Saturday, July 31, 2021

Reading The Legal Tea Leaves

The sentiment that Twitter can’t convey nuance is quite true, and as applicable to the law as to medicine. The problem with that statement is that Treasury is not “holding off,” it is party to a lawsuit over releasing the tax returns. The OLC opinion is advisory only (just like the one that says they can’t prosecute a sitting POTUS). It is not determinative, especially when there is a court involved.

Treasury is playing to the court here, fully aware the court is not going to grant a peremptory release of the tax returns. This is, in other words, how lawsuits are done. Treasury is not “holding off,” Treasury is acting like a party to pending lawsuit. The problem is people who thought the OLC memo was the last word on this. It’s just another brick in the wall.
This is the result of Treasury “holding off.” Matters are moving forward as they should be. The court deadline of August 4, after all, is only Wednesday.

Whatever Happened To “Economic Anxiety”?

Nearly half of all Republicans in the U.S. believe that "a time will come when patriotic Americans have to take the law into their own hands." 

Economic anxiety?  Fear of social collapse?  Or just good old American racism, brought to the fore by Donald Trump and George Floyd?

Where did I read that a state wants schools to stop teaching that the Constitution is a racist document, that racism had anything to do with the government created in 1798?  Despite the Missouri Compromise and the 3/5ths compromise and the continuation of slavery until that issue alone nearly broke the Union four score and seven years later?

Economic anxiety, right?

Nobody's blaming that on economic anxiety. I don't think you can blame it on racism, either.  But crises tend to reveal the character of individuals, and of nations.  And apparently some portion of our nation is seriously unhinged and fruity as a nutcake.  It would be a mistake to think it was all of us, though; or even a large portion of us:

Vaccinated Americans living in Los Angeles County, California told CNN this week that they've lost patience with their fellow Americans who are refusing to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

LA County-based educational show host Michael Burns explained to CNN that he's grown particularly angry with people who openly boast about their refusal to get vaccinated.

"There are people who have been flaunting not being vaccinated or not wanting to be vaccinated in both Los Angeles and Southern California more generally," he said. "It's extremely frustrating."

LA County resident Ann Rodarte, meanwhile, said she felt "disappointment" by vaccine resisters because they had spoiled what had been the start of a return to normalcy earlier this summer.

LA County resident Paula Stewart similarly said she was "angry, disappointed and scared" that, because of vax resisters, "this is not going away."

Despite the fact political Twitter thinks majority rule means the minority is always squashed into silence and impotence, this is the sound of the majority pushing back.  Greg Abbott may hide behind bromides about how Texans have learned to take care of themselves in this pandemic, but I've been in stores and restaurants where almost no one was wearing a mask or practicing anything like social distancing, and the hospitalization rates and positivity rates in Texas equal what they were 5 months ago, and they are only rising.  Eventually the majority is going to demand the minority stop endangering all of us; and demand our officeholders do their jobs to protect the public.

And when that happens, the anxiety is not gonna be economic.  But before we get there, Gov. Faubus wants his chance to stand in the school house door one more time, and declare "race mixing" something up with which he will not put!  That part is gonna get real ugly, real fast.

I kind of expect the DOJ lawsuit to bring that to the fore, in a way even the media can't prance around.


Yeah, But Who’s Counting?

But He Is A Joke

Shouldn’t I worry more about this guy, who is at least a sitting U.S. Senator? By the way, there’s no mechanism for imposing a national vaccine mandate any more than there is for imposing an election “do-over.”

Calm down , Chicken Little.

So, How Small Is The GOP Base?

And why are we so afraid of them?

Taking It Personally

Texas has recorded 53,375 deaths from Covid. That’s roughly the population of the town I grew up in, while I was living there.

Giv. Absent, the city of the dead salute you. Job well done. Couldn’t have done it without you.

In Re: The Rising Number Of “Breakthrough Infections”

"Context is all.” See?

Vaccine Or Mask Mandates…

are out of the question:

In Mount Pleasant, the COVID unit at Titus could typically handle 21 patients — but the facility now only has the nursing staff to cover 6 of those beds, Scoggin said. Transferring new patients to a nearby facility is out of the question, he said. Those who can’t fit in the COVID unit are in the ICU, or the emergency department, or isolated in the labor-and-delivery unit, but that’s not a long-term solution, he said.

“I don't see another hospital within another 100 miles in a better situation,” Scoggin said.

Henderson said he spoke with a chief nursing officer north of Waco who said that her staff is near collapse after a physically and emotionally exhausting 16 months of fighting the pandemic.

That region, which includes Hill and McLennan counties, has seen one of the sharpest increases in COVID hospitalization rates in the state, according to state health numbers. On July 1, nearly 2% of hospitalizations in the region were COVID patients. By July 27, that had climbed to nearly 10%. Hill County ranks in the bottom half of the state for vaccinated residents. 

That’s East Texas. What about central Texas, in a town you may have heard of:

Abbott lives there. Maybe he expects to get first dibs if he needs it. Maybe he just doesn’t give a shit about his neighbors. Or about the parents of school children:

Austin is not close to the border. Mt. Pleasant is a long, long way from Val Verde County.   Nor are school children likely to encounter immigrants. I suspect this has a lot more to do with vaccination rates than with brown people. And again, I don’t understand what the endgame is.  Maybe Abbott is counting on us all forgetting this by 2022. But the way things are going, we may still be suffering from it then.

If Exposed To Expertise, Break Glass

As I understand it, you have to work in the Capitol, and go to the House floor, and like any other employee in any other place of business, you're being asked to wear a mask for the safety of others. "Come and get me" implies you won't be showing up for work anytime soon.

And Covid-19 will be happy to come and get you.  You just sit real still, now.





For those who prefer something like a transcript, this is courtesy of Raw Story:

During the Friday White House press briefing, the Newsmax reporter asked, "How do you know test whether it's the dominant strain in the area when people just test whether they're COVID-positive?"

"We don't test it, we listen to public health and scientists and they tell us it's the delta variant," Jean-Pierre said.

The reporter then asked if the health experts explained their "process" for testing.

"I don't even understand the question," she replied. "That's what they are telling us. I just laid out how contagious it was."

The reporter then complained that a lot of answers we get about public health questions are "because [public health experts] say so."

"Well they're the experts!" a baffled Jean-Pierre replied.
I mean, "experts" say the earth is round, but have you walked all the way around it to see?  And is it really gravity, or does the earth just suck?  I know what the "experts" say, but....

(And then we find out who she is:)
Which does raise a good question:

The GOP Is Literally A Death Cult ☠️

Because now we must all rely on the kindness of strangers.

Relaxing restrictions like mask-wearing and social distancing when most people have been vaccinated greatly increases the risk of vaccine-resistant variants of the virus that causes Covid-19, new research showed on Friday.

At a time when nearly 60 percent of Europeans have received at least one vaccine dose, the authors said their modelling study showed the need to maintain non-vaccination measures until everyone is fully jabbed.

To predict how the SARS-CoV-2 virus might mutate in response to vaccination campaigns, a pan-European team of experts simulated the probability of a vaccine-resistant strain emerging in a population of 10 million people over three years.

Variables included vaccination, mutation and transmission rates -- including recurring "waves" of infections and falls in cases in response to lockdowns.

But in what the authors called a "counterintuitive result", the model showed that the highest risk of resistant strains emerging came when a large proportion of the population was vaccinated, but not large enough to ensure herd immunity.

This is in essence where much of Europe is currently, where the Delta variant is spreading rapidly.

The authors said the model showed a threshold of 60 percent of the population vaccinated, after which resistant variants were more likely to occur.

"Vaccines are our best bet to beat this pandemic" said co-author Simon Rella, from Austria's Institute of Science and Technology (IST).

"What our model showed is that when most people are vaccinated, the vaccine-resistant strain has an advantage over the original strain.


"This means that the vaccine-resistant strain spreads through the population faster than the original strain at a time when most people are vaccinated," Rella told journalists in an online briefing.

Authors said that their research highlighted the need to maintain other anti-Covid measures until everyone is vaccinated.

So because Greg Abbott is running against the Texas GOP base and batshit crazy people like Dan Crenshaw (not literally against Crenshaw, but forced to stay on his good side) and Ted Cruz:
We all have to protect ourselves as best we can, though we won't be allowed to protect our children in schools this fall.

All that matters is....what?  I don't even understand the endgame here.
Losing and dying to own the libs?

Friday, July 30, 2021

"She Has To Be Trolling, Right?"

Let's see: Medicare/Medicaid=good. Medicare for all (which is what LBJ envisioned, and hoped he had started)=bad socialist health care which will kill us all. Medicare for people over 65 is good American freedom. Medicare for everybody under 65 is a commie plot to destroy the country?

Have I got that right?  Something magic happens at 65 to make you no longer susceptible to socialism?

She knows Medicare is one of the most "Socialist healthcare schemes" on the planet, right?  Right?

That Didn’t Take Long

That’s not the best part. This is the best part.

The DOJ said in the lawsuit that Abbott’s order will contribute to the spread of COVID-19 and it will disrupt immigration officials’ network of contractors and non government organizations that help host recently arrived migrants as their legal cases are pending.

Going right to the heart of it and (fingers crossed 🀞) getting a court to rule on it.

This could actually be fun.

The Feds don’t like being interfered with.

The Conspiracy Conspiracy Theory

I'm wondering at this point which version of the statement is the statement. Change the facts, change the outcome. A criminal case must rest on a great deal more than handwritten notes; but it also must rest on one version of the statement, not four. All by way of saying "we GOT Trump!" or it's an "open and shut" case. And a reminder that, if the House Committee had these notes, so does the DOJ. And while I may wish them to prosecute Trump, I also want them to get a conviction. And they know how to do that far better than I do.

MASKS! 😷

There is a portion of the population of this country that is certifiably insane. There is no other explanation. Except plain evil.  Evil is an explanation, too.

This Is Going To Be More Interesting…

...than I expected.

Maybe we all got used to four years of Trump, but this feels like bringing the hammer down. I don’t even care that Abbott will trumpet his righteous racism as standing up for states’ rights and public health. I just want to see his racist abuse of government power curb-stomped to the gutter ASAP.

And it feels like I’m going to.

(Though I still object to the narrative that Abbott wants to detain people who pose a risk of spreading Covid. He didn’t order troopers to test immigrants, just to detain them. There are major 4th and 14th Amendment issues here, aside from federal supremacy in matters of who is allowed into the country on what terms.)

It's a Death Cult

That's the only explanation left. He's complaining about masks, but he's doing so incoherently. I think of it as a double-tap. The first time I heard my representative on the radio, he was raving like a madman about Covid and masks and lockdowns (vaccines weren’t even on the horizon) and I thought “why did my local NPR station get this ignorant boob to talk in this subject?”

After a few minutes, they identified him. I’ve never given the man any credence on any subject since.
We’re going to defeat Covid by locking up brown people. If that doesn’t work, it’s Biden’s fault we’re all getting sick.

"When The Facts Change, I Change My Mind. What Do You Do, Madam?"

Not Afraid Of The Deeper Questions Of Theology

Bitchin’

Mike Lee can talk about what he wants to talk about, but the House and Senate each have the authority to make their own rules. Being a U. S. Senator, you don’t have to like the House rules, but you can’t do anything about them. Except bitch, I mean.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Isn't That In The Constitution?

A Foolish Consistency Is the Hobgoblin Of Small Minds

Or something like that.

But, you see, we've got things all wrong. Because Republicans are the party of medical freedom of choice!

The reason for Plaintiffs proceeding to the floor without masks was to engage in symbolic protest speech. This protest speech was a protest against the double standard being enforced by Defendants, the well-founded beliefs shared by Plaintiffs that mask wearing is not scientifically based, that mask wearing is not necessary for the vaccinated or naturally immune, that mask wearing is merely political theater, that one's bodily integrity should be free from government control, that individuals should have the liberty to choose what they wear on their face, and that individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.
One more time, for the cheap seats in the back, these right-wing Republicans said:

one's bodily integrity should be free from government control [and] individuals should be free to make their own medical decisions.

So, umm, about my uterus and your trans healthcare bans ...

The Texas GOP dominated Lege passed a law allowing individuals to file suit against doctors who perform abortions, and Abbott has signed a law banning transgender treatments of any kind for minors in the state of Texas.

But he's making sure we stay safe from mask mandates; and from the brown people who are bringing the virus back to our pristine, white state. 

Why Does Biden Want To Shove Vaccines Down Our Throats?

Or in our arms; whatever. And why won't Biden be bi-partisan about this?

Be Careful What You Wish For

It's like white people terrified by the civil rights movement of the '60's, sure it would lead to H. Rap Brown and Malcolm X in charge of the country "and a total breakdown of law and order" ("law and order" once being a term restricted to whites using it against blacks and other minorities because they were, by definition, disorderly. One thing I learned early in life, and was reinforced by law school: law is not connected to order. Law is governmental; order is societal. Cuba just now has laws; what it lacks is order. And a lot of people in Florida, including elected officials, think that disorder in Cuba is just fine. Martin Luther King used passive resistance to order to challenge and expose the unjustness of the law. "Law and order" was a phrase commonly used against his arguments. EOD.)

BTW, we had a truly illegitimate President in the White House for four years, unless by "illegitimate" you mean one placed there contrary to the law.  Trump met the Constitutional requirements; and the courts rebuffed his legal challenges to his re-election, his attempts to retain his office contrary to law.  Are we to understand Mike Lindell will succeed with his mad assertions about August 13, 2021?  Or we are to tremble in fear because loonies walk among us?  How can we sustain a republic if everyone in it is not as safely bourgeois as we?

"Total breakdown of law and order"? (Yeah, I'm back to that one.)  Isn't that what supposedly happened in New Orleans during Katrina?  Except the only examples of it were police forces refusing to let people cross the bridges and walk out of the disaster area. It was the claims that "law and order" had broken down in New Orleans that led to law and order breaking down around New Orleans.

Be careful what you wish for....

Reducing The Risk By Targeting Brown People

Start with some excerpts from that Executive Order:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Texas, do hereby order the following on a statewide basis effective immediately:

1. No person, other than a federal, state, or local law-enforcement official, shall provide ground transportation to a group of migrants who have been detained by CBP for crossing the border illegally or who would have been subject to expulsion under the Title 42 order.

2. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is directed to stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation of paragraph 1, and to reroute such a vehicle back to its point of origin or a port of entry if a violation is confirmed.

3. DPS is authorized to impound a vehicle that is being used to transport migrants in violation of paragraph I, or that refuses to be rerouted in violation of paragraph 2.

This is his "legal justification" for issuing this order:

WHEREAS, in the Texas Disaster Act of 1975, the legislature charged the governor with the responsibility“for meeting... the dangers to the state and people presented by disasters” under Section 418.011 of the Texas Government Code, and expressly granted the governor broad authority to fulfill that rcsponsibility; and

WHEREAS, under Section 4 18.012, the “governor may issue executive orders hav[ing] the force and effect of law:” and

WHEREAS. under Section 418.018(c). the “governor may control ingrcss [sic] and egress to and from a disaster area and the movement of persons and the occupancy of premises in the area:” and

WHEREAS, the admittance and movement of migrants under the Biden Administration is exposing Texans to COVID-19 and creating a public health disastcr in Texas;

The problem is, Abbott's control of ingress and egress runs up against Federal law:

Border Patrol officials release some migrants to shelters where they stay temporarily until they can get a bus ride or a plane ticket to their families in the U.S. If Border Patrol agents release migrants, it usually means they can stay in the country as their legal cases are pending.

With this order, advocates fear that volunteers helping migrants get to their final destination would be targeted by state troopers.

“That’s unheard of and it's blatantly unconstitutional,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, an analyst with the American Immigration Council, a Washington, D.C., group that advocates for immigrants.

Needless to say, if Border Patrol rules a person can stay in this country, that person is not guilty of criminal trespass just by being in the state of Texas.  Abbott knows this; Abbott doesn't care.

There's also the problem of the rational basis test.  Abbott says his only recourse is to force certain persons, based on race alone, back to where they came from.  Which doesn't necessarily mean Mexico (he knows the limits of his power all of a sudden) but back to the shelter which they left because BP said they could stay in country while awaiting a determination of their legal claims.  And why are they targeted?  Because they are non-white, and because they might carry Covid.  But there are better methods to protect the public and the public health than this measure.  There are measures more reasonably calculated to achieve the desired end.

There is a current local controversy raging among a handful over the issue of bail in Harris County.  The focus is always on an accused violent criminal being "let back out on the streets," but never on, say, the man arrested because he voted in a Democratic primary while on parole a year ago.  His bond was set at $100,000, so he couldn't pay (he'd have to come up with $10,000 to post bond).  He deserves to sit in jail awaiting trial, while his accuser, AG Ken Paxton, is free to move about the country because he could post bond on a $35,000 bail?  The people who think violent criminals are walking free want to suspend bail altogether, in order to protect law abiding citizens.  That, however, is not a solution reasonable calculated to secure the ends of justice, especially since all accused are innocent until proven guilty.  Bail is a method of assuring the accused is available for trial, without depriving them of their right to liberty while awaiting trial, especially if they are acquitted at trial (but spent two years in jail waiting for that acquittal.  Even 2 nights would be unjust.)  A long way around explaining the concept that laws must be reasonably aimed at achieving an end government is actually allowed to pursue.  (Even without any racial intent, we can't have a law that requires all blue-eyed people be locked up because reasons.  An extreme example to underscore the point.)  If we can't lock up all blue-eyed people, why can DPS stop and detain any vehicle with a "reasonable suspicion" said vehicle is transporting immigrants?  On what basis is this done?  Because the passengers might be immigrants who might carry Covid?  What about white people driving around in the border counties where the disaster has been declared?  They are as likely to be infected, even if they are vaccinated?  Are they not subject to this kind of rump quarantine?

This is a blatantly racist policy with no justification in law (racism in the law is a pernicious (yes, that's a legal term) element that vitiates any legal enforcement.  The courts will not enforce racist provisions in contracts such as covenants in property title which demand the property not be conveyed to persons of a certain race.  Such covenenants are (say it with me now) "pernicious" and the law will not countenance them.  This order by Abbott falls squarely into that category.  There are more effective and meritorious ways to enforce a the public interest in health during this pandemic (like, say, a mask mandate) than to target persons based on skin color (how else do you identify immigrants in a vehicle for the purposes of just a vehicle stop?) and treat them as infected and contagious on that basis alone.

This might as well be Trump calling Mexicans "rapists" and "criminals."  There's absolutely no difference, except Abbott is ordering them to be detained in the state of Texas.  Which, actually, makes it worse.

Except DPS won't be testing anyone for Covid; they'll just assume the worst, and detain them on the grounds they are brown people and not citizens (or will they check on that, either?  How would you prove your citizenship?  Skin color?)  So, fourth amendment, 14th amendment violations; just for starters.

I'm just going to tack this on because FoxNews is going full racist panic in aid of the GOP in Texas:
Except, again, Texas is not restricting transportation of person with Covid; Texas is simply restricting transportation of persons, with no legal basis at all except skin color. Well, Patrick has always been a loose cannon.  And he makes it clear, if Abbott hadn't already, that this is all about politics; not a bit about state or national security.  Shorter Patrick:  we can do what we want with government power, as long as it's used against the "right" people.

For The Win

You know, I could do a whole separate blog now just on the resurgence of public racism in America. With or without the satire.

Meeting The Enemy


The story on NPR about the low vaccination rate in Alabama made me realize there is probably another element to the resistance to get vaccinated:  poor access to healthcare to begin with.

Suspicion about the vaccine and its "side effects" (infertility, etc.) probably come as much from lack of access to healthcare as from politics or ignorance (or Facebook; but I repeat myself).  I have full access to a doctor; I see her twice a year for my chronic (but hardly life-threatening) conditions.  It's one reason I'm at much lower risk for heart disease (prevelant in my family) or diabetes (ditto) or other conditions associated with "old age."  I don't fear new vaccines (like a flu vaccine) because I trust my doctor and her recommendations.  I trust the medical system, because it has served me well.

Of course, I've had health insurance since my late 20's (I'm literally old enough to remember when my GP had to hire more staff and take on another GP in his practice to start paying for the staff to handle health insurance claims.  I'm probably the last generation to think of health insurance as hospital insurance, not something you needed to go to the doctor for a check up.), so of course I'm comfortable with the healthcare system.  If I didn't have easy and frequent access to healthcare, if my access was limited to emergencies and crises and maybe an occassional DPT booster when I could get to the free clinic to get it (I've lived very close to that life at times; I know the demands on one's time that don't give much time to go to the doctor during the work week), I might well think very differently.

Which means, once again, we have met the enemy, and he is us.  Our indifference to public health today is not a reflection of a decline in interest since I went to the school to get my polio vaccine in a sugar cube when I was 6.  It is something we have enforced and ensured with our animosity toward caring for others (I responded to a comment on "Next Door" the other day about the county spending too much money on healthcare.  I pointed out we could close the county hospitals (which hospitals used to be the norm in America; private hospitals were rare, or were run by religious institutions) and let people die in the streets, but what good would that do?  Harris County has one of the premier hospitals in the country, a mainstay of the vaunted Texas Medical Center.  But to some people, that's the problem.).  That animosity, of course, walks hand in hand with racism, with recently reshaping society through law (primarily) to put non-whites side by side with whites.  The "fear of a brown planet" is, as my regulars know too well, what I think is the primary motivating force in American culture and politics today.

And now it's affecting our public health; now it's making us sick, breaking the back of our healthcare system (in terms of people and stress and overwork and soon again, overcrowding) and literally killing us off.  But while we're being slapped in the face with the consequences and reality of global warming, and we know basically why that's happening (i.e., the Industrial Revolution that made modern life possible is rapidly making it impossible), we don't yet recognize the consequences happening because of systemic racism.

It's like we're all going to die with a quizzical look frozen on our features, wondering why everything turned against us.  I suspect the Israelites felt much the same way when they found themselves in Babylon, and Jerusalem was just a smoking ruin.

What's that old adage about those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it?  Evangelicals love to say America is God's modern Israel, God's favored country.  They overlook what happened to Israel ending, effectively, in the Babylonian Exile; or they blame the decline on others, and ignore the prophets who told the people of Israel exactly where the blame lay.  Hint:  it wasn't with Babylon, or God's fickleness or indifference.  And the prophets suffered with the people; our modern day "prophets" just want to gloat, sure they will be spared the disaster they warn is coming.

The problem with learning from history is that history never repeats itself; but the same results do recur.  We are rather short-sighted creatures, on the whole.  We want the lesson to be obvious, plain, and simple.

And the one way history repeats itself, over and over again, is that we never want the lesson to apply to us, or to require anything of us.  We just want to escape the consequences of our folly; and we're always surprised and upset when that never happens.

Covid-19 is not a nation ending cataclysm.  But will it make us open our eyes and see that justice is about all of us, not just some of us?  Or will it just make us screw our eyes shut even tighter, wishing all the bad things away, especially from us?

So How Does This Look?

So, let's blame the Messicans! How this relieves us of the worry of masking children in schools, or people in stores and restaurants, is not explained.  Apparently the only people with diseases are:  brown foreigners.

Yeah, no dog whistles here.  We don't need 'em anymore.

Honest to Pete, none dare call it racism (though it’s clearly a GOP talking point. Read the chyron.):

(And clearly somebody needs to explain Christianity to Kilmeade.)

Speaking of legally suspect orders:
“To respond to this disaster and secure the rule of law at our Southern border, more manpower is needed — in addition to the troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and soldiers from the Texas National Guard I have already deployed there — and DPS needs help in arresting those who are violating state law,” Abbott said in a letter to Major Gen. Tracy R. Norris of the Texas Military Department. “I hereby order that the Texas National Guard assist DPS in enforcing Texas law by arresting lawbreakers at the border.”

We've been through this before.  The National Guard has no such training or authority.  It can't "arrest" anyone.  Any arrest Guardsmen do make will be so suspect as to be pointless.  Are they gonna Mirandize 'em in Spanish?  It's all for appearance, though, just like the border wall Abbott will never build one foot of.

And the minute DPS stops one car under this “order,”the driver can bring suit for violation of her/his 4th amendment (at least; 14th, too, again at least) rights and get the program shut down. Not that Abbott cares; he’s running on appearances.

If we’re lucky, somebody will point out how overtly and disgustingly racist this is. Early and often, preferably.* Rather than solve our problems, Abbott wants to blame “brown people.” He’s making Trump look like a squishy liberal. Even in Texas, that should be intolerable.


*It bothers me more than a little that even Vladeck doesn’t pick up on that. An unconstitutional action may be bad, but the law considers racism “pernicious.” That’s actually a legal term of art reserved for racism alone.

I Suppose....

...if I imagine I'm paying off somebody's Harvard debt, I might resent it.  But I'm already paying taxes to support the state school system of universities, and I end up paying federal taxes to pay off the student debts for those colleges and universities, and frankly, I'm not happy about that.

Mostly because I remember when state tuition was $4 a semester hour (literally.  My biggest tuition bill in college was when I took 18 hours in one semester.  Tuition cost me $72.  I regularly paid twice as much for books as I did for tuition.).  It was cheap because it was a state school.  Nowadays the cost of UT-Austin is more per semester than I paid for 7 years of college/graduate school (all at state schools, two years at UT-Austin, where the tuition was the same as the undergraduate school I attended).  I took on a whopping debt for law school, which took me a decade to pay off.  But it was a private school, I knew what I was getting into.

Today?  The cost of public universities is an outrage.  It pisses me off I'm paying taxes to support them and they're still bleeding their students white.  So, yeah, it's a terrible argument; because it doesn't begin to address the problem.

And the only way out of this problem we've created for ourselves (saddling our children with debts we didn't have to pay, because we don't want to pay taxes now) is to forgive the student debt and set up a system where it isn't necessary any more (unless you just WANT to go to Harvard; and then, as I say, you know what you're getting into).

They're Under The Bed!

Wait'll he finds out about the quarantine laws, which were mostly obviated by: vaccines! 

Aside from the fact we regularly require vaccinations for public school and college students (and private instituions require them, too). The military vaccinates against all kinds of diseases. Foreign travelers usually have to be vaccinated. Honestly, this whole business of "You can't make me take it!" is just bullshit. No, we can't quarantine you because you won't take it (although given the state of the country right now, maybe we should), but we can disallow you from your place of employment or many businesses otherwise open to the public if you pose a significant public health risk.

And we were doing that in America before Marx ever put pen to paper.

(And I stand by my conviction that "Communist" is a scare word the GOP uses to incite the elderly like your humble host.  I am one of the youngest around to still remember when "Commies" was the ultimate scare word, because I came along at the tail end of the Red Scare and still remember the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.  When MTG or any Republican uses the word now, they aren't dog whistling my daughter's generation.  The GOP's weird determination to chase the dead for votes will fuel many a PoliSci dissertation for years to come.)

Remember When?

Obama went back in time and erased all mention of his birth in Kenya and simultaneously placed false announcements of his birth in Hawaii and created a fake birth certificate?

Well, apparently the Biden Administration got hold of Obama’s time machine and went back in time to January 2020…

They aren’t even trying anymore.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Maggie Haberman Doesn't Have As Much Of A Dog In These Fights

As most people I follow on Twitter. so I like to read her take on things.  First, let's go with the Axios article:

Trump himself disputed the result had dented his power. In a phone call with Axios on Wednesday, the former president conceded McIntosh had pushed him to support Wright but blamed Democrats — not the Club for Growth — for Ellzey's victory.

He also said he actually "won" because Wright had bested Ellzey in the initial primary and the runoff came down to two Republicans he liked.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump said of McIntosh and the Club for Growth, before catching himself mid-sentence on the word "lost."

"This is the only race we've ... this is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win. …The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win."
Trump is notorious for shifting or refusing to accept blame for any failure, whether as a businessman or a politician.

The Club for Growth spent more than $1 million on the run-off, making it easily the top outside spender.

Alternatively, Wright got as far as she did on name recognition and the sympathy vote.  It just wasn't far enough. Word is she ran a lousy campaign and was a poor fundraiser.  And frankly, this should not be overlooked:

“One of the things that we’ve seen from this campaign is a positive outlook — a Reagan Republican outlook for the future of our country — is what the people of the 6th District really, really want,” said Ellzey, who had faced a storm of attacks from Susan Wright’s side.

Got to wonder how much that message did to win him the runoff.  It's clear Trump's endorsement didn't inspire Wright's supporters to come back a second time.  I think the takeaway here is that Trump was a non-factor.  

Given all the stories about polling lately, here's a fun Axios fact, kids!

Between the lines: The Wright campaign and the Club for Growth also cited internal polling to reassure Team Trump of Wright's strength. The polling proved to be way off.

An early June survey from the Wright campaign had her up by 15 points and a survey last week — by the American Viewpoint research company used by the Wright campaign — had her leading Ellzey by 10 points, 44%-34%, according to a source with direct knowledge of the results.

The Club for Growth's own polling also had Wright up by double digits, said a source familiar.

And here's the "bottom line":

Bottom line: A source close to the situation said they think Trump will be more cautious about whose advice he listens to when it comes to intervening in Republican primaries.

Other Trump advisers said the episode has damaged the Club for Growth's credibility.

They also acknowledged the former president can't afford too many more losses if he wants to preserve his power inside the Republican Party.

Yeah, I think that narrative is already hardening like amber around the mosquito:

And the Streisand effect is real: Yeah, and about that "People misled Trump": Seems Great Leader is not a...great leader.  He's more of an easily duped fool (yeah, the defenses of this failure are not good ones). ???, you ask? Well, it seems Trump is freaking because the infrastructure bill that eluded him (because he never understood the first thing about negotiating with Congress) is about to come true, and he can't stand it (no, I won't post anymore of Liz Harrington's tweets.  Go to Raw Story if you need to see it.).

Johnny Cash Was ANTIFA!

Really? They have a uniform and everything? "By their black clothing ye shall know them"?

These people are ridiculous.

Wonder what he thought of this guy?
Sounds like a dangerous commie to me!

Mask Up, Asshole 😷

 I was just waiting for somebody to say this in public:

"We are absolutely sick and tired of this, and so are the American people. This sham of an institution is doing nothing for the American people, nothing for the betterment of the people that sent their representatives here," Roy added. "Which is it, vaccines or masks? Do the vaccines work or they don't work? Do the masks work or they don't work? I'd like to know which it is. I'd like Dr. Fauci to come down and answer a single question about natural immunity. You've been infected with the virus, you have immunity. …Or are they just going to go around poking people, saying you must take a vaccine? Oh but sorry the vaccine doesn't work, you must wear a mask. This institution is a sham, and we should adjourn and shut this place down."

First, that's not what "natural immunity" is.  Second, as there are cases of "breakthrough" infections, there are cases of re-infection.  Maybe the jackass from Texas would like to talk to this woman:

Eketrina Wilson thought her age would protect her from COVID-19, but she ended up in the intensive care unit and spent five days in the hospital after she was diagnosed July 17, reported the Winston-Salem Journal.

"I didn't think it would be this bad," Wilson said. "I thought it would be simple, and it's not."

Wilson's condition worsened past the point where some medications can be used to treat COVID-19, and doctors struggled to get her to the point where drawing a breath didn't cause pain.

"[Her oxygen levels dropped] even when going to the bathroom or talking continuously, more than a few sentences," said Dr. Kinchit Shah, one of the doctors who treated her. "We had a hard time getting her comfortable using oxygen and able to function."

And there's the simple matter of infecting others, even if you are vaccinated.  The Delta variant is so contagious a vaccinated person can contract it, show few or no symptoms (lucky you!), but pass it on to others.

The preventative here is based on the concept of public health.  Or, to put it in terms even Chip Roy is presumably smart enough to understand:  "Your freedom stops at the end of my nose."  You may think you should be free of a mask; but I should also be free of the risk of you infecting me.  

Mask up, asshole. 

 

I Think The Gloves Are Off

The next act is tout le punditry collapsing on their fainting couches because of this "uncivil" language.

I Don't Know What's Going On With Simone Biles

Imagine flying through the air, springing off a piece of equipment as you prepare to flip on one axis while twisting on another. It all happens fast, so there’s little time to adjust. You rely on muscle memory, trusting that it’ll work out, because with so much practice, it usually does.

But then suddenly, you’re upside down in midair and your brain feels disconnected from your body. Your limbs that usually control how much you spin have stopped listening, and you feel lost. You hope all the years you’ve spent in this sport will guide your body to a safe landing position.

When Simone Biles pushed off the vaulting table Tuesday, she entered that terrifying world of uncertainty. In the Olympic team final, Biles planned to perform a 2½-twisting vault, but her mind chose to stall after just 1½ twists instead.

But, for what it's worth to her, she has my 100% support.

 

If that had been the fate of Ms. Biles in Tokyo, I suppose Piers Morgan would have said she should have known better and withdrawn from the competition. At least some of them were. Although the bigger mistake is turning out to be "social" media, which is making anti-social assholes of us all because now any clown with an opinion (which are like....what's the word, class? Everybody has one!) into a public figure. Yeah, I don't think that's made us better off.  Although the worst part is, although it's only 33 years ago (get off mah lawn, ya punk kids!) I don't remember the story of Ms. Gomez at all.  Like as not it was "disappeared" the better to not stain the "glory" of the Olympics.

Yeah, we've always been this bad.  Social media highlights it, but hasn't really created anything new.
Social media didn't make us idiots; it just exposed our idiocy.

THAT'S Who Abbott Sounds Like!

Alex Jones!

Gov. Greg Abbott “has been clear that the time for government mandating of masks is over,” said Renae Eze, Abbott’s press secretary, in an emailed statement to The Texas Tribune. “Now is the time for personal responsibility. Every Texan has the right to choose whether they will wear a mask, or have their children wear masks.”

On Tuesday, a prominent Texas teachers group called on Abbott to let districts impose campus mask mandates with school set to begin in two weeks while national education advocates applauded the new CDC guidelines.

“Educators are eager to return to the classroom, but the pandemic is still dangerous,” said Ovidia Molina, president of the Texas State Teachers Association, in a statement Tuesday.

The CDC now recommends that all students, teachers and visitors wear masks in schools, and that vaccinated people start masking up again in indoor public spaces in “areas with substantial and high transmission,” officials said Tuesday.

So every Texan has the right to infect other Texans' children?  Is that what I'm getting here?  Isn't this rather like saying every Texan has a right to fire off guns wildly, because 2nd Amendment? 

The mayor of Austin makes more sense: Maybe we could have an Alice's Restaurant anti-war massacree!*

And when this happens: Abbott can just blame the poor for being lazy and shiftless and not wanting to work for daycare centers. Or just ignore the poor, which is mostly what he does.

On the other hand, Thank God for Florida! (Just a reminder things could always be worse.)

*Ask yer grandpa!  Punks!

Determined To Lead The Army Of The Dead

One wonders how many he has to kill before the rest of them stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Me, I feel more like this:
Meanwhile, the Enemy of My Enemy (or: "Stop making me admire Liz Cheney, goddammit!!!") Dept. is being kept very busy: Like I say: the "original sin" in Christianity is selfishness; as in, everything is all about ME! It doesn't have to be clinical narcissism to be present. If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger. Oldest bully tactic in the book. Tucker Carlson is too much of a wimp to be a bully. But he does enjoy playing one on TeeVee. And he thanks you for spelling his name right. It's really all he's after.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

"I HAVE THE POWER!"

Or, you know: not.

The "smart money" said Trump gave Susan Wright, widow of the office holder in the Texas 6th, a huge boost when he endorsed here, a boost that guaranteed her a place in the runoff above a very crowded field.

Wiser heads doubted seriously Trump's endorsement, coming at the last minute (literally the day before the election, if memory serves) was worth a sneeze in a hurricane, and figured Wright was riding on name recognition more than anything (as well as a sympathy vote, to be sure).

The results for the runoff between Wright and the candidate Trump did not endorse are coming in.  And the candidate not blessed by Trump, with 93% of the vote counted as of this posting, is leading with 53% of the vote to her 47% of the vote.

I suppose Trump could say the election was rigged.  Except the Democrats failed to get a candidate into the runoff, and besides:  this election doesn't involve Trump directly.  That's the only time an election is rigged; when Trump loses it.

But as for his magical endorsement powers.....
And sorry to toss this in so late, but I'd given up on the page ever loading. This, from the Dallas Morning News (the district is in several Dallas suburbs):

If Ellzey holds his lead, it will be a major defeat for former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Wright over the objections of several major Texas Republicans, including former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Trump is perceived to be the leader of the Republican Party, both nationally and locally. The Congressional District 6 race was a test of his political clout in his post presidency.

“He would have been better off staying neutral,” said former U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, an Ellzey supported [sic] who represented District 6 for 34 years and was optimistic about the early results. “Jake is not anti-Trump. He’s a strong conservative.”

Meanwhile the Texas GOP is as devoted to Trump as Gym Jordan or Kevin McCarthy ever were, and that's what's driving Abbott's actions on the border, on masks, on voting restrictions.  This may have some effect in Texas politics, albeit not immediately.

And Ellzey, knowing Democrats make up a significant part of the district’s vote, and were perhaps turned off by Trump’s endorsement of Wright, reached out for Democratic voter support in the final weekend of the campaign.

The cherry on the sundae.