Myth of the U.S. “Blockade” of Communist Cuban Dictatorship

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Writes Andres Oppenheimer in the Miami Herald on “When it comes to Cuba, there’s a lot of hypocrisy from the right and from the left” (2021.07.17):

[I]nstead of defending the Cuban people’s right to express themselves peacefully, these and other members of the region’s Jurassic left joined the dictators of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in blaming the U.S. “blockade” for the protests in Cuba.

In fact, there is no “blockade.” According to Cuba’s own official figures, the island conducts trade with 70 countries around the world, including the United States. There is an embargo on U.S. trade with Cuba, which Washington imposed in 1962 after the island’s regime expropriated U.S. companies there.

And the U.S. embargo has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese. The United States is one of Cuba’ s 15 largest trading partners and the biggest exporter of food and agricultural goods to Cuba, according to U.S. government figures.

The United States ships about $276 million a year in food and medicines to Cuba. In addition, U.S. residents send $3.5 billion a year in family remittances to the island, and more than 500,000 U.S. tourists visited Cuba in 2019, at the height of Trump’s sanctions. In other words, the United States is one of Cuba’s main sources of income.

According to Reuters it was the Cuban government that blocked the import of food and medicine into Cuba:

“Cuba announced on Wednesday it was temporarily lifting restrictions on the amount of food and medicine travelers could bring into the country in an apparent small concession to demands by protesters who took to the street last weekend.”

[…]

“Still, one of the campaign’s demands was for the government to lift customs restrictions on food, medicine and hygiene products that are lacking in the country amid its worst economic crisis since the fall of former ally the Soviet Union.”

For further reading:

 

Is Michael Jordan The G.O.A.T.?

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” —Michael Jordan

Hero worshippers Andrew Bernstein and John Hersey are at it again. This time the target of their admiration is none other than the great basketball player, Michael Jordan. Is Michael Jordan the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time)?

 

Yaron Brook on The Destruction of Freedom in Hong Kong

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Related:

  • Appeasing Dictatorship: From Munich to Hong Kong
    With little regard for this recent history, Britain is appeasing dictatorship once again. On July 1, 1997, Britain will officially give back political authority over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China.
  • The Big Aristotle Educates King LeBron on Freedom for Hong Kong
    With his historic statement against Communist China for the ideal of free speech and the United States of America, Shaq showed a prime example of the highest moral action. Leonard Peikoff once said that to save the world is the simplest thing — all one has to do is think. Shaquille O’Neal did exactly that.
  • Jimmy Lai and the Fight for Freedom in Hong Kong
    Jimmy Lai, the entrepreneur and leader in the fight to preserve freedom in Hong Kong, describes the struggles he has endured including having his home fire-bombed, his family harassed, and his business threatened by the Chinese Communist Party.
  • Support Joshua Wong and The Hong Kong Freedom Protests
    Hong Kong’s protest leader Joshua Wong recently Tweeted this image [by @harcourtromanticist] of a painting, which imitates Liberty Leading the People (1830) by French romanticist painter Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863), whose painting is at the Louvre in Paris.

June 2021 Book Recommendations by Ed Locke

God Versus Nature: The Conflict Between Religion and Science in History by Frederick Seiler
This brilliant book explores, in essentialized form, the conflict between science and religion. The conflict is based on the primacy of consciousness and mysticism vs the primacy of reason and reality. He traces this issue from the ancient world through the present.

Effective Discipline: The Montessori Way by Charlotte Cushman
This terrific book refutes the touchy-feely (subjectivist, emotionalist) approach to discipline often used today in Montessori Schools based on John Dewey and false views of self-esteem. Cushman defends Maria Montessori’s view which argues that bad behavior requires consequences. In the Montessori system, this requires, for example, “time-outs” (children made to sit, for a time, in the corner). The book is full of great advice to parents about rational methods of discipline.

Unsettled by Steven Koonin
I have read many books on climate. This book stands out in one important respect: the author’s only agenda seems to be respected for the truth which means for what we actually know. vs. what we don’t. Koonin is a genuine expert in science. (He does not get into philosophical issues).

Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom by Patrick Moore
His book has the same theme as Koonin’s. He gives many examples of fears which are not based on facts.

James Grant on How Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism” Completely Misses The Point

The eloquent James Grant, the author of “Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian,” and editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, has penned a review of Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism” in the WSJ.

Some highlights:

In Mr. Levy’s vast mural of a book, which he ambitiously subtitles “A History of the United States,” John Maynard Keynes cuts the commanding figure. A few lines from Keynes’s “General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money” (1936), in fact, anticipate Mr. Levy’s central thesis. They read: “A somewhat comprehensive socialization of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation of full employment.”

[…]

Mr. Levy writes to advance the proposition that American capitalism is turning from investment and production to speculation and chaos.

[…]

Mr. Levy is less successful at developing his thesis than he is at announcing it. His haziness on the nomenclature and history of finance is one problem, his want of authorial craft is another.

[…]

Mr. Levy doesn’t explicitly oppose the enterprise system — he acknowledges that it lifted the world from poverty — but he’s more inclined to disparage than admire the self-organizing dynamics of market-determined prices.

[…]

The conclusion to which Mr. Levy’s too numerous pages lead is that government is the indispensable cog in the American economy. It was World War II, a government enterprise if ever there was one, that ended the Great Depression, he contends, and it was the Federal Reserve that led us out of the Great Recession.

Conventionally, the author rushes past the depression of 1920-21, a bear of a downturn that was over and done with in 18 months despite punishingly high interest rates and balanced federal budgets. Why the slump ever ended should be a matter of intense curiosity for anyone who, like Mr. Levy, puts his stock in the Keynesian nostrums of big spending and concessionary borrowing costs. “Capitalism was not going to lift itself out of the slump,” the author writes of the Great Depression, yet our unstimulated capitalist forebears in 1921 somehow decided that prices and wages had fallen low enough to warrant new commitments of hope and capital. The 1920s subsequently roared.

For details on the depression of 1920-21, see Grant’s book The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself.

Contrary to Levy’s thesis, it’s actually government intervention in the market that makes depressions “great” and creates the economic chaos that Levy falsely blames on the marketplace. Levy’s call for the government to further take over the economy will only make things worse.

If you want insight into the history of American capitalism and economics you will have to turn elsewhere, as you won’t find it in Jonathan Levy’s “Ages of American Capitalism.”

Andrew Carnegie: Titan of Steel

The Hero Show recently celebrated the Titan of Steel, Andrew Carnegie, one of the greatest industrialists of history.

Issues covered include “Carnegie’s early years in Scotland,  Carnegie’s arrival in America and his childhood jobs, Carnegie’s productivity and great moral character, How Carnegie took advantage of opportunities in oil production and the railway industry, and How Carnegie dominated the steel industry.”

Must watch!

A Lesson for Biden From Germany on IP

“The German government stood behind the goal of a worldwide supply of COVID-19 vaccines, a government spokeswoman said, adding however that the main factors in vaccine production are capacity and quality standards, and not patents.

” ‘The protection of intellectual property is a source of innovation and must remain so in the future,’ the spokeswoman said in a statement.”

It seems the German government understands Americanism more than the present “leadership” in America does.

Video: Elan Journo on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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What is at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? What does justice demand of us in this conflict?

Middle East expert Elan Journo clarifies an intimidatingly complex issue—and upends conventional views about America’s stake in it.

Elan Journo explains the essential nature of the conflict, and what has fueled it for so long. What justice demands, he shows, is that we evaluate both adversaries—and America’s approach to the conflict—according to a universal moral ideal: individual liberty. From that secular moral framework, Journo analyzes the conflict, examines major Palestinian grievances and Israel’s character as a nation, and explains what’s at stake for everyone who values human life, freedom, and progress. Journo shows us why America should be strongly supportive of freedom and freedom-seekers—but, in this conflict and across the Middle East, it hasn’t been, much to our detriment.

Elan Journo is an author & speaker analyzing culture, politics, and foreign policy from an Objectivist perspective. Read an excerpt from Journo’s book WHAT JUSTICE DEMANDS.

Adam Mossoff: Biden’s Vaccine Patent Waiver and Intellectual Property

An excellent discussion on YBS with IP expert Adam Mossoff. You can visit Professor Mossoff’s website at adammossoff.com

***

From the WSJ:

We’ve already criticized President Biden’s bewildering decision Wednesday to endorse a patent waiver for Covid vaccines and therapies. But upon more reflection this may be the single worst presidential economic decision since Nixon’s wage-and-price controls.

In one fell swoop he has destroyed tens of billions of dollars in U.S. intellectual property, set a destructive precedent that will reduce pharmaceutical investment, and surrendered America’s advantage in biotech, a key growth industry of the future.

[…]

India and South Africa have been pushing to suspend patents at the World Trade Organization for months….their motivation is patently self-interested. Both are large producers of generic drugs, though they have less expertise and capacity to make complex biologics like mRNA vaccines. They want to force Western pharmaceutical companies to hand over IP free of charge so they can produce and export vaccines and therapies for profit.

[…]

AstraZeneca and Novavax have leaned heavily on manufacturers in India to produce billions of doses reserved for lower-income countries. But India has restricted vaccine exports to supply its own population. IP simply isn’t restraining vaccine production.

Busting patents also won’t speed up production, since it would take months for these countries to set up new facilities. Competition will increase for scarce ingredients, and less efficient manufacturers with little expertise would make it harder for licensed partners to produce vaccines.

[…]

Moderna has been working on mRNA vaccines for a decade. Covid represents its first success. Ditto for Novavax, which has been at it for three decades. Small biotech companies in the U.S. have been studying how to create vaccines using nasal sprays, pills and patches.

Thanks to Mr. Biden, all this could become the property of foreign governments.

 

Real State of Climate Livability — Alex Epstein and Patrick Moore

On Earth Day 2021 Alex Epstein (philosopher and energy expert) and Patrick Moore (ecologist and Greenpeace cofounder) discuss the real state of climate livability. Epstein begins by giving three principles for thinking about climate issues, then interviews Patrick Moore on the actual science of rising CO2 levels and what impacts we can expect.