From Brian (Crooked) <[email protected]>
Subject What A Day: Paxlovid America-no
Date April 20, 2022 11:54 PM
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A chicken in every pot and a bottle in every medicine cabinet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

** -Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) ([link removed]) , American's perviest senator

Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine has followed a familiar pattern of halting military performance and the increasing anathematization of Putin himself, offset mostly by an endless supply of bluster. Or as his dwindling number of admirers at home and abroad might put it: gone exactly according to plan.
* The Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine has been underway for days ([link removed]) , but its efforts to pierce Ukrainian lines seem to keep succumbing to Ukrainian resistance, which, Russian forces somehow continue to underestimate. According to the New York Times ([link removed]) , “[N]either side has a clear upper hand. Russian forces amassed near Izium have probed south, in the direction of the critical city of Kramatorsk. But they have been met by significant Ukrainian defenses to the south of Izium and have made little progress…. At a second front in the northeast, near Sievierodonetsk, Russian forces appeared to make limited progress after bypassing the city.”

* The shortcomings of Putin’s military, though, haven’t blinded the world to its cruelty. New polling from Sweden ([link removed]) shows a big spike in the percentage of Swedes who would support joining NATO, concentrated among voters outside the ruling Social Democrats, which should in theory present the government a chance to increase its overall public support by entering the alliance.

* Across the Atlantic: American, Ukrainian, and western-European representatives walked out of the G20 summit in Washington, DC, ([link removed]) to protest Russia’s presence and statements at the gathering. Russian policy staffers at the summit got an earful from Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who told them they are complicit in war crimes, and should convince Putin to end the war or resign.

If anyone with Putin’s ear does step it probably won’t be the policy staffers.
* Citing 10 unnamed sources, this strangely unsigned Bloomberg news article ([link removed]) reports that the Russian governing elite is quietly beginning to sound the alarm about the horrible damage Putin’s war has done to Russian interests, and are coming around to western and Ukrainian concerns that he might launch a tactical nuclear first strike inside Ukraine if his invasion fails.

* As luck (?) would have it (???) Russia claims to have test-launched a new ICBM ([link removed]) that it says can aim nuclear weapons traveling hypersonic speed at any nation in the world. Putin framed the test as a warning to the west; his ministry of defense stepped on that the missle isn’t ready for prime time yet! Amid all this bluster, Ukraine has stockpiled a metric fuckton of U.S. artillery ([link removed]) in preparation for what everyone expects will be a decisive battle in the east.

There’s no sense in trying to predict what will happen if and when fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine, or what Putin will do if it goes poorly again. What we probably can say is that Putin’s malevolence and incompetence, and the damage it has done to his country, have broken through the din of propaganda among those who might ultimately have the power to bring his war to an end.

This week on Pod Save the World ([link removed]) , Ben and Tommy cover the latest from Ukraine, including how the fighting has moved to the east, the sinking of a Russian battleship, and how the war is evolving on the digital battlefield. Plus, Ben is joined by award-winning journalist Louisa Lim to discuss her new book, Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong. New episodes of Pod Save the World ([link removed]) drop every Wednesday. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.
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Demand for Paxlovid, Pfizer’s miraculous COVID therapeutic, is disappointingly low, ([link removed]) due to a combination of stringent eligibility criteria, reduced official testing, and patients choosing to tough-out generally less-severe Omicron infections. And though Paxlovid has not become a focal point of right-wing culture war (the way false cures like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin did) many of the most obvious candidates for Paxlovid are unvaccinated people, who tend to either nurse their infections at home, or show up at hospitals when it’s too late for the drug to do them any good. There are other, stickier factors as well, such as the fact that Paxlovid contains an ingredient that impedes the liver’s ability to metabolize other drugs. But the broader dynamic points to one way to make the current moment truly “post-pandemic”: Paxlovid is 90 percent effective at preventing
severe illness and death in high-risk patients, and leaders should put tons of effort into making it available to as many people as possible before they contract COVID-19, so that they can begin their curative course without any hassle. A chicken in every pot and a bottle in every medicine cabinet.
* Masked flying turns out to be popular, ([link removed]) notwithstanding all the airplane videos you saw on Twitter.

* Relatedly, the CDC has asked the Department of Justice to appeal the Trump-judge ruling ([link removed]) that struck down airport mask requirements, and precipitated the airlines’ decision to make masking optional. DOJ has obliged ([link removed]) .

* Watch Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) run away from questions about why he participated behind the scenes in Donald Trump's attempted coup ([link removed]) .

* A paramilitary member associated with disgraced former national security adviser Michael Flynn ([link removed]) (yes, that’s a real phrase I just wrote) threatened a January 6 committee witness, who recorded the conversation and provided it to Mother Jones.

* A bunch of insurrection defendants want their firearms rights restored ([link removed]) while they await trial, having perhaps identified an opening after Trump judge Trevor McFadden gave a convicted insurrectionist her gun rights back ([link removed]) .

* JD Vance’s main political patron, the fascistic venture-capital billionaire Peter Thiel, coughed up another $3.5 million into Vance’s Super PAC ([link removed]) after Donald Trump endorsed him. Rarely if ever has a plausible candidate for Senate been so clearly owned by two malevolent rich guys.

* Joe Biden will resurrect the blighted presidential tradition of attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, ([link removed]) undoing Donald Trump’s one worthy legacy achievement.

* A former Washington State Patrol trooper who became a viral right-wing sensation for telling off Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) ([link removed]) over the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate has died of COVID-19.

* Tennessee Republicans have removed a Trump-backed House candidate from the ballot, ([link removed]) on the grounds that she hasn’t lived in Tennessee long enough—an effort spearheaded by the state’s most notoriously antisemitic state legislator.

* Publicly identifying the person behind the right wing “Libs of Tiktok” propaganda account was actually a foreign-intelligence operation ([link removed]) according to Tucker Carlson.

* Newsmax named Ben Shapiro an honorary black conservative ([link removed]) (one of four, including a dead person), because he’s a right-wing “hero.”

* The South Carolina supreme court has delayed the execution of the death-row inmate who requested a firing squad ([link removed]) .

* After raising prices and losing 200,000 customers, Netflix has revealed it will eventually offer cheaper plans, supported by advertisements ([link removed]) .

A perfect storm of geopolitical developments has formed to test the decades-long, transactional relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, ([link removed]) but the underlying source of instability is the would-be Saudi King, Mohammad bin Salman, and his boundless corruption. Of course, corruption isn’t new to the Saudi royal family, or to the U.S.-Saudi relationship, but MBS has both personalized and internationalized it. The security-guarantee-for-loose-oil bargain that underlies the alliance has always been at odds with higher values. And the current backdrop, which includes climate change and global pressure to stigmatize human rights abuses (particularly after MBS ordered the assassination of Jamaal Khashoggi) couldn’t help but complicate it. But MBS has quite intentionally sought to tighten Saudi bonds with a global axis of dirty-energy loving authoritarians, including in China, Russia,
and—critically—the United States. And his closeness to the Trump family, through his financial and personal ties to Jared Kushner, likely helps explain why he’s kept a lid on oil supplies through Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, and otherwise undermined the U.S. alliance with Joe Biden in power.
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One of the most buzzed-about developments in Democratic politics is this impassioned, searing floor speech by state-Rep. Mallory McMorrow (D-MI), ([link removed]) taking apart a bigoted Republican colleague who accused her of grooming (falsely, of course) to raise money. A textbook case of how Democrats can win the culture wars, instead of dodging them.

Workers at an Apple Store in Atlanta have filed to hold a union election ([link removed]) .

Mask rules may or may not come back, but a zero-tolerance policy for feral airplane assholes is here to stay ([link removed]) .

Headline: “Scientists Want to Probe Uranus With a New Spacecraft.” ([link removed]) No notes.
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