trump is a criminal psychotic, and his official appointments are all like-minded psychos

Trump signs executive order to support moon mining, tap asteroid resources
Mike Wall, Space.com, Apr 7 2020

Pindostan sees a clear path to the use of moon and asteroid resources. The water ice and other lunar resources that will help Pindostan establish a long-term human presence on the moon are there for the taking, the White House believes. Trump signed an executive order today establishing Pindo policy on the exploitation of off-Earth resources. That policy stresses that the current regulatory regime, notably the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, allows the use of such resources. This view has long held sway in Pindo government circles. For example, Pindostan, like the other major spacefaring nations, has not signed the 1979 Moon Treaty, which stipulates that non-scientific use of space resources be governed by an international regulatory framework. And in 2015, Congress passed a law explicitly allowing American companies and citizens to use moon and asteroid resources. The new executive order makes things even more official, stressing that Pindostan does not view space as a “global commons” and sees a clear path to off-Earth mining, without the need for further international treaty-level agreements. The executive order, called “Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources,” has been in the works for about a year, a senior administration official said during a teleconference with reporters today. The order was prompted at least in part by a desire to clarify Pindostan’s position as it negotiates with international partners to help advance NASA’s Artemis program for crewed lunar exploration, the official added. Artemis aims to land two astronauts on the moon in 2024 and to establish a sustainable human presence on and around Earth’s nearest neighbor by 2028. Lunar resources, especially the water ice thought to be plentiful on the permanently shadowed floors of polar craters, are key to Artemis’ grand ambitions, NASA officials have said. The moon is not the final destination for these ambitions, by the way. Artemis is designed to help NASA and its partners learn how to support astronauts in deep space for long stretches, lessons that will be key to putting boots on Mars, which NASA wants to do in the 2030s. Scott Pace of the Pindo National Space Council said in a statement today:

As Pindostan prepares to return humans to the moon and journey on to Mars, this executive order establishes Pindo policy toward the recovery and use of space resources, such as water and certain minerals, in order to encourage the commercial development of space.

Trump has shown considerable interest in shaping Pindo space policy. In Dec 2017 he signed Space Policy Directive #1, which laid the groundwork for the Artemis campaign. Two other directives have aimed to streamline commercial space regulation and the protocols for space traffic control. Space Policy Directive #4, which the president signed in Feb 2019 called for the creation of the Space Force.

Russian space agency says Trump paving way to seize other planets
Reuters, Apr 7 2020

MOSCOW – The Russian space agency Roscosmos accused Trump on Tuesday of creating a basis to take over other planets by signing an executive order outlining Pindo policy on commercial mining in space. The executive order, which Roscosmos said damaged the scope for international cooperation in space, was signed on Monday. It said:

Pindostan will seek to negotiate joint statements and bilateral and multilateral arrangements with foreign states regarding safe and sustainable operations for the public and private recovery and use of space resources. Pindo citizens should have the right to engage in such activity. Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and Pindostan does not view it as a global commons.

Roscosmos said the order put Pindostan at odds with the notion of space belonging to all humanity. its statement said:

Attempts to expropriate outer space and aggressive plans to actually seize territories of other planets hardly set the countries for fruitful cooperation.

Relations between Russia and Pindostan are at post-Cold War lows, but cooperation on space has continued despite an array of differences over everything from Ukraine to accusations of election meddling. Kremlin spox Dmitry Peskov told reporters:

Any kind of attempt to privatise space in one form or another would be unacceptable, and I find it difficult to say now whether this can be seen as an attempt to privatise space.

Trump vows to put ‘very powerful hold’ on Pindo funding to WHO over response to COVID-19
RT.com, Apr 7 2020

Trump has threatened to hold back funding to the WHO, potentially leaving the agency without support from its largest donor as many of its 194 members are being ravaged by the coronavirus. During his daily briefing on the coronavirus situation on Tuesday, Trump unleashed yet another rant at the WHO, arguing that the organization he dubbed “China-centric” was too slow and ineffective in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump claimed that the WHO had “called every shot wrong” on the COVID-19 crisis. He said:

The WHO receives vast amounts of money from Pibndostan. We pay the biggest portion of their money. They could have called it months earlier. They should have known, and they probably did know. We’re going to put a hold on money spent with the WHO, put a very powerful hold on it.

When asked to elaborate on his idea of suspending funding to the organization, which is arguably the key international body fighting coronavirus, Trump appeared to back down just a few minutes later, saying:

I’m not saying I’m going to do it. I’m going to look at it. We will look at ending funding.

The WHO has recently become a target of Trump’s wrath. Tweeting ahead of the presser, he took aim at the WHO for its opposition to sweeping travel bans early on in the pandemic. He has repeatedly accused it of being biased in favor of Beijing, while offering little evidence to support this claim. Pindostan is the WHO’s largest financial contributor, providing $57.8m so far this year. China is the next largest donor, giving $28.7m in the same period. The WHO has faced criticism for dragging its feet on the global health crisis. Back in February, its director Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there was no need to introduce travel bans, while describing the spread of the virus outside mainland China as “minimal and slow.” Since then, the situation has changed drastically, with the agency taking on a more active role to curb the spread of COVID-19. The WHO has been championing clinical trials to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus, with Tedros saying earlier this week that over 70 nations have joined the organization’s trial to speed up research of the cure.

Trump threatens withholding funds from WHO
AFP News, Apr 7 2020

Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut Pindo funding to the WHO, accusing it of bias toward China during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump told reporters he was “going to put a very powerful hold on” funding to WHO, whose biggest funding source is Pindostan. Trump pursues a “Pindostan First” agenda and has previously criticized other UN and multilateral agencies. He said:

We’re going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. The WHO seems to be very biased toward China. That’s not right.

He gave no details about how much money would be withheld and minutes later during the same press conference he said:

I’m not saying I’m going to do it. We will look at ending funding.

His comments built on an earlier statement on Twitter in which he accused the WHO of being “very China-centric.” Trump asked why the WHO had given “such a faulty recommendation.” Trump wrote:

Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on.

China faces criticism in Faschingstein, particularly from Thugs, over the way it handled the pandemic. Trump has expressed doubt over the accuracy of Chinese statistics for cases and deaths. Trump himself has been widely criticized for initially downplaying the virus, which he likened to an ordinary flu and said was under control in Pindostan, before later accepting that it was a national emergency. More than 12,000 Pindos have now died from COVID-19.

Libertarian Leaders: a Recipe for Lethal Government Incompetence and Criminality
Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture, Apr 7 2020

Throughout the world in countries that elected right-wing anti-government libertarian leaders, from Pindostan and Brazil to the UK and Australia, incompetence and lack of preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic will directly lead to hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. The political rhetoric of those leaders who practice “barbarian laissez-faire” policies have been exposed by COVID-19 as worthless pablum designed to enthrall their unthinking supporters. Donald Trump’s penchant for believing in conspiracy theories and his blatant xenophobia and racism clouded his judgement on the outbreak of COVID-19 as a “Chinese” problem. Trump and his fellow right-wing allies around the world pushed back against a need for mandatory stay-at-home orders, quarantines, and social distancing. Trump’s disdain for international cooperation and science, as well as his “Pindostan First” dogma, resulted in several factors that led to an unforeseen epidemic blossoming in Wuhan, China to transform into a global and extremely deadly and disruptive pandemic. The Trump administration was criminally derelict in abandoning several units and programs initiated by past administrations to combat a global pandemic. These include the NSC’s Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense; the DHS’s National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC), which conducted modeling as recommended by the 2006 National Strategy for Pandemic Implementation Plan; and the federal government’s PREDICT program that worked with 60 worldwide laboratories, including that in outbreak city Wuhan, which originally identified SARS-CoV-2, the novel Covid-19 and 1,200 other viruses. Pandemics on the scale of COVID-19 are believed by many to have wiped out or contributed to the downfall of entire civilizations, the Olmec, Mayan, Aztec, and Byzantine empires, as well as the Athens hegemon. Like the “beast demons” of ancient mythology, Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, British PM Boris Johnson, treated COVID-19 as an opportunity to conduct anti-democratic power grabs, infringe on the powers of constituent political provinces, states, or regions to set their own public health requirements, and carry out frontal assaults on the independent press. In the case of Trump, there were blatant directives by him and his Eurasian Jewish criminal syndicate-linked son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that were intended to corner the market on critical medical equipment and supplies in order to distribute them to pro-Trump Pindo state governors and Israel. Acting under similar orders, the Mossad and the CIA began scouring the world to obtain ventilators, virus test kits, and personal protective equipment by whatever means possible, including theft and piracy. Haaretz reported that the head of Mossad’s technology division, someone identified only by the letter “H,” boasted about how Mossad obtained some of Israel’s ventilators from abroad and confessed:

We stole, but only a little.

The WaPo reported that Israel was obtaining ventilators from North America, where they were already in short supply. After the publication of the WaPo report, Kushner announced to the world at a White House press briefing that Pindostan’s strategic reserve of ventilators were “ours,” meaning the Trump administration’s, and not for use by the states. The Mossad’s operation to obtain ventilators from abroad through bidding wars and outright theft, directed by Israel’s criminally-indicted PM Netanyahu,, is all the more noteworthy when considering that Netanyahu is a long-time personal friend of Kushner and his family. Trump and Bolsonaro were responsible for COVID-19’s spread to both Florida and Brazil when the two met at a mid-March summit at Trump’s coronavirus hot zone of Mar-a-Lago. The summit and social gatherings resulted in members of Bolsonaro’s delegation and the Thug mayor of Miami becoming infected. Bolsonaro, in rejecting COVID-19 as nothing more than a “cold,” matched up with the propaganda coming out of Trump’s media circle in Pindostan. Both Bolsonaro and Trump insisted that regular influenza killed more people than COVID-19. Early on, Trump called COVID-19 a “hoax” by the Demagog Party. Attempts by White House spin doctors to backtrack on Trump’s statement largely fell on deaf ears. As the virus spread throughout Brazil, Bolsonaro’s antics wore thin with state governors, his own health minister, and, most importantly of all, the Brazilian armed forces. Just as Trump engaged in personal insults directed against the Demagog governors of Michigan, Washington, and other states, Bolsonaro began attacking Governors João Doria of São Paulo and Wilson Witzel of Rio de Janeiro for instituting curfews and quarantine measures. The Brazilian people sided with their governors against Bolsonaro, just as Pindps sided in large numbers with their governors and mayors against Trump. After Bolsonaro contradicted Health Minister Mandetta by scoffing at the need for social distancing and promoting quack medicinal cures, Facebook and Instagram removed the Brazilian president’s posts as harmful to the public. In cities throughout Brazil, angry citizens took to their balconies banging pots and pans and shouted “Bolsonaro Out!” There were calls by the opposition in the Brazilian Congress to impeach Bolsonaro. Economics Minister Guedes took issue with Bolsonaro’s desire to send Brazilians back to work prior to the virus’s abatement. After Trump tweeted that quarantines and stay-at-home orders could not be “cures” worse than the disease, Bolsonaro, in an example of “monkey see, monkey do,” echoed Trump by declaring:

The collateral effects of the measures to combat the coronavirus must not be worse than the disease itself.

As Bolsonaro found himself in political hot water, Trump also began promoting the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which remained untested for treating COVID-19. Bolsonaro also chimed in with a tweet extolling the use of the same drug. It was one of Bolsonaro’s tweets that Twitter removed. The Argentine press began reporting that the Chief of Staff of the Brazilian Presidency, Army Gen Netto, had actually replaced Bolsonaro as “operational president” of the country. There were reports that the Brazilian armed forces chief of staff had informed his Argentine counterpart that it was General Netto, not Bolsonaro, who was making all the presidential decisions regarding COVID-19 and other critical matters in Brazil. Since Bolsonaro and Trump like to match each other’s policies and rhetoric, the intervention of the Brazilian armed forces in sidelining Bolsonaro served as a stark warning to Trump, especially after Trump ordered the firing of Capt Crozier of the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. The ship’s commander had fired off an angry letter through his chain-of-command warning that his crew of over 4000 sailors was in jeopardy from an outbreak of COVID-19 on board the vessel. Crozier had plenty of supporters in the military and political establishment, including his own crew, Joe Biden and the great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt. The examples of General Netto and an angry Pindo armed forces provided uninformed and ignorant libertarian “beast-men” like Bolsonaro and Trump with a stern wake-up call that their clownish antics have definite limits.

Other “beast-men” like Duterte and Johnson also used the coronavirus to brandish their particular political theatrics. Duterte ordered Philippines security forces to “shoot dead” anyone violating mandatory curfews and social distancing in the country. Johnson found himself incapable of adequately dealing with COVID-19, especially after years of decrying Britain’s valued National Health Service as an unnecessary bureaucracy. Johnson’s ignorance of the virus and his reliance on Dominic Cumming’s ridiculous advice to take a chance on Britons developing a “herd immunity,” thus allowing the virus to make an initial sweep through Britain and count the dead and the survivors afterward, resulted in not only Johnson but his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds, Prince Charles and Cummings contracting COVID-19. Australia’s evangelical PM Morrison was also slow on the draw in taking resolute action to combat COVID-19, perhaps putting his faith more into his vaunted religious passages than scientific research. Critics of Morrison’s right-wing government pointed out that it was not only toilet paper that was in short supply in the country, but also honesty, truth and transparency. Rejection of science, public health, and common sense, as well as using a pandemic to score political points and increase personal power, has its penalties, a fact that has not yet seemed to dawn on Trump, Bolsonaro, Johnson and like-minded political dolts around the world.

NatSec State Left Pindostan Defenseless Against Coronavirus
Gareth Porter, Antiwar.com, Apr 8 2020

Trump’s failure to act decisively to control the coronavirus pandemic has likely made the COVID-19 pandemic far more lethal than it should have been. But the reasons behind failure to get protective and life-saving equipment like masks and ventilators into the hands of health workers and hospitals run deeper than Trump’s self-centered recklessness. Both the Obama and Trump administrations quietly delegated the essential natsec responsibility for obtaining and distributing these vital items to state and local authorities. The failure of leadership was compounded the lack of any federal power center that embraced the idea that guarding for a pandemic was at least as important to natsec as preparing for war. For decades, the military-industrial Congressional complex has force-fed the Pindo sheeple a warped conception of Pindo natsec focused entirely around perpetuating warfare. The cynical conflation of natsec with waging war on designated enemies around the globe effectively stifled public awareness of the clear and present danger posed to its survival by global pandemic. As a result, Congress was simply not called upon to fund the vitally important equipment that doctors and nurses needed for the COVID-19 crisis.

At the heart of the growing coronavirus crisis in Pindostan is a severe shortage of N95 respirators and ventilators. Those items should have been available in sufficient numbers through the Strategic National Stockpile, which holds the nation’s largest supplies necessary for national emergencies. But the stocks of crucial medical equipment have not been maintained for years, largely because Congress has not provided the necessary funding. Congress has been willing to dole out loads of cash after pandemics hit Pindostan. When the H1N1 flu crisis hit Pindostan in 2009, and close to 300,000 Pindos were hospitalized, Congress appropriated $7.7b in special funding, including support for building up the SNS. That allowed the stockpile to provide 85 million respirators and millions of ventilators to hospitals around the country, especially during the second half of the year-long crisis. But since that 2009-10 crisis ended, the stockpile of such vital equipment has never been replenished. In 2020 the stockpile holds only 12 million N95 respirators, as little as 1% of what is now needed by health workers, and just 16,000 ventilators, though an estimated 750,000 people at minimum will need ventilators because of the COVID-19 pandemic. These numbers are so scandalously low in relation to what is needed that senior Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS) boxtops have refused to reveal publicly how many they have in stock.

The failure to maintain those items in the stockpile was not the result of any lack of warning about the serious risk of a global pandemic that could be worse than any since the 1918 Spanish flu. It has been obvious that the frequency and ferocity of such rapidly spreading flu pandemics has been steadily rising throughout the 21st century. The parade of recent pandemics began with SARS in 2002-3, continued with the much more serious H1N1 pandemic in 2009, and escalated with the spread of MERS IN 2012. Each one involved influenza viruses. The H1N1 pandemic infected nearly 61 million Pindos and hospitalized 274,000, causing 12,500 deaths. Another epidemic of the Ebola virus spread across much of Africa in 2014-16 but made only a slight appearance in Pindostan. George Poste, a former director of Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute with close ties to the Pindo military-intelligence apparatus, warned in 2018 that even though the horror of the 1918 flu epidemic had not been repeated, it was “inevitable that a pandemic strain of equal virulence will emerge.” The awareness of the threat of a pandemic even reached into the NSC. In 2015, once the Ebola crisis had passed, the Obama administration’s departing Ebola coordinator convinced the White House to create an NSC office for the threat from pandemics. A week before Trump’s inauguration, Obama’s outgoing homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, organized a simulation based on how the administration would respond to what she called a “nightmare scenario”: a flu pandemic that forces a halt to international travel and causes a stock market crash and for which there is no effective vaccine. In May 2018, Luciana Borio, the director for medical and biodefense preparedness on the NSC staff, declared publicly that a flu pandemic that we “know cannot be stopped at the border” was the leading health security threat, and that Pindostan was not prepared for it. But neither the NSC office nor the NSC itself produced a major initiative to focus political attention on the pandemic threat. The office’s role, as described by Beth Cameron, who oversaw it, was limited to closely monitoring global health threats to provide early warning of any potential pandemic. So when arch-militarist John Bolton promptly downgraded the office after becoming Trump’s national security adviser, it made little difference.

Responsibility for domestic preparedness for a pandemic has always belonged not to NSC but to the Dept of Health and Human Services (HHS), which organized a month-long simulation in 2019 involving a number of federal offices that ultimately demonstrated how seriously unprepared the government was to cope with a pandemic. Following such an exercise, it should have been obvious that a new stockpile of necessary medical gear was urgently needed. However, the HHS made no serious effort to replenish the country’s diminished stockpiles of masks, ventilators, and other critical supplies. And even if it had, it would have had to have competed with a much more powerful military-industrial complex for funding, and almost certainly would have failed. Deeply entrenched bureaucracies and defense contractors dominate the federal government. Thanks to hefty campaign contributions and other benefits to members of Congress who control budgetary decisions, the national security state is easily able to secure its demands. In contrast, no such lobbying complex exists to ensure the country is adequately prepared for a pandemic. In fact, as Greg Burel, the director of the US strategic stockpile from 2009 to 2021, explained, HHS and the Strategic National Stockpile lost all responsibility for sending N-95 masks and ventilators to state and local health services and hospitals in a national health emergency. Hospitals and state and local health departments must therefore compete with one another to obtain limited commercially available suppliers after they are already knee-deep in a pandemic. Responsibility for the preparation for the most significant threat to Pindo natsec was thus privatized under both the Obama and Trump administrations.

At the same time, a bipartisan consensus emerged around shoveling $15t in taxpayer money into wars that had little to do with natsec in any true sense, and focused instead on the perpetuation of Pindo empire. The catastrophic human consequences of the failure to provide these essentials for a minimally adequate response should become the basis of nationwide political movement that takes on the natsec state and its deadly grip on Congress. Multi-billion-dollar weapons systems may have provided lucrative kickbacks to Congress critturs and spacious Northern Virginia McMansions to arms industry lobbyists, but they have not provided an iota of security from coronavirus. Such a movement would have seemed impossible only a few weeks ago. But after decades of preemption of resources for the parochial interests of a self-serving natsec bureaucracy and its elite political allies, it is clear that most Pindos have been abandoned before a pandemic their leaders dismissed and ignored. A simple insistence that the actual security interests of the American people be served, rather than those of militarists who have hijacked the concept of national security for their own self-interest, is paramount. A movement demanding this radical shift could be driven by very reasonable expectation that untold hundreds of thousands could die during a series of viral outbreaks throughout the next decade. As Dr Peter Daszek, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance and a leading expert in predicting their impact of pandemics, recently told the WSJ:

We’re going to be hit with a much bigger one sometime in the next 10 years.

More than 1,000 VA employees have tested positive for COVID-19
James Clark, Task & Purpose, Apr 7 2020

More than 1,000 employees of the Dept of Veterans Affairs have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), according to data provided to Task & Purpose by the VA on Tuesday. The 1,007 VA employees who tested positive for the virus all work within the Veterans Health Administration, which is tasked with overseeing a sprawling network of hospitals, clinics, and medical centers that provide care to some 9 million veterans, many of whom are older, and have underlying health issues related to their military service. VA spox Christina Mandreucci told Task & Purpose:

In accordance with CDC guidelines and the employees’ clinical status, the employees are all in isolation, mitigating further risk of transmission to other patients and staff.

The New Orleans VA Medical Center was one of the hardest hit, with 83 employees testing positive. Nearly 400 veterans there have also contracted the virus. Other facilities with high numbers of employee cases include the Roudebush VAMC Indianapolis, with 56 cases; the Peters VAMC in the Bronx, with 39 cases; and the VAMC in Northport NY, with 37. Four employees have died from the virus, according to the VA data. Two of the employees worked in Michigan, at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center, and the Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit. A third worked at the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, and a fourth worked at the DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. Mandreucci said:

Due to privacy concerns, we cannot provide additional information.

A social worker at the VA Medical Center in Houston, where there are 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees, and 15 cases among veteran patients, said that staff received an all-hands message on Monday notifying them of the most recent COVID-19-related death of an employee. The employee was one of five VA health-care workers who previously spoke to Task & Purpose, detailing how the department was faring amidst the pandemic, and said:

We’re all just trying to navigate this new normal.

As of Tuesday, the number of veterans who have tested positive for COVID-19 reached 3,038 cases, and 144 veterans have died, up from 19 the day before, according to VA data. Globally, there are more than 1.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases. Pindostan now has the highest number at roughly 387,000, with more than 12,000 deaths.

Troops believe coronavirus is hurting military readiness, poll shows
Leo Shane, Military Times, Apr 7 2020

More than three-quarters of troops surveyed in a new Military Times Poll of active-duty personnel think the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has damaged military readiness, and about one-third said the military response has already taken a personal toll on their families. About half of troops polled believe that military leaders are taking the right steps to respond to the fast-spreading illness, but another 43% disagree with their approach so far. That split opinion on leadership doesn’t extend to the recent official travel ban for troops and families. More than 80% support the severe travel restrictions that have banned almost all domestic and international movement. The poll surveyed 1,507 active-duty Military Times subscribers in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. Responses were collected online between Mar 26-31, after new travel restrictions for military personnel were put in place and some state quarantine restrictions were enacted. As of Apr 6, more than 1,400 service-members had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to DoD reports. More than 2,500 patients in the Veterans Health Administration have also contracted the illness, and more than 100 died from it. About 19% of troops surveyed said the coronavirus outbreak has greatly diminished military readiness and the services’ ability to respond to traditional national security threats. Missions around the world have been impacted by the virus. New deployments to Afghanistan are on hold, a Navy aircraft carrier has been sidelined due to a COVID-19 outbreak, the Marine Corps suspended recruit training at Parris Island and many local training missions have been canceled. That erosion of the armed forces’ strength is likely to linger for a while. About 37% of troops who responded said they expect their units won’t return to normal operations and readiness for at least six months after current quarantine restrictions are lifted. About 5% said they expect it to take more than a year. In recent weeks, Pentagon boxtops have announced a host of social distancing requirements and new travel restrictions on all personnel. On Sunday, Sec Def Esper unveiled plans for all personnel to wear face coverings while in public areas on military bases. This so far drew more support than criticism from troops in the survey. About 51% said that leadership and commanders have taken the right steps to respond to the public health threat. About 43% said they disagree, half of that group strongly. Enlisted personnel who participated in the survey were more supportive of those leadership moves than officers. Nearly two-thirds of the enlisted troops (63%) agreed that commanders are taking the right steps. Officers were evenly split (47% agree, 47% disagree). One of the most common complaints aired by service-members involved commanders’ decisions about which personnel should be deemed “essential” and continue to report to work as normal despite the quarantine recommendations. One sailor wrote in part of the survey:

My ship has pretended nothing is happening, and made everyone ‘essential’ to support yard workers who have had multiple confirmed cases of COVID.

Another service-member complained that many jobs that aren’t actively involved in coronavirus response are still required to report in. He wrote:

Even being a stockboy at a grocery store is essential now. Right now is the time to shelter, not to be out there doing a training mission just so the pipeline doesn’t dry up.

In the survey, troops had more confidence that their peers were taking the coronavirus threat seriously compared to commanders. Almost 59% of those surveyed said their fellow service-members are taking the right steps. More than 71% of officers voiced that opinion. Individuals in the survey had more faith in the military’s response to the public health threat (51% moderate or strong confidence) than that of the White House (32%), the Department of Veterans Affairs (24%) or Congress (13%). Roughly 8% of troops surveyed said they thought the travel restrictions put in place by military leaders last month were appropriate, but many also reported significant personal impact from that decision. One third of all survey participants said they have missed a major life event because of the travel limits. One family lost about $8k on a planned trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. Dozens of respondents said they’ll miss weddings, family reunions, and long-planned birthday celebrations. One soldier in South Korea said:

I was scheduled to transfer out in early April, but now it looks like the earliest I can leave will be July. My wife is due to give birth in early July. Haven’t missed the birth yet, but it looks like a strong possibility.

Another service-member who cannot visit relatives because of the travel restrictions wrote:

I have family in hospice care that may pass away soon, and I feel I will miss the funeral due this outbreak.

Nearly one-quarter of all troops surveyed said the coronavirus pandemic is a bigger natsec threat than 9/11. About one in five said the response has already greatly diminished military readiness. When asked if the DoD should play a larger role in assisting civilian institutions with the coronavirus response, about 45% saw the need for more military involvement, while about 30% felt the military response should be lessened. That left about 25% who were unsure of what the military involvement should be. Already, two Navy hospital ships have been deployed to New York and California so thousands of military personnel can help with public health missions there, and more than 21,000 National Guard troops mobilized for the response effort.

Expect Police-Military Repression Amid the Crisis of COVID-19 and Its Aftermath
Netfa Freeman, Black Agenda Report, Apr 8 2020

The rulers are concerned about the class war becoming sharper in the current crisis and they are preparing to send in the military and police to quell dissent. News stories about the National Guard assisting with the coronavirus have overshadowed stories about Pindo military plans to join police in stopping expected “civil disturbances.” But eyewitness accounts of trains transporting armored vehicles and other equipment into their communities prompted posts to social media about the threat of martial law. The DoD responded with a media defensive to dismiss the concerns as conspiracy theories, sticking to the strict definition of martial law. They assure that the duties of the reserve National Guard personnel are only for things like disinfecting public spaces, delivering food to homes, and erecting provisional medical facilities. Semantic games and a neglect to connect the dots are meant to assuage public concerns. Martial law is the imposition of direct and temporary military control of normal civilian functions, although to argue whether or not military involvement means direct control is to split hairs. The outcomes are the same for Black and First Nations working class people in the Pindo settler colonial state. Those communities live under constant police-state control designed to maintain the Pan-European white supremacist colonial/capitalist patriarchy. The only “normal” civilian functions for them are to serve the industrial metropole. Otherwise, to neoliberal capitalists they are a surplus population. In December, prior to the pandemic, Att-Gen William Barr launched Operation Relentless Pursuit, a “surge” of federal agents in seven cities, more enforcement funding, police department access to more equipment, and an ability to hire more police. This is another operation meant to deal with the surplus population. When Chief of the National Guard Bureau, Gen Lengyel’s adds this caveat, he offers a distinction without a difference:

The Guard has legal authorities to participate in law enforcement operations, such as crowd control but usually does so under the supervision of local police.

The rulers are concerned about the class war becoming sharper in the current crisis and they are preparing to send in the military and police to quell dissent. A WaPo piece warn:

there is a much larger, and more fraught, role for the armed forces in this crisis: They might need to backstop and backfill police forces. Major assistance with patrolling streets, enforcing restrictions on movement, deterring crime and other tasks might be the most prudent thing we can do to reduce the risk of deteriorating social stability and security. Police departments should make plans for apprentice-like training of Guard personnel, who probably know a lot about how to wear body armor, operate weapons, maintain discipline, use communications systems and work long hours, but who probably know much less about easing tense civic situations, handling suspects while presuming innocence and securing evidence.

The treatment for entitled white teenagers refusing to stay home and off beaches will not be the same as the mistreatment of Black and Brown communities expressing their frustrations with second class citizenship. Mounting dissatisfactions with the system are obvious in the wildcat strikes of workers demanding hazard pay and PPE to safely perform their jobs during the pandemic. Economists are also forecasting that an alarming 47 million jobs will be lost leading to 32% unemployment, the highest figure since the great depression. The pre-existing crisis of legitimacy for the rulers is compounded by the government’s inept response to the pandemic and the private sector’s shameless efforts to profit from the people’s suffering. The 1968 Kerner Commission Report on civil disturbances warned of what happens when the oppressed have had enough. The impasse is at the solutions. Free health-care for anyone sick, housing as a human right, and relief money from the government all go against capitalism and are therefore not meant to last. Society is approaching an ultimate clash between classes that presents the oppressors with essentially two contrasting responses. People rebelling because they are hungry could be brutally suppressed, or could be given food and democratic control over the production and distribution of food. Pindo white supremacist colonial/capitalist patriarchy will respond to such crises with the former option. Fatalities have always been the result of the police-military mix in response to major unrest in Pindostan: In 2005 in the scramble to survive Hurricane Katrina, 1992 in response to verdicts in police beating of Rodney King, and 1968 after the assassination of Dr King. And Black people always get the worst of these crackdowns. The assumption that police are adept in easing tense civic situations, etc would be laughable if it weren’t insulting. All armed forces of the Pindo state, whether police, National Guard, active duty military, serve the same essential purpose, to protect the settler colonial and imperialist paradigm. The distinction between them is like that between the FBI and CIA; one enforces domestic domination and the other foreign. When the government turns to the military for the economic symptoms of the COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath, poor Black and Brown people will be met in city streets by armed troops trained to occupy hostile foreign territory and primed with the racist and classist attitudes inherent in the police.

Countries taking a different approach to coronavirus
Callum Keown, MSN News, Apr 7 2020

Countries around the world have enforced strict lockdown measures in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, with some early signs it may be working. Two European countries, Denmark and Austria, have even signalled plans to gradually lift lockdown measures starting later this month, following a number of Asian countries, including China – the origin of the virus. Pindostan, the UK, India, Italy, Spain and many more countries remain in lockdown in the fight to beat the virus. However, some nations have taken different paths in the face of the pandemic. Pres Lukashenko of Belarus has encouraged people to drink vodka and regularly visit saunas to beat COVID-19, and has even prescribed the driving of tractors to fend off the virus, calling fears of coronavirus a “psychosis.” He has refused to put the country’s 9.5 million people into lockdown and has insisted that life goes on as normal, himself playing in an ice hockey match at the end of March. The Belarusian Premier League is Europe’s only surviving soccer league and the games have attracted a surge in interest from the UK and other countries in recent weeks. Officials figures show that Belarus has reported just 13 deaths from coronavirus. Those numbers have been questioned by locals and more than 150,000 Belarusians have signed a petition calling for a nationwide quarantine. the petition read:

In most countries of the world, the necessary measures have long been taken to stop the spread of coronavirus. Unfortunately, in the Republic of Belarus there is a complete disregard for the disease and incorrect informing of residents. This petition is like a cry from the soul. We urgently need to enter quarantine. We require quarantine. We want to live!

Sweden remains one of the only EU countries not in lockdown, adopting a far more relaxed strategy to tackle the spread of coronavirus. As others have closed social venues, Sweden’s bars, cafes and restaurants have remained open. Its PM has instead called on every citizen to take responsibility, with only the elderly and most vulnerable being told to self-isolate and stay at home. The country’s limited measures in recent weeks have included banning gatherings of 50, down from an initial ban on gatherings of 500, and table service only at restaurants. However, coronavirus deaths in Sweden surged from 239 on Apr 1 to 591 on Apr 7, with 114 in the past 24 hours alone. Lofven’s tone shifted on Saturday as he warned the country was facing “thousands” of deaths and should prepare for that outcome. The Swedish government took steps to introduce new powers on Monday, allowing authorities to close airports, railway stations, shops and businesses without needing parliamentary approval first. The country’s relatively laid-back approach has drawn criticism, notably from a group of scientists who penned a letter to newspaper Dagens Nyheter. They asked the country’s public health agency why Sweden has resisted lockdown, when the rest of Europe including the UK have implemented tougher measures. they wrote:

Different countries have different conditions, but we struggle to see why the Swedish context is so different from the British.

Finland tightened its border with Sweden, and neighboring Norway, on Tuesday with only necessary travel now permitted. The Finnish government also urged Sweden to better protect and test its health-care workers, who are helping treat some Finnish patients. In contrast to Sweden, Denmark is planning to lift lockdown measures at a gradual pace. Schools will reopen to some children as soon as Apr 15 if coronavirus cases and deaths remain stable, the PM said on Monday. Denmark was an early instigator of tough COVID-19 measures, second only to Italy in imposing a lockdown. Schools, restaurants, bars and cafes have been closed since in the middle of March. The rules have not been as strict as in the UK, where people are only allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise or shopping, but the number of hospitalizations fell last week and daily deaths have stabilized. The reopening of day centers and schools is designed to get the economy moving again, with many parents currently working from home to provide childcare. Frederiksen, whose approval rating has surged through the crisis, said the move towards normality was a “political choice.” Austria will also ease some of its measures later this month, with small shops reopening from Apr.14 and all shops opening again from May 1. A number of Asian countries have lifted lockdown measures, but Denmark and Austria will be the first European countries.

Pindostan can only beat COVID-19 if it stops blaming China and faces up to its own pandemic mistakes
Joh Ross, RT.com, Apr 7 2020

The author is senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China, and former director of economic and business policy for the mayor of London. He lived in Moscow from 1992-2000.

Pindostan, ‘the greatest country in the world,’ just can’t admit that China succeeded in dealing with the COVID-19 threat while Pindostan has failed. Instead of learning from China, it’s suffering the world’s worst epidemic disaster. The international course of the coronavirus pandemic is established beyond challenge. China is the world’s first country with a major outbreak to bring it under control, reducing the number of daily deaths to zero on Apr 6. Pindostan is suffering a worsening catastrophe. Pindo facts are clear. According to Johns Hopkins University, it has over 368,000 cases and more than 10,000 deaths. The total numbers in Pindostan are already approximately three times as high as China in absolute terms. But, as Pindostan has less than one-quarter of China’s population, the Pindo per capita number of cases and deaths is 12 times higher than China and rising rapidly. The difference between the success of China’s response and the Pindo failure is based on a fundamental difference in approach. China based its action on its ancient dictum ‘seek truth from facts.’ Many in Pindostan engaged in national delusions. The lessons of the difference include but go far beyond coronavirus. Few things are more dangerous for any country than to lie to itself. The greatest disasters in human history frequently result from attempts to cheat reality. Hitler in 1941 rationalized his decision to attack the USSR with the analysis that “You only have to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down,” a disastrous denial of reality which unleashed the greatest war in human history, the total destruction of his regime (the one good result), and 27 million dead in the Soviet Union. Japan similarly made a catastrophic miscalculation in unleashing war in China and the Pacific (The Versailles Treaty forced Germany into war on the East, and a Western oil embargo forced Japan into war on Pindostan – RB). COVID-19 does not reach the level of these cataclysmic misanalyzes, but is undoubtedly the greatest global crisis since WW2. It illustrates the same life-and-death lesson, that reality is much more powerful than human delusions; and if you try to cheat it in serious matters, catastrophe will result.

Coronavirus will not be arrested for one microsecond by falsification or bluff. It is only defeated by strictly objective measures preventing humans transmitting it. China stopped the coronavirus by acting objectively when faced with literally a deadly threat, imposing a proven successful lockdown, the fundamental approach to which is now being followed in every country, if not its comprehensive application. Regrettably, illustrating the same point from the reverse viewpoint, Pindostan is equally now experiencing a worsening national catastrophe because some of its leading boxtops engaged in falsification and national delusion, helping create what will be only the third mass death experience on Pindo soil in its entire history after the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic and the Civil War (unless you count the entire annihilation of its original inhabitants – RB). This difference between China’s fact-based strategy, and the attempt of Pindo boxtops to defy reality, is therefore now necessarily creating an international ideological clash between China’s objective approach and the delusions in Pindostan. Fortunately for the Pindo sheeple, an increasing number of states, cities and other institutions are refusing to be led into a literal death-trap by propaganda. But tens of thousands of Pindo lives, possibly many more, depend on how far propaganda and falsifications can be overcome. A suitable starting point for understanding the international ideological difference in approach between China and Pindostan is an ‘Open Letter to the Pindo Sheeple’ signed by 100 Chinese professors, think-tank directors, and other leading academic boxtops which was published on the Pindo website The Diplomat. The signatories of the letter thanked the international community for its support during the most critical stage of the fight against the virus, and offered to share their experiences with other countries and provide all available assistance to them. They wrote:

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health crisis with a horrific scale not seen in generations. The effort to overcome both it and its impact will be nothing short of a long-term and arduous global war. Countries should be working together. The COVID-19 outbreak in China is now basically under control. The Chinese people have made unimaginable efforts and sacrifices to achieve hard-won results. We sincerely hope to cooperate with the international community, including intellectuals and experts from the US that look forward to a brighter future. We call on all nations to work together in sincere cooperation to defeat this common enemy of humanity.

This approach is an application of China’s central foreign policy concept of a ‘common destiny for humanity,’ emphasizing that each nation is unique but one part of a common global future. China has therefore given both practical assistance and advice to other countries, including Pindostan, despite aggressive actions taken by Faschingstein against China over issues such as the trade war. Some of this assistance to Pindostan has received wide publicity. For example, the Massachusetts governor transported a million medical masks from China using a plane owned by the famous National Football League team, the New England Patriots. Coordination involving China’s cities has also been achieved by the C40, the grouping of mayors of most of the world’s largest metropolises, with a combined population of 650 million. On Apr 3, it noted:

Today, experts from Beijing, Guangzhou and Nanjing shared vital knowledge and advice on the COVID-19 crisis with more than 50 cities from around the world.

China, as the world’s greatest manufacturing base, obviously plays a decisive practical role in the fight against the virus. Due to the rapid decline in coronavirus cases in China, based on domestic conditions, it could now radically cut production of masks, ventilators and other equipment which was enormously increased during the peak coronavirus outbreak in China. But it has deliberately decided not to do so because it understands it can be the world’s greatest supply center in fighting coronavirus. Some Pindo boxtops have openly and objectively thanked China for its help. In contrast to China’s reaction, there has been an exactly opposite and catastrophic response from leading Pindo boxtops. The most grotesque example was Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross, who viewed the coronavirus in the framework of whether it would deliver a supposed benefit to Pindostan, saying coronavirus was an opportunity and will ‘bring back jobs.’ Instead, millions of Pindos have already lost their employment. The Trump administration also regrettably underestimated the seriousness of coronavirus entirely and correspondingly failed to prepare Pindostan. Trump argued on Jan 22:

We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. It’s going to be just fine.

Trends showed this was entirely false. On Apr 3, when the Pindo CDC advised Pindos to wear face masks, Trump immediately undermined this by announcing at a press conference he was not going to. On Apr 5, Trump said that ‘the toughest week’ for the coronavirus in Pindostan would be that week or the next week. In fact, the situation was still deteriorating rapidly, with no death peak in sight, and within a few weeks the Pindo situation will be far worse. As Pindostan had two months’ warning of the threat of the coronavirus, the job of leading Pindo boxtops should have been to prepare the Pindo sheeple for this, drawing on the experience of China and every other country which had important lessons. Some Pindo institutions did that. Johns Hopkins University has done one of the world’s best jobs in providing real-time data on COVID-19’s spread. Unfortunately other leading Pindo boxtops, instead of facing reality, spread propaganda, obstructing the Pindo sheeple from preparing for the deadly coming threat. A typical example is Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group, the most influential Pindo political risk consultancy, normally a serious analyst, well worth reading. In this case, faced with a situation where the Pindo response has been disastrous, he abandoned objectivity, claiming on Mar 31, on the basis of no evidence, that China had more coronavirus cases than Pindostan despite both the WHO and Johns Hopkins University showing the exact opposite. The dynamic of the rise of Pindo coronavirus cases meant that within days, Bremmer’s claim had lost all credibility. At the time of writing, Johns Hopkins University’s real-time data finds 368,000 cases in Pindostan, compared to 83,000 in China. Similarly, on Apr 3, Bremmer quoted the Pindo propaganda channel Radio Free Asia’s claim, based on supposed anecdotal evidence from Wuhan residents, that there had been 40,000 deaths in the city.

Fortunately, almost no serious boxtops outside Pindostan were prepared to pass on such material or simple propaganda. The G7 bluntly refused Pompeo’s demand that COVID-19 should be referred to as the ‘China virus.’ Canada’s health minister straightforwardly said:

There is no indication that the data that came out of China regarding their infection rate and their death rate was falsified in any way.

She added bluntly that the reporter who asked her this question at a press conference was “feeding into conspiracy theories.” Regarding the situation in China itself, in addition to all serious statistical studies, it is simply necessary to look at the videos of its city streets gradually beginning to refill. I know from my numerous daily discussions that six weeks ago people were naturally very scared. This is a literal life-and-death matter. No government propaganda would get people back on the streets if they were not beginning to feel safe again. Even more significantly, if they were not really safe, these filling streets would produce literally so many thousands of dead it would be impossible to conceal. Why did even normally-serious Pindo boxtops spread nonsense? It illustrates the ancient truth that if a theory and the real world do not coincide, a sensible person abandons the theory and a dangerous one abandons the real world. Pindo boxtops subscribed to the theory that Pindostan must be the best, ‘the greatest country in the world.’ Therefore, it was impossible by definition that China should have succeeded in dealing with the coronavirus threat more successfully than any other country, while Pindostan failed. Therefore, instead of undertaking the vital lesson of learning from China’s successful fight against the virus, Pindo boxtops attempted to deny reality. This contributed significantly to Pindostan being unprepared to fight the coronavirus, with the consequences that Pindostan is now suffering the world’s worst coronavirus disaster. Reality is strictly objective, and cannot be cheated. Those who attempt to do so in serious matters damage themselves. The coronavirus will not be stopped for an instant by claims that Pindostan is always best, or that China has not been successful in fighting the virus. Those in Pindostan who refused to base themselves on reality have contributed to a disaster in their own country. Self-delusions among leading Pindo boxtops have previously led it to geopolitical disasters, in Vietnam, in Iraq and in believing that Russia would accept Pindostan’s aggressive expansion of NATO. Now these self-delusions have led to a disaster on Pindo soil itself. It is to be hoped that the Pindo creeple will extremely rapidly draw on the lessons, save the lives of many tens of thousands of their own citizens, and force their leaders to enter into more general, rational relations with the world.

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