According to an exclusive report from the Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson requested help from rival COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna with help investigating blood clotting issues with their offering intended to curb the pandemic and were turned down.
Earlier in the week, the CDC issued a warning about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and urged a pause after a reported six patients -- all women -- developed blood clotting problems.
Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal claimed J&J reached out to their competitors and were rebuffed with the exception of AstraZeneca.
"Johnson & Johnson privately reached out to Covid-19 vaccine rivals to ask them to join an effort to study the risks of blood clots and speak with one voice about safety, " the report states before adding, "Pfizer and Moderna executives declined the offer, saying their vaccines appeared safe, the people said. The pair also objected because they didn't see the need to duplicate the efforts of regulators and companies already looking for blood-clot cases and investigating the cause, the people said. One company's concern: The safety of the Pfizer and Moderna shots could be tarnished by association, some of the people said."
The report adds, "Only AstraZeneca, which had been buffeted by similar blood-clotting concerns for weeks, agreed, the people said."
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How do we prevent America from becoming an aristocracy, while also funding the programs that Americans desperately need?
One way is to get rid of a tax loophole you've probably never heard of. It's known as the "stepped-up basis" rule.
Here's how the stepped-up-basis loophole now works. Take a man named Jeff. At his death, Jeff owns $30 million-worth of stocks he originally bought for a total of $10 million. Under existing law, neither Jeff nor his heirs would owe federal tax on the $20 million of gains because they're automatically "stepped up" to their value when he dies — $30 million.
Under Biden's proposal, Jeff's $20 million of gains would be taxed. And don't worry: Biden's proposal doesn't touch tax-favored retirement accounts, such as 401-Ks, and it only applies to the very richest Americans.
As it is now, the stepped-up basis loophole enables the super-rich, like Jeff, to avoid paying more than $40 billion in taxes each year. It has allowed them to skip taxes on the increased values of mansions and artworks as well as shares of stock.
The Secret Tax Loophole Making the Rich Even Richer | Robert Reich www.youtube.com
In fact, it's one of the chief means by which dynastic wealth has grown and been passed from generation to generation, enabling subsequent generations to live off that growing wealth and never pay a dime of taxes on it.
Unless the stepped-up basis loophole is closed, we will soon have a large class of hugely rich people who have never worked a day in their lives.
Over the next decades, rich baby boomers will pass on an estimated $58 trillion of wealth to their millennial children — the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth in history.
Closing this giant tax loophole for the super-rich is how Biden intends to fund part of his American Families Plan, which would provide every child with 2 years of pre-school and every student with 2 years of free community college, as well as provide paid family and medical leave to every worker.
Close this stepped-up basis loophole, and we help finance the programs the vast majority of Americans desperately need and deserve. We also end the explosion of dynastic wealth. It should be a no-brainer.
On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the extreme conservative majority of the Republican Party removed Liz Cheney (WY), who had insisted on the legitimacy of Joe Biden's election and condemned the January 6 Capitol insurrection, from her leadership position in the US House of Representatives. This dramatic act is a harsh warning to partisans who dare to challenge the Trump cult of personality and the far-right agenda. 170 years earlier, Democrats did the exact same thing. In the short term, it split their party; in the long term, it nearly destroyed the Union.
In the antebellum era, the Democratic Party was the conservative partisan vehicle, defending white supremacy, maintaining the reign of elite Southern enslavers, and quashing all reforms, including much-needed infrastructure improvements. Central to the Democratic agenda was the expansion of slavery and the forging of a vast hemispheric pro-slavery empire. By the 1840s, however, opposition to the spread of slavery had grown dramatically in the free states. Democrats in the North began to feel pressure from their constituents to halt the march of the enslavers and challenge King Cotton.
Despite growing opposition from Northern Democrats, the Southern party bosses pursued their aggressive pro-slavery plans. In the 1830s and 40s, they waged war on Indigenous Americans to remove them from fertile cotton lands, passed Congressional "gag rules" to prevent any discussion of the "peculiar institution," and aided the pro-slavery Texas Revolution. In late 1845, they launched an invasion of Mexico. Anti-slavery Northerners, including several Democratic office-holders, balked at the blatant grab for more slavery territory. Led by Pennsylvanian David Wilmot, Northern Democratic moderates made a stand in August 1846, adding a "proviso" to a war appropriations bill stipulating that slavery would not be permitted in any territory stolen from Mexico. Since spreading slavery was the entire point of the war, party leaders were incensed. The motion was defeated. Nevertheless, the damage had been done: a dramatic split occurred in Democratic ranks.
In the 1848 state and national elections, moderate Northern Democrats who opposed the expansion of slavery ran on the new Free Soil Party ticket. The rupture proved fatal. Both the Democratic and Free Soil presidential candidates went down to defeat and the Whigs (who had no formal position on slavery) took the White House.
Needless to say, Democratic leaders wanted blood. Over the course of the next four years, they expunged any anti-slavery sentiment from their ranks, either by outright expulsion of intransigent Northerners or forcing them into submission through party discipline. Votes on the infamous Appeasement of 1850 (a massive pro-slavery victory for enslavers) became the litmus test of party fealty. Democrats who did not vote in favor of various pro-slavery measures, such as the horrific Fugitive Slave Act, were denied campaign funds, attacked in the press, and deprived patronage -- a political death sentence. Contrite Free Soilers who voted as they were told, however, were allowed back and duly rewarded.
Things were even uglier and more chaotic at the state level. In Indiana, Democratic boss (and secret enslaver) Jesse Bright resorted to physical intimidation and illegal wire-pulling to defeat the anti-slavery faction and reward repentant Free Soilers with offices. In the Empire State, a three-way political war erupted between intransigent "Hards," who refused to brook any opposition from anti-slavery moderates, "Softs," who were willing to make deals with former Free Soilers, and the "Barnburner" majority, who bolted the party in 1848 and wanted to expel the Hards. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, pro-slavery conservatives James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce, respectively, seized control of county and district conventions to deny former Free Soilers elective office at any level. "Old Buck" and "Handsome Frank" would later be rewarded with the presidency for their service to the Slave Power.
A united Democratic Party emerged in time for the election of 1852, thoroughly shorn of any anti-slavery elements. "We have got rid of all negroism," chirped Buchanan with pleasure. Though good for enslavers, the victory was pyrrhic. The party was now free to pursue even more aggressive policies without any internal debate or discussion.
In short order, Democrats passed legislation that spread slavery to formerly free territories, nullified the Missouri Compromise, launched illegal invasions of Caribbean and Central American nations, enforced the Fugitive Slave Act with a vengeance, tried to force slavery on the unwilling settlers of the Kansas Territory, and physically assaulted anti-slavery activists in the streets and in the halls of Congress. These actions precipitated the Civil War. By 1856, Northerners had set aside their differences over banks, immigration, and internal improvements to unite against the spread of slavery in a new Republican Party. The election of the first Republican president in 1860 triggered secession and the Union was nearly torn asunder.
The lack of ideological diversity and any meaningful policy debate within the antebellum Democratic Party caused that organization to enact an extreme program that enraged the majority of Americans and caused national disaster. Republicans in 2021 seem to be following that same strategy: punishing dissent, expelling moderates, and favoring conservative purity over practical policy. Moreover, just as Democrats in the 1850s tried to force slavery on anti-slavery populations, Republicans today are forcing their minority agenda on the majority through voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, and illegal activity. If Republicans value the health and future of their party, and the nation, they need to take a look at the past and reconsider their persecution of moderates.
Dr. Michael Landis teaches history at Union College and serves as a trustee of the Saratoga County History Center. He is the author of Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis (Cornell, 2014). He tweets @DrMichaelLandis
Former U.N. Ambassador and future presidential hopeful Nikki Haley delivered a stark message in a mass email campaign today:
"Israel is being attacked by violent rioters and the terrorist group Hamas. America must stand strong alongside our ally and friend."
If you trust Haley, there's a very simple step she wants you to take. You need "to let the White House know how critical it is to support our allies." And you can do that if you'll just "rush your signature to our STAND WITH ISRAEL PLEDGE right now."
It's not clear whether President Joe Biden will see your signature anytime soon if you take this important step. But this much is certain, press the blue button that reads "Sign the Pledge Now" on the email, and you'll get to see an opportunity to donate money to the group "Stand for America."
If you're wondering how much of your Stand for America donation will be directly funding Israel's Iron Dome, wonder no more. This version of "standing strong behind our ally and friend" is a bit more indirect than that.
Stand for America is Nikki Haley's political PAC.
It's possible that many recipients of the email fundraiser knew that before. Haley does say in the email that she's "calling on every member on Stand with America" to rush that signature over.
But if you're like me and never heard of Stand for America -- and apparently you just received this email because at some point you allowed the Daily Wire to pass along your address to "sponsors" such as Haley's PAC -- you might have never known better.
If you make it to the bottom of the email, Haley does manage to disclose that "founded by Ambassador Nikki Haley, Stand for America is an advocacy group promoting public policies that strength America's economy, culture and national security." I suppose that makes everything cool legally.
But it still doesn't say anything about Stand for America being a political PAC.
Haley must figure that since she has gotten in hot water with Dear Leader Donald Trump for saying "his actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history" -- only to grovel back for forgiveness -- it might be wise to show the boss that's she cool with grifting supporters. Just like he does.
Haley got plenty Trumpy with her email analysis, such that it is, of the current situation in Gaza.
"It is a shame that some on the Left are pushing misinformation and anti-Israel propaganda that stokes the flames. President Biden has called for restraint on both sides, but what he should be doing is having Israel's back.
Now is the time to stand strong with Israel against a TERRORIST assault.
"It should not be a difficult choice. Yet, President Biden is too focused on Trump policy reversal to do what is right. You and I know that Biden could put a stop to this right now.
"As U.N. Ambassador I worked alongside the Trump Administration to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem and always stood up for our allies at the U.N. This put the world on notice and set the tone for U.S. foreign policy.
"Hamas is testing the Biden administration because they don't think he will do anything severe. Inaction is unacceptable."
Haley's email omitted the detail that the only action she is advocating today is that chumps like me send money to her PAC thinking it's somehow going to send Hamas into retreat. It isn't.
And I'm not.
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