Imagine this: The wealth of you & your friends doubled to $1,500,000,000,000 during Covid. If those gains were taxed by 99%, you all are STILL richer than 99% of the world. That revenue could vaccinate the planet & save lives. This is the power of the world’s 10 richest men.Archaeologist Dr. Sarah Parcak tweeted:
Archaeologists: Here's exactly how pandemics have played out in the past w 10 top examples Historians: Here's how the 1919 pandemic played out blow by blow w masks surges deaths Sociologists: Here's how people react to vaccines+ masks w 100 papers Politicians: THIS IS ALL NEWIt seems all new to the media too. Greg Dworkin, in a pundit roundup for Daily Kos (from almost three weeks ago), included a tweet from Bob Wachter which shows a plot of states positioned according to the percent of population fully vaccinated and deaths per million people since July. The plot shows a pretty high negative correlation – as vaccination rate increases the death rate goes down. Dworkin also quoted Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer, discussing schools that are always underfunded.
“What use would a carpenter have for biology?” asked [John] Krill [a lawyer for a Republican lawmaker], questioning the need for learning for learning’s sake in a locale where many of the available jobs don’t require a college degree. In stating so plainly the modern conservative philosophy that public schools exist solely to develop a workforce — one in which not everyone need be a rocket scientist or a philosopher — the Harvard Law-educated Krill didn’t stop there.Carpenter and biology? Wouldn’t it be good to understand where the wood comes from? In addition to learning for learning’s sake is the need to educate people on how to be responsible citizens in a democracy. Clearly, Republicans don’t want that, either. The NPR program It’s Been a Minute with host Sam Sanders is on Michigan Radio on Saturdays. I usually don’t listen, though today’s episode sounded intriguing and important. It was a repeat of an episode from last June in which Sanders talked to Sarah Schulman. She had written the book Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 and she had been a part of the group for much of that time. This link is for last June’s show with the 50 minute audio, a few photos, and interview highlights. Here’s a bit from what I remember from the audio. The AIDS pandemic started in 1981. Gay men and allies organized to take care of their own. By 1987 they realized – prompted by Larry Kramer – that caregiving wasn’t enough. COVID is a very public pandemic. AIDS wasn’t, so one goal of ACT UP was to get the mainstream media to pay attention. Those who lived through that era will likely remember their slogan “Silence = Death.” Another goal was to change policy. So this large coalition would study an issue, create an alternate policy, then make noise so the institution would pay attention. One of their most successful actions was against the Food and Drug Administration who were being mighty slow in approving drugs to treat AIDS. One part of the alternate policy was to say don’t test a drug against a placebo because the person who gets the placebo will die. Instead, test against the best known treatment. They didn’t protest on the weekend when no one would be in the building. Instead, they protested during a weekday so the workers inside would feel a bit uneasy and no work would get done. The FDA changed their policy. One of their most famous actions was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Cardinal O’Connor started demanding the city restrict HIV related materials from being available in public schools. The ACT UP team felt he had overstepped his authority, resulting on more deaths. So on December 10, 1989 they came into a mass and did a quiet die-in. That was effective. Then one man, defying agreed action protocols, stood on a pew and repeatedly shouted, “Stop Killing Us!” Things got a bit chaotic after that and police were called. Even with that deviation from the plan the action was considered a success. They definitely got media attention. And the perception of gay men shifted from weak to strong. Schulman wrote the book to both give an account of her time in the group and to give a training manual to those needing to protest today. And groups like Black Lives Matter and those who support immigrants are following ACT UP’s example. Ruth Ben-Ghiat quoted Hugo Lowell of the Guardian:
Sources tell me Jan. 6 committee may only subpoena GOP members of Congress if it can overcome one major recurring worry raised in conversations: fear of Republican retaliation in the future.Ben-Ghiat added:
Hello from: lessons from authoritarian history. Fear of retaliation=old school democratic frame. Realism= knowing they will go after everyone they can anyway. Only bold and fearless action works w/ppl who thrill at breaking the rules and see caution as weakness.Professor Crystal Marie Fleming tweeted (almost three weeks ago):
We have a dynamic wherein Republicans know our “democratic” institutions aren’t actually democratic and would like to further undermine them with open fascism while Democrats are invested in pretending our civic institutions work. The latter position is very easy to manipulate. Because Democrats refuse to publicly admit the problem — that our core institutions are weak and undemocratic — the opposing party can get away with almost anything, including open coup attempts! while Dems scramble to keep pretending that everything is still legitimate and okay. Republicans and foreign adversaries alike know that the party line from Democrats will continue to be “Everything is fine actually” no matter how s---ty things are. I personally believe that even if the coup had been successful, Dems still would have asked to form a committee.Leah McElrath tweeted:
Fiction tells us families come together after a death, but, in reality, they usually don’t. Instead, what often happens is previously existing toxic dynamics become more intense, not less. Sometimes family ties break altogether. I feel like that’s happening now, with humanity. We are facing multiple, literal existential crises. A pandemic has killed millions. Climate change is causing us to face the increasing uninhabitability—in real time—of many areas in which we live. One would imagine the natural response would be for us to become more united. Instead, we cannot help but notice the pronounced fragmentation. As is the case within families, some benefit from the pre-existing fragmentation. Accordingly, in response to a threat of systemic upheaval, they endeavor not only to ensure splits remain but also to widen them. Because of our own sense of urgency, we can feel compelled to focus on those invested in maintaining division. It can feel necessary that they change. The need for them to change can even feel like a survival need as, over time, engagement evolves into repetition compulsion. My fear is that our continued focus on trying to “fix” the divisions is inadvertently serving to strengthen them.McElrath quoted ContextFall who tweeted:
At what point does the general public realize that there is a major PR effort pushing the normalization of mass death?McElrath added:
We’ve seen a 3-year-lag between when MSM journalists mock those of us who observe patterns to when those journalists finally start writing about the patterns as obvious truths—and a 2-year-lag until the public consumes enough MSM coverage to create a body of common knowledge.I heard a bit of news that the makers of M&Ms candy have given the animated candies used in commercials a makeover. It looks like Tucker Carlson of Fox News ranted about the brown candy character appearing to be non-binary. That prompted Ken Klippenstein of The Intercept to tweet:
Sorry you don’t get a say in the distribution of resources, could we interest you in a lively debate about the gender of M&Ms instead? Note: You will now be paid in M&MsBill in Portland, Maine, in his Cheers and Jeers column for Kos, quoted late night commentary.
Republicans are being criticized for blocking the voting rights bill. But, of course, Republicans don’t want voting rights because if voting was fair they'd lose. It's the same reason I keep my basketball hoop lowered to eight feet: because with the help of a small ladder, I can dunk. —Colin Jost, SNL Republicans are afraid that if more people get access to voting, they’re gonna lose elections. So, instead of coming up with policies that are more popular, they make it harder to vote. Basically, Republicans believe in the free market for everything except themselves. —Trevor Noah, The Daily ShowI haven’t heard much about Thich Nhat Hanh, a peacemaker who died this week. Bernice King, daughter of MLK, tweeted a bit of background. He was a friend and ally with MLK and urged opposition to the Vietnam war. That opposition meant he was exiled from his home country. When MLK was nominated for the Nobel Peace Price in 1967 he said Thich Nhat Hanh was more worthy. The prize wasn’t awarded that year. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweeted:
“To be loved means to be recognized as existing." —Thich Nhat Hanh To see one another. Honor the dignity of one another. Fight for justice for one another. Build a world that recognizes the full existence of everyone. That’s our work.