They don’t want it

Suppose a breakthrough mRNA vaccine were developed and produced in record time and with immense government support, hyped to a lockdown-weary public as the answer to the pandemic and the path back to normalcy, and rushed out across the fruited plain in scores of ultracold refrigerated trucks… but then it turned out that large swaths of the healthcare workers toiling in our virus-ravaged hospitals and nursing homes didn’t, in fact, want it? That would be embarrassing, would it not?

Comically enough, that seems to be the situation in places like New York City, although you have to read between the lines a little to figure it out (emphasis added):

The small number of vaccine recipients is particularly striking in New York City, where roughly 110,000 people — in a city of more than eight million — have received the first of two doses necessary to help prevent serious cases of the disease. That is about a quarter of the total number of doses received by the city. […]

State officials noted that the city’s public hospital system — NYC Health and Hospitals — had received about 38,000
vaccines, but only vaccinated 12,000 eligible employees, using less than a third of the doses thus far. […]

Nearly 900,000 vaccines have been distributed in the state, according to the latest available federal data, but the estimated 300,000 people Mr. Cuomo said had been vaccinated represent only about 1.5 percent of the state’s population of about 19.5 million people.

The governor has delegated much of the vaccine rollout to individual hospital systems across 10 regional hubs each encompassing several counties.

What’s the holdup? It’s not quite clear, but the bolded data is very telling. It should not be difficult for hospitals that have vaccines on hand to administer them to their own employees. Gross bureaucratic incompetence on a hospital level does not seem likely in this case. Perhaps the fear of punitive fines if they somehow run afoul of the state’s vaccine distribution plan is making some hospitals overcautious, but I don’t see how that would explain two-thirds of eligible employees not getting the jab.

More likely, many hospital workers simply don’t want experimental genetic engineering technology injected into their upper arms. That would be in keeping with reports of widespread vaccine hesitancy among healthcare workers across the country, throwing something of a wrench in the PR strategy for the much-trumpeted medicine:

US health care workers are first in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — but an alarming number across the country are refusing to do so.

Earlier this week, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine disclosed that about 60 percent of the nursing home workers in his state have so far chosen not to get vaccinated.

More than half of New York City’s EMS workers have shown skepticism, The Post reported last month.

And now California and Texas are experiencing a high rate of health care worker refusals, according to reports.

An estimated 50 percent of front-line workers in Riverside County in the Golden State opted against the drug, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing public health officials.

It will be very interesting indeed to see how the creeps openly threatening to make the vaccine compulsory will react when they find out that, say, one in three healthcare workers nationwide flat-out refuse to take it. Imagine what the rate will be among the general population, furious at being locked down, exhausted by all the lies and manipulation of the past year, and immersed in skeptical commentary thanks to social media. Your move, tyrants.

The New York Times lies about North Korea

South Korea Unification Bridge

South Korean soldiers walking on Unification Bridge

The Nation magazine discusses a breathless article by The New York Times that argues that North Korea is pulling a fast one on the US:

Now, [David] Sanger, who over the years has been the recipient of dozens of leaks from US intelligence on North Korea’s weapons program and the US attempts to stop it, has come out with his own doozy of a story that raises serious questions about his style of deep-state journalism.

The article may not involve the employment of sleazy sources with an ax to grind, but it does stretch the findings of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank that is deeply integrated with the military-industrial complex and plays an instrumental role in US media coverage on Korea.

“Controversy is raging,” South Korea’s progressive Hankyoreh newspaper declared on Wednesday about the Times report, which it called “riddled with holes and errors.”

Sanger’s story, which appeared on Monday underneath the ominous headline “In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception,” focused on a new study from CSIS’s “Beyond Parallel” project about the Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base, one of 13 North Korean missile sites, out of a total of 20, that it has identified and analyzed from overhead imagery provided by Digital Globe, a private satellite contractor.

The NYTimes story draws on the CSIS study to argue that North Korea is performing a “grand deception” by continuing work on its ballistic missile program at 16 secret bases, despite very publicly offering to dismantle a large missile launching site as a sop to the US. The article also points out that Kim is continuing to produce fissile materials for nuclear weapons. In other words, Trump got played.

The problem is that the CSIS study in question is based on commercial satellite imagery dated March 29 – almost three months BEFORE Trump and Kim shook hands in Singapore! Moreover, the US and North Korea have not yet reached an agreement on the ballistic missile program, so Kim cannot possibly be cheating by continuing work on said program – if he even is, which is unclear.

Contrary to the impression one would get from a superficial reading of the Times story, the situation seems to be well under control, or at least, moving in the right direction:

South Korean officials are confident the US–North Korea talks will resume, and point to the steps Pyongyang has taken since the Singapore summit. They include North Korea’s decommissioning of a major satellite launch facility; its destruction of the tunnels where its nuclear weapons were tested; its return of American dead from the Korean War; and its unprecedented cooperation with South Korea and the US-controlled UN Command to remove guard posts and firearms in the DMZ.

The only deception here is coming from a certain newspaper. But why? The Nation has a theory:

Here’s where the contractor money that pours into CSIS comes in: Providing the justification for a tougher policy of sanctions and military threats would be very much in tune with the defense and intelligence companies that support the think tank.

Reality is complicated. Until recently, I had always thought of the New York Times as a left-wing, antiwar newspaper. Yet, the left-wing Nation magazine is here criticizing the New York Times for pushing a bogus narrative designed to thwart US diplomacy and justify a more bellicose policy towards North Korea. According to one expert quoted by the magazine, the Times is in effect acting as a mouthpiece for “the most reactionary elements of the US national security and foreign policy establishment.”

It may be that the categories of left-wing and right-wing just aren’t very useful for understanding the world anymore.