An agent of the CIA aids evacuees up a ladder onto an Air America helicopter on the roof of 22 Gia Long Street, April 29, 1975, shortly before Saigon fell to advancing North Vietnamese troops.
“There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy…”
– President Joe Biden (July 8, 2021)
The following is not a popular opinion, either among historians or the general populace:
By 1970, the United States had won in Vietnam.
It’s generally understood that the Vietnam War was the most embarrassing defeat for the United States military in history. Yes, the debacle at Bladensburg was bad, and the subsequent burning of the capitol unpleasant, but compared to Vietnam? And yet, by any objective measurement, the war in Vietnam had actually been all but ended with the destruction of organized resistance in the south. That is, by any measurement but one.
There are storms on the horizon, friends. Some of us have seen more them than we’d like; some of us haven’t noticed. And if you’ve been watching a single storm cloud, you might have missed the others.
So here are a few things you might have missed in the past week or so, particularly if you’re relying on infotainment to deliver your news:
(This article is designed to follow two others: Masks Don’t Help You Much, and Defying Mask Mandates. If something in here doesn’t make any sense to you, perhaps you missed it in one of the other two.)
As I begin this, it’s quarter past five in the morning. I’m just back from taking out the garbage. I usually do this around three, but today I slept in. I do this in the middle of the night for two reasons: one, it’s much cooler; two, I’m less apt to meet people, so I don’t wear a mask.
The reason I don’t wear a mask while hauling trash is that I tend to hyperventilate. I get panic attacks which induce asthma, and masks set me off for some reason. I’ve read articles and talked with smart people, and on their advice I’ve tried acclimating myself through long use — and with some success. Even so, I find that the only way to be sure I don’t pass out on the (concrete) stairs is to take my mask off while hauling heavy burdens.
Someone I respect took the position that mask mandates by governors are government overreach.
Trouble is, he’s not wrong. Technically.
The role of an executive is to make on-the-spot decisions within certain boundaries. If there’s an immediate emergency, the president can send the Marines; he’s got thirty days before Congress has to step in. If a governor needs to activate the Guard, it’s the same thing. And mask mandates are only justifiable under emergency conditions, same as a “police action”; the legislature needs to get involved if it’s going to be broadly enforced long-term. That’s their job.
Masks don’t help you much. They help other people, but not you.
The numbers on wearing a mask to protect yourself aren’t very good, unless it’s a fitted N95 surgical ventilator. Plain cotton or paper? Maybe 10%. What protects you is goggles (30%), and washing your hands (25%), and not touching your face (20%). Notice how people aren’t wearing goggles? Strange, isn’t it?
…for tomorrow we die.
The charts are curving up again. Diagnoses are starting to spike; daily hospital admissions are on the rise. This new Delta variant of COVID is going to be nastier than the last one, and vaccines won’t stop it. The time has come to lock down again.
It all seems peaceful out there, quiet even… Yes, it is quiet. Too quiet.
That’s because, like the sane people you are, you’ve turned off CNN and you’re relying on the news to come to you when you need it. That time is now, and that news is here. Read on and you’ll learn about all sorts of things you missed that are vitally important to… well, to someone.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D. Arizona) has gained a ton of positive press recently, particularly among Republicans, for her hardnosed pro-bipartisanship stance during the recent negotiations over the infrastructure bill. Alongside such notable moderates as Susan Collins, Joe Manchin, and Lisa Murkowski, she has prioritized accomplishment over partisan politics. Of course this is drawing the ire of her party, particularly that part of the progressive wing loyal to Ocasio-Cortez. They have little tolerance for moderates, and have begun fundraising for a PAC to defeat her in her next primary race.
Dateline: On Vacation
Even while having endless fun in the sun, our tireless staff has managed to come up with enough meaningful news that’s fit to print for us to run another Update. If you’ve been getting your information from the headlines on Twitter and the Top Ten Trending List, some of this might be new to you. If you’ve been relying on major media, rather more might.
So sit back, relax, and make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in the fully upright and locked position. Here goes!
(Short version: The CDC isn’t lying to you — at least, not about this. But the headline is not the whole truth.)
The age of the newspaper is, alas, over. Long gone are the days when, over our morning soft-boiled egg and toast, we could read the entire daily paper from front to back, taking a few moments to complete the crossword or perhaps pencil a short letter to the editor. Today, we simply don’t have the time.
And so it’s only natural for people to attempt to inform themselves by scanning the headlines.
Unfortunately, we sometimes forget something that should be obvious: Headlines don’t tell the whole story.