Live from Backwards Land

If you do not live in the United States, you might be wondering what is in the water, or the air, because as the world struggles to come out of this pandemic and demands for vaccine far out strip supply, there are lawmakers, like the ones in Ohio, that are looking to ban any requirement for any vaccination.

Let me say that again – ALL vaccinations. I only wish I was kidding.

Ohio lawmakers want to abolish vaccine requirements—all vaccine requirements (Ars Technica)

Now, I can understand, an appreciate that there are just a lot of stupid people in the world, and frankly, if you think your children, or yourself, should be exempt from getting something that could prolong your life, that is your privilege (by the way, we are going to apply that same logic to a bunch of other issues, so be careful what you wish for), but what I gripes me is the this clause:

If any of the above entities even tries to institute a vaccine requirement, it would be required under HB 248 to notify people that they are able to decline. The entities are not allowed to disclose who has declined. And they “shall not discriminate against, deny service or access to, segregate, require a facial covering or other vaccination status label for, or otherwise penalize an individual financially or socially for declining a vaccination.”

Shall not discriminate against, deny service or access to, segregate, require a facial covering or other vaccination status label for, or otherwise penalize an individual financially or socially for declining a vaccination.

Wait, what? You decide you know more than the medical community and you decide that you will not get a vaccine against a disease that could potentially kill you, and I have to support your medical care?

No. Sorry.

That is not how it works. You absolutely need to take responsibility, including paying more for your health insurance (because why should I have to support your stupidity. You should have to wear a mask so as not to spread the germs that the rest of us would not be exposed to if you actually were inoculated against something that we have a vaccine for, and you should absolutely be segregated, preferably outside, in the middle of winter, because you have elected to be stupid.

Hopefully wiser heads will prevail, but if not, then someone needs to ensure the out clause is redlined. Or we will all pay for someone else’s desire to be free.

Checks and Balances

Trump impeachment: Lindsey Graham will ‘not pretend to be a fair juror’

Asked if it was appropriate for him as a prospective juror to be discussing the case in such terms, he said: “Well, I must think so because I’m doing it.”

Once upon a time, the Founding Fathers instituted a provision to remove a sitting President for High Crimes and Misdemeanors. Since that time four US Presidents have come under those provisions. Prior to this case, the Senators who should be trying the case (as jurors) kept their opinions to themselves. Not this time. This time, they are coming out and telling us exactly how they are going to vote. Before even hearing one witness. Before even seeing one document. They feel that this is a hit job and this is how they are going to vote.

If they were a real jury of their peers, they would be dismissed, at the very lest. I am sure there would be others ramifications. But these are United States Senators. The Founding Fathers are wondering what has happened to the Republic they strove so hard to create.

A Political Stunt? Like Repealing ACA?

This got hung up somewhere, but it is still just as valid today when Congress still has not accomplished anything of note while the parties squabble with each other as it was when I wrote it before the shutdown….

Shutdown: Congress shouldn’t get paid during standoff, Va. rep says | WTOP

But McConnell called it a “political stunt” and said it would be useless to allow a vote that wouldn’t get Trump’s signature. The GOP lawmaker said simply, “This would not produce a result.”

In 2012, I wrote a post on the House of Representative’s 33 vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. At the time I questioned why the Party of No was wasting the tax payer’s time with a show vote that would not result in anything more than, well a show vote.

Fast forward six years, and we have a Senate that seems to think show votes are a waste of time, and therefore, they will not do it. Except that this time, the vote is not a show vote. It is an adult, bringing a bill to the floor of the Senate, to be voted on to end the government shutdown. And this time, it is likely that even if the President does not sign the bill, there will be enough votes to override any veto he might threaten. That is what is scaring the Majority Leader. He is worried to his marrow that he has lost control of the Senate on this particular issue. Especially when the same Senate, not forty-eight hours before the shutdown began voted in favor of the same bill as the House has presented them.

I am beginning to think that this may actually be the definition of insanity.

I Hope We Got A Good Price For It

Twitter erupts over Trump claim that the moon ‘is a part’ of Mars

While it is clear 45 mis-spoke, it is not the first time he has said something that is so bizarre as to make many Bushisms (Bush II) seem like logical, well thought out arguments, the truth of the matter is that 45 just is not articulate. And that is being polite about it.

Put aside for the moment that the United States does not have the scientific will to return to the Moon, much less stage a mission to Mars, it does not have the political will to do so. With so many tangible problems on this planet, I can appreciate not funding a lunar mission. However, if funding a lunar mission kickstarts scientific funding for other, viable projects on Earth, then let’s go back to the Moon!

Otherwise, I hope Marvin gave us a good price.

Adults In Charge

In report, Mueller says Congress could take action on Trump obstruction

While most of official Washington is busy losing their minds today over the release of the Mueller report, this particular call out caught my attention.

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests.”

What is harrowing to me, is that, had people like former chief of staff John Kelly not been in their jobs, then the current President of the United States would and quite likely could have been successful in interfering in the investigation and quite likely would now be facing some form of repercussion.

This begs the question. What other orders have they declined to carry out, and to the betterment of the country or the detriment of the President?

There is no question that the current President lacks certain qualities we might expect in a President. Worse, this President seems to not want to be President, yet clearly thinks that since he is, the Government should be run like a company, not a nation. And as a nation, the United States is paying the price. And will continue to pay the price for generations to come. History will not be kind to number 45, but what worries me, is now that the adults have been cleared from the room, what sort of havoc will be wrought on the country. I am not sure the nation is ready for it.

The Credibility Gap

US bars entry of International Criminal Court investigators | WTOP

The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who try to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere, and may do the same with those who seeking action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

The next time the US cries about an international war criminal running free – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden – and asking why they are not being held to account, I am going to point back at this decision.

Words Have Consequences

The white supremacist who livestreamed his Friday rampage at a New Zealand mosque posted a manifesto online that said the attack was partly inspired by Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, police said. Washington Post

It is easy to say that these individuals have a screw loose. Or a at least a warped sense of community, but as we continue to suffer under the vitriol spewing forth from arguably one of the most important people on the planet, we continue to see this sort of self-enforcement of views. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to realize that the world is changing and that means everything you hold dear (yes, I am being sarcastic) will change with it. The second thing is that using a gun to solve the problem does not actually accomplish anything.

If you are not willing to talk civilly with the person next to you, then say nothing. Just because you disagree does not mean you have to shoot them.

Barn Door, Meet Horse

Trump Organization to use E-Verify for worker status checks | WTOP

“We are actively engaged in uniforming this process across our properties and will institute E-verify at any property not currently utilizing this system,” Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. “As a company we take this obligation very seriously and when faced with a situation in which an employee has presented false and fraudulent documentation, we will take appropriate action.”

One has to wonder, once the Trump Organization has resolved the situation if they will return to hiring falsely documented personnel or actually hire properly documented personnel. If there is another round of bankruptcies, we will know what they chose. And then how they returned to the old way of doing things.

And The Stupidity Keeps Coming.

Trump says solution to shutdown impasse ‘so simple’ | WTOP

“I’m not looking to call a national emergency,” Trump said Monday. “This is so simple we shouldn’t have to.”

The President is correct. The solution is quite simple. The Senate needs to vote on the bills already passed by the house. That means the Majority Leader needs to man up and bring them to the floor. Let them stand or fall on their own merit and let the President sign or veto them as he wishes. This will show the country who is really causing 800,000 Federal workers to miss paycheques, put their credit history at risk, and, according to the Bureau of Revenue of Maryland:

The state’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates said Monday in a report that each biweekly payroll those residents are not paid results in about $778 million in lost wages. That results in roughly $57.5 million less in combined state and local income tax withholding and $2.1 million less in sales tax collections. WTOP

And that is just one state’s lost taxes.

Yes, Mr. President, the solution is so simple.

Pot, Meet Kettle

GOP Rep. King loses committee posts over racial remarks | WTOP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced King earlier Monday, saying, “There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind.”

Let us recall statements by the sitting GOP President following the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017:

Mr. Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” NY Times

Now, you can argue that 45 is not supporting racial supremacy, but I can argue even more that he sure is not, by his actions so far, saying there is no place for this sort of ideology. So Mitch, when you are digging a whole, the best way to save yourself is to stop digging.