Monday Reads: Darwin Award Issue

Masks, 1911, Emil Nolde

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

The state of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans opened up right before Halloween dropping some of the mask mandates. I’m not sure how smart of an idea that was given that we’ve seen the same pattern of plague rat invasion as tourists come back to the city from places where vaccine adoption is low.  The 4th of July comes to mind.  However, we did have good numbers, and I’m now starting the countdown to Thanksgiving to see if we surge again. I’m still masking and staying my fat ass home mostly. I’ve come to enjoy having things delivered.  Halloween should have been a big party with best mask awards.

So, anyway, today’s New York Times and David Leonhardt have some startling–but not surprising–statistics to report. “U.S. Covid Deaths Get Even Redder. The partisan gap in Covid’s death toll has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.” This is essentially why I worry when we just invite the surrounding parishes and states to let their people out of the state to aim a deadly cough at anyone.  The differences in death rates between this year and last are astounding.

Then the vaccines arrived.

They proved so powerful, and the partisan attitudes toward them so different, that a gap in Covid’s death toll quickly emerged. I have covered that gap in two newsletters — one this summer, one last month — and today’s newsletter offers an update.

The brief version: The gap in Covid’s death toll between red and blue America has grown faster over the past month than at any previous point.

In October, 25 out of every 100,000 residents of heavily Trump counties died from Covid, more than three times higher than the rate in heavily Biden counties (7.8 per 100,000). October was the fifth consecutive month that the percentage gap between the death rates in Trump counties and Biden counties widened.

Some conservative writers have tried to claim that the gap may stem from regional differences in weather or age, but those arguments fall apart under scrutiny. (If weather or age were a major reason, the pattern would have begun to appear last year.) The true explanation is straightforward: The vaccines are remarkably effective at preventing severe Covid, and almost 40 percent of Republican adults remain unvaccinated, compared with about 10 percent of Democratic adults.

And while we’re on the subject, how can you possibly get triggered by Big Bird?

Jackson Pollock, Mask,
1941

Plague rats indeed.  Red is Dead.  Meanwhile, the worst of them are triggered by Big Bird talking to kids about his vaccine. There’s a lot of a pearl-clutching about doing mass vaccinations in schools while many of us are old enough to have stood in line for a lot of those in the 1950s and 1960s. Many Republicans are acting like that never happened.

So, if they think public health actions are a governmental overreach, why are they down with authoritarianism?  Is it because it wears a white face?  This is from The Bulwark. ” Notes on an Authoritarian Conspiracy: Inside the Claremont Institute’s “79 Days to Inauguration” Report. Claremont’s post-election war game provides a window into the group’s ambitions.”

John Eastman has a prominent place in all of this along with all the white nationalist domestic terrorists. It’s a tough read but a necessary one.

The sun rises on January 6, 2021 while a nation is in crisis.

Michigan’s presidential electors are in dispute after a mysterious fire in Detroit destroyed thousands of mail-in ballots, ultimately throwing the election to Congress.

The nation’s capital is overwhelmed by riots organized by left-wing radicals.

A Republican member of Congress is attacked and critically injured in the violence, potentially depriving Donald Trump of the decisive vote.

However, the representative heroically insists on being taken to the House floor. “With IVs and blood transfusions being administered, the member casts the deciding vote, giving Trump 26 state delegations and the needed majority.”

This is the grisly climax of a report published in mid-October 2020 by the Claremont Institute and Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) called “79 Days to Inauguration,” prepared by “Constitutional scholars, along with experts in election law, foreign affairs, law enforcement, and media . . . coordinated by a retired military officer experienced in running hundreds of wargames.”

Among these luminaries were figures such as John Eastman—lawyer for Donald Trump and author of a memo advising Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally block certification of Joe Biden’s win in order to buy time for GOP-controlled state legislatures to send competing slates of electors—and K.T. McFarland, who served as deputy national security advisor under Michael Flynn in the Trump White House.

Other participants include Kevin Roberts, then-executive director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (soon to be head of the Heritage Foundation), Jeff Giesea, “a [Peter] Thiel protégé and secret funder of alt-right causes,” and Charles Haywood, a fringe blogger who anxiously awaits an American “Caesar, authoritarian reconstructor of our institutions.”

Masks, 1925′ James Ensor

The MSM needs to be screaming a lot louder about this than talking about sausage-making behind any policy.  Leave the latter worry to Nancy, Chuck, Kamala, and Joe.  More from that Bulwark article:

Remember, this narrative is the result of a role-playing exercise in which the participants imagined themselves as key decision-makers in the federal government. The actions described, therefore, might be best understood as a combination of group therapy and suggestions for how they believe the federal government and law enforcement should behave in a moment of constitutional crisis.

Some of the report is revealing. Some of it is sad. Some of it is darkly funny. For instance, the authors’ recommendation for mass, politically motivated arrests “to remove the players from the picture” sits oddly next to the right’s outraged reaction to the prosecution of Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

There’s more irony in how the task force imagines right-wing gangs would operate during such a period: with quiet discipline and in cooperation with law enforcement.

A lack of social media activity and overt action by the rioting by members of the Proud Boys draws the attention of law enforcement officials suspecting they may be operating covertly on the ground in several major urban rioting areas, but their exact involvement is unknown. Reports of militias moving into suburban areas is being monitored. Several groups affiliated with the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers have openly offered to assist law enforcement in putting down the violence via social media, touting significant current and retired law enforcement and military membership.

Which is . . . not how the Trumpist forces behaved during the actual crisis:

Go read it and try to open a few eyes around you by sharing it.  Then see who they really are when you read this.

A man who allegedly participated in the Capitol riot Jan. 6 and is wanted by the FBI is now seeking asylum in Belarus, the country’s state media reported Monday, presenting him as a “simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists.”

Evan Neumann, who appears to have sat down for an interview with Belarusian state television in a segment titled “Goodbye, America,” is wanted in the United States on charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct on the Capitol grounds, as well as for assaulting, resisting and obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder.

Both Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his close ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, have frequently referenced the Capitol riot, calling the prosecution of those involved an example of “double standards” by the United States because it frequently criticizes crackdowns on anti-government protests abroad.

When mass protests broke out across Belarus last year over its presidential election, which the international community has widely denounced as rigged, thousands of demonstrators were brutally beaten by police and arrested. Many said they were tortured in prison.

But Neumann could be welcomed in Belarus as part of the regime’s anti-Western propaganda efforts. Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, has said the United States stoked last year’s opposition movement to unseat him.

Tim O’Connor, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Belarus, which is based in Vilnius, Lithuania, said in a statement that the embassy has “seen Belarusian state media reporting about Mr. Neumann. Due to U.S. privacy laws, we are limited in what we can say about individual U.S. citizens.”

“The United States is a country where the rule of law is respected and where government is transparent and accountable for its actions,” O’Connor added. “Every citizen can count on an impartial and objective court system. There has not been a single case of transparent, accountable investigation into and prosecution of the actions of Belarusian police that resulted in deaths, systemic torture and the continued repression of Belarusian citizens, of whom over 800 remain in jail for peaceful protest against the regime.”

Death and the Masks, 1897, James Ensor

Maybe Belarus could take all the Trumps and the Trumperz in and deal with them.  That way we’d have a lot fewer problems.  NBC reports on a poll that shows deep partisan differences in social media usage. Well, if they all went to Belarus they wouldn’t have to worry about social media at all.

Our most recent NBC News poll asked respondents about their social media consumption, and the results told a clear story that doesn’t require 280 characters.

Twitter isn’t real life — at least when it comes to party identification and political attitudes.

In the poll, 69 percent of adults say they have an account on Facebook, 28 percent say they use Twitter, 27 percent use TikTok and 27 percent don’t have an account on any of these social media platforms.

And those who use Twitter and TikTok are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans; are more likely to be Democrats who supported Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren than Joe Biden during the 2020 Democratic primary season; and are — not surprisingly — more likely to be younger than the general population.

That figures.  Most people I know on Twitter use it to find breaking news.  I don’t really look for news on Facebook other than that related to my friends’ cats, dogs, bunnies, and grandchildren.

So, I’ll leave all this to you to discuss.  Are you still masking everywhere?  I walk Temple sans mask but I don’t go near people without one in a building if I go at all.  Like I said, I’m beginning to enjoy front door service.

What’s on your news and reading list today?


12 Comments on “Monday Reads: Darwin Award Issue”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Have a good week!!! Something to think about …

  2. dakinikat says:

    One of the few Republicans that does have bragging rights on this … he helped to write it and voted for it. Still a kook, but a pragmatic one.

  3. djmm says:

    The Bulwark article is astounding and scary. Thank you for sharing it.

    I still mask in public, inside or outside. This pandemic is not over, sadly.

  4. NW Luna says:

    Masking — I don’t wear one when outside as long as findings are clear that there’s low risk as long as you’re not in a crowd (which I’d avoid). I do wear one inside anyplace other than my home or car. In WA state businesses must require masks and for most proof of vax status is required also. The original of your vaccination card, a copy or a photo on your phone will do. In a restaurant masks are allowed off for eating, of course, though many of the places I’ve seen have the customers much too close together for my liking.

    My employer provided vaccines for employees early on, but has not done so with the recommended boosters for healthcare workers. They’ve said they’re looking at the issue (snort, eyeroll, glare) and go get one elsewhere if we want the booster. Somehow I suspect upper management has their boosters already, but I’m a cynic.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. NW Luna says:

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    I loved Dean Stockwell…RIP