DaTechGuy’s 3rd Law of Media Outrage and Secoriea Turner,

DaTechGuy’s 3rd law of media outrage states

The MSM’s elevation and continued classification of any story as Nationally Newsworthy rather than only of local interest is in direct correlation to said story’s current ability to affirm any current Democrat/Liberal/Media meme/talking point, particularly on the subject of race or sexuality.

Thus when a local cop in Minneapolis exceeded his authority causing the death of George Floyd it became national news.

However when the riots which broke out pretty much destroyed a chunk of Minneapolis, when a part of Seattle was taken over by Antifa these stories were downplayed and ignored (until POTUS pushed the 2nd forward) as were the 20 deaths attributable to said riots.

Make that 21

Police said Turner was riding in a car with her mother and her mother’s friend when they exited the interstate at University Avenue. The driver tried to turn into the parking lot at 1238 Pryor Road when he was confronted by an “group of armed individuals” who had blocked the entrance.

“At some point, someone in that group opened fire on the vehicle, striking it multiple times and striking the child who was inside. The driver then drove to Atlanta Medical Center for help,” police said in a statement.

Police said the 911 caller told them they were heading to Atlanta Medical Center with the victim. The child died at the hospital.

But the real news here isn’t the shooting of eight year old Secoriea Turner it’s how the BLM riot / protest deaths are being reported or not, as David Bernstein notes concerning another Black lives matter protest related death this weekend…

I had to go to an Australian news source to discover that the driver of the vehicle that sped into BLM protesters in Seattle is an African American. (Apologies if one of my colleagues at Instapundit covered this, I have been away for the holiday weekend.) I have to assume that American media outlets know this, and decided intentionally not to mention it to create the implication that this was a racist murder, rather than a guy driving recklessly on what he thought was an abandoned highway. I increasingly feel like I’m living somewhere akin to the former USSR, in terms of the way the media are dedicated to a particular narrative regardless of the facts. At least unlike in the USSR I can access alternative sources to our equivalent of Pravda.

He’s talking about the death of 24 year old Summer Taylor a white “non-binary” BLM protester who was run down while blocking a freeway by a black driver who likely didn’t anticipate a bunch of people protesting in the middle of it at 1:36 AM in the morning.

The murder of Secoriea Turner is a huge inconvenience to those who have gone all in on the protests being “mostly peaceful” (which is as accurate as saying my vegan soup recipe is “mostly unpoisoned” but the real question will be what happens next

If Black Lives Matter was true to its name, there would be as much global outrage over the death of eight year old Secoriea Turner, gunned down by anti-police protesters in Atlanta Sunday night, as there was for George Floyd….Or as Secoriea Turner’s tearful father, Secoriya Williamson, told local media in Atlanta, “They say black lives matter … but you killed your own this time. You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.”

Of course, there won’t be any BLM protest marches held in honour of Jomo, little Secoriea, or any of the other innocents of any race slain in the ensuing crime wave.

No they won’t because highlighting her death would not cause sports leagues to funnel billions to the BLM front group to elect democrats in fact it might retard such cash. And of course there is the 4th law of media outrage:

The degree of media exposure of the corruption or illegality committed by any individual or organization under investigation is directly proportional to its distance from the media’s ideology.

Now I think the President won’t allow them to downplay this action by BLM but their media/democrat/blm left will do their best.

The truth is they don’t give a damn that Secoriea Turner was murdered, they just regret that it wasn’t done by someone who looks or votes like me.

THEN her life or rather her death would matter.

Update: Dad speaks out:

I predict that none of the money that the NBA, NFL or MLB gave to BLM will be spent remembering her, nor do I expect her name to be painted on any NBA court or her name worn on the jersey of any player as a social justice statement.

Although it would be nice

Cancel culture coming for the Church

Our Lady of Guadalupe, with distinctly non-white features, from Wikipedia

This past week we saw two very different responses to Shaun King, a self-proclaimed activist that called on images and statues that showed Jesus depicted as a white European to be taken down. On its face, that sounds legitimate because if Jesus came from the Levant, in all reality he would likely be more tan or brown color. It might make it appear that the Catholic Church was whitewashing Jesus.

Except its not hard to see past this. I’ve traveled a fair amount, and every Catholic Mass I attend overseas, I noticed that the statue depictions are different. Jesus in Turkey was more brown. Jesus in Ethiopia is black. The Blessed Mother appeared in Guadalupe with distinctly Mexican features. And so on. It only takes a brief pause from your cat videos to Google “Jesus around the world” to see this first hand. The fact that Jesus and his Blessed Mother take on the various characteristics of the local population is amazing to me. We have a truly universal Church. It really is for everyone, no matter your skin color.

(And as an aside, if he was a carpenter, he was probably ripped and muscular from working all day, and could have run a Crossfit gym)

Sadly, this is the first part of linking the Catholic Church to slavery. Already, there is vandalism on the Wikipedia page about the Church and African Americans. Already we have people linking vague actions by the Church, such as this article, to racism:

“The way the church would sustain or enable racism would be through the acts of the people who make it up,” he told Catholic News Service. “But the actions of all of those people are deeply influenced and shaped by social, political, and economic structures they inhabit.

“Many of them would not perceive their actions as enabling racism, but if they accept the structures uncritically, they are doing that, and they inhibit the church from realizing the full impact or engagement of its social teaching.”

The Boston Pilot

So, pray tell, what are we supposed to do with the above information? Feed the poor? Educate people? Help people find jobs? The Church already does these things! Has the author not looked at a Church bulletin lately? There is a ministry for all these things and more, limited only by people’s imagination and time.

As said before, the best strategy with people like this is to push back. Folks like Shaun King won’t stop with their demands, they are simply looking for weakness to exploit. I give Bishop Hying props for standing up to this mob, where he accepts that we need to have dialog and action while rejecting calls for destruction. Compare this with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is now “reassessing” depictions of Jesus as white.

No matter what the Anglican Church does, someone in the mob will find it as not enough and will call for further action. Mobs don’t stop. When they find weakness, they push harder. Pushing back forces them to stop. The Anglican Church isn’t going to get a break, and they are going to learn this rule, unfortunately, the hard way.

We live in a democracy, but if aren’t willing to enforce its rules, we’ll soon live in a mob state.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

On Your Mark; Get Ready

Don’t Be Like King Josiah

by baldilocks

Fletch Daniels at American Thinker:

Nobody gets to sit this one out.  The cultural enforcers expect everyone to parrot their talking points publicly, to destroy all resistance, forcing dissenters to grovel in submission.  That’s the whole idea behind the “silence is violence” aggression.  Cultural violence is quite the opposite of silence; it is forcing people to say what no sane person should believe in order not to be destroyed.

Few stand against this pressure, which is why nearly all major companies and organizations have come out with quisling statements of support of the name of a vile Marxist organization like Black Lives Matter.  It’s why Hillsdale College’s response was so notable, because it was a rare exception to the rule.  (This was not surprising coming from one of the only places in America still putting up statues to honor our tremendous heritage of liberty when the cultural zeitgeist is to rip them all down and start at a Marxist Year Zero.)  Hate groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter operate quite freely in this environment, serving as the cultural shock troops and the terrorist wing of the cultural tyrants who have taken over the Democrat party.

Consider just a few of the displays we’ve watched over the last few weeks.  A football coach had to apologize for wearing a One America News sweatshirt…in Oklahoma.  We watched as most of our senior military leaders bowed before their cultural masters.  We watched as statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and even an assortment of abolitionists either were destroyed or came under attack, even as discussions of replacing the National Anthem erupted from the propaganda and activist cultural tyrants.

We watched as the weaponization of the federal bureaucracy by a U.S. president against a president of the opposite party was unveiled before our eyes to a massive shrug by the seditious media, who see it as a wonderful use of state power by their fellow leftist travelers in the bureaucracy.  They are smug in their belief that they can use their cultural power to protect the perpetrators, whom they regard as heroes.

We even watched as a sports league that caters to a conservative audience was complicit in perpetrating a crazy Jussie.  We observed an emboldened social media giant censoring the president of the United States for promising to protect Americans.

We also watched what I believe is the vilest propaganda campaign of my lifetime, when every cop in America was slandered as a racist with barely a protest.  The guardians of civil order, who put their lives on the line every day, often under unimaginably difficult circumstances, to protect their fellow Americans, are being demoralized and hounded out of service.  This has created the fertile ground for a massive increase in lawlessness that will result in a significant rise in the deaths of black Americans, showing that black lives matter not a lick to those claiming that name.

I wish I had a dollar for every American who uttered the phrase “never in my lifetime did I expect to see…” over the last few weeks.  We are living in the upside-down when patriotism is outlawed, the vilest of criminals are celebrated, and brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily are slandered as the worst of society so thoroughly that it descended into evil farce, when a kid’s show, Paw Patrol, came under attack since it is apparently racist to have a positive police character in a children’s show.

This is war, and the left is playing to win.

(…)

I’d like to see far more people vocally pushing back against the mob within their social circles.  Every person who pushes back emboldens others to do the same.

So, would I, but each person who does so has to be prepared first, and the primary area of necessary preparation is in the spiritual realm.

I know that I’m not alone in think that our country finds itself here because it has turn away from God. We have seen the results of this before; God lifts up His hand of protection and of favor just a little bit – not a total removal. And, suddenly chaos, anger, and fear seem high, wide and deep.

All I’m saying is that is we are plainly seeing the result of doing things the secular way; of raising children to hate each other and themselves. Of believing that if something isn’t perfect – like our history – that it should be eradicated.

Newsflash. Nothing in this world is perfect. Will every imperfect thing be blown up and every imperfect person be dead before the rampaging mobs figure this out?

I think that Daniels is right, action must be taken. But don’t run out there halfcocked, like that couple in St. Louis did while defending their lives and property.

They weren’t fully prepared, though they had just enough. Learn from them. (Side note: I heard that they’re Democrats, fans of Biden. After what has happen to them in the last few days — including being doxxed, I wonder if that is still so.)

Plan your rhetorical tactics and strategies. And take all your self-defense classes and whatnot for when those don’t work.

But if you act against the marauders without preparing your soul, you’re making the same mistake this country has been making for the last sixty years. You will make things worse, not better.

However, between the Wuhan pestilence and the hordes of demons er rioters, looters and mayhem-makers, it’s certain that a ton of people are talking to God already — more than was so in December 2019, at any rate.

Good.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar!

Or hit Juliette’s!

Defund and depose the Democrat dimwits

By Christopher Harper

As Philadelphia slouches toward its new normal, city residents face myriad issues from police protection to garbage removal to exploding fireworks on a continuing basis to downed trees to….

You get the drift. Mayor Jim Kenney and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw—no kidding—apologized to demonstrators who were tear-gassed while blocking an interstate highway. 

The police have suspended the use of tear gas and pepper spray except when an officer faced an imminent threat of death! 

At least the police union got it right. “We’re apologizing to protestors? Protestors?” said FOP Lodge President John McNesby. “To the officers out there, the message is be careful. Call us if you need us. No one has your back.”

Although the city did not fire or furlough any workers, garbage pickup has generally been one or two days late. Recycling has been changed to once every two weeks. 

That’s unlikely to change, given an allegedly huge hole in the city budget. I know that my city income tax and real estate taxes didn’t decline during the pandemic. The tax on soda and other drinks goes on unabated. 

But the city did use its “forward-looking approach” to an urban environment by eliminating laws against using fireworks in Philadelphia. 

Since the first of the year, the city has had nearly 1,000 complaints about excessive noise from fireworks, but no prosecutions. With fewer police wanting to get into any confrontations over enforcing laws, it’s unlikely that the boom of summer evenings will dissipate anytime soon. 

In Kensington, a poor neighborhood in North Philly, veterans with PTSD have complained vociferously about the nightly barrages of fireworks. See https://billypenn.com/2020/06/23/its-the-first-year-fireworks-are-legal-in-philly-and-cops-have-gotten-nearly-1000-complaints/

Then there is the massive number of trees downed a month ago during a severe storm. Dozens litter my neighborhood in Northwest Philly. Residents pushed the branches aside, but the downed trunks require cranes and chainsaws. Some people got so tired of the junk on the sidewalks they paid thousands of dollars to cut up the trees that are technically on city property. 

It would be nice to consider a home outside of Philly, but the Democrat creeps in the suburbs have created significant increases in real estate taxes. 

So I’ll just have to sit back and watch the Democrats destroy what remains of a once-proud place.

One final note: At least I was able to get a haircut this week!

Yup, they came for Jesus

Pearl Monument torn down, from Wikipedia

Not that long ago, the military sent me to Bahrain to work a particular mission. While I was there, I learned about the political differences between the King of Bahrain (a Sunni) and the majority Shia population on the small island nation. Protests against the King were somewhat common, and I would get text notifications if one flared up. The protests weren’t aimed at America (a nice change), but we were always advised to stay away from them because the mob mentality might make us a target of convenience.

Mobs make people stupid by allowing people to offload their decision making, and thus responsibility, onto the mob. The danger is that someone with a strong personality will use the mob’s power towards their own end. What starts as a peaceful demonstration can end in violence. That’s what happened in Bahrain, climaxing in 2011 with the demonstration near the Pearl Monument and its subsequent destruction by the government.

The scary part about mobs is that the people pulling the strings typically don’t have a peaceful end state. President Trump understands this and pointed it out in 2017 that tearing down statues to appease the mob isn’t going to work. Plenty of people ridiculed him, including Slate:

“So Trump’s comparison there is dumb. It doesn’t really even make any sense. And the notion that there’s some slippery slope is dumb.”

-Slate article, 2017

Doesn’t look so dumb now. It’s one thing for a city government to remove a Confederate statue or the federal government to rename a base. I’d be happy renaming Fort Gordon to something else, since General John Gordon seemed more capable of getting shot than being an effective general, and was probably a KKK member. There’s a system for doing that, so we should use that. We don’t need a mob for these things.

Worse, this mob mentality isn’t going to end anytime soon. We’re now seeing Catholic churches targeted in California. My wife alerted me to an FSSP parish in San Diego, where the address was being posted in order to mobilize a protest. The right to peacefully protest is a good thing. It allows things like praying outside a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. But it should be fairly obvious from the above Instagram picture, which makes plenty of assumptions on the church members, that the point isn’t to be peaceful, but rather intimidate people from attending church. Think about it, would YOU walk through a throng of angry protestors to attend Mass?

Mob leaders want people to submit to mob control. Worse still, when mob leadership adheres to Antifa ideaology, it will violently attack any authority that opposes it. This includes Church authority, especially Catholic teachings.

Prediction: we’re going to see attempts by the mob to link Catholicism to slavery, Trump, COVID-19, and whatever else comes to mind in order to justify defacing and tearing buildings down. This, despite a decent Church history of opposing slavery, even having a Pope that was a former slave. Remember that actual history doesn’t matter to the mob.

The question we have to start asking Catholics now is: are you prepared to wade through a mob to attend Mass? Will you tolerate a mob defacing or tearing down your Church? Because the mob is coming for Jesus. Which side will you be on when it arrives?

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Covid-19: What the media and the Democrats don’t want you to realize

By Christopher Harper

After the media and the Democrats trashed the response of the Trump administration’s actions toward the pandemic, few analysts have circled back to assess the success of the federal government.

Overall, the administration did quite well in facing the most horrific disease outbreak in a century.

The only way to accurately assess the overall effectiveness is to compare apples to apples, or death rates to 100,000 people. To wit, the United States did better than Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and about the same as the Netherlands and Ireland. Germany and South Korea did better.

The cancellation of flights from China held down the infection rate; the cancellation of flights from Europe could have come earlier.

The patchwork of shutdowns and social distancing across almost every U.S. state has succeeded in stopping the exponential spread of the virus; the subsequent government subsidies have helped the economy.

Remember the ventilator shortage? It never materialized. Now the United States has a considerable surplus after mobilizing production by the likes of General Motors.

Remember the hospital bed shortage? On March 18, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a dire warning. Within 45 days, New York City would need 110,000 hospital beds to treat those suffering from Covid-19, and it only had 53,000 available. In the end, New York hit a peak for hospitalizations on April 12 at 18,825–well below the worst-case scenario.

Across the nation, the healthcare system became strained in some states, such as New Jersey, Maryland, and Massachusetts, but it held up to the increased demand.

The problem is New York and other states was the inadequate oversight of nursing homes and long-health facilities, where about 40 percent of the 120,000 victims died.

Although the federal government sets standards for these facilities that receive Medicare, state and local governments are responsible for overseeing the quality of care. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and others failed miserably, while Florida and a few others did not.

Multiple vaccines for the coronavirus have begun clinical trials on humans. According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 100 possible vaccines in various stages of development around the world.

Earlier predictions argued it could be more than a year and a half before a vaccine was proven effective and ready to use. Now one is expected some time in the beginning of next year.

“From a vaccine development, we are doing incredibly well in that we’ve got a large number of entities trying to develop the vaccine,” says Gerard Anderson, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. Meanwhile, the antiviral drug Remdesivir has been found to shorten the average hospital stays of coronavirus patients.

Remember that study that argued hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, was dangerous? It turns out the data were false, and the study was withdrawn from a prominent medical journal.

Some shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPEs, occurred during the initial outbreak. That shortage was caused, in part, by virus-related disruptions in the supply chain from manufacturers in China, Anderson says.

Again, the United States now has a vast surplus. As of June 12, the government and industry had delivered more than 140 million N95 masks, 600 million surgical and procedural masks, 20 million eye and face shields, 265 million gowns and coveralls, and 14 billion gloves.

The Centers for Disease Control bungled test kits after the initial outbreak—part of the reason why Trump bypassed the organization. Again, the country now has a vast stockpile of testing kits and is performing roughly 500,000 examinations a day, with more than 20 million done in total.

But the media and the Democrats have shifted away from the positive steps the Trump administration made during the pandemic to the issue of racism. It’s the whack-a-mole strategy they’ve played from Russiagate to Racegate.

Rise, Take Up Your Bed, and Walk

by baldilocks

Originally posted July 15, 2004. Edited for contemporaneousness. I think that this is the third or fourth time I’ve reposted it.

What have Republicans/conservatives done for black Americans? I hear that question constantly when I disclose that I am a conservative Republican. Often I will provide the usual facts that seem to be missing from the historical lexicon these days: freed the slaves, were 90%+ in the majority in the votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and many other things in between. However, something about the question sets steel to my nerves.

Implied in the question is that a political party must “do something” for blacks. Not merely the usual “something” that a government entity does for all constituents, e.g. provides utilities, regulates commerce, etc., but something special.

That word special has taken on a new meaning in the past few decades and I think that it applies to the special items that liberals/leftists believe that the government should provide for the special people, the congenitally retarded developmentally disabled folk.

Yes, we special people–with special needs–require special handling: special education and special employment. You can’t expect black people to live up to the standards of normal people. Like paraplegics or the blind or the deaf or those born with Down Syndrome, singular accommodations must be made for the great handicap of being born with black skin. To liberals/leftists, black people are a crippled class that can never be made whole just as long as we can never be made not-black. What’s this notion called?

And if anyone tries to treat us as full, competent adults, the liberals/leftists will scream in righteous anger and protest about the unfairness of it all. And if some of us ‘handicapped’ verbally express the desire to be treated like full, competent adults and act in a manner that demonstrates that desire, we are deemed as traitors by those who share the same racial makeup and who buy into the blackness-as-handicap philosophy.

Yes, we are traitors to that cause, because if some of us refuse to take advantage of the special needs offered and succeed anyway, the vast majority of America will begin to think that we don’t really require the handicap parking space.

The vast majority of Americans will begin to think that we’re not really inferior after all. (Optimistically speaking, I believe that the majority think this anyway.)

However, this idea of our race-wide handicap is so ingrained in the mindsets of of the Left — of all races — that it has morphed into the very core of black identity: a black person who believes that black Americans need extra help to succeed is “authentically black.” Conversely, one who doesn’t buy it “isn’t really black” [Ed. note: Did Biden steal this notion from me?] and is, therefore, a traitor to black identity.

In short, blacks who believe in their own inferiority are the real deal and those who don’t, aren’t. How’s that for twisted dogma?

(This is why Candace Owens comes in for special scorn among the liberals/leftists, especially black ones. Having been born with not merely one, but the proverbial two strikes against her, her very existence gives lie to the entire notion of black inferiority. I’m sure that white supremacists hate her just as much.)

So, when some black people find out that Republicans don’t want to “do anything” for them except to encourage them to take part in the American dream of prosperity, stemming from work and ingenuity, they’re like, “WTF? Where’s my money?” So it is that white Republicans/conservatives, those whose ideology purports to treat blacks as equals are considered racists. We blacks who agree with this are merely sell-outs.

Those that have wondered why the Republican party don’t spend time on “minority outreach” miss the point. Republicans do outreach already. They just don’t do handicapped outreach, not unless you’re really handicapped.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Follow Juliette on FacebookTwitterMeWePatreon and Social Quodverum.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar!

Or hit Juliette’s!

COVID-19 Wealth Transfer

COVID-19 is exacerbating many things, but one that is flying under the radar right now is a pending, unprecedented wealth transfer from old to young. The transfer of wealth from the Boomer generation to Millenials was already being discussed in 2014 due to its shear size (somewhere between 30 and 60 trillion dollars). While some people predicted it wouldn’t be as large because of rising health care and long-term care costs, those will be cut short by the disease.

This is important for a few reasons. First, COVID-19 wiped out any senior care center it touched. These centers all too often make their money by sucking the benefits from their members, to the point they have no wealth left to transfer to heirs. Now that many of the members have died, there will be a transfer of funds surviving family members, likely to spur a bit of the economy. Because COVID-19 hit the older population much more so than younger, it’s not a surprise that the economy can bounce back faster than expected.

Given the poor performance of senior centers, I would expect many people to be hesitant to trust them with aging boomer parents in the future. Once the full truth comes out, especially about how places like Michigan and New York knowingly put COVID-positive seniors back in homes, it will become the scandal of 2020. I’d expect to see a rise in senior centers that boast a better cleaning and isolation regiment, as well as people adding mother-in-law suites to provide for parents in the future.

Lastly, COVID-19 is likely to spur quick changes on Medicare. Medicare as a program has never been setup for long-term success. Taxing the working people to pay for seniors only works if you have a large, growing population and a relatively short lifespan. Given that people live longer and have less children, those economic don’t work when health care costs rise. But COVID-19 exposed medical treatment costs as perhaps more driven by red tape than anything else. Regardless, the lack of taxpayer funds due to unemployment will likely bring in some much needed change to the system.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

The creation of media bias

By Christopher Harper

While taking an online course created by the University of Texas and the Knight Foundation, I hoped to learn more about reporting on the Covid-19 crisis.

Instead, I got an informative look at the creation and propagation of media bias throughout the world.

Had the class involved only a few students, the result would have been a small group of individuals subjected to an anti-Trump bias. Instead, nearly 10,000 people from countries throughout the world received examples of how NOT to report.

The instructor, science reporter Maryn McKenna, barely cloaked her bias throughout the four-week class.

In the first week, the class got the bias of writer Sonia Shah.

“[W]hat really surprised me about the way this pandemic is unfolding is the huge political failure in the United States. I think that really was not expected. You know, I think we’ve all been kind of confused about the U.S. response and, you know, the political moment we’re in where we have all of these right-wing populist leaders around the world,” she opined.

That would run counter to recent studies that found the U.S. lockdown may have saved 60 million Americans from contracting the disease.

In the second week, the class read one of the instructor’s articles in The New Republic, an avowedly leftist publication, entitled “The Plague Years: How the rise of right-wing nationalism is jeopardizing the world’s health.” 

“Nationalism, xenophobia, the new right-wing populism in Europe and the United States, are raising our risk,” said Ronald Klain, who was the White House Ebola response coordinator for President Barack Obama, told her. 

The article is a classic example of confirmation bias, where she sought out sources to confirm her beliefs.

In the third week, the instructor blamed President Trump and Fox News for saying hydroxychloroquine might help people to recover from Covid-19. Her criticism was based on a study that has been subsequently found to have had numerous errors. See https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/04/health/coronavirus-hydroxychloroquine.html

McKenna also highlighted an obvious piece of propaganda from a student from China:

“China’s President Xi Jinping…pledged to make any potential vaccine developed by China a ‘global public good’ once it was put into use. This move would be China’s contribution to achieving accessibility and affordability of a vaccine in developing countries as well.”

Moreover, the instructor makes a particular point to forecast that it would take 10 to 15 years to discover a vaccine.

Then the coup de grace in the final week. In rapid succession, the instructor interviewed the head of the CDC under Obama, who criticized the current U.S. policies. But, ahem, she failed to ask him about Obama’s and his failures during the H1N1 pandemic.

Then, you can’t make this stuff up, came fiction writer Annalee Newitz.

“We’re seeing our political institutions become more unstable. We’re seeing environmental problems exacerbated as regulations over environmental waste. We’re seeing more problems around climate change because environmental regulations are being relaxed during these difficult times. … We’re facing starvation in California, even though we have plenty of food, but lots of people are now undernourished and malnourished and aren’t able to eat,” Newitz told the instructor, who didn’t question this nonsense.

Famine?

I repeatedly tried to contact the instructor, who apparently ignored my emails.

One of the organizers, University of Texas professor Rosental Alves, responded to my complaints.  

Alves said: “This is the only complaint I have received from anyone among the nearly 9,000 people registered in this MOOC. It’s also the first time I’ve received a political bias complaint since I started our distance learning program for journalists 17 years ago. I will look into it.” 

I’ve heard nothing more.

I declined my certificate of completion of the class on reporting about Covid-19. Instead, I might ask for a certificate in watching media bias unfold to nearly 10,000 people, who, unlike me, may have limited backgrounds in assessing how the media can suborn the truth and propagate the false. 

Posturing before the deal: Russia and nuclear weapons

The Davy Crockett Nuclear Munition, from Wikipedia

Amid the chaos in the news was an announcement that President Putin signed an updated nuclear deterrent policy for Russia, which expanded the use of nuclear weapons as a response against conventional attacks on Russia’s critical government and military infrastructure.

I haven’t found a translated copy yet (the original Russian is linked in this article), but if you were to ask me if this is a surprise…its not. We need to view this through Russia’s eyes and see what nuclear weapons mean to them, why they would change policy now, and what is their desired end state.

First, when we talk nuclear weapons, realize that Russia has always had a pretty wide range of weapons. When we hear nuclear, we think giant missiles with multiple warheads, and for the current U.S. stockpile, that’s pretty true. But we forget that the U.S. had an interest in tactical nuclear weapons, right down to the man portable “Davy Crockett,” a man-portable nuclear bazooka that you can still see on display in the Army Ordnance Museum. Russia has never lost its taste for tactical nuclear weapons, even going so far as to look at suitcase (really, backpack sized, ~70 pound) warheads that could be smuggled and detonated inside the U.S. Russia’s Navy has always viewed nuclear weapons as a viable option in naval warfare against U.S. Carrier Strike Groups.

A Special Atomic Demolition Munition with a W54 warhead…essentially, a backpack nuke.
Image from Wikipedia

For Russia, using tactical nuclear weapons doesn’t mean we will go to full-on nuclear conflict. It’s not in Russia’s best interest to have a full nuclear exchange with the U.S. or NATO. Think about it. Russia loses in a full exchange: they have less people, less ability to rebuild, and will likely lose all military forces (and thus ability to defend) in any full exchange. Russia doesn’t want to own the whole world, but to simply dominate the parts that were the former USSR.

Because the U.S. views nuclear exchange as an “all or nothing” game, Russia uses this to its advantage. It’s always viewed theater war as a limited exchange that could allow tactical nuclear weapons to be used without escalation, so long as they achieved a specific objective. In this sense, Russia is OK with an “escalate to deescalate” policy with nuclear weapons.

So given that, why the policy change now? It’s part technology, part negotiation. On the technology side, conventional weapons are becoming incredibly accurate and more lethal. Russia fears a decapitating strike by the U.S. using advanced weapons like the Tomahawk cruise missile. Russia has watched the U.S. strike country after country with these weapons to great effect. Nuclear policy, specifically Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), was written before conventional weapons were this accurate. Does MAD work when I can hit decision makers in under an hour (like the program Prompt Global Strike was pursuing)? Doubtful. The technology has simply changed too much.

It’s also a negotiating move. Withdrawing from the INF treaty means the last nuclear treaty is the START treaty, set to expire in February 2021. Russia can’t afford an arms race with the U.S. The Russian economy is tanking due to COVID-19 and sanctions. If European nations stay in NATO and allied with the U.S., this situation is unlikely to change. Plus, Russia is shrinking as its population gets older and more sick due to the poor healthcare in the country. If START doesn’t get re-upped, Russia is in trouble, as it can’t compete with U.S. and European manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

So, as Russians are fond of doing, its striking hard. It’s trying to get people scared that it might pull a “Crazy Ivan.” That’s a possibility, but an unlikely one. Its big hope is for the U.S. to blink and negotiate on their terms. Given the current administration, that’s unlikely too. In fact, the DoD is practicing against just such a thing, much to Russia’s ire.

In the next six months, expect the Russian’s to run drills and emphasize their use of tactical nuclear weapons. Russia could even find a way to test a nuclear weapon underground as part of these drills. RT and Sputnik news will play this up, bringing in images of the Cold War, with kids under their desks and mushroom clouds in the background. We’ll probably “find” a nuclear-like device in the U.S., or uncover a plot to transport one. All this is to get the U.S. to give them the nuclear deal that they want.

All this will be done with the hope of persuading the American people and sitting President to negotiate. Whether it works will depend on how willing we are to look past the fluff.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.