Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 28, 2020

It Is A Time Of Crisis And U.S. Foreign Policy Is Becoming Unhinged

The Trump administration is reacting to the pandemic stress by lashing out at perceived internal and external enemies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is leading the external onslaught.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an "immediate global ceasefire" to focus on fighting Covid-19. He has appealed for the "waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries' capacity to respond to the pandemic."

But Washington is not listening.

Requests from Venezuela and Iran for emergency IMF loans to buy medical supplies were blocked by U.S. interventions.

Just a month ago Pompeo announced an increase of sanctions against Iran. The sanctions block money transfers. They make it impossible for Iran to import the medical equipment it urgently needs to counter the epidemic.

While the U.S. renewed the sanction waiver which allows Iraq to import electricity and gas from Iran the waiver is now limited to only 30 days. One third of Iraq's electricity depends on those imports from Iran and, if the waiver is not renewed, its hospitals will go dark just when the epidemic will reach its zenith.

Parts of the Trump administration are even pressing for a wider war against alleged Iranian proxy forces in Iraq:

The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops.

But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran.
Some top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, have been pushing for aggressive new action against Iran and its proxy forces — and see an opportunity to try to destroy Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq as leaders in Iran are distracted by the pandemic crisis in their country.

Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been wary of a sharp military escalation, warning it could further destabilize the Middle East at a time when President Trump has said he hopes to reduce the number of American troops in the region.

The plan is lunatic. One can not "destroy" Kataib Hezbollah and other Iraqi Shia groups which Iran helped to build during the war against ISIS. These groups are part of political parties with deep roots in the Iraqi society.

France, Italy and the Czech Republic have started to withdraw from Iraq. Denmark is also leaving and the UK is removing 50% of its force. There are less than 5,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq and a war on Kataib Hezbollah could mobilize hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to fight against the U.S. occupation. Such a war would also involve Iran and the U.S. would certainly lose it.

The U.S. has currently two aircraft carrier groups in the Arab sea to threaten Iran. But those ships are of no use right now. They are 'cruise ships with guns'. Nuclear powered five billion dollar petri dishes for novel coronavirus outbreaks. Two U.S. carrier groups in the Pacific are already out of action because they have larger outbreaks on board. It is only a question of time until the other carriers follow.

It is not only Iraq and Iran the U.S. is aiming at. The U.S. State Department cut its contributions to health care in Yemen just in time of the highest need:

Officials with the United States Agency for International Development said the decision to halt funding, reported earlier by The Washington Post, included exceptions for “critical, lifesaving activities, including treatment of malnutrition as well as water, sanitation and hygiene programs aimed at keeping people healthy and staving off disease.”

But humanitarian officials said the agency’s exceptions did not provide for continued funding of basic health care programs, which are heavily reliant on foreign aid, and did not seem to take into account what might occur when the coronavirus begins to spread.

Not happy with only messing up the Middle East the State Department also renewed its assault on Venezuela. On Thursday the Justice Department announced charges of 'Narco-Terrorism, Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Crimes' against President Nicolas Maduro and 14 former or current officials. It put up a $15 million reward for Maduro's arrest.

It alleges that Maduro worked with Columbian cartels to smuggle cocaine through Venezuela.

But here is a map of smuggling routes from U.S. ally Columbia where most of the cocaine is produced. It was shown during a Congress hearing. Whatever is smuggled through Venezuela is a tiny share compared to the huge stream that comes through the Pacific.


Whoever wrote and signed of the indictment also made a huge mistake. The charges included Clíver Antonio Alcalá Cordones, a former General in the Venezuelan armed forces, and put a $10 million reward on his head.

Alcalá Cordones is no friend of Maduro. He retired in 2013 when Maduro was elected after Hugo Chávez had died. Alcalá Cordones fled to Colombia from where he supported the U.S. chosen clown Juan Guaidó as self proclaimed president of Venezuela.

After the Justice Department indictment against him he came out and revealed that he was involved in coup plans in support of Juan Guaidó:

Alcalá is implicated in a recent plot to attack the Maduro government. On March 24, Colombian authorities seized a truck full of weapons and military equipment, including 26 assault rifles, worth $500,000. Venezuelan intelligence services linked the weapons to three camps in Colombia where paramilitary groups of Venezuelan deserters and U.S. mercenaries are training to carry out attacks against Venezuela. According to Venezuela’s Communication Minister Jorge Rodríguez, these groups were planning to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to attack military units and plant bombs. He also linked the groups to Alcalá.

These allegations proved to be correct, as Alcalá, in a video he posted online hours after the indictments, admitted that the weapons were under his command. He further admitted that the weapons were purchased with funds given to him by Juan Guaidó, with whom he allegedly signed a contract.  Additionally, Alcala claimed that the operation was planned by U.S. advisors, with whom he supposedly met at least seven times. Aclalá also alleged that Leopoldo López, the founder of Guaidó’s party Voluntad Popular who was sprung from house arrest during Guaidó’s April 30 attempted insurrection, had full knowledge of the terror plot.

As a result of these videos, Venezuela’s Attorney General has opened an investigation into Juan Guaidó for an attempted coup.

The U.S. blew it by accusing the one man that was willing to help its chosen clown and by not informing him before the indictment came out. That man then freaked out and blew the whistle. This is now threatening the whole opposition plan the U.S. concocted with Guaidó and the men behind him.

On Friday Alcalá Cordones decided it was unsafe for him to stay in Colombia. He 'called up' the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and gave himself up. He was extradited to New York and will now become a 'witness' against Maduro who he has publicly opposed in the first place. 

This chaos was certainly created by Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela. Abrams has a talent for messing things up.

U.S. foreign policy during the crisis has been abysmal. The U.S. angered China, the biggest producer of urgently needed masks and drugs, by calling the virus  "Wuhan virus" or "Chinese virus", a practice that stopped only after a phone call between Trump and Xi Jinping. It angered Germany when it tried to buy exclusive rights for a potential vaccine that is being developed there. Requests for support by multiple European allies were left unanswered while China and Russia mobilized to help over 80 countries. Meanwhile Pompeo chastised Italy for accepting Cuban drugs and doctors.

There will be a large cost to pay for this when the pandemic is over. The U.S. has exposed itself as unreliable ally, as war mongering moron that does not shrink from damaging its own best interest and as incapable of helping its own citizens.

China on the other hand has defeated the epidemic at home and now helps defeating it wherever it can. This is going to be its century. 

Posted by b on March 28, 2020 at 15:13 UTC | Permalink

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@ GeorgeV | Mar 28 2020 17:52 utc | 37

"Lord Acton the 19th century British observer of all things political and historical, once said that "never underestimate the influence of stupidity on history." However if he too came back from the dead, he too would be amazed at how damn dumb our leaders can be."

One of the heart-breaking, maddening and stupefying things about Charlottesville and its original (or ostensible?) quest to save the statue of Robert E Lee is that Lee was close friends with Lord Acton, with whom he corresponded. Memorials like that should serve to remind us of our heritage of wisdom.

Acton understood that state sovereignty was the only protection against a central authority aggregating too much power.

As has occurred.

"There were good people on both sides."

Posted by: ChasMark | Mar 28 2020 22:26 utc | 101

In Liu Cixin's sci-fi trilogy "The Three-Body Problem", there is a future scenario in which the US invades Venezuela and gets its ass handed to them, due to the resistance hiding among local populations and conducting guerilla warfare. The Venezuelan president and leader of this resistance, due to his success in defeating the US military, is later entrusted by the United Nations to be one of the key strategists to formulate a plan to stave off an impending alien invasion. This plot point reflects Liu Cixin's sense of humor, as well as his keen sense of contemporary geopolitics.

As for the US charging Maduro with drug trafficking (hah), what can we glean about the CIA's present role in the Colombian drug trade?

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 28 2020 22:56 utc | 102

Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 22:04 utc | 96

The Spring Breaker's Twitter posting should cause loud klaxon alarm bells to go off in the dumbest of heads:

About 15 years ago I was contracted into a circle among which was the business that produced the technology to track a London bomber as he made his way across Europe swapping his cell phone as he travelled across France on the SNCF TGV High Speed Train. Unfortunately for him he swapped phones within 1.5 metres of his laptop- so was kept within continual surveillance because of this, and was caught in Rome. That was 15 years ago....

Posted by: dennis | Mar 28 2020 23:00 utc | 103

Posted by: diveshopingoa | Mar 28 2020 19:43 utc | 63
Posted by: Jen | Mar 28 2020 19:59 utc | 67
Posted by: denis | Mar 28 2020 21:12 utc | 85

Thanks everyone. I was blur! I knew ZeroHedge and SCMP are against China and forever badmouthing China... Did DuckDuckGo searches.... usually link to Jennifer Zeng, Gordon C, Chang, Guo Wengui, Kyle Bass, NTD, Chris Chappell China Uncensored, Falun Gong but in this vids came from "" (@TruthAbtChina) never came across these websites...

Jen and denis thanks will go back and look for the debunks!

Posted by: JC | Mar 28 2020 23:01 utc | 104

Peter AU1 | Mar 28 2020 22:04 utc | 96

Rereading your comment, the thought struck me that perhaps that's exactly what the Mikael Thalen Twitter post was about:

"Look see how good this technology is for you, how we can save you from yourselves!"

Prolls say: "Oh duh...Okay then" (thumbs up)

5eyes say: "Release the hounds!"

Posted by: dennis | Mar 28 2020 23:11 utc | 105

A recently published paper has provided data supporting the idea that the immediate pre-human host for SARS-CoV-2 was possibly a Pangolin species rather than a bat species. Interestingly, the specific Pangolin, Manis javanica, is not native to China. It is native to Brunei, Cambodia, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam.The paper's authors note the animal is smuggled in to China for sale as food. They suggest that process be stopped to limit further possible zoonotic transfers.

Posted by: Ken Garoo | Mar 28 2020 23:15 utc | 106

William Gruff #35

They are barking mad and more dangerous because of it.

No no no, they are so clever. They are playing 4 dimensional Chess only to find the 4th dimension occupied by flesh eating bacteria. SOOOO clever. Only China and Russia can be expert at Chess as they stick to the one dimension of DEFEAT THE OPPONENT by their mistakes.

karlof1 #29

Ultimately, the only way a new path will be taken by the USA is if its citizenry can regain control of the national government--yes, I've been writing that same sentence for awhile. The fuse is lit and Congress just made it much harder to extinguish through its very misguided "bailout." ....

we don't want to return to normal because normal is a big part of the problem.

Keep writing that same sentence knowing you have profound and solid support from the entire planet. Perhaps not all occupants of the entire planet but sufficient to keep writing.

Thanks #b for this par:

While the U.S. renewed the sanction waiver which allows Iraq to import electricity and gas from Iran the waiver is now limited to only 30 days. One third of Iraq's electricity depends on those imports from Iran and, if the waiver is not renewed, its hospitals will go dark just when the epidemic will reach its zenith.

When the colonial master strikes at the heart of the people's compassion and their love for their afflicted families by turning off the power, or even threatening to turn off their power and destroy their National Health Service, then you know they are depraved.

The appalling silence of the worlds religious leaders in the face of this crime against humanity is itself a crime against us all.

Nice ceremony old man but a few words of condemnation against the warmongers and the betrayal of christian compassion by the sanctioners would be more appropriate right now. I recall that revolutionary you are solemnly worshipping in his final hours on the cross once thrashed the money lenders and currency exchangers that dared to occupy the temple of Jehova or was it Abraham.

In the global opposition to the illegal USA invasion of Vietnam and the bombing carnage unleashed against its neighbours, there was a mighty alliance built between the anti war citizens, the religious leaders, the secular populace and so many others.

This pope and his equivalents in the non-catholic world could open their mouths, clear their throats and shout for peace and freedom from oppression. The lad on the cross did and it earned him a global following and respect.

Who dares now?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 23:32 utc | 107

Posted by: juliania | Mar 28 2020 16:13 utc | 9

I have been suspecting that the virus is going to be shortlived - that all of us, or many more of us, may indeed have already contracted it, and that is why the tests are only being given sporadically, not rolled out for everyone at once, so that the 'numbers' can be shown increasing day by day

That seems unlikely, at least in Canada. The CTV network has been publishing provincial tallies of tests given as well as negative results, and it's clear that most (presumably sick) people who are being tested do not have COVID-19.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Mar 28 2020 23:42 utc | 108

You can't make any of this up so If I may take some liberties here with b's header;
It Is A Time Of Crisis And U.S. Foreign Domestic Policy has Become Unhinged

....over the cost of ventilators ...

We all read Trump had ordered GM to get with it and start manufacturing ventilators.

After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts

A deal with General Motors and Ventec Life Systems to produce tens of thousands of the critical lifesaving devices seemed imminent. Then the announcement was pulled back.

WASHINGTON — The White House had been preparing to reveal on Wednesday a joint venture between General Motors and Ventec Life Systems that would allow for the production of as many as 80,000 desperately needed ventilators to respond to an escalating pandemic when word suddenly came down that the announcement was off.

The decision to cancel the announcement, government officials say, came after the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it needed more time to assess whether the estimated cost was prohibitive. That price tag was more than $1 billion, with several hundred million dollars to be paid upfront to General Motors to retool a car parts plant in Kokomo, Ind., where the ventilators would be made with Ventec’s technology.

Government officials said that the deal might still happen but that they are examining at least a dozen other proposals. And they contend that an initial promise that the joint venture could turn out 20,000 ventilators in short order had shrunk to 7,500, with even that number in doubt. [.]

At the center of the discussion about how to ramp up the production of ventilators is Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House aide, who has told people that he was called in two weeks ago by Vice President Mike Pence to produce more coronavirus test kits and who has now turned his attention to ventilators.[.]

meanwhile NY requested 30,000 ventilators and Trump disagrees.Trump called in to Sean Hannity's show:

[ they don't need that many....]

"It's a highly — it's very expensive, it's a very intricate piece of equipment, you know ... heavily computerized, and you know the good ones are very, very expensive. And you know they say, uh, like Governor Cuomo and others, they say, 'We want 30,000 of them.' 30,000? Think of this, you know you go to hospitals and they will have one in the hospital, and now all of a sudden everybody is asking for these vast numbers," Mr. Trump said.[.]

just let's leave it there....because, because the US has the best healthcare system in the world.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 28 2020 23:42 utc | 109

Ken Garoo | Mar 28 2020 23:15 utc | 105

With respect Hogwash! You're either way behind the curve on this, or you just don't want to know, with the certainty with which you post your comment I suspect the latter. Either you haven't read around the issue, in which case it's foolish to post here and expect to get away with your reputation intact. Or you're trolling for a 3rd party.
The Virus is a Chimeric splice produced in one of USG 25 cat 4 labs in jurisdictions where anything goes. We are told this virus jumped species, which EVERY other time has produced a weakening in coronavirus at species jump and a following adaption period to the new species. This spliced a HIV (blood active) strain morphed with a CoV strain (air throat/lung active) maintaining the most virulent aspects of BOTH strains at species jump. Unheard of in zootrophic evolution.

You could start here:

Meanwhile this data story is being rolled out as cool stuff to do with our privacy:

Posted by: dennis | Mar 28 2020 23:44 utc | 110

CarlD @ 22 - no, I do not think only old people are affected. I do understand that anyone at any age can be attacked, and while I can't describe accurately how and why the spherical spikey molecule attaches itself, I do understand that the prognosis is much more serious when it enters the lower respiratory system of its victims. I was merely pointing out that the numbers only mean that so many folk have been tested positive, out of an entire population. Not only that, but it is folk who have symptoms (or maybe get preference for some reason, such as that they are health workers) who are tested, so the positives in the sample does increase, but that is to be expected. And testing positive is still not a sign of debilitating disease. The latter affects only a small minority, as with other serious 'flu attacks.

Also, there is the stress factor which does seem to give credence to b's first admonition on his first posting - not to panic. What you call optimism I call not panicking. I don't take the situation lightly, and I do follow all the self-isolating and handwashing rules as best I can. But I am trying not to panic. (Not always suceeding, but I'm only human after all.)

Posted by: juliania | Mar 28 2020 23:54 utc | 111

b writes:

The Trump administration is reacting to the pandemic stress by lashing out at perceived internal and external enemies.

I don’t think the pandemic has much to do with it. Unhinged, haphazard and downright insane foreign policy maneuvers is a Trump administration trademark. It’s business as usual.

Posted by: Daniel | Mar 28 2020 23:56 utc | 112

funny how they keep trying this "starve the people and make their lives hell so they'll overthrow the government" bullshit without ever considering it could happen to them. preventing citizens from getting medicine and health care? check. making sure all the money ends up in the hands of a select few using corrupt back channels? check. restricting travel and declaring anyone who fights back in any way a "terrorist"? check. using heavily armored subhumans to enforce their unilateral "laws" and kill unarmed civilians in the street (or even their own homes)? also check.

the main difference of course being that the other countries resist and fight back whereas most westerners just take it on their knees like a bunch of $2 whores. maybe a side effect of this virus is spontaneous spine growth?

Posted by: the pair | Mar 28 2020 23:58 utc | 113

Ken Garoo 105

The western propaganda machine would like people to think that it is only China that eats most things. Much of Asia eats whatever is edible. That China is the only country to contract the virus, and that through smuggled wildlife is a non starter.
If the the virus was in wildlife in other Asian countries then there would also be transfers in those place. On top of that SARS-CoV-2 virus would be found in the reservoir or host species.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 0:06 utc | 114

uncle tungsten | Mar 28 2020 23:32 utc | 106

Well said.

I have hopes that Easter will witness blowback against all this nonsense. Already the media are making tentative remarks about acts of defiance. A couple of weeks more and the lid on the pressure cooker will be in a dangerous state.

Posted by: Cortes | Mar 29 2020 0:18 utc | 115

Cortes | Mar 29 2020 0:18 utc | 114

The lid on the pressure cooker..

I've been thinking more and more about: My dinner with André:

and then this popped up:

and what d'you know....prisoners becoming their own guards! Schizophrenic cognitive dissonance. No wonder people can't think, if you put people into a panic state the capacity for rational thought is severely diminished.

Posted by: dennis | Mar 29 2020 0:39 utc | 116

It would be worth thinking about the effects of the current situation on the ANZUS alliance. The AU$ has plummeted (as commodity prices have fallen) but our fabled El Dorado east-coast property prices will be propped up by income support, loan repayment freezes and mortgage underwriting by the taxpayer. In Australia at least we are witnessing an unchallenged backfilling of private debt with of public money. Keeping Australia's property prices rising is #1 on the cabinet agenda. The conservative government here fears what VK@16 rightly noted: the turn to fascism by newly unemployed working- and lower-middle classes. The only store of appreciable wealth in Australia is property, but it depends on a Ponzi process that requires a constant demand for mortgages supported by FOMO and other confidence tricks. Australia's big four banks (especially Westpac) are massively exposed to a housing price crash. Stimulus packages seem to me primarily aimed at preventing bank collapse by supporting the repayment of mortgages (and thereby preventing defaults and fire sales).

At the level of ANZUS and Australia's foreign policy we will see a pivot to China by Australia again (Chinese growth kept us afloat post-GFC). The BRI and the massive stimulus coming from China as it ramps up its economy will see large orders placed for Oz iron-ore, coking-coal and other commodities. This will set us at odds with a declining US empire who still see Australia as its 'largest aircraft carrier in the Pacific'. In the meantime distressed Australian industries will be eyed off by opportunistic foreign investors, while the government struggles to play the tune necessary to keep the property musical chairs from stopping. I for one abhor the use of public funds to underwrite mortgages that have constantly been used as an ATM for an aspirational middle-class. The Augean stables need a clean and the river is at hand, but governments fear an awful neo-fascist backlash here.

Very interested to hear barfly views on this landscape as it emerges post-COVID19.

Posted by: Patroklos | Mar 29 2020 0:44 utc | 117

Stonebird @ 34:

When you are reading The Art of War, please give special attention to the whole of the first chapter (“Laying Plans), on the considerations that ought to precede any commitment to war, and the first fifteen or so stanzas of the second chapter (“Waging War”) on the destructive effects on the nation of war. It seems our great military leaders get off only on the bits of tactical and strategic advice Sun Tzu gives, and jump right over considerations of who has the “moral law:” on his side, and how bankrupting the peasants can only bring ruin.

I think Duffelblog had a comment about how the war leaders in the new Space Command are really scrambling to find language in Clausewitz to support their grandiose visions of “Star Wars”-style “full spectrum dominance.” I bet a lot of them have Death Star Envy...

Posted by: JTMcPhee | Mar 29 2020 0:51 utc | 118

Hey b, it's Colombia, not Columbia.

Posted by: Vic | Mar 29 2020 0:58 utc | 119

I never cease to wonder at the fact that Pompeo was first in his class at West Point.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the education of that US Military Academy, and even less about the quality of its recruits.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 1:19 utc | 120

Patroklos 116

Intelligence is taken into consideration by any government when deciding on policy.
The five eyes intelligence operation as far as I can see is akin to a US UK deep state and is where AU government gets information. I take it there would be something apart from five-eyes intel in some areas but I think it is only the US has the whole picture on intel from all five plus its own massive so called intelligence community.
Without that I would have said Australia will definately turn towards China and away from the US. With five-eyes in the picture I am not so sure.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 1:22 utc | 121

@82 "Could the "war mongering moron" be using the virus as cover for something more sinister, like preparations for large scale war?"

Again who, exactly?
China? It'd lose that war very quickly.
Russia? Heck, it'd lose that war in an afternoon.
Iran? Well, OK, that's a better match. That war would last until Russia ships S-400 batteries to Iran, at which point the USA would lose.

I mean, get real: this virus is proving to the entire world that the USA is a clown car being steered by corrupt incompetents, and the only people who can't see that are those some clowns behind the wheel.

The USA is not what it thinks it is, not even close.

If it starts a "large scale war" against, basically, anyone it is going to lose. After all, it couldn't even win a war against the Taliban.....

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 1:27 utc | 122

I'd add in the strange, entirely coincidental I'm sure, loss of Venezuela's only communication satellite recently to the list of Pompeo's war preparations if I was the suspicious type.

Posted by: Pete | Mar 29 2020 1:46 utc | 123

Apologies if this has already been mentioned. I only did a quick scan of prior comments.

To the already overfull plate of US foreign adventures you can now add Nicaragua.

Posted by: augrr | Mar 29 2020 2:11 utc | 124

@ Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 1:19 utc | 119

A West Point Prof. Explains why we continue to lose wars. No wonder Pompous was first in class

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Mar 29 2020 2:12 utc | 125

Pete 122

I see due to us sanctions Rosneft has sold its oil interests in Venezuela to another Russian government owned entity.


Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft (ROSN.MM), said on Saturday it had terminated operations in Venezuela and sold the assets linked to its operations in the South American nation to an unnamed company owned by the Russian government.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 2:15 utc | 126

@108 Trump says: ..."It's a highly — it's very expensive, it's a very intricate piece of equipment, you know ... heavily computerized,"...

Here's the thing, Donald: a ventilator is a pump. It pumps air. That's what it does, and the "heavy computers" are just there to allow for more sophisticated pumping of that air. Heck, the original ventilators were nothing but a mask and a rubber bladder that you pump by hand.

So here's a thought: order GM to build some non-intricate ventilators. You know, the sort that can be built in huuuuuuuuge numbers very quickly and very cheaply. Then pay 'em peanuts for each one, because that's what they cost to build.

Q: Would they be as efficient as the ventilators that Ventec make?
A: No, not even close.

Q: Would they be as good as the ventilators that Ventec make?
A: Heck no, they'll be way, way better than the ventilators that Ventec make.

Q: How so?
A: Because they will be available when and where they are needed, Ventec ventilators not so much.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 2:18 utc | 127

Yeah, Right 121 "Again who, exactly? China?"

Iraq, Iran and Venezuela. Control them and US will have a great deal of control over China. Energy dominance. US would find the oil revenues useful also. I think Bolton mentioned something along those lines about Venezuelan oil.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 2:20 utc | 128

@108 Jared Kushner "has told people that he was called in two weeks ago by Vice President Mike Pence to produce more coronavirus test kits and who has now turned his attention to ventilators."

Oh, OK, so he was unable to ramp up production of test kits so he has gotten bored with that and has now turned his attention towards failing to ramp up production of ventilators.

Champion. I knew you had it in you to cock up everything you touch, Jared.

Some needs to point out to these bozos that the phrase "your government at work" is not the same thing as "your government is working".

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 2:24 utc | 129

@127 Peter AU1 "Iraq, Iran and Venezuela. Control them and".... and I think I have spotted the flaw in that concept, Peter.

The first rule of picking a fight is this: only pick a fight that you know you will win.

How many years has it been now since the USA overran Iraq and they still hasn't been able to pacify the country.
It has no chance whatsoever of even beginning to overrun either Iran or Venezuela.
None. Not a hope of successfully invading either country. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Which just leaves air attack. Which will last only until such time as the Russians send "volunteers" to man S-400 batteries, at which point those air attacks will abruptly come to a halt.

There is just no way that neocon wet-dream will end other than in humiliation for the USA as it soils itself, big-time.

Doesn't stop the likes of Bolton from talking big, sure, but as Zoe Wash once said in a very good (but underrated) movie: Talkin' ain't doin'

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 2:34 utc | 130

Trump's ratings have risen with the mishandling of the Coronavirus pandemic and Trump is setting the stage for war and somehow the dumb herd approve of the way he's doing his job?! WTF! Everyone needs a lobotomy! What's the use of having an effing brain?!

Whatever he unleashes in a second term; I hope it decimates ONLY the dumb herd that will return him to power. Then, it would be worth it.

Posted by: Circe | Mar 29 2020 2:39 utc | 131

Dear b, why you write so much about the most stupid people on our planet, the GOV of the USA? Let make them any sanctions what they want. We don't need them. We can complete organise our life environment without the USA and "five eyes". All this shit from the anglophone part of our planet we don't need.

We know, in Venezuela, the most people from the state instances are Dollar-hunters. The same in Persia/Iran. But, i think, this have the people there to change.

Posted by: willi uebelherr | Mar 29 2020 2:42 utc | 132

investigative journalism on the US bioweapons lab in Georgia, its connection to US agents with diplomatic immunity, its effects on local residents. article references leaked documents and also does on-the-ground reporting.

something particularly disturbing is the US patent for a "Toxic Mosquito Aerial release system."

US diplomats involved in trafficking of human blood and pathogens for secret military program

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 29 2020 2:55 utc | 133

This was sn excellent article, B.
But I do think MSM is hyping this virus to install other evil US gov agendas. Deliberately destroying the economy while Trump quietly signed 5G INTO LAW that is now being installed while we are all on house arrest and Trumps invoking the Defense Production Act that allowed him to order 1 MILLION National Guard to our streets. National Guard going door to door in Rhode Island, kicking out New Yorkers to go home.
They almost passed a digital dollar in the stimulus bill and likely will anyway.
We are headed into 50% unemployment where Americans will be bankrupt and the Fed will buy up all the assets.
I find that terrifying. What we have bern doing to other countries is about to come home to roost.
Things will never be normal again.

Posted by: Annie | Mar 29 2020 2:57 utc | 134

Yeah, Right 129
No flaw in the concept. As Trump has said, nothing is off the table. the rules of the post WWII era no longer apply. The countries Trump will attack are not nuclear powers.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 3:12 utc | 135

Iraq, Iran and Venezuela. Control them and US will have a great deal of control over China. Energy dominance. US would find the oil revenues useful also. I think Bolton mentioned something along those lines about Venezuelan oil.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 2:20 utc | 127
I'd summarize it as: maintaining the petrodollar, and thwarting the BRI. The petrodollar, to keep global money flows going the US. The BRI, which will run through Iran, Iraq, Syria; maritime connection to Venezuela.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 29 2020 3:17 utc | 136

Petro dollar was enforcing sale of oil in US dollars. Energy dominance is ownership of the oil. Physical control (think Syria), taking revenues and having very strong leverage over countries that do not have their own oil. That covers much of Asia and Europe.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 3:32 utc | 137

farm ecologist @ 107, I was not talking about Canada but about the US, which is the subject of b's post. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

Posted by: juliania | Mar 29 2020 3:36 utc | 138

Following up on Pepe Escobar's framing of the US-China conflict as a 'hybrid war', the financial phase of that war has probably begun. The Fed's quantitative easing, and its super charged injection of money supply for US finance can be seen as coordinated with the date of April 1st. That is when, under the US-China trade negotiations, China is scheduled to open its financial sector to US firms, which could be well positioned to harvest Chinese assets.

As it is, the value of the USD has climbed, the RMB has dropped, so Chinese assets are now cheaper for US finance. And unlike the Fed, the Chinese central bank can't stimulate its COVID-ravaged economy with 'quantitative easing,' as that would lead to inflation and further devaluation of the RMB, making Chinese assets more vulnerable to foreign predation. The Chinese govt, I reckon, has put up ways of containing the new entry of US finance, but this is probably the financial phase of the hybrid war.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 29 2020 3:50 utc | 139

Thanks for the good posting b

There are some of us in the world that think the crisis was manufactured to then take advantage of.....and will prove out to be such.

And its not like the mafia don aggressive bullying tactics have changed. They just look worse when continued to be displayed in pandemic times.

This is what civilization war looks like. Hand, The Invisible barbarism against public finance socialism. We are all actors in this play.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Mar 29 2020 3:52 utc | 140

The Roach Motel at the End of the Universe -- YouTube

Posted by: blues | Mar 29 2020 4:02 utc | 141

Learn about manufacturing ventilator from a Chinese company Shenyang Liaoning China. Been to Shenyang many times in the early 90s.

Posted by: JC | Mar 29 2020 4:08 utc | 142

Yeah, Right #126

So here's a thought: order GM to build some non-intricate ventilators. You know, the sort that can be built in huuuuuuuuge numbers very quickly and very cheaply. Then pay 'em peanuts for each one, because that's what they cost to build.

Q: Would they be as efficient as the ventilators that Ventec make?
A: No, not even close.

Q: Would they be as good as the ventilators that Ventec make?
A: Heck no, they'll be way, way better than the ventilators that Ventec make.

Q: How so?
A: Because they will be available when and where they are needed, Ventec ventilators not so much.

Thank you Yeah, Right, that is actually a mighty good idea. Whatever keeps you alive in a tight spot is helpful. One needs to be awake and capable of the squeeze. A simple bellows system would keep it pumping air.

Looking for a diy design right now. It would be simple to construct. They must have had something like that in China etc as the production of high tech versions cannot be ramped up that fast.

Big pharma will be pissed.

Bill Gates will assert patent rights and get the USA government to sanction my veggie patch.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 29 2020 4:26 utc | 143

Petro dollar was enforcing sale of oil in US dollars. Energy dominance is ownership of the oil. Physical control (think Syria), taking revenues and having very strong leverage over countries that do not have their own oil. That covers much of Asia and Europe.
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Mar 29 2020 3:32 utc | 136

What you call the physical control of oil depends on the US military, which is sustained in great part by the petrodollar. Saudi Arabia's USD from oil sales cycle back to the US, financing its debt, pumping up stocks, directly buying billions in US arms, and indirectly funding the US military by buying US debt. The USD inflows from oil-sales sustain US debt and US military funding. In a hot war, the physical control of oil matters more; but in a cold war, what rules is the US-centered financial system, which enables its military expenditures.

The economic pull of the BRI challenges oil sales in USD. Iran and Russia selling oil to China for RMB; and Saudi Arabia has started to broach the issue of oil sales in RMB. Every barrel sold in RMB instead of USD is money flow that is not going back to the US.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 29 2020 4:26 utc | 144

Is this what is called "the great game" by arm chair sociopaths? The national security state that grew out of the Manhattan Project of WWII may be brought to its knees through its own incompetence in doing evil. It has failed to control its bioweapon research as it has so far been able to control its nuclear WMD. The pandemic burns brightly and exposes what is meant to be hidden behind insipid propaganda. Too many people refuse to admit this virus was born in a lab and their innocence is only complicity with evil. US foreign policy may be a tale told by a raving idiot, but it is not funny, and making fun of it doesn't render it less dangerous.

Posted by: jadan | Mar 29 2020 4:31 utc | 145

When will the US public ever learn? Never.

Actually a draft notice is the only thing that will push US citizens out of their apathy. Even the children of the wealthy and well connected have to go through the exercise and nothing scares the hell out of them more than that even though they will probably get out of the draft.

The empire knows that and they have an abundance of under educated to fill the ranks and if that fails they can reach out to fill the ranks with immigrants. The new style of warfare needs less people. Robots are coming online. They can paper their way out of their economic problems with an endless supply of fiat dollars.

This thing has dragged on since the end of WWII and there is no end in sight.

Posted by: dltravers | Mar 29 2020 4:45 utc | 146

Here is a ranking (2019), the countries with the best preparation to face a pandemic.

1. USA
2. UK


51. China


The Countries Best And Worst Prepared For An Epidemic

Trump held up a map showing the US is the best prepared country in the world for a pandemic, but only for the rich, influential, and fully insured

Posted by: Mao | Mar 29 2020 4:48 utc | 147

In support of what I earlier said about the testing being used in the US incorrectly dramatizing increasing numbers, here is a more understandable corroboration provided by a poster, Yuri, at the saker site:

"...The latest data from the German Robert Koch Institute show that the increase in test-positive persons is proportional to the increase in the number of tests, i.e. in percentage terms it remains roughly the same. This may indicate that the increase in the number of cases is mainly due to an increase in the number of tests, and not due to an ongoing epidemic.”

The comment comes below an article dated March 28 questioning the emphasis on the virus as more virulent than other infectious diseases. Interesting article on how Iran is coping with the disease.

Posted by: juliania | Mar 29 2020 4:48 utc | 148

Addition to my #142

Found this: and noted one sold on ebay a fortnight ago for $250:

1958: Bird Mark 7 Universal Respirator:
Dr. Bird continued working on positive pressure technology, and in 1955 came up with a prototype of the Bird Mark 7.

Dr. Bird showcased it at various teaching hospitals, allowing it to be used in the most critically ill patients who were suffering from respiratory failure where other accepted therapies had failed to work. The Bird Mark 7 Respirator was quickly accepted by the medical community, and in 1958 it was introduced to the market.

This respirator was ideal for inhalation therapists, as it was portable, durable, and easy to operate. It was connected to a 50 PSI source and was operated by a flow of air. It could be used to provide controlled positive pressure breaths long term by connecting it to an endotracheal or tracheotomy tube.

Typically the modern items in Intensive Care wards are high tech monsters.

The early types much simpler. Probably gear-up to manufacture would be a cinch. Overcoming big pharma would pose a challenge but could be overcome.

some links to consider:

1 Asthma history



Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 29 2020 4:50 utc | 149

Becoming unhinged? It's been unhinged for decades.

Posted by: RoHa | Mar 29 2020 5:00 utc | 150

Posted by: Mao | Mar 29 2020 4:48 utc | 146

1. USA
2. UK
51. China
Are you joking? HaHaHaha...

Spoke to my previous next door neighbor in KCK (Kansas City, Kansas) this afternoon - he's a gynecology, we agreed China is in better position to speedy recover. His 3 kids now in Swiss with his ex-wife. Very strict complete shutdown.

Posted by: JC | Mar 29 2020 5:05 utc | 151

Please, Colombia, not Columbia. It's bad enough that Americans can't spell the names of their colonies. Now Germans are following their example?

Posted by: Paracletus | Mar 29 2020 5:09 utc | 152

Global pressure must be brought upon America to end its economic siege warfare (aka economic sanctions) that is devastating nations that now face the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governments of the World ask UN to Demand Lifting of Unilateral Coercive Measures Amid COVID-19

Trump intensifies murderous Iran sanctions during COVID-19 crisis

US ramps up sanctions devastating Venezuela’s health sector as coronavirus spreads

Posted by: ak74 | Mar 29 2020 5:13 utc | 153

"the US incorrectly dramatizing increasing numbers"
juliania @146

The real US death toll is probably much higher than the reported numbers. It can't count as a COVID death if the patient was never tested.

As per the NYT, testing, though increased, is still severely lacking:

The United States cannot even test everyone who is sick because of a shortage of testing kits and personal protective equipment for health care workers. At the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, the line of people waiting outside for a test forms as early as 6 a.m., with some staying until 5 p.m. Many go home without being tested.

And only 'high priority' people are allowed to be tested.

The state labs are largely being used for patients identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as high priority. This includes hospitalized patients with symptoms compatible with the coronavirus; those over 65; those with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems; those who show symptoms within 14 days of being in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient; and those with a history of travel to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea.

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 29 2020 5:19 utc | 154

Addition to my #142 above ( previous attempt vanished)

I discovered a simple tech device and many early types that were in immediate use many decades ago. I even downloaded the service manuals to get a peek at the details and the operator guides.

One the Bird Mk7 sold on ebay 2 weeks ago for $250.

a snippet from the asthma site:

1958: Bird Mark 7 Universal Respirator:
Dr. Bird continued working on positive pressure technology, and in 1955 came up with a prototype of the Bird Mark 7.

Dr. Bird showcased it at various teaching hospitals, allowing it to be used in the most critically ill patients who were suffering from respiratory failure where other accepted therapies had failed to work. The Bird Mark 7 Respirator was quickly accepted by the medical community, and in 1958 it was introduced to the market.

This respirator was ideal for inhalation therapists, as it was portable, durable, and easy to operate. It was connected to a 50 PSI source and was operated by a flow of air. It could be used to provide controlled positive pressure breaths long term by connecting it to an endotracheal or tracheotomy tube. It was one of the first respirators to provide continuous controlled mechanical breaths for patients who were unable to spontaneously breathe.

MIT has some early research and produced simple low tech devices here and here.

I suspect China and Cuba and others have been producing these for a long time in some form or another.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 29 2020 5:24 utc | 155

Advocates for people with intellectual disabilities are concerned that those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other such conditions will be denied access to lifesaving medical treatment as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the country.

Several disability advocacy organizations filed complaints this week with the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking the federal government to clarify provisions of the disaster preparedness plans for the states of Washington and Alabama.

The advocates say the plans discriminate against people with intellectual disabilities by deprioritizing this group in the event of rationing of medical care — specifically, access to ventilators, which are in high demand in treating COVID-19 cases. More than 7 million people in the U.S. have some form of cognitive disability.

Some state plans make clear that people with cognitive issues are a lower priority for lifesaving treatment.

Posted by: Mao | Mar 29 2020 5:24 utc | 156

Travel - State Dept:

We encourage medical professionals seeking work in the U.S. on a work or exchange visitor visa (H or J), particularly those working on #COVID19 issues, to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy/ Consulate for a visa appointment.

Posted by: Mao | Mar 29 2020 5:41 utc | 157

dltravers @145

The precedent has already been set - Project 100,000 otherwise known as McNamara's Morons.

I am sure that there will be no shortage of empire lackey's willing to be their name to it.

55 years on & still just as sick.

Posted by: ted01 | Mar 29 2020 6:52 utc | 158

The empire has not changed its spots and will use the cover of this pandemic to spawn much amoral mayhem. Thank you for bring these things to light. If this news is more widely known perhaps people can begin to care about these travesties. I hope the pandemic experience engenders solidarity.

Posted by: K-Dog | Mar 29 2020 7:01 utc | 159

US foreign policy is a deadly virus that should be contained.

The Magnitsky hoax was used as a pretext for global sanctions against Russia. Magnitsky was no lawyer. Magnitsky was no whistleblower. He wasn't clubbed to death. He was an accountant who was cooking the books for various companies owned by Bill Browder. For instance in Kalmykia, where they claimed to employ disabled people to get tax benefits. Browder is a convicted tax fraud and inner core member of the Integrity Initiative, who works hand in glove with the US state department, OCCRP and Bellingcat.

Julian Assange however is responsible for exposing various crimes committed by the US. His treatment by the US and the UK amounts to torture. While various media used information from Wikileaks to fill their pages, they remain silent on the plight of Julian Assange. A long list of medical professionals voiced their concern about his medical condition. Legal professionals voiced their concern about his "trial".

It's time for a Global Assange Act to counter economical and information warfare by the US empire. Economical sanctions against US companies, financial compensation for Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Russia, China, the EU, etc. and a global effort to expose and silence the lies and propaganda from organizations like Bellingcat, OCCRP, TI, ICIJ and the intricate web of financiers like NED, USAID, Soros, Stichting Adessium, Omidyar, the Dutch Postcode Lottery, the Skoll Foundation, etc.

Silence is implied consent. Investigate, expose and act.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Mar 29 2020 8:31 utc | 160

@146 Mao That index is derived in large part from measurements that are - until now - untested, and are now being shown to be based on wishful thinking.

For example:
2. Detection and Reporting. Early detection and reporting for epidemics of potential international concerns.
3. Rapid Response. Capability of rapidly responding to and mitigating the spread of an epidemic.
4. Health System. Sufficient and robust health system to treat the sick and protect health workers.

I'm sure that *on* *paper* the USA measured very highly on each of those items. But once put to the test it has become obvious that an abysmal lack of leadership has led the USA to face-plant on all three of those criteria.

The CDC could not make a test kit that worked, and the USA both refused to use overseas kits and failed to mobilize their own pharmaceutical industry to rapidly develop an alternative, so "early detection" didn't happen and still is not happening.

Same with the "rapid response". I mean, really, is their any disputing this? John Bolton dismantled the Pandemic Response Team within the NSC two years ago, and it *still* hasn't been reconstituted.

And, finally, the lack of strategic stockpiling of ventilators and the outsourcing of the manufacture of N95 masks and other protective gear to China means that the emergency wards are going to be overwhelmed and the healthcare workers are going to be decimated.

The USA simply does not deserve to be in No1 spot even on the criteria that that article posited. Even on the criteria of that article the positions of China and the USA needs to be reversed.

But it is more than that. The secret of containing a pandemic like this is to HAVE A PLAN and to IMPLEMENT THAT PLAN IMMEDIATELY.

China did that.
Russia did that.
Heck, even Vietnam did that.

The USA? Heh, them, not so much.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Mar 29 2020 9:40 utc | 161

The western politics and economy is being managed as a Boeing 737 MAX. Its design is badly flawed, to prevent it from stalling an MCAS system has been installed in the form of money printing and plundering of other countries. This system relies on properly sensing the angle of attack, but by censoring incoming information the sensors lost its ability to assess the real direction of flight and the pilots had no way to override it. A sudden nose-dive and systemic crash follows, killing everyone on board.

Posted by: Norwegian | Mar 29 2020 9:42 utc | 162

What the West needs to do to finance this crisis control, is to implement a one-off Robin Hood tax on the wealthy, and distribute the monies to the middle and lower classes, particularly small businesses in order to keep countries afloat. Thye could also temporarily nationalize the health and pharmaceutical industries to ramp up production of necessay machines and drug, as well as conduct research. When a virus is found, it can be delivered free, nonprofit. Lets make those thieving CEOs and financial hooligans human again.

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 29 2020 9:58 utc | 163

that should be "vaccine" not "virus"

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Mar 29 2020 10:02 utc | 164

Likklemore | Mar 28 2020 23:42 utc | 108

Jared Kushner has to be an expert in producing hot air. Just get him to blow down a few ventilators.

JTMcPhee | Mar 29 2020 0:51 utc | 117
Sun Tzu; I actually noted that - the “moral” compass is all important. Something that is part of the basis of any well run society as well.
Note also (forgotten which Stanzas) that in a pre-battle situation with three Generals defending a town and the “main” friendly force not close enough to help, They sent two of the Generals to attack before the enemy were ready (for the morale, so that they were better able to defend against a siege), one to defend the town, and the “Political” director was deliberately kept out of the command chain. It suggests that Russia would send Shoigu+1 to “attack”, one other General to defend and Putin would agree to be separated from the direct military command chain.
General comment to some who think that any uprising would be Fascist:
Any population “backlash” will not be a “popular”-fascist one as the system now being set up by the Termites* and Ant-brains* is Fascist to start with. Police, surveillance, the all-encompassing power of a self designated “elite”. Corporate power etc.
(I use these terms to define "people/groups" without referring to Race, Rank or Religion (which are too semantically loaded, emotional,) but just by their attitude. ie "Ant-brains" are those that work very hard, and can be very "clever" but do not know why they are working. Termites are those that hollow out societies from within for their own benefit)

Posted by: Stonebird | Mar 29 2020 10:02 utc | 165

Trailer Trash @60:

There will never be a debt jubilee in the USA. Never. Expect instead the reintroduction of debtors’ if they’d ever gone away, of course.

Posted by: corvo | Mar 29 2020 10:06 utc | 166

uncle tungsten @106:

Best not to expect much good from the erstwhile Father Confessor of the Argentine fascist junta.

Posted by: corvo | Mar 29 2020 10:10 utc | 167

Good news is coming from the Houthis. Some serious crash and boom at King Salman's base in Saudi Arabia.
Not much detail but a couple of twitter sources.
Time will tell.

corvo #167 Thanks, I have zero expectations from that clown. I just thought it worthwhile to shed a little contrast on His Quietude. Plus I agree with you about NEVER a debt jubilee in the USA. The deep state has no conscience, compassion or sense to see that as any reality unless of course they were to get it first and trial it for the next couple of centuries. I guess that's what they got last week anyway.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Mar 29 2020 10:42 utc | 169


Forget China...When Singapore isn't even in the top 20 in that list those "experts" involved in the list must be riding on some really good psychoactive substances.

Posted by: JW | Mar 29 2020 10:55 utc | 170

corvo @166: "Trailer Trash @60: There will never be a debt jubilee in the USA. Never."

I do not get the impression that TT was saying there would be an official debt jubilee, but rather a de facto one. A couple months of 1000%+ inflation is a de facto debt jubilee and a gift for those drowning in debt. People with cash savings? Not so much. People with real and tangible properties? It'll mostly be a wash.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 29 2020 10:58 utc | 171

Curiosities of the past ( premonitory? ) which become of full actualité...

In the spring of 1967, #Godard begins filming the (voluntary) confinement of five young Parisians in the Latin Quarter. It was the origin of #LaChinoise. Lots of encouragement and read the Red Book. I leave you the trailer, and the great song of #ClaudeChannes "Mao Mao".

Capitalism continues discreditting itself at galloping pace....For the USSR to come back.....Good morning!

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Mar 29 2020 11:22 utc | 172

augrr | Mar 29 2020 2:11 utc | 124

Thanks for the link, we should perhaps remember the similarities of concept here:

The United States should support Iraq's transition to democracy by providing immediate and substantial humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people, by providing democracy transition assistance to Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, and by convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral response to Iraq's foreign debt incurred by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Compared with:

A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the United States should continue to support the people of Nicaragua in their peaceful efforts to promote the restoration of democracy and the defense of human rights, and use the tools under United States law to increase political and economic pressure on the government of Daniel Ortega.

In Libya The President didn't even bother congress:

the President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon national security interests for current U.S. military activities regarding Libya; and (3) the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.

....nor ultimately the protecting members of the Armed forces in Benghazi! (Please do not let Biden choose HRC as VP!)

Nicaragua is useful, and for control of the Venezuela waterfront. NI seems a lightly candidate as a first move, and as a drone location.

Curiously even though Cruise ship bookings are crashing through the basement, Cortino Port popularity is up this week. I'm not a shipping guy, perhaps someone can explain?

Trends of port use:

Posted by: dennis | Mar 29 2020 12:04 utc | 173

Schmatz, is it true that the Spanish gov has announced it is now forbidden to fire employees?
(While in France the postal system has announced it will reduce its deliveries -too bad for the ppl who still had a subscription to their newspapers; Amazon is making millions instead.)

Posted by: Mina | Mar 29 2020 12:24 utc | 174

Posted by: Tonymike | Mar 28 2020 15:52 utc | 4
"I find it harder to live within the belly of the beast and am making plans to move out of the country.... Never has there been a more evil country on earth (other than those in occupied Palestine)...."

I salute your integrity. We don't choose where we are born, but we can choose where we live.

The days when the US Constitution guaranteed your freedom to pursue your happiness are over. Gone.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 29 2020 12:34 utc | 175

Is US foreign policy becoming unhinged?

On the surface this seems the case - it is insane to be ramping up the rhetoric and regime change measures, increasing sanctions, charging leaders of other countries with crimes, denying cooperation to countries suffering from the effects of coronavirus, etc. when countries need to put aside hostility and increase cooperation for the duration of the pandemic.

None of it makes any sense at all unless Covid-19 is a bioweapon and its effects can be targeted, timed and be different from country to country. And this is exactly what Larry Romanoff asserts in his latest article:

COVID-19: Two Major ‘Waves’ of Global Infection, Towards Global Contamination?

Will Covid-19 be used to against Venezuela, Nicaragua and Iraq prior to a takeover? (reported case in these 3 countries are currently very low)

Posted by: ADKC | Mar 29 2020 13:04 utc | 176

>I do not get the impression that TT was saying there would
>be an official debt jubilee, but rather a de facto one.

Yes, exactly. I apologize for not being clear.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Mar 29 2020 13:17 utc | 177

- Good to see that the "Moon of Alabama" logo is back on the home page.
- The State Department has to make do with a smaller budget and that's why it is cutting back on its expenses. E.g eliminating the support for Yemen.
- The things happening here remind me of the last 2 years of the G.W. Bush administration. In those 2 years vice president Cheney concocted all kinds of plans which were - in the end - never executed.
- Perhaps Pompeo c.s. are sensing that the time is running out for the economic powerhouse called USA and are desparate to execute thier plans anyway no matter what the consequences are.
- I am NOT convinced that this will be China's century. The chinese economy is also a house of (financial/economic) cards. There have been many economists that have pointed out that China also has a giant amount of debt. I have written more than once the following: The US will - ultimately - end up in the gutter and there it will meet its eternal rival called China. Trump or no Trump, (K)hillary (Clinton) of no (K)Hillary, Obama or no Obama, G.W. Bush or no G.W. Bush.

- China is a currently a large consumer of commodities (e.g. oil). When the chinese economy goes into a recession or worse then the US will the negative impact AS WELL. The US will feel an impact in 3 ways:
1) Falling commodity prices (good for the US consumer)
2) But falling commodity prices will hurt US and canadian commodity producers (= bankruptcies + higher unemployment)
3) A falling Trade Deficit. A shrinking Trade Deficit is, contrary to common wisdom - actually very detrimental for the US economy, especially when that happens in combination with growing (federal) Budget Deficits. Remember the recent 2 trillion "Stimulus Program" ??. But that requires knowledge of Balance of Payment issues.

Posted by: Willy2 | Mar 29 2020 13:19 utc | 178

Posted by: vk | Mar 28 2020 16:15 utc | 10
"The most likely scenario is for the USA to successfully invade Venezuela, be expelled from the ME, double down on the capitalist system at a societal level and emerge as a diminished power in the geopolitical arena after the pandemic is over.

Invade Venezuela? Yuppp, they are stupid enough to do it.
Successfully? Not likely.
Putin repeats his Syria speech "Do you know what you have done?"
Xi adds, quietly, "Come, come. I show you win win way better."
Expelled from Middle East? Maybe so. Maybe not. Let's see.
Diminished power? That was baked in.
Covid19 pulled the curtain back on a dying empire a bit more.
We live in interesting times.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 29 2020 13:31 utc | 179

Posted by: Godfree Roberts | Mar 28 2020 16:42 utc | 14
"Meanwhile, China is flying medical workers, supplies and equipment around the world..."

And MSM lies are flying around the world, eg.
"Ooooh the baaaaad CCP.... their testing gear don't work.....

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 29 2020 13:36 utc | 180

It takes someone like Trump to be the USA President to make it plain that America is truly a land of imbeciles and crooks.

Posted by: Steve | Mar 29 2020 13:43 utc | 181

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Mar 28 2020 17:16 utc | 25

"How can you police the world as we have been doing
when domestic issues are rocking the party-boat?"
They leaders are not policing, but raping the world. They are eating other people's lunches; stealing; robbing; grabbing other people's resources. Remember "Take the oil?"

"And so I offer a prayer ror resiliency on the part of
Venezuela, Iran, and the Axis of Resistence."
Pray, yes, but let's do more. Tell all around us about their evil. Open eyes asleep from reading their MSM, from watching their hollywood propaganda.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 29 2020 13:59 utc | 182

JC | Mar 28 2020 23:01 utc | 104

JC I am sorry for the harsh tone of my post. I am very sick of folks parroting the administration's racism. The Chinese are quality citizens of the world with a good record. I live in the US and am surrounded by racism. I was to quick to judge. Sorry.

Posted by: diveshopingoa | Mar 29 2020 14:05 utc | 183


"That leaves Venezuela as the last reliable oil source for an hypothetical regional power USA.

It's up to the Venezuelan people - with China and Russia as its allies - to stop the Americans."

I think this has already happened.

" Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft (ROSN.MM), said on Saturday it had terminated operations in Venezuela and sold the assets linked to its operations in the South American nation to an unnamed company owned by the Russian government. "

Now let them try to install their clown and grab that oil.

Posted by: venice12 | Mar 29 2020 14:07 utc | 184

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 28 2020 17:26 utc | 30
"China's introduction of a Health (Silk) Road component to its BRI proposal is a huge coup that the Outlaw US Empire can in no ways equal anywhere--not even within its home nation. The Playground Bully's been reduced to cat-calling and shaking its fist while the rest of the world looks on, while trying to figure out how to jettison the dollarized international commercial & financial systems before more damage is done.

Excellent summary of the state of play. Always value your thinking.

The Health Silk Road is like a counter-move in Judo, or at least an
application of the ancient Chinese idea of seeing opportunity in crisis.

Unable to match Xi in action, the Global Bully is reduced to lying:
Their MSM is now lying about "defective" Chinese test kits. LOL

Posted by: kiwiklown | Mar 29 2020 14:20 utc | 185

Now that China is ending the lockdown in Hubei, it is the right moment to see how the "normalcy" is achieved, or the infection start to spread again quickly, this is very interesting to research because we will be in this phase in 2 - 3 months

Posted by: DFC | Mar 29 2020 14:25 utc | 186

Trump drops idea to lockdown NY, NJ, CT leaves it to CDC issues travel advisory

and National Guard goes door to door in Rhode Island to inform any New Yorker he/she is under quarantine

@ Yeah, Right 127, 129

Re Trump; on Ventilator costs $18,000 -$30,000 [see here MIT News a pittance but there is $Trillions for whatever. Healthcare? Who cares from my Inbox Ventilators are being rationed.

and @ Stonebird 165
Re Jared Kushner complaining; poor baby, it is not on his CV. and he is clueless. We are doomed.

Posted by: Likklemore | Mar 29 2020 14:53 utc | 187

Let me suggest a note of optimism in the discussion. To those who are creaming their pants at the prospect of the demise of Capitalism and the impending social apocalypse, don't count on it. Granted the coronavirus crisis will have deep life-changing consequences for many, but eventually people will go back to work, much as they did before. I say this despite my belief in the Hobbesian view of the human condition. Not his commonly misunderstood belief that human beings are at their core evil selfish creatures, but his belief that the human species "are not hardwired to live together in large scale political societies. We’re not naturally political animals like bees or ants, who instinctively cooperate and work together for the common good. Instead, we’re naturally self-interested and look out for ourselves first and foremost. We care about our reputation, as well as our material wellbeing, and our desire for social standing drives us into conflict as much as competition over scarce resources." There ain't going to be a revolution after this crisis is over. Shock and dismay, sure, and a lot of anger also. People will expect and will demand a lot more from their governments. But change won't happen like in 1979 in the Soviet Union. Too many people nowadays with a lot more to lose. In the US there will be incremenal progessive changes in the system as the old generation of Bidenists are replaced by a new generation of Sandenites like Occasio Alexandria-Cortez, even if the one percenters and TPTB have to be dragged kicking and screaming into new directions and social priorites. Life must go on.

Posted by: krypton | Mar 29 2020 15:11 utc | 188

DFC @186

Yes, there will be a new "normal", with smaller scale local lock-downs and isolations and careful monitoring for some time to come. I think the Chinese might have the discipline and organization to get their economy back up to speed while hammering down spot resurgences of the virus before it spreads beyond what the local healthcare systems can handle.

Of course, every time there is one of these spot resurgences in China the jingoistic western mass media will crow in delight. They are sick like that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Mar 29 2020 15:17 utc | 189

Good discussion on Cross Talk with host Peter Lavelle on how extremely politicized the pandemic crisis has become in the US and how the main stream media has finally got something they can stick to Donald Trump. The public has been panicked and now seem to unconditionally accept virtually any government decree that curtails their rights and freedoms. To the Trump haters COVID-19 arrived just in time to bring him down, without which his re-election would have been a slam dunk.

Posted by: krypton | Mar 29 2020 16:39 utc | 190

The nyt,wapo? say that insurance for health care will increase 40% next year.

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 29 2020 16:49 utc | 191

@Ken Garoo #106
Indeed. Chinese authorities seized a black market import shipment of pangolin scales: 50,000 pounds of them, roughly from 50K pangolins, in December 2019: source
Thus while there are pangolins in China, the market is so huge that they're imported from all over.
As for the idiots - ignore them. They attack anyone who presents anything, much less data, inconsistent with their conspiracy theories.

Posted by: c1ue | Mar 29 2020 17:44 utc | 192

" how the main stream media has finally got something they can stick to Donald Trump."

After two months they organize ramped-up production of ventilator. No word what will happen with the supplies of personal protection equipment, sanitizers etc. You cannot even get paper napkin. Some supplies may be available across the Pacific where several nations actually have production capacities, e.g. China was producing 80% of masks in the world and now they ramped up the production, Korea can export testing kits etc. Our very hinged, stable etc. Administration is in oscillator mode. "No problem", "We are doomed, 100-200 thousands death expected", "No need for more ventilators" (USA actually started with a decent number on national basis, except that the epidemic outbreaks are local), ventilator saga alone produced an oscillating stream of tweets.

As a health deficient student, I had to attend civil defense classes for a year (as opposed to military training for university students), so I am aware that there are texbooks how to organize things, and people who studied those principles, a lot of planning should start in January with executive conclusions in mid February. Nothing so normal could be observed.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Mar 29 2020 18:56 utc | 193

@Posted by: Mina | Mar 29 2020 12:24 utc | 174

What have been announced is a mandatory payed leave, but, the hours are to be recovered after ends by the employee...Thus, the panorama totally changes, there will be no lost of employment, the employers keep paying, but the workers are in debt of the ammount of time they are out of work...

This throughout the total lockdown of any working activity which is not essential starting tomorrow. Some autonomous governments have oppossed the total lockdown of industry except essential services, like the Basque one, and have asked for being them to decide which stops and which continue working, to no avail, I fear....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Mar 29 2020 18:56 utc | 194

Posted by: diveshopingoa | Mar 29 2020 14:05 utc | 183

No need to be sorry anyway, I am partly to be blamed for my poorly written comments. Again repeating Eng not my mother tongue. take care it's gonna to get worst, yesterday forced to buy more canned and dried food.

YouTube - SCMP, best explained here especially Kuswanto Lim States and City right as we are familiar in the US of A..

liuzzi liu4 hours ago The reason is that Hubei Province has been unblocked and Jiangxi Province has not allowed Hubei people to enter, which has led to police on both sides fighting on the highway

Jie Su4 hours ago Police of two neighboring provinces clashing ...... that’s something unprecedented in China

oscarcamatta96 3 hours ago What the heck is wrong with the Hubei ppl? They're not lepers are they?

Kuswanto Lim 3 hours ago Yeah its kinda strange, how can this happen? Does the upper management dont get the memo?

Longyi W 2 hours ago
@Kuswanto Lim It's two provinces. Though most west media focus on one party CCP rules China, each province has it's own authority to manage itself in some degree. Meaning one province announce something, the other province can say no.

Amy Nguyen2 hours ago @Kuswanto Lim same as states. If NY lifted their lock down ban and allowed you to drive interstate, but the police in the next state won't allow for you to move out and drive through. Provinces is just states run by each local governments.

Posted by: JC | Mar 29 2020 19:17 utc | 195

Ok. Is Phase 2 starting soon? carriers in ME, B-52s, additional patriot deployment, empty USA embassies in Iraq and Lebanon, mobilized reserves, martial law now global. All this for COVID19? >

by: Lozion @ 59 => Also this.
destroy Iran before pandemic ends unnamed secret mission. by : Peter AU1 @ 102

The USA is an Icon of what not to be, what not to listen to..and what never to support. Why> <=because at the moment the USA is king of the nation state system, but kings fail, and next nation state system king will be <=maybe worse? Problem is the nation state system, why <= because the NSS is a complex matrix of interactive nodes designed to exploit and manipulate humans contained

taffyboy @ 5 said;"A single cell virus is dismantling the empire, from without and within. to which Ben @ 27 replied.. => From your thoughts, hopefully, to the universal ear. but, without overcoming the propaganda in control of the masses <=virus induced introspection may change some ben @ 27

dh-mtl "U.S.A claim to Unilateral Super-powers .to collapse alongside the $$. by: dh-mtl @ 55 <= iff masses become globally active.

<==but to ben, taffyboy and dh-mtl I say again, its not one empire, but the system of empires that has captured and enslaved mankind; the enemy to democratic self determination and freedom of person is not one nation, but 206 nations..and their subnations called corporations: at the moment' the world is angry at the visible actions of the leader of one of the nation state system but every nation state is just as guilty, its just that the anti-human activities of these lesser nation state leaders are both buried because the stories d/n pass the gates that allow access to the media and because such activities are often minuscule in the overall scheme of things.

Everyone should re read Karlof1 @29 his new path .. idea [citizenry can regain control of the national government..] but the new path must be a coordinated project of the humanity of the entire world, <=That is to say, every human must become a partner of every other human, in this event called life. The nation system system is a Matrix used by a few to control the many. by Karlof1 @ 29..

Noah Way @ US Presidents (and congressmen too) are just puppets controlled by oligarchs. by: Noah Way @31

reference to juliania @ 9 .. more and more signs [the pandemic is a big Pharma scam], and transformation to digital currency which allows better surveillance and police powers. by: Stonebird @ 34 <= Clearly economic pandemic fits economic zionism to a tee. This requires the use of the nation state system by the few.. for a profit to be made by manipulating the masses, not matter the misery such manipulation causes.

Trailer Trash @ 36 adds "Modi has worked overtime to promote division, hate, and fear, and now India will reap the whirlwind. " by Trailer Trash..

Rob @ 51 Asks: "Post Pandemic seizure likely to abridge freedom and civil rights?" and self responds "probably, but not a certainty." by Rob @ 51 <= Once again if there were no nation state system with top down secret leadership making decisions, humanity would solve the problem for itself. .. Its the nation state system, and the secrets it protects that allows those in charge, that is the problem..

James @ 59 financial dynamics are not limited to the us$ James @ 59..

many thanks by Likklemore for it is the beginning of the data needed to write the story in a way that the public can understand how the federal Reserve has raped the masses.

Access denied. by: Ken Garoo @ 106 <==PTB bull shit or what +.The Virus is a Chimeric splice produced in one of USG 25 cat 4 labs in jurisdictions where anything goes. We are told this virus jumped species, which EVERY other time has produced a weakening in coronavirus at species jump and a following adaption period to the new species. This spliced a HIV (blood active) strain morphed with a CoV strain (air throat/lung active) maintaining the most virulent aspects of BOTH strains at species jump. Unheard of in zootrophic evolution. You could start here to understand:

diplomatic trafficing in pathogen containing human blood
bioweapons Pentagon style
$70 million bioweapons program
Meanwhile this data story is being rolled out as cool stuff to do with our privacy:
more efficent tracing by: dennis @| 110 <=thanks dennis.. get links.

en Garoo 106 Peter AUI @ 114 objects to Nation state allowed propaganda ..w\blacklist China over wildlife eaten by humans because SARS-CoV-2 virus should be found in the reservoir of host species. by: Peter AU1 @ 114 < thanks also
consider statistical report Larry marsh @ 176 posted same link as did i yesterday it is must reading for anyone who can interpret data..

Posted by: snake | Mar 29 2020 19:31 utc | 196

How can anyone even think of putting trust and faith in a priest of the Jesuit sect.Those are jubilating that at last they have their boy on Petrus' Stool.I'm sure they have an inventory of all historic and possible schemes and intrigues from which they read a chapter before going to sleep.Paperclip it.

Posted by: willie | Mar 29 2020 20:27 utc | 197

"Whatever he unleashes in a second term; I hope it decimates ONLY the dumb herd that will return him to power. Then, it would be worth it."

Posted by: Circe | Mar 29 2020 2:39 utc | 131

It is funny you think that way after screeching VOOOTE VOOOOTE VOOOTE in the (s)election YOU GOOOTTTTA VOOOOTE sanders is yuuuugely different and not at all vetted and approved by cfr and the hidden masters VOOOOTE VOOOTE...
If YOU give YOUR consent to the system by partaking in their so called election YOU are AS GUILTY as the war criminal subhuman garbage in your government;)
Only sheeple give their consent to be slaves and choose their slave masters, this is one of the lesson people need to learn b4 they water the tree of freedom and humanity with the blood off the rentier class and TRUE patriots.
A REVOLUTION and the death of the rentier class, its owners and proxies i support, your biased emotional screeching not so much...
The resistance axis have shown you and i that there is a way and that the empire is possible to beat.

Posted by: Per/Norway | Mar 29 2020 20:38 utc | 198

Today the Spanish garrison is leaving Iraq after the french, chekians and many others, so US is alone in Iraq, it could be "due to coronavirus",as they say, or because the yanks are preparing for the suicidal mission of "crushing" the PMU's and nobody wants to be sitting ducks, canon fodder, inside bases under heavy bombing day and night, due to some lunatic armchair warmonger wants to "smash iranians" to help Israel.

So they are letting the american mercs fight and die alone "defending Iraqi freedom and their own country", meanwhile their own country, their own people at home, needs everyone that could help them fight this pandemic, what a joke!

Posted by: DFC | Mar 29 2020 20:43 utc | 199

We are Facistas on steroids. Eliot Abrams, over whiskey one night remembered, that so many years ago, how he fucked Noriega while slaughtering a few hundred Panamanians. It worked once, so why not again. Right?

Posted by: joetv | Mar 29 2020 22:24 utc | 200

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