Tucker Carlson has some serious freedom that most Americans would love to also have.
I’m not talking about the economic freedom he got from being born a multimillionaire trust-fund-baby heir to the Swanson Frozen Food fortune; his freedom to promote weird, racist conspiracy theories every night on TV ad nauseum; or even his white privilege freedom to drive down the street and not fear getting pulled over or killed by a racist cop.
I’m talking about his freedom to do his job every day in a Covid-free environment. Tucker’s got it, big time, and most Americans would love to have it, especially those who have to deal with the public.
Fox “News” is one of the American workplaces that absolutely mandates that their employees must be vaccinated to work there or they will make life pretty miserable for you.
Billionaire oligarch Murdoch’s company developed their own in-house vaccine passport system that people have to show to enter the building or various other workplaces associated with the Murdoch empire.
“Following our request for employees to upload their vaccination status in our secure system,” wrote Senior VP for Human Resources Kevin Lord in an internal memo, “we are pleased to share that more than 90% of our full-time employees reported that they are fully vaccinated.”
Kevin Lord emphasized that the 10% who are still not “fully” vaccinated (many presumably have had their first shot) will have to undergo “daily” Covid testing to work at Fox.
The Danes now have that freedom, too, as do the Israelis. Both countries are pretty much entirely back to normal, in most venues not even needing masks.
As the Danish Public Health Ministry said in a press release almost a month ago: “The government will not extend the categorization of covid-19 as a socially critical disease in Denmark.”
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On August 27th, the Danish Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, told the nation:
“The epidemic is under control, we have record high vaccination rates. Therefore, on September 10, we can drop some of the special rules we have had to introduce in the fight against covid-19. The government has promised not to hold on to the measures any longer than was necessary, and there we are now.”
How’d they do it? Denmark had a vaccine passport that you had to show to get on a bus, enter a store, or go to work so everyone got vaccinated. A few weeks ago when the country fully and officially opened up, they even did away with the need for that vaccine passport except for some large events.
Israel had the same type of vaccine mandate and passport system with what they called their Green Pass.
“Israelis celebrated the start of the week-long Sukkot holiday on Monday evening,” wrote the Times of Israel on Wednesday, “one year after the strict restrictions of Israel’s second pandemic lockdown made last year’s festival a more subdued affair. This year, citizens are allowed to gather for large festive meals and attend synagogue services with few limitations, while many are also taking advantage of the holiday to go on trips, either within Israel or abroad.”
Most of the rest of the developed world is getting closer to that freedom every day; for some countries it’s just a matter of weeks or months at most.
And they all did it the same way: vaccine mandates and vaccine passports.
If America was to go “back to normal” because we hit vaccination rates like Denmark or Israel, the economy would boom and people would be jubilant. It would not only save lives but be spectacularly good political news for President Joe Biden; his popularity numbers would shoot through the roof, along with the stock market and full employment numbers.
Which, from the GOP’s point of view, would be intolerable.
Republicans are behaving like they’re perfectly happy to have a few thousand Americans unnecessarily die every day, and hundreds of thousands get long-covid and end up permanently disabled, if it means that Biden can’t take credit for putting the country back together.
For example, in Wisconsin this week, school board member Tony Klatt resigned his job because his house and family were being stalked and threatened by Trump-humpers. His crime? He voted to mandate masks for schoolchildren in the district in order to keep them and their families safe from a deadly disease being spread by unvaccinated kids and adult Republican followers.
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“The decision to put our kids in masks is not a popularity contest, it’s based on facts at hand,” Klatt told a Wisconsin newspaper.
But facts aren’t relevant to Republicans who don’t want the country to get back to normal when there’s a Democrat in the White House.
“With those pieced artifacts of selective information floating around and the communications that I have received as a result,” Klatt said, “my family no longer feels safe. … Therefore, I have to do what is best for my family and their well-being and resign my position on the school board effective immediately. It isn’t in my family’s best interest for me to try to appease a vocal group that continue to try to intimidate, harass, insult, and throw civility to the side.”
This is happening all across America, as school board members are intimidated, threatened and stalked by Republican-aligned anti-mask and anti-vax thugs who were quite happy when Donald Trump was running Operation Warp Speed and got himself and his family vaccinated, but did a sudden 180 when Joe Biden entered the White House.
And now hospitals across the United States are overwhelmed and turning away people with injuries and cancers because all their beds are filled with unvaccinated Covid patients who listened to Republicans and their media. Idaho and Alaska have declared statewide hospital crises, and more Red states will follow soon.
“Crisis Standards of Care” is also known as healthcare rationing, and it’s a disaster that affects you, me and everybody, everywhere; we’re all vulnerable to an accident or sudden illness that may require hospitalization…that might not be there for us because Republican followers have overwhelmed the hospitals.
This is a political crime and an American tragedy, all fueled by a cynical Republican party and its extensive, billionaire-funded media branches, pushing stories that are killing Americans to gain electoral advantage.
Nonetheless, even in America, some green shoots are popping up through the BS Republican politicians and rightwing media are spreading. As Denmark, Israel and Fox “News” are proving, high vaccination rates work and Democratic-majority parts of America are heading toward normal whether the GOP likes it or not.
California this week achieved the lowest Covid “case rate” in the nation (that’s the number of people infected per 100,000) at 32 per 100,000 people. Many Republican-controlled states are running 200+ to 300+ case rates per 100,000 people, throwing those states (and their hospitals) into crisis.
And California’s case rate would be far, far lower if about half the state (geographically) wasn’t Red: the Republican-voting counties are dragging the state down and adding to its death and disease rate, just like here in Oregon, where Portland is doing okay but Red counties are throwing the state into crisis.
This is happening in every state in the country.
In response to all this “bad publicity,” Republican apologists on social media have begun pushing hard on a couple of new and interesting lies.
One is an outright lie that hospitals are melting down because their staffs are quitting en masse in protest of mandated vaccines and that’s why they can’t provide the care people need. (A small number of nurses are quitting, but it’s because they’re burned out by the Covid the GOP has inflicted on this nation; we have the highest Covid infection and near the highest death rates in the entire world. But “quitting staff” is not why hospitals are in crisis.)
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The second lie they’re promoting is that mandating vaccines will “economically disrupt America” because millions of people “will quit their jobs instead of getting a vaccine.” This is pitched to us in dozens of different forms from think tanks to politicians to articles that litter the internet: just google “business embrace vaccine mandates” and you’ll see how hard they’ve worked to skew the public dialogue.
But people in the workplace aren’t quitting. Instead, they’re saving lives by getting vaccinated.
When United Airlines required their 20,000+ employees to get the jab or take unpaid time off, the number of people who chose to say “No” to the vaccine was, according to United CEO Scott Kirby, fewer than ten people.
Similarly, when a 23,000-person hospital chain in Maine required 100% vaccination to come to work, there was an enormous kerfuffle in the local press, with demonstrations and Republicans on the staff shouting to the press about Nazism and vaccine overreach. But when the hospital chain finally put their mandate into effect, a total of 45 people — 0.19 percent of the staff — chose to quit rather than take the shot. Almost none of them were actual medical personnel.
As vaccine mandates spread across corporate America (and they’re being embraced by companies of all sizes and types), we’ll eventually hit the 90+ percent vaccination rate that appears to be the threshold for herd immunity against the Delta variant.
Republicans are betting, hoping, and fighting to make sure that things don’t get better until after the 2022 midterm elections, so they can proclaim President Biden’s failure to end the Covid pandemic (and its economic consequences) and offer themselves as an alternative.
Thus, America is at a crossroads: do we become more like Denmark or Brazil?
For the sake of America — and all the otherwise decent people who will become sick or die because they watch Fox “News” and listen to Republican politicians — we must rebut and stop their lies.
If America is successful and we can get almost everybody vaccinated like Denmark, Fox “News,” and Israel, we can all be as “free” of disease in the public square as Tucker Carlson is in the workplace. And wouldn’t that be a good thing!
Originally posted at The Hartmann Report
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