Can we agree that on too many occasions - in her WSJ Op-eds- after Peggy Noonan displays pluck and insight she then reverts to a troll and vapid, know-nothing ignoramus? Such was the case in her latest effort ('Covid Anxiety and Fear of the Base'). Interestingly, this troll fest followed heat she took in the WSJ letters section after her (July 29) piece ('The Jan. 6 Committee Carries History's Weight')
What the letter -writing Trumper 'peanut gallery' most took exception to was likely when she wrote:
Members of the Republican leadership are making a huge error in how they are responding to the committee. They misunderstand their own position. They should be quietly trying to push away from the disaster by leaving it on Mr. Trump and his White House, not their party. They should have taken part in the committee investigation.....
Instead they’ve played down what happened and dismissed the committee as a partisan effort. They have put their party on the wrong side of reality. When House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy called the two Republicans on the panel, Ms. Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, “Pelosi Republicans,” he looked unserious and stupid.
Good writing! Telling it like it is as opposed to falling lockstep into Trumpian B.S., lies and nutso bollocks. But then two weeks later, after being sledge-hammered in the letters, she reverts to Trumpie troll. We read first of all the claim that Biden is "afraid" of his own base (naming the teachers' unions) because he agrees with them about kids wearing masks to school. But this is idiocy. Biden isn't "afraid", he agrees with school mask mandates and for good reason! As one Denver Post letter writer put it in Sunday's paper:
"So those opposing mandatory masks in school argue that COVID doesn't affect kids? Well it does now! How about 96,000 confirmed COVID infections for those 0-17 reported the week ending Aug. 5? I'm no medical expert but I kinda suspect the trauma experienced by children put into a COVID infection ward where they are separated from most of their family - are a tad more traumatic than getting the opportunity to wear a superhero mask."
But Noonan obviously doesn't get it, as she writes:
"Eighteen months into the pandemic people have mask fatigue. The subject has become so fraught you have to be either pro or anti, pick a side, no room for an approach that weighs circumstances. Moderation is for the gutless and insincere. But it is reasonable that any power to mandate masks come from the power closest to the voters—local government.
No federal power should tell them they must. No governor should tell them they can’t."
Right on the latter, wrong on the former, Pegs. As it applies to schools, and given so many kids still are not vaccinated, the federal gov't has every right to impose a mask mandate. As blogger Lynn Parramore has pointed out, immuno-suppressed kids are currently filling up children's hospitals and their ICUs across the nation with the delta variant because too many unmasked classmates were allowed in.
Mississippi’s top health official concluded Wednesday that the state with the nation’s second-lowest vaccination rate is now suffering through “the worst part of the pandemic,” in a week in which more than 20,000 students have been quarantined for exposure to coronavirus. Mississippi recorded more than 4,000 new cases Wednesday, bringing its seven-day average for new infections to 3,526. The infection numbers this week in Mississippi, including Monday’s record-breaking 7,839 cases in a single day, are higher than at any point of the pandemic. Nearly 1,700 people are hospitalized for covid-19, and 467 ICU beds are occupied in the state.
Even before this crisis stage was reached a Mississippi pediatric nurse on a Maddow segment last week broke down in tears, relating how she had to tell parents there was nothing more she could do for their kids. And Peggy is really ok with this?
In this dystopic world - which we have now with Delta - bellyaching about "mask fatigue" is laughable, even crass. And yet Noonan also babbles this balderdash:
"No one should be a Nazi about enforcement. That only raises the temperature and deepens kids’ trauma. Make a decision and then encourage, persuade, exemplify helpful behavior."
Sorry, the "temperature" needs to be raised and no, we are not endorsing being "Nazis"! But there is a powerful case for no-nonsense enforcement. That means there must be sanctions for non-compliance unless the non-masker has an exceptional excuse..
According to a major study out of Duke University (Colorado Springs Independent, p. 20, Aug. 24) "the starting point for a safe school environment is wearing masks." The Duke researchers looked at 100 school districts in North Carolnia and determined that 'proper masking is the most effective mitigation strategy to prevent secondary transmission in schools when COVID -19 is circulating and when vaccination is unavailable.'. There is no issue on this, and no defensible comeback given the current Delta environment we are in - and let us bear in mind Delta arose in India some 5 months ago when less virulent COVID variants were allowed to spread, infect.
But Peggy chirps on:
"So much is in the doing, especially in a crisis. Nothing is going to be perfect. Don’t we know this by now?"
What we know, is that when ICUs and ERs fill up to the point other medical issues can't be treated we are beyond a crisis - headed toward catastrophe. That is where we've arrived after too many goofballs have flouted masking and too many others refused vaccinations. The point is the goal is not being "perfect" but doing enough to prevent hospital ICUs being overrun by COVID patients to the point no other patients can get treatment or even attention.
Dr. Catherine O'Neal, medical director of Our Lady of the Lakes Hospital in Baton Rouge, La. brought this point home on another Maddow segment last week Friday, saying:
"We have sixty -eight patients with Covid just in our ICU which usually has ninety patients in it. This creep of care into our usual number of patients has caused us to delay care for people who need tumors resected, people who have been waiting a very long time for back surgery. All of those surgeries have been put off because we don't have any ICU new beds any more because so many of them have been taken by Covid 19 and the rest are taken by traumas and acute heart attacks, acute strokes - things that come into our emergency department. What we're also seeing now is a waiting list of people who need an ICU bed."
. She noted how she was forced to tell smaller hospitals with patients needing urgent care - calling and begging to take them- that no, our ICUs were full, and no more beds were available.
Never fear, Noonan is here with more excuses:
"We’re 18 months into the pandemic: At this point we’re all long haulers. People are tired, nerves are frayed, and our inability to predict with confidence what’s coming only sharpens things. The illness has settled in. Variants will continue to evolve. No one knows the characteristics of future mutations. It’s possible we’re in the worst moment right now, with hardy Delta, and possible we’re not."
Most likely we are not. With over a third of the populace still unvaccinated we are in a parlous position which one epidemiologist has termed "unsustainable". Further circulation and spread of infection is almost assured which means mutations are being churned out - potentially leading to a variant which overcomes all vaccines, all boosters.
"Regain a sense of give. Stop pushing each other around. Have a generous and sympathetic sense of who your fellow Americans are."
Sure, Peggy, I have a sense of "give". The same sense one Mississippi doctor indicated when he sent patients away to go to another hospital after they entered and refused to mask up. He didn't challenge their claim of "freedom" but they were not gonna exercise it in his hospital.
Peggy sermonizing again:
"We all have to be patient with each other, not only as a moral but a practical necessity. Stop picking on each other. Some people don’t want the vaccine, which is the only way out of this mess. Does it help to ostracize them? No."
Actually, yes! Implementing a vaccine "passport" will work wonders and give those of us who've made the sacrifices the freedom we deserve - while the yokels resisting can stay home and mope. No vaccine? Fine. Then, no bars, no hotels, no movies, no sports, no dining out. The case to keep the unvaccinated at bay is given here brilliantly by Amada Marcotte:
Republicans, always ready to destroy lives for some perceived political gain, aren't even hiding anymore that they think being pro-COVID is good politics. As CNN reports, there's "a GOP-wide effort to use the fears and frustrations of Americans worried about another round of school closures and lockdowns as cudgels against their Democratic opponents."
But, of course, the return of restrictions is the direct result of Republican efforts to dissuade Americans from getting vaccinated and keep those COVID-19 case rates high. It's important to remember that this is still a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Case rates are rising rapidly among the unvaccinated, who tend to reject other prevention measures along with vaccines. There are also breakthrough infections, though they affect fewer than one-third of 1% of the vaccinated.
One of the primary arguments being rolled out by conservative media is that refusing vaccination is about "freedom" and "personal choice." But that is a lie. We know it's a lie because Republicans are generally fine with all other vaccine mandates. But most importantly, by refusing to do the right thing, the unvaccinated are stripping freedom and choice from every other American who got vaccinated. We stand by helplessly watching restrictions pile back on and our freedoms dissipate, all to protect those who won't protect themselves. Polling shows that most Americans support vaccine requirements and no wonder — we want our freedom back.
In some corners of social media, it continues to be popular to scoff at those who want their freedoms back, snarling "it won't kill you to wear a mask in the store." But the freedoms the vaccinated are sacrificing so that others can selfishly refuse the shot are far greater than that.
On the other hand, Noonan's solution comes right out of The Pollyanna Playbook:
"Instead, try to change their minds with respect, good faith and clear language. Humor, too. I read about a woman the other day who saw, on TikTok, that the arm you get the shot in becomes magnetic. Spoons and knives are drawn to it so you have to watch yourself when you’re walking around the kitchen. The theory is creative and insane. But this country cares for little so much as entertainment. Why aren’t there entertaining and funny spots on what the vaccine doesn’t do, along with what it does, all over TV and the internet?"
Because we don't need to give people any more excuses not to get vaccinated, even funny ones. I showed this blurtation to Janice and she thought Noonan had had one too many maybe with MJ candy. "Doesn't she know that magnetic crap is just a pile of rot? There is no magnetism caused by vaccines, but particles on people's clothing that can be magnetized."
Peggy again tempting a volcanic reaction:
"Do you like the American people? Do you feel a quick broad affection for them when you think of them? A sense of kinship? Or do you see them as unruly imbeciles you have to get in line? Because if the latter, you’re going to show it—in your TV appearances and written materials. People will pick it up, because nothing is more obvious than a lack of affection."
If they are traitor Trumpers, pro insurrectionists, Big Lie purveyors, or QAnon conspiracy mongers I don't give a damn what they "pick up". I don't feel any "kinship" with traitors nor do I regard them as "fellow Americans". More as animated slime like their master, Trump. E.g.
On Monday, a video shared on social media went viral for depicting an unidentified, maskless man harassing a masked older woman while both rode the subway in New York City. On the Q, the man chanted “1776!” while pumping his fist in the air, and the woman asked him to respect his elders. His response? “I respect freedom.” Then he barked out orders for her and others to sit.
But more likely just gullible fools and yokels who let Trump lead them around by the nose and who answer to his every dog whistle.
One last burp from Noonan:
"And maybe some of us should regain or adjust our sense of proportion. There’s a bad disease out there that’s settled in. Approaching it with prudent realism is good. Taking precautions is good. But—it’s hard to say this without being misunderstood—some people have gotten neurotic about the virus. They’re fixated, they’ve wound up every fear they have in it. They’re not concerned about heart disease, cancer, the big killers, it’s all Covid. "
"Adjusting proportion" means finally treating this virus seriously and that means acting like adults and adopting masking and other protocols. Right now 34 Americans are dying every hour - most because of vaccine refusal. As for being "all Covid" how can it not be when it's consuming so much ICU space to the point of preventing other urgent care in the same ICUs ? (See Dr. Catherine O'Neal's quote earlier).
If Covid has filled up every available space and bed in every ICU from here to Fairbanks how can docs, RNs or patients be concerned about anything else? This is what a dunderhead like Peggy Noonan doesn't get: that Covid unchecked - because idiots flout masking and other protocols- leads to an unsustainable situation and even worse outcomes. Thanks to faux freedom morons we are letting this disease beat us rather than subduing it.
What I am trying to do now is put this pathetic op-ed of hers into perspective as just a knee jerk reaction to the Trumper letter hammering she took a week earlier. If on the other hand this piece of twaddle has no connection to the WSJ letter writers excoriating her then one can only conclude she is a moron.
One mask advocate, a doctor named Britt Maxwell with children who attend school in the district, was called a “traitor” as he left the gathering. “I don’t see how anyone can say that when I’ve been on the frontlines of this pandemic since the beginning, treating patients in rooms, unvaccinated for the vast majority of it, hoping I wouldn’t take it home to my family. For someone to say that is mind blowing,” Maxwell told CNN.
Traitor? To what, exactly?
The answer to that question is easy enough: If you advocate for masks, and even for the vaccines, you are a traitor to Donald Trump, and to the white-power nation he sought to champion had he managed to steal a second term in office. This — all of this — is his war, which he began almost two years ago when he deliberately started going out of his way to disdain masks, science and scientists in his endless quest to buff his image on television.
In doing this, Trump politicized the most basic of pandemic safety measures. It is as if he named Band-Aids un-American, and demanded that we bleed to show our heedless fealty. Trump has been gone since January — in no small part because millions of people were horrified by his behavior regarding COVID — but in the minds of his acolytes chasing school board members through nighttime parking lots, he is and will always be the only leader they will ever follow.
As the super-contagious Delta variant of Covid rips across the country, in no small part due to the behavior of the millions of Americans who have so far chosen to remain unvaccinated, the question of whether to make jabs mandatory is becoming urgent. A lot of libertarians are still voicing opposition. What gives?
...many, especially the activist anti-vaxxers and their enablers in the political sphere, argue vociferously against vaccine requirements no matter what the consequences to others. Even if that consequence is death.
These zealots shout: "My body, my decision!" But when it comes to your body and your risks, apparently that's your problem. People like babies and kids, vulnerable to Covid because they aren't eligible for vaccines (currently filling up children's hospitals in many parts of the country), and the immunocompromised, which includes cancer patients, people with diabetes, and pregnant women, are supposed to take all risks of exposure on the chin, including those created by recalcitrant caregivers. At hospitals still without mandates, a person undergoing chemotherapy is expected to accept being surrounded by unvaccinated medical workers whose choices put them in constant mortal danger.
Even when the unvaccinated receive weekly testing, it's still not enough to protect other people, because the virus spreads exponentially, which means that it proliferates in much shorter periods of time. This is particularly concerning in medical facilities, where testing unvaccinated workers once a week risks exposing immunocompromised people to life-threatening conditions. The same goes for nursing homes.