Connect with us

General

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The strains on democracy are showing

Published

on

On the NY Times bombshell story:

x

NY Times:

Hunting Leaks, Trump Officials Focused on Democrats in Congress

The Justice Department seized records from Apple for metadata of House Intelligence Committee members, their aides and family members.

Prosecutors, under the beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, were hunting for the sources behind news media reports about contacts between Trump associates and Russia. Ultimately, the data and other evidence did not tie the committee to the leaks, and investigators debated whether they had hit a dead end and some even discussed closing the inquiry.

But William P. Barr revived languishing leak investigations after he became attorney general a year later. He moved a trusted prosecutor from New Jersey with little relevant experience to the main Justice Department to work on the Schiff-related case and about a half-dozen others, according to three people with knowledge of his work who did not want to be identified discussing federal investigations.

x

Mark Leuchter/Religion DIspatches:

WHY MIKE LINDELL AND THE MAJORITY OF WHITE EVANGELICALS CAN’T GIVE UP ON ‘THE BIG LIE’

And this is where the belief in biblical inerrancy intersects with Lindell’s devotion to the Big Lie. Just as someone can never question the Bible’s inerrancy, one can never question the unassailable truth of Trumpism. To do so would be no less than to question the will of the deity who, for many conservative evangelicals like Lindell, directly chose Trump to lead and save the nation. In other words, the political landscape of Trumpist America was as binding as the Bible… both inerrant, both beyond question, both designed by God to favor the faithful.

From this frame of reference, Trump’s decisive loss to Biden in the 2020 election was theologically intolerable. It not only challenged the inerrant reading of the political landscape, it challenged the holiness of the power structure resulting from it. Lindell has credited his own financial success to his religious beliefs. With Trump’s tenure in office built on the brand of the “wealthy businessman” and the approval of the evangelical elite, wealthy Christian conservatives like Lindell were positioned as saintly figures who embodied a nationalist American holiness emanating from the Oval Office. An end to Trump’s political hegemony was also an end to access to that type of holiness—something that anthropologists of religion see in other cultures where shifting political tides threaten the holiness of saintly groups and demand desperate reactions.

x

David W Blight/New Yorker:

A new battle is being waged over how we teach our country’s past. But old feuds remind us that history is continually revised, driven by new evidence and present-day imperatives.

Some of these battles never quite end. (The endurance of the Lost Cause ideology, which argues that the South fought not for slavery but for sovereignty, is one example.) But the broader problem is that, in the realm of public history, no settled law governs. Should the discipline forge effective citizens? Should it be a source of patriotism? Should it thrive on analysis and argument, or be an art that emotionally moves us? Should it seek to understand a whole society, or be content to uncover that society’s myriad parts? The answer to all of these questions is essentially yes. But this is where the history wars, old and new, merely begin. We call them wars because they matter; nations have risen and fallen on the success of their stories.

Pew Research Center:

America’s Image Abroad Rebounds With Transition From Trump to Biden

But many raise concerns about health of U.S. political system

The election of Joe Biden as president has led to a dramatic shift in America’s international image. Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency, publics around the world held the United States in low regard, with most opposed to his foreign policies. This was especially true among key American allies and partners. Now, a new Pew Research Center survey of 16 publics finds a significant uptick in ratings for the U.S., with strong support for Biden and several of his major policy initiatives.

In each of the 16 publics surveyed, more than six-in-ten say they have confidence in Biden to do the right thing in world affairs. Looking at 12 nations surveyed both this year and in 2020, a median of 75% express confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for Trump last year.

This during Biden and Harris visits abroad.

x

Ed Yong/Atlantic:

The Fundamental Question of the Pandemic Is Shifting

We understand how this will end. But who bears the risk that remains?

Framing one’s health as a matter of personal choice “is fundamentally against the very notion of public health,” Aparna Nair, a historian and an anthropologist of public health at the University of Oklahoma, told me. “For that to come from one of the most powerful voices in public health today … I was taken aback.” (The CDC did not respond to a request for comment.) It was especially surprising coming from a new administration. Donald Trump was a manifestation of America’s id—an unempathetic narcissist who talked about dominating the virus through personal strength while leaving states and citizens to fend for themselves. Joe Biden, by contrast, took COVID-19 seriously from the off, committed to ensuring an equitable pandemic response, and promised to invest $7.4 billion in strengthening America’s chronically underfunded public-health workforce. And yet, the same peal of individualism that rang in his predecessor’s words still echoes in his. “The rule is very simple: Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do,” Biden said after the CDC announced its new guidance. “The choice is yours.”

From its founding, the United States has cultivated a national mythos around the capacity of individuals to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, ostensibly by their own merits. This particular strain of individualism, which valorizes independence and prizes personal freedom, transcends administrations. It has also repeatedly hamstrung America’s pandemic response. It explains why the U.S. focused so intensely on preserving its hospital capacity instead of on measures that would have saved people from even needing a hospital. It explains why so many Americans refused to act for the collective good, whether by masking up or isolating themselves. And it explains why the CDC, despite being the nation’s top public-health agency, issued guidelines that focused on the freedoms that vaccinated people might enjoy. The move signaled to people with the newfound privilege of immunity that they were liberated from the pandemic’s collective problem. It also hinted to those who were still vulnerable that their challenges are now theirs alone and, worse still, that their lingering risk was somehow their fault. (“If you’re not vaccinated, that, again, is taking your responsibility for your own health into your own hands,” Walensky said.)

Neither is true. About half of Americans have yet to receive a single vaccine dose; for many of them, lack of access, not hesitancy, is the problem. The pandemic, meanwhile, is still just that—a pandemic, which is raging furiously around much of the world, and which still threatens large swaths of highly vaccinated countries, including some of their most vulnerable citizens. It is still a collective problem, whether or not Americans are willing to treat it as such.

x

Denise Lu/New York Times:

Which Groups Are Still Dying of Covid in the U.S.?

After the first vaccines were authorized for emergency use in December, with priority given to senior populations before younger groups, the share of those dying who were 75 or older started dropping immediately.

In turn, younger populations began to make up higher shares of Covid-19 deaths compared with their shares at the peak of the pandemic — a trend that continued when vaccine eligibility opened up to all adults. While the number of deaths dropped in all age groups, about half of Covid-19 deaths are now of people aged 50 to 74, compared with only a third in December.

The remaining deaths are mainly driven by those who have yet to be vaccinated, Dr. Kuppalli said, describing two main groups within this population: those who choose to not get vaccinated because of misinformation and politicization around the vaccine, and those who remain unvaccinated because of other factors, including access.

“I think we still have work to do with that population. Particularly in difficult to reach populations, such as rural populations, ethnic and racial minority populations, homeless populations, people who don’t access medical care.”

x

Sarah Binder/WaPo:

Why is Manchin such a thorn in the Democratic Party’s side? Let us count the reasons.

Here’s what political science tells us about party outliers.

Nearly 50 years ago, political scientist David Mayhew wrote about the importance of the “electoral connection” for understanding what makes lawmakers tick. Reelection, Mayhew argued, was every legislator’s immediate goal. No matter what other goals might motivate them, none of their ambitions — policy or otherwise — can be achieved if they are not first reelected.

As Occam’s razor would suggest, Manchin’s electoral environment back home best accounts for why he is out of step with much of the Senate Democratic caucus on voting rights and why he’s willing to block at least some of his party’s top priorities. As the only Democrat holding statewide office in West Virginia today, Manchin’s electoral future is precarious.

x

Perry Bacon Jr/WaPo:

Were Biden’s bold first 100 days a mirage?

Many Democrats, both in the party’s centrist wing and even on the left, view the past five months as a story of the Good Joe and the Bad Joe. The Good Joe is the president, who has discarded the cautious centrism of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama for a bold economic agenda and honest talk about racism and white supremacy. The bad Joe is the Democratic senator from West Virginia, who has forced the party into fruitless talks with congressional Republicans and prevented the passage of a national voting rights law.

I am somewhat skeptical of this narrative. There are some signs that President Biden and his team, while not totally prisoner to what I view as old and misguided norms of the Democratic Party, aren’t fully free of them, either. So, no, it’s not all Joe Manchin III’s fault.

Here’s how I think Biden might be falling into five of those self-defeating norms:


https://www.emultimediatv.com

General

One woman killed and three people injured as vehicle rams into protesters in Minnesota

Published

on

Police said that alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in the driver’s actions, but this must not be treated as an isolated incident: Last summer, according to USA Today, there were “at least 104 incidents of people driving vehicles into protests from May 27 through Sept. 5.” In eight of those cases, police were the drivers.

And Republican lawmakers have rushed to offer protections to drivers who injure protesters in this way. Iowa, Oklahoma, and Florida have all reduced or abolished penalties for such drivers, with the Iowa and Florida laws offering civil immunity and the Oklahoma law protecting drivers from criminal penalties when they “unintentionally causes injury or death to an individual” while “fleeing from a riot” and “under a reasonable belief that fleeing was necessary to protect the motor vehicle operator from serious injury or death.” Which just means every driver who does this will claim they were fleeing under a reasonable belief that their life was at risk. 

The Washington Post’s Philip Bump likens such laws to “stand your ground” laws, writing, “A Rand Corp. study found that states with ‘stand your ground’ laws allowing residents to use firearms in self-defense were states that had more firearm homicides. Allowing people to use guns to kill in some circumstances correlated with more people using guns to kill.”

The laws letting drivers off the hook for injuring or even killing protesters came amid a wave of state-level legislation targeting protesters in other ways. In a sense it’s similar to the Republican push to ban the teaching of “critical race theory” (by which they mean “anything about racism”) from schools. Republicans are trying to criminalize any effort to change U.S. culture and society to make it less racist or less unjust. In this case, they are actively encouraging murder.


https://www.emultimediatv.com

Continue Reading

General

Federal judge dismisses anti-vaxxers’ lawsuit, sides with Texas hospital

Published

on

Despite the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supporting policies that employers could require “all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19,” at least 117 employees of the company attempted to sue the hospital claiming it violated state policy and made them “human guinea pigs.” 

According to the plaintiffs, federal law prohibits employees from being required to get vaccinated without full U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the vaccines. While the lawsuit was filed in Texas state court, it was moved to federal court at Houston Methodist’s request. As a result, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes ruled Saturday that federal law does not prevent employers from issuing that mandate because the law in question did not apply to private employers. 

“The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Hughes wrote. “They are licensed doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and staff members. The hospital has not applied to test the COVID-19 vaccines on its employees.”

He continued that the mandate was a way to make the environment safer for both employees and patients. “This is not coercion. Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.”

Hughes’ ruling addressed each and every one of the plaintiffs’ arguments including the vaccination requirement violating Texas law and a comparison to forced medical experiments in Nazi Germany. “Equating the injection requirement to medical experimentation in concentration camps is reprehensible,” Hughes wrote. “Nazi doctors conducted medical experiments on victims that caused pain, mutilation, permanent disability, and in many cases, death.”

Ultimately Hughes concluded that the plaintiffs “misconstrued” the law and “misrepresented the facts” and “will take nothing” from the hospital. If they had an issue with the policies in place, they should seek employment elsewhere, he wrote.

Upon hearing the ruling, lead plaintiff Jennifer Bridges noted that she would continue to fight her case. “This doesn’t surprise me,” she told USA Today. “Methodist is a very large company, and they are pretty well-protected in a lot of areas. We knew this was going to be a huge fight, and we are prepared to fight it.” Bridges has also started a petition against mandatory vaccinations by employers.

In response to the ruling, attorney and conservative activist Jared Woodfill who represents her and the other 116 plaintiffs said: “We took the position that it shouldn’t be dismissed for a whole host of reasons and we believe that forcing an individual to participate in a vaccine trial is illegal.”

“This is the first battle in a long fight,” Woodfill continued. “There are going to be many battles fought. Not just in this courtroom, but in courtrooms all across the state. There are battles that are going to be fought in the higher courts, the 5th Circuit, the Texas Supreme Court, even the United States Supreme Court. So this is just one battle in a larger war. It’s the first round, if you will.”

Woodfill confirmed that they would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court “if necessary.”

So despite the judge noting and clearly addressing that they had no case, the plaintiffs refuse to back down.

The employees who were suspended from their roles made up only 1% of the hospital’s total number of employees, according to Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom. Boom noted that many other hospitals are working on similar initiatives but were only waiting on this case’s verdict to take action. “We can now put this behind us and continue our focus on unparalleled safety, quality, service and innovation,” Boom said after the ruling. “Our employees and physicians made their decisions for our patients, who are always at the center of everything we do.”

According to CBS News, as of this report, nearly 25,000 Houston Methodist employees had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and at least two employees who worked in management chose to leave rather than receive the vaccine.


https://www.emultimediatv.com

Continue Reading

General

Distress signals already emerging within GOP over sticking with Trump

Published

on

Nothing but unicorns and rainbows, folks. 

But the truth is, Trump’s toxic effect on party politics at the state and federal level is already roiling the GOP, and we’re starting see signs of that everywhere. Just over a week ago, Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri reverted to a practice that Republicans developed during the Trump-era amid efforts to reach a leader who never listened to his advisers—he made an entreaty to Trump on the airwaves.

“He could be incredibly helpful in 2022 if he gets focused on 2022 and the differences in the two political parties,” Blunt said of Trump, on NBC’s Meet The Press.

And who could miss Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week telling Fox News that Trump “has his own agenda” when it comes to the midterms?

Then there’s the GOP candidates who are clearly scared out of their wits over what Trump could do to the party’s electoral hopes in 2022 given that he continues to be obsessed with relitigating his 2020 election loss, which he called “the crime of the century” just last month.

“He should have learned from what happened in Georgia,” said one GOP lawmaker, who represents a purple district but obviously didn’t want to risk Trump’s ire by going on the record. “He cost us Georgia by focusing on the election.”

The words “should have” appear to be the operative part in that sentence.

“If Trump focused on Pelosi and Biden’s policy failures, he would help us. If it’s about election fraud and sour grapes from 2020, it will hurt us,” the GOP lawmaker added. 

Again, the word “if” is telling and not particularly hopeful from a Republican lawmaker who was likely speaking more frankly based on being granted anonymity. 

The lawmaker acknowledged that Trump’s 2020 grievances animate the base, but said it’s not particularly helpful when it comes to retaking the majority—presumably in more swingy districts.  

“We may be able to still win the majority, but I think it makes the hill harder to climb.”

In other words, in the eyes of a purple-district House Republican, Trump could be more of a liability to the GOP in the midterms than a boon.

Not exactly unicorns and rainbows, folks.


https://www.emultimediatv.com

Continue Reading

Recent Post

Advertisement Enter ad code here

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Emultimediatv.