Memorial Day Car Caravan

25 May 2020

Bob Smith of Brandywine Peace Community
Bob Smith of Brandywine Peace Community preparing to make remarks before the caravan starts off.

Another car caravan! Much smaller than the first one, maybe 10 cars. We dressed up the cars in pretty much the same way as we did the last time, with signs on the sides and backs of the cars. We tried to stay together, but as we knew the addresses of our next destinations, we could catch up even if we got separated on the way.
Guess the biggest news with the COVID-19 pandemic is not very surprising. An earlier and truly national lockdown could have saved 36k lives. As of 25 May, we're approaching 100k deaths from the coronavirus. The President is, of course, very upset by this news.

"It's a disgrace what I watch from this fake news media and from some of these liberal institutions. Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution to write that because all the people that they cater to were months after me, they said we shouldn't close it."
To President Trump, "science" and "liberal" appear to be linked terms.

listening to speech
Listening to a few speakers before taking off.

The latest good news on issues of war and peace concerned what didn't happen. Venezuela, a member of OPEC, has not been producing enough oil to meet domestic needs. Iran agreed to send several oil tankers. From the piece that accompanied the video: "Venezuela's own oil refining industry collapsed; critics say that was because of underinvestment and mismanagement." The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) agrees with that, but adds that: "U.S. sanctions directed at Venezuela's energy sector and PdVSA [the Venezuelan state oil company] have all contributed to the recent declines."
There was a concern that the US might attempt to intercept the Iranian ships. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said the country was "ready for anything, anything, anytime," but they arrived in Venezuela without incident. An editorial that strongly opposes both countries supports the theory that US sanctions bear a large share of responsibility for Venezuela having to seek help from Iran "The Trump administration has built a robust sanctions architecture that has forced Venezuela, with the world's largest proven oil reserves, to seek gasoline from abroad." It also stated accurately that the actions of Iran and Venezuela "...undermine the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaigns against both ruling regimes..." but the alternative would be to actually go to war, an option that does not appear to be feasible.

Identifying our cars as taking part in the protest

As of 12:30pm on May 26, the US reached the milestone of 100k deaths from the coronavirus.
Jared Kushner was born into a wealthy family and married the daughter of the President. Hard to see what other qualifications he might have, but his case is clearly an object lesson on why nepotism is a bad hiring strategy. It doesn't excuse President Trump in the slightest that he receives bad advice from the people he chooses to staff his administration with, but apparently Kushner has dispensed lots of very, very bad advice. Apparently, Kushner's "shadow coronavirus response team" has played an entirely negative role, doing far more harm than good.

more decorated cars
More decorated cars.

Opening the country back up is a big concern. Much of the citizenry is highly skeptical that we're ready as the coronavirus is hitting the country very unevenly. In the New York City region, cases are declining, but more rural cases are really increasing. So the total cases are going down, but for instance, Alabama's health care system is undergoing a lot of stress.
White House asked states to meet a testing deadline, but as it didn't provide any resources to do so (Conservatives refer to this as an "unfunded mandate"), the deadline wasn't met.

More decorated cars

Update on Iran policy: The President has had one more or less clear objective throughout his term concerning Iran, he wants to ensure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. I say "more or less" because that goal had been achieved before Trump came into office. There was no need for him to make any changes to the relationship between the US and Iran. So how has that situation been developing since the US pulled out of the Obama/G5+1/JCPOA agreement? Poorly.

On Twitter, [Secretary of State] Pompeo defended the move, saying it's needed to counteract "Iran's continued nuclear escalation."
Iran was not engaged in "nuclear escalation" prior to the US pulling out of the Iran agreement. Nuclear escalation occurred after the US pulled out of the agreement. Trump's Iran policy has failed. Full stop.