As you probably already know, yesterday Twitter permanently banned Marjorie Traitor Greene from their platform, after warning her several times-- and suspending her temporarily several times-- to stop using Twitter to spread dangerous misinformation about COVID-19. Today, Facebook slapped her with a 24 hour suspension for the same reason. (Both companies left her official congressional accounts active.) The NY Times reported this afternoon that Traitor Greene "had posted falsely about 'extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.' She published the message on Saturday as part a long post on American life 'Before Covid' and 'After Covid,' calling public health measures meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus into question, including testing, mask-wearing and vaccine mandates. On Monday morning, on the alternative social messaging platform Telegram, Greene posted a screenshot of a Facebook notice that said, 'You can’t post or comment for 24 hours,' and cited a violation of Facebook’s community standards. 'A post violated our policies and we have removed it, but removing her account for this violation is beyond the scope of our policies,' Aaron Simpson, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement."
Traitor Greene seems down-right demonic in her unceasing efforts to kill her social media followers. Or maybe, as her conservative colleague Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) said, just an idiot. Her district-- the people who voted for her-- is filled with vaccine refusers... and with cases of COVID. As of this morning, 53.6% of Georgians have been fully vaccinated. But not among the morons who decided it would be a good idea to send Traitor Greene to Congress. These are the counties that make up her district, with their vaccination rates and the percentage of people in each who voted for Trump last year. Statewide it was 49.2%. See if you notice a correlation.
Paulding- 40.4% fully vaccinated (63.8% Trump)
Floyd- 43.6% fully vaccinated (69.8% Trump)
Whitfield- 42.8% fully vaccinated (69.7% Trump)
Catoosa- 37.6% fully vaccinated (77.1% Trump)
Walker- 32.4% fully vaccinated (78.9% Trump)
Gordon- 38.9% fully vaccinated (80.7% Trump)
Polk- 39.8% fully vaccinated (78.1% Trump)
Murray- 37.0% fully vaccinated (84.1% Trump)
Haralson- 34.6% fully vaccinated (86.5% Trump)
Chatooga- 37.8% fully vaccinated (80.2% Trump)
Dade- 31.5% fully vaccinated (81.5% Trump)
Pickens- 45.5% fully vaccinated (82.2% Trump)
To ingratiate himself with and encourage Traitor Greene, GOP "leader" Kevin McCarthy released a boneheaded statement attacking Big Tech for abusing her, calling her unsubstantiated lies "diversity of opinion" and calling them "the lifeblood of our democracy." He asserted that "that fundamental American value is under assault by Big Tech-- entities that have amassed more power and more control over more speech than any other institution in history. Their recent decisions to silence Americans-- including a sitting member of Congress and renowned physicians [marginalized quacks]-- who share views different from the political and media elite have real world costs."
“In fact, as we get more information on the virus it is clear many of the views once demonized by technology companies and the political elite are turning out to be true. The doctrines of lockdowns, school closures, and the threat of covid-19 illness according to age groups and previous infection are currently being reversed. On the other end of the spectrum, Americans on the political left, including popular cable news hosts, members of Congress, and even the Vice President have themselves made public comments that are now universally understood to be false. Yet, they face no repercussions from the gatekeepers of America’s town square.
“It is clear any speech that does not fit Big Tech’s orthodoxy gets muzzled. America is poorer for that conduct. Congressional Democrats, despite having a majority in both Houses of Congress, have shown zero interest in passing laws that will promote a diversity of views. To that end, I have directed our relevant committees and task forces to continue their work in getting answers-- voluntarily or through rigorous congressional oversight-- from Twitter and other Big Tech companies surrounding their decision to silence certain Americans and to hold these companies accountable. Big Tech platforms should not be allowed to use the shield of Section 230, which was designed to foster an open internet, to censor first amendment protected free speech. House Republicans will be ready to take action that protects Americans when they express their constitutionally safeguarded views, just like we have laws on the books today that prohibit discrimination by corporations in many other contexts.
“The American experiment is dependent on the freedom and ability of Americans to express themselves, which Republicans are fighting to preserve.”
In his Washington Post column today, Max Boot shattered right-wing delusions about how Omicron vindicates all their nonsense, noting that in New York City, where he lives "the unvaccinated are 32 times more likely to land in the hospital than the vaccinated." Unlike McCarthy's misleading statement, Boot wrote that the very much less severe Omicron is "a good reason that most governments around the world are not instituting lockdowns or travel bans, as they did in 2020, while maintaining other prudent precautions that right-wing populists disdain... This is how science is supposed to work: Public health recommendations change as the nature of the threat changes. But many on the right are being willfully dense about the changing character of the pandemic. They are claiming, with trademark illogic, that because omicron doesn’t require the same response as the original version of the coronavirus, the measures taken in 2020 were unnecessary." That's exactly what that jackass McCarthy was going on about, no doubt cribbing from Fox News. Boot pointed to right-wing crackpot Ben Shapiro who "posted a lengthy Twitter thread claiming that 'once it became clear that covid was not in fact a pagan god visiting vengeance on the unwashed Trump voters alone, the media and Democrats are now willing to admit the following' and went on to list various assertions such as 'the death rate is comparable to the flu,' 'we have to take into account societal needs, not just spread prevention,' and 'we should not shut down society.' Shapiro triumphantly concluded that omicron had vindicated 'those of us' who 'have been saying all this for months and most of it since May 2020. ... We chose data and freedom. You chose alarmism and unearned moral superiority.'"
This might be a good time for someone to remind Shapiro that as of this afternoon there were 5,464,223 COVID deaths worldwide, of which 847,841 were in the U.S. Boot decided on delivering the message a different way, referring to Shapiro's twitter rant as "nonsense on stilts."
It would be more accurate to say that Shapiro & Co. chose populist ideology while the rest of us chose science. It takes only minimal scientific literacy, after all, to realize that two very different versions of the same disease call for two very different responses. Strict public health measures, including lockdowns, were needed in early 2020 when the country was being swept by a terrible new virus that no one was vaccinated against. Those measures paid off in keeping the death toll far below the worst-case estimates of 1.7 million people dead. A more relaxed approach to omicron makes sense now not only because it is a milder variant but also because 62 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated.
The danger from omicron would be reduced even further-- and the death toll would be a lot lower-- if more people were vaccinated and wore masks regularly. One of the main reasons that is not happening is that so many people are listening to right-wing agitators like Ben Shapiro who champion a misguided idea of “medical freedom.” Shapiro’s media company, the Daily Wire, even sued to stop President Biden’s well-warranted vaccination mandate for companies with more than 100 employees.
It’s true that those of us who are fully vaccinated don’t need to be as alarmed about omicron as we were about the original version of the coronavirus-- and that’s why I’m willing to hazard a foreign trip today that would have been impossible a year ago. But that doesn’t mean that the original alarm was unwarranted or that we can simply drop our guard today. We need more mask and vaccine mandates-- including a vaccination requirement for domestic air travel-- to guard not only against omicron but also against future variants that might not be as mild.
UPDATE: Ted Lieu Responds To McCarthy's Unhinged Rant
After reading this report, Ted Lieu didn't mince any words in his message to DWT readers this morning: "Have you been waiting for the Leader of the House Republican Conference to stand up to the radical wingnuts in his party and defend democracy and common sense? Don't hold your breath. Kevin McCarthy has made it crystal clear whose side he's on and it isn't rational reasonable Americans. From downplaying the insurrection to damaging public health, Kevin is just fine with backing dangerous extremists in his party. We must ensure that feckless Republicans like him are not given power next year. These are serious times for our nation and we need serious leadership."