There is something the media and the politicos are not telling us. Something does not jive. Let’s throw some science into the equation and see what comes up, no?
March 31, 2020
Below is a video of Dr. Wolfgang Wodarg, is an internist, pulmonologist, social doctor, doctor of hygiene and environmental medicine and was for many years head of a health department. From 1994 to 2009 he was a Member of Parliament for the SPD in the Bundestag and their initiator and spokesman of the Enquetekommission Ethics and Law of Modern Medicine. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Health. Now he works as a university teacher in Berlin and Flensburg and on a voluntary basis as a board member at Transparency International Germany. (source)
What he say’s is interesting, given his expertise in the field of viruses and medicine, it really makes you think about some things, and there’s nothing wrong with thinking.
The March 25 Times Colonist editorial on the COVID-19 pandemic states: “Worldwide, the economic impact will be devastating. We’re talking a re-run of the Dirty ’30s and damage that lasts for years.” Elsewhere, it refers to “killing the economy” and “measures that of a certainty will wreck the world economy for many years to come.”
This concern with the need to protect and restore the economy plays into a narrative about resilience, usually framed as the ability of people and communities to recover, to bounce back to where they were before the event ever happened.
But there are obvious flaws in that approach. For example, if your community is built in a flood plain and climate change results in more frequent and more severe flooding, does it really make sense to rebuild in the same place, to bounce back to the previous situation?
Much the same can be said about the current economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is helping us see just how much harm our current economic system causes, both to the environment and to people and communities.
So if the current economic system is devastating the planet and harming health, as it is, do we really want to bounce back to the way things were before: Revving up the economy to speed up global warming, increase air pollution and the associated diseases and deaths, hasten resource depletion and species extinctions?
To rephrase the editorial: “Worldwide, the environmental and health impact will be devastating. We’re talking a re-run of the booming mid-20th and early 21st centuries and damage that lasts for years” — except that this is damage that lasts for decades, even centuries.
I received a 24-hour suspension from FB for calling Americans, bloody idiots! Firstly, it’s accurate, and secondly, I should have the right to bloody think what I want.
Social media is awash with people angry that their posts have been removed for no legitimate reason. MintPress was no exception, with a story about Cuba’s response to the coronavirus flagged and blocked.
Below are an interview I gave to the Herland Report prior to the coronavirus explaining our precarious economic situation and Michael Hudson’s article today explaining that the way out of the economic crisis is a debt jubilee. As the debts cannot be paid, it makes far more sense to forgive them than for all of us to sink with them. Debt cancellation is not an expression of idealistic egalitarianism. It is a practical alternative to prolonged depression and worse economic polarization with all of its social and political implications.
The central point of my interview is that deregulation and concentration of the economy and its financialization has made another severe depression unavoidable—unless possibly there is a debt jubilee as Michael Hudson recommends. See this.
The question we face is whether our leadership can understand that more debt is not the answer. So far “solutions” seem to be to make more loans, thereby continuing to build up debt. As existing debts—mortgage, student, car, credit card—are so overwhelming that they cannot be paid, adding more loans is like throwing fuel on a fire.
Debts have to be cancelled as they are smothering individuals, businesses, and the economy. Our economic culture is accustomed to thinking that debt must be paid. The belief is that to reward those who did not live frugally and avoid debt subsidizes and encourages bad behavior. But in this case, unless debts are forgiven the frugal and responsible go down with everyone else. As I have emphasized for 20 or more years, globalism stopped real family income growth by offshoring high-value added jobs. Under Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve used debt expansion to take the place of income growth in order to continue to fuel aggregate consumer demand.
Debt forgiveness has a long history of success. The ancients used it repeatedly, and in 1948 in Germany, the replacement of the Reichsmark with the Deutsche mark wiped out 90 percent of government and private debt, resulting in “the German miracle.”
Government debt is not the problem that private debt is. Government can pay off its debt by printing money, but individuals and businesses cannot. As Hudson says,
“if the U.S. government can finance $4.5 trillion in quantitative easing for the banks, it can absorb the cost of forgoing student and other debt. And for private lenders, only bad loans need be wiped out. Much of what would be written off are accruals, late charges and penalties on loans gone bad.”
Debt forgiveness for banks and large corporations implies some nationalization so that the public sees some fairness in the bailouts of debt. Essentially, quantitative easing was debt forgiveness for too-big-to-fail financial institutions. The Federal Reserve purchased the banks’ bad loans and put them on the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet. Unlike a bank, the Federal Reserve cannot go broke. Our economic culture also sees nationalization as socialism and an awful terrible thing. I addressed that issue on March 14, see this.
Our ingrained ways of thinking can easily prevent a solution to the current crisis, which is building as I write.
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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Michael McCaffrey lives in Los Angeles where he works as an acting coach, screenwriter and consultant. He is also a freelance film and cultural critic whose work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog.
Coronavirus is a terrible malady that is killing people and the global economy, but it isn’t the most pernicious pandemic afflicting the globe right now. No, the most diabolical disease currently in circulation is the dreaded Celebrivirus.
The onset of the Celebrivirus starts with a steady stream of verbal diarrhea gushing forth from empty-headed, self-absorbed, attention-starved celebrities, which is quickly followed by convulsive puking and rage headaches from the rest of us.
The most recent outbreak of Celebrivirus began with a plethora of Covid-19-related videos from a cavalcade of self-aggrandizing stars.
For instance, Matthew McConaughey thought that now was a good time to espouse his incoherent optimism regarding coronavirus.
The Typhoid Mary of Celebrivirus, Madonna, rose from the grave that is her moribund career so that she could, in the nude of course, benevolently inform us that Covid-19 has, in fact, made us all equal.
publicly lamented that she was “stressed” over the coronavirus. Not having to worry about losing her job, or being evicted, she’s struggling with her stress while safely tucked away in her mansion with her husband, daughter and her gobs of money.
Serena explained, “I don’t hang out with anyone, and when I say anyone I mean my daughter. She coughed, I got angry and gave her a side-eye. I gave her that ‘angry Serena’ and then I got sad.”
Shock of shocks that Serena’s number one priority is the well-being of Serena, and not the health of her toddler daughter. Serena has a boatload of tennis championships, but it seems like the title that will forever elude her is Mother of the Year.
The Celebrivirus that forced McConaughey, Madonna and Serena to compulsively share their idiocy, has also mutated into song version.
Self-adoring U2 frontman Bono caught the Celebrivirus bug and decided to share with humanity an original song he conjured related to Covid-19. Yikes… this song is pretentious, even for Bono, the Crown Prince of Pretension. Note to aging restless rockstars recording shelter-in-place mediocrity: At least make it remotely decent before you drown us in pompous indulgence.
The most egregious of all the Celebrivirus videos came from Gal Gadot of Wonder Woman fame, who recruited a bunch of her patronizing and condescending celebrity friends like Kristen Wiig, Jamie Dornan, Mark Ruffalo, Amy Adams, Sarah Silverman, James Marsden, Natalie Portman, Sia, Labrinth, Pedro Pascal, Zoe Kravitz and Will Ferrell, who looked like he had just ingested his body weight in cocaine, to sing a truly nauseating version of John Lennon’s iconic kumbaya knock-off ‘Imagine.’
On the best of days, ‘Imagine’ is a cringe-worthy number, but in the hands of these smug and self-satisfied jackasses it rockets into the stratosphere of saccharine dreadfulness.
If John Lennon were alive to see this cloying, celebrity-fueled monstrosity he would beat Mark David Chapman to the punch and shoot himself in front of the Dakota Building just to end his own mortification and misery.
The fact that these filthy-rich stars, not a single one of which is not a multi-millionaire, chose to un-ironically sing the lyric, “Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can, no need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man,” when there are millions of people potentially facing evictions from their apartments, foreclosures on their homes, losing their jobs and life savings, not to mention the fear of getting sick and dying, is a staggering testament to their delusional fanaticism and fatuousness.
Yes, Wonder Woman and friends, people can imagine life with no possessions because most of them live a life with few or no possessions…especially now, since the ranks of the unemployed are swelling from the coronavirus depression.
It is easy to sing about a world of no greed or hunger when you are rich and nourished. I wonder if they hum “Imagine” to themselves as they drive past the filthy hordes living in cardboard boxes on the street?
It would have been less offensive if Gal and her cornucopia of celebrity clowns started a band named The Marie Antoinettes, then wrote and performed their new song, titled “Let Them Eat Cake.”
They are so in the thrall of the Celebrivirus they actually thought their syrupy crooning from the security of their golden-gated castles would ingratiate them to the masses rather than inflame hatred.
When I watched these various vacuous and vapid Celebrivirus videos, I didn’t have the insipid ‘Imagine’ playing in my mind. No, my soundtrack was Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’ with its wishful lyric, “when I am king, you will be first against the wall, with your opinion which is of no consequence at all”.
On the bright side, at least the Celebrivirus is bringing ordinary people together out of common animosity toward these narcissists. I know hate is supposed to be bad, but I think in this case it is healthy and helps to keep our collective immune system robust.
As for a cure for the dreaded Celebrivirus, scientists have found only one…and that is for celebrities to simply keep their moronic mouths shut. In other words…there is no cure.
“In Verduno, near Turin in northern Italy, a hospital that has been under construction for 20 years, and is still unfinished, will open as a Covid-19 hospital next week, and will take in its first 60 coronavirus victims.
In comparison, the Italian government will be well aware that China, using 7,000 builders working around the clock, built a 1000-bed hospital in just 10 days, and that Russia, with parallel ambition, is looking to finish a virus hospital on the outskirts of Moscow within a month.”
When this coronavirus pandemic has passed and the nations of the European Union are counting the cost of decimated populations, shattered public health infrastructures and economic meltdowns, one thing is certain: the dynamics within the bloc will have changed forever.
Before the global outbreak of this killer virus, Russia and China were always the West’s undisputed bogeymen. Troublemakers, always up to mischief, playing dangerous geopolitical games intended to undermine Western democracies and divide allies in the EU and NATO.
Many in the Western mainstream media are addicted to a daily fix of either Russian or Chinese conspiracy, so they probably don’t appreciate the irony here. Because things have changed.
In a big way.
It’s largely due to the generosity of these two “tricksy” outsider superpowers that some European nations, fully paid-up, long-term members of the EU, have even a remote chance of getting to grips with the immense public health demands caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
And thank heavens for that, because if either Italy or Spain had been looking to the EU — or the USA for that matter — for real, on-the-ground assistance that would enable them to simply stop people dying in their thousands in overcrowded hospitals, then they would have found themselves waiting in vain.
Sure, the ECB weighed in only last week, with an unprecedented fiscal bazooka aimed at reducing the economic impact that is being caused by the virus (ar at least by the measures governments are taking to try to stop it). But that’s fighting the virus in one manner only, very much after the fact and certainly not on the frontline.
This significance of that fiscal help will only really be apparent once the health crisis is over and the full, disastrous economic consequences are realized. And the fact that it is far from over right now is what needs immediate attention, like providing more medical staff, personal protection gear, ventilators, hospitals and, obviously, a vaccine.
But the message from Brussels to Italy, Spain and other EU members is clear: in dealing with the pandemic and the thousands of dead citizens it leaves in its wake, you are on your own.
The EU’s abject hopelessness and indifference started to become clear some weeks back in the face of the escalating virus, when the export beyond national borders of facemasks and medical equipment was banned by some EU members, including Germany.
ALSO ON RT.COMRussian military planes with medics & supplies land in coronavirus-hit Italy (VIDEO)It’s unlikely the Italians will forget that. Compare it with the generosity of the Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi which has sent tens of thousands of face masks to Italy at the same time as Beijing has filled planes with medical experts and crucial equipment of which Rome was, and remains, in desperate need.
Compare it too with the help from Moscow sent over the weekend: 100 virus specialists, disinfection trucks and medical equipment. All being sent at the request of Italy.
It seems the close ties the Italian government maintained with Russia over the last few years, particularly at the initiative of former coalition foreign minister Matteo Salvini, have paid off. His refusal to be drawn into the EU’s Kremlin-bashing of recent times, preferring to cultivate a closer friendship of his own, has to be applauded for the dividends it has produced in the Italian hour of need.
And one unintended consequence of that must be that it is driving critics of the controversial Italian populist absolutely nuts.
It also won’t escape the attention of NATO that the aid from Russia is coming via military channels, which must sting those of its members with a more hawkish view towards Moscow. Just so they don’t miss the irony, the supplies bear a “From Russia with Love” label.
What cannot be denied is that actions speak louder than words. The people of those nations being helped from outside the EU will be eternally grateful for that assistance. It’s help that can be seen. It’s brigades of medical experts, boxes of supplies delivered in big planes. It will save the lives of family and friends and it will provide help on the frontline where it is most needed.
In Verduno, near Turin in northern Italy, a hospital that has been under construction for 20 years, and is still unfinished, will open as a Covid-19 hospital next week, and will take in its first 60 coronavirus victims.
In comparison, the Italian government will be well aware that China, using 7,000 builders working around the clock, built a 1000-bed hospital in just 10 days, and that Russia, with parallel ambition, is looking to finish a virus hospital on the outskirts of Moscow within a month.
It is these sorts of highly visible acts that people need to see. It builds confidence from despair and hope from misery.
Confidence and hope. As millions of terrified Europeans sit confined in their homes today, isolated voluntarily or by law, those are two things in critically short supply.
The world is messed up because powerful people think in terms of narrative control, and ordinary people don’t. Change that and you change the world.
Hot tip: Dump all stocks and invest in becoming the kind of decent human being who people will want to help in chaotic times.
Let’s go humans! The sooner we can put aside our differences all around the world and unite to beat this virus the sooner we can get back to exploiting each other over an imaginary monetary system and murdering each other with bombs!
FYI if your government is pushing the suspension of civil liberties before coming up with a healthcare plan or providing you with financial security in an unprecedented economic crisis, then their desire to suspend civil liberties has nothing to do with fighting the pandemic.
Protecting the citizenry in situations like this is the thing governments are supposed to be for. It’s the single most compelling argument for their existence, by a very wide margin. Any government which doesn’t take good care of its people right now does not deserve to exist.
If this virus hasn’t yet caused you to seriously re-evaluate your priorities in life, it should. For better or worse we appear to be standing on the brink of some very significant worldwide paradigm shifts. Where you choose to put your mental energy right now should reflect this.
Powerful people will work to advance authoritarian agendas which they have no intention of reversing during this pandemic. They are working on it right now. This is not a possibility, this is a certainty.
I love that so many people are pleading with the Trump administration to end Iran sanctions during the pandemic because it’s killing civilians, but it won’t work. They know it’s killing civilians, and they know it will kill a lot more. That has always been the objective. Pompeo has openly admitted that Iran is being sanctioned no so that its government will change its behavior, but so that the Iranian people will get so desperate from all the suffering and devastation that they rise up and overthrow their government.
Sanctions are the only form of warfare where it is considered legal and acceptable to deliberately target a civilian population with deadly force. That’s what they’ve been doing this whole time. It’s what they want. The pandemic only helps them.
Every single Iranian who is dying because of these sanctions is on Trump. The MAGA narrative that he’s better on war than Obama has been thoroughly invalidated by every metric.
Humanity is uniting against this common crisis. We’re uniting in our desire to beat this virus and protect our more vulnerable populations, and in a shared awareness that this thing could technically kill any of us. If ever there was a catalyst for a shift in consciousness, this is it.
We appear to be watching a confluence of factors on a trajectory to push the world toward vast changes which may leave it unrecognizable in some ways within a matter of months. Maybe we don’t need to pour as much mental energy as we used to into sectarian infighting and petty social media spats.
Nothing’s the same and it never will be again. Fuck seizing the means of production. Seize this moment. Take back everything they took from us and refuse to give it back.
Also seize the means of production because you can and why not.
Every time there’s a major mainstream narrative shift half my mentions are people going “Caitlin I’m so disappointed in you for saying something I disagree with. Normally I agree with you but now here you are not agreeing with me, like you’re an independent person or something.”
Imagine being such a bleating, brainwashed NPC cuck that you believe China is your enemy.
The nation that is circling the planet with hundreds of military bases and engaging in countless undeclared military operations around the world is the belligerent rogue nation. Everyone else is, at worst, acting in self-defense in response to this belligerence.
Governments using force to dominate the planet put every human being on a trajectory toward extinction via nuclear armageddon, and should be vehemently opposed. One government is the worst offender in this area, by a very, very, very wide margin. And it ain’t China.
Every few weeks, depending on who the empire is targeting at a given moment, I swing from arguing with liberals about a nation liberals hate to arguing with conservatives about a nation conservatives hate, or vice versa. And they always think they’re different from the others.
“Caitlin I normally agree with you, but I don’t know what’s gotten into you supporting Evil Nation X like this!” they say, firmly believing that they’re doing something original and unique.
“This Official Bad Guy is different from all the others, Caitlin!” they say. “This one’s real!” It’s like listening to a serial loser-dater explain that her new boyfriend with the neck tattoo is actually a really great guy.
I oppose warmongering against Venezuela and China and they say it’s because I love communism.
I oppose warmongering against Iran and they say it’s because I love theocracy.
I oppose warmongering against Russia and Syria and they say it’s because I love autocracy.
Maybe I just oppose warmongering.
Rank-and-file Dems unwittingly consented to cold war escalations against Russia out of concern for election interference. Rank-and-file Republicans are now doing the same with China out of concern for a virus outbreak. But both escalations were pre-planned by government agencies.
The only reason people don’t worry about cold war escalations against China and Russia like they do about hot wars with non-nuclear powers is because we got lucky in the last cold war. But that’s all it was: sheer, dumb luck. No one was ever in control during that time. Not once.
Nobody likes to think about the fact that we came within a hair’s breadth of total annihilation on multiple occasions during the last cold war due to communication breakdowns and tech malfunctions. That can easily happen again, but without getting lucky. People have a tendency to believe they succeeded because they were in control and lost because they lost control, but nobody was ever in control. We survived by sheer, dumb luck.
With hot wars they take a few lives here, a few lives there. With cold war it’s an all-or-nothing dice roll that nothing goes wrong; no tech glitches, no miscommunications, even when things get very tense. And you roll those dice every single day. And with every escalation you add more dice.
All arguments the US government makes against any “regime” it dislikes are completely invalidated by its alliance with Saudi Arabia alone, to say nothing of all the other tyrannical governments it’s allied with.
If you find yourself thinking more thoughts about China’s authoritarian government than about the abusive authoritarian governments of US allies like Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, the Philippines etc, it’s because you’ve been propagandized to align you with US interests.
Establishment narrative managers aim their publications not at their followers but at other establishment narrative managers, seeking their approval. Alternative media should always do the opposite and address the people; too many also engage in upward-looking approval-seeking.
Everything’s been in a steadily accelerating pattern of unpatterning for a good while now, since well before the virus. There are people who think they’ll be able to shore up control through this thing, but you have no control in a tornado. Nature, which includes homo sapiens, wins out.
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The president has repeatedly defended his administration’s coronavirus response by saying that no one could have seen the pandemic coming. As usual, that’s not true. The president received intelligence reports in January and February that warned him of how bad the outbreak could be:
Intelligence agencies “have been warning on this since January,” said a U.S. official who had access to intelligence reporting that was disseminated to members of Congress and their staffs as well as to officials in the Trump administration, and who, along with others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive information.
“Donald Trump may not have been expecting this, but a lot of other people in the government were — they just couldn’t get him to do anything about it,” this official said. “The system was blinking red.”
The president was told about how severe the outbreak might be, but he did not believe what he was being told. We have often seen how the president dismisses the findings of intelligence agencies when their reports conflict with his ignorant preconceived notions or his short-term self-interest. If they tell him that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, he ignores the information and insists that Iran has been cheating. When they tell him that Mohamed bin Salman was responsible for ordering Khashoggi’s murder, he dismisses the conclusion and helps cover up for the crown prince. More generally, Trump makes a habit of denying facts when they are inconvenient or embarrassing to acknowledge, and he makes things up that never happened to make it seem as if his failures are actually successes. He insists against all evidence that North Korea has committed to disarm because it flatters him to pretend that this happened. A president who is constantly at war with the truth and engaged in shameless self-promotion at every turn is not going to respond well to reports of an impending disaster, and then when the disaster strikes he will respond by misleading the public about what is happening.
Even now that the pandemic is here and spreading throughout the country, the president is reluctant to take necessary actions to combat it:
President Trump and his advisers have resisted calls from congressional Democrats and a growing number of governors to use a federal law that would mobilize industry and provide badly needed resources against the coronavirus spread, days after the president said he would consider using that authority.
Mr. Trump has given conflicting signals about the Defense Production Act since he first said on Wednesday that he was prepared to invoke the law, which was passed by Congress at the outset of the Korean War and grants presidents extraordinary powers to force American industries to ensure the availability of critical equipment.
Despite Trump’s desire to portray himself as a “wartime president,” his response remains as dilatory as ever. It is not surprising that the president who has routinely invoked non-existent national security emergencies to impose tariffs or evade Congressional scrutiny on arms sales is completely useless when it comes to a real emergency.
A pandemic like this one was not only foreseeable, it was foreseen. There were many earlier warnings that the U.S. was ill-prepared for it. Just last year, the Department of Health and Human Services conducted an exercise to simulate how a pandemic might spread across the country, and their scenario was uncannily prescient:
That scenario, code-named “Crimson Contagion” and imagining an influenza pandemic, was simulated by the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services in a series of exercises that ran from last January to August.
The simulation’s sobering results — contained in a draft report dated October 2019 that has not previously been reported — drove home just how underfunded, underprepared and uncoordinated the federal government would be for a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.
The draft report, marked “not to be disclosed,” laid out in stark detail repeated cases of “confusion” in the exercise. Federal agencies jockeyed over who was in charge. State officials and hospitals struggled to figure out what kind of equipment was stockpiled or available. Cities and states went their own ways on school closings.
The findings of the report did not lead to any major changes or improvements to the government’s preparedness. In addition to this administration’s specific failings, the government’s lack of readiness to cope with a pandemic is a systemic failure that comes from devoting too few resources and paying too little attention to a serious threat. There were plenty of warnings, but no one in a position to make necessary changes was taking those warnings seriously:
But the planning and thinking happened many layers down in the bureaucracy. The knowledge and sense of urgency about the peril appear never to have gotten sufficient attention at the highest level of the executive branch or from Congress, leaving the nation with funding shortfalls, equipment shortages and disorganization within and among various branches and levels of government.
The shortage of protective equipment across the country is the most obvious and alarming example of how the government’s unpreparedness is putting our doctors and nurses at great risk. The failure to build up a sufficient stockpile of N95 masks is an indictment of our government’s priorities. Our government has wasted trillions on unnecessary wars and hundreds of billions on boondoggles that serve no purpose, but somehow it could not be bothered to spend a relative pittance to ensure that there were enough respirators in the event of a pandemic. Tyler Rogoway comments:
The defense budget for the 2020 Fiscal Year is $738 billion. Funding the larger intelligence and national security ecosystem costs many billions of dollars in addition to this sum. This is money being spent in the name of protecting the American people. For a country that can spend that type of treasure on weapons and warfighting infrastructure, it is downright astonishing that it can’t keep a stockpile of cheap respirators around, or at least guarantee the domestic production base to rapidly build more, in order to fight a pandemic that was not only far from unthinkable, it was inevitable. This simple fact alone should make you furious and question the priorities of the U.S. government and those who are tasked with presiding over it.
The N95 respirator is not a high-tech piece of equipment. Far from it. They are disposable masks that, when fitted and worn properly, offer a reliable barrier against a number of things, including viruses. They are considered as essential for healthcare workers who treat patients with infectious diseases that can be transmitted through droplets of bodily fluids, offering them some certainty that they themselves will not end up contracting the patient’s illness. As such, they are absolutely critical to fighting a pandemic just like the one we are experiencing. In other words, they are just as important to keeping the American public safe as combat aircraft or a fighting ship.
In a very real sense, essential medical equipment like this is far more important to the safety and security of Americans than this expensive military hardware. The U.S. is very good at being able to project power and inflict death and destruction on distant lands, but when it comes to investing in the most basic preparations to protect the health and lives of its own citizens at home it comes up woefully short.
It is as if the United States has the wrong national security priorities. https://twitter.com/karenattiah/status/1241510049136218114 …
Seeing the news about distilleries, fashion designers stepping up and offering to make sanitizers and masks to fight against #COVID19
But where are our *actual* weapons and defense manufacturers? Can’t the likes of Lockheed Martin and Raytheon help to manufacture medical tech?
(Natural News) As millions of ordinary Americans struggle to put food on the table now that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken away their jobs, billionaires like real estate investor Tom Barrack actually have the audacity to whine on cable television about how they personally need taxpayer-funded bailouts to avoid long-overdue corrections on their greedy overleveraging.
Barrack recently warned about – or threatened, depending on how you look at it – catastrophic economic consequences if the Federal Reserve doesn’t pump even more taxpayer cash into the commercial real estate market, which of course is his cash cow.
Predicting a “domino effect” that will lead to total collapse, Barrack told Bloomberg Television, and also wrote in a white paper, that if the fat cats like himself don’t get what they’re demanding, then society will see “a chain reaction of margin calls, mass foreclosures, evictions and, potentially, bank failures,” to quote Yahoo! Finance.
“To keep people employed, you have to support the employers,” Barrack stated during a recent television interview, using the excuse of suffering employees to manipulate viewers into supporting bailouts for him and his fellow property vultures.
“The biggest part of employer expense is rent,” he added. “When commerce stops and they can’t pay rent and they can’t pay interest on the debt, and then the banks and the intermediaries can’t pay their investors, it all collapses.”
Paralleling the current situation with what transpired during the Great Depression for added effect, Barrack went on to talk of doom and gloom before praising the Fed for its recent injection of trillions of fake fiat dollars into the stock markets. According to Barrack, the Fed “is doing exactly what they need to do” by inflating the monopoly money supply in this way.
But this isn’t enough, Barrack contends. The Fed needs to inject even more, to the tune of $500 billion, in order to halt the “liquidity crisis” in the market for commercial mortgage-backed securities.
“What everybody needs is just a time out,” he claims. “Give them 60 or 90 days, let it all come back together, tack on that accrued interest to the end, and you solve the problem.”
Recognizing that taxpayers will certainly be upset about yet another socialistic bailout of big banks and real estate vultures, Barrack suggests coming up with a new way of framing it all so that perceptions of “crony capitalism,” which is exactly what this is, won’t be as easily recognized by the masses.
Keep in mind that Barrack is a personal friend of President Donald Trump, and has much at stake if he doesn’t get the bailout money he’s trying to squeeze out of the Fed. The last-year financial report for Barrack’s firm lists $3.54 billion of assets in hospitality real estate, as well as $725 million of debt and equity investments.
“So, in a nutshell, commercial real estate is grossly overvalued, asking rents are way too high, and tenant businesses can barely afford the rent when times are good,” wrote one Yahoo! Finance commenter.
“So, the solution to this problem, naturally, is to request a government bailout, rather than allow the market to deflate to a reasonable valuation, and the investors who bid prices up too high to suffer well-deserved losses.”
“Does the white paper suggest beginning by freezing all executive bonuses and salary increases, and halting golden parachutes?” asked another.
“Or is [Barrack’s] paper focused solely on how to create sufficient panic and fear to fool Americans into bailing out Wall St. again, just a few years after the last fiasco resulting from excessive subprime mortgage issuance, lack of capitalization and dangerous leverage?”
To keep up with the latest news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include:
Canada said this morning that it won’t participate in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Now watch Japan announce to the world that the Olympics are postponed.
Here is an example of political censorship from Facebook (for those of you who don’t use Facebook)
Facebook banned me for 24 hours for saying this. Stupid Americans cannot be told dissident opinions, as their puny brainwashed brains cannot handle it.
And now a new bombshell has emerged: The White House rhetoric of accusing China of spreading the “Wuhan virus” Worldwide has been refuted by both Japanese and Chinese reports. Scientific analysis revealed by Larry Romanoff suggests that the virus was “Made in America”:
“it appears that the virus did not originate in China and, according to reports in Japanese and other media, may have originated in the US. …
Are Americans stupid or just plain evil? “In the meantime, coinciding with the coronavirus lockdown in Italy, 30,000 US troops have been dispatched to the EU, under US-NATO’s “Defend Europe 2020” war games against Russia, in the largest military deployment since World War II. “Could the Defender become the Invader…?”
Trump contends that the coronavirus was “Made in China”. And that China threatens America.
The president of the US wants Americans to believe that the coronavirus pandemic carries the “Made in China” label.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refers to it as the “Wuhan coronavirus.”
“The Big Lie” started on January 30th when the WHO Director General pressured by powerful US economic interests declared a global public health emergency with only 150 “confirmed cases” (by the WHO) outside China with only six cases in the USA. And it was called a pandemic.
“Fake media” immediately went into high gear. China was held responsible for “spreading infection” Worldwide.
On the following day (January 31, 2020), Trump announced that he would deny entry to the US of both Chinese and foreign nationals “who have traveled in China in the last 14 days”. This immediately triggered a crisis in air travel, transportation, US-China business relations as well as freight and shipping transactions.
While the “Made in China” coronavirus label served as a pretext, the unspoken objective was to bring the Chinese economy to its knees.
It was an act of “economic warfare”, which has contributed to undermining both China’s economy as well as that of most Western countries (allies of the US), leading to a wave of bankruptcies, not to mention unemployment, collapse of the tourist industry, etc.
Moreover, Trump’s “Made in China” coronavirus label almost immediately as of early February triggered a campaign against ethnic Chinese throughout the Western World.
Stage 2.0: “Infections Transmitted by Europeans”?
On March 11, a new phase was launched. The Trump administration imposed a 30-day ban on Europeans entering the United States through the suspension of air-travel with the EU (with the exception of Britain).
America is now waging its “economic war” against Western Europe, while using COVID-19 as a justification.
European governments have been co-opted. In Italy a lockdown prevails, ordered by the Prime Minister, large cities in Northern Italy including Milano and Torino have literally closed down.
Confusion, Fear and intimidation prevail.
It’s “Damage Made in America”.
Late February: Financial manipulation characterizes stock market transactions Worldwide.
The stock value of airlines companies collapses overnight. Those who had “foreknowledge” of Trump’s March 11 decision to ban transatlantic flights from EU countries made a bundle of money. It’s called “short-selling” in the derivative market among other speculative ops. Institutional speculators including hedge funds with “inside info” had already placed their bets.
More generally, a massive transfer of money wealth has occurred, among the largest in World history, leading to countless bankruptcies, not to mention the loss of lifelong savings engineered through the collapse of financial markets.
This process is ongoing. It would be naive to believe that these occurrences are spontaneous, based on market forces. They are deliberate. They are part of a carefully designed plan involving powerful financial interests.
COVID-19: “Made in China” or “Made in America”?
And now a new bombshell has emerged: The White House rhetoric of accusing China of spreading the “Wuhan virus” Worldwide has been refuted by both Japanese and Chinese reports. Scientific analysis revealed by Larry Romanoff suggests that the virus was “Made in America”:
“it appears that the virus did not originate in China and, according to reports in Japanese and other media, may have originated in the US. …
In February, the Japanese Asahi news report (print and TV) claimed the coronavirus originated in the US, not in China, and that some (or many) of the 14,000 American deaths attributed to influenza may have in fact have resulted from the coronavirus.
And on March 12, in a statement to the US Congress (House Oversight Committee), CDC Director Robert Redfield unwittingly “spilled the beans”. He candidly admitted, yes, some cases diagnosed as seasonal flu could have been coronavirus.
When did this occur? In October, November? What is the chronology. It is worth noting that Redfield’s statement is corroborated by both Japanese and Taiwanese virologists. Two countries which are staunch allies of the USA.
It is worth noting that the Taiwan virologist (referred to above)
“stated that the US has recently [?] had more than 200 “pulmonary fibrosis” cases that resulted in death due to patients’ inability to breathe, … He said he .. informed the US health authorities to consider seriously those deaths as resulting from the coronavirus, … [He] then stated the virus outbreak may have begun earlier than assumed, suggesting “We must look to September of 2019”. (quoted in Larry Romanoff, op cit)
China’s Foreign Ministry has reacted to CDC Robert Redfield’s statements intimating that the virus could have originated in the US.
“When Did “Patient Zero” Begin in the US?” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
Of course “WHEN” is the fundamental question.
“How many people are infected, what are the names of the hospitals, It might be US Army that brought epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent, US owe us an explanation”
@CDCDirector Dr. Robert Redfield: Some cases that were previously diagnosed as Flu in the US were actually #COVID19. It is absolutely WRONG and INAPPROPRIATE to call this the Chinese coronavirus. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4860650/user-clip-diagnosed-flu-covid-19 …
The World is at the Crossroads of the Most Serious Social and Economic Crisis in Modern History
People Worldwide are being misled. They are told: “It’s going to get worse”. Angela Merkel has stated without a shred of evidence that “70% of the German population could contract coronavirus if more isn’t done to stop its spread.”
In several countries, the economy has closed down. Supermarkets, shopping malls, offices, factories, schools, universities are at a standstill. People are confined to their homes. Fear and intimidation prevail.
In the meantime, coinciding with the coronavirus lockdown in Italy, 30,000 US troops have been dispatched to the EU, under US-NATO’s “Defend Europe 2020” war games against Russia, in the largest military deployment since World War II. “Could the Defender become the Invader…?”
Let’s be clear: The coronavirus pandemic is not the “cause” of this unfolding economic and social crisis. It is the “pretext” for the implementation of a carefully designed “operation” (supported by media disinformation) which destabilizes national economies, impoverishes large sectors of the World population and literally undermines the lives of millions of people. What we are dealing with is “An Act of War”.
While COVID-19 is an important Public Health concern, the lockdown coupled with an ongoing fear campaign does not constitute an effective means to combating the virus, i.e. by providing target medical assistance and health services to those affected.
For further details see:
By, March 08, 2020
What Happens Next: The Potential Impacts of a Continued Freeze of US Trade with China
The geopolitics are complex. How will economic events unfold? We will essentially focus briefly on US-China relations.
Those who formulated America’s “undeclared economic war” against China, failed to envisage the potential backlash on the US economy.
In a matter of months, if normal US-China trade relations and transportation are not resumed, the impacts on the national economies of Western countries could be devastating.
A large share of goods displayed in America’s shopping malls, including major brands are “Made in China”.
“Made in China” is the backbone of retail trade in the USA which indelibly sustains household consumption in virtually all major commodity categories from clothing, footwear, hardware, electronics, toys, jewelry, household fixtures, medical supplies, medicine and prescription drugs,, TV sets, cell phones, etc.
“Made in China” also dominates the production of a wide range of industrial inputs, advanced technology, machinery, building materials, automotive, parts and accessories, etc. not to mention the extensive sub-contracting of Chinese companies on behalf of US conglomerates.
While the US has a powerful and sophisticated financial apparatus (which has the ability to manipulate trade and stock markets Worldwide), America’s Real Economy is in a shambles.
Production does not take place in the USA. The producers have given up production.
The US trade deficit with China is instrumental in fuelling the profit driven consumer economy which relies on “Made in China” consumer goods. Meanwhile China holds a large part of the US public debt which they can readily convert into real assets overnight.
At this juncture of the coronavirus crisis, Beijing policy makers are fully aware that the US economy is fragile and heavily dependent on “Made in China”. Moreover, China has overtaken the US in several high tech areas including 5G.
And with an internal market of 1.4 billion people, coupled with a global export market under the “Belt and Road” initiative, the Chinese economy will have the upper hand.
Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research. He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: email@example.com
Following a ruling earlier this month by the ICC’s Appeals Chamber that a formal investigation of US officials for war crimes in Afghanistan could proceed, Washington responded with its usual threats of sanctions. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out two ICC staff members by name and intimated that they and their family members could be prohibited from traveling to the United States.
But refusing to back down, the ICC insisted that its investigation will go forward, pointing out that it is “an independent and impartial judicial institution” and that its organs “act strictly within the mandate bestowed upon them by the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.”
This exchange of hostilities is the latest demonstration of the ICC’s growing sense of independence and confidence. For years the court was derided as biased — not against America, but against Africa — and as failing to uphold principles of equal justice. In 2016, a number of African countries started signaling their intention to leave the ICC, noting that since the court was established in 2002, only Africans had been prosecuted.
Since then, however, the ICC has broadened its scope and opened new investigations, including some that don’t necessarily align with US foreign policy objectives. In 2016, the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor began investigating alleged crimes related to the 2008 international armed conflict in and around South Ossetia, including alleged crimes committed both by Russia and US ally Georgia.
In late 2019, the ICC’s Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said that an investigation could proceed into alleged crimes committed by Israel in occupied Palestinian territory. In a statement, the ICC announced that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation have been met.” This led Israel, which is not a state party to the ICC, to enlist friendly states such as Brazil, Hungary, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia to lean on the court to drop the investigation — so far, to no avail.
The ICC has also indicated that an investigation into the effects of US sanctions on Venezuela might be in the works. Last month, Bensouda announced that she had received a referral from the Government of Venezuela regarding the situation on its territory. Venezuela alleged that US sanctions amount to crimes against humanity. Rather than dismiss this claim out of hand, Bensouda took preliminary steps to enable an investigation to proceed.
Taken together, the recent developments related to the ICC could spell trouble for the US, whether or not the investigations lead to actual prosecutions of US officials or US allies. This is because US hegemony relies on the subservience not only of nation-states, but of international organizations.
The US has perceived the ICC as a threat ever since it was established 18 years ago, even taking the extraordinary measures in 2002 of repudiating its earlier signature to the Rome Statute and enacting a law authorizing the use of military force to liberate any American citizen being held by the court, which is located in The Hague.
With those threats failing to intimidate the court, the US is now resorting to punitive measures. But so far, judging by the ICC’s response, it is not bowing to pressure. Instead, it appears to be taking its mandate to investigate war crimes seriously, and demonstrating that the US military cannot expect to act with total impunity in its operations abroad.
This reinforces the principle of universal jurisdiction when it comes to grave crimes such as torture. It also serves as a reminder of how countries can avoid ICC investigations and prosecutions. Since the ICC only steps in when national authorities do not properly investigate grave crimes, there is a simple way for countries to avoid this scrutiny: prosecute war criminals themselves.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Silly intellectuals, debt jubilees are only for banks and corporations, not for the peasants.
“Critics warn of a creditor collapse and ruinous costs to government. But if the U.S. government can finance $4.5 trillion in quantitative easing, it can absorb the cost of forgoing student and other debt. And for private lenders, only bad loans need be wiped out. Much of what would be written off are accruals, late charges and penalties on loans gone bad. It actually subsidizes bad lending to leave them in place.”
MARCH 23, 2020
Even before the novel coronavirus appeared, many American families were falling behind on student loans, auto loans, credit cards and other payments. America’s debt overhead was pricing its labor and industry out of world markets. A debt crisis was inevitable eventually, but covid-19 has made it immediate.
Massive social distancing, with its accompanying job losses, stock dives and huge bailouts to corporations, raises the threat of a depression. But it doesn’t have to be this way. History offers us another alternative in such situations: a debt jubilee. This slate-cleaning, balance-restoring step recognizes the fundamental truth that when debts grow too large to be paid without reducing debtors to poverty, the way to hold society together and restore balance is simply to cancel the bad debts.
The word “Jubilee” comes from the Hebrew word for “trumpet” — yobel. In Mosaic Law, it was blown every 50 years to signal the Year of the Lord, in which personal debts were to be canceled. The alternative, the prophet Isaiah warned, was for smallholders to forfeit their lands to creditors: “Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.” When Jesus delivered his first sermon, the Gospel of Luke describes him as unrolling the scroll of Isaiah and announcing that he had come to proclaim the Year of the Lord, the Jubilee Year.
Until recently, historians doubted that a debt jubilee would have been possible in practice, or that such proclamations could have been enforced. But Assyriologists have found that from the beginning of recorded history in the Near East, it was normal for new rulers to proclaim a debt amnesty upon taking the throne. Instead of blowing a trumpet, the ruler “raised the sacred torch” to signal the amnesty.
It is now understood that these rulers were not being utopian or idealistic in forgiving debts. The alternative would have been for debtors to fall into bondage. Kingdoms would have lost their labor force, since so many would be working off debts to their creditors. Many debtors would have run away (much as Greeks emigrated en masse after their recent debt crisis), and communities would have been prone to attack from without.
The parallels to the current moment are notable. The U.S. economy has polarized sharply since the 2008 crash. For far too many, their debts leave little income available for consumer spending or spending the national interest. In a crashing economy, any demand that newly massive debts be paid to a financial class that has already absorbed most of the wealth gained since 2008 will only split our society further.
This has happened before in recent history — after World War I, the burden of war debts and reparations bankrupted Germany, contributing to the global financial collapse of 1929-1931. Most of Germany was insolvent, and its politics polarized between the Nazis and communists. We all know how that ended.
America’s 2008 bank crash offered a great opportunity to write down the often fraudulent junk mortgages that burdened many lower-income families, especially minorities. But this was not done, and millions of American families were evicted. The way to restore normalcy today is a debt write-down. The debts in deepest arrears and most likely to default are student debts, medical debts, general consumer debts and purely speculative debts. They block spending on goods and services, shrinking the “real” economy. A write-down would be pragmatic, not merely moral sympathy with the less affluent.
In fact, it could create what the Germans called an “Economic Miracle” — their own modern debt jubilee in 1948, the currency reform administered by the Allied Powers. When the Deutsche Mark was introduced, replacing the Reichsmark, 90 percent of government and private debt was wiped out. Germany emerged as an almost debt-free country, with low costs of production that jump-started its modern economy.
Critics warn of a creditor collapse and ruinous costs to government. But if the U.S. government can finance $4.5 trillion in quantitative easing, it can absorb the cost of forgoing student and other debt. And for private lenders, only bad loans need be wiped out. Much of what would be written off are accruals, late charges and penalties on loans gone bad. It actually subsidizes bad lending to leave them in place.
In the past, the politically powerful financial sector has blocked a write-down. Until now, the basic ethic of most of us has been that debts must be repaid. But it is time to recognize that most debts now cannot be paid — through no real fault of the debtors in the face of today’s economic disaster.
The coronavirus outbreak is serving as a mind-expansion exercise, making hitherto unthinkable solutions thinkable. Debts that can’t be paid won’t be. A debt jubilee may be the best way out.
A version of this column first appeared in the Washington Post.
This article was written by Brandon Smith and originally published at Birch Gold Group
Last November, in an article titled ‘The Economic Crash So Far: A Look At The Real Numbers’, I outlined the reality of statistical fraud by governments and central banks to hide the ongoing economic downturn. The Everything Bubble, perhaps the biggest debt fueled bubble in history, has been propping up the global economy for several years, but began to waver dramatically at the end of 2018, as the Federal Reserve tightened liquidity conditions into economic weakness (just as they did in 1929 and in the early 1930’s as the Great Depression took hold).
In that article, I warned:
“If the global economy is not on the verge of collapse, then why did central banks keep propping it up for the past ten years? And if central banks have been propping up the system, how much longer do you think they can do this? How much longer do you think they want to do it? What if one day they decide to let the entire house of cards tumble? What if such an event actually benefits them?”
An important factor to this discussion is the idea that the central banks are “ignorant” to the damage they do. This claim is everywhere in the alternative media these days, and it is simply wrong. The banking elites are well aware of the damage they do, and often it benefits their bigger agenda of one world centralization. In fact, Jerome Powell openly admitted in the minutes of the October 2012 Fed meeting exactly what would happen if the Fed took actions to tighten cash flows while markets were addicted to stimulus. Then, as soon as he became the head of the central bank, he implemented that exact policy.
Almost nothing in finance and economics happens without being “managed”, or at least deliberately triggered by central banks. Economic crisis events are a form of massive leverage against the public. They are designed to siphon tangible wealth for pennies on the dollar from the middle class while also setting up social crisis conditions which allow the elites to manipulate the population into accepting less freedom and more globalism.
In the past, I have noted that the central banks have clearly been waiting for something or stalling the crash in preparation for a specific window of time. They needed an event that could be used as cover for the crash that they had been engineering. This event could come in many forms: The trade war was a perfect start, along with war tensions with Iran, but there was really no way of telling what the trigger would be.
Well, now we know.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect cover event. It is a virus with a strangely long incubation period coupled with being highly transmissible and just deadly enough (3% to 5% death rate) to cause fear within the population. This novel virus is not going to go away for a while; it will most likely stick to the global populace like glue for the rest of the year, and like the Spanish Flu which was active for around two years, the longer it circulates the more deaths accumulate.
But the virus is not the cause of the economic collapse; it is only a prime scapegoat, along with the very slow response times of many governments and the World Health Organization to encourage a shutdown in international travel from hot zones, which allowed the virus to spread unhindered. The collapse was taking place before the pandemic ever became a factor.
We are seeing this clearly now in the Fed repo market situation, which has continued to escalate as corporate beggars demand more and more liquidity that the Fed is either not able or not willing to supply. And by liquidity, I’m talking about tens-of-trillions; I’m talking about TARP level or greater fiat injections. I’m talking about direct purchases of stocks and other assets beyond bonds. The investment world wants the Fed to make it rain cash, and while it seems like that is what the Fed is doing…they are not even close yet.
Of course, the next question is, Will it even matter if the Fed initiated full blown helicopter Weimar-style inflation? The answer is no. If the Fed wanted to stall the crash, they would have introduced such measures over the course of the last year. Instead, they did the bare minimum to make it look like they cared about saving markets, which they do not.
The Weimar model, which some financial analysts out there foolishly used as a reason for predicting an endless stock market rally to Dow 40,000 and beyond, does not work because it never worked for Weimar. German stocks still collapsed in 1924, and then again after 1927; there is no precedent in which hyperinflation ensured increased stock profits or higher prices for very long, so don’t expect helicopter money from the Federal Reserve to help either.
Anyone with any sense can see that the prevailing factor of stock market performance has long been corporate stock buybacks, which have now conveniently dropped off the face of the Earth as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads. If you want to know why Fed intervention is doing nothing to reverse the damages in equities, the end of stock buybacks are a good starting point, along with the vast debts among corporations and consumers.
The black hole of debt that has been looming over the global economy has been set in motion, creating a negative feedback loop that makes any intervention useless, beyond a complete “economic reset”, which is exactly what globalists have been wanting and planning for years.
In the meantime, there has been a flight to safety – but what assets are safe? On the surface it looks like almost everything except the U.S. dollar is plunging in value – but looks can be deceiving. As I noted earlier this month in ‘Physical Gold Will Soon Break Free From The Paper Market In Spectacular Fashion’, reports are coming in that purchases of precious metals have skyrocketed, and currently silver rounds are selling for as much as $6 to $10 over the spot price, while gold rounds are selling for at least $50 over spot. The physical market is officially decoupling from the paper market.
At this point, we are seeing unprecedented events beyond even the 2008 credit crash. We must ask, What is our timeline? Looking at China, the first nation to be hit by the pandemic, their economy is still essentially shut down. Initial estimates were that Chinese manufacturing was going to restart on March 20, but reports from China and the Wall Street Journal indicate that this is not going to happen. Every sector of China’s economy has plunged, and it does not look like the supply chain on their side will be restarted in the near term.
This makes sense when you consider the possibility that China has been lying the whole time about the extent of the damage done by the virus. Italy, with a far lower population, has already surpassed China’s death count with half as many confirmed infections. How does a country with a billion people (many of them older), packed together in cities like sardines, maintain a death rate of only 2%, while Italy, a country with only 60 million people, has a death rate of around 6%? China has much to answer for, but I don’t think we’ll ever get the whole story.
COVID-19 is not likely to burn out in the spring as many are hoping, and going by China’s manufacturing shutdown, we have at least three solid months of crisis in the U.S. and Europe before there is a chance of remission. But even if the virus does hit a wall, the economy will already be sunk beyond repair. This is the kind of collapse that takes years to recover from, and the global elites want to be the people that take charge of the recovery.
My biggest concern right now besides the supply chain issue is the potential for a liquidity crisis and credit crisis leading to a “bank holiday” – a widespread banking shutdown. I believe this will happen, and probably sooner than we might expect. Already the mainstream media is telling people NOT to remove any cash from their bank accounts, which is a bad sign. Usually when the MSM is telling you not to do something, it is time to do the opposite.
I am not necessarily encouraging people to make a run on the banks, but I will say that you better have some cash on hand through this crisis, because chances are good that you will wake up one morning and discover the banks locked and the ATMs unplugged.
Understand that this is not a short-term crisis that will correct itself. This is a long-term disaster. If you are not prepared accordingly, you must do so NOW. Time has almost run out.
* * *
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China, which has been praising itself for its draconian response in shutting down much of the country for most of February and thus halting the spread of the coronavirus pandemic domestically (at least if one ignores the glaring discrepancies from reports on the ground), may have a new problem on its hands.
According to the South China Morning Post, which cited classified data from the Chinese government, as many as a third of the people who test positive for the coronavirus – also known as “silent carriers” – may show delayed symptoms or none at all.
The data show that 43,000 people in China tested positive by the end of February, but had no actual symptoms, the newspaper reported. They were quarantined and monitored, though as we noted last month, in a radical change in how China is underreporting the severity of the disease, asymptomatic cases aren’t included in China’s tally of those infected with the virus.
“The number of novel coronavirus cases worldwide continues to grow, and the gap between reports from China and statistical estimates of incidence based on cases diagnosed outside China indicates that a substantial number of cases are underdiagnosed,” a group of Japanese experts led by Hiroshi Nishiura, an epidemiologist at Hokkaido University, wrote in a letter to the International Journal of Infectious Diseases in February. Based on his research, Nishiura put the proportion of asymptomatic Japanese patients evacuated from Wuhan, ground zero of the outbreak in China, at 30.8 percent – similar to the classified Chinese government data.
Another useful point of reference is the data collected from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined for weeks in Yokohama, Japan. All of its passengers and crew were tested, with 712 people testing positive – 334 of whom were asymptomatic, according to official Japanese figures.
In Hong Kong, 16 of the 138 confirmed cases as of March 14 were asymptomatic or presymptomatic, according to Ho Pak-leung, a professor with the microbiology department of the University of Hong Kong. All of these numbers point to a significantly higher ratio of asymptomatic cases than indicated by data publicly released by China so far. There were 889 asymptomatic patients among the 44,672 confirmed cases as of February 11, epidemiologists from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in a paper published online in JAMA Network Open on February 24.
A separate study by scientists from the University of Texas at Austin estimated that people who had not yet developed symptoms transmitted around 10 percent of the 450 cases they studied in 93 Chinese cities. Their findings are awaiting publication in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Ho from the University of Hong Kong said some asymptomatic patients had a viral load similar to those with symptoms.
“Of course it is hard to say if they may be less infectious if they don’t cough. But there are also droplets when you speak,” he said, referring to how the respiratory virus is transmitted.
As Bloomberg notes, the novel virus has been described as “insidious” because many infected people are well enough to go about their daily business, unwittingly spreading it to others as symptoms begin to appear on average five to six days after infection. While scientists have been unable to agree on what role asymptomatic transmission plays in spreading the disease, they do know that the virus appears to cause a mild illness lasting about two weeks in children, adolescents and younger adults in most cases, and potentially more severe disease lasting three to six weeks in older people.
The bottom line is that the propagation of “silent carriers” and high rate of asymptomatic cases can complicate efforts to stop the spread of the disease which has infected more than 280,000 people and killed nearly 13,000 globally because many countries aren’t testing people unless they’re seriously ill, the newspaper reported. It also means that with thousands of asymptomatic carriers roaming around the population, confident they are free of the disease, secondary and tertiary breakouts are virtually guaranteed even for populations which, like China, claim to have defeated the pandemic.
March 20, 2020:
“I wonder about Trump’s antagonism towards China. Is he emphasizing it for the wrong reasons?
See below from Pepe Escobar. In the past, Escobar has been on-point as to US geopolitical conflicts. Could this be the darkest side of the story? Could we have started a biological attack on China’s economy and it backfired? I’d rather believe not, but past research at Fort Detrick, Maryland, now recently shut down, has done the world a lot of harm, going back to our Swine Flu fever attack on Cuba under Nixon. We wiped out the entire pig population of an island we’re still aggressively sanctioning, as we are Iran and Venezuela. Now China? Is the US losing its cool?”
The fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak puts Beijing and Washington on a collision course, writes Pepe Escobar.
March 20, 2020
Among the myriad, earth-shattering geopolitical effects of coronavirus, one is already graphically evident. China has re-positioned itself. For the first time since the start of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in 1978, Beijing openly regards the U.S. as a threat, as stated a month ago by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference during the peak of the fight against coronavirus.
Beijing is carefully, incrementally shaping the narrative that, from the beginning of the coronavirus attack, the leadership knew it was under a hybrid war attack.
The terminology of President Xi Jinping is a major clue. He said, on the record, that this was war. And, as a counter-attack, a “people’s war” had to be launched.
Moreover, he described the virus as a demon or devil. Xi is a Confucianist. Unlike some other ancient Chinese thinkers, Confucius was loath to discuss supernatural forces and judgment in the afterlife. However, in a Chinese cultural context, devil means “white devils” or “foreign devils”: guailo in Mandarin, gweilo in Cantonese. This was Xi delivering a powerful statement in code.
When Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, voiced in an incandescent tweet the possibility that “it might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan” – the first blast to this effect to come from a top official – Beijing was sending up a trial balloon signaling that the gloves were finally off. Zhao Lijian made a direct connection with the Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019, which included a delegation of 300 U.S. military.
He directly quoted U.S. CDC Director Robert Redfield who, when asked last week whether some deaths by Coronavirus had been discovered posthumously in the U.S., replied that “some cases have actually been diagnosed this way in the U.S. today.”
Zhao’s explosive conclusion is that COVID-19 was already in effect in the U.S. before being identified in Wuhan – due to the by now fully documented inability of the U.S. to test and verify differences compared with the flu.
Adding all that to the fact that coronavirus genome variations in Iran and Italy were sequenced and it was revealed they do not belong to the variety that infected Wuhan, Chinese media are now openly asking questions and drawing a connection with the shutting down in August last year of the “unsafe” military bioweapon lab at Fort Detrick, the Military Games, and the Wuhan epidemic. Some of these questions had been asked– with no response – inside the U.S. itself.
Extra questions linger about the opaque Event 201 in New York on October 18, 2019: a rehearsal for a worldwide pandemic caused by a deadly virus – which happened to be coronavirus. This magnificent coincidence happened one month before the outbreak in Wuhan.
Event 201 was sponsored by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the CIA, Bloomberg, John Hopkins Foundation and the UN. The World Military Games opened in Wuhan on the exact same day.
Irrespective of its origin, which is still not conclusively established, as much as Trump tweets about the “Chinese virus,” COVID-19 already poses immensely serious questions about biopolitics (where’s Foucault when we need him?) and bio-terror.
The working hypothesis of coronavirus as a very powerful but not Armageddon-provoking bio-weapon unveils it as a perfect vehicle for widespread social control — on a global scale.
Cuba Rises as Biotech Power
Just as a fully masked Xi visiting the Wuhan frontline last week was a graphic demonstration to the whole planet that China, with immense sacrifice, is winning the “people‘s war” against COVID-19, Russia, in a Sun Tzu move on Riyadh whose end result was a much cheaper barrel of oil, helped for all practical purposes to kick-start the inevitable recovery of the Chinese economy. This is how a strategic partnership works.
The chessboard is changing at breakneck speed. Once Beijing identified coronavirus as a bio-weapon attack the “people’s war” was launched with the full force of the state. Methodically. On a “whatever it takes” basis. Now we are entering a new stage, which will be used by Beijing to substantially recalibrate the interaction with the West, and under very different frameworks when it comes to the U.S. and the EU.
Soft power is paramount. Beijing sent an Air China flight to Italy carrying 2,300 big boxes full of masks bearing the script, “We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers from the same garden.” China also sent a hefty humanitarian package to Iran, significantly aboard eight flights from Mahan Air — an airline under illegal, unilateral Trump administration sanctions.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic could not have been more explicit: “The only country that can help us is China. By now, you all understood that European solidarity does not exist. That was a fairy tale on paper.”
Under harsh sanctions and demonized since forever, Cuba is still able to perform breakthroughs – even on biotechnology. The anti-viral Heberon – or Interferon Alpha 2b – a therapeutic, not a vaccine, has been used with great success in the treatment of coronavirus. A joint venture in China is producing an inhalable version, and at least 15 nations are already interested in importing the therapeutic.
Now compare all of the above with the Trump administration offering $1 billion to poach German scientists working at biotech firm Curevac, based in Thuringia, on an experimental vaccine against COVID-19, to have it as a vaccine “only for the United States.”
Social Engineering Psy-Op?
Sandro Mezzadra, co-author with Brett Neilson of the seminal “The Politics of Operations: Excavating Contemporary Capitalism,” is already trying to conceptualize where we stand now in terms of fighting COVID-19.
We are facing a choice between a Malthusian strand – inspired by social Darwinism – “led by the Johnson-Trump-Bolsonaro axis” and, on the other side, a strand pointing to the “requalification of public health as a fundamental tool,” exemplified by China, South Korea and Italy. There are key lessons to be learned from South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore.
The stark option, Mezzadra notes, is between a “natural population selection,” with thousands of dead, and “defending society” by employing “variable degrees of authoritarianism and social control.” It’s easy to imagine who stands to benefit from this social re-engineering, a 21st century remix of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Amid so much doom and gloom, count on Italy to offer us Tiepolo-style shades of light. Italy chose the Wuhan option, with immensely serious consequences for its already fragile economy. Quarantined Italians remarkably reacted by singing on their balconies: a true act of metaphysical revolt.
Not to mention the poetic justice of the actual St. Corona (“crown” in Latin) being buried in the city of Anzu since the 9th century. St. Corona was a Christian killed under Marcus Aurelius in 165 AD, and has been for centuries one of the patron saints of pandemics.
Not even trillions of dollars raining from the sky by an act of divine Fed mercy were able to cure Covid-19. G-7 “leaders” had to resort to a videoconference to realize how clueless they are – even as China’s fight against coronavirus gave the West a head start of several weeks.
Shanghai-based Dr. Zhang Wenhong, one of China’s top infectious disease experts, whose analyses have been spot on so far, now says China has emerged from the darkest days in the “people’s war” against Covid-19. But he does not think this will be over by summer. Now extrapolate what he’s saying to the Western world.
It’s not even spring yet, and we already know it takes a virus to mercilessly shatter the Goddess of the Market. Last Friday, Goldman Sachs told no fewer than 1,500 corporations that there was no systemic risk. That was false.
New York banking sources told me the truth: systemic risk became way more severe in 2020 than in 1979, 1987 or 2008 because of the hugely heightened danger that the $1.5 quadrillion derivative market would collapse.
As the sources put it, history had never before seen anything like the Fed’s intervention via its little understood elimination of commercial bank reserve requirements, unleashing a potential unlimited expansion of credit to prevent a derivative implosion stemming from a total commodity and stock market collapse of all stocks around the world.
Those bankers thought it would work, but as we know by now all the sound and fury signified nothing. The ghost of a derivative implosion – in this case not caused by the previous possibility, the shutting down of the Strait of Hormuz – remains.
We are still barely starting to understand the consequences of Covid-19 for the future of neoliberal turbo-capitalism. What’s certain is that the whole global economy has been hit by an insidious, literally invisible circuit breaker. This may be just a “coincidence.” Or this may be, as some are boldly arguing, part of a possible, massive psy-op creating the perfect geopolitlcal and social engineering environment for full-spectrum dominance.
Additionally, along the hard slog down the road, with immense, inbuilt human and economic sacrifice, with or without a reboot of the world-system, a more pressing question remains: will imperial elites still choose to keep waging full-spectrum-dominance hybrid war against China?
This article is from The Asia Times.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.
Michael McCaffrey lives in Los Angeles where he works as an acting coach, screenwriter and consultant. He is also a freelance film and cultural critic whose work can be read at RT, Counterpunch and at his website mpmacting.com/blog.
Anyone who has eyes to see can clearly make out that America is an addled empire in steep decline that is firmly entrenched in its bread-and-circuses stage. This has been brought into clear focus due to Covid-19. Since there is now a shortage of bread, as supermarket shelves are bare, and the distraction of the circus of sports has been indefinitely removed from the culture, Americans are left with little to distract them from cold, hard reality.
With no brawls or ballgames to watch, and the fear of potential hunger gnawing at their bloated bellies and brains, and with social distancing leaving them isolated with little but their thoughts as company, Americans will now find it harder and harder to ignore the truth about their country and its deplorably corrupt media, financial, government, education and health care systems, that is staring them in the face.
As the old adage goes, crisis reveals character, and the coronavirus contagion is a crisis of epic proportions that is revealing America to be utterly devoid of any redeeming character whatsoever.
If America were a sane, healthy, and rational country this would be a great opportunity for change to occur…alas, it is not. America is an insane, unhealthy and irrational nation, and so any genuine change is inconceivable.
For example, this crisis has once again revealed the house of cards that is the smoke and mirrors American economy. The American economy has long been rigged through financialization, where stock buybacks and accounting shenanigans inflate the stock market but create nothing of substance for the masses except the illusion of prosperity. Here in America the economy long ago stopped working for regular folks, as evidenced by the fact that despite productivity soaring, for the last forty years wages have remained stagnant, while the cost of living has escalated.
The American Way has devolved into a bizarre reverse-Robin Hood world, where the rich steal from the poor and keep it for themselves. Proof of this is that this Covid-19 crisis will undoubtedly be used, just as the 2008 collapse, as a way for the malicious narcissists in Washington, Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms to come together to assure that all their losses are socialized and their profits privatized. Casinos, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and others are already lining up — including of course the scoundrels on Wall Street — for their taxpayer-funded handout.
Bailing out working- and middle-class Americans, though, is an absolute non-starter for the ruling elite. The upper crust will throw around vacuous catch phrases, like the deliciously ironic “moral hazard,” to make their argument, which is pretty rich considering the vermin on Wall Street and their cronies on Capitol Hill are so morally bereft, it is a hazard to all humanity.
Coronavirus is not nearly as deadly as the cancerous corruption that is endemic in our oligarchic corporatocracy. For proof of that look no further than Nancy Pelosi’s emergency “sick pay” bill, that exempts companies of over 500 employees from paying sick pay — and has a boatload of special exemptions for businesses below that threshold — which leaves all but 20% of workers eligible for benefits. The holes in Pelosi’s bill are bigger than the gaping void where her brain and soul should be.
This corruption of the elites is bipartisan, as evidenced by two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler (who is married to Jeffrey Sprechter, chairman of the New York Stock Exchange), who allegedly took advantage of classified briefings on the impending severity of coronavirus in late January and early February to pull off some slick insider trading maneuvers so they could cash in before the public had any clue what was coming. Both, of course, deny any impropriety.
The egregious economic divide in America is further highlighted by the Covid-19 debate over whether to close schools amidst the crisis. The reason this debate raged on well past the rational time to act is that our education system is not a system of learning but rather a glorified daycare and food delivery service.
Proletarian parents are unable to stay home and raise their kids anymore because it now takes two parents — usually working multiple jobs — to make less equivalently than what one working parent did forty years ago.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, 70% of all students are below the poverty line and rely on the school system for the majority of their meals. In the wealthiest country on the planet, that is absolutely disgraceful. The virus of structural economic inequality isa much more long-term and deadly problem than coronavirus, and the ruling class and their shameless lackeys in the press, have no interest in ever honestly addressing or acknowledging it.
The corporate whores in Congress and the White House (of both parties) also gleefully inform Americans that universal, single-payer health care, which every other industrialized nation in the world already has, is a pipe dream and impossibility.
They tell us they could never ever pay for something so decadent and luxurious as health care, but then they magically pull $1.5 trillion out of their gold-plated assholes in order to stave off a collapse of their own making. It is amazing how the Lords of Finance can make money miraculously appear in order to get things done when it is their exorbitant wealth on the line, and not ordinary Americans’ health and wellbeing.
Coronavirus is a crisis that is revealing the ugly truth about America and the malignant character of its ruling class. The crisis is going to get worse before it gets better, but it eventually will get better. America, on the other hand, will only get much worse, with no hope that it is ever going to get better.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.