BUENOS DIAS MOTHAFUCKAAAAS and a happy Saturday to all you fine folks tuning in for another edition of What The Fuck Is Going On?! This week has been a real doozy for news, with the US set to complete a massive arms deal to the UAE, potentially the biggest antitrust lawsuit in history, and more. We don’t have the time (or the willpower) to cover it all in one go, but we will try to cover everything throughout the next week. Keep your eyes peeled for deeper dives next week on the developing war in Ethiopia, the UAE-US arms deal and continued coverage of the FTC’s suit against Facebook.
America the inoculated
The FDA has approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in America, following the UK’s earlier decision to do the same.
The first 6 million doses could be shipped as early as this week.
The FDA chief, who was pressured by the Trump administration under threat of being fired, approved the shot late Friday night.
I don’t know about you guys, but nothing makes me feel safer than a vaccine campaign started with threats and coercion!
Trump threats aside though, the vaccine was likely to get the go-ahead within a week anyways.
Regardless of how it happened, the approval will bring some much needed relief to a country that has been hit harder than anyone. With hospitalizations at a critical point and deaths nearing 300,000, Americans are still split on the new and unproven vaccine, though willingness to get the jab is increasing.
Facebook vs. USA
48 US states and the Federal Trade Commission announced a sweeping pair of anti-trust lawsuits against one of the worlds most powerful corporations. The FTC accuses Facebook of being a monopoly (duh) and using its power to buy up competition and dominate the market.
Zucks bought Instagram for a cool BILLION in 2012 and then WhatsApp for $19 billy two years later. Both acquisitions look to be steals now. But the FTC is demanding Facebook sell both off and notify them of all future competitor purchases.
Anyone with half a brain knows Facebook is a monopoly. They dispute this, listing Google, Snapchat, Twitter and Apple as competitors. But nobody uses Google or Snapchat to go on racist rants about Obama’s birth certificate. That’s Facebook shit and we all know it. And I don’t care how popular Twitter Fleets get, “do it for the fleet” just doesn’t have the same ring as “going live on the gram.” It’s an Instagram world and we’re all just living in it.
This is a developing story and once Zuckerbot finishes his latest firmware update he’ll likely pour millions, billions even, into the legal battle.
But in the meantime, we should all appreciate what a massive moment this is for the world of technology and social media, which is increasingly becoming an integral piece of human life. Before the DOJ took similar action against Google in October, the last lawsuit of this type took place against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.
Microsoft was never officially broken up, but it did have to change its predatory ways. Facebook’s “buy or bury” practices are similar to Microsoft’s software domination strategy of their heyday.
No matter the outcome, the suit will surely shake up the social media landscape, as North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says “Our hope is to restructure the social networking marketplace in the United States.”
All jokes aside, this guy scares the living shit out of me. Who the fuck drinks water like this???
Ethnic Cleansing in the Horn of Africa
For some reason every time I hear mention of the horn of Africa I always think of this:
Shit is starting to hit the fan in eastern Africa. Ethiopia and their Prime Minister’s (Nobel PEACE Laureate btw) military campaign against insurgents has developed a fun new wrinkle, as neighboring Eritrea has reportedly sent troops into Ethiopia.
As you may recall from a recent edition of WTFIGO, Ethiopia’s military has been engaged in a war against insurgent group/political party (depends who you ask) the Tigray People’s Liberation Front since November. After ousting them from the capital in Tigray, Ethiopian forces have scattered TPLF soldiers across the region.
The ongoing war has created a humanitarian crisis according to the UN. Thousands of civilians have fled to Sudan, which borders Ethiopia to the north. The UN estimates over 100,000 will be displaced in the coming months. Furthermore, there are fears of full-scale ethnic cleansings, as Tigray civilians appear to be targeted based on their cultural identities.
Ethiopian Prime Minister/2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner (great judgement from the Nobel fellas over there!) Abiy Ahmed’s does not have human rights high on his list of priorities, a fact supported by his team-up with notoriously brutal Eritrean forces. One Tigray refugee told CNN that once Ethiopia recaptured his town, they abandoned it and let Eritrea roll in. He described their treatment of his ethnic group:
“They beat us with the machine guns, they would make us lie on the ground and put the weapon in our mouths. If you are afraid, they will kill you, and if you don’t show fear, they turn you on your back and hit you with the back of the rifle.”– Zeray Gabrgeorgis, Ethiopian refugee
The introduction of Eritrean troops is throwing more fuel on an ever-growing fire. The Ethiopian government denies the presence of Eritrea, dispelling the reports as Tigray propaganda, but the United States calls the reports credible and urges the troops to leave.
The U.N says they have been denied access to help aid 96,000 refugees, and Ethiopia refuses to let news organizations into the region amidst a full-scale communications blackout. Now Ethiopia seems to be forcibly bringing refugees who try to escape Tigray back into camps in the region, something the U.N calls a “grave development.”
The U.N has also said that four aid workers were killed in one such refugee camp, as tensions increase. This disturbing development just adds to the impressively brutal legacy of horror in the military campaign that’s barely even a month old.
When A Peace Deal Leads to More War
While war in the east of Africa rages on, the northwest says wait, hold my beer.
The Trump administration has brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and north African country Morocco, marking the 4th Arab state to normalize ties with Israel under the Trumpster in his so-called Abraham Accords.
The agreement, which was followed by a $1 billion weapons deal between Morroco and America, was contingent on the United States recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
Western Sahara is a disputed region to the south of Morocco, partially occupied by a nomadic group called the Sahrawis. The Sahrawis have long been a thorn in the side of Morocco who seek to hold the entire Western Sahara for themselves.
Why anyone would go to great lengths to fight for control of Western Sahara, which is basically just a huge fucking desert with some phosphate mines, is beyond me. But the Morocco-Israeli deal rested solely on the American recognition of this sovereignty, something not all lawmakers supported.
Former NatSec adviser/Walrus king John Bolton is among the significant detractors of the move, along with Republican Senator Jim Inhofe who serves on the Senate Committee for Armed Services.
The normalization of ties is a welcome sign for peace in the middle east, and a small part of a larger movement for the Arab world and Israel to reach peace in the long term. However, in the short term it will lead to more war.
Morocco broke a 1991 UN brokered peace deal with the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi’s military, when they fired upon a Polisario blockade of a trade route.
Polisario’s representative in the UN, Sidi Omar, says “we are now in a state of open war.”
It’s yet to be seen whether an incoming Biden administration will support the recognition, but it will be hard to undo the damage of the Trump announcement as Polisario has already sprung into action, citing a lack of international support. It seems northern Africa can add another war to its growing portfolio of conflict.
That’s all for today, sorry it wasn’t much of a fun one, y’know… war and stuff. I can’t control the news though folks, just report it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Enjoy your weekend fuckers! We’ll be back Monday.