☕️ DEEP DIVES ☙ Friday, December 29, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Mockable media mask headlines signal new narratives; Covidians' latest OCD obsession takes dark brown turn; Maine orders Trump off ballot; Argentinian Trump drains swamp; and a hilarious dirty story.
Good morning, C&C family, it’s Friday! Wow, that was a short week. All the covid panic stories lately required us to focus for a moment and dismantle the gathering Narrative. In today’s roundup: we look at the firestorm of media headlines predicting a return of mask mandates and find very little substance, but a whole lot to mock; you aren’t going to believe the latest Covidian obsession that is trying to emerge from the sewers as a new Narrative; now Maine yanks Trump off the ballot and we examine how likely to stick any of it will be; Argentina’s Trump cleans house surprising critics and black pill-ers; and a story even grosser than the gross story I slipped in on you, above.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
😷 Newsweek ran a very silly story yesterday headlined, “COVID mask mandates return in California, Illinois, New York.” This profoundly misleading article (and other similar yarns on other platforms) quickly became social media darlings, and a dozen folks have asked me about whether there’s anything to it. This emerging Narrative terrifies the sane, for whom a “return of mask mandates” makes them feel like they just took an well-deserved nap after surviving a horror movie, but as soon as they fell asleep, they wound up getting chased around by a fedora-sporting maniac with knife hands. And a mask.
But on the other hand, to all our newly-minted, full-blown germaphobes, the “return of masks” headline sounds just like a hit new Taylor Swift single. These folks found Newsweek’s headline a balm for the soul, playfully teasing them with a possible reversion to the good old days of the pandemic, back when open manifestations of their obsessive-compulsive disorders were lauded as a public virtue.
Yecch. Now let’s debunk this goofy mask story. (Sorry, germaphobes.)
First of all, the headline overpromised. No agency with enforcement ability has newly mandated masks. And there weren’t even any mandates mentioned outside of hospitals and hospital workers. Newsweek scraped up four Bay-area counties that have ordered healthcare workers to wear masks in healthcare facilities. And check out this sly bit of media misinformation — when I looked up the article’s referenced masking order on the Santa Clara County website, I discovered it was a mandate from March 2023 that rescinded all other mask mandates and created a perpetual “winter virus period” mask mandate and only for healthcare:
(But bless all those progressive counties like Santa Clara who are now properly applying taxpayer funds to provide long-overdue translations of official documents for non-English speaking Tagalong-Americans. It’s about time.)
Gosh. Can we agree that citing Santa Clara’s old order as a “return of mask mandates” is kind of fake news? The closest thing to a legit new mandate Newsweek cited in the article were vague, hand-wavy references to a short list of birdbrained hospital masking requirements. For example, Newsweek reported that “UW Health says it requires masks at many of its sites.” Um.
That foggy reference to “many sites” did not specify which ones, say for whom, link to any websites, clarify the source, or give any further information about the alleged “requirement.” I’m not saying I don’t trust them, but … your factual mileage may vary. Consume at your own risk.
Second, I caught them faking again! Twice in one story, and I wasn’t even trying. Newsweek included a powerful photo evidencing the “return of mask mandates,” an image either terrifying or hope-inspiring, depending on which end of the neuroticism spectrum you’re on:
But when you squinted at the greyed-out, 6-point font caption, it turned out the picture was a stock photo from 2020:
Stupid reporters. Misleaders! Why not use a current photo if mask mandates are back in three states? This misleading photo reminded me of all the fake photos they terrified Covidians with back in 2020, passing off old stock footage of bloody gurneys from some backwater Italian clinic from 2014 to evidence New York City’s “overwhelmed hospitals” in 2020.
Media’s stock photo malfeasance has been so obvious and widespread that Bard A.I. is allowed to admit it happened and can even criticize the media about it:
They’ve known stock photos are misleading for a long time, long before 2020. For example, back in 2013, the respected Poynter Institute for Ethics and Leadership in Journalism ran an article condemning the use of stock photos:
Media’s own ethics institute was crystal clear that using canned stock photos is misleading. You might even call it misinformation:
“The use of stock photography without any photographic attribution of obvious credit is a very misleading practice that contributes to the public/audience mistrust of the media,” Poynter senior faculty for visual journalism Kenny Irby told me. “What they are doing is inaccurate, and while it may be seen as the expedient thing to do for immediate visual representation, the long-term impact on credibility is much worse.”
Maybe — and I’m just spitballing here — maybe the media should fix its own credibility problems before criticizing everybody else about our ‘true but misleading’ social media posts?
I’ll admit, Newsweek did disclose it was a stock photo, although the disclosure was greyed-out and tiny-fonted. But the Poynter Institute’s warning was for decorating everyday articles with stock photos, like using a random crumpled sedan for a car crash story about an SUV, or inserting a stock Delta jet picture into a story about striking air traffic controllers. In this instance, Newsweek was supposedly breaking a story of great public interest. The case for using a generic stock photo to visually illustrate the “return of mask mandates” is pitifully weak.
In sum, Newsweek couldn’t come up with a single official mandate outside a hospital, or procure a photo of even one current masking sign. I’ve never seen so much misinformation flying around! A wise former President used to call this kind of thing “Fake News.”
Anyway. The article finally got around to the nub, the stinky data that has the Covidians all stirred up this month: wastewater testing:
"Our wastewater monitoring program is currently detecting high COVID-19 and RSV levels," Yolo County public health officer Aimee Sisson said. "I recommend that everybody in the community take steps to protect themselves from infection, including wearing a high-quality mask when indoors around others. If you have not yet gotten the updated COVID-19 vaccine, annual flu vaccine, and RSV vaccine, I strongly encourage you to do so—it is not too late.”
So … some unlucky devil has the dirty job of dipping PCR tests into your raw sewage, and based on the fecal science Yolo County feels the need to push three more vaccinations on everybody. But still, underneath the sludge of droppings data, there’s no real mask mandate anywhere.
Now let’s tackle this harebrained wastewater thing.
💩 It used to be that neurotic, OCD people were obsessed with their own bathroom habits. But it’s a brave new post-covid era, and OCD people have expanded their horizons; they are now equally fascinated with your number-two habits. This bathroom biofeedback story, which you probably never heard of, is the biggest thing going in the Covidian world, and it is threatening to break through as a mainstream Narrative.
So let’s shut it down!
First, here is just one (of very many) example to set the hysterical tone. This particular Covidian heart-breaker has 23,000 Covidian followers:
I keep thinking they’re running out of words and they keep coming up with new ones. Last year it was the dark winter of suffering and deaths, and this year it’s the harrowing year of heartbreak. Or something.
Covidians’ biggest problem is that all the daily covid dashboards have been unplugged, shut down, and de-funded, and worse, mandatory covid reporting has expired too. That just leaves them with one place to look to sustain their neurotic habits: our poo. The levels of scatological obsession are not just rising in social media’s toilet bowl, either. The levels of poop-obsessed neuroses are also surging with corporate media maniacs like Newsweek.
And even the big papers. Here’s another example, from yesterday’s Boston Globe:
Before you ask, the “brung back mask mandate” was not new; it’s a standing Mass General policy triggered by a very small percentage (2.85%) of emergency visits from any respiratory virus. Mass Gen just reached 2.85% for the first time this fall, and — following its existing policy — said it will require workers to mask starting January 2nd. Now check out this next sentence the Globe slipped into its story way down the page: “Last year, local hospitals experienced respiratory infection levels as high as 7.3% during what many health officials called the tripledemic.”
So … yawn … this year’s “surging” 2.85% respiratory ED burden at Mass General is half of last year’s burden. Wait! I think I just saw the North Star while my eyes were rolling straight up. Anyway, this isn’t just another stupid, fear-peddling non-story about covid. Remember the wastewater. Here’s what the Globe said about that not-for-the-dinner-table subject:
The Boston-area COVID wastewater data keeps spiking. The COVID wastewater data is the first sign of virus cases in the community. The south-of-Boston virus wastewater weekly average was up to 1,611 copies per milliliter ahead of Christmas, which is nearly double from early December. The 1,600-plus average is the highest the COVID wastewater data has been since January.
The north-of-Boston average was up to 1,150 copies per milliliter ahead of Christmas — also about double from earlier this month. The 1,100-plus average in the north is also the highest since January.
See what the Globe did there? The wastewater levels — copies per millileter? What? — are the highest they’ve been since last January.
Um, just now we’re one week from January. So they’re just reporting normal, seasonal covid levels. It’s literally a non-story. But the poor Covidians have been convinced by all this fake news hysteria that this is the big one. They have poo dashboards and post-digestive tracking systems and they are utterly fascinated by the things they can find at the end of their plumbing. Even the CDC is now offering a National Wastewater Surveillance System — with its own acronym, of course, the slightly-unwieldy but official-sounding NWSS, which at your option can either be pronounced news or noose, which rhymes with loose, as in loose bowels.
And loose bowels are just the ticket for getting the best readouts. “See the data and take action to protect your health,” says the CDC’s website for the NWSS. Don’t poo-poo it. People can take lots of actions after plumbing their sewage data. The imagination boggles. But it’s good to see the CDC finally digging into the pandemic with both hands.
This might possibly be the most insane OCD to run down the pandemic’s sewer system so far in a long diarrheaic stream of pandemic psychosis. Covidians readily admit — but then promptly ignore — that current seasonal covid wastewater levels are but a tiny fraction of the January 2022 peak:
The “bottom” line is, there’s nothing suggesting anything remarkable about the winter covid levels in the sewers. Nothing that justifies masking. And, contrary to all the headlines and the flailing Narratives, there is no re-masking movement developing.
So, you ask, why are Covidians — the science followers! — so exercised? I’ll tell you, but you won’t believe me. It’s because they still believe in Zero-Covid. And they think the entire world should be focused on achieving that unreachable goal, just like they are, even if it requires anal-ytically plumbing the depths of defecation along with them.
All right, all right, I’ll stop now! Moving on.
🔥 Despite online hysteria, to be abundantly clear, President Trump remains on Colorado’s primary ballot, since the state’s Supreme Court stayed its own order pending appeal. Nothing will change until the appeal is resolved, one way or the other. If the primary happens first, then the whole case will be mooted, and I would not be surprised if that is what happens.
But yesterday the process started all over again in Maine. The New York Times ran a non-paywalled story misleadingly-headlined, “Maine Joins Colorado in Finding Trump Ineligible for Primary Ballot.” That headline is misleading because, unlike Colorado, there was no court decision in Maine; just the unilateral action of its Trump-deranged democrat Secretary of State, Shenna Bellows.
Ms. Bellows, who before she took office used to run Maine’s ACLU, reviewed a citizen complaint and “ruled” that Trump lied on his application form, because he checked a box that says he is “qualified” to run for President but he was not actually qualified, because January 6th:
“I am mindful that no secretary of state has ever deprived a presidential candidate of ballot access based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. I am also mindful, however, that no presidential candidate has ever before engaged in insurrection,” Ms. Bellows, a Democrat, wrote.
This Maine story represents nothing but the very first step in the very same democrat challenge brought in thirty different states over the last few weeks. Later in the Times article, the paper admitted the Secretary of State’s decision was a pre-condition to bringing a legal challenge:
Because of a quirk in Maine’s Constitution, (to challenge Trump’s qualifications in court) registered voters there must first file a petition with the secretary of state. Mr. Trump can appeal Ms. Bellows’s decision to Maine’s Superior Court within five days. Her order will not go into effect until the court rules on an appeal, which the Trump campaign says it intends to file soon.
Republican primaries in Maine and Colorado are both scheduled for March 5th, also known as “Super Tuesday” (when many states hold primaries). Meanwhile, California’s democrat Secretary of State just announced she would not remove Trump from that state’s ballot. She might have been informed by recent federal court dismissals of two lawsuits challenging President Trump’s qualifications on the same grounds.
Ironically, the Times’ story ended quoting Gavin Newsom, who tellingly does not seem very enthusiastic about the prospects for any legal challenges against Trump:
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California indicated last week that he did not believe officials in his state should remove Mr. Trump from the ballot. “There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy, but in California we defeat candidates we don’t like at the polls,” he said in a statement. “Everything else is a political distraction.”
It may be a first but I agree with Gavin. These lawsuits and orders are just distractions. Trump will almost certainly be on the ballots in all fifty states.
🔥 It’s been 18 days since “Argentina’s Trump”, economist Javier Milei, was inaugurated. It is difficult to find reliable information in corporate media, but it looks like he’s been working overtime to drain his swamp.
From social media and local media reports, so far President Melei has:
Eliminated 12 out of 21 cabinet posts, including the much-hated Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity.
Fired 5,000 government employees.
Ended 380,000 government regulations.
Banned woke language in the military.
Submitted a bill to affirm the right to self-defense.
Submitted a bill to legalize homeschooling.
Proposed punishment for riot organizers.
Proposed welfare cuts for road-blockers.
Legalized paying contracts in Bitcoin.
Privatized several state-run companies.
Opened Argentina’s oil industry to the second largest oil deposit in the world.
Maybe the best evidence of how things are going down there is that leftists are losing their ever-lovin’ minds. E.g., from the Associated Press on Wednesday:
Viva la counter-revolución!
🐭 Finally, my research into Covidian poo mania led me to a recent eyeball-popping Daily Mail story from last month. I can’t imagine how I could have missed it, since it hits on so many C&C subjects. The gist is, before you plan your next Disney World, trip, I implore you to consider this commonsense scatological advice:
Don’t worry, I won’t start up again. But I had to know if it was true! Further research revealed even more headlines fact-checking the explosive story — and it is true! From SFGate:
I couldn’t possibly make that up and you would have never believed me if I had. I promised I would stop so I’m going to leave it right there. You guys take it away in the comments.
Have a fabulous Friday! Coffee & Covid shall return tomorrow morning with the year’s final Weekend Edition and a big dose of optimism.
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