Covid-159

Dan O'Heirity

Donald Trump’s Most Recent Lawsuit Has Been Called “Unhinged”

Trump’s attempts to mount legal challenges against the outcome of the American election has long been the stuff of farce but it took an even more bizarre turn this week with Texas filing a lawsuit with the supreme court to overturn election results in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Republican attorneys general in 17 states joined the Texas lawsuit and Trump was widely supported by members of his party. Prior to lodging this lawsuit, and as reported by The Guardian, Trump’s campaign had won just 1 court case whilst losing 51 court cases. Now the Supreme Court has rejected Trump’s latest. Now, as reported by CNN, the Supreme Court has rejected the Texas legal challenge.

One of the most interesting points about this latest rejection of a Trump legal challenge is that the Supreme Court seems to have been populated to a large degree to judges sympathetic to Trump. In this context, it might very well have been the case that Trump expected to succeed even though the case had no legal merit. However, such was not the case. The decision appears to have been unanimous meaning that the judges that Trump put in place simply went against his wishes. They did this even though Trump tweeted that the Supreme Court needed to show wisdom and courage in overturning the election result so that the electoral process could be respected again. This from the man who has spent his whole time since losing the election in trying to undermine the electoral result through 52 legal challenges to the process. If you want a bit more of an in depth analysis of the “Texan Debacle” then watch this video from CNN which has an interview with a Republican Senator who is not on board with what Trump and his cronies are doing.

It is really tempting now to say that Trump is surely done, that he must just give up. However, as an article from The Guardian points out, we have spent a very long time thinking that Trump must surely give up and yet he just keeps going. On Monday, 14 December, the electoral college meets to cast votes based on state certifications of the result. Biden should be certified as president of the United States. Perhaps we will finally see the end of this process.

Covid-19 Has Been With Us For Nearly Twelve Months

Truth be told, Covid-19 has actually been with us for 12 months. We just didn’t know about it because China was busy trying to cover the virus in December 2019. The rest, as they say, is history. We are now at a sort of watershed moment in the history of the virus with multiple vaccines having been distributed to the public in different countries around the world, China, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey. We have some reason to hope that 2021 might see us living in a state of “Covid normal”. Everyone has to make sense of this year in their own way but there is a fascinating article in The Guardian that looks back over 2020 using the metaphor of a microscope lens. The article represents a very long read but it is totally worth the time required. I shall just provide a few highlights. Trump and Boris Johnson have been shown up as “poor leaders” who made unforgiveable decisions and mistakes during 2020. Other leaders, Jacinda Arden in New Zealand for example, have risen to the occasion and shown what true leadership quality. The virus has also exposed pre-existing inequalities in relation to employment. “White collar workers” continued to work albeit from home using Zoom as the main means of communication. Their biggest complaint, Zoom fatigue. Blue collar workers found themselves with out work. Their biggest complaint. Not enough money to put food on the table. You can read the rest of the story for yourself. Here I would make just one point. There is no mention of China in the article. If 2020 has thrown one fact into stark relief, it is that Beijing cannot be trusted. Even more so, China’s hubris, arrogance and desire to be the single dominant global power has been laid bear for all to see. These facts were known prior to Covid-19. Countries just decided to ignore them. That can no longer happen.

China May Have Long-Term Plans to Lay Siege to Australia

It would be fair to say that I never really have anything good to say about China. In my defence I would say that, according to my preferred data source, Beijing has so far infected 71,437,330 with Covid-19. China has also murdered 1,601,168 people. The reasons that this is murder is very simple. Beijing worked hand in hand with the World Health Organization in the early days of the virus to cover to hide it from the world. China knowingly sent infected citizens around the world and here we are with the pandemic and the aforementioned murders. Beijing behaved in unconscionable ways in the first few months of 2020 through pillaging the world of medical equipment and medical supplies and then sending substandard medical equipment and supplies around the world. I could mention the new security law in Hong Kong which basically means the end of freedom in Hong Kong. Uighurs come to mind in terms of human rights abuses. Don’t even get me started on tariffs placed on Australian exports to China in order to try to bully Australia into doing China’s bidding. Whilst the CCP is clearly vile I have always taken some solace from the fact that China is a long way from Australia. Now imagine that China is to have a substantive island presence in Australia’s backyard. Well, it looks like it is going to happen. As reported by ABC News, Papua New Guinea has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with China to build a $200 million “comprehensive multi-functional fishery industrial park” on Daru Island. According to ABC News, there is not much of anything on or around Daru, including fish. This begs the question of what the Chinese are really up to in sighing this MOU.

Well, China would have a land presence only 200 kilometres from the Australian mainland and the Daru facility would be extremely close to the Torres Strait islands that are within Australia’s northern border. “Federal MP Warren Entsch, whose electorate covers the Torres Strait, is just one figure in Canberra most alarmed at the development, and who questions why you would build such a huge fishing operation in a place where there aren’t a lot of fish“. The answer to that question is really pretty simple. The Chinese have a strategic aim in being able to develop some sort of facility only 200 kilometres from Australia. The more complicated question is why they might want to do such a thing. Unfortunately there is just no way to know what Beijing has in mind because Beijing is, to say the least, somewhat opaque. However, as noted by ABC News, poorer countries such as Papua New Guinea are lured by China’s offer of loans to, for example, build infrastructure. ABC News suggests that countries, Australia included, should look to providing more economic assistance to countries in their region. If not then these countries will continue to do deals with China. You might quite fairly ask why this would be a problem. Well, China is not randomly going around the globe and handing out massive loans to developing countries. Rather China has an aim in mind. First, the loans give China leverage over these countries. China can use this leverage in many ways including “demanding” that the countries support them in world forums such as the World Health Organization. If the countries default on the loans then China can demand, for example, leases for ports in the country in lieu of payment.

First Published December 12th, 2020

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