The Widdershins

Archive for the ‘Coronavirus’ Category

I can hardly believe it, but it’s Thanksgiving next week, Widdershins! I hope you’re all going to take some time to relax. Two viruses – the pandemic and the Republican virus of vaccine and mask resistance – have cast a pall over holiday gatherings this year. The pandemic is the one affecting Thanksgiving for me. I am thankful that my family is all vaxxed, AND, that I am seeing my aunt and uncle from Baltimore for the first time since the Rona reared its ugly head. We’ll still need to get negative PCR tests before we can go inside my brother’s house for Turkey and Tofurkey Day (my sister-in-law is vegetarian), but it’s worth it to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Despite the wretched Rittenhouse verdict, we had a lot to be thankful for this week. President Biden signed the BIF and Speaker Pelosi got the Build Back Better bill signed in the House. Now, the bill goes to the Senate, but thanks to the reconciliation process, only Democrats need to vote for it. Despite Manchinema saying they’ll wait for the CBO report to say how they vote, the report is coming soon, and I don’t think they’ll make a lot of trouble after what happened in New Jersey and Virginia. Oh, and remember how McConnell insisted a couple of months ago that he would absolutely, totally, NOT vote yes on raising the debt ceiling on December 15? Looks like he and Chuck are talking about it now. Something tells me Chuck will get what he wants.

I hope you all will indulge me as I take a minute to marvel at what the Democrats have accomplished so far. The Party has had full control of the federal government only since February 3, 2021, when Schumer and McConnell agreed on power-sharing in the Senate. Given that metric, it’s been nine and a half months.

We have been so traumatized and terrified by the hostile maladministration of Rethugs that we are not used to any good news coming from government sources. I believe this trauma, in combination with our blatantly fascist media, are what’s preventing us from appreciating the revolutionary nature of this time in our political history. There has not been a truly significant investment in the 99% since the Affordable Care Act – and even that was weak sauce compared to what’s being passed now. I can only compare the current furious activity to the New Deal, without the racism of that legislation. And Democrats are doing it all with a majority of 1 vote – the revolutionary, first Black and Asian woman Vice President Kamala Harris. (PRESIDENT Kamala Harris for a few hours this week! Incredible!)

I have often said that the job of President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. 350 million souls, so many of them suffering due to social and economic inequality; and the rest of the world, looking to Biden for leadership, aid and partnership – with a few countries trying to destroy him and America from the inside. Imagine coming into that job after almost 27 years of Rethug destruction, plus a global pandemic that has been botched almost beyond repair, with a forever war to end in Afghanistan and an ongoing attempted coup added in for good measure!

Leaders talented enough to take on this job successfully need two traits in combination. One is, the ability to communicate a shared purpose that people can believe in; and the other is the ability to build the right team to drive it forward.

I think Pelosi and Schumer have been able to wrangle the Democrats into passing these historic bills not just because they too are very talented leaders (they certainly are!), but also because Biden has convinced Congressional Dems that his purpose is the right one. (This doesn’t count the Squad, of course, but they’re DINOs.) His purpose to me is quite simple: let’s join the 21st century so China and Russia don’t destroy us. He’s looking ahead strategically and seeing how many of our people are mired in poverty, illness and incarceration without access to the Internet, child care, education and healthcare. This state of the Union makes us less competitive on the world stage, holding us back from making progress on difficult problems like climate change and clean energy. Every initiative Biden has put forward has been consistent with this purpose; whether it’s the American Rescue Plan, which included an increased Child Tax Credit that has already cut child poverty by 50%; or the BIF, which includes billions for clean water and renewable energy; or the Build Back Better Act, which in its current form regulates the cost of child care, provides four weeks of paid parental and sick leave for all American workers, provides free universal pre-K for all 3 and 4-year-olds, and boosts Medicare and the Affordable Care Act, as well as containing $500 billion to address climate change. Women’s rights are far from forgotten – the latest annual budget proposal drops the Hyde Amendment for the first time since 1976, as well as the less-known Weldon Amendment that works in tandem with it, and includes historic amounts of funding for Title X and access to abortion. And let’s not forget the executive orders he’s signed to mandate vaccines in workplaces through OSHA, and block the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. For more details, this poster on Twitter always has receipts.

Biden’s ability to build a stellar team is on display all day, every day. From our marvelous VP Kamala Harris, who (despite getting the Hillary treatment from the media) is succeeding on multiple fronts, to his diverse and talented Cabinet, Chief of Staff and Press Secretary, all of his team are on point, on message and doing what needs to be done.

There is plenty of bad that’s going on in this world, but today, I’m thankful for what the Democrats have done for the American people. And today and every day, I’m thankful for all of you Widdershins who have kept me going through good times and bad, for lo, these many years.

Happy Thanksgiving all! Open thread as always.

I continue to marvel at the media’s desperate campaign to legitimize TFG, his enablers and their insane actions. They miss the Mango Moron so very, very much, and they want him to run again because he was a ratings bonanza. His political future isn’t very bright these days, unfortunately for them, but they continue largely ignore this and to bash Democrats 24/7. Their Afghanistan coverage is a primary example of this. Check out this headline from the WaPo two days ago: Biden faces most acute crisis of his young presidency. Golly, did we forget about coronavirus already?

Speaking of the ‘Rona, the Delta variant is causing a huge amount of trouble among the unvaccinated (and breaking through for some of us who ARE vaccinated! Many hugs and well wishes for a continued recovery to you, D!). It appears to be both much more contagious AND possibly more severe than Alpha. But don’t worry, Republicans have some super-scientifical solutions to this problem! Oh no, not vaccines and masks – horse and cow dewormer, aka ivermectin! Because Covid-19 is a worm. Or something. I have no idea what is wrong with these #COVIDIOTS. Other weird science solutions include Republican governors trying to block federal mask and vaccine mandates before they happen. I say “trying” because #DeathSantis’s order attempting to block mask mandates was just overturned in court. Texas governor Greg Abbott will likely suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, the real scientists have discovered a promising new potential treatment for COVID-19 – fluvoxamine. The good thing about this drug is that it’s already FDA-approved, cheap to produce and is a pill patients can take themselves – not an intravenous treatment like monoclonal antibodies, which must be administered by a doctor. Preliminary data suggests that it could reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and need for ventilators by 31%. As the article states,

Here’s what we know: This is a large and well-designed study that affirms previous studies that pointed in the same direction. More research is needed, but the results from this trial might already start changing how we treat Covid-19. And the way researchers stumbled upon the drug as a potential treatment is a worthwhile story in itself about the scientific process and the unseen and often unheralded work that’s helping humanity fight the pandemic.

I couldn’t agree more. Thank the Goddess for real (not weird) science and scientists! Open thread as always.

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year…Meh!

When all they have to write about is a Democratic government running smoothly and doing good things.

For almost six years they have had an endless gusher of outrage and horror to drive clicks and views. Der Drumpfenfuhrer was great for the bottom line. If he happened to only do ten terrible things in one day, the media could always dive into his tweets for fresh doses of red meat. Racism! Sexism! Fascism! Incitement to insurrection! Disturbing dictator love letters! They were all there, always there, 24-7, an endlessly regenerating perpetual motion machine of content to feed the perpetual news cycle.

But alas, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are only saving the country from coronavirus by increasing the amount of vaccines by 70% in one month. They are merely nominating the most diverse Cabinet of all time. They are simply holding informative and truthful press briefings every day, repairing the damage Drumpf did to our international relationships, re-entering the Paris Climate Accords, taking action to re-house migrant kids who have been separated from their families, reversing the transgender ban in the Army, creating space for us to mourn our 500,000 dead from COVID-19, and oh yes, live-streaming a dual press conference with Justin Trudeau. Sacre bleu! So, so…how you say…BOH-RING!

There is so little of value to report out of the Biden administration that CNN and all of the other major cable news networks are making sure to include the “other perspective” (aka alternate facts) from the reality they would have preferred: Donald didn’t do anything wrong on January 6!! In alternate fact, maybe he still won! Oh, wouldn’t that have been wonderful for them? Then they could get away with sympathetically reporting on all the Drumpf voters still voting for him despite all the racism, misogyny and fascism – without any pushback from anyone. Those were the days baby! So they keep booking people like Matt Schlapp, a festulent pustule on The Former Guy’s butt, in prime time. Every Sunday they make sure they have “balance.” Gotta somehow get that crazy Nazi itch scratched!

Now some of the media punditry is not playing ball and yearning for the glory days when the Mango Moron was gleefully destroying our democracy every second of every day. Some refuse to pretend they have amnesia and don’t remember that the majority of elected Republicans supported Trump throughout every second of his Reign of Error, including after he incited an insurrection at the Capitol. Some won’t play along with the endless yammering at, and criticizing of Democrats for not being “bipartisan” with people who TRIED TO KILL THEM!

Witness the beauty of Rachel Maddow taking the Thugs to task and calling out their general bad faith. She doesn’t seem to wish Drumpf was back, at all. Huh.

I don’t know what it will take for the media to quit Drumpf, but I will say this: Joe Biden is more popular than Donald ever was. And his policies, such as the American Rescue Plan, are more popular still, And I hope the Powers that Be eventually realize that those pundits and outlets that cater to the majority of Americans who like Biden and hate Donnie, will be proven to be on the right side of history.

Open thread, folks!

The signs are all there: Joe Biden’s lead in the polls is both steady and substantial. Early voting is setting records, at five times the pace of 2016. People are standing in line for 12 hours in the hot Georgia and Texas sun to vote against Drumpf and his Rethugs.

Yup, the Mango Moron is on track to lose the election, and lose it bigly. Even if I didn’t see all the other signs, there’s one that we couldn’t miss:

He’s positioning himself as the loser already.

Just look at how he’s whining and complaining about everything he’s done lately. He walked out on Lesley Stahl and 60 Minutes when the interview didn’t go his way, including the now-mandatory tweet shaming the not-coincidentally female reporter who allegedly wronged him. His first debate was an unmitigated disaster, swinging Joe’s lead from around 7 points to settle into double digits. He skipped the second one because he pouted that the debate commission was all against him and put him at a disadvantage. He’s pre-emptively saying the next debate will be completely unfair, to lower expectations when he loses. He’s not even really preparing for it because frankly, without the nasty and abusive interruptions he weaponized to try to throw Joe off his game, he. got. NOTHIN.

Trump has not undertaken the same kind of formal preparation as before the first debate, when he was peppered with questions by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and others. Instead, he has taken some informal questions from advisers such as Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks.

Oh – you mean Covid superspreader Hope Hicks? Yeah, I think that woman has terrific judgment. Only the best people, you know.

Of course, he’s claiming the election will be rigged. RIGGED! and keeps saying the ballots are the problem. “Get rid of the ballots,” he mumbles wildly, his merkin flopping atop his pumpkin head as he wrings his tiny hands in frustration.

You know who doesn’t like ballots?

Losers.

I’m looking forward to Thursday night’s debate. It will be another nightmare for Drumpf, as all days are nightmares for him now. But for us, it will be the sign of the dawn of a new day. November 3, 2020, that is – the day the worst President in the history of our country finally loses.

This is an open thread.

It’s so close, Widdershins. Election Day is so close – a day when the Rethugs will see a blue tsunami that makes the one in 2018 look like a splash in a kiddie pool.

How can I be so sure, you ask? For one thing, he’s lost suburban white women.

I know we Widdershins would never vote for that disgusting gob of orange goo. Unfortunately for America in 2016, too many suburban white women did so, and they were a surprising source of strength for Drumpf in swing states.

That strength is gone.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll in early January, Trump took the lead over Joe Biden among suburban men, 63% to 35%, a 28-point margin. But the suburbs have begun shifting away from Trump.

Polls in June found Biden, now the Democratic presidential nominee, with significant support among suburban voters. A CNN poll found Biden with a 14-point lead over Trump, and a Fox News poll found him with an 11-point lead.

In a Marist poll in late June, 66% of women in suburbs and small cities said they disapproved of the job Trump was doing as president.

Whoopsie! Where’d they all go?

Well, hey. Those pesky women may not be there for Der Drumpfenfuhrer, but I’m sure white men are! They’re his best shot at winning. Right?

In Minnesota, where the contest between Trump and Joe Biden had seemed to tighten in recent weeks — and where both candidates stumped on Friday — a CBS News/YouGov survey last week had Trump running 2 percentage points behind Biden with white voters, after carrying them by 7 points in 2016. Even among white voters without college degrees — Trump’s base — the president was far short of the margin he had against Hillary Clinton.

It’s the same story in Wisconsin, where Trump won noncollege-educated white women by 16 percentage points four years ago but is now losing them by 9 percentage points, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll. In Pennsylvania, Biden has now pulled even with Trump among white voters, according to an NBC News/Marist Poll.

(snip)

…Trump’s [racist!] rhetoric does not appear to be resonating with white America to the degree it did in 2016. That year, whites cast nearly three-quarters of the vote nationally, and Trump won those voters by about 15 percentage points, according to Pew Research. Four years later, Biden has torn into that advantage, though to what degree is uncertain. The latest Morning Consult poll showed Trump now beating Biden among white likely voters nationally by just 5 percentage points. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Sunday put Trump up among white voters by 9 percentage points, while a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll on Friday showed Biden and Trump essentially tied with white voters.

So while political writers seem to feel obligated to say that Drumpf could still turn these voters around and that he’s “making inroads” with Black and Latinx voters (um, sure Jan), he has lost a massive amount of his base since 2016. There’s no getting around that. And more importantly, people are PISSED OFF at the Rethugs. Since 2018, Drumpf was impeached and the Rethugs refused to remove him from office, even though his guilt was more than demonstrated by the stellar impeachment managers in the House. They shoehorned a drunken sexual predator into the Supreme Court. They removed legal asylum-seeking parents from their children, put those children in cages, and performed involuntary hysterectomies on young women in their custody. They let the pandemic run rampant, actively disinforming Americans about the risks of Covid-19 and causing the deaths of 200,000 people (and counting). They ignored the truth that Black Lives Matter. They wrecked the economy by putting 30 million people out of work and then discontinuing the benefits that kept them alive. They are trying to remove health care from millions of people DURING THE PANDEMIC. They are shoving another extreme wingnut into the Supreme Court even though voting for Drumpf’s replacement is already happening and RBG’s tiny body is barely cool.

This year, I know we are committed to doing everything we can to get every. single. one. of those MF’ers OUT. And I think we’re going to see Senate wins we can’t even imagine right now.

Let the tsunami begin!

Open thread, as always.


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