Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.26, Week of January 8 – 14, 2022 (Democracy Blocked)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, January 8 through Friday, January 14, 2022 [Vol.3 No.26]

Democracy Blocked

The Week’s Most Notable

Should people be shocked that Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin refuse to modify the Senate filibuster rules? Of course not. They’ve been saying this for months. Yes, most people probably reckoned they would come around and see the light. Just like the 50 Republican senators, who are the real cause of the blocked attempt to protect voting rights. Sen. Sinema provided a rationale based on bipartisanship: “I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.” She and Manchin continue to push the idea that only voting rights protections that the Republicans agree to will hold. Apparently, they don’t accept that the driving rationale behind Trump-GOP voting manipulation is that only elections won by Republicans are legitimate. They apparently believe that the party fully engaged with using the Big Lie will negotiate on voting rights in good faith. Since both of them have heard every possible counterargument over the years, and none of it stuck, it’s probable that their beliefs are ingrained, much as they are with Trump Republicans, or perhaps they have been effectively incentivized. Someday we may know the full story.

Meanwhile, the Democrats don’t like to talk about it, but the Biden agenda has been shredded. With the possible exception of the Build Back Better bill, every piece of legislation remaining – immigration, gun control, education, healthcare, whatever – depends on working around the filibuster. Apparently, not going to happen. Voting rights legislation, if any, will have to have Republican support. That will leave most of the state-based rigging of election rules and voting officials intact. Unfortunately, the mechanisms used to change the outcomes of elections are all but invisible to most people. The end result, one-party rule, usually comes about gradually and without fanfare. If the Republicans gain control of the House this fall, that will mark the first step.

Saturday, January 8

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 62,216,408; Deaths: 860,529

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol. 3 No. 25, Week of January 1 – 7, 2022 (January 6 Remembered)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, January 1 through Friday, January 7, 2022 [Vol.3 No.25]

January 6 Remembered

The Week’s Most Notable

Consider the Trump-Republican Party as a juggler with three balls in the air: Ball one – the election was stolen from Trump; Ball two – the event at the Capitol on January 6 was a peaceful expression of patriotism and beyond criticism; Ball three – the coronavirus, and all the fuss about it, such as vaccines and masks, is exaggerated and threatens our freedoms. This is not an easy set of balls to juggle, the principal problem being a persistent gravity known as truth. For example, the coronavirus pandemic has been around for more than two years, has killed nearly 900,000 Americans, and at this very moment is sickening up to a million people a day. It’s the rare person who doesn’t know somebody that has been infected or even died from COVID. As for mitigation – vaccines, masks, and such – more than 200 million Americans have been vaccinated but so far less than 10 deaths are directly attributable to a vaccine. Even if that number were 10,000, that would be five thousandths of a percent (0.005%). Of course, misinformation is rampant.

It’s becoming harder and harder to deny the reality of the coronavirus pandemic, something in the range of defending the flat Earth theory. Similarly, the assertion that Biden stole the election – a.k.a. the Big Lie – has been put through the ringer of the courts (60 losses), independent audits, state government reports, and Republican officials’ testimony. It always comes out the same: Biden won by a large popular vote majority, and won by electoral votes even in closely contested states. That makes the attack on the Capitol a set of violent illegal acts based on a flagrant lie. Those illegal acts are being exposed by the 750 arrests and subsequent convictions still in process, and what promises to be months of testimony and reports by the House Jan. 6 select committee that will play out in the media.

None of this will be accepted, or possibly even believed, by GOP politicians, most Republicans, and of course all the MAGA faithful. But it’s still a juggling act, if remarkably gravity defying. Gravity wins in the end; but the question here is whether it will win by November 8. It could be hoped that no matter where they turn, the precarious juggling act is questioned and subjected to fact. The non-right-wing media is finally catching on to the dogged principle of adherence to the facts. Maybe over the next months it can gradually bleed away the antigravity spin provided by Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media.

1,082,549 new U.S. coronavirus cases on Monday. Needless to say, a world record. Where were the headlines? Probably because the official media line is that Omicron is “milder” and that raw numbers of infections aren’t important any more, the number was quietly . . . diffused. Still, the U.S. numbers pushed toward half a million or more a day all week. Since many people now use at-home testing but don’t necessarily report positive results, the number is probably much higher. Many of them – millions of people – didn’t go to work or to school. The hit on the economy has already got economists wondering how big the negative impact will be in the first half of 2022. By the end of the week, reports of stressed hospitals and medical services appeared all over the country. What many fear is that although the magnitude of this wave may be handled, the weakening of the U.S. medical structure – doctors and nurses quitting for example – will have long-lasting repercussions.

Saturday, January 1

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 56,984,697; Deaths: 847,921

[Coronavirus] Coronavirus, Winter Storms Create Flight Schedule Chaos – In the best of times New Year’s Day is not a good day to fly; this year, with the onrush of Omicron cases and the series of winter storms, particularly in the East, airlines have found it challenging to keep crews and planes in the air. Over 4,000 flights were canceled on New Year’s Day, often stranding passengers.

[Nuclear Power] Germany Decommissions Three of Its Last Six Nuclear Power Plants – The German government committed to denuclearizing its energy system following the 2011 Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan. Its last three plants will be closed later this year. Germany, the fourth largest economy in the world, will rely on alternative energy sources and (Russian) natural gas.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal Vol.3 No.24, Week of December 5, 2021 – January 1, 2022 (New Year 2022)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, December 26 through Saturday, January 1, 2022 [Vol.3 No.24]

New Year 2022

The Week’s Most Notable

The U.S. finished the week with a single day record 446,567 new cases of coronavirus, and for the most part it didn’t even make the headlines. There have been various counts, some totaling over 500,000. This was predicted and will get worse. It was the Christmas bump; there will be another one following the New Year, with most experts predicting the peak to hit around mid-January. The numbers could be close to a million cases per day. Most of this will be Omicron-caused and fortunately, those who are vaccinated will perhaps be less afflicted. Still, this vast number of people – and the real number is probably greater – is already affecting hospitals, airlines, police forces, and public services of all sorts. Likewise, although the death rate has fallen from more than 3,000 to 1,500, that is still pushing the U.S. toward one million dead before the end of 2022. These are not happy numbers, but it’s important to be realistic about this pandemic. There are limits to what science and medicine can do, and some of those limits are set by the self-destructive behavior of people. Not being vaccinated, not wearing masks, not following distancing perpetuates the pandemic and leaves the door open for new mutations, such as Omicron.

Saturday, December 25

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 53,613,993; Deaths: 838,834

[Coronavirus] Airlines Cancel 2,500 Flights – Principal reason given: flight crews out sick with COVID. By the end of the week flight schedules worldwide were in chaos.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal Vol.3 No.23, Week of December 18 – 25, 2021 (Christmas 2021)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, December 18 through Saturday, December 25, 2021 [Vol.3 No.23]

Christmas 2021

The Week’s Most Notable

The rocket carrying the James Webb Space Telescope rose skyward Saturday morning, a successful launch, freighting humanity’s desire for a glimpse at the origin of the universe and at some of the mysteries en route – hopefully on the way to a signature achievement of American science. At the opposite end of scientific achievement, more than 15 million Americans are still unvaccinated against COVID-19, and especially the Omicron variant, which they continue to believe is less dangerous than the vaccine. A natural reticence about vaccines, coupled with over two years of anti-science propaganda, has pushed anti-VAX sentiment until it is hardened to a lump of rock for millions of Americans. Republican politicians are using such rocks as ammunition to turn medicine into a political barrage. The result, thousands of unnecessary deaths, a further disrupted economy, and a penchant for political divisiveness on subjects that should be a matter of national unity.

Saturday, December 18

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 51,309,980; Deaths: 826,353

[Coronavirus] Netherlands Turns to Christmas Lockdown – In a country that has already seen anti-lockdown riots, the move to close schools and nonessential businesses until January 14 is likely to be unpopular. Nevertheless, the figures coming in from Omicron stricken regions of the country have forced the government’s hand. This will be a familiar story in many countries.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.22. Week of December 11 – 17, 2021 (800,000 Dead – Omicron Ahead)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, December 11 through Friday, December 17, 2021 [Vol.3 No.22]

800,000 Dead – Omicron Ahead

The Week’s Most Notable

In a week where officially more than 800,000 have died from COVID in the U.S., there’s word of a possible million new Omicron cases a day. That’s a number bruited-about by some epidemiologists. Preposterous, yes? No. We are already averaging almost 200,000 new cases a day. Omicron is truly different, not based on the Delta variant, but an evolution from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is incredibly infectious. In Norway a Christmas party of 111 produced 80 Omicron infections. It is already spreading rapidly in the U.S., e.g., New York City and San Diego – coast-to-coast. Here are some of the salient points (so far):

  • Omicron may be somewhat less virulent than the Delta variant, but that remains unproven in data where most of the infected have not been vaccinated.
  • Omicron does appear to have more vaccine escape (breakthrough cases) than Delta, but they may be milder.
  • Whether less virulent or not, Omicron will produce so many cases so quickly that it can overwhelm medical services. It could also make so many people sick that it will affect the functioning of the economy.
  • Full vaccination with a booster shot does not guarantee immunity from Omicron, but it does dramatically decrease the chances of hospitalization and death.
  • Many of the usual tools for fighting COVID – vaccines, masks, separation, isolation, antiviral treatment – still apply, but in the U.S. politicization of medical issues makes systematic mitigation all but impossible.
  • Thanks to unfettered travel spreading viruses during the holidays, Omicron will probably peak sometime in mid-to-late January.
  • It’s hoped that if the Omicron variant is indeed milder, it may more readily produce herd immunity. This is currently speculation. It is also not known how much Omicron will increase the number of long-Covid cases.

A big week for the House January 6 investigation: Revelations coming from materials and a book provided by former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows clarified the pre-event timeline and helped draw serious implications of Trump’s involvement, along with that of several Republican members of Congress. It provided the opportunity for committee cochair, Liz Cheney (R-WY), to grab control of the national narrative – something sorely missing from most of the Democratic efforts. The kicker for the week was the revelation of a 38-page PowerPoint document, in the possession of Mark Meadows, calling for Trump to declare a national emergency, seize all paper ballots, and declare all electronic voting invalid.

Saturday, December 11

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 50,841,579; Deaths: 818,905

[California Gun Control Plan] California Plans to Adapt Texas Abortion Law to Gun Control – Gov. Newsom proposed a law allowing private citizens to sue assault weapons manufacturers, distributors, and sellers. Assault weapons are currently illegal in California. The point being made is that the Texas vigilante abortion law is open for use and abuse; this particular gun control application is not likely to happen.

[Ukraine] G7 Warns Russia about Ukraine Invasion – This is known as the “diplomatic megaphone game” with the sides making dramatic public announcements to signal their willingness for engagement. The point is to make Russia believe the G7, NATO, the EU, and the U.S. are serious about retaliating for any incursion into the Ukraine. Further signals, such as troop movements on either side, are likely to follow.

[Trump – Israel] Trump Trashes Netanyahu, Praises Obama – In a series of rally statements and interview quotes, Trump, among other things, called Obama “smart and sharp” while taking a highly derogatory position against former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for congratulating Biden on his victory. “F… him,” Trump said of Netanyahu. Not the usual trolling, though not necessarily of ultimate significance.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.21, Week of December 4 – 10, 2021 (Inflation and Omicron)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, December 4 through Friday, December 10, 2021 [Vol.3 No.21]

Inflation and Omicron

The Week’s Most Notable

Omicron is ascending in Europe and spreading in the U.S. European epidemiologists expect Omicron to be the dominant virus before the New Year. The potentially good news is that it appears to be less dangerous than the Delta variant. Preliminary data seem to show that people who have had complete vaccinations are likely to suffer relatively mild symptoms, and Omicron is unlikely to send them to the hospital or the morgue. It is still highly contagious and perhaps can evade some vaccine immunity, which probably means that a lot more people are going to get sick. Vaccines do not and were not designed to completely prevent contracting a disease. At the moment, there is reason for optimism; but plenty of unanswered questions remain, including the relationship between Omicron and long COVID.

You cannot tell people that the cost of living isn’t going up, that inflation is not rampant. For one thing, costs are going up. In the latest report, they went up 6.8%, the quickest rise in several decades. Yet most reputable economists keep saying that the inflation is temporary, caused by problems created from COVID, and that while a certain amount of increase in the cost of living is likely, relative to higher wages, it’s mostly a gain for most people. Yeah, but it doesn’t feel like it, and the Republicans are better at telling the public how they feel than the Democrats are at telling them how they should feel. Since there’s very little that either the president or the Congress can do to rapidly change the rate of inflation, the Democrats better hope gas prices come down by next summer.

Saturday, December 4

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 50,003,174; Deaths: 809,667

[Mass Shooting] Parents of Michigan School Shooter Arrested – In a somewhat unusual move, the Oakland County, Michigan prosecutor filed charges against the parents for purchasing the killer’s gun and not monitoring its use. Bond was set at $500,000 each for James and Jennifer Crumbley. Their son Ethan Crumbley killed four and wounded seven.

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Case Numbers Worsen – As of this week, the daily average of new cases is over 100,000 and the average of deaths is 1,600 per day. In general, epidemiologists see the rise as due to increased travel and interpersonal contact during the Thanksgiving holiday season. With the coming Christmas/New Year season, potentially combined with the explosive contagiousness of the Omicron variant, it is likely  that record numbers will be produced by mid-January.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal Vol.3 No.20, Week of November 27 – December 3, 2021 (Omicron – Working on It)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, November 27 through Friday, December 3, 2021 [Vol.3 No.20]

Omicron – Working on It

The Week’s Most Notable

It was a week where the uncertain scope of the Omicron variant threat loomed over the world, and four Republican states offered unemployment pay for not taking a COVID vaccine. At last count 28 countries have Omicron cases. Labs around the world are attacking the problems presented by the unusual number of significant mutations in this variant. On the other hand, some Republican pundits have already called Omicron a hoax. Marcus Lamb, Phil Valentine, Dick Farrel, Marc Brenier, are all right-wing media COVID vaccine flamers that have died from COVID. If it were possible, now would be a good time to focus on those whose worldview is determined by planet Right Wing News – a mental place where political power and group identity are more important than life.

It won’t happen until early summer, but is anyone surprised that the Supreme Court conservatives will do what they were appointed to do – dismantle if not eradicate abortion rights? Oral arguments this week left little doubt about attitudes among the six court conservatives; in fact, their positions appeared more radical than expected. They won’t be saying, “Roe v. Wade is overruled.” What they probably will be saying is, “It’s up to the states.” That means that soon after the decision, around 23 states will enact antiabortion legislation much stricter than currently in force. Much of that will be challenged in court, but the restrictions will likely stay in place pending court action. Roughly half the states will still have some form of legal abortion, which will be under challenge both legally and legislatively. Abortion will become much more patchwork, chaotic, and divisive. Midterm elections will have abortion as a key issue.

Saturday, November 27

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 49,194,104; Deaths: 800,898

[Coronavirus] Swiss Referendum Upholds COVID Restrictions – The current Swiss law requires a vaccination certificate or a negative test for entry into most public spaces. A referendum could have ended that restriction; but it didn’t. Swiss voters upheld the law by more than 60% of the vote.

[Coronavirus Israel] Omicron Mitigation: Israel Closes Its Borders and Re-Institutes Phone Tracking – Israel becomes the first country to close borders against the Omicron variant. The plan is to prevent new cases from arriving and to institute intensive track and trace for cases that arise inside Israel. There are no plans for business or school lockdowns.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal Vol.3 No.19, Week of November 20 – 26, 2021 (Omicron – Thanksgiving Day)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, November 20 through Friday, November 26, 2021 [Vol.3 No.19]

Omicron – Thanksgiving Day

The Week’s Most Notable

Outside of Thanksgiving, it was a normal ugly week, or, it was the beginning days of something very bad – the Omicron variant will be the difference. Omicron exists. That is now the official name of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus. It has already spread from its probable origins in the southern part of Africa to a dozen countries. The timing of this new variant is particularly bad as it comes with the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere (where most of the world’s population lives) and at a time of seasonal holidays, gatherings, and travel. Omicron is significantly more infectious than the Delta variant, which was already far more infectious than the original virus. As of Friday, that’s about all we know of Omicron except for a crucial configuration: it has 32 mutations on the “spike” (the rod with a funky looking ball on one end), the Delta variant has only eight. It also has 10 mutations in the receptor site, Delta only 2. Together these mutations form the novel configuration that may be undetectable by the current vaccinations or the body’s own immune system. That’s the part we don’t know yet; the scary part, because if Omicron is more infectious and becomes the dominant virus of the pandemic, it’s crucial to have vaccines and treatments that can counteract it, at least partially. If not, it’s not only likely to spread very rapidly, but it could also be more lethal. With that unknown, but very possible potential, governments around the world have reacted with uncharacteristic speed. That alone indicates they are being advised by people who think this variant truly is very dangerous. Travel bans are beginning, other mitigations are soon to follow. Given the amount of resistance – people the world over are tired of the pandemic and suspicious of efforts to contain it – a new threat like this, if it turns out to be significant, could be a bigger test for humanity than anything we have seen so far.

Remember proven health mitigation measures, like getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, maintaining good hand hygiene, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and improving ventilation of indoor spaces.                                                                          .

Saturday, November 20

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 48,619,516; Deaths: 794,290

[Coronavirus] Anti-COVID Mitigation Mobs in Europe – The biggest demonstrations were in the Netherlands, where 51 people were arrested and three shot by police. Another massive protest occurred in Austria, where some 40,000 people demonstrated against a new lockdown. The majority of demonstrations reveal a distrust of government along with a strong conspiratorial component, usually composed of misrepresentations and falsehoods mixed with some facts and validated concerns.  And this was before the Omicron variant appeared.

[Coronavirus] U.S. COVID 2021 Toll Greater Than 2020’s – Deaths reported in 2020: 385,343; deaths reported (so far) in 2021: 411,571. The U.S. will exceed 800,000 dead from COVID-19 before the end of the year.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.18, Week of November 13 – 19, 2021 (Rittenhouse Acquittal)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, November 13 through Friday, November 19, 2021 [Vol.3 No.18]

Rittenhouse Acquittal

The Week’s Most Notable

The week ended with an historical bang: On Friday mostly Democrats in the House passed a monumental social infrastructure bill of around $2 trillion (and sent it to its fate in the Senate), and Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges for shooting and killing two protesters and injuring another. Both of these had immediate impact, but the more profound impact – if any – will come later. The infrastructure bill, more or less officially called the Build Back Better Bill, is nothing until the Senate approves it, which in the cold terms of reality means Manchin and Sinema approve it. If they do, it won’t be the same as the House bill, and will need to be put through a Senate-House conference and then re-voted. By mid-December, if it makes it all the way to Biden’s desk, it will be an astonishing piece of legislation that will affect the lives of many, many people. It might even play a role in the midterms.

The Rittenhouse decision, depending on perspective, let a killer go Scott-free, or upheld the laws of Wisconsin and protected the rights of gun owners to self-defense. The jury’s verdict deeply shocked some people and emboldened others. In general, it reopened the bitter national discussion about gun-owners’ rights and the so-called “stand your ground” laws that exist in many states. The verdict should have been expected: Wisconsin law is fairly clear, Rittenhouse did not need to prove that he acted in self-defense, rather the prosecution had to prove that he did not. In fact, under some circumstances, Wisconsin law allows an individual to provoke an attack and still claim self-defense. In this case, the prosecution needed to show that Rittenhouse consistently intended to shoot somebody. Since they weren’t allowed to make a case of premeditation (that he brought an illegal firearm to Wisconsin from Illinois) and Rittenhouse could speak to his own lack of premeditation (his lachrymose testimony), it was all but impossible to make a strong case against him. It didn’t help that the presiding judge used the drama of the case to make his own points; but in the end, although the jury found the case extremely troubling, the law was fairly clear. Similar to the Trayvon Martin – Zimmerman case in Florida, it’s the accumulation of pro-gun, pro-defendant laws that make it very difficult to convict defendants who claim self-defense. Sooner rather than later this will happen again, and again, until we either change the laws, or settle into the reality of vigilantism (probably in something other than the democracy we have now).

Saturday, November 13

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 47,956,814; Deaths: 786,522

[COP26] COP26 Negotiations Toughen Emission Targets, Fall Short on Commitment – More than 200 nations agreed to a deal for reducing carbon emissions and phasing out fossil fuels. However, bowing to pressure from India (China too, but China didn’t officially attend) the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow were unable to set a foundation for achieving a 1.5°C for global temperature rise. The summit results are not a case of glass half-full/half-empty, more like a few drops at the bottom of the glass to brag about, while everybody knows that under the circumstances it is woefully insufficient. As we’re learning with the coronavirus pandemic, it isn’t even enough that people to see the deadly effects of climate change. Most countries appear willing to sacrifice thousands of lives (if not millions) to maintain the appearance of beneficial growth and the road to prosperity.

[Health Care] Kaiser Permanente and Unions Avert West Coast Hospital Strike – The threatened strike, which would have involved as many as 100,000 healthcare workers, was called off when union leaders signed off on the package of increased staffing and improvements in working conditions (note, wages were not the top priority). It’s a sign of the times that the intense pressure of the coronavirus pandemic, the mass defection from the ranks of healthcare workers, and the general upward trend in favor of labor has produced this kind of settlement. Expect to see similar agreements to be struck by other healthcare operators across the country.

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Indivisible Upper Yellowstone: Weekly Journal, Vol.3 No.17, Week of November 6 – 12, 2021 (Inflation Fears)

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone – Weekly Journal

The Week of Saturday, November 6 through Friday, November 12, 2021 [Vol.3 No.17]

Inflation Fears

The Week’s Most Notable

Infrastructure week was replaced by inflation week. The numbers don’t lie, although they may exaggerate. Officially, the inflation rate grew by 6.2% last month, the biggest rise in decades. Unofficially, literally everybody can see with their own eyes that food prices are going up, as is gasoline. These are the big ones for the consumers, highly visible, unavoidable, often painful. Inflation like this is political dynamite, and don’t the Republicans know it, with their proclivity for weaponizing everything. Right-wing media got into its inflation attack mode early and hard, enough so that the spin almost universally runs in the direction of blaming Biden and the Democrats.

With or without the prodding by right-wing propaganda, the economy has become the primary issue for Americans and the principal source of disapproval for Biden. For Republicans, besides hitting Biden and “rampant socialism,” the target has now become the second infrastructure bill, which they claim is going to add to the permanent debt and raise inflation. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Sen. Manchin has latched onto the same themes. Even more unfortunately for the Democrats, the charges about debt and inflation are much easier to claim than they are to refute. The majority of economists, including the Fed, are saying that prices – gas prices in particular – will go down, probably by spring. Other elements of inflation include consumer purchasing unleashed by the relaxation of COVID restrictions and supply chain–distribution difficulties. These causes of inflation may be temporary; however, some prices – notably food – are considered “sticky”; once they go up, they don’t tend to come down. As ever with the economy, the tenuous political balance between the rise in prices, increased wages, and public perception will very much be in play for the 2022 midterms.

Saturday, November 6

[Coronavirus] U.S. Coronavirus Totals: Cases: 47,377,486; Deaths: 776,618

[COP26] More Than 100,000 Protesters in Glasgow Demand Concrete Climate Action – Mostly empty words proliferate in conferences and summits like COP26. Behind that is the age-old political two-step: Say you are going to do something and make a lot of noise, then not do it. That’s what this protest was about; led by young people who know that the lack of action may doom their future.

[Coronavirus] Conservative Appeals Court Grants Stay of Biden Mandatory Vaccination Program – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the most conservative court in the country, proclaimed that the administration’s mandatory vaccines for businesses with over 100 employees raises “grave statutory and constitutional issues” and therefore should be delayed while the court deliberated. [Update: The appeals court followed up with an opinion halting the program and ruling that the Labor Department “grossly exceed[ed] OSHA’s statutory authority.” The issue will now go to the Supreme Court.]

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