2021-02-23: News Headlines

Staff (2021-02-23). U.S. COVID Death Toll Hits 500,000 as Rich Nations Hoard Vaccines, Leaving Poorer Nations Without Any. democracynow.org The United States has passed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, by far the highest toll in the world. The morbid milestone comes as new COVID-19 cases continue to fall across the country amid an accelerating vaccine rollout, but the head of the World Health Organization is calling on rich countries not to undermine efforts to get vaccines to poorer nations by buying up billions of doses — in some cases ordering enough to vaccinate their populations more than once. "The inequities that we've seen here are just absolutely stunning," says Dr. Craig Spencer, director of global health in emergency medicine at Columbia Uni…

Staff (2021-02-23). adrienne maree brown: Octavia Butler's Visions of the Future Have Transformed Generation of Readers. democracynow.org The visionary Black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler died 15 years ago on February 24, 2006, but her influence and readership has only continued to grow since then. In September, Butler's novel "Parable of the Sower" became her first to reach the New York Times best-seller list. We speak with adrienne maree brown, a writer and Octavia Butler scholar, who says Butler had a remarkable talent for universalizing Black stories. "She wrote about Black women and about Black feminism, about Black futures, but she wrote in a way that appealed to all human beings," says brown.

Staff (2021-02-23). Remembering Octavia Butler: Black Sci-Fi Writer Shares Cautionary Tales in Unearthed 2005 Interview. democracynow.org As Democracy Now! marks 25 years on the air, we are revisiting some of the best and most impactful moments from the program's history, including one of the last television interviews given by the visionary Black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler. She spoke to Democracy Now! in November 2005, just three months before she died on February 24, 2006, at age 58. Butler was the first Black woman to win Hugo and Nebula awards for science-fiction writing and the first science-fiction writer to receive a MacArthur "genius" fellowship. Her best-known books include the classics "Kindred," as well as "Parable of the Sowe…

Richard D. Wolff (2021-02-23). The Fake Debate Over a Minimum Wage. counterpunch.org Capitalism's "conservative" defenders yet again oppose raising the minimum wage. They fought raising it in the past much as they tried to prevent the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) that first mandated a U.S. minimum wage. The major argument opponents have used is this: setting or raising a minimum wage threatens small employers. They may collapse or else fire employees; either way, jobs are lost. What is conveniently assumed here is a necessary contradiction between minimum wages and small business jobs. That assumption enables opponents to claim that not setting a legal minimum wage, like not raising it, saves…

MEE staff (2021-02-23). Qatar: More than 6,500 south Asian migrant workers have died since 2011, says report. middleeasteye.net Qatar: More than 6,500 south Asian migrant workers have died since 2011, says report | Data compiled from government sources reveals thousands dead since Qatar awarded Fifa World Cup in December 2010 | Tue, 02/23/2021 – 08: 14 | Migrant workers are seen walking next to a construction site in the Qatari capital Doha on 6 December 2016 (AFP) | At least 6,500 migrant workers from south Asian countries have died i…

Staff (2021-02-23). How do you market sex work? therealnews.com We're back with Part II of our special mini-series on work and politics in the sex industry, guest-hosted by friend of the show Jessie Sage. Jessie is a writer, podcaster, phone sex operator, clip artist, and co-owner of Peepshow Media. In this rich and expansive two-part series, Jessie interviews sex worker, activist, writer, undocumented migrant, and DACA recipient from Honduras, Maya Morena. In Part II of their conversation, Maya and Jessie pick up where they left off last week and discuss the day-to-day labor that goes into being a sex worker, the images that sex workers have to maintain, and much more.

RT (2021-02-23). 'Haven't thought about that': Biden's AG nominee Garland dodges question whether illegal immigration should remain a crime. rt.com Former judge Merrick Garland, who was nominated by President Joe Biden to lead the Justice Department, seemed to say "I don't know" a lot at his Senate confirmation hearing, including when asked about illegal immigration. | Also on rt.com | | Senators questioned Garland on Monday ahead of the floor vote on his nomination, which appears to be a foregone conclusion. Time and again, however, he would not commit to things such as safeg…

Eds. (2021-02-23). Demographic characteristics of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. mronline.org The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with states to provide more information on the demographic characteristics of vaccinated people.

Sami Al-Arian (2021-02-23). Mourning Dr. Agha Saeed, Celebrating his Life. counterpunch.org Dr. Agha Saeed , a towering American-Muslim figure has passed away today in a nursing home at the age of 72, due to complications from Covid-19. He had also been silently suffering from Parkinson's for over eight years. The history of American Muslims will be incomplete and extremely inadequate without recognizing Dr. Saeed's life achievements

RT (2021-02-23). 'The containers offer privacy!' Biden under fire for opening child detainment center, but some liberals jump to defend him. rt.com The first child immigration detainment facility under President Joe Biden opened this week, prompting Democrats who had attacked former President Donald Trump for maintaining similar facilities to go on the defensive. | A former oil field worker camp in Carrizo Springs, Texas, it was briefly used as a detainment facility by the Trump administration in 2019 before being closed down, but is now back in operation to hold "up to 700 children," with the Biden administration saying it was needed since capacity has been cut at other facilities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. | Immigration activists were saddened to hea…

Raul Diego (2021-02-23). Part II — Western Capital's Long Chinese Mission: From Opium to COVID Vaccine Credentials. mintpressnews.com We examine the virtually unbroken history between American power-brokers and the highest echelons of power in China — a history that harkens back to the earliest days of capitalism, slavery, and the opium trade.

C.J. Hopkins (2021-02-23). The Vaccine (Dis)Information War. dissidentvoice.org So, good news, folks! It appears that GloboCap's Genetic Modification Division has come up with a miracle vaccine for Covid! It's an absolutely safe, non-experimental, messenger-RNA vaccine that teaches your cells to produce a protein that triggers an immune response, just like your body's immune-system response, only better, because it's made by corporations! OK, technically, …

RT (2021-02-23). Pfizer and Moderna pledge to Congress to ramp up Covid-19 vaccine production as US death toll tops 500,000. rt.com Pfizer and Moderna have prepared written testimonies to the US Congress, promising to boost vaccine production in the coming months, as the country's death toll from Covid-19 recently exceeded 500,000. | The companies' executives are scheduled to speak before the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce on Tuesday. | According to Pfizer Chief Business Officer John Young's written testimony, the company will have 120 million doses of the vaccine available for shipment by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses by the end of May. Pfizer expects that all 300 million contracted dose…

RT (2021-02-23). Meghan McCain calls for firing of Fauci for 'inconsistent messaging' on Covid, gets roasted for calling vaccine rollout a disaster. rt.com Meghan McCain was taken to the woodshed online after demanding Anthony Fauci be fired for his "inconsistent messaging" on the Covid-19 pandemic, while complaining that she — a TV host — doesn't know when she'll be vaccinated. | The pundit took aim at Fauci during a Monday segment on 'The View' over a recent appearance on CNN, where the health expert suggested those who've received an immunization may still have to practice social distancing. | "I was very frustrated when I saw this clip," she said. "The fact that Dr. Fauci is going on CNN and he can't tell me that if I get the vaccine, if I'll be a…

RT (2021-02-23). #FireFauci trends as he tells vaccinated people to remain under lockdown, blames Trump's 'denial' for massive death count. rt.com Calls for White House adviser Anthony Fauci to be fired have intensified as he continues pushing lockdown restrictions and criticizing former President Donald Trump over Covid-19 deaths. | After cautioning vaccinated individuals from resuming normal activities like dining out or attending large group events, Fauci tried clarifying his stance in a Tuesday interview with CNN, saying more relaxed guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be coming "soon." | The agency, Fauci said, needs to "sit down, talk about it, look at the data and then come out with a recommendation based on the…

Eliza Egret (2021-02-23). Matt Hancock's audacity is off the scale as he refuses to apologise for breaking the law. thecanary.co It should no longer come as a surprise, watching Matt Hancock give himself a pat on the back for how he's handled the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. It should also come as no surprise that he accepts zero responsibility for almost But Hancock's audacity flew off the chart on 23 February when he insisted that his team should be thanked, and that there had been no national shortage of PPE. Does Hancock think that a successful roll-out of vaccines…

MEE staff (2021-02-23). Covid-19: Israel donates vaccines to countries that moved embassies to Jerusalem. middleeasteye.net Covid-19: Israel donates vaccines to countries that moved embassies to Jerusalem | Czech Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, and Palestinian Authority will receive symbolic amount of vaccines, local media report | Tue, 02/23/2021 – 16: 57 | Israel is facing mounting criticism for not inoculating Palestinians in occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip (AFP) | The Czech Republic, Guatemala and Honduras, which have all move…

MEE and agencies (2021-02-23). Covid-19 in Lebanon: World Bank threatens to stop funding vaccinations after violations. middleeasteye.net Covid-19 in Lebanon: World Bank threatens to stop funding vaccinations after violations | Lebanon's vaccine committee said on Tuesday that a number of lawmakers had received the jab without its approval | Tue, 02/23/2021 – 14: 02 | People receive Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at the Lebanese American University Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon, on 16 February 2021 (Reuters) | The head…

Peter Koenig (2021-02-23). Die Twilight Zone: Covid, das Weltwirtschaftsforum (WEF) und Eugenik. globalresearch.ca All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the "Translate Website" drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version). | *** | àúbrsetzt aus dem Englischen von Global Research: | |

The Canary (2021-02-23). Experts urge the UK to follow a zero-Covid strategy to prevent more mutations. thecanary.co Stamping out coronavirus (Covid-19) means that the virus which causes the disease will have less chance to mutate, MPs have heard. | Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that he could not understand why the government had decided not to follow the path of eliminating the virus — or a zero-Covid approach — and instead accepted that it will become endemic in society. | Prof McKee said having a situation where infection rates are "yo-yoing" up and down was just creating uncertainty for the public and for the economy. | It comes afte…

Staff (2021-02-23). Over 33 Percent of Low-Paid Workers Lost Jobs During Pandemic. truthout.org Economic crises shine a spotlight on a society's inequities and hierarchies, as well as its commitment to support those who are most vulnerable in such grievous moments. The calamity created by Covid-19 is no exception. The economic fallout from that pandemic has tested the nation's social safety net as never before. | Between February and May 2020, the number of unemployed workers soared more than threefold — from 6.2 million to 20.5 million. The jobless rate spiked in a similar fashion from 3.8% to…

John Bachtell (2021-02-23). Republicans oppose the American Rescue Plan at their peril. peoplesworld.org With Republicans scrambling to block emergency economic assistance to millions, the Democratic-led House of Representatives is moving quickly to approve the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) this week. The measure, which links the pandemic, economic crisis, and racial justice, then goes to the Senate. The Democratic majority is expected to pass it via the …

Ed Rampell (2021-02-23). 'Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me' at Pan African Film Festival. peoplesworld.org Undaunted, the pandemic can't stop the Pan African Film Festival. In that immortal show biz tradition, the show must go on! Albeit virtually, as this year, in order to stay cinematically safe, America's largest and best annual Black-themed filmfest since 1992 is moving online and starting later than usual, kicking off on the last day …

Staff (2021-02-23). Amazon faces a day of reckoning for its treatment of workers. therealnews.com Amazon workers and their allies rallied last weekend to support the union drive at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility. Workers say the company has failed to protect worker safety or improve working conditions even while Amazon and Jeff Bezos profited from the pandemic.

Staff (2021-02-23). Trump Attacks Supreme Court for Allowing Probe Into His Tax Returns. truthout.org On Monday, the Supreme Court allowed a New York prosecutor to obtain Donald Trump's tax returns, marking a fatal blow for his legal effort to block an accelerating criminal investigation into his business dealings. In turn, the former president lashed out at and attacked the justices, including the three nominated to the bench by him, who rebuffed his attempt to block the probe without comment. | "This investigation is a continuation of the greatest political Witch Hunt in the history of our Country,"

Liberation Staff (2021-02-23). Student activists in Weymouth, Mass. vs the cult of 'blue lives matter'. liberationnews.org The rhetoric surrounding "blue lives matter" isn't new. Similar dogwhistles have been used to defend hate symbols such as the confederate flag, the Gadsden flag, and even the swastika.

Jonah Raskin (2021-02-23). Notes on Black History Month, 2021: No More Black Messiahs, Please. counterpunch.org The sign in the window of my neighborhood food store reads, "Black Lives Matter." I have shopped there at least once a week over the past year. I have never seen a Black person in the store or a Black person working there. That is not strange or unusual. There aren't many Black people in all of northern California. Indeed, there are fewer Blacks in the Bay Area than there were in the 1940s and 1950s. They've been pushed out.

Ben Hillier (2021-02-23). What coronavirus taught us about the ruling class. mronline.org If half a million people in the United States were murdered by an evil cult, the leaders of which said that they would keep killing thousands a day to satisfy their rapacious urge for power and money, what do you think the response would be?>

Richard C. Gross (2021-02-23). Welcoming a Return to Sanity. counterpunch.org In the old days, specifically during the presidency of another actor, Ronald Reagan, Republican falsehoods seemed so quaint that Americans dismissed them as such, relegating them to sloganeering. "Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem," the conservative president charged during his first inaugural address in 1981. Nonsense. Reagan's phrase was

The Conversation (2021-02-23). Biden and the Iran nuclear deal: what to expect from the negotiations. juancole.com By Ali Bilgic | — As Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, speculation was rife that one of the first things his administration would do would be to seek re-entry to the Iran nuclear deal that had been quit by his predecessor in the White House. The Joint …

Eds. (2021-02-23). Bhima Koregaon: Varavara Rao gets bail on medical grounds for six months. mronline.org Just as the Bombay HC pronounced the verdict, the additional solicitor general sought a stay on the order for three weeks. However, the court rejected it.

Sameena Rahman (2021-02-23). FBI, NYPD exposed: Deathbed confession shines new light on assassination of Malcolm X. liberationnews.org Fifty-six years after the assasination of Malcolm X, new details from a former New York Police Department officer's deathbed confession has further implicated the NYPD and FBI in the killing. Raymond Wood, the former NYPD officer, requested the letter be publicized only after his death due to fears of retaliation. Wood's cousin, Reggie Wood, read …

W.E.B. DuBois, Gus Hall (2021-02-23). From the People's World archives: W.E.B. DuBois joins the Communist Party. peoplesworld.org Editor's Note: Dr. William E. Burghhardt DuBois was born Feb. 23, 1868. Near the end of his life, in 1961, he applied for membership in the Communist Party USA. His letter, and the response from Gus Hall, leader of the party at that time, were published for the first time in the pages of The …

Ronda Shelton (2021-02-23). Killer cop still not on trial almost 3 years after killing Daniel Hambrick in Tennessee. liberationnews.org As made clear by the video footage, when Delke was unable to catch his victim on foot, he stopped running, assumed a firing position, and shot Hambrick three times, including once in the back of the head.

Steve Sweeney (2021-02-23). Erdogan slammed, will open a fascist 'Grey Wolves' school in occupied Artsakh. peoplesworld.org Anti-fascist forces in Turkey blasted authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's links to right-wing paramilitary death squads today after reports that he will open a new Grey Wolves school in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. He will lay the foundation for the building alongside Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev in the city of Shushi, which was taken by Azeri forces …

Karl Grossman (2021-02-23). Plutonium in Space: What Are the Odds of a Catastrophe? counterpunch.org With all the media hoopla last week about the Perseverance rover, going almost totally unreported was that its energy source is plutonium—considered the most lethal of all radioactive substances—and nowhere in media that NASA projected 1-in-960 odds of the plutonium being released in an accident on the mission. "A '1-in-960 chance' of a deadly plutonium release

Tom Conway (2021-02-23). Corporations, lawmakers collude in new multi-state 'right to work' offensive. peoplesworld.org Dave Dell Isola, the son and grandson of union members, grew up grateful for the family-sustaining wages and benefits that organized labor won for working people. But he never fully grasped the might of solidarity until he and his wife, Barbara, and their two sons lost everything in an apartment fire. Dell Isola's brothers and …

Patrick Cockburn (2021-02-23). Capitol Riots were a Dark Day for American Journalism. counterpunch.org What is reported matters and particularly so when it risks exaggerating violence or deepening fear and a sense of threat. If the US government really was the target of an armed insurrection, then this will be used to justify repression, as it was after 9/11, and not just against right wing conspiracy theorists. By becoming partisan instruments for spreading fake news, the media undermines its own credibility.

Talli Nauman (2021-02-23). The Race to Save the Vaquita Porpoise From Extinction. counterpunch.org San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico. The long-running global struggle to prevent extinction of the world's most endangered marine mammal claimed its first human life here on Jan. 2, in the conflict between illegal fishing and conservation of the vaquita porpoise. Fisherman Mario Garcia Toledo, 56, died after suffering massive injuries when his skiff collided with

John Clamp (2021-02-23). Rohingya: The Sufis of Arakan. counterpunch.org 'It was absolutely shocking, how children aged five or six were hunted down and had their throats slit. I was thinking 'this is ISIS-type stuff'. I told Aung San Suu Kyi 'you have moral standing in this country. You have to stop this. Why are you hiding it?' She said [the United Nations] needed to

David L. Wilson (2021-02-23). Crediting Xenophobia—rather than organizing—with raising workers' wages. mronline.org The Economist (2/15/20) ran a brief article last year with a startling headline: "Immigration to America Is Down. Wages Are Up. Are the Two Related?" Maybe, the article's anonymous author answered, at least for the short term.

John Wojcik (2021-02-23). Conservative Democrat Joe Manchin playing a dangerous game. peoplesworld.org The press is talking about how a conservative Democratic senator from West Virginia is now allegedly one of the most powerful movers and shakers in the nation's capital. Sen. Joe Manchin has been an enormous headache for President Joe Biden by threatening to sink the $15 minimum wage and by promising to vote down Biden's …

Sanket Jain (2021-02-23). India's Farm Crisis: "They Sell Our Wheat to Us at Thrice the Price" counterpunch.org Laxmibai Kale has been losing a portion of her harvest every year. That's not been due to excessive rainfall or drought or poor farming techniques. "Our crops are destroyed," said 60-year-old Laxmibai, "because thepanchayat allows animals to graze on the land. I've lost count of the losses we've suffered." The five-acre plot in Mohadi village

PAI (2021-02-23). Unions, Poor People's Campaign press wage hike ahead of Congress vote. peoplesworld.org WASHINGTON (PAI)—With notable union backing, led by Service Employees President Mary Kay Henry, the New Poor People's Campaign turned up pressure on Congress to approve raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, ahead of key votes on Capitol Hill. The pressure came in nine live demonstrations from coast to coast, despite rain in …

Elizabeth Anderson (2021-02-23). What Comes After Meritocracy? thenation.com The long-standing focus by liberals on meritocratic advancement has isolated the working class.

Tom Anderson (2021-02-23). Campaigners call for the strengthening of Welsh language rights as people globally stand up for oppressed mother languages. thecanary.co Sunday 21 February The International Mother Language Day Kurdistan: | Commentators on Twitter highlighted the continued o…

RT (2021-02-23). Ex-VP Pence snubs annual conservative conference where his former boss Trump is due to speak, prompting speculations. rt.com While ex-president Donald Trump will be speaking at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he will not be joined by Mike Pence, a fact that has both sides of the political aisle talking theories as to why. | Matt Schlapp, one of the main organizers for the event, has said Pence's refusal to speak at the conference is a "mistake." | "His conservative record is well respected, and conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat party," he said. | Trump's speech will, meanwhile, be his most public event since leaving office. While…

RT (2021-02-23). 'Publish your emails instead': Hillary Clinton's plans to pen 'political thriller' met with groans on social media. rt.com An announcement that former presidential candidate and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is planning to write a "political thriller" with author Louise Penny has been met with groans and eyerolls on social media. | Axios reported on Tuesday that the book, to be titled 'State of Terror', will be published in October by Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's Press. | The story will follow a "novice Secretary of State" who "joins the administration of her rival" a president who was inaugurated "after four years of American leadership that shrank from the world stage" — perhaps a not-so-thinly-veiled reference…

RT (2021-02-23). Bill Gates admits his 'large carbon footprint' makes him a 'strange person' to pressure others — as he plugs climate-change book. rt.com Microsoft founder Bill Gates has admitted his private jet and billionaire lifestyle make him a "strange person" to advocate against climate change, but insists he's doing his part bankrolling obscure tech years away from adoption. | While Gates acknowledged his critics had good reason to question why a man with "the biggest carbon footprint west of the Mississippi" was "preaching" to them about climate change, the software magnate-turned climate crusader insisted he was sincere about trying to shrink even his own massive consumption levels. | In a chummy discussion with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on Tuesday, Gate…

Staff (2021-02-23). WHO Urges Rich Countries to Stop Undermining Efforts to Vaccinate Poorer Ones. truthout.org The United States has passed 500,000 COVID-19 deaths, by far the highest toll in the world. The morbid milestone comes as new COVID-19 cases continue to fall across the country amid an accelerating vaccine rollout, but the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on rich countries not to undermine efforts to get vaccines to poorer nations by buying up billions of doses — in some cases ordering enough to vaccinate their populations more than once. "The inequities that we've s…