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03 April 2020

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walrus

Timothy, we are not living in 1918. Very little was known about virii. Today we have all manner of tools and experience so that we do not have to repeat 1918 or the great depression. My WAG is that if Trump can bury the hatchet with Putin and Xi, remove sanctions and bring the troops home, we could start a world wide recovery very quickly.

Don’t give in to despair. It’s a sin.

Effinghell

Venus has run amok for the last heck knows how many years..might be time for Mars to re-exert himself..just alittle bit.

Mark K Logan

I'll volunteer a prediction:

It has been said that 40% of the US households after paying their bills can't cut a $400.00 check.
One month, 6 weeks tops, and the howling will be so general and loud it will compel the ending of this. Whether or not that's enough time for effective therapeutics to be found the nettles will be grasped.

Upstater

Colonel, yes the US is not China.

We can all agree China is playing a long game, as is Russia. Those countries have made a conscious decision to accept the economic pain of a lengthy shutdown and gradual restart with restrictions. They have made a cost/benefit analysis based on winning a long game. They are not influenced by media hysteria and petty partisan bickering.

My contention is getting back to approximate business as usual quickly is evidence of the dominant short term thinking (rot) of US capitalism; the only thing that matters to executives are their stock options and the hedgies and private equity types that advise the president is the next quarter's numbers.

Unfortunately!

Deap

Reminder; France shuts down its country every August. And starts itself back up a month later. Been doing this for decades. Surely, we can do as well as France getting back to work after this "short break".

A good breather from time to time clears out accumulated dross. Most importantly, is to remind everyone the critical importance of saving during the fat years for the inevitable lean years. That seems to have gone out of style.

More than anything we need a break from this media ginned up Zombie Apocalypse drum beat 24/7. Turn it off, tune it out and drop out for a few more weeks.

Then we roar back and never forget ever again to wash our hands, not stick our own fingers into our nose, mouth and eyes and cover all coughs and sneezes. Never should have forgotten that in the first place.

anon

Even if you are good to go.the top nut.4 degrees from Harvard or whatever the new reality will be less stuff all round.makes no difference who you are.There are too many people and not enough resources.
Capitalism is finished.Austere socialism is on the cards and will be for some time until the population numbers have fallen to acceptable levels.
It will happen.

Fred

Walrus,

"Sure restaurants close, they will reopen." They are going to go bankrupt because cash flow is 10% at best, for those forced to close it is zero. In the US that is thousands of family owned busineses and franchises.

"The old economy is dead. We must let it go."

Sounds like a comment from an OK Boomer who got his way all his life. The economy is dead due to 1) Communist Chinese virus, possibly escaped out of their own research/biowar lab, 2) Communist Chinese lies to everyone which were reinforced by WHO and numerous propaganda outlets 3) Our own governments' ordering 'shelter in place' thus destroying our own ecomony at the behest of 'experts'.

To paraphrase the most interesting man in the world, the tree of liberty has stayed thirsty too long. Sure explains why there's a run on gun stores in the gun-free-zone supporting Blue States that are pulling cops off the streets, cancelling judicial hearings and emptying jails. What could possibly go wrong. Not to worry, Oligarch Bodyguard is an 'essential job' in the US. And if you are a foreign national who has succeeded in saving $1million in a secret bank account we're going to invite you into the country with a special visa program where you can buy up the assets of a company we forced into banckruptcy and hire the now unemployed citizens. And wouldn't you know look at that supply - demand ratio, looks like wages are going down. Don't worry Aussies/Americans at least you will be working. Boy, the future sure looks bright for the children of rich foreign nationals who are going to prove "immigration is our strenghth". Thanks Boomers!

blue peacock

Col. Lang,

I couldn't agree more with you.

Do we really want another Great Depression? This time by government order. The millions of shuttered small businesses may never recover when its all said and done. They represent the vast majority of employment in the US.

I wonder if we'll ever examine the consequences of financialization of our economy and the resultant dismantling of our manufacturing base. We are now finding out that the bulk of our pharmaceuticals that we with our substantially higher prices support the research of are now produced in communist China. Will we consider decoupling with the Chinese Communist Party?

Will we examine our preparedness or lack thereof in not allowing our vast biotech industry and medical diagnostic industry to respond quickly with mass testing to isolate those infected.

I seriously doubt it. We no longer have the ability to critically examine failures as our politics is all about personal gain for the elites.

Are we going to continue this shutdown until there are no longer any new infections or deaths attributed to this virus? The economic data we have reviewed and the calls with the managements of many businesses that our firm has done this past week is very sobering. The scale is staggering and unprecedented. The service industry globally is being crushed!

Terence Gore

In the alternate universe of Candanavia an evil genius Snidley Whiplash has created a potent biological viral weapon and released it. Why you might ask? Simply because he is evil.

Dudley do Right has come up with a plan he reverse engineers the virus, attenuates it and wants to widely spread the less harmful virus throughout his population first (thereby vaccinating them) but how does Dudley buy the time he needs?

Is it a case of "Practice makes perfect" or "Time to say goodbye"

“In early times, it was easier to control a million people than to kill a million. Today, it is infinitely easier to to kill a million people than to control a million.”
— Zbigniew Brzezinski

Bill H

America keeps starting wars, or perhaps I should say "wars," without any idea of what constitutes victory. We started a "war on drugs" which is still ongoing because we cannot define what the end point is. We went into Afghanistan with no defined goal and cannot get out because we don't know why we're there.

And now we are "sheltering in place" with no definition of what the goal is for doing so. What does "flattening the curve" really mean? Has anyone really claimed it means fewer deaths, or is it the same number of deaths over a longer period?

Are we trying to keep people from catching the virus? If so, then from whence comes the immunity that makes it safe for us to crawl out of our foxholes?

We don't know why we're doing it. We don't know how long we're doing it. We don't know what has to happen to allow us to stop doing it. We'll just keep doing it until someone tells us to stop, and when they do we won't know why they did. But we'll stop.

The colonel is right. We are not the men our fathers were.

Jack

Sir,

This going to be an example of the “cure” being worse than the threat.

Take a look at the chart in the link below of initial unemployment claims with a historical perspective. We’re only 3 weeks into the shutdown.

https://twitter.com/benrileysmith/status/1245787069076602880?s=21

Take a look at what’s happening to the service sector in Europe’s backbone economy, Germany.

German Mar Services PMI plunges to historical low 31.7 from 52.5 in Feb.

https://twitter.com/schuldensuehner/status/1245984944637259777?s=21

The collapse in the service sector in Europe is across the board. Vertical drops in activity in every major economy.

https://twitter.com/schuldensuehner/status/1245987499740184576?s=21

This is what awaits our economy as our service sector which is our largest employer has been forcibly shutdown by our various state governments.

Another point I’d like to make. To all the petrodollar conspiracists. And to the many who don’t get fx and offshore Eurodollars. Check this chart out. USD is king.

https://twitter.com/icecapglobal/status/1245705814867881986?s=21

As I have noted on several threads our reaction to the threat of Wuhan virus is emotional. We have not stepped up antibody testing and isolation of those infected. We are letting people make projections based on incomplete information to drive political decisions to force millions into unemployment. The most vulnerable segment of our population - the working poor.

This is really insane in my opinion to shutdown the world economy when we don’t have the kind definitive information on the lethality and the spread. How many hospitals are under stress? How many ICU beds do we have available currently? How many Wuhan virus patients do we have in our ICUs? Why is it no one is reporting this information? Why are we only hearing all these model projections that keep varying every day?

I was born in the last Depression. I don’t want to bookend my life with another Depression. This one entirely caused by government edict. I hope when we get past this “emergency” that we’ll rethink our relationship with the communist party in China. The whole world needs to re-evaluate the basing of our industrial production in essentially a nation run by a hostile totalitarian regime.

LA Sox Fan

The same quarantines were put in place in the US during the 1918-19 flu epidemic. Los Angeles shut down for seven weeks. School lessons were printed in the Los Angeles Times.

My point is that this is nothing new. The economy bounced back in 1918-19 and it should again today. There was no depression when we did the same thing in 1918-19. I expect little different today.

Sacrificing hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of Americans by failing to initiate social distancing and other measures would lead to a true disaster. The prime duty of a government is to protect the health and safety of its citizens. A government that fails at that task will not exist for very long. Trump would lose his reelection if he didn’t try to save as many Americans as he could. Putting commerce over American lives is a poisoned cup.

Mathias Alexander

The world economy is dying but the people in charge of it won't get the blame. Handy that.

Yeah, Right

There is actually a controlled experiment being run this very moment, in that Brazilian President Bolsonaro has, in essence, declared exactly the same sentiment: Brazil needs to get back to work, and damn the virus.

If they follow his advice and the Brazilian economy rebounds then Pat Lang is correct.

If the Brazilian economy collapses under a flood of covid-induced deaths then.... not so correct.


TonyL

From Phil Giraldi:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/03/05/who-made-coronavirus-was-it-us-israel-or-china-itself/

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/02/another-expensive-war-another-intelligence-failure/

I'm very surprised that here in the committee of correspondence, nobody has mentioned a word about Phil Giraldi's analyis. I agreed with what Mr Giraldi:

"Trump responded to the warnings in his characteristic fashion by praising his own efforts and dismissing the “fake news.” On January 22nd, he claimed that “We have it [the virus] totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.” The perception on Trump’s part that coronavirus did not pose a real threat unfortunately shaped the government response as senior officials scrambled to line up their positions on the virus with that of the president. The initial decision to reject the advice being given by the government’s health care officials came from Trump alone and it was backed up by the threat that anyone who did not toe the line might well be fired. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has recently been particularly targeted because he has several times contradicted the erroneous information being promoted by the president."

English Outsider


Colonel - may I enter a dissenting opinion? It comes from a man living in the UK, not the US, and perhaps circumstances are slightly different here.

According to Richard North, a writer I've been following on Brexit but who turns out to have considerable experience in this area of public health, this pandemic scenario was considered in the UK in the past. The realistic approach to such a scenario was thought to be not to go all out to reduce casualties. The damage to the economy resulting from implementing draconian control measures was thought to be unacceptable.

Dr North also unearthed another plan that was to run concurrently. Excess mortality resulting from that more limited approach was reckoned to be three quarters of a million. That other plan was a detailed plan on how to dispose of the bodies.

There are strong arguments for such a limited response to the virus. The damage to the economy in the UK from the different and more interventionist approach we've now adopted is colossal. And we don't have the two great advantages the US has. Ours is not the world reserve currency and the UK is not able to feed itself.

But may I suggest that those arguments are not applicable for either country and give two reasons for suggesting that.

1. Any plan that accepted as inevitable such a large number of casualties would be electoral suicide for any political party adopting it.

2. Most of the elderly, seeing that their government was regarding them as necessarily expendable for the sake of the economy, would take their own measures to protect themselves. They would "self-isolate" in any case.

In the US there are at the minimum twenty million in the vulnerable category, many of them wealthy pensioners. The drop in consumer demand resulting would ripple out across the economy. The economic damage resulting from that is inevitable in any scenario.

And that's what's happened generally, in Europe and in the US. Consumer demand is down, our UK economy at least is on the ropes, and the government has been forced to adopt a more interventionist strategy in any case.

Not a good position to be in. Our health service is not in good shape administratively to meet the challenge, all normal life has been disrupted, our economy is severely damaged and civil disorder in the inner cities is possible though not, one hopes, inevitable.

And, though it's almost trivial to mention it in this context, a sort of communal hysteria is manifesting itself in places, encouraged by the politicians, that reminds me of the mawkish sentimentality that swept the country at the time of Princess Diana's death. We are not, it seems, the men our fathers were, as you remark above.

But I respectfully suggest, Colonel Lang, that the position we are in is unavoidable. It was unavoidable as soon as the virus reached our shores. The politicians could not in the end react other than they are reacting now and the elderly consumers likewise.

And since we cannot avoid the unavoidable, for me the questions are how to get out of this position without the politicians using it as excuse to restrict our civil liberties permanently, and how to repair our shattered economy. Remembering that our economy was scarcely viable before all this hit us anyway.

Fred

Deap,

"France shuts down its country every August."

I've seen that lie on lots of other blogs. Some people in France take month long vacation in August, the peak of the tourist seaons, is NOT the government ORDERING businesses closed. Try again.

BillWade

A couple of disturbing videos:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1245834140747993090

https://youtu.be/C95ECjxgcJE

Rumors I've seen on the internet:

Ground Zero hospital in Queens, Elmhurst: Citizen journalists report that when the MSM is there to film/report there are long lines, when they leave, it's back to all quiet

All deaths are being reported as "died with coronavirus" no matter the cause of death "with" instead of "of"

Facts: CBS News shows video of overwhelmed ER at Elmhurst, video was actually from video done at hard hit ER in Italy

Hospital ships deployed to NY and LA: very little
activity and few admissions

DRFRANK

The readiness is all, said Shakespeare through the voice of Hamlet. Older folk do come to some acceptance of the inevitable, but perhaps one should not extrapolate from that sentiment. Dems, partisanship and all that aside, just how do you rate the performance of The Commander in Chief, on leadership, on vision, on planning, strategy, tactics, supply chain management, execution?

BillWade

I know some younger guys that are up and comers, business owners and a marketing genius. The genius guy's plan was to give everyone over 65 100K to just stay at home, they would bring us our food, Rx's or anything else we needed. We would spend all that extra money on the new services being provided and they would reap the benefit with the new businesses they would be starting. They don't want the government to give the masses $1200 in TrumpBux, they want their age group back to work and not waiting on "handouts". I agree with them except that even us oldsters need some socializing. After 8 years of Obama, Trump was a God-send to them and now they feel they have been literally f-overed again. Can't say that I blame them.

Diana ?Croissant

I always like it when someone reminds us of the lyrics of the "Battle Hymn of Republic." My favorite line is this: "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free." I am living in a town where there are three Catholic churches, but too many Protestant churches to count.

I was raised in a Protestant Church. Our denomination provided us ministers who could speak German for the sake of our older people who fled the Bolsheviks who were coming to grab hold of the farms they had built up over a century and to turn them into their failed experiments in factory farming and communal farming. Those experiments in communism ended in the Holdomor Famine.

There are many other Protestant churches across this country. We believe in the Holy Trinity. Some emphasize the Son, others the Spirit (holy Ghost) and others the Father. But most also try to really understand the meaning of the Trinity.

By writing that, I am saying that they will listen to our elected leaders and government "experts" and will "render unto Caesar:" but they will above all follow their determination to ask first: "What would Jesus Do?"

Do not ever discount the flyover people, the ones who would never want to live in the DC Beltway or the lunacy of the Californian Liberals (as, for instance Nancy Pelosi).

We WILL follow the rules that we can see might stem the spread of this communist virus (using a double meaning here). We will follow the rules with a smile behind our facial coverings We will make whatever financial sacrifices we must make, knowing that when the virus has been defeated, we will build back the "land of the Free" to its previous economic level and may finally find the strength to rid the country of the socialist ideologies that have overtaken the supposed "Democratic" Party and our public educational institutions.

I sense some Catholic prejudice against us Protestants perhaps in this post. Remember that some of the first settlers here were protesting what they felt was the tyranny of the Book of Common Prayer. I believe there are more Protestants than Anglicans or Catholics in this country. We are allowed to think for ourselves, and we are the ones who are constantly reading and studying the scriptures on our own.

I have total faith in the "common man" in this country. I live far outside the beltway of the swamp.

Yes, we follow the guidelines given us. We do our "social distancing," and we wear coverings over our mouths and noses if we must venture out into the world. And we will be the first to put our Protestant "work ethic" into fourth (or fifth) gear when we see it is time to go back to work.

I would hate to live on one of the Atlantic and Pacific coasts--too much "group think" going on in those places.

Norbert M Salamon

Colonel with great respect:
You wrote -

A controlled, centrally planned economy is not worth living in

I do believe your reference was for China, unfortunately we in the western Hemisphere [and satraps thereof] are similarly ruled, not by Communist Party but by corrupt politicians whose major job is to protect the financial elites at the expense of the 90-99% of population [USA, Canada, et al.]

In 2008 no banker, bond rating agent, fraudulent mortgage provider was sent to jail, rather they were rewarded by the largess of the state to rebalance their losses [Socialism for the banker class at the expense of the rubble]

2020 is a reenactment of 2008.

Aside from that above rant I agree with you that the manufacturing economy must be rebuilt[not sure about some aspects of the service economy - e.g. financialization of everything]. I believe that I am your junior by les then 2 years so the negative aspect of your prognosis re the aged might be not welcome by my family.

Fred

BillWade,

Didn't you hear? Fake News is an essential industry. Never let a crisis go to waste works both ways. See Trump's letter on the ICIG.

confusedponderer

Walrus,
re The old economy is dead. We must let it go. As an acquaintance wrote yesterday: “ Last month I was a B787 pilot, today I’m mixing cement.”.

In a sence it is. There are changes coming. I know two former colleagues who decided they needed a change before they'd be overtaken by realitiy.

One was a team leader who had studied law. He chose to quit and now prefers now to lead his own cab (taxi) corporation with 16 cars. Hard at times but independent.

The other colleague, formerly also a team leader responsible for publishing online journals, chose another job, with better payment and reliable and predictable working times - he is now working as a train driver. Another advantage of that - no more home office.

I for my part went to another department rather than being sold off (likely with EU subsidies), like folks with 20+ years of job experience (in the corporation), to a romanian service provider. Gratitude for a quarter century service and competent work? Zero.

IMO of the folks in corporation I met likely the middle managers, be they business academics or or Kaufmanns, cause the most damage.

The worst one I so far met showed around an excel with a remarkably unconvincing calculation like 20.000 - 20.000 = 12.345 or something, with the formula used hidden on another page, that page hidden and password protected. He didn't even have the self respect to lie more discretely.

JerseyJeffersonian

This link contains information very useful for understanding this SARS-CoVID-2 in context with other major plagues and pandemics, including a very well-executed visualization to supplement gross estimates of fatalities in purely numerical terms. The only "weakness" is that the fatality counts are not juxtaposed against estimated populations of the affected regions at that time in history (a rough R0).

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/

I agree with Col. Lang's sense of urgency.

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