Tuesday, December 15, 2020

"A Cosmic Convergence"

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
You may or may not know it, but today was a pretty damned good day.
    I'll be able to understand your skepticism or maybe even your ignorance. After all, it isn't every day (and hardly ever since January 20, 2017, or when America began its flirtation with re-enacting 1933-1945 Nazi Germany) that almost all the major news items were good.
     Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg supplied the title for this article when, in an interview with the New York Times, he'd called today, "a cosmic convergence." And, while he may be a Republican, there is simply no better appellation to append to an incredible day like today. In order to provide a more dramatic cosmic convergence, all nine of the solar system's planets would have to line up in a perfectly straight linear path, with all their satellites forming a conga line.
    OK, perhaps I exaggerate a bit. Yet, the lead image is of a New York nurse. Her name is Sandra Lindsay and she is a critical care nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. She is also the first person in the United States to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
   Dovetailing with this historic event is the one big story of today that wasn't so good: The 300,000th American to die of the disease that, after a year since coronavirus came to the US, we're just now getting the first few vaccines to combat. I guess we should consider ourselves lucky: At the start of the pandemic last spring, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci warned us it could take up to a year and a half just to develop a vaccine, much less deploy it to a significant portion of the population.
    One could say that the vaccine's rapid deployment was a shining singular example of the federal government's one positive contribution to meeting the pandemic head-on but, once again, one would be wrong. The vaccine being distributed is the Pfizer vaccine, which did not receive one penny from the Operation Warp Speed program that funded Moderna and its vaccine. 
     Pfizer's rejection of the money was simple- They did not wish to be hobbled by political interests and pressure. And, indeed, when Pfizer then Moderna, in rapid succession, announced the efficacy rates (94.5% and 99%, respectively), the first thing out of Donald Trump's maw was not to congratulate their scientists in making vaccines in record time but to scream that Pfizer and Moderna withheld their results until after the election to hurt his election chances.
     Yes, once again, it became all about him. How could it possibly not be?
Will the Real Shady Electors Please Stand Up?
They ain't it.
   Those are 11 hard-core, die-hard right wing frauds dressing up as legitimate electors in Arizona today. As with their fellow frauds in Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and other states, they cast fake electoral votes for Trump that literally have less validity than a high school student body casting votes for class president, which at least are counted.
   Their goal, believe it or not, is to then petition their state legislatures, most of them run by Republicans, to cast out the legitimate votes by legitimately elected electors, and supplant them with theirs for Trump. This interstate plan is every bit as loony and delusional as literally every single lawsuit filed on behalf of Trump (In case you've lost count, the record now stands at 1-59).
    The problem with that is, the electors are abiding by rules passed by many of the same Republicans now in control of those legislatures. They plainly cannot seat electors by their rules one year then tell them in an election year that they're no longer legitimate and let's just replace you with these Brand X electors because, well, we're Republican pond scum. This is what we do.
    When all was said and done, the votes were identical to the election- 306 for President-elect Joe Biden and 232 for the squatter who's still holding his breath until he gets inaugurated again (So, if Trump looks a little ruddier these days, you'll know why). This is even more stable than the 2016 election when two faithless electors deserted Trump and went to Hillary.
    More and more Republicans, many of them the Jeff Gilloolys and Shawn Eckardts of the body politic like Lindsey Graham, Roy Blunt, John Thune and Joni Ernst, have finally admitted Biden's the president-elect and that it's time for the nation to move on. 
    Of course, the official electoral votes that in any other general election year would hardly make headlines didn't make an impression on Kevin Cramer, a name you usually never hear in the middle of momentous news days or political events in Washington. In fact, Cramer twisted his tongue into a Gordian knot trying to sound sane and in the reality-based community while not risking running afoul of Donald Trump's wrath so that he sounded like a bad stereotype of a politician, saying much but in the end, committing to nothing.
     Hence, the cosmic convergence. We have lost the 300,000th American to COVID-19, thanks largely to Donald Trump. Yet the first Americans have gotten vaccinated today so there's a pinprick of light at the end of a long, long tunnel. Democracy won again despite the goonery of right wingers pretending, like Trump, to be actual elected officials.
     And, if that hasn't put a smile on your battered and bruised face, then the news that Bill Barr got fired today and will be out of the Justice Department in less than eight days should.


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