On my FB feed, I shared a link to a NIH study where 455 people were exposed to an asymptomatic but COVID-19 positive person with the assumption that at least a percentage would contract it, but none did.
The post elicited a variety of responses, from this:
Hey. It really seems like you’re trying to downplay covid. I don’t get it. I have a friend that lost 5 family members to this, a coworker that lost 3, and 2 cousins that are ER nurses here in Tucson sending me ICU pics that show what’s going on. Why are you putting out so much pro-Trump propaganda bullshit lately? It really comes as a surprise to me.
Just out of curiosity…
Let’s say COVID is total BS. Why do you think this tactic was used?
— Controlling the population?
— Political tactic (left or right?)
— Tense relationship with China re: trade wars?
— Qanon: so Trump can rescue the underground child traffic victims?
— Economy reset?
— Mandatory vaccination?
— Money/bailouts to big corps?
— any other reason I couldn’t think of on the spot?
I am genuinely curious.
I could just end the blog right here, because these two comments alone have done more justice to the topic than anything else I can say. And two things right up front: first, I have good relationship with both of these people, with whom I share much in common respectively. Second, my first friend’s conflation about Trump, which he later recanted to some extent, is common enough that I think it’s worth including. Trump and Biden are both incredibly mixed bags, obviously, and I’d say at this point in time Biden represents less of what I’m interested in than Trump, just to get that out of the way. But I’ve never posted anything pro-Trump, although I have openly criticized a few things about Biden.
Anyway, the first friend went on to tag me on an ICU nurse’s post, which I’ll summarize here:
— Works in a 24 bed ICU specializing in pulmonary issues at a large AZ hospital, currently designated for COVID-19 patients exclusively, in addition to the ICU’s of several other hospitals in the same city.
— Just got done working five 12-hour shifts back to back
— On most recent shift, withdrew care on 2 patients; families not allowed in
— On most recent shift, another patient “coded” and died.
— On most recent shift, 2 more patients transferred to COVID ICU and intubated
— By end of most recent shift, 24 of 24 beds filled, 23 COVID positive, 1 pending results, 22 intubated, 3 on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — like dialysis but for oxygenation).
— High rate of nurses calling in. They’re physically exhausted from the PPE hustle and re-positioning patients all day, and emotionally tired from caring for patients who are unable to lean on their families, due to quarantine, and sometimes die alone but for nurse.
— Mid-summer should be off-season for respiratory illnesses
—“Looking at the percentages of infection rates to symptom rates, or infection rates to death rates means absolutely nothing when it’s your son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, father that is dying by them self [sic] from a virus that can easily be contained with masks, and hand hygiene, and appropriate social distancing”.
— “…It’s a horrifying virus, and it does horrifying things to your body, even if you survive. And that’s a big ‘if’, if you end up needing a ventilator, chemically paralyzed, and sedated, to make sure you breathe.”
So there’s another perspective.
And then now I’d like to share something I stumbled across on Reddit, from account name Level9TraumaCenter:
“COVID may cause lasting lung damage. Infection may also cause lasting heart, blood, and neurological damage. COVID may cause Kawasaki disease in children, and there’s also the potential to cause male infertility due to testicular damage as well as neuropsychiatric disease: peripheral neuropathy, myopathy, Bickerstaff brainstem encephalitis (BBE), Guillain-Barre syndrome, anosmia and ageusia. 20-30% of patients showing ‘moderate to severe acute kidney injury’ in the UK. This is a disease that can screw you up for years. And maybe even cause cancer. Incidentally, infection with COVID-19 is ‘permanently disqualifying’ for joining the military…”
Some additional data: I’m currently at a fire camp operating a mobile shower unit for a company that is contracted nationally through FEMA. At the height of the pandemic, we had hospital support trailers in NYC, Louisville KY, and Lexington KY for the duration.
The coworker who was mobilized to New York City is my closest acquaintance with this company, and we spoke on the phone several times while he was there, and texted a bit since. He had this to say about his nearly four months at ground zero: “The whole covid is BS, a lot of unnecessary money spent. Close to 1 billion for the three temporary hospitals I was on. Over 4000 beds and only took 230 patients. One guy came in death of a heart attack and the hospital made them put covid death on his death certificate.” On the phone, on an earlier occasion, he said, “It’s a big fuckin’ hoax.”
I don’t know anyone, or of anyone, who’s gotten it, been hospitalized, or died of it, but my landlord is an ICU nurse assigned to the COVID unit in one of New Mexico’s largest hospitals, so of course we asked him about it recently (in June, this month).
“Oh yeah, we’ve had quite a few,” he said, Britishly, because he’s British.
“Were they perfectly healthy people before, or what?,” I asked.
He scratched at his white five o’clock shadow. “Naw…one was in like end-stage renal failure. Another was about 500 pounds. Another guy was 94, so…yeah. We’ve gotten a few Navajo folks in now, of course.”
“Healthy before? No?”
“Well, they were in very poor health, to be quite honest. It really makes you think about the injustice, you know. It’s incredible.”
Nick and I looked at each other. I grew up on the Navajo Rez, a place I love and yet experienced as being quite hostile to even a reasonably healthy omnivore diet, let alone a vegan diet.
“Well,” I said, a little uncomfortably. “The grocery store carries produce and whole foods there, just like it does anywhere. I mean…”
My landlord lifted his hands in a little shrug. “Yeah, I suppose so. That’s true.”
I want to come back to this point, because it’s important, but first let me say: if I had been locked in my house for the whole pandemic, immersed in a brine bath of media news and prevented from exploring my world personally, who knows what I’d think. But in fact, Nick and I spent the latter half of March in Hawaii, then we literally drove across the country, from Pacific to Atlantic, in the last days of March. We spent April and half of May on the North Carolina coast, venturing inland at one point for second-hand barbell equipment. We traveled north through DC to Baltimore and spent the second half of May there, and then we spent the latter half of May and first part of June traveling back West to Arizona. We spent the first part of June in Flagstaff and then got dispatched here to this fire in Colorado.
So we’ve been on planes and in airports, we’ve been on the interstate and on two lane roads, we’ve been in towns and cities and campgrounds and stores and people’s houses and Air BnB’s all across America, for truly the entirety of the pandemic thus far. We’ve been interacting with people displaced from NYC and other places, either voluntarily or also circumstantially.
This was at first coincidental and then simply logistical. I mean, we didn’t glean there was an allegedly highly transmissible pandemic and then set out to travel widely — honestly it’s a long story in itself, about which this blog is not.
But to say we’ve not been sheltering in place is an understatement. And aside from the occasional mandate to mask up at the gas station, and the occasional Megatron over the interstate advising us to “STAY HOME”, and odd sections of Walmart sold out, and arbitrary items like lawn chairs, garden hoses and books wrapped up in police tape at Sam’s Club, and also playground equipment similarly wrapped, and shut down car dealerships and restaurants, and a minority of other businesses with big banners desperately asserting “Yes We’re Open!”, we’ve seen…not much amiss. We’ve spoken in passing with hundreds of cashiers, acquaintances, fellow customers, and everyone’s been in kind of the same boat — this hasn’t affected me or anyone I know, but wow. That kind of thing. I was in line for coffee in North Carolina and the guy ahead of me had two coworkers that got the ‘rona, one who died. “He was about to retire, and in really poor health, though,” the guy said.
Really we’ve relied on our smart phones to convince us that something has been occurring, because otherwise we’d never have known.
Now, I want to make a quick point: the minute the race riots started — and I know I’m supposed to call them “peaceful protests” or “the summer of love”, but I’m just gonna honor my truth here and go with “race riots” — we knew that was real, even though we didn’t find ourselves in the middle of one. The news, Reddit, all forms of social media were flooded with people’s DIY cell phone footage. We’re a digital society and, when things occur en masse, they’re digitally evident.
We did not experience the same thing with COVID, and we found that odd. I would expect, you know, a bunch of posts like “[cough, cough] Fuckin’ dyin’ from the ‘rona over here! This shit is for real!” and ‘oh here’s my neighbor being hauled off by the ambulance or county coroner’ or whatever. We saw a bunch of people squabbling about it on social media, of course, and just a smidge of nurses crying footage. We saw footage from Italy, we saw footage from NYC that was later debunked, turned out they stole it from Italy and re-ran it as NYC. We saw footage from Italian parliament decrying the highly disingenuous and seemingly orchestrated marketing of the pandemic, which was then blocked by Fact Checkers. We saw hydroxychloroquine emerge as a possible intervention, then that was debunked, then the study debunking hydroxychloroquine was retracted, but by then it had already done its job of…nudging the narrative back on track? That general trend, in fact, in combination with the social media censorship of key words and phrases indicating counter-narrative perspectives, was the first experience in my lifetime of typically American free speech and free thought getting a lot less free, all of the sudden.
This contrast, for us, of two different phenomena — COVID and the BLM stuff, respectively — both occurring nationally and internationally, overlappingly, and yet the first being tough to personally or digitally assess, and the second very evident, was frankly confusing. I’ve heard a lot of folks begin sentences with some version of, “I’m not saying it’s not real — obviously it’s real — it’s just that…”
I posted the NIH study showing asymptomatic people don’t act as disease vectors because the assumption that they did was the reason we shut down our whole country, our whole economy. I think it’s highly relevant. I don’t understand why our national dialogue about it couldn’t have been more along the lines of ‘let’s course correct as we go along’ and ‘who does it really make sense to quarantine in perpetuity, given the high level of economic collateral damage’. We acted as if even one COVID death was one too many when we negotiate spectrums of public health and public freedom all the time, on many subjects. And yes, I understand that ‘flattening the curve’ was the whole point, which is invisible in its success and only visible in its failure, and therefore not only a reasonably sound strategy in its own right but additionally a great way to control a populace, in the wrong hands
What it looks like to me is we don’t want to come right out and say, Yeah — this is a virus that attacks sick people. Like we nationally don’t want to admit that some people are healthier and more resilient than others, and that COVID trends overwhelmingly in sick populations. It feels unpopular, uncomfortable, tacky even, to ask these questions like I’ve asked my landlord, and the guy in line at the coffee shop, etc: “Oh yeah? How was their health before?” Like acknowledging this is some kind of implication that sick/old/whatever people don’t have as much of a right to live through a viral outbreak or something.
So many Americans are some version of sick that I guess identifying as virus as being one that attacks sick people is like a moot point or something? What would be really helpful is a good, smart handful of medical professionals stepping forward and saying that a healthful lifestyle and a resilient immune system represent a really significant advantage in the fight against COVID. Oh wait — they did, and they got censored, blocked, and fact-checked.
The news media was a’flutter with melodramatic, 2-sentence headlines: She just wanted an ice cream cone. NOW SHE’S DEAD. He stopped to help someone change a tire. NOW ALL HIS LIMBS ARE AMPUTATED OFF. That kind of thing. The five year old daughter of the paramedic who contracted covid — she wanted to be a pediatric dentist when she grew up. (I’m sorry — at five, she knew this?). NOW SHE’S DEAD.
I’m being a little silly, I know, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the news headlines were intent, just rabidly intent, on giving me the impression anyone, at any age, in any state of health, could get this thing, and I don’t see that that’s true. It’s kind of like this documentary I watched on TV years ago, when I was a teenager. It was called, dramatically, something like “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant — Until I Gave Birth.” Slim, healthful actresses played the real life women, in the reenactment scenes. Then the documentary would cut to the women themselves, reflecting on their experiences, and they were uniformly very overweight. Even as a teenager, I was like: um — how is that not relevant? How am I supposed to believe that a woman at the proper weight could just *up* and give birth one day, having no idea she’s pregnant?
On Veteran’s Day, the New York Times ran an article: “They fought the toughest battles of WW2. And died of the virus.” That two-sentence thing again, you see. Newsflash: it’s amazing anyone who survived anything in WW2 was around to die of ‘rona. A couple news outlets ran the story of a perfectly healthy Wisconsin woman, with no pre-existing conditions, who was bedridden with ‘rona for two weeks, and they made much of how she had to learn to walk again, from scratch. This sounds alarming, right? We thought it was respiratory and now 30-somethings are having to learn to walk again? Damn, that sounds serious. The article made no mention of her weight, but in the photo, she was simply enormous. Not fat shaming, here — but to the extent we can’t acknowledge that overweight often represents a body out of equilibrium on many levels, not all of them obvious, we’re left with this sense of random, helpless vulnerability — kind of like not knowing you were pregnant until you gave birth. What pattern? There’s no pattern here.
We have an interesting way of obscuring our own understanding of health, dis-health, resilience, and vulnerability, in our country. I get the reasons — it’s uncomfortable, and so many of us feel out of control on that level. But as someone who doesn’t feel out of control on that level, and who sees DIY bodily equilibrium as representing not only my own personal suit of armor but an ethical responsibility in a time when both our food and medical systems are hysterically out of touch and out of balance, I get that people are scared — and probably they should be — but a virus that goes around killing sick people sounds to me like a great reason to take a hard look at health generally, not a reason to further obscure the data and imply everyone’s equally vulnerable. It’s just not that hard to be healthy, even into advanced age. Eat whole foods, low on the food chain, drink good water, take a walk every day or so, pick up something heavy in the gym.
Under normal circumstances private citizens don’t have to sit around plugging numbers into spreadsheets to figure out what kind of pandemic they’re in the middle of. But in the case of COVID, there’s never so much as a silver lining as far as the media is concerned: if the deaths don’t look alarming enough, we’ll refocus on whatever metric does. My brother and his good friend are not professional statisticians but they are good at plugging numbers into spreadsheets, so I’ve been privy to a group chat for weeks now where we speculate on the contrast between news headlines and the real data as it rolls in.
Here’s an example below, which is current to today and specific to Arizona (USA), which looks at age relative to cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Arizona COVID deaths, by the way, have trended flat or down since around May 8, which you’d never know from the headlines:
People 65 and older make up 14% of cases, 41% of hospitalizations, and 76% of deaths.
Here’s another graphic, which you can find at https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid, looking at age:
It was a health official in, I think Pennsylvania?, that put it best, several weeks ago — in his area, the median age of death from COVID was actually a smidge higher than the average life expectancy.
Now, I want to speak to my own experience of what it’s like to work in ICUs because I was a respiratory therapist for five years, trained by the US Air Force. For anyone who hasn’t worked in critical care, I would expect the nurse’s account, at the beginning of this blog, would seem harrowing indeed. But it mostly fails to substantiate the narrative, for me personally.
It doesn’t take a pandemic, a plandemic, or any kind of ‘demic to feel like the world is burning, when you work in ICU. I worked the ED and ICU in San Antonio in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and I was like “omg, are there any alive people left?”
Those shifts were long and tough anyway, and then even the minor uptick in admits resulting from people displaced to our city by a hurricane further south represented an enormous additional load, everyone’s days off cancelled til further notice. It was just shift after shift of near death, new death, old death, postponed death. People in the ED dying, hemorrhaging fresh blood, shitting old blood, not breathing, not oxygenating, getting lungs punctured with a big loud pop because they’re collapsed and need to re-inflate, chests being cracked, hearts being manually massaged, chest compressions on dead guys where their dead old arm slides against my hip as I’m working on them, hot hot theater lights, some people getting stabilized and transferred to ICU, some not, just every iteration of violent death, chronic disease death, people all twisted up, people’s heads split open, and a whole lot of people not breathing well. That’s life in critical care.
I like being a truck driver better so I let my certs go, but critical care almost always felt like the whole world was collapsing, at least to me. Then you get off-shift and drive home and, hey, birds are singing.
I want to take a couple things point by point, here, not to in any way diminish that nurse’s experience. In San Antonio, we all worked 5 on, 5 off, 2 on, 2 off, and yes these were 12 hour shifts. So working 5 shifts back to back is not a big deal, in that industry, in my mind.
Withdrawing life support: I’ve pulled the plug on six people, in my role as an RT. That’s right, I’ve technically killed six people. I pulled the plug on two in one night, on doctor’s orders, so that’s also not super unusual, in a big enough hospital.
People arriving in the unit tubed, or getting tubed on arrival: very normal.
People coding: very normal.
All beds filled: very normal.
3 adults on ECMO: not normal. As I understand it, COVID has been a bit of a moving target in terms of typical ventilator protocols, presenting almost more like altitude lungs than ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) lungs, and so venting people in itself has been as much of a problem as a solution.
Ventilators do two things: they ventilate, and they oxygenate. From what I understand, COVID patients are presenting, often, without impaired ventilation (breathing on their own), but with highly impaired oxygenation. This is baffling. And then, when they’re vented, they still don’t oxygenate, because it wasn’t the ventilation that was the issue in the first place, so simply oxygenating their lungs from further down the bronchial tree doesn’t fix it. ECMO fixes it, because it takes all the damn blood out of your body, oxygenates it, and puts it back in, continuously — and that’s a big deal. I’d be like ‘holy shit’ if I showed up to work one night and three patients were on ECMO.
The other really effective thing for oxygenating hard-to-oxygenate people is high frequency oscillatory ventilation, where “breaths” are delivered in hertz, not breaths per second. It’s like a steady vibration of air, which damages the alveoli (little lung sacs) less, and creates less “shear”, which is a stiffening or rigidity of lung tissue as a side effect of positive pressure ventilation. I haven’t heard a lot about HFOV being used with COVID cases, for whatever reason, but I’ve seen it do wonders for non-oxygenating patients in the past.
When we breathe naturally, it’s through negative inspiration — meaning, we create a vacuum that sucks air in by dropping our diaphragm and expanding our rib muscles. “Positive pressure ventilation”, from the vent, forces air in and pulls it back out, which accumulates in damage the lungs over time even as it saves your life. That’s why intubation is only intended to be a short term solution.
Same thing with oxygenation — it’s great short term, but causes tissue rigidity over time. This is why those ICU nurses are exhausted from “proning” patients and changing their positions — as lung fields become too rigid to even partially oxygenate, laying on their backs, you have to flip them around and put them on their sides, upside down, tilted this way and that, all kinds of shit, just to access different lung fields. By the time you’re doing all that, it’s usually not a good prognosis, not matter what diagnosis.
The other thing I’d be freaking out about, if I was still in critical care, besides lots of folks on ECMO, would be people dying without their families allowed to say goodbye.
When I was an RT and we withdrew care on someone, I’d leave the room with honestly a high degree of relief, as the family closed in. I’d just surreptitiously scoot by every half hour or so to see if I could go in and grab the vent, so I could get it cleaned and turned around for the next inbound. I mean, you can’t just go clearing out equipment when people are still grieving, no matter how long the patient’s been dead. And they grieve for a long time, particularly when you really need that vent; it’s Murphy’s Law. So I guess on the bright side — hey, I can clean my vent now — but by every other metric, this is heartbreaking and really, really uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to go to work either, in the face of that. However, that particular sad thing is a result of policy, not the virus itself per se. Let’s just remember that.
In any case, walking, talking people who can’t oxygenate is for sure alarming. However, looking at the mortality rate based on age and pre-existing health conditions, I’d say it’s pretty unwise to downplay that aspect of the debate because, to the extent it’s downplayed, we’re hampered in understanding, preventing, and protecting actual people, actually at risk.
As for Level9TraumaCenter’s long-term prophesying: wow, I guess this is a brand new virus we don’t know anything about except you’re screwed for the rest of your life, if you get it. That’s quite reach, isn’t it, when we can’t even rationally grapple with the reality of people’s health who are being afflicted in the first place? We love to treat ill health in general like it just falls out of the sky and has nothing to do with us and whether we’ve ever remembered to check the oil and kick the tires on our own bodies. But yes, COVID is totally mysterious except for the fact that it represents a limitless cornucopia of negative abundance! Even barring you from military service! I haven’t even bothered to Google this, but here’s what I can say about military enlistment/conscription: they raise and lower their standards like hemlines. If they need you, all you gotta do is fog a mirror. If they’re flush, then you better solve some quadratic equations to get in. Personally, I’m just adding all those items — ‘Kawasaki disease’ for chrissakes — to my big long list of things I’m not buying, like ocean front property in Arizona.
So wrapping up that part of the discussion: I wouldn’t even blink at most of the items listed by this COVID critical care nurse, pandemic or not, but there are a few items on the list that are definitely unusual. I have no doubt health care workers are going through the grinder.
This brings me to my second friend’s comment above, who asked my opinion on the purpose of a plandemic, IF it’s not a real pandemic.
Okay, here’s my thinking on that: we’ve got two separate issues here. One of them is, apparently, a virus we’re not immune to, which presents as respiratory but can progress to circulatory, and about which we have a lot of unanswered questions, a few of which we seem to be actively refusing to answer.
The other issue is, what the actual fuck is going on with all this manipulation of not only information but public perception? I don’t have to deny the presence of a mysterious new virus in order to call major foul on the way we’re being frightened, controlled, and herded, en masse, in ways that seem increasingly and alarmingly predetermined and globally coordinated. The fact that it’s actually pretty benign for most people, advanced age and/or previously poor health notwithstanding, is vigorously obscured in the overall opinion-climate created by the news headlines. This is a pandemic that can literally be dialed up or dialed back, in terms of our perception of how much danger we’re in, collectively, with the ease of someone somewhere operating a switchboard. This is a pandemic that has conveniently served to shear us from our expectations about maintaining independent livelihood, economic vigor, and connections with others. Policies regarding which business have had to close (the independent ones) versus which are allowed to stay open (the corporate megaliths) cannot possibly be arbitrary. I mean, you couldn’t fuck up our economy more if you took it out on a rifle range and lit it up with a .50 cal. The Well Being Trust estimates an additional 75,000 “deaths of despair” (suicide, drug abuse, alcoholism) in the US, which track with unemployment, as a result of this lockdown, with 150,000 being the outside margin if things don’t bounce back quickly.
I don’t think I need to say much more about that because either this is obvious to you or it’s not, but my bullshit meter is just off the charts about COVID, and I’m not even denying it’s a real thing. The BLM stuff has only served to solidify my underwhelm-ment at the vagaries of our health experts’ posturing on and about COVID — protesting the lockdown represents a significant public health risk; protesting police brutality does not.
Come the fuck on. Either gathering is a public health emergency or it’s not. Either it’s mitigated through masks and distancing or it’s not. Americans get to protest whatever we want to protest. Organized religion made God the whore of their agendas for centuries. Well, this is what it looks like when organized globalism makes science its whore, and the media her pimp.
So: I don’t know what the end game or reason or point is, but I can tell you I was raised by parents who most would consider conspiracy theorists — I just consider them to be gifted with a natural sense of healthy skepticism — and I think it’s silly to imagine national governments will continue to be the most dominant players on the board, as they have at least ostensibly in the past. We’ve got massive NGO’s now, with more wealth and power and sway than individual governments, who are unelected and unfortunately unimpeachable, that can literally go above the head of nations, and ally/arrange themselves however they like. I know “New World Order” is this highly charged phrase, one way or the other, but I mean come on: if the earth’s dominance hierarchies, governmental or non; national or non, represent a game board full of big pyramids, don’t you think the apexes of those pyramids have more in common with each other, more to gain from each other, than by only dealing with their resources further down at the pyramid base?
People act like you’re just a kook if you consider the possibility of even an American “deep state” but how could that not be at play, with these various distracting presidential administrations coming and going like the weather, and the entire American population maximally distracted at all times, trying to choose between a beach umbrella and a raincoat? I don’t think Edward Snowden risked his life to expose CIA violations he felt were ethically unconscionable just for the heck of it. I don’t think it’s crazy to say there are NGO consolidations of wealth and power in the world that can do whatever they want, whenever they want, for whatever reason they want, and they’re not going to announce it on CNN. I stand by my healthy skepticism, and my repost of the NIH study.
In any case, we know what our achilles tendon is, now. If I’m supposed to be terrified by this particular pandemic, well then task failed successfully, but I have no doubt a real mamma-jamma of a pandemic could occur naturally or with some help — I mean the kind where you see burning cars flipped upside down, not just a whole nation full of elevator music like this one — and as much as I’d like to say “we the people will try to locate our collective spine, next time”, I dunno. I see this as a sea change. Who knows what the next new normal will be — I’m almost scared to speculate. Honestly a lot of stuff was wrong before, so it’s not like I’m looking back to pre-COVID days as if they were halcyon. They weren’t. And it’s not like the COVID lockdown has impacted me negatively and I’m mad about it — coincidentally, it’s been really great. I have a CDL, so assuming I can avoid getting yanked out of my truck by peaceful protestors and beaten half to death in the course of delivering my load, I expect to be okay, and keep my family okay to the extent I’m able.
So finally, to my friend who made the first critical comment: I love you man. And it’s not that I’m overtly critical of this COVID narrative, or denying the pain others feel; it’s more that I’m confused as the the various pressures about it, and against other narratives, and the obfuscations and conflations that come along with those pressures, and the alarmingly sharp spike in fact checkers and censorship and social castigation that comes along with offering a different perspective. I’m getting a lot of mixed signals and I’m trying to sort them out along with everyone else.