Category Archives: International news

Trump is ‘glad’ that the killer Kim Jong Un is OK? How sweet!

Donald John Trump is just happy as the dickens that the world’s most infamous dictatorial recluse isn’t dead after all.

How nice. How sweet.

North Korea’s killer/despot Kim Jong Un has made a public appearance, putting aside rumors that he might have died from a botched medical procedure. Trump’s reaction was predictable, I suppose, given that the two of them reportedly are “in love” with each other.

Trump put out a Twitter message: “I, for one, am glad to see he is back and well!” OK. I’ll just add that I happen to have wished he had left this Earth … not that Kim’s death would make anything any better for North Korea.

It’s just that Kim Jong Un is a ruthless tyrant who allows mass starvation among his people while he lives in relative opulence and spends tons of money developing a nuclear arsenal, which he uses to threaten South Korea, Japan and, oh, yeah, the United States of America.

Trump wishes Kim well? They deserve each other.

Canadian PM acts decisively on guns; no 2nd Amendment to block him

What has just occurred in Canada cannot happen in the United States of America, but I have to tell you that I wish somehow that we could follow the Canadian model on how to stem gun violence.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an immediate ban on the sale and use of assault-style weapons in the wake of a Nova Scotia shooting that killed 22 victims in April.

That means you can’t own an AR-15, or an M-16 or an AK-47. Period.

As The Associated Press reported: “Canadians need more than thoughts and prayers,” he said, rejecting the reaction of many politicians after mass shootings.

Trudeau cited numerous mass shootings in the country, including the rampage that killed 22 in Nova Scotia April 18 and 19. He announced the ban of over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms, including two guns used by the gunman as well as the AR-15 and other weapons that have been used in a number of mass shootings in the United States.

I am left to say, merely, “Wow!”

The Canadians don’t have a constitution that contains an amendment that guarantees that the “right to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” That gives the prime minister a clear path to take unilateral action.

Spare me the dogma associated with gun-owner rights. I do not want to move to Canada. I am a proud American patriot who believes in the U.S. Constitution, including the Second Amendment that guarantees gun ownership.

However, I remain baffled, bamboozled and blown away (no pun intended) by our inability to legislate any kind of modest gun reform that could prevent the sort of carnage through which we suffer with alarming frequency.

The AP reports: Trudeau said the weapons were designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.

“Today we are closing the market for military-grade assault weapons in Canada,” he said.

Owners of these weapons use them for that purpose here, as well, yet our political structure is hamstrung by fealty to the Second Amendment and the inability or unwillingness of politicians to buck the gun lobby.

But here we are with two nations of comparable physical size, but with huge differences in population. They also are governed by vastly different documents and precepts.

We need not be held hostage in this country by gun lobbyists. I continue to believe there exists a legislative solution to gun violence that keeps faith with what the founders wrote when they drafted the Second Amendment to our beloved Constitution.

Ancestral homeys make me proud

Many of my friends are aware of my ethnic ancestry; I guess my last name is a dead giveaway … you know?

One of them sent me a link from The New York Times that contains a story about how well Greece has responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

You can see the story here.

What fascinates me is how well the Greeks have responded to the pandemic in light of the intense criticism that has come their way over the years with their myriad financial issues, their reneging on national debt, the bailouts given to them by the European Union, not to mention the political chaos that kept waters roiling in Athens.

It appears that Greece got way ahead of the curve when the pandemic began leveling Europeans. They enacted “social distancing” measures right away; they began imposing restrictions on gatherings; they shut down business and effectively shut down their borders. They didn’t celebrate Orthodox Easter in the traditional way, as the picture attached to this post attests.

They have recorded fewer than 150 deaths from the viral infection. The Times article notes that Belgium, an EU member of comparable population, has suffered thousands of deaths and far more reported infections than Greece.

OK, have said all that, the report card isn’t a straight-A grade. Greece has tested a small percentage of its population of 10.7 million citizens, which means the reports of infections might be understated.

Still, according to the Times: Now, a country that has grown used to being seen as a problem child in the European Union is celebrating its government’s response and looking forward to reopening its economy.

“Greece has defied the odds,” said Kevin Featherstone, director of the Hellenic Observatory at the London School of Economics.

I have been critical of my ethnic brothers over the financial hassles that they have brought on themselves. On this matter, they make me proud that they have responded proactively — and successfully — in response to a worldwide crisis. Other nations and their leaders ought to pay attention to how they have responded.

Yes, that means you, too, Donald Trump!

Crackpots come up with phony conspiracy theories

The right-wing crackpot machine is cranking out conspiracy theories in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

Yep. They’re out there. I’m guessing they’re going to get even more ramped up the more this health crisis mounts, the more deaths we suffer, the more illness our nation has to endure.

Some demonstrators who have gathered in places like Lansing, Mich., and in Austin have told reporters, for example, that they disbelieve the casualty count being released. They say the numbers of deaths and illness are actually much lower. They tell the world that people are dying of causes unrelated to the COVID-19 unique virus, but that medical authorities are blaming the disease.

Yes, the authorities are making it up! That’s what the nut jobs are saying.

George Soros, the progressive political activist, billionaire philanthropist and all-round bogeyman for damn near every right-wing cause you can imagine, also has been dragged into the conspiracy muck. The right-wingers suggest Soros is feeding false information because he detests Donald Trump so much that he is willing to foment lies about the disease just to ensure that Trump loses the November presidential election.

Same for Bill and Melinda Gates, who earned their fortune through Bill Gates’s founding of Microsoft. They’re liberals who are financing false narratives being told about the virus. Their motive? It’s the same thing that’s driving Soros, the wackos say.

I have long been an anti-conspiracy American. I’ve never bought the conspiracies that suggest, for instance, that someone other than Lee Harvey Oswald murdered President Kennedy; or that men didn’t actually walk on the moon; or that President Bush lured the terrorists to attack us on 9/11.

The coronavirus erupted in central China. It came to the United States when infected passengers arrived in Seattle. It has exploded around the world.

Tragedies happen. It has happened in this instance. We are being subjected to unprecedented restrictions. Our nation’s economy has all but been shut down. The restrictions have angered many Americans, too many of whom have been concocting dangerous and hideous conspiracy theories designed to take our eyes off the target and to distract us from examining how we can find ways to repair what has gone so terribly wrong with our response.

These conspiracy nut jobs make me sick.

What a difference a head of state can make

I could not help but draw the immediate comparison to another head of state when I heard Queen Elizabeth II speaking Sunday to her subjects about the coronavirus pandemic.

You know how it goes, my fellow Americans, when we hear constantly from our head of state, Donald Trump, who has the capacity to say so little with so much useless verbiage.

Then in the United Kingdom, Her Majesty the Queen addressed her subjects for only the fourth time in the more than 60 years of her rule.

The queen was, shall we say, majestic. She spoke for only a few moments. She said with absolute calm that the UK will get through the pandemic. The UK will emerge strong and she implored Brits, Welsh, Scots and Irish to pull together as one family.

She spoke of the horror she endured during World War II as a youngster living through the Battle of Britain, as Nazi warplanes bombed and strafed the cities. She said our current war is every bit as deadly as that earlier conflict.

Then she ended it.

National Public Radio reported this morning that the Queen’s remarks were so profound, so rare and so well-aimed that she moved many of her listeners to tears.

Imagine, if you can, that kind of reaction on this side of The Pond to the sound of our own head of state. You can stop laughing now.

Here is Her Majesty’s speech:

You will not hear a single, solitary self-serving boast from this magnificent monarch.

Wow.

Trump’s revenge machine kicks back in

Let’s add Michael K. Atkinson to the growing list of federal public servants who’ve been kicked out of the way because they were doing their job.

Atkinson happens to be the intelligence community’s inspector general who brought to light the complaint of a whistleblower who revealed to the world that Donald J. Trump committed an impeachable offense in an infamous phone call to the president of Ukraine. You remember that one, right? That was the call where Trump asked the Ukraine president for a “favor, though,” asking him to dig up some dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for sending him money for weapons he needs to use in his ongoing war with Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine.

Did the former IG commit a firing offense? Was he acting illegally or unethically? Did he violate government policy? Oh, no! He was doing what he was charged to do, which is reveal misconduct in the government.

And, oh brother, did he reveal it … bigly!

The Ukraine phone call of course led to Donald Trump’s impeachment in the House of Representatives and then to a trial in the Senate, where senators acquitted Trump.

So now the president is exacting revenge. He said in a letter that he had “lost confidence” in Atkinson. Yeah, no sh**, not because he was doing his job badly, but because he was doing it well.

So now the president has appointed a White House aide to act as the independent IG who will monitor the disbursement of coronavirus pandemic relief funds to millions of Americans. The IG’s job is to ensure that the funds are going to the proper individuals and businesses in accordance with legislation that Trump signed into law the other day.

As The New York Times reported: The slew of late-night announcements, coming as the world’s attention is gripped by the coronavirus epidemic, raised the specter of a White House power play over the community of inspectors general, independent officials whose mission is to root out waste, fraud and abuse within the government.

Hmm. Let’s see. It looks to me as though Michael Atkinson fulfilled his mission to the letter.

It ain’t the flu; let’s treat this outbreak with seriousness

(Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Donald J. Trump keeps downplaying the severity of the health crisis that threatens to turn into a global pandemic.

He keeps telling us the flu kills thousands of Americans annually and that the Covid-19 virus has taken only a fraction of that amount.

What’s the problem? he wonders.

Here is the problem as I see it, Mr. President: The strain of coronavirus that is causing near panic in many countries has the potential of being far worse than influenza. It is being transmitted by casual contact, what medical/science experts refer to as “community transmission.”

We need to treat this matter with all due seriousness, not pass it off as some sort of “Democrat hoax,” which Trump has called it. We have to establish clear, concise and coherent lines of communication; the White House cannot tolerate any more contradictions from the president of the medical experts who keep telling us the truth about the threat we face.

I continue to believe Wall Street’s reaction to this crisis is partly a result of the clumsy, stumblebum response we keep hearing from the White House and from the president. Yes, there’s also that oil-price fight being waged by Saudi Arabia and Russia, which has sent the price of petroleum plummeting; it’s good for you and me at the fuel pump, but it’s playing hell with the fossil fuel industry, which — for better or worse — still is a key economic driver in this country.

So, let’s stop with the flu comparisons, shall we? The Covid-19 outbreak has turned into a crisis that needs to be treated as a matter that well could put billions of human beings in dire peril.

Can this peace deal take root … with the Taliban involved?

You may count me as one American who wants like the dickens for the peace deal worked out with the terrorist group Taliban to work.

However, you also may count me as one who is suspicious to the max of any deal involving this treacherous band of cutthroat, extremist fanatics.

The Trump administration has announced a deal with the Taliban that will involve a fairly rapid drawdown of U.S. troops from the battlefield in Afghanistan. Donald Trump vowed to end our nation’s longest war. I want him to succeed in that effort.

The deal is fraught with peril.

It depends on whether the Taliban make good on their end of the deal, which includes a pledge to no longer support international terror efforts and to cease being a haven for terrorist groups … which is what got us involved in this war starting with the attacks on 9/11. We all remember that, yes?

I find it fascinating that when Barack Obama once said he would “talk” to the terror group, he was vilified by those who called him soft on terrorists. Now it’s Donald Trump who did the talking, but … where’s the criticism? Hmm. Go figure.

As the Associated Press reported: Under the agreement, the U.S. would draw down its forces to 8,600 from 13,000 in the next three to four months, with the remaining U.S. forces withdrawing in 14 months. The complete pullout would depend on the Taliban meeting their commitments to prevent terrorism, including specific obligations to renounce al-Qaida and prevent that group or others from using Afghan soil to plot attacks on the U.S. or its allies.

Can we really and truly depend on the Taliban to keep their word?

Let us hope so.

Trump denies Russians are helping him … imagine that!

(Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Of course Donald John Trump would deny the Russians are helping him win re-election.

Of course, too, that he would blame the story on Democrats seeking to undermine his effort to win a second presidential term.

Except for this known fact: The president asked another foreign government, Ukraine, to help him win re-election by digging up dirt on a potential political rival. There’s also the denial that Russians delivered in Trump’s presence, which Trump endorsed despite the analysis of the U.S. intelligence network.

Donald Trump’s corrupt tendencies are on full display as this story continues to grow more legs and wings.

Trump fired former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire because the former DNI had the temerity to brief congressional leaders of both parties about what his office had learned, that Russians are working to attack our electoral system this year, just as they did in 2016. The source of Trump’s anger? That Maguire would tell Democrats while doing his job as the nation’s top intelligence officer.

He now has installed Richard Grenell, a longstanding Trump loyalist, as the latest acting DNI. Grenell has no intelligence experience; he has no background on which to draw even as he fills this post on a temporary basis. He’s a Trump toadie who won’t give an honest and unvarnished assessment of national security threats to the commander in chief.

You want more corruption evidence? How about reports that Trump has instructed the White House personnel office to purge the administration of anyone who has even whispered a negative statement about the president? He wants nothing but yes men and women.

Donald Trump scares the daylights out of me.

You mean the Russians are interfering again? Wow! Who’da thunk it?

It can’t be. The Russians cannot possibly attack our electoral system yet again after what they did in 2016. Can they?

I guess they can! The New York Times is reporting that the Russians are at it once more. Indeed, now we hear that Donald John Trump, the nation’s current president, was so angry over the news that he fired the acting director of national intelligence and installed a loyalist into the job as the latest acting  DNI.

Actually, it is being reported that Trump got mad because the former acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, consented to a congressional briefing. That’s reportedly why he replaced him with U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grennell, a guy with zero experience at any level of intelligence, let alone at the director of national intelligence level.

Let’s remember that Trump dismissed the 2016 election attack, most infamously in 2018 at the Helsinki press event in which he stood next to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and backed Putin’s denial over the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia had interfered in the previous presidential election.

Now we hear that the Russians have done it again!

This is scary in the extreme. Trump already is known to have solicited another foreign government, Ukraine, for a political favor. It got him impeached by the House of Representatives.

Here come the Russians once more, working to re-elect the president. They want to ensure that Trump gets a second term as POTUS, a move that is sure to sow as many seeds of anger and mistrust in our electoral system that the 2016 attack managed to accomplish.

Think of it. That’s precisely what the Russians want to do.

Didn’t the president take an oath to protect this nation against its enemies? Didn’t he vow to keep us and our institutions safe from this kind of attack?

What the … whatever?