After weeks of pleading with Americans to get vaccinated as Republican governors opposed mask mandates, ICUs filled up, and people died, today President Joe Biden went on the offensive. Saying, “My job as President is to protect all Americans,” he announced that he was imposing new vaccination or testing requirements on the unvaccinated. The U.S. government will require all federal employees, as well as any federal contractors, to be vaccinated. The government already requires that all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid have to be vaccinated; Biden is expanding that to cover hospital workers, home healthcare aides, and those who work in other medical facilities. “If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated.”
About 18 months ago, I was fairly skeptical of Joe Biden being the Dem nominee. I knew well his experience with foreign policy (more than all of his competitors, combined--and yes, this IS in the president's wheelhouse as Head of State and Cdr in Chief), but could he beat Trump? And gosh, he's so old...
I realized in the month leading to the election how lucky we were. Since his inauguration, even more so. He's not perfect, but really, he's (mostly) struck the right tone at the right moments, had the right amount (and number) of focuses (people on the left have criticized some of the issues he HASN'T taken on yet. To those folks: whaddya say we stop the pandemic that's now killed as many people in 17 months as our CIVIL WAR did in 4 years? (look it up) And start fixing the thousands of bridges that're gonna fall? We'll get to you in a bit, okay?
And he's not afraid to punch people in the face once they've proven an impediment. I love it. His words--perfectly stated--say what most of us have thought for months. Good on him. I hope he makes more. Every simple-minded, Faustian-era conspiracy theorist can scream to the heavens (and will, without even a simple "thanks" afterward) but if it means we can get past this (oh, like we coulda-shoulda by now) who cares?
As Bret Stephens and other Chicken Littles are bleating about the ‘failed’ Biden presidency, Heather documents that Biden is in firm command and is most presidential. He is addressing the anti-Vaxers, the no maskers, and such jerkish governors as DeSantis and Abbott head on. After launching a flank speed vaccination program, the Delta virus and the non-vaxed have delayed a swift economic recovery.
Using his presidential powers, Biden is implementing a sweeping assault on those who who are dilly dalling about curbing the pandemic. While some Republican ‘leaders’ and others are playing a dog-in-the-manger game, President Biden is forcefully imposing a national policy that is positive, immediate, and should provide swift results. That is what I call effective presidential leadership. Ditto with his riposte to the unconstitutional Texas abortion laws.
I find it most refreshing to have a president who is honest, empathetic, and who is fully committed to pursuing what best serves a vast majority of Americans. Every month he is trumping his predecessor.
As the bodies pile up in Florida, DeSantis is trying to bury their numbers. Should be the headlines and lead stories on TV and radio.
Any State declaring or inducing Federal Law to be invalid in their State is effectively declaring secession and should be dealt with accordingly. The primacy and universality of Federal law must be upheld. Any legislature passing such a bill and governors who sign on to them should be recalled and new elections held under Federal rules, districting and control.
Also in the news today, LA School District is the first to mandate vaccinations for all students, staff, and administrators.
This made me proud to be an American today, as well as President Biden’s speech in support of Public Health, common sense, and the increased effort made to end this Pandemic for America, and the world. Generally a good day for humanity.
Joe Biden is demonstrating....oh, whadyacallit......oh yeah, leadership. Remember leadership? Faced with a common threat, leaders, from tribal to national, marshal available forces to defeat the common threat.
And HCR makes a valid point about the political repercussions for Biden and congressional Democrats as they push back against common threats, political and biological, to the nation's wellbeing. One might even be cautiously, very cautiously, optimistic about the coming midterm elections. If the Republicans maintain their destructive course, the Democrats might buck history and pick up some seats. It would require that enough Democrats and independents disgusted with Republicans take the time and effort to get over and around newly enacted impediments to voting thrown up by Republican state legislatures, but they might just be mad enough, and/or scared enough, to do just that.
"Those Republican lawmakers furious at the new vaccine requirements are possibly less worried that they won’t work than that they will." And, I love it that Biden said he wants to "just get them out of the way." DeathSantis is trying to fool his citizens by no longer publishing daily numbers. Another nail in his political coffin as people can't be fooled. As someone on Nicole Wallace said yesterday...."DeSantis is not known for his deep self-awareness." HA!
Glory be!!! This was a powerfully uplifting Letter. I laughed with joy and applauded all points. President Biden "is the bomb!" as my students used to say. In one fell swoop, President Biden has dramatically enhanced the well-being of this nation. I am so glad I waited to read Heather's Letter about how Biden went on the offensive. I process written words easier than spoken words, and I have the luxury of re-reading the Letter any time I want to feel good.
[From the "Damn! Krugman Nails It Again" department]
Foreign Terrorists Have Never Been Our Biggest Threat
By Paul Krugman
It may seem like a terrible thing to say, but a fair number of people — especially in the news media — are nostalgic about the months that followed 9/11. Some pundits openly pine for the sense of national unity that, they imagine, prevailed in the aftermath of the terrorist attack. More subtly, my sense is that many long for the days when the big threat to America seemed to come from foreign fanatics, not homegrown political extremists.
But that golden moment of unity never existed; it’s a myth, one that we need to stop perpetuating if we want to understand the dire current state of American democracy. The truth is that key parts of the American body politic saw 9/11, right from the beginning, not as a moment to seek national unity but as an opportunity to seize domestic political advantage.
And this cynicism in the face of the horror tells us that even at a time when America truly was under external attack, the biggest dangers we faced were already internal.
Belligerence and obstinacy have become the trademarks of the Republican Party. As an Independent, I have strived to keep a "balance" between the two political parties. However, Republicans have been digging their hole of tyranny and treachery more deeply with each passing day, week and year. Their in-your-face intransigence causes me to wonder if they are totally bereft of any humanity at all.
I have become increasingly angered at the fact there are so many anti-vaxx belligerents now taking up residence in hospital beds because they refused to get vaccinated. Cruel, perhaps, but I firmly believe they should stand in line behind those who really need that hospital bed and/or that ventilator. Let them suffer the fate they have brought upon themselves.
The dissension and contentiousness that crisscrosses the U.S. today compels me from time to time to simply go to "ignore". The right wingers are sucking all the good oxygen out of lives that are intended to be enjoyed. We can too easily be swept into their dark and sinister vapor.
The framework within which the latest-reported nineteen Republican governors work is anti-human. Their bold step to deny the requirement for vaccinations speaks volumes about their Draconian mindset. Their tribe of evil embraces all that is wrong and soulless, and that evil has become a dark pall across our land.
I was talking with my neighbor yesterday after returning her Corgi mix pup. Daisy likes to come visit me and my dog and wiggled under the fence when she spotted us out in the yard.
Sheri is a Trump style Republican who watches Fox News assiduously. She was also incredibly kind and helpful last year when my husband was dying of ALS. i asked how she was doing, not expecting much of an answer - and spent the next twenty minutes listening to a litany of problems that would overwhelm the strongest among us. Because I’d lived through and experienced some similar things, I actually could help a little so I did. Some days, helping your neighbor is the most important thing.
Last February, we talked briefly about the January 6th insurrection. Sheri spouted the usual BS and I kicked myself roundly for giving her that opening. Yesterday, I saw a very different person, one that I could relate to and help.
Listening to Biden yesterday made me smile. Anyone getting in DeSantis’s face with facts, including the fact that Florida is manipulating death statistics around Covid, and needing to rent refrigerated morgue trucks-from the feds-deserves all the public shaming and criticism we can heap on him. That governor should be tried for murder- yes murder.
This weekend, I will be selling my art at a fine art fair here in Minnesota. The weather will be near perfect, the promoters have strong Covid protocols and requirements, and I have good inventory. If it translates to good sales, I will have more money to donate to the causes near and dear to me- solutions to the climate crisis, voting rights, and a woman’s right to manage her own health, reproduction and future. I will also donate to my candidates of choice. Any other ideas? Are there credible candidates to oppose Abbott or DeSantis? Those boyz are giving me a headache. Any Advil candidates worth noting?
Has HCR written about the Second Amendment? I need it explained to me, explained as if I were a kindergartner.
First, some definitions; here is the amendment, in its entirety: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."
And here is the definition of a militia: "1) a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency, 2) a military force that engages in rebel or terrorist activities in opposition to a regular army, 3) all able-bodied civilians eligible by law for military service".
Using only the first and second definition of 'militia', please explain how what we do here in the States -allowing everyone to have a gun- is a 'military force'? I understand 'military force' to mean there's training, meetings, and regulations, at the very least. There's little to none of that in the States. That's my confusion about that.
If one were to use the third definition of 'militia', the words 'eligible by law' stand out. As do the words 'able-bodied'. Is there not some wiggle-room in the wording to allow for laws limiting gun ownership in those words?
And then I question the words, "necessary to the security". Are they still necessary? My dad argues with me that Americans having weapons in their homes was the reason we were not invaded during WWII. Ok, but is that still true today?
I understand the SC and legislatures don't just do a quick Google-search for dictionary definitions; that's why I'm asking for this amendment to be explained to me.
Every single day when I send my two high schoolers off to school, I worry if today is the day there will be a shooting. Every day when my husband leaves for work, I worry if today is the day there will be a shooting. Every.single.day.
When we were under quarantine last year, and then again when my children chose to do remote learning for the 20-21 school year, I cannot tell you what it was like to have that worry-burden lifted. Sure, there were other worries (would my husband be laid off? how much would my kids' education suffer?), but at least I didn't have the anxiety of them being shot.
When I think of the Founders, I wonder how many of them had cannons (the only equivalent I can think of to the modern, powerful weapons we have today) in their homes. I wonder how they would have felt if their neighbors had had pointed cannons at homes, places of work and worship, schools.
This trajectory of more and more guns cannot be sustained. And when it ends, it will be bloody.
Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! Everybody here should know by now how much I LOVE JOE. I have memorabilia to prove it. So it is in that spirit that I present the following. (I, too, have been confused by the messaging we have been receiving by our WH, the CDC, and whoever else controls the vaccine/masking narrative):
If you are not familiar with this takeoff on the old Abbott and Costello routine, just remember this when you get to the last line.
“Who’s on first, what’s on second, and I don’t knows on third.”
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO’S ‘WHO’S BEEN VACCINATED?’🤣🤣
Bud: ‘You can’t come in here!’
Lou: ‘Why not?’
Bud: ‘Well because you’re unvaccinated.’
Lou: ‘But I’m not sick.’
Bud: ‘It doesn’t matter.’
Lou: ‘Well, why does that guy get to go in?’
Bud: ‘Because he’s vaccinated.’
Lou: ‘But he’s sick!’
Bud: ‘It’s alright. Everyone in here is vaccinated.’
Lou: ‘Wait a minute. Are you saying everyone in there is vaccinated?’
Lou: ‘So then why can’t I go in there if everyone is vaccinated?’
Bud: ‘Because you’ll make them sick.’
Lou: ‘How will I make them sick if I’m NOT sick and they’re vaccinated.’
Bud: ‘Because you’re unvaccinated.’
Lou: ‘But they’re vaccinated.’
Bud: ‘But they can still get sick.’
Lou: ‘So what the heck does the vaccine do?’
Bud: ‘It vaccinates.’
Lou: ‘So vaccinated people can’t spread covid?’
Bud: ‘Oh no. They can spread covid just as easily as an unvaccinated person.’
Lou: ‘I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. Look. I’m not sick.'
Lou: ‘And the guy you let in IS sick.’
Bud: ‘That’s right.’
Lou: ‘And everybody in there can still get sick even though they’re vaccinated.’
Lou: ‘So why can’t I go in again?’
Lou: ‘I’m not asking who’s vaccinated or not!’
Bud: ‘I’m just telling you how it is.’
Lou: ‘Nevermind. I’ll just put on my mask.’
Bud: ‘That’s fine.’
Lou: ‘Now I can go in?’
Bud: ‘Absolutely not?’
Lou: ‘But I have a mask!’
Bud: ‘Doesn’t matter.’
Lou: ‘I was able to come in here yesterday with a mask.’
Bud: ‘I know.’
Lou: 'So why can’t I come in here today with a mask? ….If you say ‘because I’m unvaccinated’ again, I’ll break your arm.’
Bud: ‘Take it easy buddy.’
Lou: ‘So the mask is no good anymore.’
Bud: ‘No, it’s still good.’
Lou: ‘But I can’t come in?’
Lou: ‘Why not?’
Lou: ‘But the mask prevents the germs from getting out.’
Bud: ‘Yes, but people can still catch your germs.’
Lou: ‘But they’re all vaccinated.’
Bud: ‘Yes, but they can still get sick.’
Lou: ‘But I’m not sick!!’
Bud: ‘You can still get them sick.’
Lou: ‘ So then masks don’t work!’
Bud: ‘Masks work quite well.’
Lou: ‘So how in the heck can I get vaccinated people sick if I’m not sick and masks work?’
Bud: ‘Third base.'
And of course the over-educated, under-intelligent, otherwise-unemployables of the DC Press Corpse are all going "can he do that?" Dumbasses can't go read Washington's message at Valley Forge, the 1905 Supreme Couut ruling that the government can in fact require vaccinations, or manage to remember all those vaccinations they got back in school. So much for "democracy dies in darkness."
Thank you Heather.
I am baffled by the people who refuse to take the vaccine. I think at this point I have heard every excuse to not take it. Although practically no excuse rings valid. The company where my partner works is very laissez-faire about enforcement of COVID-19 protocol. In return they constantly have active cases of COVID-19 and the variant. They respond by sending out a company email out to everyone's phone with a canned letter saying someone within the company has tested positive for COVID-19 and "we are doing everything to rectify the situation ". Translation, we are doing absolutely nothing to follow protocol.
I'm hoping that President Biden's enforcement of vaccinations or testing of employees for employers with 100 + employee companies will force these slugs to actually do something to protect the employees and their families.
Ron and I are pretty well resigned to the probability that although we are fully vaccinated, will get a variant because of other people's defiant choice.
Here is hoping the enforcement of the vaccinations will take effect swiftly. 🍷
Be safe, be well.
Good Letter, Heather. Thanks.
For what it's worth, Americans should know that the phenomenon of no-vax, no mask citizens supported by the extreme Right (the insurrectionist Right? the vigilante Right? the racist right?) is, unfortunately, not unique to the USA.
Here in Italy there continue to be rowdy, well-attended (I wouldn't say "mass") anti-mask/anti-vaccine rallies and demonstrations which, though they include every sort of conspiracy-theory-motivated citizen including some very green and organic folks who are generally pretty far left on most issues, appear to be organized largely by the political Right. For you Italophiles, this includes the parties known as The Brothers of Italy and the League -- formerly the Northern League) representing roughly 40% of Italians according to recent polls.
Also, despite some early supply issues and negative press regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine (similar to the J&J in the US) which has turned out to be highly effective at preventing Covid hospitalization and death, Italy has now fully vaccinated 63% of the population, enough to make a huge difference, but not enough to eliminate the Delta variant or really end the health crisis. Does this sound familiar?
Also, as of this morning's headline in La Repubblica (widely read like the WaPo or NYT) the government is investigating people who are allegedly planning to introduce guns, bombs and assassination to their anti-vax efforts. Contemporaneously, the widely popular Prime Minister -- Mario Draghi, former head of the European Bank -- has said "enough is enough" and has required people to show a "green pass" (proof of vaccination, recovery from the Covid illness or a negative test within the prior 48 hours) before being allowed to do most anything in enclosed and/or crowded public places. This will (or already has been) extended to schools, government workplaces, other workplaces with more than 100 employees, public transportation, stadiums, cinemas etc. And while Draghi is still talking softly, he is letting it be known that simply making vaccination obligatory for EVERYONE is definitely on the table. I suspect if the contagion/hospitalization rates do not diminish soon (not nearly as bad as in US GOP states in any case), that he will will just do it and be done with it.
Until this morning's news about some Italian anti-vaxxers' violent intentions, I figured the situation in the USA was unique, but clearly the Italian Government has its eye on the US, knowing how often in the past ill-considered American experiments have arrived in Italy just as they were being discarded in America. Also, Italy has already taken one unhappy trip down the Fascism road and knows how that can end up.
Vigilance is the word here these days.