“Insurrection” Hysteria Appears To Be The Democrats’ Sole Strategy For Holding Power, And The Media Is Enabling It. Of Course, This is Unethical….And Ominous [Corrected]

Insurrection committee

Glenn Greenwald’s latest newsletter from substack was nicely timed today. I was genuinely puzzled to see the front page of the Sunday Times left on my lawn this morning dominated by a 50 square inch photo, a scare headline and an article about the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol. The episode occurred 9 months ago. This was neither news or history. What’s going on here? [Notice of Correction: the original version had the date and time passed wrong. Stupid mistake.]

Then Greenwald’s piece arrived. “When a population is placed in a state of sufficiently grave fear and anger regarding a perceived threat, concerns about the constitutionality, legality and morality of measures adopted in the name of punishing the enemy typically disappear,” he wrote. “The first priority, indeed the sole priority, is to crush the threat. Questions about the legality of actions ostensibly undertaken against the guilty parties are brushed aside as trivial annoyances at best, or, worse, castigated as efforts to sympathize with and protect those responsible for the danger. When a population is subsumed with pulsating fear and rage, there is little patience for seemingly abstract quibbles about legality or ethics. The craving for punishment, for vengeance, for protection, is visceral and thus easily drowns out cerebral or rational impediments to satiating those primal impulses.”

I have never been able to understand how anyone could accept the obvious exaggeration of the extent, intent, and import of the riot. I really can’t: it amazes me. This was 300, more or less, irresponsible, mostly middle-aged fools, behaving like the Chicago peaceniks at the 1968 Democratic National Convention but with less coherence. Their riot paled in all respects to the Black Lives Matter rioting across the U.S.: less damage was done, far, far fewer people were injured, and the only individual killed was a rioter. Although the post-George Floyd riots shut down businesses and government functions for weeks, the process of certifying the 2020 election results, allegedly the action that the Capitol protesters wanted to halt, weren’t even delayed a day. The claim that these unhappy Trump loyalist idiots were trying to take over the government with bear spray and funny hats was and is nonsense, and transparently so. Yet Greenwald writes,

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Unethical Quote Of The Month (But Thanks For The Candor, Terry!): Former Va. Governor And Current Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe

“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what to teach.”

Terry McAuliffe, Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia, in  the televised debate with Republican adversary Glenn Youngkin

Every now and then one of the crypto-totalitarian Democrats or progressives slip up and rip his or her mask off, and McAuliffe’s sudden outburst of damning truth was a real Jack Nicholson “You’re damn right I did!” moment. I know virtually nothing about Glenn Youngkin, but I know too much about Clinton bag-man McAuliffe, and if God’s in his heaven and there is justice in the cosmos, this outburst will keep McAuliffe, who is corrupt and almost as slimy as the Clintons, out of the Governor’s mansion. It isn’t the reason I won’t be voting for Terry, who was Bill’s fundraiser, only because it doesn’t have to be. There are so many other reasons, as his Ethics Alarms dossier shows and the alarming essay below from my previous platform, The Ethics Scoreboard, amply demonstrates.

But enough of McAuliffe for now, for this post isn’t really about him as much as it is about his quote and what (and who—Terry was also Chair of the Democratic National Committee) it represents. For it expresses fairly the current attitude of the Left regarding public education. Children are in school for progressives, Democrats, Marxists and anti-American activists to indoctrinate. Gabriel Gipes, the so-called “Antifa Teacher” was an extreme case, but lazy parents and apathetic citizens allowed the Left to take over the educational establishment (as well as other institutions) a long time ago. Now they are shocked—shocked!-–with the advent of critical race theory and the “1619 Project’s” pollution of public school curricula—to find that our children have been and are being programmed to accept progressive cant as truth, and even to oppose the Bill of Rights as well as the foundational culture of the nation itself.

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Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 9/26/2021: Down The Hole As We Vilify The Good Guys To Advance An Agenda

Hole

Well, it worked with the false Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown narratives, so why not try it again? I was about to devote a segment here to the hysterical “Border Patrol whipping poor migrants” tale neing manufactured by the administration and the media, but it warrants a full post. I’ll just note the smoking gun huminahumina response from DHS Secretary Mayorkas last week when Peter Doocy of Fox News—gee, why don’t the reporters from other outlets ask administration officials tough questions?—asked him why President Joe Biden accused Border Patrol agents of “strapping migrants.” Doocy asked, “You said on Saturday — or rather, on the 20th, ‘To ensure control of the horse, long reins are used.’ The person who took these photos of the Border Patrol agents says, ‘I’ve never seen them whip anyone.’ So, why is the President out there today talking about people being ‘strapped?'” Hmmm. Because Biden has always been a shameless hack? Because nobody tells him what’s going on? Because creating sympathy for illegals while villifying law enforcement officials for doing their jobs is central to the Left’s open borders agenda? Mayorkas babbled,”So let me, um, uh, let me correct, um, uh, the statements in your question, if I may…” When Doocy (you know, for someone who only has his job because of outrageous nepotism, he has been performing admirably) countered, “They’re direct quotes,” the Secretary of Homeland Security said, “It was on Friday when I was, uh — actually, it was on Monday, I believe, uh, when I was in Del Rio, uh, on the ground, uh, and I made the statements without having seen the images. I saw the images on the flight back, and I made the statement that I did with respect to what those images suggested.The horses have long reins, and, uh, the image in the photograph that we all saw that horrified the nation, raised serious questions about what it— about what occurred and of — as I stated quite clearly — it conjured up images of what has occurred in the past.”

That’s as close to an admission of deliberate obfuscation for political ends as you’re likely to see. What should matter is what was really happening, not what images were conjured up by confirmation bias and or what photos “suggested.”

1. The Great Stupid comes for “Lonesome Dove.” As a lifetime Western movies aficionado, I have concluded that the TV mini-series of Larry McMurtry’s “Lonesome Dove” is the greatest Western ever made. Watching it again yesterday to cheer me up after I woke up with Churchill’s “Black Dog” on my head, I was nauseated to find that the streaming version now carries a warning about “Culturally insensitive portrayals.” After all, the story about cowboys moving a herd to Montana told from their perspective included some dangerous and violent Indians. Of course, for every mean Native American there were about ten cruel and ruthless whites, but somehow I don’t think the trigger warning was referring to them.

2. Speaking of the “Zimmerman murdered innocent teen Trayvon Martin” lie…New York Times drama critic Salamishah Margaret Tillet , the Henry Rutgers Professor of African American Studies and Creative Writing who is essentially an activist uninterested in fair or objective analysis, meaning that her reviews are propaganda, wrote about the re-opened Broadway play “Pass Over” by writing of the playwright,

“Nwandu originally wrote “Pass Over” in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin, seeking to channel the grief and rage that so many African Americans were grappling with. Its latest iteration, she has said, is speaking to the widespread racial justice protests of the summer of 2020. As a result, “Pass Over” is one of the few works of art that really charts Black Lives Matter as a movement responding to the racial justice needs of its day.”

But if the play, which involves a white cop called “master” threatening and menacing them was a response to Martin’s death, it was a response based on media lies and deliberately divisive warping of facts to vilify whites and police. That rage and grief was manufactured for political ends, and the investigation and the trial exploring Martin’s death had to be deliberately ignored for Tillet to write such a paragraph and for the Times to publish it.

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Nicki Minaj Madness Continues As Harvard Gives Me Another Reason To Skip My Class Reunion…

Harvard Minaj

Who would have predicted that a nasal-voiced Trinidad rapper’s ridiculous explanation that her cousin’s friend’s swollen testicles were why she was unvaccinated against the Wuhan virus would bind together Joy Reid, the CDC, The White House, Twitter, “The View,” the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and Harvard College in public controversies highlighting the Totalitarian Left’s increasingly ominous enthusiasm for curtailing free speech?

And yet here we are, because the United States of America has lost its collective mind, with progressives and Democrats leading the madness. For the third Ethics Alarms post in three days about a celebrity I would normally ignore, we have this addition to the Nicki Minaj Affair: a Harvard undergrad using the Twitter handle @imjustjuice tweeted two weeks ago that he and his suitemates had been contacted by Harvard authorities and told to remove from their window a flag showing an unusually restrained Minaj saluting in front of Old Glory. (I missed this story at the time because, as noted above, I pay no attention to Minaj. I also pay increasingly little to my alma mater, which regularly disgraces itself.) The latest example of Harvard’s abuse of common sense, civil rights, authority and ethics sat relatively unnoticed until Swollen Testiclegate erupted, but now we learn that Minaj fans have unleashed their fury on America’s oldest, most prestigious and, of late, most obnoxious university.

Good.

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: “Election 2020 Grassroots Canvas Report”

maricopa-county-election-center-20200826

“It is obvious to anyone that voting by mail is ripe for fraud. The US Mail is not meant to be a secure transactional system. We have all known since we were children that you don’t send cash through the mail –our voting rights are far more sacred than cash. Bipartisan and Democrat Voter studies and commissions have found vote-by-mail to have the highest risk of fraud1 and most first-world democracies, such as Germany, either ban Vote-by-Mail outright or place very heavy restrictions on its use. Banning Vote-by-mail is a very simple solution to a huge problem for our Country. We cannot give up our fundamental right to vote, upon which America was built, simply because we are too lazy to go cast a vote in person.”

—– Liz Harris, in the Executive Summary to the just issued “Maricopa County “Election 2020 Grassroots Canvass Report.”

An independent canvas of the 2020 election in Maricopa County claims to have found over 260,000 “lost” and “ghost” votes, according to a report released last week. This effort is independent of the audit being done by the state legislature, and was the work of the Voter Integrity Project, founded by Liz Harris. The canvas only visited about 12,000 voters in Maricopa county, so the estimates reported, frequently misleadingly, are extrapolations of the data actually obtained. The report is here.

What the group claims to have shown is that there were “an estimated” 173,104 “missing or lost” votes in a county that essentially gave the state’s electoral votes to Joe Biden. Of course, Donald Trump is crowing about this, and of course the mainstream media is ignoring the canvass as the work of crazy “Trumpists.” However, Harris’s opening statement to the report is, or should be, undeniable. Her assessment is identical to what others were saying before the election, in which Democrats in states across the country successfully used the combined hysteria over George Floyd’s death and the pandemic to push through relaxed voting procedures that were an open invitation to manipulation. Republicans and honest civil libertarians were caught flatfooted and were too late in reacting, so the election went forward with millions of mail-in ballots that changed hands untold times before being recorded (if they were recorded).

It was a fait accompli. There was no way to prove that the election had been “stolen” or even that a substantial number of votes had been changed, harvested, lost or faked, not in time to do anything about it. Faced with a rigged election—that it was rigged doesn’t mean it was stolen, but it was rigged—that resulted in a personal defeat, then-President Trump was obligated by his office, tradition and basic ethical principles of leadership and character to accept the results, allow a peaceful transfer of power, and allow others to determine what happened. But Trump posses no basic ethical principles of leadership and character, at least in sufficient quantity, so he claimed instead that he won the election, and even hired a bunch of incompetent lawyers to try to overturn the results without sufficient hard evidence to do so. (Now many of them are being disciplined by bars and courts.)

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Ethics Observations On The Antifa School Teacher Scandal

Gipe

A “reporter” (I use the word loosely) for James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas somehow got Gabriel Gipe (above), an advanced placement teacher at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, California, to blather on happily about how he was indoctrinating his students in Marxist ideology and was proud of it. All of this was recorded, as is Project Veritas’s way. Gipe said, in part,

“I have 180 days to turn them [students] into revolutionaries…Scare the f*ck out of them… I’m probably as far left as you can go….I post a calendar every week…I’ve had students show up for protests, community events, tabling, food distribution, all sorts of things…When they go, they take pictures, write up a reflection — that’s their extra credit…So, they [students] take an ideology quiz and I put [the results] on the [classroom] wall. Every year, they get further and further left…I’m like, ‘These ideologies are considered extreme, right? Extreme times breed extreme ideologies.’ Right? There is a reason why Generation Z, these kids, are becoming further and further left…I have an Antifa flag on my [classroom] wall and a student complained about that — he said it made him feel uncomfortable. Well, this [Antifa flag] is meant to make fascists feel uncomfortable, so if you feel uncomfortable, I don’t really know what to tell you. Maybe you shouldn’t be aligning with the values that this [Antifa flag] is antithetical to…Like, why aren’t people just taking up arms? Like why can’t we, you know — take up arms against the state? We have historical examples of that happening, and them getting crushed and being martyrs for a cause and it’s like — okay well, it’s slow going because it takes a massive amount of organization…I think that for [left-wing] movements in the United States, we need to be able to attack both [cultural and economic] fronts. Right? We need to create parallel structures of power because we cannot rely on the state…Consistently focusing on education and a change of cultural propaganda. We have to hit both fronts. We have to convince people that this is what we actually need…There are three other teachers in my department that I did my credential program with — and they’re rad. They’re great people. They’re definitely on the same page.”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/26/2021: Should We Never Again Use “Never Again!” To Refer To Something That Never Should Happen Again…And Other Matters

I’m not a big Liza Minelli fan, and for over a decade now she has been rather pathetic (perishing early, like her mother, can be a smart career move for some artists), but still: I wonder if her film-ending performance of the title number in “Cabaret” is the most exhilarating solo by a female singer in any movie. It’s substantially the way the song is directed (by Bob Fosse), of course, that makes it so effective, but even so: the moment is a great legacy for Liza even if everything else in her career fades from memory. Just as Saroyan was right that if one human being sings your song, you haven’t lived in vain, creating one unique moment that inspires or uplifts others is a gift to the world.

And Liza’s moment also is a tonic I turn to to get me ready to face the day when the prospect of thinking and writing about ethics makes me want to go back to bed. Like right now.

1. Wait, I thought Joe Biden was supposed to be a nice guy! In an article about Andrew Cuomo’s final days in office, I learned that President Biden, who is a “close personal friend” of the now ex-governor of New York, has not spoken to him since Cuomo resigned two weeks ago. What kind of “close friend” is that? Whether Cuomo was treated justly or not (he was), his life has fallen apart in chunks this month (and began doing so months earlier). This is when friends, real friends, are most essential, and also when fake friends show their true character. Joe Biden’s entire political career has been built on the assertion that he is, whatever other flaws he might have (like being a lifetime chowderhead), a good, loyal and trustworthy person. Well, he’s not. This is hardly the first evidence we’ve seen of that, but it’s signature significance.

2. Is saying something should never happen again really “comparing it to the Holocaust”? This is Thursday, meaning that I get a lot of substack newsletters from pundits who want me to subscribe to theirs. Craig Calcaterra, the baseball writer whose product I will not pay for untilhe stops filling it with opinions on things he knows no more about than most people, filled today’s free offering with (let’s see) 740 words of baseball analysis (not counting brief accounts of last night’s games) and 2, 326 words about Republicans he hates, Billy Joel albums. and, most of all, a local school board member where he lives who wrote on his Twitter account,

And if we are to truly learn from our mistakes these past 18 months Just as Jews after the horrors of the Holocaust We must declare, and implement laws to assure “Never Again” . . .Never again should we delegate policy authority to those qualified only to provide narrow advice Never again should we willingly sacrifice liberty without objective proof of imminent harm, and an objective restoration plan — in advance . . . Never again should emergency government authority extend beyond 7 days without legislative consent, reconfirmed every 7 days Never again should we blindly follow experts, regardless of the initials after their name, if they don’t provide proof, show their work & admit error . . . Never again should we EVER sacrifice the needs of children to the unfounded fears of adults.”

The writer is Jewish, by the way. Calcaterra uses the “offensive comparison” as a version of ad hominen attack to excuse him from the task of rebutting the writer’s substantive arguments and appeal to emotion, which is why I would never evoke the Holocaust in such a context simply as a matter of advocacy strategy. However, the school board member wasn’t comparing the genocide of 6 million Jews to pandemic totalitarianism, but stating that similarly absolutist policy prohibitions are appropriate after what we have learned from the past year and a half. There are a lot of things the U.S. has done that deserve a “Never again!” label—electing an obviously progressive dementia case as President, for example. Critics of the label are obligated, though, to deal with the reasons for making that claim, and should not be allowed to get away with “How dare you insult the victims of genocide by comparing what befell them to electing Joe Biden!”

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Mid-Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 8/22/2021: It’s No Longer Illegal To Come Back Here After You Are Deported, And Other Surprises…

betwixt

[I had to get up extra-early to wrote this, since there’s no point writing a warm-up once the thermometer tops 80.] Amusing historical ethics note: on August 21, 1980, animal rights advocates Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco launched PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In the intervening 40 years, it has become the preeminent animal rights organization in the world, in part because it will do almost anything for publicity. It is also consistently the most ridiculous animal rights organization in the world, and on Ethics Alarms, in a lively battle with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as the most hypocritical and unethical non-profit with “ethics” in its name. The PETA ethics rap sheet is here. When last discussed on Ethics Alarms, PETA was protesting using animals as metaphorical insults because it perpetuates “speciesism.” Jackasses…

  1. From the suddenly overstuffed “Incompetence” Files…Mike Richards, the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” who made himself one of the show’s new hosts in a breathtaking display of conflict of interest contempt, lasted less than a week in his new job. Controversial comments he made on a podcast from 2013 “resurfaced,” officials at Sony Pictures Television confirmed. That means someone who didn’t want him to have the job did a maniacal search to find something that would force him to resign. This is, essentially, the Hader Gotcha, and a rotten, Golden Rule-breaching thing to do to anyone unless they are running for office and pretending to be someone they are not. At least Richards recognized that his duties as executive producer required that he dump himself once he became an anchor on the show he has a duty to protect.

The allegedly cancel-worthy comments Richards made came when he was trying to imitate Howard Stern—imagine that as a life objective—by hosting a podcast called “The Randumb Show.” Naturally, this involved saying sexist and racially insensitive things like Howard and Don Imus, who not too many years earlier were still considered witty and brave in their political incorrectness. He refered to a woman’s “boobies.” He said that he aspired to be a “white guy host” like Ryan Seacrest. Salon, which is always a barometer of just how nuts the far left has become, pronounced l such sophomoric banter “alarming.” I know I was terrified when I read them.

2. If this doesn’t prove that our news organizations are worthless, nothing will. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, a federal judge in Nevada, struck down as unconstitutional a longstanding statute that makes it a crime to return to the United States after deportation. Here reasoning is that the law is racist and discriminatory against “Mexican and Latinx individuals.”

“The record before the Court reflects that at no point has Congress confronted the racist, nativist roots of Section 1326,” Du wrote in her ruling.“The amendments to Section 1326 over the past ninety years have not changed its function but have simply made the provision more punitive and broadened its reach,” Du wrote.

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Monday Ethics Reflections, 8/9/2021: A Bad Ethics Date, Looking To Change The Trend…

Narcissus Addams

My wife and boss, Grace, emailed me this morning with a list of major events that occurred on August 9th, remarking, “NOW THIS WAS AN INTERESTING DAY IN HISTORY !” Indeed it was: this is a major marker of ethically provocative events, each worth not just a post, but a debate, a book, and museum:

  • Richard Nixon’s resignation as the 37th President of the United States took place at noon on August 9, 1974, avoiding the personals shame and the national trauma of an impeachment and trial, back when an impeachment was still an impeachment (and not, as the Democrats recently transformed it, a purely partisan device to demonstrate hatred of the elected President). This put an unelected President into office, Gerald Ford, who soon after taking office announced that he was pardoning the man who appointed. This act forever defined Ford’s brief Presidency, and was either a courageous act of political sacrifice on his part, or part of a corrupt scheme to allow Nixon to escape criminal prosecution. (I believe the former description is the correct one.)
  • On 2014, a black teen, Michael Brown, was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer. The episode launched an ongoing Ethics Train Wreck that is still stopping for passengers and causing great destruction to this day.
  • It was on August 9, 1969, that members of Charles Manson’s “family” murdered five people in movie director Roman Polanski’s Beverly Hills, California, home, including Polanski’s pregnant wife, actress Sharon Tate. Less than two days later, the cult members killed again, murdering  Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary in their home. The murders finally ended the myth of the “peace and love” Sixties while casting a shadow over the lives of many not butchered that night, from the Beach Boys to Doris Day to Hollywood, especially perhaps Polanski, who eventually became a living Ethics Train Wreck himself.
  • Speaking of the hippies, Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden, or, A Life in the Woods” was  published on August 9, 1854 and became a staple in the intellectual arsenal of those advocating “dropping out” of society. “Dropping out” of society is unethical.
  • August 9, 2010 was the day that JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater actually attracted praise for his “fuck you” exit from his job as a Jet Blue flight attendant. Not from Ethics Alarms, though…
  • And speaking of metaphorical “funk you’s,” on this day in 1936, African American track star Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal of the Berlin Olympics in the 4×100-meter relay, thus foiling and infuriating Nazi leader Adolf Hitler plan to use the Games for “master race” propaganda.
  • Finally, though it should probably by first, it was on August 9, 1945, that the U.S. dropped a second atom bomb on the citizens of Japan, at Nagasaki, finally speeding Japan’s unconditional surrender. If the decision to drop the first atom bomb is controversial, the ethics controversy over the second is even more contentious.

1. Oh, let’s start with another Wuhan vaccination matter, this one from the Ethicist, who was asked,

My elderly mother is in an independent-living facility where all the residents have been vaccinated …Protocols are very strict, and no resident has gotten sick. [A] relative who lives nearby… is not vaccinated. This facility will soon mandate that all visitors be vaccinated, but my relative plans to dissemble in order to evade the requirement. Should I … tell the facility that my relative is not vaccinated?

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Comment Of The Day: “Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics…”

I was getting ready to write about Sen. Rand Paul’s manifesto above ( he really is a libertarian, isn’t he?) when Humble Talent’s Comment of The Day, on the post “Theater Ethics Meets Pandemic Ethics: If I Were Still Running My Theater Company And We Had A Large Cast Show In Production…”

Perfect timing, and my favorite kind: it saved me the effort of writing a post. This should open up the pandemic and vaccine debate nicely, and get it out of the constricting limitation of live theater.

Heeeeeeere’s Humble…!

***

I find these Covid threads just… really tedious.

I have found common cause with the American left on precious few issues in my lifetime, and I often find that even when I agree with them, they put the issue forward in the most obnoxious and useless way possible: They mock, they demean, they use bad arguments, and even when they’ve come to the right conclusion they rarely understand the source material. It’s frustrating.

But on this one discrete topic…. I understand mocking anti-vaxxers.

Sorry guys, if you’re in the vaccine skeptic group… You are being dumb. Your body your right, yada yada yada. Sure. You have the right to be dumb. Just because it’s your right to be an idiot doesn’t shield you from the consequences of being an idiot. And while telling you that you’re an idiot, pressuring you not to be an idiot, and there being consequences to being an idiot might harm your tender egos, America isn’t going to end.

The reason why I feel on this one discrete topic, mocking anti-vaxxers, particularly American anti-vaxxers is appropriate is because there was no convincing you. On this topic, more than any other in recent history, you are completely information resistant.

“Well Jeff! Look at Israel, they’re having a spike right now, and most of their cases are breakthrough cases, how do you explain that?!?!”

Because everyone is experiencing a spike right now, international travel isn’t completely locked down, the vaccines were never sold as being 100% effective and as new variants come out the efficacy is only going to lower, and because more than 95% of Israeli adults are vaccinated. So when anyone in Israel gets Covid it is orders of magnitude more likely that the case will be a breakthrough than a non-vaccinated case.

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