Blue Monday Reads: It will be a Long Cold WinterPosted: December 6, 2021
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I kept the TV off–as usual–for my weekend. Still, things crept through my timelines on social media so I got your basic headlines. The 4th wave of the Covid-19 is settling in for Winter. Germany has basically told all unvaccinated people they must stay home unless they’re doing something absolutely necessary. New York City is getting tougher too. The New York Times reports that “New York City sets a sweeping vaccine mandate for all private employers.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate for all private employers in New York City on Monday morning to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.
Mr. de Blasio said the aggressive measure, which takes effect Dec. 27 and which he described as the first of its kind in the nation, was needed as a “pre-emptive strike” to stall another wave of coronavirus cases and help reduce transmission during the winter months and holiday gatherings.
“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,” he said in an interview on MSNBC. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
New York City has already put vaccine mandates in place for city workers and for employees and customers at indoor dining, entertainment and gyms. Nearly 90 percent of adult New York City residents now have at least one dose of the vaccine.
But Mr. de Blasio said the city must go further to combat another wave of the virus in New York City, once the center of the pandemic. Some private employers have required employees to get vaccinated, but many others have not.
Mr. de Blasio said the new measure would apply to about 184,000 businesses. Employees who work in-person at private companies must have one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27; remote workers will not be required to get the vaccine. There is no testing option as an alternative.
The city plans to offer exemptions for valid medical or religious reasons, Mr. de Blasio said. City officials will release detailed guidelines about issues like enforcement by Dec. 15 after consulting with business leaders.
The mayor also announced that the rules for dining and entertainment would apply to children ages 5 to 11, who must have one dose to enter restaurants and theaters starting on Dec. 14, and that the requirement for adults would increase from one dose of a vaccine to two starting on Dec. 27, except for those who initially received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The problem is still the people in the hinterlands who are also creating problems with their gun fetishes and authoritarian/theocratic tendencies. Sorry to do this, but we’re going there today. Trumpists and theocrats threaten our democracy. This is written by Barton Gellman for The Atlantic: Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun .
The prospect of this democratic collapse is not remote. People with the motive to make it happen are manufacturing the means. Given the opportunity, they will act. They are acting already.
Who or what will safeguard our constitutional order is not apparent today. It is not even apparent who will try. Democrats, big and small D, are not behaving as if they believe the threat is real. Some of them, including President Joe Biden, have taken passing rhetorical notice, but their attention wanders. They are making a grievous mistake.
“The democratic emergency is already here,” Richard L. Hasen, a professor of law and political science at UC Irvine, told me in late October. Hasen prides himself on a judicious temperament. Only a year ago he was cautioning me against hyperbole. Now he speaks matter-of-factly about the death of our body politic. “We face a serious risk that American democracy as we know it will come to an end in 2024,” he said, “but urgent action is not happening.”
For more than a year now, with tacit and explicit support from their party’s national leaders, state Republican operatives have been building an apparatus of election theft. Elected officials in Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other states have studied Donald Trump’s crusade to overturn the 2020 election. They have noted the points of failure and have taken concrete steps to avoid failure next time. Some of them have rewritten statutes to seize partisan control of decisions about which ballots to count and which to discard, which results to certify and which to reject. They are driving out or stripping power from election officials who refused to go along with the plot last November, aiming to replace them with exponents of the Big Lie. They are fine-tuning a legal argument that purports to allow state legislators to override the choice of the voters.
By way of foundation for all the rest, Trump and his party have convinced a dauntingly large number of Americans that the essential workings of democracy are corrupt, that made-up claims of fraud are true, that only cheating can thwart their victory at the polls, that tyranny has usurped their government, and that violence is a legitimate response.
Any Republican might benefit from these machinations, but let’s not pretend there’s any suspense. Unless biology intercedes, Donald Trump will seek and win the Republican nomination for president in 2024. The party is in his thrall. No opponent can break it and few will try. Neither will a setback outside politics—indictment, say, or a disastrous turn in business—prevent Trump from running. If anything, it will redouble his will to power.
This is also from The Atlantic and written by George Packer. Way to go with the winter cheer! Are We Doomed? If you haven’t got Blues yet, you’re either a White Nationalist or dead.
A year after the insurrection, I’m trying to imagine the death of American democracy. It’s somehow easier to picture the Earth blasted and bleached by global warming, or the human brain overtaken by the tyranny of artificial intelligence, than to foresee the end of our 250-year experiment in self-government.
The usual scenarios are unconvincing. The country is not going to split into two hostile sections and fight a war of secession. No dictator will send his secret police to round up dissidents in the dead of night. Analogies like these bring the comfort of at least being familiar. Nothing has aided Donald Trump more than Americans’ failure of imagination. It’s essential to picture an unprecedented future so that what may seem impossible doesn’t become inevitable.
Before January 6, no one—including intelligence professionals—could have conceived of a president provoking his followers to smash up the Capitol. Even the rioters livestreaming in National Statuary Hall seemed stunned by what they were doing. The siege felt like a wild shot that could have been fatal. For a nanosecond, shocked politicians of both parties sang together from the hymnal of democracy. But the unity didn’t last. The past months have made it clear that the near miss was a warning shot.
If the end comes, it will come through democracy itself.
You can read his scenario at the link. Here’s some more anti-democratic stuff from Axios and Mike Allen.
Conservatives are aggressively building their own apps, phones, cryptocurrencies and publishing houses in an attempt to circumvent what they see as an increasingly liberal internet and media ecosystem.
Why it matters: Many of these efforts couldn’t exist without the backing of major corporate figures and billionaires who are eager to push back against things like “censorship” and “cancel culture.”
- It’s still not clear whether demand will match supply.
Driving the news: Rumble, a conservative alternative to YouTube, agreed to go public at an implied $2.1 billion valuation via a SPAC merger.
- The SPAC is sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services firm led by billionaire and Trump fundraiser Howard Lutnick.
- “I’m excited to support Rumble and its ability to operate the neutral video platform,” Lutnick said in a statement.
- The SPAC is currently trading at a market value of $1.6 billion, down from its $4.5 billion peak in late October. Truth Social has yet to name a CEO.
Gettr, a social app launched by ex-Trump aide Jason Miller, has not disclosed all of its investors, but Miller has acknowledged that one of the app’s funders is the family foundation of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.
Aside from social networks, conservatives are pushing to create alternatives to other tech tools and communication platforms.
Some good news is that Trump SPAC is under investigation by federal regulators, including SEC via CNBC.
Federal regulators are investigating former President Donald Trump’s SPAC deal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission and FINRA probes were disclosed in a filing by Digital World Acquisition Corp., the special purpose acquisition company.
Trump Media & Technology Group has said it will launch a social media platform called “TRUTH Social.”
The platform would compete with Twitter and Facebook, both of which have banned the former president because of his incitement of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
You may read more details about this story in The New York Times. Securities Regulators are among the most fastidious investigators anywhere. You should also read this Op-Ed from Jennifer Rubin from the Washington Post. Rubin does a great job vivisecting the most vial Governor of Mississippi. He’s pretty much everything you hate in those white evangelicals. The hypocrisy is jaw-dropping.
The priority for Reeves and the GOP is to force women to complete their pregnancies and give birth — even though that is exponentially more dangerous to the lives of women in his state. (The Post reports that in Mississippi it is “75 times more dangerous for women to give birth than to undergo a pre-viability abortion.”)
Republicans are incapable of explaining the contradiction between their objection to minor inconveniences (e.g. mask-wearing, vaccinations, reasonable gun laws) to save lives and their insistence that women undergo dangerous pregnancies to protect a fetus, which they consider to be a person.
Well, I was hungry but now my appetite has been ruined. Think I’ll have some more tea and turn on some nice music. I vote this coming Saturday for Orleans Parish Sheriff and my City Council seat. It’s amazing to be someplace with normal candidates and then look at the rest of the country and state.
Here are a few things you may want to check out!
There is a lot out there on Republican Shenanigans and our inability to really address many of the central issues.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Now the fraud police are coming
Right out to your door
They say you have no liberty if you’re who there looking for
No writ of habeas corpus
No platform of the sands
The wind don’t have to hurry only the wind knows where you went