The Monday Politics Thread is Getting Microchipped Today

Honestly, I think the moment I get my first shot today, I am going to feel such profound relief.

‘Why would you not?’ Alarm as Republican men say they won’t get Covid vaccine

According to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey, 49% of Republican men told pollsters that they wouldn’t get the jab; the poll is among recent analyses claiming that vaccine hesitancy is highest among this demographic.

These data have raised the alarm for disease experts, who have struggled to combat Covid-19 amid the sharp politicization of public health policies, such as often Republican opposition to mask mandates and business regulations and the frequent touting of conspiracy theories.

“How such a large proportion of a certain group of people would not want to get vaccinated merely because of political considerations … it makes absolutely no sense,” the top US infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said recently. “What is the problem here? This is a vaccine that is going to be life-saving for millions of people.”

The Guardian

Protesters Across Europe Clash With Police Over COVID-19 Lockdowns

Anger at restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic swept into the streets of Europe on Saturday.

German police used water cannons, pepper spray and clubs on protesters rallying over the coronavirus lockdown in the town of Kassel in central Germany where demonstrators numbered some 20,000. Protests against government measures to rein in the pandemic were also reported in Austria, Britain, Finland, Romania and Switzerland.

Germany faces a surge of COVID-19 infections as a more contagious variant of the virus has spread. Experts say it highlights the need to accelerate vaccinations.

But a botched vaccine rollout appears to have deepened distrust against the German government. The suspension of AstraZeneca vaccine was the latest hurdle in Germany’s efforts to vaccinate its population of 83 million.

NPR

Almost half of all health care workers in U.S. haven’t had COVID-19 vaccine, survey shows

Every day, more Americans become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, yet nearly half of all frontline health care workers remain unvaccinated, even though they were given priority access to the first available doses.

Only 52% of all frontline health care workers say they have received even a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Washington Post. 

That leaves 48% of health care workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, including doctors, nurses, housekeepers and home health aides, entirely unprotected against and vulnerable to the virus.

CBS News

Half of Republican men say they don’t want the vaccine. They’re mooching off the rest of us

Millions of elderly Americans are still hunting for appointments to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Millions of younger Americans are waiting impatiently for their turn in line.

But there’s one group whose members are far more skeptical about the vaccine — and in some cases are actively refusing to get jabbed at all.

That group is Republicans, especially GOP men.

LA Times

U.S. House passes resolution aimed at advancing Equal Rights Amendment

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to remove a decades-old deadline for adopting the Equal Rights Amendment, in hopes of finally formally protecting women’s rights in the U.S. Constitution.

Reuters

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama make the final push toward unionizing

Organizers and workers are making the final push in the first Amazon warehouse union election in the US in Bessemer, Alabama which, if successful, would mark one of the biggest labor victories in the US over the past several decades.

The fight over forming a union at the hugely profitable tech and retail giant has triggered immense political interest and pushed labor rights on to America’s front pages, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when warehouse workers for online retail have become an essential workforce.

Workers’ ballots must reach the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Alabama by 29 March to be counted. A majority of the ballots cast determine the outcome of the election, with around 5,800 employees eligible to vote.

The Guardian

How ‘Owning the Libs’ Became the GOP’s Core Belief

For a political party whose membership skews older, it might be surprising that the spirit that most animates Republican politics today is best described with a phrase from the world of video games: “Owning the libs.”

Gamers borrowed the term from the nascent world of 1990s computer hacking, using it to describe their conquered opponents: “owned.” To “own the libs” does not require victory so much as a commitment to infuriating, flummoxing or otherwise distressing liberals with one’s awesomely uncompromising conservatism. And its pop-cultural roots and clipped snarkiness are perfectly aligned with a party that sees pouring fuel on the culture wars’ fire as its best shot at surviving an era of Democratic control.

Politico

DHS Secretary Mayorkas defends handling of border surge, tells migrants not to come now

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the Biden administration’s handling of a new surge of unaccompanied minors on the U.S.-Mexico border amid humanitarian and security concerns, telling “Meet the Press” that the American people will “look back on this and say that we secured the border and we upheld our values.”

Mayorkas emphasized that the administration’s message to those seeking entry is that “the border is closed.” But he said that while the administration will continue to expel families and single adults, they will not send back unaccompanied minors.

“We will not expel into the Mexican desert, for example, three orphan children,” Mayorkas said, even as he warned against them coming to the border.

“We are safely processing the children who do come to our border,” he said. “We strongly urge, and the message is clear, not to do so now. I cannot overstate the perils of the journey that they take.”

NBC News

Racist Stereotypes About Haiti in the Media Dehumanize Haitians

The protests were ignited after Moïse refused to step down, announcing on February 7 that he was beginning “the first day of my fifth year” in office. After a tumultuous yearlong electoral delay due to allegations of fraud in 2015, his opposition argues that his mandate actually expired last month, saying his five-year term began in 2016 and not the year after. Not only did Moïse reject those claims, but he accused opposition leaders of planning a coup against him. He retaliated by arresting 23 people, including a Supreme Court judge, a surgeon, and a senior police official. This crackdown did not stop Haitians of all ages from mobilizing against Moïse’s questionable term and foreign support. As The Nation reported, “It’s not about one criminal; it’s about a criminal system, supported by very heavy hitters, including the international community.”

Yet as the political crisis deepened, Haitians took to Twitter to denounce the way the media was covering it. As is often the case in news coverage about the Caribbean country, journalists are resorting to dehumanizing phrases that perpetuate racist stereotypes.

Teen Vogue

COVID-19: As fears of a third wave mount, what’s going on in Europe?

As fears of a third COVID-19 wave mount and British holidaymakers brace themselves for a second year without a break abroad, all eyes are on Europe.

Sky News

Dozens of Thai protesters injured after rally near king’s palace

More than 30 civilians and police were injured in anti-government protests in Thailand, an emergency medical centre said on Sunday after police used water cannon, teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the rally the night before.

Reuters

Meet the Navajo Nation Skateboarder Going Viral on TikTok

Naiomi Glasses, a Diné skateboarder in Navajo nation, happened upon a red sandstone slope to skate on — in her now-viral TikTok — by accident. “I live in the middle of nowhere and when I found that first sandstone, I was out looking for sheep. My grandma owns sheep and sometimes they get lost, and I thought the sandstone looked skate-able.” With the nearest skatepark hours away, Naiomi resorted to turning the desert landscape into her own skatepark.

With her skateboard in hand and encouragement from her brother, she skated down the earth-colored sandstone with finesse. “My brother is like my hype man,” she quips.

Glasses took to skateboarding early when at 5 years old she saw her older brother’s friend skateboarding and was mesmerized. An adventurous and precocious spirit, Naiomi practiced skateboarding in her kitchen under her mom’s supervision. “When I was younger, I liked trying new things. I tried skateboarding and thought, ‘this is it!’,” she tells Teen Vogue.

Teen Vogue