Open thread July 27, 2021 Dan Crawford | July 27, 2021 9:28 am Tags: open thread Comments (23) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Israel is testing a pill version of Covid 19 vaccine. I wonder whether, if a pill version had been somehow available from the beginning, would half of the vaccine “scardy-cats” even have thought of the vaccine as chancy?
A needle with a see through liquid can conjure up visions of Frankenstein laboratories with bubbling vats — while a pill may trigger no thoughts beyond a glass of water.
I wonder if a last ditch appeal to today’s “scardy-cats”, invoking the “what if” pill psychology, might not prod more than a few to see commons sense, at long last.
anyone wonder why the current Covid surge is being led by the countries with the highest vaccination rates (ie, the UK, the US, and the core of Europe)
even Israel, supposedly the first country to be fully vaccinated, has seen new cases rise from less than 10 a day in early June to over 2000 yesterday….over the past week, Israel has had more new cases than Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt combined, all of whom have vax rates under 10%…
The Delta Variant
state vaccination rates tell an inconsistent story; at least 10%, and on some days up to 20%, of new US Covid cases have been in Florida, yet their vaccination rate is similar to that of Illinois, which has had about a tenth of Florida’s cases..
Do people behave differently in Chicago than they do in Miami?
maybe in the summer; Chicagoans would be outdoors more…
For Covid-19 then canoodling with strangers is a high risk activity. Reminds me of the early HIV days. South Beach was dangerous back then too. OTOH, just flipping people the bird from a safe distance poses no more risk than shouting obscenities across the street at each other.
As Virus Cases Rise, Another Contagion Spreads Among the Vaccinated: Anger
Will the Delta Variant Wreck the Recovery
NY Times – Neil Irwin – July 28
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/media/journalist-both-sides-politics-trump/2021/07/27/c3afd1f8-eee0-11eb-81d2-ffae0f931b8f_story.htmlOur democracy is under attack. Washington journalists must stop covering it like politics as usual.
By Margaret Sullivan Today at 6:00 a.m. EDT
Back in the dark ages of 2012, two think-tank scholars, Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann, wrote a book called “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” about the rise of Republican Party extremism and its dire effect on American democracy.
In a related op-ed piece, these writers made a damning statement about Washington press coverage, which treats the two parties as roughly equal and everything they do as deserving of similar coverage.
Ornstein and Mann didn’t use the now-in-vogue terms “both-sidesism” or “false equivalence,” but they laid out the problem with devastating clarity (the italics are mine):
“We understand the values of mainstream journalists, including the effort to report both sides of a story. But a balanced treatment of an unbalanced phenomenon distorts reality. If the political dynamics of Washington are unlikely to change any time soon, at least we should change the way that reality is portrayed to the public.”
Nearly a decade later, this distortion of reality has only grown worse, thanks in part to Donald Trump’s rise to power and his ironclad grip on an increasingly craven Republican Party.
Positive proof was in the recent coverage of congressional efforts to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
The Democratic leadership has been trying to assemble a bipartisan panel that would study that mob attack on our democracy and make sure it is never repeated. Republican leaders, meanwhile, have been trying to undermine the investigation, cynically requesting that two congressmen who backed efforts to invalidate the election be allowed to join the commission, then boycotting it entirely. And the media has played straight into Republicans’ hands, seemingly incapable of framing this as anything but base political drama.
“‘What You’re Doing Is Unprecedented’: McCarthy-Pelosi Feud Boils Over,” read a CNN headline this week. “After a whiplash week of power plays . . . tensions are at an all-time high.”
Is it really a “feud” when Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy performatively blames Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for refusing to seat Republicans Jim Jordan and Jim Banks — two sycophantic allies of Trump, who called the Jan. 6 mob to gather?
One writer at Politico called Pelosi’s decision a “gift to McCarthy.” And its Playbook tut-tutted the decision as handing Republicans “a legitimate grievance,” thus dooming the holy notion of bipartisanship.
“Both parties have attacked the other as insincere and uninterested in conducting a fair-minded examination,” a Washington Post news story observed. (“Can it really be lost on the Post that the Republican party has acted in bad faith at every turn to undermine every attempt to investigate the events of Jan. 6?” a reader complained to me.)
The bankruptcy of this sort of coverage was exposed on Tuesday morning, when the Jan. 6 commission kicked off with somber, powerful, pointedly non-political testimony from four police officers attacked during the insurrection. Two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, even defied McCarthy’s boycott to ensure their party would be sanely represented.
Law officers became truth seekers about who was responsible for the Capitol attacks
This strain of news coverage, observed Jon Allsop in Columbia Journalism Review, centers on twinned, dubious implications: “That bipartisanship is desirable and that Democrats bear responsibility for upholding it — even in the face of explict Republican obstructionism.”
This stance comes across as both cynical (“politics was ever thus”) and unsophisticated (“we’re just doing our job of reporting what was said”). Quite a feat.
Mainstream journalists want their work to be perceived as fair-minded and nonpartisan. They want to defend themselves against charges of bias. So they equalize the unequal. This practice seems so ingrained as to be unresolvable.
There is a way out. But it requires the leadership of news organizations to radically reframe the mission of its Washington coverage. As a possible starting point, I’ll offer these recommendations:
In the early seventies, this type of attack on the capitol would not have been tolerated. 4th Bn 10 Marines and elements of the 82nd Airborne were trained in riot control with the intent to confront protestors if they got out of hand. It was a week long training for us down at LeJeune and most of us were Vietnam veterans. We would have crushed them if called out and without live rounds.
The police officers who testified should have called the Repubs out as cowards as not one of them capable enough joined the police in defending the capitol. Many of them are veterans like Lindsey Graham , granted a fat-assed Colonel. Badass Cotton was supposedly airborne. where was he? Senator Roberts and Marshall are veterans.
In the House (74 veterans)? Jim Banks, Louie Gohmert, Darrell Issa, Meijer, etc. to name a few of the big mouths in the Senate and the House. No danger? Why didn’t they stay? Why didn’t they confront the protest . . . errr rioters? Tough guys, yeah until they have to get their hands dirtied or noses bloodied. More cowards . . .
In the seventies as federal troops, we would have mopped the streets with them.
Over/under on the combined IQ of these four? Thinking it doesn’t hit triple digits.
Key Republican senators say they’re ready to take up an infrastructure deal, paving the way for a vote
White House and senators cement a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal
It seems likely that while the GOP electorate may support
infrastructure spending in their neighborhoods (which
persuaded even Mitch McConnell to vote in favor, at this
point), that as ‘debate’ unfolds in the Senate, the GOP
practice of halting/eviscerating Dem legislation will
take over, for all the obvious reasons.
It’s now down to around $350 billion of new spending.
Pandemic Aid Programs Spur a Record Drop in Poverty
The U.S. economy grew 1.6 percent in the second quarter, returning to prepandemic size
Kevin Drum on why we are the way we are.
” The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage
We are at war with ourselves, but not for the reasons you think.
What accounts for this? It’s here that our popular explanations run aground. It can’t be all about a rise in conspiracy theories, since they’ve been around for decades. It can’t be social media, since Facebook and Twitter have become popular in the political arena only over the past few years. It can’t be a decline in material comfort, since incomes and employment have steadily improved over the past couple of decades. It can’t really be social trends, since most of them have improved too. And most of the specific issues that might cause alarm—immigration, racism, and more—are unlikely candidates on their own. They may be highly polarizing, but in a concrete sense they haven’t gotten worse since 2000. In fact, they’ve mostly gotten better.
To find an answer, then, we need to look for things that (a) are politically salient and (b) have changed dramatically over the past two to three decades. The most obvious one is Fox News.”
Yes, and people that watch Fox News are all stupid.
Senators finally hearing the meatpacking industry is unsustainable.
Elizabeth Warren Schools Billionaire Over Social Security
Warren appeared alongside billionaire Ken Langone on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where Langone asked Warren why he, a billionaire, still receives social security checks, among other questions about taxes on the super-wealthy. When he finally gave Warren a moment to get a word in, she certainly delivered. Let’s check out the exchange and footage below.
Langone, who described himself as a “fat cat,” told Warren he had an “easy” question that would “surprise” her.
“How do you justify giving me a three thousand dollars a month check every month with all my wealth? Why don’t you people have the courage to address entitlements as to what should no longer be an entitlement?” He added that he shouldn’t get Social Security and asked why corporations don’t have a minimum alternative tax.
Warren took his questions in stride, starting by explaining how taxes work for the super-wealthy.
“Jeff Bezos has not paid taxes on the wealth that he has,” Warren stated, adding that in spite of being worth a “bazillion dollars,” he has not paid taxes on his wealth.
“In fact,” she continued. “Jeff Bezos, many years, has either paid nothing in taxes or has paid 1%. Why? Because his income is very, very small but he continues to grow his wealth through all of his Amazon stock. And how does he then fund a lifestyle, like he does? Not by cashing in Amazon stock but by borrowing against it.”
Warren explained that right now, our tax system simply doesn’t encompass people at a certain level of wealth (like Bezos), but does make low-income and middle-class folks pay.
In response to Langone’s second question about minimum tax rates, Warren addressed that she has herself suggested something very similar to a minimum tax on corporations, which she called a “real corporate profits tax.” She added this would be another way to get funds for universal child care and infrastructure repair.
And in terms of Social Security? Warren said it’s set up differently in that it’s structured more like an “insurance policy.” Warren broke down that you (in this case Langone, but also the public in general) pay in year after year, and that it’s not “welfare” or “charity.”
Social security, on the other hand, is an “agreement that every employee in the country, who is eligible for Social Security, paid into, and gets a return on the back end. Surely, you wouldn’t want to be the person to go on national TV and say, after a contract has been negotiated, and someone has paid into it for 40 years, that the federal government should turn around and say, ‘Oops! We changed our mind. We’re not going to give you the payout that you earned by making the payments all those years.’”
Also on Squawk Box, Warren offered up a fresh zinger toward Bezos when asked about how to take cryptocurrency, saying, “I want to see us tax wealth however your wealth is tied up. It shouldn’t make a difference whether you have real estate, or whether you have cash or whether you have a bazillion shares of Amazon.”
“Yes, Jeff Bezos,” she added. “I’m looking at you.”
To see the clip go here:
Elizabeth Warren Schools Billionaire Over Social Security | Crooks and Liars
So, Ken Langone, Home Depot billionaire ($5.7B) wonders why
he’s getting $3K per month from Social Security, suggests that
such unnecessary payments are wasteful guv’mint spending.
Hmmm. How much of a problem is that, and how much income
tax is he paying on $5.7B of wealth? Hopefully a lot more than
$36K of social security benefits. Hopefully, he has so much
taxable income that all of his social security benefits are taxable.
Assuming he has taxable income.
The point is, all of the soc-sec benefits paid to billionaires has
to be much, much, much less of a fiscal problem than the
income taxes they don’t pay. Langone is obfuscating.