Closing Thought–11May20

Some bastards are making out like bandits thanks for the pandemic….and many of them are Trump supporters…..

Fracking billionaire and Trump donor Harold Hamm was among an elite group of oil and gas executives who met with the president in early April to press for federal help, including access to big loans for businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. It prompted Trump afterwards to promise to “make funds available to these very important companies”.

Major Trump ally Tommy Fisher, who last year landed a $400m Army Corps of Engineers contract to build 31 miles of Trump’s border wall in Arizona, in April received another $7m from the army – despite an active investigation by a Pentagon watchdog into allegations of favoritism after Trump reportedly pushed for Fisher.

Another big Trump donor, Mike Lindell, the chief executive of MyPillow and the chair of Trump’s campaign in Minnesota, got red-carpet treatment from Trump at a press briefing in late March. Lindell then praised Trump, hailing him as “chosen by God” as the president touted the firm’s efforts to make thousands of face masks.

These people are dealing in death… is that simple……

In defiance of overwhelming popular opposition, the Trump administration, a majority of state governments, multi-billion-dollar corporations and Wall Street financial interests are driving ahead with plans for a rapid reopening of the US economy.

The auto industry is leading the charge for a premature and deadly return to work. Succumbing to massive political and economic pressure, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has sanctioned today’s resumption of production by auto parts suppliers and tool and die shops. Major auto companies intend to resume production in the state next week.

Honda is resuming production today throughout the United States and Canada. This includes plants in Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama.

These people should be set out and boycotted for their part as purveyors of BS and ass kissers from the Trump squad.


I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”


Those Punic Wars

As long as we are still self-isolating now would be a good time to learn stuff… can learn from the Old Professor…….

One of my most loyal readers Pete from is a huge fan of the Romans….me I am not so much but my liking is that of Carthage…especially Hannibal.

I became interested in this conflict when I was studying conflicts in history…..this one caught my attention because of the successes Carthage had especially under Hannibal.

But first who was Hannibal Barca?

Carthage was a super power of the Mediterranean even to the point of clashing with Rome on her way to world domination……these clashes became known as the Punic Wars (that Punic not pubic) …..

Prior to the conflict, Carthage had grown from a small port-of-call to the richest and most powerful city in the Mediterranean region before 260 BCE. She had a powerful navy, a mercenary army and, through tribute, tariffs, and trade, enough wealth to do as she pleased. Through a treaty with the small city of Rome, she barred Roman trade in the Western Mediterranean and, as Rome had no navy, was able to easily enforce the treaty. Roman traders caught in Carthaginian waters were drowned and their ships taken.

And then the inevitable…the clash of titans……

To make it a little easier…..

The Punic Wars began basically over the control of Sicily…..

First Punic War was fought between Carthage and Rome between 264 and 241 BCE, largely over control of Sicily. The longest continuous war in history up to that time was fought on the island, at sea, and in north Africa with both sides enjoying victories and suffering near-catastrophic defeats. The Romans, with seemingly inexhaustible resources, adapted to the necessities of naval warfare and eventually prevailed. Sicily became their first foreign province. Carthage was not finished, though, and once it had sorted out its internal problems and gained new finances the conflict would resume with the Second Punic War within a generation.

Then after a generation of back and forth…..Hannibal Barca decided to honor his father’s dying wish and he would make Rome pay…..

Enter the Second Punic War……

Following the terms of surrender in 241 BCE, Carthage, having lost the longest war in ancient history up to that point, agreed to withdraw from Sicily and pay reparations to Rome of 3,200 talents. The First Punic War had been tremendously costly to both sides but Rome’s seemingly inexhaustible resources, especially its capacity to renew large naval fleets meant that, ultimately, Carthage could not compete with the Mediterranean’s newest superpower.

We all know the story…..that is we paid attention in high history class…..about Hannibal’s trek across the alps with elephants to attack the Romans and make them pay for the embarrassing treaty Carthage had to sign.

But the one story that gets little in-depth coverage  is the defeat of the Romans at Cannae…..the destruction of the Roman army in Southeast Italy……

The Battle of Cannae (2 August 216 BCE) was the decisive victory of the Carthaginian army over Roman forces at Cannae, southeast Italy, during the Second Punic War (218-202 BCE). The Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca (l. 247-183 BCE), who was already known for his unorthodox tactics against Rome, counted on the Romans relying on the traditional tactics and formations which had worked so well for them in the past and used their very strengths to defeat them.

And for further analysis of the battle…..

A little over a decade after Hannibal’s victory in Cannae….he was to face Rome again at the battle Zama…..which was to become the final battle of the 2nd Punic War and the defeat of Carthage…..

The Battle of Zama (202 BCE) was the final engagement of the Second Punic War (218-202 BCE) at which Hannibal Barca of Carthage (l. 247-183 BCE) was defeated by Scipio Africanus of Rome (l. 236-183 BCE) ending the conflict in Rome’s favor. The Second Punic War had begun when Hannibal attacked the city of Saguntum, a Roman ally, in Spain and continued with a number of stunning victories by Hannibal in Northern Italy, most notably the Battle of Cannae in 216 BCE.

Hannibal seemed unstoppable until Scipio took command of the Roman forces after Cannae, defeated Hannibal’s brother Hasdrubal Barca (l. c. 244-207 BCE) in Spain, driving him into Italy, and then drawing Hannibal back to North Africa by threatening the city of Carthage. Hannibal met Scipio at Zama in defense of his home city but Scipio, using Hannibal’s same tactics from Cannae, won the day and Carthage fell to the Romans.—the-beginning-of-roman-conque/

Was it a superior general that led to the defeat?

There are many reasons….one that he was naive…..

The accomplishments of Hannibal from his departure from Spain, his crossing of the Alps, and his battles on the Italian peninsula, climaxing with his great victory at Cannae, were enough to permanently etch his name among the greatest military leaders of history. This great record of accomplishment cannot but have buoyed him psychologically to the point where he felt he could proceed on his own terms, no matter what the prospects for the Roman Republic might be. Therefore, he chose a soft, politically motivated policy after his great victory, when all indications were that Rome was at least vulnerable to a coup de grâce. This underestimation of the resiliency of his enemy proved to be his undoing.

Hannibal of Carthage: Scourge of Rome

No it was the government of Carthage that screwed Hannibal and in the end screwed themselves.

Hannibal Barca (l. 247-183 BCE), the brilliant Carthaginian general of the Second Punic War (218-202 BCE), had the military talent, expertise, and skill to have won the conflict but was denied the resources by his government. The Carthaginian senate repeatedly refused Hannibal’s requests for aid and supplies even as they were relying on him to win the war for them.

This kind of selfish behavior should have come as no surprise to the general since the Carthaginian government had responded in the same way to his father, Hamilcar Barca (l. 275-228 BCE) during the First Punic War (264-241 BCE). Hamilcar had also repeatedly sent word that he required greater support and these pleas were ignored by the elite of the city who preferred to spend the peoples’ tax money on their own luxuries instead of the good of the populace who supported their way of life.

Hannibal continued to fight for the people of Carthage, in spite of the poor treatment he received, throughout the Second Punic War and yet never received the gratitude he was owed. Even after he was defeated by Scipio Africanus (l. 236-183 BCE) at Zama in 202 BCE, he continued to serve Carthage as best he could, acting as the magistrate who oversaw payment of the war indemnity to Rome, and even then he was accused of impropriety and denounced by the elite who valued their own comfort and luxury over the good of the people.

Hannibal still remains one of my favorite generals/warriors in history…..Carthage had so much potential and the government squandered their advantage away in their betrayal of Hannibal and his loyal forces.

There was also a Third Punic War…..although Hannibal was not the general in this one…but it is still an important….

Just as a side note…what if Carthage had won the Punic Wars?

Here is the thoughts…..

If you prefer to let the video machine tell you about this possibility…..

Just a little history that I have spent years studying…..

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Sioux And South Dakota And Pandemic

Probably the least reported news item over the last few days is the stand-off that is occurring between the Sioux Nation and the Governor of South Dakota…..

It all began when the Sioux set up check points to control the people that could expose the tribe to this virus…..then the governor decided it was time to open up the sent word to the Sioux…..

South Dakota is threatening legal action if two Sioux tribes don’t remove their highway checkpoints—and one tribal leader doesn’t seem too impressed. “We are strongest when we work together; this includes our battle against Covid-19,” Gov. Kristi Noem said in letters to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe, per CNN. “I request that the tribes immediately cease interfering with or regulating traffic on US and State Highways and remove all travel checkpoints.” The tribes have indeed posted checkpoints in an effort to curb the coronavirus; among the Cheyenne rules, reservation residents can travel to non-hotspot areas for essential activities, and South Dakota residents can enter reservations if they’re not coming from a hotspot or have a tribe-issued travel permit.

“You continuing to interfere in our efforts to do what science and facts dictate seriously undermine our ability to protect everyone on the reservation,” says Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier in a statement. “Ignorant statements and fiery rhetoric encourage individuals already under stress from this situation to carry out irrational actions. We invite you to join us in protecting the lives of our people and those that live on this reservation. I regretfully decline your request.” Last month, the feds issued a statement saying the tribes had to reach an agreement with South Dakota over the checkpoints. The Dickinson Press reports that South Dakota had 1,044 active cases on Friday, up by 198 from the day before, and a death toll of 31.
Now the governor has her answer from the Sioux….NO!

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota is refusing to end coronavirus checkpoints declared illegal by the state’s governor, saying they are the best tool they have to stop the virus from spreading.

Gov. Kristi Noem sent letters Friday to the leaders of the Oglala Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux tribes demanding that the checkpoints along the US and state highways through tribal land be removed.
Her office released an update Sunday clarifying the request: “The checkpoints on state and US highways are not legal, and if they don’t come down, the state will take the matter to Federal court, as Governor Noem noted in her Friday letter.”
Will the Sioux be pushed around again?
Can anyone remember Wounded Knee–1973?
On February 27, 1973, a team of 200 Oglala Lakota (Sioux) activists and members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) seized control of a tiny town with a loaded history — Wounded Knee, South Dakota. They arrived in town at night, in a caravan of cars and trucks, took the town’s residents hostage, and demanded that the U.S. government make good on treaties from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Within hours, police had surrounded Wounded Knee, forming a cordon to prevent protesters from exiting and sympathizers from entering. This marked the beginning of a 71-day siege and armed conflict.
Who will blink first?
I can smell the diesel from those military vehicles lining up to confront the unarmed NAs with tanks and assault weapons….
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”

Not Since The Great Depression

That is what is being said about the jobs loss thanks to the virus were are currently fighting…..our economy has lost 21 million jobs…..that is a rate of 14.5%……..

The monthly jobs report is out at 8:30am ET Friday, when we’ll find out just how grim the April employment numbers are. The March report was “shocking,” without even showing the true brunt of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact since the relevant surveys end mid-month. Media outlets are frequently using words like “devastating” to describe what’s in store for the April report. It’s not unexpected, of course, as millions upon millions have been filing for unemployment for weeks, but as the New York Times explains, it’s the monthly report more so than the weekly unemployment numbers that is generally scrutinized “for evidence of how the economy is evolving.” More:

  • Just how bad? CNBC reports that the report is expected to show that the US lost a record 21.5 million jobs last month. We could also see the highest unemployment rate since 1939, at the end of the Great Depression and shortly before World War II.
  • More on that unemployment rate: Analysts are predicting it’ll hit 16%, which would indeed make it the worst rate since the Great Depression. But they say it could range anywhere from 11% to 20% due to the way individuals are surveyed by the government. It also depends on whether furloughed employees identify themselves as employed or unemployed.
  • A preview: ADP’s April payroll report was released Wednesday, and showed 20.2 million private-sector jobs lost.
  • Perspective: The Washington Post reports that if 22 million jobs are shown to have been lost, as some analysts expect, that’s “the equivalent of all those added over the past decade” and 10 times more than the previous record, set during World War II. During the Great Recession, the worst monthly job loss was 800,000, in March 2009.
  • What the report will tell us: “It’s understood leisure and hospitality and retail have seen a large displacement of workers, and that’s apparent in the claims numbers,” but the job report details showing what other industries are most affected will be very telling, says an expert. “The extent that has spread across the economy will tell us a lot, and the more it has spread, the more challenging it will be to return to normal.” If the losses remain mostly contained to industries directly affected by the pandemic, recovery could be quicker.
  • But it still won’t show the full picture: As NPR notes, not only have millions more jobs once again been lost since the surveys for the report were taken in mid-April, the unemployment rate “includes only people who are actively looking for work and those on temporary furlough, ignoring millions more who have been involuntarily idled by the pandemic.”
  • A sobering read: The aforementioned Times piece, written by Neil Irwin, who has covered the monthly jobs report release for 13 years, is worth a read in full. “And now, in a single month, a decade’s worth of progress—measured, in my case, by waking up early on 120 or so Friday mornings and analyzing tables that showed gradual, consistent hiring—has vanished,” he writes. “The employment situation summary at the start of this year was the best it had been in the 13 years I have obsessively tracked these numbers, and a lot of good things were starting to happen for a lot of people as a result. And now, it’s gone.”

If you do not like that analysis then here are a couple other sources to look at…..

Ask yourself one question….how can such a dire prediction have the markets still doing well…..who does the economy represent?  I know the answer….do you?

Most Americans think it is too early to push for this re-opening of the Trumpian minions…..

In their latest poll (conducted May 3-5), The Economist/YouGov found that only 11 percent of adults believed it was safe to end social distancing and reopen businesses right now. Six percent said it would be safe in about two weeks, and another 19 percent said it would be in a month or so. A plurality (29 percent) thought it would take several months, and 15 percent even said a year or longer. A Morning Consult survey taken April 29-30 found that just 20 percent of registered voters thought the economy should reopen in April (i.e., immediately) or May, 37 percent said June or July, 16 percent said August or September, and 12 percent said October or later. And a May 5 poll from Global Strategy Group and GBAO for left-leaning firm Navigator Research found that 60 percent of Americans opposed reopening the country in the next few weeks, versus 36 percent who supported it. Finally, a May 2-5 poll by Civiqs for Daily Kos asked respondents flat out whether they supported having a stay-at-home order in place in their state: Sixty-five percent said yes, and 29 percent said no.

Most Americans Think It’s Too Soon To Return To What Life Was Like Pre-Pandemic

And yet……we are starting to allow people to return to the economy…but they suggest they continue to wear masks…..there is NOT enough cops to enforce that rule….so be prepared for the next surge of cases.

You Asked For It…..You Got It!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Iraq Gets A New Leader

After many months of confusion and chaos in the Iraqi government….they have a new PM, Mustafa al-Kadhimi……who is he?

Iraq’s new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi took office after the country’s parliament approved a new government on Wednesday following nearly six months of political wrangling.

The parliament approved 15 ministers out of a prospective 22-seat cabinet in a vote of confidence. Five candidates were rejected while voting on two ministers was postponed, leaving seven ministries still empty, including the key oil and foreign affairs positions.

The PM comes to power while the nation and the world are fighting this pandemic…..the Iraqi economy is in freefall for several reasons…..

Former head of intelligence Mustafa al-Kadhimi has taken office as Iraq’s new prime minister.

He comes to power six months after mass protests against appalling social conditions, government corruption and the entire political setup forced the resignation of Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi. This was the first time since the 2003 US-led war that a government had been forced to resign due to popular pressure.

Al-Khadimi is Iraq’s third prime minister-designate assigned by President Barham Salih since Mahdi’s resignation. His two predecessors, Muhammad Tawfiq Allawi and Adnan al-Surf, both failed to win parliamentary support for their cabinets. Mahdi quit his post as caretaker prime minister at the beginning of March, the day after Allawi admitted defeat, leaving Iraq without a functioning interim government.

Of course the oil situation will prove more problematic that the virus…….

The problem for Iraq is simple but insoluble: it is running out of money as its oil revenues fall off a cliff, following the collapse in the oil price brought about by the cataclysmic economic impact of coronavirus. It derives 90 per cent of government revenues from the export of crude oil, but in April it earnt just $1.4bn when it needed $5bn to cover salaries, pensions and other state expenditure.

It cannot pay the 4.5 million people on the government payroll and another four million receiving a pension. This may not seem like exciting news compared to an uptick in Isis killings or the potential ravages of Covid-19, but it may prove more profoundly destabilising than either.

Without cash to pay the workers then labor unrest will make the government unstable again…..and then Iraq is caught between the US and Iran……

“This government came as a response to the social, economic and political crises our country is facing,” al-Kadhimi told lawmakers Thursday. “It is a government that will provide solutions, not add to the crises.”

Iraq is facing a coronavirus-fueled financial crisis, crumbling infrastructure battered by years of war and scant investment, ongoing political instability and the threat of a resurgent ISIS testing its beleaguered security forces.

Iraq is still just as messed up as it was before…..the longer the virus hangs on the more revenue will be lost from oil……the more loss will fuel civil unrest…..which will eventually bring down the government.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”