Saturday, August 7, 2021
The Saker, more or less accurately, in my opinion, reads the tea leaves behind recent strategic actions by the United States and its armed forces:
I think that there is very strong, even if only indirect, evidence which there is some very serious in-fighting taking place in the “Biden” administration and there is also strong, but also indirect, evidence that the military posture of the United States is undergoing what might end up being a major overhaul of the US armed forces.
If true, and that is a big “if”, this is neither good news nor bad news.
But this might be big news.
Because, objectively, the current US retreat on most fronts might be the “soft landing” (transition from Empire to “normal” country) many Trump voters were hoping for. Or it might not. If it is not, this might be a chaos-induced retreat, indicating that the US state is crumbling and has to urgently “simplify” things to try to survive, thereby generating a lot of factional infighting (at least one Russian observer specialized in “US studies”, Dmitrii Drobnitskii, believes to be the case: see the original article here, and its machine translation here). Finally, the state of decay of the US state might already be so advanced that we can consider it as profoundly dysfunctional and basically collapsing/collapsed. The first option (soft landing) is unlikely, yet highly desirable. The second option (chaos-induced retreat) is more likely, but much less desirable as it is only a single step back to then make several steps forward again. The last option (profoundly dysfunctional and basically collapsing/collapsed) is, alas, the most likely, and it is also, by far, the most perilous one.
For one thing, options #2 and #3 will make US actions very unpredictable and, therefore, potentially extremely dangerous. Unpredictable chaos can also quickly morph into a major war, or even several major ones, so the potential danger here is very real (even if totally unreported in Zone A). This, in turn, means that Russia, China, Iran, the DPRK, Venezuela or Cuba all have to keep their guard up and be ready for anything, even the unthinkable (which is often what total chaos generates).
Right now, the fact that the US has initiated a “great retreat” is undeniable. But the true reasons behind it, and its implications, remain quite obscure, at least to me.
I believe it is option 3 - profoundly dysfunctional and basically collapsing - that is the explanation and my reasoning is fairly straightforward. The US military is in far worse shape than even its biggest skeptics comprehend, and these retreats, from Afghanistan to Ukraine, are taking place in order to hide the US military's lack of capability. With the prospect of a vaccine mandate being forced on an unwilling military by an unelected commander-in-chief, the US military will be fortunate if it doesn't fall apart faster than Creepy Joe's eyes light up after catching sight of a child in the crowd.
Any confrontation, with any enemy provided drones and missiles by either Russia or China, will reveal the US military to be not just a paper tiger, but a paper tiger who has been thoroughly immersed in water. At this point, I think it is more likely that we'll wake up to find the USA being ruled by a USMC colonel and China in possession of Taiwan than for Creepy Joe's anti-administration to engage in large-scale offensive operations outside the US borders.
It's clear that the AIPACkers and ELOWs in the anti-administration desperately want war with Iran before they lose their influence over the US military. But it's equally clear that the US military has no hope of winning any serious encounter with the China-Russia-Iran anti-imperial alliance. Hence the serious in-fighting presently taking place within Washington.
I have to begin this column by admitting that “Biden” (note: when in quotation marks, I refer to the “collective Biden”, not the clearly senile man) surprised me: it appears that my personal rule-of-thumb about US Presidents (each one is even worse than his predecessor) might not necessarily apply in “Biden’s” case. That is not to say that “Biden” won’t end up proving my rule of thumb as still applicable, just that what I am seeing right now is not what I feared or expected.
Washington is next.......
Friday, August 6, 2021
The initial cellphone video shows an officer throwing an empty plastic bag in the car he pulled over.
Thursday, August 5, 2021
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
Republican-led committee votes to block UW campuses' COVID-19 requirements; UW-Madison immediately issues mask mandate
MADISON - University of Wisconsin officials who want to ward off a rising COVID-19 caseload now must get permission from the Legislature to implement masking, testing or vaccination requirements, according to a plan Republicans adopted Tuesday.
Within hours, UW-Madison's chancellor tested the issue by imposing a mask requirement without saying whether she would seek the approval of lawmakers.
The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules voted remotely without holding debate on the motion to require legislative approval for COVID policies on campuses. All six Republicans voted for the proposal and all four Democrats voted against it.
Republicans say the vote means the UW System must now get approval from lawmakers before putting in place any COVID rules. Democrats dispute that, saying the system still has the power to act on its own.
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank signaled she believed she could act on her own by issuing a campuswide mask mandate soon after the committee vote.
Her order will require people — whether vaccinated or not — to wear masks when they are in campus buildings, in campus buses or riding with others in university vehicles. There are exceptions for when people are eating and drinking, in their dorm rooms or alone in offices. It takes effect Thursday.
"Today’s action feels like a political statement; our focus is to ensure we are doing what needs to be done now to safely open for in-person teaching this fall," UW System spokesman Mark Pitsch said of the committee's vote.
Republican Sen. Steve Nass of Whitewater introduced the motion last week, which directs the UW Board of Regents to issue any current or future systemwide or campus-by-campus COVID-19 requirements as emergency rules, which the committee could block in part or whole.
With a crowd of about 100,000 fans packed in the Deer District, cheering on the Milwaukee Bucks last month, the game not only produced a long-awaited NBA championship, but also a much-dreaded surge in the number COVID-19 cases across the state.
Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said the contact tracing and testing for cases associated with Deer District gatherings are ongoing. She said the Milwaukee Health Department has been working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and has identified almost 500 cases statewide, including Milwaukee, Dane, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties.
The state Department of Health Services reported that 491 people with confirmed or probable cases said they had attended the Deer District or Bucks game "during their exposure or infectious periods" but the department could not say definitively that they caught the virus while viewing the game downtown or elsewhere.
The department also said the figure was likely an undercount.
"We anticipated an increase in positive cases due to the delta variant but 155% increase in one week is distressing," Johnson said.
She urged people to get tested if they have attended any large gatherings.
"I think it is important to recognize that any time there is a large gathering of people, we are going to see the virus spread," Johnson said during a Tuesday COVID-19 briefing.
Health officials said the city has entered into the "extreme transmission" category, and the number of cases has reached 193.2 per 100,000 as of Tuesday.
Officials also raised concerns about statewide hospitalization rates.
"We have four times as many people hospitalized with COVID in Wisconsin as we did one month ago, from 74 individuals to 310 today," said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services at the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, during the briefing.
Additional action could come from the city, according to Johnson, who said she was working with the city’s Department of Employee Relations on a measure mandating vaccines for city employees, a step taken by Los Angeles, the state of California and New York City.
“We are currently working through what that may look like,” Johnson said.
She did not have a timeframe for implementing such a policy.
Milwaukee Ald. Robert Bauman this week proposed legislation that would require city employees to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or test negative for the virus weekly as a condition of coming to work.
Six other council members previously put forward legislation that would require masks inside if the transmission level in the city reaches 100 or more cases per 100,000 people
The Health Department has issued an advisory that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks inside when with people outside their households.
Johnson on Tuesday did not rule out a return at some point to capacity limits for bars, restaurants and other venues but said there are no plans at this time to bring the limits back.
The council is on its August recess but there are rumblings about a potential special session this month to take up COVID-related legislation.
Johnson also said that she had been in conversation with multiple entertainment venues about potentially requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend events.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city would require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for people to come into indoor restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues starting Aug. 16.