☕️ Coffee & Covid ☙ Sunday, March 27, 2022 ☙ RECKLESS 🦠
More on the Foo Fighters’ second untimely death; New York rolls back vaccine mandates for elites; and Joe Biden finds a way to make the Ukraine situation even worse.
Good morning, C&C supporters, and Happy Sunday! We’re finally back home from Spring Break vacation, and still unpacking, but nestling back into the regular routine. Enjoy this morning’s bonus roundup.
🗞*COVID NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
💉 Yesterday I reported on the untimely, sudden and unexpected death of 50-year-old Foo Fighters’ drummer Taylor Hawkins, which is now creating controversy. Also yesterday, following a preliminary autopsy, Columbia’s attorney general issued a statement claiming that no fewer than TEN psychoactive and recreational drugs were found in Hawkins’ system, including pot, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, LSD, cocaine, heroin, and opoids. Basically the entire list. According to Columbian officials, he was a walking pharmacy.
So, for a brief moment, it looked like just another sad stereotypical “rock star overdoses on drugs” story.
But some facts didn’t seem to fit the overdose narrative, and now there’s a controversy brewing. First, the Columbians didn’t release a cause of death, despite finding all those drugs. Next, Columbian newspaper Semana reported that the autopsy also revealed Hawkins’ heart was enlarged, weighing over 600 grams, twice the weight of an average adult male’s heart. According to Semana, local officials said the drummer’s enlarged heart must have played some part in his death.
Next, the Daily Mail reported that witnesses at his hotel said Hawkins called the front desk for help due to “chest pain” before being found dead in his room when help arrived. The fact that father-of-three Hawkins called the desk and communicated intelligently about his condition, asked clearly for medical assistance, lucidly described concerns related to his heart — not issues typically related to overdosing, has generated some skepticism in the developing official story.
Next, a compelling recent interview video shows Hawkins discussing his health, his kids, the demands of touring, and saying he lives a normal, boring, healthy lifestyle. He said he doesn’t go to parties and his family doesn’t “live that kind of Hollywood rockstar life.” He says he doesn’t hang out with actors, is an avid cycler, and admits if he could just quit smoking he would be “the picture of health.”
Finally, alert readers pointed out this is the second sudden, unexpected tragedy for the band in under a year. Last June, the Foo Fighter’s stage manager, Andrew Pollard, also died suddenly and unexpectedly. The 45-year-old father of two young children, Arlo and Ren, was — ironically — also found dead in his hotel room after retiring for the night. Pollard’s death came just a few weeks after the band began requiring proof of vaccination for fans to attend its concerts.
Being in the Foo Fighters — a band that has been stable for over 20 years — is starting to look like it might be bad for your health, for some reason. Or possibly like a real-life game of Clue. Did they check whether Mrs. Green was in the Library with the Candlestick?
🏀 New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday that he is relaxing the City’s vaccine mandate — but only for professional athletes and entertainers — the private business vaccine mandate continues. “We’re doing it because the city has to function,” Adams explained. “Hometown players had an unfair disadvantage to those who were coming to visit,” the mayor said. “It’s unimaginable, treating our performers differently because they lived and played for home teams. Unacceptable. It’s a self-imposed competitive disadvantage.”
Unfair, unimaginable, and unacceptable. But the ladies on The View took a dimmer view of the mayor’s decision. You might even say they were critical:
> “It seems like he’s adopting a double standard that favors famous people, famous athletes and other performers, millionaires over the everyday person, and I think it’s unfair, and I think it’s a poor example. How about the people – 1,400 people that lost their jobs? Are they getting their jobs back? No, they’re not.”
Back in January, a judge ruled that the City’s mandate was legal because it covers all workers, regardless of occupation. So Adams’ move seems a tad bit problematic, not to mention politically unsustainable. We’ll see.
🚀 *THE MINORITY REPORT* 🚀
🚀 Oh, Joe. First, during a staged press event late this week where Biden ate pizza with U.S. troops stationed in Poland, the commander-in-chief told soldiers in the 82nd Airborne about conditions in Ukraine and dropped a rhetorical bomb, saying the troops would see those conditions in Ukraine for themselves, soon. That sent the White House’s press office scrambling to explain that he didn’t mean it, it was just Joe, nobody’s going to Ukraine, U.S. policy hasn’t changed.
Then late this weekend, Biden gave what the White House and its media operatives described as an historic Reagan-esque speech that “Biden’s presidency will be remembered for.” During the otherwise forgettable speech, in which he repeated called Putin a butcher and a dictator, warned Putin not to dare touch NATO territory, and urged Ukrainians to get ready for a long fight, Biden said this about Russian president Vladimir Putin: “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”
I am not making that up. Biden’s emphatic remark sounded to the entire world — and especially Russia — like a blatant threat, like Biden was calling for regime change, like we’ll be pulling Putin out of a spider-hole soon and hanging him. In other words, it was an insane escalation of the already-tense conflict.
The spinners immediately spun up the spin machine. The Washington Post’s article reporting the story was headlined, “Biden Says Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power’; White House Walks Back Remark.” WaPo, along with other corporate media reporting Biden’s remarks, said that even before Biden could even board Air Force One to fly back to Washington, aides were already “clarifying” that he wasn’t calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow, not really.
Specifically, the ANONYMOUS “White House official” was reported to have said, “The President’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”
But what Biden actually said about the world’s biggest nuclear power was, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” So.
They also called Biden’s remarks “unscripted.” But calling the threat “unscripted” doesn’t help much, just the opposite. Council for Foreign Relations’ president Richard Hass explained “the fact that it was so off-script in some ways makes it worse, because it could be read as Biden’s genuine belief as opposed to his scripted words.”
None of the corporate media sources I checked identified the “aide” who allegedly made the “clarifying” comment. So who do you believe? Biden or a chicken-lipped official who’s too scared to go on record? Here’s the problem with Biden threatening regime change in Russia: it confirms to the Kremlin that the people around Biden who actually run US policy are actively seeking to displace the Russian president. It had to make Putin even more paranoid, if that’s possible, and vastly more difficult to negotiate with. He’s now much more likely to view the conflict as a clear and present threat to his personal survival rather just than a regional conflict.
U.S. media barely mention the remark, essentially characterizing it as one of Joe’s offhand gaffe, like he just challenged Putin to a pushup contest or said he would punch the Russian strongman in the face or something. But British media wasn’t as gentle with Biden as U.S. media. The UK Daily Mail ran a story about Biden’s threat with the headline, “Biden Is Slammed for His ‘Unscripted’ Declaration That Putin ‘Cannot Remain in Power’: Experts Fear ‘Off-the-Cuff’ Remark Will Escalate Tensions.”
I bet you thought Biden already hit his lowest point with Afghanistan. But never underestimate Joe’s ability to, you know. So I give you exhibit A … Ukraine!
Have a very blessed Sunday, and I’ll see ya’ll back here tomorrow to start off the new week with a hot steaming cup of C&C.
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