Nothing can convince them to get the shot.
The most important article you can read this week is this:
It’s no longer behind a paywall, but it wasn’t really written for non-subscribers. In this essay neoconservative Robert Kagan tells us to be afraid, very afraid. That the train has already left the station, that democracy is on its way to extinction as we fiddle while the wildfires burn.
It was written for those inside the Beltway, those that subscribe to “The Washington Post.” Influencers. Newsmakers. Not those on social media, but the old guard, in the government, elected officials, you have the D.C. paper of record publishing what everybody knows but what everybody is afraid to say, the Republicans are leading us into autocracy.
Doesn’t matter if you agree. As I said, this heads-up was not for the Covid deniers, the Trump enthusiasts, but the somnambulant believing its business as usual when it definitely is not.
The best story I read today is how Liz Cheney’s Wyoming Senate challenger went from Trump hater to Trump lover, a complete 180:
“How an Anti-Trump Plotter in 2016 Became His Champion Against Liz Cheney”
Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming Republican, is the former president’s choice to take on his leading G.O.P. critic. But five years ago, she tried to overturn his victory in the party’s primary race”
Not that you’ll find this on Fox News. The big news last week was how the White House already knew there was no issue with the Dominion voting machines, how the election results were secure, yet Giuliani and Sidney Powell still went out and testified to the opposite. I scrolled the Fox site for days, I couldn’t find a reference to it.
That’s the big story in a just posted article in the “Washington Post”:
“How badly unvaccinated Republicans are misinformed, in one stat”
“Which brings us to unvaccinated Republicans. The median unvaccinated Republican believes that the percentage of unvaccinated people like themselves requiring hospitalization is 5 percent. How does that compare to how they believe the vaccinated fare? It’s exactly the same. They believe the hospitalization rate for vaccinated people is also 5 percent. So the median unvaccinated Republican essentially says the vaccines have net-zero efficacy — i.e. there is no benefit to getting vaccinated when it comes to landing in the hospital.”
Bottom line? The hard-core unvaccinated Republicans are not refusing vaccines because of their freedom, because they don’t want to get shot up, BUT BECAUSE THEY’RE CONVINCED THEY DON’T WORK!
And why are they so convinced? It’s the media they’re exposed to, that’s what this article says.
Now the world runs on gossip. Always has, always will. But it used to be gossip was inherently limited. To those in your social circle, to those in your school, or at your workplace. Gossip couldn’t travel from east to west very easily. Someone would have to get on the phone or travel, and it was a one-to-one proposition, whereas with social media it’s one to many.
And the truth is prior to the internet the average person didn’t know much news. Most people did not subscribe to a newspaper and most people did not watch TV news broadcasts. They were uninformed and happy with that. They’d tune in around election time, maybe, then again vast swaths of Americans didn’t vote. Some felt powerless, others felt it didn’t make any difference, their life wouldn’t change no matter who was in power.
But then the internet came along and it was gossip on steroids. As a matter of fact, it’s all gossip all the time. And you know Gossip, unless it’s juicy, it doesn’t spread. When someone tells us something boring, or something we already know, it ends there, we don’t pass it on. But if it’s a salacious rumor we can’t wait to tell others, we’re itching to tell others. And that is what is now happening.
So the truth is there is no authoritative source. And as a result, as William Falk, Editor-in-chief of “The Week,” posited, there is a lack of trust. In Denmark, 90% of Danes trust the health service and the politicians, as a result, 86% of them are vaccinated and deaths over the course of the pandemic are only 22% of those in the U.S. Today Denmark is wide open, today you integrate with other Americans, especially in red states, at your peril.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
“How France Overcame Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy”
The French have long been wary of vaccines, but a mixture of mandates and inducements encouraged millions to get the shot as the Delta variant spread”
This is behind a paywall. Like good food, you have to pay more for good news. Fast food is cheap, fruits and vegetables are not. Fast food makes you unhealthy and sick. Therefore only the wealthy and informed can AFFORD to eat well, never mind be aware of food facts. As for news, gossip online, on Facebook, on social media, it’s free. And it’s a free-for-all. Anybody can post anything, and Facebook bumps that which gets a reaction, the aforementioned juicy gossip. If you want to get the truth, you’ve got to pay for it. And except for “The Wall Street Journal”‘s opinion pages, you’d be shocked how aligned the paper is with “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” Facts are facts. But if you’re never exposed to them…
So in France, you need a health pass, i.e. vaccine passport, to go almost anywhere. That’s right, to eat out, go to clubs and attend sporting events. Talk about a mandate… And at the beginning of the Covid crisis, France “had one of the highest rates of (vaccine) hesitancy in the world.”
“A poll in 2018 gave France the lowest levels of trust in vaccines out of 144 countries surveyed. In December, an Ipsos poll conducted found that France ranked at the bottom of 15 countries on willingness to take a Covid-19 vaccine, with only 40% of the public saying they wanted the shot.”
“Some 88% of people over 12 years old in France have received at least one shot of vaccine, more than the U.S., U.K. or Germany. Its infection rate is now below 61 cases per 100,000 people, compared with 241 cases per 100,000 in the U.S. as of Sept. 24. The French figure is declining by more than one-quarter each week, with deaths and hospitalizations falling, too.” –WSJ
Whew! See how fast you can turn things around? Assuming you’ve got the balls to lay down the law, assuming people are not ignorant, assuming they have trust in institutions.
But that’s the point of the Kagan article, Trump and Fox and other outlets are undermining trust 24/7, and it’s been happening for years, so what are the odds we can convince all Americans to get vaccinated? ZILCH!
Then again, how many people are on the Trump train anyway?
“America is not facing a civil war – only loudmouthed extremists”
“The truth is that America is nothing like a polarized country. Large majorities agree on the most pressing issues of the day: They favor abortion rights, stricter gun controls and more COVID-related restrictions, especially on unvaccinated people. You might not be aware of this if you listen to programs on Fox News or even the average political commentary in our leading newspapers or on CNN.”
As a result of gerrymandering and the Electoral College and loud angry voices, we have the impression that the two sides are equal in numbers when this is patently untrue. Most Americans want abortion rights, most Americans want gun control, but good luck getting any laws passed.
Furthermore, Michael Hiltzik, the author of the above column, has absolutely no impact, because his words appear in “The Los Angeles Times,” and now with the big three newspapers available 24/7 all over the world, the L.A. “Times” has been marginalized. Keep cutting the budget and eventually, people stop reading and no one pays attention.
But they do read “The New York Times.” And last week Paul Krugman wrote this article:
“Are Centrists in the Thrall of Right-Wing Propaganda?”
“The point is that as far as I can tell, those troublesome Democratic centrists are blinded by an economic narrative that was deliberately created to block progress and justify vast inequality. So they imagine that the Biden agenda — which is a fairly modest effort to address our nation’s very real problems — is somehow irresponsible and a threat to the nation’s future.”
The bottom line, the infrastructure bill is $3.5 trillion over TEN YEARS! And the centrist Democrats have bought into the Republican mantra, fearful of looking like they’re taxing and spending. So there’s no there “there” in government, never mind Mitch McConnell, who single-handedly fixed the Supreme Court in his party’s favor, not only admitting he wants no bills passed, he doesn’t even want to pay for those that were already passed upon which the money has been spent. That’s what raising the debt limit is all about, not about new spending, but the money that already left the coffers. Try telling someone you bought their goods but refuse to pay for them, let me know how that works out, it won’t be good.
So, being in “The New York Times,” Krugman’s words have an effect, since he wrote this the Democrats have started to emphasize the ten-year period of spending.
As for Robert Kagan’s article? Bill Maher was all over it last week, as well as Rachel Maddow. You see it’s a club, you can join, but it takes effort, and oftentimes you have to pay for the information. And everybody in the club knows the truth, but plenty are banking on your not knowing it, keeping you in your backwater where they can manipulate you. And you can die.
The best website I was turned on to this week was:
“The purpose of this site is educational, everyone listed on this site was/is an anti-vaxxer activist who helped spread COVID-19 misinformation on social media. Share to stop others from making the same mistake. GET VACCINATED!”
You’ve got to go here. Please click through. These are people who believed the Covid misinformation and spread it far and wide and then died of the virus.
And what the gossip will tell you is if you’re not over 65 and obese, if you’re sans comorbidities, you’re immune. But that is patently untrue. Really, read these people’s stories. Totally healthy forty-year-olds. Twenty-year-olds. They thought they were immune, but they weren’t. They’re DYING! Do you really want to take the risk of dying when there’s a vaccine?
OF COURSE YOU DO!
That’s the astonishing element of these stories. So many left behind ARE STILL ANTIVAXXERS!
As William Falk said in “The Week”:
“People shun a simple shot largely because they see it as a form of surrender.”
So you can’t convince the unvaccinated to get the shot, the only thing you can do is force them to, make it so they can’t go into public places without being vaccinated. Is there enough political will in the U.S?
I don’t think so. Which is just plain sad.
Umair Haque wrote last week:
“Brexit is Destroying Britain – And Britain Still Can’t Face It”
Let’s go through the list of shortages above. Blood vials? Imported, made by a company called Becton Dickinson, made in America, mostly. Carbon dioxide? Imported from Europe, vital to producing beer and soft drinks and refrigerating meat and whatnot. Food and milk? Imported, mostly from Europe — the UK’s a net importer. Gas? Obviously imported, natural gas from Europe, and petrol, again via Europe.
Where Can’t You Get Gas, Milk, Bread, and Beer? Welcome to Soviet Britain”
There are no truck drivers to deliver goods. They just broke their own rules, they’re allowing foreigners to come in and do this job, those they wanted gone. But the irony is it’s still not enough, and most foreigners won’t come, the pay is too low. And you can’t get beer because the CO2 to make it comes from the Continent!
But what really got my attention in the Haque article was the put-downs of America.
“She was right. Britain’s turning Soviet. Even America – for all its folly and self-inflicted ruin, guns and theocracy and whole nine yards – isn’t as badly off as Britain.”
But the conclusion is even worse, you don’t want to turn into AMERICA!
“Eventually, Britain will probably find ways to get a little more bread and beer and so on. But they won’t be European. They’ll come from America, probably, and if you like American beer and bread, my friend, I feel a little sorry for you. Britain will eventually end up something like America’s 51st state – it’s NHS and BBC owned by American hedge funds, its people eating American diets, their minds poisoned by American junk culture.
America’s a vastly poorer society than Europe. Americans live worse lives in every possible way — from health to wealth to trust to intimacy to stability and safety to basic decency and thoughtfulness. Britain’s only real destiny left at this point is to be Americanized. That was always the endgame of Brexit – to sell Britain off to American capital. But American capital has made paupers – literally, they’re lifelong debtors, without a penny to their names, most of them – of Americans.”
The problem is this all rings true. The hedge funds buy the parking meters and therefore you’ve got to pay to park 24/7, there are no holidays. And the hedge fund buys the trailer park upon which your rust bucket sits and raises the price of rent on your little square of property, after all their investors have to see a return, and you lose your POS residence, forget YOUR investment, it’s history.
I mean we have no national health care, no mandated vacations, no government funds for child care…we’re working like dogs to try and keep our heads afloat. Is this really the best we can do?
America is no longer the country I grew up in. It slid while I wasn’t even realizing it. In the rest of the world our status has fallen to the level of…theirs. Haque posits the EU is more powerful than America, it fights bad actors like the tech companies while the FTC is paralyzed, if member countries get out of hand they stop sending them money, they freeze them out. But we’re supposed to believe the federal government has no power over Texas and Florida.
Now the truth is Britain got Brexit because a lot of sentimental oldsters and rural folk wanted to return to a country that no longer squares with the modern world, just like those on the right in America want to go back to an era totally out of date with today’s trade and mores, it’s a fantasy. The Britons with money, the educated, they understood what was at risk, they overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, but they were defeated by the votes of the idiots told falsehoods. It’s no different in the U.S. Mexico was gonna pay for the wall. China was going to pay the tariffs. Say it enough and people believe it, after all, they’re not exposed to the truth, and they wouldn’t believe it if they saw it.
But you can…discover the truth and be informed. Unlike the right-winger who sent me an anti-vax article from a PARODY website! He didn’t even realize it was a joke!
We are in a crisis. Whether you admit it or not. Never mind politics, there’s that pesky climate too. And there’s no way we can convince those on the other side, the deniers, the ignorant, we must FORCE THEM to do what’s right, like France. Yes, that’s how far we’ve fallen, we need to model ourselves after the French. But they have it right. Because contrary to what Kellyanne Conway said there are facts, unassailable, and once we make people aware of them, get them to believe in them, we can make progress. But that day seems to be far away.
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