Pres. Biden Faces Uncertainty of Getting the Support of Primary Voters in Michigan

Pres. Biden’s Michigan primary bid faces uncertainty as the state’s Arab American voters are angry over US support for Israel’s unrelenting assault on Gaza. Democratic voters led by Representative Rashida Tlaib and several leaders of the state’s Arab American communities are telling fellow voters to cast “uncommitted” votes in Tuesday’s primary election.

michigan state capitolThe move to do so signifies their reaction to Pres. Biden for his refusal to help the Palestinians in Gaza by calling on Israel to cease its indiscriminate assault on the city where Hamas terrorists are still holding Israeli hostages.

As Michigan is a swing state local activists of the Arab American community had demonstrated their disapproval of the US President’s continuing support for Israel — for allowing the sale and supply of billions of dollars worth of US manufactured advanced weapons.

Other Major Countries Also Allowing Sale of Weapons to Israel

military trucks carrying arms supplyYet it should also be noted that the US is only one of several countries supplying Israel with weapons. Still, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Australia are also dealing with demonstrations being held by pro-Palestinian and world-peace advocacy groups.

Although Hamas, the terrorist group that initiated the attack against Israel in Oct. 07, 2023, killed around 1,200 Israelis and took 240 hostages, Israel’s military response is being criticized by European leaders of the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Spain.

The United Nation reported that half a million people in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip are already facing starvation, while about 1.9 million civilians have been displaced and seeking asylum as refugees in neighboring countries.
The Gaza Health Ministry being run by Hamas reported that almost 30,000 Palestinians have already died since Israel launched offensive attacks on the enclave in October 2023.


Migrant Surge in Massachusetts Force Governor to Declare State of Emergency

In a press conference held last week, Gov. Healey described the migrant situation in her state as a federal crisis caused by several years of inaction. She has decided to declare the influx of migrants as a state of emergency.

In a letter addressed to Secretary Alejandro
Mayorkas of Homeland Security, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey is asking federal officials for help with the ongoing migrant surge. First and foremost is the need to expedite the processing of work permits for asylum-seekers.

In response, Secretary Mayorkas said his team has been trying to manage immigration issues on a nationwide scale but they are facing staffing and funding limitations.

Ms. Healey, who is a new Democratic governor and still in the stages of building a relationship with the White House, was careful not to blame the Biden administration for this political issue. She is well aware that there is hardly a budget to use on what is actually a national immigration problem that calls for a congressional solution.

Senator Warren Also Wants Biden Administration to Speed Up Processing of Work Permits

Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren made the same call for action of speeding up the processing of work permits for the migrants in Massachusetts. According to the Senator, the migrants in the state desperately want to work so they can support themselves. On the other hand, there are matching employers who need and want to hire them immediately.

However, according to Sen. Warren, old-fashioned government bureaucracy has been causing the delay in the processing of migrant work permits. She told the hosts of WBZ’s “Keller @ Large” that

“This is one of those instances when we could make our lives and economy better if we could free up the paperwork and just let people go to work.”


Post Pandemic Global Inflation and Recession Sending Mixed Signals to Industries

As the Inflation and economic recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to hit hard several industries, consumers struggle with rising prices.Yet even as people feel the pinch after prices jumped by as much as 8.6%, when compared to last year’s consumer goods prices, certain industries are coming out as recession proof .

The Overpowering Desire to Enjoy Life Again, Despite Inflation

Apparently,most people want to enjoy life again while they still can, after experiencing more than two years of not going out and lying low; and in fear of the deadly disease.Consumer analysts say shoppers are trading up, not down.

While many are spending less on gasoline and lunches, theaters, live music entertainment and travel industries have been holding up. Recent releases like “Dr. Strange,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Jurassic World Dominion” have achieved blockbuster status after hitting pulling off box office sales. Some consumers have given up pricier out-of-town vacations so they can still afford to continue their Netflix subscriptions.

Even airline companies like American, Delta and United have been experiencing a surge in demand for international flights. Most air travelers are simply accepting the higher cost of plane fares, helping airline companies meet the rising costs of fuel and other related expenses. Yet, it isn’t clear how far the enthusiasm to travel internationally will go, because domestic bookings have actually dropped in the recent past two months.

Consumers Showing Strong Desires to Spend on Want Over Needs

People are showing strong desires to socialize so they can bring out the products they bought online during the quarantine period. However, as they are losing confidence on how far their newly-raised income will go, most consumers are cutting down on some needs in order to indulge in the things they missed during the two years of COVID-19.

Actually, these industries fear that this dynamic consumer behavior might change and end abruptly. The short term gains are merely losses being recouped from the inventory they invested on in the early months of 2020.

According to consumer research, the NPD Group, their recent survey shows that 8 out of 10 American consumers are already planning to cut down on their spending if things don’t get better within the next 3 to 6 months.


Russian Citizens in Protest of Putin’s War Against Ukraine

Thousands of Russians are protesting against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military assault and invasion of Ukraine, of which over 1,600 have been detained. Civilians who came out to join the demonstrations said they are heartbroken by the news since they have relatives and friends living in Ukraine.

In Moscow, the capital of Russia, police have blocked all access to the Pushkinskaya Square after Russian opposition activists made a call for people to join them. However, members of the police force immediately cleared the area by breaking up small groups of people arriving at the scene to join the protests.

Prominent Russian Personalities Join Calls for Protest via Social Media Posts

A lot of prominent Russian public figures and some former politicians are calling on their countrymen to join them in expressing their uneasiness with the military action on Ukraine; branding the annihilation as Putin’s War and not Russia’s war. However, joining any anti-Kremlin demonstrations comes with dangerous risks as many years of government oppression have made citizens fearful for their safety.

While there are many Russians who applaud Putin for uplifting Russia out of economic instability, many others have been on edge with Putin’s style of leadership. Russia is in control of a wide array of global resources, particularly nickel, palladium, natural gas, wheat, and oil.

The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict has led to stern and strict sanctions imposed not only by the US and several EU members but also Asian countries, are expected to affect the daily lives of Russian citizens. Even global banks have braced themselves for the extensive consequences.

Why is Putin So Intent on Controlling Ukraine?

Russia sees Ukraine as a country that belongs in its natural sphere of influence. However, it has distressed Putin to see the growing closeness of Ukraine with Western and other EU countries. As Putin’s threat of invading Ukraine became real, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, made it known that the country has decided to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The conflict between the two nations begun since 2014 when Russian military forces made their way to Ukraine’s borders, after Ukrainians replaced their former pro-Russian president with a new one in the person of Zelensky, a former comedian who openly supported a pro-Western style of governance.

Last week, after President Putin signed decrees that recognized the two pro-Russian breakaway eastern regions of Ukraine and after months of installing military presence in the country, the invasion started on Feb. 21.

Two days after, Putin then announced the start of the Ukraine special military operation, attacks on cities escalated and is currently in the capital of Kyiv. President Zelensky and other government officials are holding their ground in the city and assembling the citizens to fight for Ukraine.

Putin Spreads False Information

At the moment, Putin has been broadcasting false information, justifying his orders as his response to requests for assistance from Donetsk and Luhansk leaders; falsely accusing the Ukrainian forces of conducting ethnic cleansing similar to the Nazi holicaust. Although China, Russia’s ally, has not shown signs of supporting Putin’s attack, the Chinese government refuses to call the offensive actions on Ukraine, an invasion.


FCC Commissioners Vote to Kick China Telecom Americas Out of the US

Last Tuesday, commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to nullify China Telecom Americas’ authorizations to operate in the US. The FCC is the government agency responsible for regulating international and interstate communications, which gives it the power not only to suppress the Chinese-owned communications agency’s operations, but also to kick the company out of the US.

The FCC’s regulatory oversight includes the wires, satellites, radios, cables, and television operating in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and the country’s territories.

Actually, the recent decision is just a continuation of the investigations that started under Trump’s administration, specifically focused on Chinese-owned telecommunications service providers.

China Telecom Americas is regarded as a threat to the country’s national security since the company is vulnerable to misuse by the Chinese government. That being the case, it is likely that it will be inclined to carry out orders from Beijing; including that of relinquishing customer data. The subsidiary has been providing phone and IT services in Herndon, Virginia for several years.

What the FCC Commissioners are Saying

The FCC’s acting chair Jessica Rosenworcel said they are strongly exerting federal efforts in dealing with the potential threats to U.S. telecom networks, since companies like China Telecom Americas could disrupt the country’s communication services and at the same time conduct surveillances.
Moreover, the soon-to-be chief of FCC, accused China Telecom Americas of misrepresentations based on the evidences presented by branch agencies during the voting.

GOP Commissioner Brendan Carr is quite satisfied with decision although he convoked for more actions in restraining other foreign threats. This includes broadening the list of companies that pose as national security threats as well as limiting access to FCC’s equipment and authorizations. Carr also mentioned the inclusion of drone manufacturer DJI, to FCC’s list of national security threats.


U.S. House of Reps Passes Bipartisan Bill to Help Allied Afghans with Visa Applications

The most recent development in the U.S. House of Representatives is the bipartisan approval of legislation to hasten the processing of visas of Afghan allies. The Afghans covered by the bill are those who helped the U.S. and other coalition forces in the war against the Talibans in thwarting attempts to topple the government of Afghanistan. The votes for the bill were 407-16 and as can be expected, those who voted against the bill are Republican lawmakers.

As the U.S. and other countries who formed the NATO coalition have already withdrawn their respective troops in the war-torn country, Afghan allies and their families are now at greater risk of being targeted for assasination by the Taliban.

A Closer Look at the Allies Act

Captioned as the Allies Act, the bill will greatly increase the number of Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) that will be issued to 8,000 Afghan immigation applicants. The bill aims to lessen the requirements for applying in order to minimize the burden of applying for SIVs, as well as to hasten the processing of documents.

As Talibans are continuously subjugating more territories in the country, thousands of Afghanistan citizens who helped the NATO forces secure their country, are relying on their U.S. visa application as means of staying alive. Voting for the bill proceeded as the coalition forces and U.S are nearing completion of their extraction from the war-torn country.

According to Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colorado), the bill gives particular attention to Afghan allies as the Talibans are determined to execute those who provided assistance to American military forces during the past 20 years. Rep. Crow, who authored the bill presented his proposal last month on the House floor with the support of 24 bipartisan members of Congress. The Democratic Representative of Colorado had also served three tours of duty as a former Army Ranger in both Afghanistan and Iran.

Biden’s White House Administration Providing Support to Facilitate Evacuation of Afghan Allies

The Biden administration is also making efforts to facilitate plans for evacuating SIV applicants out of harm’s way, while awaiting processing and approval of their visa applications.

Furthermore, the country has teamed up with other ally countries in order to acquire safe places overseas for about 4,000 Afghan refugees under the Operation Allies Refuge. A senior state department official mentioned that those who have nearly completed their application, will be evacuated in Fort Lee, Virginia to temporarily stay in a U.S Army garrison for about a week or so.

Climate Change

All 40 Invited World Leaders Attended Pres. Biden’s Virtual Climate Summit

Last Thursday (April 22), Pres. Joe Biden sponsored a virtual climate summit to which all 40 invited world leaders attended, including Russia’s Pres. Putin. Other world prominent figures like Pope Francis and Microsoft founder, along with top CEOs of global corporations also attended the 2-day virtual meeting, which coincided with the Earth Day commemoration.

On his part, President Biden pledged that as part of the country’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement, the U.S. will cut half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Calling the vow as a “nationally determined contribution,” in rejoining the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement from which ex-president Donald Trump withdrew as a way of reversing his predecessor Pres. Obama’s support for the global climate coalition during his administration.

Biden Calls the Virtual Summit the First Step in Traveling the Road Together

In his remarks, the U.S. president said that while America represents less than half of the world’s global emissions, he said that America will take steps to set the nation on the path toward attaining net-zero emissions by 2050. Still, Pres. Biden reminded everyone in attendance that no single nation can solve the global climate crisis alone. The virtual summit as he said was the first step every nation will take in travelling the road together.

Actually, environmental groups and climate scientists have been pressuring the Biden administration to find ways that would put the U.S. on track in order to attain more ambitious targets to prevent the worst effect of global warming as manifested by climate changes.

In a previous and separate occasion, Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry had lamented that most countries have not lived up to their commitments to the Paris pact.


Chinese Diplomat Seeks Renewal of US-China Diplomatic Relationship Between

In a forum held last Feb. 22, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi put forward a request for Pres. Biden to restore the good relationship between the US and China. As the diplomatic tie between the two countries was damaged under Trump’s administration, Wang is now urging the U.S. President remove the tariffs on Chinese goods.

Wang’s request included an appeal for the U.S. government to not meddle with Beijing’s handling of its internal affairs, including the country’s handling of the actions launched separatists seeking for the independence of Taiwan.

As the U.S. under the Trump regime had the US cut off any dialogue with Chinese government officials, Wang stated that they are ready to communicate in solving problems that the two countries part in the past few years, Wang believed with optimism that the recent call between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is a great and positive indication that both leaders are now ready to take a step towards good relationship.

Speculations that Pres. Biden Plans to Continue the Fight Vs. China’s Trade Practices

However, it seems President Biden plans to keep the pressure on Beijing after expressing concerns about China’s unfair and coercive trade practices.

Moreover, other concerns raised by President Biden include China’s continuing claims over territorial rights in the West Philippine Sea, by intimidating neighboring countries. Another important factor that can affect Biden”s cooperation are the allegations of human rights crimes against Uighur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.


Biden to Rejoin Paris Climate Accord Once He’s Seated

Once President-elect Biden sits in the presidential chair next year, the U.S. will re-enter the Paris Climate Agreement from which Trump backed out in 2017. The agreement was created in 2015, to which the U.S. under the Obama administration, was one of more than 200 countries who made a commitment to take actions in circumventing the terrible effects of climate change predicted by scientists.

President-elect Joe Biden gave a promise that he will bring the country back into the folds of the climate accord any moment in February. All that the incoming Biden administration needs to do is to mail a letter to the United Nations as a way of affirming the country’s intent to join the accord again. Once sent, the formal return of the country will be recognized on the following month.

Immediately after the country’s return to the Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. will agree with other member countries in setting down voluntary goals aimed at lowering domestic emissions; and in implementing sterner objectives in related future goals. Additionally, part of each member country’s binding commitment is to submit accurate reports about the progress made in achieving their respective climate change commitments.

Why Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord is an Important Step for the Biden Administration

The next climate talks of the United Nation will be held in Glasgow, Scotland next year in November. Countries are anticipated to present fresh and ambitious goals for 2030, while the focus is expected to center mainly on the goals of thd U.S.

According to the 2019 report of the UN’s scientific panel, the Earth’s current atmosphere is on course to reach higher levels of 1.5°C or 2.7°F within the next 20 years. The apprehension is that once the Earth’s temperature reaches 2°C, the occurrence could trigger a global food crisis.

The United States is the only country to have taken a step backward by withdrawing from the pact.That is notwithstanding the fact the U.S is one of the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions that continue to worsen the effects of climate change. This was stated in the 2018 report submitted to the U.N. by lead author Natalie Mahowald, a climate scientist at Cornell University.

Why Did Trump Withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord?

First off, Donald Trump is admittedly not a believer in science. This was quite evident on how he disregarded the warnings and advice of science experts on steps to take in order to overcome the strickening effects of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the country.

Trump had no interest in binding the country to an agreement aimed at lowering carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions down to having a net zero effect.

While the goal of the Paris Accord is to keep the global temperatures from getting hotter, by maintaining the global temperature below 2°C or 3.6°F, Trump’s plans do not jibe with such goals. As it is, Trump wanted to revitalize the country’s coal industry and has in fact opened more of the country’s fossil fuel resources for leasing; wanting to be recognized for making the U.S. great again by expanding the country’s oil and gas production to greater limits.

However, Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord isolated the country from the majority that officially embraced the climate change accord.


Wildlife Agency Considers Crossbows as Archery Equipment

While issues are raised about calling crossbow sport as a form of archery, the U.S. wildlife agency says crossbows are archery equipment under taxation laws.

Actually, the tax collected is by virtue of the Pittman-Robertson Act that includes crossbows among the archery shooting equipment subject to excise tax, regardless if for sporting competition or for hunting use. Part of the taxes collected are turned over by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which redistributes them as supplementary funds of state wildlife agencies.

On a state level, the funds are provided to local wildlife agencies to help them manage and restore wildlife habitats, conduct wildlife research, offer hunter education and public access programs, as well as carry out high-priority national wildlife conservation projects.

That being the case, the Archery Trade Association (ATA) considers crossbows as viable hunting and shooting equipment, to which a related definition was ratified by the ATA Board of Directors in March 2016. That way, archery merchants have a clear guide in knowing that crossbows are among the archery equipment subject to Federal Excise Tax (FET).

The ATA Definition Recognizes the Similarity of Crossbows with Other Archery Equipment

The ATA definition acknowledges that as a type of archery equipment, a crossbow does not require the user to exert personal force to keep the string in a fully drawn position after the string has been engaged into a trigger mechanism; and that a crossbow is fired once the user actuates that mechanism.

The trade association’s crossbow definition also recognizes its similarity to other archery equipment, by stating that the

”The actuation of a crossbow’s trigger mechanism releases the string, while the arrow, quarrel or bolt is propelled forward by the resiliency and elastic characteristic of the crossbow’s limbs.” “The propelling force created by the trigger transfers to the arrow, quarrel or bolt by way of direct physical contact with the crossbow string.”

Implication of the FET Tax Among Crossbow Users

When searching for the best crossbows on the market, be in the know that the retail prices of all archery equipment include FET taxes.

Actually, payment of excise taxes starts with manufacturers who are required to pay 10 to 11 % tax on the first sale of hunting and shooting equipment, including ammunition. Manufacturers then pass on the FET they paid to wholesalers, who in turn do the same by passing on the FET to retailers. The latter will then be the last channel by which the related excise taxes are passed on to the end users or consumers, by way of retail prices. .

The Federal Excise Tax on hunting and shooting equipment was legislated by Congress in 1937, under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which is also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. The inclusion of archery equipment and related ammunition was through an amendment legislated in 1972.

In 2003, the IRS updated the FET when it created two separate tax collection schemes for archery equipment:

1  One is the 11% FET imposed on bows, broadheads, quivers and other bow attachments or accessories.

2. The second is a flat rate tax on arrow shafts, but subject to annual adjustments based on the current Consumer Price Index; e.g. 50 cents per shaft.

ATA VP and Chief Conservation Officer Dan Forster explained that FETs provide funds that state fish and wildlife agencies use to ensure that sports hunters and recreational shooters will continue to have professionally and scientifically managed places in which to hunt and pursue animals.


COVID-19 Vaccines and Why Distribution is Now a Political Issue

As vaccine manufacturers are undertaking clinical tests to prove the efficiency of their anti COVID-19 drugs, vaccine distribution has become a political issue. The term “vaccine nationalism” has been brought up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is calling on rich nations to stop putting their own interests ahead of other nations. He warns that vaccine “hoarding” can only make the pandemic worse.

Why the WHO is Calling on Rich Nations to Refrain from Practicing Vaccine Nationalism

In a world of roughly 8 billion people, there is a growing fear that the advance agreements to prioritize the domestic markets of rich nations will only make the COVID-19 vaccines unavailable and unaffordable to smaller and poorer countries. Unlike the rich EU-member countries, the UK as well as the U.S , not all countries can afford the multi-billion pre-purchase deals entered into with leading vaccine manufacturers like AstraZeneca Plc, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc, even before the clinical effectiveness have been proven..

Still, in order not to let vaccine nationalism put smaller and poorer countries at a disadvantage, the WHO has established a Covax Facility. Together with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the Covax Facility intends to purchase two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which the WHO will deploy and distribute across low income and poorer countries. However, the initiative is projected to actually roll out by the end of next year.

In the UK, an anti-poverty group called ONE Campaign commissioned a polling firm to find out how Britons feel about vaccine nationalism. Conducted sometime in mid-August, the poll surveys showed a majority of those who responded to the survey do not approve of vaccine nationalism. The Director of ONE Campaign Romilly Greenhill, said the poll results show that the British people clearly understand the need to address a global pandemic with a global response, instead of each country going their own separate ways.


NZ PM Led Country Out of COVID -19 Pandemic

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinta Arden, brings hope to many across the globe and pride to her countrymen for leading them out of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date (May 09, 2020), New Zealand is currently dealing with only 1,144 cases of COVID-19 infection, while 1, 371 of previous reported cases have recovered, and only 21 have succumbed to death, since the first confirmed case was reported in Feb.28, 2020.

While the world is constantly shocked by news about U.S. president Trump’s blatant lies and self-congratulatory speeches about actions taken by his administration in battling the coronavirus disease, the U.S. COVID-19 statistics continue to rise.

Currently, the total number of U.S. residents infected has reached more than 1.34 million, with around 201,000 reported recoveries and a rapidly rising death toll of more than 81,000; making the country the epicenter of the global pandemic since the first case of locally transmitted infection was reported in January 2020.

It cannot be helped that comparisons are being made since the way things are in the U.S. are hard to accept as signs that everything is turning out well for the American people. Whereas in New Zealand, lockdown conditions have eased down from Level 4 to Level 3. Last April 20, 2020, PM Arden had announced:

“We have won the battle…“There is no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand, but we have to remain vigilant if we are to keep it that way.”

What Does Level 3 Lockdown Mean in NZ?

The Level 3 lockdown in NZ took effect last April 27, 2020, in which stay-at-home restrictions have been modified, while safe distancing practices must still be observed. Although working from home and online learning is still encouraged, schools, some nonessential businesses and offices are allowed to open as long as measures for keeping a safe distance of at least 6 feet apart will be practiced.

There is also more leeway under Level 3, as NZ residents can go out to take a swim, hike, bike, surf or fish as long as people will not venture far from their home. Although mass gatherings are still not allowed, New Zealnaders can now hold weddings and even funerals; but limited to 10 people in attendance.

PM Arden’s Decisive Actions and Straightforward Messages Made the Big Difference

When PM Arden announced the Level 4 nationwide lockdown in March, her message to the people of New Zealand was that they will °go hard, and go early.” She immediately tasked members of the country’s military forces to take charge in enforcing the hard lockdown restrictions.

PM Arden did not mince words and was tough when necessary. As a matter of, she did not hesitate to demote a health minister who openly disregarded the government’s safe distancing mandates. In a matter of 4 weeks, Prime Minister Arden announced that the collective efforts of millions of New Zealanders had paid off, as they have succeeded in achieving what other countries are still trying to achieve up to this date. That of “flattening the curve” and more since local transmissions have been brought down to zero level.


Covid-19 Pandemic: A Scientific Prediction Proven True?

Does the Covid-19 pandemic prove true a scientific prediction that once global warming thaws permafrost, spores of deadly diseases will be released in the air?

Climate studies conducted by scientists decades ago arrived at a prediction that if global warming intensifies, the thawing of thick layers of permafrost in Siberia, Alaska, Greenland and northern Canada, will become inevitable.

The permafrost in those regions are permanently frozen layers of soil that thickened continuously. The thickness allows the fossils of ancient plants and animals that perished during the Ice Age and buried underneath, to remain undisturbed for thousands of years.

Today, large areas of thick permafrosts in those regions have been thawing rapidly. In 2019, the National Geographic came out with a report that in Siberia, the permafrost in a cliff called Duvanny Yar had warmed and thawed. A visiting ecologist found that the crumbling soil of the cliff had spilled fossils of mammoth bones, horse femurs, bison jaws and other ancient matters into the sea.

This National Geographic report brought us back to an earlier Scientific American publication that gave news about a puzzling deadly disease that came around in a remote area in Siberia during the summer of 2016. The disease had claimed the lives of 20 people living in the remote area and more than 2,300 reindeers inhabiting nearby forests.

The cause of the infectious disease was a bacterium known as bacillus anthracis, from which the deadly contagion known as Anthrax was derived. The source of the bacillus anthracis bacteria was the large amount of fossils coming out of the thawed permafrost located in the region.

Scientific Views on the Re-Emergence of Infectious Diseases in the Modern World

Astrologers usually make predictions of plagues using the ancient Babylonian astrologers’ method of interpreting zodiac stars in relation to past events. The underlying belief of ancient Babylonian astrology is that everything that happens on Earth has happened before, and that it is bound to happen again at a predetermined time in the future.

There is some semblance of truth to this theory since modern-day scientists have established the fact that our planet’s functions and systems usually work as a cycle.
The re-emergence of bacteria and viruses that cause infectious diseases is seemingly a part of those cycles.

Yet the world is also seeing the emergence of novel pathogens, like the Covid-19 infectious disease that communities all over the world are battling today.

According to infectious disease researchers Mark Woolhouse and Eleanor Gaunt of the University of Edinburgh, the world can be expected to produce new infectious-disease causing pathogens at an estimated rate of three species per year, because of the ongoing global ecological changes. They drew this general conclusion based on a study that involved creating a catalogue of nearly 1,400 species of novel human pathogens and their ecological origins.


Why Iowa’s Democratic Caucus is Taking Long to Produce 100% Voting Results

Results of the Iowa Democratic caucus keep trickling nearly 2 days after the conventions were held. As of this writing 71%, representing 1,250 of 1,765 precincts that have sent in results, have placed Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the lead at 26.8%. Senator Bernie Sanders is not far behind, lagging by only 1.6%.

The smartphone app that could have speeded up the results-counting process did not help at all. Apparently, there was some sort of glitch, which app developer Shadow Inc. discovered only on Caucus Day.

Actually, Mayor Buttigieg’s lead is representative of the number of state delegates who voted for his nomination, and not the raw votes or the number of people who voted for a preferred Democratic presidential candidate for 2020.

It’s all a bit confusing actually, since the caucus method of selecting the presidential candidate is different from the primary election approach. Iowa is one of few states that still select a presidential nominee by way of caucus voting.

The Basics of the Caucus Method of Nominating a Presidential Candidate of a Party

As it is, the Democratic Party has about 12 candidates aspiring for nomination as presidential candidate to run against Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

The caucus method though is a bit confusing, because unlike in the primary election system adopted by other U.S. states, registered voters do not cast votes directly for their preferred presidential candidate.

At an appointed date, time, and place, any registered voter of a specific party can attend the convention or meeting to vote for a delegate .The delegates in turn represent voters in nominating the presidential candidate during the Caucus Convention. Here there will be two rounds of voting for the nomination.

In the first round the chosen delegates cast votes for the presidential candidate they support as nominee. The weakest presidential candidate or those who garnered numbers of votes that are less than the threshold, will be eliminated as choices in the second or final round of voting.

However, during the second-round voting, the delegates who supported the weak candidates will still participate by voting for a second-choice presidential candidate of the registered voters they represent. Prior to the final round, delegates will discuss and debate as a way of trying to win over the support of delegates voting for a second choice.

In understanding the caucus method of voting, we get a better picture of why it takes long before Iowa Democrats could produce a 100% report of the state’s voting results. Inasmuch as there is still 29% remaining, and only a 1.6% difference between Mayor Buttigieg and Senator Sanders, the final result of the Iowa caucus is still not final unless all precincts have sent in the results of their caucus-voting.

Climate Change Environment Government

The World Keeps Vigil on Australia Fires and PM Morrison’s Actions

In Google’s latest report of the most searched topic in 2019 by Australians and probably until today is “Fires near me.” That is understandably so, since the wildfires that began in Queensland since August 2019 have now spread across four other Australian states: New South Wales, Western Australia, Southern Australia and lately, Victoria.

In future searches, it is now likely that Australia’s Prime Minister will make it to the forthcoming list of most hated Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s popularity as a leader has apparently thinned out. Australians were upset when they learned that the country’s leader was in Hawaii for the holidays, as many of their countrymen were losing lives and homes to the scorching wildfires spreading across regions.

PM Morrison Gets Heckled in His Homestate

As had been demonstrated by the people of Cobargo in New South Wales (NSW), widespread anger is burning in the hearts of the people. Whatever PM Morrison’s purpose in visiting his homestate New South Wales, the community of Cobargo made it clear that he was not welcome.

One woman brazenly shouted to ask how they can defend their town against the quickly spreading wildfires with only four trucks to boot. She called out the prime minister, pressed him for answers on questions about those who died and about people with nowhere to live. Others joined in; some calling the PM an “idiot” while others stating outright that he was not welcome.

Australia Fires is Only One of PM Morrison’s Failures as a Leader

The animosity presently felt against the Australian Prime Minister is only the result of circumstances and events that many perceive as failures of his leadership. Australia’s financial industry for one has seen a spate of bank-related scandals to which accusations include manipulating benchmark interest rates; to non-compliance with money laundering laws, failures to honor insurance claims and unjust treatment of small business owners.

The long period of drought, which the states of Queensland and New South Wales had raised alarms even before it literally culminated to the firestorm, is now consuming acres and acres of forests and communities. Like U.S. president Donald Trump, the Australian PM is known to insist that the country has been dealing with the challenges posed by climate change; in ways he describes as “better than most countries.” PM Morrison made claims that under his leadership, the country has been fulfilling international targets.

The PM’s claims have of course be proven false, as the latest United Nations report revealed that

”There has been no improvement in Australia’s climate policy since 2017,

and that the country is not on track to meet the 26-28% emission reduction by the year 2030, which the government had set as commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement.

As an aside, Australia news websites could get more visitors. People around the globe are showing interest in knowing more about the Australian fires, fires near me, and Australia’s current leader and what exactly is his title. Now more than ever, local news sites can help draw worldwide attention to pressure PM Morrison and his government to take real action.

One approach to understanding how to successfully direct traffic to one’s website is to have a professional perform seo audit, since the world continues to monitor the most recent developments in Australia in real time.


House Republicans Heed Trump’s Urging by Pulling a Stunt to Disrupt Impeachment Inquiry Hearing

House Republicans pulled a stunt last Wednesday (Oct. 23, 2019) in order to disrupt a closed-door hearing in which high level diplomats and government officials were scheduled to give their testimony to the House impeachment inquiry headed by Democratic House Representative Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Around 2 dozen Republican lawmakers surged past Capitol Hill police officers and overcame Democratic staffers; whilst compromising the security of the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), where the closed-door testimonials were scheduled to be heard.

Obviously carried out as a way of showing support for Donald Trump, some were literally shouting at the top of their lungs to attract attention, so that Trump will later see them showing solid opposition against the ongoing impeachment proceedings. Some even went in carrying electronic devices, tweeting about their “storming” of the secured room. North Carolina Republican House Rep. Mark Walker’s tweet read

“UPDATE: We are in the SCIF and every GOP Member is quietly listening.”

Earlier in the week, House Republicans received urging from Donald Trump, by telling his Republican minions to stick together and fight harder. To make his message clear, Trump told them that the reason why House Democrats are more effective is because they do not break ranks.

Naturally, Trump was pleased by the chaos created by the group of House Republicans in the Wednesday closed-door hearings. In a subsequent tweet, he called those who participated in the ruckus as tough, smart and having great understanding that what the Democrats are conducting is a witch hunt.

Apparently, the House Republicans who stormed the SCIF, were either unmindful or did not have a clear understanding of the related Congressional House rules.

Congressional House Rules with Regard to Closed-Door Hearings

First off, the Republicans are overlooking the fact that the purpose for holding closed-door sessions is to make sure that the testimonies of different witnesses will not be influenced by the information provided by earlier witnesses.

During the closed-door session, both parties, Republicans and Democrats alike are represented through lawmakers who have been designated as members of the house committee holding the hearings.

Copies of transcripts detailing the sworn statement or deposition of the witnesses who gave their testimony during the hearing will be released after the closed-door session. House non committee-members excluded from the hearing will have a chance to question the closed-door witnesses in public, at the conclusion of the investigative stage.

Closed-door hearings are held in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) to ensure that only committee members will be privy to any sensitive or classified information that will be given. This is also the reason why cellphones or any electronic devices are not allowed so as not to compromise or allow potential breach of information related to national security.

Who Wrote and Approved the House Rules for Closed Door Hearings?

Judge Andrew Peter Napolitano who served as Supreme Court Judge for New Jersey from 1987 to 1995, and currently engaged as an analyst for Fox News, pointed out important information about the closed-door House Rules being protested by Republican lawmakers.

The rules were last written in January 2015, and was signed by Republican House Representative John Boehner, in his capacity as the 53rd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The rules were enacted by a Republican majority.

Climate Change National Politics

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons Say Some GOP Senators are Showing Signs of Supporting Climate Change Actions

In Politico’s recent episodes of Global Translations podcast, Delaware Democratic Senator Chirs Coons mentioned that during meets and conversations with some GOP Senators, he said that some agree that action on climate change must be taken. In light of those behind- the-door conversations, the Delaware Senator is believes that there is an increasing possibility that Congress will pass legislation on climate actions this year,

Regarded as one of the top deal makers in Senate, Sen. Coons said that in his observations since he first came to Capitol Hill in 2010, Republican senators have shown gradual shifts on their reactions toward problems caused by climate change.

According to the senator, they are now posing questions whether climate change was caused by humans, rather than straightforwardly deny that changes in the world’s climate are occurring. In fact their lines of questioning have moved to queries on what can be done about climate change without harming the country’s own economy.

Although most Republican lawmakers’ candidness over the issue of climate change happen behind closed doors, some senior Senate Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have openly acknowledged that human activity has been a driving force of climate change.

Factors that Influenced Republican Views about Climate Change

Based on past podcast interviews, Politico surmises that the tonal shift came after the federal government report gave warnings that by mid-century, and across all US.regions, hundreds of billions of dollars will be incurred annually in order to address problems caused by climate change. Add to that the warning issued last year by the United Nations, about the need to achieve zero-emissions by mid-century in order to avoid the worst harms that climate change can bring.

Senator Coons also attribute the shift in attitude among corporate leaders and their concerns for the sustainability of their businesses, as factors that have been driving increased climate discussions among Republican politicians. He added that during the past years, CEOs have been conveying how their business projections include considerations about carbon costs; and of worsening, as well as increasing number of climate-related catastrophes brought on by natural calamities like storms, tornadoes and wildfires.

Senator Coons also shared information about an instance when more than seventy (70) CEOs came to lobby at Capitol Hill on a bipartisan nature. Although he and other members of Congress convened with about seven of them in an off-the-record conversation, the Democratic Senator is happy to note that the Republican House Members and Senators who joined in the conversation were constructive in their opinions during discussions about corporate concerns over climate change.


List of the 19 States that Introduced Tax Returns Release Bill Governing Presidential Candidates

The California State Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 27, which requires presidential candidates of any political party to publicly disclose their tax returns in order to qualify for inclusion in California’s official ballot.

The bill, if approved by California Governor Gavin Newson, will require Donald Trump and any Democratic presidential nominee in the forthcoming 2020 General election and every four years thereafter, to make public their most recent tax returns for a 5-year period.

Actually, this is the second time that the bill entitled as the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act”, originally introduced by Senator Mike McGuire (Dem-Healdsburg) in 2017, had passed the California State Legislature. The first time though, the bill was vetoed by former California Governor Jerry Brown, who himself did not submit his tax returns for public scrutiny.

This time, approval of said legislation lies in the hands of incumbent California Governor Gavin Newson, who submitted six (6) years of his previous tax returns when he ran for governor. It is widely expected therefore that Governor Newson will affix his signature to signify approval of the bill’s official enactment as a state law.

The 2017 proposal was amended to broaden coverage by including future gubernatorial candidates. Moreover, the amended bill has an urgency clause that will see to its implementation ahead of the deadline for filing of candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Election.

The greater significance of California’s Senate Bill 27, otherwise known as the “Presidential Tax Transparency and Accountability Act” is that California is only one of the 19 states in which legislators had proposed the same legislation. Although, there are some variations to what a state requires or includes on who else will be required, what else are required and how their tax information will be made public.

In giving justification to California’s Senate Bill 27, Senator Scott Wiener (Dem-San Francisco) said

“Voters should have confidence that their president is working for them and not to enrich himself or herself.” “Making public the tax return of a candidate gives voters that confidence and builds trust.’


In the event that the other 18 states follow suit and succeed in enacting such a law, Donald Trump can either file a lawsuit in every state to challenge each legislation, or make it less costly, by simply releasing his tax returns before the deadline for filing of candidacy for the 2020 presidential election. Otherwise, he will not be included in the official ballot of every state that has enacted such a law.

Below is a complete list of the 19 states that have introduced or have pending legislation aimed at enacting a law that will require presidential, vice presidential and/or gubernatorial candidates to release previous income tax returns. The roster qualifies as an all time list, because whether or not the proposed bills are enacted, they will always be regarded as significant aspects of America’s political history.

List of the 19 States that Introduced a Bill Requiring Presidential Candidates to Release Tax Returns 

(Source: National Conference of State Legislatures-NCSL)

  1. California
  2. Connecticut
  3. Delaware
  4. Hawaii
  5. Illinois
  6. Maryland
  7. Minnesota
  8. Mississippi
  9. New Hampshire
  10. New Mexico
  11. New Jersey
  12. New York
  13. North Carolina
  14. Oregon
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. Rhode Island
  17. Vermont
  18. Virginia
  19. Washington

(Source:National Conference of State Legislatures-NCSL

Health National Politics

Health Care Still a Key Political Issue as Trends Show Rise in Degenerative Diseases not Only Among Seniors

Health Care plans of Democratic aspirants for the 2020 presidential nomination is being highlighted, as the issue of medical care still poses as the most important consideration among voters. Degenerative disorders occurring in the spine now account as one of the leading medical issues, to which a great part of Medicare benefits have been used in recent years.

However, the Medicare system in the U.S. is applicable only to senior citizens aged 65 and above; leaving many older adults outside of the Medicare benefits. Notwithstanding that the current trend in the prevalence of degenerative spinal disorders among Americans, also affects those in the prime stage of their work age.

Inasmuch as this article delves mainly on the health care programs being promised by those aiming to replace Donald Trump, readers can proceed to the CTSI website where they can find comprehensive information about degenerative spinal conditions and their treatments.

The glaring reality revealed by recent health care research is that to date, almost 30 million Americans lack, or do not have health insurance at all. Those that do have private insurance policies, are saddled with prohibitive costs not included in their coverage.

Many consider the U.S. healthcare system as problematic, which is why majority of the voters are looking for solutions. This was evidenced by the results of the recent Gallup poll, which showed that health care plans of political candidates were rated as either “extremely” or “very important” in their voting decision.

That being the case, this article takes a cursory look at what the Democratic presidential candidates have so far, put forward as health care promise. After all, this particular issue may prove crucial in unseating incumbent U.S. president Donald Trump:

Health Care Plans of Top Democratic Presidential Aspirants

Medicare-for-all is a popular rallying cry among the Democratic candidates. Except for Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has not been vocal about health care programs as an agenda in her political campaign. Nonetheless, since Senator Warren has co-sponsored Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-all proposal, it is presumed that Ms Warren will endorse such bill during her presidency, if ever.

Former Vice President Joe Biden as well, has not mentioned health care plans as extensively as his opponents have been doing. Still, his view of health care reform for the U.S,. is to let everyone have a choice of buying a private insurance coverage, or of buying a Medicare-like plan.

Senator Bernie Sanders presents himself as the staunchest supporter of the Medicare-for-all plan, being the principal author of a bill proposing it as health care reform. He made it clear that his proposal will totally eliminate private insurance, because all eligible U.S. residents will be enrolled in a government-administered health care program. Specifically, Senator Sanders says,

“People who have healthcare under Medicare-for-all will have no premiums, no copayments, no deductibles, and no out-of-pocket expenses.” “Although they will pay more in taxes, they will have to pay less in healthcare for what they get,”

Senator Kamala Harris is also co-sponsor to Senator Sanders’ Medicare-for-all plan, but also suggests including private insurance as supplementary coverage. Ms. Harris’ stance though is viewed as middle ground, since she has co-sponsored other health care reforms, including proposals of buying into Medicaid and to lowering Medicare eligibility age to 50 years old.

Southbend Mayor Pete Buttigieg voiced his support for the Medicare-for-all proposal, whilst also stating that his preference for a public option that places private insurance, only as a supplemental choice.

Immigration News

Trump Temporarily Suspends ICE Immigration Crackdown at House Speaker Pelosis’s Request

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents all set to land in different states to arrest undocumented immigrants on Sunday, will have to postpone their massive deportation operations for two weeks.

Many condemn the planned action as heartless, which entails separating undocumented immigrants from their U.S. born children. In fact, not a few city officials, local mayors, and even police agencies throughout the country intends to refuse giving the ICE people their cooperation.

Sanctuary cities contend that the sweeping raid, which was supposed to have simultaneously taken place in at least ten (10) major cities, targeted 2000 undocumented immigrants particularly those with chidren born in the U.S.

House Speaker Pelosi Calls on Trump to Call Off ICE Raids

Aware that Donald Trump Is using the ICE immigration raids to force the House of Representatives to give in to the anti-immigartion president’ s will and proposed policies on immigration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi carried on with a diplomatic move by calling up Trump.

Via a phone conversation, Ms. Pelosi put forward a request for president Trump to call off the deportation actions targeting about 2000 undocumented immigrants; most of whom will be separated from their families.

Although Trump initially offered a weak, we-will-see reply to Speaker Pelosi’s request, the U.S. president later emerged on Saturday to announce that the ICE crackdown will be temporarily suspended for two weeks.

He mentioned in his tweet that the suspension was made at the behest of Speaker Pelosi, but cited the delay as time for the House Democrats to discuss border solutions and thereafter pass a border bill.


Ms. Pelosi gave her response also by way of tweet addressed to president Trump,stating that they welcome the delay, time being necessary in order to come up with a comprehensive bill on immigration reform. Still, Ms. Pelosi asserted that

“Families belong together.”

National Politics

Atty. Gen Barr Initiated Contempt Citation, Partisan Politics or Not

Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to attend the House Judiciary Committee Hearing last Thursday (May 02, 2019) has posed as challenge to the house committee’s ability to conduct hearings. In light of Barr’s no-show at the scheduled proceedings, a resolution to hold Atty. General Barr in contempt of Congress has been passed and approved 24-16 by members of the House Judiciary Committee.

Although partisan politics is being touted as the root of the lightning speed by which the contempt citation was processed, it should be noted that Atty. Gen. Barr initiated the citation by not appearing in a Democrat-dominated hearing,

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler stated that the Trump administration and its supporters are brazenly hiding the misdeeds uncovered by Special Counsel Mueller, asserting that

…”on this committee we will represent the American people and ensure the truth is known.”

The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings issued a statement, to express his view regarding the Trump Administration’s attempt to stonewall further investigations of the facts uncovered by Mueller’s investigating team:

we do not put brakes on what is happening in our country, we will no longer have a democracy,” “We are being blocked every which way from getting information. We are also being blocked from having access to members of the administration.”

This includes president Trump’s act of invoking his executive privilege to block the release of a full, unredacted version of the Mueller report, hours before the contempt citation went into voting.

How Republican Judiciary Committee Members Voted

All 16 Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, excluding one absent Republican representative, voted against the resolution to hold Atty. Barr in contempt.

Top Republican member of the Judiciary Committee, Representative Doug Collins asserted that Democrats are actually angry with Mueller, because the latter did not provide them with a clear road map toward a presidential impeachment. Calling the contempt citation a

“craven and insincere politics that seem to be yielding no benefits for the American people.”

The committee-approved citation resolution is yet to move on for a full House voting process. Once approved, it would launch a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, to decide on Barr’s contempt action.

In a related report, more than 500 former officials of the Justice Department signed an open letter branding as criminal, Trump’s actions as described in the Mueller Report.