Lianeon Weekly Topics | J and J Vaccine “Pause”

Week of April 12th

The Essential Three

How to Stop the Minority-Rule Doom Loop

President joe biden came into office facing four “converging crises”: COVID-19, climate change, racial justice, and the economy. But after a few weeks of fast action on a pandemic relief plan, a fifth crisis will determine the fate of the rest of his administration, and perhaps that of American democracy itself: the minority-rule doom loop, by which predominantly white conservatives gain more and more power, even as they represent fewer Americans.

This is a very real challenge for American politics going forward. There are no easy solutions short of reforms on the state level, or a Constitutional amendment.

Biden to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11

Joe Biden will withdraw all the remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, a senior administration official has confirmed.

Biden pledged to continue the withdrawal from Afghanistan in his presidential campaign. Interviewed during the campaign on the CBS programme Face the Nation, Biden was asked if he would feel any responsibility if Afghan human rights, particularly of women, were harmed as a result of the withdrawal.

“Do I bear responsibility? Zero responsibility,” Biden replied. “The responsibility I have is to protect America’s national self-interests and not put our women and men in harm’s way to try to solve every single problem in the world by use of force.”

Remember that the withdrawal process began under Trump, there are not many troops remaining in Afghanistan to begin with.

Few Americans Who Identify As Independent Are Actually Independent. That’s Really Bad For Politics.

If you’ve ever been in a conversation about politics, you’ve probably heard someone say, “I don’t like either party” or “Politics is just so ugly these days.” That person also may have claimed not to identify as a Democrat or a Republican but as an independent instead.

Today, that person is pretty representative of how Americans identify politically. The share of Americans who say they’re independent has climbed considerably...

In fact, we’ve already seen some of the consequences of this, as elected officials from the two parties are increasingly far apart ideologically, both in Congress and at the state level. The abandonment of voters openly identifying with one of the two parties has led to less political engagement, which means Americans are exerting less influence on what the parties look and sound like. That’s a real problem since the parties are still the fundamental building blocks that organize our politics. But with party building left to more stringent partisans, the parties’ bases have largely cultivated candidates who tend to be more ideologically extreme than the voters they seek to represent.

Very interesting effect and worth a read. Seems that growing dissatisfaction in the middle (where most people reside ideologically) is driving the political parties to the extremes. I am not sure how we solve this.

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Healthcare/Society

FDA expects J&J vaccine pause to last "a matter of days"

The U.S. FDA on Tuesday recommended an immediate halt of the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine, citing cases of a rare blood clot disorder that six women developed within two weeks of receiving the shot.

The latest: Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock said at a briefing that she expects the pause to only last "a matter of days," as health officials investigate the data surrounding the "extremely rare" blood clots.

Many will take this as a reason to not get the vaccine. In some respect though, halting the vaccine with only a 1/1 Million chance of a blood clot shows you just how safe the vaccine is. Perhaps the J and J vaccine would not be used on younger females going forward, as this population dominates those who received blood clots.

No doubt, the anti-vax crowd will latch onto this as a “proof” of the dangers of vaccines, but remember this same crowd bemoaned a “fake” pandemic, and denounced the need to wear masks for a virus that killed 1/200, but now are running afraid from a vaccine that may have killed 1/7,000,000

An Early Look at the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Demographic Trends

March 11, 2021, marked the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. Schools closed, workplaces were shut down or turned remote, and physical distancing policies separated families and friends. CDC has released data showing that in 2020 COVID-19 was the third leading causing of death in the United States.

The pandemic's impacts are extensive, even disrupting the very makeup of our society. Key demographic trends in fertility, mortality, and migration, when taken in combination, are responsible for shifts in the overall structure of any population. For example, decreasing fertility rates paired with rising mortality rates that surpass migration rates contribute to an aging population. COVID-19 has affected each of these, with potentially important implications.

Education/Science/Technology

Is Rising Student Debt Harming the U.S. Economy?

Higher education provides students many socioeconomic benefits and increases the global competitiveness of the United States, but mounting student loan debt has sparked a debate over federal lending policies.

An article that fails to answer its own question, but a good background on the challenge.

Policy/Politics

Democrats Used To Run From Big Government Label; They're Now Embracing It

After years of avoiding words such as redistribution and labels such as socialist, the core of the Democratic Party is embracing big government.

The coronavirus pandemic, a changing party makeup and a softening approach to debt and deficit have combined to give Democrats the space to embrace expensive policies and federal government expansion that would have been unheard of a few years ago. President Biden is leading the charge, and many Democrats, not just progressives, are eagerly jumping on board.

No doubt, there is a shift underway in politics, this includes the GOP. It seems the “small” government era is over. Not that it ever really existed, but both parties seem to understand that government can be a source of good.

U.S. Treasury: Paul Manafort Associate Provided Russian Government with ‘Sensitive Information’ from Trump Campaign

The U.S. government for the first time confirmed that a Russian-Ukrainian political operative with close ties to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was a “known Russian agent” who provided “sensitive” information from the campaign to Vladimir Putin’s intelligence services as part of the plot to sow chaos in the 2016 presidential election.

The Department of Treasury on Thursday sanctioned 16 individuals, including Konstantin Kilimnik, in connection with the Russian plot to interfere in the 2020 presidential election with the SolarWinds hack and other forms of election interference.

And I am sure that no other data was handed over….certainly nothing nefarious going on here.

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