A few random thoughts from the churn:

Vaccines.  For me, the risk/benefit is upside down on getting a booster.  If I had known then what I know now, I would have realized it was upside down for me on getting the initial shots.  The Omicron variant has reduced the benefit side greatly, I believe, as Omicron appears to be a lot less virulent.  And evidence is accumulating, in various ways, that the vaccines cause damage, likely cumulative damage.

So, my line in the sand is boosters.  Not gonna do it.  If they are mandated in order to be fully vaccinated, I’ll be out a job.  And my job is pure “laptop”/managerial class, so I suspect job opportunities for an Unclean will be thin on the ground if fully vaccinated requires boosters.  The feds are laying the groundwork for requiring boosters at hospitals, at a minimum.  I think it’s a race between the rising resistance and the entrenched demand for ever-escalating panic and controls.  So it goes.

Masks.  The move from “wear a mask” to “but not a cloth mask, it has to be a surgical mask or an N95” has been floated but doesn’t seem to be getting all that much traction.  Surgical masks are no better than cloth masks (which is to say, there is no evidence that either reduces actual transmission in any meaningful way), so I wouldn’t be that surprised to see more of a push for “N95s only”.  Properly fitted and worn N95s do reduce transmission, based on what I have seen in the hospital setting.  We have staff who wear them in environments that are packed with COVID, and their infection rate has been on par with, or maybe slightly higher, than the general public.  Of course, the general public will not, under any circumstances, wear properly fitted and worn N95s, so you can’t extrapolate from what I have seen to a society-wide mandate to wear them.

You know our broken, authoritarian Public Health Masters want an “N95s only” mask mandate.  There are two barriers to this, though – (1) there aren’t enough N95s, and (2) saying, in effect, that surgical masks are useless will go against the Narrative, but our Public Health Masters are sublimely unconcerned with consistency, let alone validity.  The original purpose of surgical masks – to protect people undergoing surgery from droplets (or worse) in their open incisions, and to protect the clinical staff from the patient’s bodily fluids, has been completely lost.  Naturally, the hatred of normal people for N95s is a complete non-factor to our Public Health Masters.

This could also be a line in the sand.  I can see hospitals mandating N95s for their employees.  The line could be “I’m not wearing an N95, but I can work from home and not come into the building.”  Don’t know if that would fly, though.  Would I be willing to work mostly from home, and don the mask on the hopefully rare occasions I have to come in?  Maybe?  Probably?

The Data.  The COVID data is steaming pile of flaming dumpsters that jumped the tracks and plowed through a day care center.  I’m to the point where I trust very little of it, indeed.  Confirmation bias is nobody’s friend.  So, anecdata it is!

I haven’t talked to anyone who has gotten sick in the recent Omicron wave that wasn’t vaxxed and boosted.  Not one.  My conclusion: the vax and boosters don’t protect people from getting infected (and thus being carriers), and so there is zero basis for any vax/booster mandate.

1/3 of our patients hospitalized “with [positive] COVID [tests]” are vaxxed, in a county with about a 60% vax rate.  The vax rate has been pretty stable, rising slightly, but the percentage of hospitalized patients who were vaxxed has been rising more than slightly.  My conclusion: the vax helps prevent hospitalization to some degree (and thus likely reduces death to some degree).  I also think that protection declines over time, and as new variants emerge.

What is unknown is whether there is a net benefit to the vax, when you net out the serious adverse side effects.  Did I mention the data is garbage?

The Narrative.  It is extremely difficult for me to say how effective the relentless propaganda narratives have actually been.  They so completely dominate the public sphere that it is easy to say that the Narrative is winning.  And there will always be a sizable percentage who buy in, out of laziness, desire for social acceptance, or whatever.  I believe (hope?) this percentage is mostly concentrated in urban areas and in the laptop/managerial class.

The Narrative is so grotesquely and obviously false and self-contradictory that its hard to see how anyone can accept it.  But its been apparent since the Before Times that we as a society are dividing into two very different worldviews, and, worse, these worldviews are irreconcilable.  Well, there’s more than two, but there are two main ones.

There is the “new” Narrative that we are all familiar with – that COVID is an unprecedented extinction-level event only survivable by slavishly following the diktats of our Public Health Masters and overturning normal human interactions and society, that white people and America are deplorably and irredeemably racist, so America must be “fundamentally transformed”, that opposition to this is sedition and treason to be rooted out By Any Means Necessary, etc.

And there is the old worldview, which rejects all of this and bitterly clings, if you will, to notions of personal responsibility, family, getting ahead/getting by/getting along as best you can, the kinds of things that a normal person finds it hard to articulate for the same reason fish don’t really give a lot of thought to water.

These are irreconcilable because the new Narrative is totalitarian – it demands that everyone bend the knee and publicly bow to its demands.  There is no point in engaging with an adherent of the Narrative – you will not change their minds.  Well, maybe not no point; openly opposing the Narrative also lets others know that they aren’t alone, that there are good reasons why they aren’t crazy for thinking “all this I hear seems pretty nuts”.

Which brings me back to – how effective is the relentless propaganda?  Is it creating a critical mass, or will it blow over like previous millenarian and intellectual fads?  If there is a critical mass (which can be confined to the managerial class and urban areas), what then?  Do normal people buckle under, resist Irish-Democracy style, or rise up?

Jobs.  The evil fucks in our ruling class have cracked the code for totalitarian rule of America.

First, “safety” as the be-all and end-all of life, and “public health” as royal road to “safety”. That puts the state in charge of pretty much Every. Single. Thing.  But the state still has limited reach, really.

So, second, make having a job contingent on complying with public health diktats.  Bingo bango, the ideology and the mechanism of totalitarian rule fall into place like the pins on a deadbolt when the key is inserted.

Which poses a dilemma for doctrinaire libertarians, since it is now “private entities” extending and amplifying the reach of the state and advancing the agenda.  Screw “nudging” individuals; “nudge” the companies are much more vulnerable to state action, instead.  We’ve seen this movie before – the collusion of big business, the state, and organized labor.  In Italy, it was fascism.  In Germany, it was national socialism.  And in the US, version 1.0 was the New Deal.

I don’t know what this latest mutation will be called.  And I don’t know if it will succeed.  It does have the tremendous propaganda machine of the Narrative behind it.

Politics.  Who gives a shit, really, about the horrible people in DC being horrible to each other?  And that’s basically what the political “news” covers.  I’ve mostly stopped caring; they are little more than the penguin shit on the tip of the iceberg of our Ruling Borg, which includes the administrative state, the major media and entertainment, academia, Big Tech, and their fellow travelers in the managerial class.

Cocktails.  C’mon, what’s an R C Dean post without a cocktail?

The Triple-Bitter Old-Fashioned:

3 oz. rye (I use our home barrel-aged stuff, you can use any liquor you like.  I’m not your Karen.)

3 dashes chocolate bitters

3 dashes Peychauds bitters

6 dashes Angostura bitters

1 – 1 ½ oz. simple syrup (I actually use 1/2 oz of Dolcedi, which is a low-glycemic sweetener, and add a splash of water)

Shake, serve over rocks.  As always, adjust to your taste.  I’m not a garnish guy, but I could see a good maraschino cherry or two on this, if I had any in the fridge.

Bonus cocktail tip:  I’ve take to adding 2 dashes of orange bitters per oz of Tequila to my margaritas.  Adds a little dimension.