Biden And North Korea

North Korea….remember them?

We have seen just how impotent the Trump policies have been in the curtailing of NK’s nuclear ambitions.

Well we have a new president and he has his finger on foreign policy….or so we are told….

What is Biden’s thoughts?

Look for familiar names from the presidency of Barack Obama to deal with North Korea after the inauguration of Joseph Biden as president on Jan. 20. Biden, having served as vice president for two terms under Obama, knows these old-timers well and may be inclined to name some of them to influential positions in hope, finally, of bringing North Korea to terms on its nuclear program.

The chances of Kim Jong-un saying, “right, we agree, and we’re giving up our nukes and missiles and the facilities for making them” range from nil to zero, but Christopher Hill, who led the Americans in failed six-party talks on North Korea’s nukes and then in frustrating negotiations with North Korea’s Kim Gye-gwan, never loses hope. In a Biden presidency, he said in a recent panel discussion, “There will be a little more focus on the substance of engagement and why we are willing to engage.”

…Biden’s “first order of business is going to be to fix the alliances.” No, he said, “it’s not just NATO,” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that formed the bulwark of allied defenses against the old Soviet Union in the Cold War era and now faces Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, definitely would prefer Trump. For nearly four years, Trump did his best to undermine NATO, blasting its members for not contributing, cutting back on U.S. forces and, disgracefully, trying to finesse a trade-off with Ukraine on military assistance against Russia in return for Ukraine digging up dirt on Biden’s son, Hunter. 

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinion/2020/11/353_299127.html

New president…will US troops stay in South Korea?  Will Kim remain the social outcast or will a new day dawn in US/NK relations?

It will be interesting to see just in what direction the policies involving the Korean Peninsula will travel.

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It’s North Korea Again

We have not had much news abut North Korea in the last few months…all the air in reporting has been sucked out by the pandemic and the election…..so it falls on the Old Professor to bring you the news the MSM does not feel you should know.

The nuclear powers have been warned!

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned Saturday that his country would “fully mobilize” its nuclear force if threatened as he took center stage at a military parade in which the country unveiled what appeared to be a new intercontinental ballistic missile and other additions to its growing weapons arsenal, the AP reports. Kim, however, avoided direct criticism of Washington during the event, which celebrated the 75th anniversary of the country’s ruling party and took place less than four weeks before the US presidential election. Instead, he focused on a domestic message urging his people to remain firm in the face of “tremendous challenges” posed by the coronavirus pandemic and crippling US-led sanctions over his nuclear program.

Kim described the North’s continuing efforts to develop its nuclear deterrent as necessary for its defense and said it wasn’t targeting any specific country with its military force. But “if any force harms the safety of our nation, we will fully mobilize the strongest offensive might in a pre-emptive manner to punish them,” he said. Kim’s speech was punctuated by thousands of goose-stepping troops, tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and a broad range of ballistic missiles rolled out in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square. The weapons included what was possibly the North’s biggest-yet ICBM, which was mounted on an 11-axle launch vehicle that was also seen for the first time. The North also displayed a variety of solid-fuel weapon systems that highlighted how the North has expanded its military capabilities.

That huge rocket could be something new…..

We don’t have a name or specifications, just photos from the parade. A lot of the crowd that usually frets about North Korea’s weapons noted this to be the biggest one we saw, and seem to be drawing the conclusion that must mean it’s the most powerful and most dangerous.

Which is just a guess. Size doesn’t dictate power or level of advancement for an ICBM, and if anything this missile is just a huge version of existing designs. Presumably it will go farther because it’s got room for all that fuel, but the ICBM is still just delivering a warhead if it is used.

Since North Korea never tested such a missile, or even bragged about having it, it’s also possible that the point of this big, noticeable design was to be big and noticeable at a parade, and one for an important anniversary.

(antiwar.com)

North Korea and China have developed a more intense cooperation….

In a congratulatory message to Kim Jong Un for the founding anniversary of North Korea’s ruling party, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he intends to deepen relations with Pyongyang, North Korean state media reported on Saturday.

“We have an intent to successfully defend, consolidate and develop the China-Korea relations together with Korean comrades and propel the long-lasting and stable development of the socialist cause of the two countries,” North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted Xi as saying.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-northkorea-missiles-china/chinas-xi-says-intends-to-deepen-relations-with-north-korea-kcna-idUKKBN26U2K2

Yet another front for the US and China to stand-off on.

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“lego ergo scribo”

North Korea/Kim News

Covid has pretty much sucked the air out of the international stories that we should be concerned with…….and North Korea is one of those countries that will use the pandemic as cover for their ambitions (kinda like Trump)……

Kim and “chukjibeop”……

North Korea’s official newspaper is reporting that Kim Jong Un can’t actually bend space and time. As the regime’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper revealed this week: “In realistic terms, a person cannot suddenly disappear and reappear by folding space.” A South Korean official told Yonhap News the development was “noteworthy” and said “it appears to stress patriotism and love for the people rather than mystification of the leaders.” Indeed, the Telegraph portrays this as an attempt to de-mythologize North Korea’s leaders and dispel a decades-old belief in “chukjibeop”—the notion that certain people can travel long distances in a short time by folding space.

It also jibes with a Kim quote after he and President Trump failed in 2019 to hammer out a denuclearization agreement for a second time. “Mystifying a leader’s revolutionary activity and appearance would result in covering the truth,” Kim said last March. “Absolute loyalty would spring up when (they) are mesmerised by the leader humanly and comradely.” For the curious, “chukjibeop” apparently derives from East Asian mythology and translates as “distance-shrinking magic,” per the International Business Times. There was a hit North Korean song called “General Uses Chukjibeop” about Kim’s dad, Kim Jong Il, using the supernatural power.

Those talks with NK have been stalled and now Kim decides that nukes would be the place to put his energies…..

North Korea’s peace talks have been stalled for many months, and with no signs of that changing soon, Kim Jong Un has announced that he will be working on enhancing North Korea’s nuclear deterrence and putting strategic forces on high alert.

Kim made this announcement in his later infrequent public appearance, the first in three weeks. During coronavirus, Kim has been se4en less and less, leading to international speculation at times about his status.

Though a peace process would clearly be preferable for all sides, the lack of any such options has North Korea’s state media emphasizing their ability to “reliably contain the persis6tent big or small military threats from hostile forces.

At one point, North Korea was to disarm its nuclear program as part of a peace and normalization deal with the US. The US refused to give North Korea any relief, and North Korea backed away from the process until the US was willing to give them something. The two nations have returned to not talking, and occasional US threats.

(antiwar.com)

Let’s take a look at the negotiations over 3 presidents through the eyes of National Interest……

George W. Bush vs Kim Jong-il ended zero to eight. Having entered office insisting that Kim Jong-il would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, as Bush left office, the intelligence community estimated that Kim had an arsenal of eight.

-Barack Obama vs Kim Jong-un requires two scores: Kim’s arsenal grew from eight balls to some twenty to sixty. But more consequentially, Kim ate his Wheaties and worked on extending the distance to which he can throw a ball from five feet to twenty-five feet (far enough to reach American military bases in Guam); and Kim was also practicing a maneuver that would allow him to throw shots eighty feet to hit the American homeland. 

-Under Trump, Kim increased and improved his arsenal of shots, including material for making the balls, but on the second metric—“throw distance”—while Kim perfected his technique to reliably throw balls to twenty-five feet, Kim stopped practicing the maneuver that would otherwise have proven beyond doubt he could throw shots all the way to Washington, DC.

Why should we as Americans care about the negotiations with North Korea?

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Washington policymakers fixated on the status of Kim Jong-un, the 36-year-old leader of an isolated, impoverished state half a world away. Then came reports of North Korean construction of ICBMs and a new missile support facility.

The Pentagon previously cited Pyongyang as a reason the U.S. required a credible nuclear deterrent. President Donald Trump even threatened “fire and fury” against the Kim government, before switching course and organizing a summit with the communist monarch. At that time six of every ten Americans believed the North to be the nation posing the greatest threat to America.

Why do Americans pay attention to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)?

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/499431-why-do-americans-worry-about-north-korea

There always seems to be something happening on the Korean Peninsula……and we miss a lot of the stuff.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

He Lives!

Believe it or not….there is news other than the pandemic and its stats….

The media has been reporting the possible death of North Korea’s Kim I admit I bit on the story as well…..https://lobotero.com/2020/04/27/nks-kim-is-he-is-or-is-he-aint/

…….but it appears that the tales of his death may be overstated….

According to the Yonhap News Agency in Seoul, South Korea, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in nearly three weeks.

Kim’s lengthy absence from the public view, coupled with rumors that his health was in “grave danger” following a heart procedure, had led some to speculate that he might be dead or dying — something that was difficult to confirm or deny due to North Korea’s infamously secretive and propagandized environment.

No details about the nature of Kim’s public appearance have yet been released.

(rawstory.com)

Another report of the sighting…

North Korean state media say leader Kim Jong Un has made his first public appearance in 20 days, during which speculation about his health flourished. The Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that he attended a ceremony marking the completion of a fertilizer factory in Suncheon, near the capital of Pyongyang, with senior officials who included his sister, Kim Yo Jong. Photos from the ceremony weren’t immediately released, the AP reports. Kim Jong Un had been last seen during a ruling party meeting on April 11 to discuss coronavirus prevention. Rumors about his health swirled after he missed the April 15 celebration of the birthday of his late grandfather and state founder, Kim Il Sung, the country’s most important holiday.

South Korea’s government had played down rumors and unconfirmed reports that Kim was in poor health following a medical procedure, saying it had detected no unusual activity in the North. The North Korean government reported Friday that Kim has been writing letters of praise to government departments and leaders, per Newsweek. One commented on the influence the propaganda department is having on the people of North Korea with its “powerful” work. It’s not unusual for members of the ruling family to vanish for long periods, an opinion piece in the Washington Post noted. During one official disappearance in 1986, eulogies began and funeral dirges were playing in the demilitarized zone when Kim’s grandfather resurfaced, putting a sudden stop to both.

DAMN!

I was hoping there was going to be some power struggle…..would have made great news.

I Read, I Write, You Know

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NK’s Kim: Is He Is Or Is He Ain’t?

The reports for the past couple of weeks has been that Kim has disappeared from public eye……and that absence has started all sorts of rumors and speculations…..

Is he suffering from the Covid-19?  Did he have a stroke like his father? Is he in a coma?  Is he dead?

Kim Jong Un is either vegetative or dead after undergoing a failed cardiovascular procedure on April 12, according to Asian media reports—but Reuters has been unable to confirm or deny. All reports agree that China has sent a team of doctors and officials to North Korea to advise on the nation’s leader, but beyond that, it’s a wash. The Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Gendai reports that a member of the team said Kim grabbed his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside in early April, per the Jerusalem Post. The team member also said Kim’s accompanying doctor called for the team’s help, and Kim was in a vegetative state.

Kim Jong Un is either vegetative or dead after undergoing a failed cardiovascular procedure on April 12, according to Asian media reports—but Reuters has been unable to confirm or deny. All reports agree that China has sent a team of doctors and officials to North Korea to advise on the nation’s leader, but beyond that, it’s a wash. The Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Gendai reports that a member of the team said Kim grabbed his chest and fell to the ground on a visit to the countryside in early April, per the Jerusalem Post. The team member also said Kim’s accompanying doctor called for the team’s help, and Kim was in a vegetative state.

Is he is or is he ain’t?

Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in public in more than a week, but South Korea is refuting reports that the North Korean leader’s health is in danger. The denial came soon after a CNN report claiming that the US is monitoring intelligence suggesting Kim is “in grave danger” after an unspecified surgery, plus a report from South Korea’s Daily NK claiming Kim was recovering from a cardiovascular procedure. Two South Korean government sources say those reports are incorrect and Kim is not gravely ill, Reuters reports.

If he is not capable of using the reins of power who will step in and fill the leadership void?

Kim Jong Un is in a “vegetative state” or flat-out dead after a failed heart surgery. Or he’s got COVID-19. Or just a sprained ankle. The rumor mill is turning after reports emerged that a Chinese medical team had been dispatched to help North Korea’s leader in his time of need, the New York Times reports. With some Asian media outlets reporting the worst news, and Western media taking a mostly careful approach, we look at the latest:

  • ‘Shocked’: Sen. Lindsey Graham says he would be “shocked” if Kim wasn’t “dead or incapacitated” at this point, per the Hill. “You don’t let rumors like this go forever or go unanswered in a closed society, which is really a cult, not a country, called North Korea.”
  • Kim’s train—if it really is his train—could play a role. A US-based project called 38 North, which monitors North Korea, says the train has remained at the “leadership station” at Wonsan since at least Tuesday, per the Guardian. “The train’s presence does not prove the whereabouts of the North Korean leader or indicate anything about his health but it does lend weight to reports that Kim is staying at an elite area on the country’s eastern coast,” the project says.
  • ‘Game changer’: North Korea watchers are giving the story a raised eyebrow but won’t toll the death knell just yet, the Wall Street Journal reports. “Kim Jong Un’s death is a low-probability event,” says an Asan Institute research fellow. “But his death would be a game changer.”
  • Little sister: In that vein, the Daily Beast looks at Kim’s younger sister, 31-year-old Kim Yo Jong, who is apparently feared and respected for her high position in the North Korean government. But is she capable of leading the brutal regime if her brother dies? Fox News calls her “his most likely successor” and Reuters says she “has a firm control of key party functions, setting herself to be the main source of power behind a collective leadership.”
  • A half-brother: A rumor flourishing on messaging apps in South Korea has Kim in a coma and Kim Pyong-il, half-brother to Kim’s deceased father, already seizing power. The Asia Times reports that Pyong-il was once rising in the ranks before angering the elder Kim and spending time in exile.
  • No worries: Yet South Korea maintains that Kim Jong Un is “alive and well.” Moon Chung-in, the South Korean president’s top foreign policy adviser, tells CNN that Kim “has been staying in the Wonsan area since April 13. No suspicious movements have so far been detected.”
  • And so? Whether any of this matters is open to interpretation. “Regardless of who assumes power, there are no indications that a successor would pursue different domestic or foreign policies,” writes Bruce Klingner, an ex-CIA Korea official, per the Washington

Some think it is his sister, Kim Yo Jong…..yes he has a sister and she is moving up in the governmental apparatus…..my thought as well…..what do we really know about sis?

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.

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.

Since the position of Supreme Leader is a family affair then sister would be a logical person to step into the shoes of power.

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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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Another Virus WTF

The world is fighting a war with the Covid-19 that is everybody but North Korea……and yet WHO will send them to help- fight a disease they say they have none of…….WTF?

North Korea may claim it has no coronavirus infections, but the country still is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the World Health Organization to contain the deadly virus.

Data from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows the WHO will spend $900,000 to support North Korea’s efforts to fight COVID-19.

North Korea is bordered by China and South Korea, two of the countries that saw some of the worst impacts of COVID-19 at the start of the global outbreak. The Hermit Kingdom has repeatedly said there hasn’t been a single case on its soil and that it is implementing social distancing measures.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/north-korea-coronavirus-money-world-health-organization-prevention-no-cases

Then there is the other thorn in US foreign Policy…..Iran……

Talk about theocratic temerity. The regime in Tehran is calling on the International Monetary Fund to “stand on the right side of history” by giving Iran $5 billion to fight the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the first time the Islamic Republic has sought financial aid from the multilateral institution. (The last time Iran asked was 20 years before the 1979 revolution.)

For the international community — and for the U.S., which has effective veto power on IMF decisions — this presents a quandary: The Iranian people definitely need the help, but their leaders can’t be trusted with the money.

The Islamic Republic is the third-worst hit country after China and Italy, with 429 people dead. The regime has manifestly failed to manage the crisis. In the first phase, the leadership lied about the extent of the outbreak, and made a series of decisions that only aggravated the contagion.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/iran-help-not-cash-fight-113438735.html

The Iranian problem will get worse…US sanctions will put the squeeze on the nation in this time of need…..

The war against the coronavirus pandemic is literally a life and death fight for nations. But Iran is waging it with an economy badly crippled by United States sanctions that have Tehran bereft of financial resources to mount an effective public health response.

Mahsa is a 28-year-old nurse in Mazandaran, a northern province in Iran that has been hard hit by the virus.

“Ventilators are very crucial for treatment of COVID-19 patients, but officials tell us that because of the sanctions, they have not been able to order enough of them from abroad,” she told Al Jazeera. “Medical goods are supposed to increase in accordance with the number of admitted patients, but these goods are very hard to find these days.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/iran-struggles-fund-virus-fight-squeezing-economy-200401213650963.html

I am told the humanitarian aid is NOT part of the sanctions…..but is that true?

Another report….another WTF…… has come out that Trump sent the Guard out and refuse to let them have medical stuff……

Thousands of National Guardsmen around the country are in contact with people who’ve contracted COVID-19. But while the federal government has called on them for frontline assistance in battling the pandemic, it’s not giving them what they need to protect themselves: access to the military’s health insurance.

The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what’s called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs. 

But according to the National Guard’s advocates and the U.S. governors’ association, the guardsmen are activated on orders that last 30 days. That puts them one single day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE—think of it as Medicare For All In Uniform—to cover them. Military Times first reported the eligibility shortfall. 

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-sent-the-guard-to-the-coronavirus-front-line-but-denied-them-military-care

Apparently we are NOT all in this together…..

It’s become a truism, almost trite, that with the coronavirus crisis, “we’re all in this together.”

But not everyone agrees.

A small but highly influential group of billionaires, executives and right-wing pundits have a different view: Some of them urge that we must “normalize” the economy as soon as possible, implicitly – and in some cases, explicitly – accepting that this would mean sacrificing lives. Others, apparently, just don’t care about those risks, or conveniently believe against evidence that they are not real or overblown

Proponents paint this callous approach as the kind of “tough” decision that strong leaders must make. They have had a dangerous influence on policy. And although their recommendations have been shunted aside for now, there’s a great risk that save-the-economy-and-let-the-chips fall-where-they-may chorus again gains the president’s favor, with potentially horrifying consequences.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/04/02/even-during-pandemic-plutocrats-prioritize-profits-over-people

Now Kentucky, the state that brought us the spineless Mitch, has a new way to make virus sufferers lives even worse……

An ominous scoop by The Courier-Journal, a local paper in Kentucky: judges in the state are ordering coronavirus patients to isolate — a demand they’re enforcing by making them wear ankle monitors, as if they were under house arrest.

“The home incarceration program is well-suited for this,” Amy Hess, Louisville’s chief of public services, told the newspaper. “It provides us with the proper amount of distancing. We can monitor activity after (the monitoring device) gets affixed to them… to make sure they’re not further affecting the community.”

https://futurism.com/neoscope/kentucky-forcing-coronavirus-patients-ankle-monitors

The one great idea to come out of the fight against this pandemic is the call in the UN for a curbing of war during this time of crisis.

With the world in the throes of the calamitous COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres is pushing for a global ceasefire, seeing a planet-wide halt to war as a chance to allow an all-out effort to fight the virus.

This is getting some interest beyond NGOs and the Pope. As of Friday, 11 countries have endorsed the idea, including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Libya, Myanmar, the Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen.

While the UN is still looking for a big nation engaged in foreign wars to really make this a thing, but some of these nations have some substantial domestic conflicts that might benefit from a ceasefire, and countries like Syria may find themselves influencing others.

These are also some of the countries most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemics, with countries like Yemen, Libya, and Syria some of the nations least prepared for an outbreak, with war leaving the countries with little medical infrastructure.

Recognition that the wars would only make their situations worse, these nations are backing the global ceasefire, and while it’s still a long way from stopping any huge wars, it shows promising understanding that war and pandemic are two distinct priorities.

(antiwar.com)

There is an idea that all nations should sign onto…..we need all our resources to fight this pandemic…..not each other.

My latest list of WTF reports……I am sure there will be more….

Be Calm…..Avoid Crowds……Wash Hands Often…..Be Prepared

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

A Virus WTF!

After watching our fearless leader drag his feet on a response to the virus and his false and misleading statements he has gone so far to offer to help North Korea fight the virus.

Yes you heard that right….Trump offers to help Kim with the virus.

President Trump wrote a letter to North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, praising him for his efforts to protect the country from coronavirus, and offering US help in combating any outbreak. North Korea confirmed the letter but didn’t say what they’d done beyond that.

Administration officials also confirmed the letter, saying it was in keeping with Trump’s effort to engage world leaders on the coronavirus and offer US assistance if they needed it. Such offers did not, it seems, apply to Iran, where US officials declared that coronavirus “wouldn’t save them.”

How seriously the coronavirus has hit North Korea is the subject of some speculation, though the nation has denied any huge outbreaks. If they did have an outbreak, however, it’s not clear they’d have access to the equipment to treat many patients.

North Korea’s main interest would be getting some sanctions eased, and that might be done in the name of humanitarian aid for the virus.

(antiwar.com)

Do not get me wrong I am NOT against helping others wit thus thing….but not before you have done everything possible for the people that put him in office.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Wanna Talk With North Korea

We have had a back and forth with the two sillies that control NK and the US….Kim has made some deep statements of rebellion towards Trump……and yet Trump still looks for ways that they can come to terms for more talks….

The Trump administration has continued to seek contact with North Korea in an effort to reinstate working-level talks to discuss the country’s nuclear weapons program, a senior U.S. official has said.

Robert C. O’Brien, the assistant to the U.S. president on national security affairs (APNSA), told Axios in an interview that the United States has been actively making efforts to return to working-level talks with North Korea.

The administration has “reached out to the North Koreans,” O’Brien said. “We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment” to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

Working-level talks between the two sides have not resumed since an attempt in October 2019 when U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen E. Biegun met Kim Myong Gil, North Korea’s appointed negotiator, in Stockholm, Sweden.

https://thediplomat.com/2020/01/us-official-confirms-efforts-to-restore-working-level-talks-with-north-korea/

Seriously?

Wants to have talks with a country that has nukes already but will not have talks with a nation that is in search of nukes…..a reversed logic?

I do not know of what technique this is other than to use the Chaos Method….or maybe we should call it the “Pasta Method”

Look for further claims and further international situations….news will be needed to change the discourse in the very near future.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

North Korea At Year’s End

It seems that I may have told a fib when I said I would post only drafts for the rest of this year…..my bad.

This report has to be posted because of the implications for the coming year……..

We all know of the song and dance, the dog and pony show that Trump and Kim have given the world this year……well it has gotten more threatening as 2019 comes to an end….

The start of the year 2020—or, in North Korea, the year 109—is approaching and observers fear Kim Jong Un might be planning something big. According to North Korean state media, the dictator told a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee Sunday that North Korea needs to “take positive and offensive measures” to “fully ensure the sovereignty and security of the country, as required by the present situation,” the BBC reports. The AP notes that in the Korean-language report in state media, Kim’s words were given as “active and offensive measures.” The ominous-sounding “Christmas gift” Kim promised the US never materialized, but he has said the end of this year is the deadline for Washington to make major concessions in nuclear talks.

Analysts suspect Kim might use either the Central Committee meeting, which continues Monday, or his New Year’s Day address to announce that he has decided to end the moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. “By ‘positive and offensive measures,’ they might mean highly provocative action against the United States and also South Korea,” Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, tells Reuters. White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that the US has “many tools in its toolkit” to deal with a resumption of nuclear testing. “If Kim “takes that approach we’ll be extraordinarily disappointed and we’ll demonstrate that disappointment,” he said.

What does “extraordinarily disappointed” mean?

This continues to be based on weeks of speculation of a Christmas surprise coming out of North Korea, and several days after Christmas, with no signs of anything being done, US officials are still threatening North Korea in case anything ever happens.

O’Brien didn’t say what the US would actually do, but has “tools in its tool kit” to do something if they want to, and that they’ll want to in response to tests which, again, were only mentioned in North Korean state media offhand once, and then for weeks in US media as a foregone conclusion that they were going to happen.

For now, there is no reason to expect North Korea is on the verge of any sort of test, except for all the talking about it that the media has been doing. Now, with media frenzy being coupled with US threats, there are still no signs what North Korea’s plans are, if any.

What a way to begin a new year….with threats.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”