How Companies Like Google Plan to Profit in High-Tech COVID Dystopia

the billionaires I was referring to is, he didn’t just announce that partnership with Eric Schmidt, who will be chairing this blue-ribbon commission to, quote-unquote, “reopen” New York state with an emphasis on telehealth, remote learning, working from home, increased broadband. That’s what they announced during that briefing. He also announced that he would be kind of outsourcing the tracing of the virus to Michael Bloomberg, another megabillionaire. And the day before, at the briefing, Cuomo announced a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to, quote-unquote, “reimagine” education.

And during all of these announcements, there’s just been sort of effusive praise heaped on these billionaires. They’re called “visionaries” over and over again. And the governor talks about how this is an unprecedented opportunity to put their preexisting ideas into action. And this is what I’ve described as the shock doctrine previously.

And we have talked on the show during the pandemic about what I would describe as kind of lower-tech shock doctrines of the kind we’ve seen before — immediately going after Social Security, immediately bailing out fossil fuel companies. And I want to stress that all of this is still happening, right? The suspending of EPA regulations. So, there’s still this kind of lower-tech

— source | May 13, 2020

Google, Amazon workers demand to cut ties with Israel’s Project Nimbus

Nearly 400 Google and Amazon workers have demanded that their employers cut ties with Project Nimbus, an Israeli government-backed initiative to establish secure local cloud computing sites across the country. In an open letter published in the British newspaper The Guardian, 90 Google and 300 Amazon employees, writing anonymously, condemned the cloud computing giants’ decision to “sell dangerous technology to the Israeli military and government.”

Project Nimbus calls for Amazon and Google to develop cloud-storage sites across Israel at an initial investment of 4 billion shekels ($1.2 billion). The sites will enable Israel to keep data within its borders under strict security guidelines.

Tuesday’s letter follows another by a group of 250 “diverse Jewish and allied Googlers,” published during the May fighting. In it, the authors urged “a review of all Alphabet business contracts and corporate donations and the termination of contracts with institutions that support Israeli violations of Palestinian rights,” including the Israeli military. Alphabet is Google’s parent company.

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | 13 Oct 2021

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Drug Giant Silencing Governments

one of the leading COVID-19 vaccine makers appears to have restricted — appears to have restricted access to those very vaccines. The People’s Vaccine Alliance says just 14% of the 1.8 billion doses rich nations promised to donate have been delivered so far. And this week Germany said it expected to miss its target to donate 100 million doses this year, due in part to legal restrictions imposed by vaccine manufacturers.

We are in the worst public health crisis in over a century, and Pfizer has used its monopoly over a life-saving vaccine, a remarkable vaccine, to extract really concerning concessions from desperate governments around the world. And so we detail six examples. And I should say that the contracts are mostly the same, but there are variations within each contract. But almost all the contracts contain, for example, a provision that allows Pfizer to control, essentially, what is said about the contracts. Almost all the contracts contain a provision that says, if there is a vaccine shortage, then Pfizer gets to unilaterally decide what the priority of deliveries is, and the countries will simply accept those terms. There’s provisions about donations, and Pfizer gets to say whether a country can either donate a Pfizer vaccine or even accept a donated Pfizer vaccine. And so, there’s just all kinds of things in these contracts.

— source | Oct 22, 2021

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Pfizer’s Power

In February, Pfizer was accused of “bullying” governments in COVID vaccine negotiations in a groundbreaking story by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.[1] A government official at the time noted, “Five years in the future when these confidentiality agreements are over you will learn what really happened in these negotiations.”[2]

Public Citizen has identified several unredacted Pfizer contracts that describe the outcome of these negotiations. The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power one pharmaceutical corporation has gained to silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk and maximize profits in the worst public health crisis in a century. We describe six examples from around the world below.[3]

— source | Zain Rizvi | Oct 19, 2021

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Healthcare Industry Sees “Potential Bonanza” of Profits in COVID-19 Crisis

Yeah, I think what Senator Sanders is doing there is highlighting the moral and pragmatic absurdities of for-profit medicine, as he has always done so well. Of course, the question around the vaccine is notional at this point, because there isn’t a vaccine. And best-case scenario, we’re a couple of years out from that moment when we would be talking about universal rollout.

When that happens, I think we should all remember Jonas Salk’s famous answer to the question about whether, after he invented the polio vaccine, whether — he was asked whether it would be patented. And he said, “Would you patent the sun?” So I think that that should absolutely be the approach that we take.

But within the system of for-profit medicine, at every stage, whether it is the production of essential medical equipment or whether it is the delivery of services, that is responsible for a huge number of deaths within the U.S. response.

We’re hearing — we heard Dr. Fauci, just now, talk about needless mass death if the economy opens up too soon. And it is already opening up too soon in many states. But the truth of the matter is, because of a refusal to listen to earlier warnings from experts like him, there has already been needless mass deaths, you know, by some estimates an excess death of 50,000 people as of today in the United States, because the U.S. government did not listen to warnings, was not looking at what was happening in the rest of the world, completely blew the head start it had in tackling this virus.

— source | May 13, 2020

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Racist Medical System Stole Henrietta’s Cells

The family of Henrietta Lacks, the African American cancer patient whose cells were taken by Johns Hopkins University Hospital without her consent in 1951, is suing the pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher Scientific and demanding reparations and the intellectual property of those cells.

Henrietta Lacks was a young Black mother in segregated Baltimore who suffered from metastatic cervical cancer. Doctors took tissue samples from her womb, unknowingly, that went on to become one of the most productive cell lines, leading to groundbreaking research that became a cornerstone of modern medicine, from cancer care and HIV/AIDS treatment to helping scientists produce remedies for several diseases, including the first polio vaccine and even COVID-19 vaccines. Her cells were just known as “HeLa” cells — H-E-L-A — the first two letters of Henrietta Lacks’s first and last name. But even her family had no clue about her legacy until more than 20 years after her death.

— source | Oct 08, 2021

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Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

In a bipartisan 316-113 vote on Thursday night, the U.S. House authorized a $778 billion military budget for fiscal year 2022. Every Republican voted against two amendments to reduce Pentagon spending, but Democrats were split. According to an analysis of OpenSecrets data by the Security Policy Reform Institute (SPRI) and Sludge, the Democrats who voted against the 10% Pentagon budget cut have taken, on average, 3.7 times more campaign money from arms manufacturers since January 2019 than the Democrats who voted for it.

— source | Sep 24, 2021

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Corporate America Cashed In on 9/11

The costs and consequences of America’s 21st-century wars have by now been well-documented—a staggering $8 trillion in expenditures and more than 380,000 civilian deaths, as calculated by Brown University’s Costs of War project. The question of who has benefited most from such an orgy of military spending has, unfortunately, received far less attention.

Corporations large and small have left the financial feast of that post-9/11 surge in military spending with genuinely staggering sums in hand. After all, Pentagon spending has totaled an almost unimaginable $14 trillion-plus since the start of the Afghan War in 2001, up to one-half of which (catch a breath here) went directly to defense contractors.
“The Purse is Now Open”: The Post-9/11 Flood of Military Contracts

The political climate created by the Global War on Terror (GWOT), as Bush administration officials quickly dubbed it, set the stage for humongous increases in the Pentagon budget. In the first year after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan, defense spending rose by more than 10 percent and that was just the beginning. It would, in fact, increase annually for the next decade, which was unprecedented in American history. The Pentagon budget peaked in 2010 at the highest level since World War II—over $800 billion, substantially more than the country spent on its forces at the height of the Korean or Vietnam Wars or during President Ronald Reagan’s vaunted military buildup of the 1980s.

— source | William D. Hartung | Sep 24, 2021

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