Inflation and Putin’s War on Ukraine

Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank President, said she plans on raising interest rates only gradually, while acknowledging that the EU’s inflation problem was steadily getting worse.

Speaking at the ECB’s annual economic policy conference in Portugal on Tuesday, Ms Lagarde said Europe’s inflation problem was deepening, but warned that the region also faced weaker growth prospects related to the war in Ukraine.

And

The ECB’s gradualism, as Ms Lagarde described its approach, reflects the larger economic blow that the war in Ukraine has dealt to Europe….

President Joe Biden (D) also (in)famously blames Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the high inflation in the US.

Federal Abortion Clinics

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY) has is pushing an idea from the Progressive-Democratic Party center:

We have some ideas coming from Senator Warren’s signed letter along with 25 other Democratic senators asking President Biden to explore opening health care clinics on federal lands in red states in order to help people access the health care and abortion. Services that they need.

…explore just how much we can start using federal lands as a way to protect people who need access to abortions in all the states that either have banned abortions or are clearly on the threshold of doing so.

Wuhan Virus Lethality in Children

A thought on this. Using data from the CDC, Fox News points out that children

aged 0-17 make up about 22.3% of the US population but have accounted for about 0.1% of all Wuhan Virus [my term] deaths.

According to the CIA’s World Factbook, the US population is 337.3 million; those 22.3%, then, amount to 75.2 million children. According to worldometer, there have been (as of 25 Jun 22) a skosh over 1 million total deaths in the US from or related to the virus.

Oil Price Caps

The G-7 is floating a new sanction against Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That sanction centers on capping the price nations would pay for Russian oil.

The Group of Seven leaders are expected to agree to start work on a mechanism to cap the purchase price of Russian oil….
Leaders will direct relevant ministers in their countries to work on the details of Russian oil caps, which would create a buyers’ cartel of Western nations and their allies, the official said.

Vaccine Efficacy

An Imperial College of London study of the efficacy of the various Wuhan Virus vaccines, led by Oliver Watson, indicates that around the world, 20 million lives were saved in the first year of the vaccines’ availability. In the US, according to the study, some 1.9 million lives were saved by the vaccines.

Using data from worldometer‘s Coronavirus Web site, that works out to a bit over 2% additional lives saved given a case (not given an actual infection) in the US, which is a good improvement, especially for those 2%. But it’s also only a 2% improvement, and it comes against an already low mortality rate for the virus, other than for those with serious comorbidities and/or who are older than 85-ish.

“Rights” and Precedent

There is considerable discussion concerning whether a constitutional right to an abortion existed and was taken away by the Supreme Court’s just released ruling on Dobbs or whether, as Justice Alito emphasized in his Dobbs opinion for the Court that such a right never existed, it was merely the creation of Roe and then claimed again in Casey.

And therein lies the point of this post.

There is no right to an abortion contained in our Constitution, whether couched in the 14th Amendment or in any other part of the document—not literally, not figuratively, not encompassed in any penumbra.

Voice Mimicry

Amazon is bragging about a new capability it’s developed for its Alexa service. It’s bad enough that Amazon can eavesdrop on private, often highly personal, conversations through its Alexa device.

Now the device can mimic voices—including those of deceased persons—and Amazon says, with a straight face, that this is so cool.

On the other hand, so much for voice recognition as part of a two- (or more) factor authentication regime.

And, here’s another forger’s tool brought to market.

I suppose this might be an improvement in certain circles….

A Grievous Error

The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board had one in its piece last Wednesday. In that opinion, the Editors touted the gun control “compromise” then-soon to be passed by the Senate (and actually passed the next evening). One of the things of which the Board is so enamored is this mandate:

The state laws must contain due-process protections—including the right to an in-person hearing, to know the evidence used to justify a red-flag order, and to have counsel present.

Noting Orwellian here.

No, He’s Not

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm—who thinks it’s laugh out loud hilarious that the Biden administration could impact the cost of energy to us Americans—made the patently erroneous claim that President Joe Biden (D) is doing everything he can to reduce [gasoline] prices for American families.

Oil is a global market, and so Biden is helpless alone?

High school economics: increase the supply of something relative to demand for it, and prices for that something come down. Conversely, reducing supply relative to demand drives up the price.

Germany’s Energy “Crisis”

The Russian “slowdown” of natural gas deliveries to Germany is beginning to convince the German government that they’re overly dependent on Putin’s whims for the nation’s energy.

Minister of the Economy Robert Habeck:

The reduction in gas supplies is an economic attack on us by [Russian President Vladimir Putin]. We will defend ourselves against this. But our country is going to have to go down a stony path now.

That stony path includes what, exactly? Habeck again:

The prices are already high, and we need to be prepared for further increases. This will affect industrial production and become a big burden for many producers.