Bernie Sanders shames Moderna into keeping COVID-19 vaccine free

COVID-19 Pandemic

Fig. 1. Photograph by author, November 8, 2022.

[Bernie] Sanders [who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] was planning to grill [Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane] Bancel to highlight what he called the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. The [Moderna] COVID vaccine was developed in cooperation with the National Institutes of Health using taxpayer money.[1]

Ciara Linnane, “Moderna’s COVID vaccine will remain free for all Americans in coup for Bernie Sanders,” MarketWatch, February 16, 2023,

Self-driving cars

Fig. 2. Photograph by Mark Doliner, August 1, 2012, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.

The recall affects 362,758 Tesla vehicles and includes certain Model S and Model X (2016-23), Model 3 (2013-23), and Model Y (2020-23) vehicles. To be delivered by over-the-air-software, the fix is intended to repair code that can cause FSD-equipped Teslas to run yellow lights, disobey speed limits and travel straight ahead from turn-only lanes. Recalled models make up about 10% of the 3.6 million vehicles that Tesla has sold to date globally.

The company has been under fire for years from critics who say using the software is a risk to public safety. YouTube is rife with videos showing FSD-equipped cars crossing double yellow lines head-on into oncoming traffic, mistaking railroad tracks for roadways, aiming cars into pedestrians in crosswalks, and more.

One critic even spent $600,000 on a Super Bowl commercial that ran in regional markets to show FSD Teslas running over child-size dummies. . . .

The only public response from Tesla was a tweet from Chief Executive Elon Musk who said the word “recall” is “anachronistic and just flat wrong!”[2]

Russ Mitchell and Daniel Miller, “Tesla recalling 362,758 cars with Full Self-Driving mode due to crash risk,” Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2023,

So-called ‘ridesharing’


Fig. 3. Yeah, this is me. The sign says, “If you’re whining about a labor shortage, STOP ignoring my job applications!” And the QR-code leads here. Photograph by author, January 16, 2023.

Fig. 4. Graph of estimated daily average net income (in blue, using Internal Revenue Service mileage allowance) by month since January 2022, what the federal minimum wage would be for a six-and-a-half hour day had it kept pace with productivity[3] (in orange), and the federal poverty line[4] (in red), created by author, February 10, 2023, updated daily.

If the only escape from the absolute hell of being stuck as an Uber driver is death,[5] then the sooner the better. I would prefer it to be otherwise, but that I have a plan for that escape is the one thing, the only thing, getting me through this time, because the one thing I absolutely cannot excuse is that I cannot get a real job as defined in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:

The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:

    (a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:

      (i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;

      (ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;

    (b) Safe and healthy working conditions;

    (c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;

    (d ) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays[6]

This is a right recognized by nearly every country in the world. How the U.S. reached a conclusion that it is in any way unreasonable[7] is beyond me and, frankly, not my concern. Human rights are universal:

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.[8]

And the U.S. Constitution includes these rights through language in the Bill of Rights on unenumerated rights.[9] I am not being unreasonable. I have suffered much, much, much too long.

  1. [1]Ciara Linnane, “Moderna’s COVID vaccine will remain free for all Americans in coup for Bernie Sanders,” MarketWatch, February 16, 2023,
  2. [2]Russ Mitchell and Daniel Miller, “Tesla recalling 362,758 cars with Full Self-Driving mode due to crash risk,” Los Angeles Times, February 16, 2023,
  3. [3]Dean Baker, “Correction: The $23 an Hour Minimum Wage,” Center for Economic Policy and Research, March 16, 2022,
  4. [4]U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, “Federal poverty level (FPL),” n.d.,
  5. [5]David Benfell, “A life worth living,” Not Housebroken, February 14, 2023,
  6. [6]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, United Nations, General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI),
  7. [7]United Nations, “Status of Ratification Interactive Dashboard,” n.d.,
  8. [8]United Nations, “Human Rights,” n.d.,
  9. [9]U.S. Const. amend. IX.

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