What we say versus what we mean

When we say Culture wars. Cultural issues. Identity politics. Social issues…We mean…Abortion. The rights of people who are bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer and/or transgender. Racial issues. Women’s issues.

When we say Woke, wokeness…We mean…Left-wing/very left-wing on issues of gender, LGBTQ and race.

When we say…Elites. Establishment…We mean…Democratic and Republican Party leaders. Elected officials. Political pundits and commentators. The wealthy.

The article is by Perry Bacon, jr…an opinion columnist. Though I’m not familiar with his work, he raises a couple of interesting points about contemporary journalism. Politeness…to a fault. Gentility supplants courage. Dissemblance replaces pointed accuracy.

A worthwhile read.

GOP “Commitment to America” doesn’t include learning how to navigate the Web


They simply flipped documentary footage from Russia

House Republican leaders on Friday unveiled their “Commitment to America” agenda for 2023 ― and with it, an inspirational video full of scenes presented as exceptional imagery of America that were actually stock footage from Russia and Ukraine.

The GOP’s video, “The Preamble to the Commitment to America,” opens with a narrator highlighting aspects of what it means to be an American.

“We celebrate the rich heritage of the American story and the vibrancy of the American Dream,” the voice says, over footage of a drilling rig at sunrise.

But this video snippet, an apparent nod to America’s natural resources, wasn’t filmed in America. It’s stock footage created by Serg Grbanoff, a filmmaker based in Russia.

This bumped Jennifer Bendery’s curiosity enough to start her looking around, checking on productions on other websites “designed” to build the online presence of leading Republicans. Turds like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.

Consistent mistakes. Guess they just discovered the Web

Thanks, Ray K.

Polio vaccination rates are too low in some parts of the United States


During the height of the polio epidemic in 1956

For more than 60 years, vaccines against the poliovirus have protected virtually everyone in the United States from the disease. Due to an enormously successful polio vaccination campaign beginning in the 1950s when the first polio vaccines became available, by 1979 polio was considered eliminated in the U.S.

Unfortunately, even today, there are communities in the U.S. that have lower-than-necessary polio vaccination rates. Because many people have not been vaccinated, there is now a real possibility of a resurgence of polio in the U.S….

…In July 2022, a man from Rockland County, New York, was diagnosed with polio, the first such diagnosis in the U.S. in nearly a decade. The patient – who developed the severe, paralytic form of the disease – had been exposed to an altered live vaccine strain from overseas.

Then on Sept. 9, 2022, New York declared a state of emergency due to ongoing poliovirus transmission. As of that date, using wastewater surveillance, officials had identified 57 samples of poliovirus in wastewater from four New York counties. More than half of those were detected in the same county where the adult patient is from, just outside New York City.

As a result of the continued poliovirus detection in wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the U.S. now meets the World Health Organization’s criteria for “a country with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”

OK. Unless you live near the trouble spots in the WHO report, you’re probably not in trouble. Yet. As long as you’re vaccinated. As long as you’re in a community with vaccination levels that qualify as providing “herd immunity”.

This news article provides lots of info. And the basic premise is the same for any comparable disease. You need to be vaccinated to even be capable of being out of danger.

Fascist-minded politicos have decided that LGBTQ folk are as “dangerous” as everyone else they fear and hate


WASHINGTON POST/GETTY

Last November, Cameron Samuels was met with cold stares when they attended a school board meeting to speak out against bans on LGBTQ books and resource websites in their district…

Now [Houston’s] Katy ISD students involved in the movement Samuels helped start are trying to push forward a book review policy, which would ensure at least one student is represented on the committee whenever a book is challenged in the district.

Katy ISD is just one of many school districts where students have begun pushing back against book bans. Recently, schools across the US have begun challenging—and in some cases successfully removing—a growing list of books from LGBTQ and Black authors. Some librarians have found themselves targeted for creating book displays featuring LGBTQ titles. And right-wing groups like Moms For Liberty have been organizing around the country to ban books they deem “obscene” from schools, and even make them illegal to sell or lend to minors…

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America says he is seeing youth voices play a critical role in book ban opposition.

“At a time when many teachers and librarians are having their speech chilled, it is often students who are leading the charge and speaking out for their rights—as they should,” Friedman told Motherboard.

I can empathize. BITD, as a night school student in profession-oriented college courses, simple self-interest pushed me into similar activism. Not often; but, often enough to identify me as a PITA to a few teachers and administrators, who felt they had a vested interest in blocking any doorway that allowed the entry of up-to-date textbooks.

Propaganda

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …

In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928)

Michigan town defunds library that refused to remove LGBTQ books

Another day, another example of grown adults rallying to ban books that could be educational, affirming, and in some cases life-saving for their kids. This one is in west Michigan, where residents of Jamestown Township voted this week to defund their local library following public disagreements about its inclusion of LGBTQ books for young adults.

The vote was against renewing a millage, the share of property taxes that provides 84 percent of the Patmos Library’s operating budget, for 2023. Ron French noted, in an extensive report for Bridge Michigan, that this “may be the first time a community voted, in effect, to close its library” rather than continue to provide LGBTQ books to kids.

When library staff refused to take the books from the library, the effort to defund it began. The library can operate on its current budget through the end of the first quarter of 2023; after that, library board president Larry Walton told French, the library would have to close.

We must be the leading country in the world at using democratic powers to enforce anti-democratic politics.