All COVID Newscasts Underserving America


If one only receives their news via the evening broadcasts from the three main networks it is most likely there is no awareness about a long list of international events that are shaping regions of the world.  I am clearly aware of the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the many tentacles it has on all parts of the nation.  I am also aware of the need to report and juggle events within the roughly 22 minutes allotted for the nightly broadcasts.  But it also goes without saying that news programming needs to adapt during this time of pandemic so the events from Poland to Hong Kong also get covered.

If everyone read a morning newspaper there would be less reason to find concern about the absence from ABC, CBS, or NBC about events that not only impact large swaths of the world but also impact international policy decisions our nation is then required to make.  A well-informed citizenry aids in shaping our national discussion on the issues which our leaders will then be offering a response.

I wrote about the actions nations like China, North Korea, and Iran have been undertaking over the past months, as they hoped a pandemic and the lack of ability from our president would allow them to get away with their long-held desires.  In April I summed up a post entry with these two paragraphs.

There is  no doubt that international players are watching the United States very closely as this pandemic takes hold of the country.  They are most conscious about the lack of leadership exhibited from this White House.  It is troubling to see so many rogue players and confrontational nations seeming to wish to take moves that run counter to international norms.

While there is a lack of credible leadership in the White House there will be those who take advantage of the existing circumstances. At the fringes that is what we are seeing play out on the world stage. It is not something we can dismiss, and it is not something that the television news media in this nation should fail to report.  We need to be aware of international events, even during a pandemic.

A most draconian national security law imposed by Beijing has left Hong Kong in a most perilous position.  Those living in the city can now be jailed for life for vaguely defined laws.  What China deems “subversive” can mean not only a citizen of the city can be forced to the mainland for trial but jailed for decades over the most bizarre of reasons.

A truly important election is taking place this weekend in Poland, where the outcome could signal the beginning of the end of right-wing and illiberal democratic governments in Eastern Europe. (Illiberal democracy is a topic of importance on CP)  Those who follow the trend lines over the past years can attest to the dangerous outcomes for democracy when the press is vilified, courts turn out rulings dictated by oppressive rulers, and human rights are tossed aside like old bread.  Warsaw Mayor Trzaskowski is seeking to remove the right-wing incumbent President Duda.   The outcome is vital to the international tide of democracy that needs restoration.

If a news story on a major network started out with the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, when completed, being nearly twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty and as wide as the Brooklyn Bridge is long or that the reservoir behind it is roughly the size of London, viewers would pay attention. Once operating the dam will be the largest hydro-electric project in Africa.  It will produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity, but a massive dispute with Egypt and Ethiopia and Sudan has prompted threats of war and concerns about a future conflict over water resources under pressure because of climate change.

The world is filled with these types of news stories that we need to know about and with newspapers and newsmagazines, many people are better informed.  But there is a huge swath of the public who rely upon television network news for their source of information.  And that demographic is not prone to tune in to PBS’ NewsHour.  So it is incumbent that the three main networks find a better use of the time allotted to them in the evening.

Increasing the length of their national newscast is not an option due to the importance of local advertisers to affiliates around the nation.  Going without advertisers on the national broadcast would add about 8 minutes of content.  If there would be just a cold opening without a playlist of upcoming stories, and also jettisoning the ‘feel good’ story at the end of each broadcast would add at least 3 minutes of airtime for actual news content.

There must be a better way to inform those who tune in to the evening broadcasts and rely on it for most of their knowledge about the world. The recent past underscores why there needs to be a better-informed citizenry, which then allows for a better performing electorate.

And so it goes.

Robert Mugabe And Mark Twain


No tears to be shed for the death of Robert Mugabe this week.  Since 2008 the corrupt and brutal dictator has been a topic of posts over a dozen times on Caffeinated Politics.  Looking back the best thing I ever had to say about Mugabe was calling him a bastard. I am not sure what caused my restraint from adding ‘dirty.’

What frustrates me so is that the way Mugabe started his leadership was admirable.  Uplifting.  Hopeful.  There were clearly steps that had to be taken away from colonialism.  Redress had to be made for the nation, and measures enacted to bring equality to society.  But that is not what he did.

He brought corruption, thuggery, armed forces trained by North Koreans, and deep rancor which did nothing to heal a nation long in need of breaching the divide.  It would be hard to imagine a worse example that could have stayed in power for nearly 4 decades in Zimbabwe.  The lack of any real hope, given the economic situation there now, is cause for concern about further stability.

The first post about Mugabe was from May 2008.

It was a brutal reminder that the situation in Zimbabwe is a tinderbox following the elections where President Robert Mugabe was defeated.  His attempts, however,  to hold onto power, and even drag the nation into chaos and bloodshed is not a shocker for anyone who has followed his chaotic and wretched time as leader.

The party of Mugabe is threatening the nation into supporting him in a runoff election.  Many however do not see as necessary another election, given the fraud that took place a month ago when voters cast their ballots to end the monstrous regime of Mugabe.

September 2015 finds a post where I smirk at his inability to resemble leadership.

There is only bile that comes to me when typing the name Robert Mugabe.  But there is also reason to laugh at the bastard today.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has read out the wrong speech at the opening of parliament.

He gave the same one during his state-of-the-nation address on 25 August, when he was heckled by opposition MPs.

In November 2017 I found pleasure in that day’s headlines.

I am mighty pleased.  This should have happened many years ago.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, succumbing to a week of overwhelming pressure from the military that put him under house arrest, lawmakers from the ruling party and opposition who started impeachment proceedings and a population that surged into the streets to say 37 years in power was enough.

“Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office at whatever cost to the nation,” said Mnangagwa, who has a loyal support base in the military.

The announcement of his death this week was first heard by this blogger over BBC radio.  While news presenters on the network refrain from emotion and always present objectivity there was, I suspect, a bit of a wry smile behind the microphone.  There certainly was on my lips.  And the reason should be most obvious.

To see a country strangled in slow motion is a horrible thing to witness.  But that is what the world watched happen to Zimbabwe due to the loathsome actions of Robert Mugabe.  It was awful to watch his hands over the decades around the political levers that drained the nation of vitality year after year.

Mark Twain was right.  There are some obituaries we look forward to reading.

Why Trump Needs To Know His Words Matter–Dead People A Result

Long before Donald trump launched his bid for the Republican Party nomination I was not in favor of a business person sitting in the Oval Office.  History shows that a certain skill set is required to govern from the White House and the head of a corporation does not have the required levels of nuance and patience which a president must command.

In Trump’s case there is also the inability to monitor how words, either verbally or in writing, are used.   That too, has been a long-time complaint of mine on this blog as history continually shows that words matter.   I wrote on this blog about the events where Trump casually told Fox News the United States “would have to wipe out $75 billion in debt owed by Puerto Rico to bondholders around the world.”

As one might understand Wall Street went head-over-tea kettle as Puerto Rican bonds headed into a tailspin.  It was only then the White House had to come out and say Trump was wrong and worked to clean up yet another mess made by one not prepared to sit in the Oval Office.

Words matter.

Today we have news that the Nigerian army has cited a video of Donald Trump, in which he says soldiers should respond with force to migrants throwing stones, to justify opening fire on a Shia group this week.

“When they throw rocks… consider it as a rifle,” Mr Trump says in the clip.

Nigerian police have arrested 400 members of a Shia Muslim sect after days of deadly protests in the capital.  A spokesman for the Nigerian army says their decision to fire live rounds at protesters in Abuja was justified because they were armed, telling the BBC “this is what [Mr] Trump was talking about”.

The role of a president is most serious one.  That is why this nation needs to elect serious-minded nominees to the position.  And voters need to be serious-minded when they head to the polls.

We can clearly see what happens when all that does not happen.

International Reaction To President Trump’s Racist “S…hole” Comment Is Accurate

Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., per NYT’s Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche): “I just talked to Haiti’s Ambassador to the United States Paul Altidor who said he and the Haitian government ‘vehemently condemn’ President Trump’s comments which they believe are ‘based on stereotypes.’ ‘Either the president has been misinformed or he is miseducated.‘”

Mach Sall, president of Senegal said, “I am shocked by the words of President Trump on Haiti and Africa. I reject them and condemns vigorously. Africa and the black race deserves the respect and consideration of all. MS”.

From Bostswana: “Botswana has accepted U.S. citizens within her borders over the years and continues to host US guests and senior government officials, including a Congressional delegation that will come to Botswana at the end of this month…; that is why we view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”

Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. commissioner for human rights: “If confirmed, these are shocking and shameful comments from the president of the United States. I’m sorry but there is no other word I can use but ‘racist.'”

“The African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was ‘frankly alarmed’ by Trump’s comments. ‘Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,'”AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said.

Robert Mugabe About To Get Hard Kick Out Of Palace Door

Last week it was the power moves in Saudi Arabia that held my attention and interest.  This week it is the removal of one who has pained much of the thinking world for decades–Robert Mugabe.  Over the past decade on this blog I have not been reticent to state how I feel about this most putrid mass of human tissue.

Robert Mugabe is one of the most  wretched and disruptive leaders in the world today.  I place his name alongside  Sudan’s al-Bashir,  and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il  for being a major source of concern for the regions they inflict their pain upon.   That was how I felt in 2009.

Also from that year I wrote that There seems  to be no end to the destruction from Robert Mugabe on the country he leads.  For many long years we have watched and read the way Zimbabwe has suffered as a result of his ruthlessness, and desire to rape the resources of his country.

I also wrote on this blog  that To see a country strangled in slow motion is a horrible thing to witness.  However the citizens of Zimbabwe have been seeing that very thing up close as their loathsome leader, Robert Mugabe, has his hands around the political levers and drains the nation of vitality year after year.

What is at the center of this week’s move by the military to remove Mugabe’s is that his most-corrupt wife must also be banished from whatever power moves she is concocting in her scheming and manipulative mind.   It is not good enough to just remove the bigoted and corrupt Mugabe who falls asleep in public as soon as he falls back into his chair.   Also to be ushered to the the national exit door must be his wife.

This week it almost seemed that Mugabe thought he was in some position to cajole and negotiate his way to some safe place of power.  But the coup is no joke and his ouster is not in question.  The only thing left in question is that when he is thrown out of power does he land on his head or his backside.

While I am very much convinced that a principled constitutional equation would be best to remove this despot, I am also aware from following Zimbabwe’s plight that there needs to be a total and fast removal of Mugabe.  I applaud those negotiators who are poring through Zimbabwe’s laws to find a legal way out.  But even if there is not a path that is pure and clean Mugabe’s carcass must be jettisoned.

There are moves from some war veterans for independence and from the ruling party who seem more than ready to throw him away as party leader as early as tomorrow.   So the pretense that Mugabe can steer this show or have some central role to play ended when the military hardware took to the streets.

I am not sure if Zimbabwe has public executions.   But if they did Robert Mugabe would be a prime candidate for that fate.

And You Thought The News Could Not Get More Appalling?

Simply sickening.

The Trump administration confirmed it has lifted an Obama-era ban that had prohibited big-game hunters from importing trophies of elephants killed in two African nations.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirms the agency had determined limited hunting of African elephants in Zimbabwe and Zambia would enhance conservation efforts. The Humane Society, however, blasted the move as a “green light” for wealthy Americans to kill an endangered species.

Those who have no regard for the needs of these gentle beasts are soulless people who will rot in hell.

No Visas Allowed For African Trade Meeting

Stunning, sad, pathetic.  This is what happens when undereducated people vote their top choice for the White House.

“Each year, the University of Southern California brings delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. … ‘This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened.’ [event organizer Mary] Flowers estimated that she lost about 100 attendees, including speakers and government officials. The countries affected included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa. ‘I have to say that most of us feel it’s a discrimination issue with the African nations,’ said Flowers. ‘We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.’

When Is It Time To Leave Office?

There is only bile that comes to me when typing  the name Robert Mugabe.  But there is also reason to laugh at the bastard today.

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has read out the wrong speech at the opening of parliament.

He gave the same one during his state-of-the-nation address on 25 August, when he was heckled by opposition MPs.

His spokesman told the state-run Herald paper the error was because of a mix-up in the president’s secretarial office.