2021-02-17: News Headlines

Eds. (2021-02-17). Vulture Funds plan to use the Pandemic to pillage the Global Economy. mronline.org Before the pandemic, private equity had amassed $2.5 trillion—more than the GDP of Italy—in 'dry powder,' waiting for distressed assets to plunder. Covid-19 provided them with the perfect opportunity.

Real Progressives (2021-02-17). COVID-19 Has Made Americans Lonelier Than Ever — Here's how AI can Help. realprogressives.org "How does that make you feel?" | In the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are missing a sympathetic ear. Would a response like that make you feel heard, less alone, even if it were a machine writing back to you? | The pandemic has contributed to

Liz Theoharis (2021-02-17). Whose Rights Matter in Pandemic America? Not Those of Poor Americans, That's For Sure. juancole.com By Liz Theoharis | — ( Tomdispatch.com ) — In June 1990, future South African President Nelson Mandela addressed a joint session of Congress only months after being released from 27 years in a South African apartheid prison. He reminded the political leadership of the United States that "to deny people their human rights is …

Staff (2021-02-17). 'We're not a charity case, we're under occupation'. therealnews.com Telling Israel to be a kinder occupying force does nothing to address the structural violence of Israeli occupation, which has been laid bare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff (2021-02-17). Teacher Unions: We Want to Reopen Schools as Well, But We Need Vaccines & Resources to Do It Safely. democracynow.org As school districts across the U.S. debate how to safely bring children into the classroom, we speak with two leaders of the teachers' union movement on what's at stake as schools reopen. Stacy Davis Gates, executive vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union, says years of underfunding and privatization have left many school districts ill-equipped to meet the needs of students, as well as educators. "It's not just the context of opening schools. It's reopening schools safely with the resources that are necessary to keep people safe," she tells Democracy Now! We also speak with Randi Weingarten, president of th…

Staff (2021-02-17). "Work Won't Love You Back": Sarah Jaffe on Toxic U.S. Work Culture & the Fight Against Inequality. democracynow.org Amid the economic crisis and precarious working conditions for millions of people during the pandemic, we look at a new book by Sarah Jaffe, an independent journalist and author who covers labor and economic justice. "Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone" looks at the unsustainable expectations of fulfillment around work and how the "labor of love" myth has contributed to the rise of toxic workplaces. Jaffe says the pandemic has shown that work can always get worse, and that more and more people are pushing back. "It's not just that it's a bad, grinding, slow…

MEE correspondent (2021-02-17). Covid-19: Mass medic migration leaves Iran in pandemic panic. middleeasteye.net Covid-19: Mass medic migration leaves Iran in pandemic panic | The pandemic has driven Iran's doctors and nurses to foreign countries that offer better financial and workplace incentives, as well as respect for the healthcare profession | Wed, 02/17/2021 – 14: 42 | As Iran struggles with the coronavirus outbreak, many Iranian doctors and nurses have chosen to emigrate for better pay and…

RT (2021-02-17). Small businesses saved? Biden helped struggling firms 'first & foremost' with female nominee, press sec Psaki says. rt.com White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki kicked off a wave of criticism after suggesting the Joe Biden administration was helping out struggling companies "first and foremost" by tapping a woman to lead the Small Business Administration. | Psaki was asked what the president intended to do to assist small business during a virtual Q&A on Tuesday, as many independent companies continue to languish under a raft of state-level shutdown policies and other restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic. | "First and foremost, he nominated a woman to lead the Small Business Administration, who formerly worked there," Psaki said…

RT (2021-02-17). Biden promises vaccines available to all Americans by end of July, 'significantly' less social distancing & masks a year from now. rt.com President Biden has predicted a "very different circumstance" for the US' Covid-19 outbreak by Christmas, saying some 600 million vaccine doses will be ready by July while noting that he's been advised against 'over-promising.' | Biden waxed optimistic about the ongoing viral outbreak during a CNN town hall event on Tuesday, declaring that "by next Christmas, I think we'll be in a very different circumstance, God willing, than we are today." He said the improvement would be further helped along if an inoculation developed by Johnson & Johnson receives FDA approval, as it is expected to sometime this month. | "

teleSUR (2021-02-17). Paraguay to Receive First Batch of Sputnik V Vaccines. telesurenglish.net Paraguay's President Mario Abdo on Wednesday thanked Russia's President Vladimir Putin for supplying his country with Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccines. | RELATED: | "I hold an excellent telephone conversation with President Putin. We agreed to push for a shipment schedule for more COVID-19 vaccine batches as soon as possible," Abdo tweeted. | The first 4,000 Sputnik V doses should arrive in this South American country early Friday mo…

teleSUR (2021-02-17). Venezuela to Launch Its COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign. telesurenglish.net Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro Wednesday informed his country will start its vaccination campaign with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine this Thursday. | RELATED: | "We will begin immunizing health workers with the 100,000 doses that arrived in the country on Feb. 15," he said, adding that the government will guarantee the health and lives of the people "thanks to cooperation between Russia and Venezuela." | Law enforcemen…

Staff (2021-02-17). "David vs. Goliath": Warehouse Workers in Alabama Fight Amazon for the Right to Unionize. democracynow.org Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are continuing to vote on whether to become the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States. Their demands include stronger COVID-19 safety measures and relief from impossibly high productivity standards that leave many unable to take bathroom breaks. "We want to be heard. We want to be treated like people and not ignored when we have issues," says Jennifer Bates, a worker at Amazon's BHM1 facility who has been part of the union drive from the beginning. We also speak with Michael Foster, a poultry plant worker, union member and member-organizer with RWDSU. "Amazon h…

John Bachtell (2021-02-17). For the sake of democracy, kill off the Senate filibuster. peoplesworld.org The nation's economic outlook is worsening, and new, more contagious COVID-19 variants worry public health officials. In response, the Democratic-led House and Senate are moving quickly to pass President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan (ARP) through the process of budget reconciliation. This process requires a simple majority vote in the U.S. Senate. Budget reconciliation is …

RT (2021-02-17). 'Verbal stumble' or blatant lie? Biden says US had no vaccine when he took office as new admin criticizes Trump's jab rollout. rt.com Joe Biden, who was fully vaccinated before his inauguration, has been accused of playing loose with the facts after stating that there was no Covid-19 shot when he entered office. But some insist it was a harmless verbal slip. | Read more | | Speaking with CNN's Anderson Cooper at a town hall event on Tuesday, the US president explained in a rather disjointed way that the United States lacked both vaccines and health workers capable of administering…

RT (2021-02-17). 'Breathing is optional': Internet groans after NYC requires double-masking inside federal court buildings. rt.com Two masks will now be required for those who want to enter a federal court building in Manhattan — but the new Covid-19 guidance has provoked more mockery than applause on social media. | The Southern District of New York

Scott Williams (2021-02-17). Solidarity accelerates with Amazon workers' union drive in Alabama. workers.org Solidarity with the struggle of 5,800+ Amazon workers in Bessemer, Ala., to unionize continues to grow, following the heroic lead of this majority-Black workforce fighting for justice on the job. Walking the Powder Plant Road approach to the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala.,where a union drive is underway by the . . . |

A Guest Author (2021-02-17). Incarcerated workers say: 'Solidarity with Amazon workers!'. workers.org The following letters from incarcerated workers in the Pennsylvania prison system were sent by email on Feb. 13 and 15 to Joe Piette, a member of the Prisoner Solidarity Committee of Workers World Party. From SCI Frackville As I've advised you before, anything that I can do . . . |

A Guest Author (2021-02-17). Incarcerated workers say: 'Solidarity with Amazon workers!'. workers.org The following letters from incarcerated workers in the Pennsylvania prison system were sent by email on Feb. 13 and 15 to Joe Piette, a member of the Prisoners Solidarity Committee of Workers World Party. From SCI Frackville As I've advised you before, anything that I can do for the people, . . . |

Betsey Piette (2021-02-17). Morgan Lewis lawyers — high-paid union-busting thugs. workers.org In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, bosses hired Pinkerton Agency goon squads to infiltrate unions, break strikes and intimidate workers who were trying to organize. Graphic: supportamazonworkers.org Today's hired union-busting thugs are more likely to be high-paid lawyers tasked with turning labor laws — intended to protect workers . . . |

Patrick Cockburn (2021-02-17). The Arab Spring Failed But the Rage Against Misery and Injustice Continues. counterpunch.org Ten years ago, people across the Middle East and North Africa rose up in protest against their rulers, demanding freedom and democracy. Despotic rulers were toppled or feared that power was being torn from their grasp in countries across the region, as millions of demonstrators surged through the streets, chanting that "the people demand the fall of the regime".

Mehr News Agency (2021-02-17). Iran to add more advanced machines to Natanz facility: Report. en.mehrnews.com TEHRAN, Feb. 17 (MNA) — Iran has informed the UN nuclear watchdog it plans to install more of its advanced IR-2m centrifuges at Natanz enrichment facility, a Western media claimed.

RT (2021-02-17). Texas disaster is what happens when you DON'T pursue a Green New Deal — AOC. rt.com Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has blasted Texas Governor Greg Abbott and the state's infrastructure planning, claiming her Green New Deal would better prepare areas for extreme weather conditions. | "The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don't* pursue a Green New Deal," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on Wednesday. | The message appeared to be in response to Abbott criticizing a potential Green New Deal due to many renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines failing in the state's historically cold weather. In an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday ev…

RT (2021-02-17). Playing politics while Texans freeze? Gov. Abbott grilled after blaming Green New Deal for his state's power woes. rt.com Texas Governor Greg Abbott has singled out renewable energy as the culprit behind his state's devastating power outages, sparking accusations that he is trying to skirt responsibility for the crisis. | Frigid temperatures have shut down some of Texas' wind turbines and solar panels, as well as natural gas infrastructure in the Lone Star state. As a result, millions of residents have been left in freezing conditions without power, resulting in numerous deaths. | Speaking with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday, Abbott suggested that the failure of so-called "sustainable" energy sources such as wind and solar…

Rima Najjar (2021-02-17). "Palestine Must be Demilitarized". According to Israel, there is no "Occupation" of The West Bank and Gaza. 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). | *** | Soapbox (described on Facebook as Russia state-controlled media) is circulating a …

Binoy Kampmark (2021-02-17). The "Return" of America: Biden's Maiden Foreign Policy Speech. counterpunch.org Few could have been slack-jawed at the first significant foreign policy speech of US President Joe Biden. It can easily be filed under the "America is back" label. Back as well, as if the previous administration had been incapable of it, was a promise for that practice unflatteringly called jaw-jaw. "Diplomacy," the President states from

_____ (2021-02-17). Tyranny by Propaganda Is Tyranny by Force. strategic-culture.org By Caitlin JOHNSTONE | As people became more educated and more aware of what's going on in their world, they began to decide that they didn't much like being attacked by the ruler's goon squad whenever they stepped out of line. Because there are a lot more ordinary people than rulers, this forced an end to the practice of rule by overt brute force tyranny in some parts of the world. | So a few things changed. First, we began to see rulers shipping their violent goon squad enforcers overseas. While it is now taboo to openly butcher members of your citizenry who oppose you, it is considered perfectly acceptable to…

Paul Jay (2021-02-17). Ronald Reagan: "Small Government" a Smoke Screen for Racism and Smashing Unions — Matt Tyrnauer (pt4). theanalysis.news One of Reagan's geniuses was to convince people to vote against their own self-interest. In the name of lower taxes and the Cold War, he expanded investment in "defense" systems, that benefited the oligarchs who brought him to power. Matt Tyrnauer, director of "The Reagans" on Showtime, joins Paul Jay on theAnalysis.news…

Michele de Mello (2021-02-17). Agro-ecology project links peasant production to urban communes in Venezuela. peoplesdispatch.org "Only the people can save the people." With this idea in mind, the Pueblo a Pueblo Foundation (People to people, in Spanish) seeks to apply in real life, union and solidarity between the countryside and the city. The project is based on bringing food produced by rural Venezuelan communities to urban communes. The goal is to shut out intermediaries, and ensure the societal division of agricultural production: ensuring that the farmer does not lose his harvest, and that the consumer can have access to a diversified basic food basket at a fair price. | "The Pueblo a Pueblo plan has working on this dimension of agroe…

Audrey Huff (2021-02-17). 22-year old climate change organizer arrested in India. liberationnews.org Disha Ravi is accused of "sedition" for allegedly helping to create a digital "toolkit" to support the farmers' struggle.

Aboulfotouh Kandil (2021-02-17). Trump's right-wing Egyptian allies attack Biden administration and Dems. peoplesworld.org Egypt's miserable record on human rights has resulted in two Democrats launching a congressional group to deal with the situation. On Jan. 25, Democratic Reps. Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Don Beyer of Virginia announced the formation of the "Egypt Human Rights Caucus." Egyptian human rights organizations and activists in the U.S. have responded …

Liberation Staff, Texas (2021-02-17). Texas infrastructure nears complete collapse as capitalist neglect meets climate change-driven winter storms. liberationnews.org Four million or more Texans are without power. Outages that were initially called "rolling outages" are now lasting several days. The private non-profit corporation that oversees the electric grid is now admitting that they are "unable to predict" when conditions will stabilize.

The Conversation (2021-02-17). 'Indian Country' is excited about the first Native American secretary of the interior — and the promise she has for addressing issues of importance to all Americans. juancole.com By Traci Morris | — President Biden's nomination of U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico to lead the Department of the Interior is historic on many levels. Haaland, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, was one of the first Native American women elected to Congress, along with U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids of …

Staff (2021-02-17). THIS is why 'deregulation' is deadly. therealnews.com Millions of Texans are struggling to keep warm and survive Winter Storm Uri. Meanwhile, Republicans like Texas Gov. Greg Abbot are rushing to save their own asses, pushing the blame for power grid failures onto anyone but themselves; but they, and years of market-serving conservative governance, caused this mess.

Liberation Staff, Texas (2021-02-17). Texas infrastructure nears collapse, millions without power, water. liberationnews.org Four million or more Texans are without power. Outages that were initially called "rolling outages" are now lasting several days. The private non-profit corporation that oversees the electric grid is now admitting that they are "unable to predict" when conditions will stabilize.

Emily Denny (2021-02-17). Texans freeze as fossil-fuel power grid fails, but conservatives blame wind turbines. peoplesworld.org While Texans suffer from freezing temperatures and extensive power outages, frozen wind turbines are being used as a ploy to spread skepticism on the reliability of renewable energy. This week, a relentless winter storm pummeled through parts of the southern and central U.S., causing people to crank their electric heating systems. In Texas, the energy demand became too high for …

Emma-Louise Fenelon (2021-02-17). Essential Inquest Law Updates with Rachel Marcus and Jim Duffy on Law Pod UK. ukhumanrightsblog.com The last 12 months have provided fertile ground for many significant judgments concerning inquest law. In Episode 136, Emma-Louise Fenelon speaks to Rachel Marcus and Jim Duffy about the developments practitioners will need to know about. The episode mentions: Rushbrooke v HM Coroner for West London [2020] EWHC 1612 (Admin) R (Maughan) v Senior Coroner …

Ben Imbus (2021-02-17). Albuquerque teachers say, 'Until cases decline, keep school online!'. liberationnews.org Photo credit: Liberation screenshot of KOAT coverage. On Feb. 3, teachers and students held a protest outside of Albuquerque Public Schools administrative headquarters against the rushed re-opening of schools. They chanted "Save lives, keep the schools closed!" and "Until cases decline, stay online!" Later that day, the APS Board of Education met to vote on …

Joelle Fishman (2021-02-17). 'Georgia On My Mind: The Third Reconstruction': Connecticut Black history event planned. peoplesworld.org "Georgia on My Mind: The Third Reconstruction," is the theme of a series of scheduled events including a Black History Month Youth March / car caravan, a virtual event, and an arts and writing competition highlighting the 47th People's World African American History Celebration in Connecticut. Register here. NEW HAVEN, Conn.—Co-sponsored with the Young Communist …

alexander (2021-02-17). Twitch.tv: A new frontier for the Left. dsausa.org Will Twitch hold an active role in the next campaign cycle? Will the Left be able to utilize this platform not only for electoral politics, but for direct action too?

Michael Tarm (2021-02-17). Execution cruelty hidden by Trump officials to speed up death sentences. peoplesworld.org CHICAGO (AP)—Executioners who put 13 inmates to death in the last months of the Trump administration likened the process of dying by lethal injection to falling asleep and called gurneys "beds" and final breaths "snores." But those tranquil accounts are at odds with reports by The Associated Press and other media witnesses of how prisoners' stomachs rolled, …

Peoples Dispatch (2021-02-17). Fight for 15: Workers across the US strike for dignified wages. peoplesdispatch.org Pickets and demonstrations, led by workers from major fast food chains and home care workers, were reported in major cities across the US. The strike comes at a time when Democrats are trying to hike the federal minimum wage that has remained unchanged since 2009.

W. T. Whitney (2021-02-17). To Normalize US-Cuban Relations, Restore Working Embassies. counterpunch.org The new Biden administration may soon ease regulations enforcing the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. However, if Oregon Senator Ron Wyden's new bill, the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2021, becomes law, the blockade itself will disappear. Meanwhile, the two countries' embassies in Havana and Washington are dysfunctional. No normal relations will obtain until they are

Martha Grevatt (2021-02-17). From electric vehicles to corruption — UAW faces huge challenges. workers.org General Motors CEO Mary Barra raised more than a few eyebrows Jan. 28, when she announced GM would have an all-electric product line by 2035. This planned phaseout of fossil fuel-burning vehicles represents a serious departure from four years ago, when GM joined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in calling . . . |

Leif Autzen (2021-02-17). Columbus OH activists fight closure of park, site of a homeless encampment. liberationnews.org The city's decision to close the park without offering alternative plans to house the people who live there exposes the city's failure to care for its most vulnerable residents.

Gary Leupp (2021-02-17). The Iran Deal: Biden and Blinken, Wynken and Blynken. counterpunch.org Trump's attack on the Iran Deal was based on his ego, but done in tandem with apartheid-Israel and rogue state Saudi Arabia, whose vile leaders advised him to bomb Iran; he was reportedly on the verge of starting a war (in June 2019 and November 2020) when his more level-headed advisors checked him. (We must always recall that however sickening the Trump years they did not produce another criminal war.) Meantime Trump deeply annoyed the Europeans, such as the Deal's co-signers Germany, Britain and France, by thwarting major investment projects in the Islamic Republic. These included a factory to produce much need…

Gary Leupp (2021-02-17). The Iran Deal: Biden and Blinken, Wykan and Blynkin. counterpunch.org Trump's attack on the Iran Deal was based on his ego, but done in tandem with apartheid-Israel and rogue state Saudi Arabia, whose vile leaders advised him to bomb Iran; he was reportedly on the verge of starting a war (in June 2019 and November 2020) when his more level-headed advisors checked him. (We must always recall that however sickening the Trump years they did not produce another criminal war.) Meantime Trump deeply annoyed the Europeans, such as the Deal's co-signers Germany, Britain and France, by thwarting major investment projects in the Islamic Republic. These included a factory to produce much need…

W. T. Whitney Jr. (2021-02-17). Unsubstantiated 'sonic attack' allegations still hobble U.S.-Cuba relations. peoplesworld.org The new Biden administration may soon ease regulations enforcing the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. However, if Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden's new bill, the U.S.-Cuba Trade Act of 2021, becomes law, the blockade itself will disappear. The two countries' embassies in Havana and Washington are dysfunctional. No normal relations will be obtained until they are …

James K. Galbraith (2021-02-17). Congressional Budget Office Not Competent to Assess Economics of Minimum Wage. counterpunch.org A Congressional Budget Office Report on the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 underpins a February 11 Washington Post editorial headlined, "Democrats Must Listen to the Data."

Juan Cruz Guido (2021-02-17). 120 millones de personas cayeron en la pobreza por la pandemia. globalizacion.ca Los datos se desprenden de un informe del Banco Mundial, que estima que la cifra crecerá en 2021. El lado B de la pandemia que quiebra una tendencia global de reducción de la pobreza de más de 20 años. La…

Jordan Woll (2021-02-17). Fight for $15: Is Biden trying to sabotage key provision of his own stimulus bill? liberationnews.org One of the biggest unanswered questions regarding the stimulus package is whether or not it will include a provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

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