Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Last Call For Ukraine On The Stage, Main

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a whirlwind visit to Washington DC today, meeting with President Biden at the White House and addressing a joint session of Congress.

The United States is the first country since Russia’s invasion that the Ukrainian president has visited. Zelenskyy, in some senses, was overdue for a visit, especially given that Biden and his team have mobilized unprecedented military and financial assistance for Ukraine.

In his evening address to Congress, Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude for America’s staunch support and received bipartisan applause. “I thank every American family which cherishes the warmth of its home,” he said. “I thank President Biden and both parties in the Senate and the House for your invaluable assistance.”

By speaking in English, the Ukrainian president was savvy in ensuring his message would reach Americans directly, and occasionally offered a little bit of punch. (“Ukraine didn’t fall. Ukraine is alive and kicking,” he said.) There was even a gift exchange: Zelenskyy brought a Ukrainian flag that soldiers on the frontlines in the Donbas had given him the day prior, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented him with the US flag that had flown above the Capitol today.

Above all, Zelenskyy made a case to lawmakers that Ukraine’s struggle is part of a global fight for freedom and democracy. He also emphasized that the threat of Putin’s violence transcended Ukraine — and that Iran’s delivery of drones to Russia poses a larger challenge to America and its allies.

“Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy,” Zelenskyy said.

Congress is on the verge of approving another $45 billion in aid to Ukraine and NATO allies, in addition to more than $65 billion in humanitarian and military aid that has already been sent since the conflict began. In conjunction with Zelenskyy’s visit, Biden also announced a $1.85 billion military package featuring a Patriot missile battery to bolster Ukraine’s defenses against Russian attacks. “Thanks from our ordinary people to your ordinary people,” Zelenskyy said earlier at the White House.
It was an important visit, but also a last-ditch effort to convince the incoming House GOP that blocking aid to Ukraine next year will come at a price.  Still, I expect any future assistance to Ukraine will now become a major issue for the House GOP, and especially for those inclined to not vote for McCarthy as Speaker.
We'll see. At the very least I expect the cost for McCarthy to earn votes from the nutjob crowd is to publicly say he'll sabotage further aid to Kyiv.



(Un)Vaccination Nation, Con't

Last year I warned that Ohio Republicans throwing out vaccination requirements for everyone, not just for Covid, but for childhood diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough, would cause mass suffering as the state's vaccination rate dropped below herd immunity percentages.
Ohio already allows parents to exempt kids from vaccinations out of choice (and the state's vaccination level among children has dropped to 88%), but this would essentially reverse decades of medical science and thousands would end up suffering from preventable diseases like measles, mumps, and rubella.

But Republicans are bound and determined to kill as many Ohioans as possible. Everyone has to suffer and die for their utter stupidity. DeWine, for his part, is trying to stop this bill, but he can easily be overridden.

We'll see if Ohio becomes a third world country.
Surprise! The largest outbreak of measles in America right now is in Columbus, Ohio as dozens of cases are being reported in Franklin County, and the epidemic is only going to get worse this winter.  

The country's largest measles outbreak is happening in Central Ohio — with no signs of slowing down. Of the 106 nationwide cases reported as of Thursday, 75% were in Franklin County.

Why it matters: Until this outbreak, our area hadn't confirmed a measles case in 20 years.The highly contagious respiratory disease was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but dipping vaccine rates during the pandemic have revived it among unvaccinated pockets.

Threat level: The CDC and WHO said last month that measles is "an imminent threat in every region of the world," Axios' Jacob Knuston reports.Symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and watery eyes, with a signature rash appearing three to five days later.
Serious complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis are possible.

By the numbers: Of the 81 local cases confirmed as of Monday, none were fully vaccinated and 36% were hospitalized. All are kids younger than 18. 27% are under 1 year old, meaning they're too young to be vaccinated and were relying on herd immunity for protection.

State of play: Measles likely arrived in Columbus after four unvaccinated travelers separately went to measles-endemic countries from June to October, Columbus Public Health commissioner Mysheika Roberts tells Axios.The CDC was here for the two weeks after Thanksgiving and is offering support.

Of note: The two-dose measles vaccine is 97% effective.The challenge is reaching the small number of Central Ohioans spreading the virus by not vaccinating their children.
What they're saying: "It's very frustrating, knowing that it's preventable with a vaccine — a safe, effective, accessible vaccine," Roberts says. The health department is ready to administer shots, but only half a dozen parents have brought kids in since the outbreak started this fall.
So ballpark math from the US Census quick facts page for Franklin County, 1.3 million people, 23% kids, is 300K kids. Only 86-88% are vaccinated, so that's 40-45 thousand kids without the vaccine. Let's say 5K are under 1 and too young to be vaccinated, that's still 40,000 unvaccinated kids facing measles in Franklin County. 

So yes, the epidemic is only beginning.  Flu, Covid, now measles.

But for god's sakes, don't wear a mask or get vaccinated, because that makes yo a pussy cuck beta loser.

A sick or dead one, but hey.


A Taxing Explanation, Con't

The House Ways and Means Committee yesterday voted to release a report on Donald Trump's taxes during his term in the Oval Office. What exactly that report will consist of, well, we don't know. Yet.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted Tuesday to make six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns public — potentially ending years of speculation about what they might reveal about his business dealings and personal wealth.

The panel voted along party lines to make the returns available and information could be available as soon as Wednesday — the day the House Jan. 6 committee is set to issue its final report on the riot at the U.S. Capitol — which will be the final days of Democratic control of Congress before Republicans take over the House in January.

Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Penn., said the vote will make public the tax returns and a separate report about Trump's tax information.

"The actual returns themselves will also be transmitted to the full House and become public, but I was told it will take a few days to a week in order to redact some info that needs to be redacted,” Boyle said.

The information that must be removed is personal in nature.

“The staff is authorized to make technical corrections to the report and to redact sensitive personal identifiable information, such as Social Security numbers, street addresses, personal identification numbers and banking information," committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said.

The Ways and Means Committee had spent hours in a closed-door session before taking the vote.

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, the ranking member, criticized the Democrats’ move and said committee members did not know “exactly what we are releasing” when they voted.

The move is could spark threats of some sort of retaliation from Republicans, who have already vowed to launch probing investigations into President Joe Biden and his family. Some Republicans have already accused Neal of seeking the returns solely for political reasons.

Neal defended the vote immediately afterward.

"This was not about being punitive, it was not about malicious, and there were no leaks from the committee," he said. "We adhered carefully to the law."

Brady told reporters ahead of the meeting that Democrats were pushing an "unprecedented action that will jeopardize the right of every American to be protected from political targeting by Congress."

"No party in Congress should hold that power. It is the power to embarrass, harass or destroy a private citizen through disclosure of their tax returns," Brady said.
But of course Republicans and Kevin Brady will regularly use that power against Democrats over the next two years. And note that Richard Neal successfully kept anything from being leaked to the press about Trump's returns other than speculation.
Republicans will leak information to FOX all day.  Watch.

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