Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

by Compiled by Lorraine H. Marie
| February 21, 2023 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact.

A recent sampling:

H5N1 bird flu has killed 60 million birds, either from flu or flu-prevention efforts.

The World Health Organization says 52.8% of humans infected with H5N1 have died (40% die from Ebola). Author and historian Thom Hartmann shared ways H5N1 can spread amongst humans: lack of paid sick leave; lack of H5N1 vaccines for relevant farm workers; and politically cultivated distrust of medical advice.

Signs of Avian flu in home flocks: lack of energy, appetite and coordination; diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge; discoloration or swelling, and sudden death, according to

The Daily Beast: A close ally of Russia’s president says after they are done conquering Ukraine, Poland is next on their agenda. Russia’s effort to destabilize Moldova, a former Soviet republic, has resulted in their pro-west government recently resigning and reorganization getting underway.

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Donald Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, who participated in attempts to defame Hunter Biden, wrote this week in TIME magazine that his “real job” was to “undermine and destabilize the Ukrainian government.”

But, he came to realize that he was enabling Trump’s dirty 2020 election tricks, and setting Ukraine up to be “essentially unarmed when Putin invaded.”

President Biden’s ordering of strengthened defenses against Chinese espionage is credited with helping to locate and down a 1 T. craft flying over the U.S. Since then, as of this writing, media report three other smaller craft downed: off the Alaskan coast, over Canadian airspace and over Lake Huron.

Last year more than 3 million American adults were forced to evacuate due to harsh weather. The figures for 2008-2021 were 800,000 per year. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, worldwide 20 million people are displaced every year by “climate-fueled events.”

After shouting “Liar!” at President Biden at his recent State of the Union address for saying “some Republicans” want to sunset Medicare and Social Security every five years, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene demonstrated she may be unaware of her party’s lengthy history of trying to undo both.

When SS was first enacted, corporate and wealthy entities fought it, likely due to businesses having to pay in an employee match of 6.2% of earnings.

The more recent history, according to various media: in 2020 then-President Trump vowed to make SS cuts in his second term; a Republican senator recently called for a process of renewing funding annually; others are looking at changing what is owed in SS taxes, and last year the Republican Study Committee (more than 70% of the Republican delegation) proposed raising the age of eligibility for both programs, but dodged beefing up the programs by raising taxes on the wealthy.

As well, the RSC’s “Blueprint to Save America” calls for cuts to SS and Medicare.

In response to Biden’s SOTU challenge to Republicans about safeguarding SS, Sen. Josh Hawley introduced the “Keep Our Promises Act,” intended to protect SS and Medicare (which 60 million receive) if House Republicans endanger the economy by opting to not raise the debt ceiling. Social Security Works says economic experts determined it would do “absolutely nothing” to protect earned benefits.

Another Republican proposal would increase funding for SS and Medicare by cutting $80 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act; those funds aimed to help the IRS collect from wealthy tax cheats.

The Trump campaign hired Berkeley Research Group to prove the 2020 election was stolen; they “looked at everything” but came up empty, The Washington Post recently reported. The consultants briefed Trump and staff.

Their findings were ignored and Trump continued to insist the election was stolen.

The effectiveness of “strongman” governments has been on display after the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Details are coming to light about cost-cutting and bribery in Turkey to get around building codes, which made buildings vulnerable to quake damages.

As well, homeowners paid an earthquake tax, but, Vox reports, those funds seem to have disappeared.

Rather than explain that, Turkey’s president has called for unity, and shutdown disaster coverage. Syria has blocked western aid in resistance to sanctions on the country for the president’s murder of his opponents.

More strongman news: Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortego sentenced a Catholic bishop to 26 years in prison after he refused to fly to the U.S. with 222 other prisoners, all who opposed the Ortega’s policies, numerous media reported. Accusations against them include disobedience and obstruction.

Blast from the past: The NAACP was officially founded on Feb. 12, 1909, 100 years after Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It was the 1908 Springfield, Illinois, race riot that prompted NAACP to form. White Springfield rioters wanted extra-judicial revenge against two black men accused of, but not convicted of, murder and rape.

They invaded Springfield’s prosperous Black neighborhood, lynched two men and displaced most of the area’s population. Eight died, over 70 were injured and damages tallied $3 million.

A visiting journalist said whites justified the attack because Black citizens had forgotten “their place.”

In 1918, the NAACP published Thirty Years of Lynching in the United States, reporting on 3,224 known events. Soon the NAACP also focused on ending segregation and seeking justice.