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Member since: Fri Jan 14, 2005, 11:36 PM
Number of posts: 48,264

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Fox News digs up an inconvenient fact after Trump rants about 'transgender insanity'


Donald Trump in 2012 allowed a non-binary beauty queen to compete in his Miss Universe competition, a move that comes in stark contrast to the rhetoric he now routinely uses and the current attitude of the Republican party.

Trump in 2012 overturned a decision by the Miss Universe organization disqualifying 23-year-old Jenna Talackova, a Canadian model who the group wanted to ban from the competition, saying she isn’t a “naturally born” female, Fox News reports.

Trump in an announcement that he was allowing Talackova to compete for Miss Canada said the decision brought his group in compliance with Canadian law.

"We let her in," Trump said in an April 4, 2012 video.

"We’ll see what happens. Maybe she’ll do well, maybe she won’t. You have 58 different girls trying to be Miss Canada. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens. If for some reason she should win, well, then she has to win the Miss Universe contest. Everybody wants to be Miss Universe. I don’t think it’s going to be easy."



A timeline of the DeSantis-Disney fight in Florida


No paywall

TALLAHASSEE — The feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Co. started nearly two years ago when the company required its on-site employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Then, when it criticized the governor over Florida’s legislation about restrictions in public schools about teaching and discussing gender identity and other issues, the governor accelerated the feud.

Here’s the timeline:

Spring 2021: The Legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that would give Disney special treatment to crack down on social media companies after several conservatives said their accounts had been banned. Republican sponsors added a last-minute amendment exempting companies that own theme parks, particularly to allow programs run by Disney+ for example, that collect viewer reviews, to be exempt from the ban. It turns out that the governor’s own staff helped to create the Disney carveout.

Summer 2021: The governor’s war with Disney starts. The company requires all its on-site employees to be fully vaccinated. By late October, the governor announced he would impose fines against Disney and others with vaccine mandates.

March 11, 2022: Disney employees pressure the company to take a stand against the proposed Parental Rights in Education legislation. CEO Bob Chapek sends a message to all employees “especially our LGBTQ+ community,” and says he’s sorry the company didn’t act sooner and announces that Disney is pausing all political contributions in the state.

March 28, 2022: Disney doubles down in a company statement that the Parental Rights in Education bill, dubbed by opponents as the Don’t Say Gay bill, should be struck down by the courts.

The company’s statement, posted on Twitter the same day that DeSantis signed the bill into law, said the company would support national and state organizations working to achieve those outcomes.

“Florida’s HB 1557 ... should have never passed and should never have been signed into law,” the company’s statement read.


COVID-19 lockdown revisionism


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.


Anti-lockdown discourse is common on social media, in political rhetoric and in news articles.4–6 Lockdowns are often framed as a false binary of full lockdown versus no measures. However, democratic governments around the world attempted to strike a complex balance in their implementation of a blend of public health measures to address the threat of COVID-19, which varied as the pandemic and scientific evidence evolved. In some popular discourse, lockdowns have been framed as reckless and unscientific, as junk science, as an excuse to permanently oppress populations, as gaslighting with ever-shifting goalposts and as elements of various outlandish conspiracies.4,7,8 The notion that lockdowns did not work has been internalized by some as a truism. Both paid advertisements about lockdowns and posts on social media have gained widespread engagement.9 In news media, proponents of the Great Barrington Declaration — an open letter from 2020 that has been scientifically discredited — have vocally disputed public health measures.10

Some dissatisfaction with public health measures could relate to communication errors made by governments and others, and to the messy way in which scientific evidence accrued during the pandemic. Not every measure was implemented ideally in terms of its costs versus benefits. Competing priorities, such as child development versus risk of infection in relation to school closures, created spaces for reasonable disagreement, and also generated fertile ground for doubt and misinformation to develop. Careful audit of missteps and successes could usefully inform more targeted public health measures, if and when they are needed in the future. However, other powerful forces bear great responsibility for fostering lockdown revisionism. The capacity for social media to allow misinformation to be disproportionately amplified;11 the creation in popular media of platforms for and consequent legitimization of individuals who spread misinformation or disinformation, through false balance or otherwise;12 and the manner in which some politicians have generated or associated themselves with misleading rhetoric — famously, the convoy that occupied Ottawa in part of 2022 received prominent political support for its anti-lockdown messaging — are examples of such forces.

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