JD Vance Beclowns Himself Again
I’ve spent lots of time in Asia over the decades and learned the value of wearing face masks. It’s no big deal for me. I’ve been wearing masks on planes for 30-40 years. When COVID started I was the freak in the neighborhood who was the only person with a mask on in the grocery store— until no one was allowed into the grocery store without one. I’m wearing a mask again. This time no one looks at me funny and about 20-30% of the customers in stores are wearing them too.
As COVID spikes, I’m worried though. I have a trip to NYC coming up and a trip to India after that. Masks don’t work that well on planes unless everyone is wearing them. If I wear one, the people around me won’t get sick if I have COVID. But if the people around me have COVID and they’re not masked, they could give it to me. My trip to NY is on a domestic carrier so I know no one will be masked. (My friend Spencer flew back to L.A. from Portland yesterday. He said “maybe” 10% of the passengers were masked.) The India trip is on an Asian carrier so I’m not worried. They’ll be masked. Recently I flew from L.A. to Tokyo to Bangkok to Tokyo to L.A. on a mix of U.S. and international carriers. On the American carriers, virtually no one was wearing masks except Asians. On the Asian airlines, everyone was wearing masks except for a few Americans and on one leg the only American who refused to mask up was escorted off the plane (as she yelled racist epithets).
Anyway, I’m worried. I read that the new booster— which deals well with the new subvarient (BA.2.86, “Pirola”)— will be available in a week or two. I’m so glad. I’m also glad that that MAGA jerk from Ohio, JD Vance, had his idiotic, ideological Freedom To Breathe Act shot down yesterday. He asked for the Senate's unanimous consent. Ed Markey (D-MA) laughed at him and said no way, Jose, pointing out that Vance’s proposal would hamstring public health officials and undermine communities’ ability to decide on their own pandemic precautions. Vance gave a little MAGA speech: “It’s not just that masks, according to randomized controlled studies, do no good. It’s that they can actively cause harm…We cannot return to the failed policies of the COVID pandemic and demanded that mask mandates be banned for public transportation (including airlines) and in schools.
Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Markey called Vance’s bill ‘little more than an attempt by Republicans to dismantle a public health infrastructure that had to be built in order to deal with this greatest pandemic since 1918.’ Noting that coronavirus has already killed more than 1 million people in the United States, Markey said millions of Americans will try to take protective measures as the flu season kicks in ‘and our communities must be able to take steps to save lives and keep people from getting sick or getting sicker, including the tools of vaccines and masks.’ He called the bill a ‘red herring,’ that’s ‘meant to deflect from what the GOP really stands for right now: gimmicks over people.’ He said that if public health officials decide that strategies including masks can be used to keep people from dying ‘we should give them that freedom to make those decisions… You argue that this bill is about freedom, but it’s not,’ Markey told Vance. ‘Freedom is parents and students knowing their school can take every step possible to keep them from getting sick or taking home illness that could hurt their siblings, their parents or their grandparents. Freedom is workers who know their workplace on a plane, train, or even in a classroom is safe. Freedom is knowing that when people travel ... they’ll know that every safety measure is available to keep them and their families safe.’”
Vance whined that “several employers and schools have recently imposed masking requirements to stop the spread of coronavirus and declared that masks ‘can actively cause harm.’ He said mandatory masking was a ‘failure,’ that had costs for very little benefits and it shouldn’t be repeated.”
“We know that a generation of schoolchildren have suffered significant speech and developmental disabilities because this country panicked instead of using its brain and forced toddlers and small children to wear masks,” said Vance. “We cannot return to the failed policies of the COVID pandemic.”
Vance said there are always viruses in circulation and the nation’s children “need us to not be Chicken Little about every single respiratory pandemic and problem that confronts this country.”
If his bill were to become law, Vance said it would mean that “for the next 15 months the government can’t force you to wear a mask on planes on public transit or in public schools. Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to force and enforce a mandate against our people.”
He said his measure wouldn’t keep anyone from wearing masks, but it would prevent school children and airline passengers from being thrown out of classrooms and ejected from airplanes if they don’t want to wear masks.
“Freedom is fundamentally about respecting that you might have a different view than I do, respecting that, accepting it, and not using government mandates to force our fellow citizens to do exactly what we want them to do, but to let us all figure this out together,” said Vance.
When asked earlier this week about the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations on masking for schoolchildren and staff, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the nation is “in a different place than we were two, three years ago” on coronavirus because of the comprehensive plan the Biden administration put forth to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said CDC guidelines “are not mandates” and it’s up to individual school districts “to decide what they want to do with the guidelines that they’ve been provided by CDC.”
“It is up to local officials and local leaders to decide how they want to move forward,” Jean-Pierre said.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine encouraged Ohioans to get vaccinated against both coronavirus and flu and said he doesn’t expect to see masks mandated in the state of Ohio.
“That’s not what the medical experts are telling us,” said DeWine. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, said the United States is “on the other side of the pandemic and we don’t need mask mandates.”
“I’ve not seen reports about anyone in Ohio proposing new mandates,” Brown said Wednesday when asked about Vance’s bill. He said the Senate should instead focus its legislative attention on legislation to promote rail safety after the East Palestine train derailment, to recover excessive compensation from bank executives who led their institutions to failure, and on funding the government.
U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat who has co-sponsored rail safety legislation with Vance and Brown, on Wednesday called Vance’s Freedom to Breathe Act “silly performance art,” and said he’d prefer that Vance prioritize passage of the rail safety bill, according to a Business Insider account.
“It’s bizarre,” Fetterman said of Vance’s effort. “No one is trying to force masks back on.”
Since taking office this year, Vance has introduced multiple bills designed to appeal to conservative voters that stand little chance for passage while Democrats control the institution.
The first bill he introduced in the Senate pushed a longtime conservative crusade to make English the nation’s official language. He’s also introduced legislation that would prohibit gender affirming care for minors, and a third bill that would require non-immigrant visa recipients to deposit $5,000 to $15,000 into a holding account that they’d forfeit in the event of an illegal overstay.
And the new vaccine? “This year’s version of the COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna ‘generates a strong human immune response against the highly mutated BA.2.86,’ Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of [Moderna], said in a statement. ‘These data confirm that our updated COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be an important tool for protection as we head into the fall vaccination season.’ Clinical trial data suggest that the forthcoming formula generated a strong antibody response against circulating variants, including BA.2.86, according to the vaccine maker… As of last week, there had not been any cases of BA.2.86 in California, “and at this point, there is no evidence that this strain is causing more-severe illness,” according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.”
I’d like to just add a quote by Colorado Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck who was just addressing the idea impeaching Biden without any evidence wrong-doing, something Marjorie Traitor Greene is heavily advocating for. “When when I was teaching law school, I learned and and taught certain constitutional principles. When Marjorie Taylor Greene was teaching CrossFit, she learned a whole different set of values. Because my idea of what this country should be like is based on the Constitution, and she sees the world differently. She’s criticized me for, you know, voting to certify the election in 2020. The Constitution says Congress shall count the votes. Some say Congress may overturn an election result. It doesn’t say Congress can do whatever the heck it wants with. Congress shall count the votes. That’s what the Constitution says. In her CrossFit class maybe they didn’t cover that.”