Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Equivalence

Equivalence

by

Ken Melvin

These two things are not the same.

Giving a woman the right of choice doesn’t deny others that right of choice; makes no imposition on the rights of others. Denying a woman the right of choice imposes the will of others upon her.

When is it lawful for some members of a society to impose their will upon others? What right has the State to impose its will upon its citizens? When it is the writ of law. A State can declare acts to be illegal, even criminal, by the enactment of laws, so long as such laws aren’t in conflict with the State’s constitution. Since at least the 13th century, advanced States’ constitutions have guaranteed certain individual rights. The US Constitution explicitly guarantees certain individual rights and freedoms in the first (8) of its first (10) Amendments. Other rights are implicitly granted with:

the 9th Amendment

  • The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people —

and the 10th Amendment

  • The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people 

Succeeding ratified Amendments have explicitly, and implicitly, guaranteed other individual rights and freedoms. A citizen doesn’t have a constitutional right to steal from others, so it is constitutional to make stealing from others a crime; a case of society having the right to tell someone what they can not do.

So, it seems that the State might have the right to deny a woman the right of choice if women do not have the constitutional right of choice. It seems highly unlikely that such a right would be found in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights since women were but inhabitants, not even granted full citizenship, or even personhood, at the time, or even later when these first 10 Amendments were ratified. Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920.

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Ask me anything — vacation edition

(Dan here…David offers a different sort of presentation from the normal for AB. Interesting?…)

Ask me anything — vacation edition

I’m going on vacation for a few weeks, so I am interrupting my normal blogging for something different.

(I’m not sure if you — or anyone — is interested in my Marshall 2020 Project posts, but I’m doing it for myself — and its a good distraction from every day crazy 😉

Anyways… I’d love to answer your questions about coronavirus, elections, jobs, trade, the economy, climate chaos, woodworking, watches, Amsterdam, sex, drugs, and/or water utilities.

Seriously — Ask Me Anything. 

So submit your question (name and location optional), and I’ll figure out whether it’s better for me to answer them in writing here or in a special episode of my Jive Talking podcast.

Stay safe from the crazies, support your community, and (hopefully) take a little time off from all the crazy that 2020 has brought us!

Author: David Zetland

I’m a political-economist from California who now lives in Amsterdam. 

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Differences

Differences

by Ken Melvin

… He said I have no opinion about this

And I have no opinion about that

Asked an Honors History Class what they thought was the most important issue facing America. In an earlier period, Patrick, a kid from Africa, responded, “our differences.” In a later period, a black female, in a plaintive voice, responded, “we are different.”

Indeed. We are a world of people with many differences: different politics, different religions, … different cultures. Not just here; worldwide, humans are wrestling with this question: How to live with our differences? Can we humans, after all our centuries, change enough? Change enough to accept our differences?

The importance of these questions came to the fore with the recent onslaught of immigration into Europe and has since played out in referenda/elections throughout Europe and the United States. The pending further, and of greater scale, dislocations caused by global warming/climate change and globalization, makes their answering imperative. Plus: What will resulting cultures look like? At what point does an existing culture become more like that of the immigrant? What is the tipping point? Can the center hold?

Over the past 20 years, really quite late, much of our nation has come to believe that someone else’s sexuality is really none of our business. We, as a nation, now accept lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, LGBT, people as they are. Not ignore them, not tolerate them, not demand that they change; but accept them as they are. Yet, there are still regions of America, sectors of the population, where a majority of the people think that they know how people should act, should think, … that they have the right to demand that others change.

 

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Pandemic boundaries

Via the Boston Globe  comes the consideration of boundary problems this pandemic poses between US states. Worth a discussion. Also, on the world stage, the EU and other countries consider relaxing travel restrictions from ‘safe’ countries, the US not among them.

Visitor quarantines may seem like a smart intervention to keep the virus from crossing state lines. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear after someone is infected, and research suggests people can transmit the virus even when they’re showing no signs of illness, said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, an infectious diseases physician and medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston Medical Center.

But a quarantine strategy may not be a realistic approach to stopping further infections, she said, because it’s hard to monitor every car crossing the border, and the state can’t stop travelers flying in to airports, which are federal sites.

“After states have been going it on their own, we are now quickly realizing our state is tied to [other] states,” Bhadelia said. “What happens in Florida or Arizona is not independent. Our borders are so porous.”

Legal issues associated with attempting to block or impede travel may also prove an obstacle, said Wendy Parmet, a professor of law, public policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern University.

“Travel advisories are themselves deeply problematic,” she said. “The dilemma is showing up the disaster of what’s been happening: the fact that we don’t have a federal policy, and no consistency among the states.”

She allowed that the plight of Massachusetts this summer “may be an instance where there is some merit to [travel quarantines] because you have situations with people coming in from jurisdictions that are not doing social distancing, or widespread use of masks, and it’s a real problem.”

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Weekly Indicators for June 22 – 26 at Seeking Alpha

by New Deal democrat

Weekly Indicators for June 22 – 26 at Seeking Alpha

My Weekly Indicators post is up at Seeking Alpha. The coincident indicators, as well as the short leading indicators, have continued to improve gradually each week.

But this week may be the near term peak, as the reality of renewed exponential spread of the coronavirus in recklessly reopened States starts to hit home. You cannot force people to patronize businesses if they believe it is unsafe, and when complacency leads to new outbreaks, the pain threshold will be hit at which people pull back again. Most noteworthy is that restaurant reservations did not improve in the past week – people are shying away from danger.

As usual, clicking over and reading rewards me with a little jingle in my pocket as well as bringing you right up to date with what is happening in the economy.

P.S.: I plan on putting up an extra coronavirus update later today. Stay tuned.

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Housing rebounded sharply in May

by New Deal democrat

Housing rebounded sharply in May

One aspect of the economy that is important in terms of how well things will go once the pandemic ultimately recedes (which won’t occur until after next January 20) remains housing.

And low-interest rates brought housing back from the depths in May.

My look at the current state of mortgage rates, housing sales, and prices is up over at Seeking Alpha.

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Global oil output surplus was at 8.6 million barrels per day in May, despite OPEC cut of 6.3 million bpd

Via Economic Populist, rjs writes:

Global oil output surplus was at 8.6 million barrels per day in May, despite OPEC cut of 6.3 million bpd

Wednesday of this past week saw the release of OPEC’s June Oil Market Report, which covers OPEC & global oil data for May, and hence it gives us a picture of the global oil supply & demand situation during the first month of the two-month agreement between OPEC, the Russians, and other oil producers to cut production by 9.7 million barrels a day from an elevated October 2018 baseline.   But before we review it, ​we have to caution that estimating oil demand while most countries on the planet are restarting their economies after a month or two of lockdown is pretty ​speculative, and hence the demand figures we’ll be reporting this month should be considered as having a much larger margin of error than we’d normally expect from this report…

The first table from this monthly report that we’ll review is from the page numbered 44 of this month’s report (pdf page 54), and it shows oil production in thousands of barrels per day for each of the current OPEC members over the recent years, quarters and months, as the column headings indicate. For all their official production measurements, OPEC uses an average of estimates from six “secondary sources”, namely the International Energy Agency (IEA), the oil-pricing agencies Platts and Argus, ‎the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the oil consultancy Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and the industry newsletter Petroleum Intelligence Weekly, as a means of impartially adjudicating whether their output quotas and production cuts are being met, to thus avert any potential disputes that could arise if each member reported their own figures…

 

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What Will History Say

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        The Past                                                                  Now             The Future

What Will History Say

by

Ken Melvin

When the new US History books come out in 2040, what will they have to say about 2020? What will they say about:  Globalization?  The Trump Presidency?  Global Warming?  The 2020 Pandemic?  China’s Rise?  America’s Decline?  Capitalism and Free markets?  Mitch McConnell?

to run where the brave dare not go.

Globalization: From a US perspective, globalization began in the 1970s with the first large-scale offshoring of semi-conductor, clothing, shoe, electronic, … manufacturing, and the large-scale importation of automobiles, and accelerated during the 1980s. Capitalists and 401Ks were the most significant forces driving globalization. As a result of globalization, the DJI soared to new heights.

By 2020, most all of our critical medicines were being manufactured in China and India; hampering our ability to respond to the Covid-19 Pandemic, causing tens of thousands of Americans to die unnecessarily. The US was no longer self-sufficient, hadn’t been for more than twenty years.

Significant unintended consequences of Globalization include:   Millions of well-paying jobs were sent overseas.  A Globalization related Opioid Epidemic that began in the 1990s. The American landscape was littered with dead and dying communities.   By 2020, 40% of US Workers were living from paycheck to paycheck; working at jobs that did not pay a living wage.   America suffered a soaring homeless population. Due to offshored critical manufacturing, the nation was unable to respond to a worldwide pandemic.

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