Archive | August 2020

” Three Key Pieces of Information Assurance this Week ” – August 14, 2020.

 

It is just 81 days for the US  Presidential Election, and here are the three key pieces of Information Assurance – first after Joe Biden’s announcement of his running mate, Sen Kamala Harris.

Postal bundles piled up.

            1.  President Donald Trump attacks the Postal Service :  He said yesterday : ” US postal service is incapable of facilitating mail-in voting because it cannot access the emergency funding he is blocking and made clear that requests for fed aid were non starters in Coronavirus relief negotiations. The cash strapped agency’s enlarged role in the November election would perpetuate one of the greatest frauds in the history of America. ”  He also added : ” He will not approve $ 25 billion in emergency funding that includes the Postal Service needs or $ 3.5 billion in supplemental funding for election resources.”

            Postal Service is older than the country when Ben Franklin was made the First Postmaster General in 1775.

          Postal Service already reported $ 2.2 billion losses during the three months that ended in June 2020. It has taken its toll on 6,30,000 employees.

           Implications :  1. Corona relief bill will not be linked with federal aid for post office funding ;  2.  Universal mail-in voting may likely get choked ;  3.   Sorting machines in post offices are already removed ;  4.  Mails are already getting piked up in distribution centers ;  5.  In 34 states ballots cannot be post marked by election day to count. It has to be received by election day ;  6.  American way of going to polls during the pandemic gets affected ;  7. Will this come under rigging the election(s) or killing a national treasure ( post offices )?

          These are questions that will probably be answered in the coming  days.

          2.  President Donald Trump announced the Israel-UAE peace deal on Thursday. A historic deal brokered by President Donald Trump, according to news channels. It fulfills the aim of normalisation of diplomatic relations through an agreement. It was a phone call between Trump , Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi that clinched the deal known as Abraham Accords, the first of its kind since Jordan and Israel signed a Peace Treaty in1994. Egypt and Israel signed a treaty in Washington in March 1979.

            Implications :  1. Full normalisation of relations between Israel and UAE, says the joint statement released by the three nations ;  2. It will stop further Israeli annexation of Palestinian territories ;  3.  Israel and UAE can exchange embassies and ambassadors and begin cooperation across the border ;  4.  Signing ceremony including delegations from Israel and UAE will happen at the White House in the coming weeks ;  5.  Israel and UAE can sign bilateral agreements on several issues without any problem ;  6.  Viewed as a Foreign Policy success for President, Donald Trump.

            President, Donald Trump, gets a boost before the General Election.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris during the press meet on Thursday.

            3.  Joe Biden (presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee)  called for a face mask wearing mandate nationwide in his speech in the Hotel, duPont, in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday. He was accompanied by Sen Kamala Harris, his running mate in this election.

           Implications :  1.  Every American should wear a mask when he/she is outside for at least 3 months at a minimum ;  2. Every State Governor should mandate mask wearing ;  3.  It is expected to save 40,000 lives during the period ; 4. It is not about rights but about responsibilities as an American, he averred ;  5. It is important because research shows 40% Corona cases are symptomatic. It is about preventing other people from getting sick. 6 More than two dozen Governors have mandated mask wearing. It  includes both Republicans and Democrats  ;  7.  This is viewed as a Policy Decision on Corona handling.

           Sen Kamala Harris, while speaking lauded the intended/announced action as evidence of  “Real Leadership”.  She also emphasized that this is what Bidrn-Harris administration will do. It is a clear message coming from the top ‘Leadership’, she added.

           They spoke for 8 minutes. Did not take any questions from the press 

            Conclusion :  I have tried to cite the importance of the news in order of priority for analysis and discussion in the coming days. It should be quite interesting for everyone who follows the American General Elections, 2020.

” Dieu avec nous “

   Friday, August  14, 2020 –  6.29 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit  :  ”  USPS  postmaster general appointed in June, 2020, is Louis Dejoy “.

 

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” Joe Biden Picks Kamala Harris as His Running mate ” – August 12, 2020.

 

 

Senator Kamala Harris, California, is the Democratic VP nominee.

          Joe Biden on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, fulfilled the promise he made during the special and exclusive CNN-Univision dabate on March 15, 2020, when he said, ” I’ll pick a woman to be a VP if I become the nominee ” – Joe Biden’s one sentence that constituted the most prominent, great, and valuable takeaway from the most unique TV debate without audience in Washington DC.

          Speaking of Senator Kamala Harris, he said, ” she is a fearless fighter for the little guy and one of country’s finest public servants. It is a great honour to name her “.

          Sen Kamala Harris said, ” Joe Biden can unify the American people. Honoured to join him as our Party’s nominee for VP and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-chief “.

          Sen Kamala Harris herself has been a Presidential contender who withdrew from the race in December 2019.

          Only two women candidates have been nominated earlier for VP.  Republican Sarah Palin in 2008 and Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. Both lost, however.

          Sen Kamala Harris is the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, and has a chequered career as California Attorney General and three election wins in CA. The nomination is seen as an elevation for her contribution to the Party in substantial terms.

          Sen Kamala Harris, however, had her bitter moments with Joe Biden, specially during the first three Presidential Primary Debates. She called out Biden on the issue of race, saying the way he described his past working relationships with 2 segregationist lawmakers ( Late James Eastland of Mississippi and Late Herman Talmadge of Georgia ) was hurtful. She also accused Biden of opposing busing. Biden disputed it, however. He called it a mischaracterisation of his position. He characterised it as “civility”. ” I was a public defender, I was not a prosecutor “, in his rebuttal. He also tried to clarify saying that he was opposed to busing ordered by the Department of Education. ( Democratic debate, June 27, 2019 ).

          How they faired in primary : 

          July 31, 2019, Miami : Biden said : ” Restore the soul of the country, we are strong because of our diversity “.  Kamala Harris said : ” This is the moment to fight who we are”. She was, however, grilled on her healthcare plan. Failed to strengthen her math except stating that $ 72 billion has been amassed by pharma giants that actually came from the tax payments of common people,  was the remark of opponents. 

          September 12, 2019, Third Democratic debate and first after August mass shootings and Dorian hurricane :  Joe Biden maintained his standing in terms of popularity without much being positive. Julian Castro attacked Biden by asking him to recollect his words, “two minutes ago” ( indirectly alluding to the age factor and memory slippage). It was however not in good taste, was the general feeling. Kamala Harris said : ” Don’t  you let anybody tell you who you’re, you tell them who you’re “. Joe Biden said : ” Never explain, never complain, when you’re down. Find your purpose when you get up “, when asked how they will recover from setbacks.

          October 15, 2019, Ohio :  Twelve candidates on stage. Largest Presidential Primary Debate in recorded American history. Bernie Sanders returns after health scare on October 1, 2019. Joe Biden on age factor : His past experiences on most issues without a need for “on-the-job” training as the most essential requirement and Quality to shoulder the burden of Presidency. Kamala Harris :  Strong on gun violence ( 5 m  assault weapons are in U.S.A., ban the import of assault weapons ) ;  Foreign Policy ( her references to the phone call of President Donald Trump to Turkish President, Erdogan, raising the consequences in terms of boosts to Vladimir Putin, Assad, Iran, and ISIS ) ; women’s access to Reproductive Healthcare ( as one of the big issues in America, it is important that women are left to decide about her body ) ;  and breaking the Big Tech Giants ( Corporate responsibility and accountability should be held high …). She held her position firmly without any decline. But the expected rise may not have materialised. Their answers to the question on Friendship was interesting :  Kamala Harris said : ” American ideals, dreams, and values shall always hold. Look for commonalities amongst us to take  the lead. Leader should unify the country”.  Joe Biden said : ” Restore the soul of the country. It is time we stopped our wranglings.”

          December 19, 2019, Sixth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, Los Angeles :  Only seven candidates now. Kamala Harris has dropped out. Only Joe Biden’s position stated : He said, “Tell the truth to people and build a strong America. I am running based on my experience and wisdom and because I feel strong.” He offered the context for his strategies. Displayed a personal charge and program enthusiastically on all issues. He probably will be the front runner.

          January 14, 2020. Seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in Des Moines, Iowa :  By now Kamala Harris had dropped out. Hence, I cite the gyst of Joe Biden’s points only :  Fundamental basic decency is the need of the hour. Optimism, energy, and Electability will be what American voters will seek from now on. A sense of ‘Democratic Community’ full of focus, energy, and engagement of Citizens, for the Citizens, by the Citizens will now be embedded into our communication Strategy “.

          February 7, 2020,  New Hampshire, Eighth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, held after the Iowa caucus without results being made clear for 4 days :  Economy, Policies of Government ( in respect of education, infrastructure, immigration, and foreign relations ) and Electability will be the voters’  look out, according to Joe Biden. He has his best in this debate. Calm, composed, and comprehensive. Most consequential primary debate.

          February 19, 2020, Ninth Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. :  Only six candidates on stage. Joe Biden : Government experience,  transparency in deals, and elimination of subsidies for Oil and gas are his directions. Concentrated attack on Michael Bloomberg by everyone as he took his position in his first debate.

          February 20, 2020,  CNN Democratic Town Hall:  Joe Biden :  I’ll place an immigration bill on the first day of presidency. I am strong on head and shoulders. ” With age comes experience; with experience comes judgement;  with judgement comes wisdom ” – so elect me.  ” Middle class built the country ;  Union built the middle class –  middle class welfare is our primary concern ” – this is how he tried to separate himself from others. Belief and faith, setting up one’s mind clearly, and age/experience/wisdom are the three pillars of his strength. He also sounded a warning to gun manufacturers : ” I am coming after you”. His passion for finding a cure for cancer and diabetes was a remarkable quality is also the general feeling. He restored his credibility strongly  in this debate.

          His solution to the problem of COVID-19 control lies in his triad of strategy including (a)  general intent of taking care of all people ;  (b)  equipping every state and Union with materials and resources needed ;  and  (c)  tackling the economic fall out in every manner possible.

          The days ahead are crucial in deciding how Joe Biden – Kamala Harris combination shape ; whether they already have any instant program that besides serving as a harbinger can help mobilise support ;  and how they will take on President Donald Trump and VP Mike Pence in the ensuing debates. 

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Wednesday, August 12, 2020 –  12.19 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit  :   ” Be decisive, be emphatic, and present yourself as the best doer that Citizens can repose faith in as the Leader ”  –  SR.

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” Three Gorges Dam – A Threat or A Safeguard ? ” – August 4, 2020.

          ” Nectar is also poisonous in excess ” –  the proverb in vernacular Tamil also meaning,  ” Too much of anything is good for nothing “,  probably exemplifies the Three Gorges Dam in China that is becoming dangerous now.

          The dam built to control the forces of floods in the region is now facing the wrath of floods to the extent of being closed. To say that people are worried is an understatement.

          Three Gorges Dam is  a hydroelectric gravity Dam that spans the Yangtse river by the town of Sandouping in Yiling district, Yichong, Hubei Province. It is the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity since 2012.  Its height is 181 meters ( 607 feet);  its length is 2335 meters ( 7660 feet ). It took nearly 20 years to complete the construction of the dam. The cost of construction was about $ 28.6 billion.

          Since the construction of the dam was planned in a large scale, fears of faults and mistakes loomed large from the beginning. This primarily constituted the reason for the delay of 40 months over the planned period. Only after this in1994 the construction began. Benefits of the Dam were seen in :  (1)  Flood Control ;  (2)  Increase in Electricity Supply ;  and  (3)  Advantages of expanded irrigation. Construction was completed in 2006. Work on electricity supply was completed in 2012. The dam has 32 main turbines, with a generating capacity of 22500 megawatts.

          There have been constant debates and discussions about the various aspects of the dam during and after the construction of the dam. Even today, 14 years after the competition of the dam, the debates have not stopped among the nation’s geologists. Raising or lowering of water levels in the reservoir contributing to the pressure causing earthquakes has not been ruled out completely.

          In addition, people living on the banks of the Yangtse river for decades have been displaced without due compensation or measures of rehabilitation. Complaints of people regarding this were frequent and the Government even admitted the complaints in 2013. Arguments of defence put forward by the Government pertained to the misuse of funds duly allocated for the purpose.

          In 2003 when the dam was nearing completion cracks in about 80 places were noticed raising doubts about the safety of the dam. Experts then opined that leakages can be blocked by closing and reworking the cracks dismissing effectively the problem as being too hazardous.

          Usually between the months of October and May, the reservoir storage will be kept at a maximum with 175 meters high for electricity generation. When the monsoon begins in June, the level will be brought to 145 meters considering the likelihood of floods.

          Three Gorges Dam is put to its first test in recent weeks due to torrential rains and flood. Torrential rains since June raised water levels above safe levels as it was bracing for Typhoon Hangupit along the East Coast. It is the 4th Typhoon to hit China this year and 2 or 3 more typhoons are likely to hit according to its meteorological centre. Cities along Yangtse and Huawei rivers were inundated and China was on high alert. This is the worst flooding to hit China since 1998. About 150 people lost their lives. Lakhs of people were shifted to protective places. Tourist spots were closed as precautionary measures. About 55 million people were affected by the floods in 27 of China’s 31 provinces. Direct economic loss was estimated to be 144 billion Yuan ( $ 20.6 billion). People feared that the dam would even may collapse. But the rains subsided bringing relief to the country as a whole.

          The dam that was constructed with the aim of combating the challenges of floods has become the most worrisome factor in the minds of people.

          Recently one of the employees of the dam maintenance referred to the damages sustained in some parts of the dam. This was also reported by a news undertaking. The damages have occurred due to the flooding that seems to have been confirmed. Officials, however, maintain that the dam is safe and secure and for 500 years into the future nothing can shake the dam. Their belief is strong sowing the seeds of confidence among people.

          A showcase project,  pride of China,  the dam now sets the thoughts of people whirling around with fear of the next flood.

          Recent floods may have posed dangers to the dam and people, but the fact that the  “Three Gorges Dam”  is the glory and pride of China cannot be erased from our memory.

          China, now, has its task cut out to protect the Dam and erase the fear from the minds of its people.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Tuesday,  August 4,  2020 –  5.39 p.m.  (IST)

   Tidbit :  “. Some people drowned in the floods that were caused by the rains for which they have prayed “. –  Mokokoma Mokhonoana.

” COVID-19 ; Leaders Should not Fiddle While Coronavirus Rages ” – August 1, 2020.

     The primary duty of every national leader is to hold the Citizens as their own ;  protect their safety and security ;  and provide good governance at all times. In particular, when calamities strike or protests and chaos erupt either within or from outside, the singular goal should be to protect the Citizens and put them out of their miseries.

President, Donald Trump.

          COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deceptive Leadership of some leaders causing mismanagement. US President, Donald Trump, is one whose style of Leadership is wedded to the principle of,  ” take it, or drown it ”  with mishandling and mishaps galore. Spontaneous and drastic actions on issues, national and international, have made him a Leader clouded in controversy in public discussions and arguments.

          Even while speaking eloquent about his friendship with India, he doesn’t hesitate to twist our arms in matters of his prime concern. That the nation, America, now finds itself let down by its own Leader amidst the COVID-19 crisis is not surprising at all.

          At a time when the bond of friendship forged between America and WHO should be strengthened, he chooses to opt out, in addition to the suspension of its financial contribution – an act viewed as unjustified. His declaration that America’s war with Coronavirus is over when the cases and death toll prove the contrary was shocking to say the least.

          There was widespread condemnation to his responses and the manner in which he treated the death of the black man, David Floyd, in the hands of a white policeman. His call for the military to be engaged in the control of protests (due to David Floyd’s death) was not accepted by his own Defense Secretary. A single, simple statement in a peaceful voice,  “Justice for the killing will be provided ”  would have possibly ensured the much needed elixir to the protesters and the oppressed. His utterings on the contrary served to escalate the anger and frustration of the people. As a candidate seeking his second term intensely, a change in his leadership style is the compulsion of time now.

          President Donald Trump’s first public appearance with a face mask during his visit to a military hospital was, however,  deeply appreciated for his special concern.

President, Jair Bolsonaro, of Brazil

          Brazilian Leader, Jair Bolsonaro, is no less controversial than President, Donald Trump. When a reporter asked him about the death of nearly 5000 people in Brazil recently, – ” So,  what ? “,  Jair Bolsonaro retorted angrily and shocked the entire world with his sheer act of obstinacy. There were also serious complaints when thousands of Citizens were languishing and fighting hard against the Coronavirus in hospitals and other places, in Rio de Janeiro and other cities, Bolsonaro was making the most of his time in  leisure pursuits of  ‘shooting’. Brazil’s death toll is now close to 90000. He was adamant that he will not wear the face mask, just like the US President. He has now contracted the disease. Having been confirmed in 3 successive tests he is now reported to be recovering. Even as many pray for his recovery, they are eagerly awaiting the redemptive power of the love of people to make him a responsible Leader.

President, Xi Jinping, of China

          The so called divine games of China are too well known. It has not shirked from its opposition to its many neighbours even as the entire world is pointing their fingers of accusation for the spread of Coronavirus on China. Border skirmishes with India ;  Desire to control the South China Sea fully through its destabilizing manoeuvres (it drowned a Philippine boat last year, and during the first week of April it drowned the Vietnamese fishing boat );  laying undue claims over the islands belonging to Japan, Vietnam, and Philippines ;  and  imposing Hong Kong Security Law – are just a few against which countries from around the World have raised voices.

North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-Un.

          North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Un, known for his dictatorial behavior has called for enhancing the military strength and capabilities enormously while maintaining a continuing stance of Opposition to South Korea is not in good diplomatic taste. With a majority of people of North Korea in conditions of abject poverty, his call for drinking tea and consuming turtle char instead of food grains appears to be shock tactics persuading them to submit to his actions.

          Instead of being reminded of the idiom, “Emperor Nero fiddled when Rome burned”,  leaders around the World should rise to the threat of COVID-19 with  (a)  moral responsibility,  (b)  great maturity,  (c)  serious understanding,  (d)  focus on important matters,  and  (e)  effective leadership.

 

   ” Dieu avec nous “

   Saturday,  August 1,  2020 –  12.29  p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit : ” When written in Chinese, the word  ‘crisis’  is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity ”  –  John F Kennedy.