We need a wealth tax.
We need a wealth tax. Joe Raedle / GETTY

Fred Meyer workers authorize a strike: About 500 warehouse workers voted unanimously to authorize a strike if they don't reach a contract deal soon, according to KOMO. The union told the station a strike would disrupt operations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. Meanwhile, Safeway warehouse workers approved a new deal.

Amazon is phasing out its warehouse COVID testing: The company says it's ending testing because of "the progress we have made and improvements in public health conditions," the Seattle Times reports. "While nearly 70% of Washington state residents are now vaccinated, the rate is much lower in many states with Amazon warehouses. Only around 40% of people in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, for instance, are vaccinated, according to data compiled by the Mayo Clinic," the Times' Katherine Anne Long reports.

The multibillionaire and his space crew have returned: They rode a dildo to space for a little bit this morning. Nine days ago another billionaire rode to space on the back of a threesome. It's enough to make a man reach for conspiracy as he yet again contemplates transferring half of his monthly pay from his boss to his landlord. But it's no conspiracy, it's just capitalism.

He put on a cowboy hat when he exited the capsule:

Just a reminder that wealth is no proxy for intelligence:

Jeff's laughing because he knows governments with lax tax laws and inadequate worker protections actually paid for this:

This one's for you, Jeff P.:

Jogger killed in hit-and-run in Maple Valley: Police say they believe 53-year-old Greg Moore was hit by a driver who fled over the weekend. They believe Moore, an avid runner, had just finished a 15-mile run, KIRO reports. Moore’s wife told the station she's looking for closure: “The person who did this, you made a mistake. And they may not be a bad person [but] what they did was wrong. I need to talk to that person. I need to yell at that person a little bit at least because we had plans."

Police are "confused" by new Washington laws: The modest police reform bills state lawmakers passed this year will go into effect on July 25, leading to some hand-wringing by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, KING 5 reports. The bills include a ban on chokeholds, limits on chases and tear gas, and a prohibition on weapons that fire .50 caliber rounds or larger. Steven Strachan, head of the association, says an "unintended" consequence of the law about rounds .50 caliber or larger could be a ban on "tools" such as beanbags that help cops avoid using deadly force. Lawmakers say they're working with the state AG "to offer law enforcement agencies clarity on that and other laws."

ICYMI: "Military-grade" spyware used to hack phones of journalists, human rights activists: The spyware licensed by the Israeli firm NSO Group was used in "attempted and successful hacks of 37 smartphones belonging to journalists, human rights activists, business executives and two women close to murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi," according to a big investigation by the Washington Post and 16 other media outlets. According to the Post, NSO licenses the spyware to intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies in 40 countries, though the company would not confirm which specific agencies. The stated purpose is for surveilling terrorists and criminals, but the results of the investigation call that into question, the Post explains. Listen to an explainer on the creepy spyware (plus some bonus content about Wally Funk, the 82-year-old woman who went to space with Jeff B today) here.

Also ICYMI: Nathalie is leaving at the end of the week: Glad she's getting a much-deserved break, and pumped for whatever lies before her in her long and winding and wonderful future.

The price to settle with pharmaceutical distributors for creating and perpetuating the opioid crisis? $21 billion. Or, at least, that's the amount of the proposed settlement between a bunch of governments and "McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen," according to the Washington Post. If enough cities, states, and tribes sign onto the deal, then those companies will also have to "share information about their shipments of controlled substances, offering for the first time a full picture of where pain pills are sent." News of the possible deal comes as drug overdose deaths continue to rise.

Massive COVID-19 spike in Southeast Asia: On Monday Indonesia saw the most COVID-19 deaths the country had ever seen on a single day, Al Jazeera reports. Packed hospitals force people to turn away and die at home. Grave diggers "work well into the night," as do the low number of women volunteers who wash the dead bodies because, according to Islam, "only an individual of the same sex should perform the Islamic rite of washing the deceased and shrouding the body."

One-third of Myanmar is testing positive for COVID-19, CNN reports, citing the few tests the country has been capable of doing after the junta took over and started slaughtering dissenters in the streets. People are lining up where they can to access oxygen tanks, while others scour social media sites hoping to find some air.

Belarusian dictator jails doctors in the middle of COVID-19 surge: "More than 250 Belarusian doctors have been fined or held in detention centers, with some of them enduring beatings by the security services" for allegedly speaking out against the Russian-backed, fraudulent authoritarian, Politico reports.

COVID-19 cases are up in all 50 U.S. States, and this is how some Fox News commenters couch their newly found appreciation for vaccines:

Southern Oregon's Bootleg Fire is so hot....it gives me heartburn! Ha ha ha, actually it's so hot that it's "changing the weather," according to an Oregon forestry department official who spoke to the New York Times. The fire has burned 530 square miles—FIVE-HUNDRED-AND-THIRTY SQUARE MILES—of land for the last two weeks, and it's creating "pyrocumulonimbus" clouds that can rain—which is kind of a bad thing in this context because the rain can "create dangerous downdrafts." People have also reported "fire whirls," and some fear "fire tornadoes," which a national weather forecaster called "totally possible" to see in such an intense blaze.

FIRE TORNADO
FIRE TORNADO. I'M FINE. David Gray / GETTY

Twitter banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading misinformation about the vaccine: We went 12 hours without a Tweet from the Trump clone. She'll now tour around to various right-wing media outlets to continue stirring outrage about nothing, all while fires alter the weather, oceans light on fire, etc. etc. etc. It's enough to make a man want to abolish Congress. Or at least Republicans.

We abolish Republicans by voting them out, you say? Well, then somebody better let U.S. House Rep. Marilyn Strickland know. In May, the newest member of Washington state's Congressional delegation signed onto a letter "threatening to vote against any action on pharmaceutical prices that did not have bipartisan support," effectively blocking a measure in Biden's proposed spending package that would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to lower prices, HuffPost reports. Because the Medicare negotiation proposal is so popular, other "centrist" Democrats in swing districts wrote a letter to leadership demanding they pass it, setting up a conflict between safe Dems bought by pharma and other Dems.

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As HuffPost argues in that piece, this episode reveals the unfair focus on progressive Dems supposedly pushing "unpopular" policies to the detriment of the party's majority, shows the scope of corporate capture among Dems, and confirms yet again what we already know, which is that Dems won't move on bills unless their money tells them to. It has very little to do with the "popularity" of a policy. Just roll on the Green New Deal and Medicare for All before we all burn and/or die you fucking jokers.

Here are Rep. Strickland's other friends:

But don't worry, Senate Dems have their eye on the ball: Senate Armed Services Chair Jack Reed (D) proposed a law to include women in the draft, stirring up a potential culture war I forgot existed. The country currently only taps men for the draft, but if Sen. Reed gets his way later this year, then we'll also start forcing women to fight for this great country when the time comes to take up arms against the fire tornadoes, Politico reports. 2022's gonna be a hoot!

Guess you should just pay attention to local politics instead: King County voters should have ballots by now. If you do not, something went wrong and you should call the elections department at (206) 296-8683. If you do have your ballot, then do your research and vote the Stranger ticket.

Some nice throwback tunes while you fill out your ballot: