Medicine At Sea

During the time of medical emergency…..the whole world should be of one mind…..those that can should send help to the less fortunate… that of Cuba (here I do not care about their politics it is about the assistance for medical emergencies…..if you want to lambast Cuba then go elsewhere to do so….thanx)

Cuba has sent doctors and nurses to 15 nations as a help for the fight against Covid-19…..

One of Cuba’s flagship programs has been state-employed medical workers. The Cuban health system has always been the pride of the communist regime and highly praised by official propaganda, becoming almost a myth at the international level. For two years, the Trump administration has tried to eliminate that “good image” of Cuban doctors, labeling the doctors and nurses as exploited workers and agents of communist indoctrination, which made countries like Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia, when their administrations became more conservative, decide to do without them in order to replace them with others more friendly to Washington. 

But the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a change in the image of the Cuban regime and, through an exercise in medical diplomacy, many are the countries that have changed their discourse with the island, and now are grateful for the help given. At least 15 countries have received Cuban doctors from Havana, including Italy and the small principality of Andorra.  The Generalitat of Catalonia has also requested the help of Cuban doctors, pending the decision of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Health, which have to evaluate whether it responds to a real need.

Cuba even offered to help Mississippi after Katrina and their offer was ignored….I think that was a mistake.

The US could be doing this very thing…..for we have two ships, medical ships, Mercy and Comfort…..are large naval vessels that are outfitted to go anywhere and dole out medical assistance….and yet we have all but moth balled these ships.

The white-hulled, 894-foot-long ships were designed with expansive surgical, laboratory and intensive-care facilities and 12 operating rooms. When deployed, about 70 civilian mariners operate each ship, and the embarked MTF’s size is dictated by the mission and beds planned, usually for 250 to 500 patients. Each ship can support a 1,000-bed capacity by double-bunking beds if needed.

But neither ship came close to reaching capacity, prompting scathing headlines and social media criticism that the deployments were unnecessary and politically driven. Both New York’s and California’s governors had requested the hospital ships, and officials praised the ships’ early medical support. Stay-at-home orders resulted in fewer trauma cases and infected patients sent to the ships. “Mercy and its highly-trained medical personnel… was critical to our ability to respond in the first stages of the pandemic,” Mark Ghilarducci, director of California’s office of emergency services, said in a statement.

Beyond Mercy: Navy’s COVID-19 Hospital Ship Missions and the Future of Medicine at Sea

These ships should be staffed and on stand-by to give assistance when it is needed… it should be equipped with the most up to date equipment and drugs that may be needed…..

The US could do more to repair the crappy foreign policy by having these ships available for humanitarian missions.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Moral High Ground Is Gone

For many years the US has been the champion of human rights…we have tried to help when there has been a refugee crisis…that is until about 25 years ago when we started pulling away from any responsibility for we were helping create the problem.

Misery has become a weapon of war these days……

From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to Venezuela, war and political crisis are causing human anguish on a scale unseen in a generation.

That conflict and crisis take a high human toll is hardly new, of course. Yet the scope of suffering today is striking. The number of people displaced globally by conflict and persecution stood at 65.6 million at the end of 2016, the greatest number since World War II. Figures released earlier this month show that there were 11.8 million new internal displacements in 2017, nearly double the 6.9 million in 2016. The number of people facing acute hunger globally due largely to conflict and instability reached almost 74 million across eighteen countries in 2017. The trend is clear: war and crisis are destroying more lives and livelihoods, pushing more people toward starvation and driving more people from their homes.

In the last 10 years we, the US, has contributed to the Middle East refugee crisis…..and now that we have officially pulled out of the UN humanitarian efforts we can NO longer claim any moral high ground and need to keep our mouths shut.

The crisis in the Syrian desert is just such an example……there is lots of finger pointing and little effort to solve the problem…..

Looking at a map, nothing would seem easier than to drive a convoy of food and medical supplies to Rukban, a camp for refugees and displaced civilians on the Syrian–Jordanian border some 260 kilometers east of Damascus. Though the terrain is rough, the camp is located in an area of relative calm and stability, and it could be reached from Amman, Damascus, or both. But Syria’s seven-year civil war says otherwise.

All sides now blame each other for preventing aid deliveries to the tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in this desolate desert region, and Rukban has emerged as a cruel illustration of how civilians are snared in the tangled threads of sovereignty and proxy control that constitute current-day Syria.

Many countries contributed to the creation of this problem, including the US, and few want to help solve the very problems they have created.

Personally, my thoughts are if you had a hand in creating the problem then it is on your shoulders to solve it…..but instead we are asking those countries least able to weather the refugee crisis to do the heavy lifting.

I say that every defense contract has a provision in it that “X” amount of the profits go to a fund to help refugees…administered by Switzerland through the UN.

It is time for Americans to re-claim the moral high ground in war…but that will not happen in this writers lifetime….sad but there is hope, a small glimmer but hope nonetheless.

Closing Thought–05Oct17

Dammit!  I’m Hungry!

There has been many stories coming out of the 3 hurricanes that hit the United States this year….the loss of power, lack of potable water, the destruction, deaths and the biggie…..shortage of food.

This president has a lop-sided view of the ones that hit mainland US and the one the hit the territories….the latest the lack of food for those in Puerto Rico…there is cure for the mainland but not for the islands…..

The governor of Puerto Rico has claimed the Trump administration turned down a request that food stamps be made available for use in fast-food restaurants and in other places that serve prepared hot meals, amid power cuts and food shortages on the island.

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria several weeks ago, leaving many of its inhabitants without running water or electricity—making it extremely difficult to prepare meals.

Island officials had requested that the U.S. federal government permit food stamps—on which almost 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s population, (or 1.3 million people), relies—to be used to purchase hot meals or in fast-food restaurants; a request the island’s governor said on Tuesday had been denied.

Source: Hurricane Maria: USDA Waives Food Stamp Restriction in Puerto Rico, Spokesperson Says

I am sure this is an oversight by some mid-level bureaucrat…..but if true it is a despicable act….like I said….If True.

Is this what this country has become?  Classifying Americans?  Some get benefits others do not.  A New form of segregation?


Closing Thought–27Sep17

Get Your Priorities Straight, Dipstick!

IST Factoid:  Puerto Rico is a US territory….ergo its residents are US CITIZENS!

The factoid was inserted because there seem to be many that did not know….

Nearly half of all Americans aren’t aware that Puerto Ricans are citizens, according to a new Morning Consult poll.

While 54 percent of Americans know that Puerto Ricans are citizens, 47 percent do not know that, according to the poll, which was first reported by The New York Times. Among Americans with a bachelor’s degree, 72 percent are aware of citizenship for people on the island.

The poll found a connection between knowledge of Puerto Ricans’ citizenship and a willingness to send emergency aid.

According to the report, 8 in 10 Americans who know Puerto Ricans are citizens support sending aid, while among those who do not know, 4 in 10 support sending aid.

It has been a week since Hurricane Maria roared ashore in Puerto Rico and demolished the island in all ways….infrastructure too the biggest hit….60% of the island has NO potable water….there is only spotty electric power and food is running ever so short.

The Island is a wreck and instead to making sure that the country stays laser focused on Puerto Rico Trump spend his Twitter time trying to ramp up some new form of division among us Americans.

After starting the shit storm about the taking of a knee he did finally Tweet about Puerto Rico……

Here are the tweets, in case you missed them:

“Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble…It’s old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars…owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well. #FEMA”

Really?  All the compassion, empathy and concern for the people of Puerto Rico is just heart tugging….(complete sarcasm)……

I even saw a Tweet from a yahoo supporter of Trump addressed to some news anchor…..

“Trump is the president of the US….not Puerto Rico…..Move on”

The stupidity of these people is just amazing…..

Trump needs to MAN up and do more for Puerto Rico……why is the hospital ship. Comfort, NOT in Puerto Rico?  (word is leaking out the Comfort will be heading to Puerto Rice.  Why did it take so long?)

We have the perfect model for handling this disaster…..The 1948 Berlin Airlift….refresh your memory…..

Source: Berlin Airlift – Cold War –

There should be planes landing at regular intervals and it should have begun mere days after Maria pushed through.

The president keeps Tweeting out that people think the US is doing a good job…..does not look like it….but please give me the names of those deluded individuals.

So far talk is cheap…..but talk does not feed, quench or shelter the Americans on the island of Puerto Rico.

Closing Thought–30Aug17

Your Assistance Is Needed!

By now even the dullest of person has seen the disaster that is the Texas after math of Hurricane Harvey.

Many Americans will be compelled to send aid or donations to help these people…there are many organizations that will help and if one is so inclined then this article in the NY Times will help.

Explains the organizations that are in the mix and some tips on what to watch out for in the cons come out in droves…..

If you’re outside the affected area, here are options to help. (If you’re in Texas and displaced by the storm, here’s how to get help.)

If your choice is the American Red Cross then maybe this is something that you need to know…..

Hurricane Harvey has devastated Texas, and it’s natural to want to help. But don’t try to help by donating money to the American Red Cross, journalist and author Jonathan M. Katz writes on Slate. The disaster relief organization may be iconic, but it’s far from effective, Katz notes, running down a list of issues the ARC has had, starting with the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The ARC raised $488 million, but it couldn’t quite figure out what to do with the funds. “ARC isn’t a medical aid group a la Doctors Without Borders. It doesn’t do development work or specialize in rebuilding destroyed neighborhoods,” Katz writes. And what it does do best—provide immediate emergency aid like blankets and temporary shelter—didn’t come close to costing $488 million. Two years after the quake, just a third of the money had been committed.

The ARC has been similarly ineffective in responding to US disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. The truth is, the organization is great at raising money, Katz says, but it fails to inform the public it doesn’t actually need nearly as much money as it raises, and after the money has been raised, the ARC isn’t transparent about what it’s used for. There are multiple other issues, including the fact that no regular independent evaluations of the organization are done. Looking at the bigger picture, though, Katz argues that our entire way of handling disasters is wrong, and what we should be doing is working to prevent them, or at least mitigate their impact. We need to look ahead to things like “the growing risk of a major Oklahoma earthquake,” Caribbean tsunami, and other potential disasters and bring “lots of attention to helping those areas adapt for the future.” His full column.

That is one person’s opinion…..

Me?  I donated to Salvation Army and SPCA

Please help if you can these people are suffering and need our help.

When Is It a Humanitarian Crisis?

A new year and the plight of the Palestinian people has not changed much since 1967 with the exception of the loss of land, crops and lives.

The Plight of the Palestinians hits close to home for me….when I was working in the Middle East I worked with a Palestinian named Rafiq, he was my interpreter and friend….when we would go on vacation we would go to his family’s home in Hebron….so I am have been doing my part to help the world understand the plight of the Palestinians in their desire for the nation to return….

As of today the countries that recognize Palestine as a Nation are in green……

Image result for countries that recognize Palestine

Look at the map….notice anything about the countries that do not recognize Palestine?

Last year I was asked to write for a site, Legationes, and my first op-ed was about the state of Palestine…

Source: Let the Wall define Palestine – In Saner Thought

Israel is building an apartheid wall around the West Bank….

Image result for Palestine Wall images

Do you remember the Berlin Wall?

Image result for Palestine Wall images

Image result for Palestine Wall images

I know the wall is a wall of separation….but why not let it define Palestine from the rest of the region……please just read my Legationes op-ed for further clarification.

But with that intro out of the way I want to talk about the humanitarian crises that the US has gotten involved in recently….

The US has used a humanitarian crisis to start a war…Syria, Iraq and Libya come to mind……

Iraq it was a couple of thousand Yazidis trapped on a mountain top without food , water or shelter and the US used airstrikes to keep ISIS at bay so that aid could make its way to those that needed it….then there is Libya….Qaddafi was poised to use airstrikes against his people who were up in arms and demanding more freedoms….the US used airstrikes to stop the airstrikes and eventually ended the life of Qaddafi

I bring this up because there is a real humanitarian crisis in Gaza……

After the total destruction wrought by Israel in 2014…not much has been done to repair the damage done by massive airstrikes and tank attacks…..

Image result for Gaza images

Since 2014 there is no food, fishermen prevented from fishing, water supplies are contaminated or none existent, building material banned by Israel and aid is help up in Israel…..all in all this is a humanitarian crisis.

If the US truly wants to do the humanitarian thing then this would be the perfect spot to practice what they preach.

Image result for Gaza images

Here’s my plan……since Gaza borders on Egypt then the US should put together an aid convoy with water, food and building supplies then drive in from Egypt……have the convoy with tanks and armored vehicles accompany the trucks and air cover from Cobras and A-10s.  Supplies would be those from aid NGOs…the US would be providing security only.

Unlike most Westerners I do have plans…none of which my country will sign onto….but at least they are plans…..this one is an op-ed that I wrote for an Italian site……

Source: Let the Wall define Palestine – Legationes

It is 2017….time for the Palestinian people to go global with their pleas and concerns…….the US has deaf ears…..

Another op-ed of mine this one was for Ace News Room……

Source: Palestine–2017 | Ace News Room

The Palestinian people have suffered much in 60 years….time for a realistic plan to end the cycle of violence and bring peace to a troubled land.

US Aid: The Sick Game

Many Americans including myself have bitched about the aid we give to some countries….not all….just the ones we have some sort of problem with for whatever imagined reason…..

Recently I was having an exchange with my friend over at Lines By Liming on aid that we have sent to Africa over the years…..while I did not agree with him on his responses I did start to think about that aid and did some checking….especially the exports we send to Africa in the form of food aid.

The US exports food and grain to those countries in Africa…..this aid is genetically modified so that the seeds cannot be used to raise their own crops…in other words the seeds are sterile.  This aid sits in receiving yards undistributed because the governments will not give this aid out because the grain may somehow be fed to hungry livestock and that livestock has a large market in the EU….the problem is the EU has a strict policy against genetically modified anything….so the farmers cannot sell their meat and in turn they need more aid to exist.

Basically, the US is making it impossible for the aid to get to the people that needs it….all because of wanting to eliminate the competition…..agri-business is playing a sick game.  So some of this aid goes to waste….to guarantee that more aid will be needed and bought by governments that have trade deals with the US.

This could lead to many misunderstandings when the reports flood in about the aid that the US has given has gone undelivered…..but the story will be that the natives are too lazy to even use the aid they are given….a great story….but completely false.

Where Does Your Donation Go?

Let wish all you FATHERS and very happy Father’s Day……..enjoy your day……

I am not one that gives easily…..I check out almost anyone that ask for money…..sorry but I do not trust blindly no matter who asks.  I have seen good stuff done by these charities and I have seen crap done…..after Katrina there was a wealth of people looking for donations and much of it never made it South…….

The Red Cross did an excellent job as far as I could see after Katrina…..they were there in numbers and did amazing work… when I read a piece about them and Haiti I was surprised to say the least…….

The American Red Cross raised nearly $500 million after Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake, but what happened to the money? According to an NPR and Pro Publica report, the organization claims to have provided 130,000 people with homes but in fact built only six permanent homes. The Red Cross says land-rights issues hindered its efforts, but reporters found other problems, like lengthy bureaucratic delays, changes in staffing, and a full year in which nothing happened. “They never had a real plan for what they wanted to do in housing,” says Lee Malany, who was in charge of the organization’s Haiti shelter program. He says Red Cross leadership, including CEO Gail McGovern, seemed more concerned with publicity than project details.

NPR and Pro Publica look at the struggling Haitian community of Campeche, part of a Port-au-Prince neighborhood where the Red Cross promised to spent $24 million on rebuilding—but residents say it never happened. The Red Cross reacted with an email that accused reporters of “creating ill will in the community, which may give rise to a security incident. We will hold you and your news organizations fully responsible.” The Red Cross also says it provided Haitians with temporary housing, rental assistance, clean water, vaccinations, sanitation, and other services (but won’t give details on projects or expenses). A press conference about the report got heated in Haiti this week, Pro Publica reports, and NPR says there may be a Congressional hearing. Click to see the Red Cross’ full response.

What happened to the money?

I suggest that everyone pay close attention to the charities that they give to……all may not be as it appears…….look for the “hinkey”……………please give but give wisely.

Do You Remember The Yazidis?

God I hope so!  They are the ones that gave the US a chance to re-enter into the war in Iraq.

The Yazidis were those people trapped on the mountain top in Northern Iraq by the on rush of ISIS…….according to reports there were some 20,000 trapped on the mountain that needed food and water and shelter….in short a humanitarian crisis that the US could use for the geopolitical ambitions…..

After the US got involved it was reported that there were far fewer than 20,00 and they were able to come and go at will…..but it made for a great excuse to use military force…I am sure the M-IC was pleased.

Recently it has reported that Yazidi women were kidnapped after the men of their village were executed and thy were sold into marriage to ISIS fighters…..their horror stories have been widely reported…..especially about the ordeal they, the women, suffered at the hands of the fighters……

It seems that the Yazidis may be exacting revenge on everybody for what has happened to them…..

Iraqi Yazidis are carrying out “revenge” attacks on Arab villagers they believe to have sided with Islamic State militants during persecution of the minority group last year, it has been claimed.

“The aim is to expel Arabs from the area so that only Yazidis remain,” 41-year-old Dhafer Ali Hussein from Sibaya, one of the affected villages,” said. “They want to change the map.”

Some members of the minority are now blaming local Arabs for aiding the militants, “looting their possessions and actively participating in what they call attempted genocide”. Though villagers living in Sibaya admitted that some men had joined IS, they said those men have since fled, or were killed when Kurdish peshmerga fighters forced Islamic State out of the area in December.

This small incident just illustrates the tensions within Iraq/Syria……this is an indication of the life after ISIS……petty squabbling for decades to come.

The Tribal mentality will win out every time……an eye for an eye…….this, IMO, is what will be the future of Iraq once ISIS is defeated and eliminated…..the ethnic troubles of Iraq will be far from over.  The tit for tat revenge will be a subject of study for years.

Rest in Peace, Kayla

By now everyone has heard of the death of the extremely brave young lady at the hands of ISIS…….and her brave words in her last letter says it all……

Along with confirming the death of their only daughter today, Kayla Mueller’s parents have released the last letter she wrote to them while in the hands of ISIS. It begins, “Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released. I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter.” Standout portions of the letter, which the New York Times has published in full:

  • “It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.”
  • “I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears.”
  • “If you could say I have ‘suffered’ at all throughout this whole experience it is only in knowing how much suffering I have put you all through; I will never ask you to forgive me as I do not deserve forgiveness.”
  • “I miss you all as if it has been a decade of forced separation. … I have had many hours to think how only in your absence have I finally @ 25 years old come to realize your place in my life.”
  • “The gift that is each one of you + the person I could + could not be if you were not a part of my life, my family, my support. I DO NOT want the negotiations for my release to be your duty, if there is any other option take it, even if it takes more time.”
  • “I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes. … I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing. Do not fear for me, continue to pray as will I + by God’s will we will be together soon.”
  • She closes: “All my everything, Kayla”

The world should remember the words of this young woman……she showed a lot of bravery and dignity in the face of certain sad consequences….her only “sin” was trying to do what is right and honorable…….this world needs more Kaylas.

Rest In Peace