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Three strikes out!

The intention of this post is to examine three areas of concern which have arisen or have persisted in concerning the world at large. They are: the COVID-19 pandemic; Climate Change; and Donald J. Trump. The focus will be on how these topics are presented in various arenas, including Murdoch media.

COVID-19

At The Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor writes that; “Sweden’s coronavirus strategy is not what it seems.” He tells us:

“… there have been no invasive lockdowns to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Restaurants and even nightclubs are operating, though under guidelines to enforce social distancing. Schools for students under the age of sixteen remain open. Large meetings are restricted to a maximum of 50 people, a far cry from the enforced confinement imposed on entire cities in other parts of Europe.

“These seemingly lax measures attract the attention of lockdown skeptics elsewhere, who hailed the ‘Swedish model’ as an example of how a Western democracy ought to deal with the pandemic.

[Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter, Sweden’s ambassador to the US] said: Some media outlets make it look like ‘everyone is out drinking and partying’…That is not the case.”

“A key distinction for Sweden is that its government believes it didn’t need to enforce guidelines regarding social distancing on a population that would heed advice of the country’s independent agencies. According to polling data, Swedes have a high level of trust in the country’s public institutions.

“Authorities in Stockholm have had to close down a handful of restaurants that weren’t adequately following social distancing measures. Although these sorts of establishments remain open, they still feel the pandemic’s toll. Like in other countries, many Swedes are working from home, curtailing travel and avoiding public places.

“’The whole tourism sector and hospitality industry are in an extremely dire situation,’ said Olofsdotter.

“Indeed, Sweden’s strategy was not crafted with economic imperatives in mind. The country’s economy is heavily dependent on now-snarled global supply chains and is projected to suffer somewhere between a 6 or 7 percent hit to its gross domestic product this year – approximately on par with the US and Germany. Unemployment could reach 10% by the summer, a strikingly high figure in Scandinavia.

“But Sweden benefits from a robust welfare state that the government has only sought to boost during the pandemic, including an initiative to fast-track sick pay to ensure those with symptoms don’t possibly spread the virus.”

Information posted later in the year at The Lancet (22/12/2020) in “COVID-19 and the Swedish enigma” tells us about the second wave.

“In the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish national response continues to be an outlier with cases and deaths increasing more rapidly than in its Nordic neighbours.

“… the answers to this enigma are to be found in the Swedish national COVID-19 strategy, the assumptions on which it is based, and in the general governance of the health system that has enabled the strategy to continue without major course corrections.

“Rather than anticipating the second wave and change course, the Swedish Government loosened restrictions in early October, increasing the number that could attend public events from 50 to 300 and allowing people older than 70 years to meet with family and friends.

“The singular most important factor according to the Corona Commission (Dec. 15 2020) for major outbreaks and the high number of deaths in [elderly] residential care is the overall spread of the virus in the society.

“In addition, the failure of the COVID-19 strategy, there are other unresolved structural factors relate o the organisation of the care of older people.

“The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ independent review of the available evidence validates WHO’s recommendations to keep a physical distance, wear a facemask, keep rooms ventilated, avoid crowds, and practise good hand and respiratory hygiene. However, not until Dec. 18, 2020, did the government give directives to start to translate more of those recommendations into practice including the use of facemasks, as the trajectory of rapidly rising cases and deaths continues and intensive-care facilities and health-care professionals are stretched to the limits in many regions in Sweden.

“The ability to work effectively across sectors to minimise the spread of COVID-19 has been further hampered by a decentralised and fragmented system of health and social services, including the care of elderly people.

“The pandemic has revealed failures in the governance and legal framework for health and social services including inadequate multisector coordination, accountability of multiple authorities at different levels (commune, region, and central levels) that share responsibilities, and transparency in policy-making and decision-making processes.

“Moreover, there has been insufficient participation and engagement of key stakeholders, including informed scientists, civil society, and behaviour change communications experts.

“Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to increase and too many people are dying unnecessarily in a country without timely concerted actions to interrupt the high transmissions and reduce the burdens of deaths and illnesses.”

A witty and sharp attack on those politicians and journalists who favoured the Swedish strategy to deal with the coronavirus was made by Gary Linnell at The New Daily (2/12/2020) in his article “How Sweden’s magic trick fooled the anti-lockdown brigade”.

First he tells us the story of how people were convinced that a man could fly. It was, he writes, what psychologists call “motivated perception – a tendency to see what they want to see”.

“Which brings us to Sweden, once the poster child for that swaggering congo-line of misanthropic columnists, business ‘leaders’ and politicians who pilloried Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews throughout his strict COVD-19 lockdown.

“One of the most strident critics about the ‘over-reaction’ to the pandemic was Adam Creighton, a columnist for ‘The Australian’ who gushed extensively about brave Sweden’s decision to go it alone and defy the virus with a business-as-usual approach.

“The way Creighton and others saw it, Sweden’s leaders were the antithesis of the ‘evil’ Victorian Premier, a man so twisted he had used the pandemic as a screen to introduce the draconian police powers and achieve his lifelong ambition of tearing down the pillars of the capitalist society…

“Just four weeks after Creighton’s fan-boy praise, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was finally forced to concede the virus was ‘going in the wrong direction fast. More are infected. More die. This is a very serious situation’…

“Late last week the Swedish royal family announced Prince Carl Phillip and his wife, Princess Sofia, had tested positive.

As new limits on public gatherings were introduced, a poll revealed the country’s confidence in its coronavirus strategy had slumped.

It also appeared the Swedish government was beginning to distance itself from the man who devised its no-lockdown strategy, epidemiologist Anders Tignell…

“The ideologically driven mob who sneered at Daniel Andrews, who sounded like a choir of ventriloquist dolls nestled in the lap of corporate Australia, went searching for a magical world immune to coronavirus and its potential for social havoc.”

Data re coronavirus early 2021:

Cases Deaths
Norway 52,967 465
Denmark 175,000 1,450
Finland 37,549 576
Sweden 470,000 8,985

 

Climate Change

In “Q+A: Malcolm Turnbull clashes with News Corp’s Paul Kelly over climate coverage”, The Guardian (11/10/2020), Lisa Cox records the nature of the so-called “debate” about climate change.

[Malcolm Turnbull is clearly angered by the Murdoch stance on the presenting of climate matters]

” ‘The campaign on climate denial is just staggering and has done enormous damage to the world, to the global need to address global warming,’ he said. ‘I mean, it is so horrifically biased and such propaganda that Rupert’s own son James can’t stomach it.’

“Kelly responded, saying Australia had many other publications and news outlets that were dedicated to ‘promoting the cause of climate change.’

“It’s OK to be a propagandist for one side, but if one is a critic or sceptic about some of these issues, that’s not Ok?”

[Kelly is telling Turnbull that Murdoch media is “a critic or sceptic” and that justifies its stance on some aspects of climate change. We will look at Murdoch’s ideological arm and its attitude to climate change at the IPA. Meanwhile Turnbull, who has backed Kevin Rudd’s e-petition for a royal commission into Murdoch media, says Kelly’s response highlights the problem with News Corp’s coverage of the climate crisis]

[Turnbull says:] “How offensive, how biased, how destructive does it have to be, Paul, before you will say – one of our greatest writers and journalists – ‘It’s enough, I’m out of it?’

“Kelly responded by telling the former Prime Minister not to lecture him. ‘Your problem was with the right wing of the Liberal Party,’ Kelly said. “At the end of the day, you failed to manage it properly.’”

[And so the argument becomes an ad hominem squabble rather than a debate about the presentation of climate change itself]

“News Corp on Tuesday accused Turnbull of making a ‘false assertion’ when he said its newspaper blamed the bushfires on arson.

“’This unsubstantiated statement is blatantly untrue,’ News Corp said in a statement. The news organisation said its main newspapers published 3,335 stories about the bushfires between September 2019 and January 23 this year. “Only 3.4 percent mentioned ‘arson’ or ‘arsonists’. In this same period news.com.au also published more than 300 bushfire stories, of which only 16 mentioned arson, equivalent to 5 percent. Not one of those small number of stories stated the bushfires were ‘all the consequence of arsonists’.”

[No doubt not all the stories said the bushfires were all the consequence of arsonists. The statistics which were used by Murdoch media when arson was mentioned came from Queensland police data about police interactions with citizens about various matters in the year before the fires began. No wonder the newspaper did not make much mention of so-called ‘arsonists’. What the Murdoch media also did was to deny the fires were the result of climate change, but were the result of poor forest management, and were not ‘unprecedented’]

“Rudd’s petition was tabled in Parliament on Monday with more than 500,000 signatures.”

The Murdoch media has the propaganda arm, the IPA, partly supported by Gina Rinehart, which has a big influence on the ideology of this right-wing entity. That includes its response to climate change. It has published material such as “Climate Change: The Facts, 2017”. Jennifer Mahorasy writes in an introduction:

“An advantage of my approach in compiling the chapters for this book – an approach in which there has been no real attempt to put everything into neat boxes – is that there are many surprises. I’m referring to the snippets of apparently anomalous information scattered through the chapters. These can, hopefully, one day, be reconciled. As this occurs, we may begin to see the emergence of a coherent theory of climate – where output from computer simulation models bears some resemblance to real- world measurements that have not been ‘homogenised’.”

For an explanation of what ‘homogenised’ means, see the website Skeptical Science: “Homogenisation of Temperature Data: An Assessment“, 11/2/2015. Mahorasy believes homogenisation of temperature data is a cheat by the IPCC, but that is not the case.

Notice also that deniers/sceptics use computer models, but they criticise others for using them. They speak about “real-world measurements”, but where do the deniers/sceptics think the IPCC and others get their data from?

Mahorasy’s real problem is the “apparently anomalous information” – or contradictions – in her supposedly factual volume which she hopes will be “reconciled” one day. How Ian Plimer’s claim that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with climate change and Bob Carter’s assertion that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas will be reconciled is hard to imagine.

The economist Judith Sloan considers Climate Change to be a matter to be considered as more about economics than science. Every now and then she considers science predictions which seem to be false and therefore proof of the Climate Change to be a sham. She writes about such predictions and falsities in “No slowdown in scary climate prophecy phenomenon”, The Australian (20/1/2021). The by-line says:

“Every year new climate doomsday projections seem to pop up. These gratuitous and unverified claims are not science, no matter what Al Gore and Greta Thunberg would have you believe.”

The ABC is the first target, seen as a carrier of false climate news. And then Paul and Anne Ehrlich, authors of “The Population Bomb” (1968), [which is about more than population]

Yes, there are problems with what the Ehrlich’s claim – which they have admitted – but there are matters which are still in contention, as the article “A Long Fuse: ‘The Population Bomb’ is still ticking 50 years after its publication’,” The Conversation (7/10/2018) demonstrates.

That article says this:

“Global population has increased at a remarkably steady rate since 1968, and the UN projects that it will reach 9.8bn by 2050 and 11.2bn by 2100.

“Human-driven climate change is an overriding threat, and is unambiguously driven by population growth… Economic and population growth continue to be the most important drivers of increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel consumption.”

The author also considers aspects of environmental and economic migration.

Next Sloan target is Al Gore:

“During the first decade of this century [Al Gore’s] film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, was released in 2006… He repeatedly declared there would be no ice in the Arctic by 2013 or 2014. As it turned out, there was actually more ice than ever in those years.”

“More ice”? Well, no. In 2012 there was the lowest expanse of ice in the Arctic and just recently there was the second lowest extent of ice in the Arctic. Not no ice, exactly, but heading that way.

“Polar ice caps are melting as global warming causes climate change. We lose Arctic sea ice at a rate of almost 13% per decade, and over the past 30 years, the oldest and thickest ice in the Arctic has declined by a stunning 95%… If emissions continue to rise unchecked, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2040.” (WWF, 2021).

Judith Sloan goes on to sledge Tim Flannery:

“And we can’t go past our own Professor Tim Flannery, a mammologist by training [remember that Sloan is an economist by training], predicting in 2007 that cities such as Sydney and Brisbane would run out of water because of climate change and that ‘even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems.’ “Brisbane’, she says, “endured a ghastly flood in 20011.”

This seems a rather muddled explanation of what was said by Tim Flannery. First of all, ‘Flannery did not say that Australia’s dams will never fill again’ (August 6, 2012). And we have had towns with no water and rivers with little water and millions of fish dying in recent years.

Sloan has no hesitation in attacking the University of East Anglia. Remember, they are ‘The same unit that was the subject of an email scandal in 2010’. This time she is referring to a statement by Dr David Viner at that University who predicted that winter snowfall will become ‘a very rare and exciting event’.

So, what do scientists say about snowfall in an age of global warming? Following is part of an abstract from a publication from the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, vol. 26, issue 20, (15/10/2013), titled “Future Changes in Northern Hemisphere Snowfalls.”

“When considering the potential for future changes in snowfall in a warming world, it is important to recognise that snowfall requires the coexistence of sufficiently cold temperatures and the occurrence of precipitation. Changes in snowfall will be governed, therefore, by the interplay between changes in temperature and precipitation. In locations in which temperatures are marginal for snowfall, warming may tend to reduce the amount of snowfall by reducing the amount of snowfall by reducing the fraction of the total precipitation that falls as snow. In places where air temperature are cold enough that increases in temperature will not greatly impact the partitioning of precipitation into snow and rain, the increased moisture content of the warmer climate (eg, Held and Soden, 2006) may lead to increased snowfall. For some locations and seasons, these two tendencies will oppose one another leading to an uncertain outcome.”

It depends on where we are and when. But even if Dr David Viner is wrong, does that prove Climate Change is a scam?

As for the “Climategate” incident involving the hacking of emails, numerous inquiries have proven that no deceit or cover-up was to be found. In fact, the matter in point was not published at the time because it was still under discussion and not confirmed.

Then there is the matter of melting snow in the Himalayas. The IPCC took a while to confirm this matter because access to evidence was difficult, but now says the glaciers could disappear by 2035. “Spy satellites” have solved the problem of access.

“The melting of the Himalaya glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a ‘devastating future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water.” (The Guardian, 19/6/2019).

As yet, neither the Murdoch media nor the IPA, with all its chatter, has a coherent “theory of climate change denial”. Its modus operandi is to cherry-pick what often eventually turn out to be errors they perpetrate themselves.

 

Donald J. Trump

“Trump was always a contemptible and unworthy character,” writes Greg Sheridan in his essay “Trump’s assault on democracy” in The Australian (8/1/2021).

“And pre-COVID he had a defensible record: deregulation and tax cuts had turbocharged the economy – reducing poverty, especially Black and Latino unemployment, and increasing wages , especially for the low-paid; he hugely increased the defence budget; he appointed uniformly good judges; he gave pro-life arguments their best hearing; he called out China trade misbehaviour more clearly than any previous president and he achieved a series of historic Middle East peace agreements between Israel and its neighbours…

“Trump damaged the US, its allies and the West.

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed many Western governments as facing a basic crisis of competency and capability, in contrast to most East Asian governments. Trump has now added the COVID failures a partial American failure at the very mechanics of democracy. The Chines Communist Party tells its people, and would-be friendly governments in the Third World that the Western model is clapped out, doesn’t work anymore, 8eif it ever did, and that the US is irreversibly trapped in decline and stagnation.

“Many of trump’s policies contested that dishonest caricature of America quite effectively.

“Many things the Left say about Trump are untrue. And many things thy say about his record over the past few years are untrue. They have contributed more than their fair share to the poison running though American democracy today. But since November 3 Trump has lived down to the worst expectations of the critics.”

Sheridan does not sound convinced – and nor should he be. Alan Austin is a prolific writer on matters political and economic. He wrote “World’s largest economy in free fall” at Independent Australia (28/12/2020).

Austin wrote:

“The first warning signs appeared when revenue collapsed in 2018, as tax cuts for corporations and rich Americans took effect, while spending ballooned alarmingly.

“Government revenue in President Obama’s last full year, 2015-16, came to 84.8% spending. In the transition year, 2016-17, spending again increased faster than revenue, despite Trump’s promise to fix the books. Final revenue reached just 83.3% of spending.”

Austin goes on to say how the revenue fell to 81% after Trump’s first budget in 2017-18, to 75.4% in 2018-19, and into 2019-20 it is running at 51.8% of spending. This means that there is less money available for infrastructure, education, health-care, protection of the environment or assistance for people in poverty or homelessness.

Through 2016-17 US exports increase, but in January, May and August, 2018, Trump imposed tariffs, now abandoned, but which cost over the last 18 months trade deficits averaging $47.3bn.

“Over the last three years”, says Austin,” no area of the economy has improved either relative to earlier periods in recent US history or relative to comparable developed countries. Not one.”

Austin had mentioned the role of News Corp’s role in spruiking Trump’s achievements in a post which claims “News Corp expands its pro-Trump #fakenews despite failing US economy”, Independent Australia (7/2/2018). And also on Independent Australia, “Donald Trump: Putting the con back into economic recovery“, Austin writes that:

“Donald Trump promised Americans he would fix the ailing economy and make life better for Americans. He is achieving the opposite. All but the richest 10% are worse off than they were.

In The Australian last week there was this: ‘No American president in recent US history has so dramatically improved the American economy, boosting pay rates, job numbers, retail sales, business investment, profits and, of course, the share market. It’s an astounding transformation that will create a tidal wave of repercussions around the world.”

At npr.org (30/1/2018) “FACT CHECK: Trump Touts Low Unemployment Rates for African-Americans, Hispanics,” Trump is shown to have done this several times: at his State of the Union address, on Twitter, and in a speech to the American Farm Bureau. The npr says Trump is true on his numbers:

“However, that is not all that Trump is doing in this tweet. He is implying that he caused these low African-American employment rates.

“And a big problem with this claim is that those rates had been falling for long before Trump took office, and their declines don’t seem to have picked up speed. This implies that there’s nothing specific that Trump did to change this rate.

“Indeed, both of these rates have been falling relatively steadily since around 2010, early in President Obama’s tenure in the White house.”

So how is the Murdoch media coping with the demise of Donald J. Trump? Adrian Epstein at qz.com (9/1/2021) said in his post “There isn’t going to be a post-Trump pivot at Fox News” writes that:

“No. Fox isn’t changing. If anything, it could move even further into conspiracy-mongering in an attempt to reinvigorate the audience it lost over the last few months. [Fox had called the state of Arizona for Joe Biden] In the hours and days since the attempted insurrection, which some national security experts describe as a ‘terrorist attack’, Fox anchors , contributors, and guests have spent much of their time on the air justifying the rioters’ violence and floating conspiracy theories without any evidence.

“Hosts Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Lou Debbs and several guests referenced ‘reports’ that Antifa – the term for an unorganised movement of ant-fascist political activists – had embedded covert agents to instigate the insurrections. In truth, many of the rioters were well-known white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and QAnon conspiracy theorists, who did not take steps to conceal their identities. There is no evidence the rioters were infiltrated or encouraged by anyone with other motives.”

[Here in Oz, Alan Jones and Rowan Dean told us that the election had been “stolen” from Trump. And old conspiracy theories have been brought out of mothballs in Murdoch media – postmodernism and literary theory – to explain Leftist activity in our universities and schools. But that is another story]

Trumpism will not go away either in the USA or here in Oz. Greg Craven, an Emeritus Professor and constitutional lawyer, has written a piece in The Australian (19/1/2021) entitled: “Hints of Trumpism in Daniel Andrews, Mark McGowan.” No need to go into details very much. The heading says it all for those who will read only that and remember it for ever.

The premise is that if Trump is not a conservative but is an “authoritarian populist”, then so too are Daniel Andrews and Mark McGowan and Craven has taken time to analyse their ‘political personality disorder”, ironically on the Left. They have “an absolute belief in one’s own rightness”, “self-love”, and “deep vindictiveness”. There are other historical examples, such as Napoleon.

It’s all a hoot, really. Such laughs to brighten up the day at the Surry Hills bunker.

“What Andrews has excelled at is the popular bit of populist authoritarianism. This has two strands. His media barrage has convinced many Victorians he is all that stands between them and a horrible death. The constant media appearances, dire warnings, carefully marshalled statistics and severe impositions daily daily underline this message.”

[If we try to apply this to Trump it does not seem to work very well. Trump failed badly with the coronavirus. Consider some facts:

Cases Deaths
USA 25M 410K
Australia 28,755 909

 

And then we have Craven’s criticism of McGowan, that he looks as if he wants to secede from Oz with an eastern wall. Is that a bit like Trump’s southern security wall which he never built?

And so we come to David Alexander, managing director (Federal) at Barton Deakin Government Relations, who also has a post at The Australian (21/1/2021): “We need to learn from Trump’s rise and fall”.

“But what now? Obviously there are a welter of major questions to resolve”. [Mr Alexander will consider five]

“First, consider huxters. Australians are pretty good bull-dust detectors and thy overwhelmingly saw Trump as confidence man from the beginning. A bloke who says, as Trump did in 2016, “I will give you everything. I will give you what you’ve been looking for for 50 years’ is obviously a top-order scam artist…”

[Were we ever told that in the last half dozen years by the Murdoch media and the IPA?]

Then he tells us to be ‘historically aware’ of how authoritarians come to power; about ‘partisan echo chambers’; standing up to bullies; ‘don’t provide fertile grounds for would-be tyrants’.

[It sounds a little like Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos”. But briefer]

If Australians are ‘pretty good bulldust detectors as claimed here with regard to Trump’, they have a very good chance to face ‘risks to our democratic processes and institutions… always lurking in our midst.’

Now for a defence of Donald Trump, not so much for what he said, but for his right to say it.

Janet Albrechtsen is writing in the Weekend Australian (23/1/2021): “Fighting for the right to speak, even Donald Trump”.

Some people have been complaining that they cannot breathe, but Albrechtsen is saying that some people are preventing other people from speaking because they do not like what those people are saying. So what did trump say?

“Trump’s behaviour denying the election result was abhorrent. Trump’s speech on January 6 to an audience of supporters, and his refusal to immediately condemn he storming of the Capitol by some Trumpists, was even more repugnant. And lastly, free speech is not the freedom to speak without consequences. But more on that later.”

[So what Trump did not say was also “repugnant”. Albrechtsen goes on to say she has been speaking by phone to Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University. Albrechtsen herself has a PhD in Juridical Science and is chairman of the IPA.]

AD: “…I think I am the only prominent liberal democrat who is now speaking up on behalf of free speech. Free speech for Donald Trump, free speech for those who supported President Trump who are now threatened with having their jobs taken away and their degrees rescinded. Free speech for those who listen and rely on the internet and social media.”

JA: “… On a more important matter, should Trump have been impeached by the House for inciting violence? And should he be tried by the new Democrat-controlled Senate now he is a private citizen, not a president?”

AD: “Remember this about the President’s speech. He spoke to thousands and thousands of people. Most of them didn’t listen to him and go to the Capitol. And among those who went to the Capitol, most of them didn’t break into the Capitol. And among those who broke into the Capitol, most of them didn’t engage in violence…

[So it was a quiet little group and only five people killed (he omits to say). And other people in other times have said worse than what Trump said. See how the whole matter is played down, despite the virtue signalling at the beginning]

AD: ”…This speech by Trump was pabulum compared to those speeches. And pabulum compared to the speech made by Brandenburg.”

[Brandenburg, JA explains, was Ku Klux Klan leader. In 1954, he rallied with a mob carrying guns and nooses, calling for African-Americans and Jews to be expelled from the country.

We remember very well what Trump himself said about non-citizens and immigrants.

‘Pabulum’ is Latin for food or fodder. Metaphorically it means ‘mental food’ or what people want to hear – a common practice in journalism]

AD: “Those speeches were deemed (by the US Supreme Court) to be protected speech.”

[See the importance of the Supreme Court, which Trump expanded recently. See also how there is being built up here a kind of legal defence of Trump, no matter what impeachment the House or the Senate have decided]

What we have here are two libertarians of like mind agreeing that the left is responsible for the repression of free speech – and that the cancel culture is as well, and giant tech companies, the internet and social networking…

What I not clear is what was mentioned at the beginning – about how “free speech is not the freedom to speak without consequences’. Did I miss something?

Finally, a couple of writers who tell us very clearly the kinds of things we learn from the past handful of years and the way they have been presented.

A post by Henry Giroux of McMaster University. Ontario, Canada, in The Conversation (14/1/2021) makes many points about the Trump presidency, any one of which could be unravelled in many theses. Following are some of those point:

“America no longer lives in the shadow of authoritarianism. It has tipped into the abyss.

“Trump has fanned fascist impulses consistently through the language of violence and division, aided by right-wing media outlets such as Fox News and Breitbart.

“In plain view, Trump flouted, ignored and destroyed institutions of accountability. He degraded political speech. He openly used his office to enrich himself. He publicly courted dictators.

“Criticism has become ‘fake news’ unworthy of serious reflection or analysis. Trumpism shreds shared values and national unity into distrust and fear. It disdainfully views the common good and democratic values as registers of weakness and resentment.

“Trumpism is a giant disinformation machine that aims to colonise culture and public consciousness by emptying them of democratic values and destroying institutions that nurture critical thought and civic courage.

“The public sphere has become a barrage of bomb-like daily events that obliterate the space and time for contemplating the past, while freezing the present into a fragmented display of shock. Under such circumstances, the lessons of history disappear.”

Another Canadian writer, Wade Davis of Columbia University, goes into some historical detail in an essay appearing in Rolling Stone magazine. The essay was recommended by an AIMN reader in Dr Jennifer Wilson’s essay: “How Many Lies Are Too Many Lies?” Davis’s essay appears as: “How COVID-19 Signals the End of the American Era”, Rolling Stone (6/8/2020). It is a ripper.

OOO

We have now looked at quite a few sites exploring the three topics COVID-19, Climate Change and Donald J. Trump. The ideological propaganda appears very badly as just that: propaganda. With a strike for each topic, as verified by so much evidence which is only a small part of what is available, that is, I humbly submit, THREE STRIKES OUT!

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