California Triumph Keeps Sanders In The Running
Is Joe Biden the new Democratic frontrunner? It certainly seems that way, after the former vice president took a delegate lead over Bernie Sanders with a triumphant sweep of the southern Super Tuesday states, capped by a win in Texas. Yet Sanders kept some of his momentum with victory in California, setting up what will likely be a long, drawn-out battle between the two wings of the party and their septuagenarian standard-bearers.
Elizabeth Warren – the Massachusetts Senator lost even her home state on Tuesday night, but remains in the race as of Wednesday morning – perhaps with a contested convention in mind.
Michael Bloomberg – the billionaire former New York mayor had planned to make a splash as he at last entered the race on Tuesday, on the back of a $500m ad spend. Instead he claimed just one small victory, in American Samoa. (The Guardian, 3/4/2020)
Michael Bloomberg withdrew from the race later in the day.
TIME TO MOVE ON FROM OBAMA
He won them two presidential elections, but Democrats are increasingly ready to put President Barack Obama in their rear view, according to exit polls from the Super Tuesday slate of primaries, which showed a startling number of party faithful saying it’s time to move on.
Mr. Obama remains popular in the Deep South, where black voters play an outsized role in Democratic politics, but from Maine to Minnesota, voters said they are no longer thrilled with the man who brought them the first universal health care plan and flexed his executive pen to grant a deportation amnesty to “Dreamers,” to ink a deal with Iran and to commit the U.S. to curbing greenhouse gases.
Instead, the party’s heart now belongs to Sen. Bernard Sanders, the democratic socialist who won’t even call himself a Democrat but who has completely rewritten the party’s agenda. (Washington Times, 3/4/2020)
CORONAVIRUS – LESSONS FOR THE FUTURE
Fragile supply chains: Decades of fine-tuning global manufacturing have given billions of people access to quality consumer goods at affordable prices. That’s the upside of globalization. But the same trend has concentrated production of important items in certain countries, creating new vulnerabilities. For example, regions of China and broader Asia that produce most of the world’s smartphones have been forced to idle or cut manufacturing because of the outbreak. The decline in Chinese factory activity has been so pronounced, it’s actually visible from space. And US officials recently warned of drug shortages due to the shuttering of factories in China that make essential ingredients for some important medicines.
Fragile safety nets: Well before the new virus emerged in China, an annual report by the World Health Organization warned that the chances of a global outbreak were rising and that the world was “not prepared for a fast-moving, virulent respiratory pathogen pandemic.” It cited the usual problems – a lack of funding for public health monitoring and prevention, bureaucratic hurdles, and weak medical infrastructure, especially in poor and middle-income countries. But it also warned of “a breakdown in public trust…exacerbated by misinformation that can hinder disease control communicated quickly and widely via social media.” In the US, the safety net is further weakened by a lack of mandatory paid sick leave, which some people fear will compel sick people to show up at work, where they can infect colleagues and customers. (Gzero World, 3/4/2020)
RYANAIR BOSS CONDEMNS ‘HYSTERIA’ OVER CORONAVIRUS
The boss of Ryanair has condemned what he called “lunacy on social media” and “hysteria” in coverage of the coronavirus.
Speaking to Sky News, Michael O’Leary appealed for a calm and measured approach to the coronavirus outbreak and said “Let’s not have irrational panic measures.” (The Week, 3/4/2020)
FlyBe became the first airline casualty of the virus, filing for bankruptcy on Wednesday. FlyBe is a UK domestic airline.
HOW THE EU RULES THE WORLD The Brussels Effect: How the European Union Rules the World
For many observers, the European Union is mired in a deep crisis. Between sluggish growth; political turmoil following a decade of austerity politics, Brexit, and the rise of Asian influence, the EU is seen as a declining power on the world stage. Columbia Law professor Anu Bradford argues the opposite in her important new book The Brussels Effect: the EU remains an influential superpower that shapes the world in its image. By promulgating regulations that shape the international business environment, elevating standards worldwide, and leading to a notable Europeanization of many important aspects of global commerce, the EU has managed to shape policy in areas such as data privacy, consumer health and safety, environmental protection, antitrust, and online hate speech. And in contrast to how superpowers wield their global influence, the Brussels Effect – a phrase first coined by Bradford in 2012 – absolves the EU from playing a direct role in imposing standards, as market forces alone are often sufficient as multinational companies voluntarily extend the EU rule to govern their global operations. The Brussels Effect shows how the EU has acquired such power, why multinational companies use EU standards as global standards, and why the EU’s role as the world’s regulator is likely to outlive its gradual economic decline, extending the EU’s influence long into the future.
GERMAN ARMS SALES BOOM
Düsseldorf’s Rheinmetall arms manufacturer is enjoying a sumptuous upswing in sales for its arms sector and a record-breaking number of contracts. Whereas the company’s automotive sector is marking a downswing in sales, in comparison to last year, due to 2019’s signs of weakness in the overall auto industry, the current boom in armaments is more than compensating. The shareholders are “delighted,” boasts stock exchange reports. At Rheinmetall, there is talk of a “‘super cycle’ in the company’s military sector.” Western governments – the company’s current and potential customers – are engaged in a massive arms buildup. Whereas this year’s military budget for the Bundeswehr will be increased to €45.1 billion – nearly 40 percent more than it was in 2014 – the military budgets of the European countries together will be more than €300 billion. The US military budget is more than US $700 billion. Rheinmetall is benefiting also from the Arab countries’ arms buildups against Iran, but above all, from the buildup of the western world against Russia and China. (German Foreign Policy, 3/3/2020)
DRONES REVOLUTIONIZING WARFARE Turkish Drones Revolutionize Warfare in Syria, Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
Footage of numerous Turkish drone strikes in Idlib reveal their groundbreaking and effective use against Syrian regime defenses and armored vehicle formations. Turkey can’t fly its air force in Idlib due to an apparent ban by Russia and the Syrian regime. But Turkish drones can fly. Video feeds show drones striking columns of infantry and armored vehicles near Idlib. Turkey’s widespread use of drones in Idlib may be one of the largest concentrations of drones ever used in this manner. (Jerusalem Post, 3/3/2020)
SDA’S AND ROME WORKING TOGETHER Seventh-day Adventists, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Sign a Historic ‘Ecumenical Charter’ that Affirms Faith in ‘One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church’
The document that was signed is a pledge of commitment to each other. Adventists pledged a commitment to Rome, and Rome reciprocated that commitment. Make no mistake. The churches that signed this document promised to uphold the principles of the Ecumenical Charter which includes affirming an allegiance to each other.
The Ecumenical Charter declares that the church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” and therefore the “inescapable ecumenical task consists in making visible this unity.”
The Ecumenical Charter declares that the churches are “called together in the unity of faith.”
The Ecumenical Charter calls for the “visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the one faith and in witness and in common service.”
The Ecumenical Charter says that “the most important task of the Churches is to proclaim the Gospel together through word and action, for the salvation of all human beings.” (AdventMessenger, 3/4/2020)
TO THE POINT
- America’s Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point, the largest single cut since the financial crisis. The move came after a pledge by finance ministers and central bankers from the G7, a group of the world’s biggest rich countries, to “use all appropriate policy tools” to combat the economic downturn caused by the spread of covid-19. President Donald Trump recently repeated his complaint that Fed rates were too high. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)
- The World Bank pledged up to $12bn to help developing countries respond to the growing threat of covid-19. The announcement came just after the World Health Organisation said the disease’s global mortality rate is 3.4%. The World Bank’s aid will include a mix of grants, loans and other technical assistance, with priority given to the world’s poorest countries. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)
- SUPPORT FOR ANTI-EU PARTIES ‘DOUBLES IN 20 YEARS’ – The vote share for anti-EU parties has more than doubled in two decades, according to research conducted by academic experts in populism. The study found that since 1992, the first year in which there were free and fair elections in every country currently a member of the bloc, combined support for European far-right, far-left and other Eurosceptic parties has surged from 15% to almost 35%. (The Week, 3/4/2020)
- Lebanese Preacher: The Muslims Will Kill The Jews, Who Will Hide Behind Rocks And Trees, The Jews Are The Most Cowardly Of Allah’s Creations; Jerusalem Friday Sermon: It Is The Religious Obligation Of Muslims To Bear Animosity Against The Jews (MEMRI, 3/4/2020)
- Indian migrants are driving a surge in citizenship as a record 211,723 people won the right to call Australia home in 2019. (The Australian, 2/20/2020)
- Last week, I reviewed the book “The Race to save the Romanovs.” In my review I mentioned that support for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia is at 28%. That’s roughly the same percentage of votes any American president gets. 54.9% voted in 2016, which gave each candidate roughly 27%. Bill Clinton was voted into office with a mere 22% of the vote.
- With 36 seats, Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party will be the largest in Israel’s next Knesset. Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White alliance won 32. But with Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition still two seats shy of a majority, and his trial on charges of bribery and fraud due to begin on March 17th, his troubles are not over yet. (The Economist, 3/4/2020)