Authored by attorney Aaron Siri via Injecting Freedom (emphasis ours),
As explained in prior posts, in a lawsuit seeking all of the documents the FDA relied upon to license Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, a federal judge shot down the FDA’s requested rate of 500 pages per month and instead ordered the FDA to produce at the rate of 55,000 pages per month starting on March 1.
Since the government has trillions of dollars of our money, it is putting it to good use by fighting to assure that the public has the least amount of transparency possible. To that end, it has now asked the Court to make the public wait until May for it to start producing 55,000 pages per month and, even then, claims it may not be able to meet this rate.
The FDA’s excuse? As explained in the brief opposing the FDA’s request, the FDA’s defense effectively amounts to claiming that the 11 document reviewers it has already assigned and the 17 additional reviewers being onboarded are only capable of reading at the speed of preschoolers.
As the FDA tries to obtain months of delay, guess who just showed upon in the lawsuit? Yep, Pfizer. And it is represented by a global chair and team from a law firm with thousands of lawyers. Pfizer’s legal bill will likely be multiple times what it would cost the FDA to simply hire a private document review company to review, redact, and produce the documents at issue. Within weeks, if not days.
Pfizer is coming in as a third party. But Pfizer assures the Court it is here to help expedite production of the documents. Sure it is! Where was Pfizer before the Court ordered the 55,000 pages per month? Right, doing what it normally does: letting the government work on its behalf – like the way the government mandates, promotes, and defends Pfizer’s product.
But the government did not please Pfizer this time and so here it comes, likely looking for a second bite at the apple. Of course the FDA consented to Pfizer appearing. You can read the response my firm filed to Pfizer’s motion , as well as all of the other relevant recent filings in the link provided below.
Let me end by noting that all of this insanity is simply in response to an attempt to obtain some basic transparency. This should again bring into sharp focus why the government should never coerce or mandate anyone to get an unwanted medical product or procedure. Just look at this circus – the government mandates Pfizer’s product, gives it immunity for any safety or efficacy issues, promotes its product using taxpayer money, gives Pfizer over $17 billion and then uses taxpayers’ money to fight to avoid providing even the most basic level of transparency to the public.
The introduction from the brief opposing the FDA’s request is below and you can find copies of all the relevant court filings (FDA Motion to Modify Scheduling Order, January 18, 2022 / Plaintiff Opposition to Motion to Modify, January 24, 2022 / Pfizer Motion to Intervene, January 21, 2022 / FDA Response to Pfizer Motion, January 25, 2022 / Plaintiff Response to Pfizer Motion, January 25, 2022) here:
It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues. However, the FDA’s potential embarrassment over its decision to license this product must take a back seat to the transparency demanded by FOIA and the urgent need and interests of the American people to review that licensure data. The Court already recognized this unprecedented urgent need in its January 6th order directing the FDA to produce 55,000 pages per month.
The FDA now insists it must delay its first 55,000-page production until May 1, 2022 – four months after the Court entered its order. However, the FDA’s own papers seeking this delay make plain it can produce at a rate of 55,000 pages per month in February and March. The FDA affirms it has already “allocated the equivalent of nearly 11 full-time staff to this project” and that “a review speed of 50 documents per hour was within the normal range for document review in a complex matter” in private practice; and here the 50 document per hour rate would be faster since there is only a need to review for personally identifying information (“PII”) for most pages. Hence, if the FDA’s 11 full-time reviewers work only 7.5 hours per day and review 50 pages (not documents) per hour, the FDA could review over 88,000 pages per month in February and March. That is more than sufficient to produce the 55,000 pages per month currently ordered for these two months.
Instead of complying with this Court’s reasoned order, the FDA claims these 11 reviewers can only review a total of 10,000 pages per month. What the FDA does not say, and what basic math shows, is that a rate of 10,000 pages a month for 11 full-time reviewers amounts to only 5 pages per hour! This rate is made even more absurd because most of the pages the FDA will be reviewing during this period are repetitive data files that only require second level review to redact minimal amounts of PII that Pfizer may have left in the documents. FDA’s reality defying claim and contemptuous approach to its production obligations should not be countenanced. (Infra § I.)
It is also apparent that the instant demand is just the start of a campaign to delay the production ordered by the Court. In this first salvo, the FDA is not really asking the Court. It is instead expressly telling the Court it does not intend to produce more than 10,000 pages per month for February and March, and despite claiming it is making “unprecedented” efforts, the FDA repeatedly tells the Court: “It is not possible to guarantee that FDA will be able to fully comply” with the 55,000-page production rate thereafter. (Dkt. No. 38 at APPX004, APPX008.) Americans must follow the law and the FDA, a multi-billion-dollar agency, should similarly be given no safe harbor from complying with the orders of this Court. (Infra § II.)
The FDA should also be held to what it attests. The FDA, with over 18,000 employees and an over $3 billion discretionary budget, repeatedly assures the Court that it is taking steps to “marshal every possible resource available to it,” “acting with maximal urgency to assemble every possible resource available to it” and “putting every available resource at its disposal into its efforts to achieve compliance.” (Dkt. No. 37 at 10, 3, 10.) The FDA also attests that over the coming weeks, it will have 28.5 full-time people reviewing the documents. Working 7.5 hours per day for 20 business days per month, 28.5 people reviewing 50 pages per hour can review a total of approximately 213,750 pages per month. Putting aside that most of this production can be reviewed far faster than the rate of 50 pages per hour, Plaintiff asks that the FDA be held to its representations and be directed to produce at the rate of 180,000 pages per month starting in April. (Infra § III.)
The Court is, other than Congress, the only check on the FDA. In a free country, transparency is paramount, and the FDA has chosen to thwart transparency and the requirements of FOIA by anemically understaffing the office it maintains to respond to FOIA requests. It is akin to the boy that kills his parents and asks for sympathy for being an orphan. Decrying that this Court is now making it comply with the law – by actually producing documents in a timely manner – is ridiculous. It is also incredible for the FDA to claim that compliance here would harm its health policy objectives. Even if the FDA really does need to spend $4 to $5 million which, as shown below, is an absurd overestimate, that is an inconsequential amount of its overall $3.41 billion discretionary budget. Moreover, the issues with the Pfizer vaccine – including waning immunity, variants evading immunity, the failure to prevent transmission, myocarditis, and pericarditis – show that the FDA’s priority should be to address this product before rushing off to engage in other activities. (Infra § IV.)
For these reasons, as explained below, the Court should refuse to reduce the rate of production in February and March and should increase the rate of production for April and thereafter to 180,000 pages per month consistent with the FDA employing 28.5 full-time reviewers in the coming weeks to conduct the review and the fact that most of the pages need only be reviewed for PII.
…you can read the rest of the brief here
 Reflecting the issues with this product, the FDA failed to send a representative to a federal court hearing in this matter on December 14th because of the “FDA’s protocols” regarding COVID-19. Meaning, despite the FDA’s claim the vaccine is “effective,” the FDA is apparently still scared to send a representative to the hearing. Its actions speak volumes and cast serious doubt on its words.
The State of Democracy In Each Region Of the World
The state of democracy has dropped from an average global score of 5.37 to 5.28, the biggest drop since 2010 after the global financial crisis which translates…
The world’s (almost) eight billion people live under a wide variety of political and cultural circumstances…[that] can be measured and presented on a sliding scale between “free” (democracy) and “not free” (authoritarian) and the…Democracy Index report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), is one such attempt to apply a score to countries based on how closely they measure up to democratic ideals.
According to EIU, the state of democracy is at its lowest point since the index began in 2006, dropping from an average global score of 5.37 to 5.28, the biggest drop since 2010 after the global financial crisis….[which] translates into the sobering fact that only 46% of the population is living in a democracy “of some sort.”
Below is a look at the democratic state of each region in the world:
Middle East and Central Asia
East Asia and Oceania
Decline in Global Democracy Levels
Two years after the world got hit by the pandemic, we can see that global democracy is in a downward trend with very region’s global score experiencing a drop, with the exception of Western Europe, which remained flat. Out of the 167 countries, 74 (44%) experienced a decline in their democracy score.
Editor’s Note: The above article is an edited and abridged version of the original post on visualcapitalist.com by Nick Routley and graphics design by Sabrina Fortin.africa europe pandemic
After mass shootings like Uvalde, national gun control fails – but states often loosen gun laws
After mass shootings, politicians in Washington have failed to pass new gun control legislation, despite public pressure. But laws are being passed at…
Calls for new gun legislation that previously failed to pass Congress are being raised again after the May 24, 2022, mass shooting at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas.
The U.S. has been here before – after shootings in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, Charleston, Roseburg, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas, Parkland, El Paso, Boulder, and 12 days earlier at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut was among the Democratic politicians who pleaded for action on gun control as horrifying details of the Uvalde school shooting unfolded.
“What are we doing?” Murphy asked other lawmakers, speaking from the Senate floor on the day of the shooting. “Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?”
Congress has declined to pass significant new gun legislation after dozens of shootings, including those that occurred during periods like this one, with Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency.
This response may seem puzzling given that national opinion polls reveal extensive support for several gun control policies, including expanding background checks and banning assault weapons.
In October 2021, 52% of people polled by Gallup said that they thought firearm sales laws should be made more strict.
I am a professor of strategy at UCLA and have researched gun policy. With my co-authors at Harvard University, I’ve studied how gun laws change following mass shootings.
Our research on this topic finds there is legislative activity following these tragedies, but it’s at the state level.
Stricter gun laws at the national level are more popular among Democrats than Republicans, and major new legislation would likely need votes from at least 10 Republican senators. Many of these senators represent constituencies opposed to gun control.
Despite national polls showing majority support for an assault weapons ban, not one of the 30 states with a Republican-controlled legislature has such a policy.
U.S. Texas Senator Ted Cruz said on May 24 that more gun control laws could not have prevented the Uvalde attack, explaining “that doesn’t work, it’s not effective, it doesn’t prevent crime.”
The absence of strict control policies in Republican-controlled states shows that senators crossing party lines to support gun control would be out of step with the views of voters whose support they need to win elections.
But a lack of action from Congress doesn’t mean gun laws are stagnant after mass shootings.
To examine how policy changes, we assembled data on shootings and gun legislation in the 50 states between 1990 and 2014. Overall, we identified more than 20,000 firearm bills and nearly 3,200 enacted laws. Some of these loosened gun restrictions, others tightened them, and still others did neither or both – that is, tightened in some dimensions but loosened in others.
We then compared gun laws before and after mass shootings in states where mass shootings occurred, relative to all other states.
Contrary to the view that nothing changes, state legislatures consider 15% more firearm bills the year after a mass shooting. Deadlier shootings – which receive more media attention – have larger effects.
In fact, mass shootings have a greater influence on lawmakers than other homicides, even though they account for less than 1% of gun deaths in the United States.
As impressive as this 15% increase in gun bills may sound, gun legislation can reduce gun violence only if it becomes law. And when it comes to enacting these bills into law, our research found that mass shootings do not regularly cause lawmakers to tighten gun restrictions.
In fact, we found the opposite. Republican state legislatures pass significantly more gun laws that loosen restrictions on firearms after mass shootings.
In 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new law that eliminated a requirement for Texans to obtain a license or receive training to carry handguns. This came two years after a 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso.
That’s not to say Democrats never tighten gun laws – there are prominent examples of Democratic-controlled states passing new legislation following mass shootings.
California, for example, enacted several new gun laws following a 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino. Our research shows, however, that Democrats don’t tighten gun laws more than usual following mass shootings.
After the Buffalo shooting in early May 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that she would work to increase the age for legal gun purchasing from 18 to 21 “at a minimum.”
Ideology governs response
The contrasting response from Democrats and Republicans is indicative of different philosophies regarding the causes of gun violence and the best ways to reduce deaths.
While Democrats tend to view social factors as contributing to violence, Republicans are more likely to blame the individual shooters.
Cruz, for example, has said that stopping individuals with criminal records from committing violence could help prevent mass shootings.
Politicians favoring looser restrictions on guns following mass shootings frequently argue that more people carrying guns would allow law-abiding citizens to stop perpetrators.
In fact, gun sales often surge after mass shootings, in part because people fear being victimized.
Democrats, in contrast, typically focus more on trying to solve policy and societal problems that contribute to gun violence.
For both sides, mass shootings are an opportunity to propose bills consistent with their ideology.
Since we wrote our study of gun legislation following mass shootings, which covered the period through 2014, several additional tragedies have energized the gun control movement that emerged following the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. These include the May 2022 shooting at the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, as well as the Uvalde school massacre.
Student activism following the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, did not result in congressional action but led several states to pass new gun control laws.
With more funding and better organization, this new movement is better positioned than prior gun control movements to advocate for stricter gun policies following mass shootings. Public outcry and devastation over the Uvalde shootings will likely provide fuel to this advocacy work.
But with states historically more active than Congress on the issue of guns, both advocates and opponents of new restrictions should look beyond Washington for action on gun policy.
This is an updated version of an article originally published on March 21, 2021.
Christopher Poliquin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.congress senate house of representatives governor pandemic covid-19 deaths
5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now
Are these consumer stocks a buy amid the earnings season?
The post 5 Top Consumer Stocks To Watch Right Now appeared first on Stock Market News, Quotes,…
5 Trending Consumer Stocks To Watch In The Stock Market Now
As we tread through the earnings season, consumer stocks could be worth watching in the stock market this week. This would be the case since a number of big consumer names such as Costco (NASDAQ: COST) and Macy’s (NYSE: M) will be posting their financials for the quarter. As such, investors will be keeping an eye on these reports for clues on the strength of consumer spending amid this period of high inflation.
However, despite the soaring prices across the economy, it seems that consumers are surprisingly showing resilience. According to the Commerce Department, retail sales in April outpaced inflation for a fourth straight month. This could suggest that consumers as a whole were not only sustaining their spending, but spending more even after adjusting for inflation. Ultimately, it could be a reassuring sign that consumers are still supporting the economy and helping to diminish the narrative of an incoming recession. With that being said, here are five consumer stocks to check out in the stock market today.
Consumer Stocks To Buy [Or Sell] Right Now
- Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN)
- The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN)
- Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE: FL)
- Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN)
- DoorDash Inc. (NYSE: DASH)
Starting off our list of consumer stocks today is Nordstrom. For the most part, it is a fashion retailer of full-line luxury apparel, footwear, accessories, and cosmetics among others. The company operates through multiple retail channels, boutiques, and online as well. As it stands, Nordstrom operates around 100 stores in 32 states in the U.S. and three Canadian provinces.
Yesterday, the company reported its financials for the first quarter of 2022. Starting with revenue, Nordstrom pulled in net sales worth $3.47 million for the quarter. This marks an increase of 18.7% from the same quarter last year. Its Nordstrom banner saw net sales rise by 23.5% year-over-year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. Next to that, its Nordstrom Rack banner saw a 10.3% increase in net sales from last year. Besides, net earnings were $20 million, with earnings per share of $0.13 for the quarter. Considering Nordstrom’s solid quarter, should you invest in JWN stock?
The Wendy’s Company
Next up, we have The Wendy’s Company. For the most part, it is the holding company for the major fast-food chain, Wendy’s. Being one of the world’s largest hamburger fast-food chains, the company boasts over 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and 29 other countries. The chain is known for its square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and the Frosty, a form of soft-serve ice cream mixed with starches. WEN stock is rising by over 8% on today’s opening bell.
According to an SEC filing, Wendy’s largest shareholder, Trian Partners, is looking into making a potential deal with the company. Trian said that it is considering a deal to “enhance shareholder value.” Also, the firm adds that this could lead to an acquisition or business combination. In response, Wendy’s stated that it is constantly reviewing strategic priorities and opportunities. It added that the company’s board will carefully review any proposal from Trian. Given this piece of news, will you be watching WEN stock?
Another stock investors could be watching is the shoes and apparel company, Foot Locker. In brief, the company uses its omnichannel capabilities to bridge the digital world and physical stores. As such, it provides buy online and pickup-in-store services, order-in-store, as well as the growing trend of e-commerce. Some of its most notable brands include Eastbay, Footaction, Foot Locker, Champs Sports, and Sidestep. Last week, the company reported its results for the first quarter of the year.
For starters, total sales came in at $2.175 billion, a slight uptick compared to sales of $2.153 billion in the year prior. Next to that, Foot Locker reported a net income of $133 million. Accordingly, adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.60, beating Wall Street’s expectations of $1.54. CEO Richard Johnson added, “Our progress in broadening and enriching our assortment continues to meet our customers’ demand for choice. These efforts helped drive our strong results in the first quarter, which will allow us to more fully participate in the robust growth of our category going forward.” As such, is FL stock one to add to your watchlist?
Tyson Foods is a company that built its name on providing families with wholesome and great-tasting protein products. Its segments include Beef, Pork, Chicken, and Prepared Foods. With some of the fastest-growing portfolio of protein-centric brands, it should not be surprising that TSN stock often comes to mind when investors are looking for the best consumer stocks to buy.
Earlier this month, Tyson Foods provided its fiscal second-quarter financial update. The company’s total sales for the quarter were $13.1 billion, representing an increase of 15.9% compared to the prior year’s quarter. Meanwhile, its GAAP earnings per share climbed to $2.28, up 75% year-over-year. According to Tyson, these financial figures are a reflection of the increasing consumer demand for its brands and products. To top it off, the company was also able to reduce its total debt by approximately $1 billion. Thus, does TSN stock have a spot on your watchlist?
DoorDash is a consumer company that operates an online food ordering and delivery platform. In fact, it is one of the largest delivery companies in the U.S. and enjoys a huge market share. The company connects hundreds of thousands of merchants to over 25 million consumers in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Japan through its local logistics platform. Accordingly, its platform allows local businesses to thrive in today’s “convenience economy,” as the company puts it.
On May 5, the company reported its first-quarter financials for 2022. Diving in, it posted a revenue of $1.5 billion, growing by 35% year-over-year. This was driven by total orders that grew by 23% year-over-year to $404 million. Along with that, it reported a GAAP gross profit of $662 million, an increase of 34% year-over-year. The company said that it added more consumers than any quarter since Q1 2021, due in part to the growth of its DashPass members. The growth in Monthly Active Users and average order frequency has helped it gain share in the U.S. Food Delivery category this quarter as well. Given DoorDash’s performance for the quarter, should you watch DASH stock?
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