Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| October 21, 2022 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.

A recent sampling:

Credit Suisse research says the Inflation Reduction Act will shape the direction of the American economy, and beyond, and will leave the U.S. poised to “become the world’s leading energy provider.”

An analysis in The Atlantic foresees a massive explosion of beneficial economic activity due to the IRA.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s report on September’s jobs and wages showed 263,000 more jobs and a fall in unemployment.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said most media praised the figures, but he’s concerned because hourly earnings in the last year rose 5%, but prices rose 6.3%, casting doubt on the theory that rising wages are entirely at fault for inflation.

Reich says Fed officials are fixated on what they regard as wage growth being a hindrance, rather than other forces pushing up prices, like corporate profits (CEO pay is now 399 times that of the average worker: the Economic Policy Institute).

Big corporations are using inflation as “cover” for raising prices and increasing profits, Reich states.

Political commentator Zach Silk, weighing in on the Fed raising interest rates: The Fed says to fix inflation millions of Americans need to lose their jobs and accept lower paychecks.

“But not once has the Fed suggested…that increased corporate executive compensation is driving inflation.”

Biden’s economic approach has been to activate a “demand side” rather than “supply side” approach.

Historian Heather Cox Richardson points out that instead of moving money to the wealthy, demand-side historically (1933-1981) shrank the wealth gap.

And the supply-side theory (trickle down), activated after 1981, diverted more funds to wealthier people. So far, Richardson says “no other president in our history has seen this level of job growth in his first two years in office.”

The New York Times says the job market is cooling, but is still strong and there’s little sign of a recession in the data.

OPEC Plus plans to raise oil prices by cutting supplies. Top leaders of OPEC Plus, Russia and Saudi Arabia, have a “visceral hatred of both President Biden and democracy itself,” historian Thom Hartmann noted.

Higher oil prices will fuel inflation, and likely be used to discredit democracy. Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the action was taken because of signs of a downturn in the world economy which could lead to a fall in oil prices.

But the AP reported that the move will allow Russia to keep paying for their invasion of Ukraine. In response to Saudi Arabia’s OPEC role, the U.S. Senate chair of Foreign Relations wants to freeze cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including arms sales.

Denmark is the first U.N. member to recently pledge $12.9 million to developing nations suffering climate damages, Optimist Daily reported. The U.N.’s Secretary-General has urged members to tax fossil fuel companies’ windfall earnings for diversion to nation’s experiencing climate damages.

Two physicians writing in TIME magazine say the CDC’s interval advisory for when to get Covid shots “is not optimal” for “robust fall- and winter-long protection.” Based on studies, they advise a six-month lag for healthy

adults, between either a previous booster or infection and the new updated vaccine that targets Omicron BA.4/BA.5 COVID strains.

The lag time leads to a higher antibody response. Studies show a booster provides antibody protection for at least six months, and possibly nine months.

The Jan. 6 House Committee announced a (possible) final hearing on Oct. 13. The previous date was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian. The committee said there will be “significant” new information, including from film footage that the FBI was denied.

In the seditious conspiracy trial of Oath Keeper Elmer Stewart Rhodes regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a

former Oath Keeper stated that Rhodes claimed he was in contact with a Secret Service agent in the months leading up to the D.C. mayhem.

The witness explained that the Oath Keepers amassed weapons for the event, Business Insider said, thinking that former president Donald Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act, and therefore the weapons-ready organization would be able to step in and prevent the peaceful transfer of power to then President-elect Joe Biden.

While many voted against the Dems Infrastructure plan, calling it “socialist,” now a number of those Republicans are requesting grants to fund projects in their states. Biden commented, “I was surprised to see so many socialists in the Republican caucus.”

Ukraine-Russian headlines: Explosion damages bridge to Crimea, hurts Russian supply line; Russia losing more [Ukraine] territory; Ukrainian children forcibly transferred and subjected to illegal adoptions; Biden calls the ‘prospect of Armageddon’ the highest since the Cuban missile crisis.

Blast from the past: Sixty years ago this month the U.S. was wrestling with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the planet’s closest call with a nuclear exchange. It could have killed tens of millions of Americans, as well as Russians.

Mayhem was averted when President John F. Kennedy came up with a secret deal with Russia’s president, wherein Kennedy offered face-saving for Russia via the removal of American missiles from Turkey.

Now Biden has referred to the Cuban crisis and says he wants to help Russian President Vladimir Putin find an “off-ramp” that dodges nuclear devastation Putin has hinted at.