U.S. Supremes: COVID19 Day-to-Day Danger "No Different...Air Pollution"
January 13, 2022 4:47 PM   Subscribe

 
Death cult.
posted by saturday_morning at 4:51 PM on January 13 [55 favorites]


I have "major questions" about this ruling.
posted by Max Power at 4:55 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]




OSHA estimates—and there is no ground for disputing—that the Standard will save over 6,500 lives and prevent over 250,000 hospitalizations in six months’ time.

that's one heck of a trolley problem
posted by theodolite at 5:01 PM on January 13 [39 favorites]


God. Abolish the supreme court. These ghouls.
posted by potrzebie at 5:04 PM on January 13 [29 favorites]


we are slowly losing our war with reality

all of us - yes, them, too - especially them

the battle of covid has pretty much been won by the virus, no matter what we do in this country because in the world at large, we failed to get billions of us vaccinated in time - and now we have to live with that

we are not going to see real american leadership solve this - for one thing we don't HAVE it anyway

so now, due to legal niceties, we can be totally irresponsible toward one another, not that anyone who's been driving lately hasn't seen that ...

we are too corrupt to protect ourselves, it seems

abolish the supreme court? why not abolish the whole damn shooting match? that's what this is leading up to - a collapsed, hollowed out society
posted by pyramid termite at 5:07 PM on January 13 [22 favorites]


From the dissent:
When we are wise, we know not to displace the judgments of experts, acting within the sphere Congress marked out and under Presidential control, to deal with emergency conditions. Today, we are not wise. In the face of a still-raging pandemic, this Court tells the agency charged with protecting worker safety that it may not do so in all the workplaces needed. As disease and death continue to mount, this Court tells the agency that it cannot respond in the most effective way possible. Without legal basis, the Court usurps a decision that rightfully belongs to others. It undercuts the capacity of the responsible federal officials, acting well within the scope of their authority, to protect American workers from grave danger.
posted by mochapickle at 5:12 PM on January 13 [111 favorites]


SCOTUS Blog coverage. It sounds like this decision was based specifically on whether OSHA had the authority to make this requirement, not whether the federal government in general could.
[Congress] gave the Department of Labor the power to establish safety standards for the workplace, rather than “broad public health measures.” Although COVID-19 “is a risk that occurs in many workplaces,” the court acknowledged, it isn’t a risk that workers encounter simply by virtue of being at work.
I have complicated thoughts on whether this logic is a good ruling, just trying to understand what it says.
posted by Nelson at 5:29 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


Reading the opinion, two things are clear:

All the democrats would have to do if they wanted to override this is pass a law.

And they won't.
posted by joeyh at 5:39 PM on January 13 [33 favorites]


Social Murder: when those with power place hundreds of people in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death.
posted by LegallyBread at 5:43 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]


I think the salient point here is that people (to an extent) can choose what level of Covid risk they are comfortable with in non-work environments, but the vast majority of non independently wealthy people are obligated to work in order to survive, and often are obligated to work in person, so workplace Covid exposure is essentially foisted on us without our consent. As such, I think it squarely falls under OSHA's purview. But, I'm just some jackass on the internet and not a legal scholar.
posted by Larry David Syndrome at 5:44 PM on January 13 [55 favorites]


Joeyh, that’s not a good reading of the decision. The majority wasn’t called upon to decide if Congress could mandate vaccines (in workplaces, or otherwise), and didn’t decide it. It only had to decide whether Congress had authorized OSHA to do so, and decided Congress hadn’t.
posted by MattD at 6:08 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


All the democrats would have to do if they wanted to override this is pass a law.

And they won't.


It takes 50 senators. We don't currently have 50 senators willing to do this, but all of the ones that would are democrats.
posted by Garm at 6:20 PM on January 13 [40 favorites]


I also object to the pull quote from this article. The decision is wrong, but they're talking about what OSHA has the authority to regulate. Just because something might be dangerous to a worker, doesn't mean that OSHA is the right organization to regulate it. Global warming will affect workers while they work because it affects everyone. That doesn't mean that OSHA can impose carbon regulations. That's not an irrelevant argument even if the dissent makes a good counterpoint that employees at work are uniquely limited in their ability to protect themselves and so OSHA has a responsibility here.
posted by Garm at 6:21 PM on January 13 [9 favorites]


Ironically I am midway through revisions of a novel partly based on Buck v Bell. You know, the case where the Court decided that "the principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes."

They didn't get it right in 1927 and they didn't get it right today.
posted by basalganglia at 6:21 PM on January 13 [17 favorites]


Everything a worker does to hurt themselves or someone else in a restaurant they can also do at home so why even have OSHA.
posted by bleep at 6:25 PM on January 13 [10 favorites]


Old quote - who dis?
posted by lalochezia at 6:26 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


That doesn't mean that OSHA can impose carbon regulations.

That's a totally different situation. You can get COVID at work, directly, no large-scale environmental calamities need to happen. You can also be poisoned at home, yet OSHA regulates poison at work.

Just because there is a "rational" loophole (OSHA isn't the right agency) doesn't mean it's a reasonable one.
posted by lab.beetle at 6:26 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]


No one else is in charge of protecting workers though.
posted by bleep at 6:27 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


This has to be only about blocking any opening for further regulations on corporations, right?

The cruelty is numbing.
posted by glaucon at 6:31 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


Time for Biden to declare this a national security issue and use the full power of his office to end this bullshit.
posted by interogative mood at 6:32 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


This decision is a farce. The statute refers to workplace dangers. A disease is a workplace danger. This opinion is like saying that because you could fall off your roof at home, OSHA can’t require safety harnesses for roofers.

And it’s no good to say the decision is just about this law. This law is clear. If the law had been written differently, they just would have discovered a different problem with it.

Best we can say is that they didn’t decide that administrative agencies are unconstitutional.
posted by kerf at 6:35 PM on January 13 [31 favorites]


It's like the whole point of OSHA is that you don't choose to be at work & you have almost no control over the conditions that exist when you get there. That's why OSHA is there to make sure they're trying to keep you safe because otherwise they have no reason to care. You can choose not to expose yourself to the virus in places you choose to go but you don't get to make choices at work. It's the whole point they're throwing away.
posted by bleep at 6:36 PM on January 13 [46 favorites]


Air pollution is murder, and kills one in five people worldwide.
posted by eustatic at 6:37 PM on January 13 [13 favorites]


And it’s no good to say the decision is just about this law. This law is clear. If the law had been written differently, they just would have discovered a different problem with it.

And if a Republican administration had created this mandate, the court would have upheld it.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:39 PM on January 13 [11 favorites]


Activist judges.
posted by hijinx at 6:40 PM on January 13 [16 favorites]


This is incredibly dispiriting. I'm sorry for us all.

Tonight I am choosing to think of the people out there who have made tiny wise decisions that made someone a little bit safer. I know some people like this. Some of them even have a little bit of power. It isn't enough. But it's what I have tonight.
posted by eirias at 6:41 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


OSHA was pretty much the only reason why my company was making headway on getting people vaccinated. "It's not our fault, blame the government." Now I doubt we'll ever get a company-wide mandate, let alone enough people vaccinated where I'll feel safe enough going back to the office. Maybe the legal reasoning is correct, I don't know, but the result is a disaster for everybody.
posted by lock robster at 6:51 PM on January 13 [8 favorites]


If they had technical issues with the legal reasoning, couldn't they have struck down the mandate but stayed their decision from taking effect by like several months or something thereby allowing the mandate to exist for the time being?

We are still in a pandemic after all.

Just pack the court already and lock Trump up. It's fucking terrible that nothing ever seems to get done.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:55 PM on January 13 [7 favorites]


If they had technical issues with the legal reasoning, couldn't they have struck down the mandate but stayed their decision from taking effect by like several months or something thereby allowing the mandate to exist for the time being?

SCOTUS went out of their way to strike it down early. Opponents of the law sued to get it overturned, and then also asked for a temporary halt to the law while their lawsuit was heard, appeals lodged, etc. These sorts of requests can be summarily denied, but instead SCOTUS chose to grant the request and the law is now stayed "pending review," but nobody expects the law to survive its next brush with the court; either a lower court will strike it down or SCOTUS will strike it down for good.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:04 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


It sounds like this decision was based specifically on whether OSHA had the authority to make this requirement, not whether the federal government in general could

Constraining government agencies from doing anything at all is an ideological project. The game is to say "ah, the law does seem to cover this situation with some specificity, but we'll put the bar for sufficiently specific authorization just a bit higher than that." Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh wrote a concurrence citing their own made-up "major questions doctrine", where if some government action is major enough, they can apply extra double scrutiny to the authorizing statute to make doubly sure it was sufficiently anticipated by Congress. What counts as major, and what counts as extra double scrutiny, is really entirely up to them.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:15 PM on January 13 [28 favorites]


Does this also strike down the mandate for operations (private or public) that receive federal funding?
posted by nat at 7:23 PM on January 13


So do we file this one under "balls and strikes" or "founding fathers' original intent"?
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:34 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I have not studied this case very carefully. However, was the 1905 smallpox case completely irrelevant here?
posted by bitterkitten at 7:40 PM on January 13


So do we file this one under "balls and strikes" or "founding father original intent"?


The night of the Trump election, there was this sickening feeling like they'd run the pool table. I live in Canada and feel more worried every day.
posted by brachiopod at 7:47 PM on January 13 [5 favorites]


Christ, what a bunch of assholes in black robes.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:53 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


There are many (difficult) ways to alleviate this terrible court, but one of the better (difficult) ones would be to fix the current congressional system that makes it nearly impossible for Congress to immediately pass another bill saying "this is what we mean." There are literally hundreds of court decisions in the last decade that turn on an interpretation of Congress's intent that, in a normal functional democracy (and there are many, despite what many Americans believe), would be immediately resolved by the legislature simply clarifying their intent via a new bill. The fact that we can't pass any bills at all, even a basic OSHA amendment, is at least as much the fundamental problem here as an overpowered, principleless, right-wing court.
posted by chortly at 7:59 PM on January 13 [42 favorites]


Does this also strike down the mandate for operations (private or public) that receive federal funding?

The mandate for facilities accepting Medicare and Medicaid still holds, but just barely, at 5 to 4.
posted by mochapickle at 8:33 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


The Supreme Court Had No Legal Reason to Block Biden’s Workplace Vaccine Rules. So it made one up.
This discrepancy highlights the Calvinball nature of both decisions. Reading (barely) between the lines, it’s evident that Roberts and Kavanaugh think the health care mandate is perfectly reasonable while the OSHA mandate is not. Both opinions, frankly, seem to start from that presumption and work backward. Yet the statutory language is blazingly clear in both cases. It’s hard to believe that the divided outcome results from anything other than two justices’ personal sense of how far, exactly, the government can go to rein in the pandemic.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:39 PM on January 13 [14 favorites]


Jacobson v. Massachusetts (25 S. Ct. 358, 1905):
"in every well ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint, to be enforced by reasonable regulations, as the safety of the general public may demand" and that "[r]eal liberty for all could not exist under the operation of a principle which recognizes the right of each individual person to use his own [liberty], whether in respect of his person or his property, regardless of the injury that may be done to others."

Furthermore, the Court held that mandatory vaccinations are neither arbitrary nor oppressive so long as they do not "go so far beyond what was reasonably required for the safety of the public". In Massachusetts, with smallpox being "prevalent and increasing in Cambridge", the regulation in question was "necessary in order to protect the public health and secure the public safety". The Court noted that Jacobson had offered proof that there were many in the medical community who believed that the smallpox vaccine would not stop the spread of the disease and, in fact, may cause other diseases of the body. However, the opinions offered by Jacobson were "more formidable by their number than by their inherent value" and "[w]hat everybody knows, ... [the] opposite theory accords with the common belief and is maintained by high medical authority." Therefore, it was left to the legislature, not the courts, to determine which of the "two modes was likely to be the most effective for the protection of the public against disease". No one could "confidently assert that the means prescribed by the State to that end has no real or substantial relation to the protection of the public health and the public safety".
posted by WCityMike2 at 9:20 PM on January 13 [9 favorites]


I just don’t care any more. I have no hope. I’m actually super awesome and fun in real life and no one is more loved than my wife and my cats. You will never meet me because I’m locked away and want absolutely nothing to do with anyone any more.

I fully give up. I have personal anecdotes of executives at my company cheering on a call about stopping reporting covid cases today. That’s what finally broke me.

Later, gators. I’m heading to real isolation population me, books, cats. I suggest you do the same.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:39 PM on January 13 [36 favorites]


keep hope alive! states can still impose pretty much whatever restrictions they want. this decision is just regarding a federal agency's authority. the US federal system is coming apart at the seams because the states very, very much disagree about covid.

what i mean is, the people in the states disagree. there is no consensus federally because there is no consensus among the voters in the states. if there was a popular referendum in red states on this question of whether OSHA can regulate vaccinations, i strongly suspect it would fail in those places. and that's who these right wing justices are beholden to.

the places where the US supreme court is really overstepping are areas where the far right is exceeding what any sort of majority would support it, like its coming (likely) repudiation of roe v. wade. but this covid decision, as much as i disagree with it, is probably popularly supported among the states where state-level rules don't already render it moot.
posted by wibari at 10:32 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Time for Biden to declare this a national security issue and use the full power of his office to end this bullshit.

Yeah but that would probably really cut into his me-time
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:39 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]




Remember when the supreme court put a quick stop to a law from Texas changing fifty years of healthcare rules in a second as they carefully deliberate the merits?


Oh wait. Consistency is for democracy and people who laws matter to.
posted by Jacen at 3:39 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


SCOTUS - dragging 21st Century American kicking and screaming in to the 20th Century.
posted by hwestiii at 4:17 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


The effects of electing Trump in 2016 and thus letting him pick three Supreme Court justices are going be terribly damaging to this country for a long, long time and this is just a little sneak peek at the future. Elections have consequences and for all the horrible things he did in office, and may again in a few years, his judicial appointments are probably the worst.
posted by octothorpe at 4:25 AM on January 14 [9 favorites]


If COVID is not a workplace hazard than I guess we'll have to amend that report to adjust the number of law enforcement officer deaths in the line of duty down from 458 to 159.
posted by ckape at 4:53 AM on January 14 [28 favorites]


Here’s where (and how) you are most likely to catch COVID – new study puts some numbers on some risks.

This is exactly what I've been looking for.

It's been tough for me to assess the risks of omicron. I'm vaccinated, boosted, I avoid crowds, never eat out, and I always wear an N95 mask. I know that case numbers have exploded, that omicron is way more transmissible than previous variants, and that the number of breakthrough cases is also way up. But I also know that people have gotten way, way, way, more lax about masking and social distancing.

It's been difficult to determine how much my personal risk has changed relative to the present surge. Is omicron evading N95 masks, or are lots more maskless people gathering together? Am I at greater risk when I go to the supermarket, or are more people going out to eat and catching it there? Does my booster protect me, or are unvaccinated people just that much more vulnerable?

Assuming that study takes omicron into account, the chart seems to imply that it hasn't evaded reasonable precautions.

And I can only assume that the court's determination that covid isn't a workplace hazard was also to preemptively squash OSHA from issuing any mask mandates or enforcing any other 'reasonable precautions' that don't include vaccine mandates. Because the court is evil and they don't care about worker safety.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:00 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]


Time for Biden to declare this a national security issue and use the full power of his office to end this bullshit.

No. If there were a serious threat to national security because of COVID, I think he would already have done so, months ago or longer. What I've read on this in the context of the armed forces, etc. suggests it's a problem, but not (yet) overwhelmingly so.

Declaring things a "national security issue" that are not would seem to me to set a dangerous precedent. For instance, I don't want the National Guard -- let alone the actual armed forces -- deployed wholesale inside the U.S. to quell real or astroturfed antivax protests or whatever, any more than I want RepublicanPresident to send in the troops because of the "national security issue" caused by "striking worker noncompliance" or the "fertility crisis." We are facing a civic and public health crisis and should be (emphasis on the "should") responding accordingly.

the US federal system is coming apart at the seams because the states very, very much disagree about covid.


This. And about many other things! Yesterday's decision is... not the one I would have made, but I am at least cheered by the health care worker part of it.
posted by cupcakeninja at 5:12 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


This is the kind of shit reasoning you get with a court full of "judges" appointed by an orange assclown. We're fucked for at least another generation, should we survive.
posted by tommasz at 5:14 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


WCityMike2 above, posted text from the 1905 ruling I asked about upthread. Don't know if it is poor practice here to ask a question in a blue thread again if nobody knows... anyhow I have the same one. Did the current Supreme Court in their ruling, just completely ignore the seeming precedent set by the Jacobson case? By this I mean, did they not even mention it? What about Biden's team? Surely they must have brought it up. I reckon I could search for transcript of the arguments, if those are posted somewhere.
posted by bitterkitten at 6:17 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


This may be tangential to the legal issues that are supposed to be at the core of this situation, but has the rationale for the mandate changed over time as the medical data and understanding has updated over time?

Originally, the rationale for the mandate was that it would improve workplace health because vaccinated people would not spread the virus. As this has now turned out to be false, a mandate could presumably no longer use reduced spread as a justification.

Of course, the big benefit of the vaccines that remains is the reduction in severe disease and death from covid for a few months for those people who receive it. Societally, this delivers the collective benefit of reducing the pressure on hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. This is a good thing, but does it lie under OSHA's purview?
posted by theorique at 6:25 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Did the current Supreme Court in their ruling, just completely ignore the seeming precedent set by the Jacobson case? By this I mean, did they not even mention it? What about Biden's team? Surely they must have brought it up. I reckon I could search for transcript of the arguments, if those are posted somewhere.
Jacobson said the Constitution doesn't forbid vaccine mandates when needed to combat a pandemic. Yesterday's decision on the OSHA rule doesn't contradict that -- rather, it says that even though a mandate would be constitutional, there still has to be a law authorizing it (which is uncontroversial on both sides of the aisle), and according to SCOTUS the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 doesn't allow for the rule OSHA issued. That's not to say they didn't use a ridiculous interpretation of the law to reach that conclusion, but it doesn't overturn or ignore Jacobson.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:32 AM on January 14 [5 favorites]


Originally, the rationale for the mandate was that it would improve workplace health because vaccinated people would not spread the virus. As this has now turned out to be false, a mandate could presumably no longer use reduced spread as a justification.

While it's true vaccinated folks can still transmit omicron, vaccines continue to reduce spread because they reduce the infection rate, particularly so for those who are boosted. Fewer active infections, less spread. So this argument remains a sound one.
posted by mochapickle at 6:36 AM on January 14 [8 favorites]


So if I'm understanding Jacobson and posters' comments correctly, if schools want to require that students be vaccinated, then the requirement must be via a state or federal law, and not a departmental or district-level policy?
posted by martin q blank at 6:38 AM on January 14


One other thing that may have encouraged the Court to stay this implementation is OSHA's capacity for imposing mind-blowingly high financial penalties on any company that fails to make a wholehearted attempt to come into compliance. If they can't get you to comply, they just take everything.

OSHA is not the enforcer they need to use here.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:09 AM on January 14


OSHA is too effective? So they have to do something else? There's only one OSHA.
posted by bleep at 7:13 AM on January 14 [7 favorites]


OSHA is not the enforcer they need to use here.

SCOTUS would simply have found a reason to strike down anything that looked too vaccine-mandatey. That's all the reasoning in the opinion comes down to: it didn't look occupationy enough for 6 of them.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:48 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


My 11,500 employee strong workplace was on course to implement a vaccine/weekly test mandate on 2/9 and they had the cover to blame OSHA. Now that the cover is gone, they've terminated their plan and just said 'please wear masks'.
posted by msbutah at 7:50 AM on January 14 [10 favorites]


The decision itself is bad enough, and people will die.

But the decision is just a signpost for the greater project, which is the deconstruction of the administrative state. The hardcore right HATES administrative agencies establishing rules and regulations that interfere with their profit-making.

This despite the fact that the implementation of the Clean Air Act and its implementing regulations has immeasureably improved air quality and health outcomes across the country, and has created jobs and incentivized technological innovation. The net gain for the people of the US from the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act and all those has been positive. There is a multi-billion dollar industry that grew up around the requirements to manage, track, and dispose of hazardous materials safely, for instance.

However the oligarchs resent that they have to spend any of their "hard-earned profit" on things like properly labelling and shipping their toxic chemicals for proper disposal, or putting scrubbers on their chimneys, or letting local regulators examine their plants to make sure an accident doesn't kill three dozen of their neighbors. They hate it so much.

The way these rules and regulations all work is that Congress sets up a federal agency like the EPA and gives them basic directions to regulate substances and activities that pose a threat to human health and safety. (The language in every statute would necessarily vary, but it's often fairly broad.) Then the agency (like EPA or OSHA) writes specific science-based regulations, generally after years and years of research, to address those risks. The industries participate in the rule-making process! This stuff goes through public comment, it's not dropped out of the sky.

So that there is the Administrative State: it's the agency bureaucrats and scientists drafting and enforcing rules about water quality and toxic waste and endangered species and occupational health.

The funders behind the Federalist Society have determined that the way to maximize profits, instead of making good safe products and handling them properly, is to get rid of the regulations that force them to actually internalize the social costs of the industry. So for the last 40 years, the FedSoc and their buddies have targeted the administrative agencies.

The argument that the agencies can only do exactly what Congress has told them to do, and no more, and cannot exercise discretion or creativity, is a construct built for the sole purpose of disassembling the apparatus that keeps your air and water clean. It is reverse-engineered out of the boardrooms at Monsanto and DuPont.

And if they win this argument in SCOTUS, which seems likely, the administrative state will be hobbled. Congress can't agree on voting rights, which have 60% approval ratings. You think they can agree on what risk level to use in regulating PM2.5?

Which will actually have a devastating effect on industry, because then it will be the states' problem to regulate this shit and every state will have different rules. Either nobody will be able to work in multiple states, or we will get a race to the bottom by way of major corporations strong-arming state legislatures.

If I worked in a job that could be useful internationally, and if I were younger, I'd think seriously about emigrating.
posted by suelac at 8:56 AM on January 14 [33 favorites]


All the democrats would have to do if they wanted to override this is pass a law.

And they won't.


Nay, can't. Not with Senator Vice President #2 Joe Manchin and Senator Vice President #3 Krysten Sinema grabbing at the reins.
posted by y2karl at 10:59 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


It's certainly a false equivalency for a variety of reasons, but we're living in a world where Trump can convince dozens of prominent and powerful Republican senators to embrace The Big Lie that our entire election system was rigged while Biden can't even convince just two Democratic senators to agree to monthly $300 checks to keep children out of poverty, let alone pass voting rights legislation to save the country as we know it.

I thought with a devastating pandemic, an unprecedented coup, and...everything else that's happened in the past four years we were beyond this kind of Democrats-powerless-to-stop-single-senator-from-throwing-a-tantrum-and-derailing-everything-crap, but apparently not.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:19 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


All the democrats would have to do if they wanted to override this is pass a law.

And they won't.

—-

It takes 50 senators. We don't currently have 50 senators willing to do this, but all of the ones that would are democrats.



Thank you. It is infuriating in these times when “the Democrats” are the ones being scapegoated for this bullshit, when the entire fucking Republican caucus is against a vaccine mandate (and Voting Rights, and Infrastructure spending, and, and, and.)

The great majority of “the Democrats” are on the right side of this issue. There are a few ConservaDems that are problematic, or outright bought, but it’s not “the Democrats” that are causing the clusterfuck this country is mired in right now.

This is not a “both sides” issue when most of one party is trying in good faith to implement positive change to help keep people safe from a deadly pandemic and preserve democracy, and 100% of the other party is adamantly obstructing it.
posted by darkstar at 11:24 AM on January 14 [24 favorites]


It's certainly a false equivalency for a variety of reasons, but we're living in a world where Trump can convince dozens of prominent and powerful Republican senators to embrace The Big Lie that our entire election system was rigged while Biden can't even convince just two Democratic senators to agree to monthly $300 checks to keep children out of poverty, let alone pass voting rights legislation to save the country as we know it.

I mean, Biden can convince way more than two Democratic senators to do that, he hasn't been able to convince fifty, in the same way "Republicans" oppose Obamacare but Trump couldn't get a Senate majority to sign on to their repeal bill.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:26 AM on January 14 [4 favorites]


Not to mention his whole pitch for why he needed to be president was that he was the only person in the whole country who could do this. And he assured us that he would. We're not crazy for expecting someone to do the job we hired them for. If it wasn't realistic to get anything done now that was obvious in 2019 too & he shouldn't have said otherwise.
posted by bleep at 11:47 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]


It is infuriating in these times when “the Democrats” are the ones being scapegoated for this bullshit, when the entire fucking Republican caucus is against a vaccine mandate (and Voting Rights, and Infrastructure spending, and, and, and.)

The Republican Party: Taking the Crypto out of Crypto-fascist since 2016.
posted by y2karl at 11:58 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


Here’s where (and how) you are most likely to catch COVID – new study puts some numbers on some risks.

Sorry for the derail, but one really interesting takeaway from that chart is the deleterious impact of speaking. In any two comparable situations, it seems that a person talking, with a mask on (!) is about twice as likely to catch covid as a person without a mask but keeping silent.
posted by xigxag at 12:31 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


It takes 50 senators. We don't currently have 50 senators willing to do this, but all of the ones that would are democrats.

Democrats have about 48-ish senators who should be making waves. Making speeches. Angrily denouncing the court and Republicans. And they should be out there on the attack.

They're supposed to be leaders. They can change public sentiment, they really can. Not to mention the president himself. They've just got to be as aggressive as Republicans are, which is hard to do when you have a sense of shame.
posted by zardoz at 4:56 PM on January 14 [11 favorites]


[Congress] gave the Department of Labor the power to establish safety standards for the workplace, rather than “broad public health measures.” Although COVID-19 “is a risk that occurs in many workplaces,” the court acknowledged, it isn’t a risk that workers encounter simply by virtue of being at work.

6 Supreme Court justices need to be made to go clean toilets for a few days. Seriously.

Janitorial work in commercial facilities is no different in kind from cleaning up your own house. You use the same chemicals on the same tools, and apply the same motions.

Except, you're doing it on the clock, so you're pressured to do it faster. And you're doing it with more concentrated chemicals. Which is why your company has to have the MSDS sheets on those chemicals on hand, and why there are safety rules to keep this kind of work from killing you.

Similarly, yes, you can catch covid-19 at home. But at home you're not facing the public, you control your home's ventilation, and you decide how to mask up and what to tell your visitors to do. As opposed to being a shit-paid clerk in a store with a boss who insists you bare your face and interact with the public, including the entitled unmasked, Unvaxxed sociopaths that have kept this pandemic going.
posted by ocschwar at 7:06 PM on January 14 [13 favorites]


They're supposed to be leaders. They can change public sentiment, they really can. Not to mention the president himself. They've just got to be as aggressive as Republicans are, which is hard to do when you have a sense of shame.

They don't need to sink to Republican depths to be aggressive.

Almost 850,000 Americans have died from Covid and we've had what, a single national memorial service? Apparently there is an effort to designate the first Tuesday in March "COVID–19 Victims and Survivors Memorial Day", but you wouldn't really have known it because it got like zero attention.

Democrats should be taking every possible opportunity to hammer home the message that yes, this is a freaking emergency. Have hearings about the failures of the initial pandemic response. Denounce Republicans and Trump for having blood on their hands. Demand answers. Declare a national day of morning. Shame Republicans for being with the virus.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:18 PM on January 14 [8 favorites]


There are a few ConservaDems that are problematic, or outright bought, but it’s not “the Democrats” that are causing the clusterfuck this country is mired in right now.

The Democrats are being blamed because they're not trying particularly hard. A year into this presidency and no free masks, no free tests. The CDC just now, finally stopped recommending cloth masks. Harris doubled down on "just Google it." It took Biden a year to make a speech on voting rights. He formed a commission on the Supreme Court. If they do manage to pass something, it's dead at the SC without adding justices. They traded away the infrastructure bill for jack shit. Pelosi is out here defending stock trading for our representatives. "We're better than Republicans" is the lowest of low bars and doesn't cut it. We are in multiple crises. They should be aggressively doing everything they can, and they are not. People are still gonna be out here defending them when we're living in The Handmaid's Tale and cities are sinking into the sea.
posted by Mavri at 7:23 PM on January 14 [9 favorites]


Democrats should be taking every possible opportunity to hammer home the message that yes, this is a freaking emergency. Have hearings about the failures of the initial pandemic response. Denounce Republicans and Trump for having blood on their hands. Demand answers. Declare a national day of morning. Shame Republicans for being with the virus.

The first couple of months of the pandemic were a bipartisan clown show, which can't entirely be laid at the feet of the Republicans. Some Republican governors were decisive and measured (e.g. deWine in Ohio who got out ahead of things in shutting down) while some Democratic governors made poor choices that led to increased deaths (e.g. NY and NJ with their policies of returning still-contagious patients to care homes, thus seeding major outbreaks among a very vulnerable population). Trump was doing his usual "being Trump" thing, which polarized and didn't necessarily help.

Biden has had a full year to put his pandemic plan into effect, with the backing of a Democratic House and Senate. As he pointed out recently, there are limitations on what the federal government can do ... but that's not what he promised while campaigning. In any case, it's hard to lay the responsibility for all of 2021 at the feet of the House or Senate Republicans.
posted by theorique at 8:04 AM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I have an infinite amount of blame in my heart for anyone who deserves it. There's no need to ration blame when this reality is what it currently is.
posted by bleep at 2:10 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


It's really fun when at least four current Supreme Court justices should be in prison. Of course that's true for most judges so….
posted by ob1quixote at 4:10 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Commentary by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss via Skeptical Raptor.
posted by kathrynm at 5:30 PM on January 15


Biden has had a full year to put his pandemic plan into effect, with the backing of a Democratic House and Senate.

No. He didn’t. There are two Democratic Senators who have consistently stood in the way of doing anything effective. But, you know that.

As he pointed out recently, there are limitations on what the federal government can do ... but that's not what he promised while campaigning. In any case, it's hard to lay the responsibility for all of 2021 at the feet of the House or Senate Republicans.

It’s also impossible to lay this at the feet of Biden and the other 48 Democratic Senators who are doing whatever they can. But, without those two aforementioned senators, there’s nothing Biden and all the rest of the Democratic caucus can do. Biden’s been doing overtime trying to twist the arms of Manchin and Synema. Those two practically live at the White House. They were there over the weekend.

No one here has any fucking idea what is going on behind the scenes to get the votes. No one. And that’s where change is going to happen. Not squawking on the talking head shows. Not screaming on some public pulpit. Not writing to your congresscritter. The lines have been drawn and the only thing that can change are those two votes, and that’s where Biden & Co’s focus is. And it’s not gonna happen in public.

I am constantly stunned at the naïveté of so many here. It’s as if folks think all Biden had to do on day-1 is snap his fingers and make everything perfect. Yeah, he made promises. Anyone who even has a passing knowledge of how government works knows those promises are contingent on voters sending enough Democrats to congress to make them reliably happen. But, the voters didn’t, and here we are.

I get the frustration. I feel it too. I’m pretty sure Biden and the 48 good ones do too. Target your ire at Manchin, Synema, and the GOP. That’s where the problem is.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:52 PM on January 16 [8 favorites]


« Older NBC's TODAY Show at 70 (at 35)   |   1st Sedition Charges for January 6, 2021... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.