Tag Archives: covid-19

Blogging about bad Republicans is low-hanging fruit

But since I’m too tired for a deeper post, I’ll pluck it.

Football coach Jon Gruden was recently fired for his many sexist, homophobic emails. Erick Erickson protests that lots of people talk like that so what’s the big deal?

Lying anti-Semite Rick Wiles claims he only opposes Zionism, not Jews. Of course, he also says “Merrick Garland is a Jew. That’s why they’re taking over school boards.” Like I said, he’s a liar.

David Barton says only people who pretend to be Christians supported slavery. His son ain’t much better.

Trump says if the GOP doesn’t stop Democrats from cheating in 2022 and 2024, Republican voters should stay home. For once I hope they listen to him.

“Michael Gableman, the former judge leading the review, admitted days later that he does not have “a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work.”  — a look at another fake audit of elections, this time in Wisconsin.

Will the GOP make the logical leap from “covid vaccine mandates are bad” to “no vaccine mandates for anything?”

Ohio Republican Josh Mandel complains about vax mandates at a school board meeting, and it’s not even his school district.

Texas’ child welfare agency yanked its LGBTQ resources page after a Republican complained.

A school official warns parents that the state could crack down on them if they give kids anti-Holocaust books without pro-Holocaust material for “balance.”

Rep. Claudia Tenney has spent $100,000 of campaign money on her own companies.

Cyber Ninjas in Arizona didn’t find the fantasized massive proof of fraud. So of course Mike “MyPillow” Lindell says they’re part of the cover-up. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Republicans want to search voting machines in Durham, one of the bluest parts of the state.

Contemptible as I find Republicans equating vaccine mandates with the Holocaust, it’s not a new shtick with right-wingers — I’d forgotten Sarah Palin referred to criticism of her “gunsight” ads as blood libel.

Here’s OAN host Dan Ball explaining not only are vaccine mandates turning us into Nazi Germany, vaccines have killed thousands of people. Which is what is known as a lie.

Michelle Bachman, former Congressional representative and permanent bullshit artist claims that firing people who won’t get vaccinated is no better than murder.

A judge in Tennessee had some black elementary school kids carted to jail in handcuffs. Their crime? Well they watched a schoolyard fight and the judge decided that could qualify as a crime, so …

A Tallahassee police chief says as a Christian, he can proselytize to his employees. Which is a)not legal and b)it would be front page news if a Muslim said that.

Michael Flynn tries to convince his fellow QAnon supporters that he hasn’t switched sides to Satan.

Right-winger Charlie Kirk claims we Democrats want Americans living in sexual anarchy.

It’s always projection with the right-wing. They think we’re out to brainwash their children because that’s what they want to do.

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Lies, liars and … AT&T?

How did the far-right Trump Won The Election OAN “news” network come to be? According to Reuters, AT&T saw money in adding another right-wing network to their U-verse Internet TV options, from which OAN migrated to DirectTV (that part is complicated).

For me the money shot of the story is a former OAN employee defending them on the grounds nobody else is doing stories like these or catering to viewers who share the network’s worldview. In other words, if there are viewers who want to be told lies about how Trump won, catering to them is no different than making a romance or SF series because there’s a market for it. And of course, OAN is creating that market for bullshit by reassuring its viewers they’re right.

Not that OAN’s the only lying liar: Sen. Ron Johnson claims there is no FDA-approved vaccine in America. And right-wingers constantly lie about how the older, higher tax rates didn’t take more money from the rich because of all the loopholes.

As I mentioned in a previous post right-wingers have been waging an astroturf campaign against mask mandates for a while. But for all their “my body my choice” bullshit some of them are increasingly unhinged with anyone who disagrees with them, saying kids wearing masks is “rape” and “abuse.” Or we have this guy’s plans for National Walk Your Child To School Day: “They think it’s gonna be a fun and safe photo opportunity with parents and kids,” David Hakimfar, a West Hollywood attorney and anti-vaccine activist said at the protest Tuesday. “Let’s show up here and show them it’s not. Let’s show them how we really feel. Let’s make them afraid.” Some people are already afraid with good reason. And the same for healthcare workers.

Not that this kind of reaction is unusual when privilege gets challenged Cops like to pose as heroes, but if they’re asked to help the wrong people

Or consider Janet McEachin, Idaho’s lieutenant governor, who keeps trying to seize power whenever the governor’s out of state. Or the head of CyberNinjas who’s refusing to participate in a Congressional hearing. Hell, if I’d made several million dollars for a bullshit audit like his, I doubt I’d want to discuss it either.

How about Republicans who say they were horrified Biden abandoned our Afghani allies — but don’t like Afghani refugees living here.

Not that it’s all Republicans Millions of lawyers are supposed to get their student loans forgiven for entering public service. Not how it works in practice.

To end on some good news:

Biden has reversed the Trump rule that family planning clinics getting federal funds cannot recommend clients to abortion services. And a federal judge has temporarily blocked Texas’ “anyone can sue an abortionist” law

A 1/6 rioter broke down in tears at his sentencing. I’m sure it’s because he never expected to face consequences, but I relish his tears. A Texas man gets 15 months for the covid-licking hoax.

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The plague, and the people who plague us

“America’s Frontline Doctors, a right-wing group founded last year to promote pro-Trump doctors during the coronavirus pandemic, is working in tandem with a small network of health care companies to sow distrust in the Covid-19 vaccine, dupe tens of thousands of people into seeking ineffective treatments for the disease, and then sell consultations and millions of dollars’ worth of those medications. The data indicate patients spent at least $15 million — and potentially much more — on consultations and medications combined.” I am … not surprised.

“We don’t have sovereignty of our own bodies, we have to take a vaccine that’s not really a vaccine, it’s MRNA.” — professional Fox News liar Lara Logan.

” You’d think if you had a world-class medical school, you wouldn’t empower a case manager in financial risk management to overrule renowned experts in their field. ”

Anchorage anti-vaxxers are the latest to equate themselves to Jews in the Holocaust by wearing yellow stars. Despite criticism from Jews in the community, the town mayor says it’s a tribute to Holocaust victims.

In the same vein, right-winger Dennis Prager says if Americans won’t stand up to vaccine mandates, they wouldn’t protect Jews from Nazis.

“We’re created in the image of God,” is why one Fox News guest says masking is bad.

“Only one out of 2,200 state troopers actually quit over the vaccine mandate in Massachusetts so far. Not even dozens, just one guy.”

A teen mistakenly saying on social media she had covid does not justify jail time.

“Some people in groups that formed recently to promote the false cure ivermectin, an anti-parasite treatment, have claimed extracting Covid patients from hospitals is pivotal so that they can self-medicate at home with ivermectin.”

One Iowa community’s response to school mask requirements: keep kids out of school which will lower the state’s budget for the school district. Elsewhere the approach is to block the highways — hmm, I have a feeling all those “it’s okay to run over protesters” laws passed this past year will miraculously not apply.

To fight mandates, seize the food court!

One firm asked its employees to submit proof of vaccination. The result: the unvaccinated work remotely, the vaccinated must be back in the office.

“The Box still has rules in place to bar potentially infected employees from working but the supports once provided to enable those workers not to work are no longer in place.

” That word ‘flatteries’ means feminism, it means de-masculinization of mankind. That’s what the mask does. That’s what the vaccine does. That’s what complying with these inhumane, ungodly orders does.”

““The response was this diatribe about how evil the vaccine was, how much harm it causes, how data and reports are being covered up. Which told me that it really wasn’t about fetal cells at all. It’s all about a vaccine hesitancy.”

I know Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women’s Forum as a bullshit-spewing antifeminist. Turns out that to keep IWF’s donors happy, she’s also an enthusiastic anti-vaxxer.

“Somebody gets stopped at a traffic light for a traffic violation, window goes down, officer leans toward the person … if they go to a house where there’s been a complaint, they go into the house,” said Jack Greene, professor emeritus of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University. “They’re always going into public spaces.” — a look at first responders’ reluctance to vaccinate and why it matters.

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1 in 500 Americans have died of covid.

The WaPo discusses the grim statistics.

Washington state has managed its Trump Virus cases. It’s also accepting Idaho cases that state’s system is too overloaded to handle. Idaho Governor “Typhoid Brad” Little (I’m going to be using Typhoid Republican nicknames a lot for a while) is still adamant against any sort of mandates — he’s just going to wait for residents to do the right thing. Which worked out badly for one Alabama man. And the people are ending up in hospital from ivermectin poisoning. And the many people being forced to postpone surgeries.

LGM points out there are “huge numbers of basically apolitical or weakly political people who aren’t right wing zealots, but who are right wing adjacent in some way — they live in social/cultural bubbles where the Republican puke funnel is taken to be news rather than propaganda, and therefore it’s easy for them to just sort of slide into genuine vaccine “hesitancy” in the literal sense of the word. If not for the right-wing media, they might be okay. Instead, for some people, getting the vaccine feels like breaking with your community.

Which makes sense, when we have Republicans are telling them vaccines mandates are fascism. Or Erick Erickson, right-wing ass-hat, claiming it’s all a plot to whip up hate for unvaccinated Republicans. Or that Christian conservatives are incorporating vaccine and mask opposition into their Christianity (one anti-vax pastor also thinks math is nonsense).

We’ve always had vaccine mandates in America. One worry is that while Republicans are focused on covid, it won’t stop there. After all, right-wing anti-vaxxing goes back before Trump, and not just on the fringes. Of course, when President Obama said vaccines were good, a lot of Republicans denounced them. Tucker Carlson says the goal of mandatory military vaccination “is to identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anyone else who doesn’t love Joe Biden and make them leave immediately.” Breitbart claims that liberals are aggressively pro-vaccine and mocking anti-vaxxers because they want right-wingers to reject it and die … hmm, maybe taking it would be the ultimate way to own the libs?

It says a lot about the right that that’s the best rationale Breitbart can offer. As Roy Edroso points out, it’s bullshit (conservatives had to refuse the vaccine before they got mocked) — and he’s probably right it’s less about encouraging vaccination than giving readers a new reason to hate liberals.

Though it’s not just politics that’s the problem — a lot of online wellness influencers are anti-vax.

It’s hell on the medical personnel dealing with this: “I’m fatigued because I’m working more than ever, but more people don’t have to die,” Erickson told Medscape Medical News. “It’s been very hard physically, mentally, emotionally.” It’s certainly a good thing that at least one doctor spewing misinformation has lost his license.

LGM sums up the Republican position: “People should be free to acquire and transmit to others a deadly and extremely communicable virus, that is causing a catastrophic pandemic, even though this catastrophe could be avoided completely if people chose to take a free and safe vaccine. Furthermore, it’s morally wrong for the government to engage in even the mildest coercion to nudge people toward getting vaccinated, because such coercion interferes with individual liberty, which is always the highest social value in every circumstance.”

Likewise,  “That Reeves would dismiss these deaths as bad “timing” says plenty about what Republican governors value — optics over lives.”

Or as John Scalzi says, “They’re killing their own people because of politics. Not anyone else. Not any more. And they’ll keep doing it. For as long as it takes. Because this is how they think they will win.”

 

 

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Mostly depressing stuff about global warming, plus other science links

“At its worst, net zero by 2050 is a device for shunting responsibility across both time and space. Those in power today seek to pass their liabilities to those in power tomorrow. Every industry seeks to pass the buck to another industry. ” — a Guardian columnist on how our current goals for fighting global warming fall short.

As the world heats up, air conditioning becomes more vital, but it also makes the problems worse. What are the alternatives?

Air-travel contributes to global warming too. Here are the big problems they need to solve.

Global warming and other factors have put the Komodo dragon on the endangered list. There are dangers for vanilla and avocado crops, too.

The world’s largest carbon-capture machine has gone live.

Floating wind turbines could be a great clean energy source, but there are obstacles to overcome first.

“Black cemeteries are now at a disproportionate risk of being lost, some before they have even been officially found.”

The U.S. Army is looking to a cyborg future and worried movies will bias us against cyborgs.

To tighten its grip on the people, the Russian government is deploying its own internet.

Millionaire Julia Davies is helping acres of British farmland go back to nature.

How a rare New Zealand parrot may have removed harmful mutations from its gene pool.

Environmental activism around the world leads to activists being murdered.

“You do pi because everyone else has been doing pi.” — an article on whether there’s any point to calculating pi out to the trillions of digits.

Dogs are amazing — even as covid detectors. I’m sure Plushie could handle it.

What we’re still learning about the asteroid that ended the dinosaur age.

The technical and ethical challenges to resurrecting the woolly mammoth.

The California condor population has gone from 22 to more than 500.

#SFWApro. Comics cover by Mike Sekowsky, all rights to images remain with current holders.

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Vaclav Havel and the Trump Virus

Reading the news this week puts me in mind again of Vaclav Havel’s essay “The Power of the Powerless” and how modern tyrants claim “the center of power is identical with the center of truth,” — it’s not simply that they’ve seized power, it’s righteous and just that they’re in charge.

I think that explains some of the deranged pushback against getting vaccinated. They talk about “choice” but obviously a lot of them are seething that anyone is making a different choice than they are. Harassing and threatening healthcare workers to prevent vaccinations. Coughing on people in stores. Mocking a kid for discussing his grandmother’s death from covid. Their god king, The Former Guy, said the virus wasn’t a big deal. His toady, Sen. Ted Cruz, said if Biden won, Democrats would immediately end all pandemic precautions. The center of power — remember, a lot of Republicans have chosen to believe that Trump is still president — has spoken. By refusing to conform, we dissent from Republican orthodoxy, and their fragile fee-fees can’t stand dissent, any more than they tolerate criticism. And as Paul Campos says, if they question any one part of the truth, their whole belief system could collapse.

So at the local level, even with school cases rising, they freak out at efforts to change that. A group of anti-maskers drove one San Diego-area school board out of its meeting, then appointed themselves the new board. One father compares the school’s directive to keep his kid in quarantine for a few days with a Gestapo order and brought zip ties to the school to make a citizen’s arrest of the principal (didn’t happen, fortunately). Dude, if this were Nazi Germany you’d face a shit-ton worse for challenging the authorities.

QAnon cultists are pressuring hospitals give Trump Virus patients ivermectin (feed stores are now selling out of it) instead of valid medical treatments. And we have predators like “Typhoid Ron” DeSantis ignoring Florida’s rising number of cases and trying to hide the numbers. Idaho gubernatorial candidate Janice McGeachin claiming vaccines are lethal. Or Rand Paul who wants Dr. Fauci in jail. Dave Daubenmire insists he hasn’t caught Covid, he’s been sickened by electrical energy from vaccinated people. Joe Rogan, who came down with Covid after performing stand-up shows in Florida, but still won’t piss off his audience by accepting science. Given his past claims that vaccine passports lead to dictatorship, we can assume his audience doesn’t want to hear “I was wrong, everyone should get vaccinated.”

We’ve had 800,000 excess deaths since February but the Republican stance remains the same, as Rebecca Solnit says: “some have the right to determine the truth more than others, and facts, science, history are likewise fetters to be shaken loose in pursuit of exactly your very own favorite version of reality, which you enforce through dominance, including outright violence.”

It doesn’t help, as LGM says, that a lot of media still won’t say outright that the real, if not the only issue, is the antivaxxers. If we’re stuck figuring out the endgame, it’s because too many people won’t get vaccinated. That’s what leads to the surge in cases (including among the vaccinated) which is why military doctors are having to help out. Eric Boehlert suggests after years of Trump safaris — talking to white, working-class Republicans about why those simple, plain-spoken Americans supported The Former Guy — reporters are having trouble seeing them as politically paranoid, anti-rational extremists (none of which ever came out during those safaris).

So the end result is we’re starting to debate whether it’s justifiable for hospitals to turn away the unvaxxed when space is tight (I don’t think the often-used comparison to smokers is justified  — smoking is an addiction, staying unvaccinated isn’t. And let’s face it, beds in ICUs are not currently unavailable because of too many smokers in hospital for cancer). And hospitals going short-staffed because of staff refusing vaccine mandates.

I think a harder line is definitely good, such as Biden now mandating vaccination for all federal workers and many employees outside the government. And increasing fines on airplane travelers who don’t wear masks. Unsurprisingly, Republicans who feel perfectly entitled to tell private businesses No Vaccine Requirements are furious that Biden dares tell private businesses what to do (I’ve heard speculation a lot of business owners will be thrilled — now they have an excuse to push vaccinations).

That said, Medscape concludes the way to change vaccine-hesitant minds is less confrontation, more persuasion — even allowing them to do it discreetly so their anti-vax peers won’t know (which is insane, but if it gets results, hey).

We should have been largely back to pre-pandemic normal by now. It does not bode well for this country that we aren’t getting close.

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The center cannot hold … and the rest of it ain’t looking so good

“The point is, if you wanted to stop evictions, you could do it, with legally appropriated money. In theory.” But in practice, even with lots of money available and a simple method of distribution — show up at eviction hearings, pay the debt — we can’t make it happen.

The same is true, Ezra Klein says about the humanitarian case for war: if we want to improve the lives of women, or medical care or anything else in the developing world, we have the money, the resources and the skills to do “far more good and less harm.” But as LGM says, that doesn’t generate money for military contractors, or satisfy the chickenhawks who glory in fighting a war from their living room.

Part of it is that we have a deranged, anti-American, white-supremacist, male-supremacist party that’s wildly unpopular — it’s won the popular vote once in a presidential election this century — but due to the structure of our government is often able to grind government to the halt. They’ve got right-wing judges into as many courts as possible. They’re coming for city councils and school boards. And election officials. And more city councils. And more school boards. And it’s only going to get worse because there’s enough extremists to oust anyone who doesn’t play ball. And nobody has the spine to step back — they’ll punish Liz Cheney for questioning Trump but they won’t say boo to Madison Cawthorn. Another example of spinelessness is that despite criminalizing abortion in Texas, they’re trying to pretend it’s nothing of the sort.

And it’s clear they’ll impeach a Democratic president for any reason, at any time they think they can get away with it.

We have liars who claim concentration camps for the oppressed, abused unvaccinated are inevitable. Maybe he believes it; maybe he’s catering to the people who do. Either way, it makes things worse. So do scam artist hatemongers like Mat Staver who claims vaccine mandates cause suicide, while encouraging people to give him money to Fight The Man.

Then we have “Typhoid Ron” DeSantis whose policies have made the Trump Virus much worse in Florida than necessary. Those extra deaths, he says “are a terrible thing … what we’re trying to do is say, ‘OK, what was not being done? Where was the gap?’ And the biggest gap was in the early treatment.” Not, of course, his efforts to prevent businesses and school boards from requiring masks or vaccine mandates.

Not that the right-wing public is any better — attacking breast cancer patients over a clinic’s mandatory mask policy, for instance. They pretend their issue is choice, but they’re willing to harass and intimidate medical workers so other people can’t make a choie they disagree with.

The right-wing hatemongers are getting louder. I don’t think Josh Bernstein has much political clout, but calling on the trucking industry to starve Democratic-majority areas until Biden resigns is still alarming rhetoric.

“In late July, anti-vax conspiracy theorist Chris McDonald asked for prayers for his father, who had contracted COVID-19. Two weeks later, he announced that his father had died. Last night, McDonald said COVID-19 vaccines are a plot to commit “genocide” and urged everyone to refuse to take them.” Right-Wing Watch

The media are listening to the national-security “experts” who, Ross Douthat says, “managed to build nothing in the political or military spheres that could survive for even a season without further American cash and military supervision”  — and unsurprisingly hate that Biden pulled us out (his fault, not theirs!). It’s slightly horrifying I agree with not only Douthat but Ann Coulter about this. I’m much less surprised I agree with this LGM post on the topic.

And let’s not forget, the America-Hating Party attempted a coup earlier this year. And they’re still nervous about their own leaders involvement — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is threatening telecoms that turn over member phone records from Jan. 6 to the investigating committee. I do find some amusement that 17 of the seditionists were represented by an anti-vax attorney who’s now come down with covid. Or that Rand Paul is pretending nobody’s studied ivermectin as a covid cure because they hate Trump (here’s a look at how ivermectin became an obsession). And if we criticize them and they get upset, we’re the special snowflakes.

A school board in Wisconsin has refused a free lunch program that’s free to the district too. They’re claiming that making free lunches available will make children spoiled.

Then there’s sports.

Then there’s lawyers.

 

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The mills of God grind slowly …

But eventually, once in a while, horrible people get thoroughly ground under. So let’s have some schadenfraude, shall we?

Anti-Muslim bigot Laura Loomer sued the Muslim-rights group CAIR for supposedly conspiring to get her off Twitter. A judge threw out her case and charged her $125,000 for CAIR’s legal fees.

The first defendant in the kidnap plot against Mich. Governor Gretchen Whitmer gets six years — a low sentence because he sang like a canary.

An E/R doctor charged parents $50 to write medical-exemption letters to schools with mask mandates. He’s been fired.

Leash the kraken! A Michigan judge has slapped Sidney Powell, Lin Wood and other Stop The Nonexistent Steal attorneys with legal fees, requirements to attend law classes and requests the relevant bar associations discipline them. It’s not the only court giving The Former Guy’s attorneys their comeuppance.

A thirtysomething woman in Pennsylvania spat on a produce display, coughed and yelled that she had the Trump Virus. She’s getting a year in jail.

Republican scam artists Jacob Wuhl and Jack Burkman have been fined $5 million for making illegal robocalls to discourage voting (mail-in ballots will be tracked for mandatory vaccinations!).

Texas now has a website where you can report someone for trying to get an abortion or helping someone get an abortion (both illegal under Texas’ new forced-birther law). People are spamming the site big-time with porn and memes. It doesn’t eliminate the problems of this ugly law, but I’ll celebrate what small blows we can strike.

Lawsuits against vaccine mandates keep failing.

Build The Wall, an effort to crowdsource The Former Guy’s “big beautiful wall,” has been fighting a lawsuit for a year. And guess what, in all that time they haven’t paid their lawyers (I presume their in-house counsel, Trumpite slime Kris Kobach, gets his cut). So now the lawyers want the court to let them walk away, leaving Save The Wall only 30 days to find new attorneys (“Finding a lawyer I don’t think is a big problem. I think finding a lawyer who is willing to risk not getting paid is probably the issue here,” Crane said.)

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Genesis was right, we’re living in a land of confusion (and pandemic)

(Here’s the relevant video from the eighties)

“The pandemic struck at the heart of evangelicals’ ministry model. Though only 10 percent of American Christians attend a megachurch, their worship style and business orientation have become inescapable standards in evangelical Christianity. Pastors of even small churches are expected to grow membership, cultivate a social media following, and provide high-tech entertainment on Sunday mornings … All such activities became difficult or impossible at a time when indoor gatherings were prohibited, and many Americans were staying home, losing jobs, or juggling work and childcare. More to the point, ministries organized around marketing principles simply were not equipped to respond to church members’ sudden fears, economic dislocation, and need for one-on-one, compassionate support.”— a look at why some pastors would sooner hold church services than protect their flock from pandemic.

Right-winger Christopher Key tells Springfield pharmacists if they distribute the vaccine, they’ll be hung for war crimes. The Nuremberg rules he refers to apply to using humans as guinea pigs without their consent, and do not apply to the vaccine.

Ohio Republican Josh Mandel is definitely confused — he claims the Post Office, listed in the Constitution, is unconstitutional.

Lin Wood’s down with the QAnon fantasy of Save The Non-Existent Children. But he’s oblivious to sexual predators on his own side.

Last year, Republicans predicted support for social distancing and lockdown measures would disappear if Biden won (“‘Everything’s magically better. Go back to work. Go back to school. Suddenly the problems are solved.’ ”). They were wrong but the conviction public-health measures are a liberal plot remains.

Some Trump Virus skeptics are asking for the impossible — blood transfusions only from the unvaccinated.

Right-wing Cardinal Raymond Burke opposed vaccines, social distancing and vaccine mandates because God, not the state is “the ultimate provider of health.” Woops, seems he’s got the Trump Virus now … and is trusting to a ventilator, not God.

The ever-confused Maureen Dowd is not only shocked Obama had a fun birthday party, but she wrote a column critiquing the guest list.

Fred Clark discusses the inevitable confusion in defining mainstream Protestants.

“You will not experiment on my children. … you vote yes, you will all be tried for crimes against humanity!”

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks’ response to the recent bombing attempt in Washington: ” I understand citizenry anger directed at dictatorial Socialism and its threat to liberty, freedom and the very fabric of American society. ” Bet he wouldn’t be saying that if they’d been Black Lives Matter.

Textbooks that present slavery as “black immigration” will certainly confuse a lot of students (intentionally, I’m sure).

Right-wingers stayed strong in support of Trump, sexual harasser Roy Moore and similar slime. They must be confused that their predictions Democrats would support Andrew Cuomo didn’t pan out.

Consevatives are whipping up confusion over critical race theory to take over school boards.

Anti-vaxxers insist it’s a personal choice that doesn’t affect anyone else. They’re wrong, as witness Orlando is calling for reduced water usage because there’s not enough liquid oxygen for water treatment. It’s going to Covid patients. And Alabama has no more ICU beds. Yet we have Republican officials giving parents advice on how to avoid mask mandates because, freedom! Okay, that’s not confused, it’s just evil.

“I have a very low risk of A) Getting COVID and B) dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” Three guesses what happened next.

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Anti-vaxxers biting the tires

The title comes from a poem I read in elementary school or junior high in which the narrator laments his dead dog (wording is not verbatim: “Poor, foolish Job/He wasn’t content to chase the truck/He had to bite the tires/Fools have no luck.”

Which is where a lot of the anti-vaxxers seem to be at: they willfully bit the truck and now they’re paying for it. Texas politician H. Scott Apley, for instance, who declared one health official celebrating effective vaccines was “the enemy of a free people.” Apley is now dead. He once sneered that middle-class families could afford private health insurance if they managed their money well. Apparently he didn’t as his family have a GoFundMe for their own Trump Virus bills and Apley’s funeral.

This isn’t typical of all unvaccinated Americans. Many people still have trouble getting off work, let alone risking a couple of days laid up by a bad reaction. And people like conservative radio host Dick Farrel, who came down with covid, saw the light before his death (he’d previously labeled Fauci a lying freak) and encouraged others to get vaccinated, deserve credit for admitted they were wrong. As opposed to this woman. Or this one (“A healthy body and immune system [do] not need the vaccine.”). Or right-wing hack Glenn Reynolds warning his readers that if you give in and start masking and vaxxing, you’ve been gaslighted by liberal elites.

Quite simply, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans will die of the Trump Virus because they chose not to get vaccinated. The ones who can’t yet get vaccinated are tragic; are the refuseniks? I alternate between sympathy and anger. Anger because the vaccine is available, free, effective and safe. Sympathy because a lot of them are being misled by ass-hats like Greg Locke, who claims Tennessee will lock the unvaccinated up in concentration camps. Like whining about how they’re  treated like Jews in Nazi Germany, delusions of imminent internment have been around since long before the pandemic.

We also have Laura Ingraham lying that masks are only effective in a surgical setting. And Matt Staver’s anti-gay turned anti-vax group Liberty Council, which claims the vaccine will connect your brain to the Internet and sterilize you. Staver has been raising money off anti-vaxxers (he’ll fight the oppression! Send him your cash!). He and Ron DeSantis are not the only ones milking anti-vaxxers for gobs of cash. Some of them pretend they’re horrified about the idea of vaccinating kids, ignoring that it’s preferable to the effects of Long Covid. And it’s not just the victims who suffer: Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who’s actively opposed vaccine mandates and mask mandates, is now telling Texans to postpone elective surgeries — and calling in out-of-state medical workers to cope with the rising Covid case load.

But we’ve also got boatloads of ignorance, belligerence and lies. The woman who said I Am Legend proved vaccines are dangerous.  Phony historian David Barton claiming that using ankle monitors to ensure quarantine patients stay home would violate the Third Amendment. People treating vaccine mandates as if they were a radical new idea. Clinging to invermectin, a drug that doesn’t work on Covid.

Some governments around America are taking Covid seriously: Los Angeles is requiring vax proof to enter public indoor spaces. California is requiring school staff have vaccination passports or undergo weekly testing.  But then we have Florida, Texas. And Springfield, where the city council encouraged vaccination and some of the public had a shit fit. Ted Cruz pandering to anti-vaxxers. And these bullying psychos in Tennessee.

Paul Krugman points out this is where Republicans have been on climate change for years, refusing to believe the evidence — but the evidence the Trump Virus is real is a lot harder to ignore. Nevertheless we have Republicans like my state’s  Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson, saying we should vote out any politician who promotes or takes the vaccine. Not imposing mandates or requiring vaccine passports, simply being pro-vaccine. LGM suggests anti-rationality is now Republican orthodoxy — rejecting science and evidence is their political correctness.

And as Adam Server writes, there’s a vicious circle going: The Former Guy and his toadies whipped up anti-vax sentiment among the base. Fox News caters to their audience by siding with the Former Guy and pooh-poohing the need for vaccination, then “the conservative media’s devotion to undermining vaccination encourages Republican elected officials with political ambitions to make irresponsible public-health decisions, because they understand how media coverage shapes the attitudes of the GOP’s voters.” Abbott and DeSantis fear for their political careers if they cross the base more than they care about the dead. Hence DeSantis being anti-mask, anti-vaxx mandate but pro-extremely expensive therapies.

As noted at one of the links, the best chance for breaking through may be that a continuing pandemic is bad for business. The Republican money has been perfectly fine catering to the right-wing crazies if it elects anti-tax, anti-regulation politicians (and the judges they appoint). Now the extreme irrationality is threatening the bottom line. Perhaps that will shake things up.

Law professor Paul Campos, in one of these posts, says if ICU beds become tight, maybe those who choose to be unvaccinated should get access behind those who’ve had their shots (he doubts that meets medical law or ethics though). I understand the logic, but I’d much rather the anti-vaxxers stop biting the damn tires. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen soon.

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