Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Last Call For The Rights Thing To Try

Vice President Kamala Harris is making a final push to bring Republican senators on board with voting rights legislation, and while I understand the sentiment, I don't understand why anyone believes a single Republican in Congress will vote for anything involving voting rights that doesn't also include disenfranchising an equal amount of Black, brown, and Asian voters.

Vice President Kamala Harris says she is speaking with Republican senators on a key piece of voting legislation. During a phone interview with CBS News, the vice president said there is "no bright line" defining whom she speaks to about voting rights legislation. She said it's "a non-partisan issue" and "should be approached that way."

In response to a question about whether she had spoken with any GOP senators about S. 1, the sweeping voting rights bill that has been blocked in the Senate, she replied, "I have spoken to Republican senators — both elected Republicans and Republican leaders," Harris said, and she identified one GOP senator.

"I've talked with [Senator Lisa] Murkowski about this issue," Harris said.

Harris' office later clarified that the two had discussed infrastructure, not voting rights. A spokesperson for Murkowski did not respond to a request for comment.

S. 1 is not a bill that Murkowski favors — she has previously called the For the People Act a "partisan, federal takeover of the election system."

The Alaska senator is the co-sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would essentially restore a portion of the act struck down by the Supreme Court. This bill also faces GOP opposition and has not yet been introduced, but the White House has expressed support for this legislation, too.
Oh, never mind, it's one GOP senator, Murkowski, and she won't vote for it. 

I guess we can keep wasting time with this, or go for reconciliation, which was always going to be the answer.

As Good As It Gets, Con't

We're not going to get vaccination numbers above 70% in America, and it's time to accept that the majority of the unvaccinated at this point are staying unvaccinated for political reasons
Most Americans who still aren't vaccinated say nothing — not their own doctor administering it, a favorite celebrity's endorsement or even paid time off — is likely to make them get the shot, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: The findings are more sobering evidence of just how tough it may be to reach herd immunity in the U.S. But they also offer a roadmap for trying — the public health equivalent of, "So you're telling me there's a chance."

What they're saying: "There's a part of that population that are nudge-able and another part that are unbudge-able," said Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs.
"From a public health standpoint they've got to figure out how you nudge the nudge-able."

Details: 30% of U.S. adults in our national survey said they haven't yet gotten the COVID-19 vaccine — half of them a hard no, saying they're "not at all likely" to take it. We asked the unvaccinated about how likely they'd be to take it in a number of scenarios: 
The best prospect was a scenario in which they could get the vaccine at their regular doctor's office. But even then, 55% said they'd remain not at all likely and only 7% said they'd be "very likely" to do it. That leaves a combined 35% who are either somewhat likely or not very likely but haven't ruled it out. 
The Biden administration's Olivia Rodrigo play won't reach a lot of the holdouts, according to these results: 70% said the endorsement of a celebrity or public figure they like is "not at all likely" to get them to take a shot, and just 4% said they'd be "very likely" to do it. But another combined 24% could be somewhat in play. 
What if your boss gave you paid time off to get the shot? 63% said they'd still be not at all likely to do it, while 5% said they'd be very likely. Another 30% combined are potentially but not eagerly gettable. 
Similar majorities said they’d be unmoved by community volunteers coming to the door to discuss the vaccine, the option to get a shot at work or a mobile clinic, or being lobbied by friends or family members.

The big picture: Overall, Americans' concerns are rising for activities like seeing family and friends outside the home, going to the grocery store or sports events or getting on a plane. 
Those concerns had subsided as vaccines became widely available. But the numbers are creeping back up after recent reports of rising infection rates and the dangers of the Delta variant. 
But this trend is being driven by the vaccinated. The unvaccinated are no more concerned than they were before, which wasn't much.
As the body count continues to rise in the weeks and months ahead, the entire point will be to blame Biden's "failure" to convince Americans to get the vaccine. The goal is to see the casualty list post-January 20 exceed that of the final year of the Trump regime, and that's when Biden and the Democrats become "worse than Trump was" at containment of the virus.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Republicans will run on that in 2022 and 2024.

And yes, I'm absolutely serious about this. They want to own the libs by getting a deadly disease, just as long as another half-million or so die (and it isn't them personally because American exceptionalism, if I get sick, my insurance will cover it because I'm a good person) and as long as they can blame Biden for it. See, Trump isn't the worst anymore! Now you have to admit he was better than Biden, stupid libtard! Checkmate!

Yeah I know, that's cynical even for me, even in the era of the Death Cult GOP. But that's how far gone they are, folks.

They'll take as many of us with them as they can. If they can't be in charge of the country, they'll make it hell until we give them the keys to the burning car.

So what will move these numbers? Washington Post columnist Kate Cohen has an idea.

I propose a running tally in bold type: covid deaths among unvaccinated vs. vaccinated citizens. Two numbers, side by side. Every newspaper’s front page, every state and federal website, the crawl at the bottom of every cable television news broadcast.

Google can design something cute for its search bar. Facebook owes it to us.

Every day, all day. Two numbers.

We couldn’t do this until now. When I tried to find out how many covid deaths could have been prevented if people just wore masks, the best I could come up with was the public health literature equivalent of “lots.” A study published last October in Nature Medicine hazarded that with masking nearly 130,000 lives could be saved by the spring, but researchers cautioned the model was more a “sophisticated thought experiment” than a prediction, a rough estimate.

But now that we have the vaccine and almost everyone eligible for it can get it, we don’t have to estimate. We can count. And the numbers show the overwhelming odds that a person who dies of covid has not been vaccinated.

As for the minuscule chance that I, as a vaccinated person, could die of covid? That’s because the unvaccinated are choosing to keep the virus alive.

So, let’s make it simple. Let’s ask our best analysts to put out a single set of numbers every day.
To which I reply, simply, "If logical appeals to reason worked on death cultists, we wouldn't be in this situation in the first place." 

At some point, you have to accept that you can only save those who want to be saved, and protect yourself against the rest. We're at that point now.

It's time to accept that, and move into triage mode.

Looking Forward Into The Abyss

David Montgomery gives us a long read at Washington Post Magazine on why Merrick Garland won't fire Trump cultists in the Justice Department, but all you really need are the first three paragraphs.

Merrick Garland, now more than four months into the job of attorney general, is on a quest to slay a monster — a monster that he won’t name and he pretends doesn’t exist. On March 11, his first day, he stood in the Great Hall of Justice Department headquarters and addressed the agency’s 115,000 employees, most watching virtually. It was a homecoming of sorts for Garland, 68, who started at the department as a 26-year-old lawyer in 1979, rising to lead major investigations including the Unabomber case and the Oklahoma City bombing prosecution in the 1990s before spending the last two decades-plus as an esteemed federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. “The only way we can succeed and retain the trust of the American people is to adhere to the norms that have become part of the DNA of every Justice Department employee,” he said in his first speech as attorney general. “Those norms require that like cases be treated alike. That there not be one rule for Democrats and another for Republicans, one rule for friends and another for foes, one rule for the powerful and another for the powerless.”

What he didn’t say — what he never says publicly — is that there are good reasons the department might have lost the trust of the American people in the past four years. During President Donald Trump’s administration, there wasn’t always one rule of law for all, as when presidential friends Roger Stone and Michael Flynn had their prosecutions massaged and softened; or when former attorney general Bill Barr launched an outside investigation of the investigators to see if Trump was unfairly targeted in the Russia probe; or when Barr spun findings by the special counsel and the inspector general in ways most advantageous to Trump; or when Barr changed procedures so U.S. attorneys could dive into Trump’s false claims about election results before the vote tallies were certified.

But when Garland is asked about questionable actions that took place at the Justice Department during the previous administration, he offers a version of a response that he gave during a Q&A session with reporters in June: “I am not going to look backward

Eric Holder and later Loretta Lynch did the same thing with Dubya, and here we all are now.

Even if you don't that the next Republican president will put his Democratic predecessor in prison, along with most, if not all, of their cabinet, believe that they will have no problem looking back after Biden, Harris, or whoever may follow them.

It won't be pretty.

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