20 years of sorrow, here we are

ETA: And listen to John Cole too.

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The anger is justified

This guy is angry, and he has every right to be.

Hospital systems in states with low vaccination rates are close to collapse.

Mississippi’s Hospital System Could ‘Fail’ In 10 Days, UMMC Warns As Feds Rush In

With COVID-19 patients overflowing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, including in its pediatric center, hospital leaders are warning that the medical system statewide could be on the verge of failing without drastic intervention. Two days ago, Mississippi health officials announced that zero intensive-care beds remained available in hospitals statewide.

“Since the pandemic began, I think the thing that hospitals have feared the most is total failure of the hospital system. And if we track back a week or so when we look at the case positivity rate, the rate of new cases, the rate of hospitalizations—If we continue that trajectory within the next five to seven to 10 days, I think we’re going to see failure of the hospital system in Mississippi,” UMMC Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs Dr. Alan Jones said during an afternoon press conference….

Healthcare workers are angry and exhausted. And that is no surprise.

Vaccine Refusers Risk Compassion Fatigue

After the horrors that health-care workers have endured during the pandemic, many are struggling to sympathize with people who won’t protect themselves.

…Finally, in the depths of winter, during the week of my birthday, I received my first vaccine shot. Science had brought us a solution, and we could finally see the end of all those months of fear, exhaustion, and sacrifice.

But that’s not what happened. COVID-19 hasn’t ended. Instead, infection rates are going up. The Delta variant has taken hold, and hospitals are filling up again. But this time the suffering seems different, because it is avoidable. Optional. A choice….

“What makes me the maddest,” one of my doctor friends told me, “is that these people will reject science right until the second they need everything I have to keep them alive, and then they feel that they can come to our door and be entitled to that help and that hard work.”

I am full of pain for the kids who are so sick now, and for patients who need vital care and can’t get it because of these unvaccinated assholes.

But I have no sympathy for those who are refusing to let the country embrace the freedom these vaccines offer. Who are cruelly holding the rest of us back, subjecting us to this even more dangerous Delta variant, and doing so quite deliberately. These days I console myself with one small bit of potential schadenfreude: that 1-2% excess deaths among the redhats could swing some close elections next year.

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Another point of view

The patience and empathy of healthcare workers, as expressed in the post just below, is one response to the idiots who remain unvaccinated and who will therefore, with great certainty, end up with COVID and likely become quite ill. But my own feelings are much closer to those expressed in this blog post by The Rude Pundit.

Why We’re So Fucking Angry at the Unvaccinated

…We’re furious. We’re furious at adults who made adult decisions that fucked it all up. We’re furious that, after all the shit they’ve done to fuck up this country by voting for Trump, they won’t do this one goddamn thing by getting the vaccine that Trump is legitimately partially responsible for getting developed so quickly. So this was your win, and you refused to take the W….

We’re fucking angry because we were legit so fucking close to being over this virus. If vaccinations had continued at the rate they were going in the first part of the year, we’d be at herd immunity. But rather than that actual freedom, you fucknuts think that you have the “freedom” to go around spreading Covid to whoever the fuck gets in your ignorant way and you call that a constitutional right. No, it’s not. It’s not your right to spread a disease that might kill even 1 out of 100 people who get it….

But most of all, we’re angry at how easy this could have all been. The vaccines were done. They were rolled out pretty damn smoothly and quickly. I can’t get past how such a simple, common thing like getting a vaccine became a war. It’s so ludicrous. It’s so goddamn ludicrous. How can you look at case after case of people who were against the vaccine who now are sick or dead and still cling to that belief? That makes you such a fool. You’re wrong. You’re just so fucking wrong about everything here….

Edit to add:

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‘I’m sorry, but it’s too late’

Alabama doctor on treating unvaccinated, dying COVID patients

…“I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections,” wrote Cobia, a hospitalist at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, in an emotional Facebook post Sunday. “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”

…“[The families] cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.”…

Read the whole thing. I don’t know if I could summon the patience and empathy this doctor has for her dying patients and their families, but I certainly do feel that empathy for the heathcare workers now being forced back into the COVID wards because these people refused a free, life-saving vaccine.

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The election was not stolen

Liz Cheney states it all clearly here. And for doing so consistently since the insurrection on Jan. 6, the GQP is going to toss her out of her leadership position, and replace her with a more obedient Congresswoman, Elise Stephanik.

I would oppose all of Liz Cheney’s policy preferences, I am sure of it. Someone on cable news last night described Stephanik as “more liberal” than Cheney, which is a strange thing to say about any Republican today. But her voting record is clearly more moderate than Cheney’s.

Nonetheless, Cheney insists on reality, on the rule of law, and believes in our democracy in a way that Stephanik clearly does not. Which makes Cheney not only a better Representative, but a better human being, in every way. This is a terrible decision by Kevin McCarthy and his caucus, and a dangerous day for the U.S.

Edit to add: And in a spineless voice vote, the Republican caucus removes Cheney from the leadership. Afterwards, she came out and said this:

Edit2 to add: Counterpoint from Charlie Pierce: Liz Cheney Is Still the Distillation of All That I Distrust in Never Trump Republicans

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January 6, 2025

Let’s start with this bit from Chris Hayes last night in the intro to his show.

I’ve transcribed his words below, because I think they are important. If you can find his follow-up discussion with Stuart Stevens it’s worth listening to, as they go deeper into the very anti-democratic moves of the Republican Party today.

Of course, now Donald Trump is no longer in office. He lost badly. Republicans lost both houses of Congress under his watch. He spends his days entertaining guests at Mar-a-lago. But Kevin McCarthy is still standing, the last Young Gun, because he is still debasing himself for Donald Trump. And he is now fielding calls from the former President about Liz Cheney, telling him that Cheney will be on her way out soon.

Now, at one level this is all a compelling if embarrassing psychodrama, right? The bigger issue is that Donald Trump tried to pull off a great crime, one of the greatest crimes ever committed against American democracy, certainly by a sitting President, arguably, which was to attempt to reverse the results of a democratic election, to install himself in power over the will of the people. And he had a lot of allies in that, but not quite enough of them. And now what he is doing from his perch at Mar-a-lago, like a crime boss issuing his orders from prison, is going back through the obstacles that stood in his way and trying to get rid of each of them.

In Georgia a Trump loyalist has launched a primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who you will remember refused Trump’s demand to find enough votes to overturn the outcome of the election. In Arizona, the Republican State Senate is running a ludicrous outsourced conspiracy-theory-laden ballot audit, trying to create ex post facto fictitious ballot fraud.

And his biggest target now is Congresswoman Liz Cheney, because she voted for impeachment, because she has been outspoken about The Big Lie. And because unlike the majority of the Republican caucus, she voted to seat the electors on that fateful January 6th day.

So ask yourself this, what happens when that faction takes over the Republican Party, and they have a majority in the House in, say, the Presidential election. What happens when the House of Representatives, maybe under Speaker Kevin McCarthy, refuses to simply pro forma ratify the election results of January 6th, 2025.

That’s where this is headed, make no mistake.

Greg Sargeant was also thinking about 2025 in his column yesterday. The whole thing is worth reading, but this is the most relevant part.

Time to worry about Jan. 6, 2025

Imagine a 2024 election decided in one state, where a GOP-controlled legislature sends electors for the GOP candidate in defiance of a close popular vote. The same House Republicans who punished Cheney — many of whom already voted against President Biden’s electors, but now control the House and have continued radicalizing — could vote to certify that slate.

There are many possible scenarios here — a lot would turn on whether the governor in that state was a Democrat, on what the Senate did, and on how the Supreme Court sorted out the mess.

But as Foley told me, it’s plausible that “you could have an outcome that is inconsistent with what the voters themselves wanted.” However it turned out, Foley added, the dispute itself “would be a major crisis.”

Do not doubt that this is where Republicans are headed. They don’t intend to lose again, no matter what they have to do, no matter what norms they need to shatter. When they not only pass bills that impose measures to repress voters and increase their control through gerrymandering, but add in provisions for their state legislatures to overturn the voters’ choices, they are creating chances to sidestep our democratic practices.

I’m not sure what can be done about it, but we absolutely have to face these facts head on.

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