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The moral distortion of social justice.
Woke-washing is promoting something harmful as doing good, or cloaking the harm behind some do-gooding, or at least a veneer of do-gooding. But there’s more to wokewashing and even greenwashing, than just passive deceptive advertising or a veneer of signaling goodwill. Woke-washing is a divisive tactic and a cognitive attack of gaslightingwhere the perpetrator often employs disinformation and a tactic known as DARVO (deny, attack, and reverse victim / offender), in order to silence the targeted victim, or to attempt to delegitimize the target in the eyes of allies, peers, or others. In a MedPage Today op-ed titled “Who’s Really the Victim Here?” from 2022 describing DARVO, they report, “In one study researchers found that targets of DARVO were more likely to blame themselves. Self-blame is associated with self-silencing. In another study, researchers found that observers of DARVO tended to doubt the credibility of the true victim, believing the perpetrator instead.”
Climate Change Contrarianism
Michael Shellenberger has attempted to frame climate activists as doing “colonialism” and claim that reducing fossil fuel usage, to preserve the habitability of the planet for humans, is supposedly a human rights offense against people of the Global South.In a Climate Action Against Disinformation report titled ‘DENY, DECEIVE, DELAY’ this framing of “withholding fossil fuels” strangely overlaps with “anti-woke” narratives, and not surprisingly climate skepticism. In those PR spin zones they don’t mention how people in the Global South have already been harmed by the fossil fuel industry, and how people in the Global South are among the first harmed by climate change, such as in Bangladesh.
People reportedly use similar upside down woke-washing arguments to defend tech projects such as Worldcoin, which Paris Marx reports has been deployed in the Global South luring people to “orbs” with tokens and free t-shirts, in order to collect biometric data from people and train the company’s computer systems.Molly White described “disingenuous arguments” on the Tech Won’t Save Us podcast, saying “I think that it's also used to silence a lot of the criticism against the projects here where you will speak out against something like Worldcoin or even crypto more broadly and people will say that’s just your white American privilege. You have financial privilege to dismiss these technologies. Can’t you see how these projects are helping people in developing countries? But what we've seen actually play out is broadly that they are NOT helping people. You know that the people who are engaging with these projects in those locations are suffering for it and often being exploited.”
This woke-washing tactic is being used to promote anti-mask arguments and gin up opposition to N95 use in healthcare settings. Erica Shenoy might just be vain and maybe wants people to see her face,but she claimed in an Annals of Internal Medicine op-ed that dropping masking for infection control in healthcare is needed so that patients would be able to lip read - the innuendo being that masking is somehow discriminatory toward the hard of hearing. This is astonishingly foolish woke-washing since lip reading only has a 30% to 40% accuracy rate. Even trained professional lip readers only attain perhaps 60% accuracy. Doctors should surely never depend on lip reading for receiving critical medical advice with such a large potential for miscommunication. A 40% to 70% chance of failure to accurately communicate are not good odds. Not only would hard of hearing patients NOT benefit from getting covid, but if doctors have their patients “rely on lip reading” (as Shenoy and coauthors suggest), those doctors are the ones engaged in denying equal access to accurate information. Do they suggest grave misunderstandings are a reasonable price to pay to let the hospitals get out of paying for an interpreter and an N95 mask? That op-ed also suggests a similar argument with regards to foreign languages, which makes less sense, because nobody should have to lean on receiving medical advice through facial expressions.
There has been documented evidence of people hatching plans to deploy this very wokewashing tactic, on purpose, in order to get caring, community minded people to unmask and spread the virus. Patrick Fagan is a psychologist who once worked for Cambridge Analytica,and was later linked to anti-vax groups in the UK via messages revealed in the HARTleaks. In an exchange from 2021 between Tanya Kymenko and Patrick Fagan, reported by Counter Disinformation Project in 2022, Tanya Kymenko asked “So, if the "pro-mask" are particularly concerned about equality then they might in theory be susceptible to a message on raising inequality as a direct result of NPI (lockdown). Is that a reasonable assumption?” and Patrick Fagan replied, “Yes exactly... They are wearing the face mask to be fair to others and to reduce harm... If messaging shows that face masks are unfair and harmful, that would be very powerful.” Patrick Fagan’s assertion was that mere messaging would be powerful - if people are made to believe it’s masking that is unfair. Patrick Fagan also had some other weird and wrong ideas, but there was no question that he was engaged in planning deliberate manipulation with propaganda against masking. And Tanya Kymenko was already equating all NPIs (Non Pharmaceutical Interventions) as the same as “lockdown” - which has expanded to include just wearing a mask.
State Government Leadership Foundation openly bragged on social media about an advertising campaign that specifically targeted liberals to persuade them of the lie that masks supposedly do more harm than good.There is evidence that mask requirements are beneficial. But the State Government Leadership Foundation appears to have used old school advertising and simple repetition that uses the mere exposure effect, where people come to believe something simply because it seems familiar after hearing it a lot.
Fairness and Outrage
Not only do woke-washing arguments turn fairness upside down and backwards, but sometimes fairness isn’t even the issue. It's not unfair to expect people to wear a shirt, shoes, not litter, abide by traffic laws, and not smoke in public indoor spaces. Everyone ought to avoid breathing wildfire smoke pollution, so many plans in the northeast U.S. were canceled in June 2023, because of air quality dangers, including children’s field trips and graduations.It’s “not fair” to the kids that their activities were canceled, but you don’t say, “It’s not fair this building is burning down, so the kids should stay inside it and enjoy themselves.” Reality doesn’t work this way, and you wouldn’t think this way unless you’re not thinking things through. And as it happens, PR experts know how to get people to not think things through, by playing to the human mind’s autopilot cognitive biases, the human tendency to prefer not to exert the energy toward critical thinking.
Fairness plays heavily in risk management and PR spin, according to Peter Sandman. In Peter Sandman's 1993 book, ‘Responding to Community Outrage: Strategies for Effective Risk Communication’, he describes what he calls “the Outrage Factor” - that outrage is key in people’s perception of risk. We give more weight to risks that seem unfair, whereas if they seem like voluntary risks, we consider them more fair, natural, or acceptable.And so disinformation purveyors can manipulate people into feeling greater risks are okay because they are chosen, while lesser risks, or things with no risk, are perceived as unfair.
Who’s the real humanitarian?
In a Twitter.com exchange in 2021, JPWeiland mocked Myra Batchelder - characterized her call for multi-layered protections as “continuing to demand social distancing” and “anti humanitarian”- woke-washing his call to abandon pandemic mitigations. Brazen to lodge this accusation at Myra Batchelder who has persevered in advocating for long covid survivors, the disabled, and marginalized groups disproportionately impacted by the pandemic for years now. Who’s really anti-humanitarian? Who's the real victim? JPWeiland also made the remark that society can’t do public health mitigations “forever” - a statement which is always puzzling because nobody goes around saying we eventually must go back to allowing smoking indoors in public buildings. Smokers had to adapt. Does JPWeiland think it’s a violation of his human rights to expect him to “forever” wash his hands after toileting? I was unable to find out anything about JPWeiland’s profession or credentials, but I hope he doesn’t work in healthcare or food handling.
JPWeiland continues minimizing rhetoric in 2023, in response to calls for inclusiveness and disability accommodation. When asked why we can’t have public health needed for vulnerable people right now, JPWeiland’s response was to bash the idea as an “unreasonable” suggestion that “pushes people away” because the majority “won’t suddenly wear N95s in every indoor space”- which is all or nothing thinking and making the perfect the enemy of the good - all in order to advocate for not doing anything to help anyone. Someone rightly responded with “We did pretty good on seatbelts and bike helmets. And people hated those too” - which is true history. There is plenty of evidence that you don’t need to wait for everyone to make changes in the world. Many of the movements of progress we’ve made were pushed forward by a minority and later became very popular, and even taken for granted.
Life & Death are not Equal Sides
If healthcare used the kind of all or nothing thinking pushed in these strawman arguments when dealing with breast cancer, nobody would get treatment. Some people get treatment and then survive many years, but some people get treatments and still die, and some even opt out of treatments. Withholding medical intervention from most, because some will refuse, is an idea that’s deeply unfair and illogical. And this isn’t just about masks, the covid vaccines have been restricted with this flawed thinking as well,not because of science, but because as Mike Osterholm explained in an interview with Stat News: “We currently live in a world where those that want additional booster doses really want them. And those that don’t want them don’t want them at all. And what we’re trying to do is thread that needle.” But why do we need to compromise people’s lives because some people have been tricked with anti-vax disinformation? As Justin Salhani describes on The Fire These Times podcast, “What the bad faith people tend to be doing is trying to pull the overton window into a certain direction by any means possible. And because they know that there's always going to be centrists or liberals that will try to negotiate, they'll try to negotiate with all the, you know, ideas possible in the free market of ideology, or whatever you want to call it. And so essentially I think what we're left with is this overton window that increasingly is shifting right.” The bad faith shift against public health is costing people’s lives unnecessarily. So it’s really important to recognize this as a deliberate cognitive attack. Rand Waltzman, an infosec professional, explained on a podcast: “In a cognitive attack the whole point is that the target shouldn’t know they’re being attacked in order for it to be really effective. So that's the whole trick to keep the target unaware because if the target becomes aware that they’re being attacked in this way, just by them becoming aware it significantly reduces the effect of the attack.”
Nobody is immune to propaganda.
But even sometimes otherwise thoughtful people, who are themselves active in debunking anti-vax misinformation, continue to parrot this type of upside down woke-washing rhetoric when it comes to masks. Jonathan Howard, author of ‘We Want Them Infected’ - a book that calls out covid minimizing and anti-vax bullshit- was recently on a podcast to talk about covid contrarianism. Howard mentioned not begrudging “young healthy vaccinated living their lives” because young people can’t be expected to give up parties or mask indoors with classmates at college because it’s “ridiculous” he said, to expect people to “sort of lead these isolated lives.” But he does not explain how putting on a mask to go into a classroom with potentially high risk classmates is “isolating” anyone. If anything, it’s isolating to the people who are shut out of, or put at risk in higher education, because of the lack of mitigation like universal masking. Even a judge ruled that accommodating high risk people at a university is an issue of disability rights beyond even just the scope of the pandemic, in regards to a professor at Kutztown University with a transplant who won a lawsuit after being denied safe accommodation. But we are meant to just absorb the idea that asking a “young healthy” student to put on a mask to protect classmates is tantamount to forcing them into an isolated life. Howard inserted the “forever” strawman too, suggesting an extreme: giving up “eating inside forever” - as if anyone even suggests that. It’s an insidious trick that obscures the possibility of arrangements like testing, HEPA filters, ventilation, and pre-masking, which could be implemented to gather more safely.
Lockdown Revisionism, on repeat
These nonsensically bad faith arguments roll off people’s tongues, so easily, and many times unwittingly, because these things are repeated and repeated, circumventing critical thinking, with an inundation feedback loop.The arguments lean heavy on strawmanning, and especially lockdown revisionism, which is described in a publication by Blake Murdoch and Timothy Caulfield where the term lockdown was “expanded to include any public health measure, even if it places little to no restriction on social mobility or interaction.” Or as Walker Bragman put it on Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson in regards to Marty Makary mocking handwashing in a Congressional hearing, "Any amount of sacrifice by the individual for the collective is vilified."
Rando examples of anti-mask woke-washing
Los Angeles schools superintendent used woke-washing to urge students to go to school sick. And this is while children suffering debilitating effects of Long Covid are being accused of “school avoidance” or assumed to just have anxiety.The superintendent engaged in wokewashing by hand waving reference to the debunked claims about remote school upping suicides when it was actually the opposite, but then admitted that he was financially motivated - if they can get more butts in seats for metrics, the district could get $300 million more in state funding based on attendance. It’s still better to NOT take medical advice from some rando down at the school. The financial incentives for nonsensical policies are a big problem. And this policy seems likely to backfire if having kids go to school sick and contagious leads to even lower attendance because of outbreaks - which have happened in the past.
A hostile anti-mask letter from a condo association to the person who posted it on social media has a lot to unpack. The report comes from the tenant who has been wisely masking in the common areas of the high rise where they live. The letter first accuses the masked person of creating an “atmosphere of fear within the building” but later in the letter the authors ironically accuse the mask wearer of being anxious and even suggest he needs mental health intervention for his masking.The letter also falsely claims the WHO declared the pandemic over which is not actually true, and in fact WHO’s director-general said the message that should be sent is that covid is still something to worry about. But if the authors of the letter believed it was no longer a worry, why are they so frightened to see someone wearing a mask?
One person on social media with a bio indicating they’re in Australia, trolled a thread claiming there are children adversely affected by masking because they are “attached to masks” and because they want to “hide behind” a mask at school, and that masking has just become some “cool” trend among kids.Even if it was some kind of fashion “trend” - nobody would characterize people as being “attached to” earrings or friendship bracelets. Nobody would claim children are “hiding behind” pants. And so what if they were? Even if the risks of covid or the chance of rain was low, children wearing a mask at school, or carrying an umbrella, is not evidence of harm, and asserting that is truly bizarre - like a moral panic.
Someone with the twitter handle Rando8715401 claimed mask mandates would make them suicidal because they “can’t bear to be in places with high rates of masking” because of a mask phobia. Their woke-washing claim was that people who mask lack empathy because, they claimed, masks prevent other people from “living their best lives” and that masks are “dehumanizing”.This could’ve been some kind fake troll, but it also does seem like some people have developed genuine mask phobias. However, catering to people with mask phobias by getting more people physically ill is not what anyone rationally would consider fair.
Accusation in a Mirror
It’s imperative to recognize that though the people who repeat misinformation may be doing so unwittingly, the sources of the disinformation are quite often a deliberate maneuver well understood as DARVO - also known as Accusation in a Mirror. Kenneth L. Marcus states in a 2012 paper on the use of Accusation in a Mirror for the incitement of genocides, “The basic idea of [Accusation in a Mirror] is deceptively simple: propagandists must "impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do."9 In other words, AiM is a rhetorical practice in which one falsely accuses one's enemies of conducting, plotting, or desiring to commit precisely the same transgressions that one plans to commit against them.”
The implications of this type of disinformation are significant.
Medical News Today: What is gaslighting? According to the CPTSD Foundation, medical gaslighting is when a medical professional dismisses a person’s health concerns as being the product of their imagination. They may tell the person their symptoms are “in their head” or label them a hypochondriac. According to an article in Politics, Group, and Identities, racial gaslighting is when people apply gaslighting techniques to an entire racial or ethnic group in order to discredit them. For example, a person or institution may say that an activist campaigning for change is irrational or “crazy.” Political gaslighting occurs when a political group or figure lies or manipulates information to control people, according to an article in the Buffalo Law Review. For example, the person or political party may downplay things their administration has done, discredit their opponents, imply that critics are mentally unstable, or use controversy to deflect attention away from their mistakes. Institutional gaslighting occurs within a company, organization, or institution, such as a hospital. For example, they may portray whistleblowers who report problems as irrational or incompetent, or deceive employees about their rights.
MEDPageToday: Who's Really the Victim Here? — It's time to end DARVO behavior in the healthcare workplace by Resa E. Lewiss, MD, David G. Smith, PhD, Shikha Jain, MD, W. Brad Johnson, PhD, and Jennifer Freyd, PhD Perpetrators use DARVO because it works. In one study researchers found that targets of DARVO were more likely to blame themselves. Self-blame is associated with self-silencing. In another study, researchers found that observers of DARVO tended to doubt the credibility of the true victim, believing the perpetrator instead. There is not yet systematic data on what makes certain institutions and certain people more likely to DARVO. Yet, there appear to be relevant characteristics associated with other types of harassment, and the field of medicine checks all the boxes: high prestige, male-dominated institutions and industries, hierarchical leadership structures, inadequate safeguards for employees and trainees, and a climate which tolerates harassment.
DENY, DECEIVE, DELAY Exposing New Trends in Climate Mis- and Disinformation at COP27 (Vol 2) Climate Action Against Disinformation, January 2023 Shellenberger was active in so-called ‘woke-washing’ discourse that attacked Western Elites for withholding fossil fuels from the Global South and/ or framed Net Zero targets as a form of colonialism that contravene the global human rights agenda. Shellenberger is symbolic of the growing overlap between climate scepticism and wider culture wars, ‘anti-woke’ or so-called ‘intellectual dark web’ content. In previous years, his public persona and outputs were primarily associated with the environment, but he now posts just as regularly on issues such as migration, homelessness, gender identity or Democratic policy agendas. During COP, this included the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband and the collapse of crypto-currency platform FTX
The Guardian - This lawyer should be world-famous for his battle with Chevron – but he’s in jail. Chevron is accused of polluting the Amazon for 26 years. The only people who’ve paid the price are a human rights lawyer and those whose land was poisoned - by Erin Brockovich Tue 8 Feb 2022 Texaco/Chevron did not dispute that pollution occurred, and “freely admits that large sludge pits still dot the Amazon”, the New Yorker reported. The company argued that the Ecuadorian government released it from liability after paying for an earlier cleanup, and that Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, was responsible for the remaining damage. The plaintiffs argued that the earlier cleanup was woefully insufficient; that Texaco, not Petroecuador, directed actual operations in the area; and that Chevron’s earlier agreement with the government of Ecuador did not bar lawsuits by individuals. (The government of Ecuador also disagrees with Chevron’s claims.) A jury trial in the US might have put Texaco under an embarrassing and costly spotlight, so, perhaps for that reason, the company lobbied to move the legal proceedings back to Ecuador, which has no jury trials and is heavily dependent on the oil industry.
The Harvard Crimson - Sink or Swim: The Climate Crisis We Caused in Bangladesh. By Afiya Rahman, Crimson Opinion Writer - September 12, 2022 The Land of Rivers is quickly becoming the sea, and no one is coming to save it. Two-thirds of Bangladesh sits at less than 15 feet above sea level. By 2050, one in seven people in Bangladesh will be displaced by climate change. This past summer, catastrophic flash floods — the worst in Bangladesh in over a hundred years — barreled through the northeastern region of Sylhet, wiping away towns and affecting around 7.2 million people. Bangladesh is accustomed to torrential downpours during monsoon seasons — yet the globe’s warming climate is quickly lengthening and intensifying the rains and floods, permanently altering the nation’s landscape. Nearly 75 percent of Bangladesh sits below sea level.
Disconnect - Don't look into the Orb - Worldcoin is an exploitative crypto project with a new coat of AI paint. PARIS MARX AUG 9, 2023 Reporting from MIT Technology Review and Buzzfeed News last year examined the company’s operations in countries throughout Africa, Asia, and South America where it recruited locals to be Orb operators and set up a system where they’d convince people to have their eyes scanned in exchange for Worldcoin tokens, free t-shirts, local currency, and even the chance to win a pair of Apple AirPods — whatever would get users to part with the biometric data.
Tech Won’t Save Us - 23 08 17 [#181] Pondering the Orb Molly White Paris Marx: “This project kind of further puts into perspective something that we've been talking about for a long time when it comes to crypto projects in particular. People like Pete Howson, I believe his name is, you know has talked about kinda crypto colonialism. I’ve talked to Olivier Jutel about that on the show before. But you know how these companies, you know crypto companies in particular but tech companies more broadly do go into these markets and just seek to exploit people for profit while talking about how they're going to massively empower them. And you know Worldcoin is kind of coming in and saying you know we're going to do all these wonderful things for empowerment and we're going to create this identity service and you know we're going to take all your data to train our systems. And it's like you know we're just going to use you as inputs for that process. There's no kind of real empowerment that is coming out of that and it's just yet another example of how this works.” Molly White: “Yeah and i think that it's also used to silence a lot of the criticism against the projects here where you will speak out against something like Worldcoin or even crypto more broadly and people will say that’s just your white American privilege. You have financial privilege to dismiss these technologies. Can’t you see how these projects are helping people in developing countries? But what we've seen actually play out is broadly that they are NOT helping people. You know that the people who are engaging with these projects in those locations are suffering for it and often being exploited you know in the way that Worldcoin has been exploiting people as you know as effectively test subjects without the proper disclosures or the proper consent. And so i think it really is sort of lays bare some of the disingenuous arguments that we've been seeing you know broadly around crypto and you know how dare you criticize crypto because it's going to help all of these people you know and you can just sort of look at this and say - look, it's not helping people the people who are receiving these tokens you know or not necessarily coming out better for it.”
Erica Shenoy can “read my lips” — I don’t want to risk my health & family to see her face unmasked in person. Apr 24 2023 - Chloe Humbert I’d like to prioritize spending time with my husband. Painting. Kayaking. Hiking. Some of us have to work. Some of us are in school. Some of us need to cook our own dinner and do our own laundry. Some of us have children. Or cats. Or dogs to take to the park. We have lives to live. And if we get covid and are out of commission for days, weeks, maybe months, possibly years, or especially if we get long-covid like Physics Girl is enduring — all the things we value in our lives — all our connections — will be in jeopardy. Some of us even die from the first covid infection, never mind the second. But for some bonkers reason, self-absorbed Erica Shenoy thinks I should prioritize seeing her face, unmasked. Risk giving up everything, just to gaze at her mug? Who does she think she is?
Annals of Internal Medicine - Ideas and Opinions June 2023 Universal Masking in Health Care Settings: A Pandemic Strategy Whose Time Has Come and Gone, For Now - FREE - Erica S. Shenoy, MD, PhD, Hilary M. Babcock, MD, MPH, Karen B. Brust, MD, Michael S. Calderwood, MD, MPH, Shira Doron, MD, Anurag N. Malani, MD, Sharon B. Wright, MD, MPH, and Westyn Branch-Elliman, MD, MMSc Maintaining masking requirements for HCP during all direct clinical encounters may marginally reduce the risk for transmission from HCP to patient or from patient to HCP. Those potential incremental benefits, however, need to be weighed against increasingly recognized costs. Masking impedes communication, a barrier that is distributed unequally across patient populations, such as those for whom English is not their preferred language and those who are hard-of-hearing and rely on lip reading and other nonverbal cues.
National Deaf Children's Society - Lip Reading Lip-reading on its own isn’t enough. It is estimated that only 30% to 40% of speech sounds can be lip-read even under the best conditions and extra information is usually required to understand what is being said. So while it can be an important skill for children with a hearing loss to have, relying on lip-reading alone will not be enough for your child to develop good communication skills.
BBC News - AI that lip-reads 'better than humans' - Published - 8 November 2016 Lip-reading is a notoriously tricky business with professionals only able to decipher what someone is saying up to 60% of the time. "Machine lip-readers have enormous potential, with applications in improved hearing aids, silent dictation in public spaces, covert conversations, speech recognition in noisy environments, biometric identification and silent-movie processing," wrote the researchers.
Cambridge Analytica and Facebook: The Scandal and the Fallout So Far. Revelations that digital consultants to the Trump campaign misused the data of millions of Facebook users set off a furor on both sides of the Atlantic. This is how The Times covered it. By Nicholas Confessore, April 4, 2018 In March, The New York Times, working with The Observer of London and The Guardian, obtained a cache of documents from inside Cambridge Analytica, the data firm principally owned by the right-wing donor Robert Mercer. The documents proved that the firm, where the former Trump aide Stephen K. Bannon was a board member, used data improperly obtained from Facebook to build voter profiles. The news put Cambridge under investigation and thrust Facebook into its biggest crisis ever. Here’s a guide to our coverage.
Dailydot - Exclusive: Ex-Cambridge Analytica psychologist secretly aided prominent anti-COVID vaccine group. Leaked chat logs detail efforts to influence elected leaders. Mikael Thalen - Posted on Jul 30, 2021 - Updated on Aug 4, 2021, 11:45 am CDT Leaked chat logs reveal how the former lead psychologist for Cambridge Analytica has been working behind the scenes with a notorious anti-vaccine group in the U.K. The chat records, provided to the Daily Dot by the activist collective DDoSecrets, detail efforts by HART (Health Advisory and Recovery Team), a self-described “group of highly qualified UK doctors, scientists, economists, psychologists and other academic experts,” to influence politicians on issues related to COVID-19. The leak, as first reported by Logically on Tuesday, involves tens of thousands of chat messages stretching back to January before the group’s official launch.
The Pandata File. Detailed report on the international hub established April 2020 - COUNTER DISINFORMATION PROJECT, JUL 22, 2022 I discovered Fagan was advising the group on messaging and communication strategy from a psychological approach I wondered if and how data could have been collected and used. (HART leaks messages) Tanya Klymenko 2021-02-02 T 13:08:48 "@ pf thank you for sharing, very interesting! So, if the "pro-mask" are particularly concerned about equality then they might in theory be susceptible to a message on raising inequality as a direct result of NPI (lockdown). Is that a reasonable assumption?" Patrick Fagan 2021-02-02 T 14:44:02 "Yes exactly... They are wearing the face mask to be fair to others and to reduce harm... If messaging shows that face masks are unfair and harmful, that would be very powerful"
Pandemic Memes Collection - Everything is lockdown if you're an anti-masker. it's just a mask! SEP 4, 2022 Is this a pigeon meme. The guy is captioned covid is over people. Question Is this lockdown? the butterfly is labeled a guy in a mask at the grocery store. The term for this is “lockdown revisionism”
Twitter from @theSGLF: State Government Leadership Foundation (SGLF) Feb 9, 2022 Our latest ad is making an impact and liberals are now agreeing with what conservatives have been saying all along: mask mandates do more harm than good.
Mere Exposure Effect, by Katja Falkenbach, Gleb Schaab, Oliver Pfau, Magdalena Ryfa, Bahadir Birkan The mere exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things or people that are more familiar to them than others. Repeated exposure increases familiarity. This effect is therefore also known as the familiarity effect. The earliest known research on the effect was conducted by Gustav Fechner in 1876. The effect was also documented by Edward Titchener and described as the glow of warmth one feels in the presence of something familiar.
NJ.com - Choking on climate denial | Editorial - Updated: Jun. 08, 2023, 10:13 p.m. | Published: Jun. 07, 2023, 4:42 p.m. By Star-Ledger Editorial Board Think of the canceled field trips and graduations this week. Is that really what we want for our kids? A world in which you can’t go for a walk without a Hazmat suit? And it’s a reminder of the importance of tools like air filtration, even as people turn away from the pandemic. You don’t want to be in an office or a school that’s sucking in the smoke right now. We should care about improving ventilation; it’s not just about Covid, it’s about climate change. Expect air quality filters to become more common, much like home generators did in reaction to extreme weather.
PBS – HACKING YOUR MIND – Living on Autopilot – Episode 101 – Aired: 09/09/20 It’s especially hard to overcome our autopilot biases because, much of the time, we’re not even aware we’re experiencing them. For instance, here’s an autopilot bias I can almost guarantee you’re not aware of — being biased in favor of one person over many people. One of Kahneman and Tversky’s closest colleagues studies how that bias distorts the decisions we make.
Outrage factor From Wikipedia "Outrage factors" are the emotional factors that influence perception of risk. The risks that are considered involuntary, industrial and unfair are often given more weight than factors that are thought of as voluntary, natural and fair. Sandman gives the formula: Risk = Hazard + Outrage
Twitter.com exchange between myrabatchelder and JPWeiland Nov 7, 2021 Myra @myrabatchelder 4:27 PM · Nov 7, 2021 - “We need to do BOTH. Encourage boosters AND masks, social distancing, and other mitigation efforts. Even countries with many more vaccinated than US have seen Covid surges and needed to use multiple mitigation efforts. It’s not either or. We need both! #VaxPlus” | JWeiland @JPWeiland 4:32 PM · Nov 7, 2021 - “Until? What is the end game? I am optimistic about therapeutics in development, outside of that we can't do this forever. Don't kid yourself with zero covid aspirations, its impossible with the tools we have at moment. Neither vax nor infection produce sterilizing immunity.” | Myra @myrabatchelder 4:47 PM · Nov 7, 2021 - “We need to use masks and other mitigation efforts while we still have high and substantial community transmission of Covid. Vaccines are essential but they are not the only thing we need to do. https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/579512-data-driven-mask-policies-are-a-smart-approach-to-managing-the-pandemic | JWeiland @JPWeiland 12:19 AM · Nov 8, 2021 - “So socially distance and mask literally forever? The best thing we have is a booster to move from ~40% to ~95% protected. Everyone would like their life back. Continuing to demand social distancing at this point is anti humanitarian. Tell me what the end game is.”
Moving forward, forever - community adaptation. Those staying stuck in denial trying to force normal, longing for a gone pre-pandemic time, that’s who is being left behind, morally sabotaged to endure and inflict unnecessary suffering. CHLOE HUMBERT, JAN 1, 2023 Nobody could take any of these statements seriously: “We can’t wear seatbelts in cars forever.” “We can’t wear steel toe boots at the factory forever.” “We can’t use child car seats forever.” “We can’t keep brushing our teeth every night forever.” “We can’t stop people smoking indoors in public forever.” “We can’t filter water at the sewage treatment plants forever.” And no sensible person would take these types of comments seriously when it comes to mitigations for a dangerous pandemic.
Twitter.com exchange between HandInHand123 JPWeiland and zookeepermc June 2023 Mlle @HandInHand123 8:54 PM · Jun 25, 2023 “Instead of worrying about what is or isn’t possible in the future, why don’t we just think about what’s needed RIGHT NOW. And for vulnerable people, right now, that’s universal masking. People objecting on the basis of “we can’t keep this up forever” are just trying to deflect.” JWeiland @JPWeiland 10:02 PM · Jun 25, 2023 - Setting completely unrealistic goals doesn't get anyone anywhere. It pushes people away. You REALLY think that the 95%+ who don't mask are going to suddenly wear N95s in every indoor space? Deborah McNamara @zookeepermc 8:40 AM · Jun 26, 2023 “We did pretty good on seatbelts and bike helmets. And people hated those too”
Don’t wait for everybody before speaking up. We don’t need to convince everyone before moving forward, and we may already have more on board than it appears anyway. We won’t know until we try. CHLOE HUMBERT AUG 8, 2023 We need to urge the people who already agree with us to speak up, and then we might find that we’re actually in the majority after all. “Pluralistic Ignorance” refers to the phenomenon where people holding very popular views mistakenly believe their viewpoint is weird, when in reality most people agree with them, they just don’t know it.1 And this is a big problem in America right now, where surveys show a majority of people misrepresent their views in public, or keep their true opinions private.2 So you can’t just assume that “most people” believe something. Historically, change has actually come driven by a small portion of people dedicated to action who are the first to speak up and push things along. And then later after the fact there’s more broad support.
Teams Human - Restricting vaccine access because of anti-vax bs or waiting for hospitals to overflow is unethical. Nobody should be basing vaccine access on financial focus, right-wing politics, hopium, perceived administrative inconvenience, nor anti-vax disinformation. CHLOE HUMBERT - APR 2, 2023 In some cases they’re calling for state action against public health officials based on lies and vaccine disinformation, often conspiracy fodder pumped out by well-funded right-wing think tanks like The Norfolk Group. Someone, reportedly from the FDA speaking on condition of anonymity to the Washington Post, said that they don’t want to have to formulate better vaccines because they believe the public has “little interest in getting repeated injections.” The anti-vax terminology invoked there for periodic shots speaks volumes. And it reflects following the politics in a way that’s incredibly discriminatory against the many high risk people who have been vaccinated, and want to continue getting vaccinated to save our lives. Also, if it’s merely about capitulating to people who don’t want to get vaccines or boosters, why do they want to restrict vaccine access for everyone else? It seems to me that this is a scheme to stop people from getting vaccinated. To vaccinate less. This only makes sense if you want to push “natural infection” upon people. Which will kill some people, and disable more. We know that the anti-vax movement is absolutely related to “natural herd immunity” fantasies. And we know that Cody Meissner buys into that stuff because he signed The Great Barrington Declaration and he continues to blather on about the boggling concepts from those people. And even Paul Offit, also at CHOP, and long time proponent of vaccines, now echoes bullshit “focused protection” ideas from the Great Barrington Declaration, where he claims that young healthy people should get infected instead of getting vaccinated.
Stat News: FDA offers radio silence on question of spring Covid boosters, as other countries push ahead By Helen Branswell March 16, 2023 “We currently live in a world where those that want additional booster doses really want them. And those that don’t want them don’t want them at all. And what we’re trying to do is thread that needle,” Osterholm said.
The Fire These Times - We Need to Talk About Twitter w/ Musa Okwonga and Justin Salhani - Episode 138 - Joey Ayoub August 24, 2023 - Podcast Justin Salhani: “It’s this good faith versus bad faith framework. and i think we're seeing this globally whereby particularly in american congress but also in europe and also beyond, you have a bunch of people that are engaging in good faith, and you have a bunch of people who are engaging in bad faith, and what the bad faith people tend to be doing is trying to pull the overton window into a certain direction by any means possible. and because they know that there's always going to be centrist or liberals that will try to negotiate they'll try to negotiate with all the you know ideas possible in the free market of ideology or whatever you want to call it. and so essentially i think what we're left with is this overton window that increasingly is shifting right where it's because you have these people trying to negotiate somewhat in good faith but somewhat stupidly not able to identify that there are a lot of people out there acting in bad faith. now there are people out there who are maybe have right-wing views on certain things or conservative views on certain things are people who do engage in good faith and will listen and will engage and will try to connect and talk to others right and learn and see these things. but there's a lot of people who don't care who are just trying to cause as much harm as possible”
Steven Hassan - Beware the Metaverse: Dr. Rand Waltzman discusses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet - October 19, 2022 Rand Waltzman: “In a cognitive attack the whole point is that the target shouldn’t know they’re being attacked in order for it to be really effective. So that's the whole trick to keep the target unaware because if the target becomes aware that they’re being attacked in this way, just by them becoming aware it significantly reduces the effect of the attack.”
‘We Want Them Infected’: An Excerpt from Jonathan Howard’s New Book on the COVID-19 Pandemic - April 25, 2023 By Jonathan Howard In February 2021 they recorded “The End of the Pandemic” where listeners heard that “a UCSF infectious disease doctor is convinced this pandemic is ending, and sooner than you think.” Drs. Gandhi and Damania shared a belly laugh then, mocking variants by saying “variants shmariants.” The Delta and Omicron variants would both arrive several months later, and Dr. Gandhi would admit to regretting this comment. This didn’t stop her from making a nearly identical podcast in May 2022 titled “Living with COVID,” which declared “we now have all the necessary tools to end the COVID ‘emergency phase’. Here’s how (and why) we can live with this coronavirus.” They recorded another podcast in December 2022 titled “A Better Pandemic Playbook”, where Dr. Gandhi again made her case for “COVID optimism” and spoke of “how little severe disease there is.”8 She said that, due to high rates of immunity, “since March of 2022 we’ve seen very little severe disease in the hospital.” In reality, 160,000 Americans died of COVID from March to December 2022, and COVID was the third leading cause of death for the third year in a row. Early in the pandemic Dr. Gandhi believed that if COVID killed over 100 Americans daily, citizens would band together and prevent this at all costs.10 Sadly, she was wrong about this too.
Interview with Jonathan Howard on Covid Contrarians - Episode 77 • 23rd June 2023 • Decoding the Gurus • Christopher Kavanagh and Matthew Browne Jonathan Howard (1:41:30): I do not begrudge, you know young healthy vaccinated people living their lives. You know, we can’t expect people to give up parties, and weddings, and funerals, and eating inside forever, you know I have a daughter who’s going off to college, she’s 17 she’s gonna be 18, what am I gonna say never you know be inside around your classmates without a mask, you know of course not that’s ridiculous. You know you just can’t expect people to sort of lead these isolated lives. And sort of back to what I’m saying about me not being a guru, and I make this very clear in one chapter of the book - I don’t have all the answers - I say that very explicitly about how especially at this point in the pandemic, about sort of how people should sort of balance risk. I think it was obviously much clearer in 2020 and that’s what I write about the most, you know those early stages of the pandemic and in 2021 as well. But yeah you know listen we are obviously in a different place and a much better place. The morgues of New York City have space for bodies and they’ve had space for bodies for years, I’m not gonna deny that, that’s obviously true.
"I'm immunocompromised, so COVID-19 is still a big risk for me. When I got into grad school, I had to choose between my health and my education." Billy Lezra Aug 25, 2023, 2:35 PM EDT I had a choice: either decline to enroll in the graduate program and continue working remotely or embark on an opportunity that would facilitate future professional endeavors. Ultimately, I decided to pursue my education — with caution and fear. When I arrived on campus I noticed signs plastered everywhere that read, "Masks are recommended, but not required." I chose to wear N95 masks — which reduce transmission of the virus by 83% — but I was one of a handful of masked students in a sea of uncovered mouths. Attending classes made me anxious, and I Cloroxed my belongings and doused my hands in sanitizer. When I expressed my fear of getting sick, well-intentioned friends asked, "If COVID could kill you, why go to grad school?" This question pained me because it reinforced the idea that my immunocompromised status should prohibit me from pursuing the opportunities my peers had access to. The question also placed the weight of my well-being on my own choices rather than on the actions of systems and institutions.
Kutztown professor with heart transplant should have been able to teach from home, judge says. “Instead of showing compassion to a valued tenured professor ... the university showed callous indifference,” wrote U.S. District Court judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl. by Susan Snyder Published Aug 11, 2023 “Instead of showing compassion to a valued tenured professor, who, despite having recently underwent a heart transplant and was trying with ‘all his might to return to campus’ for the Fall 2021 Semester, the university showed callous indifference by refusing to consider Professor Oross’s individual circumstances as the law required,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Schmehl. Instead, the university summarily denied his request for a remote accommodation “based on a recently devised, inflexible and unsubstantiated policy that any request to change the course modality from in-person to remote would be considered a substantial alteration to the course offerings and would represent an undue hardship to the university and its students,” Schmehl found. But the judge did not grant summary judgment on damages, and Oross and his West Chester-based lawyer, Lorrie McKinley, said they are asking the court for reconsideration. At this point though, he is entitled to back pay, his lawyer said. McKinley said the issue of being able to work remotely is really important to those with disabilities, far beyond the pandemic implications.
People’s CDC - Safer In-Person Gatherings. Community Care First! Guidelines for keeping each other safer while gathering in-person during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic We cannot accept mass infection, and we cannot leave anyone behind. We must make gatherings safer for EVERYONE. Using multiple layers of protection is the best way to protect each other. First, this guide will introduce you to the multiple layers of protection we can use to to protect each other.
Australian Army Occasional Paper No. 8 The Effectiveness of Influence Activities in Information Warfare by CASSANDRA BROOKER This propaganda feedback loop demonstrates the power of inundation, repetition, emotional/social contagions, and personality bias confirmations, as well as demonstrating behaviours of people preferring to access entertaining content that does not require ‘System 2’ critical thought. Audiences encountered multiple versions of the same story, propagated over months, through their favoured media sources, to the point where both recall and credibility were enhanced, fact-checkers were overwhelmed and a ‘majority illusion’ was created.
COVID-19 lockdown revisionism Blake Murdoch, Timothy Caulfield CMAJ Apr 2023, 195 (15) E552-E554; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.221543 The term “lockdown” has become a powerful and perverted word in the infodemic about democracies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown, as used in public discourse, has expanded to include any public health measure, even if it places little to no restriction on social mobility or interaction. For example, a working literature review and meta-analysis on the effects of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality misleadingly defined lockdowns as “the imposition of at least 1 compulsory non-pharmaceutical intervention.”1 This working paper therefore conflated mandatory isolation for people with confirmed infections and masking policies with heavy-handed limitations on freedom of movement, and since it gained viral fame, it has helped fuel calls for “no more lockdowns.” This working paper has been highly critiqued and is less convincing than comparative assessments of health measures, like the Oxford Stringency Index.2,3 Here, we discuss the spread of misinformation on lockdowns and other public health measures, which we refer to as “lock-down revisionism,” and how this phenomenon has damaged trust in public health initiatives designed to keep people safer.
Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson - Reacting to the worst select subcommittee ever (w/ Walker Bragman) Mar 14, 2023 Dr. Miller: "Washing your hands is good. Like Jesus man, how are you a surgeon, and you're advocating against washing hands? And it's funny because Kulldorff just said we shouldn't focus on one disease, we should focus on all diseases. Well washing hands is just generally good for infectious diseases, it just generally helps prevent it." Walker Bragman: "Any amount of sacrifice by the individual for the collective is vilified."
Salon - Long COVID is debilitating children. Doctors worry there aren’t enough centers to treat them. Doctors and parents say it can take months to get treatment — if their symptoms are even taken seriously. By Elizabeth Hlavinka. Published August 27, 2023 It would be a full month of running tests in which doctors continued to say Jack was "fine," until his pediatrician diagnosed him with post-COVID syndrome, also known as long COVID, and referred him to a specialized clinic, said his mother, Kelli Coviello, who is a principal's assistant at an elementary school in Massachusetts. "It's been a challenge of them not really, truly understanding," Coviello told Salon in a phone interview. "They think it's just school avoidance, and he doesn't want to come in or maybe it's just anxiety, and all this other stuff. … But he's an 11-year-old boy, who is looking at you saying, 'Am I dying? What's happening to me?'" Jack is one of thousands of children that has been diagnosed with long COVID. Last month, the National Institutes of Health updated its considerations for long COVID to say the burden of the condition in children "may be quite large."
ABC7 - Study: Teen suicide rate dipped following COVID-19 school shutdowns, spiked when classes resumed. By Brianne Hailey Killeen WABC logo. Thursday, July 20, 2023 They found that teen suicides and attempts increased by more than 32% nationally between 2016 and 2019. Then in 2020, when many schools were shut down for much of the year due to restrictions put in place during the coronavirus pandemic, the rate dipped by 6.8%. When in-person classes resumed for many U.S. schools in 2021, suicides and attempts among teens spiked by 23%.
LA Times - Got a cold, runny nose, the sniffles? No worries! Come to school, LAUSD says. By Howard Blume Aug. 12, 2023 His listed the mental-health harms of being out of school that have been cited by authorities, including U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy: “Anxiety, depression, social-emotional stressors, suicidal ideation.” The superintendent also noted a financial impact. If the current 90% daily attendance rate rose to 95% — which it was pre-pandemic — the result, he said, would be $300 million more in state funding, which is largely based on attendance.
Teams Human - "We’ve created a national ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ Covid policy" - "Disability Justice: the topic of next Marked By Covid Community Meeting - Alameda County reinstates indoor mask mandate - Hopes rise on nasal sprays but I'm still putting my best bets on N95s for now - JUN 6, 2022 Still hearing about school officials who have been pressuring employees to return to school quickly after testing positive. Shouldn’t people who are sick be listening to their doctors about convalescing with a serious virus? You wouldn’t ask HR or the school principal whether you need a colonoscopy or to treat a kid’s cancer, so don’t take advice from some rando down at the school.
San Francisco Chronicle: Berkeley schools reinstate indoor mask mandate for staff and students. Aidin Vaziri May 20, 2022 | Updated: May 21, 2022 Superintendent Brent Stephens said the city’s health officer, Dr. Lisa Hernandez, made the recommendation. He noted that the district has only been able to cover about half its teacher absences with substitute teachers during the current surge.
Jason M - @JasonM98282978 - 11:06 AM · Aug 9, 2023 Dear Mr ******, Your fellow residents have once again drawn attention to the fact that against your strata council’s wishes and previous advice, you are continuing to wear a mask while attending common areas of the **** tower. We, along with your fellow residents, feel this creates an unnecessary atmosphere of fear within the building. The Covid 19 pandemic has been declared over by the World Health Organization, and the virus has become far less dangerous, akin to the common cold. There is no reason to continue wearing a mask. If anxiety is a motivator, we suggest speaking to a professional about this. We ask again that you refrain from wearing a mask in common areas. This includes the lobby, the garbage/recycling room, the mail room, the elevators, and anywhere else where you may encounter your neighbours. We may be forced to take further action if you fail to abide by this request. Sincerely, ** Power-tripping Strata asshole **
‘It’s still killing and it’s still changing.’ Ending COVID-19 states of emergency sparks debate. Moves by WHO and U.S. usher pandemic into new phase of disease monitoring, even as coronavirus kills thousands weekly. 5 MAY 2023 - AMBYKAI KUPFERSCHMIDT, MEREDITH WADMAN - American Association for the Advancement of Science Tedros emphasized that this declaration does not mean COVID-19 is no longer a threat. “The worst thing any country could do now is to use this news as a reason to let down its guard, to dismantle the systems it has built, or to send the message to its people that COVID-19 is nothing to worry about,” he said.
Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan, PhD @3dancingfeet 5:02 AM · Aug 27, 2023 “We need to consider the general adverse effects of masks - on children especially. My daughter is in schools right now as a trainee & there are some major psych. issues with sec. students who have become 'attached' to masks. Younger kids are having speech development delays too.” Dr. Sean Mullen @drseanmullen 6:25 AM · Aug 27, 2023 “Speech development delays have nothing to do with masks. The virus causes vocal functioning issues and aphasia (not to mention cognitive impairment).” Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan, PhD @3dancingfeet 6:35 AM · Aug 27, 2023 “Not in these cases. Teachers are aware of the students’ psych. issues and struggling with these - they’re hiding behind them. Not my words. School reports this. It’s become ‘cool’ to wear masks too. Look at TikTok dance videos.”
Tweet posted by: Masks are bad, actually @ Rando8715401 4:58 PM · Dec 17, 2022 “All that is needed…” As if stopping people from living their best lives isn’t a big deal. If a mask mandate returned, I’d probably become suicidal. I can’t bear to be in places with high rates of masking. I have a mask phobia. I’m just being honest. I find masks to be deeply alienating and dehumanizing. But I’d gladly put one on to protect others if there was evidence that they actually did that in the real world. Alas, they do not.
Kenneth L. Marcus, Accusation in a Mirror, 43 Loy. U. Chi. L. J. 357 (2012). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal Volume 43 Issue 2 Winter 2012 Article 5 The basic idea of AiM is deceptively simple: propagandists must "impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do." 9 In other words, AiM is a rhetorical practice in which one falsely accuses one's enemies of conducting, plotting, or desiring to commit precisely the same transgressions that one plans to commit against them. For example, if one plans to kill one's adversaries by drowning them in a particular river, then one should accuse one's adversaries of plotting precisely the same crime. As a result, one will accuse one's enemies of doing the same thing despite their plans.,, It is similar to a false anticipatory tu quoque: before one's enemies accuse one truthfully, one accuses them falsely of the same misdeed." This may seem an unlikely means of inciting mass-murder, since it would intuitively seem likely not only to fail but also to backfire by publicly telegraphing its speakers' malicious intentions at times when the speakers may lack the wherewithal to carry out their schemes.12 The counter-intuitiveness of this method is best appreciated when one grasps that its injunctions are to be taken literally. There is no hyperbole in the Note's directive that the propagandist should "impute to enemies exactly what they and their own party are planning to do."I 3 The point is not merely to impute iniquities that are as bad as the misdeeds that the propagandist's own party intends. Instead, AiM is the more audacious idea of charging one's adversary with "exactly" the misdeeds that the propagandist's party intends to commit. But why, out of all of the serious allegations that one might level at one's enemy, should one accuse the adversary of precisely the wrongs that one's own party intends to commit? After all, the risks are apparent. By revealing the propagandist's own intentions, AiM deprives the propagandist's party of the advantages of speed and surprise and gives the adversary an opportunity to anticipate and prepare. At the same time, this method provides independent observers and subsequent judicial tribunals with evidence of intent. Moreover, AiM is not based on any evaluation of what misdeeds are most plausibly ascribed to the enemy, such as those that are based on traditional stereotypes, defamations, or actual culpability, since it relies instead on the plans of the propagandist's party. Despite its counter-intuitive nature, AiM has proven to be one of the central mechanisms by which genocidaires publicly and directly incite genocide, in part because it turns out to be quite effective. Once AiM's structure and functions are understood, its pervasive and efficacious presence can be discerned not only in mass-murder but also in a host of lesser persecutions. These qualities can make AiM an indispensable tool for identifying and prosecuting incitement. The Genocide Convention criminalizes "direct and public incitement to commit genocide,"l 4 regardless of whether actual genocide occurs.15