Regression to the Mean

Republicans:

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facebook.com/Stonekettle

They have made their way for so long on the mantra of resistance and regression that they can’t comprehend a change that is necessary for thier own survival. They would rather die than admit that a tradition was wrong.

The tradition in this case being that the individual is paramount. There can be no such thing as a legitimate public health concern if the public is subservient to the individual. This is the error in accepting individualism as your only ideology.

Vaccine mandates are how this civilization will survive this crisis. It is the only way we will survive and not be swallowed up by the other societies who are instinctively capable of subsuming the individual to the will of the group.

We either force the insanely individualistic to submit to majority will in this instance, or we will devolve into small islands of localized authority that will be gobbled up by the next society to gain dominance in the new reality. The new reality that Donald Trump and his Republican party have made necessary by failing to stop the SARS-COV2 virus from spreading across the world.

This isn’t just about vaccine mandates, either:

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that aims to stop social media companies from banning users or nixing posts based solely on political opinions — the latest salvo by Republicans, who claim that these tech giants are censoring conservative users.

cbsnews.com

The Trumpists that run the Republican party are intent on seeing that their particular brand of insanity can’t be removed from the public arena. They have now given up on the idea of businesses being allowed to go their own way, the unbridled worship of the free market.

Businesses must now strictly conform to Republican views or they will face dire consequences:

If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States,” McCarthy said in Tuesday’s statement. “If companies still choose to violate federal law, a Republican majority will not forget and will stand with Americans to hold them fully accountable under the law.

Kevin McCarthy via politico.com

This is terrorism, no different than the terroristic threats issued by violent extremists and dictatorial governments elsewhere in the world. Republicans have proven themselves over and over again to be the kind of vicious bastards that would do the things that they threaten to do. Which is exactly the reason why the United States government should act to protect itself now, not wait for the next Congress or the next President to be elected from the Republican party to act in the manner they have already promised to act, and then have the gall to feign surprise at the promised retribution being delivered.

They are threatening us with violence, have been threatening us with violence for decades. These are the same people whose grandparents and great-grandparents joined the KKK and terrorized minority communities in order to get their way. The same people who filibustered against civil rights legislation and voting rights legislation before they switched parties and became Republicans.

They are the direct descendants of terrorists, and we cannot allow them to compete for power in this country any longer unless they are willing to renounce terror as a method of governing. Either they submit to the current government and its completely legitimate concerns for public health, for civil discourse; or the government should use its equally legitimate control of the use of force to ensure that they comply with the needs of society. Up to and including the disenfranchisement of the Republican party itself in favor of a party-less system that makes no allowances for party affiliation in the rules of government.

Which is the way this all should have been arranged in the first place. The least amount of party interference in active government that can be arranged through conscious, objectively designed rules that minimize factional disfunction in favor of just getting the necessary shit done.

We’d all like to be able to go outside again, please?

Trumpism Abides

Republicans who sought to undercut or overturn President Joe Biden’s election win are launching campaigns to become their states’ top election officials next year, alarming local officeholders and opponents who are warning about pro-Trump, “ends justify the means” candidates taking big roles in running the vote.

politico

This really isn’t news. Not really. Trumpists been beating this dead horse since the election last November, not just since the attempted coup on January 6th:

This is why I muse about the question of allowing Republicans or their intellectual inheritors to ever regain power in the United States in this article:

…and then agitate for instituting jungle (blanket) primaries in every single state in the Union before 2022. We don’t have a choice. Either we open up the system and destroy the possibility of minority rule in the US forever, or we embrace the idea that we like overlords telling us what to do. Embrace it, because that is what we will get if we ever let the Trumpists that Republicans have turned into back into power. If we allow the possibility of minority rule by any one group of Americans, then someone will seek to wield that power for their group. This is a no-joke emergency we are caught up in right now.

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If you elect those who hate and fear government to run government, then you’re going to get a government of hate and fear.

Stonekettle

Anti-Vaccination Agitation

One way to look at it is this – a small minority now has the ability to hijack public health policy by waging their own shadow campaign on social media. They are accountable to no one. They can force the expenditure of limited public health dollars just to minimize the effect of their own campaigns. This is also an asymmetric campaign, because it is much easier to spread fear than proper information. At the very least it is reasonable to filter out their harmful misinformation from private platforms. Panels of experts can be used to provide the filter, and fair processes can be made available for appeals. At the very least these options need to be explored.

Sciencebasedmedicine.org
Sciencebasedmedicine.org

This article was about Gardasil. The vaccination worked, but social conservatives hated it because it gave women permission to be promiscuous. Think about what that means. They wanted people to suffer and die from a preventable cancer rather than vaccinate them against the cause of that cancer on the grounds that sex outside of marriage is bad and should be discouraged. They used vaccine fear to wage a war against this vaccine, and this isn’t even the first time, nor was it the last.

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That is the Conservative-Republican-Trumpist line now about the coronavirus vaccine:

Oh, we’re not anti-vax. We just don’t think vaccines work.

…Strangely, it is the same argument they offer about their obvious racism. What their resistance is about now is still religion. Their religion of conservatism. Their invented Republican Jesus, the one who loves capitalism and profit more than he does the poor and the sick. Their belief that government can’t do anything good in the world.

I’ve heard this pushback from dozens of sources now. They just object to this one vaccination, not the general idea that vaccinations work. Either the science is real, or it isn’t. Either we have stopped Small Pox, Polio, etcetera through vaccination, or the entire business is a sham. A con job. Pick one side people, because it can’t be both sides at the same time. The vaccine works. It works and you should get it.

Editor’s Note

This was originally posted as a quote on January 11, 202o, I have advanced and appended the quote with the current coronavirus crap.

Mandated Vaccination

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The Atlantic & WNYC – The Experiment: The Crime of Refusing Vaccination – MARCH 25, 202

The Jacobson v. Massachusetts decision made clear that the government could mandate vaccination, arguing that collective good sometimes outweighs individual rights. But the line between the two is blurry. More than two decades after Jacobson’s case, the Court used the same logic in another decision, one the historian Michael Willrich says is among the “scariest U.S. Supreme Court decisions of all time.”

The episode of The Experiment that is embedded above illustrates how easily we can be manipulated into thinking something that is good for us is bad, and it illustrates that the converse is also true. It is illegal to refuse vaccination when that vaccination is mandated by government, that is a basic public health criteria. This isn’t about you and your vaccine fears anymore than it is about me and mine. this is about keeping everyone in the population as healthy as we can, and the way to do that is to make sure that we achieve and maintain herd immunity through vaccination for easily communicable diseases.

This is why you should get your influenza vaccination as well as all the other vaccinations on the list of required vaccinations. Get them because you care about the people around you more than you care for yourself. If you can’t find it in yourself to do it for other people, do it so that you don’t get sick from an easily preventable disease. Wish for a vaccination for every communicable disease that you might casually be exposed to so that you don’t die from that disease, either (I see you hiding over there, Malaria) I do, and I hate needles more than anything else I encounter in day to day life.

I have little doubt that Stonekettle is right in the article embedded above. There is too much bullshit out there circulating for this to not be something that Russia is trying to seed throughout the United States in order to weaken us. That other shoe will drop eventually (if we can’t just take past actions as proof in and of itself) and then we’ll know for sure who is spreading the anti-vaccination bullshit this time around aside from the anti-vax idiots in our midst.

There should be a mandate to get the COVID vaccine just as there is for all the other vaccinations we undergo. The influenza vaccination should be mandated as well.  What form that mandate takes is the only real question left to answer. Do we just pass a law making refusing a vaccination a crime again, or do we try to nudge people in the direction of doing the right thing without holding guns to their head to get them to do it? Americans can’t seem to get away from doing everything that they can at the point of a gun. Maybe we should try something different for once.

Sacred Life

No, if we truly value LIFE, if we truly believe it to be SACRED, then before it even begins we as a people and as a nation must bend every effort to ensure not only its survival, but that it thrives to reach its full potential.

Twitter – Stonekettle

Editor’s note – I planned to add this quote to the end of Roe-v-Wade Was a Conservative Decision If I hadn’t broken the blog (05/16/2020) Now that it’s back up, I think I will add it to something even better than that post.

Losing at Chicken

Facebook – Stonekettle

Austin remains largely under lockdown other than the parts of the economy that Greg Abbott has foolishly insisted on controlling at the state level. Austinites are starting to go out and party now. It is summer (or feels like it) and you really can’t keep people cooped up for months on end when the weather is beautiful. This is especially true when the President and the Governor tell you it is OK to go out and socialize.

The Wife was telling me about an impromptu party that sprang up next door to the worst violator of Texas drinking laws (not to mention fire codes) in our neighborhood. A building that was a Pizza Inn in a previous life but is now an Elk’s lodge, right on the highway that leads out of town to Houston. Every weekend they packed the building to the seams with drunken buffoons, and the drunken buffoons don’t know where else to go other than the neighboring parking lot to get drunk these days.

There is little that can be done to curb these yahoos without the threat of force and that threat of force has to come from the Federal or State governments, neither of which are willing to take a stand against the drive to let off the pressure that most people feel at being told to slowly starve to death in their homes while they simultaneously go broke. Most people in Texas live from paycheck to paycheck, a fact that is even more true in the big cities than it is in the country and towns.

We are locked in the no win scenario here in Texas and across the heartland of the United States. We are playing chicken with a train locomotive on an overpass. We could swerve and take the resulting personal damage on ourselves but Governor Abbott has the steering wheel, and he’s convinced the COVID train is going to swerve first. The resultant trainwreck will be amusing for the outside observer to witness. There isn’t going to be much to recommend living through it.

Facebook – AustinTexasGov – We are in stage three

Editor’s note: July 4, 2020. Governor Abbott swerved to miss the oncoming train today. He has reinstated the statewide requirement for masks, with several very large exceptions. Too large, according to Mayor Adler. Weirdly, I never stopped wearing a mask outdoors even though I didn’t have to wear one and still don’t have to since I won’t go into a crowded public space so long as the pandemic rages. Hopefully I will get my ballots by mail as I requested. Hopefully there will be people present at the vote counting that will ensure that mail-in ballots are not simply thrown in the trash. There are some very thin shoe-strings of hope weaving the future of the country together. That is not a reassuring thought.

Viral Testing Failure

Facebook – All-in with Chris Hayes

That observation is similar to my first comment on reading the story earlier today.

Hey, isn’t it nice to have access to trillions of dollars and millions of man hours just so you two bozos can feel safe in your bunker in Washington D.C.? Too bad you couldn’t swing getting that kind of safety net out for the rest of us regular folks.

They still don’t have enough tests to pull of effective tracing and quarantine of the infected in the United States. Not even after three months.

…I wrote that on February 29th, back when the pandemic wasn’t even officially a pandemic yet. They knew they would need tests then and they’ve been promising them for the entirety of the time between now and then. They were two months late on getting tests out then, and now they are 5 months late and people in their inner circle are starting to catch it. So now they have tests available to test all the people around the president, the kinds of intensive testing and tracking that will be required to locate and isolate all of the people who are currently sick with this virus, but we won’t be getting that kind of security blanket.

That kind of security is only for the special people. The leadership. The authority figures, no matter how shady their path to authority was. They get the gold star treatment. The rest of us have to hunker down in our houses for the fourth month in a row, and be thankful that we still have houses. Those who had houses in the first place and weren’t already living in the streets of the major cities in North America. Never mind the poor immigrants and refugees that will be the real victims in this crisis. The people confined in camps all over the face of the globe. Packed together with minimal or no hygiene, poorly fed, they are the people who will bear the brunt of the suffering now just as they always do.

Next in line will the the essential workers. The people who have to work to survive. Those places are already becoming hotbeds of infection. Never mind the hospitals that no one would dare go to today without already feeling sick with the virus. Those places are the obvious nexus of infection that we all will avoid if we can. No, the essential work that is being done on farms. The meat packing plants. The grocery stores and other retail outlets.

It is totally laughable to me that the hair salons and barbershops are opening back up. I spent three haircuts worth of money to buy a Wahl self-cut set and I plan on cutting my own hair for the next six months at least. Social distancing goes out the window when one person touches the hair of even ten people in one day, and that would be a slow day in a hair salon.

Facebook – Stonekettle Station

…Ted Cruz getting his hair cut by the woman who lead the revolt against common sense regulations. Another scofflaw directly rewarded by the Canuckian reject that we stupidly let represent us in Washington D.C.

Texas? Your fly is open. You might want to turn around and fix that. The Trump coronavirus response has been a complete joke. I only wish it had been a funny joke. We could all use a good laugh right about now.

Daily Pandemic Deception, Foiled

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All news outlets should follow NPR’s lead. There is no other way to counter the harm that Donald Trump’s bullshit is doing to the country other than to shut him off at the source. Don’t air the coronavirus briefings live. Edit out his misleading bullshit, then air the medical people talking about real stuff later. Save the parsing of Trump’s bullshit for people who want to explain what he says to the people who actually listen to and believe his bullshit when he speaks. His Stormtrumpers.

Save the Stormtrumpers? Sometimes it is best to let nature take its course; and letting the stupid people who believe Donald Trump die from their stupidity might be the only way to save democracy in the United States. This is a problem that they created. It is fitting that they pay the price for their own stupidity. Pay the price for relying on a single news source and never bothering to fact-check anything they hear.

FOX news is the common denominator. It is no wonder that FOX news is now worried about being punished for misleading the public at the beginning of the pandemic. Ya think? Maybe they should have thought a little harder about it earlier. Like in January, when it would have made a difference.

Trump was watching FOX before he stumbled into the presidency, and he’s still watching FOX as a replacement for all his daily briefings before he goes out and repeats the same shit he heard on FOX, shit that they say because he wants them to say it, tells them to say it. The problem for both Republicans in general and their president in particular is that they get their information from a source that makes shit up. Once you realize this simple fact, it becomes plainly obvious that we cannot allow anything like FOX news to continue to exist.

Either your information service contains real, factual information, or it can’t be allowed to continue. If the creator’s intent is to mislead, then the content should be squelched somehow. At the very least it shouldn’t be piped into every American’s home through an infrastructure paid for and maintained by public funds. If they go out and make themselves victims on purpose, there is little we can do to protect them from themselves.

Then this happened:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has come under fire from far-right and ultra-conservative groups supporting Trump for what they perceive as efforts to undermine the president on the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports.

thedailybeast.com

…and this is precisely why the party of Trump and it’s supporters must be driven out of power. It is our duty as good citizens to see them pushed as far away as possible from the levers of control. The promoters of science and public health are targeted by the people who just want to pretend that everything is normal.

The lines have been drawn. The separation between the sides could not be starker than they are right now. Either you want authoritarian, Christianist, capitalism under Donald Trump, or you want humanist values to win the day. Either you want a future where the rich rule like kings, or you want a future where everyone should be given some minimal assurance that their life has value in the system. Choose.

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Postscript

Here’s how to not be mislead. Let Stonekettle Station translate Trump’s gibberish for you, then fact-check the parts you still aren’t clear on.

Here is the Stonekettle Station pandemic digest from March 29th. The one where Trump accuses nurses of lying to make Trump look bad.

Wednesday’s Trump dump.

The short-lived nightly coronavirus bullshit festival finally came to an end, but not before Trump killed more than a few of his followers by misleading them about what was a healthy response to coronavirus infection. This is why I blame Donald Trump for every coronavirus death in the United States. The buck stops at the resolute desk, and he was sitting behind the desk when something could have been done to limit the damage. Instead of doing that job, Trump made the damage worse so he gets the blame for all of it.

Working in Pajamas

Me? I wanted to be a writer since I was kid. It’s a sickness, writing. A weird mental disorder that makes you sit in front of a keyboard for hours, daydreaming and playing with ideas and wondering why anybody would read the blather on the screen. But my grandmother gave me a Hardy Boys book (#8; The Mystery of Cabin Island) for Christmas one year when I was about 8 or 9. I’d been an indifferent reader up to that point, but that book captivated me and my lifelong obsession with words began right there. Somewhere shortly thereafter, in a staggering moment of epiphany, I realized there were actually people out there who got paid to sit in front of a keyboard and daydream and those people didn’t have to put on pants every day. Hell they might not even own actual pants – unless you consider pajamas legitimate work apparel.

I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.

Stonekettle

Starfleet? Space Force?

Back in 2018, I was laughing at the stupidity of the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) and his Stormtrumpers.

RAnt(hony)-ings

I’m not laughing anymore. This was on the Stonekettle Station Facebook wall today.

I’ve done a cursory look online (check out the image credit on that wikipedia page) and the symbolism does seem to be official if not actually adopted by the branch of military service that Congress funded last month. I’ll try to forgive congress the insult to American intelligence that their funding of one of the idiocracies pet ideas legitimizes.

Yes. That is potentially a theft of intellectual property in the form of a proposed device for the OHM’s Space Farce. …er Force. While you are laughing remember that, to the rest of the world, you are what they are laughing at. You the reader, not you the president. Not you Stonekettle Station. You, dear reader. All of you who count yourselves as Americans. You are a joke if this bullshit is not brought to an end.

Facebook – Stonekettle Station

Well okay. That was funny.


As far as who owns the rights to the IP in question, that isn’t clear.

I thought of “Mirror, Mirror” after seeing the Trump administration’s new Space Force logo, which the president tweeted out Friday with a characteristically awkward nod to our “Great Military Leaders” of the “Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!” (caps and punctuation his). Within minutes, the logo was lampooned widely for appearing to rip off the logo for Starfleet Command from “Star Trek.” Indeed, with the two logos placed side by side, the resemblance is so remarkable that I had to wonder whether Melania Trump was part of the design committee.

Apparently, the new logo is just another iteration on the former Air Force Space Command logo, which also featured an upward pointing delta, but the final product with its concentric rings and swooping orbits looks so much like Starfleet’s, I fear it could easily confuse any Vulcans and Klingons who see it.

This somewhat comical appropriation of “Star Trek” imagery carries a certain irony. The universe of “Star Trek” has always provided a hopeful, near-utopian vision for humanity, where we have finally learned to set aside things like racial prejudice and gender inequality, and we all work together toward a common purpose and quest. Money is a thing of the past because no one wants for any material need, and we have united much of the galaxy in a peaceful assembly of sovereign worlds.

Contrast that for a moment with the current administration’s values and practices: racial resentments and fear stoked for cynical political purposes, the wealthy made even more obscenely so through grift and political influence, coarse and bullying behavior masquerading as diplomacy, to name but a few. Even the notion of a “Space Force” seems patently absurd coming from an administration where science is mocked and disregarded.

At times it truly feels like the past three years have had us beamed into a parallel universe, where instead of a president we have a mendacious thug, and where notions like the U.S. Senate being a deliberate, serious body that serves as a vital check on presidential power now seem quaint and naive.

George Takei

If, however, the government took orders from the OHM, and the OHM’s intent was to mimic the Starfleet insignia (being an idiot of very little brain, but then I repeat myself) then the logo for Space Force as it is presented by the OHM probably constitutes theft of intellectual property. Proving the theft, proving the OHM’s intentions, then becomes the next hurdle to clear.

The Starfleet insignia as we know it today didn’t exist until the motionless picture (my second favorite Star Trek film) back in 1979. This was long after Gene riffed on the theme of the gold pins that NASA gave to astronauts on going to space to create the various ships insignias seen in the original Star Trek series (1967-69) None of those pins have an upward delta device with a star, also pointing upward, in the center of them. That insignia was just for the Enterprise crew, and the star inside the stylized delta represented command crew. A real fan will know what the two other symbols inside the delta were, and what they represented. The Air Force Space Command insignia does have a delta pointing upward, and that has been acknowledged to be a Star Trek reference. There is your bit of trivia for today.