Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Report from Italy

At a sandwich shop recently, I approached a customer in a well-fitting athletic outfit. I had overheard him mention that he was from Italy. I wanted to know a little about whether Italy was really open to travelers now since my son wants to go there in September to see a specialist for some back problems.

The man--we'll call him Paolo--was in his 40s, I'd say, a strapping fellow with a winning smile and an eagerness to talk about his home country. Yes, he said, your son could go there for medical care, but he will need to take PCR tests. And there are some curfews.
 
He then shared with us details on the situation in Italy. He himself had just moved his business (he is a biologist) from Italy to Florida. He declared that the whole virus panic was "bulls---" and was done to advance the agenda of socialism. He agreed that it had nothing to do with science and pointed to the deliberate suppression of known medicines that could have treated coronavirus patients.
 
Paolo said the situation in Italy is much worse than we know. People, especially journalists and lawyers whom he knows, are scared. They are afraid that what they write, or whom they choose to defend in court, will land them in jail. They are afraid that if they wait much longer their passports may be taken from them and they will not be able to leave Italy. So, many are making the move to the U.S., especially to Florida, now. (This description immediately reminded us of the terrible decisions good people in Germany had to make in the 1930s.)
 
He said that he believes the government is heading toward declaring another lockdown this summer on any pretext and believes it is all engineered to bring about socialism across Europe. I said we had similar problems here in the U.S. with the current Administration, but he replied, looking at me solemnly, "In Italy it is much worse. All of Europe is almost lost." He mentioned Spain in particular, and how there is still a strong fascist vein that runs through the country. He said that policemen there had struck women, even older ones, whom they found not wearing masks, and bystanders applauded. 
 
We thanked him for the conversation, welcomed him to America, and after a handshake, left him on the bench outside the shop to continue studying his Florida driver's manual.
 
I had not heard this level of detail even in alternative news sources, and I walked to the car more shaken than ever. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Should I Get the Shot?

Many of my acquaintances have told me how relieved they are to have gotten their Covid shots. A look of rejoicing comes over their faces. I tell them that I hope that goes very well for them. Why say more? The deed is done. 

Indeed, the so-called vaccines (not true vaccines but something that in fact functions very differently) may prove to be benign. These shots do not claim to render people immune to the corona virus, one of the many differences between them and traditional vaccines, but maybe they will make people no worse off than the control group--all those who chose not to take them.

Today I came upon the best collection of reasons I have yet seen for hesitating to take the Covid shot. This young writer spells out all 18, stating in a simple way the many facts that give many great pause regarding this procedure. Like the up-front pardon for any liability that the pharmaceutical companies got who are supplying the shot, and the spectacular failure of previous efforts to develop a corona virus vaccine. You won't find this discussion on the news or on Big Tech's social media platforms because they don't allow it. 

If you're considering the "vaccine," however, this article will make profitable reading. Then you decide. We should all get to decide for ourselves. The article.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Whose Insurrection Is It?

Three days ago my next door neighbor intercepted me in my driveway as I returned from a walk. She presented my house key to me, which she was returning. This trusted neighbor had kept it at her house for several years in case I needed her to water my indoor plants while I was away, or if I realized the stove was left on, that sort of thing. I was puzzled. She pointed to my small, legacy Trump sign beside my front door and declared that every time she sees it she sees "insurrection!" and "white supremacy!" 

I was, of course, almost dumbstruck, but managed to ask a few questions like did she think I was an insurrectionist or a white supremacist, and what evidence was there that Trump is. No, she did not think I was those things, but I supported one, and then she quoted the usual assortment of inaccurate quotes from the man. 

So, I then asked, "Even though I have always been a good neighbor to you, and polite and friendly, you can't have anything to do with me now and you are giving me back my key?" That's right, was the reply.

Two days later I finished watching a very long movie about the French Revolution. It got me thinking about insurrections, and what usually follows them, as was the case in France--years of armed upheaval, corruption, and abuse of power.

Wait a minute, I said to myself. If you engineer widespread fraud sufficient to tip an election in your favor, then during your first month in the seat of power you ignore the elected legislative body and issue 32 executive orders (leaving all previous Presidents in the dust), refuse to answer questions from the press, and maintain fencing with barbed wire and National Guardsmen around the nation's Capitol building, this looks a lot more like an insurrection--or if you will, a revolution--than the intrusion into the Capitol by an assortment of unarmed people on January 6.

In the years following 1789, when the French officially kicked off their revolution with the brutal storming of the Bastille, life did not go well in their country. The guillotine was kept very busy lopping off the heads of anyone who did not fully embrace even the most extreme measures of the revolution's leadership. 

We are far too civilized for that sort of thing here and now, of course, but it did call to mind the massive amount of deplatforming and censoring of opinion (and often fact) that we have seen lately when those opinions run contrary to narratives approved by the ruling party. Online censorship has become the guillotine of today. 

For those who don't operate a Big Tech company, shunning (including giving back your neighbor's house key and refusing to talk to your parents) has emerged as the favored weapon, and a powerful one it is.

But hold on. Why are they so angry? Didn't they "win" the election and come out with an effective majority in Congress? Aren't they transported by all the great things their leaders can get done now? Why should they still be so upset with their opponents? Unless they suspect that maybe they actually did not win . . .

_______________
For those interested in seeing the detailed evidence collected on what went awry in the 2020 election, see the very interesting Navarro Report.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Goodbye to the "Big Voice on the Right": Rush Limbaugh, 1951-2021

Rush Limbaugh broadcasts from the EIB studio
shortly before his death on February 17, 2021.

Republicans and "thrill-seekers everywhere" (as Rush liked to call his listeners) mourn today the death of Rush Limbaugh, a giant of conservative analysis and an expert in communicating that analysis to his audience for more than 30 years. Ever since he was diagnosed with lung cancer just over a year ago, we suspected the day would come when we would turn on the radio at noon and learn that the last time we had heard his confident voice opining on the day's news was indeed the last time we would hear it. Today was that day.

We pause to honor the memory and enormous impact of Rush on the country he loved so much. Godspeed, Rush.


Saturday, January 30, 2021

Masks: Why Not?

An alert reader of my last post (Mask Required to Enter, 1/27/2021) took issue with my puzzlement and, yes, objection to donning a face mask to enter my favorite bagel bistro the other day. Management had suddenly reverted to a mask requirement for all patrons with no explanation given. 

The reader seemed to not understand why I resisted wearing the cotton face covering that fogs my glasses, decreases my oxygen intake, and makes it harder to make myself heard and understood. I failed to mention that I have had the virus recently and cannot give it to anyone. I also failed to quote the numerous scientific studies and statements that found that cloth masks fail miserably at protecting their wearers from breathing in Covid-19 airborne droplets, which are very small indeed at less than 5 microns (with a micron, even on his tiptoes, measuring only one-thousandth of a millimeter). In fact, experts say that masks often lead to a false sense of protection that interferes with the user taking truly effective precautions against contracting the virus, namely, frequent hand washing and standing at least six feet from people.

The New England Journal of Medicine  in May 2020 summed up the situation this way:

We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. [Emphasis added]

The authors admitted that the greater role of the mask might be as a "talisman," reminding others that a contagious disease was afoot. But I think we all know that by now.

Speaking of The Science, Dr. Simone Gold, an emergency room physician with America's Frontline Doctors, delivered an intriguing address on January 14 of this year titled The Truth About the COVID-19 Vaccine (and a few other things virus-related). This is thought-provoking stuff that will be of special value to those who are considering taking the experimental vaccine. 

To your health!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Mask Required to Enter

I was really looking forward to a fresh bagel and coffee around lunchtime today as my husband and I headed for our favorite bagel bistro, the one we pop into twice a week. We pulled open the door as we chattered together and got in line, socially distanced. The cashier up front started saying something to us. She pointed to the door. It took us a minute to understand that she was telling us we now needed a mask to enter their establishment. See sign on door.

 Why? we asked. What changed? We had been coming in for months without a mask, as had a number of other customers, after the local government dropped the mask requirement. Has there been some huge, deadly COVID spike we didn't know about? Was there a new mask edict from the authorities?

Turns out nothing had changed--or so we were told. It's just a small restaurant, so we need to be careful, the staff said. At home I checked the latest stats on the Florida Department of Health web site. Nope, no spike. And the virus has gotten less deadly: If you contract the virus, the chance of dying from it back in October was 2%, while now it is 1.5%. 

So what's going on? Maybe some frightened customer gave the bagel makers holy hell for endangering the public's lives by not mandating masks in their business. He might even have threatened to sue if he came down with the virus after enjoying his spinach-tomato bagel. (We have encountered such zealots. Shortly before Christmas, in a grocery store checkout line, a grizzled man in a Santa hat told us we were going to burn in hell for not wearing masks, even though we explained that we'd had the virus and could not give it to anyone.) 

Maybe someone in the bagel shop tested positive in the four days since we'd been there, and management figured this called for "masking up." Or is it just the Biden-Fauci effect, in which masks--even double masks--are being encouraged and even demanded even in the most non-threatening settings?

I only know that I did not get my bagel or coffee. My husband turned on his heel and I followed him out. The day had just gotten a lot darker.