Coronavirus Updates

Update 3/29/2020:  Confirmed cases 785,409 with 37,807 fatalities. The US has 164,121 cases with 3,163 fatalities. Washington state has 5,250 cases with 210 fatalities. Yakima Health District has 161 cases with 3 fatalities. Benton Franklin Health District has 97 confirmed cases, 42 probable cases, and 5 fatalities. New York state passes 1,300 deaths. The USNS Comfort hospital ship has docked in New York. Washington, DC issues stay at home order. Italy has 101,739 cases with 11,592 fatalities. Spain has 87,956 cases with 7,716 fatalities. Germany has 66,885 cases. South Korea begins seeing sustained increases in cases again. In some areas of the US and the world, officials are cracking down on what kinds of products may be sold by the stores that remain open, demanding that only “necessities” be allowed for purchase, i.e. no entertainment, educational, or luxury items. EasyJet airline stops all commercial flights. India’s lockdown causes a mass exodus of city day-workers trying to get to their home villages.

Update 3/29/2020:  Confirmed cases 721,562 with 33,965 fatalities. The US has 142,004 cases with 2,484 fatalities. President Trump extends federal mitigation efforts/social distancing recommendations until the end of April. US healthcare workers are beginning to speak out about the shortages of protective equipment, ventilators, and conditions in hospitals. Washington state has 4,392 cases with 195 fatalities. Yakima Health District has 140 cases with 2 fatalities. Benton Franklin Health District has 72 cases and 5 fatalities.  Florida has opened checkpoints on the border to prevent infected individuals from hot spots from entering the state. Texas has opened checkpoints to ensure Louisianans entering the state register and quarantine for 14 days. See one such interview below. Italy has 97,689 cases with 10,779 fatalities. Spain has 80,031 cases with 6,802 fatalities. Germany has 62,095 cases. France has passed 40,000. The UK is now approaching 20,000 cases with 1,228 fatalities.

Update 3/28/2020:  Confirmed cases 662,852 with 30,847 fatalities. The US has 123,428 cases with 2,211 fatalities. The first US infant death has been confirmed in Chicago. A 25-year old man with no underlying health conditions has passed away in California from Covid-19. Washington state has 4,310 cases with 189 fatalities. A doctor in Bellingham has been fired for criticizing the hospital’s virus response. The Yakima Health District has 82 cases with 2 fatalities. The Benton Franklin Health District has 54 confirmed cases and 5 fatalities and and another 21 probable cases. Italy has 92,472 cases with 10,023 fatalities. Spain has 73,235 cases with 5,982 fatalities. Germany has 57,695 cases. The city of Wuhan, China partially re-opens after two months of lockdown. Russia is fully closing its borders beginning Monday. The first NHS surgeon in UK dies from coronavirus after volunteering to work frontline. In India, the lockdown only gave four hours notice; millions have been left jobless, foodless and without money by the shutdown, sparking an exodus from major cities.

Update 3/27/2020:  Confirmed cases 594,280 with 27,246 fatalities. The US has 102,338 cases with 1,603 fatalities. Washington state has 3,700 cases with 175 fatalities. The Yakima Health District has 72 cases with 2 fatalities. The Benton Franklin Health District has 54 confirmed cases and 5 fatalities. The US Army Corps of Engineer will convert CenturyLnik Field into a temporary field hospital for non-coronavirus patients. Rhode Island announces that National Guard will go door to door in coastal communities checking for travelers from New York. The mayor of New Orleans blames President Trump for her not cancelling Mardi Gras (which became an incubator of the virus). Italy has 86,498 cases (becoming the second country to exceed China’s total) and 9,134 fatalities. Spain has 65,719 cases. Germany has 50,871 cases. The UK prime minister and UK health secretary have tested positive. Residents of Hubei province have rioted against police forces of neighboring Jiangxi province, who had set up roadblocks to prevent the people of Hubei from returning to work in Jiangxi. Ireland warns that its ICUs will be at capacity in a number of days. Bolivia implements extreme quarantine measures. A new study indicated that the coronavirus may halve the testosterone levels of males – long term studies needed.

Update 3/26/2020:  Confirmed cases 529,071 with 23,967 fatalities. The US has 83,144 cases, surpassing China’s total for most cases in the world, with 1,201 fatalities. Washington state has 3,012 cases with 148 fatalities. Washington state’s infection rate may be slowing, but the stay at home order may be extended. The Yakima Health District has 53 cases with 2 fatalities. The Virgina Mason Memorial hospital in Yakima is near capacity. The Benton Franklin Health District has 26 confirmed cases and another 11 probable cases along with 4 fatalities. New York state currently has 5,327 hospitalized cases with 1,290 being in ICU, overwhelming some hospitals. Refrigerated trailers are being deployed for use as temporary morgues. US unemployment claims hit a weekly record of 3.3 million. Louisiana appears to be adding cases faster than anywhere else in the world. The US Navy reports an outbreak on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. Spain jumps to 56,188 cases. Italy has 80,589 cases with 8,215 fatalities.

Update 3/25/2020:  Confirmed cases 471,035 with 21,283 fatalities. The US has 68,203 cases with 1,027 fatalities. Washington State has 2,588 cases with 132 fatalities. Benton Franklin Health District has 21 cases with 4 fatalities. Yakima Health District has 53 cases. Washington state closes all public lands for two weeks because of crowded trails and large gatherings. The US Army’s 627th Hospital Center will deploy to Washington State to back up local doctors and nurses. Most Pacific Northwest national parks close. Alaska records first Covid-19 death. Maryland closes schools until at least April 24. Spain has over 49,000 cases and 3,647 fatalities, surpassing China’s total deaths. Italy over 74,000 should surpass China’s total cases in a day or two; Italy has over 7,500 fatalities. Iran passes 27,000 cases and 2,000 fatalities. Thailand declares a state of emergency. The US Congress agreed on a $2 trillion bailout package. Nearly one third of the global population is currently locked down.

Update 3/24/2020:  Confirmed cases 422,613 with 18,891 fatalities. The US has 54,808 cases with 775 fatalities, having added over 100 deaths yesterday for the first time and 222 today. Washington state has 2,469 cases with 123 fatalities. In Washington state’s Yakima county, enforcement of the stay at home order going into effect tomorrow will begin with education but will move to tickets or citations as necessary. Yakima Health District has 47 cases with one fatality. The Benton-Franklin Health District has 19 cases with 3 fatalities. Yakima Valley health care systems are seeking donations of supplies. 16 states have issued stay at home orders. Anyone leaving the NYC metro area has been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. The first child under the age of 18 to die from the novel coronavirus in the US has passed away in Los Angeles. Spain has well over 39,000 cases, after a big jump today. Italy has over 69,000 cases with 6,820 fatalities. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic games have been postponed for one year. India orders a 21 day lockdown for all 1.3 billion citizens. Continue reading “Coronavirus Updates”

Organic Prepper: China’s Control of Pharmaceuticals

In this article from The Organic Prepper, Daisy Luther discusses China’s corner on the pharmaceutical market – 80% of pharmaceutical ingredients are made in China – and recent threats (or merely boasts?) that China would or could cut off drug exports to the US.

As China allegedly conquers the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak that began in Wuhan, it appears that they’re right back to considering the United States an enemy. On Xiahuanet, the Communist Party news outlet, they threatened to withhold all medical exports to the US, at the same asking for an “apology” from the US and “gratitude” from the rest of the world.

This comes at the most crucial point of an outbreak that originated in their own country.

Why is China angry with the US?

Xinhuanet is the biggest news agency in China, and very “influential.” The outlet is the official state-run press agency, so anything found on the website is straight from the Chinese government. An article titled, “The World Should Thank China,” which was published on March 4, covered the outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States.

The article suggests that the US’s data is suspicious because all cases of coronavirus must be confirmed by the CDC. (I can’t disagree with them that our numbers are questionable.) It shows a photograph of people praying in the White House to underline how “nervous” President Trump is about the virus. (This photo was actually of a meeting that the Vice President had about the rapidly spreading virus, as opposed to the President.)

Xinhuanet goes on to tout the control they have taken over the outbreak, saying that Trump admires their handling of the crisis and that his “remarks came from the bottom of his heart.”

At the same time, Xinhuanet criticized the US’s perceived mistreatment of China, citing the travel ban and the evacuation of American citizens from Wuhan, the heart of the outbreak. This caused, according to Xinhuanet, other countries to also “isolate” China from the rest of the world, causing them economic harm.

A translated version of the article says:

These practices in the United States are very unkind. They can be described as falling into the ground and killing people while they are ill. (source)

And now, if it is to be believed that China has contained the outbreak and they’re back to business as usual, they may want to exact some vengeance for this “unkindness.” (And of course, this remains the question – do they even currently possess the capability to manufacture these medical products or is this all a way to save face because their workforce is decimated and the virus is actually not contained at all?)

How did China threaten the US?

In the article, China suggests that they could easily get even with the United States for their perceived mistreatment of China during the outbreak by cutting off medical supplies while we are in the midst of our own outbreak.

If China retaliates against the United States at this time, in addition to announcing a travel ban on the United States, it will also announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then the United States will be caught in the ocean of new crown viruses.

According to the US CDC officials, most masks in the United States are made in China and imported from China. If China bans the export of masks to the United States, the United States will fall into the mask shortage, and the most basic measures to prevent the new crown virus are Can’t do it.

Also according to the US CDC officials, most of the drugs in the United States are imported, and some drugs are imported from Europe. However, Europe also places the production base of these drugs in China, so more than 90% of the US imported drugs are Related to China. The implication is that at this time, as long as China announces that its drugs are as domestic as possible and banned exports, the United States will fall into the hell of the new crown pneumonia epidemic. (source)

In the next paragraph, Xinhuanet basically says, “Nah, don’t worry. We are filled with love.”

However, there is a great love in the world. The Chinese people and the Chinese government have never done so. They have not insulted the United States, nor have they banned the export of masks and medicines to the United States. (source)

Then the article suggests that the United States, if not the entire world, owes China an apology due to our media coverage of the outbreak in Wuhan and comments made about the outbreak by government officials like  Secretary of Commerce Rose, US Secretary of State Pompeo, and US White House Economic Adviser Navarro. They say these officials “gloated” about the coronavirus outbreak and saw it as an opportunity to pull US manufacturing out of China…

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Doom and Bloom: Coronavirus

The Altons at Doom and Bloom medical have a short article up on what is a coronavirus and basic prophylaxis. The article was published on Jan. 22nd, so the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths have risen.

Masks Mandatory in Wuhan

Last week, we reported on a mysterious ailment first reported Dec. 8th, 2019, in Wuhan, China. Wuhan is the seventh most populous city in China with 11 million people. The previously unknown disease is now identified as a type of coronavirus. Medical officials are currently classifying it as a “class B” disease, which puts it in the same category as HIV/AIDS and Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The rapidity and spread of the disease is impressive: When I began writing this article earlier in the day, there were 440 cases and 9 deaths, up from 200 cases last week. Later in the day, 555 cases and 17 deaths have been verified and other provinces in China are beginning to report cases.

(Note: I first reported on Ebola in early 2014, when 86 cases were reported. The epidemic eventually reached a total of 28,000 cases and 11,000 deaths.)

Chinese authorities have taken the drastic measure of placing the entire city of Wuhan under quarantine, including the suspension of train and airline service, a step that suggests that many more cases are still unreported.

(1/23 update: Several U.S. airports are now conducting health screenings)

Although little is known at this point about the virus, it is certain that the disease is respiratory in nature and that human-to-human transmission (including medical personnel) is likely. For most respiratory infections, contagion is usually by airborne particles.

The first U.S. case has just been identified in a 30-year-old man from the state of Washington who recently arrived from China. Similar coronavirus victims have been found in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea, almost all traced to an origin in Wuhan.

ABOUT CORONAVIRUSES

Fever may not be present in all patients including: young, elderly, immunosuppressed or taking fever-reducing medications; many only have respiratory symptoms

The Wuhan virus is from the same family of coronaviruses as SARS, which killed over 800 people worldwide in an outbreak toward the end of 2002. It is also similar to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), another epidemic disease. Although not officially named, the new virus is designated 2019-nCOV.

Coronaviruses are viruses made from RNA genetic material. One of the larger RNA viruses, coronavirus is so named from the Latin “corona” (crown or halo), from projections on the virus which give the appearance of a crown.

Coronaviruses are thought to be responsible for a large number of common colds in humans. Coronavirus colds seem to be associated with more major symptoms like fever or sore throat than colds caused by rhinoviruses, another common cause. 2019-nCOV seems to cause even worse respiratory symptoms than the typical coronavirus. Coronaviruses can also lead to pneumonia, either directly or through a secondary bacterial infection due to a weakened immune system.

ABILITY TO CONTAIN THE VIRUS

Coronavirus has crown-like projections

Chinese officials are probably wise to enact quarantine orders, as there is only one lab (called a Biosafety Level 4 lab or BSL-4) in their entire country with the capability of handling severe outbreaks. Luckily for them, it is located in Wuhan. The facility can care for victims of highly contagious diseases like SARS, Ebola, etc.

Personnel in a BSL-4 lab are subject to the strictest protocols: They must change their clothing on entering and shower upon exiting. Full-body hazmat suits must be worn while working in the lab and decontaminated afterwards. The facility is required to be a separate building or a wing properly isolated with separate air filtration systems.

The chances of spread of the new coronavirus is increased by the upcoming Chinese New Year, when it is thought that millions of Chinese citizens will be traveling throughout the world.

(1/22 Update: China has just issued a travel ban for the city of Wuhan; public transportation in the city is also suspended)

Having learned lessons from our experience with Ebola, the United States is better prepared to deal with highly contagious outbreaks of infection.

HISTORY OF RECENT VIRAL OUTBREAKS IN CHINA

masks

The presence of any biosafety 4 lab (BSL-4) inside China at all is due to the 2003 viral SARS outbreak. SARS reached epidemic proportions quickly, with 8000 cases leading to 750 deaths worldwide. Chinese authorities hope to have 7 such units built by 2025, but only the Wuhan lab is operational.

Although the use of face masks is common (and wise) in China, Wuhan has declared their use manadatory while in crowded locations. This requirement is causing a shortage of masks in the area, which could eventually lead to the same worldwide.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT CORONAVIRUS AND OTHER VIRUS OUTBREAKS

As of yet, no cure nor vaccine is available to combat coronavirus. Treatment at present focuses on treating symptoms and supporting a victim through the infection, while protecting the healthy from the disease.

Contagious illnesses like coronavirus, however, may morph into epidemics, or is widely distributed enough, pandemics. If you are preparedness-minded, you might consider a personal protection “pandemic kit” (or several) and plan out how you would care for a person with a contagious disease if the hospitals were full. Have you thought about what goes into putting together an effective epidemic sick room?

The CDC recommends:

  •  Washing your hands with soap and water frequently
  •  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands
  • Avoid close contact with sick people

If you are sick, you can protect others by:

  • Staying home until fully recovered
  •  Avoiding close contact with others
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
  • Keep objects and surfaces in your home or workspace clean and disinfected (bleach mixed 1:10 with water will do)

Alhough the CDC isn’t recommending this as of yet, having a supply of N95 face masks isn’t a bad idea.

By the way, while I was writing this, I received a notice sent to all physicians in the state of Florida, warning about….coronoavirus.

Doom and Bloom Medical: Coronavirus: The Next Pandemic?

 

The Medic Shack: Coronavirus, 2019NcoV. Do We Need to Be Worried?

Organic Prepper: Pandemic Preparedness

Daisy at The Organic Prepper has an article up about the Wuhan Coronavirus and what you can do now to prepare. From what is currently known, this coronavirus has approximately a 2% mortality rate. That is considerably lower than some other viruses that have made the news over the years, but while it is low it is about the same as the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions around 1918. Should you be worrying? It’s too early to tell right now. We don’t know if containment will be achieved or how easily it may spread. But if not this one, at some point another pandemic will sweep the world causing mass casualties, so it is good to have some preparation for the event.

…In Wuhan, supermarket shelves were empty and local markets sold out of produce as residents hoarded supplies and isolated themselves at home. Petrol stations were overwhelmed as drivers stocked up on fuel, exacerbated by rumours that reserves had run out. Local residents said pharmacies had sold out of face masks.

“When I saw the news when I woke up, I felt like I was going to go crazy. This is a little too late now. The government’s measures are not enough,” said Xiao, 26, a primary schoolteacher in Wuhan, who asked not to give her full name.

Few pedestrians were out and families cancelled plans to get together for the new year holiday. Special police forces were seen patrolling railway stations. Residents and all government workers are now required to wear face masks while in public spaces. Most outbound flights from the city’s Tianhe airport were cancelled. (source)

Those who wish to be prepared should note the speed at which quarantines were put in place in China. Don’t delay placing orders for supplies, fueling up your vehicle, and adding last-minute preps to your stockpile. You may already have many of the supplies you need, so be sure to do an inventory before panic-buying.

However, if you discover you do need supplies, get them now. If you wait until a quarantine is announced, you’ve waited too long and you’ll be out there fighting for resources with everyone else in your area.

Whatever your plan is, don’t delay taking action. Otherwise, you might find yourself in the same situation as 20 million Chinese people who were suddenly quarantined.

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

First Confirmed US Case of New Coronavirus in Everett, WA

Earlier we posted an article about a new coronavirus originating in China which was now believed to be spreading from person to person. A few hours later, the first confirmed US case was made public, the person who had returned from travel in China is being treated in Everett, WA.

Update 1/22/20: Deaths from this coronavirus have gone up to 17 (yesterday the number stood at 9) and there are now suspected cases in Mexico and Russia.

From the Everett Herald:

The first case of Wuhan Coronavirus reported in the United States is a Snohomish County man in his 30s who traveled to China, federal and local officials announced Tuesday.

The patient was reported to be doing well and in stable condition at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, according to the Snohomish Health District.

The outbreak of the mysterious, pneumonia-like virus originated in Wuhan, China, and is linked to a large seafood and animal market, suggesting it is possibly of animal origin. At least nine people have died — all in China, most 60 or older, including at least some who had a previous medical condition. Hundreds have been sickened worldwide.

This week Chinese officials concluded it can spread from person to person. How easily it spreads is unknown.

As of Tuesday, the Snohomish County man was in a special isolation unit, where he was expected to stay for at least the next two days.

“We are grateful that the patient is doing well, and that he’s currently not ill, and that he has been so cooperative,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “… Our first priority was clearly making sure that this patient was healthy and being appropriately treated as we move on to the next phase.”

The man is a Chinese immigrant who was visiting his home country. He’s a legal permanent resident of the U.S., Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday afternoon at a news conference at the state Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline. The man transferred flights at least once before arriving at Sea-Tac Airport on Jan. 15, but an exact itinerary hasn’t been released.

At that time he showed no symptoms, health officials said.

“In this case, we don’t believe even if we had active screening at the airport that this patient would have been picked up, because at the time we don’t believe the patient had any symptoms of the fever,” said John Weissman, the Washington state secretary of health.

On Sunday, four days after the man returned to Washington, he started to feel ill. He went to a medical clinic in Snohomish County. Staff advised him to go home and stay isolated, while lab tests were conducted.

“We were in communication with the CDC Emergency Operations Center, coordinating specimens that were shipped overnight and had the results the following day,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist. “Incredibly fast.”

The man was transported to the north Everett hospital Monday, according to the state Department of Health.

Now the top priority for officials is tracing his contacts, to determine who is at risk. The man was traveling alone but took group transportation home from Sea-Tac. He lives by himself. Health officials described the number of possible contacts since he got back to the U.S. as small. State officials said he’s been very helpful in identifying people he’d contacted over the past few days. Those people will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms.

“Providence is contacting the small number of staff and patients who may have come in contact with the patient at one of our clinics,” a hospital news release said. “We are also implementing a screening system in our electronic health record to identify patients at risk for this infection.”

The Snohomish County case was announced nationally Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“No one wants to be the first in the nation in these types of situations, but these are the types of situations that public health and its partners train and prepare for,” said Dr. Chris Spitters, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “Because of this, everything has been going along quite smoothly.”

The CDC had implemented public health entry screening at airports in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. This week Atlanta and Chicago are being added. Anyone flying from Wuhan to the United States will be funneled through one of those airports. Officials around the world are conducting similar airport screenings elsewhere, with the goal of containing the virus during the busy Lunar New Year travel season.

There were 440 cases reported worldwide Tuesday, and the U.S. joined a growing list of places outside mainland China reporting cases, following Thailand, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Federal officials consider the risk to the American public at large as low. However, Dr. Messonnier expected to see more cases in the U.S. and around the world in the coming days.

Travelers wearing face masks gather at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday to get squirts of antibacterial lotion after the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has reached Snohomish County — the first confirmed case in the U.S. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Travelers wearing face masks gather at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday to get squirts of antibacterial lotion after the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has reached Snohomish County — the first confirmed case in the U.S. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In general, it can take two weeks for symptoms to show up, state health officials said Tuesday. The coronavirus family includes those that cause the common cold, but some found in bats, camels and other animals have evolved into more severe illnesses like SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, Middle East respiratory syndrome.

Initial symptoms of the new coronavirus include fever, cough, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath.

Click here to read the entire article at Heraldnet.com.

The Organic Prepper: Wuhan Coronavirus Hits the US: What Preppers Need to Know

WSJ: New Coronavirus Spreading Person to Person

Antiseptic being sprayed at Incheon International Airport

A novel (new) coronavirus appeared in China in December, 2019. At that time, it appeared to be spreading from infected animals to humans who spent time around the infected animals. Now, the virus appears to be spreading with human to human contact. There has been a total of 310 confirmed cases of the infection with six deaths. This virus is believed to be much less deadly than SARS, another coronavirus strain.

Wall Street Journal: China Virus Kills Two More Patients as Authorities Step Up Control Measures

A newly identified virus originating in China killed two more people, infected dozens of others and jumped across the Taiwan Strait, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to more than 300 and prompting authorities across Asia to step up control measures.

The coronavirus, which causes pneumonia-like symptoms, has now killed six people in China, authorities said Tuesday, since it first appeared last month in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

It has also spread beyond the country’s borders to Japan, Thailand and South Korea. On Tuesday, health authorities in Taipei confirmed the self-governing island’s first case of the new coronavirus, a 50-year-old Taiwanese woman who had been working in Wuhan.

Chinese health authorities acknowledged Monday that the coronavirus is being transmitted between humans, heightening concerns that it could spread quickly as tens of millions of Chinese people travel across the country and abroad for the Lunar New Year holiday later this week

Medical workers have themselves been infected. Fourteen medical staff that authorities previously confirmed to have been infected came in contact with a single patient with the coronavirus in Wuhan, said Zhong Nanshan, who is one of China’s most highly regarded epidemiology experts and is leading an expert committee on the outbreak for the National Health Commission.

Wuhan will take more stringent measures to prevent transmission of the disease, including canceling what it considers unnecessary large gatherings, setting up a prevention and control center, and strengthening protection of medical staff, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday.

Xinhua reported that officials in Wuhan, a sprawling city of 19 million people, would work to minimize public panic by informing citizens about the outbreak in a “timely, open and transparent manner…”

Click here to read the entire article at The Wall Street Journal.

Liberty Blitzkrieg: Three Major Imbalances – Financial, Trust, Geopolitical

Somewhat related to yesterday’s article from Chris Hedges which touched on how no one in America trusts anyone in the D.C. establish at all any longer is this article from Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg. In Three Major Imbalances, Mr. Krieger discusses the teetering financial system, the lack of trust in institutions, and rising tenstions between the U.S.A. and China, Russia, and elsewhere.

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom’s a joke
We’re just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you’re still free start running away
Cause we’re coming for you!

– Conor Oberst, “Land Locked Blues”

It’s hard to believe 2020 is just around the corner. If the last ten years have taught us anything, it’s the extent to which a vicious and corrupt oligarchy will go to further extend and entrench their economic and societal interests. Although the myriad desperate actions undertaken by the ruling class this past decade have managed to sustain the current paradigm a bit longer, it has not come without cost and major long-term consequence. Gigantic imbalances across multiple areas have been created and worsened, and the resolution of these in the years ahead (2020-2025) will shape the future for decades to come. I want to discuss three of them today, the financial system imbalance, the trust imbalance and the geopolitical imbalance.

Recent posts have focused on how what really matters in a crisis is not the event itself, but the response to it. The financial crisis of ten years ago is particularly instructive, as the entire institutional response to a widespread financial industry crime spree was to focus on saving a failed system and then pretending nothing happened. The public was given no time or space to debate whether the system needed saving; or more specifically, which parts needed saving, which parts needed wholesale restructuring and which parts should’ve been thrown into the dustbin. Rather, unelected central bankers stepped in with trillions in order to prop up, empower and reward the very industry and individuals that created the crisis to begin with. There was no real public debate, central bankers just did whatever they wanted. It was a moment so brazen and disturbing it shook many of us, including myself, out of a lifetime of propaganda induced deception.

It’s ten years later and central banks still can’t walk back anything they did over the past decade…

While massive and global, the financial system imbalance is just one of several. Another big one is a trust imbalance, which manifests as a widening disconnect between established institutions and the people living under them. As the ruling class has been forced to resort to increasingly desperate measures over the past decade to keep their gravy train going, they’ve exposed themselves more explicitly. What was once derided as conspiracy theory rapidly becomes conspiracy fact, and an increasingly significant number of humans have begun to simply assume (for good reason) that whatever comes out of the mouths of authority figures like intelligence agencies, politicians, mass media, corporations and think tanks, etc., are lies.

This situation isn’t getting any better either. It seems every day we wake up to new in your face revelations of how craven and dishonest the ruling oligarchy and its institutions really are. For example, this past weekend we learned how a Newsweek journalist quit because his bosses at the paper refused to let him publish about OPCW whistleblowers who dispute the official conclusion that Assad launched a chemical attack in Douma, an event that increasingly looks like a false flag event which led to the U.S. bombing Syria…

The trust imbalance between rulers and the ruled has become so massive it’s all but guaranteed to detonate in a variety of unexpected and consequential ways in the years ahead. The election of Donald Trump was just the first pubic manifestation of this well deserved lack of trust…

The other major imbalance I want to highlight is the geopolitical one. It’s something I’ve been writing about a lot lately as it’s come into clearer focus that the nexus of this tension will center around the U.S. and China. At the root of this imbalance is a U.S. national security state desperate to turn back to clock to the 1990s when the U.S. was the world’s sole superpower and could essentially call the shots on all matters of international significance with little to no pushback. Certain foreign power centers, led by China and Russia, have made it explicit they will not be rewinding the clock and are have focused their foreign policy around ushering in a multi-polar world. Like the other imbalances, the geopolitical imbalance becomes more volatile and less manageable with each passing day…

Everything being done today centers around propping up and extending a decrepit paradigm in order to further enrich and empower a ruling class that has lost the respect of the people. As the actions taken to sustain such a system become more desperate and mendacious (“this is NOT QE”), the more the veneer of credibility disappears. The more the veneer of credibility disappears, the more unstable these major imbalances become. Generational change is on the horizon, keep your eyes wide open.

Click here to read the entire article at Liberty Blitzkrieg.

Related:

Kunstler: Two for One Holiday Special

Hillary Clinton sure got her money’s worth with the Fusion GPS deal: it induced a three-year psychotic break in the body politic, destroyed the legitimacy of federal law enforcement, turned a once-proud, free, and rational press into an infernal engine of bad faith, and is finally leading her Democratic Party to an ignominious suicide. And the damage is far from complete…

Breaking Defense: US Loses Badly in Wargames with Russia/China

In the article US ‘Gets Its Ass Handed To It’ In Wargames: Here’s A $24 Billion Fix, Breaking Defense reports that the US’s advanced military technology have some major Achilles’ heels which Russia and China have, intelligently, designed their military responses to take advantage. Many people in the US wrongly assume that American military technology is so far advanced that there is no comparison with Russian and Chinese forces. Unfortunately, that view overlooks the fact that smart opponents will devise tactics and techniques which target the weaknesses of an opponent. The US is extremely good at projecting offensive power, but after decades at the forefront of military technology the US has lost sight of the importance of defending anything from strikes. It’s like America has spent twenty years perfecting the jab and right cross, but is incapable of dodging or blocking a punch. In effect, Russia and China do not need to have more advanced weapons than the US (though they may have an advantage in missile technology) because the US cannot protect their weapons from being destroyed before they can be used.

The US keeps losing, hard, in simulated wars with Russia and China. Bases burn. Warships sink…

“In our games, when we fight Russia and China,” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said this afternoon, “blue gets its ass handed to it.” In other words, in RAND’s wargames, which are often sponsored by the Pentagon, the US forces — colored blue on wargame maps — suffer heavy losses in one scenario after another and still can’t stop Russia or China — red — from achieving their objectives, like overrunning US allies.

No, it’s not a Red Dawn nightmare scenario where the Commies conquer Colorado. But losing the Baltics or Taiwan would shatter American alliances, shock the global economy, and topple the world order the US has led since World War II…

F-35 stealth fighters are hard to kill in flight, but lined up on the runway, they’re easy targets.

big airbases on land and big aircraft carriers on the water turn out to be big targets for long-range precision-guided missiles. Once an American monopoly, such smart weapons are now a rapidly growing part of Russian and Chinese arsenals — as are the long-range sensors, communications networks, and command systems required to aim them.

So, as potential adversaries improve their technology, “things that rely on sophisticated base infrastructure like runways and fuel tanks are going to have a hard time,” Ochmanek said. “Things that sail on the surface of the sea are going to have a hard time.”

…Worst of all, Work and Ochmanek said, the US doesn’t just take body blows, it takes a hard hit to the head as well. Its communications satellites, wireless networks, and other command-and-control systems suffer such heavy hacking and jamming that they are, in Ochmanek’s words, “suppressed, if not shattered…”

Click here to read the entire article at BreakingDefense.com.

China: 100 Christians Snatched in Raids on Underground Church

From South China Morning Post, 100 Christians snatched in overnight raids on underground Chinese church. China has begun harshly cracking down on churches this year, with an estimated 100,000 Christians arrested in 2018 compared to 3.700 in 2017. Churches are required to mount facial recognition cameras on the pulpit directed toward the congregation so that they can be monitored by the government.

About 100 worshippers at an unofficial church in southwestern China were snatched from their homes or from the streets in coordinated raids which began on Sunday evening.

Chinese authorities targeted members of the Early Rain Covenant Church across various districts of Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, in what appeared to be an effort to close down one of the country’s most prominent Protestant house churches…

“The police said our church is an illegal organisation and we cannot attend any more gatherings from now on.”

The Early Rain Covenant Church is one of China’s few unofficial house churches – Christian assemblies that operate without state sanction – and this is not the first time Wang and other members of the church have been detained.

While most of China’s Protestant house churches operate underground to avoid attracting official attention and control, the Early Rain congregation openly practises its faith, posting sermons online and evangelising on the streets.

Many house churches have been closed this year in China’s harshest religious suppression in decades…

 

 

China Cracking Down on Religion — Destroying Crosses and Bibles

From AP News, 9/10/18, Officials destroying crosses, burning bibles in China,

China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.

The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives…

From CBN News, 9/14/18, One Nation Under Xi? This is why Christian Persecution in China is Escalating

…Chinese Christians report authorities have urged church leaders to remove pictures of Jesus from their sanctuaries and replace them with patriotic posters, or posters of President Xi instead. They’ve suggested hymns be replaced with patriotic songs about the “wonderfulness of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Nettleton also said Chinese authorities are using advanced artificial intelligence software to monitor church attendees. “One pastor in Beijing not long ago was told by the government, ‘pastor we don’t mind if you continue holding your services, we just want to put this camera on your platform looking out at the audience and it’s attached to facial recognition software so that we can tell who comes to church on Sunday and who’s there and what they are doing and how involved they are,'” he said…

Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself

From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth:


Charles Sprague Pearce Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt 1877In Matthew 12:22-28, Jesus tells the Pharisees:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

…While Americans believe so strongly in their supremacy, and have grown so accustomed to the idea, that they no longer see having the best weapons as a matter of survival for the nation. They have come to see their superiority as something automatic and natural.

The attack on Syria is seen as a sign of weakness. Because there was no need for it. Because the evidence is flimsy at best. Because the world has international bodies to deal with such issues. Because there is no logic in allowing the blood to flow in the Gaza and Yemen but cite humanitarian reasons for bombing alleged chemical facilities elsewhere.

What the world sees is bluster emanating from a deeply divided nation (and we haven’t even tackled Britain). It sees that less than 48 hours after the airstrikes, a former FBI chief talks about his former boss in terminology that nobody would dare use in most countries, and throughout most of history,

James Comey is beyond Shakepeare. And in America, the issue is who’s right in the Comey-Trump conflict. In Russia, China et al it’s not. They see a house, a country divided. A weak country has no diplomacy.

That’s how all empires end. Complacency and division. That is what North Korea sees when it watches America, what China, and Russia see. And they may even know how Jesus put it. He didn’t just say a kingdom divided would become less powerful or wealthy, he said:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.

China’s Socially Networked Repression

This is from John Robb over at Global Guerrillas.  Could it happen here?

Train score

China’s social credit score in action (it’s how China is ushering in a long night of socially networked repression).

Essentially, this is a score that follows you for life. It’s public and accessible.

It goes down: If you break any rules, say bad things online, pay a creditor late, or any of a rapidly expanding list of immoral things…

A negative score impacts your ability to access government services. The companies you can buy products from (they don’t want to sell to people with low scores). Your friends and the people you can marry (they get a lower score if you have a low score).

China’s dictatorship needed a way to control an advanced, socially networked society.

This is it.