Closing Thought–20Apr20

I have written many times that I am as staunch antiwar person….we have been at war since 1941….in one form or the other……there have been some momentary lulls but they were not long lasting…..and now the world is still at war……and it is fighting the Covid-19 virus as well.

The last time I wrote about this was…..https://lobotero.com/2020/04/17/war-whats-it-good-for-3/

The UN came up with an idea….a ceasefire during the fight for health…..(a damn good idea in my opinion)…..but I am alone in that opinion…..and who do you think would crap on the idea of a ceasefire? If you guessed the US then you get the lollipop.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to create a global crisis of generational proportions, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is pushing a broad measure to declare a global ceasefire among all nations, allowing the world to focus on fighting the virus instead of one another.

The proposal has got a lot of interest internationally, but is falling just short of going into effect, with the United States and Russia both insisting they wouldn’t consider themselves bound by any such ceasefire for their wars.

The US is complaining that the ceasefire would hinder their wars against ISIS and other groups that they believe are hostile to US interests. Given the number of US wars around the world, that’s a substantial number of conflicts. Among primary interests is the US ability to attack Iraqi militias in the near future.

Its not just America’s many wars that America believes would be at stake, but also Israel’s intermittent attacks on Syria and other nations, with US objections including that no ceasefire can be allowed to inhibit Israel’s ability to launch unilateral attacks.

Russia’s complaints were similar but more narrow, focused on wanting to keep their military activities in Syria ongoing, and not wanting the international ceasefire to get in the way of Libya’s Civil War, in which Russia is supported Gen. Hafter’s forces.

In general, it can be expected that neither Russia or the US will go along with this unless the other agrees first. The support among other global powers is more promising, with France advocating the ceasefire outspokenly. China seems on board as well, though they balked at an initial version of the resolution when the US wanted to call coronavirus the “Wuhan Virus,” implying China is to blame.

Ceasefire support in Colombia, Sudan, Yemen, and the Philippines has seen some agreement and unilateral announcements, and the UN remains hopeful. Without the US and Russia, however, it will be difficult for it to become a global movement.

(antiwar.com)

The US and Russia do not want peace…..sounds like the years of the Cold War all over again…..

All I am saying is “Give Peace a Chance”……(John Lennon)

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“lego ergo scribo”

Covid-19 News #4

Hopefully everyone is using rational thought…..I mean that is something that is sadly missing from the Donald the Orange and his minions.

The media has the news of the day and the rest of the story gets told if there is time remaining after the “breaking news”…..so let the Old Professor take you through those stories not important as others…..

Remember when the Dept. of Agriculture use to pay people NOT to plant certain crops…..well they are going to do something similar for oil producers……they will get paid to NOT Produce and then get paid for the oil in storage…win-win…..

The Trump administration is contemplating paying oil companies to leave their product in the ground, a measure that could help boost the struggling industry while the market has been crushed by an oversupply of crude.

According to reporting from multiple outlets, the Department of Energy (DOE) is drafting a plan that would pay companies to leave as much as 365 million barrels untapped by considering it part of the nation’s emergency stockpile.

The plan was reported first by Bloomberg, and DOE did not respond to request for comment from The Hill.

https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/493187-trump-adminsitation-eyes-paying-oil-companies-to-keep-crude-in-the

Two of Trump’s sycophants have brought up a bill that would allow citizens to sue China……

Sen. Tom Cotton and Rep. Dan Crenshaw have introduced legislation that would allow Americans to sue China in federal court over the death and economic damage wrought by the “Wuhan Virus.”

“By silencing doctors and journalists who tried to warn the world about the coronavirus, the Chinese Communist Party allowed the virus to spread quickly around the globe,” Cotton (R-Ark.) said in a statement.

“Their decision to cover up the virus led to thousands of needless deaths and untold economic harm. It’s only appropriate that we hold the Chinese government accountable for the damage it has caused,” he added.

https://nypost.com/2020/04/17/lawmakers-introduce-bill-allowing-americans-to-sue-china-over-coronavirus/

Careful morons!  You might be opening up a can of worms for Trump.

Speaking of the can or worms…..

As Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, it didn’t have to be this bad in the U.S. The world’s richest country with the strongest economy and a population of 330 million people has more coronavirus cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any other country, including China, whose population is more than four times larger.

The U.S. accounts for just 4.2 percent of the world’s population but 30 percent of COVID-19 cases and 19 percent of COVID-19 deaths. In 12 other countries, the virus’s spread has slowed. China is returning to work while the U.S. remains shut down.

The U.S would have experienced fewer deaths and less economic damage had the federal government been better prepared—or simply as prepared as some other countries, even smaller and poorer ones.

https://www.newsweek.com/could-trump-criminally-liable-his-deadly-mishandling-coronavirus-opinion-1498146

Not what the two worthless lumps had in mind?

Both are worthless, spineless sycophants desperately trying to look like they are doing something good….they are failing and most of all they are failing the American people that elected them.

How many times have you heard Donald the Orange say that keeping the isolation order will kill more people than the virus…..it is bullshit!

Never at a loss for words, or half-thought-out arguments, titans of the American right from President Donald Trump to Senator Ted Cruz have latched on to a doozy: You have to reopen the economy despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, quickly, lest a wave of suicides, domestic battery and the like overwhelm even the death toll from coronavirus.

“That’s gonna cost real lives,” Cruz said in an interview. “Our objective should be to save lives, and that means we need to fight this pandemic and get people back to work.’’

Apparently, the schools where Trump and Cruz studied math have been closed for longer than the 34-day stretch of distance learning we’re soldiering through where I live.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/coronavirus-lockdown-trump-us-economy-death-toll-a9469096.html

And yet with all the expert info available Trump has conned governors into opening up by 01 May…….

President Trump issued an all-caps plea Friday to “LIBERATE” three states under lockdown orders from Democratic governors. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” he tweeted, and followed it up with similar tweets on Michigan and Virginia. As Politico notes, all three states saw public protests this week by people chafing against stay-at-home orders from their respective governors. With his tweets, Trump appeared to be supporting those protests, per the Hill. The New York Times story goes much further, asserting that Trump “began openly fomenting far-right protests of social distancing restrictions in states where groups of his conservative supporters have been violating stay-at-home orders.” The White House did not immediately respond to comments asking for clarification on Trump’s message, reports USA Today.

The tweets come a day after Trump laid out national guidelines for states to reopen and struck a more cooperative message: “We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” he said. He told governors that “you’re going to call your own shots.” Also on Friday, Trump renewed his criticism of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, tweeting that Cuomo “should spend more time ‘doing’ and less time ‘complaining,'” reports the Hill. Trump ticked off various complaints of his own, including, “We built you thousands of hospital beds that you didn’t need or use.” Cuomo responded in real time at his daily briefing, saying the state has, in fact, used many of those beds. “How many times do you want me to say thank you for doing your job?” he added, referring to Trump’s complaint about a lack of thanks. In yet another tweet, Trump told states to “step up their TESTING!” and Cuomo said the feds needed to help with that.

I hope this bull headed stupidity does not kill too many people.

I was reminded by a loyal regular reader of IST, Ned Hanson,  that in 1918 Philadelphia did not cancel a parade and it was deadly a decision……

On September 28, 1918, a Liberty Loan parade in Philadelphia prompts a huge outbreak of Spanish flu in the city. By the time the pandemic ended, an estimated 20 million to 50 million people were dead worldwide.

Influenza is a highly contagious virus that attacks the respiratory system and can mutate very quickly to avoid being killed by the human immune system. Generally, only the very old and the very young are susceptible to death from the flu. Though a pandemic of the virus in 1889 had killed thousands all over the world, it was not until 1918 that the world discovered how deadly the flu could be.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/flu-epidemic-hits-philadelphia

“Those that do not learn from history are destined to repeat it”

And Trump cannot learn for he is all knowing…..and that makes him all stupid.

Tell you what…..I will have more confidence in the Trump decisions if he was out there proving he is right……go to Michigan and stand with all those morons demanding the state open up…..and I wait……….

A Final thought…….

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Okay…one more……

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Oh Crap!  One more time……

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“lego ergo scribo”

Biden And Health–Part 2

This virus has illustrated just how desperately this country needs to reform its health care systems…..with the unemployment rising the lack of adequate health care will rise as well.

2020 we have the presumptive Dem candidate in Joe Biden and I have written about his plans and how I cannot support any of them……if you need a refresher…..https://lobotero.com/2020/03/31/biden-and-health-care/

Now that the Covid-19 has hung around and made personal appearances of the candidate has fallen….he, Biden, has a new health plan……he wants lower the age for Medicare to 60…..this will do little to help people fight off the consequences of the pandemic……

“These policies are what I would expect from Republicans. This is not a ‘big overture’ by any stretch of the imagination.”

Progressives on Thursday were quick to call foul after it was reported that Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, put forth a pair of policy proposals—one lowering the Medicare age to 60 and the other a student debt relief program—purportedly designed to win over supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders who instead saw the plans as woefully insufficient.

“We have to do more to ease the economic burden on working people,” Biden said in a tweet announcing the plan. “So today, I’m adopting two new policies to help deliver relief.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/09/why-unnecessary-6-medicare-all-advocates-warn-biden-lowering-age-60-solves-nothing

Biden will do little if elected…he will allow the insurance industry and Big Pharma run the show with our health care….keep in mind he was part of the administration that allowed the drug prices to skyrocket and he was silent then and we are to believe he had an epiphany and saw the error of his ways…..I ain’t buying.

I shall continue to point out the policies that Biden has embraced in the past and how it tallies with the promises made for 2020.

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“lego ergo scribo”

North Korea–Virus And Dictators

The most outrageous story of the last week…..seems a couple of lawmakers from the US want to send help to North Korea….

Two U.S. lawmakers have announced the introduction of a bill calling for streamlined procedures to expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid to North Korea.

The bill, named the Enhancing North Korea Humanitarian Assistance Act, was announced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) on Monday.

“I firmly believe that multilateral pressure is necessary to support our diplomacy with North Korea in order to keep the American people safe from the murderous Kim regime,” Markey, ranking member of the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement posted on his website.

“But we must not stand in the way when selfless humanitarians seek to give North Koreans a chance against hunger and deadly infectious diseases,” he said, adding that sanctions programs are “not successful” if they prevent basic humanitarian assistance.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20200415000200325

While the US debates helping North Korea Kim fires off some missiles in a display…..

President Trump sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to maintain good relations and offering cooperation in fighting the viral pandemic, Kim’s sister said Sunday. The correspondence came as Kim observed the firing of tactical guided weapons over the weekend, drawing criticism from South Korea, as nuclear talks remain deadlocked. In a statement carried by KCNA, Kim’s sister and senior ruling party official, Kim Yo Jong, praised Trump for the letter at a time when “big difficulties and challenges lie ahead in the way of developing ties” between the countries. She said Trump explained his plan to “propel the relations between the two countries … and expressed his intent to render cooperation in the anti-epidemic work.” She said her brother expressed gratitude for Trump’s letter. North Korea has repeatedly said there hasn’t been a single case of coronavirus on its soil. Some foreign experts question that claim and say an outbreak in the North could cause a humanitarian disaster because of its poor medical infrastructure.

Last month, the State Department expressed concerns about North Korea’s vulnerability to a potential coronavirus outbreak and said it was ready to support efforts by aid organizations to contain the spread of the illness in the North. There was no comment from the White House, notes the AP. Kim Yo Jong said Trump’s letter is “a good example showing the special and firm personal relations” between the North Korean and US leaders. But she said it’s not a good idea to “make hasty conclusion or be optimistic about” the prospect for bilateral relations. “I think that the bilateral relations and dialogue for them would be thinkable only when the equilibrium is kept dynamically and morally and justice ensured between the two countries,” she said. “Even at this moment we are working hard to develop and defend ourselves on our own under the cruel environment which the US is keen to ‘provide.'”

Does Kim have the virus…..he was a no-show at a celebration for his grandfather……

Kim Jong Un doesn’t typically miss showing off whenever his famous relatives are honored during North Korean national holidays. That’s why there are now whispers as to why he didn’t show (or wasn’t shown by state media) in a Wednesday birthday tribute to his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, with speculation now circulating the North Korean leader might be ill. Only senior officials were said to have been part of the delegation that came for “the Day of the Sun” to view the embalmed body of Kim Il Sung at Pyongyang’s Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, per Reuters. There was also no state media report about the country’s alleged cruise missile tests on Tuesday, which there normally would be, with Kim in attendance. The last time the 36-year-old was seen in public was last Saturday, when he attended a Workers’ Party politburo meeting.

Those who’ve watched his behavior say it would be unlike him to skip the birthday tribute: Yonhap notes Kim hasn’t skipped the holiday visit to the mausoleum since he took power in 2011, per Fox News. “He has been going there on the birthdays of his grandfather and father to flaunt his royalty to them and sacred bloodline,” a senior fellow at South Korea’s Sejong Institute tells Reuters. While some wonder if he’s sick or has another health issue, some observers tell Fox he may be trying to distance himself from his relatives to establish his own legacy. Still others suggest he may have paid tribute beforehand to shelter himself from coronavirus exposure. “This is a leader whose … trademark [is] hugging his people a lot,” an international relations professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University tells CNN. “I think we have to include the possibility that this is related to their process to make sure he stays safe.”

Then if something happens to Kim will his younger sister step into the leadership shoes?

Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, was appointed to North Korea’s politburo in 2017 but is believed to have been removed last year after a second Kim-Trump summit fell through. Now she’s been reinstated, the Guardian reports. Kim Yo Jong has long been a close aide to her brother, but is recently rising again within the country’s hierarchy, experts say. On Saturday, she was reappointed to the central committee’s political bureau as an alternate member; the Korea Herald describes it as the top policymaking body in the country and says Kim Yo Jong’s reappointment marks her “comeback.”

Other top officials were also reshuffled that day, with Kim Jong Un presiding over the meeting during which Kim Yo Jong’s appointment was confirmed. She was also recently appointed first vice-department director of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, and just last month started issuing statements under her own name. Also at Saturday’s meeting, the party adopted a resolution to take “more thorough state measures to protect life and safety of our people from the great worldwide epidemic disease” of COVID-19. North Korea officially claims zero coronavirus cases, but the Korea Times reports some observers think the country might be hushing up an outbreak.

His sister is on the rise……and we need to know more about her in case she steps up if something should happen to Kim……

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un promoted his younger sister over the weekend, naming Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 28, to the nation’s most important political body, the Workers Party’s Politburo. It’s a rare sign of trust by Kim in a family member, and the New York Times speculates that he may want to make sure a familial successor is in line should anything happen to him before his young children are old enough to assume power. Related developments:

  • Full siblings: Kim Yo Jong and Kim Jong Un have the same parents (their mother was a dancer who was one of Kim Jong Il’s wives), and she has for years been seen at her brother’s side at public functions, reports Reuters. The pair, along with another full sibling, Kim Jong Chol, who stays out of politics, are believed to have attended school in Switzerland. She is also believed to be married, possibly to the son of a powerful party secretary.
  • Blacklisted: In 2014, Kim Yo Jong began working for the ruling party’s propaganda arm and thus found herself among those blacklisted this year by the US Treasury Department for “ongoing and serious human rights abuses and censorship activities,” per Time.
  • Image control? Reports in South Korean media suggest that Kim Yo Jong has been trying to improve her brother’s image by encouraging visits to hospitals and such, reports USA Today. She may also be behind his odd friendship with Dennis Rodman.
  • Her job: Kim Yo Jong is now an alternate member of the party’s decision-making body, which generally rubber-stamps Kim Jong Un’s mandates. But she would theoretically get to take part in debates on issues including military decisions. She is only the second woman known to get such an appointment. The first was her aunt, who hasn’t been seen in public in years and may be under house arrest. The aunt’s husband was executed in 2013, per the Times.
  • Taking a toll: Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that US pressure on Pyongyang is beginning to seriously pinch. More than 20 nations have reduced business or diplomatic ties with North Korea through various means: kicking out ambassadors or guest workers, barring ships, limiting flights, etc. The idea, being pushed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is to try to show Kim that the price for becoming a nuclear power is too high.
  • Trump skeptical: One person apparently not sold on the above progress is Trump himself. On Monday, he tweeted, “Our country has been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars & getting nothing. Policy didn’t work!”

We need to know as much as possible……

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