Today (Saturday, May 15th) I learned that my EconoSpeak post, “Disposable People” (which has over 2500 views) has been reinstated by Blogger. I never knew it had been removed. If I was a GOP whiner, this would be a prime example of cancel culture in operation. But of course, it’s only an artefact of “moderation that has to rely on algorithms” to identify potential community guidelines violations.
Protesters trashed windows at the Oregon State Historical Society and left this graffiti:
Credit: Willamette Weekly
Econospeak . . .
For just a pocketful of Russia’s rubles, Putin facilitated Brexit, doing irreparable harm to the UK and the EU. With what was left over, he did enormous harm to the US, and weakened NATO. No shots were fired, no missiles were launched, and no missions were flown. No weapons that go bang were deployed, and not a single Russian boot trod foreign soil. Putin did more damage with that pocketful of change than his army could have ever done. Yet, the United States continues to spend $billions upon $billions on weapons, troop readiness; and military adventures. China will not be fighting any boots on the ground war, nor one with missiles launched, with the US. China is not stupid. Only the US would be so stupid.
Back when, Ike tried to warn us. Today, we see the rows of generals and admirals lined up to testify before Congress, on CNN and Fox, … , as to the need for more generals and admirals, land, air, sea and space forces. Theirs is also those of the defense contractors. Shills for one another, where would they be without us. Where would Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina be without them.
Why waste good money on diplomacy when we can spend $billions on less effective troops, ships, planes and missiles? If economics is at the heart of any war; armed conflict represents a complete lack of understanding of the both.
Taking out socialists governments is good for American businesses. So is installing and propping up tin-horned dictators. Worked like a charm in Latin America and in the Middle East. One only need look to Afghanistan, Venezuela, Chile, Cuba, … today. Well, it possibly could have. What if, America?
September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invades Poland. Poland met Hitler’s armies with its cavalry, that’s cavalry as in men on horses. Is what we’re doing any less foolish?
Hit by “renewed” US sanctions (The Guardian) under trump and a Covid pandemic, Cuba is enduring an economic crisis. Pharmacy shelves are empty, people stand in line for hours to buy chicken, and bread is scarce and hard to find. May 6th Cuba reported 1,060 cases totaling 112,714. Another seven deaths occurred bringing the total to 701.
Even as the island nation is under a political siege and suffering from Covid, Cuba is the smallest country in the world to successfully develop its own coronavirus vaccines. Of the 27 coronavirus vaccines in final phase 3 clinical trials around the world, two are of Cuban (NYT) origin.
Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute developed a vaccine known as Soberana 2.
Soberana which means “Sovereign” in Spanish is a Conjugate vaccine. It is the second version of the Soberana vaccines. To make the vaccine, a weak antigen is combined with a stronger antigen as the carrier. The immune system has a stronger response to the weak antigen containing a part of the coronavirus spike protein fused to a standard tetanus vaccine to make it stable and aluminum hydroxide as an adjuvant to boost the immune system.
Let me follow up briefly on my post from yesterday on vaccine hesitancy.
Demeaning people is the first step towards ignoring their interests or even persecuting them. Jason Brennan urges us to ignore the welfare of the unvaxxed by painting a picture of them as moral terrorists or extortionists. He holds them responsible for their confusion and fears. He pretends that everyone is well-informed and knows how to evaluate scientific evidence, and that everyone has loads of time to keep up on the latest covid news. Then he blames people who fail to get vaccinated for their poor choices.
These are the key facts, as I see the matter:
- Many people are not vaccinated, vaccination rates are slowing, rates of hesitancy are high.
- Most unvaccinated people are not hard-core anti-vaxxers. Many are busy or have difficulty figuring out how or where to get vaccinated. Some are scared of needles. Some just worry about the safety of the vaccines. Young people are likely to prove difficult to vaccinate, because they are at very low risk of dying from covid.
- Unvaccinated people are a threat to themselves, to people who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated (a small group, apparently), and to people who are vaccinated but have compromised immune systems. They are also (presumably) a very, very small risk to people who are relatively healthy and vaccinated.
I got covid in December during a visit to the hospital. While I was in the hospital – with an active diagnosis of covid, being cared for by doctors and nurses whose job it was to care for people with active covid – I had several nurses who said they would not get vaccinated, at least not right away. My sense is they were worried about possible side-effects. They were not malevolent, they were (relatively) well-informed about the risks of covid and of the vaccines, and they were not as far as I could tell making a political statement. Their worries were understandable, but their planned choices were (arguably) terribly misguided given their high exposure at work.
The former actor campaigning for President said,
“The government is the problem.”
Who needs government? We need it, that’s who. In 1980, any damned fool could look around and see that nations with strong governments succeeded while those with weak governments failed. Yet most of the people believed the damned fool when he told them that government was the problem. There’s little reason to doubt that he believed it. Question is, who paid him enough?
When a nation turns one way when it should have turned the other, each day spent going the wrong direction doubles the error, doubles the cost, of the choice. In the 1960s and 70s, the understanding of what was happening escaped most everyone. Now, at anytime, is an elusive, hard to grasp, thing. Then, muddling on would have been better than trying to turn back, but it was backward we chose. Since 1980, we have not been able to bring the nation-ship about, to head her into the winds of change. Oh, a few attempts have been made, but, every time, some right winger gets the wheel and sets the ship’s course, again, on going back to those good old days.
In 1980, our CDC was the gold standard, the very best in the world. Our OSHA, EPA, FDA, Supreme Court, role in the United Nations, …, were the envy of the world. Grover said if they couldn’t wean it, then they should drown it; it being the government. These were all a part of the government, things that the people wanted, things that had been enacted into law. The people may have, but the General Electrics, Kochs, Armand Hammers, coal industry, …, didn’t. The Lockheeds, Boeings, and Douglases said the only good spending was defense spending. And so began the cutting of all budgets except defense, and the appointment of those opposed to the very ideas to head OSHA, EPA, FDA, … Yes, the court, too, began to get ideologues. Competency was only a requirement for business hirelings, ideologues were for government. One hundred banana republics can’t be wrong.
Maybe I am wrong on BLS Household Numbers? Has anyone looked at aggregate Participation Rate and the Civilian Labor Force numeric?
Seasonal Adjusted PR is up 2 tenths of 1% and the Civilian Labor Force increased by 430,000 from March to April. Last year, from January 2020 to end of 2020, PR was down 2%
The nation has recouped 2 tenths of 1% in April. Employed is up ~300,000 and Unemployed is up ~100,000. As you well know to be categorized as Unemployed and part of the Labor Force, a worker has to be looking for work.
“It Took the Democrats Half a Century to Rediscover Trickle-Up Economics,” The Soap Box, Bruce Barlett
Republicans still cling to trickle-down delusions of the wealthy and big business delivering economic progress to the rest of the nation, while Joe Biden revives a philosophy of growth Democrats have not embraced since LBJ . . . Stimulating economic growth and prosperity from the bottom up.
Bruce Bartlett takes the reader on a journey to the times of FDR and the introduction of the concept of trickle-up economics citing a bit of William Foster and Waddill Catchings 1928 book, The Road to Plenty (“[B]oth corporations and individuals must save), Will Rogers (money was all appropriated for the top) and William Jennings Bryan famous “Cross of Gold” speech ( two ideas of government) of 1896.
Matt Yglesias is stimulating heated discussion — that’s his job. Before getting to the point, I think that his $250,000 guaranteed advance from SubStack has stimulated a lot of extremely intense envy (I know I envy him) which tends to add a bit of spice to his provocative posts one of which is
Tema Okun’s “White Supremacy Culture” work is bad a diatribe contra someone of whom I have never heard. I think the tone is harsher than it has to be (see provocative) but mostly like the essay very much. I will discuss it after the jump.
But before the jump I would really really like to note a certain cognitive dissonance in the essay. Here are a few block quotes of Yglesias:
The craziest thing about “The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture” is that it has literally nothing to do with race.
She doesn’t put forward any evidence or arguments in favor of her claims (and indeed, “objectivity” is seen as a manifestation of white supremacy culture),
In a recent post, libertarian political philosopher Jason Brennan argues that “we should ignore the welfare of people who choose not to vaccinate out of paranoia”. We owe them nothing. Brennan reaches this conclusion by analogizing vaccine hesitancy to a heckler’s veto (my bold):
The idea of heckler’s veto goes as follows: Take any action, P, which is permissible. Now imagine that a person makes a credible threat to do something wrongful or bad if you choose to do P. Do you thereby acquire a duty not to P? For instance, if the bully says that he’ll beat someone else unless you break up with your girlfriend, do you have a duty to break up? If the evil government official says that he will persecute other people unless you quit your religion and join his, do you have a duty to do so? If I credibly threaten to kill a kitten unless you stop playing guitar, do you have a duty to do so? If I threaten to kill a kitten if you watch the Bachelor tonight, do you have a duty to avoid watching it?
Here, most people conclude the answer is no. The heckler does not change the moral valence of your actions by making a credible threat. . . .
This is even more obvious when the heckler intends to harm himself. For instance, suppose I say, “Unless you, the reader, stop playing video games, I will cut my finger off.” This does not seem to impose upon you any obligation to stop playing. You can rightly tell me to go to hell.
Now apply this to adults who could safely take a good vaccine, who have access to good vaccines, but who choose not to become vaccinated out of paranoia or scientific illiteracy. Should we keep the economy or schools shut down to protect them? No. In effect, the voluntarily unvaccinated are saying to the voluntarily vaccinated, “You had better choose to keep yourselves miserable, hurt your own economic prospects, ruin your social life, have no vacations or shitty vacations, keep your kids away from schools, and so on, or we will voluntary expose ourselves to high health risks.” The proper moral reaction to such a threat involves words “fuck” and “off”. In this case, the adults in question voluntarily choose to incur these health risks. We do not impose it upon them by getting back to normal; they impose it upon themselves. After all, they could have chosen to become immune. Their reasons for choosing not to do so–scientific illiteracy, social benefits from propounding conspiracy theories, etc.–explain their behavior but do not excuse it, and do not give us reason to treat their implicit threat differently.
Clearly a great philosophical mind is at work. However, I suspect Brennan may be mistaken.