Sunday, 3 July 2022

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace us!

Like many on August 11, 2017, I watched the scenes of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, wielding tiki torches while chanting anti-Semitic slogans. An anti-Nazi meme I later saw stated: You don't get to be both a Nazi and a proud American. We literally had a war about this. The whole world was involved.

I was perplexed. It was 2017, 72 years after the end of WWII and the horrors of the Holocaust. Why was anybody bringing this up? The issue had been settled: anti-Semitism bad.

However, the more I thought about it, I had seen a growing number of examples over these past few years of where Jews have been made out to be the go-to group for hatred. Conspiracy theorists loved to formulate all sorts of evil plots around the Jews conquering the world and subjugating all other people. George Soros, being rich, was a well-known target for these tall tales.

I knew that the world population had passed 7.6 billion in 2017 and as of this writing, I've heard the number stands at 7.96 billion. What I didn't know was how many Jews there are in the world. Previously, I had seen pie charts showing the various religions in the world and remembered that the Jewish faith always was part of a very small slice of the pie labelled other. What was the exact number? Was it technically possible for the Jews replace them?

Question: How many Jews are there in the world?

20 million

I fell off my chair. Wait! What? That can't be right. There has to be more of them than that!

I had started with Wikipedia but then moved on to other sources to double check, triple check, and quadruple check that number. I consulted the work of Sergio Della Pegola, an Italian Israeli statistician, specializing in Jewish demography. (World Jewish Population,2020)

As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million. -Wikipedia

Israel is the number one country with 6.3 million core population and the United States second with 5.7 million. All other countries are measured in less than half a million, most with tens of thousands. (Core = 100% Jewish, no partial connections)

My Background
I grew up in a Protestant family. The family across the street was Jewish. The people up the street were Catholic. Everybody in my neighborhood all seemed to be at the same place in life; all the neighborhood kids were around the same age. We all played together. Adults had cocktail parties together. Every May 24, the entire neighborhood came together to celebrate Victoria Day in Canada in a common park in the center of the neighborhood with Moms dispensing food and Dads lighting off fireworks. My parents went to a bar mitzvah of the Jewish family. I never thought anything of any differences such as religion. It all seemed perfectly normal.

It wasn't until later in life I started running into racism, sexism, antisemitism, etc. These ideas were foreign to me. And perplexing. Just what the heck was the issue? Hate Jews? Why? I couldn't see any justification for such an attitude.

For my entire adult life, Jews have always been around: neighbors, friends, school mates, co-workers, businesspeople, etc. Every major center had a synagogue. For the last 23 years of my career in I.T., I ran the computer department of a small company. One of my best employees was an orthodox Jew who always wore a yarmulka.

It did occur to me that the entertainment industry had its share of Jews. Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld immediately come to mind however, in consulting a list, there are an astounding number of names.

Question: If Jews don't have quantity, do they have visibility?

Although Jews constitute only 3% of the U.S. population, 80% of the nation's professional comedians are Jewish. (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Wait! What? Hold on here a sec. Why would so many Jews gravitate to such a field?

New York City Psychologist Samuel Janus, who once did a yearlong stint as a stand-up comic, thinks that he has the answer: Jewish humor is born of depression and alienation from the general culture. For Jewish comedians, he told the recent annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, "comedy is a defense mechanism to ward off the aggression and hostility of others." (Time Magazine, Oct 2/1978)

Holy cow!

However, the question of visibility segways into the next question.

Question: Are Jews richer than others?

My father was a dentist. I grew up in an upper middle-class family in an upper middle-class neighborhood. In my own life, I lived in an upper middle class tax bracket. If my impression is that I've always run into Jews, is there a correlation with income?

The median income of the United States in 2020 was around $67,000. (census.gov)

A study in the United States (based on data from 1985 to 1998), conducted by the sociologist Lisa A. Keister and published in the Social Forces journal, found that adherents of Judaism and Episcopalianism accumulated the most wealth, believers in Catholicism and mainline Protestants were in the middle, while conservative Protestants accumulated the least; in general, people who attend religious services accumulated more wealth than those who do not (taking into account variations of education and other factors). Keister suggested that wealth accumulation is shaped by family processes. According to the study, the median net worth of people believing in Judaism is calculated at 150,890 USD, while the median net worth of conservative Protestants (including Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists) was US$26,200. -Wikipedia: Wealth and religion

The same article has an interesting explanation for this income gap: A study published in the American Journal of Sociology by Lisa Keister, found that "wealth affects religion indirectly through educational attainment, fertility, and female labor force participation" but also found some evidence of direct effects of religion on wealth attainment. Keister notes that certain religious beliefs ("one should have many children", "women should not work") lower wealth accumulation, both on the micro- and macro-scale.

I have to assume that being richer means more important types of work, positions with more power, more authority, and hence, more visibility.

Question: Why are Jews seemingly always picked on?

To understand why anti-Semitic rhetoric is so common among modern conspiracy theorists, we need to go back over 2,000 years. Deborah Lipstadt, an Emory University historian and leading expert on anti-Semitism, traces the structure of anti-Semitic ideas back to the very origins of Christianity — specifically, the New Testament description of Jesus’s death.

The early Church taught that “the Jews” conspired to kill Jesus — even though Jesus and his apostles were all Jewish and the Romans who actually executed him in the story were not. This, according to Lipstadt, was in part a strategic choice: Christianity had become a competing religion to Judaism, and its leadership wanted to marginalize the older, more deeply rooted tradition. What better way to do that than to blame Jews for killing the literal savior, casting remaining Jews as Christ-denying heirs to a dark conspiracy?

(Marjorie Taylor Greene’s space laser and the age-old problem of blaming the Jews, Vox, Jan 30/2022)

As I said above, I've always lived with Jews around. I do not understand hatred for them. But I also have to note that I have always been less religious than others. In fact, I would never say I'm Protestant, even though I was supposedly raised as one, and today, I declare myself to be agnostic. Does my lack of religion mean I may have been less influenced by Christianity and potential anti-Semitism?

It's curious to see that Pew Research reports that Jews in U.S. are far less religious than Christians and Americans overall:

12% of U.S. Jewish adults say they attend religious services weekly or more often, compared with 27% of the general public and 38% of U.S. Christians. And 21% of Jewish adults say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 41% of U.S. adults overall and 57% of Christians.

Final Word
I can summarize my findings as follows:
  • There are approximately 20 million Jews out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, representing 0.025% of the global population.
  • While Jews are throughout the world, the two major countries for Jewish populations are Israel (6.3 million) followed by the United States (5.7 million).
  • In the United States, Jews are wealthier than average.
  • Because of their higher income, Jews tend to be in professional positions, implying more visibility in society, and potentially with more influence.
  • Anti-Semitism seems to have its origins in Christianity.
I'm impressed. I stand back and look at the big picture, studying the statistics, and conclude there is something about the Jewish faith which makes them work harder and achieve more. While numerically, they can't replace everybody, they may seem to be everywhere. Certainly, their involvement in the entertainment industry is astounding.

I'm also angry. Over the past ten years in writing this blog, researching articles, trying to determine "the truth", I have constantly run into people voicing opinions which have no basis in reality. Two plus two does not equal five. The Earth is not flat. These people do no research on their own but merely parrot things said by others. It's not about the truth; it's about confirmation bias. And the Dunning-Kruger Effect is on full display. I'm not a genius. I don't know everything. But somehow my critical thinking, my bullsh*t detector ofttimes leads me to question statements made by people, whether in person or in social media. Is such and such really true? Where's the evidence? It's pretty much given that the Right, conservatives, Republicans, and Christian Evangelicals will say things but be unable to prove them. I'm willing to discuss any topic but please, for the love of God, quit telling me I'm a sheeple and that I should look it up, because when I do, I find out you're full of sh*t! I am outraged by the sheer tsunami of unprovable conspiracy theories blindly repeated by people displaying a level of stupidity which defies belief.

I read several articles about Peter Cytanovic, the 20-year-old man in the picture above. He got himself into a lot of P.R. trouble over this picture making him the face of white supremacy. He claims to have denounced the movement but still spouts white nationalistic ideas. If you're white and think your race needs defending, you need to reassess your worldview. We in North American have always lived in a white-dominated culture. Don't tell me you're hard done by. Reverse racism, my ass!

Charlottesville: Jews will not replace you? Fuck off!


References

Wikipedia: Unite the Right rally
The Unite the Right rally was a white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, from August 11 to 12, 2017. Far-right groups participated, including self-identified members of the alt-right, neo-Confederates, neo-fascists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, and various right-wing militias. Some groups chanted racist and antisemitic slogans and carried weapons, Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols, the Valknut, Confederate battle flags, Deus vult crosses, flags, and other symbols of various past and present anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic groups. The organizers' stated goals included the unification of the American white nationalist movement and opposing the proposed removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee from Charlottesville's former Lee Park.

Wikipedia: Charlottesville car attack
The Charlottesville car attack was a white supremacist terrorist attack perpetrated on August 12, 2017, when James Alex Fields, Jr. deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people peacefully protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, murdering one person and injuring 35. 20-year-old Fields had previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs, and drove from Ohio to attend the rally. He was convicted in a state court for the first-degree murder of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, eight counts of malicious wounding, and hit and run, and was sentenced to life in prison plus an additional 419 years in July 2019. He also pled guilty to 29 of 30 federal hate crime charges to avoid the death penalty, which resulted in another life sentence handed down in June 2019.

UnHerd: Should we forgive extremists? - April 20/2022
On August 11, 2017, [Peter] Cytanovic [,a 20-year-old student at the University of Nevada in Reno] travelled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to attend the Unite the Right rally, a gathering of white nationalists including Klu Klux Klan members, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists. As night fell, the angry crowd marched and chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans. Cytanovic was in the thick of it, holding a tiki-torch aloft as he screamed at counter-protesters. A photographer captured the moment. Soon, his picture was everywhere. “I was the face of white terror,” he tells me.

Wikipedia: Jewish population by country
As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish population (those identifying as Jews above all else) was estimated at 14.8 million, 0.2% of the 7.95 billion worldwide population. This number rises to 18 million with the addition of the "connected" Jewish population, including those who say they are partly Jewish or that have Jewish backgrounds from at least one Jewish parent, and rises again to 21 million with the addition of the "enlarged" Jewish population, including those who say they have Jewish backgrounds but no Jewish parents and all non-Jewish household members who live with Jews. Counting all those who are eligible for Israeli citizenship under Israel's Law of Return, in addition to Israeli Jews, raised the total to 23.8 million.

2022-07-03

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Monday, 27 June 2022

Movie Review: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

This is a small film, a really small film. When I compare it to the latest top box office, I have to wonder why anybody would bother. When I look at the plot, I realize this is targeting a niche market. However, now that I've seen it, I can attest to a profound story with stellar performances. It has a message for all of us. To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: [Most people] live lives of quiet desperation.

Nancy, played by Emma Thompson, is retired, recently widowed, and unhappy. She knows she's missed out on something in life and tries to correct this by hiring a male sex worker. She reveals she's never had an orgasm in her life. She describes the perfunctory sex with her husband as penetration in the darkness with him subsequently rolling over and going to sleep. Her husband said oral sex, man on woman or woman on man, was demeaning to him and as a consequence, Nancy has never had a truly intimate moment with a partner.

Leo, played by Daryl McCormack, is something more than a sex worker; he's a therapist. He's kind. He's patient. He remains focused on Nancy, listening to her rants, easing her anxiousness, and going slowly to grant her permission to feel the pleasure she's been denied her whole life. The movie walks the line between the titillation and discomfort of the topic of sex, and the seriousness of the fundamental right of human beings to enjoy their own bodies. Sex is an integral part of the human experience. It can fulfill us and complete us. Nancy confesses that after one of their bouts of sex, she felt powerful.

I come back to a life of quiet desperation. If you don't do it now, when will you do it? How many people go through life unfulfilled and never, literally and figuratively, have an orgasm? Our society frowns upon sex. Prostitution is for the most part illegal. Collectively, we have succeeded in making our lives sometimes uncomfortable and dissatisfying. It's a subplot of the movie that sex work can be a good thing for both the practitioner and the client.

The film is not a love story. In the end, Nancy and Leo go their separate ways, back to their lives, better for their meeting. I give Emma Thompson credit. She's a brave woman. At the end of the film, this 63-year-old actress stands before a mirror stark naked, portraying a woman now aware of herself and her body. She's not a model. She's not perfect. She's just an average person with all the imperfections any of us have in life. But she's an average person who's made the first step in casting off her desperation. It's never too late to change.



Published on May 16/2020 by SearchlightPictures
YouTube: Trailer: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (1:43)
In GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson (Love, Actually) embodies the candor and apprehension of retired teacher Nancy Stokes, and newcomer Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders) personifies the charisma and compassion of sex worker Leo Grande. As Nancy embarks on a post-marital sexual awakening and Leo draws on his skills and charm, together they find a surprising human connection.

Final Word
Recommended. While some may feel the plot targets an older audience, I feel the message is universal. Go for the brass ring. Don't wait, do it now. Good luck to us all.


References

Wikipedia: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a 2022 British sex comedy-drama film directed by Sophie Hyde and written by Katy Brand. The film stars Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. [The film] had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2022, and was released on 17 June 2022, theatrically in the United Kingdom by Lionsgate, and digitally in the United States by Searchlight Pictures as a Hulu original film.

Rotten Tomatoes: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande: 95% (as of 2022-06-27)
Sexual awakening stories aren't in short supply, but Good Luck to You, Leo Grande proves you can still tell one with a refreshing -- and very funny -- spin.

Box Office
As of today, June 27, 2022, Box Office Mojo in its world ranking for 2022 shows
  1. Top Gun: $1,006,423,000
  2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: $947,014,432
  3. The Batman: $770,345,583
  4. Jurassic World Dominion: $746,664,000
This film does not appear on this list which shows 200 films in total.

As of today, June 27, 2022, Box Office Mojo in its British ranking for 2022 shows
  1. Top Gun: $70,123,823
  2. The Batman: $51,513,761
  3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: $51,183,196
  4. Sing 2: $44,113,113
Out of a list of 200, this film appears as #74 with a gross of $291,665.

Poynter: New York Times corrects misquote of Thoreau’s ‘quiet desperation’ line
While Henry David Thoreau is often credited with variations of the aphorism “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them,” that is not what he wrote in “Walden.” He merely said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

2022-06-27

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Friday, 17 June 2022

Fact-checking, shmact-checking: Why are people blindly repeating sh*t?

Recently, I've had a number of my social media posts "liked" by various people. Out of curiosity, I went to see their stuff and discovered a myriad of crazy sh*t from the right end of the political spectrum. And I mean crazy! What the f*ck is the matter with people?

Shortly after the Uvalde school shooting, I saw this meme reposted repeatedly and immediately wondered if this could be in any way true. Within the space of sixty seconds, I found all sorts of legitimate sources debunking this claim. In fact, it turns out the picture is of a trans person who is now complaining they're being targeted by haters when they had nothing to do with the shooting at all.

Partly based on a rumor started by an anonymous user on the /pol/ imageboard on 4chan, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) made unsubstantiated claims, on Twitter the day after the shooting, that the perpetrator was a "transsexual leftist illegal alien"; the tweet was taken down within two hours. The claims were further spread by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and other far-right House Republicans and conservative media figures and social media users, despite authorities identifying him as an American citizen. -Wikipedia

Trans woman's photo used to spread baseless online theory about Texas shooter, NBC News, Mar 25/2022
The theory, which began on the forum website 4chan, was spread by right-wing Facebook pages and even Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona.

I see several important issues in all this.

1. Nobody fact checks
People blindly forward stuff without ever verifying if what they're forwarding is, in fact, right. Why? The answer seems to be confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior beliefs or values. People display this bias when they select information that supports their views, ignoring contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing attitudes. The effect is strongest for desired outcomes, for emotionally charged issues, and for deeply entrenched beliefs. Confirmation bias cannot be eliminated, but it can be managed, for example, by education and training in critical thinking skills. -Wikipedia

Do I look at this purely from a political angle and blame the Right more than the Left? A further reading of the Wikipedia article shows that this issue exists everywhere. Flawed decisions due to confirmation bias have been found in political, organizational, financial, and scientific contexts.

But the confirmation bias on the Right strikes me as quite out of control. Why? Over and over again, journalists have pointed out how the political polarization is no longer a difference of opinion about conservative and democratic ideas, it is now about hate. The Right actually hates the Left. There seems to be some underlying psychological phenomenon here. The Right wants to return to the world of the 1950's Leave It To Beaver. Whites dominated; blacks were segregated, gays were in the closet, and immigrants knew their place and were pretty much unseen. An unskilled white man with no more but even less than a high school diploma could get a factory job, working on the assembly line and making enough to buy a home and support a family of four. That world is long gone with pundits pointing to Republican policies sometimes being at fault for how the world has drastically changed.

What's both amusing and frightening is how things like Fox News are allowed to contribute to reinforcing this mindset. A billion-dollar media empire panders to the worst impulses of Americans in order to get their ratings up to make a profit. They are counting on their viewers to never bother to fact check what they report.

2. Somebody deliberately did this.
They didn't post the picture because they thought it was true, they did it to stir up emotions. But who did it and why? I look at the above sources which point to 4chan, an anonymous chat system. I read analysis by the BBC, Slate, and AP News, and we return to the broader problem of racism and intolerance toward transgender people and immigrants.

“It’s a tactic that serves two purposes: It avoids real conversations about the issue (of gun violence), and it gives people who don’t want to face reality a patsy, it gives them someone to blame.” -disinformation expert Jaime Longoria, director of research at the Disinfo Defense League, a non-profit that works to fight racist misinformation. (AP News)

Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, some people's anger covers up the real source of the problem.

You can't handle the truth! -A Few Good Men

Now, I know some people like to stir up sh*t just for the sake of stirring up sh*t. Post something outrageous, and then stand back and watch the fireworks. It can be hilarious how incensed people get over sh*t when you know those people don't know sh*t but are just ready, willing, and able to go ballistic over the slightest perceived slight to their way of life.

But is there even something more nefarious going on? Is this part of a deliberate plot by foreign powers to divide the population and weaken the country?

However, whether it's an individual stirring the pot or a foreign power, the real problem is that people listen to this. They seem to eat up conspiracies, dismissing anything mainstream. The problem isn't that somebody says B.S., it's that people listen.

3. People are stupid
Full disclosure: I think people like Rep. Paul Gosar and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are stupid. I don't mean I don't like them; I mean they're actually stupid. Over and over again, these people and many in the Republican Party and the Right have displayed a lack of facts. They are ignorant of science, politics, economics, and common knowledge. They seem to be totally prejudiced against anything which is part of the so-called mainstream, including education and any resulting expertise, favoring conspiracy theories which are unproveable and illegitimate. If I ever think of them as crazy, I have to remember that they're elected. Yes, people actually voted them into office. If I ever thought t**** was a problem, I remember that 73 million American voted for him, and I realize the problem in the United States is far greater than I imagined.

Think about this. People believe an anonymous source with no credentials whatsoever over, for example, the respected, Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times. During the pandemic, conspiracy theorists were spouting all sorts of nonsense about Covid. Now, let me get this straight. You want me to believe unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources as opposed to Dr. Anthony Fauci, a career epidemiologist of forty years who's advised seven presidents. When I want medical advice, I go to my family doctor. I assume you get your medical advice from the wall of a toilet stall in a public washroom. Or social media.

Sheeple
The Right loves to call the Left sheeple, a derogatory term meaning people compared to sheep in being docile, foolish, or easily led. But look at the above. The Right jumped on a tidbit of information which came from an anonymous source. No fact-checking, no on-the-ground interviewing of participants, no legitimate investigation of the story, just the blind forwarding of confirmation bias. The Right blindly follow anonymous sources as opposed to legitimate sources, and I'm the sheeple?

Projection
In psychology, the term projection describes the phenomenon where a person denies negative things in themselves and projects or accuses others of such things. The Right keeps warning of election fraud and yet, they are guilty of such a thing through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and restrictive I.D. laws which disenfranchise minorities, never mind a number of conservatives having been caught double voting in the election of November 2020.

Critical Thinking
I looked at the above meme and immediately doubted its accuracy. Why?

Critical thinking is the analysis of available facts, evidence, observations, and arguments to form a judgement. The subject is complex; several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, and unbiased analysis or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities as well as a commitment to overcome native egocentrism and sociocentrism. -Wikipedia

I make no claims to being a genius or something. However, I look at stuff and question it while I see others, family, friends, acquaintances on social media, blindly accepting sh*t with no questions whatsoever. Isn't it obvious that sh*t is bullsh*t? Isn't it, at least, worth questioning?

Final Word
Full disclosure: I'm a libtard, and I wear that like a badge of honor. Old saying: Liberals like education because it makes you better. Conservatives hate education because it make you liberal.

I want to be perfectly clear: Being a libtard does not mean I give Democrats or anything liberal a free pass. Any politician, any business, any individual must be held accountable. Nobody should be freely allowed to do whatever they want without being responsible to the greater good, responsible to others, and to the country and to the world. For some completely stupid reason, when a conservative hears that somebody is liberal, they think that person immediately votes Democrat without reservations, without a critical eye. I'm liberal but I'm not stupid! Or crazy!

I look at the above, and I can't do it. I can't blindly forward sh*t without finding out if what I'm forwarding is true or not. I don't want to contribute to disinformation. The world is confusing enough already, and it doesn't need me contributing to the bullsh*t being passed around as the so-called "truth".


References

my blog: The problem isn’t so much what people say, it’s that we listen. - Feb 14/2022
I don’t listen to Joe Rogan. I never have listened to him, and I have no intention of doing so. Problem solved. In fact, I don’t listen and never have listened to t****, Fox News, whether it be Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeannine Piro, Jesse Waters, et al., or any other source on the Right such as Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, formerly Rush Limbaugh, etc. Of course, clips crop up in newscasts, but I never tune into any of these people. Problem solved. It occurs to me that the problem isn’t so much that any of these people are talking, it’s that we’re, I mean, you’re listening. Why are you listening?

Wikipedia: 4chan
4chan is an anonymous English-language imageboard website. Launched by Christopher "moot" Poole in October 2003, the site hosts boards dedicated to a wide variety of topics, from anime and manga to video games, cooking, weapons, television, music, literature, history, fitness, politics, and sports, among others. Registration is not available and users typically post anonymously. As of 2022, 4chan receives more than 22 million unique monthly visitors, of which approximately half are from the United States.

Would somebody explain to me how Paul Gosar and Majorie Greene hold public office? Has the Republican Party sunk this low?

Wikipedia: Paul Gosar
Paul Anthony Gosar (b 1958) is an American far-right politician and former dentist who has served as the U.S. representative for Arizona's 4th congressional district since 2013. A Republican, he was elected in 2010 to represent the neighboring 1st congressional district until redistricting. Gosar's support of conspiracy theories, as well as alleged ties to the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Holocaust deniers have sparked controversy.

Gosar opposes the Affordable Care Act, abortion, gun control, and immigration. He has been a strong ally of former president Donald Trump, and voted to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

On November 17, 2021, Gosar was censured by the House of Representatives and stripped of committee assignments for posting an edited video clip to social media depicting violence against Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. It was the first House censure since 2010 and the 24th in American history.

Personal life
In 2018, six (David, Gaston, Grace, Jennifer, Joan, and Tim) of Gosar's nine siblings participated in ads supporting their brother's political adversary, David Brill, MD. In the ads, they all state their desire to defend their family's name lest the world think the entire Gosar family shares Paul's ideology. David Gosar said, "He's absolutely not working for his district." Tim said, "He's not listening to you and he doesn't have your best interests at heart." Grace said, "Paul Gosar, the congressman, isn't doing anything to help rural America." Jennifer said, "If he actually cared about people in rural Arizona, I bet he'd be fighting for Social Security, for better access to healthcare; I bet he'd be researching what is the most insightful water policy to help the environment of Arizona to sustain itself and be successful."


Wikipedia: Marjorie Taylor Greene
Marjorie Taylor Greene (b 1974), also known by her initials MTG, is an American politician, businesswoman, and far-right conspiracy theorist who has served as the U.S. representative for Georgia's 14th congressional district since 2021. A member of the Republican Party and a strong supporter of former president Donald Trump, she was elected to Congress in 2020 following the retirement of Republican incumbent Tom Graves.

Greene has promoted far-right, white supremacist, and antisemitic conspiracy theories including the white genocide conspiracy theory, QAnon, and Pizzagate, as well as other disproven conspiracy theories such as false flag mass shootings, the Clinton body count, and multiple relating to 9/11. Before running for Congress, she advocated for executing prominent Democratic politicians. As a congresswoman, she equated the Democratic Party with Nazis and compared COVID-19 safety measures to the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust. She apologized for the latter comparison. In January 2022, Greene's personal Twitter account was permanently suspended for posting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. During the Russo-Ukrainian War, Greene has promoted Russian propaganda and praised Vladimir Putin.

A supporter of Trump's efforts to overturn his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Greene has repeatedly and falsely claimed that Trump won the election in a landslide victory that was stolen from him. She called for Georgia's election results to be decertified and was among a group of Republican legislators who unsuccessfully challenged votes for Biden during the Electoral College vote count, even though federal agencies and courts overseeing the election found no evidence of electoral fraud. Greene filed articles of impeachment against Biden the day after his inauguration, alleging abuse of power.

The House of Representatives voted to remove Greene from all committee roles on February 4, 2021, in response to her incendiary statements and endorsements of political violence. Eleven Republicans joined the unanimous Democrats in the vote. Greene is running for reelection in 2022.


This is insane. Gosar and Greene are representative of a large segement of the electorate and how out of touch they are with reality.

2022-06-17

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Tuesday, 7 June 2022

The S Word

It’s an unwritten rule that white people can’t say the N word. The comedian Chris Rock has some hilarious bits talking about this idea, and the gist of it is that only blacks can use the N word. By extension, only Jews can make fun of Jews; only Indians can make fun of Indians, etc.

I would put forward that the S word (slut) deserves the same treatment. There is a lot of hate in the word, and its casual use can easily be misconstrued as derogatory. We live in a culture that sex shames. Why? I’ve heard it said that this is based on religious upbringing. Religion teaches us that it is through suffering that we can gain access to Heaven, consequently, anything pleasurable, especially sex, must be considered bad. This is where sex-shaming comes from.

Going back to the story of the Garden of Eden, Eve convinced Adam to taste the forbidden fruit and thus, both were cast out of paradise. Eve, and women in general, are to be blamed for the woes of man. Since pleasure is considered verboten, that is, sex is bad; it follows that women are bad, especially about sex. Hence, we have slut-shaming. It’s curious to note that the S word here refers to anything sexual. I’m reminded of an old joke.

Question: What’s the definition of a nymphomaniac?

Answer: Someone who wants sex more than me.

In other words, this is all subjective and varies from person to person.

The other day, I read this in a gentleman’s profile:

I refuse to call you a "bitch", "whore", "slut" or any other bullshit label that heaps social shame on you for needing what absolutely EVERYONE else needs. If you wanna call YOURSELF "slut" then do it because you're PROUD of taking what you need and deserve.

Like the N word, the S word is the privilege of a woman. I, as a man, should never use the term; I don’t have the right to use the term.

Sex is not bad; it’s good. I consider sex to be a gift from God. It’s an integral part of being human, and it’s a wonderful part of being alive. Unfortunately, due probably to religion, we misinterpret sex and end up ashamed, unable to cope with our natural desires and the unnatural ideal of a sexless existence. Note that I said natural desires. We are all sexual creatures. We mustn’t be embarrassed by this; we must embrace it.

An Amusing Contradiction
I’ve seen this in my life. A man wants good sex; he fantasizes about it. He hopes to have a partner who is a good lover. And yet, that same man will contribute to the sex-shaming and the slut-shaming of our society. I have actually heard men refer to women using the S word, inferring that they are somehow less worthy as women. It’s curious in some Christian circles how virginity is prized. The joke for me is that I don’t want a virgin; I want a mature, experienced lover. Inexperience in the bedroom is not fun.

Final Word
We all have the right to our sexuality, regardless of race, color, creed, or gender. Women can be just a sexual as men, and there is nothing inherently wrong with that. It is, however, wrong to disseminate the traditional sex-shaming and slut-shaming which exists in society. The S word is meant to be derogatory but there is nothing derogatory about being sexual. If a woman decides to reclaim her sexuality by using the S word, that is her choice but I, as a man, will not use the word. We all need to make the world a better place, and we should all be free to enjoy our inherent right to be sexual. We’re all in this together.


References

Wikipedia: Slut
Slut is generally a term for a person, especially a woman or girl, who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous. It is usually used as an insult, sexual slur or offensive term of disparagement (slut-shaming). It originally meant "a dirty, slovenly woman", and is rarely used to refer to men, generally requiring clarification by use of the terms male slut or man whore.

The first recorded use of the word was a 1386 reference to a man, in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, in which he is referring to the man's untidy appearance.

Slut-shaming is a related term, referring to the act of drawing attention to a person's promiscuous behavior for the purpose of shaming them socially. From the late 20th century, there have been attempts to reclaim the word, exemplified by various SlutWalk parades, and some individuals embrace the title as a source of pride.

Consult the site map and search for the word "slut" for other articles on this topic.

my blog: Slut Shaming Women Who Have Sex - Dec 3/2013

my blog: Sex: I'm a man and you're a... - July 13/2010

my blog: #Slanegirl: sex, (double) standards, and sluts - Aug 22/2013
This story is a perfect example of the problem in our society. A photo of a couple having sex is posted to social media and goes viral. The fallout is that the guy is either treated as a hero or gets off scot-free. The girl, however, is vilified to no end. Why? In our society, it would seem that men can be sexual, they have the right to be sexual, while women must be pure as the driven snow!

2022-06-07

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Monday, 6 June 2022

2022: Where I am and where I’m going

A few years back, I wrote "2019: Where I am and where I’m going". Maybe, it's time for an update.

Summary
I'm 69 years old. I turn 70 this coming fall. I've been retired three years this past February. I will be divorced for twelve years this coming September. This past February, I have not had a drink in thirty-four years.

Is this the time in one's life when you get reflective on your life? What are your accomplishments, and, of course, what are your failures? To be honest, there are things I've done in my life that still make me wince. God, how could I have been so dumb? I don't know what other people do, but I sometimes focus more on what I've done wrong than on what I may have done right.

70, Health, and Death
My father died of a heart attack two days shy of his eightieth birthday. How much time do I have left? I have to recognise and accept that someday, this ride will be over. I will have to leave, and the rest of the world will carry on without me.

Is that depressing? Or is it merely realistic? I find it amusing to say to younger people that by the time they reach my age, I'll be dead. I suppose someone may think I'm being morbid, but I really do find that funny.

Although, there are differences between my lifestyle and that of my father. I eat better and exercise more than him. He had a quadruple bypass at the age of 74. Obviously, the makings of cardiac issues were already in place. While I hope my lifestyle will see me live healthier and hopefully longer, there may be parallels. I suffer from erectile dysfunction. Your first thought is about sex, but this condition is also known as the canary in the pants. The blood vessels which feed the penis are some of the smallest in the body and may be susceptible to blockage long before other signs of cardiac problems manifest themselves. Studies have shown a correlation between ED and heart issues. Is my number in the queue?

I'm lucky
In the past three years since my retirement, I've handed out hundreds of dollars (probably between one and two thousand) to various homeless people in the streets. There but for the grace of God go I. I'm sure family, friends, even you, the reader, may find my behaviour odd but I'm reminded that when I hand someone a twenty-dollar bill, it means just about nothing to me. I'm not saying I'm rich but I'm okay enough to see that twenty dollars as being an insignificant amount of money. Giving it away has virtually no impact on my life but I know it represents something important to the homeless person.

Old saying: You can work hard and still fail. Yes, I worked hard. Yes, I made good choices. But I also recognise I had opportunities others may not have had. You could say the homeless deserve what they have but I would counter argue that no one chooses to be poor. With age, I'm finding I'm less critical and more compassionate.

Writing
In 2010, I started this blog. Since then, I've written hundreds of articles and hundreds of thousands of words. For a few years, 2011-2013, I did unpaid work for an online newspaper, writing about everything, politics, science, sociology, sex, divorce, etc. In 2013, I participated in NaNoWriMo. In 2016, I self-published a first novel. Since then, I've published five small collections of short stories and a second novel. I've had my stories published online in a variety of webzines. I'm currently editing a third novel and hope to have it published in the fall of 2022. If anything over the past decade, I've discovered I like to shoot my mouth off. Now, if I could only figure out how to get paid for that.

This Blog
I got bored with writing this blog. I pretty much stopped around 2016 and the break was so dramatic, I went through the site map and added indicators, showing articles as being older than 2016 so people could see what's recent.

Why did I get bored? I was repeating myself. In the past week, interested in a certain controversial topic, I went back to read my own articles from a decade ago. Those articles still stand. Same sh*t, different day. We're all arguing about the same issues, and nothing has been done to rectify the situation. I'm wasting my breath. I could take an old article, change the date, and republish it as an analysis of the issue in question.

In the fall of 2021, I finally got worked up enough over the misinformation being passed around about the pandemic that I did sit down and pen a number of articles analysing various issues relating to Covid. My conclusion is that the average person knows little or nothing about what's going on in the world and does absolutely nothing to educate themselves. People can be f*cking stupid and wear their stupidity as a badge of honour.

Don't get me started on politics. The world has gone completely mad. As I said, I could take all my political articles about the 2012 election and merely change the dates to get them to cover the current situation.

Final Word
I've been asked what I'm doing now that I'm retired. I tell people that I spend my days fiddling without going into specifics about what fiddling entails. Do I even know what it entails?

Twenty years ago, my wife and I would occasionally have dinner with neighbours who were both retired. At the time, my wife and I had career jobs; our lives were busy, like really busy. These two neighbours would talk about having full days and finding it difficult sometimes to find the time to do everything. They were retired. My wife and I would walk home after our visits and wonder between us what these two people were rambling on about. Retired? Not enough time?

Now, I am retired, and many times, my days are full. Full of what? A colleague from my former company, also retired, invited me for lunch a few weeks ago. It was a pleasant couple of hours, talking about the supposed good ol' days. But what was I doing now? I remained vague but did mention having done a little writing and had published a book. "Mom liked it." He laughed.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
-Mary Oliver (b 1935), American poet

Nobody knows about my fiddling with writing. Not family, not friends. Nobody knows about this blog; nobody knows about my books. Does it matter? It's a question of amusing myself and whether it leads to anything remains to be seen but also, probably doesn't matter. The point is to amuse myself.

There's an old joke about nobody has written on their tombstone "I wish I had spent more time working." Am I going to have written, "I wish I had spent more time fiddling"?


References

Forbes: 'Canary In The Trousers': Why Erectile Dysfunction Can Signal Heart Disease - Jan 30/2013

my blog: I wrote a book. So what? - Jan 30/2018

my blog: 2019: Where I am and where I’m going - Apr 3/2018

my blog: 2018: Where I am and where I’m going - Jan 30/2018

my blog: 2017: Where I am and where I’m going - Jan 28/2017

2022-06-06

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Friday, 27 May 2022

Florian Seraul: Change The Course Of The Futur



Published on Jun 29/2020 by Florian Seraul
YouTube: Change The Course Of The Futur (2:53)
from the album Future Piano



References

web site: Tiny Music (Florian Seraul)
Florian Seraul composes emotionally charged, evocative music that transports his audience. He skilfully blends textures with well-crafted melodies to build organic, visual tracks that create the perfect sonic accompaniment. With a roster of high-profile clients, including Google, Dior and Tesla, Florian and his deliberate, textural music are in high demand. In 2019, he recorded with an 18-piece orchestra for PremiumBeat at London’s prestigious Air Studios. Shining through Florian’s work is his indie sensibility, with influences such as the films of Sofia Coppola, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry evident in his cinematic style. Florian primarily creates contemporary scores and electro-pop music. In 2019 Florian won the PMA Music Award for Best Ambient Minimalist track.

YouTube channel: Florian Seraul

Soundcloud: Florian Seraul

Facebook: Tiny Music Studio - Music by Florian Seraul
Tiny Music crafts memorable, aspirational, intricate melodies and soundscapes that connect images to emotions and experiences. By shaping together boutique tunes that invoke visual serenity tinted with a distinctive Montreal underground indie edge, Tiny Music creates the perfect sonic discourse to flow with your moving images.


2022-05-28

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Monday, 14 February 2022

The problem isn’t so much what people say, it’s that we listen.

I don’t listen to Joe Rogan. I never have listened to him, and I have no intention of doing so. Problem solved.

In fact, I don’t listen and never have listened to t****, Fox News, whether it be Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Jeannine Piro, Jesse Waters, et al., or any other source on the Right such as Alex Jones, Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, formerly Rush Limbaugh, etc. Of course, clips crop up in newscasts, but I never tune into any of these people. Problem solved.

It occurs to me that the problem isn’t so much that any of these people are talking, it’s that we’re, I mean, you’re listening. Why are you listening?

“I talk shit for a living — that’s why this is so baffling to me. If you’re taking vaccine advice from me,
is that really my fault? What dumb shit were you about to do when my stupid idea sounded better?
‘You know that dude who made people eat animal dicks on TV? How does he feel about medicine?’
If you want my advice, don’t take my advice.”
-Joe Rogan, The Hollywood Reporter, Feb 8/2022

When I want medical advice, I go to a medical doctor, not a comedian. Why in heaven's name is anybody listening to Rogan's health recommendations? Dr. Anthony Fauci is a career epidemiologist of forty years who's advised seven presidents. I'm sorry, there is absolutely no comparison in the level of medical expertise. Why are we even talking about this? This is the height of absurdity! Heck, this may be one of Rogan's best comedic bits!

Joe Rogan, Fox News (Fox Entertainment?), and anybody else in this field are in business are trying to make a profit. In order to make a profit, they need an audience. So what can they do to get and hold our interest? During his divorce proceedings, the lawyer for the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones referred to his client as a "performance artist". (NBC News, Apr 17/2017). Jones has turned his venture into a lucrative business model, earning more than $20 million in revenues annually in recent years, according to court documents. (CNBC, Sep 14, 2018) That's a pretty good paycheck for screaming about the government putting chemicals in the water that turn the friggin’ frogs gay.

The Power of Influencers
In a 2021 report, The Pew Research Center states 48% of U.S. adults say they get news from social media “often” or “sometimes”. (source) A 2020 report from the same company states that people who mainly get their news from social media are less likely to get their facts straight and more likely to hear unproven claims. (source)

I think it safe to say we all naïvely plugged into the Internet to unleash our opinion on the world unaware of how the landscape would change. The current world population stands at around 7.9 billion, 50% of whom are on some form of social media. (source: Statista) Facebook is the number one player with 2.9 billion users and YouTube second with 2.3 billion. It used to be that any one person stood on a soapbox at the corner preaching to passers-by with a megaphone. Now, an individual can garner an audience of millions.

We have now seen the dangers of such unfettered access to people. With no checks and balances, with no requirement for truthfulness, anybody can say anything they want, regardless of how crazy that might be. Two plus two equals five. The earth is flat. It is the wild, wild west of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Never have so many knowing so little said so much.

But I return to my original premise: The problem isn’t so much what people say; it’s that we listen. Is it a lack of education or real life experiences? Is it an inability to critically think? Or is it just plain stupidity? There is a significant portion of the population who don't know that two plus two doesn't equal five and will never take the time to check the math but merely accept the so-called expertise of somebody else. On top of it, this segment of the population has a distrust for the government and anything mainstream, including the news, education, and expertise, so even if a legitimate source gives them the right answer, they discount it. These people are ripe for the picking, an easy target for the slick talk of the next snake oil salesman.

Joe Rogan got himself into hot water back in the spring of 2021 for giving unorthodox and if not crazy medical advice and tried to explain himself out of the backlash.

“I am not a doctor. I am a fucking moron. I am a cage-fighting commentator … I am not a respected source of information even for me. But I at least try to be honest about what I am saying.” -Joe Rogan, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Apr 29, 2021

Joe was already telling people to not pay attention to him but we didn't listen. On top of it, he supposedly explained away any problem by saying he was trying to be honest. Please note than being wrong or being honest and wrong still means you're wrong.

After repeatedly hearing about ivermectin as a supposed Covid treatment touted by Rogan and others, I sat down to look at the issue in November 2021. (my blog: Ivermectin: I'm not taking medical advice from Joe Rogan. - Nov 9/2021)

First off, Joe Rogan hadn't done his homework. I found the original studies done back in 2015 to try to combat the Zika virus outbreak in Africa and the April 2020 Australian study trying to combat the coronavirus. In both cases, the scientists said that if they put enough ivermectin in a petri dish, they could kill the virus but noted the amount of ivermectin was greater than the recommended dosage for humans. Please note: Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic, used to combat parasites; it had never been touted as an anti-viral. These studies never did any human trials, concluding somebody would have to do such a thing.

Subsequent trials found no causal relationship between ivermectin and the coronavirus but the rumor had been born and continues to this day, propagated by Rogan and others.

“I can increase the concentration of sodium chloride (table salt) by 50% to my tissue culture cells and show inhibition of most viruses. But I don't go asking people to eat as much salty food as possible to combat virus infections, much less SARS-CoV-2. Hoping ivermectin works based on "in vitro efficacy studies" is "magical thinking."
-Dr. Benhur Lee, Professor of Microbiology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, interview in Salon about ivermectin, August 2021

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and desperate people do desperate things. Rogan is a comedian by profession; he has no training in the medical field at all. While his interviews may have a folksy, man in the street feel which makes him popular (11 million listeners per episode!), he's ill-equipped to question his guests or challenge their claims. The same holds true for Fox News or even Alex Jones. I return to my question: Why are people listening?

In the fall of 2021, Aaron Rodgers, quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL), got himself into trouble by revealing he wasn't vaccinated and was taking medical advice from Joe Rogan, including the use of ivermectin. (my blog: Aaron Rodgers: I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised. - Nov 18/2021)

Rodgers told McAfee he is taking ivermectin on the advice of his new friend, podcaster Joe Rogan (the CDC does not consider ivermectin effective in treating or preventing COVID-19), and that the “woke mob” will be disappointed to hear that after 48 hours, he feels great. I am sincerely glad he feels great, but also: So what? I once felt great just 48 hours after eating at Applebee’s. What does that have to do with anything? This is a classic and frankly simple example of using anecdotal evidence to prove a point that can be proved with only statistics; it is the height of intellectual dishonesty, even if Rodgers is gullible enough to believe it himself.
-Michael Rosenberg, Sports Illustrated, Nov 5, 2021

The blind leading the blind leading blind. I repeat: Joe Rogan is a comedian by profession with no medical expertise. Dr. Anthony Fauci is a career epidemiologist of 40 years who's advised seven presidents. Why is this even an issue?

Final Word
Why do people listen? Can they not discern a legitimate source of information from the fakes? Do they just distrust anything they perceive as connected to the "mainstream"? Once again, are they just plain stupid?


We are all bombarded with information from all directions, family, friends, acquaintances at the coffee shop, TV, radio, and social media but we have to filter out the good from the bad, the real from the fake, and the legitimate from the rumor. I repeat my definition of the scientific method:

Independent scientists doing independent research can independently arrive at the same results.

But do I think science knows everything? Do I think Dr. Fauci is infallible and never makes mistakes? On Twitter, I posted my pro-mask, pro-vaccine stance, citing America’s Dr. Fauci. I received this reply: Why would you listen to fauci lmao. Has lied over and over since the onset.

The anonymous poster says that Fauci has lied. On Monday, the science says X. On Tuesday, Dr. Fauci talks to the public about X. On Wednesday, new data comes in, and science says Y. On Thursday, Dr. Fauci talks to the public about Y. Did Fauci lie? Science changes as new information becomes available. That’s science, not lying.

People are desperate for answers. I get it. We are all in an unprecedented situation, even the experts and the authorities. But the situation changes and the messaging changes. This certainly isn't the time to give up and turn to Rogan or Fox News. That's akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

In the final analysis, I'm going to trust Joe Rogan as a comedic professional to tickle my funny bone. However, in all other health-related matters, I'm going to trust a medical professional.


References

You can find my other rants about the pandemic on the site map under the section Health.

putting chemicals in the water that turn the friggin’ frogs gay
* Every conspiracy theory starts with a shred of truth. Believe it or not, in the mid-1990s, the United States Air Force studied the possibility of creating an aphrodisiac-like chemical which would cause immediate homosexual behavior in enemy soldiers. (Wikipedia: Gay bomb)

Wikipedia: The Joe Rogan Experience
The Joe Rogan Experience is a podcast hosted by American comedian and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. It launched on December 24, 2009, by Rogan and comedian Brian Redban, who was its co-host and producer until 2013 when he was replaced by Jamie Vernon. By 2015, it was one of the world's most popular podcasts, regularly receiving millions of views per episode, also including a wide array of guests. Since December 2020, the podcast has been exclusively available on Spotify, with highlights uploaded onto YouTube.

McGill University: Science vs Joe Rogan
The McGill Office for Science and Society (Separating sense from nonsense) analyses Rogan's popularity and the extent of his influence and concludes: A colossal reach like Rogan’s requires maturity, especially in the middle of an infodemic. But in clinging to the teenage desire to hear things that’ll blow your mind, the podcaster with a golden megaphone broadcasts lies, fantasies, and bad medical advice.

2022-02-14

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Covid: What if the U.S. was like Canada?

Update: 2022-06-13 below

In an opinion piece (National Post, January 10, 2022), controversial Canadian Jordan Peterson explained the inconveniences he’s had to suffer due to restrictions related to the responses of various governments to Covid. After a visit to Tennessee during which he enjoyed the openness of the Covid-related rules, he wondered why Canada couldn't open itself up like Tennessee or Florida.

I was curious, so I put together the following chart. Deaths per million gives us a common denominator for comparing different populations.


How to calculate deaths per million: Canada --> 34,212 (total deaths) / 38,267,245 (population) * 1,000,000 = 894 (deaths per million)

All the following have been rounded.

Canada currently has 34,212 deaths attributed to Covid.

Florida has 3.40 times the deaths of Canada: 3,039 / 894 = 3.40

If Canada had the same death rate as Florida: 34,212 x 3.4 = 116,298 deaths

Tennessee has 3.73 times the deaths of Canada: 3,335 / 894 = 3.73

If Canada had the same death rate as Tennessee: 34,212 x 3.73 = 127,625 deaths

The United States has 3.07 times the deaths of Canada: 2,747 / 894 = 3.07

If Canada had the same death rate as the U.S.: 34,212 x 3.07 = 105,106 deaths

It obviously follows that yes, Canada could have been like Florida or Tennessee or even the U.S. but at what cost in human lives? What is the trade-off? What benefit would there be for those human lives? How many Canadians would have to die before Mr. Peterson thought the crisis was more important than the inconveniences he suffers?


I got curious about asking the inverse question: What if Florida was like Canada?

Florida's rate of deaths is 3,039 - 894 = 2,145 --> 2,145 / 3,039 = 71% greater than Canada.

Excess deaths: 65,273 * 71% = 46,070

If Republican Governor Ron DeSantis had run his state of Florida like Canada, 46,070 Floridians would be alive today.

What if Tennessee was like Canada?

Tennessee's rate of deaths is 3,335 - 894 = 2,441 --> 2,441 / 3,335 = 73% greater than Canada.

Excess deaths: 22,776 * 73% = 16,671

If Republican Governor Bill Dee had run Tennessee like Canada, 16,671 Tennesseans would be alive today.

What if the United States was like Canada?

The American rate of deaths is 2,747 - 894 = 1,853 --> 1,853 / 2,747 = 67.45% greater than Canada.

Excess deaths: 917,600 * 67.45% = 618,920

If the United States had been run like Canada, 618,920 Americans would be alive today.

Those numbers are so big, it staggers my imagination. I've previously said that I think t**** should be held criminally negligent for his downplaying of the crisis. A significant portion of the population followed his lead and never took Covid seriously and never took preventative measures. If you think there's no danger, why bother protecting yourself?

But it's not just the population, it's also the leadership. Government at all levels, federal, state, country, and municipal have followed t****'s lead, responding too slowly or not at all, believing the crisis wasn't as bad as it was.

“The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”
-Rush Limbaugh, Feb 24, 2020

Ron DeSantis has taken a shoot from the hip, full speed ahead damn the torpedoes approach to running Florida, even going so far as legislating that schools, businesses, etc. cannot put in preventative measures like mask mandates. No restrictions for Florida!

I have to shake my head. Nobody gives a sh*t. I'm alive; nothing else matters. It occurred to me that inadvertently or not, Ron DeSantis seems to be following this idea: The dead don't vote. By removing restrictions, getting the economy reopened, and ignoring all other factors like the number of people dying, he's betting on the people who remain, the people who are still alive, will reap the benefit of an economy and a style of life returning to normal. The dead can't vote but those who remain alive could see him as being responsible for getting things back to normal and vote for him. Cull the herd. Only the strong survive. Thoughts and prayers.

Note: I'm sure somebody's going to hold Biden, as the current president, responsible for whatever is wrong today, right at this minute. I would point out that t**** left him with a f*cking mess. It is clear that t**** deserves the blame, having prompted other Republicans like Ron DeSantis and Bill Dee to conduct their business with such a callous disregard for human life.

Think I'm being unfair? Headline from the New York Times, Feb 1/2022:
U.S. Has Far Higher Covid Death Rate Than Other Wealthy Countries
(The NY Times is behind a paywall. Click here for a reprint in the Indian Express.)

Every man for himself! I've never paid attention to t****. I would never pay attention to DeSantis or Dee. I follow the science, and thank my lucky stars I'm living in Canada, not the United States.

Update: 2022-06-13
I looked at all the latest numbers and while Canada's death rate has risen (from 864/million to 1,085/million), so has everything else, and Canada remains far better than Tennessee, Florida, and the United States itself. I repeat that I'm better off living in Canada than in the United States. The United States is number one in the world with more cases and more deaths than any other country.

In February 24, 2022, Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at CPAC, touting his open for business approach to dealing with the pandemic.

And I really believe had Florida not led the way, this country could look like Canada or Australia. (transcript)

As of this writing (2022-06-13), Florida's death rate stands at 3,487 per million. Canada is at 1,085 and Australia is at 347. I repeat, Gov. DeSantis's pandemic response has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Floridians and yet, everybody seems to be completely unaware of this. DeSantis himself is unaware. His claim that the economy in Florida is somehow so much better than Canada and Australia is pure, unadulterated bullsh*t. I'm Canadian. We're doing just fine. Australia's fine. Would my life be better if we had done what DeSantis did and ended up killing off another eighty to ninety thousand Canadians? Like t****, I believe Gov Ron DeSantis should be held criminally negligent for his response to Covid.


References

data source: WorldOMeter: Coronavirus

I will be the first to point out that this same comparison could be applied to Canada and any other nation. Places like Japan (151 deaths per million), South Korea (133 deaths per million), or New Zealand (11 deaths per million) have demonstrated a far better response to the pandemic than Canada. How many of my fellow Canadians have needlessly died?

You can find my other rants about the pandemic on the site map under the section Health.

2022-02-03

Site Map - William Quincy BelleFollow me on Twitter

Friday, 28 January 2022

Freedom Convoy 2022

Dear Truckers,
You have come to represent the collective frustration of the pandemic. We’ve all had enough, and we’d all like to get back to normal. But I can’t stand with you on this issue. Hear me out.

This morning, I read two headlines:
1. Trucker Convoy protest in Ottawa
2. 70 people died from Covid in Ontario yesterday with over three thousand people in hospital.

Those 70 people are added to the over 33,000 Canadians who’ve died from this disease (source as of Jan 28/2022), most of whom did not have the opportunity to get vaccinated. I’m not going to argue with you about the efficacy of vaccines; the scientific data is conclusive. Vaccines work, and they are the best way to minimise sickness, hospitalisation, and death. They may not be 100% perfect (Is anything in life 100%?) but doing nothing is not an option!

With all due respect, I get my information from legitimate medical professionals, not from social media. I love Canada, and I don’t think my country asks too much of me: pay my taxes, don’t litter, stop at red lights, and buckle up my safety belt.

We have been confronted by an unprecedented health crisis, not just a Canadian crisis but a global one. It is painfully obvious we were not prepared. Like it or not, we’re all in this together. I’ve read that truckers in British Columbia have driven across the country to Ottawa for this national protest, investing weeks of their time and thousands of dollars in fuel, food, etc. And what horrible, draconian government intervention are they mad about? Getting vaccinated. Wait, what? I visited Shoppers Drug Mart three times, two doses and one booster. I was in and out in under 30 minutes, including the 15 minutes they wanted me to wait after the shot. And each visit didn’t cost me anything; vaccination is free. 90 minutes of my time versus driving across the country.

Vaccination is nothing new. Have we all forgotten? We enjoy life without measles, mumps, rubella, polio, meningitis, tetanus, diphtheria, etc. because of vaccines. I read on the Government of Ontario web site: “Unless they have a valid exemption, children who attend primary or secondary school must be immunized.” It’s the law. We already have vaccine mandates.

Canada currently has 79% of the population fully vaccinated. (source: Our World in Data, as of Jan 28/2022) To reach “herd immunity”, that is, protection for all of us, we all need to do it. (Scientists say 90% - 95%; there are always exemptions.) If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Imagine if the remaining 21% decided to not follow the rules: don’t pay taxes, don’t put your litter in trash cans, don’t stop at red lights, and don’t buckle up. Is this a question of personal freedom?

You have the right to jeopardize your life, but you have the responsibility to not jeopardize mine.

Let me be clear: I support truckers. They are the backbone of our country. Our quality of life is very much tied to them, and how they furnish all that is necessary for a good life. They are an integral part of Canada. I thank them all. But I have to note one important thing. Truckers can’t do their job if they’re sick. Truckers can’t do their job if they have to go to the hospital. And they certainly can’t do their job if they die. I know that a lot of people like to throw around statistics to justify their position, but I choose to pay attention to the epidemiologists, the specialists in infectious diseases who are trained in this field. I recognise they may not know everything, but I also recognise they know a heck of a lot more than I do!

The reason why you get to protest is not just because of the freedom you enjoy in Canada, it’s because you’re not dead. Over 33,000 Canadians have died from Covid, and I will personally do whatever I can to ensure that as many Canadians as possible get the chance to sit on a patio this summer and enjoy the warmth of the sun, a plate of chicken wings with an ice-cold beer, and the company of family and friends. If I found out I had contributed to anyone, family, friend or even a stranger, getting sick — God forbid dying! — I would be devastated! Canada is a great country, and I’m willing to make a small, personal sacrifice to make sure it stays great for everybody. This pandemic isn’t about you or me; it’s about all of us.


References

my blog: Covid: The Premise of the Anti's - Jan 25/2022
Anti-mask, anti-closures, anti-lockdowns, anti-vaccine, the premise of the anti is that Covid is either an outright hoax or an overexaggerated problem; Covid is no worse than the common cold. Whatever the case, the past two years with all its restrictions in combating the pandemic have been unnecessary.

my blog: Covid-19: What would you do? - Jan 21/2022
Like you, I read the newspapers; I watch the news, and I’m bombarded with a myriad of opinions, statistics, and analysis meant to clarify the obscure and set me on the path of righteous salvation. However, from time to time, somebody says something that I know is not correct because of research I’ve done, or somebody says something that immediately throws up a red flag because it doesn’t make sense to me. How difficult is it to sort out the wheat from the chaff in this avalanche of conflicting ideas?

my blog: Dear Antivaxxers: What about my rights? - Jan 7/2022
Over and over again, I’ve heard you rally against vaccines. This is a violation of your individual freedom, and you should be the one making your own medical decisions. Vaccine mandates are out of the question. Fine. But what about my rights? How come you keep talking about your rights but don’t bother about the rights of anybody else?

my blog: What I learned from parents who don't vaccinate their kids | Jennifer Reich | TEDxMileHigh - Dec 3/2021
Jennifer Anne Reich is an American sociologist, researcher and author at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research interests include healthcare, adolescence, welfare, and policy. Her work on vaccine hesitancy gained widespread attention during the 2019 measles outbreaks. She is the author of three books and numerous journal articles.

my blog: Aaron Rodgers: I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised. - Nov 18/2021
The stink is about Aaron Rodgers (b 1983), quarterback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL).

my blog: Ivermectin: I'm not taking medical advice from Joe Rogan. - Nov 9/2021
From the outset of the pandemic, the supposed antiviral properties of the antiparasitic drug ivermectin has been bandied about left, right, and center. Even if expert sources of information like the CDC and the FDA said not to use it, people, especially those on the right led by Fox News, kept pushing ivermectin “propaganda”. Has anybody read the science, and if they did, did they understand what they were looking at?

my blog: What the heck is a respiratory droplet? - Nov 7/2021
You step outside on a cold, winter day, and you exhale. You see your breath. The cold has condensed the bits of moisture in the exhaled air and formed a mist. When you exhale, you’re not only breathing out air but dampness from your lungs, your mouth, and your windpipe . Those bits of moisture are called respiratory droplets.

my blog: Masks: How We Hate Change - Sep 28/2021
To mask, or not to mask, that should not be a question. I have to shake my head at all the protests against masks and vaccines. We hate being told what to do, even if it’s for our own good.

2022-01-28

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