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What Does Vaccination Have To Do with Freedom?

How did getting vaccinated for Covid-19 get mixed up with freedom? I was pondering that as I read a piece in The Hill about Trump’s recent interview…

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How did getting vaccinated for Covid-19 get mixed up with freedom? I was pondering that as I read a piece in The Hill about Trump’s recent interview on Fox News. “I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it. And a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump said, before going on to add, “We have our freedoms, and we have to live by that. And I agree with that also.”

The Hill went on to quote Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, as saying “As long as we still live in a free country, then we can make those individual decisions.”

But, while some people insist on their fundamental freedom to refuse vaccination, others answer, “You might have the freedom to get your bad knee replaced or not, but you don’t have the freedom to refuse the Covid vaccine because you don’t have the freedom to infect me.” Seems like there are two completely different ideas of freedom here, no? How does that work?

Part of the problem, I think, is the English language’s inadequate vocabulary of freedom. While I was thinking about this, another item popped up in my inbox – a link to an article from the Russian opposition news outlet Meduza. Written by the philosopher Nikolai Plotnikov, it bore the title “How Russians See ‘Freedom’ Differently.”

Russians, as Plotnikov pointed out, have two words for freedom, volya and svoboda. Having lived several years in Russia myself, I was aware that those two words existed, but I had never thought much about their political implications. Volya, the older of the two words, means roughly “free will.” It calls to mind an unconstrained life on the open steppe, perhaps the image of the folk hero Stenka Razin, leader of a seventeenth century Cossack uprising against the Russian nobility. In Plotnikov’s view, whereas volya is something inherently Russian, svoboda is something Western, a concept of civic freedom. Svoboda, he says, “is inconceivable without respect for others’ freedom.”

In Russian popular usage, volya and svobodadon’t always quite line up with Plotnikov’s somewhat academic version of their meanings. You have, for example, svobodny clothing, meaning comfortable, and volny clothing, meaning a bid indecent. But this isn’t a Russian language lesson. What matters here is the usefulness of Plotnikov’s distinction for understanding the American vaccination debate. When an American like Rep. Biggs asserts his freedom to remain unvaccinated, he is thinking volya. His neighbor who says, “No, you don’t have the freedom to infect me,” is thinking svoboda.

To be sure, English also has two words, but our “freedom” and “liberty” don’t line up like that. As far as I can see, they are synonyms that both mean svoboda. When Americans need to make Plotnikov’s distinction, they either have to use circumlocutions or risk being imperfectly understood.

I’ve seen American libertarians struggle with this problem, hampered by the limits of our language. Orthodox libertarians definitely think in terms of civic freedom, svoboda. Their touchstone is the nonaggression principle – the maxim that it is impermissible to initiate physical harm against another person. Use of force is permissible only in self-defense. To refuse the vaccine and then sneeze in your neighbor’s face is clearly a violation of the nonaggression principle. Yet, others who call themselves libertarians glory in the right to be rude and crude, the right to hate, the right to do whatever they want whatever social standards say. Some of them don’t scruple at embracing Naziism, white supremacy, and other unsavory ideologies that, historically, are anything but nonviolent. Writing for the orthodox libertarian Foundation for Economic Education a few years ago, Jeffrey Tuckerstruggled for a term and came up with “brutalist libertarianism” – a good try, although it never caught on. Plotnikov makes it clear, though, that Tucker’s brutalist libertarians differ from the orthodox in that they think in terms of volyamore than svoboda.

So, next time you are confused when some of your neighbors assert their right to forego vaccination in the name of freedom, while others, also invoking freedom, insist that everyone has a duty to be vaccinated, you can blame it on our English language. Even though, by some counts, English has more words than any other language, it lacks a clear distinction between volya and svoboda. But then, English is a free language in that, unlike French, has no Académie anglaise to tell us what words we can and cannot use. Who knows, maybe volya and svobodawill catch on yet, as have other Russian terms like sputnik and kompromat.

Previously posted at Ordinary Times. Reposted by permission.

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Economics

Five things you can do to help you have a more positive birth experience

Becoming a parent can be nerve-wracking – but there are many things you can do to feel more in control.

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Don't be afraid to make your preferences clear to your care provider. Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

Whether you’re a first time parent or have had children before, you’re probably willing to try anything to ensure you have the most positive birth experience you can. After all, the kind of birth experience you have can not only affect your own mental health, but can have an affect on parent-child bonding, as well as partner-to-partner relationships for years after giving birth.

It can be confusing to know what to expect or where to turn to for advice, especially as maternity services have changed due to falling staff numbers and the continued impact of COVID-19. But here are a few things you can do yourself as you navigate your maternity care, which may help you have a more positive birth experience:

1. Get educated

Studies have shown that signing up for antenatal classes can help reduce fear, depression and anxiety – both during pregnancy and after birth.

Typically, antenatal classes will help you understand what’s happening to your body during pregnancy and explain the birth process. They may also teach you coping strategies to help relax during labour, alongside guidance on caring for your new baby. Antenatal classes can also be a great way of meeting other parents going through the same thing as you.

Another option is creating a personalised care and support plan, which is offered by most NHS trusts in the UK. This is a tool you can use with your care providers to explore what’s important to you – and discuss what your range of options are, such as your preferred place of birth, or whether you prefer skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth.

Understanding what your body’s going through, and making a personalised plan for your birth, may help you feel more prepared and less anxious about what to expect.

2. Know your carers

Being cared for by one nominated midwife, or being assigned to a team of familiar midwives, is shown to be associated with better outcomes for you and your baby – including decreased chance of having a premature labour and lower likelihood of needing interventions (such as birth with the help of forceps). You’re also more likely to be satisfied with your overall experience.

When an allocated midwife is not an option this makes choosing the right birth partners crucial. They can not only offer you reassurance, encouragement and support but can be your advocate, help you try different positions in labour and help provide you with snacks and drinks. Most typically these would be trusted loved ones. But be aware that research shows birth partners may also feel anxious or overwhelmed at taking on this role, and may struggle with seeing a loved one in pain – so it’s important to be realistic about your expectations, and choose the right person. It may be the best birth partner for you is a close friend or relative.

3. Challenge care recommendations if you aren’t happy

There are likely to be many other options available to you – such as where you might give birth, or how you want to be cared for during labour.

During antenatal appointments be sure to pause, think and ask about benefits, risks and alternatives to the care being proposed. Research shows how important choice and personalised care are for expectant parents who want their voices and preferences to be acknowledged, and to receive consistent advice.

Expectant couple speak with female doctor in doctor's office.
Bringing a loved one or partner with you can make it easier to voice any concerns you may have. wavebreakmedia/ Shutterstock

If you have concerns over a suggestion your care providers have made or have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. Take your birth partner with you if you prefer, who can empower you to ensure your voice is heard. After all, care providers are duty bound to ensure you make fully informed choices.

4. Don’t always listen to your friends and family

Once people hear you have a baby on the way it seems everyone feels the need, without asking, to tell you the full (and often graphic) details of their own children’s birth.

But it’s perfectly acceptable to politely change the subject if you don’t want to listen, or if hearing these stories makes you nervous or worry. It’s also worth remembering that each person has a different labour and birth, even with their own children – so what was true for someone else is likely not to be the same for you. While it can be helpful for some people to debrief after the birth, it’s okay to avoid hearing this yourself if it makes your nervous, and maybe suggest they speak with a professional about their experience instead of telling you.

5. Visit your preferred place of birth

Many maternity units are now opening up their doors again to tours and informal visits – and those that aren’t are doing this virtually.

Becoming familiar with where you might give birth – even down to where you might park on the day – can help you feel more confident about giving birth. It may also remove some of the unknown, helping you regain a sense of control – which in itself is linked to a more positive birth experience.

For those planning a homebirth, speak to your midwife about how you can improve your space to facilitate the most safe and positive experience. For one of the most important days of your life, visualising where this will take place ahead of time can help you feel more confident and in control.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no one can predict exactly how your labour and birth journey will go. Even after heeding the above steps – there’s always a chance you may need to consider a plan B, C or even D. But no matter what, remember you’ve done your very best, and you’re not likely to repeat this exact experience the next time.

Claire Parker does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support?

A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year,…

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A lot has happened in the energy markets in 2022, especially in the oil markets. WTI crude oil price surged to $130 in the second quarter of the year, after only in 2020 it had traded in negative territory.

Futures contracts settle daily, and back in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when demand for oil declined sharply, clearinghouses let the futures contracts settle below zero for the first time ever.

Since then, however, the market has bounced dramatically. Few traders have bet on energy prices, especially because in the last years, the rise of the ESG meant many investments fleeing the energy field.

But supply chain issues, monetary and fiscal stimulus during the pandemic, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are major drivers in the energy space. After reaching $130/barrel, the WTI crude oil price has corrected but found strong support at the $100/barrel area.

The recent bounce in the last few days came from Macron’s comments during the G7 meeting. He said that the United Arab Emirates does not have spare capacity to produce more oil, something confirmed yesterday by the UAE authorities.

UAE is producing at maximum capacity based on its OPEC+ agreements. Therefore, the price of oil should remain bid on every dip.

A triangular pattern forms on the daily chart

The technical picture looks bullish while the price remains above horizontal support seen at the $100/barrel. Moreover, a confluence area given by both horizontal and dynamic support made it difficult for the market to extend its decline.

As such, a triangular pattern suggests more upside in the price of oil. A triangle may act as both a continuation and a reversal pattern, and traders focus on a breakout above or below the upper or the lower trendline.

Furthermore, every attempt to the downside since last March was met with more buying. Therefore, it is hard to argue with the bullish case, especially since the series or higher lows remains intact.

All in all, the WTI crude oil price remains bullish, and the triangular pattern may break either way. However, as long as the $100 level holds, the bias is to the upside.

The post Is it safe to buy WTI crude oil after bouncing from horizontal support? appeared first on Invezz.

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Spread & Containment

FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back

The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3% UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions…

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The commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%

UK’s FTSE 100 gained on Monday, as an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in China brought relief to commodity prices, lifting shares of major oil and mining companies.

As of 0704 GMT, the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 gained 0.4%, while mid-cap FTSE 250 index inched up 0.3%.

The risk sentiment improved after a Wall Street rally late last week and a rebound in copper and iron ore prices on Monday, boosted by an easing COVID-19 restrictions in Shanghai and relaxed testing mandates in several Chinese cities.

The burst of global enthusiasm for equities has put a spring in the step of the FTSE 100 at the start of the week, Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter said.

Mining stocks led gains on the FTSE 100 index, with Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Glencore rising more than 3%, after Group of Seven leaders pledged to raise $600 billion private and public funds in five years to finance needed infrastructure in developing countries.

It is hoped this scheme, seen as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, will set off a spurt of spending and demand for commodities around the world, Streeter added.

Among individual stocks, CareTech surged 20.8% after the UK-based provider of care and residential services agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by Sheikh Hoidings in an 870.3 million pounds ($1.07 billion) deal.

Carnival Corp jumped 5.6%, extending its Friday gains after the leisure travel company forecast a positive core profit for the current quarter despite surging costs.

London-listed shares of Rio Tinto added 2% after a U.S appeals court ruled that the federal government may give the UK copper miner a right to lands in Arizona.

BAE Systems inched up 0.4% after the defence company received a $12 billion contract from the U.S Department of Defence.

The post FTSE 100 gains as commodity-linked stocks bounce back first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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