Big Media Want You Scared

by baldilocks

I’m okay. No pestilence; nor am I aware of any family member or friend who has it. I do keep a very long prayer list consisting of names, however.

I just want to point out something.

Yesterday, there was this.

CBS News has picked up the story of the woman who claims her hospital gave her no protection to take care of COVID-19 patients.

But CBS News apparently didn’t check the story because, as they say, it was too good to check.

Imaris Vera, part-time nurse and part-time Instagram model, claims she quit her job at a Chicago area hospital – still unnamed – because the hospital didn’t provide nurses with proper equipment around COVID-19 patients.

All we’ve heard is howls from governors and CDC officials for us not to take away gear from first responders. Save the PPE and the N-95 masks for the pros. So at first blush, the story looked like it might be true.

Then it started crumbling.

And, today, there was this.

President Donald Trump reportedly owns a stake in a company that produces hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug he has repeatedly touted as a coronavirus treatment even though his experts say there’s no strong evidence it works.

Trump “has a small personal financial interest” in Sanofi, the French drugmaker that makes Plaquenil, the brand-name version of hydroxychloroquine, The New York Times reported Monday.

In addition, Sanofi’s largest shareholders include a mutual fund company run by major Republican donor Ken Fisher, the paper said. Trump’s three family trusts, as of last year, each had investments in a mutual fund whose largest holding was Sanofi, according to the Times.

Mike Cernovich presented the financial documents and figured out that President Trump’s stake in Sanofi is worth no more than $435. And, considering that Sanofi hasn’t owned the patent for Panequil (hydroxychloroquine’s brand name) since 1995, there are likely dozens of generic versions of the drug, since it is used to treat several conditions: rheumatoid arthritis, malaria, lupus, etc.

But we know what media’s intended implication is: that President Trump is pushing hydroxychloroquine as a cure for the Wuhan virus in order to enrich himself.

Besides both  being distortions of reality by Big Media entities, these two vignettes are small parts of an overarching goal: to keep fear and hopelessness stoked in the collective psyche of the American public.

It’s like this. If the public believes that the president is just in it for himself and there is in actuality no pharmaceutical cure, they will be willing to accept a more radical cure — like changing presidents.

Big Media will keep trying. And that’s why the president’s daily Wuhan virus press briefings are so important.

And it’s why several Big Media entities hate these briefings and refuse to cover them.

Keep an eye on all of them, especially now that most of you have the time to do it.

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.

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Quarantine Board Game Suggestions (Besides Dynasty Baseball)

When functioning in the real world letting yourself get hooked on games can be considered a bad thing but when stuck in quarantine a game that can eat up time is worth its weight in gold. Now if you are a twenty something you likely don’t need a list like this, but if your fifty something and never owned a comic store in your twenty that sold board games or old Dos games it will come in handy. Here are a few suggestions some are current, most of which you’ve likely never heard of but are available for purchase on eBay. Today we do board games.

Family Business:

The Family business card game is quick and simple. You are the head of a 1920’s mob family and the object of your game is to eliminate everyone else to become the capo di tutti capi. This is done via hits, putting the finger on others etc, but watch out as the other mobs will be quick to go after you as well and might have cards ready to counter. for 3-5.

Settlers of Catan:

Simple popular game where you develop your civilization by using resource cards and getting points for doing so. Quick paced and with a million expansions it makes a great party game or is sutable for a small group.

Groo the Cardgame:

If the Groo comic series is a good one to read while in quarantine. Groo the card game is even better if you have a group of three or more locked together. The game faithfully follows the comic in the sense that you are the mayor of a town and your goal is to make Groo so somewhere else as he keeps accidentally destroying buildings, ships and killing your soldiers in frays. Get seven point of buildings up (or 10 in the long version) and keep them up by the end of a turn and you win, but with Groo nearby, it not easy at all.

Squad Leader/Panzer Leader family/upfront

If there are two of you the classic Squad Leader/Panzer leader games or the Advanced Squad Leader system will hook you bad. With the board and terrain systems you can literally re-create almost any small scale world war 2 encounter of different nationalities in any theater. This is one of the most complex and realistic game systems ever invented so be warned. If you want a less complex version the Upfront card game does the trick. The morale based system really makes the games come alive but if you’ve never played an Avalon Hill game it will take some getting used to.

Broadside:

This one you’ll definitely have to get on Ebay as it has been out of print from Milton Bradley for 40 years. For two players one commands a powerful 10 ship British fleet the other a less powerful American fleet during the War of 1812 but supported by shore guns and underwater rocks that can tear a ship open whose placement you know but the British don’t. The object of the Brits is to enter the harbor and sink a fleet of docked merchant ships, you need to sink the british fleet before they do. Defense vs Offense, a great strategy game for two.

Memoir 44 / Battle Cry (modern)

Sort of a poor man’s Squad Leader for those who aren’t into too much complexity, using terrain hexes you can recreate different world war two battles or in the case of battle cry, civil war battles. A lot less complex and cool miniatures are the advantages over squad leader and you’re not likely to get hooked spending thousands on expansions. Because of the divided game board it can be played with 2-6 rather than just head to head. WARNING do NOT confuse this modern version of Battle Cry with the Milton Bradley version that came out at the time of Broadside which is undoubtedly one of the worst board games every invented.

Solo Games

Of course if your stuck in quarantine, you are likely stuck alone here are a few excellent solo games of different complexity from the old Avalon Hill company

London’s Burning:

You are the the RAF in charge of the few and as the game runs the Lufwaffre sending waves of Bombers over England. Can you direct your meager supply of Spitfires and Hurricanes and even more meager supply of trained pilots to keep your cities airfields and radar stations safe or will the Nazi blitz be too much for you. Can be played two player.

Blackbeard: You are a pirate cruising the Caribbean , the gold cost and/ or Madagascar capturing ships, ransoming hostages and raiding towns. But you need to keep your ship/fleet in repair because kings commissioners with powerful warships are after you and the towns and ships are armed and ready for you, and of course you never know if you might find yourself in a duel. In the multi-player version you look to survive and retire with the most gold or the biggest reputation, but in the solo game you are Captain Blood with more skill than all the others and a odd resemblance to Errol Flynn and need to gain a high enough reputation score to win. Sorry Johnny Depp fans , this game predates all those movies so he’s not there.

Patton’s Best:

This is for the ASL Crowd. You are a tank commander who has survived Normandy , now you have to go day by day through the grind of battle. The system provides targets and opponents and you have to make the right decisions at the right time because if you don’t you’ll find an 88 ending your game in a hurry. Replace wounded crew members replenish your ammo and survive to be promoted, but be careful there because you never know if there is a hidden machine gun next or an enemy tank just over the next rise. This is a complex game for someone who wants to kill a lot of time.

Of course in an age of computer games and phones you might want something that will play on a PC That post will come later this week and will include a few games that are also available as board games.

The Zoom boom and bust

By Christopher Harper

After the disclosure of deep ties to China and massive disruptions of online meetings, the Zoom boom may be a bust.

I’ve never been a fan of Zoom since I started using it about six months ago for an online class I teach.

For some reason, Temple University recently changed from Webex, a product similar to Zoom that was built by Cisco. No one I asked seemed to know why the change happened. But it probably had to do with the lower cost of Zoom at $19.99 a month vs. $26.95 for Webex. Both services offer free individual downloads.

Now everyone should know about the hazards of using Zoom, particularly after a legal investigation in New York and an FBI warning.

Zoom names every video recording in a similar way, so a simple online search can reveal a long stream of videos.

News organizations and others were able to watch a variety of videos that included therapy sessions; a training orientation for workers doing conferences that included people’s names and phone numbers; small-business meetings that included private company financial statements; and elementary school classes, in which children’s faces, voices, and personal details were exposed.

Many of the videos include personal information and ntimate conversations, recorded in people’s homes. Other videos include nudity.

But there’s more. The inadequate security enabled hackers to join meetings, known as Zoom bombing, to disrupt them with obscene materials and profanity.

But there’s even more. The founder of Zoom is from China and backs up some of the information on servers there. Moreover, a major part of Zoom’s research and development occurs in China, which is likely to have some means of cracking the codes.

I have stopped using Zoom, but I have been unable to convince my colleagues that the program is a bad idea.

I don’t agree with Elon Musk and New York City about much of anything. But both of them have at least banned the use of Zoom over privacy and security issues. I also don’t trust the founder of Zoom to fix the issues any time soon.