Patterico's Pontifications

9/17/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:00 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Hello. Getting a jump start on the weekend. Here are a few items to get the conversation started. Feel free to add your own items. Make sure to include links.

First news item

President Biden warned:

[24] attorneys general sent a seven-page letter to the president Thursday warning that a lawsuit will follow the implementation of the proposed requirement on private-sector employees to either get a COVID-19 shot, submit to weekly testing, or be fired…The attorneys general say some workers will quit their jobs rather than comply, further straining an already tight labor market…“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” they wrote. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds — it will simply drive further skepticism.”

Second news item

Apparently, some out-of-towners reacted badly to New York City’s requirement for vaccination proof to dine indoors:

Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting a New York City restaurant hostess on Thursday after she asked a group of diners visiting from Texas to show proof they had been vaccinated before seating them.

Cellphone footage obtained by NBC New York shows a brawl involving several people outside Carmine’s Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side. Staff and bystanders intervened to break up the melee after it broke out around 5 p.m. ET, the station added.

Third news item

White House tries to ease tensions with France:

Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said France remained a “vital partner” in the Indo-Pacific region in an attempt to calm the fury in Paris over America’s new naval security pact with Australia and the UK.

The agreement announced this week by Joe Biden, the US president, Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, and Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, is seen as a landmark initiative to strengthen their defence co-operation in the face of a rising China.

But the deal faced a stinging backlash from France, whose own lucrative submarine contract and partnership with Australia was scrapped as a result of the new trilateral initiative.

Senior French officials have lashed out at the US for a “lack of coherence” in excluding France from the pact, bringing diplomatic relations between Washington and Paris to their lowest point of Biden’s presidency. US officials only discussed the pact with their French counterparts this week, on the day it was announced.

[Ed: Oof.]

Now France has recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia.

Fourth news item

Unfolding disaster:

Thousands of Haitian migrants have assembled under and around a bridge in a small Texas border town, presenting the Biden administration with a new and chaotic challenge Friday as it tries to manage large numbers of asylum-seekers who have been reaching U.S. soil.

Haitians crossed the Rio Grande freely and in a steady stream, going back and forth between the U.S. and Mexico through knee-deep water with some parents carrying small children on their shoulders. Unable to buy supplies in the U.S., they returned briefly to Mexico for food and cardboard to settle, temporarily at least, under or near the bridge in Del Rio, a city of 35,000 that has been severely strained by migrant flows in recent months.

The vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants at the bridge on Friday were Haitian…Some families have been under the bridge for as long as six days.

Some migrants built cave-like shelters within the reeds along the river, Owens said. Trash piles were 10 feet wide and at least two women have given birth, including one who tested positive for COVID-19 after being taken to a hospital, he said.

Mixed message chaos:

Gov. Greg Abbott said on Thursday that he directed state troopers and the Texas National Guard “to shut down six points of entry along the southern border” at the request of U.S. Customs and Border Protection — then reversed himself shortly after, blaming the Biden administration for flip-flopping in its request for state help.

But a CBP spokesperson said the federal government — which operates ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border — had no plans to shut down any ports of entry.

“I have directed the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to surge personnel and vehicles to shut down six points of entry along the southern border to stop these [migrant] caravans from overrunning our state,” Abbott said in an emailed statement. “The border crisis is so dire that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by the chaos.”

Renae Eze, Abbott’s spokesperson, added that the state “is shutting down the ports of entry at the request of and in collaboration with CBP.”

A few hours later, Abbott sent out a new statement saying that the Biden administration “has now flip-flopped to a different strategy that abandons border security and instead makes it easier for people to cross illegally and for cartels to exploit the border … I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard to maintain their presence at and around ports of entry to deter crossings.”

Fifth news item

Asking the question:

The suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul’s airport in late August and killed 13 U.S. troops and more than 160 Afghans upped the ante for the U.S. to thwart more terrorist attacks in the final days of its withdrawal.

The Biden administration said it prevented another suicide bombing a few days later with a drone strike that officials said killed a suspected Islamic State group driver and an associate near the airport. U.S. officials told reporters that the target had been under surveillance for hours and that people were seen loading explosives into the trunk of his car.

But two separate investigations by The New York Times and The Washington Post cast doubt on that narrative. These news reports must elicit a fuller explanation than what the Biden administration has offered so far.

Ahmadi’s family members said 10 people were killed, including seven children. The relatives showed reporters photos of burned bodies belonging to children, and neighbors confirmed that children’s bodies were removed from the site.

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday that the administration is looking at the matter “very, very, very carefully.” However, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters that while officials are investigating, he’s not aware of a plan to put investigators on the ground in Kabul. If two American newspapers can check out information on the ground, why can’t the U.S. government?

Ah:

No disciplinary action is expected but how about a resignation [by the one claiming full responsibility]?

Sixth news item

Yet another politician’s what they said vs. what they didpandemic moment:

In early August, [San Francisco Mayor London Breed] emphasized the need for the city to bring back its indoor mask mandate.

“We don’t want to shut down this city or this country down any longer than we have to. Our economy and our livelihood, and our kids going back to school, and everything in between depends on it,” she said.

In a news release about the mandate, the mayor’s office clearly spelled out the rules, stating, “The orders require all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings, with limited exceptions.”

Among those exceptions are actively eating or drinking in a club, bar or restaurant.

What she did:

A photo posted, and later taken down, from the Black Cat Nightclub’s Instagram page shows a smiling Breed celebrating with friends Wednesday night.

The problem is, she’s clearly not wearing a mask as stated by the city’s rules she put into place.

There are a few cocktails on the table, but nobody appears to be actively drinking them – which would be a moment when it’s OK to remove your mask.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Breed spent the night dancing, singing along and posing for pictures maskless.

Seventh news item

Closet capitalist infiltrates Met Gala:

After the gala, the congresswoman’s office sent out a fundraising email, encouraging supporters to buy Ocasio-Cortez-branded T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the same “Tax the rich” slogan she promoted at the Met. The T-shirts cost $27 apiece, while the hoodies cost $58.

You better believe James is likewise benefiting from Ocasio-Cortez’s supposed attempt to “break the fourth wall” for “working-class women of color.”

Brother Vellies’s website now offers a “customized” version of the $995 handbag Ocasio-Cortez sported at the one percenter party. The product listing for the “Tax the rich” handbag includes the line, “As seen at the 2021 MET Gala .” The product listing also includes a photo of the congresswoman modeling the handbag at the gala.

Just so we’re all on the same page: Ocasio-Cortez, a supposed advocate for the working class, attended a gathering best known for its flagrant displays of extravagant wealth. She attended wearing a designer dress borrowed from the girlfriend of the billionaire Seagram heir. The congresswoman, whose admission was waived by the taxpayer-subsidized Met, also showed up to the event toting a customized $995 “Tax the rich” handbag, likewise provided by the Canadian-born designer.

I opted not to post about the Met Gala kerfuffle involving AOC and a dress cut to perfection with a silly message emblazoned on it. The more she tried to explain, the more I lost interest. Politicians are, at the end of the day, looking to a) raise money b) raise their profile, and c) convince the public of their righteousness. It’s baked into the job. And not even my delight in designer fashion could shake me from my boredom at the hysteria coming from both sides of the aisle, which in turn, ironically, reminded me of an unpopular fashion maven’s messaging that really encapsulates my feelings on this latest public kerfuffle:

Eighth news item

Loud and clear:

Ninth news item

“Justice for J6″ rally jibber-jabber:

The extremist forums that cheered on the Jan. 6 Capitol attack have soured on the planned Saturday rally in Washington, insisting without evidence that the event is a secret government plot to arrest more people involved in the riot.

Users in extreme far-right Facebook groups and extremist forums such as TheDonald and 4chan, which previously hosted pictures of users streaming into Washington hotel rooms and even maps of the Capitol tunnel system in the days before the Jan. 6 riot, are largely steering users away from the upcoming event.

Those posting on these forums say they largely believe the event to be a setup for a “false flag” event or “honeypot,” in which they’ll be entrapped and coerced to commit violence by federal agents.

You know who else thinks this? That’s right:

“On Saturday, that’s a setup,” Trump said in an interview with the Federalist. “If people don’t show up they’ll say, ‘Oh, it’s a lack of spirit.’ And if people do show up they’ll be harassed.”

Tenth news item

FDA on Pfizer boosters:

After hours of discussion and a request to revise the question they were being asked, a key federal advisory committee on Friday agreed to a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine six months after full vaccination for people aged 65 and older and those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

The initial question, posed by Pfizer, would have made the booster available to everyone aged 16 and up.

There isn’t yet sufficient evidence to show boosters for people under 65 are necessary, members of the Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee said.

Have a great weekend.

–Dana

Republican Representative Won’t Seek Re-Election, Points To “Toxic Dynamics Inside Our Own Party”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:18 am



[guest post by Dana]

This is certainly a loss for the GOP :

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez — one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 riot on the Capitol — will not seek re-election to his northern Ohio seat in 2022.

“Since entering politics, I have always said that I will do this job for as long as the voters will have me and it still works for my family,” Gonzalez said in a statement he tweeted late Thursday. “As Elizabeth and I consider the realities of continuing in public service while juggling the increasing responsibilities of being parents to our two beautiful children, it is clear that the best path for our family is to not seek re-election next fall.”

He added that, while his family was at the heart of his decision, “it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision.”

More:

Calling former President Donald J. Trump “a cancer for the country,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Ohio, said in an interview on Thursday that he would not run for re-election in 2022, ceding his seat after just two terms in Congress rather than compete against a Trump-backed primary opponent…

The congressman, who has two young children, emphasized that he was leaving in large part because of family considerations and the difficulties that come with living between two cities. But he made clear that the strain had only grown worse since his impeachment vote, after which he was deluged with threats and feared for the safety of his wife and children.

Mr. Gonzalez said that quality-of-life issues had been paramount in his decision. He recounted an “eye-opening” moment this year: when he and his family were greeted at the Cleveland airport by two uniformed police officers, part of extra security precautions taken after the impeachment vote.

“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said…

Mr. Gonzalez was emphatic that the threats were not why he was leaving — the commute was more trying, he said — but in a matter-of-fact fashion, he recounted people online saying things like, “We’re coming to your house.”

As for Gonzalez’s primary challenger Max Miller, there can be no doubt about his loyalties:

There is no greater fighter that this country has ever had, and I have never had a greater role model than President Donald J. Trump, period. Bar none”

And how did the head of the Reptrumplican Party react to Gonzalez’s announcement? Exactly how you would expect:

RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me.

Again, it’ glaringly obvious that Trump’s actions have absolutely nothing to do with the betterment of our nation, adherence to the Constitution, good governance, integrity, or even making America great again. This is nothing more than a self-serving narcissist desperately and deviously looking for payback after a bitter – yet legitimate – loss that he still can’t accept. He cares not one whit about you or me or the nation at large. He cares only about his bruised ego. This is, of course, nothing new. He remains a sore loser, and the Republican Party remains locked in his grip. Consider that he has now endorsed primary challengers to some of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him.

–Dana

Norm MacDonald, RIP

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



I sure didn’t expect to be typing those words any time soon when I woke up two days ago.

Norm MacDonald is possibly the funniest human being who lived at the same time I lived. Back when he was running his podcast, I would listen to them as I would go to sleep — and then my wife (who generally goes to bed later than I do) would hear me laughing out loud until I could barely breathe and come into the bedroom to find out what was so funny.

Nohody else ever made me laugh like that.

We were fortunate enough to see Norm live a couple of times. On one of the last times we were going to see him, we were told that he was not feeling well and would not be performing. Hearing the news, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the cancer he had fought for so long was getting to him that night. But we did get to see him in March 2020, just as the pandemic was starting to shut everything down. Norm was great that night, doing a whole riff on the coronavirus. He looked at the room full of people — and in truth many of us were wondering if we should have gone — and said we had made a great decision to come and sit in a room right next to a bunch of strangers. “At least I’m up here away from you.” Waxing philosophical, he began talking about how you never know what is going to kill you — and then said, in an offhand manner, “well, of course, now we do. It’s just a matter of what order we go in.” He blamed the coronavirus situation on the failure of a guy in China to order the “Impossible Bat” in his bat soup.

The following clip is a good example of his humor. There’s cursing, which puts some people off, but it’s a great example of his surprising style. There’s the put-on where he pretends not to know that Ben Matlock is a fictional character, the bit where he says he doesn’t like books because they make him “sleepy” (the man read Tolstoy for fun), and then the end of the story, which is pure Norm.

Also by request of JVW is this bit, which is extra-special just because of the way Norm explains the joke at the end:

One overlooked reason I think virtually everyone liked Norm: he always smiled. Always. And he did not seem mean. Even when he was talking about a guy who fired him for making OJ jokes, he would smile and say the guy was a good guy.

He was one of a kind.

RIP.

9/15/2021

The Must-Watched Cable News Anchor Has Issued This Correction Regarding the Vaccine and Swollen Testicles

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



In case you missed it, Tucker Carlson has issued this important correction:

Thank God the record has been set straight. But let this be a lesson to us all: we must all be more careful to check our facts. The rumor that Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s testicles were swollen by the vaccine traveled around the world many times, while the truth that her cousin’s friend’s testicles were swollen by the vaccine was still tying its shoelaces.

9/14/2021

California Recall Election Open Thread

Filed under: General — JVW @ 5:00 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Today is the final day to vote in the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom, and to potentially designate a replacement for him. I am about to go drop off my ballot marked “Yes” on the recall question.

Arguments For Recall:
Susan Shelly writes that Republicans can make inroads into a heavily Democrat state by speaking to people’s dreams, and how the Democrat agenda is not meeting them.

Matt Fleming laughs at Ezra Klein’s feeble attempts to defend the Gavin Newsom record.

Rich Lowry marvels at the fact that a hyper-woke state party defends the most privileged of privileged white males.

Kevin Williamson sees parallels between California of 2021 and Detroit of 1961.

Halfway Reasonable Argument Against Recall
The President of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce fears removal will cause chaos, and we will have our chance to vote Newsom out next year anyway.

Who Should Replace Newsom?
I am voting for Kevin Kiley, a state senator whom I mentioned once before on this blog. Back in 2003 I really wanted to vote my conscience and mark my ballot for Tom McClintock, but when the Los Angeles Times ran an eleventh-hour hit piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger (which, when all was said and done, was likely true) I got mad and determined that I would never forgive myself if Arnie lost by one lone vote, so I checked the box for everyone’s favorite Austrian action star. But this time around I am voting for the person who I think would do the best job. Sorry, Larry Elder, you too are being treated rather shabbily by the God-awful Dog Trainer, but my vote goes to Senator Kiley.

What Do I Expect to Happen
Current polls are likely correct: the poll at the end of last month showing the race narrowing was likely an outlier and the governor is probably going to get enough Democrats to come out and keep his administration in place. Even though it will take the state probably two weeks to count the ballots, you can expect the progressive intelligentsia in the media to declare that Gavin Newsom has survived this scare rather handily by the end of the evening.

Share your observations below. Those of you who are not Californians are welcome to mock us for our horrible taste in leaders and general dysfunction.

– JVW

DHS Better Prepared For An Estimated 700 Hundred at US Capitol “Justice For J6″ Rally This Weekend

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:27 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Lessons learned, hopefully:

The Department of Homeland Security is estimating roughly 700 people will attend the “Justice for J6″ rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and has taken steps to make sure law enforcement is better prepared than it was prior to Jan. 6, said Melissa Smislova, deputy undersecretary for intelligence enterprise readiness.

Saturday, Sept. 18, is the date supporters of former President Donald Trump, many with ties to groups that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in protest of his election loss, will return to Washington for a rally. Smislova said DHS has also learned via social media that similar protests are planned in other cities across the country.

Given that “tens of thousands” showed up at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Homeland Security is taking steps to keep better track of how many might be attending this weekend by tracking “publicly available information on protesters, U.S. Park Police permit applications for large gatherings and hotel reservations across the U.S.”.

What a difference 9 months makes:

“What we realized after Jan. 6 is that we had gotten a little bit lax in some of the aggressive conversations,” Smislova said, speaking of DHS’ biweekly calls and outreach to state and local law enforcement about threats in their area. “Some of it was a lack of discipline, complacency maybe, even. … The information was still out there, but you had to actually seek it out as opposed to having it brought to you.”

She added that the department saw the events of Jan. 6 as a “failure on our part” to communicate within the department and to other agencies.

Anyway, speaking of Jan. 6 and the hundreds that have been charged, at least one rioter who claims he was just an independent journalist at the Capitol that fateful day, thinks that he should be paid to show up in court to defend himself against charges:

A Jan. 6 Capitol rioter has demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent himself, and a bizarre $5 million fee if he’s required to do something like providing samples of “bodily fluids.” Eric Bochene, of New York, calculated what he believed to be the cost of hiring a public defender, fired his court-appointed attorney, then said the government should instead spend the money on him. “You want to do business with me? These are my prices” Bochene told Syracuse.com.

Bochene is demanding $10,000 per 30 minutes in court. The price goes up to $50,000 if he feels he is “under duress.” He lists a fee of $500 ($50,000 under duress) for each hour of research, plus huge penalties if he feels there is “something underhanded going on,” per Syracuse.com. For example, there is a $6 million fee for a forged signature, or $5 million if he’s forced to give samples of bodily fluids. “I’m representing myself, so a lot of work gets put into this,” he said.

As temporary fencing is being erected around the Capitol in advance of the event, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger issued a warning to any potential rabble-rousers:

We are here to protect everyone’s First Amendment right to peacefully protest. I urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble to stay home. We will enforce the law and not tolerate violence.

The organizer of the “Justice for J6″ rally, former Trump campaign staffer and executive director of Look Ahead America Matt Braynard said that despite concerns about possible violence and claims that he has received death threats, “under no circumstances” would the event be canceled.

On a side note, neither chamber of Congress will be in session that day.

Once upon a time, it would be surprising that people are rallying to support hundreds who are facing any number of charges at the violent uprising at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but it really isn’t surprising at all.

–Dana

9/13/2021

GOP Candidate Leading Polls To Replace Gov. Newsom Lays Groundwork for Claims of Rigged Election (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:04 pm



[guest post by Dana]

This comes straight from the Trump sore loser playbook: If you are defeated it can only be because the election was rigged:

[Republican candidate Larry] Elder, the leading Republican candidate to replace Newsom if the recall is successful…said he believes the “shenanigans” would be similar to those that happened during the 2020 election, in which President Joe Biden defeated former President Donald Trump. There was no evidence of widespread election fraud in that election.

“What I believe is that no matter what they do — and I believe that there might very well be shenanigans, as it were in the 2020 election — no matter what they do, so many Californians are angry about what’s going on” that he will win anyway, Elder said, citing anger around crime, homelessness and quality of public education.

Elder — echoing claims made by Trump during and after the 2020 election, as well as comments about the California race from right-wing media — has started to question the possible election results, telling supporters that his campaign is ready and willing to file lawsuits and pointing them to a campaign website portal that allows people to report possible issues.
“We have a voter integrity board all set up – most of these are lawyers,” Elder said Wednesday. “So, when people hear things, they contact us. We’re going to file lawsuits in a timely fashion.”

“The 2020 election, in my opinion, was full of shenanigans,” Elder said this weekend on Fox News, another outlet that has helped spread falsehoods about election integrity. “And my fear is they’re going to try that in this election right here and recall.”

Elder was sticking to the same message this morning when answering a direct question about whether he would accept tomorrow’s election results:

Of course Trump himself has also pushed the rigged election nonsense:

“It’s probably rigged,” Trump said, repeating complaints about mail-in ballots he raised in 2020. “The ballots… are mail-in ballots… I guess you even have a case where you can make your own ballot. When that happens, nobody’s gonna win except these Democrats. The one thing they are good at is rigging elections, so I predict it’s a rigged election.”

Note: These is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in California elections. The 22 million ballots California county elections offices have sent to every registered voter are checked and verified to ensure each person only votes once and that only active, registered voters cast ballots. Officials also check to ensure the signature on each mail ballot matches the one on file with the state.

Anyway, President Biden is scheduled to speak at a Gov. Newsom rally in Long Beach tonight. It’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll boost Newsom’s numbers, but certainly, everyone on both sides of the aisle is keenly aware that it’s not just California’s governorship that is at stake here…

UPDATE: Oh come on!:

Republican Larry Elder appealed on Monday to his supporters to use an online form to report fraud, which claimed it had “detected fraud” in the “results” of the California recall election “resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor.”

The only problem: On Monday when the link was live on Elder’s campaign site, the election hadn’t even happened yet. No results had been released. And Elder was still campaigning to replace Newsom as governor.

“Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in 3rd-world nations (such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran) have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor,” the site reads. “The primary analytical tool used was Benford’s Law and can be readily reproduced.”

The site added on Monday afternoon a disclaimer saying it was “Paid For By Larry Elder Ballot Measure Committee Recall Newsom Committee,” with major funding from Elder’s gubernatorial campaign.

–Dana

Hello

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Hi there. It’s me. Any reports of my demise, if there were any, were premature.

I have spent the last several weeks in a trial, of a case I have had for six years. On Friday, the jury delivered a verdict. (Yes, I’m happy with it.)

This has been an all-consuming enterprise. I missed a vacation with my family. I did not write here or read anything here. I did not keep up with news. I did not go to church. I barely talked to anyone. Many days, I did not sleep more than four hours.

My sleep schedule has been wildly thrown off. Although I am theoretically back to “normal” I woke up before 3 today and decided to shower, have coffee, and start work. Might as well!

Another thing I did not do is write a newsletter. I feel guilty about that, because some people pay for the better stuff, and I have delivered nothing for weeks. The best I can do is offer a refund, and jump back on the horse this week. Email me for a refund for the time I have missed, and it will be cheerfully done. I will send the same offer by email to subscribers.

I thank the guest bloggers for their contributions, although sad to say I have not read them for a while. When you get four hours sleep for multiple nights, it saps your ability to do things like read excellent blog posts . . . or, well, to do anything not critically necessary to the mission.

Did I miss anything over the past several weeks?

9/10/2021

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:54 am



[guest post by Dana]

Hello! Publishing early, so here we go!

First news item

About President Biden’s vaccine mandate:

The president’s plan is certainly well intentioned. The vaccines are the only tried-and-true strategy for defeating Covid; government officials should both encourage vaccination and make it easier to get vaccinated. Health officials must continue selling people on the vaccines by emphasizing the considerable upside: Vaccination decreases transmission of the virus and turns hospitalization and death into very unlikely outcomes. It provides such robust protection that 99 percent of coronavirus fatalities in the United States now occur in the unvaccinated population. Vaccination works, and it’s the right option for a vast majority of Americans…

But forcing vaccines on a minority contingent of unwilling people is a huge error that risks shredding the social fabric of a country already being pulled apart by political tribalism.

The president should not — and most likely does not — have the power to unilaterally compel millions of private-sector workers to get vaccinated or risk losing their jobs: Mr. Biden is presiding over a vast expansion of federal authority, one that Democrats will certainly come to regret the next time a Republican takes power. Moreover, the mechanism of enforcement — a presidential decree smuggled into law by the Department of Labor and its Occupational Safety and Health Administration — is fundamentally undemocratic. Congress is supposed to make new laws, not an unaccountable bureaucratic agency.

Second news item

So why didn’t they do more to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6:

Just two days before armed rioters stormed and ransacked the Capitol, about 300 law enforcement officials got on a conference call to talk about the possibility that Donald Trump’s supporters would turn violent on Jan. 6. They specifically discussed the possibility that the day’s gatherings would turn into a mass-casualty event, and they made plans on how to communicate with each other if that happened.

The officials were so prepared for chaos that they even had a hashtag to share information on the FBI’s private communication service: #CERTUNREST2021…

A few days after the riot, a top FBI official told reporters that the Bureau “did not have intelligence suggesting the pro-Trump rally would be anything more than a lawful demonstration,” according to The Washington Post. But the call summary shows that hundreds of officials at fusion centers around the country in fact saw the threat coming, and that they prepared for damaging unrest days before the first rioters broke into the Capitol.

Third news item

Los Angeles public schools mandate COVID-19 vaccines for students:

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) voted to approve a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, becoming the first major school district in America to do so.

All students who are 12 years of age and older and are part of in-person extracurricular programs must receive their first vaccine dose by no later than October 3, and their second dose by no later than October 31, 2021.

All students who are 12 years of age and older must receive their first vaccine dose by no later than November 21, 2021 and their second dose by no later than December 19, 2021.

All other students must receive their first vaccine dose by no later than 30 days after their 12th birthday, and their second dose by no later than 8 weeks after their 12th birthday.

Fourth news item

Trouble ahead:

[Republicans] are calling for a public uprising to protest President Biden’s broad vaccine mandates, eight months after more than 500 people stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to overturn the election…

J.D. Vance — author of “Hillbilly Elegy” and a candidate for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio — urged “mass civil disobedience” to Biden’s plan to use federal authority to mandate vaccination for roughly two-third of America workers…”I have a simple message for America’s business community,” Vance wrote. “DO NOT COMPLY.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told Sean Hannity on Fox News: “In South Dakota, we’re going to be free. … We will take action. My legal team is already working.”

A top House Republican aide tells me: “Every Republican in the country — especially those running to the right in primaries — is salivating over Joe Biden [igniting] the vax debate.”

“Republicans think that he’s made even pro-vax conservatives into ‘anti-vax mandate’ Americans.”

Twitter’s top U.S. trends last night had “#IwillNOTComply” at No. 6 — with the NFL’s season kickoff in the top four slots, followed by “Big Brother” on CBS at No. 5.

#VaccineMandate was No. 8, with #DoNotComply as a trend.

More:

“When this decree goes into effect, the (Republican National Committee) will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties,” RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel said in a statement…

“The Biden administration’s ill-conceived ‘Path out of the Pandemic’ plan vastly exceeds the powers the United States Constitution allots the executive branch,” said the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonprofit funded by the Charles Koch Foundation, a deep-pocketed conservative group.

“The federal government has no police power, and likewise no authority to force private employers of any size to mandate vaccines,” the group said…

“While I support the vaccine and have received it, Americans have the right to exercise personal choice when it comes to their health,” said Republican U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. “Getting the vaccine is a decision to be made in consultation with one’s doctor, not forced on Americans by the government.”

Anyway, crazy aside [Ed. for clarification: I am referring to Josh Mandel], this is so true:

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Fifth news item

Unsurprising:

The Department of Justice on Thursday sued Texas over its restrictive new abortion law, saying the state’s legislature enacted the statute “in open defiance of the Constitution.”

The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court, stacked 6-3 with conservative justices, last week refused to block the controversial abortion law, which bans almost all abortions after as early as six weeks of pregnancy, from taking effect.

President Joe Biden had blasted the high court’s overnight ruling, saying it “insults the rule of law.” Attorney General Merrick Garland said at the time that the Justice Department was “evaluating all options to protect the constitutional rights of women, including access to an abortion.”

…The 30-page complaint against the Lone Star State, filed in federal court in Austin, also accuses Texas of adopting “an unprecedented scheme” to insulate the abortion law from legal challenges by empowering private citizens to “serve as bounty hunters” against those who seeks out or assists in obtaining abortions.

The government is asking the court to declare the abortion law “invalid, null, and void,” and bar Texas from enforcing it in any way.

Profound reservations about the Texas law from David French:

The law bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected (a position I support), but it does so in a way that is engineered both to evade pre-enforcement judicial review (dangerous) and to empower any citizen (except state officials) to file suits against anyone who performs or “aids or abets” the performance of an abortion (even more dangerous).

That means that if a person believes his ex-girlfriend, friend, or acquaintance obtained an abortion, they can sue the doctor, the nurse, the receptionist, the mom who paid for it, and the boyfriend who drove her to the clinic.

Yes, those people can mount legal defenses regarding the constitutionality of the statute or their actual participation in the abortion—perhaps the plaintiff sued the wrong nurse, or the mom didn’t know the money she loaned her daughter was for an abortion, or the boyfriend didn’t realize where he was taking his girlfriend until after they arrived—but if they prevail and defeat the lawsuit, they’re still out legal fees that could financially break the defendants.

What if the woman didn’t get an abortion at all? What if she miscarried, and the plaintiff files suit thinking she obtained an abortion? How many thousands of dollars in legal fees would the defendants (including, possibly, grieving family members) have to pay to defend themselves against a random citizen before that citizen has to drop the suit? “I’m sorry” wouldn’t begin to cover the dreadful costs involved… Thus, even if Roe and Casey fall, and Texas is legally able to ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected, this law is still unjust.

Sixth news item

There was no doubt that this – and much worse – would happen:

The Taliban’s violent crackdown on protests against their hardline rule has already led to four documented deaths, according to a UN human rights official who said the group had used live ammunition, whips and batons to break up demonstrations.

Ravina Shamdasani, the UN’s rights spokesperson, told a briefing in Geneva that it had also received reports of house-to-house searches for those who participated in the protests.

The protests against the Taliban’s return to power, many of which have been led by women fearful of their status under the Islamist group, have been the target of violence in a number of locations and were formally banned this week without prior authorisation by the Taliban’s new interior ministry.

Describing the crackdown on dissent as “severe”, Shamdasani also described how journalists covering the demonstrations had faced intimidation, including in one case the threat of “beheading”, apparently a reference to an incident in which two Afghan journalists were detained, flogged and threatened earlier this week.

Oh for godsake, just shut-up already and stop embarrassing America:

The State Department on Tuesday expressed concerns over the makeup of the new interim Afghan government announced by the Taliban, including the lack of female leaders and the past actions of some of those appointed to top posts.

A State Department spokesperson said in a statement shared with The Hill that although the Taliban “has presented this as a caretaker cabinet,” the U.S. “will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words.”

“We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government,” the spokesperson added.

The statement went on to note that the list of names announced by the Taliban earlier Tuesday “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.”

Seventh news item

“I don’t think there was a process” [for evacuating our Afghan partners]:

Eighth news item

Yikes:

A Washington Post-ABC News poll asked unvaccinated workers whose employers have yet to impose a vaccine mandate what they were likely to do if being vaccinated was required.

The poll found 16 percent of unvaccinated workers would get the shot, 35 percent would ask for a medical or religious exemption and 42 percent would quit.

Without an exemption, 18 percent said they would comply and 72 percent said they would quit.

Note: A young friend of mine took a heap of scorn from colleagues when they found out that she had received a COVID-19 vaccination. WTF??

Ninth news item

Tenth news item

Trump Coup still rages on:

The authors of the coup try stay embedded within the Republican Party and within the conservative motion. Some are officeholders, like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, whereas others proceed worthwhile associations with establishments starting from the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a right-leaning public-interest litigation group, to Fox News and different media outfits.

The Trump administration was grotesque in its cruelty and incompetence. But with out the coup try, it might need been doable to work out a modus vivendi between anti-Trump conservatives and Mr. Trump’s right-wing nationalist-populists. Conservatives weren’t proud of Mr. Trump’s histrionics, however many had been fairly happy with all these Federalist Society judges and his signature on Paul Ryan’s tax invoice. Trump supporters, who had been nearly completely in theater, loved 4 years of Twitter-enabled catharsis even because the administration did little or no on key points like commerce and immigration.

In the traditional course of democratic politics, individuals who disagree about one challenge can work collectively after they agree about one other. We can combat over taxes or commerce coverage.

But there isn’t actually any center floor on overthrowing the federal government. And that’s what Mr. Trump and his allies had been as much as in 2020, by each violent and nonviolent means — and proceed to be as much as right now.

When it involves a coup, you’re both in otherwise you’re out. The Republican Party is leaning fairly strongly towards in. That goes to depart a minimum of some conservatives out — and, in all chance, completely out.

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

9/9/2021

President Biden to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine for Federal Workers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:11 pm



[guest post by Dana]

CNN reports:

Federal workers will have 75 days to get fully vaccinated or will face losing their jobs, the White House said Thursday, ahead of President Biden’s speech officially announcing the change in policy.

“There will be limited exceptions for legally recognized reasons such as disability or religious objections,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during a briefing.

She said the interagency task force would “provide a ramp up period, and we expect federal employees will have about 75 days to be fully vaccinated. That gives people more than enough time in our view to start and complete their vaccination series.”

“If a federal worker fails to comply,” she continued, “they will go through the Standard HR process, which includes counseling and face disciplinary action, face progressive disciplinary action. Each agency is going to work with employees to make sure they understand the benefits of vaccination and how the vaccines are free, easy and widely accessible, but it will start to be applied once the executive order is signed.”

Oh, and congratulations, America – we are now just behind Russia in the percentage of Americans skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine:

A survey conducted between August 24th and 30th by Morning Consult, an American pollster, found that 28% of Americans say they do not plan to get vaccinated or are unsure whether they will do so, more than double the average for the 15 countries surveyed. Only Russians are less enthusiastic.

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A former Marine I know posted an image questioning whether people who feel badly about Americans and Afghan translators left behind in Afghanistan would feel an equal level of frustration and sympathy if members of the U.S. military were punished, court-martialed, or dishonorably discharged if they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19. I don’t see it as a credible analogy for what I think are pretty obvious reasons. One has to wonder if these same members of the military (or former members) similarly protested the required double-digit number of vaccines they were given in preparation for deployments? This all goes to show the immense harm the politicization of the COVID-19 vaccine has had.

And so it goes…

–Dana

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