The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Will Bill Gates And mRNA Vaccine Monopolies Be Responsible For Millions of Covid Deaths?

Good question.

Oxford University surprised and pleased advocates of overhauling the vaccine business in April by promising to donate the rights to its promising coronavirus vaccine to any drugmaker…

…A few weeks later, Oxford—urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices

Seems pretty straight forward.

Then there’s a second issue. The mRNA vaccines, which so far seem to be the most effective, are supply capped: they can’t manufacture them fast enough. Unrelated to Gates (so far as I know) the manufacturers of those vaccines, like Moderna, are refusing to share the manufacturing process and other information. Vastly more doses could be produced and many lives saved, but IP is sacred, not your grandmother’s life.

Moderna’s entire costs for the vaccine were covered by government, yet the manufacturing process is kept secret, and people die.

It would be simple enough to just pay Moderna and Pfizer their expected profits plus some, and break the patents: this is something governments can do. It was suggested and vetoed.

So, if someone you know dies because of no vaccine, remember that government and Bill Gates wanted that, because the holy grail of restricting information so that the rich could profit off it was more important than people living or dying.

This is always who Gates has been, by the way. He’s white-washed his reputation over the last few decades, but he’s always been a monopolist who is willing to have other suffer and his foundation is mostly about his own interests. The Gates Foundation interference in education was a vast disaster, as well.

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Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – January 24, 2021


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  1. UserFriendlyyy

    As I’ve said before I doubt that IP rights are restricting mRNA vaccine production. It’s a new technology and both firms have every incentive to build up capacity as fast as humanly possible before they get undercut by a cheaper vaccine. Which isn’t to say I don’t find everything about profiting off death mortally abhorrent. Here is all the details behind the mRNA vaccine supply chains. Quite a few easy bottlenecks.

    FWIW Curvac and Bayer are teaming up on and mRNA vaccine that will be “easier to manufacture and distribute.” but that still needs approval.

  2. mRNA is the one vaccine I won’t take. It’s news to me that it’s “the most effective”, but I also think (based on very little research, frankly) that it’s the most dangerous.

    I will probably avoid taking any vaccine, and may move to a freer state (say Florida) to avoid taking it, if I have to. I may move to a freer state, anyway, since “the science” followed by Democratic governors is as transparent as mud.

    Speaking of science and public policy, I recommend progressive youtuber Kim Iverson’s “India’s Virus Strategy, #ForceTheVote and Is Tulsi Becoming A Republican?”*, viz. the part about India’s strategy of testing and (early, outpatient) TREATMENT. They initially treated with hydroxychloroquine, but switched to Ivermectin, when they found out that it works better than hydroxychloroquine. This is what we expect a competent government to do – refining their approach as new knowledge appears. They should also be recommending and distributing Vitamin D, but as far as I’ve heard, only the British government has done so, and only to oldsters.

    The systemic fail is not limited to the US. This is critical to understand, should somebody, somewhere, ever attempt to look deeper than their ‘local’ (i.e., national and state level) political and freakonomic analysis.

    AFAIK, there’s no coverage of the Indian experience in mainstream media (possibly Fox, but probably superficial, it it happens, at all). IMNSHO, that means they’re essentially complicit in wholesale murder, of human lives and economies.

    But think about this, brothers and sisters – WHERE IS THE COVERAGE IN BETTER KNOWN ALTERNATIVE POLITICAL MEDIA?. Instead, we have suppression there, also, at least AFAIK**. So, while Iverson covers this, note that she criticizes progressive Krystal Ball, of the Hill. Ball even mocked Trump for hydroxychloroquine, betraying an utter ignorance of the science behind it. (Or pretending to.) Is DemocracyNow any better? I remember their mainstream-symbiotic coverage of 911 narrative challenges from scientists and engineers, and I got to say: I doubt it.

    N.B. Naked Capitalism has a recent (Jan 23) diary “A Healthy Microbiome Builds a Strong Immune System That Could Help Defeat COVID-19”. I have speculated on this very blog that transference of microbiome from human to human (which happens all the time, even without intimate contact; and is already known to be critical in educating the immune system of infants, who are born through natural, vaginal birth) can help build up herd immunity. BTW, many in India are claiming that they are approaching herd immunity.

    * though I’m somewhat reticent as she burned me quoting bad data about Sweden; in in this program, I believed she referred to Buttigieg as a Democratic Senator, which is wrong

    ** I haven’t researched this, instead relying on “what I’ve heard and read”.

  3. Joan

    I’ve always taken issue with people who claim there are ethical billionaires. You cannot become a billionaire by means of ethical behavior. If a person pays their employees well and provides them a safety net of benefits, fosters competition in the marketplace rather than viciously buying and crushing small businesses, etc., then that person never becomes a billionaire.

    I’m not saying everyone should make the same amount of money, but to me a person could be worth two million dollars and still enjoy being absurdly rich. Two million can buy you all the nice cars and other toys people tend to want when they’ve traded in their souls for insatiable vacuums.

    These people must not believe that karma exists, or they must be the type of Christians that think Hell doesn’t apply to them. I just can’t imagine the kind of karma such people are heaping upon themselves. My only hope is that I’m not nearby when that bill comes due.

  4. Chicago Clubs

    But liberals assure me that Gates is a saint!

  5. edmondo

    mRNA is the one vaccine I won’t take. It’s news to me that it’s “the most effective”, but I also think (based on very little research, frankly) that it’s the most dangerous.

    BINGO. We have a winner. The whole point of the Defense Production Act is to avoid these types of situations. What happens when a BIG donor wants something that the people don’t? As Ozzie Myers so truthfully said, “Money talks. Bullshit walks.” The best government money can buy and I am supposed to worry about “an insurrection”? Burn it all down.

  6. Plague Species

    And to think, this is just the first of many pandemics to come. In ten years, we could be confronted with several new pandemics a year. We’ll be taking vaccines all year long. No problem. Vaccines are fun and safe, so it will all be good. Nothing could go wrong because nothing ever does go wrong.

  7. Plague Species

    Meanwhile, Israel, who’s lobbying has a substantial impact on who we get to for and therefore what gets done in governance, is an example for all to follow in regard to the effective and efficient administering of the vaccine, sans the Palestinians of course. Quite an interesting dichotomy, wouldn’t you say? Bibi and many in Israel have directly supported and enabled McDonald Trump all these years and McDonald had no plan for procuring and administering the vaccine and yet Israel is stellar.

  8. Plague Species

    One nation has already provided more than a quarter of its people with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, outpacing every other country in the world and more than sextupling the percentage in the United States. During one recent three-day period, in fact, it administered a dose of the vaccine to a higher percentage of its population than the U.S. has altogether. Nearly three-fourths of those over age 60 have gotten their first shot. And most of the population could be vaccinated by the end of March, which would be earlier than any nation except, perhaps, tiny Palau and the Vatican. The government is now preparing “passports” for the twice-jabbed that will exempt them from quarantines.

    It’s the kind of standout success one would expect from the now-familiar stars of the global response to COVID-19—Taiwan, South Korea, or New Zealand. But it’s actually been achieved by Israel, in several respects a surprising country to be the world’s front-runner on vaccine distribution. A 2019 Johns Hopkins study ranked Israel an unspectacular 54th among 195 countries in terms of preparedness for a pandemic. After initially appearing to vanquish the coronavirus, Israel has since suffered some of the world’s worst outbreaks—something that remains true as it celebrates its vaccine advances. And during a pandemic in which public trust in government has emerged as arguably the most consistent ingredient across countries for success in combatting the virus, public confidence in Israel’s political leaders is dismally low. The Israeli government currently has the distinction of being one of the most unstable in the democratic world.

  9. Plague Species

    Among Israeli Jews, 70% said Trump is the preferred candidate, 13% said Biden, and 17% don’t know.

    Support for Trump was markedly lower among Arab Israelis, with 36% saying he was the preferred candidate, 31% saying Biden, and 33% saying they didn’t know.

    Among all Israelis, 63% favor Trump, 17% Biden and 20% don’t know.

    Broken down by political camp, 82% of right-wing poll respondents, 62% of centrists, and 40% percent of left-wingers said Trump is the better candidate for Israel.

  10. Stirling S Newberry

    The game is to praise liberal-minded policies while doing conservative ones on the sly. This was Obama but also Woodrow Wilson. The age of FDR praised but the racism was not talked about until later. The conservatives know we have to wipe out selective parts of the record. It is not that the record was not clear.

  11. Dan Lynch

    A cousin who works for Moderna says they are contractually committed to one billion doses this year and trying their best to ramp up production. Of course they’re not making one billion doses out of the goodness of their heart — it’s simply profitable thanks to the patent.

    Meanwhile the Russian Sputnik vaccine, developed by a state owned enterprise, uses older, less patent-able technology, is easier to handle, has no known harsh side effects, and is cheaper to make. Russia has been agreeable to contracting production with other countries like Korea. So why aren’t Americans getting jabbed with Sputnik? We all know the answer — because of the cold war and to protect the profits of Big Pharma. While Americans will have little choice but to take the expensive, more risky mRNA vaccines, the 3rd world is contracting with Russia for the Sputnik vaccine. Once again, it will be Russia that saves the world.

  12. GlassHammer

    “Last year only four companies were making vaccines for the U.S. market, down from more than 20 in the 1970s.” -FTA

    ^Good by market, hello regional monopolies.

    “The U.S. Health and Human Services Department “conducted extensive market research and price analysis” to ensure prices are fair, said a senior HHS official who asked for anonymity.”

    ^Get prices for goods made by a regional monopoly operating in a market with non-existent competition (and massive government subsidies) and then determine price reasonableness by….. looking at prices for the same goods in the same market with non-existent competition (and massive government subsidies) populated by the three other regional monopolies.

    The best part is that this awful logic is built into Federal Acquisition Regulations so Government buyers have to follow it. This is why Defense Spending is in its current state, it has the same dynamic of regional monopolies and insane Government policy.

  13. Hugh

    Gates is a pirate. I would note that he did not have to push any of the other players involved very hard to adopt a pirate solution.

    Along with Medicare4All, I have been advocating a national lab dedicated to the production of vaccines, generics, and orphan drugs.

  14. Plague Species

    Why not Sputnik? Are you serious?

    Maybe it’s because Sputnik’s chemical formula is C8H18FN2O2P or something akin to it.

  15. I was half asleep when I heard part of “Vitamin D and COVID 19: The Evidence for Prevention and Treatment of Coronavirus (SARS CoV 2)” on the medcram youtube channel, but apparently:

    – the Finnish government both promotes and supplies vitamin D to its citizens; and they have better experience with covid than Ireland, which is at a lower latitude. As I mention, I was half asleep, and by “supplies” what may actually happen is that they mandate vitamin D be added to a lot of food and milk
    – there was a study in France where nursing home patients were given a large bolus dose of Vitamin D every 2-3 months. I’m not sure if this is common practice, or just in this study

    Some other points:
    * 2-3 months is probably too infrequent. From my reading on, I changed my dosing schedule to weekly. I think 1 month is the outer limit for effective dosing
    * there are contra-indications for vitamin D supplementation, including sarcoid and some kidney conditions
    * there’s a big drop off in effectiveness in terms of raising your blood vitamin D level, with increased supplementation

  16. Che Pasa


    Could overpopulation be the motivation for letting the virus rage among the rabble, here and globally,
    severely restricting vaccine access, especially among those in the southern hemisphere, and essentially writing off a huge swath of humanity?

    I wouldn’t lay it all on Gates but he’s been playing with people’s lives — and deaths — for a long time.

    80% of the working class really isn’t needed as long as trillions can be created by the push of a button and divvied out to the people who matter.

  17. Hugh

    Ché Pasa, worldwide covid has killed just over 2 million in a year. World population increases by 81-84 million a year.

    The US with just over 4% of the world’s population has had 19.7% of the deaths from covid. That’s one of those inconvenient facts on just how bad Trump’s response was that Trumpers like to ignore.

  18. Hugh

    McConnell essentially won the filibuster by cutting a deal with conservatives Democrats like Sinema (AZ) and Manchin (WV) to keep it.

    I don’t see Trump convicted in the Senate. If anything, delaying the impeachment trial for two weeks gives the stoneless Republicans even more time to wriggle out of voting for it.

    Schumer has got to be the worst, most useless Senate Majority leader imaginable. McConnell will eat him alive –like he always does.

  19. Hugh

    Oops! Last comment posted to wrong thread.

  20. different clue

    I wonder if Gates had to torture and terrorise Oxford into handing over control to AstraZenaGates or if Oxford was happy to be persuaded.

    I suspect I will take the risky novel untested mRNA neovaccinoid. Why would I take that risk?
    Because at age 63 with a bad pneumonia in my past, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease, I suspect I am at worse risk from long-tail coviditis than I would be from mRNA vaccinitis.
    I may be wrong. I am just doing the best thinking I can for my situation.

    Meanwhile, everyone who finds out about dietary and health-maintainance approaches and who can afford them ( or at least the cheap ones) should go right ahead and use them.

    The gut-microbiome-and-immunity post which Metamars referred to can be found at this link . . .

    It is clear that the Global Overclass has put mankind on its Long Death March through the Valley of Selection. There will be darwinners and darlosers. If the nonRich majority could conquer their governments and use those governments for nonRich majority benefit, that would be great. And it is certainly worth a try. Meanwhile, nonRich people might consider doing what they can at the individual and cultural level to increase their health in the teeth of the Overclass Conspiracy to reduce their health in order to make us all vulnerable to seemingly accidental mass-death from various “causes”.

  21. Che Pasa

    If you let pandemics run their course among the lower orders — the obvious policy decision in much of the world, much like the British Empire and their famines — over time, population can be and has been reduced in specific populations.

    This one is set to continue indefinitely, but there will be others on top of this one. 2050 seems to be a goal year of some sort.

    I’d keep my eyes open for rising tolls over the next few decades. We may well see global population stop growing and actual declines –as happened in the USSR or Ireland or many other places. Certain isolated areas were practically depopulated by the 1918 flu. I wouldn’t doubt Our Betters would delight in duplicating the process on a much larger scale.

  22. S Brennan

    Bill Gates has always been a piece of work; it didn’t take much but, he helped make the software industry into a ball & chain that burdens every US worker.

    Commenting on my experience:

    Every US engineer, every US machinist, every US designer, every US drafter starts each year at a horrible economic disadvantage created by the US software “industry”. Estimates run around $16,000.00-$22,000.00/yr must be paid per US employee for the privilege of running software developed over 30 years ago.

    In Europe, the aforementioned scientists, techs & trades pay $6,000 to own a full copy of a certain high-end CAD software. In the US, a lower-end version of that same software costs upwards of $20,000 plus, yearly license fees of around $3,000 and special fees for add-ons that are in the full package that European counterparts get free. The software is European in origin but, a great deal of the code is from US developers working on DARPA’s various projects.

    While paying lip service and having “show” offices, none of the Asian suppliers I’ve visited pay for any of their software…well, that’s not entirely true, local shops install bundles of the latest software and charge about $150 per installation with support. This is possible because a great deal of software is developed in Asia and the keys are known and in the case of “sophisticated” ones, they can be overcome by spoofing the software into believing it’s on the “the internet”.

    To some degree, this actually works in favor of the US software companies as Asians use the latest software and US firms are forced to buy software upgrades just to keep up with their Asian suppliers output. All this shit revolves around copyright laws which are effing ridiculous. Let me give you a hypothetical example:

    1] Let’s say a woman develops a fusion engine that produces bountiful, almost free electricity as it’s output. This fusion engine is cheaper to build than a single coal plant steam turbine. She has, at best, 20 years to profit by her world changing invention but, it will take twenty years just to satisfy US regulatory bodies before her fusion engine can be marketed commercially.

    2] Let’s say a dude reads of a process and that process has not been “computerized”, so he writes down the code to do it and then patents it as well as copy-writing it. He can go to market the next day and has…what is it now…120 years to profit?

    I mean WTF, where’s the logic? In case 1] she must sell her innovation to big capital if she hopes to profit at all…and she has no leverage in that negotiation, without big capital to push congressmen to write “special legislation” to extend the IP, the patent is just bragging rights. The man in case 2] is going to make far more money than the woman in case 1]. Writing software or, a story line is disproportionately favored by lawmakers who make their living…wait for it…creating protocols and writing. With patents, a widget sketched on a napkin and a world transforming innovation have equal standing. And then too, there are the yearly maintenance fees meant to deter lower class ownership of patents that take time to profit by.

    In 1979, an East German court ruling found that software was “neither a scientific work nor a creative achievement”. I concur it is the work of a scribe, it is valuable and one should profit but not by ransoming the entire US economy. US software’s innovative heyday was thirty or more years ago and almost none of the true developers profited…just the schemers like Bill, whose fortune really comes from the legal contract his father wrote up for his son…that and…Bill’s willingness to scheme guileless early code-writers and to use capital to break the rest.

    A few years ago Bill declared he was going to use his capital to work on fusion, he brought a lot of credulous engineers and scientists together to think-up various schemes to achieve fusion and then…he patented all the processes he could and sent them home. Bill hopes to burden some poor soul who does all the heavy lifting only to find out that Bill’s lawyers can find some kind of infringement in a byzantine labyrinth of copyright and patents. People like Bill have always lived parasitically upon humans.

    Had Bill’s life been unlived, the USA would be vastly richer, the lives of it’s citizens far better and the world less divided. I can think of nothing worse to say of a man, or a woman than to say that their existence impoverished the world of their birth.

  23. Stirling S Newberry

    > Meanwhile the Russian Sputnik vaccine, developed by a state owned enterprise, uses older, less patent-able technology, is easier to handle, has no known harsh side effects, and is cheaper to make.

    And slightly less effective.

  24. bruce wilder

    RE: FDR and the New Deal: “. . . the racism was not talked about until later. ”

    I am not sure what sly meaning is intimated here by Stirling. Racism was certainly talked about contemporaneously — racism was often an issue.

    The background assumptions were certainly different.

  25. different clue

    Probably the same sort of sly meaning behind the claim that the Cambodians caused and invited their own Nixon-Kissinger bombing.

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