Jul 292021
 
 July 29, 2021  Posted by at 9:19 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  111 Responses »


Paul Gauguin The Vision after the Sermon (Jacob wrestling with the Angel) 1888

 

The Vaccine Causes The Virus To Be More Dangerous – Malone (WR)
USA Today Scrubs Passage Suggesting Vaccinated May Spread More Virus (Becker)
California COVID Cases Rising In Most Heavily Vaccinated Counties (ZH)
Ruin Them (Denninger)
Pfizer Suggests Third Dose Of Vaccine ‘Strongly’ Boosts Protection (CNN)
Latest Data Show Efficacy Of Pfizer Vaccine Falls To 84% After 6 Months (ZH)
New US Mask Guidance Prompted By Evidence Vaccinated Can Spread Delta (G.)
CDC Head Says New Mask Guidance Could Help Tame Delta Outbreak In ‘Weeks’ (F.)
Gottlieb: US Will Be Through Delta Wave In 2 Or 3 Weeks (Hill)
US Reports More Than 100,000 New Coronavirus Cases (BNO)
Dr. Pierre Kory’s Medical Lecture for Physicians and Citizens of Malaysia (O.)
Omaha Doctor Sees Tremendous Success with Ivermectin as Early Treatment (TSN)
The Noble Lies of COVID-19 (Slate)
The Vaccine Aristocrats (Taibbi)
NIH Dumped Millions Into Chinese Entities To Study Infectious Diseases (DC)
Will Washington Stop China From Buying Up Farmland? (JTN)
Assange Attorney Accuses Ecuador Of Foul Play (RT)

 

 

A tour of more mainstream news today. If only because it makes clear we’re wasting so much time talking about whatever the narrative is, but what has already been well debunked. We need our focus. If you need three shots of something, it’s not a vaccine. Doesn’t even matter if in the end it works. Which in this case it doesn’t. We’re getting dragged back into conversations we should have long left behind.

 

 

Vanden Bossche

 

 

 

 

Fleming Delta

 

 

 

 

Weinstein Long term plan

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take these 10 minutes. Yes, it’s Bannon, but at least he lets Malone speak.

The Vaccine Causes The Virus To Be More Dangerous – Malone (WR)

Read more …

It’s out.

USA Today Scrubs Passage Suggesting Vaccinated May Spread More Virus (Becker)

“NBC News, citing unnamed officials aware of the decision, reported it comes after new data suggests vaccinated individuals could have higher levels of virus and infect others amid the surge of cases driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus,” the USA Today reported in a passage that was later scrubbed from an article. A screenshot from the article and an online archive of the passage points out the surfacing evidence.The story from the USA Today drops the reference to NBC News, but nonetheless corroborates the news: “CDC says vaccinated people may transmit virus, recommends masks indoors.”


“CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said new data shows the delta variant, which accounts for more than 80% of the new infections in the U.S., behaves ‘uniquely differently’ from its predecessors and could make vaccinated people infectious,” the article notes. “Information on the delta variant from several states and other countries indicates that in rare occasions some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” Walensky said in announcing new guidance, which reverses a CDC recommendation in May. “This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendation.”

NBC News reported on the CDC guidance reversal on Monday. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid-19 transmission rates,” NBC News reported. “The agency is also recommending kids wear masks in schools this fall.” “Federal health officials still believe fully vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission,” the report continued. “Still, some vaccinated people could be carrying higher levels of the virus than previously understood and potentially transmit it to others.”

Read more …

It’s fun to see them all bend themselves into pretzels to “explain” how they were not wrong when they were.

California COVID Cases Rising In Most Heavily Vaccinated Counties (ZH)

Some might have been surprised to see California on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s map of high-risk areas where the new federal indoor mask mandates must be obeyed. The Golden State was deemed more high risk than Texas. Indeed, scientists are finding that despite its high vaccination rates, California is seeing more COVID cases than it should. California and its big coastal cities have embraced vaccines in their effort to beat back the COVID pandemic. But a Bay Area News Group analysis shows that not only are cases rising fast, they are rising in areas where there are more fully vaccinated people. Some of these counties have both among the highest vaccination rates, and the highest new-case rates.

Notice that five of these counties have both a higher percentage of their eligible residents fully vaccinated and a higher average daily case rate than the statewide average. They include: LA, San Diego, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Francisco. The five counties with falling case rates are Modoc, Glenn, Lassen, Del Norte, San Benito, and they, coincidentally, have below-average vaccination rates. As to what might be causing this, experts point to two things: the extraordinary ease with which the virus’ now-dominant delta strain spreads, and the fact that no vaccine offers complete protection.


“I am not so surprised that transmission rates are not neatly tracking immunization rates,” said Dr. Stephen Luby, a medical professor specializing in infectious diseases at Stanford University. “There are a number of issues that contribute to transmission,” Luby said. “In high density urban settings, for example, even with a higher level of vaccine coverage, there can still be a lot of exposure to unvaccinated folks and potentially to folks who are vaccinated but are asymptomatically shedding the delta variant.” Reports of the vaccines’ effectiveness against the delta variant have been mixed. In Israel, the Ministry of Health suspects the protection afforded by the Pfizer jab might be as low as 64%.

Read more …

“Unfortunately the so-called “public health” authorities have destroyed — not just damaged, but destroyed — their own credibility.”

Ruin Them (Denninger)

If you go into the hospital for any reason they test you. Why? Because if you’re positive they want their magic $13,000 Biden Money (formerly Trump money) if you’re on Medicare and Medicaid for treating a “Covid case.” Biden is still continuing this bull**** no matter why you’re there. Chest pain? Covid! Oh, never mind the heart attack. So are the “hospitalized” actually hospitalized for Covid or is Tennessee counting anyone in the hospital who tested positive irrespective of the reason for their admission? This particular game has been run since March of 2020 and nobody has put a stop to it because they’re making money from it — lots of money. Never mind that these jabs are not behaving like a vaccine. US Code: “The term “vaccine” means any substance designed to be administered to a human being for the prevention of 1 or more diseases.”

The data is that these jabs do not prevent disease. They also do not prevent transmission of disease. In fact they appear to, if you get a breakthrough case, make transmission more likely in that the Ct data from these miners shows equal or lower values on balance in the vaccinated cohort with one sample at Ct22! Reminder: The lower the Ct the more virus you have in your body. Now granted this is a small group — very small. But it is extremely concerning that the lowest Ct recorded among these cases was a fully-vaccinated person. Where is the data from the state labs and CDC on these “breakthroughs” and their Ct numbers generally? It’s not being reported. I bet you can guess why not without needing more than one guess.

This appears to be confirmed as something that does indeed happen by the reported “super-spreading” person who (1) was fully-vaccinated, (2) infected more than 60 other people and (3) most of those whom he gave it to were also vaccinated. He obviously was an extremely-efficient emitter of virus! The only remaining argument for the jabs is that they make a personal severe outcome less likely. Here the data is somewhat more-reassuring but the adverse effect profile of the shots is not reassuring at all, it is being deliberately glossed over, and as a result the question as to whether or not to take them is a deeply personal decision that must be informed by your personal medical status coupled with intentional deception on those advocating for the jabs.

How in the hell do you make an informed decision under those circumstances? Unfortunately the so-called “public health” authorities have destroyed — not just damaged, but destroyed — their own credibility. Tennessee’s Department of Health proved themselves liars with nothing more than public data. So have others. I have multiple reported sets of data from individual practices where the percentage of unvaccinated people presenting with Covid-19 symptoms is lower than the percentage of unvaccinated people in the population of that specific area. In other words the data is that the jabs not only do not prevent you from getting the virus at all but in fact may ENHANCE the risk of infection and this, incidentally, voids the argument that the jabs are a vaccine from a LEGAL standpoint.

Read more …

As soon as you talk about a third -or even a second- dose, you’re no longer talking about a vaccine.

Pfizer Suggests Third Dose Of Vaccine ‘Strongly’ Boosts Protection (CNN)

A third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine can “strongly” boost protection against the Delta variant — beyond the protection afforded by the standard two doses, new data released by Pfizer on Wednesday suggests. The data posted online suggest that levels of antibodies that can target the Delta variant grow fivefold in people 18 to 55 who get a third dose of the vaccine.Among people ages 65 to 85, the Pfizer data suggest that antibody levels that should protect against Delta grow 11-fold more than following a second dose.The data, which involved tests of 23 people, have not yet been peer-reviewed or published. It’s not clear if boosted antibody levels actually correlate to better protection, or if that extra protection is even needed.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the current vaccines protect people well against all the common variants. During a company earnings call on Wednesday morning, Dr. Mikael Dolsten, who leads worldwide research, development and medical for Pfizer, called the new data on a third dose of vaccine “encouraging.” “Receiving a third dose more than six months after vaccination, when protection may be beginning to wane, was estimated to potentially boost the neutralizing antibody titers in participants in this study to up to 100 times higher post-dose three compared to pre-dose three,” Dolsten said in prepared remarks. “These preliminary data are very encouraging as Delta continues to spread.” The data also show that antibody levels are much higher against the original coronavirus variant and the Beta variant, first identified in South Africa, after a third dose.


Separately, Pfizer and its partner BioNtech released new safety and efficacy data for their coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, and said it shows protection holds up for at least six months, although it may start to wane slightly towards the end of that time. The pre-print paper, posted Wednesday to the online server medrxiv.org, updates results from Pfizer’s trial involving 44,000 volunteers around the world. It found the overall efficacy was about 91% during the six months. Vaccine efficacy against severe Covid-19 was about 97%, the data show. The paper has not yet been peer-reviewed nor published in a journal.

Read more …

Again, not a vaccine. And do remember RRR vs ARR numbers.

Latest Data Show Efficacy Of Pfizer Vaccine Falls To 84% After 6 Months (ZH)

As pressure builds for the FDA to simply ‘get on with it’ and issue full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs, it looks like the people responsible for deciding whether vaccines are safe and effective are finally coming around to the reality that those vaccines aren’t as effective against the delta strain as they had once hoped. Despite months of insisting that the opposite was true, the FDA has found that the efficacy of the jabs has fallen to 84% over six months, according to new data released Wednesday. Conveniently, STAT News, which broke the story about the data, reported that the lower efficacy would likely bolster Pfizer’s case for approval of a third dose.

Per the data, which has been released to outside scientists, the ongoing study, which enrolled more than 44K volunteers, found that the vaccine’s efficacy appeared to decline by an average of 6% every two months after administration. Efficacy peaked at more than 96% within two months of vaccination and slipped to 84% after six months. The overall efficacy against severe disease was a still considerable 97% (though that’s still not 100%). Unsurprisingly, STAT lined up a few talking heads to plug the numbers. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told STAT that the results were “very reassuring.” The potential need for booster shots is tied to the number of fully vaccinated people who develop severe disease, Offit said.


That number is just 3% lower after six months, suggesting two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine offers adequate protection. Earlier, Pfizer boosted its fiscal year revenue forecast for its vaccine business. Perhaps these data offer some insight into that decision. Of course, there’s reason to believe that number might be even lower than the 97%. Israel’s Ministry of Health recently found that the Pfizer vaccine is only 39% effective at combating delta, down from 64% according to earlier Israeli data intended to measure the efficacy against the delta variant. Pfizer is already shipping jabs to Israel, which is preparing to start doling out booster shots to residents deemed vulnerable to COVID. For whatever reason, the data released Wednesday doesn’t directly address the delta variant.

Read more …

Aka the vaccines don’t work. A spade, a spade.

New US Mask Guidance Prompted By Evidence Vaccinated Can Spread Delta (G.)

The CDC revised its mask guidance on Tuesday to recommend fully vaccinated Americans wear masks in “public indoor settings” with “substantial and high transmission”, a shift from its earlier guidance issued on 13 May, which said vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks in most indoor settings. The move came as Joe Biden said requiring all federal workers to get a coronavirus vaccine is “under consideration” as the Delta variant surges in the US. Some local and state leaders, including New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, and the California governor, Gavin Newsom, have already announced such mandates for their government employees.

Walensky also spoke on Wednesday about the threat of Covid-19 to children. “If you look at the mortality rate of Covid, just this past year for children, it’s more than twice the mortality rate that we see in influenza in a given year,” she said. On Tuesday the CDC changed its advice and now recommends that fully vaccinated people living with vulnerable household members, such as those who are immunocompromised and children, wear masks in indoor public spaces. In addition, the agency recommended everyone in K-12 schools wear masks, “including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status”, Walensky said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“In recent days I have seen new scientific data from recent outbreak investigations showing that the Delta variant behaves uniquely differently from past strains of the virus that cause Covid-19,” Walensky said on Tuesday, referring to scientists’ discovery of the Delta strain shedding as actively in breakthrough infections as it does in unvaccinated individuals, despite the rarity of breakthrough cases. For months Covid cases, deaths and hospitalizations were falling steadily, but the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has fueled steep rises in case numbers, particularly among unvaccinated Americans and amid struggles with disinformation and resistance, particularly on the political right.

“Nobody wants to go backward but you have to deal with the facts on the ground, and the facts on the ground are that it’s a pretty scary time and there are a lot of vulnerable people,” Robert Wachter, chairman of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told the Washington Post. “I think the biggest thing we got wrong was not anticipating that 30% of the country would choose not to be vaccinated.”

Read more …

Unfortunately, there are still plenty Americans who believe this nonsense.

CDC Head Says New Mask Guidance Could Help Tame Delta Outbreak In ‘Weeks’ (F.)

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CBS on Wednesday she believes the new mask guidance from her agency along with a rise in vaccinations could halt the current escalation of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. in “a couple of weeks,” though some critics are already expressing doubt that the CDC’s recommendations will be followed in the worst-hit places. Walensky appeared on CBS This Morning a day after her agency announced it was reversing course and recommending that all people wear masks—regardless of vaccination status—in parts of the country with “high” or “substantial” rates of transmission of coronavirus.


She touted the new guidance during her Wednesday interview as a crucial measure that follows new information about so-called breakthrough infections and has the potential to help with quickly mitigating the country’s current virus surge. “If we get people vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated, if we mask in the interim, we can halt this in just a couple of weeks,” said the CDC head. Walensky also said she hopes more stringent mask-wearing guidelines and other measures won’t be necessary in the coming weeks, but her agency “will follow the science.” “We can halt the chain of transmission,” Walensky said. “We can do something if we unify together.”

Read more …

What a coincidence. Also in weeks.

Note: Gottlieb is a Pfizer board member. But Delta waning will have nothing to do with their products.

Remember: “India, where Delta Variant began? Deaths down 92% since its May peak, cases down 91% since then, too. One of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, btw.”

Gottlieb: US Will Be Through Delta Wave In 2 Or 3 Weeks (Hill)

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted early Wednesday that the United States could get through the worst of the delta variant surge of the coronavirus in a few weeks. “The bottom line is, the vaccine does not make you impervious to infection,” Gottlieb said during an appearance on CNBC. “There are some people who are developing mild and asymptomatic infections even after vaccination.” After acknowledging the delta variant of the coronavirus as “much more transmissible” than the first strain, Gottlieb questioned whether that fact should “translate into general guidance” on mask wearing and vaccine requirements in the United States.

“I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to get enough bang for our buck by telling vaccinated people they have to wear masks at all times to make it worth our while. I think we’re further into this delta wave than we’re picking up. I think in another two or three weeks we’ll be through this.” Gottlieb added that the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) could have a “negligible impact” on public health and that federal officials should instead focus on more targeted messaging on guidance for high-risk areas. The CDC announced new guidance Tuesday recommending that vaccinated Americans wear masks while in crowded indoor environments in certain areas of the country where the delta variant has caused a major increase in cases.


The delta variant is now accounting for the majority of new cases in the United States, almost entirely among the unvaccinated. President Biden’s administration is facing increased pressure to get more people vaccinated and require federal workers, teachers and people who work in health care industries to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment. “If you are vaccinated in a high-prevalence area, in contact with virus, you think you might have the virus because you have mild symptoms of it, be prudent, get tested, maybe wear a mask especially if you are around a vulnerable person,” Gottlieb said on CNBC. “That should be bottom-line guidance we give.”

Read more …

On Tuesday. Be gone in weeks. And then they’ll praise the “vaccines” again. Damned if you do, doomed if you don’t.

US Reports More Than 100,000 New Coronavirus Cases (BNO)

More than 100,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. amid a rapid surge in hospital admissions and new calls from federal officials to wear a mask in public. Data from health departments across the U.S. showed that 106,084 new cases were reported, including a two-day backlog from Florida which occurs every Tuesday. It represents an increase of 73% from last week. The states reporting the most new cases are: Florida (38,321 for a three-day period), Texas (8,642), California (7,731), Louisiana (6,818), Georgia (3,587), Utah (2,882), Alabama (2,667), and Missouri (2,414). The rolling 7-day average for daily cases is 62,411, up from 12,648 a month ago.


The surge is accompanied by a rapid rise in hospital admissions, particularly in Florida, which reported the biggest one-day increase on record. Nearly 40,000 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized across the U.S., well below the peak in January but an increase of nearly 11% in one day. Earlier on Tuesday, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky urged all Americans to wear a mask in public in high-risk areas. She said the new advice was based on evidence which shows that the Delta variant can spread among vaccinated people, even though the vast majority of people who become seriously ill are unvaccinated.

Read more …

He never gets tired.

Dr. Pierre Kory’s Medical Lecture for Physicians and Citizens of Malaysia (O.)

Read more …

Article’s a little incoherent, bu the idea is clear.

Omaha Doctor Sees Tremendous Success with Ivermectin as Early Treatment (TSN)

Physicians from around the United States continue to emerge, going public with their declaration of the benefits of ivermectin as an early onset, mild-to-moderate stage COVID-19 treatment. Most recently on KETV 7 Omaha, Dr. Louis Safranek came forth, declaring, “I typically use it in combination with other agents. But I do prescribe it for virtually all the patients who come to be, as part of a treatment regimen, which I think is effective for folks.” The Harvard Medical School graduate has been specializing in infectious diseases for four decades. Having treated nearly 200 COVID-19 patients at home and in the local hospitals here in Omaha, Nebraska, ivermectin is a key medicine tool in the medicine box targeting COVID-19.

TrialSite can assure that the National Institute of Health (NIH) formal policy in fighting the pandemic is to have a comprehensive mix of 1) safe and effective vaccines, 2) branded therapeutics, 3) generic repurposed therapeutics, and 4) sound and locationally relevant public health policy. Of course, industry bias has reared its ugly head in this pandemic as the NIH and the federal government have spent many billions on vaccines and novel investigational therapies while investing probably less than 5% of the portfolio investment in generic repurposed drugs—the NIH happens to be testing ivermectin now as part of the ACTIV-6 program.

In fact, Dr. Safranek shared that not one COVID-19 patient that he has treated with ivermectin and other regimens have ended up on a ventilator or dead. He reports out of about 200 patients, only one ended up hospitalized, making this a very high success. Here in the Midwest plains, Doctor Safranek had an 80-year old Omaha woman who survived two bouts of COVID-19, the second via a breakthrough infection. That is, she got infected even after being fully vaccinated. When she came to the doctor and he treated her with the anti-parasite, FDA-approved drug, she informed, “I was better the next day, not well but better.” She continued that while on the ivermectin regimen, “Each day, I got better, and now I am over it.”

Of course, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, isn’t about to administer its COVID-19 patients with ivermectin. Their position: “Further studies needed to be done to show Ivermectin has utility in the treatment of COVID-19,” reports UNMC Medical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. Mark Rupp. Of course, Dr. Rupp will administer remdesivir to hospitalized patients, even though the drug has some concerning safety signals and the World Health Organization (WHO), on no uncertain terms, declared the drug wasn’t effective based on the results of the Solitary study. UNMC also makes monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) available for the care of COVID-19 patients, and these have shown some promise but they are highly investigational.

Read more …

Nothing noble about them. Don’t try to make them that, Slate.

The Noble Lies of COVID-19 (Slate)

The fourth noble lie from government agencies and/or officials occurred more recently. On June 4, using data from February to March, the agency made the case that hospitalizations were rising in adolescents. It tweeted, “The report shows the importance of #COVID19 vaccination for adolescents.” That tweet spurred a great deal of media attention and concern. It was true that hospitalization rates had risen. However, at the time of the press coverage, hospitalization rates in this age group had already fallen again. Numerous commenters immediately pointed out that the “rise” in hospitalization statistic promoted by the CDC was out of date the moment it was highlighted and raised questions about why the CDC would promote a dated statistic, when the organization had access to up-to-date information.

This obvious error was compounded weeks later during a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The committee met to discuss what we knew and did not know about heart inflammation, or myocarditis, that had been linked to mRNA vaccination, and most notable in young men who received the vaccine. During the course of the meeting, representatives of the CDC showed a model that claimed that vaccination of young adults was preferable to the disease itself. There were, however, several concerns with this model. First, it used rates of community SARS-CoV-2 spread that again were out of date. By the time of the meeting, the rates were lower, meaning the benefits of vaccination would be reduced, but the harms remain the same.

Second, it did not consider the risks separately for boys and girls, who appear to have substantially different risk of myocarditis (much higher in boys). Third, it did not consider any middle ground positions, such as only receiving one dose of the vaccine, which provides much of the benefit with far lower myocarditis risk. Instead, the CDC presented zero or two doses as the only options. Fourth, the modeling did not consider natural immunity—i.e., the vaccine’s risk to kids who already recovered from COVID-19 might be the same, but the benefits far lower (as these children have some natural immunity). Finally, the model did not consider the fact that young adults with preexisting medical conditions and those who are otherwise well might have different risk benefit profiles, as the former account for a disproportionate number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Together, these are all information choices made by government agencies and/or officials about vaccination of young adults. Amplifying out-of-date statistics and building a model to support vaccination that has questionable assumptions work to support rapid deployment of two doses of mRNA to all healthy kids aged 12 to 17. That may be the CDC’s policy pursuit, and one we are sympathetic to. However, distorting evidence to achieve this result is a form of a noble lie. Accurately reporting current risks to adolescents, and exploring other dosing possibilities, is part of the unbiased scientific exploration of data.

Read more …

I like Taibbi, but why does he have to vent an opinion about other people’s lives and choices? Does he simply not understand what he says?

I’m vaccinated. I think people should be vaccinated

The Vaccine Aristocrats (Taibbi)

On This Week With George Stephanopoulos this past Sunday, a bafflegab of Washington poo-bahs including Chris Christie, Rahm Emmanuel, Margaret Hoover, and Donna Brazile — Stephanopoulos calls the segment his “Powerhouse Roundtable,” which to my ear sounds like a Denny’s breakfast sampler, but I guess he couldn’t name it Four Hated Windbags — discussed vaccine holdouts. The former George W. Bush and Giuliani aide Hoover said it was time to stop playing nice. If you’re going to get government-provided health care, if you’re getting VA treatment, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, anything — and Social Security obviously isn’t health care — you should be getting the vaccine. Okay? Because we are going to have to take care of you on the back end. Brazile nodded sagely, but Emmanuel all but gushed cartoon hearts.

“You know, I’m having an out of body experience, because I agree with you,” said Obama’s former hatchet man, before adding, over the chyron, FRUSTRATION MOUNTS WITH UNVACCINATED AMERICANS: I would close the space in. Meaning if you want to participate in X or Y activity, you gotta show you’re vaccinated. So it becomes a reward-punishment type system, and you make your own calculation. This bipartisan love-in took place a few days after David Frum, famed Bush speechwriter and creator of the “Axis of Evil” slogan, wrote a column in The Atlantic entitled “Vaccinated America Has Had Enough.” In it, Frum wondered: Does Biden’s America have a breaking point? Biden’s America produces 70 percent of the country’s wealth — and then sees that wealth transferred to support Trump’s America. Which is fine; that’s what citizens of one nation do for one another… [But] the reciprocal part of the bargain is not being upheld…


Will Blue America ever decide it’s had enough of being put medically at risk by people and places whose bills it pays? Check yourself. Have you? I’m vaccinated. I think people should be vaccinated But this latest moral mania — and make no mistake about it, the “pandemic of the unvaccinated” PR campaign is the latest in a ceaseless series of such manias, dating back to late 2016 — lays bare everything that’s abhorrent and nonsensical in modern American politics, beginning with the no-longer-disguised aristocratic mien of the Washington consensus. If you want to convince people to get a vaccine, pretty much the worst way to go about it is a massive blame campaign, delivered by sneering bluenoses who have a richly deserved credibility problem with large chunks of the population, and now insist they’re owed financially besides.

Read more …

US banned gain of function, Fauci and Daszak exported it to China. Not a complicated story.

NIH Dumped Millions Into Chinese Entities To Study Infectious Diseases (DC)

The National Institutes of Health has doled out nearly $46 million in taxpayer funds to 100 Chinese institutions in the form of subgrants since the 2012 fiscal year to conduct research into infectious diseases, drug addiction, mental health and other scientific fields, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of federal spending data. The NIH’s ongoing funding of Chinese research institutions comes amid growing bipartisan concern in Washington D.C. over the fact that U.S. taxpayers support research in a country that has violated international health regulations, stonewalled a proper investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and that may be in violation of the Biological Weapons Convention.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the NIH subagency led by Dr. Anthony Fauci, provided $6.6 million in taxpayer-funded subgrants to 27 of the Chinese entities, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology, to conduct research into allergies and infectious diseases, subgrant data pulled from USASpending.gov shows. One of the NIAID-funded subgrants, which involved the transfer of $428,000 to a Chinese government-owned institution in 2020 to conduct research into emerging mosquito and tick-based infections, states unequivocally that the U.S. will only receive the research, funded in part by U.S. taxpayers, upon approval by Chinese government authorities.


“Following testing for common pathogens, and then, after approval by the relevant authorities of the Chinese government, a subset of samples will be sent to Washington University in St. Louis for further analysis,” the subgrant description to the Chinese National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention reads.[..] Another NIAID-funded project provided $600,000 in subgrants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to conduct research that involved the genetic modification of bat-based coronaviruses.

Read more …

China 1/3, Bill Gates 1/3, Monsanto 1/3. American farmers: 0.

Will Washington Stop China From Buying Up Farmland? (JTN)

China’s effort to unseat America as the world’s economic superpower has a new tactic: It has bought up more than 200,000 acres of U.S. farmland. And while there is bipartisan support for legislation to slow down Beijing’s acquisitions, Democrats have added a new wrinkle. Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), who is leading the legislative charge, says congressional Democrats have removed all references to the communist government of China in an amendment to an agricultural spending bill that originally prevented the Chinese Communist Party’s purchase of American farmland. “[O]ver the last decade, we’ve seen a huge increase in the acquisition of these kinds of assets — farming in particular — by the People’s Republic of China,” he said. “And that, to me, is just a direction that, while we can, we should do all we can to stop.”

With China purchasing the United States’ agricultural assets and becoming more ingrained in the U.S. economy, America might eventually “become dependent on Communist China for our agricultural production,” Newhouse warned. “We don’t want that to happen. We want to stop that in its tracks.” Only six states have agricultural restrictions on China, Newhouse said, “so this is something that I think is desperately needed in our country to prevent China, Communist China, from taking over our agricultural industry.” Newhouse added that the House Committee on Appropriations adopted the amendment through a unanimous voice vote, which is rare for two reasons: being unanimous and passing an amendment from the minority party.


“I think that that tells us that there’s concern across the board [over] the direction that people see China taking,” he said, adding that neither political party wants to see China taking over America’s critical assets, like it has with other countries. Democrats want to include North Korea, Iran, and Russia in addition to China in the amendment, Newhouse said. But North Korea has no money to buy farmland in the U.S., and the other countries haven’t purchased any land in recent years, unlike China.

Read more …

Apparently, revoking his citizenship is not final yet.

Assange Attorney Accuses Ecuador Of Foul Play (RT)

Ecuador has revoked Julian Assange’s citizenship, citing alleged inconsistencies with his naturalization documents. A lawyer for the imprisoned publisher claims the decision was made without due process. The WikiLeaks co-founder was informed that his citizenship had been nullified in a letter issued by Ecuador’s justice system, following a complaint issued by the South American nation’s Foreign Ministry. Ecuadorian officials claimed that Assange’s application for naturalization contained numerous inconsistencies, including different signatures, as well as possibly forged documents. Assange also failed to pay fees connected with his citizenship in the country, authorities alleged. Carlos Poveda, Assange’s lawyer, responded to the decision by accusing the Ecuadorian government of turning its back on due process.

The Australian was unable to contest the claims made against him because he is currently being “deprived of his liberty” and suffering from a “health crisis” while locked away at London’s maximum-security Belmarsh Prison, Poveda told AP. The lawyer complained a week earlier that it was “impossible” for his client to properly defend himself under the circumstances, and expressed hope that the case would not be “judged by ‘public opinion’” alone. Poveda said he will petition the government to clarify its decision on the matter. “More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality,” he said.


Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry insisted that it had “acted independently and followed due process,” claiming that similar concerns about Assange’s citizenship had been raised by the previous government. Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship in January 2018, as part of an attempt by then-President Lenin Moreno to help the journalist safely leave the country’s embassy in London, where he had been seeking asylum since June 2012.

Read more …

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

 

 

San Diego
https://twitter.com/i/status/1420401547037462532

 

 

 

 

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jul 212021
 


John Singer Sargent Palmettos, Florida 1917

 

 

I’ve been trying to write this for a week or so, but every time I start, new things happen. The virus landscape has changed enormously, which we of course don’t see reflected in the media. They report only on increases in infections and panicking politicians. Which can all be nicely packed together in “the Delta variant”.

But there should be much more attention -and questions- with regards to those rising numbers, more often than not occurring in highly vaccinated countries, UK, Israel etc. We might learn a thing or two if we don’t look at this through the same glasses we’ve used for a year and a half now. They grossly distorted our view. Here goes:

 

What do the substances sold to us as “vaccines” -even if they’re not in the general sense of the word-, actually do? They don’t limit the risk of infection, we know that now, but we could have known it already, the producers told us. Of course the politicians and their experts said otherwise for as long as they could, but with recent rapidly rising infection rates among the fully vaccinated, we’ll hear much less of that. That story died.

So what do they do? The one thing left, and which the producers DO claim, is they make (Covid-related) illness less severe. But has anyone seen any irrefutable proof of that? If so, please send it. Not some hint at proof, nothing halfway, we’re not interested in that, but absolute and irrefutable. Like Godot.

Something we do know the vaccines do, the mRNA ones but also AZ and J&J, is they induce your cells to produce spike proteins. And it’s those spike proteins that PCR tests recognize, leading to “positive” test results, also with people who’ve never been infected by the virus.

Which makes me wonder how many people in the wave of the new “infections” test positive because they’ve been injected, not because they’ve been infected. Though the difference may not be easy to detect, other than the first group never getting sick, but then again, 80% of people have natural immunity against Covid to begin with, says Nature Magazine.

So all your victims come from 20% of the population. If you go through the sites that count “cases”, like Worldometer, you can see that there is no country (that I could find) which has seen more than 10% of people test positive. And after 18 months, chances are that percentages won’t rise much, let alone above 20%. In India, 67% of people have antibodies, it was announced today. Those people need no vaccines, their immunity is stronger than a vaccine can offer.

Now, how do you tell those groups apart, the 80% vs 20%? It’s hard enough to begin with but once you inject healthy people with a substance that causes the human body to make (cyto-) toxic spike proteins, telling one from the other may become impossible (cytotoxic means it kills cells).

In short, after some 7 months of the vaccines being used, we know they are useless for preventing infection, even if loud voices keep insisting the world will come to an end if not everyone gets vaccinated. They may lead to a huge number of false positives though, meaning that once your cells start producing spike proteins, you may well get sick anyway. Sort of like a self-fulfilling prescription. Solution from industry and experts: boosters, induce cells to produce more toxic proteins. Hmmm.

I’m not sure you would call the ensuing disease Covid-19, even if it has the same spike proteins, but it will have many of the same symptoms: pulmonary issues, myocarditis, other heart problems, blindness etc.

And death. By now you must have seen some numbers, even if the media and politics keep them from you. The latest count in the US is about 11,000 deaths from the vaccines, and there is a court case being filed that claims the real count is 45,000. It could well be much more, but it’s hard to prove. All we need to know really is that in the past, 25-50 deaths was all it took to shelve a vaccine.

Adverse reactions other than death are if possible even harder to get a grip on. The VAERS system says there are presently some 450,000 reported, but the UK’s MHRA yellow Card system was already well above 1,000,000 there two weeks ago, so you can pick any number you like. These systems typically register between 1-10% of events.

Question is, do you want to pick that number AFTER getting jabbed? I’ve said before, you must count on your immune system being strong enough to fight the vaccine, not just the virus. 80% of people have an immune system that can do that. The 20% who don’t are mostly old, obese or suffering from another disease.

That the 80% is nevertheless also targeted by vaccine salesmen including politicians is pretty strange, even if we’ve come to see it as normal. But that it can actually worsen the health prospects of those involved is another story altogether. We will have to find out from the large numbers of “fully vaccinated” who are now testing positive, but who may simply have started producing spike proteins without getting infected. It will be very difficult to tell the difference, but we should no longer accept anything less.

Not after accepting the failed policies of lockdowns and mask wearing and vaccines. How do we know they failed? Look at the numbers in mid summer! And compare them to last summer. Delta, yeah, yeah, I know, but how deadly is Delta? And how much have the vaccines contributed to the appearance of Delta?

It’s very popular these days to talk about the Pandemic of the Unvaccinated, but what if what we’re really looking at is a Pandemic of the Vaccinated? When the breeding ground for a virus doesn ‘t change much, there is not much reason for it to mutate. That reason comes for instance in the form of a vaccine, especially one that is non-sterilizing (doesn’t prevent further infection) and is used on an enormous scale.

Instead, they’ll have you believe the opposite: that the unvaccinated (80% of whom are safe to begin with) cause a virus to mutate, and the vaccinated stop that mutating, even if they continue to infect people around them. There is no logic in that.

And there’s that question again: what DO the vaccines do? What do they do that is beneficial to us, and which vitamin D and any of an assortment of fully harmless repurposed drugs, research into which was suspended or banned to make the vaccine EUA’s possible, could not have done, and possibly better? For one thing, the vaccines don’t grant you immunity. None. If that’s not enough yet, let’s at least start there.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

May 152021
 


Claude Monet Misty Morning on the Seine 1897

 

 

When the covid virustime started, we were told by everyone with a microphone to “follow the science”. But 16 months or so in, we’re not following the science, yet no-one calls us on it. What happened? Where did we lose the thread, where did we lose our heads, where did the science go?

Did we lose it because the vaccine makers got too greedy, or because politicians became too panicky, or because the media realized that scaring the living daylights out of people 24/7 is great for ratings? Or just because we ourselves lost track of what was really going on?

Injecting hundreds of millions of people with substances that have never been properly tested – for which long-established protocols have existed for a long time – is about as unscientific as it gets. Then when you realize there’s no evidence that they keep injectees from being infected or infecting others, but only makes them -hopefully- a little less sick, you might as well stop right there.

From a science point of view, you’re engaging in either a useless enterprise or a giant gamble with people’s health. Both utterly unscientific endeavors, any scientist can tell you that.

Then, when you hear, from the UK government, no less, that only 66% of people can ever be successfully vaccinated and may be protected with the present vaccines, which still leaves out those who don’t want these vaccines, what are you going to think and do?

Shouldn’t you perhaps focus on the fact that over 4 out of 5 people have an immune system that provides them with “adaptive cross-immunity”, meaning they are not at risk of dying or even serious disease? Why would you instead turn to experimental substances that risk putting those immune systems themselves at risk?

Which part of this is us following the science? Why haven’t we seen huge campaigns aimed at making us healthier, and boosting our immune systems? What part of that would be “not following the science”? It’s not as if we don’t know how to boost our immune systems, or for that matter how to make us overall healthier then we are today.

Moreover, the effect of lockdowns is highly debatable -even if such debates are stifled-, as is the effect of facemasks always and everywhere. And, obviously, that of untested “vaccines”. We have the science, mankind has been through epidemics through its entire history, and it’s not as if scientists have never learned anything from that history.

It’s just that we seem to be changing the meaning of the word “science” to mean an industry, and corporations, that produce novel chemicals, as well as societies that do things, lockdowns, masks, that have never been used in the way they have been the past year.

And that is very risky. If people like Geert VanDenBossche are only half right when they say mass-vaccination during a pandemic will only -and inevitably- speed up the ability of an endemic virus to mutate into forms that evade the vaccines, it’s woman and children first. Well, either that or old and overweight men.

I’ve written a lot on the topic over the past year and a half, obviously, and it doesn’t feel all that great to repeat talking points, but I keep finding it difficult to understand why our 21st century world calls for us to follow the science, only to turn its back on that science the very next moment.

And for simply asking that, I risk being vilified. Like some kind of heretic. But as someone said, I think it was Roger Hodkinson, we cannot afford to stifle dissenting voices in this situation, because the discussion they start might be the very step we need to find a way out. We can’t afford to not ask questions.

To just say get your jab and don’t say or ask a word appears to be the most reckless thing we can do. Even if the alleged “vaccines” would do better at protecting us than the present science has evidence for, that would still be only in -the richer- part of the world, while the virus can run rampage in the rest.

As we can still, though you won’t hear anything about this from your media -local or global- or your politicians, strengthen immune systems sufficiently to make the worst threat of Covid go away.

The virus may kill the some of weakest amongst us, the obese, those with co-morbidities, and the elderly, but many other things, like the flu, can -and do- do that too, yet we have never paralyzed our societies and social lives because of those things. While we have zero evidence that the present vaccines, or whatever you call them, will solve these issues.

It doesn’t look to me like we are following the science at all. We’re following something alright, but not that. If and when the vaccine makers themselves state they have no proof their chemicals protect against infection, yet everyone starts opening up their stores and theaters and what have you, but only to the “vaccinated”, I’m at a loss for words.

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Click at the top of the sidebars to donate with Paypal and Patreon.

 

Jul 102020
 


Gerry Cranham Protection for the pretty 1963

 

 

Imagine you’re standing across the street from a house that’s on the verge of falling apart, a condemned building, an edifice devoured by rot from bottom to top. Now imagine you see a construction crew arriving to repair it, and they start to fix the roof. You would think that’s not much use if the walls, floor and foundation are just one wolf’s huff and puff away from collapse.

Still, that is what the world’s central banks are doing today: they “fix” the top by bailing out banks and allege that somehow that will fix the rest of the edifice too. In that same analogy, while central banks prop up banks, governments try to support the walls, by bailing out businesses. Again, while the floors and foundations keep on rotting away. And when the floors cave in, so of course will the walls, just like the roof.

There may appear to be some logic to all this, but it’s only the “inner logic” of an economic and political ideology that deals exclusively with how things should be, not how they are. Of course it’s nice to have a shiny new roof, and strong walls. But neither have any value if there are no more floors to support them.

This is what is happening today to our economies and societies. The 2008 crisis wasn’t bad enough to expose the failures of the “inner logic” of the system, but the fallout of COVID19 will be. And it’s not the virus that does it all, or the lockdowns, they merely expose a system that’s been rotting for many years without its floors and foundations ever being repaired.

(And yes, you’re right, the central banks are not merely fixing the roof, they’re gold-plating it for good measure).

 

So you got the Fed team working on the roof and the government team working on the walls, and absolutely nobody working on the floors and foundations. And at some point you’re going to have to ask what these people actually know about building and construction, even about gravity: are they aware that roofs and walls are infinitely more dependent on solid floors than floors are on them?

Actually, I think they are. They just don’t think it’s possible that the floor may fall out from underneath them (i.e. they deny gravity). But that is what is threatening to happen. Not only in the US, but all over the western world. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to happen to your house, or your economy/society, it’s for the bottom to fall out. Because where will you live?

Still, with headlines such as

“More Than Half Of The US Population Is Not Working”,
“50 Million Americans Have Lost Their Job In Past 6 Weeks”,
“42 Million Unemployed, 25.5% Unemployment Rate”,
“52% Of Small Businesses Expect To Be Out Of Business Within Six Months”,
“53% Of Restaurants Closed Amid Coronavirus Have Shuttered Permanently”,
“US Retail Apocalypse: Over 25,000 Stores Could Close By Year End”
,

and more of the same on the way, we should at least consider the possibility of the bottom falling out, and prepare accordingly.

It’s one thing to want to save the businesses, but if you have huge amounts of people who can’t afford to buy anything from them, businesses will inevitably fail in huge numbers. If the bottom threatens to fall out, you need to focus on saving the floor and foundations, the people, not the businesses. Nothing to do with socialism or anything like that, but with preserving your society as a going concern.

 

The first thing I didn’t quite get, but then again did, was that all the PPP’s and their equivalents, the various global payment protection programs, were aimed at protecting businesses by guaranteeing wages and salaries of their employees. What an odd idea, I thought. After all, if you want to protect wages, there is no reason to do that through a business, you might as well pay the employee directly.

If you pay the business which must then pay the employee, how would that help or protect that business? By giving off the false impression it can still pay the wages? Of course, if you do pay it through businesses, at least no-one can bring up a theme such as Universal Basic Income, anymore than they can MMT. While you in effect practice both, you can also deny practicing either. Pretty smart, right? Neat!

But turn this around for a moment. Say the governments pay the wages and salaries. These are the biggest cost for many if not most businesses, certainly the small ones, which are, obviously, the most vulnerable to sudden events like a pandemic and lockdown. So as a government, you take that liability, and that risk, away.

It would appear that then you can assess much better how viable such a business really is. Because a business that doesn’t have to pay its biggest cost should be able to survive for a few months, even if there’s no revenue coming in, unless it has deeper problems, like -too much- debt. The advantages for everyone are clear: less paperwork for government and business owner, guaranteed wages for employees, and a better view of a business’s financial situation for everyone.

 

Not that you should pay employees 100% of their wages, as many countries have. You would only do that if you think the problems will be over soon, but in reality you have no idea if they will be. You need to support the lowest-paid people -because they are the bottom that’s about to fall out- but as you work your way up to higher wages, you start taking off a percentage, rinse and repeat, and end up paying maybe $50,000 to people who made $100,000 (and yes, that goes for government employees too).

Why would you hand someone, anyone over $100,000 for not working? Of course there are people with mortgages and car loans that are so elevated that they need more than $100,000 to keep their families alive, but that is a different story. That does not deal with the bottom falling out. For those cases, you need a separate program. Just like you do for businesses that still can’t survive once all their wages have been taken care of by the government.

Obviously, as Midwest small businessman Bruce Wilds said recently in his guest post here, Small Business Firings to Start, for some businesses showrooms, or inventory, taxes, utilities, can be major liabilities. Again, separate program. Support the bottom, the people, first. Because it’s urgent. Because you risk too many people having too little to survive on. In fact, so many that your businesses come under threat from having no customers left.

 

As one of its first measures, Greece, when it went into lockdown, lowered rents for businesses by 40%, without as much as a plan for how to compensate landlords. That’s the spirit. But it’s a spirit few will understand, let alone politicians. In the end, the reality is that most landlords and mortgage lenders will get less money. For a long time. You can try to help everyone out with cheap loans to individuals and businesses to pay off their mortgages, but that’s a just another short term plan, and has nothing to do with long time views.

And cheap loans won’t save the bottom from falling out. If you put it like that, people will actually understand: you don’t save a failing economy by pouring in cheap money. Any more than a lick of paint will save a condemned building.

But at the same time, that’s all our political systems manage to come up with. While fervently hoping for, counting on, a miraculous recovery, and planning to make the poor pay by raising taxes when we’re “back to normal”. It’s just that there comes a time when the poor have nothing left to pay with, not even for their food. That’s when the bottom falls out.

To be continued. I have much more to say on this. Like: what to do now?

Look, it’s quite simple really: if you ask yourself, or your friends, or someone on the street, if they think the economy will recover within a “reasonable” timeframe, most will say yes. Conditioned by politicians, by the media, and by their own fear of what will be their fate if it doesn’t. But that is a giant blind spot. If half of businesses and half or restaurants are shut for good where ever it is you live, where would that recovery have to come from? Do ask yourself that question, and try not to be afraid of the answer for a moment.

 

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the interaction.

Thank you.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 172020
 


Gerry Cranham They all fall in the round I call 1963

 

There was this comment at the Automatic Earth yesterday that got me thinking. It was sort of wrapped in a bit of -more- innuendo about health officials not getting the results they were looking for in COVID19 numbers, as if the whole virus event is some goal-seeked conspiracy. You’ll be familiar with it by now.

I said back in the day that measures like lockdowns can’t last long, because people are social animals. You would just have hoped that when they were finally, far too late, decided upon, that countries, states, communities, would have made the best of them. But it’s been, and more importantly will be, an awful mess, other than in a few places.

And I did say that too, that the so-called leadership in the world today is good at declaring a lockdown, albeit too late, but not at anything else, not at timing it, not at executing it, let alone at managing the way out of it in reopening societies. It is all so predictable.

But people have been solidly dug into their trenches now, after 2 months, and they’ve done so much reading, and watching pundits, that they’re no longer looking for news, they’re looking for opinions, ones that match their own darkest notions. We’ve come to the point that if there’s nothing suspicious going on, then that’s mighty suspicious.

 

And there’s plenty of such opinions, and plenty among them that lay the blame for freedoms and livelihoods lost somewhere, anywhere. So yeah, in that sense it’s time to reopen, the mental health sense. But not, unfortunately, in the physical health sense. The virus is still prevalent in most communities and many a community will pay a steep price.

But nobody is aware of it, it seems, because nobody really knows what will happen. They’ve only all heard the clamoring for a return to normal. That there will be no return to normal is something nobody wants to tell them. How many people do you think know there’s never been a vaccine for a coronavirus? How many people know that there is no need for a vaccine?

Everyone’s been told to wait for a vaccine, which suits Big Pharma, which gets billions for something they don’t even need to deliver, just try, and it suits the politicians who can all say there’s nothing they can do to prevent more suffering until the magic pill shows up. They can say they opened up because there was so much pressure on them.

But yes, that comment. It made me think that perhaps people don’t understand viruses very well, and also that it’s a very good lead for a description of how they “function”.

 

Is this a fiercely contagious pathogen or not? If it’s so contagious, then it isn’t particularly lethal. If it’s incredibly lethal, then it isn’t so contagious.

 

First of all, remember a virus doesn’t think or plan or have a strategy, none of that. If conditions are right a virus will multiply. And while doing so, it will mutate. These things happen in virustime, counted in time sequences as infinitesimal as the size of a virus itself. And one in a billion or so a mutation will stick for more than two nanoseconds, because it offers an advantage to the virus.

That’s how it gets to spread from, first, animal hosts within the same species, and then, in very rare circumstances, to other species, like humans. And even then it’s exceedingly rare that a virus could do harm to a human being. The odds of that happening are maybe one in a trillion or something, I doubt anyone could tell you, including virologists.

The virus “wants” one thing: to multiply. Just like any other being, including us. And being both very lethal and very contagious doesn’t help it do that (not that it’s trying). Earlier well-known coronaviruses like SARS and MERS got that balance wrong. Because that’s what it is: a trade off between lethality and contagiousness. Neither can be too high.

SARS is noted by the WHO for a case fatality rate (CFR) of 9.6%. At that percentage, with the lethality and contagiousness it had/has, the virus lacks the time to jump from old host to new host, especially when existing and potential hosts are being isolated. MERS had a 34% CFR, and obviously didn’t prevail long.

MERS never even really left Saudi Arabia (and appears to have never achieved human-to-human transmission). SARS did get to other countries, I remember especially Canada, but that whole epidemic was over in 7 months.

 

You need the right amount of contagiousness combined with the right amount of lethality in order to have a pandemic. Jump from host to host, but not too fast, because in no time every potential host would be infected and develop antibodies (herd immunity). And not too lethal, because not enough “old hosts” would be left to infect enough “new hosts”.

The present SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus appears to have struck a delicate balance. People may say it’s not all that contagious, and it’s not so lethal, but it’s those qualities that enabled it to be a pandemic. One thing it hasn’t achieved yet is becoming endemic, and we would be wise to keep it that way. But the odds that we will have a vaccine before we can do that are slim.

Where to go from here is very opaque. People shout out for the world to be opened, but all they will get is a small part of that world. Mass events, bars, restaurants, subways, planes, and so much more, can no longer function the way they did. As long as the virus is out there, it may be ‘only’ modestly contagious and lethal, but enough that people will be willing to avoid many things that were considered normal before 2020.

That will lead to huge changes in society, enormous amounts of jobs that will not return. If we fail to adapt to those things as badly as we failed in our lockdowns, the changes can only become even larger, even deeper, until there may be little left that we still readily recognize.

There are still very few, if any, countries where everyone is tested for SARS-CoV-2. We will need to test everyone at least once a week, and twice on Sundays. And isolate whoever tests positive. It didn’t need to come to this, but we all screwed up something awful, except for a very small number of countries and societies.

 

Get ready for the next round; there is no other way out. And if we let the virus become endemic, and it returns in waves of every year or so, the testing regimen will have to continue too. Until there is a vaccine, but that may never come. Or we reach herd immunity, but that is merely a fickle concept used mostly for cattle and may never come either. Or only at the cost of millions of lives.

We need to prevent the virus from “finding” new hosts. It is that easy. And there are ways to do it. But they don’t rhyme with “I won’t give up my freedom for your safety”. If that’s the route we take, we’re all going to live in very small and separated worlds. And what does “freedom” mean anymore then?

It’s obviously much easier to join the crowd and claim Bill Gates wants to force vaccinate us all, and the elites want to enslave us; and no doubt there’s a few psychos with crazy dreams. But maybe just maybe this is, or should be, more about us, about what we do, what powers we have, and what we do with those.

If the elites, or whoever else, wants to use the virus to make you their bitch, don’t let them. But do you really believe that letting a virus with just the right mix of lethal and contagious, run wild and undetected in your society, is the way to achieve that? Or might it be better to wear a face mask in public for a bit and get tested, or test yourself, until the virus is gone?

If you choose door number one, don’t you agree that you should blame yourself for that choice, not the so-called elites? Maybe you should take responsibility for your own lives, not blame whatever goes wrong on others. Maybe that’s a higher degree of freedom than saying we can’t do anything about it anyway, so let 50 million people die as long as I am free to go to McDonalds.

And you would be playing into Bill Gates’s hands to boot if you do that, provided you believe that he wants to depopulate the planet. How’s that work, he’s your bogeyman, him and the elites, and therefore you give them what they want? They want to depopulate, so you say sure, let the virus roam, while you could prevent it from doing that?

You might want to look up “freedom” in a dictionary.

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thank you.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 062020
 


Saul Leiter Phone call c1957

 

Don’t worry, we’re still talking virus, just from a slightly different angle. I was going to do something completely different, but then I saw an article at the South China Morning Post (SCMP) today that made me think “I don’t think that’s true”, realizing that at the same time many people would think it is.

Foreign holdings of US Treasuries are a misty environment for perhaps not just many, but most people. What triggered the SCMP piece is Trump’s threat, if it was ever meant to be one, to default on US dollar-denominated debt owned by China. Which by one estimate consists for about 70% of Treasuries.

And there are entire choirs full of voices willing to tell us that China can simply start dumping the -estimated- $1.2 trillion in Treasuries it holds, and threaten if not end the USD reserve currency status that way, if the US doesn’t “behave”. There’s little doubt that China would want this, but that doesn’t make the idea any more realistic.

What should give that away is, how easy can we make it for you, that it hasn’t done so yet. And now a conflict over the origin of a virus would trigger this? On a side note: if that origin is somewhere in China, even if it’s unintentional, how could Beijing possibly “admit” to it? How could it ever settle the lawsuits that would ensue?

No, the US cannot default on China’s holdings of its Treasuries. That alone would be a larger threat to the reserve currency status than anything anybody else could do, other then nuclear war. But at the same time, China cannot dump its Treasury holdings. because that would hurt … China.

And don’t forget that China and the US are in a symbiotic relationship of chief seller and chief buyer. Drastic changes in that relationship would -almost- certainly lead to consequences that neither can fully oversee, and that could hurt either or both tremendously.

Where are the US going to buy what they now buy from China? Who is China going to sell to what they today sell to the US? The countries are for all intents and purposes Siamese twins. Whatever can change, can only do so gradually. And even then.

No matter how much I read about it (a lot), this particular field is still not my expertise. But when I read the SCMP piece, it reminded me right off the bat of something that Michael Pettis, professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets, wrote on May 28 2019, in an update of an article he wrote in January 2018 (all pre-virustime).

I liked Michael’s take from the moment it was published, because I learned a lot. I think you might too. I can’t do this without some elaborate quotes, but at least that will make me shut up a little. Please bear with me. I don’t find the SCMP piece all that interesting, but it’s good as a failing counterweight to Pettis.

With all that in mind, let’s take the SCMP piece first:

 

China Could Cut US Debt Holdings In Response To White House COVID19 Compensation Threats

[..] White House officials have debated several measures to offset the cost of the coronavirus outbreak, including cancelling some or all of the nearly US$1.1 trillion debt that the United States government owes China. While analysts added that the US was highly unlikely to take the “nuclear option”, the mere fact that the idea has been discussed could well prompt Beijing to seek to insulate itself from the risk by reducing its US government debt holdings.

That, in turn, could spell trouble for the US government bond market at a time when Washington is significantly ramping up new issuance to pay for a series of programmes to combat the pandemic and the economic damage it is causing. “It’s such a crazy idea that anyone who has made it should really have their fitness for office reconsidered,” said Cliff Tan, East Asian head of global markets research at MUFG Bank. “We view this as largely a political ploy for [Donald Trump’s] re-election and a cynical one because it would destroy the financing of the US federal budget deficit.”

[..] any move to cancel the debt owed to China – effectively defaulting on it – would be counterproductive to US interests because it would likely destroy investors’ faith in the trustworthiness of the US government to pay its bills [..] The US Treasury two-year yield continued to trade near record low levels this week, suggesting market traders and fund managers are largely shrugging off what is widely seen as a far-fetched idea that the US could cancel some or all of China’s debt.

The whole idea that the US would default on its own Treasury debt is nonsensical. Why write about it? Is that only because you don’t understand what’s involved? And your editor doesn’t either?

Nevertheless, the news that the idea was discussed by top US officials is likely to raise concerns among Chinese leaders about the growing risks of holding a large amount of US government debt at a time when relations appear to be deteriorating rapidly, analysts said. Iris Pang, Greater China chief economist at ING Bank, said unless it had no choice, China would want to avoid quickly offloading its US government debt without first considering other punitive measures against the US.


[..] China could trigger a crash in the US dollar and financial markets by flooding the market with US Treasuries for sale, which would push down US bond prices and cause yields to spike. But that would also ignite a global financial catastrophe, hurting China as well. Instead, China could cut back or stop buying new US Treasury issues, which would gradually reduce its holdings of US government securities as old ones expire and are not replaced. “In the coming months, [China could] halt its Treasury purchases to send a clear signal of its intentions,” said Pang. “If it decides to do that, it could make actual sales [of its other holdings] at a later date.”

This is my central point here. The article says: “China could trigger a crash in the US dollar and financial markets by flooding the market with US Treasuries..”, and I don’t think that’s true. Yeah, they can do tariffs or buy less US soybeans, but then again, those have been linked by Trump to US purchases from China.

In the meantime, China may consider imposing tariffs of its own, or reducing its US agricultural purchases. China has agreed to buy an additional US$200 billion worth of US products and services over the next two years compared to 2017 levels as part of the phase one trade deal signed in January. [..] There have always been calls for China to diversify its US$3 trillion in foreign exchange reserve holdings, around one-third of which are held in US Treasuries. According to the latest US Treasury Department report, China’s holdings slipped to US$1.09 trillion in February from a peak of US$1.32 trillion in November 2013.


[..] “There’s a strong urge for countries like China, and Russia, to move away from US dollar settlements. This is simply because the US dollar can be weaponised by the US government,” said Xu Sitao, chief economist at Deloitte China, referring to the recent practise by the US government of cutting off foreign individuals, companies and governments from the global US dollar financial transaction settlement system, greatly complicating their ability to conduct business. “Clearly there’s more willingness for certain countries just to diversify and move away from US dollar settlements.”

Sure, but that’s old stuff, as old as the petrodollar. Still, the article supposedly deals with -life-during-and-after-COVID19. Has nothing changed? Well, perhaps not. But then why the article?

[..] David Chin, the founder of Basis Point Consulting, said China could be forced to toughen up its act if it no longer earned US dollars from its exports to the US because of a significant US-China decoupling. If that were to happen, China could sell its US Treasury holdings for yuan, seeking to engineer a collapse in the US dollar to end its status as the ruling currency. “Its ‘I die, you die harder’,” Chin said. “With no US export market, China would go the other way and rely on internal consumption, trade with Belt and Road countries and the rest of the world in their local currencies, and prepare to ‘eat bitter’ as local conditions worsen.”

If China doesn’t have the US as an export market, both go down, so I’m not sure why a news outlet would want to discuss this without providing the proper news “environment”. And anyway, it’s just not true. Here’s Michael Pettis very methodically putting the final nail in that coffin, and showing why the whole notion is just a load of crock.

 

China Cannot Weaponize Its US Treasury Bonds

China cannot sell off its holdings of U.S. government bonds because Chinese purchases were not made to accommodate U.S. needs. Rather, China made these purchases to accommodate a domestic demand deficiency in China: Chinese capital exports are simply the flip side of the country’s current account surplus, and without the former, they could not hold down the currency enough to permit the latter.

To see why any Chinese threat to retaliate against U.S. trade intervention would actually undermine China’s own position in the trade negotiations, consider all the ways in which Beijing can reduce its purchases of U.S. government bonds:

1) Beijing could buy fewer U.S. government bonds and more other U.S. assets, so that net capital flows from China to the United States would remain unchanged.

2) Beijing could buy fewer U.S. government and other U.S. assets, but other Chinese entities could then in turn buy more U.S. assets , so that net capital flows from China to the United States would stay unchanged.

3) Beijing and other Chinese entities could buy fewer U.S. assets and replace them with an equivalently larger amount of assets from other developed countries , so that net capital flows from China to the United States would be reduced, and net capital flows from China to other developedcountries would increase by the same amount.

4) Beijing and other Chinese entities could buy fewer U.S. assets and replace them with an equivalently larger amount of assets from other developing countries , so that net capital flows from China to the United States would be reduced, and net capital flows from China to other developing countries Beijing and other Chinese entities could buy fewer U.S. assets and not replace them by purchasing an equivalently larger amount of assets from other countries, so that net capital flows from China to the United States and to the world would be reduced.

These five paths cover every possible way Beijing can reduce official purchases of U.S. government bonds: China can buy other U.S. assets, other developed-country assets, other developing-country assets, or domestic assets. No other option is possible. The first two ways would change nothing for either China or the United States. The second two ways would change nothing for China but would cause the U.S. trade deficit to decline, either in ways that would reduce U.S. unemployment or in ways that would reduce U.S. debt.

Finally, the fifth way would also cause the U.S. trade deficit to decline in ways that would likely either reduce U.S. unemployment or reduce U.S. debt; but this would come at the expense of causing the Chinese trade surplus to decline in ways that would either increase Chinese unemployment or increase Chinese debt. By purchasing fewer U.S. government bonds, in other words, Beijing would leave the United States either unchanged or better off, while doing so would also leave China either unchanged or worse off. This doesn’t strike me as a policy Beijing is likely to pursue hotly, and Washington would certainly not be opposed to it.

I always thought this was a crystal clear explanation of what lies behind the threats that are continually uttered from both sides. One half of a Siamese twin can stab or poison the other, but what would be the outcome of that? And Pettis has more, and then much more at the link.

[..] Even if Beijing forced institutions like the People’s Bank of China to purchase fewer U.S. government bonds, such a step cannot credibly be seen as meaningful retaliation against rising trade protectionism in the United States. As I have showed, Beijing’s decision would have no impact at all on the U.S. balance of payments, or it would have a positive impact.

It would have almost no impact on U.S. interest rates, except to the extent perhaps of a slight narrowing of credit spreads to balance a slight increase in riskless rates. It would also have no impact on the Chinese balance of payments in the case that it leaves the U.S. balance of payments unaffected. To the extent that it would result in a narrower U.S. trade deficit, there are only three possible ways this might affect the Chinese balance.

First, China could export more capital to developed countries, in which case the decision would have no immediate impact on China’s overall balance of payments, but it would run the risk of angering its trade partners and inviting retaliation. Second, China could export more capital to developing countries, in which case the decision would have no immediate impact on China’s overall balance of payments, but it would run the very high risk of increasing its investment losses abroad. Or third, China could simply reduce its capital exports abroad, in which case it would be forced into running a lower trade surplus, which could only be countered, in China’s case, with higher unemployment or a much faster increase in debt.

The US cannot default on its debt because its reserve currency status would be shot. Trump knows that and still throws it out there. So what do you do as a serious journalist? Repeat that without as much as a question mark?

In the same vein, China cannot sell its USD-denominated assets, or at least not at any meaningful kind of pace. So what do you do as a serious journalist? You claim that it can?

 

 

 

We try to make the Automatic Earth run on donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral and badly needed part of the process.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth for your own good.

 

May 042020
 


Steve Schapiro Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) with mini gloves, Louisville, KY 1963

 

 

There was another comment at the Automatic Earth yesterday questioning the function and wisdom of various lockdowns. I thought I’d explain this in more detail.

 

Ilargi if you or anyone else could explain what the exit strategy is from a lockdown I’d be interested in hearing it. As it is, this lockdown I repeat is no different than financial QE – everyone comes out weaker than they were before treatment. Financial QE covers up her problem just like lockdown does, but makes it worse in the long run. The only exit strategy I can see is to keep lockdown until a vaccine or effective treatment, neither of which are on the horizon.


If you are arguing that even healthy economies can survive indefinite closure, with intermittent re-openings I don’t know what to tell you. The suggestion is made that Sweden has a huge vested interest in understating fatalities. It is also certainly true that the rest of the world has an even greater vested interest in criticizing the Swedish approach because it demonstrates how useless the total lockdowns are. BTW the reported differences in fatalities between Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia are not statistically significant. Playing with numbers and not understanding how things may not be as they seem.

 

First, let’s re-establish that no lockdown would have been needed if and when politicians and scientists had done what’s in their job descriptions. That does not mean that no lockdown was called for once they did fail. Indeed, it’s the failure to act at the very beginning, say January 31, when the WHO sent out its first warning, that made lockdowns inevitable.

I don’t say that to exonerate the WHO in any way, because it subsequently, for weeks on end, kowtowed to China’s refusal to allow its teams entry into the country, and followed that up by waiting and hesitating another full 6(!) weeks, until March 11, to declare a pandemic.

Second, a lockdown and the way it’s executed are not the same thing. The decisions to lock down their societies may be the only thing(s) the Little Manager politicians have gotten right, but they still did get it right. And sorry, but you cannot use their ginormous failures made both before and during the lockdowns, to argue that the lockdowns themselves are a failure. These are separate issues, don’t let’s get them mixed up.

Lockdowns in and of themselves, when properly executed, cannot NOT work, simply because of the way viruses spread. Yes, we need to know exactly how they do, but not knowing this in the present case is exactly why we need a lockdown, why we need to keep people, who are all potential hosts AND spreaders, away from each other. Until we know precisely how the virus spreads and/or until we know that the people involved are not virus carriers.

Terms such as “indefinite closure” don’t come from me, so please have the courtesy not to suggest I want one. Questioning the principle of a lockdown is not terribly helpful or smart, and neither is suggesting that Sweden is doing well. If only because such questions and suggestions, if you follow their “logic”, seek to deny the very way viruses spread, if not the existence of a virus in the first place.

Which is one of the few things we do know about COVID19: we know it exists and we know it spreads. We may get distances – between people- and timing – of various stages of infection- wrong, but the principle stands.

 

The lockdown is useful, make that inevitable, because it prevents further spread of a deadly virus from one host to another. Our ancestors understood this well before they even knew what viruses were, and I don’t understand why we would today no longer possess that wisdom.

The knowledge we have gained since times of old also allows us to understand that if a virus cannot spread to a new host for an x amount of time, it will die off. Which may sound a tad curious because science does not consider viruses to be microbes or “living organisms”, but that’s not really the issue at hand.

However, the NOT spreading will have to happen in as many instances as you have potential hosts, i.e. infected people, to make it work at a societal level, obviously. And that’s why lockdowns are inevitable: it’s all about numbers.

The “good news” is that the very reason lockdowns are useful already signifies that lockdowns don’t have to last until there is a “vaccine or effective treatment”; no “indefinite closure” is needed. You don’t necessarily have to eradicate a virus to inhibit it from jumping from host to host; you can also put distance and other barriers between (potential) hosts.

And there’s more good “news”. I think it was Nassim Taleb who said a while back that the answer to people saying a lockdown is a bad thing because it also isolates healthy people is: we need a lockdown precisely because we don’t know who is healthy or not.

If we do know who is healthy, however, we don’t need a lockdown. Ergo: testing, testing, testing. Certainly in the beginning, we must test people every 24 hours or so, test them for the virus. test them for antibodies, improve our tests, add more tests, test still more, we can all fill in the rest. And no, that is not an indefinite thing either. Testing will tell us to a much higher degree than we know today, when and where to distance people from each other.

Someone who has tested negative every 24 hours for days or weeks on end can be treated differently from someone who has not. And such a person will be, certainly initially, more careful in interacting with people. Take it from there, and you will in the end actually be rid of the virus, because it will not find enough new potential hosts.

That also means you don’t absolutely need a vaccine. Which is a good thing, because no coronavirus vaccine has ever been “discovered”, and because we have no idea what it would contain. Whenever I hear grand theories about grand bad plans elites or whoever are supposed to have with the virus, I first think: what would the virus need to propagate?

And I always come back to the same answer: it only needs our continuing incompetence: other than lockdowns and face masks, we have given it all the space and opportunity it has needed. It doesn’t need any help from 5G radiation or glyphosate (though both should be subject(ed) to the precautionary principle), or anything people come up with in the extra time their lockdown allows for. All it needs is for us to continue doing what we have: not test.

And opening up our societies again without mass testing, of course, will be the biggest gift we can offer it. This doesn’t mean I deny the possible existence of some plan, or that I want to claim to have knowledge of where the virus originated. It only means that from where I’m sitting, the virus doesn’t need any assistance to do what it has done so far, not that it may or may not have gotten any. Still, door A is factual, and door B is purely hypothetical. And we don’t have seas of time to debate this, we have lives to save.

 

It’s early May, and there no longer are any excuses for anyone in the western world not wearing face coverings in public, and neither are there excuses for countries lacking the capacity to test their citizens appropriately. Still, in most countries, we are nowhere near that capacity. That is inexcusable. Social distancing is not.

What shuts down societies today is not the virus, not the lockdowns, but the failure to adhere to basic principles with which to approach all potentially epidemic microbes or viruses. The failure to be properly prepared -at all times-, because some thirteen-a-dozen politician elected in a popularity contest considers it too expensive, or too much work. Even if warnings about a next epidemic had been sounded for many years.

The exit strategy is testing while Big Pharma looks for a vaccine. Good thing we don’t have to wait for the latter, because, yes, that would risk an indefinite closure. Testing will get us out once our “leaders” resolve to make it a priority. They should all be voted out of office for not having done that yet, and take their scientific advisers with them. And that’s after we may or may not forgive them for their initial failures.

We may need to overhaul a whole bunch of things to make sure no such perfectly preventable failures happen ever again. But you know how people are. And anyway, we’re in a bit of a bind at the moment.

It’s been 125 days since that first WHO warning, and there are still even many rich countries that can’t manage to test their medical and care workers, let alone the rest of their people.

And you want to argue that the problem here is lockdowns?

 

 

 

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, it doesn’t even come close to paying the bills anymore.

Thank you.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

May 012020
 


Joseph-Désiré Court Le Masque 1843

 

No, I’m still not over the fact that they all initially missed the virus when they should have seen it most of all. The reasons why must be evaluated in every single location, in governments, CDC equivalents and obviously the WHO. A main reason is that they were all focusing on their economy, not the virus, -at least somewhat- ironically damaging their economies in the process.

I’m just afraid that you’re not going to prevent the next time, the next huge and deadly miss, as long as elections are popularity contests ultimately controlled by special interests. But at the same time, we’re past that first moment, which was somewhere in November or December (31st at the latest), and the next major threats loom.

After the Big Miss came the lockdowns, and as I said in Little Managers, that’s the one thing all these politicians may actually be somewhat good at. They stink at initial detection and reaction time, they stink at forward vision, but they can get people to stay home for a bit, and sell them that in the media.

They even get praised for it. Which is understandable, since their role is to set old ladies’ minds at ease, and most people, whatever age they are, have such minds, understandable but unfortunate, because 1) we’re about to leave the lockdowns phase as well and 2) they’re sure to screw up this one as royally as the first detection moment.

 

It would be good if everyone by now understood why lockdowns become inevitable after, but only after, initial detection has failed and the virus has been allowed to enter a society, if you face a highly contagious and deadly -to humans- virus that you don’t know anything about, but there are plenty people today who claim the lockdowns are what does the damage.

In case there is such a virus and you miss your first -and only- chance at “Crushing the Curve” (as opposed to flattening it, which is of limited use at best), you must prevent it from jumping from host to host, which means you need to keep people apart from each other to one extent or another. Societies have understood this for 1000s of years, and we don’t?

Keep people apart until you either know more about the virus, or you have a vaccine, or people become immune to it. Well, there’s no vaccine – did you know that no vaccine for a coronavirus was ever developed?-, immunity is in a very early phase, and just about literally everything we think we know about the virus is contradicted within 24 hours or so by a different report or group of “experts”.

 

These are truly not things we should let politicians fresh out of popularity contests decide. But that’s the model of our societies. The various relaxations of the various lockdowns are going to be an unmitigated disaster, guaranteed. We have all the elements for such disasters. It’ll work out fine in a few locations, but in most it will be terrible.

Because these guys and gals are under pressure from people who’ve been complaining about the lockdowns since the moment they were called. Because their “scientists” are, as we saw in The Only Man Who Has A Clue, utterly useless when it comes to even the most basic rules of risk assessment. But then for a few consecutive days numbers of cases and deaths seem to go down, and there is an election coming up next year or the one after that, and off to the races we are.

As long as there are no urgencies or calamities, we don’t notice these things, because everyone is busy living their own lives and fulfilling their own demands. And then when things do go wrong, there’s no redundancy, no resilience, no safety nets, and eventually no nothing. Because everyone’s too busy with their own lives.

We conduct our societies as if there is zero risk of a pandemic or any other disaster, because there’s no profit in redundancy. It’s a miracle we still have fire departments and hospitals, and those in most cases only still exist because someone has found a way to make money off of them (taxes).

 

Still, the worst thing about all the little managers “leading” us into the future is undoubtedly that little managers have no vision for that future. That’s why you hear “re-open”, re-this and re-that so much. But there is no “re-“, there is no going back to “normal”. And when you look at where we were pre-corona, you’d be mad not to ask why on earth we would want to go back there.

Shouldn’t we perhaps at least learn something from this virustime episode? Of course we should. But our “leaders” lack the ideas and vision to learn anything. They don’t go forward into the future, they go backward, fat asses first. They owe their jobs and their power to the past, after all.

And their only “science advisers”, the virologists and epidemiologists, also only look backwards, since their knowledge comes from past events, and they can only model the next “viral event” according to guesses, hunches, and a series of old algorithms. Some can construct a full genome of a virus within days or weeks, but still have no idea what it does.

We have the wrong people in charge at every step of the way. Because we have no idea what risk assessment is. Still, we’re all smart enough to understand that politicians and epidemiologists are the last people we would want to do that. And yes, that brings us straight back to The Only Man Who Has A Clue. When you don’t know what you’re up against, you don’t just try and guess and pray for a good outcome, you go back to basics: masks, testing, distance.

Lockdowns can’t last forever, people are social animals. Also, lockdowns don’t solve the problem, that’s not their goal; they merely buy you time. Would you say we have used that time wisely? Would you say it’s safe now to put less distance between people, who are for all intents and purposes potential hosts for a lethal virus?

I see a lot of claims that we know much more about the virus now, 4-6 weeks later, but I also see tons of contradictory reports, and I can only conclude we still know very little. Indeed, even many things we thought we knew turn out not to be true. And those happen to be the kinds of things that are essential if you want to assess risk.

Politicians and epidemiologists could only possibly have done one thing right -and they largely did- in this process: the lockdown. They understand what it is, and they have the tools to sell and enforce it. But that’s it. They don’t understand the risks involved in relaxing the lockdowns. It’s not just the pressure on them to “normalize” their societies, it’s that they don’t understand risk, period -but think and claim they do-.

That in itself is likely the biggest risk we face.

 

 

And I kid you not, I was setting out to write about finance and bailouts and stuff, and thought a little intro might be helpful, and it got a bit out of hand. Finance and bailouts “and stuff”, coming up, hopefully tomorrow. Got so much to say about that too. Sometimes it’s nice to just read news and opinions for a number of days without writing about it, but for me there’s always a lot of “what are these people thinking?”.

There are all these claims about elites and politicians and their grand schemes and plans and intentions, but so far I always veer back, along with Fat Tony, to the vastly underestimated achievements of sheer incompetence. But by all means, prove me wrong.

 

 

We try to run the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. Since their revenue has collapsed, ads no longer pay for all you read, and your support is now an integral part of the process.

Thanks for your generosity.

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth for your own good.

 

Mar 272020
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Portrait of his father 1628-29

 

I was following the numbers all afternoon, because I knew this was going to be the day that the US would become the no. 1. The no. 1 loser, that is. Here’s some of what I wrote in the Automatic Earth Comments section as we went along:

500,000 global cases was at noon EDT. 3.5 hours later there were another 20,000. [..] At 12.38 pm the US was 6,300 cases behind China. That is now 1,200.

God’s Own Country will take the definite no. 1 position sometime this afternoon, and then run away with it. The US has many fewer fatalities so far, but there, too, it will come out on top.

All this is why America pronounced Nicolas Maduro a drug trafficker and narco-terrorist today.

The US took the topspot at about 3pm. That done and achieved, I realize I’ve been so busy lately documenting the spread of the coronavirus and -some of- its consequences that the next steps in the demise, though clearly visible, risk going unnoticed.

But then I saw that the US is charging Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro with drug trafficking (narco-terrorism?!), and I was wide awake again. Why does the US, on the verge of becoming the worst hit “corona country”, charge him now, of all possible times, when they could have done it any given day for the past 7 years? Well, exactly because of the corona threat.

And I don’t think this is Trump; he may take a political hit, but he only has to do better than Joe Biden, and anybody could do that. This smells much more like some deep state thing, Mike Pompeo and his crew.

 

In their phone alerts, CNN had a few real howlers as the day went by.

“Health officials say the peak is yet to come”

“Stocks see third day of gains”

Meanwhile, it took them hours to clue into the fact that the US had become the no. 1. But it’s that second point that warrants scrutiny. In the expectation and the “fulfillment” of the $6 trillion “stimulus” package, stocks managed to rise. Yay! But that no. 1 position won’t leave any of that standing. No sirree.

The US is no longer capable of formulating and negotiating adequate legislation even in times of real crisis. And it’s not that it’s GOP against Dems, and one would do everything so much better than the other. It’s one set of special interests against another, and in the end both win. And there is no escape left from that.

I said earlier about the stimulus that such a package in the US today is possible only provided that the rich get 1000 times what the poor get. That’s the only way to get those $1,500 checks to people who actually need them. For every such check a million bucks goes to the rich and powerful.

And if only they were also 1000 times more likely to catch the coronavirus, at least we would have a sense of justice. But no such luck.

 

What the stimulus will really end up doing is it will expose the Fed. You can talk about unlimited QE all you want, but talk enough and it will lose all meaning. I’ve long said that there are no markets left because there is no price discovery, and lately I’ve seen many people saying exactly that, just much later.

The stimulus really only serves to take even more price discovery away, if that was still possible. And that’s it. The rich will be handed hundreds of billions with nowhere to go. The losses in the stock “markets” lately have been staggering, trillions were lost. But then you look at a graph and you think holy sh*t, there’s so much more to go, so much more downside before we get to anything resembling normal. This was two weeks ago:

 

 

Markets as they -used to- exist under capitalism can be an awesome instrument, because there is such a multitude of participants. However, when you start trying to control the “markets” because sometimes they fall a little and you don’t like that, you unleash formidable forces that are also part of that instrument. Like so many natural phenomena, they will tend towards a balance, and you can’t stop that. Not for long.

The process that looks like it may end soon started under Alan Greenspan and the housing bubbles he blew, and the seeds of the demise were sown right then and there. Now that $6 trillion has been thrown at the wall that won’t stick, what is next?

The Fed policies (and I include most other central banks under that moniker) worked for a while because the QE’s and the ultra low rates supported banks and other enterprises that were essentially zombies. They also “zombified” many other companies that might have been able to survive without them. Look at Boeing.

Look at Apple. They look like a great company but what are their shares worth? Nobody knows, because they bought back too many of them to make price discovery viable. So at least part of Apple looks great only because of trickery, not because of great products. Steve Jobs is turning in his grave as we speak.

 

And now the zombies may be killed off by a virus. Just not if the Fed can help it. But if America runs away with that top spot hard enough, if tens of thousands of new cases become a daily occurrence (we’re at 17,000 so far today), and the first ten thousand fatalities are counted, the country will be locked down and the “markets” will fall off a cliff.

Unless, and that what I’m starting to fear may happen, the powers that be see no other choice than to close the “markets”. That will mean the entire financial system is on the brink of collapse. It would be announced as temporary, but the damage would be done. Everything would turn into one giant margin call, banks would be forced to close, the works, a real depression.

Let’s hope that none of this happens, but the signs are not favorable. America appears much less prepared for a pandemic than even Lombardy was, with too little or too late of everything, ventilators, masks, protective clothing, medicine, you name it. You can’t run an economy in a setting like that.

But at least you’ll be rid of the zombies. It’s a shame, really, that there is no virus that kills only zombies, that so much else must be destroyed with them. The thing is, we did have these instruments to kill zombies, they were called central banks. Should have used them when we had the chance.

 

Our readership is up a lot, but ad revenue only keeps dropping. I’ve said it before, it must be possible to run a joint like the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. These are no longer the times when ads pay for all you read, your donations have become an integral part of it. It has become a two-way street; and isn’t that liberating, when you think about it?

You heard it here first, like so many other things. And no, though it would be far more lucrative financially, the Automatic Earth will not adopt any paywalls, not here and not on Patreon. But you can still support us there, as well as right here. It’s easy. Thanks everyone for your donations overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

Support us in virustime. Help the Automatic Earth survive. It’s good for you.

 

Mar 232020
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Man in Oriental Costume (The Noble Slav) 1632

 

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote an original article. That’s a long time. Then again, that article was The Virus is a Time Machine, which was – and still is, pardon the pun, deadly accurate. All my time between then and now has gone into the daily Debt Rattles, which have increasingly become almost exclusively Virus Rattles. A lot of it has been numbers, not because of the numbers themselves, but because they are what reveal the trends, the trajectory, the dynamics to us.

When I first saw in the numbers a few days ago that US cases and deaths were both up some 45% over 24 hours, that frightened me. Because it told me a story. Without the numbers, that story is not there. That is also why I think it’s absolutely no use to look at these numbers and compare them to other ones, like those of regular flu, or traffic deaths, or whatever people come up with.

The coronavirus is new, it’s very young, even in virus time. You can’t compare it to other viruses. I have this image in my mind of Arnold Schwarzenegger peering into Jesus’s manger and saying: “what’s the problem, I can take that guy”. Don Ciccio had a better idea when he chased down 9-year-old Vito Andolini at the start of Godfather II: “when he grows up, he’ll come after me”.

 

The people responsible for the corona crisis getting so out of hand where you live are your “leaders”, the same ones who are now telling you to stay home 24/7 in order to solve the crisis they caused, not you. I’m not saying that to start a revolt, because now they’re the only people standing between you and anarchy, but please stop praising them. I see so many instances of people saying their leaders looked so reassuring on TV last night etc. I get that, I get why, but they are all abject failures.

If you’re in charge of a country’s government, you have at your disposal a State Department or some equivalent, you have dozens of people following world news in depth, and you have direct access to whatever the WHO says. Put all that together and you have no excuse for sitting on your hands 2+ months only to see the situation having gone way out of hand. And it makes no difference if all your peers have been as negligent as you are, it’s your job.

Last week the Hong Kong Free Press ran an article saying that China could have cut 95% of cases if its measures to contain the outbreak had begun three weeks earlier. The same is true where you live. China screwed up royally, and so did and do your respective “leaders”.

 

 

In a way, it’s good to see that more people and more news outlets have now woken up to what’s going on, and then some lately, but it’s also weird to see so many “sources” act as if they own the topic, and invented it, who never knew what it was until like ten days ago, while the Automatic Earth have been on top of it for over 2 months. Which is why, inevitably, they, the overnight experts, get most of it wrong. Just like the governments and politicians who have all of a sudden awakened from their slumber, and are now ordering people to do whatever their “leaders” think of next.

The problem with that, with relying on coming up with things without having a solid background like the Automatic Earth could have provided them with, is the same problem that caused them, both media and political systems, to be so awfully late in the first place. I first covered that in The Party and the Virus a full 7 weeks ago.

That was back when it appeared to be all about China, but it’s just as applicable in the west. The way we select our politicians, and our media, doesn’t allow for them to risk crying wolf. They will always wait to see what their peers do, who therefore also wait. Safety first for them, but -well, obviously- not for you.

That’s what we’re looking at today. The age-old excuse of “nobody knew, and nobody could have known”, just look at my peers, look at all other PM’s and presidents and governments. There is no behavior more typical for modern day politicians, whether they’re Chinese party officials or western cabinet ministers. But it’s all BS; they could have known, and therefore should have, because it’s their job. But they were fast asleep.

Trump and Boris Johnson may be taking the denial phase to a whole new level, and Bolsonaro too, but they really only fit a pattern. And ironically even they see their popularity rise, because people are scared and seek security and solace and protection, no matter how poorly dressed up.

Saying that Donald and Boris are terrible, no matter how justified, only serves to hide the failures of all other politicians, no matter how inclined you are to believe their messages. The simple fact is they are all terrible, they were all 12 weeks or more late in their (re-)actions.

Not that they should have ordered a billion dollars in respirators at the end of December, but when the first victims died in China, and the WHO was notified, they should have taken inventory of the state of their countries’ health systems, their response systems, the whole set-up. In order to be at the helm IF disaster struck.

They never did, or not till much later. That’s why medical supplies of all applicable shapes and forms are woefully short today in Italy, and will be soon in dozens of other countries. Please stop praising these people. They all failed horribly at their jobs. Their collective failure has already caused thousands of deaths, and that may well become millions.

 

 

The WHO is praised too, but it is just as guilty of deadly neglect as all the politicians. The organization and its directors get paid large sums of money to protect the world from events exactly like this. And they did not; they are not only useless, they are harmful.

On December 30 2019, several people, among whom Wuhan doctor Li Wenliang, who died of the disease mere days later, talked on social media like WeChat about the outbreak. On December 31, Li Wenliang was called in for questioning, Wuhan health officials confirmed 27 cases of the new illness -a “pneumonia of unclear cause”-, and China, which now figured denial was no longer an option,”officially” told the WHO about the outbreak.

On January 14, the WHO said Chinese authorities had seen “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus.” On January 15, the first confirmed US case left Wuhan and arrived in the US with the virus. On January 20, 6 days after the WHO statement, top Chinese doctor Zhong Nanshan announced the virus CAN be passed between people. He would later state that the outbreak would be over by early February.

On January 21 the CDC confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States. Then came Lunar New Year and 100s of millions of Chinese traveled to their families. By then the WHO should obviously long have sounded a big fat five alarm. They didn’t.

Instead, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus repeatedly heaped praise on China. He did this on January 28, then again on February 12, (when China still refused to let a WHO team enter the country):

On January 28, Tedros met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Following the meeting, Tedros commended China for “setting a new standard for outbreak control” and praised the country’s top leadership for its “openness to sharing information” with the WHO and other countries.

… and many times after. On January 23, the WHO’s emergency committee couldn’t decide whether to declare a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC). Tedros, who held the decisive vote, despite admitting that “this is an emergency in China.”, declined. A week later, he did declare a PHEIC. What’s much worse, along those same lines, the WHO declared a pandemic only on March 11.

 

 

Meanwhile, the US is well on its way to become the worst hit country of all. Someday we (if we survive) will look at those spring break kids on Florida’s beaches and wonder how crazy people can get. Two weeks ago when I wrote The Virus is a Time Machine, the US reported 409 cases. As we speak the tally stands at 40,841, and it will rise further before the day is done.

Please be good and safe. Follow the instructions about safe distance and stuff. In Britain, stay 2 meters away from people, in Holland, 1.5 meters. Must be the air density. But just do what they say for now. It’ll get more bizarre later, plenty time to resist and protest.

Follow those “directions” for now, but whatever you do, please never ever praise the very people who dropped the ball so humongously to cause so much suffering, only to take unprecedented control over your lives, and telling you it’s for your own good.

It’s not that they planned this all, there are too many conspiracy notions out there about that too. People have through history hugely underestimated the power of incompetence, and history rhymes so much it hurts.

Get through this thing, it won’t last forever, people will force an end to lockdowns before the summer’s over, simply because people are social animals; can’t keep us apart.

Next up: the same clowns in charge of “fixing” the economy broken by the negligence and the incompetence of, yes, the same clowns. Better start preparing right now. If you think this virus thing is bad, wait till you see what they have on offer next.

 

 

Much as I don’t want to, I must ask for your support. Readership is up a lot, but ad revenue only keeps dropping. I’ve said it before, it must be possible to run a joint like the Automatic Earth on people’s kind donations. These are no longer the times when ads pay for all you read, your donations have become an integral part of it. It has become a two-way street; and isn’t that liberating, when you think about it?

You heard it here first, like so many other things. And no, though it would be far more lucrative financially, the Automatic Earth will not adopt any paywalls, not here and not on Patreon. But you can still support us there, as well as right here. It’s easy.

 

 

 

If you read us, please support us. Help the Automatic Earth survive.