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Just in the market for a newspaper subscription when I looked at the two papers available in my hometown.

Yeah. I look forward to the radically different points of view available from these subsidiaries of the same news corporation…

This is an example of what happens when a society loses its base set of common values.  Healthcare professionals are leaving or being chased out of small rural communities because they are espousing the evidenced based protocols (wearing a mask) that are based on the best available medical knowledge during a pandemic.

Living in Canada we are not immune to segments of society that have been inoculated against evidence based medicine – witness the anti-mask rallies being held in my home province.  But, as in most cases, the United States is well ahead of us in terms of committing to stupid actions based on political ideology rather than empirical fact.   (Although we’ve gone off the rails with bullshit laws and pending laws like bill C-16 and bill C-6 {8} ), those are another post)

 

The virus infecting thousands of Americans a day is also attacking the country’s social fabric. The coronavirus has exposed a weakness in many rural communities, where divisive pandemic politics are alienating some of their most critical residents — health care workers.

“The values of hard work, the value of community, taking care of your neighbor, that’s what small towns shout from the rooftops, this is what we’re good at. We are salt of the earth people who care about each other,” Darnauer says. “And here I am saying, then wear a mask because that protects your precious neighbor.”

But Darnauer’s medical advice and moral admonition were met with contempt from some of her friends, neighbors and patients. People who had routinely buttonholed her for quick medical advice at church and kids’ ballgames were suddenly treating her as the enemy and regarding her professional opinion as suspect and offensive.

[…]

“Hard things should bring us together,” Darnauer says. “And instead, this hard thing has driven a wedge between us.”

That wedge is splitting off health care workers from communities that desperately need them.

More than a quarter of all the public health administrators in Kansas quit, retired or got fired this year, according to Vicki Collie-Akers, an associate professor of population health at the University of Kansas. Some of them got death threats. Some had to hire armed guards.

“These are leaders in their community,” Collie-Akers says. “And they are leaving broken.” Collie-Akers notes these professionals also leaving at a terrible time. The pandemic is still raging. Vaccines still need to get from cities to small towns and into people’s arms; public health officers are as important as ever.

[…]

“In community after community, after community, all I hear about is workforce, workforce, workforce losing clinical staff, trying to attract clinical staff into these communities. It is taking up the full time of our members right now,” Morgan says.

Closing rural hospitals, Morgan says, cuts health care to places where residents tend to be older, sicker and poorer than average.

[…]

Merrett says towns that let pandemic politics drive medical professionals away are choosing what he calls “toxic individualism” over the common good”

 

People seem to be willing to die for their beliefs, even when they do not correspond to reality.  The pandemic has brought to the forefront the necessity of a set of shared common values for a society to function properly, as we can see the evidence of what a fractured combative society entails.

Go to unherd for the full article.  It is brilliant.

 

“This also might explain some of the utter gender gobbledegook we run about how HRT has taught someone to cry and all categories are porous. Whatever.

As a feminist, I have limited interest in all this, in the holes in which other people do or do not wish to put their bits. Sorry it’s rather dull. I am with Foucault in that I don’t believe sexuality is the essential soul or truth of an individual. My concern with this issue is only to do with the rights of women and the welfare of children.

So much of the discussion is about trans women, but the unhappiness of teenage girls must concern us. We have known since 2017 — earlier in fact — that there has been a huge uptick in female teenagers wanting to transition. Presenting to the Tavistock with self harm, eating disorders or suicidal ideation, these girls may end up on puberty-blocking hormones and then go on to have surgery. And for some of them that indeed may be the right thing to do. For others though, it clearly isn’t and to question that is not anything phobic, it is to care.

Why, as feminists, can we not talk about this epidemic of young women who cannot bear their bodies and the thought of what is happening to them: breasts, periods, unwanted sexual attention, the works? Why can you not be a young butch lesbian these days?

In an ideal world, feelings of masculinity or femininity could be achieved without surgery or hormones that may cause infertility. We are far from such a world and I respect the decisions of adults who go through this long, difficult process in often impossible circumstances. Brave, brave people.

My argument to my newspaper, though, has always been if we don’t have this discussion then the Right will, and indeed that has been the case. The Spectator and the Times have covered stories we haven’t, and I have had to write what I wanted to in the Telegraph. Investigative journalism means going into no-go areas. Why can’t we? The liberal Left looks not virtuous but naïve.

Less sexy subjects such as the appalling low rate for rape convictions, the Covid pandemic causing women to lose jobs and be forced back into the home, the complete lack of childcare… all of these things fall by the wayside when the main discussions of feminism appear to be by men telling us men can just say they’re women and if we say otherwise we deserve all the rape threats we get.

There is no actual interrogation of gender and I say this as someone who has written about and studied this subject for decades. There is a simply a belief system.”

I forewarn you, if you are about to start the DS9 series, you will have to persevere through the first season, as the cast and writing crew had not found their sea legs yet. But after season one (arguably) the show really started to cement in the story arcs that culminate with this darkly pivotal moment in the Star Trek Universe.

The Federation ostensibly in the Star Trek universe are the good guys – they are us – and that motif is quite evident in the other series that populate the canon. DS9, once it gets going, shifts the moral compass and makes everything more complicated and ethically entangled. It is much more engrossing dramatic experience as this clip illustrates. It is this muddy ethical field that makes DS9, if you can only watch one Star Trek series, the one to watch.

Look at the bullshit that goes on in Gotham. Have you ever…ever seen a gratuitous ass shot of the male caped crusader? Yah. Me neither.

Patriarchy :(

Our vacuous right wing in Canada screeching about non-glowing coverage of their team.

 

A non corporate news source is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society.  We should be giving more money to the CBC not less in the age of corporate media and fake news.

Somedays it seems like our fringe won’t be happy until all news is Fox news, telling them how awesome it is that they are poor, but selling out the country to the rich is a supremely patriotic act.  Job well done.

 

  What’s going on in the US is chilling by nature.  The democratic underpinnings of their society are being being eroded at frightening rate as misinformation, lies, and propaganda replace the space once reserved for reasonable public discourse.  This process of disintegration isn’t new, but is hastened by the current republican administration’s dedication to a post-truth version of reality exemplified by their leader whose internal process seems to be this:  “I am right because I am always right”.

Scary stuff.  Arnold Isaacs, writing for Tom’s Dispatch catches a glimpse into the post-truth world that much of the American leadership seems to be mired in.

 

“President Trump looks like a quite different case. He clearly lies consciously at times, but generally the style and content of his falsehoods give the impression that he has engaged in a kind of internal mental Photoshopping, reshaping facts inside his mind until they conform to something he wants to say at a given moment.

A recent report in the Daily Beast described an episode that fits remarkably well with that theory.

As told by the Daily Beast’s Asawin Suebsaeng, at a March 2017 White House meeting between the president and representatives of leading veterans organizations, Rick Weidman of Vietnam Veterans of America brought up the subject of Agent Orange, the widely used U.S. defoliant that has had long-term health effects on American soldiers and Vietnamese villagers.

As Suebsaeng reconstructed the discussion, Trump responded by asking if Agent Orange was “that stuff from that movie” — a reference evidently to the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. Several veterans in the room tried to explain to the president that the scene he remembered involved napalm, an incendiary agent, not Agent Orange. But Trump wouldn’t back down, Suebsaeng recounted, “and proceeded to say things like, ‘no, I think it’s that stuff from that movie.'” His comment directly to Weidman was, “Well, I think you just didn’t like the movie.”

What makes the Daily Beast report particularly revealing is not just that Trump was ignorant of the facts and would not listen to people who clearly knew better. That behavior is all too familiar to anyone even casually aware of Trump’s record. The argument with the veterans was different because his misstatement did not arise from any of the usual reasons. He was not answering a critic or tearing down someone who frustrated him or making an argument for a policy opinion or defending some past statement.

Sticking to his version of Agent Orange was purely a reflection of his personality. On a subject one can safely assume he had not thought about until that moment, he seized on a fragmentary memory of something he’d seen on a screen years earlier, jumped to a wrong conclusion, and was then immediately convinced that he was correct solely because he had heard himself saying it — not only certain that he was right, but oblivious to the fact that everyone he was talking to knew more about the subject than he did.

In effect, this story strongly suggests, Trump’s thought process (if you can call it that) boils down to: I am right because I am always right.

Lots of people absorb facts selectively and adapt them to fit opinions they already hold. That’s human nature. But the president’s ability to twist the truth, consciously or not, is extreme. So is his apparently unshakable conviction that no matter what the subject is, no one knows more than he does, which means he has no need to listen to anyone who tries to correct his misstatements. In a person with his power and responsibilities, those qualities are truly frightening.

As alarming as his record is, though, it would be a serious mistake to think of Trump as the only or even the principal enemy of truth and truth-tellers. There is a large army out there churning out false information, using technology that lets them spread their messages to a mass audience with minimal effort and expense. But the largest threat to truth, I fear, is not from the liars and truth twisters, but from deep in our collective and individual human nature.”

It’s easier to believe a familiar lie than the uncomfortable truth – this is our human tendency – but now, more than ever, we need to seek out that uncomfortable space where we see ourselves and our situations for what they are, not what we want them to be.

 

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