Closing Thought–20Mar20

Time to bring back the punishment of a firing squad for profit takers in time of a national emergency……especially elected officials that could be acting on insider information….

It seems a couple GOPers have sold their stocks ahead of the pandemic getting worse……

At least two senators who received briefings on the coronavirus outbreak earlier this year publicly offered reassurances that America was ready and privately sold off large amounts of their stock holdings. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr sold between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13, a week before the market started to tank, ProPublica reports. Records show that the stocks sold by Burr, a North Carolina Republican who was receiving daily briefings on the coronavirus outbreak at the time, included holdings in hotels, shipping firms, and other industries hit hard by the pandemic, reports the Washington Post. Burr’s net worth was estimated at $1.7 million in 2018, meaning the sale likely included most or all of his holdings, ProPublica notes.

Burr is also under scrutiny for remarks he made to a group of VIPs at a private luncheon on Feb, 27. He gave them warnings much stronger than anything he had said in public.”It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said, according to a recording obtained by NPR. “It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic.” The Daily Beast reports that Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the newest member of the Senate, sold up to $3 million in stock between Jan. 24, the day of a private all-senators meeting on the coronavirus threat, and mid-February. Loeffler, a Republican from Georgia, jointly owned the stocks with her husband, New York Stock Exchange chairman Jeffrey Sprecher. Government watchdogs have called for an ethics investigation to determine whether lawmakers profited from inside information, the Post reports.

Four Republican Senators have now been implicated in this coronavirus insider trading scandal. 1. Richard Burr (NC) 2. Jim Inhofe (OK) 3. Ron Johnson (WI) 4. Kelly Loeffler (GA)

If you would like more information…..https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/republican-jim-inhofe-dumped-up-to-450000-in-stock-the-fourth-gop-senator-implicated-in-scandal-report/

They say that insider trading is hard to prove….but I say…if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck then these guys need to be held up as examples of how bad elected officials are……

Again I say bring back firing squads for those that betray the country in time of emergency.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2020 Dems–Another One Bites The Dust #21

And then there were two!

My candidate of choice has decided to bag it in and drop out of the race….Tulsi Gabbard leaves the campaign trail…..

Tulsi Gabbard is out. The Hawaii congresswoman dropped from the 2020 race on Thursday and endorsed Joe Biden, reports USA Today. Gabbard had barely been registering in the polls, and she had failed to qualify for any of the recent debates. She did, however, manage to win two delegates from American Samoa, where she was born, on Super Tuesday. “I know Vice President Biden and his wife and am grateful to have called his son Beau, who also served in the National Guard, a friend,” said Gabbard, per Axios. “Although I may not agree with the vice president on every issue, I know that he has a good heart and is motivated by his love for our country and the American people.”

The 38-year-old, who served in the Iraq War, is known for her “progressive economics and noninterventionist foreign policy,” per the New York Times. However, her campaign never caught on beyond her fervent base. Axios notes she became a favorite for “fringe voices on the right” among Democratic candidates, and the Times adds that she sometimes seemed to be campaigning against her own party. “Our Democratic Party, unfortunately, is not the party that is of, by and for the people,” she said at a November debate. “It is a party that has been and continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington, represented by Hillary Clinton and others’ foreign policy, by the military industrial complex and other greedy corporate interests.”

She endorses Joe Biden….sorry Tulsi but I will look elsewhere……

In the tradition of IST….we will show Tulsi the exit to the tunes of Queen….

If my choices are the two candidates in the field now….then I need to re-think where to put my support…..I will NOT hold my nose and vote……time to start looking elsewhere.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

That Virus Stimulus Plan

There has been a lot of talk about the plan for cash payments to help in this time of need…..direct payments to the citizens…..we know one thing for sure if anybody will get bailed out of this crisis it will be corporations and billionaires……bug it sounds good to say that the people are their number one priority……sorry but I kinda doubt that……

With an election on the fast track……..and PRESTO…the plan has been announced!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday presented the third part of the legislation intended to help the economy recover from the pandemic, built around payments of $1,200 to anyone with an income up to $75,000. The amount of the payment would decline as household income neared $99,000. There would be a $500 check for every child in the family, the Hill reports. The direct payments, backed early by Sen. Mitt Romney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, are not universally popular among Senate Republicans. “Direct payments make sense when the economy is beginning to start,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday. “It makes no sense now, because it’s just money. What I want is income, not one check.” Lawmakers are still negotiating the details of the payments, though as of now, the poorest Americans would receive less, per the Washington Post, with a minimum check of $600.

Sen. Richard Shelby is among the Republicans who want to provide aid through unemployment insurance instead. “I personally think that if we are going to help people, we ought to direct the cash payments maybe as a supplement to unemployment,” he said, “not to the people that are still working every day.” President Trump has vacillated on the idea of payments to individuals, and supported a different approach Thursday on corporate bailouts. Asked about companies that have used their extra cash to buy back stock, Trump endorsed the government receiving a stake in the companies in exchange for aid. Comparing them with companies that invested the cash, Trump said, “Maybe I view that as a little bit differently than somebody that didn’t and somebody that built plants all over the United States.”

Will this abate all the panic?  I doubt it….it will however look great on a campaign ad.

Any thoughts on this?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Threat Of Martial Law

My fellow blogger and friend John at https://linesbyliming.com/ has been writing about this inevitable consequence of this raging virus.

Whenever something big happens in this country there will always be those that see detention camps and martial law.

Well we have something big happening now….that damn virus that is raging across the country as well as the world.

The first question some have asked was will this virus cause Americans to lose civil rights?

First think back a couple of years…..

Chances are you don’t remember Kaci Hickox, but in 2014 she was a household name. Back then, when the world was gripped by fear of another aggressive virus — in this case the deadly Ebola disease — she was an American nurse who went to Sierra Leone to treat the sick. Her return to the US made headlines, caused her to clash with two governors, and eventually led to her vindication by the courts, a victory celebrated by civil libertarians. But Hickox’s story might have a far different ending today, as the country contends with not only the coronavirus pandemic but also a far more conservative judiciary. 

When she returned to the US, Hickox did not have Ebola, a disease that is not airborne and is transferred only through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. 

Will Civil Liberties Be Another COVID-19 Victim?

And then as if right on cue….word has come out about a plan for martial law.

Will it come to the use of martial law?

But first, what is martial law?

Martial law is a law administered by the military rather than a civilian government. Martial law may be declared in an emergency or response to a crisis, or to control occupied territory.

  • Martial law is law administered by the military rather than a civilian government, typically to restore order.
  • Martial law is declared in an emergency, in a response to a crisis, or to control occupied territory.
  • When martial law is declared, civil liberties, such as the right to free movement, free speech, protection from unreasonable searches, and habeas corpus laws may be suspended.

Understanding what is meant by martial law……

The declaration of martial law is a rare and momentous decision for a civilian government to make and for a good reason. When martial law is declared, civilian control of some or all aspects of government operations is ceded to the military. This means that, in the case of elected governments, the representatives chosen by the voting population are no longer in power. Civilians have thus ceded control of the country in exchange for the potential restoration of order with the possibility that control may not be reclaimed in the future.

When martial law is declared, civil liberties, such as the right to free movement, free speech or protection from unreasonable searches, can be suspended. The justice system that typically handles issues of criminal and civil law is replaced with a military justice system, such as a military tribunal. Civilians may be arrested for violating curfews or for offenses that, in normal times, would not be considered serious enough to warrant detention. Laws relating to habeas corpus that are designed to prevent unlawful detention may also be suspended, allowing the military to detain individuals indefinitely without the possibility of recourse.

(Investopedia)

Will this virus come to martial law?

Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of “continuity of government” plans that include evacuating Washington and “devolving” leadership to second-tier officials in remote and quarantined locations.

But Coronavirus is also new territory, where the military itself is vulnerable and the disaster scenarios being contemplated — including the possibility of widespread domestic violence as a result of food shortages — are forcing planners to look at what are called “extraordinary circumstances”.

https://www.newsweek.com/exclusive-inside-militarys-top-secret-plans-if-coronavirus-cripples-government-1492878

Whatcha think?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The women behind Sykes-Picot

To help celebrate women and their contributions to history…..women helped implement the Sykes-Picot that divided up the Middle East. chuq

In Saner Thought

This month is the 100 years anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and to many historians is a direct link to the problems the Middle East is suffering from today.

In honor of this milestone I have given a few historical posts about this agreement with the hopes that it will help people understand what is happening in the Middle East today….that is if they are interested but most had rather bitch and moan than learn something.

Most of us know the men that were involved but few know of the women that played an amazingly important role in the formation of the modern day Middle East…

And this is why I am here…..I am becoming notorious with my historical perspectives……(he said smilingly)….

British diplomat Mark Sykes and French diplomat Francois Georges-Picot garnered most of the attention in the retrospective commentaries published around May 16, the 100-year anniversary of the Sykes-Picot…

View original post 131 more words

News From Iraq

Sadly we have people still fighting and dying in Iraq and the MSM has little time to cover the situation which is getting worse by the month.

First thought is that there is a NEW group of “bad guys”…..

New Iraqi Group Claims Responsibility For Camp Taji Attack

A new Iraqi military group has claimed responsibility for the March 11 Camp Taji attack, which claimed the lives of three U.S.-led coalition service members.

In an official statement released on March 15, the group, dubbed Ausbat al-Thaayirin (AT), confirmed its responsibility for the recent rocket attacks on Iraqi bases hosting U.S. troops.

“In response to the request of our Mujahedeen brothers … we declare that the blessed operations [the shelling of occupation bases] are our operations, and we fear no one by announcing this,” the statement reads.

A few days ago, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) released a statement calling on the perpetrators of the recent attacks to reveal themselves, promising to support them. KH was held responsible for these attacks by the U.S.

AT appears to be a pro-Iranian Shiite group. The group vowed to respond to the assassination of Popular Mobilization Unties (PMU) Deputy-Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and Maj. Gen. Qassam Soleimani, Commander of Iran’s Quds Force.

“The assassination of our martyr leaders is heat in our chests, a motive for our conscious that will not trail off until the withdrawal of the occupying forces in a humiliating and degrading manner,” the group said.

The U.S. carried out a series of strikes on Iraq on March 13 in response to Camp Taji attack. The strikes hit positions of the PMU, the Iraqi military and police.

AT’s statement is yet to be verified. More information about the mysterious group will likely appear in the coming months.

(South Front)

More Allied airstrikes…..and more confusion…..

Iraqi President Barham Salih issued a statement Friday angrily condemning a flurry of US airstrikes, saying they amounted to repeated violations of Iraqi sovereignty and threatened to provoke dangerous consequences.

Salih added that the US attacks amount to a “dangerous and deliberate weakening of its abilities especially at a time when Iraq faces unprecedented challenges.” Indeed, that the president is the one making responses at all shows the position Iraq is in. Normally this would be the purview of the PM, but Iraq simply doesn’t have one. The PM-designate has resigned, and the acting PM also resigned in recent weeks.

The US attacks targeted Iraqi PMF militia Kataib Hezbollah, and US officials insist they were “terrorist bases” that were legitimate to hit. The PMF is part of the Iraqi government, despite the US sense that they can attack them with impunity.

Salih’s big warning though was that in this current situation, Iraq could simply unravel under US pressure, ending up a failed state, and potentially fueling an ISIS resurgence.

These consequences seem lost on US officials, likely reflecting US rhetoric presenting the PMF as “Iranian-backed” groups, instead of what they are, militias under the Iraqi government that are heavily active in anti-ISIS operations.

(antiwar.com)

The attack was done by the new group and yet we attacked those supposedly not involved….good policy that should make us more friends.

These airstrikes not only attacked someone not necessarily involved in the attack but we killed our allies as well……Iraq’s military said US airstrikes in the south of the country killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers, and one civilian. On Friday, US officials said they launched airstrikes in Southern Iraq against targets where weapons are stored by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shi’ite militia group. 

Iraqi officials also said five members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were injured in the most recent US airstrikes. The PMF is an umbrella organization of Iraqi militias that have fought together against ISIS since 2014. Kataib Hezbollah is a member of the PMF.

Then there is the war of words……

According to State Department officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called former Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday, demanding that the Iraqi government defend US troops who are stationed on the ground in Iraq.

Pompeo told Abdul Mahdi that the government needs to hold militias responsible for attacking US forces accountable, and threatened further US military action “in self-defense” in more attacks happened. On Sunday, more rockets hit a US base, wounding three troops.

This is generally the US position, evinced by US attacks on militia bases last week after the US decided to blame that militia for a previous rocket attack. The US has blamed those militias and labeled them “Iran-backed, though in practice they are Shi’ite groups who are part of the Iraqi government.

Even less clear is what the point of Pompeo telling that to Abdul Mahdi was, as he’s resigned twice in the last few months, both times amid mounting US tensions. First he resigned after parliament voted to expel the US and the US threatened to bankrupt the country with sanctions. Abdul Mahdi agreed to serve as acting-PM until a replacement was decided on, then earlier this month he resigned from that as well.

Iraq’s president has been making comments recently, since he’s the only top figure still in power, but Pompeo seems to hope that Abdul Mahdi has enough political influence to at least pass the message along.

(antiwar.com)

So our policy is to threaten then attack our ally, right?

But the animosities between Iran and the US has Iraq in the middle of the conflict……and that could lead to more instability in the nation and a rapid rise of more terrorism….

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_escalation_nation_iraq_and_the_us_iran_rivalry

If they are not an ally then what the Hell are we still doing in country?

The situation in the Middle East is still the most confusing situation on the planet.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scriblo”