The Monday Politics Thread Desires Chocolate

As vaccinations keep rising, so do Covid-19 hospitalizations among those who aren’t vaccinated

First, the good news: The United States reported a record-high 4.6 million doses of vaccines administered in one day, according to data published Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Amazing Saturday! +4.63M doses administered over total yesterday, a new record,” tweeted Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, the White House Covid-19 data director. “More than 500K higher than old record last Saturday. Incredible number of doses administered.”

The problem is that more than 75% of the US population isn’t fully vaccinated, according to CDC data Saturday.

Now the bad news: For the third straight week, new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walenky.


Is vaccinating against Covid enough? What we can learn from Chile and Israel

A trio of countries stand out for the effectiveness of their Covid-19 vaccination programmes: Israel, Chile and the UK. All have managed to inoculate an impressively high percentage of their people but each has fared very differently in controlling the disease.

Israel has done so well it is resuming university lectures, concerts and other mass gatherings and has opened up its restaurants and bars. By contrast, Chile is experiencing soaring levels of Covid cases and faces new lockdown restrictions.

In Britain, deaths and hospital admissions have plummeted but it remains to be seen what will happen when lockdown restrictions are eased in England from Monday. (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each have their own timetables for easing.) Will the UK follow the grim example of Chile or the happier precedent of Israel?

The Guardian

White Americans feared they’d one day become victims of the monstrous capitalism they built

From the moment Donald Trump rose to political prominence, the pundit class stubbornly clung to “economic anxiety” as the explanation for why white voters can’t quit him. No matter how often the idea was deconstructed, no matter how much evidence contradicted it, and no matter how ridiculous it became, the notion that poverty—not race—was the central force in lifting a bankrupt billionaire to the highest office in the land had a firm hold in the national political imagination.

As recently as January’s insurrection, multiple commentators, columnists and social scientists expressed surprise at the wealth, resources and status afforded by these deeply “anxious” insurgents attacking the US Capitol, or felt compelled to further debunk the zombie lie that Trump voters have embraced bigotry in response to economic hardship. There’s only one problem with this: economic anxietyis real.

The mistake of “economic anxiety” as a concept was to substitute it for bigotry instead of understanding it is reflected and informed by bigotry. In a society built on white supremacy, everything relies on it, and our economy is no exception. We designed a country where white people progressed and profited explicitly at the cost of the lives and the land of Black and Indigenous people. Colonization, slavery, homesteading, redlining, mass European immigration: all wealth-building efforts adding to white coffers while commodifying Native resources and obliterating Black livelihoods.


We could soon have vaccines for cancer and HIV thanks to COVID-19 vaccine discovery: report

Scientists are experimenting with COVID-19 vaccine technology as a way to treat terminal illnesses like cancer and HIV, Inverse reported.

That’s because the coronavirus pandemic pushed scientists to create a first-of-its-kind vaccine using mRNA, or a small piece of a coronavirus particle’s spike protein, to create an immune system response that protects from infection.

It’s an approach vaccine researchers have been studying for the past 25 years, Insider previously reported.


I Thought My Job Was To Report On Technology In India. Instead, I Got A Front-Row Seat To The Decline Of My Democracy.

I love writing about tech. But covering how a Hindu nationalist government is using it to destroy a secular democracy isn’t what I signed up for.

Buzzfeed News

‘Suddenly I’m breathing’: hope as Haaland takes on crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans

For 30 long years, Ana White has been searching for her sister, Andrea “Chick” White. The then 22-year-old Native mother of four including an eight-month-old baby had traveled to Eureka, California, in July 1991 for a court date, after an auto accident. She was spotted hitchhiking home along a freeway near Blue Lake, in northern California. She has been missing ever since.

White, who described her sister as a great mother and very giving person, has repeatedly prodded local law enforcement, who she said have largely given her “lip service”, and helped to spread awareness about the case through social media posts. But for three frustrating decades the situation has remained unchanged.

Now, after the secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, announced the formation of a new unit to investigate the epidemic of missing and murdered Native Americans, she said she has suddenly found herself with a renewed sense of hope.

“It’s like, oh, suddenly I’m breathing. It’s like I’m being resuscitated,” said White, a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. “If my feelings were to be visible, that’s what you’d see. Somehow, I’ve got this oxygen tank right here, and Deb Haaland put it on my side.”

The Guardian

Latino areas devastated by COVID-19 are reopening slowly, with caution and fear about future

Miguel Dominguez and his son, Jesse, filled a few trays with pig-shaped puerquitos andfootball-shaped bolillos, then stuck them in the oven.

Back when business was good, they would keep going until stacks and stacks of trays were full of the Mexican breads. On this recent morning, they didn’t expect to sell much. The “ding dong” announcing a customer’s arrival came only a handful of times in an hour.

When he was vaccinated in early March, he imagined others would feel the same sense of relief and desire to get back to normal. But he still steps outside to a quiet street.

The nearby tamale and burger restaurants are gone. On the strip that was once a hub of Latino shopping life, there are more storefronts shuttered by iron gates than open ones inviting customers.

Dominguez is one emergency away from closing.

“I thought people might want to go out and spend their money,” the 56-year-old said. “But no. Nothing has changed. It’s a sad situation.”

Los Angeles Times

Russia Outlaws Same-Sex Marriage, Bans Trans People From Adopting

A series of constitutional amendments signed by President Vladimir Putin on Monday intensifies Russia’s years-long crackdown on LGBTQ+ rights.

The wide-ranging amendments formally outlaw same-sex marriages and ban transgender people from adopting children. Marriage equality had been long treated as illegal in Russia, where LGBTQ+ people commonly face persecution from governmental authorities, but as local activists told the Washington Blade, the definition of a family unit as “exclusively… a union of a man and a woman” was absent from the country’s constitution prior to this week.

That loophole, according to advocate Mikhail Tumasov, “gave hope” to the LGBTQ+ community that human rights defenders could one day “introduce same sex marriages on that legal base.”

Other amendments signed by Putin include new presidential term limits allowing him to remain in power until 2036 and grant him total immunity from prosecution for the remainder of his lifetime, as the Associated Press reports. The president also approved language specifying “a belief in God” as central to Russian values along with vaguely worded restrictions on “negative foreign interference in the educational process.”


Israel appears to confirm it carried out cyberattack on Iran nuclear facility

Israel appeared to confirm claims that it was behind a cyber-attack on Iran’s main nuclear facility on Sunday, which Tehran’s nuclear energy chief described as an act of terrorism that warranted a response against its perpetrators.

The apparent attack took place hours after officials at the Natanz reactor restarted spinning advanced centrifuges that could speed up the production of enriched uranium, in what had been billed as a pivotal moment in the country’s nuclear programme.

As Iranian authorities scrambled to deal with a large-scale blackout at Natanz, which the country’s Atomic Energy Agency acknowledged had damaged the electricity grid at the site, the Israeli defence chief, Aviv Kochavi, said the country’s “operations in the Middle East are not hidden from the eyes of the enemy”.

The Guardian

The Egg Hunt

The first advertisement was slid under the door of Maggie’s* Ivy League dorm room. The quarter sheet of thin paper featured a woman’s silhouette, leaping with open arms over an explosion of rainbow-hued long-tailed ovals and flowers. It implored her to “Be Eggceptional. Help a family’s dream come true. Become an egg donor today.”

The freshman threw it away without thinking much of it. Then the egg donation ads went virtual, a constant presence on her social media for three years until one on Facebook made her look twice. It said she could make up to $100,000 as an egg donor — so she clicked on it.

Ads for egg donation have long targeted young women from top-tier schools. But now, as ads aren’t relegated to dorm room distribution or alumni magazine classifieds and instead follow potentially interested donors around online for years, their idyllic depiction of egg donation begs a few questions: Are they helpful, informing potential donors about life-changing amounts of money? In targeting highly-educated and usually white donors, do they fast-track existing race and class biases into assisted reproduction? Do they entice students, particularly lower-income ones, towards an invasive medical procedure of which the long-term effects, both physical and emotional, haven’t been well-studied?

Teen Vogue

People set fires at Portland, Oregon ICE building: Reports

Video footage shows fires burning at the Portland, Oregon U.S. Immigration and Customs Enformcent (ICE) building. 

Video footage shows one fire that appeared to be burning along the outside of the building that had wood panels on it.

“On Sunday, the Portland Police Bureau confirmed that officers were called out to the federal building in Southwest Portland around 11:30 p.m. to assist the Federal Protective Service once fires had been lit. Officers arrived to find at least two fires, including one that appeared to be against the building,” according to KATU News. “Videos shared to KATU News by Independent Media PDX show the plywood that reinforced the exterior of the building ablaze. Wooden pallets piled outside were also set on fire,” the outlet said.

Just The News

Brian Kemp Says MLB Moving All-Star Game Hurts Minorities, Because White People Love Pretending They Know What’s Best for Black People

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again anyway: White conservatives are annoying AF. Their dedication to being obtuse, gaslight-prone and wilfully disingenuous makes them the living embodiment of nails on a chalkboard, and among their most irritating practices is the one where they pretend to care about race when it suits them.

This is a relatively new practice. For years, conservative pundits and politicians were content in pretending we live in a post-racial America and condemning any and all playing of the proverbial “race card” in any context. Only recently have they started regularly putting the card in play in order to back their own whitesplain-y-ass narratives.

It’s why former-yall’s-President Donald Trump had the Tang-flavored caucasity to declare that Black Lives Matter is actually bad for Black people, and it’s the motivator behind Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s ridiculous argument that raising the minimum wage will hurt Black teenagers the most. Suddenly, white people who should have “What race problem?” engraved on their tombstones have become great negro whisperers and experts of the Black plight who simply know what’s best for communities of color they are not a part of.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp enters the chat.

The Root

“Exterminate All the Brutes,” Reviewed: A Vast, Agonizing History of White Supremacy

The new four-part series by Raoul Peck, “Exterminate All the Brutes,” that’s streaming on HBO Max belongs to an exceptional genre: it is, in effect, an illustrated lecture, or a cinematic podcast. Which is to say that it’s an essay-film, a film of ideas, that are for the most part expressed by Peck himself, in his own voice-over, which nearly fills the movie’s soundtrack from start to finish. The four-hour film is in the vein of Peck’s previous essay-film, “I Am Not Your Negro,” which focusses on James Baldwin’s work. “Exterminate All the Brutes” is similarly an intellectual effort. And, like “I Am Not Your Negro,” it introduces and distills, from Peck’s own perspective, extant writings, this time by three historians who study colonialism and racism. Unlike the earlier film, though, the new one doesn’t offer much in the way of film clips from the writers themselves, and doesn’t (at least, doesn’t claim to) quote directly from their work. It is literally a film in Peck’s voice, and that strength, and that audacity, also gives rise to its artistic peculiarities.

The New Yorker