Let's Fix This Country
pandemic

Suspicions Rise: Did the Virus Escape from a Wuhan Lab?

A15-member international contingent from the World Health Organization (WHO) journeyed to Wuhan, China, early this year to seek out the source of the original Covid-19 outbreak that has led to the deaths of close to three million people worldwide. At the end of March, they turned in their report. It did not go over well.

Earlier complaints that the WHO has been too deferential toward China were not eased by the WHO's member states deciding the
A wet market in Wuhan, China

junket should be a collaboration between Chinese and foreign scientists, not an independent investigation or audit, so the international 15 were joined by a Chinese delegation of equal size. The Chinese were even given the right of approval of who was permitted on the tour; two from the international group were halted in Singapore. And once the group arrived, they were required by Chinese authorities to spend the first two weeks in quarantine, cutting their month-long trip in half.

Under the ground rules China set, they would do the primary investigation and share their findings with WHO's team. The team saw only what the Chinese government wanted them to see. The report therefore came to no solid conclusions. It drew immediate doubts for its acceptance of what the Chinese told them.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, fresh from a contentious meeting with the Chinese in Anchorage, Alaska, told CNN of his doubts about “the methodology and the process,” and “the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it". Former National Security Council official Jamie Metzl said in a "60 Minutes" interview, they "did not have the independence or access to carry out a full and unrestricted investigation".

second thoughts

The most prevalent belief has been that the coronavirus originated…

congress

Tempers Flare Over Move to Kill Filibuster and Revive Senate

Mitch McConnell is livid. "Nobody serving in this chamber can even begin, can even begin", he repeated, "to imagine what a completely scorched earth Senate would look like". He was reacting to the threat of Democrats ending the filibuster, the Senate process for preventing bills from becoming law by requiring a super majority of 60 votes rather
Drew Sheneman, The Star Ledger
than a simple majority of one. No longer the Senate majority leader, he is furious that the filibuster might be taken away from him. He demands it because it transfers the Senate's power to him, taking it from the Democrats, never mind that they became the majority by winning in the elections.

There is no provision for the filibuster in the Constitution, but we often are told — by those holding the short straw — that without the filibuster, the Senate will be subject to the tyranny of the majority. McConnell prefers the tyranny of the minority, armed with the filibuster to block the victorious party from passing its legislative program.

Republicans may ridicule a majority that is so only when Vice-President Kamala Harris steps in to break 50-50 ties. But Democrats should reject such cavils for good reason:. Should they ditch the filibuster the votes of the 50 Democratic senators speak for a whopping majority of voters over those claimed by Republicans. The populations of the states the 50 Democratic senators represent exceed the populations backing the Republican senators by close to 40 million people, which we found when we ran the data, a fact useful in this argument but seemingly so far undiscovered by the media.

McConnell thinks the Senate belongs to him. He would use every rule…

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pandemic

The Race to Vaccinate Runs Up Against States’ Rush to Open

It's a race between foolishness and time, between states lifting virus restrictions without waiting for vaccinations to make lifting safe, pitted against Biden pleading forbearance because there'll be enough vaccine for every adult by the end of May. It's the unending war between left and right. Even a pandemic is political.

Governors and local officials, mostly of red states, are ending the one mandate that health officials and common sense tells us is the most effective practice, the one safeguard that permits near full restoration of the economy and the return of kids to school: the wearing of masks.

That opens an ominous gap, with health experts fretting that we are heading into a fourth surge. That's what has the new chief of the
No distance, no masks at Miami street party over spring break
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, expressing "the recurring feeling I have of impending doom". She pleads that we "just please hold on a little while longer" because "we have so much promise and potential, but right now I'm scared".

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who led the Food and Drug Administration during Trump's first two years, doesn't expect a "true" fourth wave of Covid-19 but thinks the country should wait a few weeks longer before easing mitigation efforts.

After a steady decline in cases, the U.S. is now topping 60,000 new cases a day and over a thousand deaths. We just hit an astounding four million vaccinations in a single day after averaging 3.1 million daily for a week, but we are coming up against some 40% of Republicans who say they will refuse vaccination, preferring either… Read More »

the election

Why Do We Let the Big Lie of a Stolen Election Stand?

Yes, probe the attack on Congress, but we need to expose the election's Big Lie

To examine the "facts and causes" of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for a commission like that which investigated the 9/11 attacks. House members on the left and right have already drawn up separate bills prescribing who would choose commission members. Skeptics wonder how non-partisan members can possibly be found in today's polarized climate.

There is already disagreement. Democrats want to stack the deck with seven of their own on the commission against four Republicans, with
only the Democrats granted subpoena power. "Partisan by design" said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, correctly. If the Democrats' design were to go forward, the commission's findings would be written off as rigged.

Republicans want to restrict the inquiry to just the events of January 6th. Democrats want to probe domestic extremism at large. In turn, Republicans will insist on the right to investigate left-wing violent groups. Missing from either draft is a provision requiring that none of the commission panelists be current politicians, that all should be several years removed from government to maximally purge today's toxic partisanship. Imagine a commission disrupted by gaslighters… Read More »

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