28
Tue, May

Profiteering From Vaccine Inequity: A Crime Against Humanity?  

SAY WHAT? - Early in the pandemic, Pfizer announced an intention to profit from its covid-19 vaccine.1 In the first three months of 2021, Pfizer’s vaccine brought in $3.5bn (£2.5bn; €3bn) in revenue and hundreds of millions in profit.2 Other companies are also making exceptional profits from covid-19. Moderna, which received public funding to develop its covid-19 vaccine, will earn several billion dollars from vaccine sales.3 Even Astra Zeneca, with its acclaimed “non-profit” model, will receive billions in revenue and is free to raise the price once itconsiders the pandemic to be over.

But the rich world is refusing to share vaccines with poorer countries speedily or equitably. Whereas 60% of the population in the UK is fully vaccinated, in Uganda it is only 1%.6 The 50 least wealthy nations, home to 20% of the world’s population, have received just 2% of all vaccine doses.8 The rich world should be ashamed.

The World Health Organization wants rich nations to halt booster vaccination and instead send doses to less wealthy nations7—yet Pfizer is expecting rich nations to ignore WHO and recommend boosters, helping to increase its expected revenues to $33.5bn.8

Read more ...

'Hard to Imagine Worse Idea': Biden to Resume Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Lands and Waters

  

SAY WHAT? - Climate groups are expressing deep concern following an Interior Department announcement Monday that the Biden administration will resume oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and waters—a practice President Joe Biden vowed to banduring his 2020 run for the White House—in response to a federal court ruling.

"The climate emergency reality we are facing demands immediate action, not acquiescence." —Nicole Ghio, Friends of the Earth

While the Biden administration confirmed in its announcementthat an appeal has been filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal battle with the state of Louisiana—which sued the federal government over the pause in the oil and gas leasing program ordered by Biden earlier this year—the Interior Department said leasing would resume while the process plays out.

"Federal onshore and offshore oil and gas leasing will continue as required by the district court while the government's appeal is pending," the DOI stated.

According to Bloomberg, the moves by the administration "mark the beginning of an open-ended analysis of the federal oil, gas and coal leasing programs that could span years—and lead to higher fees as well as new limits on development in sensitive areas."

Read more ...

OMG WTF: We Told You So

SAY WHAT? - The new apocalyptic report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released on a day that saw 500,000 acres of forest burning in California and Venice tourists wading through ankle-deep water, confirmed for the 786th time what scientists have long been shrieking at us - that global warming from humanity's criminal use of fossil fuels has caused "unprecedented and irreversible change" to the planet, which we may or may not be able to save.

In the report, over 200 climate scientists found that global warming is "worse than we thought and getting worser," in the words of Brenda the Civil Disobedience Penguin, who called it "the worst choose-your-own-adventure book ever," where "all the endings are terrible, but some are much worse than others." Brenda is the creation of First Dog on the Moon, the award-winning political cartoonist for The Guardian Australia; evidently related to Andrew Marlton, "Mr. OntheMoon" has produced cartoons about climate change, Medicare, racist jails, migrants - seeing a drowning person, "How do I know this isn't some sort of trick?" and what if other drowning people expect me to help them? - and, when the news is too much, good moments like "before the first sip of coffee in the morning when it's too early to think who was exploited so I could have this coffee."

Read more ...

Grifters Gonna Grift!

 

SAY WHAT? - Grifters gonna grift, whiners gonna whine. Now the biggest fattest saddest losingest grifter and whiner of all, having continued his vile streak of trash-talking black and female athletes by mindlessly sniping "woke means you lose" at the "leftist maniacs" of the Bronze-medal-winning U.S. women's soccer team, has moved on to his latest Really Stupid scheme for scamming his even stupider followers.

"You've Been Selected!" shouted a Wednesday email from the other guy's PAC. Sounding a lot like the back of a cereal box, it announced it's offering "Patriots all around the Country" the chance to sort of choose an entirely useless but "Offical (sic, because the purported billionaire still can't spell or get it together to hire someone who can) Trump Card" as "a sign of your dedicated support to our movement to SAVE AMERICA," also of your sick, abject, unfathomable fealty to a loathsome clown and empty, brittle husk of a human being, just sayin'.

Read more ...

To Make the World A Human Dwelling Place For All: I Can't Believe What You Say Because I See What You Do

  

SAY WHAT? - Honoring the loss and the inestimable gifts left behind, we mark what would have been the 97th birthday of James Baldwin -  incandescent writer, masterful orator, out gay black man and fierce  advocate for justice who long and incisively spoke "the naked truth" about the racist history of a country "caught in the lie of their pretended humanism...cruelly trapped between what we would like to be and what we actually are." For Baldwin, despite efforts in his lifetime to heal the divide, the fault lines of always-inextricable race and power remained brutally clear, often outlined in the righteous, lyrical cadences of the pulpit he grew up in but left behind, deeply disillusioned. "What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place," he wrote. "Because I'm not a nigger, I'm a man. But if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need it." On his side, for black brothers and sisters "forced each day to snatch (our) identity out of the fire of human cruelty," "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost all of the time." Having long been deemed less than fully human by white people who "never had to look at me" while "I had to look at you," he adds, "I know more about you than you know about me."

Read more ...

Frankly, This Is America. It Shouldn't Be, But I Guess That's the Way Things Are

SAY WHAT? - Whew. On the scorching first day of the Congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 MAGA insurrection, four Capitol cops - for once in this nation's history the good guys, each more eloquent, honorable and traumatized than the last - offered consistently harrowing, often tearful testimony that outed once and for all the GOP's despicable gaslighting about that day's carnage. The ruthless rebuttals by Sgt. Aquilino Gonell and Pfc. Harry Dunn of the Capitol Police and Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the D.C. Police Department, all in their dress blues, repeatedly exposed what Fanone called "the worst that America has to offer," from MAGA goons screaming  "Fucking nigger!" at Dunn to the evil "hit-man " who sent them. Backing up their horrific accounts was video so devastating many lawmakers could barely watch; much of it came from the officers' own truth-telling body-cams that, in a twist of history, police departments had long opposed. Though the four cops each told different stories, they shared vital common threads. All four used the same terms: insurrectionists, terrorists, mob, MAGA. All four thought they and their colleagues were going to die. All four remain scarred, physically and mentally: Said Gonell, "That day continues to be a constant trauma for us." And all four knew who was to blame. "All of them - all of them were saying Trump sent us," said Gonell. "Nobody else - there was nobody else. It was not Antifa, it was not Black Lives Matter, it was not the FBI. It was his supporters that he sent over to the Capitol that day."

Read more ...

The Stupid Is Killing Us: You Do Not Know What You Are Talking About, Quite Frankly

   

SAY WHAT?-Amid rising COVID cases, falling vaccination rates and a persistent flood of crackpot hogwash a timid media terms "misinformation" - WE WILL NOT COMPLY! - its bone-headed perpetrators just keep spewing even when, as experts predict, by fall the surging Delta variant could kill 850 of their own irredeemable peeps a day in what has become "a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

In Alabama, which has the country's lowest vaccination rate, a doctor describes seeing young people dying. “One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine," she says. "I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late.” Still, the idiot masses  head out to protest hospitals requiring vaccines for employees with balmy signs like "Medical Dictatorship," "I Call My Own Shots," "No to Socialism," and "Remember the Nuremberg Code." Umm.

They probably eat up Marjorie Taylor-Greene's online rants - COVID is a bio weapon, STOP MASKING CHILDREN!, Indict Pelosi! - or they did until she got suspended for saying vaccines don't work and COVID poses no threat to anyone under 65 and not obese, even as cases in Georgia are up 193%.

She was so mad at "COMMUNIST TWITTER" she held a presser where she refused to say if she'd been vaccinated, claimed the question "is a violation of my HIPAA rights" - not - and laughed, loudly braying like a demented horse, when a reporter noted kids have died of COVID. Actually, one just had, three days before, in her own district. His obituary said Wyatt, Gibson, five years old, liked to strum a toy guitar and sing, "I love donkeys and I love dogs." Declared his grieving father, "I feel like I've lost my best friend."

Read more ...

Court rules that care facilities have a free speech right to misgender transgender elders

SAY WHAT-California appellate court ruled that requiring elder care staff to use the correct pronouns for transgender and non-binary people is a violation of their free speech rights.

“The Court’s decision is disconnected from the reality facing transgender people,” said out state Sen. Scott Wiener (D), who sponsored a law passed in 2017 that required long-term care facilities to treat LGBTQ people equally.

“Deliberately misgendering a transgender person isn’t just a matter of opinion, and it’s not simply ‘disrespectful, discourteous, or insulting.’ Rather, it’s straight up harassment,” he continued. “And, it erases an individual’s fundamental humanity, particularly one as vulnerable as a trans senior in a nursing home. This misguided decision cannot be allowed to stand.”

Read more ...

California Republicans wanted to honor Nancy Reagan for a year. This bi Democrat wasn’t on board.

 

SAY WHAT?-California Republicans introduced a measure to honor former First Lady Nancy Reagan’s centennial birthday for an entire year. The feel-good measure would lionize Reagan and wallpaper over her glaring flaws.

Out Assemblyman Alex Lee (D) wasn’t on board with the measure and in a short blistering speech given before his colleagues voted, Lee let them know exactly why.

Related: Nancy Reagan, gay men & the end of an ugly era

“Republicans want to honor an entire year after Nancy Reagan. Completely absurd to praise someone who escalated the war on drugs & let the AIDS crisis ravage the LGBTQ+ community. Reagans deserve no commemoration,” Lee tweeted with a video of his speech. “I told the Assembly ‘Just say NO’.”

Read more ...

Internet Censorship: The Real Monopoly Threat

  

SAY WHAT?-“If [Donald] Trump and [Bernie] Sanders take the same position on Big Tech censorship,” David Catron writes at The American Spectator, “the issue deserves serious attention.” 

He’s right, but in pretty much the opposite of the way he intends. When the mainstream “right” and “left” agree on anything, that’s almost always a blazing neon sign warning us that our freedoms are under threat. 

Read more ...

California is about to feel Delta’s full force

SAY WHAT?-The World Health Organization calls the Delta variant of COVID-19 the “fastest and fittest,” a term suggesting that this strain of the virus both spreads more rapidly and picks off vulnerable people more efficiently than do its predecessors. California is about to experience Delta’s full force – and the state’s lagging vaccination efforts in low income neighborhoods will once again put those populations at unequal risk. 

Late last month, Delta became the dominant variant in the state, according to the California Department of Public Health. Its growth is accelerating rapidly: In the CDPH’s monthly report, the virus accounted for 35.6% of all genetically sequenced cases in the state in June, whereas in May that figure stood at just 5.6%. 

Health officials are quick to note that while all viruses mutate, not all of the mutations become more transmissible and efficient than previous versions, as Delta has. WHO officials last month said that Delta is becoming the dominant strain worldwide. Yale researcher Dr. Perry Wilson added that the variant “will certainly accelerate the pandemic” because of its rapid rate of spread. 

Read more ...

Will the wheels stay on a moratorium protecting 10,000 street vendors?

  

SAY WHAT?-If you were eating tacos at MacArthur Park’s Guatemalan Night Market on the afternoon of June 11, you might never guess that street vending is supposed to be legal in Los Angeles. Officials from the Department of Public Health — with LAPD officers in tow — descended on the street food hub at 6th Street and Bonnie Brae, throwing food into trash bags without a word to the outraged entrepreneurs.  

As Los Angeles County reopens, enforcement of street vending regulations has spiked in recent weeks, with at least four raids of unpermitted vendors reported to L.A. Taco. The unannounced raids have startled vendors, who fear a return to a punishing old normal.  

Then, following organized efforts by advocacy groups, on June 29 the city council approved a motion to temporarily halt enforcement. 

Read more ...

A new study has found being angry increases your vulnerability to misinformation

SAY WHAT?-Human memory is prone to error — and new research provides evidence that anger can increase these errors.

The new findings have been published in the scientific journal Experimental Psychology

“My interest in the impact of anger on misinformation came from both real-world experience and research,” said study author Michael Greenstein, an assistant professor at Framingham State University. 

“From the real-world side, there’s this phrase that people say — ‘don’t get emotional.’ That phrase is somewhat often used to describe anger and the idea that when you’re angry you’ll make poor decisions, which would also imply poor memory use.” 

“From the research side, anger is an interesting emotion because it somewhat defies traditional classifications in that it’s a ‘negative’ emotion, but it impacts cognition in a lot of ways that are more similar to ‘positive’ emotions.” 

Read more ...

God Bless America, Land That I Love: Crackpots Rejoice When Jesus Christ (Briefly) Shuts Down Right Wing Watch and Can We Get An Amen?

SAY WHAT?-This week, YouTube announced that Right Wing Watch, which monitors far-right disinformation, conspiracy theories and violent rhetoric, was inexplicably banned from the site for "violations of its community guidelines" because YouTube, or the robots who come up with their algorithms, evidently can't distinguish between exposing rabid extremism and championing it, which must be why they still allow all those white supremacists to spew their racist, hateful drivel on their righteous platform. Launched in 2007, RWW is run by the non-profit People For the American Way, founded in 1981 as a liberal counterpoint to the unholy bigots of the Moral Majority.

Read more ...

Britney Spears Conservatorship Case: Read Her Full Statement

 

SAY WHAT?-Britney Spears spoke before a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, giving a fervent speech on the details of her 13-year conservatorship

Britney Spears spoke before a Los Angeles court on Wednesday, giving a fervent speech on the details of her 13-year conservatorship.

In her nearly 30-minute virtual address before a Los Angeles court and Judge Brenda Penny, the singer, 39, spoke out against her father Jamie Spears and her management team, saying that she is "traumatized."

"I've lied and told the whole world I'm OK and I'm happy," she said, adding: "I'm not happy. I can't sleep. I'm depressed. I cry every day."

Shortly thereafter, the "Toxic" songstress asked to end the 13-year conservatorship. "I just want my life back. It's been 13 years and it's been enough," she said.

Jamie's attorney Vivian Lee Thoreen also the court to share a statement from her client, saying, "[Jamie] is sorry to see his daughter in so much pain. [He] loves his daughter and misses her very much.” 

Read more ...

A gay waiter was humiliated & stiffed by “Christian” customers. Then TikTok stepped in.

TikToker Meredith Steele appealed to her followers to Venmo her money to give the waiter the tip he deserved - and they came through with more than you could imagine.

A Maine-based TikTok star raised over $10,000 for the LGBTQ+ community in honor of a gay waiter who was discriminated against by people he was serving at a restaurant.

The waiter, who has chosen to remain anonymous, received a religious pamphlet in place of a tip from two different customers in the same day. When word of the incident reached TikToker Meredith Steele, whose friend works with the waiter, Steele appealed to her almost 500,000 followers to Venmo her money to give the waiter the tip he deserved.

“As a general life rule I try not to make videos when I’m angry,” she said in the June 7 video, “but if you can’t tell by my chest right now I’m fuming.”

Read more ...

Blame oil for the world populating to 8 billion

SAY WHAT?- Sir David Attenborough, the 95-year-old legendary wildlife filmmaker told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes: “A crime has been committed” and that urgent action is needed to save nature to save ourselves. The crime rests on oil for allowing the world to populate so proficiently the last few centuries and giving Sir David the opportunity to attain the ripe old age of 95 and to travel the world more than most. 

In the 1800’s most people never traveled 100-200 miles from where they were born. Life expectancy throughout Europe hovered between 20 and 30 years of age. Food shortages and insecurity were leading concerns in the 18th century, especially in Europe, and these were exacerbated by reduced harvests yields. Disease was another leading cause of death, with rats and fleas being the common carriers of disease, specifically plagues, during this era.

Read more ...

Wake the Children Sleeping: James Baldwin's White Fragility Meets Critical Race Theory and Freaks Right Out

SAY WHAT? - Fast running out of boogeymen and deranged conspiracies - Dr. Seuss, Mr./Ms. Potato Head, trans girls playing sports, Karl Marx and his evil spawn antifa, Italy and/or dead Hugo Chavez flipping elections, cancel culture warriors of any flavor - and bereft of principles or policies, a flailing GOP has feverishly glommed onto Critical Race Theory as the latest Scary Threat to American democracy, in the process miraculously failing to realize it's actually them. A 40-year-old, once-obscure academic concept developed at Harvard, CRT acknowledges the fundamental role of racism, and its accompanying inequality, in every aspect of American society, from legal systems and social structures to economics and education; common examples are the ways racism led to housing redlining in the 1930s, and still informs today's college admissions, income inequity and incarceration rates. But confronting the systems behind white supremacy, the narratives white people tell themselves to justify it, the way power and privilege work to support it can create fear - economic, social, cultural, racial - in those threatened by any change in the status quo, especially when they're busy trying to suppress the votes of those who would benefit. It's a lot - complex, nuanced, potentially hazardous - for a party of morons like Marjorie Taylor Greene who conflates Democrats with Nazis 'cause, see, they both have "Socialist" in their names, sort of. Thus flattened by idiotic branding, some say the end game is "to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think 'critical race theory.'" In those wee little brains, little wonder CRT becomes "any conversation about race I don't like," "hostile to white people," and "teaching kids to hate each other and our country" - which is the greatest, even though for centuries it did buy, sell, own, rape, abuse, exterminate and otherwise oppress hundreds of thousands of people who, according to a social construct, had the "wrong" color skin.

Read more ...

Cognitive Dissonance Is Us: Spoons On Your Face and Other Dangers of the Vaccine

  

SAY WHAT-While COVID cases are down and vaccinations are up, huge swaths of this ostensibly great country remain vulnerable to deadly new variants like the Delta strain thanks to the peculiarly American phenomenon of a "golden age" of perilous, obstinate, lunatic anti-vaxxers entertaining a mix of "conspiracy theory Mad Libs" that normal people who actually believe in science deem "dubious," "wholly unfounded," "grossly distorted," and insane. Facing a flood of wild claims that "The Vaccine Is A Microp-Chip Delivery Tool" and "COVID Vaccination=Death," social media executives are playing a frantic "cat and mouse" game with an "empire" of up to 58 million believers on hundreds of websites largely dominated by a "Disinformation Dozen" of anti-vaccine crackpots. "The United States hosts the world's largest and best-organized anti-vaccine groups," warns one, and "the bad guys are winning"—in part, he charges, due to the reluctance of public health officials to acknowledge the reach of anti-science mobs or confront them from fear of giving them "a platform and oxygen." Even though WHO recognized vaccine hesitancy as a key threat to global health even before the pandemic, the ever-growing proliferation of organized, extremist, anti-vaccine groups spreading lies—including the whopper to the black community that vaccines are "medical racism"—render even targeted counter-messaging "drops in a vast sea of misinformation."

Read more ...

New Campaign to Fight Amazon's Push for World 'Dominated by Total Corporate Surveillance' 

SAY WHAT- "Amazon's surveillance-driven police state is fundamentally incompatible with racial justice, civil rights, and democracy," said Fight for the Future's Evan Greer. 

To mark the one year anniversary of Amazon's extended temporary moratorium on sales of its controversial Rekognition facial identification software to law enforcement agencies, over 20 advocacy groups and more than 10,000 supporters on Thursday launched Protest Amazon, a digital demonstration that's part of the #EyesOnAmazon week of action.

"Amazon must make their moratorium on keeping Rekognition out of the hands of law enforcement permanent and extend that policy to all of their surveillance products." —Myaisha Hayes, MediaJustice

Led by the digital rights group Fight for the Future, Protest Amazon is joined by Color of Change, Demand Progress, Free Press, MPower Change, Public Citizen, Presente.org, RootsAction, and other organizations demanding Amazon permanently divest from what campaign organizers call "racist surveillance tech" and "police state" surveillance. The campaign is also calling on the company to end its complicity in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportations.

Read more ...

More Articles ...