Wednesday, July 14, 2021


First an audience cheered at CPAC over the weekend when anti-vaxx pseudo-journalist Alex Berenson announced that the Biden administration's COVID vaccination goal hadn't been met. Then we learned about this:
The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for coronavirus, but all diseases – amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers....

... Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tim Jones ... told staff they should conduct "no proactive outreach regarding routine vaccines" and "no outreach whatsoever regarding the HPV vaccine."

Staff were also told not to do any "pre-planning" for flu shots events at schools.
Do Republicans actually want members of their own tribe to get sick and die? Do they want their children to get sick?

I occasionally think about a monstrous act described by Marlon Brando in the 1979 Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now. Brando, in the role of the mad Special Forces colonel Walter Kurtz, recalls learning about the atrocity.

I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn’t see. We went back there and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God... the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.
This is essentially indistinguishable from the Republicans' approach to the pandemic and vaccines. The brutality is not as extreme, but the thinking is the same: Even suffering or death is a necessary cost of absolute non-cooperation with the enemy.

Democrats, of course, are the enemy.

We're used to this in war. People accept that their loved ones may be sent to die in a war, and accept that as a necessary sacrifice. Republicans think they're in a permanent war with us.

There's no evidence that the incident Brando describes ever took place in the real Vietnam, as a writer on the war noted:
When an American journalist wrote to the screenwriter, John Milius, asking where the children's severed arms story had originated, her letter was returned by Milius with the US Special Forces death's head drawn on it, together with these words:
We must burn them,
We must incinerate them,
Press after press,
Pen after pen,
Pencil after pencil,
- No dialogue with communist criminals
Milius, a former NRA board member who has sometimes referred to himself as a "zen fascist," would go on to direct one of the American right's favorite movies, the original Red Dawn.

It's all about total war.

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