10,000 on ignore, Book 180: The Days of Reckoning, Part 39.....

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Mitch McConnell says he's 'perplexed' by inability to get vast majority of U.S. vaccinated. Really
Kerry Eleveld

GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is “perplexed” by the inability of the United States to “finish the job” of getting the vast majority of Americans vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus that has already claimed more than 600,000 lives nationwide.

Asked if he had advice for right-wing pundits and GOP politicians who have vilified the vaccines, McConnell called himself “a huge fan” of vaccinations. “I’m perplexed by the difficulty we have in finishing the job,” McConnell offered. “We need to keep preaching that getting the vaccine is important,” he added, seemingly oblivious to the fact that members of his own party across the country are routinely stoking vaccine hesitancy among their followers as a way to score political points. In fact, contracting COVID-19 has now largely become a red-state, red-county problem due to low vaccination rates among GOP voters.

At last weekend’s CPAC conference in Texas, attendees actually cheered when extremist Alex Berenson celebrated the Biden administration’s inability to, as he put it, “sucker” 70% of U.S. adults into getting the lifesaving vaccine. Or as a pointedly macabre Esquire headline put it, “They clapped for death.”
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One reporter at McConnell’s press conference did something unusual: She fact-checked him in real time.

“It isn’t all that perplexing. There are Republicans who are casting doubt on the vaccines,” she said, name checking GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, in particular. “That’s where this hesitancy is coming from—from members of your own party casting doubts on vaccines,” she added, asking McConnell what kind of conversations he’s had with members of his own party.

McConnell declined to say whether he’s had any conversations with Johnson or other Republicans about the host of baseless conspiracy theories they are pushing.

”I can only speak for myself,” McConnell said.

That’s exactly how we landed here in the first place—Republican politicians who have been completely unwilling to acknowledge or take any responsibility whatsoever for the (sometimes deadly) consequences of the actions of those in their own party. In fact, that’s exactly what Senate Republicans are trying to do right now as they turn an eye toward 2022—sweep Donald Trump under the rug as if he doesn’t exist after they gave him free rein to savage the country for four solid years.


 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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People who are unvaccinated by choice are engaged in biological warfare against their own nation
Mark Sumner

In the best possible world, COVID-19 was handled in the U.S. from the outset with a national system of testing and case management that—as in South Korea—prevented the disease from ever becoming a national epidemic that brought death and long-term disability to all 50 states. In the actual world, at least 400,000 Americans died unnecessarily due to the mismanagement of COVID-19 in the United States alone. And now, thanks to an unreasoning and persistent refusal to get vaccinated by 41% of Republicans, and an influx of evermore-contagious variants, it has become impossible for America to reach the point where COVID-19 does not circulate freely in communities across the nation.

Low-vaccination states are providing the virus with a rotating set of hotspots, boosting the nation to four straight days in which there were more than 20,000 new cases and seeing that the more aggressive delta variant is becoming dominant in all regions. Areas like southwest Missouri have seen a fourth wave of disease that has matched or exceeded levels in January and February, once again straining local health care systems and requiring patients to be shipped to hospitals hundreds of miles away.

For those who are completely vaccinated, it may be tempting to shrug off vaccine-refusing Republicans as being on their own. Except that’s not the way it works. First, no vaccine is 100% effective, and while over 90% of those dying from the disease are currently found among the unvaccinated, the other 10% of people who have been fully vaccinated but are still getting severely ill and dying are being infected almost entirely by people who were unvaccinated. Second, the more people refuse the vaccine, the more sources there will be for the next variant. If delta is not bad enough, the World Health Organization is already tracking variants of interest eta, iota, kappa, and lambda. There are 14 even newer variants that contain features that may make them more contagious, more vaccine evasive, or more virulent. Five of those variants were first identified in the last month.


And right now in Mississippi, there are 12 children too young to take any current vaccine who are in ICUs fighting for their lives. That is entirely because some people still won’t get vaccinated.
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To be clear, the delta variant is somewhat vaccine evasive. It spreads 225% more effectively than the variant that was previously the most common in the United States and indications are that it is more likely to cause severe illness, especially to younger people. Depending on the circumstances, the currently authorized vaccines in the U.S. have been from 66% to 84% effective in blocking symptomatic COVID-19 from the delta variant. Studies also indicate that the vaccines are up to 96% effective in preventing infections from becoming severe. These numbers hold up well in real world examples.

Perhaps most importantly, tests have indicated that even when vaccinated people do become infected, their viral load was about half that of those who were infected and unvaccinated. That’s far from a perfect indicator of how likely someone is to pass the disease along, but the decrease in viral load along with reduced symptoms should indicate that vaccinated people are at a much reduced change of spreading disease to others.

The vaccine, vaccination centers, and materials are all available to vaccinate Americans fully. With the exception of the small number of adults and children under the age of 12 who are currently not able to take the vaccines, everyone in the nation could be vaccinated. President Biden really has taken extraordinary measures to ensure that both the vaccine, and vaccination, are as widely available as possible.

On April 8, over 4.4 million doses of vaccine were administered in a single day. Despite the fact that only 56% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, current vaccination rates have fallen to less than one-tenth what they were in the first week of April. Had the vaccination continued at the rate it was in the first week of April, 70% of Americans over 12 would be fully vaccinated, almost 80% would have had at least one dose, and those kids in Mississippi would not be in the ICU.

Ten of those children are on breathing tubes. That’s what not getting vaccinated does. It’s not just the person that refuses to get vaccinated: It’s other people. It’s other people’s kids. It’s your kids.

Right now, the nation could be genuinely getting back to normal. Instead, we’re seeing things like Tennessee's state vaccine manager getting fired simply for answering—correctly—a question about whether teenagers could seek vaccination without their parent’s permission (answer: they absolutely can). But when pediatrician Dr. Michelle Fiscus posted an honest response to that question, giving the facts as presented by the Tennessee Supreme Court, Republicans in the state legislature howled that she was “trying to undermine parental authority.” The state legislature demanded that representatives of the health department appear to testify, and the result is not just that Dr. Fiscus was fired, but that “a frightened state health department has responded by stopping vaccination outreach efforts.”

This makes no sense.

Because of that action, children will die. Because of the vaccine refusal being driving by Republican politics, being talked up on Fox News, being cheered at CPAC, being pestered into people at every level—children and adults already have died. At this point, almost every COVID-19 death in the United States is an utterly unnecessary death that could have been prevented by vaccines that are safe, effective, free, and readily available.

In the past week, 369 other children in Mississippi tested positive for COVID-19. The blame for their illness does not lie with anyone in China. It doesn’t even lie with Donald Trump. It lies with the adults in their lives who have made the selfish, foolish, and deadly decision to refuse a vaccine they might have easily obtained.

Every time Tucker Carlson plays up false fear of the vaccine on his program, he is killing American children. Every time Marjorie Taylor Greene makes false analogies to “experimental drugs,” she is killing American kids. Lauren Boebert and Ted Cruz are killing American kids. Every damn bastard in the nation who tries to create doubts about the vaccines for political purposes is killing American kids. That’s you, Tennessee legislature. And you, Missouri governor. That’s you, every single person at CPAC.



That plane isn’t just going to crash: It’s fueled by burning American lives.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Trump lashes out at Supreme Court justices, with 'particular bile' for one in particular
Marissa Higgins

When you hear the name Michael Wolff, you might remember that the journalist published two books about Donald Trump’s presidency, Fire and Fury and Siege, which Trump threatened to sue him over. Wolff recently came out with a third book, Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency, that details the end of Trump’s time in office. Trump, perhaps surprisingly, sat down with Wolff to be interviewed for the last book in the series on himself, some of which has been excerpted by Axios. According to Wolff, the two talked about a number of hot topics including how Trump feels about the Supreme Court justices who got on the bench during his presidency and how Trump believes his fanbase feels at this point. Wolff, as is his trademark, includes plenty of analysis.

If you're wondering why Trump would agree to be interviewed by someone he threatened to sue, the writer offers up an explanation. Wolff hypothesized that for Trump, it’s all about ratings, and while Wolff isn’t the only author Trump has sat down with, he suggested to his team that he realizes Wolff is an author who gets big attention. This logic tracks well with what we know about Trump and his absolute thirst and obsession for coverage. And the content of said interview? Let’s check out what we know so far below—including which Supreme Court justice Trump is particularly disappointed with.

According to Wolff’s account, Trump, while being interviewed at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida (of course), expressed a deep sense of betrayal when it came to all three justices he nominated to the court—but he expressed notable disdain for Brett Kavanaugh, whom Trump nominated back in July 2018. Now, most of us can express a good bit of disdain for Kavanaugh’s beliefs (and, too, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett’s) but Trump’s issue with Kavanaugh rests, in Trump’s words as reported by Wolff, with his lack of “courage.”.......
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According to Wolff, Trump says his fans are feeling “cheated” and “angry.” Wolff, controversially, suggests that Trump wasn’t truly responsible for the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, arguing there was no plan and that Trump is “deranged.” On Trump, Wolff said: “The guy can’t get from the beginning of the sentence to the end of a sentence.” Now, that might be an accurate description of Trump, but that doesn’t mean he can wash his hands from what his supporters did in his name.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Gallitzin State Forest, 7/13/21

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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A spate of new books show how the presidency broke Donald Trump
Hunter

The books documenting Donald Trump's final days in office are beginning to appear. Please do not buy them. The journalism habit of hiding consequential bits of insider news from the public so that they can be monetized in book form later is a cancer that needs to be gouged out of the industry with a dull knife.

All of the most interesting snippets from each book will be dutifully reported in news stories about the books that should have been news stories, so you won't miss a thing. And the short version of
all of it is that the presidency thoroughly broke Donald J. Trump. It snapped his fragile brain in half like an oversized Rice Krispies Treat. Losing the election untethered him from whatever scraps of reality his advisers had still managed to tie him to, and up he went like a lost balloon with anger management issues. By the end he was (is) wallowing in delusion, ordering staff to do impossible and/or illegal things, absolutely convinced that everything was a conspiracy and that anyone who didn't tell him what he wanted to hear was in on it.
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And nobody around him did a damn thing about it, other than collect up the stories to tell later. We were governed by a madman because his conservative functionaries were all hand-selected for spinelessness and rank incompetence, and it's a miracle we have,
so far, gotten out of it with only a half million U.S. deaths via incompetence and only a failed insurrection attempt mounted by Trump supporters whose only plan was "invade Congress to demand they tear up the electoral results and something something something."

Fine, so let's wade through these new book reports to see what new horrors they have brought us. We have already learned that Donald is baffled by and absolutely enraged by his chosen Supreme Court justices' unwillingness to throw the election on his behalf, with standard Trump mutterings about "Where would [Justice Blackout Drunk] be without me?" because, to malignant narcissist Donald, reality consists solely of Donald Trump doing people favors and people doing Donald Trump favors back.

From a Wall Street Journal reporter's new book, we learn that Donald Trump flipped entirely the f**k out when someone leaked that he had briefly hidden out in the White House's underground bunker when Black Lives Matter protesters demonstrated nearby. CNN provides us with the relevant Cliff's Notes on that one, with Trump "the most upset some aides had ever seen him" and bellowing that whoever had leaked his less-than-an-hour trip to the basement was guilty of treason and "should be executed!"


He remained "obsessed" with finding the traitor for days, which would soon be called having a normal one in the decaying months of Trump's decompensating narcissistic froth. The most manly man of MAGA manliness was provided security during a protest? How will he ever live down the shame, or whatever.

It's yet another book, this one by Washington Post reporters, that brings us new tidbits of how Trump reacted to election night itself. Here's your hot news tip: it broke him. Completely. While Trump had of course repurposed the White House as election night party house because screw tradition, Trump himself quickly lost his tether to our earthly plane when the tide of votes began to turn against him and he began to believe, apparently in all seriousness, that losing states he didn't want to lose could only mean that his enemies were rigging the election against him. He broke. He had a narcissistic breakdown, and simply decided that there was no possible way America had voted him out of office legitimately—so it didn’t happen. (Qusay Trump also “flipped out” inside the White House, similarly claiming the election was being “stolen,” but one suspects he was only having a tantrum in a bid for daddy’s weird attention.)

At this point, there were roughly 400 party guests, an entire White House staff, and a full contingent of Secret Service agents, but once again none within those groups were willing to do America the patriotic favor of stuffing the delusional ranter Trump in a sack and announcing that because Reasons, Vice President Mike Pence would be taking over for a while.

Instead, Rudy Giuliani goaded Trump on, telling him to "just say we won" the states he wanted to win and damn the actual vote totals. Trump went on television to do just that, launching a nationwide Republican drive to nullify presidential votes in those specific states. It didn't work, which is why Trump now hates Brett Kavanaugh with a fiery passion, but it still got people killed and continues today with an array of new Republican-pushed state laws designed to keep quite so many working-class people from voting in future elections.

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You may have heard of the "great man theory" of history? Forget it. It's bunk. History is far more commonly bent by complete raging idiots throwing themselves into delusional sulfur-scented netherworlds while their allies all nod their heads and explain to the public that no, this important man is not eating his own underwear in the middle of a public square, he is making some very good points and now the laws of the nation must be quickly rewritten so that underpants are now called baguettes and anyone who says otherwise is a communist. Donald Trump had a delusional meltdown over the election returns and it bent the very history of our nation because his party would rather back a broken man’s delusions than lose power.

You think I'm wrong? Republicans are now actively promoting preventable disease because Trump's pandemic incompetence forced the party into defending incompetence as a brilliant strategic move. These people are all-in on public underwear consumption, and they intend to turn it into a new national religion.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, Trump also planned to cancel U.S. alliances with NATO and South Korea once the election was over, which is also something his nose-picking party would have gone along with if Trump had been able to cling to power. Just as another aside from the Post book. You know, because Trump has forever been unable to work with purported equals, he can only handle relationships in which he is either polishing somebody's boots or getting his own boots shined. NATO leaders didn't properly defer to or attempt to bribe His Royal Highness Burgerguy, and that drove him
nuts.

So there you go, there's some of the most interesting news on how America came extremely really damn close to collapsing entirely, had the election been slightly closer than it turned out to be. It still might collapse, because the not-happily-retired delusional Dear Leader figure still has the weight of the entire Republican Party behind him, but there's also an equally good chance that even the U.S. Secret Service won't be able to keep Trump from sticking his hands in a toaster or jumping into the Gulf of Mexico in a hunt for election-stealing dolphins. Anybody's guess. We'll only hear about it if somebody's got a new book to sell.
 
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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Cruise line sues FL: "Norwegian prefers the shackles of the CDC to the freedom offered by Florida"
Witgren

I was wondering when they would get around to this, or if they were just going to relocate their business to other ports and let local businesses scream bloody murder at Florida politicians for all the lost tourism trade that would result. Anyway, Norwegian Cruise Lines has filed a lawsuit against the Surgeon General of Florida (the suit is against him as he is the official with the authority to enforce Florida’s “no vaccine passports” rule.). The lawsuit, as you might guess, is about Florida’s “no vaccine passport” requirement, which prevents cruise lines (and other businesses) from requiring passengers and employees from being vaccinated.

The Norwegian lawsuit rests on two issues: 1) restricting the flow of information (vaccination documentation) is a violation of the First Amendment, and 2) the Florida rule interferes with interstate and international commerce, which is a no-no.

Because stupidity knows no limits, a spokewoman for Florida responded to the lawsuit thusly:

“Apparently Norwegian prefers the shackles of the CDC to the freedom offered by Florida. This administration will not tolerate such widespread discrimination.”

Uh, ok. Yeah, I don’t get it, either.

Anyway, good times. Meanwhile, Norwegian plans on resuming Alaskan cruises in early August. Alaska has yet to be as stupid as Florida and has not tried to prevent businesses like cruise lines from protecting their staff and customers from dying of a preventable disease.