News

Joe Biden Gonna Vaccinate THE WORLD

About time, too!

The Biden administration announced Thursday it will purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, to share with 92 countries around the world through the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative — the international effort to get vaccines to low- and lower-middle-income countries that Donald Trump couldn't be bothered to join. The White House announcement noted this would be the "largest-ever purchase and donation of vaccines by a single country and a commitment by the American people to help protect people around the world" from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden also called on other wealthy nations to do their part, too, which is one of those "American leadership" things that disappeared from the world for four years.

The administration plans to get at least 200 million doses shipped out by the end of 2021, with the rest of the 500 million shots being delivered by June of next year. The 500 million dose commitment comes on top of an initial plan to donate 80 million doses, announced earlier this year. Biden announced the initiative after meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson before this weekend's G-7 summit in Cornwall, Britain-Land:

Pfizer is selling the 500 million doses to the US at a "not-for-profit" price, and in his announcement, Biden emphasized that the vaccines would be distributed to other countries with "no strings attached," which means he's going to send out the vaccines without even pressuring Ukraine to dig up dirt on his son Hunter.

CNBC reported Wednesday that the US is also negotiating with Moderna to get additional doses of its vaccine to distribute through COVAX.

The announcement, timed to come just before the summit, is expected to goose other well-off nations to take similar action. Even with billions of vaccine doses, it's going to take at least through 2022 to get vaccines distributed across the world.

Biden has also said he favors waiving intellectual property restrictions so that pharma companies in the rest of the world can produce their own vaccines, although that's still waiting on an international agreement; French President Emmanuel Macron said this week he favors IP waivers as well, so there's one more thing for the G-7 to talk about, non? Germany and the UK have so far opposed any such waivers, while Japan and Canada seem to be on the fence.

One very big reason for the developed world to haul ass on getting vaccines to the rest of the world is that controlling the spread of the virus will reduce the chance that new variations will evolve and bite us. Next time your awful wingnut neighbor complains that Biden's being played for a fool and giving handouts to the world, maybe remind them that US America has a perfectly selfish interest in preventing some possible mutation from coming back here.

Then let your dog poo in their roses late at night.

[White House / Reuters / MSNBC / Politico]

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WonkTV

LOOK, FOX NEWS! KAMALA HARRIS IS DOING AN IMMIGRATION PRESS CONFERENCE! IN GUATEMALA!

We know Fox News has been very upset about this.

Know how Fox News is always yelling real loud because Vice President Kamala Harris isn't personally at the border solving that problem with her bare hands? Harris's job has always been a bit more complicated and brainy than that, and it's specifically to work on the root causes that lead to migration crises and work with Central America and Mexico toward those aims.

And today, Harris is doing that! In Guatemala! And you can watch her press briefing with the Guatemalan president right here!

Sorry, Fox News, she's still not personally building baby jails, to put babies in. We know that would probably make you feel better. Not gonna happen.

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climate change

Big Oil's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Pretty good news for life on Earth, though!

Yesterday was a pretty hopeful day for the prospects of getting global carbon emissions under control, thanks to three events that New Yorker climate columnist Bill McKibben is calling possibly the "most cataclysmic day so far for the traditional fossil-fuel industry." These are all big developments that are likely to bring about big changes in three of the world's biggest oil companies.

  • A Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to sharply cut its emissions, by 45 percent over the next 10 years, a mandate McKibben says the company can "likely meet only by dramatically changing its business model."
  • Chevron shareholders voted to require steep cuts in emissions caused by the company's products, which in effect would make the company responsible for emissions from oil and gasoline being used exactly as designed.
  • At an Exxon Mobil shareholder meeting, members of a climate action investor group won two seats on the company's board of directors, in yet another sign that shareholders of fossil fuel companies want them to take more aggressive action on the climate emergency.
These are all pretty big freakin' deals, and if you want to feel a bit more optimistic about the prospects that humanity might slow global warming to a merely very bad level, instead of a civilization-threatening amount, then go right ahead. As McKibben said in a tweet yesterday, thanking everyone who's fought on climate, "you push long enough and dominoes tumble."
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Nice Time

Way To Glas-Go, Glasgow!

A morning Nice Time? What sorcery is this?

As a reminder that not everybody in the world is awful, hundreds of people in Glasgow, Scotland, swarmed into the street Thursday to block the removal of two men who'd been seized for "suspected immigration offences." The protesters surrounded a van from UK Immigration Enforcement and kept it from driving away with the two Indian nationals. One protester managed to wedge himself under the van, even. After an hours-long standoff in which the crowd chanted "these are our neighbours, let them go" (you could hear the Anglicized spelling), the men were finally released from the van and waved to the crowd. Here, have a Twitter video!

The early-morning immigration raid angered many, particularly since it happened during Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. You've got to bet the Home Office assholes who planned the raid for yesterday knew exactly what day it was, if you'll forgive our assumption that immigration cops in the UK are just as awful as those in the US of A.

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