GOP Suicide Pact

As of November 163,000 preventable deaths were attributed to unvaccinated Americans succumbing to Covid. That is a staggering average of 900 people a day. While only 10% of those who identify as Democrats have not been vaccinated, 40% of Republicans haven’t. All the posturing and political theater by GOP leadership has fostered this tragic consequence of fear and ignorance.

If you doubt the statistics, check the source:

COVID-19 preventable mortality and leading cause of death ranking

Jared Ortaliza , Kendal Orgera Follow @_KendalOrgera on Twitter , Krutika Amin Follow @KrutikaAmin on Twitter , and Cynthia Cox Follow @cynthiaccox on Twitter
Published: Dec 10, 2021FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint

This updated issue brief examines COVID-19’s effect on mortality rates, and estimates that in November 2021, COVID-19 was number three on the list of leading causes of death in the U.S. As recently as January 2021, COVID was the number one leading cause of death, though COVID rank had briefly dropped to the 7th leading cause of death in July 2021 before the delta variant, relaxed social distancing and inadequate vaccinations led to a surge in new cases and deaths.

The analysis also estimates that nationally at least 163,000 deaths from COVID-19 between June and November could have been prevented with vaccines.

The analysis can be found on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

One has to ask what motivates the party solidarity that tolerates so many flagrant affronts to values we once thought to be sacred: character, integrity, respect for other’s lives, and the principles of democracy. The GOP fancies itself to be the party of law and order, conserving and protecting the national interest. Where is the evidence in recent events that either GOP leadership or the rank and file care a whit for anyone but themselves?

Conflict Entrepreneurs

“Let’s you and him fight!”

That’s the mantra. Some people enjoy the drama they cause by triggering a confrontation and fueling the configuration. It’s akin to being an arsonist – a social arsonist. The result can be devastating to any community of shared interest.

Karen Tibbals names this destructive game in her current blog post:

I’m seeing a lot of this in the political mail I get from the GOP. Half truths and outright lies are employed to fuel outrage and villify the motives of the Democrats and all those who criticize Republicans.

It’s particularly distressing that these tactics attack proposals and policies that have socially desirable reforms such as stopping tax fraud and closing loopholes. The GOP attack on reforms that would allow the IRS to spot high dollar tax evasion and enforce the law earned three Pinocchios from the Washington Post’s fact-checkers.

“Disinformation is how you transform democracy. This is death by a thousand cuts.”

– Maria Ressa, journalist & 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner

Nonetheless, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), restates the falsehood in his current email blast, the theme of which is to denigrate Democrats and exalt Republicans as virtuous defenders of truth, freedom, and the American way. Never mind the GOP’s determined efforts to stonewall voting rights or the investigation of the instigators of the January 6th insurrection.

Toomey

750 A Day Dead

They waited too long. They believed the wrong people. They didn’t take it seriously. They exercised their right to be wrong. They procrastinated.

And then they died!

Ninety thousand (90,000) over four months, that is the estimate of how many have suffered needlessly and died horribly because they didn’t get a Covid-19 vaccination.

 Approximately 90,000 covid-19 deaths could have been avoided over four months of this year if more U.S. adults had chosen to be vaccinated, according to a study published Wednesday, as the disease caused by the coronavirus became the second-leading cause of death in the United States.

The estimate by researchers backed by the Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation focused on deaths of U.S. adults from June 2021 — when the report says coronavirus vaccines became widely available to the general public — through September.

But around half of those preventable deaths occurred in September because of the spread of the more contagious delta variant, easing of social distancing rules, and the lower vaccination rate among younger adults, according to the study.

In September, covid-19 was the leading cause of death for adults ages 35 to 54, while it was the second-most common reason for mortality among the larger population, even when including data for children under 15, the study showed.

“The overwhelming majority of covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to be preventable,” the authors said.

  During the January-February period, the worst days of the pandemic so far in terms of the number of fatalities, covid-19 was the most common cause of death for Americans, the study showed, surpassing the usual culprit — heart disease — during that period.

Washington Post Oct. 14, 2021

750 a day is tragic. And then there is the collateral damage of spreading the curse of Covid-19 to those they love and to others close enough to share a few of their final breaths.

A Poet?

Last month I was honored that my poem Patina was published in the Pennswood Village Voices. This particular edition was the first all-poetry issue. Previous issues are devoted to a mixture of memoir, short fiction, and poetry. Our community includes many academics and professionals whose work has been published commercially, so I am particularly pleased that I made the cut.

VV210925

Mint the Coin

Various writers, tongue-in-cheek, have urged that the Treasury Secretary mint a one trillion dollar coin and use it to buy back debt. This would resolve the debt ceiling crisis.

Whoa!, you say. If they just print more money, won’t that cause inflation? Maybe not. Money is created and destroyed all the time. Your bank routinely makes loans it doesn’t have the funds to cover. It is not required to have deposits equal to its loans. When the market price of housing, soybeans, or General Motors stock fluctuates, money is created or destroyed.

In its essence, money is only a promise to pay. We rely on the Federal Reserve to impose monetary policies that keep us as close to 2% annual inflation as they can. It’s an art, not a science.

The unknown is whether minting the coin would alter the world’s faith in our promise to repay.

There is little question that failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause the US to default on its existing debt. This would certainly shake faith in our monetary promises because we would be breaking them. So maybe the risk of minting the coin is small relative to the alternative of certain default.

Here’s my suggestion. Let’s mint eight of those $1T coins. Put Mitch McConnell’s likeness on one side and the GOP elephant on the obverse. Use them one at a time during Biden’s presidency to pay down the deficit and keep the economy rolling. Why eight coins? That’s about equal to the record-setting deficit that accrued under #45’s four-year term. So, it would be bold political theater to remind us all that the GOP is not fiscally more responsible than the Dems. Quite the opposite – they are willing to scuttle the economy and throw us into recession to game the political system.

https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/debt-ceiling-mint-the-coin-explained.html
Krugman joins the fray!https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/01/opinion/biden-coin-democrat-republican-debt-limit.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/10/05/trillion-dollar-coin-faq/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/10/05/trillion-dollar-coin-faq/

News We Trust

How to know what information is trustworthy has grown in importance since Sue Mehrtens and I wrote our books on the topic. Political propaganda is now openly fostered. It’s not just spin, it is deliberate campaigns of tactical disinformation that target vulnerable groups in our electorate.

The national media also skews left or right to segment the market for their “product” — the shows that command big advertising revenues. Regrettably, journalistic integrity suffers.

On Tuesday, September 28, I hosted a panel of local journalists who spoke about how they know the truth. I was expecting to get stories about tells of the sort that poker players look for. You know, a nervous flutter of the eyelids, the use of phrases like “let me be perfectly clear,” and such.

I got much more. The three journalists spoke candidly about how very hard it is to get to the truth, and what it costs them in emotional energy and stress. I’m sharing the video here because I think you will find it both inspiring and reassuring to know that local news has people of this level of integrity.

Subscribe to a local paper, contribute to public radio and TV, donate to organizations that do investigative reporting without political motive — in doing so, you defend democracy and the independence of the working press.

BIG Round Numbers

The US National Debt grows ever faster. Now it is $28 Trillion dollars. The deficit (increase in debt) during the last presidency was 7.8 Trillion, or just shy of two trillion a year and double the one trillion rate of the Obama years.

Our lame-duck US Senator Pat Toomey would like you to think that the present administration is profligate. Here’s what he says:

Yes, $3.5 trillion is big. But we also need perspective here. If this is a spending spree, then what was the GOP’s thought in cutting taxes? That’s about $3 trillion in lost revenue. But the GOP also left us a legacy of future debt. FactCheck.org quoted the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget as follows:

By September 2020, CRFB estimated the legislation and executive actions signed by Trump would be responsible for $3.9 trillion in higher deficits through 2026. The bulk of that — $2.3 trillion — was attributed to lowering taxes, while increases in defense and veterans spending ($950 billion) and nondefense discretionary spending ($700 billion) made up the rest. “It is important to note that this debt was also approved by Congress, about half on a broad, bipartisan basis,” CRFB said.

These are significant numbers, and Toomey over his many years in politics has been complicit. Both parties spend our money on a grand scale, the difference is who and what they spend it for.

Business people say, “You have to spend money to make money.” Biden wants to build back better. The GOP says, … hmm I can’t recall. I think it was eliminating the national debt that they promised. Well, have they actually proposed anything? Or did they just spend reactively, with little or no real plan except for the tax cut?

Choosing Party over Country

As we go about the ordinariness of our lives, making breakfast, chatting with friends, shopping for groceries, and watching Netflix, our government is under attack by a political party that holds its power to be more important than our democracy. The GOP, for more than 20 years has been on the attack, and the end game grows more clear with each passing day.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson in her “Letters from an American” chronicles the events. The post below cites some of the current actions that should alarm all of us. But it is the inaction of GOP leadership that signals where the GOP is headed.

Some will say that HCR is an alarmist, others that she is partisan. Ask yourself this, “What behaviors do you see in the GOP leadership that suggest that we should NOT be concerned?”

Here is what I see:

  • Actions to foster distrust of our elections.
  • Years of strategic work to disenfranchise opposition.
  • Support of secretive gerrymandering.
  • Pandering to fringe elements of the GOP base.
  • Inaction on obvious corruption.
  • Near total partisan obstructionism.
  • Purges of moderate leadership.
  • Improper courting of foreign propaganda support.
  • Desperate efforts to prevent investigation of January 6th.

And this is only an off-the-cuff partial list.

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