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January 11, 2022

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There are definite parallels - high-profile people to whom the rules don't seem to apply, being caught out being even worse bratty little shits than they first seemed.

Being PM and doing that seems worse to me, what with having political power and all. I don't follow tennis, but strategic shitheadery seems to be part of the game from afar.

Here in Jesusland, the Republican Supreme Court is about to find that workplace vaccine mandates are void, because they see an opportunity to not just screw a (D) president, but also attack the administrative state, a tick on the FedSoc to-do list. So that, plus a thousand similar stories, is why we can't have nice things here.

I'm unfortunately not great at messaging or group motivation, just not wired that way. But I do hope someone else has a good idea, this all makes me a bit depressed.

Happy new year.

Here in Jesusland, the Republican Supreme Court is about to find that workplace vaccine mandates are void, because they see an opportunity to not just screw a (D) president, but also attack the administrative state, a tick on the FedSoc to-do list.

What will be most telling is whether the Justices decide to drop their current regime of testing, masks, etc. After all, those are just aspects of the administrative state they claim to hate.

Oh wait, they're just political hacks. So they don't care about ideology, just about what helps their party. And keeps them, personally, safe of course. So all those rules will stay in place, no matter how inconvenient for parties appearing (virtually, if necessary) before them.

The point about both situations being people who think the rules don't apply is interesting because it points to a different mind set in the states, it's not that there are people flaunting the rules, because there aren't really any 'rules' in place. So any act against the rules is spun as standing up for one's independence and resisting control?

Not "flaunting", "flouting".

Sorry lj, this is one of my obsessive bugbears, along with uninterested v disinterested, refute v reject or contradict, etc etc. God knows where you're concerned this was probably an instant's inattention, but I'm standing up (pathetically) for use it or lose it.

In both cases, it feels like hooking on to a general revulsion to make one's point, especially as I couldn't give a s**t about No-vax and Bojo the clown.

I think the two cases entirely different. The obvious point is that Johnson is the one who imposed the rules which he broke. And they were not rules, but laws for which people were prosecuted at the time:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/regulation/6/2020-05-20

As far as Johnson is concerned, this has gone on for quite some time to the point where its very clear that our PM is lying to the public, knowing that everyone knows he is lying to them, and expecting them to accept it.
The obvious parallel is Trump - except that in this case even his own party no longer profess to believe Johnson's lies.

Getting the public to acquiesce to blatant lies is the prerogative of a Xi or a Putin. Having a PM get away with that isn't compatible with a healthy functional democracy.

Seconded.

Gftnc, well spotted. Though the number of times Johnson has avoided answering questions by saying ‘it’s subject to an investigation by sue gray’ he’s flaunting something…

I did realize what this resembles in the US, which is the varsity blue scandal. Which suggests to me that these are upper middle class reactions.

This might be why Johnson is flaunting Sue Gray

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/sue-gray-how-partygate-investigator-stonewalled-transparency-campaign/

I need to wait for Sue Gray to tell me if I'm a liar or not is a line which isn't tenable.

He's flaunting his (so far justified) sense of impunity, that's for sure!

The satirists, as you might expect, are already on it:

https://twitter.com/RosieisaHolt/status/1480932023929823244?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

I didn't mean to skip Nigel's comment. I do agree that the cases are different, but I think the outpouring of anger is similar.

I mentioned that I though that the Varsity Blues scandal and if one accepts that, you can see that the anger is primarily an upper middle class reaction. It's not like the hoi polloi are impacted because they can't get into Stanford and USC, and I think it is a similar thing for the people angry about No-vax and Bojo. I don't say that to dismiss them, but it's a very narrow set of circumstances that generates this kind of anger and thus makes it hard to imagine it causing the kinds of changes that are needed.

The anger against BoJo on this particular issue is not primarily an upper middle class reaction, because the public of all classes (in droves) is recalling how they followed the rules while e.g. their loved ones died unvisited in hospital. They are writing to their MPs, calling in to shows, and tweeting, in enraged grief. This is not performative on their part, although it might be when some of the public figures do it. And the issue about BoJo is not just that he is "an incompetent jerk", it is that he is a corrupt, self-serving liar who does not believe (like Djokovich, you are right about this aspect) that the rules apply to him.

As for how to harness the anger to do something about it, ah, that is the question. I've just watched PMQs (Prime Minister's Question Time) in the Commons, and Starmer and others had a good try. The commentariat on the program showing it gave examples of how other ministers who have been found out breaking the Covid rules have had to resign (BoJo admitted he had been there for 25 minutes, said the whole thing had been a mistake but did not admit it was a "party"), so we'll see if this, finally, is enough to see off the lying liar who has made a career of lying (sacked from two previous jobs for doing so, lest we forget).

And that's enough of me for you, as a delightful Texan I know says. Sorry for hogging the comments!

no worries, PMQs were interesting. I don't doubt you are correct about it being a nationwide phenomenon, I guess what I mean is that this sort of anger seems to play out in a very middle class sort of way. Not that I'm wishing that they go postal and rush the other side of the chamber and start punching faces, or spend every night around No-vax's hotel keeping him up.

It was pointed out in the Guardian that Johnson's statement was very lawyerly (quelle surprise!) as Djokovich's invocation that his agent incorrectly filled out the form has me say tough shit. Though I wish they would let him stay and then, just before he's supposed to serve in the final, they take him off and deport his ass. But, of course, that is the problem. There is no way Djokovich will be treated like other immigrants.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/07/everyone-asks-about-novak-but-mehdi-has-languished-for-nine-years-in-australian-immigration-detention

Performative is a harsh word, and I just saw the PM who spoke of his mother in law passing during that time and him breaking down during the yeserday's urgent question, so I'm regretting my characterization, though the speeches where they begin with some anecdote, the more heart-wrenching the better, I guess is a feature of the genre, and it is probably the American in me that gives it less than its due.

Here's the link to the PMQ and the commentary
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2022/jan/12/boris-johnson-no-10-party-pmqs-keir-starmer-labour-coronavirus-latest-updates-covid-live

I read somewhere that the distance between the two sides of the house of commons was deliberately chosen to be slightly beyond two sword lengths. So, members have to get up at least to duel.

I need to wait for Sue Gray to tell me if I'm a liar or not is a line which isn't tenable.

Oh, it's tenable. It just means "I'm such a pathological liar that I no longer know what the truth is." It's a good explanation of Trump, so it might be for Boris as well.

I think the outpouring of anger is similar.

I mentioned that I though[t] that the Varsity Blues scandal...

And here when I read your comment, I thought that "varsity blue scandal" was a reference to prominent (i.e. varsity) blue state politicians ignoring masking and other social gathering rules. The kind of behavior which very nearly got my governor recalled from office.

Performative is a harsh word

As total aside:

It strikes me that public acts, especially by public actors such as (but not limited to) politicians, are inherently performative. They are done primarily for their demonstrative or rhetorical value, as opposed to being an expression of the actor's personal thoughts or feelings.

And, that is perfectly fine. Or, at least, can be - the performative aspect of it seems neither here nor there, the more important question is whether it's meant to mislead or not.

Even for private individuals, I'm not sure that I see much wrong with people doing things because they "seem virtuous", even if the net effect of doing them is negligible.

Aspiring to virtue is not necessarily a bad thing.

shorter (and probably more cynical) me:

"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue" - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

perfection is a high bar, which few attain.

As another bit of (perhaps inadvertent in some sense) hypocracy, there's this. Some voters in North Carolina have brought action against Rep Cawthorn, arguing that he is an insurrectionist, and thus ineligible to hold office. One of Cawthorn's defenses is that the events of Jan 6 were not an insurrection.

But there is a problem. (And, potentially a problem for Trump as well). When Congress voted to award medals to the Capitol police officers, the resolution referred to "a mob of insurrectionists" [emphasis added]. Among the overwhelming majority who voted in favor: Rep Cawthorn. Makes it hard to turn around and claim it wasn't an insurrection after all.

On the subject of performativity, one of the faculty members in the med school here recently posted on the faculty listserv that cloth masks are ineffective against Omicron and that only N95s are useful enough filters.

But most of the people I know are continuing to use cloth masks in public, not because they believe them to be effective against Omicron, but because wearing one in public reassures the poeple around them that the person wearing the mask (properly) is probably also vaxed and taking the danger seriously and thinking about others around them. Unmasked people are russian roulette - could be vaxed, could be unable to mask due to some invisible condition, could be an unvaxed contrarian asshole.

Masks are a way of publicly acknowledging that our choices are not ours alone. It's performative, yes, but every damn bit of human communication is.

Masks are epideictic.

What nous said. Although I would go a bit further:
Not wearing a mask (indoors or in crowded conditions) makes a statement

"I am a selfish twit, who doesn't give a damn about anybody but myself!"
There may be a few people who, for some legitimate reason, cannot wear a mask. But their numbers are microscopic.

On the subject of performativity, cloth masks are ineffective against Omicron and that only N95s are useful enough filters.

Then people should stop forcing toddlers and young children to wear masks. Or any children for that matter. Children shouldn't be made to bear the weight of adults' desires to be performative.

Then people should stop forcing toddlers and young children to wear masks.

[K]N-95's are effective against COVID.

cloth masks aren't.

The obvious parallel is Trump - except that in this case even his own party no longer profess to believe Johnson's lies.

Trump and Johnson have some things in common - they're both populists with no respect for truth and no aptitude for governance, and they both want to feed the rich. But everything else is different. Johnson has not a trace of Trump's malevolence.

Here are a few examples of the sociopathy of Trump and the Republicans:

- denying AGW, or refusing to act on it
- denying Covid, or refusing to prevent its spread
- suppressing democracy
- promoting gun ownership

None of these things has any support from Johnson and his party. Johnson may have written amusingly about some of them in his days as a journalist, but as Prime Minister he just says what he's told to say. All he wants is to have his picture on the wall at 10 Downing Street, and for people to laugh at his jokes.

Incidentally, he's odds on with the bookies to leave office this year.

All he wants is to have his picture on the wall at 10 Downing Street

I don't think that's all he wants. He wants money, which is why he wants to feed the rich - so they feed him. I'm not sure he cares too much about suppressing democracy either. His government, after all, is seeking to make judicial review much more difficult.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/25/judicial-review-peoples-right-fight-government-destroy-courts-undemocratic

Why, only today:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2022/jan/12/use-of-vip-lane-to-award-covid-ppe-contracts-unlawful-high-court-rules

cloth masks are ineffective against Omicron and that only N95s are useful enough filters.

Is it that cloth masks are not effective at all? Or just that they are (substantially?) less effective? Because, be it noted, obtaining N95 (or other commercial) masks is both more expensive and, in some areas, a non-trivial exercise.

Is it that cloth masks are not effective at all? Or just that they are (substantially?) less effective?

My impression is that it makes a difference whether you're talking about reducing the risk of getting infected, or reducing the risk of infecting others.

Cloth masks work quite well in cutting down the spread of exhaled droplets.

https://twitter.com/seungminkim/status/1478867026542219264

time to transmit C19:

neither of two people is wearing a mask: 15 min.
both wearing cloth masks: 27 min.
both wearing surgical masks: 1 hour.
both wearing N95 masks: 25 hours

That chart at cleek's link is great. I'd like to see it updated for omicron (which it says it isn't), not that it would make any difference to what I'm doing myself. But I noticed on today's grocery run that *lots* more people had masks on than over the past few weeks. Maybe a blip, maybe closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, but I was glad to see it in any case.

I'm curious about that claim. The tweet attributes it to the WSJ. The WSJ attributes it to the ACGIH, and here it is. The ACGIH attributes it to the CDC, where I've failed to find it.

This sort of chain of vague citations leading to a dead end is usually found in junk science.

Around here FFP2 masks (equivalent of N95) cost about 45 cent per piece. A year ago a simple surgical mask was about 1 € per piece (while FFP2 ones were difficult to get), so prices dropped massively.
In many places (including public transport*) FFP2 masks are now mandatory, i.e., surgical masks are legally insufficient.

What usually is not done is changing masks every 20 minutes and either discarding them or having them air for a week before reuse (as were some recommendations last year). That would be rather expensive.

From my experience, it isn't the kids that are complaining about the masks, least of all the little ones (and there are legal exceptions for kids below elementary school level to begin with).

*Penalties are rather high (at the moment roughly as much as would buy 111 FFP2 masks).

I don't know if I saw this Scientific American article here or elsewhere, but even if here, it can't hurt to repeat it. It mentions a guy who has been testing masks and has made all his results available on Google Drive. Between that, the YouTube video of him linked in the article, reports from friends, and the article itself, I bought 3 highly recommended types of masks and gave the whole family samples for Christmas.

1. Harley

-- behind the head straps; i don't like them as well as the over-the-ears ones, but some people prefer them

2. Powecom

-- over the ears; strange little company sells them, but the masks are supposedly very good, and they fit me well

3. Bluna

-- seem to be sold out right now, but I like those too

From my experience, it isn't the kids that are complaining about the masks, least of all the little ones...

At the grocery today, I watched one of the employees sooth a 3-year-old on the verge of a tantrum because her mother had forgotten the little girl's mask, pulling a surgical mask out of the box the store kept for employees, rigging it to mostly fit, along with constant chatter about how good the blue mask looked on the girl.

I made a point of waiting long enough that I could tell the clerk, "Well done!"

a 3-year-old on the verge of a tantrum because her mother had forgotten the little girl's mask

Even if the parents are indifferent, or opposed, to masks, if all the other kids have masks...
Sometimes the urge to conform can have an upside.

here's a U Michigan article about mask effectiveness, stating that the chart they presents (and which is the basis for the WSJ chart) is based on their update to an older CDC chart. it's been bouncing around for a while, and has apparently lost its original attribution over time.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/10/commentary-what-can-masks-do-part-1-science-behind-covid-19-protection

Older kids may want a mask as a security blanket, play grownup or be like the other kids. But try keeping a mask on a two-year-old.

But try keeping a mask on a two-year-old.

Okay, Charles. You don't have to wear one anymore. ;^)

here's a U Michigan article about mask effectiveness...

Thanks cleek. What they've done is started from the CDC's 15-minute guesstimate for unmasked transmission, and divided it by leakage rates for the two masks taken from the literature. So for the best mask in the table, the time is 15minutes/10%/10% = 1500 minutes = 25 hours.

I'm sure that actual transmission is more complicated than that.

Well, we know that masks were more effective for earlier variants and we know that Omicron is the same basic virus form, so it follows that masks are still going to have some effect, it's just that Omicron doesn't require as high a viral lode to be transmitted.

And if the masks are still effective against the other variants, then there is no reason why we should expose ourselves to more Delta etc. just because a mask is less protective against Omicron.

Also, there's that whole flu thing.

As far as virtue signaling and children goes, I have not seen anyone get worked up in public over a young child with no mask, or one with a poorly worn mask, just appreciative glances from people when a young child *is* masked.

Outrage over mask mandates is also a form of performativity that exaggerates the burden, and the trauma of mask wearing, and the perceived ostracism suffered for not wanting to conform.

Mostly we all just think they are being dicks, but then we think that about them in general. It's a holistic impression.

But try keeping a mask on a two-year-old.

Strangely enough, I never see that problem here in Japan. Admittedly, I'm not often out and about or conducting a huge sample, but I have never seen a kid over here throw a fit because they have to wear a mask.

It's almost like the kids take their clues from the adults around them...

JP Morgan's Jaime Dimon sees huge upward pressure on labor's wages for the FIRST time in his life:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/dimon-sees-huge-pressure-wages-141929969.html

He's not complaining, mind you:

https://www.salary.com/tools/executive-compensation-calculator/james-dimon-salary-bonus-stock-options-for-jpmorgan-chase-and-co?year=2010

But try keeping a mask on a two-year-old.

Sometimes, keeping a diaper on a two-year-old is a challenge as well.

People have been kicked off planes because they couldn't keep a mask on their two-year-old and similar ages.

In a decade or so, when hopefully COVID has receded into the background with colds and the flu, there's going to be more than a few unhappy and neurotic kids and former kids who are pissed about what they were put through. They and the future may judge some of it as outright child abuse.

For people our ages, COVID is just another, though a substantial, event in our lives. For many of today's children, it may be the defining event in their lives.

I usually don't go into the Guardian comments, but this was interesting (from this article)

Today's PMQs was a very disturbing affair, the atmosphere was electric and frankly, frightening. The Tories always mobilise when they are in electoral trouble and they made sure it was choreographed to the final detail.
They turned the HoC into the Dead Cat Society in their attempts to de divert and obfuscate, Tory members bringing along questions about the licence fee and even washing machines to fling on the table.
There was more in that chamber than I've witnessed before, MPs hyperventilating as they demanded Johnson's resignation, the anxiety about overthrowing someone who is seen as a big beast does that to people. Not that Johnson is a big beast, he's more of a painted balloon who the establishment conferred power upon.
The right-wing establishment is terrifying really, it creates monsters, fetes them and eventually chews on their bones. The average Tory is a sociopath for perpetuating such a system, what else could explain it?
I noticed Mogg chuckling behind his mask when some MPs were obviously panic-stricken, demonstrating that that good Christian gentleman is a brutal slavering wolf in lamb's clothing behind the shtick.
It could be said that Starmer did according to his lights, but he's too cerebral for me, to developed intellectually to really carry that fight. It was the mixture of emotion and sense from Ian Blackford which dismayed the Tories more, they shuffled and cowered like frightened kids when he chastised them.
Johnson won't survive this but the establishment juggernaut will run down anyone who threatens the status quo, the establishment being the monarchy, the political system, most of the media and the culture of deference which the Tories have nurtured. It's going to be a hell of a battle to change things.

Some interesting back and forth after that comment and the article itself is quite interesting.

I really hope that you are right CharlesWT. As someone who has taught research classes about children in armed conflicts and who is considering a similar class about climate refugees, I’d consider it an upgrade if the worst thing ever in this generation’s childhood were having to mask to avoid a virus.

There's a lot more to it than just masks.

And all of those other things are going to be defining features regardless of mask policies. And will be mitigated by good public health policies. Making the mask the scapegoat for all the rest is an interesting choice.

The kids who grew up with polio and Spanish Flu and The Depression and WWII had a lot of trauma to deal with, too. Lives are complex.

We should strive to help them develop good coping mechanisms and healthy mindsets for dealing with unexpected circumstances. Lord knows they are going to need it with the mess we have made.

On a related note, I always take the results of studies that measure the effects of media violence on children with a grain of salt when they are done in suburban/rural American or Canadian communities with low baselines of local violence. There are a lot of assumptions built into the idea that these communities are a control group and not a very fragile experiment themselves.

We need to socially engineer humans that work in messy environments, not set factory standards that only work in good circumstances.

Another meditation on checking our privileges.

Making the mask the scapegoat for all the rest is an interesting choice.

It still cheeses me off when I think back to the beginning of the pandemic and the articles written about Japan and Asia and how their mask wearing was so quaint, like they were children pretending to do something while the real work was being done by more enlightened societies who of course knew that masks weren't meaningful. Those articles seem to have gone down the memory hole, but here's what Trump's surgeon General tweeted
A tweet from Surgeon General Jerome Adams sums up the argument: “Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

https://time.com/5799964/coronavirus-face-mask-asia-us/

nous said what I wanted to say, and more.

And I'd better stop there.

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus,

One would think (hope!) that the Surgeon General, even Trump's Surgeon General, would be aware that masks were never about preventing the wearer from catching the disease. (Unless they were the kind with goggles.) They are, and always have been, about protecting others. But perhaps ignoring that, and other inconvenient facts, was a condition of working for Trump.

Nope, not stopping.

There's a lot more to it than just masks.

Yeah, like losing grandparents and parents and other adults who might have been significant in their lives. Just the first thing that pops into my head.

Think of the damage we have done to children by requiring them to be in child seats when they ride in cars.

Or buckle up when the buckle-up sign is on in the plane cabin.

Or, you know, not stick a fork in an electrical outlet.

I can think of about 100 things that libertarians get worked up about that I’m completely in agreement with. Intrusive policing and intelligence surveillance, for example.

Making kids wear a mask during a pandemic is not one of them. YMMV.

It’s not unlikely that young people today will be marked by the experience of living through the COVID pandemic. I’m doubtful that the memory of having to wear a mask is going to be the thing they experience as traumatic.

We require kids to wear masks so that they don’t get sick. An N-95 mask is better than a simple cloth mask. A simple cloth mask is better than no mask at all.

If you have an N-95 mask that fits your kid, make the kid wear that. If you don’t, make the kid wear a cloth mask.

How that is more traumatic than making a kid wear a raincoat on a rainy day escapes me.

Russell's comment has me wonder about all these Facebook memes that pop up, kids on a jungle gym, or other shit with some wry comment about how it made us so much tougher. I'm now wondering how this kind of background noise affects folks. A steady diet of that and you tend to value your own experience over the experiences of others.

has me wonder about all these Facebook memes that pop up, kids on a jungle gym, or other shit with some wry comment about how it made us so much tougher. I'm now wondering how this kind of background noise affects folks. A steady diet of that and you tend to value your own experience over the experiences of others.

It was always possible to write diaries, and people did. For the last century, it was possible to compile photo albums, and people did that, too. What has changed with social media is that you can now do either (or both), and then rack up thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of Likes for the stuff you turn out.

All those people giving you positive feedback can give you an expanded sense of your own wisdom, importance, etc. And of the value, and accuracy/importance, of your experiences. Once, you would have been the boring relative that your family members tolerated. Now you see yourself with an enormous worldwide audience.

Sure, but if everyone makes claims about how much tougher they were than the current generation, it makes it easier to dismiss any complaints as kids not being tough enough. First I know of is Hesiod with his 5 Ages of Man, but I assume there was a Cromagnon man (to use the old term) or maybe even a Neaderthal bitching about kids these days. But when it gets the audience of hundreds of thousands of likes, it may change in what it does to people,

Kids these days! Strutting about on their hind legs and not even climbing trees!...

Why, when I was a kid ...

I'm sure all of this is going to ruin Halloween for everyone.

Those oxygen masks dropping from the cabin ceiling and being forced on 2-year-olds are the main causes of trauma in plane crashes, a future conservative libertarian FAA (just before total defunding) will opine.

Why can't the kids be left in peace in the three minutes it takes the plane to roll over and dive to Earth to obliterate and incinerate their parents and the kids and their teddy bears, while suffocating on the way down.

Are we aware of the many tens of thousands of kids in America who are never found every year after a game of hide and seek in their own basements?

Here kid, put this catcher's mask on.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhing!

A single floor speech by a gruesome maskless Ron Paul grifting his lying libertarian grift on C-Span years ago traumatized an entire generation.

I'd like to know when we get those noise ordinances to combat the sound of gunfire daily in dumbass, sensitive-eared, school-shooter America?

That oughta cut the murder rate.

I'm not clear how it came to be that since Americans were brainwashed into picking up after their poopy dogs that now dog shit of the rhetorical variety in America is 12 fathoms deep everywhere we step.

Dogs run free, why not we, across the swooping plain.

Is it a fact that Ku Klux Klan club-goer's kids have the lowest incidence of trauma resulting from being made to wear surgical masks on planes during a pandemic?

Yes, because they visit Grandma in the 4 by 4 on holidays, on account of the fact that the airlines won't let ya stream a confederate flag from the plane's wingtips.

Hell, it's the fall alone that'll kill ya!

Yever shoot a deer, kid, and then cuts her open and clean and gut the thing?

Well, no but I can't wait to do it, daddy. Jus don't make me wear a mask whiles I do it on account of I'll be traumatized, like them big-city freudians sez'll happen.

Speaking of which kid, it's high time you was personally introduced to penis envy.

Now les go to the Trump rally.

...opening bananas at the wrong end, also, too!

(the subject of heated debate on Balloon Juice, and eerily reminiscent of a part of Gulliver's Travels)

When fascist plutocrats fall in love:

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/01/2022-philippines-election-duterte-marcos/621202/

Movie sequel: King Kong Marries Godzilla

It's in the wind that Stalin's spawn and Hitler's kid are going to be soon joined in holy matrimony at the Mar-a-Lago Wedding Chapel.

The country is going to go over Niagara Falls in a flaming barrel on the honeymoon.

The anger mustn't be harnessed:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/if-dems-dont-save-democracy-now-they-wont-get-another-shot

The conservative movement must be wiped off the face of the Earth with savage violence.

You can access that article by typing in the title on Google and clicking.

Bethaney Mandel is well beyond her life expectancy:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2022/01/innumeracy-and-covid

The zombie vermin subhuman Republican Party exceeded its die-by-date decades ago.

We'll see if Mandel is right about Dreher's life expectancy:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/vaxxed-boosted-and-covid-positive-omicron/

"if-dems-dont-save-democracy-now-they-wont-get-another-shot"

Merc's Law rules.

But in all fairness, the Dems are the only party with any interest in saving democracy....

i agree.

what's awesome, though, if you listen to Republicans, they'll tell you the situation is exactly reversed, that Dems are trying to subvert things to make it easier for them to win.

Yes, in fact on past experience we could expect Marty to pop up right about now, to say exactly that. But I said "the only party" for a reason. While most of the GOP bends the knee to Trump, and the big lie, there is absolutely no credible argument about Republican interest in democracy. Even our own wj has given up. Where is there left to go for principled conservatives? If Manchin and Sinema continue as they are, do we think the likes of e.g. Romney or Cheney might step in on this limited issue of the filibuster for voting rights?

and we have a seditious conspiracy indictment in a Jan 6 case.

to my knowledge, this is the first indictment to use the word 'sedition'. let's hope it's not the last.

And in a surprise to pretty much no one, the SCOTUS, by 6-3, has blocked the OSHA vaccine/test mandate for businesses with a hundred or more employees. By 5-4, they allowed the CMS vaccine mandate for health care workers, with religious and medical exemptions, at facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid dollars. IIRC, the CMS mandate does not include a testing alternative to the vaccine.

liberty AND death!

to my knowledge, this is the first indictment to use the word 'sedition'. let's hope it's not the last.

they'll all, always, be seditious trash to me.

and we have a seditious conspiracy indictment in a Jan 6 case.

Note that Rhodes, in the best Trumpian tradition, did not himself enter the Capitol. He stayed outside and left the illegal entry (and heightened risk of getting arrested, or just injured) to others. Too bad for him that conspiracy charges still apply. May Trump find the same.

One of wj’s righteous (R)’s.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/ohio-supreme-courts-gop-chief-justice-challenges-party-with-appeal-to-voters-on-redistricting

May there be more and more of them.

So long No-vax
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jan/14/novak-djokovic-visa-cancelled-tennis-2022-australian-open-immigration-minister-australia

Someone in my FB feed wondered what it would have been like if Naomi Osaka had shown the level of entitlement Djokovich has displayed.

I see Sinema has killed the voting rights legislation.

Chants of ‘my name is Boris’ and ‘this is a work event’ outside Downing Street as maybe a hundred bewigged Boris lookalikes jig around in the street. Utterly surreal
https://twitter.com/wizbates/status/1481979468138885121

I'm not sure where best to put this, I thought this article was interesting so I am now using cannabis to further protect myself from Covid.

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00946

I hope it helps Marty.

Thing is, I know a couple of users who are suffering from Covid-19 as we speak.

A suggestion: Leave your concealed carry license and the weapon in a safe while you are exercising your rights under your medical marijuana license.

Ya never know what's going to happen while exercising all of these simultaneous licensed freedoms:

https://www.eschatonblog.com/2022/01/florida-man.html

One of the greatest sentences since:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

... but pithier, in terms of describing the end of a civilization:


"Prius driver puts one in his melon."

I see Sinema helped vermin republicans kill America:

https://digbysblog.net/2022/01/13/so-where-are-we-with-voting-rights/

Go ahead, fascists, ban and burn the books:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2022/01/virginia-republicans-to-introduce-bill-banning-teaching-the-work-of-lani-guinier-and-then-disband-the-session

There won't be any licenses issued for the violent national catastrophe that is our rancid, malignant conservative future.

It will be a truly free, non-government-approved action. Fully privatized, the way they like it.

A lethal case of Covid-19 saves nine bullets:

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2022/01/i-would-do-anything-to-fight-the-virus-but-i-wont-do-that

I am a peaceful man:

https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/those-who-served/aboriginal-veterans/native-soldiers/peaceful

I am a peaceful man:

https://www.augustachronicle.com/story/news/local/sylvania-telephone/2011/09/15/alvin-york-tennessee-hero-wwi-believed-killing-was-wrong/14200763007/

It would seem a rational business decision to abandon the American "market" on account of murderous malignant decisions by unelected subhuman officaldom on death panels, and let America fucking die unfettered by attempts to prevent its national suicide:

https://finance.yahoo.com/m/42e47285-0f3c-35b1-8a25-d429fc2a80f7/moderna-novavax-and-other.html

I don't actually carry it, except going to the range. It's just better to have the license in case I want to take it somewhere.

Otherwise it's in the safe. The cannabis I generally only partake in before bed. It reduces inflammation from RA and let's me sleep 6 hours instead of 4. It's a plus that it helps with Covid but I really couldn't get from the article if I ever I got enough to help.

It was just one of those things my libertarian friend put up on FB.

My understanding is that there are two specific compounds in cannabis that appear to block COVID infection, working both as a preventative and treatment. I don't know if smoking weed or eating gummies provides those compounds in sufficient amounts or in the right delivery method for them to be effective for those purposes, but I would be willing to take part in a trial, especially if it could be conducted at a Primus show or something along those lines.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35007072/

At this point, it seems everyone will get one form of Covid or another The statistics are pretty staggering on the spread of Omicron. In addition to the general stats, the percentage of people hospitalized with Covid that were initially admitted for something else is ranging from 20% to 50%. The incidence of people having it and not knowing is very, very high. It seems to have peaked locally at a 30% positivity rate with just over 40% of hospitalizations being fully vaccinated.

People here are good about staying home if they are symptomatic, or know they have been exposed, but that seems almost fruitless at the level of asymptomatic infections.

I see more experts talking about transitioning from pandemic to endemic with a different mindset about dealing with it.

My wife and I often speculate on the possibility that we (our kids included) may have been infected at some point without knowing it. My whole family is fully vaccinated and boosted, with the exception of our youngest who got his first two shots too recently to get a booster. (Not that they've approved boosters for kids that young. No need to yet, given how recently they were allowed to get their first round.)

I'm sure cases not requiring or coincidental with medical treatment are severely underreported.

we have two friends who, independently, had persistent, weeks-long, chest congestion. they tested negative multiple times, by tests taken at-home and given by doctors). but both eventually tested positive, after being sick for weeks.

so either this will happily piggyback on chest colds, or it can evade nasal swab detection while it sets up shop in your lungs.

The ongoing reaction to Partygate is merciless.

Even the Tory papers...
https://twitter.com/MattCartoonist/status/1482042588886712324

The royal funeral story is particularly damning since even UK republicans respect the Queen, and her enforced solitary mourning will resonate with all those who experienced something similar.

While the metropolitan Police are taking a 'nothing to see here' line on the No.10 parties, the consequences for the little people breaking the rules were rather different.

Hackney woman fined £12,000 for holding party on day of Prince Philip funeral
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/prince-philip-downing-street-hackney-party-lockdown-covid-rules-b976690.html
...“Vianna being so blasé about organising such a large and illegal event for her 27th birthday party is totally unacceptable and disrespectful in light of everything that is going on in the world.”

McKenzie-Bramble faced police action after a complaint by a neighbour, when she had erected a marquee in the communal garden, hired a bouncy castle, and bought alcohol and food.

She was fined £12,000 plus £300 in costs and court fees at a hearing last September, with an order to pay the five-figure bill within 28 days....

I was scheduled for a colonoscopy which required a covid test, and tested positive. I then went and had another test, the same day, and tested negative, took another the next day also negative.

I didn't do much for 5 days but still I'm not sure which tests were right.

It still cheeses me off when I think back to the beginning of the pandemic and the articles written about Japan and Asia and how their mask wearing was so quaint ...

I expected "Western" arrogance of this sort, but it was a surprise to me that the WHO was not recommending masks earlier - and seemed to keep dragging their foot in general.

While the metropolitan Police are taking a 'nothing to see here' line on the No.10 parties, the consequences for the little people breaking the rules were rather different.

This is a major aspect undermining public trust, the police treating people differently according to status - and in this case they are now relying on the results of an "internal investigation" to inform their decision whether further investigation on their part is merited.

It's completely absurd and I hope The Good Law Project will prevail in court:

https://twitter.com/GoodLawProject

Campaign group the Good Law Project has issued formal legal proceedings against the force over its failure to investigate the parties, accusing police of “deferring to the powerful”.

Yes. And visually, as Nigel implies, the image of the Queen sitting alone mourning in her pew, contrasted with the reports of parties at number 10 the night before, underlines that not everybody of exalted status thought the rules didn't apply to them. I think this does, now, make it very difficult for BoJo to survive. But standards in public life have been degraded here to the point (admittedly not quite as much as the US under Trump) where he might do so. Nothing would surprise me at the moment.

Clay feet abound...

And at least the UK has someone in a very prominent position (the Queen) who doesn't feel free to ignore the rules. Alas, the US doesn't have someone equally widely well regarded to do so.

The US doesn't have anyone equally widely well regarded, period. The "U" in "USA" has not meant what it's supposed to mean for a long time.

Not for nothing did the progenitors of the current ethno-fascists replace "E Pluribus Unum" with "In God We Trust" on the currency. Unity is for commie pinko soshulists, who don't know how to do it right anyhow. Want real unity? Let the MAGAts come to power.

--TP

By the way, I note that everyone has kindly ignored my question about whether people like Romney and Cheney might intervene to save the voting rights legislation, presumably because it is an obviously dumb question and you don't want to underline how much of an idiot I am. But I'd still be grateful if someone could explain why. After all, McCain scuppered the effort to kill the ACA, and a few "principled" Republicans have criticised various appalling GOP actions. Is it because you think even people like that would never take the risk of making the GOP (and therefore themselves) unelectable? Or what? I already feel like an idiot, I can take it...

Let's see... McCain was old, sick, knew he was increasingly out of touch with the typical Arizona voter, and voted to preserve his legacy. Cheney's in the House, where the voting rights legislation has all passed. Romney will simply say, "It's up to the states. Look at my state of Utah, where we Republicans have now finished installing a vote by mail system that accomplishes all of the goals the Democrats want, only simpler and cheaper."

Utah has started showing up with the other western vote by mail states in the top several places for security, accuracy, and ease of use.

I think Romney and Cheney both rightly recognize that changing the voting rights would likely destroy the GOP as it stands for the near future. Cheney is willing to fight for the soul of the party, but she is not willing to so completely remove the party's influence and value to stop the party agenda dead in its tracks and give the Democrats a moment like the Reagan Revolution where the party shapes the public dialogue for decades to come.

Romney, same, but with added personal cowardice. Same for all the other "principled conservatives" who are mostly holding on for personal power hoping to steer the party into less disastrous channels.

Too little, too late. That off ramp is well in the rear-view distance.

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