An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

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An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by WhiteElephant » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm

I'm mostly lurking this board as there are usually some interesting threads about the PP.

Of course I noticed the political threads lately and I've been pretty interested in them. As a Dutch citizen this board gives me a different perspective of what's going on in the US.

What struck me is how completely polarized the political climate seems, even among board members. This is very hard to imagine for me.
I've been used to Americans telling me it's just the media, and it's really not as bad as it seems. But what I'm reading here is so ridiculously polarized, it's kinda hard to believe people seem so antagonized about this right/left thing. As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected.

When I compare this to the situation in our 'socialist' western europe, we seem to be having a picnic over here! There are huge differences of opinion course, there always are, but nowhere near this level of anger and polarization between 'left' and 'right', between 'globalists' and 'nationalists'.
It really is quite shocking to me. Is there any way to heal this American toxic political climate?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pmward » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:57 pm

OMG it is so bad here... and this forum is skewed pretty heavily to the right. It's so much worse when you are somewhere that doesn't have that overwhelming bias. People are dividing their families and friends by political affiliation... it's just crazy here right now. I think it just comes down to the fact that Trump is just so polarizing. He is so good at stirring up that us vs them mentality on his side, and at poking the bear on the other side. I don't know if there is any healing in this. Even if Trump gets booted from office in Nov, he is already positioning himself with "the election is going to be rigged" propaganda since he is down in the polls, and I do think that he will use that argument to generate outrage and revolt if he loses. I do not think he will walk away gracefully like other ex-presidents have. I think there will be lots of turmoil and resentment going forward regardless of who wins in Nov. As much I do not want to see Trump win in Nov, I am also fearful of what happens here if he loses. I just don't even know any more. This is not the country I know, that I served, and that I used to wholeheartedly believe in. It's just... different. It's going to take a long time to heal the wounds in our society.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:19 pm

I think fundamentally a big issue is "first past the post" voting. The Constitution doesn't recognize political parties, and that's very nice in theory... But they sprang up anyway, and with winner-take-all 51% voting everywhere, it's inevitably going to turn into exactly two parties at each other's throats.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pugchief » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:35 pm

Xan wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:19 pm
I think fundamentally a big issue is "first past the post" voting. The Constitution doesn't recognize political parties, and that's very nice in theory... But they sprang up anyway, and with winner-take-all 51% voting everywhere, it's inevitably going to turn into exactly two parties at each other's throats.
^This. In Europe there are parties representing views across the political spectrum, so people can vote for what they like. Here, it is often the lesser of two evils. There is no right wing here in reality. You have the Republicans just barely 'Centre Right' (some would say they are actually 'Centre Left') and the Dems who are now Socialist bordering on Fascist. It's not a good situation.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Kriegsspiel » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm

pugchief wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:35 pm
Centre
:o

To add to the Europeanity of this thread, I think it was a French dude who first posited that democracies (republics, maybe?) would eventually come down to a two-party system.
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
- John Maynard Keynes
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:55 pm

Something like Condorcet voting would help:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Condorcet_method

But it still wouldn't lead to the kind of multiparty coalitions you see in Europe.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by geaux saints » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:12 pm

WhiteElephant wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:25 pm
I'm mostly lurking this board as there are usually some interesting threads about the PP.

Of course I noticed the political threads lately and I've been pretty interested in them. As a Dutch citizen this board gives me a different perspective of what's going on in the US.

What struck me is how completely polarized the political climate seems, even among board members. This is very hard to imagine for me.
I've been used to Americans telling me it's just the media, and it's really not as bad as it seems. But what I'm reading here is so ridiculously polarized, it's kinda hard to believe people seem so antagonized about this right/left thing. As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected.

When I compare this to the situation in our 'socialist' western europe, we seem to be having a picnic over here! There are huge differences of opinion course, there always are, but nowhere near this level of anger and polarization between 'left' and 'right', between 'globalists' and 'nationalists'.
It really is quite shocking to me. Is there any way to heal this American toxic political climate?
My experience with hurricanes has shown me that when things get *really* bad, Americans are still capable of coming together. That said, the level of anger I see here just seems out of touch with reality. This forum is full of smart, capable, well off people; why are we all so pissed off all the time? Could we perhaps take the OP as a reminder to get back to basics and focus on the things that matter most?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by I Shrugged » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:17 pm

WhiteElephant, thank you for writing from your perspective. Lately I've been wondering if there are countries where a person can live in more harmony with his fellow citizens than we have here in the USA. Yes, the polarization is very strong. Yes, Trump is a big reason. Yes, he is a very flawed person.

But also, he is a direct threat to the establishment. And they can't tolerate that. I believe the establishment would be strongly fighting Trump even if he was a nicer person. One way to look at our current political situation is that Trump's election created a lot of destruction in both parties. The Democrats especially. The Democrats were suddenly down and bewildered, and all of their leaders looked like what they were: washed up, corrupt, and not standing for anything other than being in power. As the saying goes, "nature abhors a vacuum." So the vacuum in the Democratic party is being filled by Euro-style hard leftists. You've had them for years, but this is new to us.

The left is denouncing everyone in Mao-ist fashion, and if you disagree with them, you must be "cancelled". You must lose your job, your admirers, your company name, your pride in your past, etc etc. Heads must roll. Grudges must be settled, apologies are demanded, and of course reparations. It's obvious that nothing will ever be enough. The news and entertainment media and personalities are completely going along with this. I would guess that some of them would like to dissent, but they don't dare. As you might imagine, this development scares a lot of center and right citizens. For this reason, the polarization has gone off the scale.

I think this new left will eventually implode because it is nowhere near the views of the average American. I think the Democratic Party will break apart in some fashion. Being in opposition to Trump is currently uniting them. Actually, if Trump loses in November, the breakup of the Democratic Party might come more quickly. We shall see. In any event, it's bad here.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:48 pm

But dammit, this is America, and I demand my freedom from the oppressive government telling me I have to wear a mask.

Masks becoming political is a low point in America.

It will be interesting to see what the rise in cases in the West and South cause politically. There is going to be violence and protests over the next few months, over the virus, lockdowns and masks, I think. I hope the politicians are figuring out how to deal with this rise/second wave with going into lockdown mode again.

"As if it's possible the other half is so completely, fundamentally wrong about, well really, everything. It's the anger, the frustration that's contained in these posts that really strikes me. It definitely seems worse after Trump got elected."

Absolutely. Fox News and CNN top the list of enabling the polarization on TV, as well as thousands of websites you want to espouses your particular view or conspiracy.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Mountaineer » Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:18 am

It's amazing how much more peaceful my mind is when I don't listen or watch much news for a few days. Even though my circumstances* are identical when watching news or not watching news. I think it comes down to what I tell my family and friends: "You are what you eat." It is important to focus on a good diet (actually and metaphorically).

* Interacting with neighbors, mowing the lawn, reading a book, watching a movie, FaceTiming with distant family members, reading Scripture, hugging my wife, etc.
What you revere you resemble, either for ruin or for restoration. G. K. Beale
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Hal » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:21 am

Mountaineer wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:18 am
It's amazing how much more peaceful my mind is when I don't listen or watch much news for a few days. Even though my circumstances* are identical when watching news or not watching news. I think it comes down to what I tell my family and friends: "You are what you eat." It is important to focus on a good diet (actually and metaphorically).

* Interacting with neighbors, mowing the lawn, reading a book, watching a movie, FaceTiming with distant family members, reading Scripture, hugging my wife, etc.
+1. Many years ago we decided to get rid of the TV and the level of communication in our family went through the roof.

If you would have told me a decade ago our family was discussing stoic philosophy or the bible I would have fell off the chair laughing.

It certainly helped us meet many other interesting people :)
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:28 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 10:48 pm
But dammit, this is America, and I demand my freedom from the oppressive government telling me I have to wear a mask.

Masks becoming political is a low point in America.
It's interesting to think about how yet another Frenchman might have applied his outsider's perspective to that issue:

"It must not be forgotten that it is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life. For my own part, I should be inclined to think freedom less necessary in great things than in little ones, if it were possible to be secure of the one without possessing the other.

Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day, and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their will. Thus their spirit is gradually broken and their character enervated; whereas that obedience, which is exacted on a few important but rare occasions, only exhibits servitude at certain intervals, and throws the burden of it upon a small number of men. It is vain to summon a people, which has been rendered so dependent on the central power, to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling below the level of humanity."

- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy In America
"You haven't, I suppose, ever mixed with politicians at close quarters. They're awful. I think some of these must have been the dregs anyhow, but I've discovered, what previously I didn't believe possible, that politicians behave in private life and say exactly the same things as they do in public. Their stupidity is inhuman.
- John Maynard Keynes
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:43 am

krieg,

Still driving without a seatbelt? ;)

I remember how contentious that was. And now most everyone does it. And it saves lives without a doubt. Do you feel your freedom is curtailed by that? And it is even more of a personal thing, it likely will only save you. Masks can possibly save others.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pugchief » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:03 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:43 am
krieg,

Still driving without a seatbelt? ;)

I remember how contentious that was. And now most everyone does it. And it saves lives without a doubt. Do you feel your freedom is curtailed by that? And it is even more of a personal thing, it likely will only save you. Masks can possibly save others.
Study after study proved unequivocally that seatbelts save lives. The problem with the mask thing is there appears to be no consensus of whether they actually do anything other than annoy everyone.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 am

I'm not disputing that there isn't a consensus on masks. All I can do is point to a state, like IL, which seems to have really high mask compliance, vs. some of these southern states, which don't seem to, and the difference in infections. There could be other factors I am not considering for sure.

I know it is a completely different situation, but you obviously wear protection when you work on patients, pug. Why bother? You're obviously stopping something one direction or the other. Logically wouldn't general mask use at least give some protection, even if just from a simple infected sneeze or cough being contained vs. spewed 20 feet?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:28 am

The great link that flyingpylon posted in the other thread points out that in Texas, any patient who is hospitalized for whatever reason and happens to test positive for coronavirus (and it isn't even clear whether that means antibodies or an active infection) is counted as a "coronavirus hospitalization". So a lot of the difference between states could be how the numbers are being counted.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:52 am

Xan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:28 am
The great link that flyingpylon posted in the other thread points out that in Texas, any patient who is hospitalized for whatever reason and happens to test positive for coronavirus (and it isn't even clear whether that means antibodies or an active infection) is counted as a "coronavirus hospitalization". So a lot of the difference between states could be how the numbers are being counted.
I don't understand this. My sense is many of these states with rising cases lean right, so why on earth would they be in the camp of wanting to potentially over count cases?

Regardless, if you are in the hospital for something else, they have to test you for Covid, makes sense, because they then have to deal with isolation/protocols in dealing with you if you have it, which probably eats up staff and facility resources.

I think the most telling thing was the hospital saying they always want to run ICU beds at 80+% capacity regardless, otherwise it's like empty airline seats. I didn't know that, but it makes sense.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Xan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:00 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:52 am
Xan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:28 am
The great link that flyingpylon posted in the other thread points out that in Texas, any patient who is hospitalized for whatever reason and happens to test positive for coronavirus (and it isn't even clear whether that means antibodies or an active infection) is counted as a "coronavirus hospitalization". So a lot of the difference between states could be how the numbers are being counted.
I don't understand this. My sense is many of these states with rising cases lean right, so why on earth would they be in the camp of wanting to potentially over count cases?

Regardless, if you are in the hospital for something else, they have to test you for Covid, makes sense, because they then have to deal with isolation/protocols in dealing with you if you have it, which probably eats up staff and facility resources.

I think the most telling thing was the hospital saying they always want to run ICU beds at 80+% capacity regardless, otherwise it's like empty airline seats. I didn't know that, but it makes sense.
Well, you've got a positive test, and you're in the hospital; I'm guessing it's hard to write a rule that describes what's a "covid reason" versus what isn't. Probably also hard to get doctor to be consistent about such a thing.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:03 am

On the country's divide:

An interesting comparison of the home pages of CNN and Fox news. Fox shows nothing of the rise in cases and the rollback of some openings. And CNN is pushing that hard. But Fox is putting stories about wearing masks can be helpful.

Image

Image
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Tortoise » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:04 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:52 am
My sense is many of these states with rising cases lean right, so why on earth would they be in the camp of wanting to potentially over count cases?
Perhaps because the CARES Act adds a 20% premium for Covid-19 Medicare patients. I.e., hospitals everywhere have a financial incentive to overcount Covid-19 patients.

https://www.aha.org/advisory/2020-04-16 ... provisions
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pugchief » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:29 am

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:10 am
I'm not disputing that there isn't a consensus on masks. All I can do is point to a state, like IL, which seems to have really high mask compliance, vs. some of these southern states, which don't seem to, and the difference in infections. There could be other factors I am not considering for sure.

I know it is a completely different situation, but you obviously wear protection when you work on patients, pug. Why bother? You're obviously stopping something one direction or the other. Logically wouldn't general mask use at least give some protection, even if just from a simple infected sneeze or cough being contained vs. spewed 20 feet?
We use equipment that generates aerosols. That makes our environment higher risk. We also know how to use masks properly. From the comments at the Denninger article that was posted in the other thread:
All four Scandinavian countries reject masks outright. They just don't say masks are not required. They say masks are counterproductive. Here is Denmark's health authority:

"The Danish Health Authority does not encourage healthy individuals who go about their daily business to wear mouth or face masks as it is uncertain that they have any effect on virus transmission.
...
Furthermore, mouth or face masks can cause more harm than good. For one thing, you have to know how to use a mask correctly and how to dispose of it responsibly. Incorrect use of a mouth or face mask can increase the risk of your hands being contaminated with the virus when you, e.g. remove or correct the mouth/face mask, thereby increasing the risk of contact spread. To be effective, it has to cover your mouth and your nose, and you have to dispose of it properly. If you use ordinary, simple paper masks, and do not change the mask frequently, you run the risk of the mask becoming too wet, rendering it ineffective. Wearing a mask may, therefore, lull you into a false sense of security. We also do not recommend that you attempt to either sow or fabricate your own mask."

https://www.sst.dk/en/english/corona-eng/faq

It is very informative of the political nature of COVID that American officials give mask guidance that is the complete opposite of Denmark. And they give that guidance while rejecting outright the science that Denmark follows.

The full Orwellian reality of American society is unmistakable. There is no truth - in fact to say there is fundamental truth is to be "racist". Rather, American society has fully embraced relativism. Truth and reality are all temporary and defined and redefined to satisfy political objectives.


A society built this way cannot endure. Its economy cannot function. Its laws are meaningless. Education is fruitless. Its science is utterly corrupted.

These are dark and sad times. A sickness truly covers the land but it is not biological, but a sickness of delusion and the hatred of truth.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by Cortopassi » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:29 pm

For fun, I went to Denninger to see. He has dug in 200% on the masks are worthless side.

Yes, people are most certainly using them wrong. Yes, I am sure I am using it wrong.

Are people in Asian countries who have been using them for years using them right? Or has 1/4 of the world's population been hoodwinked?

I haven't gotten sick in 4 months. Neither my older daughter who gets about 6 colds a year, easy. Is that from hand washing?

One guy said hey, I can smell perfume through it, so it must be bullshit. Well, the perfume is already out in the air. I know I've seen videos on how a mask limits the distance breath, coughs, sneezes, etc get away from your face. Not 100%, no.

As long as you are washing your hands after removing the mask, is it still not of any benefit at all in your opinion?
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pp4me » Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:47 pm

Interesting how the OP's original thread about polarization in the forum devolved into a heated discussion about face masks.

IMO, if Gov Cuomo can say that rioting and destroying statues is a "healthy expression" then surely there is nothing wrong with members of the forum expressing their opinions. Especially since it's probably one of the few places you can do it without getting "cancelled".

For the record I only wear a seat belt when I'm in a car where the alarm refuses to stop until you put it on. Which is why I mostly drive the 2006 Dodge and my wife the new CRV.

As for face masks we now have an executive order in my county that they must be worn in public and the stores aren't letting you in if don't have one on. That's the only reason I've been wearing one but I'm avoiding having to go to the store as much as possible.

Biden's statement that he will require the wearing of face masks tells you everything you need know about him. And they call Trump a totalitarian dictator.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by pugchief » Fri Jun 26, 2020 3:52 pm

Cortopassi wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:29 pm
For fun, I went to Denninger to see. He has dug in 200% on the masks are worthless side.

Yes, people are most certainly using them wrong. Yes, I am sure I am using it wrong.

Are people in Asian countries who have been using them for years using them right? Or has 1/4 of the world's population been hoodwinked?

I haven't gotten sick in 4 months. Neither my older daughter who gets about 6 colds a year, easy. Is that from hand washing?

One guy said hey, I can smell perfume through it, so it must be bullshit. Well, the perfume is already out in the air. I know I've seen videos on how a mask limits the distance breath, coughs, sneezes, etc get away from your face. Not 100%, no.

As long as you are washing your hands after removing the mask, is it still not of any benefit at all in your opinion?
I assume this question was directed at me. The answer is that it's mostly moot, since the idiots who keep touching and adjusting their masks are mostly also not washing their hands after doing so. I think a good analogy is a condom. It works if you use it properly, but provides a false sense of security against both pregnancy and STDs if used incorrectly. And TBH, I think it's a lot easier to use a condom correctly than a mask.
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Re: An outsiders perspective of the politcal turmoil

Post by sophie » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:10 pm

I'll chime in here....I also have suspected that masks are largely worthless, and there is certainly zero evidence in support of them.

We had to take an online course in how to don and doff PPE at the beginning of the pandemic. It is not at all easy to get it right and there is a good reason why training is necessary. I regard the mask as mainly a fashion statement.

This is relevant to this thread: if you don't toe the line in the US you can now officially be persecuted in many ways: you can be fired, victimized by violent thugs, singled out for ostracism, etc etc. We used to be able to say we live in a free society, but not anymore!!!
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