Fri 2022-Apr-29

Too Much AND Too Little COVID-19?!

Tagged: COVID / Politics

Recently 2 Trump-appointed judges in the US have ruled that they can overturn Biden policies because there is simultaneously too much COVID-19 and too little COVID-19. They’re not even pretending to be rational any more.

Too much AND too little COVID-19?!

It came to my attention this way, from a chaired professor of social science at NYU, who might thus be suspected of knowing what he’s talking about re social policy:

So let’s unpack for a moment what he’s talking about. Following The Hunting of the Snark, this is “an agony in 2 fits”:

Fit the First: Serious COVID-19 Risk as an Excuse to Block Migrants

Jordan & Sullivan @ NYT: COVID danger as excuse to block migrants Jordan & Sullivan have a pretty good explainer in the NYT. [1]

Let’s face it: Republicans are xenophobic, which causes them a great deal of anxiety about immigration, legal or illegal.

  • Trump, ever cunning, figured out how to exploit that. He could leverage people’s fears that migrants brought disease via Title 42: require migrants, including refugees, not be permitted to enter the US on the basis of public health.
  • Biden has lately not been enforcing this, and was moving to repeal it. Several southern states, ever the bastions of racism and xenophobia, sued to prevent him. Judge Summerhays, a Trump appointee, agreed: COVID is so serious a public health threat that the law requires blocking migration.

This in spite of a ruling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying otherwise: the gut feeling of a Republican judge is more important than scientific judgement.

Conservatives are not serious people, just power-hungry.

Fit the Second: Trivial COVID-19 Risk as an Excuse to Block Mask Mandates

Savage & Murphy @ NYT: Lack of COVID danger as excuse to strike down mask mandates

Let’s face it: Republicans hate public health measures like masks and vaccinations, apparently viewing them as government over-reach trampling on their freedoms. These are of course “freedoms” to infect others, which is just straight-up crazy, but that’s what they say.

Recently a federal judge in Florida overturned federal mask mandates.

Savage & Murphy have a good explainer in the NYT. [2]

  • Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle was appointed by Trump, in spite of the fact that the American Bar Association declared her not qualified due to lack of experience! [3]
  • She decided to go with her gut against the judgement of the CDC, declaring that COVID-19 was not a serious threat any more.
  • She also adhered to several conservative shibboleths, such as regulatory powers having to be specifically enumerated in law, not just “and other measures as the CDC deems important.” She would require Congress to use powers of prophecy to foresee future needs and explicitly list them in law. This is obvious nonsense on stilts, designed to kneecap the government so it cannot even function in any meaningful way.

Again, the gut feeling of a Republican judge trumped the CDC so a conservative policy could be forced onto the rest of us.

The Weekend Conclusion

These are not serious people. They are, however, power-hungry. They are willing to bend facts forward (“Too much COVID-19? Close the borders!”) and backward (“Too little COVID-19? Off with their masks!”) in favor of their policies, with no respect for truth whatsoever.


Notes & References

1: M Jordan & E Sullivan, “Judge Says Migrants Must Still Be Denied Entry for Health Reasons”, New York Times, 2022-Apr-25.

2: C Savage & H Murphy, “Federal Judge Strikes Down Mask Mandate for Planes and Public Transit”, New York Times, 2022-Apr-18.

3: DC Weiss, “Federal judicial nominee lacks enough experience, ABA says in letter explaining ‘not qualified’ rating”, ABA Journal, 2020-Sep-10.

Written Fri 2022-Apr-29

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