Monday, August 2, 2021

Monday Reading


As always, please go to the links for the full articles/ op eds.

Mike Litwin writes in the Colorado Sun about his declining sympathy for the anti- vax, anti- mask crowd:

The irony here, of course, is that for all the anti-maskers, if nearly everyone gets the shots, which work incredibly well, then no one would have to wear masks.

So sympathy? Sure, I understand that many of the vaccine resisters have been manipulated by the Tucker Carlsons of the world, by the Rand Pauls of the world (did you enjoy, like me, Dr. Fauci’s most recent takedown of Paul?), by the many GOP politicians who don’t have the guts to admit to their political base that they and their families have actually been vaccinated, by social media platforms that clearly play a role (although not nearly as big a role as Biden seems to think), by the misinformation and disinformation running rampant across the country.

But misinformation, particularly when it’s opposed in so many forums with valid information, does not survive, and certainly does not thrive, without a willing audience.

So when I’m asked to be sympathetic to the 44% of Republicans who, according to a YouGov poll, believe Bill Gates wants to use the COVID vaccine to implant microchips in people so he can track them digitally, my sympathy quotient all but disappears. This isn’t about anti-vaxxers. It’s about lunacy.

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill is ready for Senate debate:

Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled on Sunday a roughly $1 trillion proposal to improve the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections, setting in motion a long-awaited debate in the chamber to enact one of President Biden’s economic policy priorities.

The package arrives after weeks of haggling among a bipartisan bloc of lawmakers, who muscled through late-night fights and near-collapses to transform their initial blueprint into a roughly 2,700-page piece of legislation. The fate of their labors now rests in the Senate, where proponents of infrastructure reform have little margin for error as they race to adopt the sort of bill that has eluded them for years. [snip]

With a proposal in hand, that debate began Sunday night under the fast-track timeline laid out by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). From here, though, Senate leaders hope to finish their work by the end of the week. The chamber then plans to begin work on a second, roughly $3.5 trillion economic package sought by Democrats, underscoring the significant lift awaiting lawmakers in the days before they are set to depart for their planned summer recess.

“I’ve set out two very ambitious goals for the Senate this summer, and we’re now on the way to achieving both,” Schumer said Sunday as he took the necessary procedural step to bring the infrastructure deal to the floor.

On a related note

An array of progressive and pro-White House groups plans to spend nearly $100 million to promote President Joe Biden’s agenda over the next month to pressure Congress while lawmakers are on their August recess.

The push being announced Monday, coupled with a wave of travel by the president’s top surrogates, is meant to promote and secure passage of Biden’s two-track infrastructure plan: a bipartisan package focused on highways, transit and broadband, and a Democrats-only budget reconciliation bill for child care and what the White House calls human infrastructure.

Dana Milbank takes on the task of determining whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Sedition-CA) is, in fact, a moron:

After Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy this week decried the House’s new face mask requirement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) replied with a considered response: “He’s such a moron.”

Mean! But if the dunce cap fits …

Such an incendiary charge by Pelosi demands a fact check: Is McCarthy, in fact, a moron? Let’s weigh the evidence.

The very day Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy complained on the House floor that the latest mask guidance came from a study in India (not so) of an unapproved vaccine (also not so) that “didn’t even pass purr review.” Was he waiting for a litter of kittens to examine the data?

The day before Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy held a news conference to provide his latest thinking on the Jan. 6 investigation, including:

“We now have a committee that all of America wants to know the answers to.”

“How can you ever get to the bottom of the questions?”  [snip]

The day after Pelosi called him a moron, McCarthy made yet more important points at another news conference.

On President Biden: “The president, we sat to met with, that we wanted to be — keep our path be energy independent.”

On a retired colleague: “Former liberal senator Barbara Boxer is now has the effect of being robbed in Oakland.”

On Pelosi: “She will go at no elms to break the rules.”

We think you can guess what Milbank's (and our) conclusion is, but please read the whole piece.

Fareed Zakaria is interviewed by Sean Illing and discussed "illiberal democracy" and "illiberal systems" before concluding he's somewhat optimistic about American democracy:

... I still believe we’ll get through this, but I think it’s a struggle. The challenges reflected in this conversation are deep. We’re more polarized than at any point since around the Civil War. That degrades the democratic culture. We have strong illiberal forces within our society. That’s all true. It’s still an amazingly resilient country, however. There’s still a lot of dynamism and vitality. Young people particularly seem to want to live in a country that’s really a kind of universal nation, where everyone is more equally treated.

Some of this is mushy idealism and can be caricatured as “woke” platitudes, but there’s a spirit of empathy there that I admire and appreciate. So I hope that general feeling has an effect and translates politically. But this is the fight of our political lives and we’ll have to engage and make our voices heard in a way that is perhaps more important and louder and stronger than at any point since the Civil War, certainly since the civil rights movement.

Will this happen naturally? No. But there’s an inherent logic in the American experiment that can move us in the right direction if we push hard enough.

We have to be hopeful in order to have the energy and strength to engage and beat back the illiberal forces that have always been a part of our society, but who now feel more threatened than ever and are thus more dangerous.

We found that last piece at Infidel 753's link round- up, which seems to get more comprehensive by the week.  Trust us, it's a lot of links to non- political items -- religion, science, medicine, history, curiosities, etc. -- so if you just want scores of different topics to browse, that's the place to go.

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