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Posts Tagged ‘CHRISTMAS’

IF THERE’S A “WAR” ON CHRISTMAS, AMERICANS DON’T KNOW IT

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Politics, Social commentary on December 9, 2022 at 12:10 am

Christmas is special.

That’s why, each December, the executives at Fox News find a new way to stir up emotions—and ratings—by resurrecting the “war on Christmas” slander.

Fox launched this in 2004 with a recurring segment called “Christmas Under Siege.” 

Stirring up false controversies is a daily assignment for the alleged reporters of this company owned by Right-wing oligarch Rupert Murdoch. 

Perhaps its most outrageous example happened on December 11, 2013. Fox hostess Megyn Kelly offered this on “The Kelly File,” her then-popular Fox News program.

Related image

Megyn Kelly

Referring to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris on “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” she said:

“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’

“And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”

Of course, Santa Claus is a completely fictional character. Arguing about his skin color is as pointless as arguing about his weight.

Related image

But Kelly wasn’t content to talk only about Santa. So she turned next to Jesus, a historical figure about whom we have not a single reference to his appearance, let alone a picture.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too.

“He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”

Santa Claus a verifiable historical figure? Not even Charlie Brown, in the annually telecast “Peanuts” Christmas special, would make that claim.

In 2015, Donald Trump claimed center-stage in “defending” Christmas. And the target of his ire? Starbucks.

In years past, its disposable coffee cups featured snowflakes, winter scenes, reindeer and Christmas ornaments.

But in 2015, Starbucks decided to go with a minimalist, all-red design, its only feature being the company’s green and white logo.

This angered some religious conservatives, who generally care more about symbols than substance. And Trump was eager to enlist evangelicals as voters.

During a campaign rally in October, Trump promised: “I guarantee if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store.”

Donald Trump September 3 2015.jpg

Donald Trump

On November 9, 2015, addressing  a crowd of several thousands in Springfield, Illinois, Trump said: “Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks.

“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?

“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

Trump did not explain how he would coerce non-Christian Americans—-such as atheists, Jews and Muslims—into observing a Christian holiday.

Those who claim that Christmas is threatened don’t know—or deliberately ignore—-the following:

  • The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September. Some consumers begin even earlier. 
  • According to the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), American consumers spend an average of $997.73 on gifts and holiday items each Christmas. 
  • Holiday sales in 2021 totaled $99 billion.
  • For 2022, industry analysts expect Americans to spend $$1,455 per household on holiday gifts.
  • Because prices are up about 10%, Americans are expected to purchase an average of nine gifts, down from 16 in 2021.
  • For many stores, holiday shopping accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.

In short, no one is “making war” on Christmas—-except Right-wing broadcasters at Fox News to jack up ratings.  

As to the historical realities of this season:

  • There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month—let alone the day—of Jesus’ birth. 
  • Jesus didn’t command his followers to celebrate his birth—but he did call on them to remember his death.  It’s called Easter.
  • Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
  • This was celebrated December 17-25.
  • Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
  • Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
  • When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.

In George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Its citizens are kept in a constant state of frenzy as they’re directed to search for endless “enemies of the state.”

This, in turn, allows the unseen rulers of Oceania to run their dictatorship without interference.

It’s a lesson well-known to hucksters like Donald Trump and the men who run Fox News.

FOX NEWS’ ANNUAL “WAR ON CHRISTMAS” IS COMING TO TOWN

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Politics, Social commentary on December 6, 2021 at 12:10 am

Christmas is special.

So, each year, the executives at Fox News find new ways to stir up emotions by resurrecting the “war on Christmas” slander.

Fox launched this in 2004 with a recurring segment called “Christmas Under Siege.” Thus, aggressive Right-wingers cloak themselves in the garb of righteous victims.

Stirring up false controversies is a daily assignment for the alleged reporters of this company owned by Right-wing oligarch Rupert Murdoch. 

And at Christmastime this effort goes into overdrive.

Consider:

On December 11, 2013. then-Fox hostess Megyn Kelly offered this on “The Kelly File,” her then-popular Fox News program.

Related image

Megyn Kelly

Referring to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris on “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” she said:

“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’

“And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”

Of course, Santa Claus is a completely fictional character. Arguing about his skin color is as pointless as arguing about his weight.

Related image

But Kelly wasn’t content to talk only about Santa. So she turned next to Jesus, a historical figure about whom we have not a single reference to his appearance, let alone a picture.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too.

“He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”

Santa Claus a verifiable historical figure? Not even Charlie Brown, in the annually telecast “Peanuts” Christmas special, would make that claim.

In 2015, Donald Trump claimed center-stage in “defending” Christmas. And the target of his ire? Starbucks.

In years past, its disposable coffee cups featured snowflakes, winter scenes, reindeer and Christmas ornaments.

But in 2015, Starbucks decided to go with a minimalist, all-red design, its only feature being the company’s green and white logo.

Related image

Baked Alaska with his Trump cup

This angered some religious Right-wingers, who generally care more about symbols than substance. And Trump was eager to enlist evangelicals as voters.

During a campaign rally in October, 2015, Trump promised: “I guarantee if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store.”

Donald Trump September 3 2015.jpg

Donald Trump

On November 9, 2015, addressing  a crowd of several thousands in Springfield, Illinois, Trump said: “Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks.

“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?

“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

Trump did not explain how he would coerce non-Christian Americans—-such as atheists, Jews and Muslims—into observing a Christian holiday.

Those who claim that Christmas is threatened don’t know—or deliberately ignore—-the following:

  • The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September. Some consumers begin shopping even earlier.  
  • For many stores, holiday shopping accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.
  • For 2021, the National Retail Federation (NRF) expects Americans to spend between $843.4 and $859 billion during the holiday season.
  • The NFA expects Americans to individually spend roughly $998 on gifts, food, and decorations in 2021.
  • In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, holiday sales in 2020 totaled $188.2 billion,

In short, no one is “making war” on Christmas—-except Right-wing broadcasters at Fox News to jack up ratings.  

As to the historical realities of this season:

  • There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month—let alone the day—of Jesus’ birth. 
  • Jesus never commanded his followers to celebrate his birth—but he did call on them to remember his death.  It’s called Easter.
  • Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
  • This was celebrated December 17-25.
  • Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
  • Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
  • When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.

In George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Its citizens are kept in a constant state of frenzy as they’re directed to search for endless “enemies of the state.”

This, in turn, allows the unseen rulers of Oceania to run their dictatorship without interference.

It’s a lesson well-known to hucksters like Donald Trump and the men who run Fox News.

HERE COMES TRUMP 3.0: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on November 30, 2021 at 12:10 am

As millions of Right-wingers refused to get vaccinated, the newer—and deadlier—Delta variant of COVID-19 moved in for the kill.

The result: A massive overcrowding of hospitals—where those who refused to get vaccinated are now taking up beds needed for legitimate victims of strokes, heart attacks, accidents and crime.

Covid-19 Vaccination Map of USA.png

COVID-19 vaccination map – July 21, 2021

George Karabassis, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Even after three COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, millions of Right-wingers refuse to get vaccinated. Although they refuse women the right to abortion, they insist “It’s my body!” when it came to mandatory vaccinations.

As a result, in states won by Trump in the 2020 Presidential election, hospitals surge with unvaccinated COVID-19 patients—and graveyards fill with them.

Every hospital bed taken by an unvaccinated Stormtrumper is a bed denied to a legitimate medical patient—such as a victim of stroke, heart attack, accident or crime. 

Yet President Joseph Biden has refused to blame those men and women who are directly responsible for this outrage.

Official Presidential Portrait of Joseph R. Biden Jr (8x10) | U.S. Government Bookstore

Joseph Biden

Doing so would not only be accurate—it would enable Biden to place blame on his sworn political enemies and thus enhance his own popularity: “We would have achieved freedom from COVID-19—but these people have sabotaged their country’s safety out of sheer selfishness and arrogance!”

Trump viciously attacked the nation’s free press as “the enemy of the American people.” But Biden and his fellow Democrats refuse to blame those most responsible for the nation’s continuing COVID-19 epidemic. 

As a result, millions of Americans believe it’s Biden’s fault for not delivering a miracle after he stated, on March 12:

“If we do this together [get vaccinated] by July 4, there is a good chance you, your family and friends can get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day.

“After a long, hard year, that will make this Independence Day truly special—where we not only mark our independence as a nation but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”

Anti-vaxxers or their loved ones have filed at least two dozen lawsuits across the country to force hospitals to give them Ivermectin, a drug for de-worming cows and horses. But it remains an unproven cure for the virus. 

Many unvaccinated patients beg—or demand—to be vaccinated. But to their surprise, they’re told it’s now too late.

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) | Santa Cruz County, AZ - Official Website

And as of November 9, comes Omicrom—better-named as Trump 3.0.

This marks the third wave of Coronavirus to strike the United States since Donald Trump became President. Early reports indicate that even twice-vaccinated people might not be safe from it. 

This is directly attributable to those millions of anti-vaxxers and Trump-supporting Right-wingers who have refused to wear masks and get vaccinated—even when vaccines are free and readily available.

And Trump 3.0 is arriving just in time for the coming of winter—and the advent of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. The holidays when Americans crisscross the nation in huge numbers to visit friends and relatives—and stay indoors at close quarters with them.

According to AAA Travel, for Thanksgiving alone, 48.3 million were expected to drive,4.2 million were expected to fly, and one million were expected to use other means of transit, such as busses, trains or cruises.

That will undoubtedly lead to spreading the new across the country—and in intimate settings where 

And with the holidays comes the crowd-magnet known as “Black Friday”—when giant shopping malls offer vastly reduced sales to lure tens of thousands of shoppers indoors—where the virus spreads most quickly.

**********

It’s long past time to punish the egotistical selfishness of those who refuse to protect themselves and others.

And the most effective way to do this is to turn them away from hospitals when they show up. 

They should be forcibly told: “You say it’s your right to refuse to get vaccinated? Fine. Well, it’s our right to reserve beds for patients who deserve to be treated. And you don’t.”

So long as hospitals cater to these self-indulgent Right-wingers—most of them Trump supporters—they will feel empowered to consume vital medical resources needed for legitimate victims of strokes, heart attacks, accidents and crime.   

These people need to be forcibly taught that there are consequences for irresponsibly selfish and arrogant behavior.  So long as they are catered to, they will never learn this vital lesson.

And there is an even more important reason for taking what many will see as a radical step. 

Those unvaccinated men and women who survive to 2024 will eagerly cast their votes for Donald Trump. Trump makes no secret of his desire to be “President-for-Life”—and incited a treasonous attack on the United States Capitol to overturn the free and fair election of 2020.

If he re-enters the White House in 2024, he will never voluntarily leave—and will establish a dictatorship backed up by military, police and judicial power to remain “President-for-Life.”

So the more of these unvaccinated Right-wingers who aren’t around to cast their votes in 2024, the safer democracy will be.

President Biden may not feel free to say this. But it remains brutally true nevertheless.

HERE COMES TRUMP 3.0: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on November 29, 2021 at 12:20 am

First, there was COVID-19, which slammed into the United States in early January, 2000.

Then, in June, 2021, as COVID-19 seemed on the wane, the Delta variant struck.

Now, as of November 9, the world is facing Omicron—a new variant of COVID-19.

Discovered in South Africa, Omicron would be better-described as Trump 3.0.

As President of the United States, Donald Trump bequeathed to his country two deadly legacies:

  1. A treasonous lust to overthrow democratic government; and
  2. The deadliest virus seen in America since the 1919 Spanish flu epidemic.

Throughout his Presidency, Trump “joked” about how wonderful it would be for the United States to have a “President-for-Life”—such as  Xi Jinping in China.

Trump proved that he was not joking on January 6, when he incited his followers to stop the counting of Electoral College votes in the United States Capitol Building.

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Donald Trump

This amounted to an attempted coup. Had the violent mob achieved its aims, the vote count would have ended before Joseph Biden could be officially pronounced the next President of the United States. And Trump would have remained President.

For it is the Electoral College vote—not the popular one—that determines the outcome of Presidential elections.

Biden had received 81,268,924 votes to 74,2164 for Trump. But it was Biden’s winning of 306 votes to Trump’s 232 in the Electoral College that made him President.

A year later, Trump continues to spew lies that millions of Right-wing Americans eagerly believe: “Trump won the election; Biden is an illegitimate President.”

Even worse: Trump’s followers in Republican-controlled states are working to rig the upcoming 2024 Presidential election to guarantee a Republican win—even if voters decide otherwise. 

So much for Trump’s legacy of treason and criminality. 

Now for his legacy as Coronavirus-in-Chief.

From the outset of the pandemic, Trump lied about the dangers Americans were facing.  

On February 7, 2020, he told Washington Post editor and reporter Bob Woodward: “It goes through the air, Bob. That’s always tougher than the touch. The touch, you don’t have to touch things, right? But the air, you just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed….It’s also more deadly than your strenuous flues.”

Interferon Plays Pivotal, Inflammatory Role in Severe COVID-19 Cases

COVID-19

But from January to early March, 2020, Trump and his allies within the Republican party and Fox News Network repeatedly assured Americans they had nothing to fear. 

And early on, Trump made the virus a referendum on himself. If you supported him, you didn’t wear a mask when you ventured out in public. This despite the fact that, throughout 2020, there was no vaccine available and hospitals were rapidly overwhelmed by debilitated and dying casualties of the virus.

Even worse: Trump declared open warfare on those Democratic governors—such as Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer—who imposed quarantine “stay-at-home’ orders to halt the spread of the virus. And he repeatedly ridiculed the warnings of medical experts—such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious disease. 

For Trump, assuring his own re-election in 2020 took precedence over everything. He knew that as long as Americans stayed home the economy would be depressed. And citizens in depressed economies don’t re-elect Presidents they blame for their suffering.

So for Trump, getting millions of parents back to work meant getting millions of children back to school—no matter the risk. Toward that end, Trump even threatened to cut off federal aid to schools that did not forcibly return children to classes.

Washington Post Columnist Jonathan Capehart echoed him: “I think, if we had had a president of the United States who took this seriously when this first came on the scene, if we had a Republican party that took this seriously enough to warn everyone, their constituents saying, wash your hands, then put on a mask, then go get the vaccine, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

PBS NewsHour | Brooks and Capehart on voting and gun violence legislation | Season 2021 | PBS

Jonathan Capehart

But neither Trump nor the Republican party urged Americans to “wash your hands, put on a mask, then go get the vaccine.” 

By March, 2021, three vaccines—by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—became available. A total of 90.4 million doses of these vaccines had been given. And 30.7 million Americans had been fully vaccinated against the virus. 

But after a triumphant beginning, the pace of vaccinations slowed, then halted. By late July, 2021, only 49.6% of Americans had been fully vaccinated.

Many of those who had gotten one shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines refused to get the necessary second one. These must be given almost a month apart.

(The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot.)

What had happened?

“The people I know personally who are not getting the vaccine, for them, it was like, ‘They rushed this thing,'” theorized New York Times columnist David Brooks. “‘Who knows what’s going to happen to all these people who get the shots in 10 years or 20 years?’ So, why should I take the risk?'”

And leading the way to this catastrophe of self-destruction were the states of the South and Midwest: Mississippi (47.1%,), Alabama (50.5%), Arkansas (53.2%), and Tennessee (52.9%) with the lowest rates of residents who have gotten at least one shot. 

By late July, three states—Florida, Texas and Missouri—with lower vaccination rates accounted for 40% of all cases nationwide.

COVID-19: SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY–PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on February 11, 2021 at 12:15 am

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump scheduled his first 2020 re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20. 

The Tulsa event was followed by another indoor rally in Phoenix on June 23. “Students for Trump” featured a packed crowd, with almost no one wearing masks. 

Then, to celebrate Independence Day, Trump scheduled yet another rally at Mount Rushmore, in Keystone, South Dakota, on July 3. 

Although health experts expressed fears about a large gathering during the Coronavirus pandemic, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem said people would “not be social distancing” during the celebration:

“In South Dakota, we’ve told people to focus on personal responsibility….Those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we won’t be social distancing.” 

Image result for Images of Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

Meanwhile, more than 135,000 Americans had died of the virus.

And on June 30, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before the U.S. Senate: “We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.” 

Fauci warned that the infection surge across the South and West “puts the entire country at risk.” Much of that increase was being fueled by young adults testing positive for COVID-19. 

With the end of summer came fall.

Normally this would have meant the return of millions of children to school. But COVID-19 had already closed most of the nation’s schools—at elementary, junior high and high school levels.

Having their children constantly underfoot for most of the year no doubt grated on the nerves of many parents. But the closure of schools also prevented many infections—to students, teachers and the families of both.

That advantage, however, was quickly offset by the succession of holidays that come with the fall—Labor Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, Christmas/Hanukkah, New Year’s Day.

A December 19 story in Business Insider carried the attention-catching headline: “The Thanksgiving Surge in Coronavirus Deaths is Here. It’s ‘Horrifically Awful,’ a Hospital Chaplain Said.”

To sum up its contents:

  • More than 47,000 Americans had died from COVID-19 since Thanksgiving.
  • COVID-19 was now the country’s leading cause of death.
  • It was just the beginning of the effects of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) begged Americans to forego traveling for Thanksgiving. But at least 55 million Americans ignored that warning. Their selfish, egotistical mantra—“I want to be with my family!”—overrode their supposed concern for the lives of their relatives.

As a result, untold numbers of those families would not again be sharing Thanksgiving—or anything else. 

And Dr. Fauci warned: The Christmas season would pose an even greater threat. 

People would gather not just for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day—not to mention any parties held in-between those dates.

Image result for Images of Antony Fauci

Anthony Fauci

The virus spreads faster indoors, where large numbers of people don’t wear masks, pack closely together, and talk or laugh loudly, thus spreading the droplets across a room. 

December brought the United States over 77,400 COVID-19 deaths.

Within a year, by January 1, 2021, the virus had killed more than 350,000 Americans. 

And then, to top it off, came the Super Bowl on February 7.

Once again, Fauci advised people to avoid crowds and parties: Enjoy the Super Bowl only with members of your immediate family.

And Tampa Mayor Jane Castor ordered people to wear masks in popular outdoor areas during Super Bowl week.

She estimated that tens of thousands of people crowded the streets of Ybor City after midnight, early Sunday morning. People were packed shoulder-to-shoulder in the middle of the street.

Seventh Avenue has drawn crowds since the outbreak of the pandemic nearly a year ago, reaching a crescendo on New Year’s Eve. But Super Bowl eve trumped that, said Tampa Bay Times photographer Luis Santana. And, once again, masses of Americans—especially in Tampa, Florida—behaved as if Coronavirus never existed.  

Image result for Super Bowl

Bars and restaurants were crammed with revelers celebrating the victory of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the Kansas City Chiefs. Many of them wore masks—but many others didn’t.

There was plenty of drinking—which causes people to lower their guard against deadly enemies like COVID-19. And with this came plenty of loud talk and cheering—which hurtle COVID-19 droplets across a room. 

When Mayor Castor announced her “mask-up” order, she said that police might issue fines of up to $450 for repeat offenders.

Police chief Brian Dugan said he didn’t want his officers to become “mask police,” adding, “We’re hoping people will just kind of work with us when it comes to the mask compliance.” 

The police department expressed its disappointment with the behavior of Tampa citizens.

One year after the coming of Coronavirus, masks and hand sanitizers are now widely available. Vaccines are finally becoming available.

But without the full cooperation of millions, eradicating COVID-19 will take far longer—and take a great many more thousands of lives.  

COVID-19: SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY–PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on February 10, 2021 at 12:08 am

Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory could well serve as the title for a future book on Coronavirus—and the incredibly self-destructive ways Americans have responded to it.

The virus first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December, 2019. Its first reported victim became ill on December 1.

By December 31, the outbreak was traced to a novel strain of Coronavirus.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that affect birds and mammals. In humans, Coronaviruses can cause pneumonia and may cause bronchitis.

On January 19, 2020, the first Coronavirus case appeared in the United States.

SARS-CoV-2 without background.png

Coronavirus

On February 29, the first American died of Coronavirus.

From January to early March, 2020, President Donald J. Trump and his allies within the Republican party and Fox News Network repeatedly assured Americans they had nothing to fear.

Typical of these false reassurances was Trump’s statement on March 10: “It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.” 

But the virus didn’t. 

With the Federal Government refusing to take action, states began doing so.

From March 1 to May 31, 42 states and territories issued mandatory stay-at-home orders. Those citizens who were forced to venture out were advised to wear face masks and keep a distance of six feet between themselves and others.

On April 3, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that people wear non-medical face masks in public to reduce transmission of COVID-19.  

Yet President Trump saw the stay-at-home orders as a two-fold threat to himself—and openly encouraged defiance of those orders.

  1. He couldn’t return to his hate-filled rallies until these were lifted; and
  2. The stock market wouldn’t start soaring again so long as the country was “locked down.”

Without his Nuremberg-style rallies and a roaring stock market, Trump faced the danger of being a one-term President. 

On April 17, he issued a series of tweets to his supporters, encouraging them to defy the law:

“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!”

“LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” 

“LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia all had Democratic governors. They had urged their residents to stay indoors, wear masks when they ventured outside, and keep a six-feet distance between themselves and others. 

As a result, those governors—especially Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer—were being targeted for abuse and even death threats. And their states were facing disruptive protests by large numbers of Right-wingers standing close together, with few of them wearing masks. The protesters claimed their rights were being infringed upon.  

doonald troump (@doonaldtromp) | Twitter

Donald Trump

As a result of the shutdowns and the increased emphasis on social distancing and mask-wearing, COVID-19 rates dropped by mid-May. 

According to a May 17 story in U.S. News & World Report:

“According to The New York Times, in New York state the figure has dropped over the last month, and case counts have also plunged in hard-hit Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Some states, including Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, are seeing hardly any new cases at all, the newspaper said.” 

Then came May Day—and after that, the start of summer. 

On July 2, Vox published a story headlined: “A likely culprit in Covid-19 surges: People hell-bent on ignoring social distancing orders.”   

“For months,” it opened, “it’s been clear that the world has separated into two camps: the rule followers, observant of social distancing and hopeful of quashing the pandemic; and the risk takers, who have been storming the nation’s beaches, bars, and burger joints in spite of the coronavirus—and public health efforts to curtail its spread.

“Some states, such as New York, have contained new cases, but others, including Texas and Arizona, brazenly reopened even as cases continued to rise, unleashing a torrent of pent-up partiers. Now, even as an illusion of normalcy has slowly returned, rates of infection are reaching new records, with cases surging in dozens of states….

“’They’re conducting themselves like it’s pre-Covid, and that’s not going to work anymore,’ Bruce Dart, director of the Tulsa Health Department, told the Washington Post. Younger people, he said, arenot social distancing, not wearing masks or paying attention to hand-washing.’ In one stunning case shortly after Memorial Day, a group of 16 friends all tested positive for the virus after visiting a newly reopened bar in Florida.”

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Trump scheduled his first 2020 re-election rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

It was held on June 20 at the BOK Center. Scientists had learned that Coronavirus is more likely to be transmitted indoors than outdoors, when masses of people are packed together, and when people are loudly talking—or, worse, shouting.

Trump rallies supporters in Wis. as Democrats debate in Iowa

A Trump rally

Masks were available for those who wanted them, but Trump made it clear that his supporters shouldn’t wear masks, as a sign of support for him. Men and women were densely packed together, with none of them wearing masks.

The Trump campaign boasted that 100,000 people would turn up. To its embarrassment, fewer than 6,200 did. Even worse: At least eight event staff members, including two who were at the rally, later tested positive for COVID-19.

The Tulsa event was followed by another indoor rally in Phoenix on June 23. “Students for Trump” featured a packed crowd, with almost no one wearing masks. 

SKIP CHRISTMAS AND SAVE MONEY–AND PROBABLY YOUR LIFE

In Business, History, RELIGION, Social commentary on December 24, 2020 at 12:12 am

There are several good reasons for skipping Christmas this year—if not in years beyond 2020.

Reason #1: The historical realities behind the event.

  • There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month, day—or even the year—of Jesus’ birth. 
  • There are no sources outside the Bible that give a date to Jesus’ birth.
  • Jesus never commanded his followers to celebrate his birth—but he did call on them to remember his death.  It’s called Easter.
  • Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
  • This was celebrated December 17-25. 
  • Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
  • Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
  • When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in 336 A.D. “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.

Reason #2: It’s based on a story that’s patently false.

The story of the Three Wise Men—or Kings—bringing gifts to the infant Jesus was added long after Jesus’ birth.

Realistically, there was no reason why anyone in Israel would have known—or cared—about the birth of yet another Jewish child.

If he had actually been born the son of a king, then his birth might have mattered to people generally. 

In his 1973 bestselling Alexander the Great, Robin Lane Fox explains that “in antiquity…life’s perspective was reversed, and youth was mostly described through a series of anecdotes which falsely mirrored the feats of the adult future; proven kings or bishops were remembered as kings or bishops when young.”

Alexander The Great: Tie In Edition | Amazon.com.br

Thus, Alexander the Great, the future conqueror of the Persian empire, has been depicted—as a boy—astonishing Persian ambassadors with precocious questions about the innermost workings of that empire.

For followers of the crucified Jesus, it was essential to establish his divinity from the outset of his birth. And what better way to do this than having not one but three Kings show up, uninvited, to declare his reign over them?

Reason #3: It’s actually blasphemous. 

Assume, for a moment, that the story of the Three Wise Men—or Kings—is true. 

The whole point of the story is to establish that Jesus’ birth was a truly special event—and a recognition of his fate to redeem humanity from sin.

No one else in that story is depicted as giving—or getting—gifts.

No matter how much a child might be loved today, almost no one expects him to be a future savior.

So giving him gifts is essentially a parody of the acknowledgement of Jesus’ divinity. 

Reason #4: Christmas is overwhelmingly a commercial—not a religious—event.

  • The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September. Some consumers begin shopping even earlier.
  • For 2019, industry analysts expected the average American to spend $920 on holiday gifts, up from $885 in 2018 and reaching a total of more than $1 trillion.
  • Santa Clause made his first appearance in Coca-Cola magazine ads in the 1920s.
  • In 2019, the average cost of Christmas was $668, up from $633 in 2018.  
  • In 2019, 20% of consumers anticipated taking on debt due to Christmas shopping, with the average amount being $720.
  • For many stores, holiday shopping accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.

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Reason #5: At least for 2020, celebrating Christmas within large families could prove fatal.

A December 19 story in Business Insider carries the attention-catching headline: “The Thanksgiving Surge in Coronavirus Deaths is Here. It’s ‘Horrifically Awful,’ a Hospital Chaplain Said.” To sum up its contents:

  • More than 47,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 since Thanksgiving.
  • COVID-19 is now the country’s leading cause of death.
  • It’s just the beginning of the effects of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings,

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begged Americans to forego traveling for Thanksgiving. But at least 55 million Americans ignored that warning. Their selfish, egotistical mantra—“I want to be with my family!”—overrode their supposed concern for the lives of their relatives.

As a result, untold numbers of those families will not again be sharing Thanksgiving—or anything else. 

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, has warned that the Christmas season will pose an even greater threat. 

What do you call the disease caused by the novel coronavirus? Covid-19

COVID-19 Virus

People will gather not just for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day—not to mention any parties held in-between those dates.

The virus spreads faster indoors, where large numbers of people don’t wear masks, pack closely together, and talk or laugh loudly, thus spreading the droplets across a room.

There will be people who insist that Christmas is a religious event that they are commanded to celebrate—even in the midst of a deadly plague.

For those people, it’s a good time to remember the advice of 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

CHRISTMAS NIGHT AND THE UNHOLY RIGHT

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Politics, Social commentary on December 24, 2019 at 12:14 am

Christmas is special. So, each year, the executives at Fox News find a new way to stir up emotions by resurrecting the “war on Christmas” slander.

Fox launched this in 2004 with a recurring segment called “Christmas Under Siege.” Thus, aggressive Fascists cloak themselves in the garb of righteous victims.

Stirring up false controversies is a daily assignment for the alleged reporters of this company owned by Right-wing oligarch Rupert Murdoch. 

Perhaps its most outrageous example happened on December 11, 2013. Fox hostess Megyn Kelly offered this on “The Kelly File,” her then-popular Fox News program.

Related image

Megyn Kelly

Referring to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris on “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” she said:

“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’

“And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”

Of course, Santa Claus is a completely fictional character. Arguing about his skin color is as pointless as arguing about his weight.

Related image

But Kelly wasn’t content to talk only about Santa. So she turned next to Jesus, a historical figure about whom we have not a single reference to his appearance, let alone a picture.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too.

“He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”

Santa Claus a verifiable historical figure? Not even Charlie Brown, in the annually telecast “Peanuts” Christmas special, would make that claim.

In 2015, Donald Trump claimed center-stage in “defending” Christmas. And the target of his ire? Starbucks.

In years past, its disposable coffee cups featured snowflakes, winter scenes, reindeer and Christmas ornaments.

But in 2015, Starbucks decided to go with a minimalist, all-red design, its only feature being the company’s green and white logo.

Related image

Baked Alaska with his Trump cup

This angered some religious conservatives, who generally care more about symbols than substance. And Trump was eager to enlist evangelicals as voters.

During a campaign rally in October, Trump promised: “I guarantee if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store.”

Donald Trump September 3 2015.jpg

Donald Trump

On November 9, 2015, addressing  a crowd of several thousands in Springfield, Illinois, Trump said: “Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks.

“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?

“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

Trump did not explain how he would coerce non-Christian Americans—-such as atheists, Jews and Muslims—into observing a Christian holiday.

Those who claim that Christmas is threatened don’t know—or deliberately ignore—-the following:

  • The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September. Some consumers begin even earlier.
  • For 2019, industry analysts expect the average American to spend $920 on holiday gifts, up from $885 in 2018 and reaching a total of more than $1 trillion.
  • For 2018, consumers spent $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion for the holiday season.
  • Holiday sales in 2017 totaled $687.87 billion
  • For many stores, holiday shopping accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.
  • In 2016, the average American spent $935.58 on holiday gifts. In 2017, s/he was expected to spend $708.81.

In short, no one is “making war” on Christmas—-except Right-wing broadcasters at Fox News to jack up ratings.  

As to the historical realities of this season:

  • There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month—let alone the day—of Jesus’ birth. 
  • Jesus never commanded his followers to celebrate his birth—but he did call on them to remember his death.  It’s called Easter.
  • Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
  • This was celebrated December 17-25.
  • Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
  • Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
  • When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.

In George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Its citizens are kept in a constant state of frenzy as they’re directed to search for endless “enemies of the state.”

This, in turn, allows the unseen rulers of Oceania to run their dictatorship without interference.

It’s a lesson well-known to hucksters like Donald Trump and the men who run Fox News.

A CHRISTMAS INTERLUDE WITH DONALD TRUMP

In Bureaucracy, History, Humor, Politics, Social commentary on December 7, 2018 at 12:56 am
STORMY, BABY

(To be sung to the tune of “Santa, Baby”)

Stormy baby, slip yourself right under the tree, for me.
I’ve been an awful bad boy, Stormy baby, 
And hurry to the White House tonight.

Stormy baby, 
A picture of your beautiful self.
I’ll wait up for you dear, Stormy baby, 
And hurry to the White House tonight.

Think of all the fun I’ve missed.
Think of all the porn stars that I haven’t kissed.
Next year I could be oh, so bad,
And give you the best sex that you’ve ever had.

Stormy honey, I wanna screw and really that’s quite a lot
All the passion you’ve got.
I’ve been a devil all year, Stormy baby, 
And hurry to the White House tonight.

Come and trim my Christmas tree,
Melania will be gone so it’s just you and me.
I really do believe in you
Let’s see if you still want to screw.

Stormy cutie, there’s one thing that I really do need—your lips
And your non-virgin hips, Stormy cutie.
And hurry to the White House tonight.
Hurry to the White House tonight.
Hurry, tonight.

* * * * *

PAUL MANAFORT, PAUL MANAFORT
(To be sung to the tune, “O Christmas Tree”)

Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, how ugly is your treason.
Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, we know the ugly reason.
You have betrayed your native land
To serve another traitor man.
Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, how ugly is your treason.

Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, for you the judge is coming.
Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, it’s “Traitors Die” he’s humming.
Vlad Putin cannot save you now.
Nor can his ugly White House sow.
Paul Manafort, Paul Manafort, how ugly is your treason.

* * * * *

Related image

* * * * *

HAVE YOURSELF A ROBERT MUELLER CHRISTMAS
(To be sung to the tune, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”)

Have yourself a Robert Mueller Christmas
Let your hearts be light.
From now on the Fascists will be filled with fright.

Have yourself a Robert Mueller Christmas
Let your hearts be gay.
I can’t wait till all the traitors go away.

Here we are as in Watergate
Traitors filled with hate feel fear.
Faithless friends now are selling out
Let us give a shout—and cheer.

Soon we hope their Fuhrer will be history
Crying Fascist tears.
When the Traitor’s gone we’ll put away our fears.
And celebrate in Robert Mueller’s name for years.

Here we are as in Watergate
Traitors filled with hate feel fear.
Faithless friends now are selling out
Let us give a shout—and cheer.

Soon we hope their Fuhrer will be history
Crying Fascist tears.
When the Traitor’s gone we’ll put away our fears.
And celebrate in Robert Mueller’s name for years.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

THE 12 DAYS OF MUELLER
(To be sung to “The 12 Days of Christmas”)

On the first day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
A country once again free.

On the second day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the third day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the fourth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the fifth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the sixth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Six prisons filling 
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the seventh day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted Fascists
Two indicted hackers and 
A country once again free.

On the eighth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Michael Cohen a-ratting
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted Fascists
Two indicted hackers and
A country once again free.

On the ninth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Vlad Putin raging
Michael Cohen a-ratting
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted 
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the tenth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Ivanka Trump a-wailing
Vlad Putin raging
Michael Cohen a-ratting
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Sarah Sanders belching
Ivanka Trump a-wailing
Vlad Putin raging
Michael Cohen a-ratting
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and
A country once again free.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Bob Mueller gave to me
Donald Trump indicted
Sarah Sanders belching
Ivanka Trump a-wailing
Vlad Putin raging
Michael Cohen a-ratting
Eric Trump in handcuffs
Six prisons filling
Five Russian spies
Michael Flynn convicted
Three busted hackers
Two indicted Fascists and 
A country once again free.

THE RIGHT’S ANNUAL HOLIDAY LIE: “WAR ON CHRISTMAS”

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Politics, Social commentary on November 20, 2018 at 12:17 am

It’s that time of year again—a time of

  • Christmas trees
  • Nativity scenes
  • Singing carols
  • Exchanging gifts with family and friends.

Christmas is special, so, each year, the executives at Fox News find a new way to stir up emotions by resurrecting the “war on Christmas” slander.

Stirring up false controversies is a daily assignment for the alleged reporters of this company owned by Right-wing oligarch Rupert Murdoch.

On December 11, 2013, it fell to Fox hostess Megyn Kelly to carry the ball—on “The Kelly File,” her then-popular Fox News program.

Related image

Megyn Kelly

Referring to an article by Slate writer Aisha Harris on “Santa Claus Should Not Be a White Man Anymore,” she said:

“When I saw this headline, I kinda laughed and I said, ‘Oh, this is ridiculous. Yet another person claiming it’s racist to have a white Santa.’

“And by the way, for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white. But this person is maybe just arguing that we should also have a black Santa. But, you know, Santa is what he is, and just so you know, we’re just debating this because someone wrote about it, kids.”

Of course, Santa Claus is a completely fictional character. Arguing about his skin color is as pointless as arguing about his weight.

Related image

But Kelly wasn’t content to talk only about Santa. So she turned next to Jesus, a historical figure about whom we have not a single reference to his appearance, let alone a picture.

“Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, I mean, Jesus was a white man, too.

“He was a historical figure; that’s a verifiable fact—as is Santa, I want you kids watching to know that—but my point is: How do you revise it, in the middle of the legacy of the story, and change Santa from white to black?”

Santa Claus a verifiable historical figure? Not even Charlie Brown, in the annually telecast “Peanuts” Christmas special, would make that claim.

In 2015, Donald Trump claimed center-stage in “defending” Christmas. And the target of his ire? Starbucks.

In years past, its disposable coffee cups featured snowflakes, winter scenes, reindeer and Christmas ornaments.

But in 2015, Starbucks decided to go with a minimalist, all-red design, its only feature being the company’s green and white logo.

Related image

Baked Alaska with his Trump cup

This angered some religious conservatives, who generally care more about symbols than substance. And Trump was eager to enlist evangelicals as voters.

During a campaign rally in October, Trump promised: “I guarantee if I become president, we’re going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store.”

Donald Trump September 3 2015.jpg

Donald Trump

On November 9, 2015, addressing  a crowd of several thousands in Springfield, Illinois, Trump said: “Did you read about Starbucks? No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks.

“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?

“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you.”

Trump did not explain how he would coerce non-Christian Americans—-such as atheists, Jews and Muslims—into observing a Christian holiday.

Those who claim that Christmas is threatened don’t know—or are ignoring—-the following:

  • The Christmas shopping season can start as early as September. Some consumers begin even earlier.
  • For 2018, the National Retail Federation expects consumers to spend $717.45 billion to $720.89 billion for the holiday season.
  • Holiday sales in 2017 totaled $687.87 billion
  • For many stores, holiday shopping accounts for nearly a third of annual sales.
  • In 2016, the average American spent $935.58 on holiday gifts. In 2017, s/he was expected to spend $708.81.

In short, no one is “making war” on Christmas—-except Right-wing broadcasters at Fox News to jack up ratings.  

As to the historical realities of this season:

  • There is no reference anywhere in the Bible to the month—-let alone the day—of Jesus’ birth.
  • Jesus never commanded his followers to celebrate his birth—-but he did call on them to remember his death.  It’s called Easter.
  • Many of the “religious” traditions associated with Christmas stem from the pagan Roman festival, Saturnalia, which celebrated the “birthday” of the sun.
  • This was celebrated December 17-25.
  • Saturnalia traditions included feasting, gift-giving, lighting candles (to ward off evil spirits) and displaying wreaths (as a sign of coming spring).
  • Early Christians tried mightily to convince their members to stop celebrating the Saturnalia.
  • When these efforts failed, the Roman Catholic Church, in the fourth century, “Christianised” the festival by naming Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25, as Jesus’ birthday.

In George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, Oceania is always at war with Eurasia or Eastasia. Its citizens are kept in a constant state of frenzy as they’re directed to search for endless “enemies of the state.”

This, in turn, allows the unseen rulers of Oceania to run their dictatorship without interference.

It’s a lesson well-known to hucksters like Donald Trump and the men who run Fox News.

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