Friday, August 27, 2021

Last Call For Af-Gone-Istan, Con't

Republicans are howling for President Joe Biden's head over yesterday's suicide bombing in Kabul that killed 13 US Marines, certain that they can destroy him in revenge for "what Democrats did to Trump". But even House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is admitting that they are vastly overplaying their hand here when there's fallen US soldiers on every front page in America.
The GOP is divided over how hard -- and how quickly -- to go after President Joe Biden in the wake of Thursday's deadly attack on US troops at the Kabul airport. 
While a growing chorus of rank-and-file Republicans have called for Biden's resignation or impeachment over the administration's disastrous exit from Afghanistan, key leaders and others in the party have struck a more measured tone for the moment. 
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even pushed back against some of his members during a private conference call Thursday night, suggesting that the demands for Biden's immediate ouster are counterproductive and saying the focus right now needs to be on getting Americans out of Afghanistan safely. But he also promised to pressure the administration. 
"Promise you there is going to be a reckoning," McCarthy, who spoke to Biden by phone on Thursday, told members on the GOP conference call, according to sources. "We are going to hold every single person accountable." 
Republicans across the board have been eager to keep the chaotic withdrawal in the spotlight and believe it will be a permanent stain on Biden's presidency. But GOP leaders know that getting too political too quickly after Thursday's attacks risks looking craven and disrespectful of the 13 US troops who lost their lives, with flags still being flown at half-staff and the possibility that Biden will travel to Delaware's Dover Air Force Base whenever the fallen soldiers' remains are returned. 
With Republicans in the minority, but only five seats away from winning back the House next year, McCarthy has his eyes on the long game as opposed to trying to score short-term political points. But it's a tough balancing act for the California Republican, who faces an increasingly agitated right flank.

The thing is McCarthy has shown no previous ability to control his inchoate gallery of demons and devils whatsoever. There's no reason to believe he'll actually start reining them in anytime soon.

Even one of McCarthy's top deputies lit into Biden, calling him "unfit" to serve as President.

"Joe Biden has blood on his hands," Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the no. 3 House Republican, tweeted shortly after reports surfaced of casualties from the airport explosions. "This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden's weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief."

Even before the airport attack, Republicans had been vowing to investigate Biden's messy withdrawal from Afghanistan if they seize back power next year, with some lawmakers floating the idea of a Select Committee on Afghanistan.

In the minority, there is far less that Republicans can do to pressure the White House. For now, though, they are asking for information from the administration, firing off letters and taking steps that would help with future probes. And with some Democrats openly critical of the administration and joining in on GOP calls to extend the August 31 withdrawal date, Republicans see potential areas for bipartisanship.

Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, informed lawmakers during Thursday's call that he sent a letter to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence requesting document preservation, according to two sources on the call. And Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also called for document preservation so that the House can conduct oversight and investigations, another source told CNN.

But Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski said during the conference call that investigations are not enough. A number of lawmakers on the call repeated their admonitions for Biden or other administration officials to resign, according to sources. 
Earlier in the day, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said five top US officials -- Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley -- "should all resign or face impeachment and removal from office." 
Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection, also called for Biden to step down. 
"Do the American people a favor. Resign and turn the job over to someone who can handle it," Rice said in a statement.
Look, even CNN's Chris Cillizza, a true Village Idiot, knows the calls for resignation are pure nonsense, for two reasons, as he says.
1. There was a time not that long ago where NO politician would even consider calling publicly for the resignation of a president while the number of American casualties were still being counted. It would have been considered abhorrent -- playing politics on a day when we are all Americans first and members of a political party second. One of the many boundaries that Donald Trump shattered was this one; there is now no compunction about politicizing the deaths of Americans on a mission abroad. Everything is now political from the second it happens. 
2. Do the members calling for Biden's resignation actually believe that a tragedy happening -- either in this country or abroad -- is grounds for resignation? By that standard, George W. Bush should have resigned on September 12, 2001. Franklin Delano Roosevelt should have resigned after Pearl Harbor. Bill Clinton should have resigned after the Oklahoma City bombing. 
Yes, presidents must be held accountable when terrible things happen on their watch. We owe it to the people who died to investigate why it happened, whether it could have been prevented and how to keep it from happening again. But the idea that a president must resign immediately following a tragic incident like the one that happened Thursday in Afghanistan is ludicrous. 
All of this discussion is, of course, moot because President Biden isn't going to resign

It's dangerous red meat for the screaming hordes who don't recognize Biden as president anyway, and the Republicans have to feed them, or be devoured themselves.

Remember that.

We Don't Need No Education, Con't

With more and more Republican nutjobs taking over school boards, we're seeing more and more decisions like this from a school district in Waukesha, Wisconsin opting out of federal school lunch assistance programs to keep from "spoiling" kids.

You heard me right.

In June, the board voted to forgo the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service’s extension of the Seamless Summer Option, a program to provide free meals to all students through June 30, 2022, because the pandemic was expected to burden some children’s nutrition.

“The covid-19 public health and economic crisis has highlighted the essential role that school meals play in addressing childhood hunger,” Alan Shannon, a spokesman for the Food and Nutrition Service, said in an email to The Washington Post. He highlighted the universal program’s lack of application as a victory for families and for local authorities who otherwise would be tasked with processing them.

Forgoing the Seamless Summer Option, Shannon added, could mean a loss of revenue for the Waukesha School District. The reimbursement for schools operating under the universal meal program is $4.32, he said, and the National School Lunch Program’s is $3.90 for free meals and $3.59 for reduced-price meals.

The Waukesha district, which serves 14,000 students, implemented the Seamless Summer Option last academic year, but its school board members decided to return to the free and reduced-price option, some citing a desire to return to pre-pandemic operations. A document from the board outlined a worry about the program’s effects on applications for the National School Lunch Program after the universal offering expires.

“As we get back to whatever you want to believe normal means, we have decisions to make,” Joseph Como Jr., president of the school board, said at the June meeting. “I would say this is part of normalization.”

Karin Rajnicek, a school board member, said the free program made it easy for families to “become spoiled.” Darren Clark, assistant superintendent for business services, said there could be a “slow addiction” to the service
Republicans will go out of their way to use their tax dollars to make those people that they see as undeserving of help suffer. 

That's it, that's the memo.

The Vax Of Life, Con't

Oregon is the latest US state to go into a universal mask mandate again over COVID as the delta variant rages across the country.

Facing a 990 percent increase in coronavirus hospitalizations since July 9, Oregon leaders have deployed the National Guard to hospitals, dispatched crisis teams to the hardest-hit regions of the state and ordered educators and health care workers to get vaccinated or lose their jobs.

Now, in her latest mandate that will take effect on Friday, Gov. Kate Brown has gone beyond what any other state has done in battling the summer surge, requiring that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks when gathering closely in public, even when outdoors. She said more restrictions might be needed as the coming days unfold and the state tries to keep in-person schooling on track.

“All options are on the table,” Ms. Brown said in an interview this week.

Oregon’s aggressive approach in restoring pandemic mandates is a stark divergence from states in the South, where outbreaks have been even worse but where many governors have resisted mandates for masks and vaccinations. But with the arrival of the Delta variant, Oregon has become one of a handful of states where cases and hospitalizations have escalated beyond even the records set during the worst part of the pandemic last year.

The virus is rampaging through rural communities where vaccination rates remain low. Hospitals across the state are near capacity, almost 50 percent beyond the state’s previous peak in December. Last week, a coronavirus patient in Roseburg died while waiting for an I.C.U. bed.

The Oregon Health Authority director, Patrick Allen, said the situation was so “dire” that he was urging unvaccinated people to avoid engaging in any nonessential activities.

“It’s that simple. It’s that urgent,” he said.

Yet as the country debates how far to go with new mandates, the lines between what is safe and what is not are becoming less clear. While she said she was ruling nothing out, Ms. Brown has not imposed the kind of restrictions that were in place when the virus was less virulent than it is now; she has not prohibited indoor dining or large public gatherings, and the state is resuming in-person instruction at most public schools, unless they face serious outbreaks.

That has largely left local leaders and businesses — and individuals themselves — to figure out how to navigate the hazardous new terrain.

In the state’s largest city, Portland’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, was among those to embrace new mandates on face coverings this month when Ms. Brown required them for indoor activities, including for those who are vaccinated. “Please join me in making a commitment to protect those around us by wearing a mask at all times while indoors,” Mr. Wheeler urged on Twitter.

But, a week later, on Aug. 20, Mr. Wheeler gathered with others in the eighth-floor lounge of a downtown hotel, joining a send-off party for a departing staff member. Photos obtained by The New York Times show him sitting with about a dozen people — almost all unmasked — testing the limits of the strict new mask rules.
Still issues with complacency and "Do as I say, not as I do". We need lockdowns, but no governor will do it, so tens of thousands are going to die in the next month.

We've finally reached the "acceptable deaths from COVID" stage of the disease, and I expect we'll hit a million before the end of the year total.



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