I’ll be quick tonight because we have been without power since 5:00 this morning, and I am very eager indeed to escape the echoing grind of the generator for the night. Three big stories today: The first is that President Biden announced today that Merck, the pharmaceutical company, will pitch in to help make the Johnson & Johnson single-shot coronavirus vaccine. Along with high production rates from the other manufacturers, this should enable the government to produce vaccines for all U.S. adults—300 million of us-- by the end of May, two months ahead of the previously projected schedule. The administration has facilitated this rate of production by using the Defense Production Act, a 1950 law that enables the government to manage production of materials deemed necessary for national defense. That law is used quite frequently, but while the previous president used it repeatedly during his administration, he was curiously reluctant to use it to address the coronavirus pandemic.
This wasn’t that quick and very informative. As an FBI veteran, I’m pleased to see a Director stand up to these idiotic conspiracies and what if’s from the Republicans.
Regarding the Christopher Wray questioning by the Judiciary Committee, Grassley, Hawley and Cruz continued to regurgitate an obviously crash-tested rhetorical mantra that draws a false equivalence between the rioters at the Capitol on January 6th and those who joined the protesters in Portland and Washington D.C. and elsewhere, at protests connected with the police killing of George Floyd. This ruse needs calling out and shouted down. As Merrick Garland said during his earlier confirmation interview at the Senate when pushed toward the false-equivalence, the violence in the wake of the Floyd killing that precipitated property damage to Federal buildings (the Portland court-house and the Washington D.C. church) was not motivated and coordinated for the purpose of interfering with Federal governmental functions the way the January 6 Capitol attack was admitted by its organizers to be an effort to interrupt the Electoral Vote count and interfere with the Constitutionally mandated transfer of presidential power. As is too often the case with protests galvanized by a triggering event like the death of George Floyd, persons often separate from the political purpose of the protest are attracted to the ambient anger and rage to trash property and even struggle with the forces of the law. Another false equivalence is then added to the theme "violence is universally bad and must be suppressed no matter what the motivating cause". Once Portland and the Capitol are made equivalents, the next move is to use destruction of property and attacks on the police, for whatever reason, to "prove" the folly of police reform or taking money from police budgets to hire persons trained in talking down persons in the throes of a psychological crisis, which stupidly got called "defunding the police." Ron "doe eye" Johnson too has gone even further to pin the Capitol insurrection on anarchists, faceless Stalin plants in the crowd as provocateurs of the left aimed at pinning the Capitol attack on fire-spitting AOC, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. For those who were paying attention at the Garland hearing, Garland aimed directly at the pro-Trump anarchist ploy when he said damaging Federal property is bad and needs to be treated as such, but it's not equivalent to attacking the Capitol and the members of Congress with the intention of interfering with the workings of our democracy. The not-so-clever Cruz-Hawley-Grassley response to Garland's distinction was to say Garland had no quarrel with attacking Federal property at night when Federal offices were closed and employees not in the building. Shame on you Grassley, Cruz, Hawley, and Cotton too. I hesitate to add Ron Johnson because I feel like I would be beating up on an old floppy-eared dog. A brief word on "liberator" Texas governor Abbott's decision to drop most public restrictions aimed at reducing virus spread in the name of "self-reliance". Abbott doesn't seem to get it that mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing are above all measures aimed at saving others from us, not saving ourselves, i.e., being super-spread agents. Since endangering others is totally lacking in testosterone laced freedom, why not liberate Texans to drive on whichever side of the highway that turns them on in the moment so as not to throttle the "call of the wild."
Sleep, rest, and I hope the power is back on in the morning! It has been an interesting day. The situation in Texas is really scary but the legislature is also seeking ways to secede from the US so one has to wonder what Abbot is playing at. The fallout from the CPAC debacle is keeping the Cheeto in the news and even if all of the news is derisory he doesn’t care. What I wish is that news outlets would simply ignore him. He’s no longer president so they have no obligation to continue following him around. The Dems need to keep on announcing what they are getting done and keeping up the pressure on the purveyors of the Big Lie. Fingers crossed.
As a resident of the greater Houston area, I'm appalled by Governor Abbot's order. And. so. disappointed that we cannot trust him to act in the public health best interest. My husband and I are fortunate to have received both vaccination shots. But are we protected against all the variants circulating in Houston? I don't want to find out the hard way.
I feel like lifting the mask mandate by Abbott in Texas, is a trump playbook move. Distract the public about the crisis from the energy outage/water shortage by making an outrageous move elsewhere.
I’m sure my school district will cave to the parents who have been fighting masks all school year. Special school board session will be Thursday night to make the decision. Another upsetting turn in a school year that has been too much already. To get the vaccine is a full time job I don’t have the time or energy for. That’s how ridiculous the roll out has been! I’d be okay to have it by May before now. But now they’ve upped the ante once again, putting teachers in peril. I’m completely upset! Pray for the teachers in Texas. Or better yet, send us the vaccine!
Sent to me by a very good friend:
If Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, and Rick Perry were stranded on a deserted island, who would survive?
Thanks, Heather! Needed your clear headed logic more than ever!
My heart breaks for Texas and Mississippi. Such a senseless loss of life and foolish arrogance by their elected leaders on the cusp of real progress with vaccines.
There is mounting pressure for Governor Cuomo to resign. I really object to him being tried in a court of public opinion. Let the NY AG office handle it and make a ruling. As a corporate manager I received training on what sexual harassment is and isn't and how to handle it. At that time it was one egregious act or a repeated pattern of behavior that constituted sexual harassment. If we are a country with rule of law we should let the process take its course. When Senator Franken was being accused, I was quoted in the WSJ in their daily Readers' response question: “In our haste to accuse and judge, we have lost the principle of fairness. Would rather Sen. Franken had gone through the Ethics Committee process so we could put some of our outrage where it belongs: on the coverups, mistreatment of women who speak up and use of taxpayer money to keep them silent. Members of Congress can’t be exempt from its own laws!” We would have learned a great deal more about how Congress was protecting members of Congress and actually using taxpayer money to pay the accusers off!!!
“A new survey by Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll says that 61% of voters approve of Biden’s performance so far”.
Jimminy Cricket, the percentage approval of Biden should be 100% but since that is never the case, it should be at least 75%! 😆 (That’s not a reality either) In less than 2 months, he has taken major productive steps to steady this country, the press conferences are educational and transparent, vitriolic tweets appear to be a thing of the past, respect and dignity has been restored at the WH, and there are cabinet positions being filled by good people who know what they are doing! Oh, and we may all be vaccinated by May which means much better things for peoples’ health and the economy. Leadership counts .... what’s not to like?!
Heather, I hope that you have escaped the generator. Sleep well.
There is a lot to think about. Politics and health collide; the recent past won't let go; voter suppression bills are on steroids.
I'll follow your lead Heather and make it quick.
Yesterday was Texas Independence Day. In celebration, governor Abbott announced that the state would reopen everything next week and rescinded the order to wear facemasks.
Beto O'Rourke quickly responded, calling it 'Death Warrant for Texans' He tweeted. "Add them to the 44,000+ killed as he failed to confront the pandemic & botched the vaccine rollout. ... And those who froze to death because he cares more about energy companies' profits than keeping Texans alive.'
"Abbott is killing the people of Texas."
These guys just refuse to deny the big lie and just continue with the gaslighting. I wish “news” shows would stop providing them with a platform, or at the very least, hold them accountable...don’t move on until the question IS answered.
I notice you're not using the name of the previous guy when you refer to the previous administration. Good. Thank you.
May be off-topic for this newsletter, yet I think this “Litigation Tracker of All Criminal & Civil Cases Facing DJT” will be of interest to some of you.
What is going on with Texas and Mississippi that at this moment they dump their pandemic precautions? Is this a strategy arising from their little Golden Idol conference the other day?
Thank you, and especially for the bit of good news at the end of your letter. Sometimes I find it hard to keep my chin up when so many support the radical extremism that has rattled our country . You and Marc E. Elias give me hope . Sleep well. P.S. I just heard Dolly Parton sing about getting vaccinated!
Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! Hope you get power back on soon, if you haven't gotten it already. Thank you for the positive news today.
Georgia has a new entrant running for Congress against MT Greene. Check out his video: https://news.yahoo.com/marcus-flowers-run-congress-against-220800426.html
For the educators among us: https://www.educatingforamericandemocracy.org/
And last but not least, Common Dreams reports on the fate of some of the Capitol rioters: https://www.commondreams.org/further/2021/03/01/lock-em
Thank you again, Dr. Richardson. I especially appreciated yesterday's post about the Republican's suppressive voting rights bills. I hope we can find ways to fight back against these bills, and I hope your power is back on soon.