the tip of the iceberg,” Walensky said. “We haven’t spent the time, energy and frankly the resources to understand this problem because it’s been so divided.” Kinda sounds like Walensky is talking about the same subject that Romney is. Not. Romney is on a slippery slope. He is cognizant of the rational basis of public health regulations and licensing (everything from air quality to machine safety to beauty shops) which is why he unabashedly states “your liberty affects my health.” But he is oblivious to the inadvertent kinship he forms with Walensky. After all, accounting for gun related deaths/hospitalizations, regulating ownership as well as availability, etc. is very much akin to keeping tabs on Covid deaths/hospitalization, requiring masking, vaccines and/or tests, etc. Then, again, Walensky’s low key “it’s been so divided” keeps the Republican Romney ever ready to jettison reason for the sake of maintaining ties with “live free or die.” 

A Day In The Life Of Image And Myth

August 22, 2021

            Analysis found that a series of news related articles appearing on the same day, but from completely different sources, seemed to indicate an appearance that none of the articles could produce individually. This synthetic being portends a troubling trajectory. We all interact daily with synthetics of various kinds. Rarely do we bother with the how’s and why’s. Ever mindful of the fact that a mere 8 months ago Donald Trump was the news (in spite of the pandemic, the Jan 6thinsurrection, the recent election, Afghanistan, etc.), it may come as a pleasant (or unpleasant) shock to encounter the headline “Trump booed at Alabama rally after telling supporters to get vaccinated” (Allan Smith  NBC News, 8-22-21). “Cullman, where the rally was hosted [8-21-21], is experiencing a rise in cases that has matched its previous peak from late December. The city declared a Covid state of emergency on Thursday to provide extra emergency support for the rally. Alabama has the lowest vaccinated rate in the U.S., with just more than 36 percent of its population fully inoculated, according to an NBC News tracker.” To which the former President had this to offer: “”And you know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do. You’ve got to do what you have to do,” Trump said. “But, I recommend: take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines.” Some boos rang out from the rally crowd, who were largely maskless. “No, that’s okay. That’s all right. You got your freedoms,” Trump said, echoing rhetoric from opponents of mask and vaccine mandates. “But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. Okay? I’ll call up Alabama, I’ll say, hey, you know what? But [the vaccine] is working. But you do have your freedoms you have to keep. You have to maintain that.”” By itself, Smith’s report simply gives a diminished example of the news environment from 8 months ago. “How the political environment is moving toward the GOP” is a de rigueur analysis by Harry Enten for CNN  (8-22-21). It fills in names, special election dates and outcomes, etc. to the weird American pattern, er, cycle of minority party resurgence after a Presidential election loss. By itself it says nothing but ‘that’s American democracy in action’, the status quo, if at all. Writing for the Cols. Dispatch, USA Today Network Ohio Bureau reporter Haley BeMiller headlines: “GOP Senate candidates take page from Trump playbook as they fight for populist title” (8-22-21). “Moreno and Gibbons are wealthy businessmen who have never held elected office. Timken secured her position as GOP chair with Trump’s support. Vance grew up in Appalachia, his family poor and gripped by addiction, before attending Yale and launching a career as a venture capitalist. Mandel is a veteran whose history in politics runs deeper than that of his opponents.” “”It’s kind of hard to claim that you’re for the people and you’re for the working class when you have seven figures or more in the bank,” said David Cohen, a political science professor at the University of Akron.” BeMiller shows how each of the candidates is trying to ‘out-Trump’ his GOP Party opponent. Analysis can only conclude that ‘populist’ is code for Trump-y. And Ohio certainly is Trump-y. The synthesis of the three articles combined produces an appearance. This is the appearance of Trump, the myth, outstripping Trump, the man (former President). News reporting is still hung up on coverage of the mythical man from 8 months ago not noticing that  the myth has moved on, grown bigger, leaving the man behind. The former President would never have received boos at any of his mass rallies, save in support of some person or policy he was trying to denigrate. That was standard operating procedure. But his unique, sorely needed positive appeal, broadcast live to Alabama on the 21st , shows the growing preference for the myth to the actual man. Indeed, BeMiller concludes with “”I think the Republican Party in Ohio has been transformed and reworked in the image of Donald Trump,” said professor Cohen.” Image (noun): “semblance or likeness”. Myth (noun): “a fictitious or imaginary person or thing”. Analysis can only conclude that the myth, spawned by the propaganda image, has now succeeded in overwhelming the man. That the myth has acquired a life of its own is ominous, to say the least.

Leave It To The Pros

August 15, 2021

            Your Viet Nam, not ours. Ours joined us for dinner every night on the televised evening news. Yours was a story you, or the evening news, could choose to follow (if that was your media of choice), or not. Most of our dead, and those doing our fighting and killing, were conscripted by Uncle Sam. Most of those fighting, killing and dying in Afghanistan contracted with Sam to defend the Second Amendment, the Constitution and all the other Amendments (the how and why of it all was irrelevant). The volunteer Army, formed after our Viet Nam, worked hard to promote itself as a professional military career with attractive pay, sign up bonuses and benefits. Our Viet Nam was actively opposed, pressuring one President to not run for re-election, and another to resign in the disgrace of his lies. Yours was treated as an occasion to promote the economy (“Buy a truck or Hummer!”), just another part of that same economy, an unpleasant chore which 4 presidents had to deal with. Each had more pressing concerns in the service of capitalism. Our Viet Nam gave rise to both side-ism in journalistic reporting, something considered treasonous just 20 years prior in the aftermath of the big one – WWII (the McCarthy era, Joe not Kevin). Jane Fonda was never forgiven. Although the whiff of treason has long since abated, both side-ism got lost somewhere in the workings of a professional military after 9/11 (as has vociferous opposition to “the war”); soon to be the self same loss of interest after the financial meltdown of 2008 (with the self same loss of vociferous opposition). Indeed, both side-ism in news reporting seems to follow a logic all its own, creating pros and cons totally divorced from any grassroots boots on the ground. Political tool anyone? Analysis finds ours was a failed revolution that made your Viet Nam a corporate collapse on a scale even greater than the Bush meltdown of 2008. Leave it to the pros.

Top News Story

August 11, 2021

            The top news story of the past week(s) has been…? The top news story of the past week(s) has been the trickle of information into the workings of Donald Trump’s attempted coup. The current misinformation cartel headed by one and the same ex president. The current workings of what formerly was known as the party of no but now is recognized as the party of know nothing. The edgy existence of the Democratic party in these days of Victor Orban adulation (is any alternative actually being championed?). The bizarro world of swift retribution for the 11 victims of Governor Cuomo’s sexual malfeasance after over 4 years (and many more accusations) involving Donald Trump resulting in his lionization for eliding any response! All of the above. None of the above. No, Analysis finds that the top news story, the one that affects Newark directly and indirectly is the continuous news of the Covid 19 virus, now in its newest incarnation, the Delta variant. What can one say after a public threat has been politicized even more than the state of Israel? One could joke, of course, of how undesirable it would be to attend a closed door conference with attendees Rand Paul, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott, all of whom would insist on their right to stink up the room by farting. But the Covid pandemic is no joke. There’s nothing to analyze for anyone who recognizes that deer jump fences, mice can’t read Keep Out signs, and that airborne pathogens affect everyone, no matter their rights or political preference. The Democrats have no champion to rally behind to counter the totally authoritarian threat (yes Virginia, the virus is calling the shots, no pun intended). Meanwhile, like sergeant Schultz, the GOP knows nothing in order to fig leaf their complicity.