The War of All Against All…

or How the Governments Multiplied Their Power by Destroying the US Economy to Fight the Wuhan Coronavirus

The United States has seen epidemics of new and old diseases many times in the past.  The so-called Spanish Flu infected 500 Million people worldwide between 1918 and 1920, claiming between 17 and 50 million lives (figures vary, because governments around the world censored their information reaching the public).  Abot 105 Million people were infected in the United States, with 500,000-850,000 deaths.

In 2009, the Swine Flu Pandemic infected 700 Million to 1.8 Billion people worldwide, with about 250,000 deaths.  The US had about 12,000 die from this flu.

In neither of the above pandemics did the United States Government, and State and Local governments, nearly completely shut down their economies to fight the Pandemic Flu.  Travel restrictions were instituted, and the population was advised to stay home if ill, wear masks in public, and avoid large gatherings.

It is estimated that about 45,000 people die of influenza and its complications in the United States each year.  Flu Season is prepared for regularly, the population (especially the elderly) is urged to get their “flu shot” each year, and life goes on.  Symphony concerts, football games, and rock concerts are held everywhere during flu season, and life goes on.  Thousands die of flu every year, and the so-called Press pays little attention.

This time, and this Wuhan Coronavirus, are different.  The world watched, and took notice, in January when news came of a contagious, deadly new virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.  It was supposed to have originated in a Chinese “Wet Market”, where exotic animals are sold, alive and dead, for food and medicine.  There were rumors of medical personnel in China dying of this virus.  Rumors also flew about the Chinese Communist Party suppressing news of the virus, and “disappearing” doctors who tried to warn the wider world about it.

Soon, those rumors were confirmed to be true, and the rest of the world began to take serious notice.  The virus spread within Wuhan and its surrounding territory, the the story of brave Ophthalmologist Li Wenliang, who tried to warn the world about this new virus, and was subsequently silenced by the Communist Party, and died of the virus.  Stories emerged about heavy-handed Chinese methods of trying to contain the virus, including welding apartment doors shut so inhabitants could not go out (stories and pictures exist of this).

It took the UN Agency, the World Health Organization until March to declare a pandemic existed, and that organization and its Director General did their best to minimize the effects, and play down the role of the Chinese Communist Party.  Over the weeks, it came out that the WHO has been under the thumb of the Chinese Communist Party for years.

Europe and Asia suffered the most, and the news was filled with stories of how hospitals in Italy and elsewhere were overwhelmed with Covid patients. [editorial comment: I wonder why that name just grates on me? Every time I hear it, I cringe].  The first “country lockdowns” were seen in Italy, with everyone required to remain in their homes, not leaving except for “essential” activities like food-shopping; stores and factories shuttered; travel forbidden.  You may want to check out this story of how Chinese companies are buying up Italian ones-no wonder Italy was so badly affected. Soon many countries were locking down their economies, and closing their borders.

In the US, President Donald Trump instituted a ban on travel from China in January, and of course it set off the wailing dogs of the Leftist Press, bemoaning the travel ban as discriminatory and unnecessary.  The first case of the virus was actually found not so very far from where I live in Washington State; the man, who had traveled from Wuhan, China, before the ban, recovered and returned home.  And also in our area, a nursing home in Kirkland was the first incidence of virus spread among residents of a long-term-care facility.  The disease has been found to disproportionately affect the very elderly, especially in congregate-care settings.  There were many deaths.

In February, the first state-wide lockdowns started.  The San Francisco Bay Area was almost totally locked down, businesses closed, travel forbidden, and the people confined to their homes, supposedly to “flatten the curve”, and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed.  Only “essential” businesses were still permitted to operate, but the definition of “essential” varied by State, and by locality.  The lockdowns were supposed to be only short-term, until the hospitals had time to increase capacity.  The Navy sent two hospital ships to New York and San Francisco, so care for non-virus patients so the hospitals could concentrate on virus patients.  Neither ship saw much use, and they were withdrawn.

Schools and colleges closed, and students were sent home.  K-12 students were advised to engage in “distance-learning”, but many school districts had no experience with this, and teachers had no idea how to do it, so most students got little education at the end of the year.  Parents who lost their own jobs, were now forced to stay home with their kids. Parents who could work from home, discovered that they now had two jobs-their own, and “school teacher” for their kids.

One feature of the anti-virus lockdowns was the requirement that hospitals stop all “non-essential” care; non-essential included joint-replacement surgeries, cancer surgeries, diagnostic radiology services, and all other non-emergency care.  These so-called elective procedures are how most hospitals make their money, and when they were no longer allowed to do them, their revenue suffered.  Many hospitals laid off doctors, nurses, and other personnel-in the midst of a pandemic!  And some hospitals were forced to close their doors, reducing the total quantity of care for many communities.  Numerous people, afraid to go to hospital emergency rooms, died at home of heart attacks and strokes that might have been treated if they had called for help.  How many more cases of cancer will grow worse, because the people were denied diagnostic exams?  That may not be known now for years.

Most localities closed all their bars and restaurants, throwing millions out of work, and contributing to the increase in the unemployment rate from the 3.5% in January, to 15% in March.  State Unemployment offices were inundated with claims that, despite Federal money, were delayed when there were simply not enough people to process them.  All travel being forbidden, decimated the airline industry, and the big aircraft manufacturers.  Many parts of the economy simply shut.  City streets were deserted.

State Governors had been presented with a kind of power they had never had before.  The Feds took the advice of infectious-disease “experts” who had never seen an infectious virus like this one, and so they simply closed the economy, to stop the spread of the virus.  But those who run these government agencies knew nothing about making policy, and their jobs and livelihoods were never in danger.  They were so far “above” the man or woman on the street that it never occurred to them that they might be doing more harm than good.  The news stories emphasized how deadly the virus is, and how you need to protect yourself and others whenever you leave your home.  And all the efforts to stop or slow the spread of the virus, have been demonstrably unsuccessful.  The virus continues to spread.  People still get sick, and some die.  But the War of All Against All is perpetuated by Government.

Children have been denied the right to go to school, learn English, math, and science, and play with their friends.  They are not allowed out of their homes, except for the back yards (if they have one-kids in big cities don’t).  Kids who were eligible for low-cost or free lunch at school cannot get lunch.  Children are now being taught to be afraid of their friends.

“Social Distancing” is the new Mantra-stay away from all those other people, because they might carry disease and death!  The economy has partially re-opened, but stores everywhere install plexiglass barriers at checkout stands, so the clerks don’t get infected by their customers.  Many State Governors have enlisted Businesses to be their “diktat-enforcers”.  It is now mandatory for everyone age five and over to wear a “face-covering” or mask whenever they enter a building other than their own home.  Businesses who allow un-masked customers in their stores can be fined, or their store closed.

Society itself is being destroyed.  Every person is being taught, over and over, to distrust EVERY other person.  Government, in its heavy-handed response to the Wuhan Coronavirus, is proceeding to tear down the foundations of society; ripping the people away from their friends and acquaintances, and destroying businesses on a daily basis.  Here are some news items. gleaned from various places, showing

The War of All Against All

Virus Takes Heavy Toll on Stores

The outdoors store Land, Sea, And Sky, which sells telescopes and binoculars, closed in March and had its employees working remotely.  Once it reopened, it chose to keep the store closed and conduct transactions on the sidewalk.  They chose, because they have high-risk employees, not to allow customers back in the shop.

The [record] store stopped allowing customers to review albums in-store.

Truck stops will now require all their customers to wear masks.  The coronavirus has made life on the road more challenging for truckers as they contend with new requirements and restrictions.

In a Wall Street Journal article, outside meetings are shown.  There is a picture of seven adults in lawn chairs in a circle, all wearing masks, sitting six feet apart.  Outdoors.  The article says that some people may still feel anxious about meeting in groups, even outdoors.

Headline: Fauci, Powell warn of fresh risks to Lives, Economy, if virus spirals

Health experts say mass adherence to basic guidelines is sorely needed.

Due to safety protocols, many colleges aren’t alowing parents in dorms, or, in some cases, even on campus.  Move-in dates have been staggered over multiple days, to allow students to keep distant, with specific time slots allotted. Some schools are limiting the number of suitcases students can bring with them, asking that everything be shipped ahead to reduce trips in and out of the residence halls. Many students will be tested for the virus immediately upon arrival and quarantined as they await results. [Premise: Everyone is assumed to be infected]

About return to schools: Even if the numbers allow them to open, teachers and staff members will have to distance themselves by at least six feet from each other and from children.  Students in third grade and higher will be forced to wear masks.  [effects: children will not see their teachers smile, or their friends either]

...the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest education union, threatened “safety strikes” if reopening plans are not to their liking.

On net, therefore, the value of online public school is much lower, especially for young children, than the value of in-person public school.

Summer school has informed some districts’ plans.  In Norwalk, Conn., as soon as someone at a summer school tested positive in July, the building shut for three week-days of disinfection, plus the weekend.  All six people in the infected person’s group quarantined for 14 days.

Headlines on Wednesday, July 25:  Pandemic Lockdowns Clip Sales at Gucci; Altria Sees Pause In Smoking Slide, Shift to Cigarettes [people locked down at home are smoking more]; Closures, Costs, Dent McDonald’s Profit; Starbucks Loss Worst in Decade; Mondelez Snack Sales Suffer From Measures to Fight Virus Overseas; L Brands to Lay Off Hundreds.

Virus Cases Slow, but States Struggle.   Headline sounds like it is trying to demoralize us.

There have been numerous stories of citizens in big cities “snitching” on their neighbors.  New York issued a phone number for a hotline, for citizens to report others not in compliance with Government Mandates to wear masks and “social-distance” from others. There is now even a word to describe snitches, they are called “Karens”.

Here is a picture from one of my Ricochet friends, of signs she found around her neighborhood one day.  Governments are creating a mini-Stasi, the East German Secret Police that kept tabs on all citizens.

Karens

Below are some very pithy comments from a bunch of my Ricochet friends, who are in general smarter than the average bear.

As we’ve navigated this pandemic, I’ve seen indicators and warnings (term of art, in my previous life) that we’re all getting played across the board by this pandemic reaction and mitigation efforts. What I am saying is not that there should be no mitigation or protection efforts. I’ve stated my preferences of the start point for protecting the vulnerable before, and early on in this grift.   [Boss Mongo]

 

Progressives are pushing a “no risk” solution, which of course is not “no risk.” It goes like this: Do whatever it takes to ensure that no one dies; OK someone died, but let’s now do whatever it takes so that no one else dies; OK someone else died, but now do whatever it takes so that no others die; (wash, rinse, repeat). This maximizes, not minimizes, total losses. And yet it is being sold as the way to minimize loss. It sounds like a wonderful aspiration: we all work together to keep us all alive. But in practice, it is the best way to assure that more people die — if not as a direct loss to the disease, then as an indirect loss due to the response to the disease.  [Rodin]

 

Governments, businesses, organizations, and people have imposed or implemented many virus transmission mitigation efforts, including closing businesses, schools, churches, public events and social activities, preventing travel, forcing people to remain physically distant from one another, and building physical barriers to separate people from one another, including extra walls, face masks, etc. These virus transmission mitigation efforts have and will continue to impose significant costs on society and on individuals. “Costs” that are not just monetary, but also medical, psychological, and social.  [Full Size Tabby]

 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced tonight that he has authorized the city to shut off water and power at homes and businesses that continue to host large parties and gatherings, “in flagrant violation” of health orders:

“Starting on Friday night, if the LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties re-offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours.”  [ontheleftcoast, but I had already seen this info]

 

This next part is something I copied myself from the KOMO Seattle Web Site.  There is a well-known U of Washington group whose prediction/projection “models” of the virus spread/containment inform the governor of Washington state, who has said that the massive restrictions will stay in place “until there is a vaccine” for the virus.  In my opinion, this is evil.

SEATTLE – Washington state will likely need to reimpose stricter stay-home orders and business closures by October amid a projected increase in the state’s death rate from coronavirus, according to a new University of Washington study released Thursday.

The study says the stricter measures will be needed when the state’s daily death rate reaches 8 per million, and may be similar to those imposed at the start of the pandemic in March and April, including closures of nonessential businesses and expanded stay-home orders.

However, if face mask usage were to increase to 95% of the state’s population, the stricter measures could be delayed by six to eight weeks, the study concluded.

The new study by UW’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation also found that America’s “rollercoaster” approach to COVID-19 is worsening the effects of the pandemic, and that the nation could see nearly 300,000 deaths by Dec. 1 unless there is a wholesale increase in mask-wearing.“We’re seeing a rollercoaster in the United States,” said IHME Director Christopher Murray. “It appears that people are wearing masks and socially distancing more frequently as infections increase, then after a while as infections drop, people let their guard down and stop taking these measures to protect themselves and others – which, of course, leads to more infections. And the potentially deadly cycle starts over again.”

The study forecasts a total U.S death toll of 295,011 by December if mask-wearing does not increase – an increase of 137,000 fatalities over the current total of 158,000.

However, if 95% of the people in the U.S. were to wear masks when leaving their homes starting today, that total number would decrease to 228,271 deaths, a drop of 49%, the study projects. And more than 66,000 lives would be saved.

There is no possible way that those modelers can have any kind of certainty about any of the above statements, and just the thought that they can impose strict stay-home orders on the Citizens of Washington State on such flimsy evidence is appalling!  And, what if there never is a vaccine?  What if the virus just stays around?  Will the people let the State run their lives forever?

Spot Inspections Rise as Officials Seek Covid-19 Safety compliance.

Governments in the United States are pitting each citizen against every other citizen.  Mask-wearing is said to “protect you from others, and others from you”.  Government is creating the ultimate low-trust society in the United States, and that will ensure that the United States as Founded, will disappear.  If each American is taught to be deathly afraid of each other American, how can anyone ever have some semblance of a normal life?  Governments and the Press are already getting us prepared for the “new normal” of remaining socially-distant from our former friends and coworkers, obsessively washing everything in our environment, including ourselves, and suspicion of every place other than our own homes.

They have destroyed Sports, both professional and amateur.  My husband goes to an athletic club to play squash; the club was hard-closed for five months!  Even now, the club is open, but he can’t play with another person on the court, or even take a shower after hitting by himself.  This is cruelty!  I wonder if all those pro football season-ticket holders will be keeping those seats, if they are not allowed to watch the games in person?

They have destroyed the performing arts (see my post on that subject from June).  Our tickets for Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra were worthless, since all the 2020 concerts were canceled.  At least the organization got our money.  Will they survive?  Unknown.

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “Want Schools to Open? Get Serious about Outbreaks”, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and a co-author say these things:

[low-income children] These are the children whose futures will suffer most from keeping schools shut. The country chose the short-term benefit of reopening un-essential businesses over the long-term benefit of ensuring children could be educated properly. [This is manifestly BS.  Who are they to deem any business un-essential?]

…trying to open schools doesn’t mean pretending Covid poses no risk to children, a move that only sows distrust among parents [as if that statement didn’t sow distrust itself]. Closed schools in the spring protected many children from Covid [impossible to prove]. This deliberate sheltering means we don’t know all the consequences of the virus spreading widely in children [assumption that the consequences would be dire].

The “Healthcare Emergency” that started in February is now over six months old, and Governments everywhere still have their boots on the necks of all citizens.  Most cities are enforcing mask requirements and insisting that people stay six feet away for all other people.  Bars and restaurants are still closed, or only partially open. Fear literally permeates the entire country.  Adults are prevented from meeting their friends outside, and in many places, even in their own homes!  No one’s life is safe from government mandates anymore.  Unemployment is still stubbornly high, and many people will soon exhaust their benefits.  Governments say, “don’t worry, we will take care of you, and protect you from that nasty, killer Virus”.  But most people don’t want the government to take care of them.  We want the Government to let us get back to work, and play.  We want our children to be able to play outside with their friends, and go to school to learn.

Most of us don’t want to be at war with everyone else.  We need to start fighting back against our own governments.  They are truly Drunk with Power, and need to be stopped.  Starting with the local level.  Tell your Rulers that you will elect new officials who see their citizens as adults who can make their own decisions, instead of as children who need to be controlled by their betters.  We need to Reject the War of All Against All, before we are All ruined.

Lens-Artists Challenge #109 Under the Sun…Around the West

The same Sun shines on us all.  Everyone on Planet Earth gets their sustenance from the same Sun.  That Sun shines over Alaska, as well as over the Hawaiian Islands.  I spent two years in Minneapolis in grad school, and I especially appreciated that sunshine in Winter, when it was bitter cold.

In 2016, Hubby and I went on a cruise to Alaska with Hillsdale College.  The sun shone on our ship, the Crystal Serenity.

LidoDeck-pool

That pool looks pretty inviting, doesn’t it?

When we got to Skagway, the sun was shining, and it was about 70 degrees out.  A beautiful day, surrounded by mountains.

IMG_1146

Now that I look at this photo, it looks like the ship is about to run right over all those vans in front of it.

And on the way home, among the Gulf Islands of Canada…

InsidePassage1

This is actually an intersection of two perpendicular streams of water, and that makes for some treacherous cross-currents.

Farther West, in Hawaii-

The sun shines a lot in tropical Hawaii, and it was pretty nice while we were there.  But it’s often prudent to have shade available.  These beautiful ladies were doing their traditional hula dance for us.  They just looked so happy!

HulaLadies2

Yeah, it’s almost a cliche, but they were delightful to watch.

In 2014 we went to Arizona for another Hillsdale function.  Arizona is even hotter than Hawaii in the summer, and the sun shines most of the time.  When you think of Arizona, does cactus come to mind?

Forest of Cacti!
Forest of Cacti

When you think of the Pacific Northwest, does “rain” come to mind?  Yes, but the sun does shine too around here.

Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry
Mount Baker, seen from San Juan Ferry, Puget Sound, WA

There may be “nothing new under the Sun”, but when it shines, we go outside to enjoy it.

 

Link

Extortion, Pure and Simple

Extortion, Pure and Simple

So the Black Lives Matter Marxists have thrown away the mask of helping the Black Community.  The following list of DEMANDS was presented to businesses in the “gentrifying” area known as NuLu, in Louisville, Kentucky recently.  Please be aware that only Leftist groups present lists of Demands to organizations like schools, businesses, and governments.  This list sounds like Revolution to me.

    • Businesses will adequately represent the black population of Louisville by having a minimum of 23% black staff (including management) in front of house positions, and maintain commitment and accountability to increasing that number (accountability roundtable information below).
    • Retail locations will include a minimum of 23% inventory of black retailers OR make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to black local organizations.
    • Business owners will require diversity, equity, & inclusion training for their staffs, to be conducted by any one of the black women leaders on the attached list. Training will be conducted thereafter on a bi-annual basis.
    • Customize your own OR display one of the attached written statements in a viable location within your business to increase awareness and show support for the reparations movement.
    • Non-profits in NuLu district will submit to a voluntary, external audit of their board of trustees and take necessary steps towards 23% representation on those boards.
    • Business owners & non-profit leaders will participate in quarterly roundtable discussions to be held accountable for their communities to these demands, and work together towards increased equity.
    • Maintain adequate black representation in any entertainment and performances booked at your business.
    • Dress code policies inherently discriminate against black folks, women, and the transgender community. You must eliminate dress code policies that promote profiling towards patrons and employees, including their hair requirements or stipulations, which can disproportionately target black folks
    • 23% representation on the board of NuLu Business Association

Now, the Black Lives Matter Marxists have given those businesses a list of the Consequences of Non-Compliance with the above list of Demands.

This is Extortion–Marxists acting like a Protection Racket, right in plain sight.

    • Reduction in Racial Index Score/bias report to the Better Business Bureau.
    • Social Media Blast: Notification, via all social media platforms, of non-compliance.
    • Boycott: Public boycott, coordinated through social media and mail announcements, of your NuLu establishment AND any other business ventures owned by you.
    • Protest: Visible, media-covered demonstration/sit-in outside your establishment.
    • Invasive Reclamation: Placement of booths/tables outside your establishment where competing Black proprietors will offer items comparable to those offered by you.This is absolitely disgusting.  What right do the BLM Marxists have to issue any such “demands” of the free people who own and run the businesses in Louisville?  Who made them The All-Powerful who Must Be Obeyed?  I fervently hope that the owners of those businesses band together and sue the daylights out of BLM.

    This is absolutely disgusting!  Who gave these Marxists the right to present “demands” to the free people who own and run these small businesses?  Who made them the “All-Powerful” who can dictate to business owners how they shall behave?  I fervently hope that those business proprietors band together and sue the daylights out of the sleazy extortionists!

This will be the Most Important Story of 2020. More important than the Wuhan Coronavirus.

On July 23, over at The Federalist, Mollie Hemingway published a story entitled:

FBI Notes Refute NY Times Story, Highlight Media Collusion in Russia Hoax

I am copying that post in its entirety here, so readers who can’t or won’t visit the original story can get the Real Facts.  What used to pass for the Press in the United States has turned into a corrupt band of Leftist Activists. Anyone who actually reads their drivel should stop immediately, cancel any subscriptions, and make this story go viral.  Unless you prefer being lied to.  Here is the story.  Please read every word.  Pass it on.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The FBI official who ran the investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election privately admitted in newly released notes that a major New York Times article was riddled with lies, falsehoods, and “misleading and inaccurate” information. The February 2017 story was penned by three reporters who would win Pulitzers for their reporting on Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia.

The FBI’s public posture and leaks at the time supported the now-discredited conspiracy theory that led to the formation of a special counsel probe to investigate the Trump campaign and undermine his administration.

“We have not seen evidence of any individuals affiliated with the Trump team in contact with [Russian Intelligence Officials]. . . . We are unaware of ANY Trump advisors engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials,” former FBI counterespionage official Peter Strzok wrote of the Feb. 14, 2017 New York Times story “Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence.” That story, which was based on the unsubstantiated claims of four anonymous intelligence officials, was echoed by a similarly sourced CNN story published a day later and headlined “Trump aides were in constant touch with senior Russian officials during campaign.”

Strzok’s notes are the latest factual debunking of these stories, which were previously shown to be false with the release of Robert Mueller’s special counsel report finding no evidence whatsoever in support of the Hillary Clinton campaign assertion that Trump affiliates colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. A report from the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General on just one aspect of the investigation into Russia collusion — FBI spying on Trump campaign affiliates — also debunked these news reports.

Former FBI Director James Comey admitted under oath in June 2017 that the reporting was “false,” something his deputy director Andrew McCabe privately acknowledged to the White House earlier that year but refused to admit publicly. Efforts by the White House to get the FBI to say publicly what they were admitting privately were leaked to the media in order to suggest the White House was obstructing their investigation. “Obstruction” of the Russia investigation would form a major part of the special counsel probe, and media and Democrat efforts to oust the president.

As for the merits of the explosive New York Times story alleging repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials before the election, Strzok said it was “misleading and inaccurate… no evidence.” Of the unsubstantiated claim that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was on the phone calls with Russian intelligence officials, Strzok said, “We are unaware of any calls with any Russian govt official in which Manafort was a party.” And of the New York Times claim that Roger Stone was part of the FBI’s inquiry into Russian ties, Strzok said, “We have not investigated Roger Stone.”

The Times report, which came hours after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was ousted due to criminal leaks against him, was one of the most important articles published by major media as part of their campaign to paint Trump as a Russian operative. Widely accepted by the media and political establishment, it did as much to cement the false and damaging Russia conspiracy theory as CNN’s story legitimizing the now-discredited Christopher Steele dossier or the Washington Post’s now-discredited suggestion that Flynn was a secret Russian operative who was guilty of violating an obscure 1799 law called the Logan Act.

The New York Times declined to retract or correct the article three years ago, even after Comey testified it was false, on the grounds that the anonymous sources who fed the false information remained pleased with the initial story.

The damage this false story caused the Trump administration can not be overstated. It’s a story worth recounting here.

Leaks Real, News Fake

The leaks are real, the news is fake,” President Donald Trump said on February 16, 2017, when ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked him at a press conference to respond to The New York Times’ explosive report. As other reporters asked more questions related to the New York Times story, he went on to deride the media for writing negative and false stories based on anonymous sources.

The response was roundly mocked by a media class that asserted it was unimaginable that intelligence officials might be leaking anything but the most accurate information. CNN’s Jake Tapper, echoing other Democrat activists, called the press conference “unhinged.”

“I guess I don’t understand,” said CNN’s Jim Acosta, asking, “How can the stories be fake?” Numerous other reporters, presumably all college-educated, publicly claimed to wonder the same thing. The few reporters who were skeptical of the anonymously sourced reports on Russia were also mocked.

If someone associated with an intelligence agency had been granted anonymity to claim without evidence that Donald Trump — Donald Trump — had been a secret Russian agent for decades, or had for some reason paid prostitutes to urinate on a Moscow hotel bed President Obama once slept in, or had arranged clandestine meetings in Prague with top-level Kremlin operatives in a grand dirt-and-dollars-and-election-support scheme, it simply had to be true! Who was to say otherwise? Who was to demand evidence for the absurd conspiracy theory that had, it turned out, been manufactured as part of a Clinton campaign operation?

The response to Trump’s claim that the leaks from anonymous intelligence officials were producing fake news was one of many indicators that U.S. political media would be in no position to think critically or skeptically about whether they were being used by a politically motivated cabal of intelligence officials. The smarter ones might have known they were being used but simply determined they would be more than happy to play an important role in the operation.

Trump was right that the leaks were real but the news was false. Trump campaign aides did not have repeated contacts with Russian intelligence, contrary to what Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, and Matt Apuzzo breathlessly reported. Flynn was not a secret Russian agent. Neither was former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Published At The Right Moment

The New York Times story was completely false, but the damage it caused the Trump administration was very real.

The false story was published mere hours after intelligence officials had successfully ousted Trump’s National Security Advisor Flynn following weeks of criminal and selectively edited leaks about his benign communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States. CNN “confirmed” the New York Times’ false reporting hours later.

The Wall Street Journal’s Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee reported based on anonymous sources two days later that the CIA was withholding important national information from Trump because of supposedly legitimate concerns over his ties to Russia. Then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo debunked that reporting immediately. The Washington Post openly talked about the “cloud of Russia” hanging over the Trump administration.

Still, the combination of stories and resulting hysteria was enough to lead Trump to hold a press conference in the East Room to address the growing Russia collusion narrative. It was there he described the “real” leak, “fake” news phenomenon he was dealing with.

As a reminder, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee had secretly bought and paid for the conspiracy theory to be manufactured, disseminated in the press, and seeded to the U.S. government. It failed to take off as much as they hoped before the election — and yes, contrary to popular reporting, Clinton’s Russia operation was absolutely deployed before the election, and resurrected by the Clinton campaign in the hours after her stunning defeat.

Then corporate media, humiliated by their failure to accurately report on the 2016 campaign, latched onto the conspiracy theory as a way to explain away their failure. Obama intelligence officials worked to give credence to the theory by leaking about Russia’s long-standing efforts to meddle in U.S. elections and attempting to insinuate Trump’s collusion with same.

At the time the New York Times story ran, it was received credulously by nearly the entire political and media class and received no meaningful pushback from them. “BREAKING: Minutes ago, NY Times bombshell– Trump campaign officials in contact w/Russian intelligence for full year,” tweeted Michael Moore. “Flynn was the appetizer. This is the meal,” tweeted Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas.

“Yes, this is as bad as it looks,” the Democratic National Committee stated. “If not a smoking gun, this is a very hot pistol,” opined Paul Begala. “The trail linking Trump to Russian interference in the election is getting closer and closer,” wrote Robert Reich. “Way beyond Flynn!” wrote an excited Sen. Amy Klobuchar, asking for support for a bill investigating Trump.

“Big NYT scoop,” bragged New York Times editor Cliff Levy. Slate’s Ashley Feinbergsaid, “it is [expletive deleted] insane that trump is not being impeached.” Rolling Stone senior writer Jamil Smith said, “This story is a mother[expletive deleted]. We have crossed the Rubicon, folks.” “Whoa,” said Twitter enthusiast Bill Kristol.

“It’s all starting to unravel. This won’t be over soon and we must be relentlessly disciplined in how we discuss it,” said Russia hoaxer Susan Hennessey. “There are some important caveats in NYT story on Russia and Trump. But harder to see how Republicans resist probe,” lobbied Los Angeles Times White House reporter Chris Megerian.

“Holy moly,” said the Los Angeles Times’ Matt Pearce. “Oh wow,” wrote the Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner. “Boom,” wrote Der Spiegel’s Matthieu von Rohr. “Words just fail me,” said NPR’s Neela Banerjee. “Blockbuster story has been out 24 hrs & Trump has provided no explanation or refutation. Instead attacks leakers,” said Washington Post-enabled Max Boot. “Siren,” wrote Politico’s Blake Hounshell. “Can’t overstate the importance of a diligent, independent press that protects sources,” wrote Mallory Busch about the anonymously — and erroneously — sourced account.

“This is one of the biggest scandals in American history. Where will it end?” asked American Federation of Teachers union president Randi Weingarten. “Are there any constitutional redresses if the President of the US proves to be the Muscovian Candidate?” asked Foreign Policy senior correspondent Michael Hirsh.

The story was tweeted by Rachel Maddow, lead reporter Michael Schmidt, the New York Times’ Nate Cohn, Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, CNN’s Jake Tapper, Times reporter Jeremy Peters, AP bureau chief Michael Tackett, and rabid Democratic activist and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood,

Democrats pounced. “The need for an independent commission to investigate grows more urgent by the hour. Where is the GOP?,” lobbied Sen. Dick Durbin. “When is enough going to be enough for my GOP colleagues to allow a vote on independent investigation of White House?” asked Rep. Susan Davis. “It’s time for a full, in-depth, bipartisan investigation into the Trump administrations ties to #Russia,” wrote Colorado Democrats. “We need full investigation into connection between
@realDonaldTrump campaign & Russia. Too many unanswered questions,” was a popular refrain from House Democrats such as Ann McLane Kuster.

The comments went on and on and on. Each time the story has been debunked, this received little to no coverage from the same corporate media that trumpeted it.

Fighting the False Story Was Treated As Obstruction

Television news the week The New York Times published its false report was non-stop Russia hysteria. It dominated the Sunday shows. When White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told CBS’ John Dickerson “I think that the media should stop with this unnamed source stuff,” The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman — who would also win a Pulitzer for her perpetuation of the false and dangerous Russia collusion hoax — claimed he was demanding that the media stop using anonymous sources.

When the New York Times story came out, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe asked to speak privately with Priebus, according to reporting in Howard Kurtz’s book “Media Madness.” McCabe told Priebus that “everything” in the story was “bulls–t.” Priebus motioned to the bank of televisions showing that the media was taking it seriously and talking about it non-stop. He asked McCabe if he could say something publicly to push back. McCabe said he’d check with his colleagues and get back to him.

McCabe called back to say he couldn’t do anything. Comey also called Priebus to claim there was nothing they could say publicly. (McCabe admitted in his book “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” that he declined to say publicly that the report was false.)

What the FBI was willing to do, however, was leak to CNN that the “FBI refused White House request to knock down recent Trump-Russia stories.” That report made it seem like the reporting from The New York Times was legitimate and that the White House was obstructing a legitimate investigation, which, again, became a major theme of the Mueller investigation and attempts to impeach the president.

Comey did offer to brief congressmen and senators that the New York Times report was completely false. When those members said publicly that the New York Times report was false, that too was characterized as something nefarious.

“Trump administration sought to enlist intelligence officials, key lawmakers to counter Russia stories,” was how the Washington Post’s Greg Miller spun that effort. Miller noted that the FBI declined to comment on whether they had told the White House that the New York Times story was completely false. Miller would also win a Pulitzer for his role in perpetuating the Russia collusion hoax.

In his book, McCabe said there was a disinformation campaign in the conservative blogosphere to suggest he had animus toward the president and had gleefully pursued Flynn, both of which he claimed were false. Of the reports, he said, “The stories may be fictional and the information false, but the consequences of this strategy are real.”

Whether or not McCabe’s denials are plausible, how much more powerful is the strategy when it’s not unread blogs but the most powerful media outlets in the world that are willing to spread fictional and false information.

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #108 Sanctuary

A sanctuary is someplace you want to be.  It’s often a quiet place, or a less-quiet place with no one else around.  It’s a place to retreat to, when you have had your fill of the honking horns, boomy bass coming from someone’s hot-rod, or just backups in traffic.

Not far from my home is the Narbeck Wetland, a real sanctuary, designed to preserve a tiny portion of wilderness in the city.  Actually, it’s right across the street from the world’s largest factory building, which is remarkable in itself.  Just last week, I packed up my big camera (well, bigger than my phone), and headed over there for a nice taste of nature.  There are two separate paths around the wetland, one with alternating forest path and boardwalk, and one along the perimeter closer to the street.

This time, I took the inner path.  Just at the edge of the parking lot at the start of the path, there is a pool, with trees overhanging, and I started there.  Boy, was I glad that I had brought my phone, which I have found takes just excellent video.  This particular pool was very pretty, but I felt it really needed video to capture its real beauty.

 

The water was just shimmering so enchantingly, I had to capture that.  But only later when I got home and uploaded this to my computer, did I really hear the background noise.  I guess when you’re across the street from an airplane assembly factory, and just a short distance from the county airport, you can expect to hear overhead aircraft!

On I walked, down the path.

ForestPath

During that entire walk, I met just one other person.  The air was cool, the breeze welcome, and the path inviting.  Just a bit farther on, I reached the boardwalk over the water.

boardwalk

Just down from here, I stopped and spent a few minutes just leaning on the railing over this pool, just listening to the wind in the trees, and the trickling of the water-it was mesmerizing, and hard to come back to reality.

QuietPool

A few yards on down the boardwalk, my eye was caught by something on the railing itself.  I looked a bit closer, and was treated to an almost artistic arrangement.  If you pay attention to the little things, you might see something extraordinary.

Lacework

Lichens, lacework on the half-decomposed leaf, and a dead leaf almost as pretty as the live one must have been.  Ah, the details!

Right at the end of the boardwalk, I found a pool that looked like a piece of abstract art.

LeavesOnWater

And so ended my walk in the wilderness, only a short drive from home.

Speaking of home, my little sanctuary at home is my bedroom.  I do spend an inordinate amount of time sitting on my bed reading.  Today, as many days, I was joined by my cat, Kikyo.  She just loves to sit on me.

Me-n-kitty

I think I am her sanctuary.  That is one relaxed, happy kitty.

Link to Xenia’s Original Post