Biden unfriends Facebook, betrays Covid frustration

Biden unfriends Facebook, betrays Covid frustration

Posted: Jul 18, 2021 11:01 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2021 11:01 PM

"They're killing people."

President Joe Biden's shot at social media networks like Facebook over Covid-19 misinformation circulating on their platforms may betray frustration that his success in fighting the pandemic is being undermined by vaccine hesitancy.

Some Republican leaders and conservative talk show hosts are seeking to boost their political profiles and ratings by hyping the government vaccine effort as the actions of a totalitarian government trying to erode American freedoms. And it's having a terrible toll, as Covid-19 cases shoot up in Republican-led states especially and as it emerges that almost everyone now dying from the disease is unvaccinated. Social media networks, including Facebook, are some of the main venues where the misinformation is propagated. (Facebook isn't happy and accused Biden on Saturday of lashing out because he missed his deadline to get 70% of adults to take at least one dose of the vaccine by July 4.)

The President's comment poses an interesting question. Is it time to start drawing a tougher political line against conservatives apparently seeking to undermine the vaccine push that is central to the success of his term?

The White House has made strenuous efforts to depoliticize the pandemic, reasoning that the virus doesn't distinguish between Democrats and Republicans. Given ex-President Donald Trump's repeated efforts to undermine public health guidance and to take care of his own political goals rather than public health, it was probably always too much to expect a fresh start. And anecdotal evidence suggests vaccine skeptics are more likely to have their minds changed by their doctor or friends and family than government public health experts or a President they don't like.

But the pundits and conservative politicians who are attacking the government over its efforts to convince people to save their own lives are not just harming the voters who listen to them. They are prolonging the crisis in the United States and affecting everyone else's freedom to return to life as normal, especially if high infection levels breed vaccine-evading variants.

So, while public health practice would suggest that adding a partisan note to the vaccine question could be counterproductive, it would not be at all surprising if, at some point, Biden's patience snaps again.

Dreamers face another nightmare

Hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children are in limbo again after a federal judge in Texas ruled that a program shielding them from deportation is illegal and blocked new applications.

The plight of this group — which all but the most extreme immigration hawks agree should be allowed to stay in the US — underscores how the politics of immigration has thwarted sensible policy making for years. Former President Barack Obama took the constitutionally controversial step of establishing a program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, that allowed members of the group — known as Dreamers — to stay and work in the United States.

Trump, who made demagoguing immigration a centerpiece of his political appeal, tried and failed to get the Supreme Court to declare the program illegal. But Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia had launched a new challenge, in another example of the way conservative states are seeking to check liberal policy moves made at the federal level. US District Judge Andrew Hanen, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, ruled that Congress had not granted the Department of Homeland Security the authority to create DACA and that it prevented immigration officials from enforcing removal provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Biden said he was disappointed in the ruling and pledged his government would appeal. Even Hanen wrote that given the fact that DACA recipients, their employers and their loved ones had come to rely on the program, it would not be "equitable" to terminate it immediately.

But the ruling was yet another reminder that Dreamers are vulnerable to every shifting wind. There is some talk that Democrats may try to embed legislative protections for those affected in upcoming budget bills, but it's unclear whether such a move would infringe the rules of congressional procedure. Current political tensions over immigration, with Republicans hammering Biden over migrant flows at the southern border, probably augur against any bipartisan action for Dreamers.

It means months more of anxiety for people -- many of whom are now adults, brought to the US when they were children — who have effectively known no other home than the United States.

The-CNN-Wire
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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
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