Tuesday, January 25, 2022
BY SARAH LAZARUS & CROOKED MEDIA
** -Conservative MP Conor Burns ([link removed]) , on Boris Johnson's lockdown birthday party
A new front has opened up in the GOP war on federal pandemic measures, and in a painful reminder that everything can always get dumber, this one’s about protecting Americans’ sacred right to expensive, tax-payer subsidized medicine that doesn’t work.
* On Monday, the FDA revoked emergency authorization ([link removed]) for monoclonal antibody therapies from Regeneron and Eli Lilly for now, as both drugmakers have reported that the treatments were ineffective against the Omicron variant. As a result, the Department of Health and Human Services notified state health officials that it had halted distribution of the drugs. In a functional society, this would be the end of the newsletter, and we would all go watch a movie.
* Alas! Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), whose pandemic response consists of railing against prevention measures and relying on antibody treatments to save Floridians who wind up hospitalized as a result, vowed to fight the decision ([link removed]) in some unspecified fashion. “People have a right to access these treatments, and to revoke it on this basis is just fundamentally wrong and we’re going to fight back,” he said at a Tuesday press conference. Asked about DeSantis’s anti-FDA diatribe, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the only thing there is to say: “Let’s just take a step back here to realize how crazy this is.”
* The other exhausting battles over masks and vaccines rage on, even in solid blue states. A New York judge struck down the state’s indoor mask mandate ([link removed]) on Monday, ruling that Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) and state health officials couldn’t enact the rule without the approval of the state legislature. A day later, an appeals-court judge approved a request ([link removed]) from New York Attorney General Letitia James to stay the ruling while the state files an appeal, temporarily restoring the mandate.
On the flipside, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) has created chaos ([link removed]) by attempting to impose COVID-spreading policies on unwilling school systems (in violation of state law).
* Much as he tried to balance a moderate aesthetic with MAGA dog-whistles during his campaign, Youngkin is now urging Virginians to “love your neighbor” ([link removed]) even while Trumpishly stoking the kind of anti-mask rage that emboldened one woman to threaten school officials ([link removed]) and other parents to gleefully defy school mask requirements ([link removed]) . Youngkin told right-wing radio host John Fredericks on Monday that the school districts keeping mask mandates in place “aren’t recognizing the rights of parents today.” (In the same interview, Mild-Mannered Normal Republican Youngkin
announced a tip line where parents can report teachers who use “divisive” class material.)
* The GOP’s courting of the anti-mask, anti-vax fringe has some very predictable, very cool longer-term implications ([link removed]) . In Georgia, a GOP state senator has introduced a bill that would ban the state from requiring “proof of any vaccination of any person as a condition of providing any service or access to any facility.” As written, the bill would abolish vaccine requirements entirely for Georgia public schools. The author said that wasn’t his intention and that he planned to “adjust” the bill, but Republicans in other states have been tip-toeing in the same direction ([link removed]) .
From Donald Trump sycophants to purple-state Republicans who stood apart to get elected, the GOP will use the dumbest weapons imaginable to prolong the pandemic to the bitter end. A party that will wreck the country to regain control of it isn’t likely to stop once it gets there.
Pod Save America is hitting the road this spring for Pod Save America: (A)Live and on Tour! The tour kicks off on April 14th in Washington D.C with Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor, and Dan Pfeiffer traveling to cities like Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, and more—and they’ll be joined by inspiring local activists, candidates and politicians. The listener pre-sale has begun, use the code CROOKED! For the full list of dates and for more information on city-specific COVID protocol, visit Crooked.com/events ([link removed]) .
Russia launched a wave of military exercises across the country on Tuesday ([link removed]) , while accusing the U.S. of escalating tensions by delivering a fresh shipment of weapons to Ukraine and putting troops on high alert. While President Biden told reporters that a Russian attack “would be the largest invasion since World War II” and “would change the world,” Ukrainian leaders have sought to downplay the threat ([link removed]) , urging citizens to remain calm. (Analysts say that may be a strategy to avoid provoking Russia and creating mass panic, or just a function of Ukraine being used to a constant, high threat level—or some combination.) The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it was working with fuel suppliers in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia ([link removed])
to increase the flow of supplies to Europe in the coming weeks, to reduce any leverage Russia might gain by threatening to cut off fuel shipments.
* Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and nine of his co-defendants pleaded not guilty on Tuesday ([link removed]) to charges that include seditious conspiracy. (The 11th charged Oath Keeper wasn’t at the hearing.)
* Pfizer and BioNTech have begun testing their new Omicron-specific vaccine ([link removed]) in a clinical trial.
* The federal trial for the three former Minneapolis police officers ([link removed]) who stood by while Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd began on Monday with opening statements.
* A federal judge indicated he’ll reject coup-planner John Eastman’s request to invalidate his January 6 committee subpoena ([link removed]) , ordering him to work together with the panel to produce the documents he wanted to hide.
* Alex Jones said on his radio show on Tuesday that he was deposed by the January 6 committee ([link removed]) and that he pleaded the Fifth “almost 100 times.”
* J.D. Vance, vowing to “take the country back from the scumbags,” welcomed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R-GA) endorsement in the GOP Ohio Senate primary ([link removed]) , which promises to be a gentlemanly contest of policy platforms and high-minded ideals.
* OAN host Dan Ball asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) ([link removed]) to “please put some pressure on AT&T and DirecTV for us” at the end of an interview, after DirecTV dropped the far-right propaganda network.
* The SAT will be completely digital starting in 2024 ([link removed]) , in a devastating blow to Big Pencil.
* A new online release of Fight Club in China has a completely different ending ([link removed]) in which the state triumphs and Tyler winds up in a lunatic asylum. The first rule of fight club is, President Xi is very handsome.
It’s a commonly held assumption in The Discourse that additional school closures during the Omicron wave would be disastrous for Democrats in the midterms, in large part fueled by Terry McAuliffe’s stinging defeat in Virginia. But writing in the New Republic, journalist Rachel Cohen gathered a mountain of evidence showing that parents and voters hold more nuanced views ([link removed]) : Throughout the pandemic, polls found that in spite of how much remote learning sucks, most parents and most voters didn’t want kids in school buildings full-time until teachers could get vaccinated. And while “education” was undeniably a major factor in the Virginia gubernatorial election, it looks likely that Glenn Youngkin’s voters were more fired up about the manufactured CRT culture war than pandemic school closures. The bottom line, of course, is that schools can’t stay open when the whole staff gets sick at once, regardless of what
pundits would prefer. Here’s a great piece on what teachers have been going through ([link removed]) , in their own words.
Three federal judges in Alabama ([link removed]) have blocked Republicans’ new congressional maps that packed Black voters into a single district.
A Wisconsin appeals court ([link removed]) has temporarily blocked a judge’s order prohibiting drop boxes in the state.
Neil Young ([link removed]) has threatened to pull his music from Spotify if it continues to host Joe Rogan and his vaccine disinformation.
General Motors ([link removed]) announced it will invest $7 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing in Michigan, bringing thousands of jobs to the state.