Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Last Call For The GOP Mask Slips Again, Con't...

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., would welcome the U.S. Supreme Court rescinding its 1967 ruling that legalized interracial marriage nationwide in favor of allowing each of the 50 states to decide such issues on its own.

Speaking Tuesday on a conference call with Indiana reporters, the Hoosier senator unambiguously declared his belief that many of the high court's key civil rights decisions of the past 70 years were wrongly decided and an improper usurpation of states' rights.

Braun initially limited his claim to the national right to abortion established by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision he hopes the current, more conservative, Supreme Court will overturn in coming months when it rules in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

But, when asked by The Times, Braun admitted there are many Supreme Court decisions he believes improperly established federal rights that would be better handled on a state-by-state basis, including Loving v. Virginia that legalized interracial marriage, and Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) establishing a right to privacy concerning contraceptive use.

"You can list a whole host of issues," Braun said. "When it comes down to whatever they are, I'm going to say they're not going to all make you happy within a given state. But we're better off having states manifest their points of view, rather than homogenizing it across the country as Roe v. Wade did."

Specifically concerning interracial marriage, Braun rejected the reasoning of a unanimous Supreme Court that the freedom to marry is a fundamental constitutional right and states depriving Americans of it on an arbitrary basis, such as race, is unconstitutional.

He acknowledged leaving such a question to states is likely to lead to situations where a marriage may be recognized in one state and not in another, but he shrugged it off as "the beauty of the system."

"This should be something where the expression of individual states are able to weigh-in on these issues through their own legislation, through their own court systems. Quit trying to put the federal government in charge," Braun said.
This is a sitting US GOP senator who is telling you straight up that the Supreme Court should end federal laws and "leave it to the states to decide", the battle cry of every racist since Andrew Jackson.

Understand that this isn't a mistake or a gaffe on Braun's part, this is a sitting senator saying that the entire Civil Rights era needs to go and that states should be able to decide that your marriage isn't legal, that your sexuality isn't legal, that your womb isn't legal, and that your skin color isn't legal, and by fucking god they will end enough of us until they can get away with it.

What they want is a group of allied white ethno-fascist states where anyone who isn't a straight white Christian male has no rights.

A "confederacy" if you will.

Do we finally understand that, and the tens of millions of Republican voters who again are okay with this, that they are all a brutal problem and that they are at best going to be looking the other way when the ethnic cleansing starts in earnest?

Do you understand that voting Republican at this point may very well end the lives of people like myself and millions of others?

Does that bother you at all, in the least?

Jesus wept.

America Goes Viral, Con't

As the Biden administration has been warning for weeks now, the funds for COVID-19 response are being exhausted because Republicans have blocked appropriations in budget fights, and now the White House says there's not enough money to buy a second booster dose of vaccine for everyone who needs it.
The Biden administration lacks the funds to purchase a potential fourth coronavirus vaccine dose for everyone, even as other countries place their own orders and potentially move ahead of the United States in line, administration officials said Monday.

Federal officials have secured enough doses to cover a fourth shot for Americans age 65 and older as well as the initial regimen for children under age 5, should regulators determine those shots are necessary, said three officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to detail funding decisions. But the officials say they cannot place advance orders for additional vaccine doses for those in other age groups, unless lawmakers pass a stalled $15 billion funding package.

“Right now, we don’t have enough money for fourth doses, if they’re called for,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said on a forthcoming episode of “In The Bubble with Andy Slavitt,” which was recorded Monday and shared with The Washington Post. “We don’t have the funding, if we were to need a variant-specific vaccine in the future.”

Federal regulators and health officials have not yet determined whether a fourth shot is needed, and some experts question whether the extra dose will be necessary to boost protection for the general population.

But administration officials said placing orders for additional doses ahead of time — rather than waiting for the United States to be swamped with another wave of the virus — was imperative and a key lesson from the pandemic’s past two years. They also noted that the fast-moving omicron variant evaded some immune protection conferred by existing vaccines, demonstrating the need to invest in more targeted shots that could better fend off omicron and potential future variants.

“Vaccines don’t just appear when you snap your fingers and say, ‘Okay, I want the vaccine.’ We’ve got to make it,” said a senior administration official. “And this year, it’s going to be more complicated, because there’s a very significant chance — although we’re still waiting for data — that the vaccines are going to need to be tweaked to cover omicron.”

Analysts at Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research organization, independently confirmed that the United States would need to purchase hundreds of millions of additional doses to ensure that every American could receive four shots, if necessary, said Jen Kates, who leads global health policy for the organization and previewed the forthcoming analysis.

“If their policy goal is to have enough doses available to provide a fourth dose to everyone, there are not enough doses purchased. They will run out of supply,” said Kates, estimating that the White House needed to purchase about 750 million additional doses to reach that goal.

Kates said her team reviewed several alternate scenarios, such as lowering its projection to 70 percent of Americans who would be vaccinated with four doses, rather than 100 percent. Even with that lower target, “there’s not enough” doses already purchased, Kates said, adding that the full analysis would be published later this week.
So even with the 30% of Americans who refuse to get the vaccine, we still won't have enough doses unless Republican stop blocking the $15 billion COVID package for 2022.
And believe me, Mitch McConnell and friends know precisely what they are doing as elections draw closer. It's only a question of what McConnell and the GOP get as concessions from the Democrats in order for the money to be released.

You didn't think Republicans were going to let the White House have the money it needs for COVID prevention in an election year, did you?

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine stalls out in its fourth week, the damage to world food markets and supplies from Putin's attack on the "breadbasket of Europe" are becoming readily apparent.

The war in Ukraine has delivered a shock to global energy markets. Now the planet is facing a deeper crisis: a shortage of food.

A crucial portion of the world’s wheat, corn and barley is trapped in Russia and Ukraine because of the war, while an even larger portion of the world’s fertilizers is stuck in Russia and Belarus. The result is that global food and fertilizer prices are soaring. Since the invasion last month, wheat prices have increased by 21 percent, barley by 33 percent and some fertilizers by 40 percent.

The upheaval is compounded by major challenges that were already increasing prices and squeezing supplies, including the pandemic, shipping constraints, high energy costs and recent droughts, floods and fires.

Now economists, aid organizations and government officials are warning of the repercussions: an increase in world hunger.

The looming disaster is laying bare the consequences of a major war in the modern era of globalization. Prices for food, fertilizer, oil, gas and even metals like aluminum, nickel and palladium are all rising fast — and experts expect worse as the effects cascade.

“Ukraine has only compounded a catastrophe on top of a catastrophe,” said David M. Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Program, the United Nations agency that feeds 125 million people a day. “There is no precedent even close to this since World War II.”

Ukrainian farms are about to miss critical planting and harvesting seasons. European fertilizer plants are significantly cutting production because of high energy prices. Farmers from Brazil to Texas are cutting back on fertilizer, threatening the size of the next harvests.

China, facing its worst wheat crop in decades after severe flooding, is planning to buy much more of the world’s dwindling supply. And India, which ordinarily exports a small amount of wheat, has already seen foreign demand more than triple compared with last year.

Around the world, the result will be even higher grocery bills. In February, U.S. grocery prices were already up 8.6 percent over a year prior, the largest increase in 40 years, according to government data. Economists expect the war to further inflate those prices.

For those living on the brink of food insecurity, the latest surge in prices could push many over the edge. After remaining mostly flat for five years, hunger rose by about 18 percent during the pandemic to between 720 million and 811 million people. Earlier this month, the United Nations said that the war’s impact on the global food market alone could cause an additional 7.6 million to 13.1 million people to go hungry.

The World Food Program’s costs have already increased by $71 million a month, enough to cut daily rations for 3.8 million people. “We’ll be taking food from the hungry to give to the starving,” Mr. Beasley said.

Significant long-term food shortages are all we need as the world reels from climate change, an ongoing pandemic and potential for World War III.

It's going to be another very bad summer, folks. There's little chance that things are going to get better soon, either, and we could be in for even worse times ahead.
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