Need a Reason To Support Jon Ossoff? He’s Pro-CDC, Which I Guess is Controversial

 

Image result for georgia 6th district

Turning this blue would be pretty cool…

 

Today’s special election in Georgia’s 6th is being widely touted as a “bellwether”, which is one of those fun words that political journalists like to say, and is rarely used in any other context. I’m guessing most pundits aren’t versed on its etymology, as it refers originally to a castrated male sheep with a bell around its neck that the rest of the flock follows.

I’m not criticizing pundits for not knowing the word’s history; it’s been used as a metaphor for about 700 years, which is really pretty cool. But it still fits in this scenario: these are the sort of elections that everyone decides mean something, and because of that, they actually do. If no one paid much attention to GA-6, as normally happens, it wouldn’t be seen as anything except a dreary local election focused entirely on local concerns. But because we are paying attention, the stakes are raised, and it matters. The main candidates have decided to run on more explicitly national themeseEveryone is moving in the same direction, following the bell.

If no one paid much attention to GA-6, as normally happens, it wouldn’t be seen as anything except a dreary local election focused entirely on local concerns. But because we are paying attention, the stakes are raised, and it matters. The main candidates have decided to run on more explicitly national themes, which of course means pro-or-anti-Trump. Lines are drawn, and in our tribalized times you have to choose. Everyone is moving in the same direction, following the bell.

I can’t claim to be any expert on GA-6, but smart money is that young Democrat Jon Ossoff won’t get quite enough to avoid a runoff, which is too bad. An outright win today would, by dint of consensus, send a clear signal that Trump isn’t popular, and that his voters are turning away. Whether or not this is true, I don’t know. It could just be that his voters are his alone, and aren’t interested in the midterms.

I do know that it is important to support Jon Ossoff (and it isn’t too late to make phone calls!), if for no other reason than it will drive Trump crazy. But any indication of wobble could make nervous Republicans slightly more reluctant to attach their fates and their sacred honor to the President, which is a good thing.

But it is also just good to get more liberals, or at least, more people who aren’t conservative Republicans who might, against all odds, let Ryanism happen. Proof of this? Something that caught my eye when I was getting the volunteer link.

CHAMBLEE, GA –  Joined by former CDC director Dr. Jeffrey Koplan at a press conference this morning, Congressional candidate Jon Ossoff called on the other 17 candidates in the Sixth District race to unify in opposition to a provision of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that would gut the health security infrastructure necessary to detect and fight infectious disease outbreaks like Ebola and Zika.

The provision would slash funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), devastating efforts to protect Georgians and the nation from deadly pandemics. The massive cuts would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health fund, which is critical to preventing outbreaks of dangerous diseases like Ebola and Zika.

For more info, read this Vox explainer linked in the blurb about Republican opposition to funding public health research, including work on heart disease, vaccines, and efforts to reduce deadly infections people catch at hospitals. This includes cuts to the CDC of nearly 10%.

Anyone who is worried about a pandemic, which would be anyone possessed of more consciousness and public spirit than a castrated sheep, should be on the side of this. If you want to know why Jon Ossoff should win–if you want to know why the madness of the current GOP needs to be fought–you don’t have to go much further than slashing funding for the CDC. Seriously, these people…

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The Mercy Seat: Arkansas Executions Postponed

(Note: some quick hits today as I try to rebalance a full schedule and pretend the Stanley Cup playoffs haven’t actually started yet, and this is all some grim dream…)

Shortly before midnight, the US Supreme Court postponed another in the spate of executions Arkansas has been planning. The state had been planning to execute eight men in 11 days, which, if it seems just like a spate of spring cleaning, sort of is.

The ruling brought to three the number of condemned prisoners who have now been spared the audacious execution schedule set by Republican governor Asa Hutchinson in a rush to use a batch of the lethal injection drug midazolam before it expires at the end of the month.

Think about the cruel mentality that would think of such a thing, with no more thought than rushing to make some sandwiches before the mayo turns. But there is a twist: you can always get more mayo. The problem with midazolam is that even drug companies don’t want to make it, and it has to be imported from abroad, a process that is getting more difficult because there is growing evidence that the process of death is essentially torture.

But, for Hutchinson, and for much of the right, that’s the whole damn point. It’s showing that they are the tough ones, that they don’t care about your little PC whining on the rights of murderers. Which can be a compelling argument, emotionally. I don’t know the details of the cases, but I haven’t heard anything that any of these men have been wrongly convicted. So talking about the victims and justice is justifiably powerful.

It isn’t really about the victims, though. It’s about a display of power, and keeping the (generally) racialized mechanics of death in place. It’s about being able to say that even though far-left wing pharmaceutical companies want to stop us from carrying out the hard work of justice, we’re going to push through.

When Rick Perry got applauded for saying he never lost a moment’s sleep about the incredible number of humans he had put to death, that wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t just “right audience, right time”. It was an encapsulation of GOP beliefs. There is no cruelty too great or meanness too small not to be applauded if it makes liberals angry.