192 thoughts on “Politics Open Thread, Jan 17 – 23

  1. Hm. My post didn’t go through. Sorry if this shows up twice.

    Heather Cox Richardson provides historical context, and also identifies issues between the East and the West.

    ________________________________

    Since right-wing insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6 with the vague but violent idea of taking over the government, observers are paying renewed attention to the threat of right-wing violence in our midst.

    For all our focus on fighting socialism and communism, right-wing authoritarianism is actually quite an old threat in our country. The nation’s focus on fighting “socialism” began in 1871, but what its opponents stood against was not government control of the means of production—an idea that never took hold in America—but the popular public policies which cost tax dollars and thus made wealthier people pay for programs that would benefit everyone. Public benefits like highways and hospitals, opponents argued, amounted to a redistribution of wealth, and thus were a leftist assault on American freedom.

    In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that fight against “socialism” took the form of opposition to unionization and Black rights. In the 1920s, after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia had given shape to the American fear of socialism, making sure that system never came to America meant destroying the government regulation put in place during the Progressive Era and putting businessmen in charge of the government.

    When Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt established business regulation, a basic social safety net, and government-funded infrastructure in the 1930s to combat the Great Depression that had laid ordinary Americans low, one right-wing senator wrote to a colleague: “This is despotism, this is tyranny, this is the annihilation of liberty…. The ordinary American is thus reduced to the status of a robot. The president has not merely signed the death warrant of capitalism, but has ordained the mutilation of the Constitution, unless the friends of liberty, regardless of party, band themselves together to regain their lost freedom.”

    The roots of modern right-wing extremism lie in the post-World War II reaction to FDR’s New Deal and the Republican embrace of it under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Opponents of an active government insisted that it undermined American liberty by redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to those eager for a handout—usually Black men, in their telling. Modern government, they insisted, was bringing socialism to America. They set out to combat it, trying to slash the government back to the form it took in the 1920s.

    Their job got easier after 1987, when the Fairness Doctrine ended. That Federal Communications Commission policy had required public media channels to base their stories on fact and to present both sides of a question. When it was gone, talk radio took off, hosted by radio jocks like Rush Limbaugh who contrasted their ideal country with what they saw as the socialism around them: a world in which hardworking white men who took care of their wives and children were hemmed in by government that was taxing them to give benefits to lazy people of color and “Feminazis.” These “Liberals” were undermining the country and the family, aided and abetted by lawmakers building a big government that sucked tax dollars.

    In August 1992, the idea that hardworking white men trying to take care of their families were endangered by an intrusive government took shape at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Randy Weaver, a former factory worker who had moved his family to northern Idaho to escape what he saw as the corruption of American society, failed to show up for trial on a firearms charge. When federal marshals tried to arrest him, a firefight left Weaver’s fourteen-year-old son and a deputy marshal dead. In the af­termath of the shooting, federal and local officers laid an 11-day siege to the Weavers’ cabin, and a sniper wounded Weaver and killed his wife, Vicki.

    Right-wing activists and neo-Nazis from a nearby Aryan Nations compound swarmed to Ruby Ridge to protest the government’s at­tack on what they saw as a man protecting his family. Negotiators eventually brought Weaver out, but the standoff at Ruby Ridge convinced western men they had to arm themselves to fight off the government.

    In February of the next year, during the Democratic Bill Clinton administration, the same theme played out in Waco, Texas, when officers stormed the compound of a religious cult whose former members reported that their leader, David Koresh, was stockpiling weapons. A gun battle and a fire ended the 51-day siege on April 19, 1993. Seventy-six people died.

    While a Republican investigation cited “overwhelming evidence” that exonerated the government of wrongdoing, talk radio hosts nonetheless railed against the Democratic administration, especially Attorney General Janet Reno, for the events at Waco. What happened there fit neatly into what was by then the Republican narrative of an overreaching government that crushed individuals, and political figures harped on that idea.

    Rush Limbaugh stoked his listeners’ anger with reports of the “Waco invasion” and talked of the government’s “murder” of citizens, making much of the idea that a group of Christians had been killed by a female government official who was single and— as opponents made much of— unfeminine (re­actionary rocker Ted Nugent featured an obscene caricature of her for years in his stage version of “Kiss My Glock”).

    Horrified by the government’s attempt to break into the cult’s compound, Alex Jones, who would go on to become an important conspiracy theorist and founder of InfoWars, dropped out of community college to start a talk show on which he warned that Reno had “murdered” the people at Waco and that the government was about to impose martial law. The modern militia movement took off.

    The combination of political rhetoric and violence radicalized a former Army gunner, Timothy McVeigh, who decided to bring the war home to the government. “Taxes are a joke,” he wrote to a newspaper in 1992. “More taxes are always the answer to government mismanagement…. Is a Civil War Imminent? Do we have to shed blood to reform the current system? I hope it doesn’t come to that. But it might.”

    On April 19, 1995, a date chosen to honor the Waco standoff, McVeigh set off a bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The blast killed 168 people, including 19 children younger than six, and wounded more than 800. When the police captured McVeigh, he was wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Abraham Lincoln and the words “Sic Semper Tyrannis.” The same words John Wilkes Booth shouted after he assassinated Lincoln, they mean “thus always to tyrants,” and are the words attributed to Brutus after he and his supporters murdered Caesar.

    By 1995, right-wing terrorists envisioned themselves as protectors of American individualism in the face of a socialist government, but the reality was that their complaints were not about government activism. They were about who benefited from that activism.

    In 2014, Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy brought the contradictions in this individualist image to light when he fought the government over the impoundment of the cattle that he had been grazing on public land for more than 20 years. Bundy owed the government more than $1 million in grazing fees for running his cattle on public land, but he disparaged the “Negro” who lived in government housing and “didn’t have nothing to do.” Black people’s laziness led them to abort their children and send their young men to jail, he told a reporter, and he wondered: “are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life… or are they better off under government subsidy?”

    Convinced that he was a hardworking individualist, Bundy announced he did not recognize federal power over the land on which he grazed his cattle. The government impounded his animals in 2014, but officials backed down when Bundy and his supporters showed up armed. Republican Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) called Bundy and his supporters “patriots”; Democrat Harry Reid (D-NV), the Senate Majority Leader at the time, called them “domestic terrorists” and warned, “it’s not over. We can’t have an American people that violate the law and then just walk away from it. So it’s not over.”

    It wasn’t. Two years later, Bundy’s son Ammon was at the forefront of the right-wing takeover of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, arguing that the federal government must turn over all public lands to the states to open them to private development. The terrorists called themselves “Citizens for Constitutional Freedom.”

    For the past four years, Trump and his enablers have tried to insist that unrest in the country is caused by “Antifa,” an unorganized group of anti-fascists who show up at rallies to confront right-wing protesters. But the Department of Homeland Security this summer identified “anarchist and anti-government extremists” as “the most significant threat… against law enforcement.” According to DHS, they are motivated by “their belief that their liberties are being taken away by the perceived unconstitutional or otherwise illegitimate actions of government officials or law enforcement.” Those anti-government protesters are now joined quite naturally by white supremacists, as well as other affiliated groups.

    Right-wing terrorism in American has very deep roots, and those roots have grown since the 1990s as Republican rhetorical attacks on the federal government have fed them. The January 6 assault on the Capitol is not an aberration. It has been coming for a very long time.

    ____________________________________________

  2. Rocky, that’s a nice little recap. Where is it from (the archival researcher asked the librarian)?

  3. S&M, Heather Cox Richardson posts these updates both on Facebook and on a paid platform called Substack. If you pay you can comment and sometimes she responds. I think she might save a few posts just for Substack but this one was definitely on Facebook.

  4. This is fascinating.

    she explained that Hollywood elites conducted Illuminati blood rituals behind closed doors, that former Representative Anthony Weiner’s laptop contained a video of Hillary Clinton committing murder, and that photos from a recent meeting between Mr. Trump and Queen Elizabeth II proved that he had secretly dethroned her.

    And this is millions of people.

  5. “Opponents of an active government insisted that it undermined American liberty by redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to those eager for a handout—usually Black men, in their telling.”

    Interesting contrast to active government policy that for many years resulted in redistribution of wealth from Black men to white men (and women and children), perhaps more typically described as white people profiting from the labor of Black men.

  6. “Negotiators eventually brought Weaver out, but the standoff at Ruby Ridge convinced western men they had to arm themselves to fight off the government.”

    More accurately, convinced some western men.

  7. “What attracts Ms. Gilbert and many other people to QAnon isn’t just the content of the conspiracy theory itself. It’s the community and sense of mission it provides”

    The internet provides easy community. For example many of the seniors in my extended family spend hours looking at their messages and videos most of which are forwards and are of dubious content. Some have been sucked into the conspiracy theory world and they keep trying to spread these messages. I disengage and I avoid certain family group chats. I have told people not to forward me messages. I don’t know anyone of working age with families to care for who similarly spend hours down the rabbit hole of the internet. The important thing is that the services are free to users, if users had to pay to access services, it would be a different story.

  8. The one person that I know who is full on into the whole Q thing is on disability and I’ve always gotten the sense that she felt marginalized by society. She was always conservative politically, but has really gone off the rails over the past year or so. I feel bad because she has a teenage daughter, and the daughter has recently joined FB and is full on promoting the same crazy conspiracies. The girl had some behavior issues in school so is now homeschooled (I’m not sure how much school is really going on). Anyway, she has been driving into DC about every other day and posting on FB live videos about what is going on and where the blockades are being set up, etc. She really feels that she is doing something patriotic and this is giving her life purpose. The people who comment on her posts are always thanking her and telling her what a patriot she is. For someone like that who has had a hard life and never really felt they belonged, I can see how being part of this can be appealing. The issue is, how do you pull people out of it? Will they see the light when T is out of office? My bet is they will move onto the next conspiracy.

  9. Today’s NY Times argues that the vaccine is being undersold, and that this is a mistake along the lines of telling the peasants that masks only work for doctors “You still have to stay inside! You still have to wear a mask!” My libertarian streak comes out and makes me think this is just a group of people who love being bossy and controlling others and they don’t want to give it up.

    “Although no rigorous study has yet analyzed whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, it would be surprising if they did. “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” Dr. Paul Sax of Harvard has written in The New England Journal of Medicine. (And, no, exclamation points are not common in medical journals.) On Twitter, Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco, argued: “Please be assured that YOU ARE SAFE after vaccine from what matters — disease and spreading.””

    More:

  10. “posting on FB live videos about what is going on and where the blockades are being set up” you may want to alert the authorities of her activities so some nice FBI agent or police officer can have a chat with her. (As if they have time for this BS.)

  11. RMS,

    Is it a long post? There may be a length restriction. As a test break it in half and try and repost.

  12. Not this time. It was a short quote from the NY Times. I’ll try again.

    This is about the underselling of the vaccine. The news should be much brighter. A libertarian might argue that the gloomy news: “Keep wearing a mask! You will not be able to hug your grandchildren til 2024 at the earliest!” is just control-freak government and health officials loath to give up their control. The sympathetic view propounded by the NYT is that they’re just cautious and misguided. But as with lying about masks because it’s best for the peasants not to know the truth, this is Not The Way.

    Although no rigorous study has yet analyzed whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, it would be surprising if they did. “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” Dr. Paul Sax of Harvard has written in The New England Journal of Medicine. (And, no, exclamation points are not common in medical journals.) On Twitter, Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco, argued: “Please be assured that YOU ARE SAFE after vaccine from what matters — disease and spreading.”

  13. RMS,

    You’re contradicting yourself. They said masks didn’t’ work because that’s what the most relevant studies said. You wanted them to ignore the evidence. In this case there is no direct evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission. The only data we have is that it keeps those vaccinated from getting sick.

    What criteria do you want them to use when ignoring evidence?

  14. Because if the vaccine does prevent you from getting sick but does let you spread the virus you’ll be complaining again about how they “lied.” Right?

  15. In terms of QAnon I’m reading that adherents come from every walk of life. But every time they dig into one we find out that they are troubled people with holes in their lives. Are there well adjusted, happily married, financially secure QAnon adherents?

  16. Dude. I am not your new Scarlett.

    And you are rewriting history pretty dramatically. From the get-go, tons of peasants asked “If masks don’t work, then why do medical professionals wear them?” And several public health people, including Fauci, have acknowledged that they lied to preserve the stock of masks for the medical people.

    But if the non-delusional people have this page more or less to ourselves, I’m not playing this game with you. I’d rather have the opportunity to engage in challenging questions with people who want to make progress with them. I’m not playing “Nuh UH!” “Yuh HUH!” with you.

  17. Andy Slavitt is being brought on by the new administration to help with better communications around the virus, masks, etc. I’ve enjoyed his podcast (In the Bubble) and found him to be a straight shooter, who presents practical, nuanced advice. (His fill-in is Dr. Bob Wachter, whom many of you may follow on Twitter, and who has a similar style.) I’m hopeful for much better communications about vaccine/virus related topics going forward.

  18. Rhett –
    “well adjusted, happily married, financially secure”

    Meatloaf might say 2 out of 3 ain’t bad. By that I mean some are happily married and financially secure. The well-adjusted part is the real question.

  19. And you are rewriting history pretty dramatically.

    IIRC you were the one who posted the slatestarcodex analysis first.

  20. I’d rather have the opportunity to engage in challenging questions with people who want to make progress with them. I’m not playing “Nuh UH!” “Yuh HUH!” with you.

    They stop making Scarlett like comments like, “is just control-freak government and health officials loath to give up their control.” There is no need for that kind of baseless accusation.

  21. While there may not yet be direct evidence that the vaccine prevents transmission, I am sure there are studies going on, and I am assuming that as soon as there are results, they will be published.

  22. As a general rule, once you are vaccinated against any other of the litany of ailments we get vaccines for, isn’t the assumption that you would not be able to spread it? For example, measles is highly contagious and there have been a few cluster outbreaks in the last few years. Was there ever discussion that it was being transmitted by people who had been vaccinated and did not contract measles?

  23. I think the difference is that as part of the normal process for getting a vaccine approved, questions like “do vaccinated people still spread the germ” have to be answered. That is why we know, for example, that if you get vaccinated with certain live virus vaccines, you can spread the virus for a day or two post-vaccine. The COVID vaccine just hasn’t been that well studied because they bypassed a lot of the normal process.

  24. Was there ever discussion that it was being transmitted by people who had been vaccinated and did not contract measles?

    I didn’t find anything with a quick search. But in terms of a theory – my understanding is that vaccines don’t prevent you from getting infected. If I have the measles and I cough on you, the measles virus will enter your body and begin to infect your cells. Those cell will begin producing viruses. But your immune system will soon notice what’s going on and send the antibodies the vaccine caused the immune system to create to kill it.

  25. @Becky – That’s basically what the article that Rocky posted said. That there isn’t PROOF, but it is really, really unlikely that vaccinated people could transmit the virus in any meaningful way.

    @RMS – I read that article, and I agree. I do think it is going to get pretty messy here as more & more people get vaccinated and don’t want to wear masks anymore just because it’s hard to police who is “safe” and who is not. But I think that being straight about it is more effective than saying “oooo…there’s RISK” when the risk is teeny tiny.

  26. That there isn’t PROOF, but it is really, really unlikely that vaccinated people could transmit the virus in any meaningful way.

    You sure?

    We found what we expected: The vaccines worked at preventing monkey illness when they were intentionally exposed to the virus. They didn’t cough, they didn’t have fevers, lung failure, etc.

    Then we tested the macaques to see how high their viral load was in various places in their body, to see how well the vaccine worked. We found there was significantly reduced viral quantities in their lungs, where the common IgG antibodies are mostly at play. But in the nose and throat, we saw no reduction in viral load in the monkeys that had been vaccinated compared to the control group.

    https://www.sltrib.com/news/2021/01/14/can-vaccinated-people/

  27. Based on what I have read, most experts think the vaccines will reduce transmission and infection, not just disease. There is some evidence based on Moderna’s trials and some evidence in other countries. However, since the US public does not do well with nuance, they all seem to be hedging while “cautiously optimistic.”

    The Q people are so weird. In my peer group, there is a huge overlap of Q people and those who are involved with MLM sales. I have no idea how these people can be deprogrammed, but it is pretty distressing to see formerly rational people get caught up in these crazy conspiracies.

  28. “As a general rule, once you are vaccinated against any other of the litany of ailments we get vaccines for, isn’t the assumption that you would not be able to spread it?”

    One of the reasons this pandemic is as bad as it is is because of the wide initial assumption that people without symptoms aren’t contagious.

    IMO, it would be very dangerous to similarly assume that just because people have been vaccinated, they can no longer become contagious. Even if the vaccination does make people not contagious, we don’t yet know how long vaccination effects last.

    Channeling my inner WCE, my cost-benefit analysis of continuing to take measures against transmission until we know more about how the vaccine works says the benefit of avoiding an explosion of infection due to transmission from vaccinated people outweighs the cost of continued measures against transmission.

    Vaccinations or not, IMO we should continue masking, distancing, minimizing indoor time with people outside our bubbles, etc., until hospitalizations come down significantly.

  29. Reality,

    I don’t know anyone who is into Q. Were these people totally normal before or were they always a little off? The MLM involvement makes it sound like they’ve been gullible idiots for a while.

  30. A very sensible position Finn.

    I would add that the data in my link re: the monkeys is based on the previously dominate COVID strain. The new one is 50% more contagious and is rapidly becoming the globally dominant strain.

  31. What is the MLM involvement with Q? I’m fascinated by MLMs and how people get so heavily entrapped with them.

  32. However, since the US public does not do well with nuance, they all seem to be hedging while “cautiously optimistic.”

    It’s not entirely the public’s fault. As we saw with the original projections, the paper says, “In the very unlikely event nothing is done we would expect 4 million dead.” The headlines, “Scientists Expect 4 Million Dead.”

    The latest headlines have all been, “Vaccine 94% Effective!” But when you look into what the studies actually say, “Moderna’s vaccine was 94% effective in stopping symptomatic cases, but that’s not all — it also was 63% effective in stopping asymptomatic cases.” More than 1/3 of those vaccinated do end up with (asymptomatic) COVID.

    If it turns out that those 1/3 are still shedding the new strain of COVID and infecting people many will be screeching, “They lied!!!” But they didn’t lie. The public just read the headline and not the article.

  33. What is the MLM involvement with Q?

    I think she means when you draw the venn diagram of people into MLM and people into Q there is a lot of overlap.

  34. “The MLM involvement makes it sound like they’ve been gullible idiots for a while.”

    From what I can tell about the MLM movement, there’s a lot of socialization involved. Perhaps what both movements have in common is offering people another group with which they can fit in.

  35. Our case numbers are showing a noticeable drop and that’s a relief. I had kept my kids doing remote school and school itself had been remote for a week. Hopefully my kids will be able to go back by next Monday. With more vaccinations and a drop in case numbers since the holiday surge, my hope is that they can finish the school year without going remote.

  36. WCE,

    I was just reading through your article and just realized it was written by Ben Sasse.

    Its supporters believe that a righteous Donald Trump is leading them in a historic quest to expose the U.S. government’s capture by a global network of cannibalistic pedophiles: not just “deep state” actors in the intelligence community, but Chief Justice John Roberts and a dozen-plus senators, including me.

    It must be very odd and a bit scary to be accused of such things by people with a fair bit of loose wiring.

  37. “Were these people totally normal before or were they always a little off?”

    A couple were a little off, but at least one was totally normal. She is a high school friend. After she had her kids, she decided to stay home (she had a good, well-paying job) and then got sucked in to various MLMs, and, as of last year, Q. It has been pretty crazy (and sad) to watch.

    “Perhaps what both movements have in common is offering people another group with which they can fit in.”

    I think it is that, plus they like believing they hold this secret knowledge that the rest of us are too stupid or naive to understand.

  38. Great point about MLMs and Q. The community aspect and the thought of very important information that no one understands is key. In both systems there is a lot of support to help their fellow man or woman. If I didn’t know what political party they supported I’d say they are democrats because of the amount of support (emotional and financial) they give. The Dream podcast focuses on the MLM community and how they want to buy from their friends and family to help them.

  39. “If I didn’t know what political party they supported I’d say they are democrats because of the amount of support (emotional and financial) they give.”

    My high school friend was a big Obama supporter. And she didn’t vote for Trump in 2016. But she is a HUGE Trump supporter now. She believes he was sent from God to save us. It is all very insane. And right now we all need to pray and prepare for the big shift that is coming over the next week. The Patriots are certain that the veil will be lifted soon.

  40. From the outside, at least for me, I can see why people are attracted to the idea that the world is more interesting than it actually is. Apparently the Nashville bomber was into the lizard people conspiracy theory. That’s certainly more interesting than the reality of who runs the world.

    If you look at who actually runs the world. People like Sundar Pichai, Janet Yellen, Angela Merkel they were just kids in a more or less average family at the beginning. They did well in school, impressed the right people, moved up and eventually got to the top. They didn’t do anything that any of us couldn’t have done if were were smarter and more savvy. People don’t like that idea because it’s a hit to the ego and reminds them of how small and inconsequential they are.

    To Reality’s point it’s a lot easier for many people to think there is some vast conspiracy than to acknowledge that they are just an average Joe in a mundane world.

  41. My sister and my favorite Mennonite blogger made the same comment this weekend, regarding COVID as a government conspiracy. I’ll share it, since the repetition intrigued me.
    “Anyone who thinks this was a government conspiracy highly overestimates what the Federal government is capable of,”

  42. WCE,

    That said – China and Russia are crowing about our recent instability. China especially has been using it to bolster their case that one party rule by the CCP is the best way. Do you think it’s possible they are behind Q?

  43. I don’t have any idea if China or Russia is involved. Even if one of them created Q, Q would die without adherents.

    I think Chinese leaders want to create a technologically superior (i.e. not free in the Western sense) society. They spend more time figuring out how to manage their own challenges than figuring out how to undermine Western democracies. I recall when DNA sequencing was very time-consuming (months) and Germany had a new staph (?) bacteria that needed to be sequenced because it was causing a bad outbreak. China requested a sample to help out and provided the DNA sequence to Germany in ~1 week, far faster than anyone thought it could be done. I’m sure the Chinese scientists and technicians worked like crazy to pull off that achievement, but I think that’s the kind of technological superiority China wants to have.

    In kind of related news, Intel is likely to transfer their process development to China.

  44. WCE,

    Is your position that even if they are behind it’s not worth worrying about?

    It wouldn’t be the first time:

    Operation INFEKTION was the popular name given to a disinformation campaign run by the KGB in the 1980s to plant the idea that the United States had invented HIV/AIDS[2][3] as part of a biological weapons research project at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_INFEKTION

    The internet just makes it much easier and more damaging.

  45. Rhett, perhaps better to describe my opinion as “It doesn’t meet my worry threshold,” kind of like why I worry about driving my child to school vs. her chance of being killed in an Earthquake in a school building that doesn’t meet modern seismic standards.

  46. “Intel is likely to transfer their process development to China.”

    Sounds like silicon-based semiconductor manufacturing will no longer be a core competence of the US. I find that disturbing, given their ubiquity and necessity for devices key to national security.

  47. Rhett, I suspect the NSA is already dealing with whatever the possible problem is. I don’t have the competence to wonder.

    My big worries now are that Biden will change the Mexican border status before COVID is under control and/or implement the Green New Deal. As long as he sticks to vaccine distribution, a sensible amnesty plan and a sensible plan to reduce carbon emissions vs. a 10 year Green New Deal emission strategy that will leave the poor unable to heat their homes, I’m content.

  48. “Intel is likely to transfer their process development to China.”

    Do you think that should be allowed?

  49. Rhett, who could stop it? You can’t force Intel to spend billions on process development. It’s kind of like giving Toyota employees the right to unionize. Yes, Toyota employees should have the legal right to unionize, but they also know that voting for a union is like putting a large “Transfer this plant overseas” sign at the plant’s front gate.

  50. Rhett, who could stop it? You can’t force Intel to spend billions on process development.

    Sure you can. Ban the importation of any foreign manufactured chips. We already ban the export of technology on national security grounds. We do that for any number of technologies.

    I’d also be open to adding the crime of economic treason.

  51. The other option is also Elizabeth Warrens plan to require employees to have seats on the board like they do in Germany. This tends to but a brake on ambitious executives outsourcing schemes.

  52. If you ban importation of foreign manufactured chips, Intel and AMD have no reason to invest in process development at all and chips will remain at current standards, assuming they are OK limiting themselves to the U.S. market for the long-term. There are pros and cons to that. People in Cuba are still driving pre-1959 automobiles, I’ve read.

    What requires Intel to remain a U.S. company? Large U.S. companies tend to be international conglomerates, in contrast with the German Mittelstand. I’m pretty sure your average employee board representative can be influenced to vote to outsource for a six figure sum. Germany has a whole different system of laws, apprenticeships and unions that I don’t understand.

    My main issue with people like Warren is “What stops the company/rich individual you’re taxing from figuring out how to leave the U.S.?” She never seems to think much about how people’s behavior will change in response to her proposals.

  53. WCE,

    Intel and AMD have no reason to invest in process development at all

    How do you figure? They still have to supply chips to foreign markets. They can make and sell chips overseas. But if they want to sell them here they have to make them here.

    I’m pretty sure your average employee board representative can be influenced to vote to outsource for a six figure sum.

    Then they spend 20 years in prison like they do in Germany for such shenanigans. I’m curious why you think they kind of behavior would be legal? Under current law it would be considered honest services fraud. Just like if the VP of procurement took a bribe from HP to buy HP servers vs Dell for the data center.

  54. What requires Intel to remain a U.S. company?

    Nothing currently but there should be sever penalties for acts of economic treason.

  55. I guess the other question would be, is Intel moving because the CCP is telling them they need to in order to maintain access to the Chinese market. If that’s the case what do you think should be done?

  56. Rhett, that’s 2 years times the probability of being caught, convicted and sentenced. I don’t buy your theory.

    My Dad observed when I was a teenager that the net economic benefit of trade still existed if managers doubled their incomes and blue collar workers like himself lost less income (combined) than the managers gained.

  57. Rhett, that’s 2 years times the probability of being caught, convicted and sentenced. I don’t buy your theory.

    Then why have any laws at all?

    My Dad observed when I was a teenager that the net economic benefit of trade still existed if managers doubled their incomes and blue collar workers like himself lost less income (combined) than the managers gained.

    But in this case the managers make millions and the workers get laid off. How do the workers benefit? They can buy more cheap crap from China with their nonexistent income?

  58. Your Dad’s “gains from trade” theory seems to be that yes folks will loose their jobs and small Midwest towns will be decimated.l, sure. But if it means everyone can enjoy everyday low prices then it’s a net benefit. And I think the country is realizing that focusing so exclusively on consumers, to the detriment of works, has gone too far.

  59. Rhett, I think there are areas (recycling wind turbines and automobile batteries) where government subsidy is potentially beneficial, but my years sitting next to the finance people that navigate the R&D subsidies and protectionist laws of SE Asian countries attempting to attract tech companies firmly convince me that inconsistent, volatile U.S. trade policies (which is what we have) will consistently lose to those of the more-consistent SE Asian countries. In the U.S., politicians gain votes by providing bread and circuses to their constituents, not by figuring out R&D tech protectionism strategy.

  60. Rhett- I think you have misunderstood, but I don’t know the actual source of your information. I don’t think 1/3 of vaccinated got asymptomatic covid; I think the covid prevalence was much lower in both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. I think that in the placebo group, 24/100 (I am making up these numbers) got asymptomatic covid and in the actual vaccine group, 8/100 got asymptomatic covid. Thus, 2/3 decrease with vaccine.

  61. I think the government should be clear on the benefits of the vaccine especially for the seniors. It will be many months till everyone else is vaccinated. Time means a lot to those who have fewer years left and it will be good to have a realistic sense of what the seniors can and cannot do once they have been vaccinated but the rest of the population is still waiting.
    I don’t think the general public or the government entities understood the enthusiasm for the vaccine in the seniors despite chances of potential list of temporary side effects. Just the ability to go to about day to day life without feeling like a potential death sentence is lurking is priceless.

  62. Device manufacturerers have been moving away from Intel over the last year or so in favor of ARM-based chips, often designed in house. Apple has designed its own chip and I have heard that Microsoft is doing the same.

  63. volatile U.S. trade policies (which is what we have)

    Out trade policies have been pretty consistent since the end of WWII. You’ll have to elaborate as I’m not sure what you’re referring two.

  64. In the U.S., politicians gain votes by providing bread and circuses to their constituents, not by figuring out R&D tech protectionism strategy.

    How is that different than S. Korea or Taiwan?

    Those aren’t’ protesters these are members of parliament.

  65. “My big worries now are that Biden will change the Mexican border status before COVID is under control ”

    Why are you worried about Covid now after 10 months of saying it isn’t a big deal & precautions aren’t necessary in your area? Has the situation in your area changed?

  66. BTW, the reason for the move to ARM chips has nothing to do with whether or not Intel manufactures in China or not. ARM chips are cheaper, use less energy, and don’t get as hot. They have long been popular in mobile devices but now they are jumping to laptops.

  67. Mooshi. That seems pretty straightforward. If it is an assignment, it has to be posted in Google classroom. I doubt very much h they are going to start a semantic debate on check in or report or requirement vs assignment, if there is an actual possibility of flunking

  68. BTW, the reason for the move to ARM chips has nothing to do with whether or not Intel manufactures in China or not. ARM chips are cheaper, use less energy, and don’t get as hot.

    And Apple offered Intel the opportunity to partner with it in developing the latest generation of chips. But Intel’s idiot executives said no. As a result, as the stock market has soared in recent years Intel stock has gone nowhere. I’m surprised Intel employees and shareholders haven’t lynched them yet.

  69. Ivy, the situation in my area hasn’t changed but the hospital situation in southern California has gotten much worse than it was a few months ago, despite a mask mandate since ~March. Mexico’s situation has been worse than California’s.

  70. BTW, I’ve never said precautions aren’t necessary. I’ve specifically opposed indefinite remote school (harms outweigh benefits, IMHO, our schools have been remote since March) and indefinite mask mandates at single digit (including sewage measured zero) per 100,000 case rates.

  71. indefinite mask mandates at single digit (including sewage measured zero) per 100,000 case rates.

    What’s the case rate that would warrant a mask mandate?

  72. Rhett, that would be locally determined based on hospitalization rates. The “1 person per month” hospitalization rate we had for the first 6 months of the pandemic would not be high enough. People might be more likely to be vaccinated if vaccinated people no longer have to wear a mask. I think getting more than two-thirds of the population vaccinated will be challenging.

    I agree with your previous point that restrictions are more justifiable now that vaccination should be an option for the population at large by next winter.

  73. Rhett, that would be locally determined based on hospitalization rates.

    Hospitalizations usually occur a few weeks after infection. Wouldn’t it be too late then? Especially when you consider the new dominant strain is 50% more contagious?

  74. It doesn’t matter any more. We should see hospitalization rates drop dramatically in the next few weeks because the vulnerable will be vaccinated.

  75. “Device manufacturerers have been moving away from Intel over the last year or so in favor of ARM-based chips, often designed in house. Apple has designed its own chip”

    But Apple doesn’t have its own fab, so its chips will be manufactured, IIRC, at TSMC.

  76. The current calendar for vaccinating those with severe medical risks (not simply medical risks) currently extends through April in my state. Just run of the mill medical risks runs through June. People like me, under 65 with no special risks, are scheduled to begin in June. And all that is if everything goes like clockwork. I think we’re more than a few weeks from seeing some of these numbers come down in a meaningful way.

    Btw, I hope I’m wrong.

  77. “Apple offered Intel the opportunity to partner with it in developing the latest generation of chips. But Intel’s idiot executives said no.”

    More generally, I think Intel has resisted the foundry model.

  78. “Those aren’t’ protesters these are members of parliament.”

    Their standards of attire apparently differ from legislative bodies in other countries.

  79. “People might be more likely to be vaccinated if vaccinated people no longer have to wear a mask.”

    Greatly reduced risk of infection/hospitalization/death is not sufficient reason to be vaccinated?

    I plan to continue wearing a mask once I’m vaccinated, until/unless there’s convincing data that vaccination prevents asymptomatic contagiousness, or better treatments are developed.

  80. “We should see hospitalization rates drop dramatically in the next few weeks because the vulnerable will be vaccinated.”

    I’m skeptical.

    Current vaccination protocol is two shots, spaced several weeks apart. It takes a couple weeks after the second shot for immunity to take hold.

    Hospitalizations typically lag infection by a couple weeks or so.

    So it’ll take a couple months or so after vaccination is initiated before the impact is seen on hospitalization rates.

    Locally, vaccination of the very vulnerable is just underway. Initial vaccination efforts were focused on HCW, first responders, and some essential workers. It will be a while before those who are vulnerable, but not very vulnerable (e.g., those between 65 and 75 with some underlying medical conditions not considered to cause high vulnerability), are vaccinated.

  81. From a national security perspective, I think it makes more sense to have a domestic TSMC-type foundry than domestic Intel fabs. A foundry would be better prepared to pivot to whatever is needed, and there’d be a lot more people able to pivot quickly to designing whatever’s needed.

  82. A lot of the staff members at some of the places I go to don’t want to get vaccinated. They don’t trust it. They are mostly people of color.

  83. Greatly reduced risk of infection/hospitalization/death is not sufficient reason to be vaccinated?

    Keep in mind these are people who don’t think they are at risk from it in the first place, so they don’t see any reduced risk from getting the vaccine.

  84. To me, a couple months is a few weeks. Maybe several weeks would have been a better word choice.

    I am optimistic that a single dose will be sufficient to protect nursing home residents, who (at least here) account for a disproportionate numbers, which means I expect hospitalizations to decline faster than case rates.

  85. “I am optimistic that a single dose will be sufficient to protect nursing home residents”

    I agree with the strategy of trying to get vaccine into arms as quickly as possible, whether that is the first or second time into those arms. I.e., don’t dispense less than easily possible because of holding back for second doses. There’s still the possibility that future production will be sufficient for the second doses, but in the meanwhile the overall protection to the population as a whole goes up faster.

  86. I cannot think of anything that would advance my own political philosophy faster than Trump starting a new party. If it wouldn’t be a matter of public record, I would happily donate to get things moving. Segregating the policy and the politicians that are behind Trump would be amazing.

  87. Here there has been tremendous response from the over 75+ age group and now the over 65+ age group as well.
    My parents got their first shot at the county vaccination site. It was a very smooth process. The county is now opening appointments for February. Also mass vaccination weekends have been set up in the stadium and at the motor speedway and those are full. Vaccines are being given through the healthcare systems as well. The best way to increase the number of people getting shots is the big vaccination sites. In my state the National Guard is helping out and they were present at the site. Healthcare workers were getting their shots too at the county site. I saw elderly people of all colors getting their shots at the county site.

  88. I’m so glad your parents have had their first vaccine, Louise!

    I expect reluctant people will start getting vaccinated later. Right now the important thing is to get vaccine into as many as are willing. Once the J&J one shot vaccine comes on board, there might be more willing, too.

  89. For my county, I think by March end we should start seeing the impact of the vaccinations. The healthcare workers and most vulnerable people would have been done in the Jan/Feb time frame with additional 65+ having at least their first doses by March.
    Our Thanksgiving and Christmas surge numbers are showing a decline. Our baseline positive test rate has been 8%. We have reached 5% only maybe a day . I have in my head the numbers, so I have a gut feel if things start to look good.

  90. My 97 year old MIL has still not been able to get vaccinated. We are all hoping it happens soon.

  91. Trump’s departure music playlist was amazing – Gloria, YMCA, Funeral for a Friend.

    My dad has been trying to get a vaccine appointment in Naples with no luck. Publix opened appointments this morning online at 6AM, and he hasn’t been able to get in. So frustrating

  92. 93 and 97 yo MIL and FIL have filled out a “survey” to express their interest in the vaccine, but still no word on when our county or state may announce appointments or locations or even process. They live in their own home, so they weren’t covered in the LTC priority tier.

  93. “Who are all these people who don’t want to be vaccinated? I don’t know ANY.”

    Me neither. I know people who said that they didn’t want to get it before it was available but not now.

    MIL and FIL are trying to sign up now that we are very close to the state extending to Phase 1b, but so far nothing. We keep telling them to call/MyChart message their doctors. In my parents’ state, it is not available for under 75 yet with no stated timeline.

    I am absolutely ecstatic that the Trump era is over. Yeah, yeah he’s going to be on Newsmax with his BS, but I don’t have to care anymore. I’m watching the coverage in the background & we put our flag in honor of the day.

  94. I am worried about the a contagious variant taking hold in my area before we (and especially our parents) are able to get vaccinated. The city announced a likely timeline for adults with no medical conditions as potentially May (that would be me). I can live with May, but these contagious variants are worrisome. I heard on NPR this morning that one of these variants is probably driving the serious outbreak in SoCal.

  95. The rollout here in MA has been very slow. My parents (one over 70, one under – the one over 70 has hypertension so should be higher on the list) haven’t gotten any indication from their PCP re: when they might be scheduled.

  96. Who are all these people who don’t want to be vaccinated? I don’t know ANY.

    Several of us have posted about the history of racist medicine that attacked Black people, with the result that many are reluctant to be guinnea pigs for a new vaccine. Search the last couple of months of this page and you’ll find the links.

  97. Snowbirds in AZ, computer professionals 65 + so good at the interface, got appts in early Feb at a stadium 2 hrs away. MA is very “deliberate” in its rollout. DH cant wait in line at a stadium, so it will have to be drive thru or local pharmacy, although I could break out the wheelchair….

  98. Trump’s departure music playlist was amazing – Gloria, YMCA, Funeral for a Friend.

    I have an earworm of “Na na na na, hey hey hey, goobye!”

  99. Meme – the way our county did it was really considerate of people. They are using an indoor arena with a large parking lot (that does mean you have to get transport to the arena). Once there, they handed you consent forms you filled in your car, took the form into the arena and handed it in. There were many vaccine stations in operation, it just took a minute before it was my parents turn. Nurse checks out the paperwork, asks them about underlying conditions, date of birth and weight. Both shots done in not even ten minutes. We had to wait in a waiting area for fifteen minutes and were done. It worked well for seniors, no waiting and restrooms available. It was very calm and efficient, no chaos.

  100. My dad just got a vaccine appointment for Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Whoop! Today is a GREAT day!

  101. Yay TCM! My MIL is having a heck of time down there getting an appointment, but then told me that it is stressing her out and she would rather just wait longer than deal with it. sigh.

    My parents got their vaccine over the weekend. My mom reported back that side effects were nothing compared to the Shingles vaccine. My dad didn’t even have a sore arm.

  102. Lemon – my dad said he left his name last week (not sure where) and was told they’d call back in 48 hours. He didn’t hear anything and forgot about it until they called this afternoon.

  103. My dad went in to Kaiser to have a wart on his foot removed last week – and while he was there, they scheduled him for his vaccines! First one is Saturday; second one is in February. This is in Seattle. I’m grateful – especially because otherwise I’d be trying to navigate the various scheduling sites – and I think they are booked out for quite some time.

  104. My 80+ year old parents were vaccinated today at Petco Park, and they have an appointment in Feb for their second shot.

  105. The 18 year old daughter of one of my friends is studying in Israel, and she just got her shot yesterday. They are rapidly getting to everyone.

  106. TCM, that’s great. We literally all cheered out loud when my parents got their vaccines.

  107. MM,

    Unless they are Palestinian, somehow there are no shots for them according to multiple news reports.

  108. Houston, I’ve been looking at Biden’s executive orders, and I don’t see anything that categorically halts deportations of undocumented people. There is an order that blocks deportations of Liberians who had fled here as refugees in the 90’s. There is another that reverses the travel ban from certain Muslim countries, and one that restores protections under DACA. He is halting work on the big beautiful wall. And finally, there is an order that reverse a Trump executive order that reverses an executive order from 2017 that mandated extreme immigration enforcement and made it a priority to deport. The White House statement : “This revocation will allow the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to set civil immigration enforcement policies that best protect the American people and are in line with our values and priorities,”.
    This is the order you are probably thinking of. While it certainly is intended to dial back deportations from the level they reached under Trump, it does not ban deportations.

  109. Um, rereading – too many “reverses”! Should say “an order that reverses a Trump executive order from 2017 that mandated…”

  110. The first of those articles is mostly about suspending the “remain in Mexico” program, which is part of the reversal of Trump’s 2017 executive order to do “extreme enforcement”. The article also mentions suspending deportations of “certain non citizens” for 100 days so they can review policies, but does not tell us which non citizens. Perhaps it referring to the Liberian refugees? In any case, I see no mention in that article of suspending all deportations.

    The current migrant caravan, should it reach the US, could be a political headache for Biden. But it is not clear they will even get here. Many of those caravans did not, and it is harder to go across borders now because of the pandemic

  111. Here is an article that describes Biden’s immigration related executive orders
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2021/1/20/22240549/biden-executive-actions-immigration

    There is no question that deportations will be scaled back. A certain percentage of people voted for Biden because of that. I think, however, that very few people even in the Democrat party are for eliminating all deportations, and I don’t think Biden is for that either.

  112. Dr. Osterholm was just on the local radio. He confirms that Operation Warp Speed and the Task Force had no system or plan in place for distribution of the vaccine. As in ziltch. There was a reason why Biden’s team was not getting any information from them…because they had none. All the information coming out about how to get the vaccine and who was getting the vaccine were all lies. Not just the big lies of reserves or 20 million by end of December. They had absolute zero information about numbers of vaccines in production and supply chain distribution.

    Osterholm said he knew this was going to happen, but it still shocked him. Apparently the reports that the state of Minnesota has received 600,000 doses (I’m making these numbers up) only means that Minnesota requested 600,000. It doesn’t indicate how many doses were shipped.

  113. @Lemon Tree – I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m really just disappointed. Hopefully they can turn things around quickly.

  114. I like The Economist on Biden.
    “Joe Biden must contend with a pandemic, an economic crisis and democratic decay at home. It is not an auspicious start. Yet, unlikely as it sounds, in the next few months the view from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue could improve dramatically. Even an imperfect vaccination programme will make a huge difference by the time spring turns into summer. This in turn will help America’s economic recovery. The political crisis that required 25,000 troops on the street at Mr Biden’s inauguration will not soon fade. But by keeping his left in check and working with Republicans eager for Congress to get things done, Mr Biden may yet be able to pass an infrastructure bill and something on climate change, as well as his covid-19 package. A lot could go wrong, obviously, but Mr Biden’s folksy brand of dogged centrism is remarkably well suited to a difficult moment for America.”

  115. Biden wasn’t my first, second, or third choice, but I think he is the exact right man for this moment. Jim Clyburn is a genius.

  116. I vastly prefer the surgical paper masks to all of my cloth masks. I know they dont fit tightly to the face, but they don’t slip down and I can just toss them when my nose runs a little. And I have paper medical tape to affix them or custom made N95 equivalent mask to wear if I am really concerned about my own exposure in some situation.

  117. I have always worn the surgical or the KN 95 masks depending on when I think I need more or less protection. Early in the pandemic, I tried cloth masks and somehow I felt the fit wasn’t right or the mask felt damp with droplets from my nose or mouth. I still am conscious of the distance I maintain and still shop at times when I am likely to encounter fewer people. Overall, except for spells of remote school during the recent surge, we haven’t become more or less restrictive in what we do.

  118. Vaccine distribution here seems to be a function of who you know. The people i know who have gotten vaccine have had some sort of in. My friend in Oregon says that the same thing is happening up there.

    I’m torn, Part of me says that as long as people are getting vaccinated it is a good thing. Another part is railing at the inequity.

    There is a crowd sourced site that provides info on where the vaccine might be available. https://www.vaccinateca.com/

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/This-crowdsourced-website-tracks-where-you-can-15882787.php

    The rural counties don’t seem to be getting their share of the vaccine…surprise, surprise

  119. “Overall, except for spells of remote school during the recent surge, we haven’t become more or less restrictive in what we do.”

    No travel plans?

  120. “The rural counties don’t seem to be getting their share of the vaccine”

    My guess is the logistical difficulties associated with vaccines with demanding thermal storage requirements are a contributing factor.

    I’m pinning a lot of hope on the J&J vaccine that is single dose and does not have as stringent thermal storage requirements.

  121. Cass – I’m seeing the opposite here in Washington State. King County (where Seattle is) represents 29% of the State population but has only received 23% of the vaccine. Some rural counties are receiving more than their percentage share of the population.

  122. Cassandra, no one is getting enough vaccine. In NYC, they are cancelling appointments because they ran out. You know how the Trump administration kept saying that COVID response is best left to the states? Well, Cuomo tried to buy more vaccine on behalf of NY, but was told only the feds could do it. And of course, as we are all learning now, what was happening at the federal level was a planning disaster.

  123. Cass – here as far as I can tell there is no who you know.
    As soon as you know of a site that is open you have to sign up online preferably. People who go through the big healthcare system have got dates that are further out but big vaccine distribution events keep popping up so people just cancel future dates if they get a closer date.
    The county is trying to open up big sites at different places around the county so that people don’t have to travel far from their homes to get to a site. I would say they need to open a north site, and a west site, they already have a south site.

  124. My guess is the logistical difficulties associated with vaccines with demanding thermal storage requirements are a contributing factor.

    You mean it’s not a vast conspiracy? I’m shocked.

  125. I’m sticking with my two-ply cotton fabric masks unless and until someone forces me to do otherwise. Except for the occasional in-person client meeting, I pretty much never spend any appreciable amount of time with anyone except the people who live in my household. I did have a medical appointment once where I was handed a surgical mask to use in place of my cotton one, which was fine. (Other medical offices that I’ve been to haven’t required a mask change.)

  126. DH and I bring cloth masks when we go on hikes – we rarely see people but if we do, we can pop on the masks and step to the side of the trail. I wear an N95 if I am doing a curbside pickup or something like that.

  127. @NoB – Same. I have the 2-ply cloth masks, but my contact with others is really just running errands. In the past 7 days, I went once each to the UPS Store, Costco, Whole Foods, the corner liquor store, the Chick-Fil-A drive thru, and a local Mexican place to pickup take out (ordered online). I bring a cloth mask when I go for walks, and I put it on if I’m close to people. I usually end up talking to neighbors a bit when outside walking, but standing far apart and wearing a mask.

    I have some paper masks as backup, but I never bought any N95s. There weren’t any early on, and it never seemed worth it to hunt them down given our lifestyle.

  128. I’ve only worn the surgical masks when getting my hair colored. It just doesn’t fit my face, even with the little metal piece. It is constantly falling down. Maybe the kids size fits my face? I’ll continue wearing the cloth masks until I can’t. I’d probably still wear it over a surgical masks just for the color and design elements.

  129. “I bring a cloth mask when I go for walks, and I put it on if I’m close to people.”

    I’m always taken aback for a minute by statements like this. I always wear masks when outside. It’s just a certainty that I’ll be near other people. I have to remind myself that not everyone lives in a densely populated environment. It’s to the point where I’m actually uncomfortable not wearing a mask outside. It should be interesting to see how adjusting back to normal life post COVID will go.

  130. I hardly ever wear mass outside. The risk of transmission outdoors is very minimal unless you are getting close to someone for an extended length of time.

  131. I do not wear a mask when outside but then I do not live in a dense area. I can talk with my neighbors easily keeping distance unmasked. Most of our parks and trails are usually uncrowded enough and no one wears masks as they don’t really get close to people.

  132. I wear masks outside mostly to be polite – I don’t think there is much need when just passing people on the sidewalk. And in case I run into a neighbor that I want to chat with for awhile.

  133. It is state mandate here, so I dont see a need to be in violation and as Ivy says, it is a courtesy to others. If my walk is unpopulated I scootch it down under my nose.

  134. My parents especially my Mom was so terrified when they came here from the home country. They were disinfecting every grocery item that came into the house. They were isolated in their home but for any delivery they would put on mask, gloves and after wash their hands.
    I had to break them out of being so frightened. My Mom now washes her hands so frequently that I was shocked.
    I am hoping with the vaccine, they don’t feel so anxious.
    They were also having showers and washing their clothes even if they went to the store briefly here. They never absorbed updated information on how the virus spread through the pandemic and were still stuck in March.

  135. Around my neighborhood, I would say 70-75% of people (including runners) wear masks outside on the sidewalk – at least will pull a mask up when passing people. But it’s not required or even mandated really. Compliance inside stores & other businesses is very close to 100%. There is also one bar that is operating with indoor service against the law. It is a big risk for them, but I guess they feel is it worth it. They haven’t been shut down yet (although other ones in the city have). I hear in the suburbs there is a lot more open defiance, but I haven’t left my neighborhood in weeks.

  136. Louise – at one point I was more worried my mom would hurt herself by inhaling too much Lysol than by getting the virus. Her actions weren’t quite as extreme as your mom’s but darn close. She’s relaxed a bit and called me this morning to tell me she as vaccination appointment next week. We’ll all be very relieved when she gets it. She even mentioned coming for a visit!

  137. “If my walk is unpopulated I scootch it down under my nose.”

    This seems to be standard operating procedure here outdoors, now that we have a full mask mandate (outdoors and indoors). It’s sort of funny. I’ll be taking a walk with my mask down on my chin, and then off in the distance I see another walker coming toward me with his/her mask down on his/her chin. When we notice each other, we each dutifully pull the mask up over nose and mouth. As we pass, we nod to each other. Once we’re past each other, the masks go back down to the chin.

    Indoors, however, people around here (including me) do keep their masks on all the time, even when it’s not crowded. My one exception is that if I’m alone in my office at work with the door closed, I take off my mask. But if I step outside my office to go anywhere else in the building, the mask goes on.

    I cannot wait until we can ditch the masks.

  138. NoB – the office habit is hard one for me to remember. I’m trying to use the stand-up, mask-up mantra to remind myself on those odd days when I am in the office. One day when I was in, I had left my office to get some supplies, and since the office is mainly unpopulated I had just walked the several feet without my mask. Of course at that moment another person was also on his way to the bathroom and I realized I wasn’t modeling very good behavior. Very brief encounter but I felt silly for not abiding by the rule. Probably one of the reasons I’ve gone to wearing my mask on a chain when I do have to go in to work.

  139. ” I’ll be taking a walk with my mask down on my chin, and then off in the distance I see another walker coming toward me with his/her mask down on his/her chin. When we notice each other, we each dutifully pull the mask up over nose and mouth. As we pass, we nod to each other. Once we’re past each other, the masks go back down to the chin.”

    YES this is standard around here. I can’t wait until we ditch the masks either. It’s a small price to pay, but it IS annoying.

  140. As we pass, we nod to each other

    In my area, pre-Plague we used to smile and nod; now we raise a hand slightly in a “wave hello” gesture. Not a big wave — just bend the arm at the elbow to say “Hi, I see you, I’m not ignoring your existence.”

  141. “I cannot wait until we can ditch the masks.”

    While I agree with your sentiment, I hope ditching masks is the lowest priority relative to all other transmission reduction measures. E.g., I hope we prioritize things like fully opening schools and businesses, fully opening college dorms, and full attendance at large events (e.g., concerts, sports) above ditching masks.

    I’d be happy to go on using masks indefinitely if that meant everything else came back to pre-pandemic norms.

  142. @Finn – I agree with you. It is a small price to pay and reopening all of your list comes first. I won’t be fussy about wearing one after I’m vaccinated if we aren’t at herd immunity yet. I will even say that I am much more open to wearing a mask when I am sick & symptomatic in the future. But I still can’t wait to be able to leave the house without one!

  143. https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2021/01/22/speed-comes-to-covid-19-vaccinations.html

    “ Torsetn Pilz, chief supply chain officer for Charlotte-based Honeywell (NYSE: HON), says his team adapted existing technology the company provides for manufacturers, warehouses and other commercial customers to the medical documentation needs for administering vaccinations.”

    I read on Next Door that people who got vaccinated at the Speedway had a very positive experience. The next big vaccination event is at the BofA Stadium.

  144. So, on one side there are these big sites, on the other end there is community vaccine distribution in low income neighborhoods, housing shelters, the county jail and right now one or two churches. Our churches here are huge with biggish parking lots, they can definitely be roped in as community sites .Many are used as polling stations. I definitely see this as a all hands on deck effort for that last mile distribution.

  145. I know there have been vaccine shortages here in NY for over a week, but now Texas and California are also having problems with shortages?

  146. DD, it doesn’t seem like things are too outrageously bad in Colorado. Am I not reading the right news reports? It’ll be months before I can get the shot, but it doesn’t seem like a huge cluster right now.

  147. Looking at Cassandra’s article, it seems that the main culprit in California is the same as in other states – not enough vaccine. But it also blames the fact that they let counties set their own criteria, leaving people confused and feeling like the process is arbitrary. I know that conservatives would say that these decisions are best left to the most local government possible, but it does seem like it is adding to the problem. The article also mentions inadequate funding for the rollout effort, which would be a state governement problem. But the article mostly seems to blame the supply problem

  148. I have spent a lot of my free time assisting the elderly people I know in trying to get an appointment to get vaccinated. It is a mess in every state where I have done this. I don’t think this is surprising. Health departments run on very small budgets, states don’t have a lot of extra money, and there was zero help from the federal government. And, as predicted, demand far exceeds supply right now. Given all of the issues, the 900,000+ getting vaccinated in the US every day is actually pretty impressive to me.

  149. I do think supply will pick up. I don’t think either the federal government or the states anticipated demand from seniors. The commentary and the polls were negative prior to the rollout and no one expected the robust response from the 75+ seniors. I know healthcare workers who are younger and are hesitant to get the vaccine. Once states saw the demand from the 75+ group, they opened it up which is good instead of waiting to persuade everyone in healthcare. My state is doing both vaccinating healthcare and seniors in Phase 1. Honestly, once word spread that reactions weren’t that bad or none at all, more people were ready to try the vaccine. My parents knew seniors in the U.K. plus friends of friends in Florida and none have reported ill effects.

  150. RMS, it’s a national shortage because the Feds lied about there being a reserve.

    Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s COVID-19 response after learning the federal vaccine reserve does not exist, impacting the state’s plan for doses in the next few weeks.

    Polis said he was informed Friday about the lack of federal reserve for the second does and there is no influx of doses “contrary” to what they were told. About half of all vaccine doses go to Colorado hospital systems, with 20% going through community health clinics, 20% through local public health agencies and 10% through retail pharmacies, which are helping vaccinate nursing homes.

    I’m shocked we were lied to and there is no national reserve.Federal announcements that 2nd dose being held in reserve was going to be released led us to expect 210,000 doses next week,other Govs made similar https://t.co/ETVIqM0clH we find out we’ll only get 79,000 next week.

    — Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) January 15, 2021

    https://www.koaa.com/news/covering-colorado/gov-jared-polis-set-to-provide-update-on-states-covid-19-response-this-afternoon

  151. Here’s my experience with three different CA counties:

    Santa Barbara:
    Fri 1/15 @ 4:30pm Public Health Department Press Conference announced that they would begin vaccinating 75+ individuals the week of 1/18. They had 1,200 shots for an estimated 32,000 population. Appointments could be made either online or by phone.
    Fri 1/15 @ 6:32pm Those who signed up for county vax news received an email with information for how 75+ individuals can get appointments.
    Sat 1/16 @ 1:48pm Email that all 75+ vax appointments were full as of this morning.

    San Diego:
    My parents were told that one of their bubble friend’s daughter had heard on the radio that UCSD Medical Center was taking appointments for 75+ individuals. So they accessed their website and got appointments and were vaccinated last Wednesday at Petco Park. They ignored the message on the website that they were only vaccinating HCW. Their other 3 bubble friends were also able to get vaccinated last week.

    San Bernardino:
    DH spoke with his 90+ Mom & sister last Thursday night. They said that their county was only vaccinating HCW. On Friday I went to their County Health website and saw that 75+ individuals were being vaccinated. One needed to check multiple individual sites for appointment availability. I found some via Rite Aid that indicated they were only for HCW. I showed DH, and after some more looking around, he found a location closer to his Mom and was able to get the necessary information from his mom and get her an appointment next Wed.

    Also impacting California vaccine rollout is that there were 6 individuals vaccinated at Petco Park (prior to 1/18) with the Moderna vaccine who had severe allergic reactions. California was the only state that put that particular vaccine lot on hold while they investigated. Santa Barbara County had received 3,900 doses from that lot. As of Friday, that lot had been released for giving vaccinations. Perhaps that is how we were able to find available appointments for MIL.

    SB County Health Department described the vaccine distribution as:
    (1) Long Term Care Facilities both Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities are getting their vaccines from the Federal government via CVS & Walgreens.
    (2) The rest of the population is getting it via state allocation to the local health department, and 81% of the vaccine is distributed to Community Provider Distribution Sites, and 19% goes to Public Health Community Vaccination Sites.

  152. DH is in a Kaiser type plan. I will be able to schedule his appts with them via portal when we go to phase 2. I am min 6 wks later in phase 2, and will just find a stadium or pharmacy.

  153. If you are helping an elder with getting the vaccine and he/she is a veteran, look into the VA. The VA gets their vaccine directly from the Feds and is not part of any state/county vaccine distribution. It is a completely different supply chain. My SIL works at the VA and are actively giving it to all 65+ patients that are coming in for their regular appointments. She recommends that even if they aren’t a regular VA patient to still look in this route.

  154. Locally, I’ve been hearing that one issue for LTC residents has been getting informed consent in advance of planned vaccination efforts. Apparently many cannot give consent for themselves, and many facilities don’t have information on file for who is authorized to give consent in those cases, even though they’re supposed to, i.e., the vaccination process has revealed a widespread problem.

    Has that been the case elsewhere?

  155. Finn, that makes no sense. If the facility acknowledges that a resident is not competent to make their own medical and financial decisions, then they had to have approval from the POA in order to be getting paid. So either someone else signed the paperwork to approve payment, in which case they know who it is, or the resident signed the paperwork themselves and the facility is acknowledging they are taking advantage of an incompetent person.

    The issue I have seen is the logistics of getting the consent signed by the POA with the restrictions on visitation.

  156. Finn, everything about this pandemic has revealed what an utter disaster our nursing home system is. Lack of regulations, lack of oversight to enforce existing regulatsion, lack of money, lack of expertise among the staff and management, and too much privatization. I am now convinced that I will do anything to avoid being placed in one of those hellholes

  157. Mooshi, you are way off base. First, there are a crap-ton of regulations governing nursing homes. If anything they are over-regulated, not under-regulated. You are completely correct about the lack of enforcement.

    You are also completely wrong about the lack of expertise of the staff and management. There are generally very competent people running them. The fundamental issue is the economics of them which results in under-staffing. They can’t charge what it would cost to have better staffing ratios because most people can’t afford it, and medicaid sure won’t cover it.

    And what do you mean by too much privatization? Of course they are private entities. The alternative would be to have the government running them.

    Yes, there are some bad actors in the industry, and some of the homes might be “hellholes”, but they are a very small minority. Your post is a huge insult to people who work very hard to provide care for the elderly and others who need it.

  158. DD, I didn’t get all the details, but logistical difficulty of getting the authorized people to sign, when the identities of those people are known, was one of the issues cited. IIRC, another was not having up to date contact info for those people.

    The impression I got was that a fair number of residents were accepted under adverse conditions, e.g., sudden change of health led to hospitalization, and family needed to find LTC facility under time pressure because patient was ready to be released from hospital to LTC facility, and so some corners were cut in that process, which were supposed to be revisited but weren’t. One corner sometimes cut was proper documentation of medical POA.

  159. I do not mean to insult the people who are actually working in these facilities. I am sure they all care very much. But the fact that so many nursing homes are owned by private companies who have no particular interest or expertise in the field is a huge problem.Lack of money, lack of the right regulations, and lack of enforcement are also huge issues. I am not the only person who has this opinion.

    “Long-term care continues to be understaffed, poorly regulated and vulnerable to predation by for-profit conglomerates and private-equity firms. The nursing aides who provide the bulk of bedside assistance still earn poverty wages, and lockdown policies have forced patients into dangerous solitude.”

    “Under President Trump, C.M.S. had already cut monetary fines for facilities with health and safety violations. Now it called off regular inspections in favor of a narrow, superficial infection-control survey. It also allowed for “temporary nursing assistants” with little training to fill in for certified aides.

    When Congress allocated $5 billion under the CARES Act to help struggling long-term care facilities, a dozen companies accused of labor violations and Medicare fraud received more than $300 million in no-strings-attached relief. It wasn’t until late summer that C.M.S. mandated testing for residents and workers.

    Nursing home operators have long complained that Medicaid doesn’t pay them enough to provide adequate care, but the business is not, apparently, a bad one to be in. Two-thirds of nursing homes are for-profits, and the sector has been swallowed up by corporate chains and investment firms whose involvement correlates to lower staffing and worse care.”

    I am sure there are

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