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Bruce Dowbiggin

Why Sports Leagues invite Disaster By Ignoring Reality

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“COVID-19 is taking its toll on teams and players around the league, whether vaccinated, as breakthrough cases are all over.  And the Cowboys’ Zack Martin was placed on the Reserve-COVID list on Sunday, meaning he will miss the opener.”

The NCAA Football and CFL seasons have kicked off. The NHL, NBA and NFL campaigns are hot on their heels, ready to begin their 2021-22 seasons. The question is “Will they finish their seasons under the current Covid-19 protocols?”

Gauging from stadia full of maskless fans this past weekend around CFL and college football the general public has moved beyond viral doom playing wack-a-mole with the public. They seem to be saying they accept the “risk” that, for under-70s, 99.998 percent of them will not die of Covid.

That message seems lost on league officials. To them it’s still 2020 and panic of the unknown is rampant. The rules governing Covid-19 infections were first put in place in the summer of 2020 when “bubble” sports were in vogue and Zero Covid was the goal. They involved testing using the PCR system— that even NFL officials knew was grossly misapplied— tied to test-and-trace protocols. Those protocols— plus bubble isolation— hoped to identify the infected, the people in their circle and thereby achieve Zero Covid.

Like Clemson’s unbeaten season, Zero Covid is dead in the water. The question now is, What are acceptable losses? Still, leagues are ignoring the far-more accurate T-cell immunity testing (which, roughly, identifies antibodies in the system) in favour of the PCR tests. So we saw 13 players on the Edmonton Used-To-Be-Esquimaux put on a quarantine list for being in touch via one person infected— though not seriously sick— with the virus.

In short, even if players show minute traces of virus that can’t make them sick or, crucially, produce enough virus to infect others, an NFL or CFL team may miss the postseason. Players are being warned to not test positive in great numbers or else games will be forfeited. Under these rules it’s just a matter of time till the PCR tests cost a team or teams their season.

Of course this is FUBAR. No pro sports team member without co-morbidities has died or even reached an ICU. (Coaches and administrators have had problems related to their age, morbidities endemic to the virus.) The fans have largely junked the protocols, with few if any difference in sickness rates to those masked up and huddled in their basement.

So why clinging to the old “vaccines will save us” mentality? Since the time the sports’ rules were unveiled we have learned the following:

1. As mentioned here many times, the PCR testing protocol— that leagues and media have embraced like a sailor to a sinking boat— is now understood to be highly problematic. If by highly problematic you mean utter nonsense. As Michael Senger writes in Tablet:

“Based on WHO’s guidance on COVID-19 testing, again citing Chinese journal articles, labs used, and continue to use, PCR cycle thresholds from 37 to 40, and sometimes as high as 45. At these cycle threshold levels, approximately 85% to 90% of cases are false positive…The WHO’s PCR guidance was… quite possibly the deadliest accounting fraud of all time. According to coding guidance, if the decedent had either tested positive or been in contact with anyone who had, within several weeks prior to death, then death should be classified as COVID-19 death.”

The only disqualifications should result from sick players with positive results from T-cell immunity tests. Sadly, these tests— that identify natural immunities rendering vaccines irrelevant— have been ignored for PCR tests by government and the sports bodies.

2. Masks remain the comfort blanket for health administrators. Despite testing that shows the common, thin-blue masks are porous and ill-fitted, working in just 14 percent of cases, administrators and sports leagues have once again rushing back to them as a break wall against the variants. But there is no evidence that masked states and provinces have had any noticeable advantage versus unmasked states such as Florida and Texas.

3. The magic-potion vaccines have proven anything but. Promised as the end of the pandemic they’re now falling apart  . “Israel no longer considers people who have received 2 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech shots as “vaccinated.” As of September 1, only those who received 3 doses are considered “vaccinated”. They have also stated their vaccine passports now expire 6 months after the 2nd Pfizer dose.

“That means you need booster shots to keep the vaccine passport valid. Meanwhile, Israeli Health officials indicated that 90% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are fully vaccinated.Coming to a government near you, North America. And the demonization that follows mandatory vaxxing and passports will continue though three, four or more boosters.

4)  Obesity— and resultant diabetes— is an equally lethal Covid risk. 60 percent of those in ICUs are morbidly obese. Yet we see porky politicians and overweight media scolds attack those not vaccinated as the greatest threat under the virus. The teams also need to emphasize preventatives and early treatments that are now , despite the protests of purchased media, showing positive results. See: Joe Rogan Ivermectin.

5) As we’ve often repeated: this is not a Covid issue anymore. It’s a healthcare capacity issue. Both Canada and U.S. denying that fact means we will be stuck in this rut till the next virus hits. Simply, if people want better healthcare they’re going to have to pay a lot more for it.

As for sports leagues they’d best find a safe position on what constitutes ground for a forfeit of games or a season. Because increasingly desperate healthcare zealots will define it for you if it helps covers their ass.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author of Cap In Hand is also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, his new book Personal Account with Tony Comper is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Get Back: Imagining The Real John Lennon

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Get Back, Peter Jackson’s new documentary on The Beatles taping their Let It Be album in 1969 has revelations for all generations of Beatles fans. Using video shot at the time for an earlier Michael Lindsay-Hogg film Jackson captures the creative process of the band in all its tortured glory.

Watching the four men create, procrastinate, argue, harmonize, feud and eventually part ways puts meat on the bones of their legend— particularly for those who came to their music since the band split up in1969-70. Seeing them in the context of the time reinforces their astounding productivity and creativity.

While there are have been endless tribute bands since, The Beatles themselves almost came out of thin air. They didn’t discover rock and roll fire but they harnessed it to establish a template often imitated but never quite duplicated. The anticipation of a new album like Revolver (their best) was a cultural event for which there’s no modern equivalent. After they split up members of the group never achieved quite the success they enjoyed as a foursome (George Harrison fans might contest this.).
Jackson’s documentary does establish one salient fact. Yoko Ono did not break up The Beatles. Nor did Linda Eastman nor George Harrison nor Paul McCartney. The Brutus in this plot was John Lennon, the quixotic blunt edge of the group. Distracted and disillusioned in the film, Lennon creates the fissures that finally result in dissolution.

Nursing a nasty heroin addiction as the band starts recording, Lennon is starting the slow-motion breakdown that leads to his later incarnations as Ghandi, Gene Vincent, Randall McMurphy and finally martyred Jesus figure. He can’t concentrate on anything for more that a few minutes. He wants Phil Spector, the Rasputin of rock, to produce the album. He wants Allen Klein to mange Apple, their creative company. He wants to play a public concert.

Eventually it all gets to be too much for the other Beatles. Harrison chafes to record his own music, Ringo feels bored, while McCartney wearies of trying to hold the whole business operqtion together. Lennon, meanwhile, wants to hang with the New York crowd that Yoko has introduced to him.

At its heart the band dramas were about Lennon and loyalty to The Beatles brand. His current beatific image is nothing like the man we see in Get Back. In 1969 he was the scruffy guy who’d written songs like Run For Your Life (“I’d rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man”) and dumped his wife Cynthia for Yoko. (John singing “I’m in love for the first time” about Yoko must have been comforting for his ex-wife Cynthia and son Julian.)

His pacifist politics are summed up in Revolution (“If you talk about destruction, don’t you know you can count me out”) He liked getting in the face of authority. “Once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour.”

And he famously debated his popularity versus that of Jesus. There were seams and creases to the man in the studioi who later became the sloppy drunk pal of Harry Nilsson, boozing themselves to oblivion. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say he was the least loveable of The Beatles in his day— an image he was okay with, apparently.

So Lennon would probably hate the people who define him now by Imagine, the song he wrote that has been sanitized by the establishment. Imagine is what you’d get if Karl Marx met Sesame Street

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people

Sharin’ all the world?

No possessions? Kids who can’t go ten feet without checking for their iPhone sing this tripe without irony. Remember that Apple’s name and its iconic startup tone are Beatle tributes. There’s more.

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Livin’ life in peace?

This is how we got Facebook censoring the posts of people who might actually prefer borders and religion. (Frankly this is the part I blame on Yoko.) And this verse prefiguring post-1980s marketing.

You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

Because Lennon was shot to death by one of his lunatic fans— precluding any second act to his llfe— we now see him as corporatized John, smoothed out to be marketable like Big Macs and Apple tablets. As Jackson shows he was anything but a bite-sized commodity.

Watching Lennon still fascinate the public 40-plus years after his murder suggests one lyric that might serve as epitaph: “It’s not like me to pretend. But I’ll get you, I’ll get you in the end. Yes I will, I’ll get you in the end. Oh yeah.” Get Bak to that.

 

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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Bruce Dowbiggin

No News Is Good News: When Facts Don’t Matter

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The facts are crystal clear. The man travelled across state lines with an unregistered gun to take part in a political demonstration in Kenosha, Wisconsin. When the demonstration turned into a riot he found himself confronted by another person wielding a weapon. He pointed his gun first at the person.

But Kyle Rittenhouse shot him in the arm before he could pull the trigger. The person in question is People’s Revolution member Gaige Grosskreutz. Grosskreutz,, who has arrests for domestic abuse, prowling, trespass, two DUIs, felony burglary and two charges of carrying a firearm while intoxicated, travelled from Illinois with an illegal handgun and later was a key witness in Rittenhouse’s trial, inadvertently sinking the prosecution by admitting he pointed his gun first.

If the news about crossing state lines with an unregistered gun etc sounds familiar, it’s because that was the much-repeated media allegation against then-17-year-old Rittenhouse. The charge was a lie about Rittenhouse (he obtained his registered AR-15 in Wisconsin) but true of Grosskreutz who had no permit for his gun. Yet Rittenhouse was, predictably, the person Wisconsin state attorneys charged, not Grosskreutz.

Another lie receiving considerable international media play was that Rittenhouse shot and killed three black men. (All victims were white men with criminal records. One survived.) Or the MSNBC Joe Scarborough claim that Rittenhouse sprayed bullets widely. Or that Rittenhouse was a known white supremacist and the episode was an assault on BLM supporters.

Or that Jacob Blake, whose shooting by police inspired the spasm of violence in Kenosha, was an innocent father killed by cops. Blake, who is alive,  was not, as media portrayed him, another urban black saint like George Floyd, but a sexual-assault perp who attacked police then tried to escape in a stolen car with three kids. As we wrote in August 2020, “To celebrate this creep downtown Kenosha was burned, businesses destroyed, at least two people killed and $2 million raised.”

For these reasons consumers of liberal media outlets watching the Rittenhouse trial were bewildered by discrepancies between the evidence and what they’d been continually fed by their favourite talking heads on TV.However you feel about the case— and feelings are very strong— the least the media could do is get the facts right to condemn Rittenhouse. But when the U.S. president pre-judges those facts there’s more safety in the company of online liars and dissemblers. (Canadian media gleefully picked up on all the Rittenhouse lies and spread them gratuitously.)

The taking-sides pattern continues in nearby Waukesha, Wisconsin, where a career criminal names Darrel Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas parade of kids, families and grannies, killing six and injuring dozens more. Because Brooks is black and has said clever stuff like “KNOCK WHITE PEOPLE DA FUC- OUT”, this mass murder is receiving something less than Rittenhouse blanket coverage from your legacy media. Page 22 in the NY Times. The Washington Post call is it a “tragedy caused by a SUV”. Go figure.

We have entered a time where narratives supersede facts in reporting. Newspapers refuse contrary stories or do only white-on-black crime, not the 94 percent of blacks who murder other blacks. Twitter bans inconvenient research or videos that upset the Covid establishment. Donald Trump is the most prominent example of Big Tech making a non-person for his questioning the 2020 presidential election results. There are dozens more.

In a typical Canadian example of censoring the news, a recent CBC PEI story on a handful of positive Covid cases (none of them hospitalized) drew comments on its website comparing PEI’s stringent efforts to stop the virus with those of Florida where the state has been open for some time. The comments were taken down. So was an inquiry to CBC about why the comments were nuked. Standards and practices, don’t you know. But Biden’s libels on Rittenhouse remain on CBC media.

The difference from a decade ago is that media has succumbed to the mission creep of self worship. Where once stories were assembled to create a picture of the day’s news, stories are now assembled to support a preordained picture. One that flatters the cult of journalists with their moral superiority.

And so what is that narrative? Is it racial? Gender fluidity? Binary? All of the above? The new reality is class— a generation of educated whites, many in the knowledge, government or media industries. Their Woke opinions are like the electric cars, private schools, summer cottages, pink pussy hats and other trappings they accumulate to cement their superior status. Talismans of their significance.

Probably the distinctive feature of the new journalism— entrenched by the Trump tenure— is to flatter these people by punching down on lesser educated whites for their gullibility and lack of class consciousness. Witness Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, SNL.

As Barack Obama so wittily observed, they are the people who “cling to their guns and religion”, making them perfect targets for wags such as Howard Stern who is, apparently, now tired of liberalism. “I used to be into freedom, but I’m not anymore.” Stern said. “I don’t feel good about what’s going on in my country. I might have to run just to clean this f**king mess up.”.

Kyle Rittenhouse, whose tears were labelled white privilege, was the perfect embodiment of the 75 million “guns and religion” crowd who voted for Donald Trump in 2020. So Rittenhouse, not black sexual-assault guy Jacob Blake, served as  the show-trial for people looking out for the latest hot take.

Biden’s plummeting polling seems to say that, in America at least, the media’s means of dividing cultures is not working. But the 12 months till the 2022 midterms is a long time in politics. And the media has its ways. With facts a fungible commodity, we wouldn’t bet against the culture war getting hotter before it ever cools down.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). The best-selling author of Cap In Hand was nominated for the BBN Business Book award of 2020 for Personal Account with Tony Comper. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book with his son Evan Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History is now available on http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

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