A former independent presidential hopeful is vexed at the COVID-19 vaccine at the moment, and for multiple reasons. That would be Zoltan Istvan, a self-described transhumanist candidate who was billed as the “cyborg who is running against President Trump” in press reports throughout 2020. The California hopeful — who ran in the Republican primary — based his campaign on a futuristic message of fusing radical technology with daily life under the motto “Upgrade America.”
Mr. Istvan recently looked into how long it would be before he got a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I took the New York Times’ ‘Find your Place’ in the vaccine line report, and I was near the bottom 15% of the timeline for getting the vaccine — meaning I’ll be nearly last,” Mr. Istvan wrote in an email to Inside the Beltway.
He refers to an online tool that the aforementioned news organization offered in early December that has users enter personal particulars to receive a calculation suggesting when they will be eligible to get the vaccine.
“Being almost last — that upsets me since, as a successful business person, I pay a lot of taxes, and frankly, the creation and distribution of the vaccine rests mostly on high taxpayers such as myself — not the homeless or prison population which is way, way ahead of me in line,” Mr. Istvan continued.
“I think this is atrocious of our government. My solution: I think there should simultaneously be a private market for the vaccine along with giving it out freely to everyone else, and I posted this on social media and lots of people were upset. Even if just 3% of the vaccine was made to go on the open market, I’d be happy. But none of it is,” Mr. Istvan continued.
“It’s not that I don’t want to freely give the vaccine to people. That people who actually create the wealth in this country are being relegated to the back of line is unbelievable and upsetting. I feel like shouting ‘Who is John Galt?’ I’m really astonished by how stupid our government is and how it is treating people like me,” he concluded.
John Galt, incidentally, is a fictional character in Ayn Rand’s iconic 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged.”
MONICA LEWINSKY, PRODUCER
The former White House intern who once dallied with President Clinton is getting cordial reviews for her work on “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” set to air on FX in the near future. Monica Lewinsky served as producer for the series, named one of the ” 21 most-anticipated new scripted TV series coming in 2021” by the Hollywood Reporter.
“Originally intended to air before the 2020 presidential election, the third season of the Emmy-winning FX anthology from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk turns its lens on the Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton scandal,” the industry publication noted.
“Lewinsky produces the season, which is based on Jeffrey Toobin’s best-seller ‘A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.’ Sarah Paulson stars as Linda Tripp; Beanie Feldstein plays Lewinsky; and Annaleigh Ashford is set as Paula Jones,” the publication noted.
ILLINOIS TOPS IN GUN SALES
“Gun sales have soared in the past year. They have reached 35,758,249 through November. That is more than the 28,369,750 for all of last year. Growing civil unrest may have prompted people to buy guns for personal and family protection,” says a new analysis of FBI data by 24/7Wallstreet.com, a news organization which noted that in 1999, the number of guns sold stood at 9,138,123.
“Among all states, Illinois has posted the highest sales so far this year, by far, at 6,625,082. That is almost 18% of U.S. gun sales in 2020, although the state has less than 4% of the nation’s population,” writes Douglas A. McIntyre, editor-in-chief of the news organization.
Kentucky is in second place with 2.9 million sales, followed by Texas (2.1 million), Florida (1.7 million), Indiana (1.6 million), California (1.5 million); Pennsylvania (1.3 million), Utah (1.1 million), Alabama (984,548) and Michigan (974,072). These figures cover January through November.
Hawaii had the least number of gun sales, with 18,096 so far this year.
The end of the year looms in about 48 hours or so. So now what? Many Americans are happy that 2020 is over — and they’re jittery about the near future. They also could be surprised by their personal, potential role in it all.
“Our hopes for 2021 won’t be fulfilled by a politician, but by us,” writes by Salena Zito, a columnist and political reporters for the Washington Examiner.
“Americans need something to aspire to — a purpose or someone who will take us to a better place. If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us that journey upward will not come from a politician, nor will it come from the loudest voices, which means it will likely come from within us as a people. That might be the best news for 2021,” Ms. Zito advises.
AN UNEASY YEAR
“Reporters, anchors, photographers, camera operators, producers and technicians who brought 2020’s biggest stories to the public often risked their own physical safety and psychological well-being and found themselves the subjects of increased digital abuse,” advises the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit that says it assisted 750 journalists this year through emergency grants and safety consultations.
Wildfires, social unrest and the coronavirus posed the biggest threats to journalists — along with one other activity.
“The U.S. presidential election brought its own set of reporting risks<” the organization said, citing its own “U.S. elections safety kit,” which highlighted the risks of protests, rallies, and online and digital attacks against journalists who were covering the vote.
POLL DU JOUR
⦁ 43% of U.S. adults plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the vaccine becomes available; 35% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 60% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 30% overall do not plan to be vaccinated; 37% of Republicans, 34% of independents and 10% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 26% are not sure what they will do; 28% of Republicans, 29% of independents and 21% of Democrats agree.
⦁ 2% have already been vaccinated; 1% of Republicans, 3% of independents and 1% of Democrats agree.
Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,500 U.S. adults conducted Dec. 19-22.
⦁ Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.