UPDATE: Concerning the hoarding of Covid vaccines!


The way the world works, continued: We didn't see the news report when it appeared in the New York Times.

In print editions, the report was published on page A6 on Wednesday, December 16. In this morning's editions, it's linked to in this front-page report.

The original report concerns the hoarding of the world's supply of Covid vaccines. Earlier this week, we wrote about this very topic. The Times report from December 16 fleshes out the information we were able to provide. 

Below, we'll even mention what we thought when he first encountered the little-discussed facts involved in this report. For now, headline included, here's the start of the Times report from December 16:

TWOHEY ET AL (12/16/20): Rush by Rich Countries To Reserve Early Doses Leaves the Poor Behind

As a growing number of coronavirus vaccines advance through clinical trials, wealthy countries are fueling an extraordinary gap in access around the world, laying claim to more than half the doses that could come on the market by the end of next year.

While many poor nations may be able to vaccinate at most 20 percent of their populations in 2021, some of the world’s richest countries have reserved enough doses to immunize their own multiple times over.

With no guarantee that any particular vaccine would come through, these countries hedged their bets on a number of candidates. But if all the doses they have claimed are delivered, the European Union could inoculate its residents twice, Britain and the United States could do so four times over, and Canada six times over, according to a New York Times analysis of data on vaccine contracts collected by Duke University, Unicef and Airfinity, a science analytics company.

“The high-income countries have gotten to the front of the line and cleared the shelves,” said Andrea Taylor, a Duke researcher who is studying the contracts.

So the report began. Here in the United States, we'll be able to inoculate our residents four times over. In Canada, they're even better supplied than that!

Meanwhile, the rest of the world will just have to wait. The lovely shall be choosers, much as the poet said!

Is something wrong with this behavior on a moral basis? The Times reports, you decide! Meanwhile, the paper's portrait of the haves and the have-nots continued as shown:

TWOHEY ET AL (continuing directly): The United States has provided billions of dollars to back the research, development and manufacturing of five of the most promising vaccines against Covid-19, pushing them forward at a speed and scale that would otherwise have been impossible. But the support came with a condition: that Americans would get priority access to doses made in their country.

Other wealthy nations joined the United States in placing large preorders, often with options to expand the deals and acquire even more—undermining many countries’ ability to make timely purchases.


But the outlook for most of the developing world is dire. Because of manufacturing limits, it could take until 2024 for many low-income countries to obtain enough vaccines to fully immunize their populations.

Is this inevitably the way the world works? Nations like ours will buy up the supply? The wretched of the earth will just have to wait their turn in a very long, very slow line?

We're not suggesting that some such fact should necessarily be shocking.  We are inviting you to notice that this state of affairs isn't being discussed on our favorite "cable news" programs, or by our favorite pundits.

Should some nations be hoarding the world's vaccines while the rest of the world has to wait? In this morning's front-page report, the Times discusses the economic effects this may have on the world's less wealthy nations.

Should Rachel stop fantasizing about locking Rudy up, if only  to devote a few minutes to this state of affairs?  It's pretty much as you like it! 

But as these unfortunate facts were unfolding, largely in silence, what was being discussed at New York magazine? At New York magazine, they were urging us to think about this:

Living With Karens
A white woman calls the police on her neighbors. Six months later, they still share a property line.

"Living With Karens!" No really, that's what it says—and it was the cover story of the magazine's print edition!

At New York magazine, we were being urged to think, at great length, about an apparent foolish neighbor-on-neighbor dispute which occurred in Montclair, New Jersey. 

To make it even more exciting, the headline came complete with a reference to the Karens, a newly-coined term of racial / gender stereotype and denigration. These are the kinds of stereotypical denigration the others used to dream up!

For the record, inane next-door neighbor disputes occur all over the United States, among all demographics. You may have heard about the time Rand Paul's neighbor almost killed him in a neighbor-on-neighbor dispute concerning the alleged placement of a pile of old sticks and cut grass.

The writer of the report about the Montclair Karen may have had the best intentions. So too for her editors at New York.

Indeed, the incident was used to drive a Storyline which is currently extremely popular here in the streets of Our Town. Our question:

Will that writer, or her editors, be concerned with the way their own vaccinations will take place even as their lessers, all over the world, are being told that they'll just have to wait? Will New York magazine ever get around to spending its time on that?

A so-called Joshua generation has emerged within Our Town. They're successors to people like Rosa Parks and Dr. King and a great many others.

Mrs. Parks and Dr. King put their lives on the line, day after day. Their successors have heart attacks about a bit of stupid behavior by one person in Montclair—by one person who may need a bit of help. 

Adding to the sense of outrage, the people whose time she seems to have wasted own a six-bedroom suburban house!

Increasingly, the Joshuas and the rest of us are proving Dr. King's original point. In the end, we're all a great deal alike. Once we get a few legs up, we're all pretty much the same!

There's no evil person in this tale. That said, the story may help us see the possible limitations of the values and presumptions now widely held in Our Town.

Our posturing is quite impressive. But who have we ever helped?


  1. "The Times report from December 16 fleshes out the information we were able to provide."

    Somerby himself didn't provide any info. He quoted an editorial that quoted and linked to other sources.

    Somerby is not a reporter. He "provides" media criticism, occasionally.

  2. If the wealthier nations have sufficient vaccine to vaccinate their own populations several times over, that doesn't mean they will do so. Obviously, they will find some other use for the vaccine, such as either selling it to other nations or donating it to world health organizations, who will vaccinate the poor with it.

    This idea that the wealthy nations will just sit on their stockpiles and gloat is ridiculous.

  3. "Should some nations be hoarding the world's vaccines while the rest of the world has to wait?"

    Most of those wealthier nations also belong to organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, who in turn sponsor NGOs.

    There is no scenario where the rest of the world doesn't get vaccinated too, and there is no reason to wait until 2024 (or whenever). The sooner the virus is eliminated worldwide, the sooner we can all get back to normal. That will be the goal of those nations smart enough to work together, as they have in the past to eradicated small pox and fight ebola and mika virus.

    I do not understand why Somerby is taking this kind of report at face value. Biden will be president and that ensures international cooperation. It would be different if Trump were still in charge, with his me-first (and my friends), then America-first, perhaps, attitude.

  4. Rush Limbaugh is going off the air, yay yay yay.

  5. "For the record, inane next-door neighbor disputes occur all over the United States, among all demographics."

    Yes, this is true, but when a white person calls the police on a member of a minority group, there are different consequences than when a white person calls the police on Rand Paul. Somerby, of course, pretends this is not at the heart of the problem, because he thinks racism has been solved.

  6. "But who have we ever helped?"

    He's kidding, right?

    Is Somerby now seriously arguing that liberals have never helped anyone?

  7. “But as these unfortunate facts were unfolding, largely in silence, what was being discussed at New York magazine?”

    Somerby apparently believes, or wants his readers to believe, that this story has only been unfolding within the last week or two, since that is how long it has been on his radar.

    In fact, as was reported by the same NY mag that he berated here, this story has been unfolding since at least last April. Here are a couple of stories:

    U.S. Won’t Join International Vaccine Effort Because WHO Is Involved

    Trump Administration Skips Major International Coronavirus Fundraiser

    Trump Cuts U.S. Funding to the World Health Organization During a Global Pandemic

    Covax is the “international vaccine effort” being co-led by the WHO that is referred to here and in the NYT story.

    Somerby finds plenty of information about vaccine hoarding in the pages of our upper end news orgs, but is mad because Rachel (supposedly) didn’t mention it. Her purported lack of a mention apparently negates all the other coverage in mainstream publications from mainstream/liberal journalists.

    And speaking of Rachel’s supposed focus on “Rudy”, let “Rudy” be a proxy for all of the efforts by Trump and his associates to steal or overturn the election, which is, in my view, an extremely important ongoing news story, worthy of her or anyone else’s attention.

  8. Somerby needs to meditate on this:

    “TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.
    What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
    And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn, historian & actvist

  9. "Mrs. Parks and Dr. King put their lives on the line, day after day. Their successors have heart attacks about a bit of stupid behavior by one person in Montclair—by one person who may need a bit of help. "

    Mrs. Parks had a total meltdown because she was asked to sit in a different seat on a public bus!

    See how this works? Just focus on the actions and not the larger meaning and you can make any act of resistance trivial.

    A white woman interfered with her neighbor's home improvement project because she believed it was her job to enforce permits, ultimately calling the police because the neighbor told her to mind her own business. It sounds trivial but the larger issue is the exercise of control by white people over minorities who are not being permitted to live their lives in peace, in the same manner as their white neighbors. With police to enforce the will of the white majority over minorities.

    Life is lived in a series of seemingly trivial moments that add up to larger issues. Meaning is in the details, not solely the big picture, but the details are hard to interpret without reference to the whole. Somerby seems to live in the details, which makes him seem like someone who is either autistic, brain damaged (demented?) or willfully ignoring the meaning of these incidents.

  10. https://www.salon.com/2020/12/26/remember-that-stupid-thing-donald-trump-did-hard-as-it-is-to-pick-here-are-the-top-10/?fbclid=IwAR06qumN8iwGvaxsuInNZy7YAd8U-Q7syrDT2Fq44P8_eaJxFH1FETyenvw

    A bit of holiday fun, now that Trump is on his way out the door. And this is a two-fer because Somerby dislikes Amanda Marcotte and thinks Salon is awful.

  11. China is stepping up to help poorer countries with their COVID-19 vaccine:


  12. The US is producing vaccine as fast as it possibly can.One can hoard something that exists in limited amounts.

    1. @David
      The Times article that Somerby discusses says that the wealthy countries have reserved the first x doses for themselves, which means that poorer countries stand to get less than they need and it may take years to fully cover their needs.

      Somerby isn’t really interested in this discussion. He’s just using it as another way to bash liberals, who he claims don’t care about this.

  13. Somerby has redefined the Joshua generation into something petty and trivial. Here is the way it is defined Biblically:

    "Similar to the Joshua generation that followed the death of Moses, (read the book of Joshua) God is raising up in our midst, those who will be outcome based, results orientated and walk out Kingdom principles on earth as it is in heaven. This present move of God is not satisfied with keeping the presence, power and activities of God within the four walls of a church building for two hours on a Sunday. They will only be satisfied when the transforming glory of God is manifest from Monday to Saturday (as well as Sunday). They will only be satisfied when biblical principles are applied with success in the marketplace. Finally, they will only be satisfied when they see biblical principles ascend again as the cultural ethos of the land in which they live."

    Here is what Somerby says: "Mrs. Parks and Dr. King put their lives on the line, day after day. Their successors have heart attacks about a bit of stupid behavior by one person in Montclair..."

    Somerby may be correct that this generation is trying to put the principles of the past civil rights movement into action, to reform society, but he is incorrect that any of this is petty or trivial or misguided (because people are all human beings or all fallible).

    This is Somerby's latest attack on the current civil rights movement and the liberals who support it. But once again, he ignores accepted meanings and warps the story of Joshua to fit his own dislike for liberals.

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