Covid-146

Dan O'Heirity

Trump Misses Covid Summit To Play Golf

According to my preferred data source, as of today there have been 58,985,804 confirmed Covid cases worldwide along with 1,393,677 deaths. The United States has recorded 12,588,661 confirmed cases, more than any other country in the world. There have been 262,696 reported deaths in the United States. It would be fair to say that the virus is running rampant in the United States. Two days ago there were 174,207 new cases and 1,501 new deaths. Yesterday there were 136,627 new cases and 886 new deaths. There’s no new data today because of the reporting time from America. In this context, and as reported by The Guardian, Trump appears to have attended the virtual opening of a G20 pandemic event before leaving in order to go and play golf. This seems odd to say the least for the President of the United States given that the event was described as focussing on the “coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic and improved global pandemic preparedness”. One can only guess at what is going through Trump’s mind these days but it is tempting to think that he behaving like a churlish child having a temper tantrum. The reason. He has lost the election even if he, and his supporters, seem to be unable to grasp that fact. However, Trump’s behaviour should not be dismissed. Justin Levitt, a Loyola Law School professor has said of Trumps antics that, “It’s a toxic sideshow. The continuing baseless, evidence-free claims of alternative facts are actually having an effect on a substantial number of Americans. They are creating the conditions for elections not to work in the future“.

Let’s be clear that Trump has lost. According to The Guardian, the results in Georgia have been certified after a hand recount. Arizona’s largest county has also certified results. Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania are all set to certify their results. In a ruling that made me laugh, the judge in Pennsylvania who overturned the Trump legal challenge to the outcome said that Trumps campaign had presented, “‘strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations… unsupported by evidence’ in its attempt to challenge a batch of thousands of votes”. Furthermore, Trump’s efforts to “persuade” legislative leaders from Michigan to overturn the popular vote have not met with success. Rather, the opposite as two of the leaders who were invited to the Whitehouse issued a statement saying that they saw no evidence of fraud. Whilst, too many republicans are staying silent in the fact of Trump’s madness, two of Trump’s former security advisers have been pretty outspoken about Trump’s actions. Trumps former national security adviser John Bolton has said that Biden will be sworn in in January and he added: “The real question is how much damage Trump can do before that happens”. Well, viewing a video of the Vice President telling a crowd in Georgia that the campaign will “keep fighting until every legal vote is counted”, I would say that Trump may do a lot more damage before he goes and in this respect I would refer you to earlier comment from Justin Levitt. In short Trump is doing incalculable damage.

The Trump campaign is obviously an absolute circus but there was one moment in particular when it descended into farce. As reported by ABC News, Sidney Powell, whom Trump has acknowledged as a part of his legal team, claimed in a conspiracy theory of massive proportions that the technology and software for the voting system was created in Venezuela and that it has the ability to flip votes. To quote Powell said the system, “can set and run an algorithm that probably ran all over the country to take a certain percentage of votes from President Trump and flip them to President Biden.” Despite the fact that Trump has publicly acknowledged Powell as a member of his legal team, he is now denying the fact. No matter, he still has Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani said the following at the same conference with Powell, “the Democrats misused absentee and mail-in ballot processes ‘in order to cheat’ during the presidential election”. He then admitted that he had no evidence to support this claim. I will say, as I have said before, that one cannot make sense of Trump’s campaign if one believes that what he is doing has to do with remaining as president. The reason for this fact is simple. His attempts to overturn election results have been rebuffed in nearly every instance and yet the campaign is still crying “voter fraud”. Trump’s actual aim is to divide America and to ensure that he has massive popular support for whatever comes next.

Relations Between China and Australia Sink to an All Time Low Point

Anyone who has been reading my posts over the last few months will know that there has been a long running trade dispute between China and Australia. The reason for this dispute is that China is displeased with Australia on a whole host of fronts including the fact that Australia was vocal in calling for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of their virus. Up until recently, China has “dressed up” this dispute by citing what are, from their point of view, legitimate reasons for putting huge tarriffs on Australian barley, stopping the import of beef from abattoirs and leaving millions of dollars worth of lobsters to die in crates at an airport. However, last week, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, two Chinese diplomats produced a list of 14 grievances against Australia. In other words, “the gloves were off”. Rather than Beijing “hiding” the fact of trying to coerce Australia into behaving as Beijing would wish, Beijing was sending a clear and direct message. The Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe came out and said that Australia needs to keep a strong relationship with China because the relationship benefits both parties. However, Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Minister for Finance, has been rather forthright in referring to “threats of coercion from China and to the fact that China appears to have singled out Australia for “different treatment“. Stand firm Australia or you will forever be beholden to Beijing.

First Published November 23rd, 2020

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