Weekend Open Thread
[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
[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.
“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.”
Do NOT comply with the tyranny.
When the gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do. pic.twitter.com/hLJbcx4ace
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) September 10, 2021
Anyway, crazy aside [Ed. for clarification: I am referring to Josh Mandel], this is so true:
Fifth news item
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]:
I’m heartened to see two international flights leaving Kabul’s airport with Americans and other non-Afghans. Also positive to see Biden Admin setting up coordination with outside groups. Reality is we still have thousands of loyal Afghan allies trapped and we need a plan ASAP. https://t.co/AQNKcYeEbt
— Rep. Peter Meijer (@RepMeijer) September 10, 2021
Eighth news item
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
Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it. pic.twitter.com/VmET1JUs12
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 9, 2021
Tenth news item
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!