Another Pandemic Side Effect

Closing Thought–20Nov20

There are many side effects of the pandemic that is ravaging the planet. All things you can imagine but the one the most got my attention was something that the nation had been trying to stamp out for decades….smoking.

Jamie Hickey, a 41-year-old personal trainer based in Pennsylvania, hadn’t smoked in eight years, but he caved when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. “The boredom was the biggest part of it — just wanting something to do,” he said. “It broke up the monotony of the day, and if we weren’t in quarantine, I don’t think I would’ve ever gone back.”

The pandemic has encouraged us to pick up some pretty bad habits: bingeing (of television, food, and alcohol varieties), ghosting, doomscrolling, impulse shopping — but one that seems particularly counterintuitive is smoking. The choice to smoke feels strange right now for so many reasons: It’s an unnecessary expense in a time that has made our wallets tight, nicotine withdrawals can make users jittery, and it puts our lung health at risk.

We still are in the dark about some aspects of the coronavirus, but we know that it has taken the lives of more than 240,000 Americans and that it generally affects the ability of an infected person to breathe comfortably. At the beginning of the pandemic, being put on a ventilator was the death knell for thousands of people who were struggling with virus-related respiratory issues. A World Health Organization study found a “statistically significant association between smoking status and primary endpoints of admission to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), ventilator use or death” in Covid-19 patients.

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/21561419/smoking-cigarettes-covid-19-pandemic-juul-health-boredom

Now I await the next round of anti-smoking propaganda….but it will have to wait until the anti-vaping ads run their course.

Whatever happened to “this is your brain on drugs”?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

SCREW Pompeo!

I told the readers of IST back in2010 that Pompeo came to office on the crest of the Tea Party wave that he would be a bully and a thug….and so far I have NOT been mistaken.

His newest BS is the designate the BDS Movement illegal…..although the idea is far from new…..

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Thursday during his visit to Israel that the State Department will designate the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as “anti-Semitic.” BDS is an international campaign that calls on people to pressure Israel over its human rights violations through various boycotts.

“Today I want to make one announcement with respect to a decision by the State Department that we will regard the global anti-Israel BDS campaign as anti-Semitic,” Pompeo said while meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. “Look, we want to stand with all other nations that recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is, and we’re committed to combating it.”

It’s not clear what the label from the State Department would mean, but Pompeo said the US will “identify organizations” that engage in BDS and “withdraw US government support for such groups.” The comments suggest organizations that boycott Israel could lose government funding.

Thirty-two US states currently have anti-BDS laws on the books that deny state funds to those who advocate boycotting Israel. The laws require state contractors to sign oaths pledging not to boycott the Jewish state. Such unconstitutional laws were passed due to lavish lobbying campaigns from pro-Israel groups. Israeli officials have also promoted the laws.

“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted,” Netanyahu said in a tweet in February. “In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.”

(antiwar.com)

My posts on this Movement…..https://lobotero.com/2016/04/08/non-violent-bds-should-be-welcomed-not-condemned/

First of all most Americans have not heard of the movement….and now they have……but what makes them so dangerous to Israel?

The BDS movement says its goal is to “pressure Israel to comply with international law” and sets out three fundamental aims:

  • Forcing Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Included in this is dismantling the “apartheid wall” built by Israel that runs through the West Bank and ending the blockade and siege of Gaza.
  • Recognising the equal rights of the Palestinian citizens of Israel who make up one fifth of the population of Israel as established by the armistice line formed after the 1948 war.
  • Ensuring the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the homes and land they were forced to vacate during the 1948 war and in acts of displacement since.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bds-israel-boycott-movement-campaign

Another one of my post on BDS……https://lobotero.com/2016/10/02/think-about-joining-the-bds/

One more time….Screw Pompeo and Screw Israel….stay out of my business……

So the government wants to decide what my priorities are on the international stage….Pompeo and Israel can go fuck themselves…..I make my own choices.

Enough said!

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Biden On Public Education

A continuation of my look at the policies of the president-elect……

We have a president-elect and the new first lady is an educator so there should be a massive program dedicated to education…..but is there?

Biden has suggested the need for $88 billion in new COVID-19 relief to schools. This is less than half of the amount needed by districts. The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has said an additional $158.1 billion to $244.6 billion would be required to reopen school buildings safely and serve all students this year. Biden knows full well that such sums would never be approved by Republicans but has made the proposal to provide a political cover for his full support to a return to in-person schooling.

Secondly, a Biden administration will continue the austerity policies against public education, under conditions of a severe economic crisis. Originally Biden took to the presidential campaign trail with proposals for a series of mild reforms, including a threefold increase to Title I federal funding for low-income schools, universal prekindergarten and greater funding for special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). He also proposed “fixing” the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, support for student mental health, and “hiring more people of color into the Department of Education (ED).”

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/11/17/educ-n17.html

Education is a popular policy promise at election time…..and so far we still have a needy educational policy….and now with a new president….that will not change.

Am I being too hard?

Then you tell me….these are the promises made…..

He will:

  • Support our educators by giving them the pay and dignity they deserve.
  • Invest in resources for our schools so students grow into physically and emotionally healthy adults, and educators can focus on teaching.
  • Ensure that no child’s future is determined by their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability.
  • Provide every middle and high school student a path to a successful career.
  • Start investing in our children at birth.

What about the crippling debt for an education….will he do anything to help there?

https://joebiden.com/education/

The easy answer is NO he will NOT!

It is more important to protect the criminals in the financial sector than the students.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Could There Be An Iran Surprise?

All the rhetoric around Iran has come to a head…..and the possibility of a war with Iran before Donald the Orange leaves office (or is forced out)…..

A source told The Washington Post if an American is killed and it can be ‘tied back to instructions from Iran’ it would spark immediate US response

A report from The New York Times that said President Trump considered attacking an Iranian nuclear facility raised fears of a possible US strike on Iran before January 20th. An official familiar with the meeting told The Washington Post that while a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear program was off the table, President Trump is ready to respond to attacks in the region that can be tied to Iran.

According to the official, Trump emphasized that any killing of an American that can be “tied back to instructions from Iran” will spark an immediate US response. The official said the president was “very forceful” and that if Iranians kill Americans, the US response will be swift and painful.

The Post story came after rockets fell inside Baghdad’s Green Zone, where the US embassy is located. No casualties were reported near the US embassy, but the Iraqi Army said rockets landed outside of the Green Zone, killing a child and injuring five civilians. The Post said the rockets were “apparently fired by an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia,” although it is not yet clear who is responsible.

President Trump Sets Tripwire For Attack on Iran

After years of threatening could this be the tripwire that plunges the US into yet another war…..just to make Israel happy?

If this occurs it will be disastrous and probably very bloody….are we prepared for more death and destruction?

Could the surprise be waiting for a new president?

Iran’s current parliament, judicial system and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are controlled by the conservatives, the main political faction that opposed the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.

However, conservatives, who are gearing up for Iran’s own presidential elections in 2021, have signalled for the first time their readiness to sit at the negotiation table with Washington.

Iranian hardline politician Hamidreza Taraghi recently told local media that conservatives were the only political faction who could lead fruitful negotiations with the US.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iran-press-review-tehran-hardliners-biden-negotiations

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“lego ergo scribo”

Biden And War

The big question is what will a president Biden’s policies on war really look like?

To begin where does Biden stand on war…..

Is the real Biden the dove of 1991, the hawk of 2002, or the dove of 2020? The answer is all of them. And so, in the end, the Biden doctrine may be a mirage. He’s not an ideologue who seeks to impose a foreign policy program. Neither is he a narcissist who views every diplomatic issue in terms of his individual benefit. Rather, Biden is a man of his time, a man who shares many of his party’s and his country’s strengths and weaknesses, a man who has lived and learned in the shadows of war, a man once tempted by the possibilities of power and now tempered by the realities of force. Biden’s foreign policy journey is not over. As president, he may pivot in a more hawkish direction, as memories of the Iraq War fade and new challenges emerge from China and Russia. Biden recently wrote: “The triumph of democracy and liberalism over fascism and autocracy created the free world. But this contest does not just define our past. It will define our future, as well.”

Let’s take a look at Biden’s history with war and foreign policy……from an article written in the Foreign Policy Research Institute……

Biden the Moderate

Biden’s foreign policy journey is a story in three chapters, each in the shadow of war. The opening chapter began in the wake of Vietnam in the 1970s, when Biden was a youthful senator, and lasted through the Gulf War in 1991. “I ran the first time as a twenty-nine-year-old kid against the war in Vietnam,” recalled Biden, “on the grounds that the only way to take a nation to war is with the informed consent of the American people.” Still, he didn’t identify with the peacenik protesters and thought that the Vietnam War was dumb, rather than immoral.

During this time, Biden was a middle-of-the-road Democrat on foreign policy. He backed the invasions of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989, but opposed funding the Contra rebels in Nicaragua, and in 1991, voted against authorizing the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein did not pose an immediate threat to U.S. national interests, he said. Just as Washington was ignorant about Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, now it didn’t understand the Middle East. The goal of stabilizing the region was a pipe dream, which “has never in 5,000 years been accomplished for very long.”

Biden’s wariness about fighting Iraq was in sync with the Democratic Party mood and wider public opinion. He was one of 45 (out of 55) Democratic senators who voted against the Gulf War (the resolution authorizing war only narrowly passed 52 to 47). In the buildup to Desert Storm, the American public was also cautious about hostilities, and only became enthusiastic about war after the fighting started.

Biden the Hawk

The second chapter of Biden’s foreign policy thinking is the hawkish phase, from 1991 to 2003, in the shadow of the Gulf War and the end of the Cold War. Biden quickly regretted his vote against war in 1991 and criticized Bush senior for ending the campaign too soon and leaving Saddam in power, causing “immense human suffering within Iraq.” Buoyed with confidence about seizing the sword, Biden championed U.S. intervention in the Balkans, called Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević a war criminal to his face, and described the Bill Clinton administration’s inaction in the region as, “a policy of despair and cowardice.” Biden supported the Kosovo War in 1999 as well as the Afghanistan War in 2001. He also sought to check Saddam’s “relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction,” and in October 2002, voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq.

Is the Biden doctrine really a hawkish manifesto, as some on the left claim? Biden’s bellicose pivot in the 1990s reflected the broader American zeitgeist. The rapid U.S. victory in the Gulf seemed to bury the Vietnam syndrome in the Arabian sands. From 1991-2003, over one hundred polls asked Americans whether to remove Saddam by force, and every single one found majority support. After the 9/11 attacks, Washington was gripped by fears of a potential alliance between terrorists and tyrants, and Biden was one of 77 senators who authorized the use of force to topple Saddam.

Biden the Dove

The Iraq War opened a new chapter: Biden the dove. The senator saw the invasion of Iraq as a national and personal failure. He had hoped that congressional backing for war might spur a tougher United Nations response and avoid hostilities entirely, but the hawks surrounding Bush were set on fighting. “I made a mistake,” he explained. “I underestimated the influence of Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and the rest of the neocons. I vastly underestimated their disingenuousness and incompetence.” His fears about the aftermath of regime change in Baghdad proved prescient, as the war became a costly quagmire.

Since 2003, Biden has been generally skeptical about the use for force. He opposed the surge of troops in Iraq in 2006-2007, the surge in Afghanistan in 2009, and the Libyan War in 2011. He raised doubts about the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden in 2011, as well as the decision to draw a red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Biden did back the campaign against ISIS and favored the escalation of drone warfare, but he criticized Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

So what do you think?

Is Biden a dove or a hawk?

My gut will go with….HAWK!

The Biden campaign promised to “increase pressure” on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad – presumably by providing more arms and money to his violent opponents. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris declared that the U.S. government “will once again stand with civil society and pro-democracy partners in Syria and help advance a political settlement where the Syrian people have a voice.” Northeastern University professor Max Abrahms observed, “Every foreign policy ‘expert’ being floated for Biden’s cabinet supported toppling the governments in Iraq, Libya and Syria, helping Al Qaeda and jihadist friends, ravaging the countries, uprooting millions of refugees from their homes.”

Declassify America’s Dirty Secrets in Syria to Stop a Biden War

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“lego ergo scribo”