Covid-167

Dan O'Heirity

The Fact That Trump is Certifiably Insane Should Concern Us All

It’s Christmas Eve and, as is the case with a lot of the news sources that I use, I am reflecting on 2020 and thinking about what 2021 might bring. Looking both backwards and forwards, my mind turns to what Trump might do in the next 28 days that he has remaining in office and to Covid-19, China and conflict across the world. As reported by The Guardian, Trump has handed out 15 pardons including pardoning four former government contractors convicted of killing Iraqi civilians. As per another Guardian story, Trump has also been pushing through federal executions, a fact which has led senators including Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to write to the Justice Department  “demanding an investigation into an ‘unprecedented spree’ of federal executions on Donald Trump’s watch”. We can agree or disagree with Tump’s actions in pardoning convicted criminals and pushing through executions but neither course of action is a cause for significant alarm. It’s just Trump being Trump. For example, The Guardian reports that, “88% of the 45 pardons or commutations that Trump had granted before Tuesday helped someone personally associated with him or benefited him politically”. As for the executions, well Trump likely thinks that death row inmates should get what they deserve and he is doing his utmost to ensure that this happens before he leaves the Whitehouse.

Whilst we might not be too concerned about pardons and and Trump pushing through a slew of executions, stories are emerging about Trump considering the use of the military in order to re-run the election in key swing states. Yep, I know. Matters have become surreal in the United States. Or perhaps, more exactly, reality TV is still in play. As far as I can tell, there is absolutely no legal basis that would allow Trump to make use of the military in this way. However, it appears that some of his closest allies in the Whitehouse may be suggesting that he take this course of action. Take a look at this story from CNN that provides a balanced report on what is going on.

The second half of this report has an interview with Republican Elisa Slotkin, former Acting Assistant Defence Secretary for International Security Affairs. Slotkin essentially says that there can be no rule for the army in re-running the election and she names some high ranking figures in the Pentagon, including the Secretary of the Army, along with senior military leaders who have made it clear such is the case. However, General Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser and a man pardoned of crimes by Trump, is calling for martial law to be invoked in order to re-run the election in those key swing states. See how it works. Get a pardon and then do whatever Trump wants you to do. I’ve bookmarked the relevant part of the story in the CCN video below.

There’s a New Variant of Covid-19 That Might Be a Cause for Concern

As reported by The Guardian, scientists have found a variant of Covid-19 that has “has 17 alterations to its genetic sequences, including changes in the spike protein that enables the virus to enter our cells”. The article is making political mileage by arguing that the British government should have had an “elimination policy” for Covid-19 because the suppression policy allowed the virus to spread widely throughout the community thus giving it plenty of opportunity to mutate and to spread across the United Kingdom. Take a look at this story from The Daily Mail if you want to see the actual pattern of the new variant. My interest here is in what the change to the spike protein means and whether any particular vaccine would still be effective against a variation of the virus. As for the spike protein, a story from The Conversation will tell you everything that you need to know. Basically our cells have a protective fatty layer to combat viruses. Covid-19 has spike proteins that enable the virus to fuse their own membrane to that of our cells’ and take over the cell. That’s it. Basically the spike protein kind of invades our cells. The Guardian story suggests that scientists could likely produce an altered vaccine that would be effective against the variation of Covid-19. However, the story from The Conversation is a little more circumspect, suggesting that scientists are going to have to study the Covid-19 variant in order to determine if our current vaccines will be effective. Next, as reported just 40 minutes ago by Sky News, there is a second mutation in the United Kingdom which seems to infect children.

Thus, whilst only a few short weeks ago, we were looking positively to a 2021 vaccine regimen and a return to some kind of normality, it would seem that our hopes for the efficacy of a virus may now be in question. Consider too that the current variation may not be the last variation that we see, particularly given the huge number of confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide.

We Should Remember That China Has Murdered More Than 1.7 Million People

According to my preferred data source, as of today there have been 79,031,665 confirmed Covid-19 cases across 218 countries and territories and 1,736,583 deaths. I have written many times before that these deaths are not actually deaths. They are murders committed by Beijing because Beijing acted recklessly and with a a hardened heart in allowing infected Chinese to travel the globe and infect the world with Covid-19. Whether this was an intentional action will never be known but it matters not in terms of the definition of murder. Recklessness suffices for murder to be murder. I shall continue to quote Covid-19 statistics and to lay the blame at China’s doors because I fear that in some ways the world will simply move on and that China’s role in murdering more than 1.5 million people will no longer be a talking point. Take this news story for example about the investigation by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) investigation into the origins and spread of the virus. The story reports one of the WHO scientists as saying that viruses jump from animals to humans all the time and that, “It was just bad luck that this was such a nasty virus”. Yep, it was all just bad luck. Nothing to do with a Chinese cover up in the early days of the virus. I fear too that China’s hubris and arrogance will continue and that China will become ever more aggressive on the world stage. Beijing continues to demonstrate that Australia will continue to be punished for not bending to China’s will. The latest action from China, as reported by the South China Morning Post, is to have stopped 9,000 litres of Australian craft beer from entering one Chinese port. China has also detained 8,000kg of frozen beef from a suspended abattoir. Einstein famously said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing whilst expecting different results. The Chinese Communist Party leadership is therefore insane.

There’s the Real Possibility of Conflicts Breaking Out Somewhere in the World

The first possibility for conflict lies with Trump. I have always been concerned that he might use his presidency to take a course of action that he would be unable to take once he leaves the Oval Office. Starting a war somewhere in the world. The recent rocket attack on the United States Embassy in Baghdad may be a cause for concern. Trump tweeted, “some friendly health advice to Iran: if one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over”. Of course, we can never know what Trump might ultimately do but what a fitting an end a war would be for a reality TV presidency. Then we have China. Beijing has imposed a new security law on Hong Kong and is conflict with India along the Line of Actual Control that defines the border between China and India. China is acting aggressively in the South China sea region, building islands and laying claim to waters that actually belong to other countries in the region. We also have to wait to see what China might do in relation to Taiwan if Taiwan continues to assert its independence from China. Personally, I think that Trump represents the greatest threat with respect to a conflict breaking out somewhere in the world. Sure, I would like to name China but China has a bigger agenda than engaging in some kind of military encounter. Xi Jinping believes that China is in the ascendancy, politically, strategically, economically and technologically and engaging in any kind of significant “war” would be counter productive for a country that believes that it will become the dominant world power through other means. That said, I tend to think that Xi Jinping and Trump share certain characteristics. I would characterize them both as narcissists and most likely as sociopaths and that mix just means that one can never quite be sure what they might do. We will have to wait to see what they year 2021 brings.

First Published December 24th, 2020

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