Surrounding every conflict are rumors, innuendo, and error — and that’s not even considering deliberate disinformation along the lines of what we’re now seeing in the Ukraine conflict. Putin is a past master at this; leading up to the war were so many denials that it was going to happen, announcements of withdrawal, and so on that, for many of us, the waters were effectively muddied. And Zelensky himself is a consummate performer, a trained and experienced actor playing the greatest role of all time.
So what’s real, and what’s not? What’s worth worrying about and what’s worth forgetting? Above all: What’s about to happen?
Lead image taken from the CNN website, 17 September 2020.
Opinion(No shit, Sherlock. -Editor)
The suggestion that CNN might possibly show some slight bias against President Donald Trump is hardly outré. After all, Mr. Trump did effectively declare war on the press as a whole early in his first year in office, calling it the “enemy of the people” fairly frequently. He also singles out reporters from CNN, the Washington Post, and sometimes even the New York Times as “fake news”. It’s not unreasonable that they might feel justified in striking back, and a detached observer examining the front page of their website might well conclude that this is precisely what they do.
So I’m not going to statistically analyze their coverage; if you’re reasonable, you’ll stipulate that I’m right and move on. And, if you’re not, you’ll never believe anything I say after “Opinion” anyway. So let’s skip all that and get right down to it, shall we?
We’ve been neck-deep in propaganda season most of the year. Not only is it getting harder to tell fact from fiction from spin from nuanced interpretation — and it was never easy — it’s actually becoming a topic people no longer care about. Fake news is the new normal; as a nation, we’re growing accustomed to believing what we choose to and disregarding anything that doesn’t fit our preconceptions. The alternative would be to do our own fact-checking — and who has time for that?
Recently, the CDC began releasing comorbidity data for use in hospital tracking and differential diagnosis. Social media seized on this as yet another excuse to declare COVID-19 a hoax. It’s not a hoax, people; COVID-19 can kill you.
Politicians, the news, and social media are all full of stories about the Post Office: According to most, the present administration is attempting to gut it for nefarious purposes. To this end, they’ve hired a major party donor and Wall Street crony to run it into the ground. This person’s payment will obviously be through his massive investment in competing companies.
One of the first rules of detecting Fake News is the following question: Is this too good to be true?(more…)
“Okay, fine. But why is that my fault?” I can hear you thinking this, perhaps a bit angrily, suspecting some sort of bait-and-switch. Don’t worry, it’s still your fault.
Oh, not the virus. That’s nature; that’s what nature does. There’s a reason we invented doors and windows and walls and things; it’s because otherwise nature will kill us. Plagues are just one of the more colorful weapons in its arsenal.
No, what’s your fault is that society has been continuing blithely along (more…)
The natural next step to this reasoning has dawned on some of you — the ones who are still reading, who haven’t moved on in horror and self-loathing, or alternately who aren’t so pissed off at me they’ve dropped their subscription (or would have done if only they’d not been too cheap to pay for one in the first place).
What I’m talking about isn’t a matter of fighting COVID-19 so much as it is sweeping cultural change of a sort that’s not merely necessary but long overdue. The fact that we’re in a crisis right now only makes it more obvious that our society is seriously broken; it’s not like it wasn’t broken before the virus came along.
In China, they halted the spread by shooting people who broke curfew. Doors were locked for months, and if you went hungry, too damn bad. It still got out because there’s a privileged upper class that habitually ignores the laws, and now there’s new outbreaks because it’s a sneaky bastard of a virus, but for a while it worked.
In New Zealand, they beat the epidemic by sealing the borders. Anyone that came in was put up in a hotel room for three weeks and tested repeatedly, and health care workers lived in quarantine. But they did well primarily through stopping it at a few dozen cases at a time.
(Editor’s Note: This is closing on 3000 words and growing, and even the best rants start losing people around the 1500 mark, so I’m chopping it into its component parts. Expect further installments.)
I have evidently been guilty of failing to express myself plainly. To be clear, then: When I say “This is all your fault”, I’m not implying that it might be someone else instead. I blame you.
I’m saying that all this is your fault. You personally. Yes, you, the one reading this right now. I know you don’t believe me, and if you’re starting to… no, it’s too farfetched, and you just think I’m nuts. Too damn bad, because it’s all your fault. You’re the one (more…)