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Thu, 09 Apr 2020
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Blue Planet

Covid-19 has exposed ugliness of globalism and open borders and given nations incentive to regain independence

New York
© Reuters / Andrew Kelly
FILE PHOTO: New York City, March 10, 2020
Globalism's open borders and just-in-time supply chains have been providing cheap labor and products — but the coronavirus pandemic has shown us the huge cost of neglected independence.

Covid-19 has opened the kimono of globalism, and what's underneath is ugly. The virus has illustrated the importance of, and our reliance on, just-in-time supply chains. Supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link. If any ingredient is missing from that supply chain, the nation controlling that commodity can break it, causing devastating economic, geopolitical and social consequences.

For example, take emergency medical supplies and critical drugs. Most antibiotics, as well as the main ingredients to produce them, are made in China. India has prohibited the export of hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug that President Trump touted as a "game changer" in the treatment of Coronavirus. Even basic over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol are "out-of-stock." Hen's teeth and capable Central Bankers seem easier to find than N95 facemasks, gloves, thermometers, pulse oximeters, hand sanitiser, and isopropyl alcohol. We also rely on other nations' electrical parts to run critical infrastructure, trucks, trains, planes and automobiles.


Dennis Quaid breaks from Hollywood pack, praises Trump, faces immediate scorn

dennis quaid
© REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Actor Dennis Quaid believes President Donald Trump is "doing a good job" handling the coronavirus — an opinion already earning him plenty of blowback as he stands out from the usual Hollywood leftist crowd.

In an interview with The Daily Beast meant to promote his upcoming podcast — 'The Dennissance' — actor Dennis Quaid found himself in a political argument where he was doing something almost no one in Hollywood does — defending the president.


Open for business: Wuhan celebrates as outbound travel ban lifted & residents flock to train stations

Wuhan travel restrictions lifted celebration
© AFP / Noel Celis; Global Look Press / Xinhua / Cheng Min
(L) Passengers queue at the Wuhan Wuchang Railway Station early on April 8, 2020; (R) Buildings in Wuhan are illuminated to mark the end to the city’s travel ban, April 8, 2020.
A dazzling light show marked the reopening of Wuhan as a ban on outbound travel - the last standing restriction in the city where the Covid-19 pandemic began - was lifted, seeing scores of residents swarming its railway stations.

As the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, the city erupted into an impressive multi-colored light display to usher in a return to normalcy, with skyscrapers at the heart of the metropolis glowing brightly with the message "Hello, Wuhan!" as the final stage of its two-month travel ban was lifted.


Pro-NATO editor of leading Estonian daily to be tried for pedophilia

Peeter Helme
© Eero Vabamägi
Peeter Helme
The Estonian prosecutor's office sent a criminal case file to the court, according to which former editor-in-chief of the Postimees newspaper Peeter Helme is accused of sexual harassment of a minor, err.ee writes.

According to the prosecutor's office, from October 8 to 10, 2018, Peeter Helme tried to seduce a 12-year-old girl via the Internet by sending her sexual messages on social networks. However, in fact, instead of a child, a police agent spoke with Helme. According to the senior prosecutor Andra Sild, since today more and more people spend time at computers, crime has also moved there, including directed against children.

"Specifically, in this case, it should be noted that when a police agent logged into a social network using a username from which it clearly indicated that a teenager was hiding behind him, several adult men who were explicitly sexually explicit wrote to her at once. Thus, this criminal case is only one of several initiated on the basis of communication conducted on this portal. Therefore, I would like parents to once again tell their children about the dangers lurking on the Internet and help them understand what can and cannot be done in the web environment, " the representative of the prosecutor's office said.

Peeter Helme himself had previously stated that he would not plead guilty. A preliminary hearing on this criminal case, which will schedule the upcoming hearings, will be held on April 9 at the Harju County Court in Tallinn. Recall that Peeter Helme served as editor-in-chief of the leading Estonian publication Postimees from April 3 to November 1, 2019. He is the nephew of the current head of the Estonian Interior Ministry, the head of the right-wing Conservative People's Party, Mart Helme, and his cousin, the head of the Ministry of Finance, Martin Helme. Helme's father and son are known for their nationalist views, as well as anti-Russian and Russophobic statements and actions.


French economy sees worst first quarter since end of WWII, cheese industry hit hard, London lockdown 'nowhere near' over

paris cheese french
© AFP / Bertrand Guay
'Protected Designation of Origin' cheeses at a Paris fair
The Bank of France said on Wednesday that the country's economy shrank around six percent in the first quarter of this year, its worst performance since the end of WWII.

According to official figures, the economy dropped 0.1 percent in the last three months of 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic decimated business activity. With two consecutive quarters of negative growth, the country is now technically in recession.

Economic activity plunged 32 percent in the last two weeks of March as the crisis deepened, said the French regulator. It has listed construction, transport, restaurants and lodging among the worst affected sectors of the economy.

"You have to go back to the second quarter of 1968, hit by the May [political upheaval], to find a similar fall in activity," it said, noting that even that year the downturn was 5.3 percent. The bank expects the economy to shrink by 1.5 percent for every two weeks the country is locked down by the virus.

Comment: French 'protected designation of origin' cheeses have experienced drops in purchase orders from 25 to 80%, and producers are struggling to stay afloat. Wine has been hit too, with fairs canceled or postponed and exports dropping as pubs, bars and restaurants close. While numbers of reported new cases are falling in many countries, London's mayor says the UK is nowhere near ending the lockdown, predicting 'peak corona' in a week and a half. In Lebanon, Hezbollah took over public health in the south of the country, using its own hospitals and health workers, and disinfecting cities: "In its communications, Hezbollah reminds the Lebanese people that it has defended the country against the Israeli aggressor instead of the State and that it continues to defend them today against the pandemic in the absence of the State."

According to the WHO, masks don't work (try telling that to China, South Korea, Japan, etc.):
WHO also notes that the generalized use of such masks provides a false sense of security. The organization insists that only hygienic measures (washing hands, airing out the premises etc.) and social distancing can protect against the virus.

The wearing of surgical masks was recommended by the Japanese authorities during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. The use was immediately adopted by many countries and subsequently spread throughout Asia. However, this measure was actually aimed at keeping the morale high and had no real impact on the epidemic.
If true, that's exactly why people will still use them. E.g., local German authorities got scammed into buying a batch of nonexistent masks, losing $2.61 million in the process out of the $15.9 million deal.

See also:

Russian Flag

There's nothing more relaxing for a Russian than a pandemic-induced disaster: Pessimism as a virtue

Russian supermarket masks coronavirus
© Sputnik / Alexander Galperin
People visit supermarket during mandatory self-isolation in St. Petersburg, Russia
My usually morose father, born and brought up in the Soviet Union, is the jolliest he's been in years. It's not schadenfreude, honest — we Russians just love being vindicated over our obsession with preparing for the worst.

To be clear, my father is not a sadist.

Like virtually everyone else, he's very sympathetic to anyone who's been hospitalized and healthcare workers, concerned for his own health (he's 63), and financially impacted by all of this. But he was also in the best mood I'd ever seen him, actually laughing on the phone as he delivered potatoes and pelmeni in what I humorously referred to as the first round of the Russian crisis care package (the next is a baseball bat, followed by an air rifle).


We have become a police state, and none of us should be okay with that

jail cell
© Jordan Lye/Getty Images
On Saturday, police in Kansas City "intervened" to shut down a parade of elementary school teachers. The staff of John Fiske Elementary School decided to organize the parade as a way to boost the morale of their students and encourage them in their new distance learning adventure. All of the teachers and administrators were in their own cars. There was literally no chance whatsoever of any virus being transmitted from car to car. But a spokeswoman for the police later explained, after the elicit gathering was descended upon by law enforcement, that the celebration of learning was not "necessary" or "essential."

Two days before the Kansas City community was saved from the threat of cheerful elementary school teachers waving to children from their sedans, police in Malibu arrested a man who was caught paddle boarding in the ocean. Two boats and three additional deputies in vehicles were called to the scene of the non-essential joyride. How could a man out by himself in the Pacific possibly contract or spread the coronavirus? Nobody knows. But orders are orders, after all. And so the man was pulled out of the ocean and hauled away in handcuffs.

Comment: See also:


Truck driver stabbed and killed 3 women at Tennessee truck stop before being shot, killed by law enforcement

Idris Abdus-Salaam
A Durham truck driver was shot and killed by law enforcement after stabbing four women at a Tennessee truck stop, killing three of them.

According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Idris Abdus-Salaam, 33, is the man responsible for the violence that happened before 7 a.m. Tuesday at a Pilot truck stop in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Investigators said Abdus-Salaam was in the parking lot holding a knife when officers arrived.


Texas allowed to halt abortions to conserve masks, gloves

abortion clinic
Texas struck a blow against abortion rights when a federal appeals court ruled the state can ban most procedures as long as the governor's emergency health decree to save medical supplies for fighting the pandemic is in effect.

A three-judge panel in New Orleans said in a 2-1 ruling Tuesday that some women's constitutional right to abortion can be temporarily set aside during a national health emergency.

US Supreme Court precedent says "all constitutional rights may be reasonably restricted to combat a public health emergency," Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, wrote in the majority opinion.

Comment: "All constitutional rights may be reasonably restricted to combat a public health emergency". Regardless of where you stand on the abortion issue, these words should send chills down your spine. While the partisan career politicians squabble over the same things they've always squabbled over, abortion in this case, the real issue is that the fundamental rights of the people are being eroded.

See also:


World is "sleepwalking into surveillance state" as COVID-19 crackdowns escalate

covid-19 surveillance
All across the world, starting with China, the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed for the proliferation of the surveillance state.

More than 100 rights groups are warning that governments and corporations are partnering as a collaborative force to employ big data and increase widespread surveillance that threatens freedoms and privacy, reported Reuters.

At the moment, the surveillance tools are being used to mitigate the spread of the virus, tracing infections back to patient zero, monitoring social distancing, and enforcing lockdowns. However, the virus is likely a cover for pervasive snooping.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Privacy International said without appropriate safeguards, surveillance tools could remain in place even after the virus has been eradicated, which would erode people's freedoms on a long enough timeline.

"An increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association," the groups said.

Comment: See also: