A Question For President Biden From Inside A Federal Prison In Texas
Good morning! It’s time to get up!
First off, thanks for coming along on this crazy ride with me. It’s been a bumpy one so far and the newsletter is a bit later than I’d like this morning.
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For the inaugural issue, let’s kick this off with an Uprising original:
EXCLUSIVE: Reality Winner, the former government contractor who leaked the first evidence that Russians hacked U.S. voting systems, has been in prison for nearly four years. She has a question for President Joe Biden about her case. Read the story here.
OUTBREAK: India is currently getting crushed by a record breaking wave of hundreds of thousands of new COVID-19 cases. To make matters worse, the country is running out of critical supplies including oxygen.
The crisis has amplified calls for Biden to do more to help other countries fend off the pandemic amid a situation that leaders in African nations have described as “vaccine apartheid.” With America getting much of the population vaccinated and India in danger, advocates have called for releasing U.S. vaccine supplies and issuing a temporary patent waivers to help poorer nations inoculate their populations.
On Sunday, amid this pressure, Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, had a phone call with his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval. Afterwards, the White House announced that the U.S. would provide supplies including raw materials needed for vaccine production and “therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will immediately be made available for India.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, was one of the loudest voices calling for increased aid. In an op-ed published in the Washington Post on Saturday, Jha said India was on the “brink of a humanitarian catastrophe” with the healthcare system on the verge of “collapse.” He urged the Biden administration to send the country supplies — including some of America’s unused stockpile of at least 30 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been authorized for use here.
Jha, who has been in touch with the White House, said he was “pretty happy” with the pandemic aid that was announced Sunday evening. He also predicted the AstraZeneca doses will be made available once legal issues are resolved.
“I think issues around liability are complicated,” Jha said. “I do think these vaccines will go out.”
The White House told The Uprising on Sunday that they have no updates about the AstraZeneca stockpile.
While he is pleased with the steps taken over the weekend, Jha said he believes the Biden administration needs to “make global vaccination a much bigger priority” now that vaccines are rolling out across this country.
“The administration came in and decided that, what it needed to do for the first a hundred days was get America out of the crisis that America was in,” said Jha. “It is not surprising that they put all their effort and energy and focus on getting Americans vaccinated and the pandemic under control in the United States. But it is now high time for the administration to put a lot of effort and focus on global vaccinations.”
Jha said this will be a “complicated, hard discussion” that, due to the difficulties of vaccine production, can’t be solved with patent waivers alone. Brown is hosting a livestreamed discussion with Dr. Jha about the crisis India today at 11 a.m.
ON THE TRAIL: Stanford Fraser, a public defender in Prince George’s County, Maryland, broke the news that he’s running for the top prosecutor’s job there with The Uprising. His race marks one of the first attempts to bring the progressive prosecutorial reform movement to the south. Read the story here.
FUN FACT: The great Al Pacino turned 81 yesterday. “Devil’s Advocate,” an underrated 1997 Pacino gem, actually features a scene shot in former President Trump’s gilded Manhattan penthouse. The ostentatious apartment was used to portray the residence of a murderous billionaire.
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