Beltway Insider: Trump/Impeachment, Coronavirus, Kobe Bryant, Brexit, Election: Gabbard, Clinton, Iowa

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Rarely can a week be reduced to four dominating stories, last week, the untimely death of Kobe Bryant and the eight others killed, the Coronavirus, the Impeachment trial and the completion of Brexit overwhelmed newsrooms everywhere.

The number one story in the United States, and one would venture to add, in most advanced nations was the untimely death of former Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven others who perished with him.


Beltway Insider: Trump/Davos, Greta Thunberg, Impeachment Arguments, Auschwitz, Jim Lehrer, Election 2020


The Coronavirus, an impending global pandemic, the Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump and now Brexit became the only stories, in the unending scope of possible stories, all unfortunately deserving of notice, that became the focus.

The President's job approval rating, according to the website fivethirtyeight.com, which tracked for the period ending February 2, 2020, increased by 1.3 percentage points to 43.6% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness decreased by 1.1 percentage points to 51.9%. A slight 3% of the population polled have no opinion. Ratings are calculated bi-monthly.

Impeachment of President Donald J. Trump

The interpretation of the impeachment became crystal clear when Florida Senator Marco Rubio voiced his opinion, which presented a clear statement of guilt and clear personal beliefs that the President did in fact deserve to be removed from office and he followed by stating, “what is best for the nation?”

To some that is the removal of the president, to Mr. Rubio and others, removing the president would not be the best course of action and only serve to further polarize this deeply divided nation.

"Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the President Pro Tempore Emeritus, once warned, “[A] partisan impeachment cannot command the respect of the American people. It is no more valid than a stolen election.” His words are more true today than when he said them two decades ago. We should heed his advice. I will not vote to remove the President because doing so would inflict extraordinary and potentially irreparable damage to our already divided nation,” stated Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL). His statement can be read in its entirety here.

Unfortunately, he then went on to vote against hearing witnesses. Eventually the vote fell along party lines, 51-49 in favor of not calling any witnesses. Essentially the GOP refused to allow the truth to be exposed conclusively.

The Coronavirus – A Global Pandemic

The initial outbreak of the coronavirus began in December 2019 and traced to a small market in Wuhan, China, that sold live wild animals for consumption. Since the preliminary numbers surfaced of infected individuals, the numbers have increased exponentially, seemingly regenerating and infecting thousands within weeks.


Op/Ed: The Corona Virus -1918 All Over Again?


The World Health Organization stated, “Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.” 

There is no vaccine. The only preventive treatment recognized by the WHO and Centers for Diseases Control is ensuring no contact is made between any person either symptomatic or asymptomatic.

In less than six weeks from Case One or ground zero, twenty-five nations have reported confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

The concern remains that China, where the outbreak was first reported, and many of the cases have been registered is being less than forthcoming over the actual totals of infected and dead. It would not be uncommon for the communist nation to withhold, in order to attempt to contain the outbreak, which broke publicly the day after the United States signed the trade deal.

Additionally, the response by the G7 nation has been noted and documented as major hospitals have been constructed in less than a week. Contingency plans which appear to have instantly materialized without though or pre-planning.

According to eturbonews.com, a global website aggregating travel information, “China, 14,380 cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has 14 cases and Macao has seven. Most of the 304 deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.” Other nations reporting confirmed cases are “Thailand, 19; Japan, 20; Singapore, 18; South Korea, 15; Taiwan, 10; Malaysia, 8; Australia, 7; Germany, 8; United States, 8; France, 6; Vietnam, 6; Canada, 4; United Arab Emirates, 5; Russia, 2; Italy, 2; Britain, 2; Cambodia, 1; Finland, 1; India, 2; Philippines, 1; Nepal, 1; Sri Lanka, 1; Sweden, 1; Spain 1.”

The United States, under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, has reacted unusually fast in implementing safety precautions, which included issuing a “No Travel Ban” to China and issuing mandatory quarantine for any person entering the United States from China.

Global business have begun to follow the example of the Chinese government who essentially quarantined entire towns, a radical and elevated response to the relatively small number of infected cases reported, shutting down all entertainment facilities, suspending all transportation, an unheard of reaction over the Chinese New Year, when billions were expected to travel.

The Financial Impact

The financial impact of the Coronavirus in China is expected to reach $60billion this quarter alone, which would impact the GNP of any nation, and will clearly affect China whose economy was already facing instabilities.

The impact will be far reaching and widespread with technology giants, including Apple already moving to close their office for, at present.

“Beijing is scrambling to stop the virus from cratering its economy. The ruling Communist Party recently put Premier Li Keqiang in charge of virus control. The decision was a clear signal that stopping the virus is "the priority among priorities" for the government right now, the official People's Daily newspaper wrote in a recent commentary,” CNN reported.

All major US Air transportation providers have suspended travel to the region, for anywhere between two week and three months. Group travel in China has been suspended. Airline stocks have plummeted with South China airlines taking the largest hit at 11%.

“Delta Air Lines and American Airlines suspended all flights between the United States and China. Other carriers including British Airways, Finnair and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific also have canceled or cut back service to mainland China,” reported FOX Business news.

American companies, Delta and American Airlines also felt the severity of the impact with single digital losses.

“Central and local governments have allocated $12.6 billion so far to spend on medical treatment and equipment. Major banks have cut interest rates for small businesses and individuals in the worst-hit areas. The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, has said that it will ensure there is enough liquidity in the financial markets when they reopen next Monday after a 10-day Lunar New Year holiday. When Hong Kong's markets reopened earlier this week, the Hang Seng index (HSIplunged nearly 6% in just a few days of trading,” CNN reported.

The Trump Administration Responds with Mandatory, Temporary Ban

     

Americans returning from China will be allowed into the country but will face screening and are required to undertake 14 days of self-screening. Those returning from Hubei province will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Beginning Sunday, the United States will direct flights from China to seven major airports where passengers can be screened

 

Additionally, the President has signed a presidential proclamation, using his authority pursuant to Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, temporarily suspending the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who pose a risk of transmitting the 2019 novel coronavirus.

 

As a result, foreign nationals, other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States for this time. Once again, these actions will become effective at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time; Sunday, February 2nd.

These prudent, targeted, and temporary actions will decrease the pressure on public health officials screening incoming travelers, expedite the processing of U.S. citizens and permanent residents returning from China, and ensure resources are focused on the health and safety of the American people,” stated Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services and Chairman of the President’s Task Force on the Novel Coronavirus at a Friday, January 31, 2020 press briefing.

.

Brexit, No More

On June 23, 2016 the United Kingdom held an historic vote, which many, including then Prime Minister David Cameron expected to fail, on the future of the Great Britain.

The results revealed later that same night shocked the world. A founding member of the European Union, who assisted in authoring its charter had voted to leave the unified body of European nations, its governing, and partnership to go it alone.


British Prime Minister David Cameron Set to Exit Wednesday; Theresa May Wins by Default


The shocking, although not overwhelming, victory, of 52% to 48%, left the international community reeling over the implications. A divorce of epic proportions which relied on members of parliament, whom have rarely been unified, to agree to the terms.

Almost four years later and three prime ministers, zero hour has arrived. Great Britain is no longer a member of the European Union and like its long-time ally, the United States who woke up and found themselves governed by the unexpected, tomorrow continues and bumps along the way will be smoothed, problems surmounted, and one day, after the newness of independence has waned possibly a reunification will follow. If not, the future remains bright for the Brits.

Kobe Bryant Remembered

The past week there has been a through line to media coverage with one story dominating nearly all others and that of course was the death of former NBA all-star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others.

The violent high impact crash, last Sunday morning, is only now one week later being understood, as the Los Angeles coroner has worked around the clock to confirm conclusively through DNA sampling the remaining victims.

The NTSB investigators were photographed sifting through the pile of twisted, mangled, charred metal, what remained of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter.

The news of the helicopter crash brought the Los Angeles community to its knees. Heartache, heartbreak and just a sense of shock mixed with sorrow hung over the city like the dense fog that caused this entire string of deeply sad events.


Kobe Bryant, Daughter, Seven Others Die in Helicopter Crash


Media, of course, has been consumed and the public longing to find a way to memorialize the legend took to the streets, the airwaves and social media to express their grief and celebrate who he was and what he represented to them.

The vibrancy and an infectious quick smile, Kobe seemed like a comfortable person. His command on the court and his ability brought him fame, and all things associated with sport superstardom, and he seemed to be deeply appreciative of the fans. He was a family man and proud of his “girls.”

The tragedy of the crash doesn’t end with the death of the legend. For someone who commuted via helicopter for nearly twenty years, the idea was second nature and statistically, as stats were often in his favor, crashing is as realistic as driving. Yes, it might happen but what are the odds?

The outpouring of grief, overflowing, from small towns, and big cities, from the United States, Canada and round the world, Kobe was eulogized.

His only team, the Los Angeles Lakers, suspended one game and before the start of the Friday night game had a tribute ceremony for the fallen, the missing man, his daughter and their friends. The Staples Center, the House that Kobe built, was filled. Floral arrangements in the two numbers retired when he left the game, 8 and 24, were center court.

Usher sang a deeply soulful rendition of “Amazing Grace,” reduced the crowd to tears. Boyz II Men performed the national anthem. The court side seats of Bryant and his daughter, Gianni, who perished with him, were draped with their respective jerseys and bouquets of roses rested on the seats.

Los Angeles Philharmonic Cellist Ben Hong played a solo as the arena was filled with Kobe. His life, legacy, on and off the court, his retirement, wife and family, and someone who had found success in the second chapter, while giving back and teaching a younger generation and happily opening the door to women’s sports. The pregame memorial ended with LeBron James delivering a heartfelt tribute.

The legacy of Kobe Bryant, the outpouring of grief, the tributes from around the world attest to a life well lived.

For Newport Beach, California, a community in Orange County, the crash was reverberated as the other passengers, baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, and his wife Keri, 41, and his daughter, Alyssa, 13, perished. They leave two children orphaned, a younger daughter, Lexi, 16, and an older son, J.J.

Christina Mauser, 38, was the assistant coach for the Mamba Academy basketball team, she leaves a husband and three children. Payton Chester, 13, and her mother, Sarah, also died. Ara Zobayan, the personal pilot for Kobe, also died. The loss for all is devastating.

The Bryant family has issued a public plea for privacy at this time. The city of Los Angeles, The Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA and others are working on a proper tribute and memorial.

Election 2020: Democrats Imploding

After months of campaigning the 2020 Presidential elections begins tomorrow with the Iowa Caucuses tomorrow Monday, February 3, 2020. After a seasonably warm Sunday, weather in the Hawkeye State is expected to be seasonably at 34 degrees and sunny. No unusual hindrances should be present, and voters should be out in mass, finally delivery the first real opinion in this 2020 election season.

Former Presidential Candidate Tulsi Gabbard served former Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton for defamation over a comment indicting Gabbard was “the darling of the Russians.”

The viciousness of venom spewing distractions within the party only serve the current administration. The fact that Ms. Gabbard met with a known enemy of the state, Bashar al Assad, questioned openly the United States Intelligence departments assessment that Assad had used chemical weapons on his own citizens and even more so Assad has clear, present and known ties and alliances to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known to have sold Syria military weapons or “fulfilled a contractual obligation” as the Russian leader said.

For more information on President Donald Trump www.whitehouse.gov.

Sources: Various © Articles covered by Copyright protection.

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