Monday Reads: Moving Right Along!Posted: February 15, 2021
Good Day Sky Dancers!
Here we are again with another set of winter storms pummeling the country from sea to shining sea and also from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. There’s a lot of other news too now that the second impeachment of Trump failed to bring a conviction. I’m not quite sure Republicans got what they wanted as they played to their White Nationalist Men(ace) base.
Gallup is reporting that there’s a lot of support for a third party now. There usually is some momentum for that but it never quite reaches any serious fruition. But, it appears to be at a record high as the Party of Trump is losing supports after his attempt at insurrection. There’s always been some grumbling about that among Democrats.
Americans’ desire for a third party has ticked up since last fall and now sits at a high in Gallup’s trend. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say the “parties do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed,” an increase from 57% in September. Support for a third party has been elevated in recent years, including readings of 60% in 2013 and 2015 and 61% in 2017.
Meanwhile, 33% of Americans believe the two major political parties are doing an adequate job representing the public, the smallest percentage expressing this view apart from the 26% reading in October 2013.
The latest results are from a Jan. 21-Feb. 2 poll. The survey was conducted before recent news reports that dozens of government officials in prior Republican administrations were in discussions to form an anti-Donald Trump third political party.
The survey found Americans’ favorable opinion of the Republican Party has declined to 37%, while 48% view the Democratic Party positively. The poll also shows 50% of U.S. adults identifying as political independents, the highest percentage Gallup has ever measured in a single poll.
There also may be some indication that the press may give up the both-siderism that was a major part of getting Trump elected to begin with. This is from The New Republic: “The Capitol Riot Killed “Both Sides” Journalism. Trump’s acquittal notwithstanding, these violent events have forever changed the way Beltway reporters should do their jobs.” I personally will believe it when I witness consistent amounts of it
On January 6, terrorists—encouraged by former President Donald Trump and enabled by his Republican supporters in Congress—attacked the United States Capitol. And as they came for the republic, they also came for something else: Beltway journalists.
This is true in the literal sense, as rioters etched “Murder the Media” into a Capitol door. But it is also true in a more challenging philosophical sense, as this violence imploded at the very altar of political journalism: the shrine of detached, “both-sides” reportage erected by media outlets to avoid specious accusations of bias and provide cover for Republican politics that were, at best, deeply shameful and, at worst, lethally illiberal.
Mainstream media editors of political coverage in Washington are at a crossroads, though they may not yet have fully realized their predicament. After years of investing in an approach to politics popularly characterized as the “view from nowhere”—in which “objectivity” is performed by reporters as a “he said, she said” dance without regard to either news value or truth—they have had their once-comfortable performance space invaded by the rioters. To move forward from here without confronting the long-deflating bubble of “both-sides” journalism, which is profitable for the D.C. book party circuit but ill-suited to maintaining both good government and a public trust in the media, is to ensure that illiberalism will continue to flourish.
It’s a bit of a long read so hunker down with a blanket and cuppa. So, if you’re like me and awaiting your second dose of a vaccine you may want to check out this article in The Atlantic.
I keep being warned about this from some friends.
When the immune system detects a virus, it will dispatch cells and molecules to memorize its features so it can be fought off more swiftly in the future. Vaccines impart these same lessons without involving the disease-causing pathogen itself—the immunological equivalent of training wheels or water wings.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines accomplish that pedagogy via a genetic molecule called mRNA that’s naturally found in human cells. Once delivered into the upper arm, the mRNA instructs the body’s own cells to produce a coronavirus protein called spike—a molecule that elicits powerful, infection-fighting antibody responses in people battling COVID-19.
To ensure safe passage of mRNA into cells, the vaccine makers swathed the molecules in greasy bubbles called lipid nanoparticles. These strange, fatty spheres don’t resemble anything naturally present in the body, and they trip the sensors of a cavalry of fast-acting immune cells, called innate immune cells, that patrol the body for foreign matter. Once they spot the nanoparticles, these cells dispatch molecular alarms called cytokines that recruit other immune cells to the site of injection. Marshaling these reinforcements is important, but the influx of cells and molecules makes the upper arm swollen and sore. The congregating cells spew out more cytokines still, flooding the rest of the body with signals that can seed system-wide symptoms such as fever and fatigue.
“It’s the body’s knee-jerk reaction to an infection,” or something that looks like it, Mark Slifka, a vaccine expert and an immunologist at Oregon Health and Science University, told me. “Let’s spray the area down with antiviral cytokines, which also happen to be inflammatory.”
EJ Dionne argues that it’s the “Beginning of the End of Trumpism.” He writes in an OP Ed for WAPO.
Don’t waste time mourning the Senate’s failure to convict Donald Trump for crimes so dramatically and painstakingly proven by the House impeachment managers. The cowardice of the vast majority of Republican senators was both predicted and predictable.
Led with extraordinary grace by Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), a diverse and able group of prosecutors laid out an indelible record not only of what happened on Jan. 6 and why, but also Trump’s irresponsibility throughout his term of office: his courting of the violent far right; his celebration of violence; his habit of privileging himself and his own interests over everything and everyone else, including his unrequitedly loyal vice president.
This record matters. We often like to pretend that we can move on and forget the past. But our judgments about the past inevitably shape our future. Every political era is, in part, a reaction to the failures — perceived and real — of the previous one. The Hoover-Coolidge Republicans loomed large for two generations of Democrats. Ronald Reagan built a thriving movement by calling out what he successfully cast as the sins of liberalism.<
By tying themselves to Trump with their votes, most House and Senate Republicans made themselves complicit in his behavior. And Trump will prove to be even more of an albatross than Hoover, who, after all, had a moral core.
Given the chance to cast a vote making clear that what Trump did was reprehensible, only seven Republicans in the Senate and 10 in the House took the opportunity to do so.
But, then there is this.
I still want him and his family and his presidential library of porn in some wing of Fort Leavenworth.
President Joe Biden should follow his own sage advice from the statement he released hours after the “not guilty” vote by 43 Republican senators in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial led to his acquittal. Biden implored us to be vigilant in protecting our “fragile” democracy and noted that “each of us has a duty and responsibility as Americans, and especially as leaders, to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”
To that end, the most effective way Biden can defend our fragile democracy is by calling for a full criminal investigation into the role Donald Trump played in the January 6 attack on our Capitol.
At the outset, let’s be 100% clear that no criminal prosecution should ever be commenced for political reasons. That’s illegal and truly un-American. Conversely, no prosecution should ever be rejected for political reasons either — such as hoping that by not prosecuting a political figure it will foster more “unity.” That approach is just as wrong.
But look at the facts surrounding the January 6 deadly attack, which appears to meet the legal definition of “domestic terrorism” since it was intended to “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population” and affect the conduct of government by measures that included mass destruction.
After this week’s impeachment trial, there’s no denying Trump’s significant role in inciting the attack on our Capitol. Even GOP Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell declared after the trial that, “Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” suggesting that Trump could indeed face criminal charges for his role in the attack.
“We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation,” said McConnell. “And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”
Have a great week Sky Dancers! Stay warm and dry!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?