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Year of the Plague – 7 – China and (to a modest extent) the Trump Administration Come to their Senses.

March 27, 2020

Asian Americans Protest The Current Wave of anti-Asian Xenophobia

Yesterday I wrote about the need for the U.S. and China to put their differences aside at least temporarily and to find a way to cooperate to fight the Coronavirus as a part of a needed international effort, that no country can “win this war alone. This is not a time for isolation. And then Xi Jingping came through at the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit.

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As the situation in the United States deteriorates by the day – not only the number of infected and dying from the Corona virus and the overall shabby response – the economic stimulus aside – there is also a breakdown of social and political bonds as the states fight with the federal government and with each other and municipalities for medical supplies, antidotes – a growing overall anarchy boarding on collapse, the United States needs help! And as Americans of Asian descent are being spit upon, cursed, slashed with razor blades and clubbed, it is China that has stepped for and offered a helping hand.

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Chinese President Xi Jinging had just finished given a talk oat the on-line G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit organized by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. It was entited “Working Together To Defeat The COVID-19 Outbreak.

There was not a word – not even a hint – of the angry rhetoric that the Chinese have used recently targeting the Trump Administration. Instead the speech – once again revealing the growing maturity of Chinese diplomacy called for a coordinated global campaign to fight and defeat the pandemic. Xi offered a four point plan:

  1. that the G-20 health ministers coordinate to fight the virus
  2. noting that the virus “respects no borders” that the fight against the pandemic be a coordinated on between nations
  3. that international organizations (the World Health Organization was cited) “be supported” in the effort in terms of cadre, supplies,  I assume
  4. to accomplish this, “macro-economic coordination” needs to be enhanced (at a moment when it is collapsing into a free-for-all) so that the global system of production and demand can be maintained and not totally breakdown

The full text – it is a brief and “to the point” talk can be read at the link above.

As Indian retired diplomat Bhadrakumar Melkulangara aptly noted on social media, by these remarks, China essentially took the global leadership in the global effort to defeat the pandemic, leaving the Trump Administration far behind. U.S. President Donald Trump, busy to bribe German scientists to move to the United States and threatening countries not to accept increasingly highly respected emergency medical aid, had no choice but to praise Xi’s remarks.

Although the speech has global significance – calling for precisely the kind of coordinated effort that might limit the pandemic’s damage – it had significance for badly bruised U.S.-China relations. Xi was offering the Trump Administration “a fig leaf” after the war on words between China and the U.S. had intensified , a relations seemed to be deteriorating that much more. China had accused Washington of having started the pandemic (complicated story that I will write about later). Trump responded by calling the Coronavirus “the Chinavirus” and included Washington firing five “loaded” missiles in China’s direction from a base in the Philippines.

Read more…

Transcript The Coronavirus and: Weaponizing Pandemics in the Middle East: Is the Pandemic Accomplishing What Targeted Assassinations Couldn’t? with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. Part One

March 25, 2020
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Russian trucks delivering humanitarian aid to Iran

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Even with regards to the  Foreign Affairs article, the article is based on the assumption that China was the source of the pandemic – thus the early critique of China. As I recall, the Wall Street Journal called the Chinese “the sick man of Asia” but as time goes on it appears that it is the United States that is “the sick man” because they are the least prepared country when it comes to fighting this pandemic.

Yesterday the Chinese were able to celebrate the third or forth day without reporting any cases at all. Yet in the United States we are just at the tip of the ice berg. As time goes on we are having more and more exposed cases and more and more people dying all the time.

China, Russia and Cuba are certainly benefiting from the medical solidarity they are offering different countries while the Americans are virtually not doing anything – not offering aid to other countries. The United States is not in a position to do anything about it.

Ibrahim Kazerooni

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Ibrahim, something else has come to mind.

Here, in the United States we have the militarized country in the world, a minimum of 800 military bases abroad, a trillion dollar annual military budget and yet this powerful country with its bulging military apparatus is essentially helpless to address the Coronavirus pandemic – it’s irrelevant – and what also comes to mind is that the U.S. with its military is not going to be able to deal with the global economic recession and depression which looks to follow at all.

So we begin how ludicrous – how useless – the main thrust of U.S. foreign policy is.

Rob Prince

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KGNU – Hemispheres – Middle East Dialogues – March 24, 2020 – Soundcloud audio recording

Jim Nelson: Good evening Rob from your home. This evening we’re going to be talking about the Coronavirus or COVID-19 and how it might be weaponized in the Middle East, specifically towards Iran. You had a Foreign Affairs article attached to a blog commentary. It referred to the current tensions between China and the USA as it concerns the virus. Is this a good place to start our program?

Rob Prince: Funny that you mention it Jim because it’s a part of my introduction.

Dear friends and listeners – I hope you’re all weathering the storm in what more and more is seeming like a global free fall.

As you all know, this pandemic is global – there is virtually no place in the world that is untouched. A global free fall

In terms of what we’re going to be talking about tonight, this is the first of two programs in which we’re going to look at the pandemic in the Middle East, tonight and then next week on March 31 there will be a follow up program.

We’re not going to go over the details of the situation as it exists here in the USA; most of you are well aware of them as we all together try to come to grips with the seriousness of the crisis and what to do about it

Nor go into the details of – I don’t know how else to put it – the hypocrisy and utter recklessness that has characterized the Trump Administration response to the Coronavirus.

Needless to say there are growing questions both about origins and also the dangers involved, the numbers of those infected due to testing limitations

For openers I want to make some comments of a general nature to set the scene.

1. With this pandemic, the Coronavirus, it up there with climate change and the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons, that fighting and defeating the Coronavirus is going to take a worldwide effort, global cooperation and that in much of the world – minus the USA – that is already happening and growing – which is an encouraging sign.

In terms of the article in Foreign Affairs to which Jim just referred: It’s entitled “The Coronavirus could reshape the global order” by Kurt M. Campbell and Rush Doshi.

What it argues that in the interest of countering the Coronavirus pandemic the Trump Administration and China should stop their feuding – make peace – and work together to defeat this pandemic. The article does make some criticisms of Chinese actions, particularly early on in the pandemic, the main thrust of the article is a critic of the Trump Administration’s bizarre and mean-spirited behavior. It’s worth reading.

Needless to say we are far from such cooperation. Read more…

Year of the Plague – 6 – The Right to Life… for the Elderly!

March 25, 2020

Immature bald eagle at Jim Baker Reservoir – March 25, 2020

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But dying so that some jack-ass like Texas’ Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick or others like him can make a few extra million? Uh-uh. No way, etc. etc.

Maybe they’ll come up with an age of mandatory euthanasia for the elderly? I mean this is a pretty sick society anyway and has been for a long time. So… besides putting on our silver sneakers, us old folks is gonna have to fight for – you’ll love this – the right to life! plain and simple. Has quite a different meaning than the anti-abortionists and other right wing yahoos suggest.

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1. Jim Baker Reservoir

Four of us met at Jim Baker Reservoir in S. Adams County for a walk. David and Molly each came separately, Nancy and I together. We walked around the reservoir – a 1. 4 mile distance – twice being careful to stay more than six feet apart. The first time round, very few people, the second time round more so as it was approaching noon and the air was warming up. The four of us are pretty strict about maintaining our social distance of six feet – actually somewhat more and most of the others on the path were pretty considerate in that respect, but not everyone. Still it was nice to get out.

Often there are large groups of ducks on the water, but not today, it was almost empty. Still early on the walk I looked up to see two redtail hawks circling overhead and wondered if they weren’t the pair that hangs out on the cell phone tower on Tennyson St. across from Clear Creek Valley Park nearby. They circled around very high in the sky and then flew off in a northwesterly direction.

Then, as we rounded the first bend close to Lowell Blvd, some kind of raptor flew by. Couldn’t make it out at first, but it turned out to be an immature bald eagle. He (or she – I wasn’t certain) glided by and then perched itself on a telephone pole on Lowell Blvd. I took a bunch of photos – my camera has a rather large lens both of the eagle in flight and perched on its pole – not knowing how they turned out until processing on my computer. They came out ok actually.

Back by the car an “old timer” – I guess about my age – was sitting in his big red pick up truck. I’d noticed him earlier. He asked if we had seen the eagle and I told him – from a distance of 10 feet or so – that yes we had. He comes to Jim Baker often, sits there for hours in his truck as a way to get out of the house. And so I got the five minute history of Jim Baker raptors: there wasn’t just one bald eagle but a pair of them and they had their nest further down Clear Creek where the creek bends to the north – know the spot pretty well. And that they often fish together at Jim Bakker but that today it was only the male. He was pretty sure it was the male, more so than myself.

And that was not all.

Read more…

Year of the Plague – 5 – From Whence the Coronavirus – Preliminary Considerations

March 24, 2020

Moutnain bluebird among the grasses at Clear Creek Valley Park.

1. Clear Creek Valley Park

We have tried to go for a walk every day for the past ten days or so that we have been self-isolating. We’ve taken the suggestion – now a legal directive – seriously. The walks have been 2-3 miles, an hour, hour and a half in different parts of the Metro area, mostly near our home.

Yesterday we went over to Clear Creek Valley Park where I have frequently taken photos of bird life of which there is a good deal at different times of the year. To get out of the house or apartment for an hour or two, people are streaming into Denver area parks, although there were very few others out at Clear Creek Valley Park yesterday; those who were there – four or five – were careful to keep their distance as were we.

The park sits just north of Cherry Creek – for those familiar with the area between Lowell Blvd and Tennyson Street at approximately W. 59 Ave in southwest Adams County a few blocks north of the Denver city line. It’s not “a beautiful” park because it’s bereft of trees. Essentially it’s a series of former gravel pits, the dirt and gravel of which was used to build the nearby highway I-76.

After the gravel was removed the pits were filled with water from Clear Creek making a series of ponds that bird life, especially ducks and other water birds – herons, egrets, avocets – thrive in. Lately Adams County has added a playground, peers jutting out from the main pond for fishermen, of which there are almost always some. It is starting to be frequented by more people. Three miles from our home in northwest Denver, we’re out of the city – I wouldn’t overstate it – but somewhat out there in Nature, and since my retirement I spend a good deal of time here.

As so we walked.

The bird life is picking up. First we saw a group of five mountain blue birds with their blue blacks, striped black tails and gray underbellies. There were a large group, twenty or more, gadwells in one pond, a few American wigeons and ringnecked ducks in another. The female redtailed hawk, a part of a couple that often perches on a cable tower was there too. I looked to see if a nearby osprey nest on Lowell is occupied. Not yet.

Was able to get a few decent shots.

At one point we ran into neighbor-friends, Marie and Doug Edgar, who were out getting their walking in. We talked – I’d say at a distance of ten feet for a few minutes and then each went our separate ways. We talked briefly about how difficult – but important self-isolation is. Later I learned across the backyard fence – again carefully distanced at more than ten feet – that other neighbors had visited the same part earlier in the day.

Of course all the emphasis is put on our responsibility as individuals to self isolate and very little to nothing is mentioned about the responsibility of the state to organize an active response, with the Trump Administration floundering to find an effective antidote to the growing pandemic. Fear is everywhere, in large measure because our knowledge of the pandemic and how to address it is weak, information contradictory.

2. Something is fishy (again) in Washington DC

The mainstream narrative concerning the origin of the Coronavirus widely reproduced in the US media – and beyond – is simple and direct – that it originated “by animal-to-human transmission in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, that it spread from there internationally. From the outset I have wondered about that.

Having a certain experience with dissembling mainstream narratives appearing in the media from the very outset I wondered about “the China-did-it” finger pointing.

Another curious thing – the suggestion that the Trump Administration was not aware of the Coronavirus threat earlier was not credible. A number of credible reports are surfacing in sources like the NY Times and Washington Post that both the President and Congress have been briefed repeatedly on its potential damage as early as January but did nothing to either alert the public or prepare for an active medical response.

While some Congresspeople in the know were dumping stock, the public was kept essentially in the dark as to the dangers that were about to burst on the scene.  With certainly the most expensive, and probably one of the best intelligence services in the world that includes medical intelligence, it is not illogical to have thought that the threat would have both been identified earlier and a serious public warning  announced to the American people and the world. Those who claim that the Coronavirus pandemic is the most far-reaching global crisis since World War II are proven more accurate each day.

But none of that happened.

By now the Trump Administration’s fumbling lack of preparedness – which continues  – is obvious to all as are its devastating consequences. No doubt the task at hand is to bring the pandemic under control worldwide, including here in the USA where the extent of its impact is yet to be felt. Nothing could be more important.

Now a few weeks into the active part of the crisis, questions are being raised about how it all began. Scott Ritter, a former UN Weapons inspector who was apart of the team that looked into the Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” allegation has written a well documented piece that uncovers the bureaucratic bungling that was going on in the nation’s intelligence apparatus.

The article is revealing in two ways:

  1. It shows a decay in U.S. security medical monitoring and a shrinking transparency about pandemic research, which contributed to a delay in the public’s understanding of the the seriousness of the pandemic
  2. It suggests – although does not prove – that the mainstream narrative as to the virus’ origin – is perhaps inaccurate and that it is possible that the virus did not originate in China

The Trump Administration has become increasingly defensive in responding to the increasingly insistent Chinese claim that the Coronavirus did not originate in China, but was instead brought into Wuhan Province from the outside. They are pointing their finger at the USA. As Ritter’s article notes:

“The importance of this date as it relates to the NCMI is that in mid-October 2019 a delegation of 300 U.S. military athletes arrived in Wuhan to participate in the 2019 Military World games. China has suggested that these personnel might have introduced the coronavirus infection to Wuhan, citing their own research that suggests that the virus was introduced into China from elsewhere, and Japanese and Taiwanese studies that point to the U.S. as the likely source of the virus.

There is, however, no independent evidence to support these allegations.

The fact that there is, at the time, “no independent evidence” suggests we should hold our fire for the

Clear Creek Valley Park’s Redtail Hawk atop a cell tower where it is often perched

time being on drawing too many conclusions, but at the same time not that the countries corroborating the Chinese allegation are important U.S. allies – Japan and Taiwan. There is another aspect of this article that I found curious – that the delegation of several hundred U.S. military athletes who participated in October, 2019 Military World Games – who ever heard that that? – did not the standard medical exams when returning to the USA. Again, more of a curiosity than an outright formal allegation… but still.

The main point of republishing Ritter’s article – with this allegation – is that it calls into question the mainstream narrative as to how the Coronavirus pandemic initially began. It is not necessary to say the Chinese are innocent – they sat on this pandemic for too long – as did the Iranians, the French and the Trump Administration – not taking the threat seriously until it was already far along. This is the common feature of all governments’ to date: they have procrastinated and then themselves, panicked when they could no longer hide the seriousness of the issue.

Here is a link to the article in full. Good stuff.

Scott Ritter: The Staggering Collapse of U.S. Intelligence on the Coronavirus

 

The Coronavirus and: Weaponizing Pandemics in the Middle East: Is the Pandemic Accomplishing What Targeted Assassinations Couldn’t? with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU 1390 AM, 88.5 FM – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 6-7 pm Mountain Time

March 22, 2020

Iranian healthworkers, on the front-line against the Coronavirus pandemic

The Coronavirus and: Weaponizing Pandemics in the Middle East: Is the Pandemic Accomplishing What Targeted Assassinations Couldn’t?with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU 1390 AM, 88.5 FM – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 6 pm Mountain Time. Hosted by Jim Nelson. Now in its eleventh year.

At the same time that China is sending Iran 30 tons of medical cargo, 250,000 masks to Iran and dispatched medical teams there to fight COVID-19 along with dozens of specialists, the Trump Administration is tightening its anti-Iranian sanctions and seriously considering bombing the country.

Interestingly enough, some of the nations that the Trump Administration is most vilifying – China, Cuba are making sizable contributions to the global common good, the contrast between these two countries are doing and what the Trump Administration is not could not be greater. Like climate change and the movement to eliminate nuclear weapons, fighting and defeating the Coronavirus is going to take a worldwide effort, global cooperation and that in much of the world  that is already happening and growing.- minus the USA

With the Coronavirus, the world is not only fighting a pandemic, but a new kind of warfare, hybrid warfare or fifth generation warfare as it is called. We’ve talked about in recent programs but will, over the course of tonight’s broadcast and the one next week delve into it in much more detail.

All that and more – On Tuesday evening, March 24, at 6 pm Mountain States Time.

 

Year of the Plague – 4 – Foreign Affairs Magazine calls for “the Unlikely” – but the necessary – U.S.-Chinese “team” leadership in the struggle to defeat the Coronavirus

March 22, 2020

Chinese communist party leader Mao Tse-Tung, left, and U.S. President Richard Nixon shake hands as they meet, Feb. 21, 1972. If they could do it, why not Xi Jingping and Donald Trump?

I rarely read Foreign Affairs anymore, the flagship publication of the Council on Foreign Affairs,  the informal intellectual-academic publication, source of soft power that for decades greatly influenced U.S. foreign policy. Teaching International Studies at the University of Denver’s Korbel School of International Studies for 23 years, it was something of a necessity. Over the years I found that, increasingly, I was learning little about the actual state of affairs in the world, that rather than intellectually leading on global cooperation – even within the context of U.S. hegemony – that it had essentially joined the neo-con fantasy of U.S efforts at world dominance through military power.

It had lost its way.

Then every once in a while… a flash of its former brilliance, a momentary sense of what its role in the world  could be…in cooperation with other global players.

Such is the article below which I will provide at the end of this blog entry.

Of course the article, written by Kurt M. Campbell and Rush Doshi, flies in the face of what is currently going on. It calls for U.S.-China cooperation in contrast to the current growing nasty ideological and security boxing match. It calls for a complete change in course for both countries towards one another, as a precondition for the global effort to eradicate the Coronavirus. Despite its “idealism” – ie., it is difficult to to imagine China and the Trump Administration coming together to fight the Coronavirus – the article makes some salient points, most especially that neither country is in a position to undermine the influence of the other. Each has levers to hurt the other and has used them with increasing frequency, ideologically or otherwise. In such a contest where there can be no winners a truce is a rational response, not just for China and the U.S. but for the world at large.

That is what is argued here and well argued at that.

Here and there I not that the article misses the point. It dismisses the Chinese assertion that the cause of the virus came from U.S. military biological and chemical laboratories. While I am not completely on board that this was the case, the mainstream narrative – which Campbell and Doshi seem to swallow whole – that the virus originates from the sale of bat internal organs at a Wuhan food market has never cut it from where I am sitting.

But then the world will come back to the question of the virus’ origins; there is no way around that. It is possible that when all the evidence comes in – that one way or another the U.S. will be terribly embarrassed. But for the moment what needs to be done is to reverse the course of this pandemic worldwide, to stop it in its tracks. This can only be accomplished by global cooperation in which the Trump Administration and the Chinese leadership find some modicum of common ground to cooperate with one another in the effort. By the way, the strongest point made below concerns the consequences for U.S. world leadership if the Trump Administration continues on its merry way.

I’m not read to renew my sub to Foreign Affairs but a few more pieces like this and who knows?

Please read: Foreign Affairs: The Coronavirus Could Reshape Global Order

 

Dr. Vernon Coleman on the Coronavirus from Wonder Woman

March 21, 2020

Dr. Vernon Coleman

(note – I have a friend who wishes to remain anonymous who has been providing me with interesting to fascinating articles that are, I think worth sharing…which I am doing… There will be others, practical advice which she offers. Others, like this one, try to look beyond what is going on with this pandemic. I wish I could thank her publicly but I respect her request for privacy. I’ll simply sign them “Wonder Woman”.

Concerning this commentary and the following video, which I suggest you watch…

I am not at the point where I have concluded that the Coronavirus is a hoax as is suggested below. Too many Chinese, Iranians and Italians have died and the numbers of infected in the U.S. is sky-rocketing. Nor do I think, as Dr. Colement does, that vaccines are worthless.

That said – intended or as an accidental more and more, -it is evident that this pandemic, the way it is being treated, discriminates against “the elderly” – especially those (of us) over 70. Having turned 75 …The portion of this interview which I found compelling starts at 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the 11 minute and 40 second YouTube interview.

It is Dr. Coleman’s thoughts on the (not so) hidden agenda that ring a bell with me. Why “not so” hidden

– Because already it is blatantly obvious that the way that this virus is being treated not only discriminated against “the elderly”  but also the homeless, people in prisons, more and more working class people who simply have to work to survive, ie. that there is a eugenic thrust to the way that the Coronavirus is being treated. That part of his commentary rings true.

Reminds me of the despicable remark former Governor Richard Lamm made, that the elderly have “a duty to die.” Referring to the elderly as “leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,” he told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association, “you’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way” and “let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.” Lamm said that in 1984 – some of us have never forgotten that.

My sense is that at the time, Lamm, who was testing the waters for a presidential run was trying to appeal to a more conservative base of the electorate to convince them that he really was the liberal environmentalists his reputation suggested and that they – who had the $$ – shouldn’t fear him, he’d work with the most reactionary of them.

Finally, I knew it would happen sooner or later; turns out it was sooner – news just came [from back East] that someone in contact with my extended family tested positive for Coronavirus)

Comments from Wonder Woman:

“Extremely sharp mind, rational points, very well known in the UK as one of the leading health care experts, and a best selling author.  Discusses all the flaws in the epidemic statistics and methodologies, especially the death rates, and the push to isolate senior citizens, for a number of reasons, one of which he explains is the fact of the aging population coupled with declining birth rates, costing governments around the world a lot of money “trillions in care and pensions”, and these governments are facing increasing shortfalls from younger populations.”
Dr Vernon Coleman explains why he thinks the current hysteria over the coronavirus has a hidden agenda.
Now why would they be doing it? What’s going on? I think it’s all part of a demonization, marginalization, dehumanization of the elderly. I think that’s one of the hidden agendas. That’s why they want to lock up over-70 year olds. And don’t forget, doctors have said all over the world they won’t be able to treat over-70s if they get the corona virus. And in fact, it has been said by a number of doctors that they won’t be able to treat over-70s for whatever they have wrong with them because they’ll be so busy treating these hundreds of millions of people who got the coronavirus.