The COVID-19 Propagandemic Express Rumbles Onward, Virtually Unopposed

Uncle Volodya says, “There are only so many stories you can tell, but an infinite number of storytellers.”

“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
Robert A. Heinlein, Revolt in 2100/Methuselah’s Children

I have sinned, Dear Father;
Father, I have sinned:
Try and help me, Father;
won’t you let me in?

– Queen, from “Liar”

I may have mentioned the Canadian newspaper The National Post previously – I know I have mentioned it numerous times in comments. It’s a fiercely conservative medium, and its columnists are mostly united in the belief that Canada died a little when Stephen Harper lost the 2015 election to those liberal pansies. I am almost positive I remember him once describing his (Conservative) party as ‘the Republican party of Canada’, perhaps making a joke, but I cannot find any record of it now. Whatever the case, there were plenty of other people ready to attribute the Republican label to him.

Just as an aside, this is not an indictment of Harper as Prime Minister. I didn’t care for his politics personally, but I don’t care for (present Prime Minister) Trudeau’s, either. The former resisted calls from bankers to deregulate at the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis, and no matter what he might personally have wanted to do, it was the right decision; Canada emerged from the crisis with the strongest economy of the western nations. He was a staunch advocate for the military, in which I spent the best part of my adult life. All in all I could find little to personally complain about, except a general revulsion for conservative policies in general. Anyway, the purpose of this detour is to establish an alignment between Harper conservatives and the US Republican party, and by extension, an appetite on the part of National Post writers for conservative fiscal policies, foreign policies and leadership.

Including a visceral dislike – I would go so far as to say ‘hatred’ – of Russia and China, and tireless ridicule and scolding of those countries, as well as enthusiastic buy-in for any case made out against either or both. Would you like an example? Coming right up. Meet David J. Bercuson, a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and director emeritus of the Centre for Military, Security and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. For those from Without – Calgary, Alberta is the very navel of conservatism in Canada. Mr. Bercuson’s piece is entitled, open-mindedly enough, “COVID-19 is bringing out the deceptive worst in Russia, China and Iran”.

He begins reasonably enough; Trump – yes, a Republican, but ideological conservatives often dislike him intensely – is full of shit when he refers to COVID-19 as ‘the Chinese virus’, something he only recently stopped doing, probably after being prompted by advisors. COVID-19 is not a Chinese weapon. Soothing bla bla bla…BANG! China, like all dictatorships, is covering up. It’s in their nature to lie to the west.

Ditto Russia, congenital liars, who are sowing discord through social media and frightening people with looney-tunes rubbish about COVID-19 being introduced to China by the US military.

I had kind of hoped to build up a little before getting straight into it, but we might as well, considering Mr. Bercuson went right to the single biggest bone of contention. First, two qualifiers. One, although I had hoped I would never have to mention it again, the CIA’s Marble Framework was especially developed to allow the CIA to attribute text and messages of any type to another author by ‘hiding text fragments written by the CIA in their own malware, allowing them to easily cover up their own footprint.’

“The Marble Framework is a core principle within the CIA’s malware development sector. The ability to deflect the attribution of an intrusion and point it to another author is breathtaking. According to the CIA, it is “designed to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation” as “string obfuscation algorithms (especially those that are unique) are often used to link malware to a specific developer or development shop.”

Marble’s source code reveals that the CIA had test examples not just in English, but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit the CIA to attribute the malware to another author or make it appear to be written by someone of another spoken language. The leak reveals the CIA implanted decoy language within the code. Deflecting forensic investigators to believe the malware author was not English, but instead spoke Chinese or Russian. Drawing investigators to the wrong conclusion.”

While the CIA occasionally does come up with a project that might lead you to suspect it is staffed by Dr. Nefario types who are hard of hearing – like its ‘hobby fish’, which sounds as if it might have come from the same lab as Nefario’s fart gun – usually their developments are purpose-built with a concrete objective in mind. To what purpose might string obfuscation algorithms designed to insert fragments of text in languages such as Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi, and thereby mislead forensic investigators to conclude with a high degree of certainty that the message had originated at a place where one of those languages is the national language, be employed? Might it be to plant messages – social-media messages, let’s say – that forensic investigators like Crowdstrike (the Apple-Dumpling Gang of cyber-forensic analysis) would confidently report came from Russia? A reasonable person would allow that is a possibility, in the absence of an alternative explanation. Unless somebody can think of one. Tick-tock.

Two. Even if Russia actually has suggested the coronavirus originated outside China, and was interjected there either deliberately or accidentally, it is certainly not the only one. And the most likely candidate to have done so actually is the United States. Let’s look at the case for it. But first, to the accusation the Chinese government covered up the outbreak until it had exploded beyond control, and leaped the borders.

Horseshit. Who says so? Well, I’m saying so, now, but I’m referencing other sources. Such as Marion Koopmans, a virologist at Erasmus Medical Center and a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) special committee on the novel coronavirus. The article I referenced – not from Russian or Chinese media, and Koopmans is not a very common surname in either country, I think you’ll agree – is dated 31 January, 2020. Its first sentence makes it abundantly clear that the Chinese reported the first cases of a mysterious pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan a month before that date.

“Barely 1 month after Chinese health authorities reported the first cases of a mysterious new pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, the world may be on the cusp of a new pandemic. As Science went to press, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, had shot up to more than 4500, most of them in mainland China but more than 80 in 17 other countries and territories.”

Get it? When China originally reported the new illness, not like anything they had seen before, there were no cases outside China. Even allowing for a month-long incubation period – and the best minds on epidemiology and virology suggest it is about half that – the Chinese medical community reported the first cases of what would eventually be designated COVID-19, for 2019, like the year before it is now, a full month before it got away from them. As the referenced article went to press, the WHO was still debating whether this was a pandemic, when Wuhan alone had almost 44,000 infections (estimated by University of Hong Kong epidemiologist Gabriel Leung) and the number was doubling every 6 days according to the mathematical model he developed. I have to ask, if this was not Breaking News on CNN, whose fucking fault was that? China’s? Russia’s? What are journalists for?

Chinese researchers first ‘shared’ – that means ‘made public’ – a genomic sequence of the virus on 11 January. It was known at that time, if I have not made it sufficiently clear, that the growth of infection was explosive and that scientists did not know with any degree of certainty how long the virus remained dormant or if those who showed no symptoms were able to transmit the virus to others. Pretty much the polar opposite of ‘covering up’, if you get my drift. Since that time, researchers in China and elsewhere announced nearly three dozen additional genomic sequences; “a stellar job”, according to Koopmans. You remember; the guy on the WHO special committee on COVID-19.

We could go on for quite a while discussing how China did not ‘cover up’ anything except in the estimation of those too oblivious to notice anything that is not printed on Kim Kardashian’s ass. Especially considering the USA topped a 2019 list of countries as most prepared – by a significant margin, a glowing 83.5 of a possible 100 – to detect and respond to an epidemic. As long as they notice it before it’s already been raging for two months, evidently.

But let’s move on to the part where the Russians are sowing disinformation that the virus originated in the United States, and was somehow transported from there to Wuhan, China. Quite apart from the obvious caution that such allegations might not have come from Russia at all, since it so obviously suits the agenda of western conservatism to pin such shenanigans on them…is that really so farfetched? Let’s look at who speculates it might not be.

First, though, take a look at this chart.Figure thumbnail gr1

Note the first case, reported 01 December, 2019. Connection to the seafood market in Wuhan, where the virus was said to have originated? None. Well, perhaps there’s something the Chinese investigators don’t know, or perhaps they’re lying, or perhaps the patient lied to them. But keep it in the back of your mind as we proceed. The source for that graphic is The Lancet, and although the published researchers are all Chinese, you would think a source with The Lancet‘s reputation would decline to print anything they knew very well was obfuscationary hogwash.

Also, before I go on, I should fairly attribute where I am getting the suggestion that the virus may have originated in the USA; it derives from these two articles: , and a more recent update;

COVID-19: Further Evidence that the Virus Originated in the US

Please note; some detractors will immediately howl with laughter, and roll around, gasping, “Global Research!! He believes those lunatics!!” First, I did not say I believed it – I merely ask readers to examine the possibility for themselves. Second, please also note all allegations made therein are footnoted below; you can judge for yourselves if the sources to which they refer are more likely to know what they are talking about than conservative journalists who don’t notice an invasive epidemic until people are dropping around them like the opening scenes from “Saving Private Ryan”, and then bitch that the Chinese covered it up.

As both articles point out, Japanese and Taiwanese researchers – not Chinese dissemblers or Russian hackers – assessed that the virus might have originated in the United States because the USA is the only country in which all five known strains are present. In Wuhan, the supposed point of origin, only one strain was and is present. Where did the other four come from? Obviously they could have come from other countries into the United States, but it seems pretty clear that they did not come from Wuhan. Likewise, other strains in other countries did not come from Wuhan, and I think a reasonable person must allow the possibility that the virus was present in the United States all along.

A Taiwanese researcher notes the emergence of a pneumonia-like illness in the USA in August of 2019, which was blamed on ‘vaping’ of e-cigarettes. The researcher comments that the symptoms could not be explained by the practice, and theorizes it was an early outbreak of coronavirus. He also notes that the US government issued a cease-and-desist order  against the US military’s biological weapon research laboratory at Fort Detrick – allegedly for concerns over the security of pathogens; this is a matter of public record, and nobody made it up. The alleged pneumonia-like illness blamed on vaping emerged very shortly thereafter.

Personally, I find that part the most likely to be a conspiracy theory, and most likely to have been a coincidence, although the timing is fortuitous for the case. But I tend to disbelieve it mostly because the US response to the actual no-bullshit announced pandemic has been so incompetent that if the virus had gotten loose in the USA that early, even the coal miners of Blandville, Kentucky would have it by now. Population 30, as of summer 2015. Still, it is a little hair-raising to read that the shutdown of Fort Detrick – ordered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you please – was based on an assessment that the lab ‘failed to run sufficient systems that should decontaminate wastewater from the facility.’ And that the facility handles some of the most dangerous pathogens and toxins in the world, including Ebola and Anthrax among 67 agents and toxins that the government determined as potential threats to humans, the environment and animals.

Similarly, it is a matter of record that the 2019 World Military Games were held in Wuhan, China, in October 2019, just a little over a month before the first known case of what is now called COVID-19 was observed. Remember, the incubation period is tentatively established at about 2 weeks. The Wuhan games were the first instance of the games being open to the public, and the first to be held entirely in one city. The first games in which host volunteer services were offered to all delegations. The US delegation consisted of nearly 300 athletes and staff. According to Chinese media, five foreign athletes or other personnel visiting Wuhan for the military games were hospitalized in Wuhan for an undetermined infection.

A lot remains unknown. The actual incubation period is not precise. The identities of agents being handled at Fort Detrick are not known, suppressed due to – you guessed it – national security, but perhaps coronavirus was not among them. The timeline could be purely coincidental, although I suspect if the military games had been held in New York and a mysterious outbreak followed immediately thereafter, entertainment of ‘coincidence’ would be considerably more limited. However, consider means, motive and opportunity. We have established means and opportunity to a very reasonable standard. Only motive remains unsubstantiated.

Non-stop bashing of China for allegedly covering up the initial outbreak does nothing to remove that from consideration.


464 thoughts on “The COVID-19 Propagandemic Express Rumbles Onward, Virtually Unopposed

  1. FAIR: As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

    Covid-19 has hammered few countries as hard as it has hit Iran, which reports (as of April 8) 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths. US sanctions are a major reason that Iranians are getting infected with and dying from the coronavirus in such large numbers: The US’s economic warfare softened Iran up for the pandemic well before its outbreak….

    Some nations deserve it because they are bad. Simples! Whereas some politicians who have got it don’t deserve it because we are supposed to pull together in times of crisis!


    1. Here’s a handy graphic I reference from time to time – the WHO’s “Covid Dashboard”. It includes a world map with cases up to date according to the best intelligence and reporting available. But it also includes, further down, nation-specific bar graphs for regions and line graphs for some countries, one of which is Iran. According to its graph, COVID-19 peaked in Iran March 31st, and has been in steady decline since, with the latest entry reporting a -18.18% daily change.

      The same reference reports a possible peak for the USA April 6th, but signs of the dreaded ‘second wave’, with cases headed back up again and the daily rate only a modest -2.68% fall-off after a 7.45% climb the day before. So what goes around, comes around. The figures for the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany and France are frankly too frightening to look at for long, as they record a disease in thermal runaway, with (for the UK) a 100% daily change for today.


  2. Neuters: Canada lifting a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, opposition wants big deal scrapped

    Canada is lifting a freeze on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and has renegotiated a much-criticized $14 billion contract to sell General Dynamics Corp armored vehicles to Riyadh, Ottawa said on Thursday….

    …Champagne said that under the terms of the renegotiated agreement, Canada could delay or cancel permits without penalty if it discovered Saudi Arabia was not using the vehicles for their stated purpose. Ottawa would also boost its scrutiny of all proposed weapons sales, he added…

    …“As we enter a world of deep economic recession, countries – including Canada – will likely be even less willing to give weight to human rights considerations in decisions over arms exports,” said Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor and Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa.

    “Basically this is good money and we need it.”

    Shouldn’t that be “Champagne flowed“? +1 For Canada’s America First foreign policy.

    And in other news, the Pope is not catholic.


    1. Francois-Philippe Champagne better be prepared to choke on the sparkly stuff if some of those tanks Canada sells to the KSA end up in Syria, Iraq or elsewhere being operated by ISIS or another bunch of Wahhabi-believing jihadists.


    2. There you go – you couldn’t ask for a much better epitaph than that: “This is good money, and we need it”. A more unprincipled stand can hardly be imagined. Bye-bye, Canada that I knew, and hello Whore of Commerce. Soon we will be able to give lessons in careless mercantilism to the very worst despots on the globe – Hurrah!!


      1. You’d expect a politician named after his favourite tipple to say that Saudi Klown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s money is good in itself and necessary for Canada but not by an academic who’d be expected to have a neutral position on such a transaction whose consequences should by now be easily predicted by even seeing-eye dogs.


    1. Readers will be well aware of my feelings on the subject; ‘struck down like the meanest commoner’ is far too convenient for some leaders, particularly the leader of a country which today reports a 100% increase in active cases. Boris may be due for a relapse.


  3. Neuters via Moscow, in U-turn, to assume all pneumonia patients may have coronavirus

    …“The accuracy of existing tests used to detect COVID-19 is at 70%-80%,” Denis Protsenko, chief doctor at Moscow’s main coronavirus hospital, Kommunarka, was cited as saying in a statement, published on the website of the city’s health department.

    “In some cases, the tests give false negative results, and the proportion of such results is significant,” Protsenko was cited as saying. …

    …Russia has reported 10,131 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with 6,698 in Moscow.

    I assume the cancellation of secondary checks of swabs that were previously sent to Siberia counts for the lower accuracy. Testing is key and more information is helpful so I also assume that these cases will either be confirmed or not at a later date.

    Still, in the Pork Pie News Networks I cannot remember seeing Russia on their graphs of CoVid-19 cases. Can’t they be bothered or do they assume Russia is lying more than China? Curious.


    1. They assume Russia is lying – Diane Francis, our transplanted American (born in Chicago, if I remember right, longtime Canadian resident and conservative writer for MaCleans, The National Post and other outlets) did a piece the other day on what an absolutely spiffing job Canada is doing fighting the C-virus – coz it’s got an obedient population, hannit? Except she prefers to call it ‘disciplined’.

      Anyway, a couple of paragraphs in, she writes this:

      “That aside, many other countries are faring far worse, according to daily statistics. Canada’s 12 deaths per million compares to Germany’s 28 deaths per million, America’s 45, Sweden’s 79, the United Kingdom’s 105, France’s 167, Italy’s 292 and Spain’s 326. The lowest rates — among developed nations whose figures can be trusted — is South Korea, with four deaths per million, and Australia, with only two.”

      Can’t wait to read her associated article, further down, entitled “To Beat this Coronavirus, We Must Sacrifice our Freedoms”. Pretty much says it all, dunnit? It’s an ill pandemic that blows nobody good. And government has, you know, done such an outstanding job. Please note from the WHO figures that most European nations have posted a 100% gain in new cases today, all at once, you could just about lay their graphs atop each other and see no difference.

      Anyway, suffice it to say that Russia will not get any peace until it confesses openly that it is ablaze with Coronavirus, just as Lukashenko claimed, that it has been deliberately and maliciously lying all along to conceal the extent of the infection, and there will likely be outcries that it owes the world monetary compensations for the corollary infections caused in other countries by Russia’s lies. It is simply not acceptable that Russia might be having more success in dealing with the virus than some other countries – it must fail, and fail cataclysmically, in order that other countries may maintain their belief system of smug superiority.


      1. My current understanding is that Germany does not yet have a national lockdown and only Bavaria has a full lockdown. Other states in Germany may have social distancing regulations and laws mandating maximum size limits on large gatherings but those seem to be about the extent of the measures taken.

        Likewise Sweden has not instituted a full lockdown though there are social distancing and regulations disallowing more than 500 people gathered in any one place. Bars, clubs and restaurants are still open in Sweden though service is restricted to table-only to prevent crowding. The situation may change if COVID-19 mortality rates start to escalate rapidly. I daresay if COVID-19 takes hold in the more densely populated areas in large cities (Stockholm, Goteborg, Malmo in partcular) where there may be large immigrant and refugee populations clustering together – because these groups need access to contacts, networks and services in their own languages, and tend to live close together for security – and threatens to become endemic among them, Swedish authorities might come under pressure from their health sector and representatives of these immigrant and refugee groups to take more drastic actions.


  4. A comment on the Ruslan Ostashko piece about the blocking of the RF proposal at the UN reveals the best way to protect yourself against infection from CV19:

    Nussiminen on April 09, 2020 · at 10:09 am EST/EDT
    I think Georgia is doing splendidly these days: In Georgia, masks are not needed — just chew on a necktie or a scarf, and you’re as safe as Shitsvili.”


  5. The wife just returned from the local Kroger’s food store – food is rationed and meat prices are stratospheric. If you try going to another store for additional supplies, they will track you down via your credit card. She is going back with a different coat and, of course, a mask. The transaction will be paid with cash. It reminds her a little of Romania when things started to go bad.

    The son of a friend was fined $500 for non-essential travel after visiting Lowe’s to buy mulch.

    The real crackdown will begin next week. Resident to resident visits will be subject to fines but visits between family members may be permissible (not yet clear).

    The transmission vectors now include human-object-human. Whenever a package or shipment is received, we are advised to place the items in an isolated area for 24 hours before opening.


    1. Update – rumors about tracking purchases via credit card usage in violation of rationing is just that – a rumor and not confirmed.


    2. They were whacking Muscovites 15,000 rubles [$203] yesterday for breach of quarantine: over 100 metres from your residence and they bounce you. One woman got done 15,000 for taking the red-and-white warning Scotch tape off swings and roundabouts on a kiddies’ playground.

      I was going to make a dash for the dacha today, but not now: not at the risk of forking out 15,000.

      My wife says I could make it there, because when she goes to the shops, there are no cops to be seen anywhere, she says.

      I reckon those who cleared off the basketball lads last week had been called by irate neighbours on our side of the house that overlooks the court.

      I reckon the metro entrances and turnstiles underground will have cops on duty: many big metro stations have cop shops. And I reckon at the mainline station on the Moscow-Warsaw line, where I board the local train in order to get to our dacha will have cops there as well.


      1. Its just a theory but the fines for violating the stay-at-home order provide law enforcement with revenue to compensate for the loss of traffic fines revenue.


      2. 12:00, 11 April, 2020, Moskva.

        Good thing I didn’t do any cop-dodging yesterday in an attempt to wend my way to the dacha: it’s heaving it down with snow now, so I will rest here, in the Black Heart of Mordor, in the bosom of my family.


    3. When I mentioned this to the missus, she as usual took the realist approach; what constitutes ‘rationing’? Is it just signs placed on, say, the dry pasta (popular with hoarders because it keeps indefinitely without refrigeration) which read “Limit 5 per customer”, or something like that? Because we have that here, as well, mostly to prevent some panicky customers from withdrawing all their savings and investing them in a garage-full of toilet paper. There’s still not much selection here in, say, canned soup; all the popular varieties are bought up as soon as they are available. Ditto anything with ginger in it – my father-in-law and I are fond of ginger beer, the spicier the better, and now you can’t get it for love nor money, because of a perception that ginger boosts the immune system. Well, it does, but I question whether the amount of it in a bottle of ginger beer will do you that much good; you’d be better off with tea made from a good-sized chunk of peeled ginger root. Anyway, purchase limits have had to be placed on some items, or greedy customers will buy far more than they can use easily. And what’s ‘stratospheric’ for meat? Meat is typically very cheap in the USA, so maybe it’s just up to what other customers pay routinely. I don’t disbelieve you, I’m just relaying her rationalizations, and I would need more details. Also, people here tend to buy a little more than they need on each trip because shopping trips have become much more difficult – you have to line up, six-foot intervals, outside the store, and wait to get in because only 50 people are allowed inside at one time; social distancing, you know. So you don’t get to go in until someone comes out. Wait times are typically about 20-30 minutes.

      Speaking of that; the missus has a lifelong friend still living in Russia, in Dalnegorsk where they both come from. This friend’s youngest sister lives in the USA, in Maine – she has an American husband. She said she had seen similar line-ups, waiting to get in, at gun stores in the USA.

      That would be a kind of uncomfortable development, if accurate.


      1. Since the self-check out lanes are still open, I suppose that the posted limits are not being enforced.

        The flip-flopping on the length of the stay-at-home orders contribute to a rational fear resulting in stocking up as much as possible. The order was extended for 2 weeks the day before it was set to expire. And it will be very likely that it will be extended another two weeks the day before it is set to expire.


        1. If you click on the United States in that WHO dashboard I linked earlier, the picture is not as bleak as a quick glance might suggest. The astronomical number of active cases is OVER TIME; 425,889. That’s a lot, but it is the cumulative number of confirmed active cases from January 21st to today, when there are really only 30,859. That’s not great, it’s a lot of sick people, and there are likely a significant number of infections the medical authorities don’t even know about yet, but as a trend it represents a decrease – 850 fewer active cases in the USA today than there were yesterday, a daily decrease of 2.68%. It’s cause for hope, and it’s headed in the right direction, if that momentum can only be maintained. Different graphs look more or less ominous depending on how you interpret them. The one for deaths, for example – still talking about the USA – is not encouraging; mortality from COVID-19 has taken a significant jump. The previous daily high for deaths was 1,338, on April 6th, but for the last two days it has been over 1,850. So obviously, more people in treatment are dying. Why, I don’t know. But if the overall number of infections continues to come down, obviously the deaths will as well. Keep it tight, America!


          1. The current prevailing thought is that the lock-down must continue and expand to the few non-complying states through May and beyond to strengthen the downward trends. Otherwise, the fatalities will likely exceed 100,000 and possibly reach 200,000. That would be very bad for Trump’s reelection chances. However, a destroyed economy is not good for Trump either. I wonder how the Democrats will play the crisis in their election campaign beyond attacking Trump.

            Oh, here it is – Joe will be struck down by the virus and forced to withdraw before the election. It will need to happen fairly soon; perhaps within weeks after he is nominated and a VP has been selected for him. That VP will valiantly pick up the torch with fresh ideas and blah blah blah. The optics could be good – Joe struck down by a virus that Trump could or would not stop. How many more great Americans must die?

            Prevailing thought is that summer will not bring a strong respite to the spread. Personally, I think it could as increased skin exposure to sunlight could strengthen the immune system.


  6. Sounds like a pretty good plan to me – the more Americans on the moon, the better. Perhaps earth will be a little better equipped – and just a bit more skeptical – this time, and will be able to understand how they did it the first time with just a garage-sized spacecraft covered in gold foil. Or flew through the Van Allen Radiation Belt for something like an hour in an aluminum can.


  7. When China was partially shutting down its economy, the world freaked out. When the US has shutdown a greater fraction of its economy, hardly any international impact on the real economy although the global financial economy was in turmoil.

    Any another thing, when the day it was announcement that another 6-7 millions job disappeared, the stock market took off like a rocket. Why? Because the US will print another 2-3 trillion dollars to protect the financial elites. There can be no doubt that the chief purpose of the national economy is to support the ruling class in a manner that they are accustomed.


    1. It’s not really that, as such. It’s the crazy augmentation of the money supply to pay everyone who is out of work because of the ‘pandemic’. Take Canada, for example, because I know it best. In the early days of the disease, Trudeau was proposing some crazy figure like $25 Billion to be shot straight into the economy, to keep it alive. I thought, that’s nuts – where is he going to find that kind of money, and who’s going to pay it back? Well, now it’s up to some insane figure like $80-something Billion, something we could never afford and which would constitute a crippling debt. But Canada will ease in, so to speak, to QE, Quantitative Easing, like the USA and Europe, in which the government just prints more money to buy its own debt. And, naturally, when the supply of money is perceived to be limitless, money is worthless. It’s just paper – need some more? Fire up the presses.

      We seem to have passed the point where the center was still holding, and society is beginning to fall apart.

      Here in British Columbia, I am laid off from work for a projected 60 days. So I went on EI, Employment Insurance, which I paid into all my working life but never drew a dime. That’s a couple thousand, pretty near my regular wage if I was working. Canada sponsors the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) – $2000.00 cash, straight into your account, to tide you over for rent and suchlike, very few questions asked and deposited lickety-split. The province of British Columbia offers a $1000.00 benefit to residents only, under similar circumstances; both of these are a one-time benefit. BC Hydro offers a 3-month credit on your account, which you don’t have to pay back – 3 months free electricity if you are out of work because of COVID-19. All of it money which is simply being pissed away with almost no oversight. I’m not saying I’m not grateful – but there will be a reckoning, and everyone will have to share the burden of getting solvent again.

      …or, as I mentioned before, there will be some sort of huge global recalibration, in which all debt is deemed not to exist, and the world shakes itself and starts over. With the commensurate relief and reward, as I mentioned before, to the global elite who have spent the last couple of decades plundering the planet and starting wars of convenience to gain control of others’ resources.

      Although I would normally hesitate to reference the World Socialist Website, for obvious reasons, this article offers a pretty good explanation – the almighty market is buoyed up by the perception that profligate shoveling of lolly into the global economy is guaranteeing the protection of accumulated wealth.

      I somewhat disagree with this assessment, to the extent I have maintained all along that the ‘pandemic’ is less plague-like than it is being made out. If more people are dying than might die anyway from a routine annual bout with influenza, it is mostly due to panic and an incompetent response. Some countries have demonstrated that it is perfectly possible to get over it and live normally, but that narrative is in conflict with the elite grab for unlimited power. But that same narrative maintains that any country which claims to have the situation under control is lying.


      1. Of course, the financial elites need us like a parasite needs a host thus the freshly printed money to feed the host. Several high profile programs to help very small business such as a $10,000 no-questions-asked grant simply disappeared without explanation – this according to an SBA spokesperson who was mystified as the rest of us as to what happened. Other SBA assistance programs are weeks behind which may become months behind. The need is now. Many of the eligible businesses will have gone bankrupt before funds are available.

        Years of squeezing out costs to to maximize profits have left our medical system and private sector unable to cope with a crisis. Just-in-time inventories were and are a disaster waiting to happen. Over reliance on software left systems and processes unable to rapidly adjust to new demands. Harder to quantify but a reduced intellectual development of the population impaired the ability to improvise workarounds. The shining city on the hill is little more than tin-roof shacks with satellite dishes.


      2. From the WSW link:

        Therefore, the authorities suggest that unreported deaths, including in care homes, at home, or hospital patients who can’t be tested due to a lack of capacity, could be anywhere from two to six times higher than the official figure.

        The Spanish and Italian data cited in an earlier post supports the contention that the true death toll is 2 to 3 times higher than the official figures. I believe that the same methodology is used in calculating US virus-related deaths.

        It could be called lying or a system overwhelmed. I think that the former is more accurate as the authorities certainly know how to count bodies but chose to use a criteria that grossly underestimates virus related fatalities for political expediency.


      1. “The super-rich must be made to pay their fair share and ordinary workers should get the respect and pay they deserve.”

        Bla, bla, bla. So they always say, and so they never do. The super-rich always get to do pretty much whatever they want, and the ordinary workers get the pay and respect the super-rich think they deserve. Because anything else is SOCIALISM, innit?


  8. USAF gives Boeing $882m to help cash flow and fix KC-46 boom camera

    As fallout from the coronavirus pandemic further pinches Boeing’s cash flow – financials already hurt by the grounding of the 737 Max – the US Air Force (USAF) has decided to release $882 million in payments withheld from the company in order to help fix a troublesome problem with the …

    Over only a measly $1 billion?

    I should try this. Give me money or I’ll go bankrupt and you’ll get nothing that works properly! What a great ‘business model’.

    Did Boing hold its breath until it went red?


  9. Sky Nudes headline: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson ‘walking again’ as COVID-19 recovery continues

    Is this an allusion to Jesus’s resurrection, but a few weeks earlier? BloJo has risen! Or is this Sky Nudes being funny? Or entirely unintentional?


    1. “Walking again”? Sounds like Frankenstein. We should pay attention to the sides of BoJo’s neck, to see if any screws or power knobs appear there.


        1. Plus we could put on ear muffs, stick a pin into BloJo’s finger and then run away as fast as we can. No more Lazarus Boris then!


  10. Okay, I read the Francis article which claimed We Must Surrender Our Freedoms in order to beat the novel coronavirus. It wasn’t really as bad as I thought, mostly centered on tolerance of increased surveillance through our smartphones, which was so terrible when the Chinese were doing it, but makes so much sense now. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Anyway, the comments were almost universally condemnatory. And our movements weren’t even as restricted as they are now; there seems to be a new encroachment introduced every day. There was an encouragingly broad contention that once you give up freedoms to government, government is very loathe to give them back. Anyway, here is a particularly illuminating comment, by GDPRnull.

    ” Just as in 1984, “The Party” needed to be in a state of perpetual war to justify big brother, no freedoms and total control. Enter the Kung Flu. Invisible, highly transmissible, unstoppable and in extremely rare cases fatal. Just what big government needed.

    Canada, for now, has chosen a different path. In this case we are causing potentially the greatest depression in history voluntarily. All to to make sure Mildred dies at 87 instead of 86. How long do we do this? 18 months? Two years? Three? Until the only people still employed work for “The Party?” Until there is no private sector beyond groceries and amazon?

    You can curve flatten forever.

    Maybe that’s the plan.”

    I have to respectfully disagree with the somewhat cavalier dismissal of risk to the elderly and immune-compromised, and in my view they should be safely isolated until we are fairly confident this has run its course, with all appropriate support and assistance in their isolation. But as for the rest of us, we have at least a 97% chance, and possibly higher, of surviving it with no apparent ill effects. Detractors keep shouting “It’s not the flu!!!”. But if it isn’t, what is it? All the others we have overcome, SARS and MERS and H1N1, were coronaviruses like this one, and few extraordinary measures were taken. The mortality rate of SARS to infected cases was 15%; H1N1, which infected many, many more – there were 60.8 million US cases alone, and it killed 284,000 people worldwide – had an overall mortality rate of 0.02%.

    I do, however, agree that halting the economy to guard against COVID-19 spread is a terrible idea, and it will already have horrific consequences – the longer this state persists, the worse it will be. Add to that the obvious advantages it has for governments which crave limitless power. And what government doesn’t?


    1. I can’t imagine that the lockdown will last much longer. A month, perhaps, to enable governments to row back and gradually feed the change of planned course through the media. Expecting the population of northern hemisphere countries emerging from the winter to forego enjoyment of the decent part of the year is unrealistic absent a level of repression which would undermine morale and confidence in the authorities. And that’s without consideration of the economic shambles which is unfolding.

      And the example of Sweden who seems to be coping rather well while preserving both the bulk of normal civic activities and the ability to ratchet up safety measures if necessary must be the cause of anxious discussions in those countries which dialled up to 11 as a starting point.



    Boris is risen!

    How apt to have risen from the almost dead this weekend of all weekends..

    Orthodox Easter is next week.


  12. I think China and Asia will accelerate economically much faster after CoVid-19 than the West, despite all the corporate bailouts and ‘money printing’ of the latter. I’m worried that recognizing this they will make a pretext to kick of a war before they think it is too late. It is obviously too late by quite a number of years already, but this is the difference between their ‘reality’ and that of the rest of the world.


    1. Car production resumes at almost full pace as coronavirus restrictions ease in China

      Almost all car production lines in China have returned to business after prolonged closures aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus, according to a survey cited by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

      The poll of 204 auto manufacturing bases shows that 86 percent of employees returned to work, while the production resumption rate hit 99.5 percent, the association said on Friday….

      I saw a celebratory ‘China is fI*$ed’ piece from one of the American W*nkTanks essentially saying that as the Chinese economy depends on western markets, they’re stuffed because a western economic crisis = no-one to buy Chinese manufactured items. The ‘Study’ or whatever it was, made no mention of China’s announced shift (a few years back) to rebalancing its economy more towards providing for better salaried Chinese workers and away from a dependence on exports. It’s almost as if they had a plan. What a surprise.


      1. If America or the UK were in their place, would either be satisfied with just being “China’s manufacturer” and a big warehouse for goods purchased by Chinese? Hardly. Is it surprising that China wants to use its position and leverage to keep moving up the ladder? What in human behavior would lead anyone to imagine otherwise?


  13. Defense secretary says he’s open to reinstating carrier captain who requested coronavirus help

    …”We’ve taken nothing off the table,” Esper said on CBS News Friday morning. “My inclination is always to support the chain of command, and to take the recommendations seriously.”..

    …”There are always extreme cases where going outside the chain of command makes sense. That’s why we want to see where this investigation takes us,” Esper said. …



      1. If we remember that t-Rump is a populist, then it isn’t so surprising. Nothing is of course promised, but t-Rump aims to please the people and promised to bring the boys and girls back home, i.e. popular with the military.

        I’m sure he would quite have happily done nothing, but seeing how this has gained steam in the media and the rather raucous send off by the crew that blasted out aroudn the world rather than petered out, the risk calculation changed.

        Note that nothing has been promised.


  14. SkyNudes: Trump administration probes China’s Imagination plot

    …A powerful US committee is examining a Chinese investor’s bid for control of the British chip designer, Sky News learns….

    …The foreign affairs select committee has launched a separate inquiry into “foreign asset-stripping of UK companies”, which comes in the wake of the government’s decision to give Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment manufacturer, a role in the construction of Britain’s 5G network…

    It’s not a US company but that is no matter at all. The last para. included is the most hilarious. The UK is precisely such an investor paradise because it allows foreigners to move in… and move out their capital with ease. It’s part of UK plc’s business model. Asset stripping is not only admired but supported, unless it seems you are from certain… jursidictions


    1. Telling, too, is that phrase, “A powerful US committee…” It is only powerful within the USA, and the extent of its power outside its own jurisdiction is solely what other countries allow it to have. It is their own fault if they are so terrified of American reprisals that they allow American committees to run their businesses for them. Kind of amusing, too, to see the Chinese overture framed as a ‘plot’, like the tireless and altruistic Americans unearthed something nefarious, that the Chinese attempted to conceal. Of course American companies have no interests abroad, or when they do they are not interested in making profits for themselves, only in enriching others.

      Canada’s automotive sector is entirely foreign-owned, dominated by the Americans, Germans and Japanese. They like to tack ‘Canada’ on the end of General Electric Canada, Wal Mart Canada and General Motors Canada, but they are in fact wholly-owned subsidiaries of the American parent company, and the amount of money – outside of wages, of course, all are major employers – the parent company spends in Canada and the amount it takes as profits for shareholders is at entirely the head office’s discretion. MacMillan-Bloedel, once known both affectionately and as a term of dislike as MacBlo, was bought out by the American Weyerhaeuser in 1999 for $2.45 Billion. All Canada’s historic CP Rail hotels, such as the Empress here in downtown Victoria, the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City and the Fairmont Banff Springs are owned by Colony Capital LLC of California, and Kingdom Holding Company of – you guessed it – Saudi Arabia. They tell me Canada is itself a tiger abroad for foreign ownership, constituting a major force in the economies of such far-flung spots as Montenegro and Northern Ireland. But it isn’t much comfort. When any foreign country owns a big enough stake in your economy that they could wreck it if they chose, hyou are forever beholden to them and have to court their goodwill. Who is more difficult, in our times, to please than the Americans? You have to do every little thing they say, elect who they say should lead your country and reject overtures from such companies as their ‘powerful committees’ deem unsavory potential buyers, or else the threats come out. Its failure to stop Huawei cold has been one of the biggest surprises, most of all to itself, in modern economic history.


      1. I think the idea is to encourage those 200 Conservative MPs (who are wholly opposed to Huawei to have any part in the UK’s 5G) to take up this new clarion call to keep ‘Chinese mitts off our stuff’. Even under a Conservative government with a significant majority in parliament, trying to balance East & West is being – i.e. UK ‘have your cake and eat it’ is being undermined from within. Remember kids, it’s not sinophobia, it is pragmatic fear of those with funny eyes (or as tories would say ‘just an observation and nothing racist’).


    1. I don’t know. It’s not like inflating an air mattress. The ventilator likely needs to have precision pressure transducers to measure the “inflation” pressure which probably needs to be adjustable depending on the patient’s condition. It would need an air pump that is pulsation free with instantaneous response or at least solenoid control valves that are very fast and with smooth adjustment. The incoming air probably needs to be sterilized plus oxygen added n he correct proportion. It may need to respond the patient’s own effort to breathe. Here is an article on how ventilators work. It takes a lot of tweaking and judgement to set one up. And ventilators need significant improvements per the article.

      The iron lung appears to be easier on the lungs of a patient based on some patients spending years in the lung and is much less invasive. FWIW, I will see if there is any local interest in exploring the iron lung as an emergency alternative to ventilators.


      1. According to the subject article, when demonstrated on a mannequin, observers could see the mannequin’s chest rise and fall. The ‘and fall’ is the key, suggesting that when back pressure reaches a certain level, it overcomes the incoming pressure from the ventilator and exhalation takes place. Of course it’s not just a matter of pumping air into the patient until they are egg-shaped like Humpty Dumpty. This device would need testing, though, to determine the manual setting of the timer, because even a very brief interval of continuing incoming pressure against the body’s imperative to exhale could be enough to kill the patient.


      1. It is not so simple as already suspected. This is a great video on the technical requirements of a ventilator that does more good than harm. It also takes down Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit for shamelessly promoting its POS ventilator.

        Here is the Virgin Orbit PR video:

        PS – there is absolutely nothing unique or innovative about their “solution” nor does it solve a single problem other than the need for PR of a struggling vanity project for Sir Richard Branson.


    2. Finally! An updated iron lung ready for mass production.

      Definitely a potential for design improvement. The large internal volume will make rapid/precise air pressure adjustments difficult. The means to seal around the waist is not clear. Looks like a modified vacuum cleaner with likely a valve is providing the variable negative pressure – a simple and effective solution. It is likely well-muffled for low noise operation.

      Anyway, FWIW, I will be in contact with a local hospital chain to see what they think of a 21st century iron lung – will need to be lucky just to get a reply.


    1. Liquor stores here are classified as ‘essential services’. If alcoholics cannot buy alcohol, they are shortly thereafter a burden on the medical system. It’s probably the government testing the limits of its authority and public obedience. You’re not very likely to catch coronavirus out in your garden or field by yourself. I suppose you might get it in the gardening section, but if you observe their precious ‘social distancing’ and stand 6 feet apart I don’t see what makes it different from the grocery store.


      1. Recreational cannabis shops are deemed “essential” in Michigan as well as booze outlets.

        While Michigan is ordering medical and recreational marijuana stores to close, they will be able to make curbside sales and home delivery,

        Once the stay-at-home order is lifted, I suspect that a lot of delivery services will continue just out of convenience as well as viralphobia.


        1. Recreational whorehouses all over Europe aren’t, though. Prostitutes Sex workers / therapists are whinging about loss of earnings. You can’t even have a knee trembler in a park, because they are cordoned off.


          1. There are plenty of online opportunities to work from home. The infrastructure, marketing and distribution are already in place.

            And what about muggers? It’s not just social distancing but a lack of customers (or is it suppliers?). Who will care for them?


  15. This is totally plausible:

    However, the world’s biggest public health crisis in a century has stolen the spotlight from the White House race and put it on the executive branch. And while Cuomo, a three-term New York governor, is leading the state’s response to COVID-19, Joe Biden was forced to cancel campaign events and fundraisers and has generally kept a low profile.

    Cuomo saw his popularity soar to a 7-year high with his daily press briefings and criticism of the federal government’s handling of the virus. A poll in late March found that a whopping 87 percent of New Yorkers approve of his handling of the situation, including 70 percent among Republicans.

    Joe Biden’s most visible accomplishment during the pandemic was losing track of a teleprompter while giving a speech from his house.

    Fetzer believes that the Democrats initially didn’t have a plan to replace Biden, but he “deteriorated more rapidly than expected.”

    And there is this:

    majority of Democrats want to nominate New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for president instead of Joe Biden, according to poll results shared exclusively with The Post.

    The national poll found 56 percent of Democrats prefer Cuomo, with 44 percent wanting to stick with presumptive nominee Biden — a 12-point margin well outside the 4.8 percent margin of error for the Democratic sample.

    Cuomo speaks slowly (to the point of sounding “slow”) yet come across as thoughtful and as an entirely safe and predictable leader that the elites will feel comfortable and many of us will view as a nice alternative to the blowhard Trump. My accuracy in predicting such matters stands at 0.0%.


    1. Exactly like Rudi Giuliani and 9-11. Overnight he became ‘America’s Mayor’, when in fact he had been a pretty mediocre mayor to that point, and during the crisis itself mostly knew when to stay out of the way and let the emergency services do their job. A little politicking here and there, some tireless-public-servant shots and some steely-eyed-man-of-action shots, and voila! a state-level politician makes the leap to a national-level politician. All based on his performance during a fairly situation-specific crisis. There is no real way to know what Cuomo would be like as America’s representative abroad, although he could hardly be worse than the buffoon Trump, who is often not even out of the country in question before the mockery starts. But Americans are quick to make a champion out of anyone, based on quite a narrow set of circumstances, while much of the population is just so discontented that they want someone, anyone to lead them out of this mess.

      Cuomo would certainly be an improvement on Biden,but that’s not much of an accolade. And changing horses in the middle of the stream like this, while Biden is still trying to sweet-talk angry Sanders voters out of staying home on election day, is just a new recipe for losing. But I believe that will happen in any event, so they should by all means go where their consciences lead. I think Trump is a cert for another term.


      1. If Trump tries to “open the economy” too soon and the plague surges, it could be lights out for Trump. In any event, the democrats have little choice but to run someone else if the reports are true that Bidden is fading fast. I would imagine that he was around the bend for many years but drugs and careful management by his handlers kept his dementia hidden to a degree.

        They need to “kill him off” but not necessarily literally. It can’t be through dementia as it would look very bad for the democrats to be running a guy with a terminal illness. Was there more than meets with eye with Sander’s withdrawal? If the dems knew that Bidden must drop out, was Sanders ordered to take himself out as well to clear the decks for another candidate? The potential hole in this theory is that it implies that Sanders would never be allowed to be the democratic candidate under any circumstances; his candidacy was all show and Sanders likely knew it. This makes me wonder about Gabbard’s withdrawal also.

        Cuomo just needs to ride the wave to make it to the White House. Who cares if he is a bozo schmuck? He likely is fairly competent as an administer. Everything else like policy and direction will be decided by others, He is smart enough to know that (Trump had to learn the hard way).

        Base on m 0.0% accuracy is these matters, I predict Bidden will drop out for a contrived reason before or during the Democratic convention, Cuomo will either the presidential or VP candidate and the other position filled by a woman. Said woman could be Hilary (unlikely), Michelle Obama (conceivable) or ???. I lean towards Cuomo for the presidential slot as he is likely the only one who would not be slaughtered in a debate with Trump.


        1. I don’t think it will make any difference if the Democrats run Cuomo or a talking tomato. They’re going to lose. And the DNC’s insistence on Biden is inexcusable – they’re supposed to approach their pick as if they didn’t want him/her, and try to blow holes in the case for them making it all the way to the top. The Democrats soft-pedaled Biden’s obvious pudding-brain dementia and smiled indulgently when he muffed his lines – they had plenty of opportunity to settle on someone else, although the choice was far from great except for Gabbard. They wanted an establishment candidate, and suddenly there was an establishment candidate who passed his best-before date sometime in the late 80’s…and a socialist. Lite. And that’s it. So they chose the establishment candidate, in spite of the faint odor of formalin from downwind. Because the Democrats always think they’re going to be the benefactors of a miracle. Always. And then they’re not, and they’re surprised and angry, and shout that someone cheated.

          On the one hand, simply being a competent administrator in a crisis is not much of a qualification for the presidency, when the president must be a man – or woman – of many faces, all things to everyone. On the other, the state of politics in America has sunk so low that it really doesn’t matter how lousy your qualifications are. Whatever the case, the Democrats have dithered and choppie-changed so many times now that they have not left themselves time to unite the field behind a particular candidate. Whoever it is should ideally lead the Democratic party for a few months before the election, so everyone can get a feel for him or her and feel good about trusting that candidate with their vote. ASs it is now, Democratic voters are being asked to pull the lever for ‘the Democratic candidate’.


          1. Read a comment somewhere that the election will be between “Trump” and “Not Trump”.

            Unless a depression level economy AND the mass death from the virus can both be hung on Trump he will win. Or, even in that worst case, he could still win as a war time president.

            It’s amazing that the dems and their sponsors threw everything they had at Trump and are losing. Every “intelligence” agency, the MSM, (other than FOX) and the democratic party apparatchik could not stop him. True, Trump made a deal with the devil (aka Israel and the Jewish mafia in the broadest sense) but still that would have seemed insufficient. His ace up his sleeve was the untapped reservoir of discontent in the American population. If he was smarter and motivated by more than his narcissism, that gold mine he stumbled on could have led to a peaceful revolution that would have drained the swamp. What a lost opportunity.


            1. The American public still perceives that Trump is a tough talker who muscles in time after time to save the American economy. That’s because the media portrays him that way – here’s a dandy example:

              “Russia and Saudi Arabia — which only a month ago hoped to undercut American producers — have retreated from threats to pump more oil into the already-saturated market. Acknowledging that the gamble was hurting themselves as well, they instead announced this past week that they had tentatively agreed to cut production.”

              It wasn’t even three days ago that Uncle Sam had his forehead in the tatami, begging Russia to cut a deal to save American producers. And here we are again – already – with the finger-wagging, America scolding the recalcitrant ne’er-do-wells in Russia for trying to pull a fast one on America. Lucky Trump was there to see it, and put the brakes on in a way that totally put the Russians and those brown dudes in the curly slippers in their place.

              “Behind all the blustery wheeling and dealing, Saudi Arabia did succeed in bringing Russia back into the fold of an alliance of producers called OPEC+. But caught off guard by the size of the price drop, both Saudi Arabia and Russia needed to reverse course and make supply cuts to prop up crude prices.

              “There were miscalculations on both sides,” said Ben Cahill, a senior energy fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The Russians miscalculated how sharp the Saudi response would be and they might have been taken aback by how deep the price drop was.”

              Oh, yes, now it was the Russians and Saudis who were caught on the hop, while Uncle Sam just remained cool as a cucumber and racked up point after point. If the Saudis had stuck with their plan to oil-dump Russia into submission, they might have crashed the oil market altogether – however, Saudi Arabia sends almost no oil to Europe. Its markets and Russia’s markets do not intersect much except for China, and China is better served by pipelines than Saudi tankers. Saudi Arabia’s top market destinations, in order of market share, are China, Japan, India, South Korea and the United States.


              Russia enjoys a comfortable lead over Saudi Arabia in Chinese exports.


              Consequently, and Russia stated it any number of times, Russia was ready to ride out the price war and wait for prices to come back up. It did not ‘blink’ as its ‘trick backfired’ in the face of American resolve. Russia entered into a deal to help save American producers from industry-wide bankruptcy, and while it was not wholly altruistic, it certainly behaved in a manner that deserves a hell of a lot more than instantly cranking up the Russophobia machine.

              “But Russia has other liabilities. It has limited processing capacity and its refineries have insufficient storage facilities. It relies on long pipelines to take its oil to European and Asian buyers. But European demand has collapsed, and Russia’s storage tanks are quickly filling. China is still buying oil, at bargain prices, but its storage will be filled up in another month” or so, leaving Russian crude stranded.”

              And then what will happen? America will ride to the rescue? Offer to cut production, to save Russian producers? As if. Being helpful to pull someone else’s chestnuts out of the fire is a one-way street.


              1. Very nice dissection of the NYT misdirection. I would only add that the Chinese economy is already in full recovery so the oil demand will increase while the economies of Saudi’s main customers are still on a downward trajectory.

                The imbecility of the article is on full display with this line:

                It [Russia] relies on long pipelines to take its oil to European and Asian buyers.

                What? versus bucket brigades? I suppose the author meant compared with tankers but pipeline delivery is lower cost and provides a steady flow which would seem to require less storage capacity. Lower transportation costs mean a higher net selling price for Russian producers.

                Also, as speculation, pipeline transport may require less onsite refining to prep the crude for shipment relative to tanker transport thus providing further cost savings.

                It is always entertaining to see the MSM in full denial mode.


                1. Yes, if you don’t like something, frame it as undesirable and moronic. US military analysts often do this when they deride the ‘rusty junk’ of the post-Soviet era in Russia, waxing lyrical as they extol the virtues of the F-35 pilot’s helmet, which will display targets, tell you if you’re speeding and make toast. Ditto a lot of modern navies’ fire-control gear, which is the eighth wonder of the world until it actually has to track a target under difficult conditions. And so on. Whatever is the flavour of the month in the west is The Way To Go, and everyone else is a dummy.


  16. The evening news showed a video of a passenger being violently removed by the police from a city bus for not wearing a mask. However, continued enforcement of the requirement remains unclear.

    San Francisco had its lockdown before the first case of the virus was recorded. It appears to have been a smart move as the virus impact seem negligible so far. It was noted that San Francisco is not a typical urban environment such as a relatively low population density, low levels of obesity and smoking and relatively affluent.


  17. Доктор Мясников сравнил ситуацию с коронавирусом в России и Германии

    Doctor Myasnikov has compared the coronavirus situations in Russia and Germany

    MOSCOW, 12 APR 2020, 03:45 — REGNUM The relatively small number of deaths in Russia caused by the sickness brought about by the coronavirus SARS-CoV2 suggests that the Russian health system was more prepared, wrote , doctor and TV presenter Alexander Myasnikov on 11 April on a “Telegram” page.

    In his message, he compared the epidemiological situations in Russia and Germany, suggesting that the coronavirus “was sparing” Russia.

    “Everyone is talking about a ‘German miracle’ and is silent about Russia, but in Germany there are 2.8 thousand deaths per 82 million people, whilst in Russia fewer than 100 people have died out of a population of 146 million”, Myasnikov wrote.

    He added that many countries around the world were surprised to see that Russia had more lung ventilator and personal protective equipment than they had. At the same time, “mortality from coronavirus is much lower than from influenza, and orders of magnitude lower than from other types of pneumonia”.

    Earlier, REGNUM reported that the total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Russia had reached 13,584. 1,045 people have recovered and 106 died. More than 1.18 million tests have been conducted.

    Ridiculous claims!

    Russian lying bastards lying through their teeth again, and Kremlin controlled media, such as above, pumping out fake news in order to create turmoil in the free world, where the standard of living and of human rights are of “orders of magnitude” greater than in Russia. I mean, why do all Russians want to emigrate? Why is there a demographic crisis in Russia? Why does Putin kill his critics both at home and abroad?

    Smell the coffee, Russians! You are being lied to – constantly!

    Oh yeah! And Doctor Myasnikov means Doctor “Butcherson”.

    How appropriate!


  18. BBC:

    Coronavirus: US death toll overtakes Italy as world’s highest
    3 hours ago

    I told this a kreakl [a woman, actually: a kreaklnitsa – a “Russian” word I have just made up] yesterday, who flatly refused to believe me.

    She must believe Lukashenko and other Russophobe naysayers. Or she does not wish her fantasies about the USA to be dashed.

    Or maybe she is a Banderite – the bastards are everywhere, even living here in the “aggressor state”, waiting, no doubt, for their liberation when Babchenko comes clanking down Tverskaya in his Yankee tank.


  19. “A few days after the cynical murder of a resident of Gorlovka, Miroslava Vorontsova, by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, positions of the UAF in the area of Petrovskoye village in the Donbass were visited by Zelensky, on whose orders the shelling and killing of citizens of the republic continues …” – Deputy of the People’s Council of the DPR Vladislav Berdichevsky on having noticed an arm patch in the shape of a skull that funny-man Zelensky was sporting.

    25-year-old Miroslava Vorontsova.


    Girl & Drone – Ukraine’s Maidan Continues to Kill
    April 12, 2020
    Stalker Zone


  20. Greetings!

    In Russia, today is not “Pam Sunday” but “Pussy Willow Sunday”.

    “There is no spring without willow”, they used to say in Russia.

    Russian Willow (Verba) Sunday


  21. Hurrah for the Russian-Saudi oil agreement!

    They’re quite good at preparing coffee over camel-shit fires, though – or so I am led to believe.


    1. Wow … Makes me appreciate the skill needed to play in a band / or orchestra – to blend the various instruments harmoniously.

      This Saudi Arabian band beats the Egyptian band that played the anthem when President Putin met President Sisi.


    2. There’ll be a pile of heads in the courtyard. Mind you, perhaps having their artistic stylings and interpretive tweaks overlaid on one’s national anthem is a mark of respect. I see there is a pop-up link displayed toward the excruciating end, which reads, “Saudi Orchestra destroys American anthem”. And they love the Americans, don’t they?

      Alternatively, it could be that they don’t give a rip, because they get paid the same whether they play well or horribly.


      1. As far as I know about Middle Eastern music (not much at all despite having heard singers like Umm Kulthum, Fayrouz and Mohammed Abdel Wahab in the past), it uses a different scale from Western formal compositional music (ie, “classical” music) and harmony as we know it is alien. If you listen to the classic Arab pop orchestral music of the first half of the 20th century when Umm Kulthum was the dominant and most popular singer across North Africa and the Middle East (she was originally from Egypt), you will notice all musicians, no matter what instruments they play, follow the same melodies almost exactly.

        Although the KSA in the past did contribute to popular Arabic-language music in the past when Umm Kulthum was at her peak, the Saudis generally don’t seem to have much of a music tradition and the strict extremist Wahhabi form of Islam that is the KSA’s official religion discourages music-making. The only other culture I can think of that puts similarly severe restrictions on who can play music and who can hear it is ultra-Orthodox Judaism which forbids men from listening to music performed or sung by women.


  22. No way of fleeing hence to the dacha now: digital passes for public transport are to be issued from 13 April:

    Sergei Sobyanin has approved the procedure for processing and using digital passes to travel around Moscow during the high-availability period. From April 13, it will be possible to begin registration, from Wednesday their availability will become mandatory.

    1. What is a digital pass? – It is issued in electronic form, a special code that consists of numbers and letters. The first four characters indicate the expiration date, the remaining 12 characters identify the owner and purpose of the trip.

    2. Which trips require a pass? – On any type of personal and public transport – scooter, motorcycle, taxi, car, metro, WDC, MCC, etc.

    3. What are the categories of digital passes and travel goals?

    Travel to and from work, as well as business trips.

    Trips to medical facilities. A pass is issued for a day and allows a trip to a specific medical institution.

    Travel for personal purposes that correspond to the high-availability mode (to the store, railway station, dacha, etc.). A pass is issued for a day and can be obtained twice a week.

    4. How are trips between Moscow and the Moscow Region, between Moscow and other regions to be made? – Between the capital and the region, “roaming” passes will operate. To travel back and forth in the Moscow Region, Muscovites need to order one pass on the portal. Residents of the region order a pass for trips to the capital on their website.

    5. How to get a digital pass? – On the portal (the service “Obtaining a digital pass for moving around the city”), by phone +7 (495) 777-77-77 or SMS to number 7377.

    6. Who does not need a pass? – Military personnel, law enforcement officials, judges and other employees. Persons under 14 years old also do not need a pass.

    7. What additional information needs to be reported for trips by personal car and in public transport? – For trips by personal transport it is necessary to inform the state registration number, in public – the number of the card “Troika” or “Arrow”.

    8. How to use a digital pass? – Citizens are required to present a passport and pass (printout or smartphone screen) at the request of officials.

    9. Will personal data be protected? – Their storage and processing will be carried out in accordance with the law. At the end of the high availability mode, the information will be destroyed.

    Yeah, sure it will.



    1. Information gathered by government is never destroyed, and frequently it is shared accidentally with the world, when some ministry knobhead leaves his briefcase at the bus stop or some blunder of that nature. In this case there probably is nothing on it the authorities don’t already have, since the objective is to identify you and you have already had to provide all that umpty times to various authorities.

      They might very well find that they like being able to know where all their citizens are at any time of day it strikes their fancy, though; I can’t help noting that digital ID, maybe even an implant that you can’t ‘accidentally’ tape to the inside fender of a northbound semi, has long been a wet dream of western governments, and they have tried to get a universal ID card off the ground several times. Tracking your movements is dreamy, but limiting them is the real power – no ID card, no travel, and I’m sure they would have the ability to revoke it remotely, just as the Americans did with Snowden’s passport. Several sources have speculated that something just like that will result from the ‘pandemic’; I pointed out already Diane Francis screeching that it was imperative the Canadian government be able to accurately identify its citizens and know their medical status at any given time, and that perhaps that might be the price of going back to work – government must know that its socially-active citizens are not sick. Another comment I saw speculated – optimistically, I think – that the ‘pandemic’ would be the end of the ‘bullshit jobs’; no more having three or five ‘gender studies’ professors at every university, and so forth. But I think there is a general apprehension that there is going to be a major shakeup. And if it looks like history might record there was a great deal more to-do over COVID-19 than there ever needed to be, all the more reason to make the big grab now, because it likely will not work again. But by God, it was a good one – that ‘For your own safety’ thing just cannot be denied, and it is killer effective when you can frame it as insufferable selfishness if you let your own carelessness jeopardize the priceless safety of others. And you can’t be too much safer than what you are when you stay home and live off a government dole.


  23. According to Roscosmos chief, the market price of a SpaceX launch is about $60 million but NASA pays between 1.5 and 4 times more for it.

    Russia will slash the price of its space launch services by 30 percent to counter what it sees as dumping by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company, the head of Russia’s state space agency Roscosmos said Friday.

    SpaceX is now routinely reusing the first stage yet launch prices have not dropped. They were claiming prices would be reduced by, IIRC, to $10 million and less per launch thereby creating new markets such as space Holiday Inns and orbital Disneylands.

    I do admire much of the technology developed by SpaceX and Tesla but something is clearly wrong with SpaceX economics that requires massive governmental cash injections via NASA. There is no doubt that SpaceX figures prominently in US military strategy so it does make sense that the government wants to protect that asset. But, what happened to the promise of greatly reduced launch costs?


    1. I think it is a mistake for Russia to greatly reduce its launch costs to ‘stay competitive’; it will instantly be interpreted as a victory for Musk, who – outside the automobile market – is just a cowboy without a great deal of success to show for the piles of government money he spends. The US government will crow that Russian stuffiness is no match for American can-do and technological wonderfulness, and it is just all too tiresome. Just let Musk flop, and if the US government wants to pay extortionate prices for made-in-the-USA launches, let it.


      1. A little more color to the story:

        Russia should remain a big player in the international space launch market and if it takes a price cut, so be it. The US has too much invested in SpaceX to let it flop. The US will crow even louder if Russia withdraws entirely from the international market. Besides, the competition will drive Russian innovation of which they have a lot. For example, their hypersonic technology, if applied to space launch systems could render obsolete just about every small and medium launcher.


      2. They already have the (slow to fruition) Angara family of launchers. I assume they are cheaper all round. As amazing as Soyuz is (1900+ launches), it was going to be replaced sooner or later any way. The most important thing is that the chronic underfunding of Russian space stuff is put well behind it and that no stone has been left unturned for any short-cuts/skimming/whatever. Rogozin is large on bombast, little on useful detail. I have no doubt that Russia will remain a significant launching country. I don’t even mention China…


        1. I agree. Last thing I heard was that Angara production was to be moved to a new facility for serial production but that was a few years back. And then there is the completely new Soyuz rocket family using methane/LOX. I guess having two independent overlapping launch systems provide redundancy.


  24. Financial Crimes: Priti Patel says PPE failings down to high levels of demand

    BMA warns supplies of protective gear at ‘dangerously low levels’ as 19 healthcare workers die

    …Turkey has sent 250,000 items of personal protective equipment to the UK which will now be distributed to medical centres around the country, according to the Ministry of Defence.

    A delivery of 50,000 N-95 face masks, 100,000 surgical masks, and 100,000 protective suits arrived at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Friday. Turkey has previously donated supplies to fellow Nato members Spain and Italy…

    Coronavirus politics from Turkey?

    As for PP, she is clearly the chosen (willing?) PR lightning for the message that ‘no government could cope with CoVid-19’ and thus redirect away Conservative policy of the last ten years to undermine and parcel off the NHS. I guess DoCum and his team will be keenly watching the media and public reaction to PP’s public pissing on NHS workers and then go from there.


    1. Coincidentally, Turkey and the UK have something in common in that both of their infection rates are trending sharply up. For today, at least, most other states other than the Netherlands are showing at least modest declines.


  25. The western media is shooting its load reporting that ‘dozens of ambulances’ are queuing up at Moscow’s main hospital (its the same reporter). None of the reports specifically say that Russia now includes pneumonia symptoms as suspected CoVid-19 (confirmed or otherwise).

    I assume now that temporary hospitals have been constructed in record time and are now operational, these ambulances are simply redistributing (suspected) cases to the new hospitals, thus increasing capacity at centrally located hospitals. Either this is being reported in the Russian press and ignored by the stringer, or it is not being communicated. I suspect the former because that is the default ‘bad in Russia’ reporting.


    1. It’s ‘Will Stewart’, a Daily Fail reporter but used by just about everybody if you look him up on Muckrack. Curiously the Groaning Man cites Neuters even though it is much the same.


    2. It is not at “Moscow’s main hospital: the long queue of ambulances was at Moscow War Veterans’ Hospital №3 in Khimki, which is situated just outside the city limits:

      Moscow War Veterans’ Hospital №3

      Similar scenes at nearby Novogorsk, situated likewise just beyond Moscow city limits in Moscow Oblast’:


      1. No, I got it the wrong way around. Apparently patients are being taken to hospital ‘in a region immediately outside Moscow’. Still, the press is excited by it all.


    3. Well, one ambulance driver helpfully told the reporter he had been waiting 2 hours to discharge a patient, or else the reporter simply made it up and attributed it to an unidentified ambulance driver. So this is it, at last! The landslide of Russian infections, the hidden millions of cases! Death! Destruction! Thrills, and chills!! Step right up, boys and girls, and see the post-Soviet reconstruction of the Soviet Union collapse before your very eyes!

      It makes no difference that Russia will in the end come out much better than the west for overall infections, and probably will return to normal operations well before the west. All that matters is that Russian lies be exposed right now. Makes the folks out there in Teeveeland feel comforted.


      1. From the Guardian:

        How coronavirus spread across the globe – visualised

        Nowhere will you find in the above-linked article any mention of Russia, which happens to be the largest country in the world and also, according to the US and its satraps, that definitive global malignant force which ceaselessly tries to destroy all that is good in the world. So why this amazing lack of interest in the Evil Empire?

        By the way, the firm that allegedly employs me and which illegally cut my salary by half as soon as this non-working month was imposed on Russians by the Evil One’s government, forwards English language learning aids to all its students and teachers in Russia. These links, allegedly provided for the betterment of English language skills, always contains articles from NYT, WP and the Guardian. My students recognize the propagandistic nature of these articles. They told me this without any prompting on my part.

        The above article arrived in my email this morning, together with articles from the NYT and WP. All my students will have also received that post as well.


  26. Sky nudes: Labour antisemitism investigation will not be sent to equality commission

    A report found factional hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn amongst former senior officials contributed to “a litany of mistakes”.

    It really doesn’t matter. Corbyn has been successfully Niemollered. Job done, pat on back.


  27. In China they have Wet markets that are now blamed for speading virus…

    In USA you can buy very strange food on the interweb:

    How to Clean & Eat a Geoduck

    Any virus risk there?


    1. Brought to mind a classic Russian “Vovochka” joke:

      “Vovochka” is the Russian equivalent of “Little Johnny”. There are lots of “Little Johnny” jokes. He interacts with his school teacher, Maria Ivanovna (shortened to “Marivanna”, a stereotypical female teacher’s name; also euphemism for marijuana). “Vovochka” is a diminutive form of “Vova”, which in turn is a shortened version of “Vladimir, creating the “little boy” effect, sort of like “Johnnykins” in English. This “little boy” name is used in contrast with Vovochka’s wisecracking, adult, often obscene statements.

      The joke:

      In biology class, the teacher draws a cucumber on the blackboard: “Children, could someone tell me what this is?”

      Vovochka raises his hand: “It’s a dick, Marivanna!”

      The teacher bursts into tears and runs out.

      Shortly after, the headmaster rushes in: “All right, you lot! What have you gone and done now? Which one of you brought Maria Ivanovna to tears? … And who the hell drew that dick on the blackboard?”


      1. The coronavirus outbreak in China was caused because of Chinese eating dogs, according to the fulminating Daily Mail UK.


        1. Wasn’t the UK the epicenter of Mad Cow disease caused by the disgusting practice of grinding up dead cows to feed to live cows? Ugh.


        2. Sometimes it’s bats, accompanied by ‘Eeewwww, gross!!’ comments from the British, who eat stargazey pie with pilchard heads sticking out of it.

          I mean, who eats bats, right? Certainly not the good people who eat fish brains. And sometimes it’s pangolins. or civet cats. Of course the point is that eating some kinds of animals might cause a virus heretofore only present in them to make the jump to humans.

          Mind you, there are whole departments in laboratories of civilized nations which would not dream of eating bats, pangolins or civets, who spend all day long trying to engineer animal viruses so they will infect humans in large numbers. It’s called “Biowarfare”, and the nice folk who are appalled at the notion of humans who eat bats have one, at Porton Down.

          But of course the Chinese are going to carry the can for this one, because the British press says so.

          And the Americans, of course. Who also have, or had, a biowarfare lab at Fort Detrick. As I mentioned, the CDC ordered it shut down, because of a somewhat cavalier attitude toward the security of pathogens researched and manipulated within.

          I’m sure the Chinese conduct biowarfare research as well, and many countries that do concentrate at least as much on defense against a germ or virus being introduced against their country as they do developing nightmarish threats against others. But the effort to conjure up revulsion based on what people eat is just another card in the dehumanisation deck.


  28. Get ready for pork and pork products to get a hell of a lot more expensive. No more dirt-cheap American pork we used to get here because they couldn’t unload it on the Chinese due to the trade war.

    This looks grim for bacon, and if I can’t get bacon I might just have to grab my squirrel gun and head for Washington.

    I’m kidding. But workers at Canadian meat-packing plants have also tested positive for COVID-19. That’s an avenue that most of us probably have not even thought of – the closure of slaughterhouses and meat-processing facilities which would mean the grocery stores cannot get meat to sell.


  29. Suddenly, the EU remembers…oh, yeah. Serbia. Those guys.

    I was unaware that what set Vucic off was a statement by the EC President – and former German Defence Minister – which, according to Shaun The Dill Warrior “appeared to suggest a ban on exporting medical supplies from the bloc”. We’ve got our hands full, non-EU Europeans – handle your own problems.

    As an aside, Ms. von der Leyen’s handling of her former job was described by some political heavyweights as ‘a shambles’, although you never want to read too much into anything politicians say.

    So the EU’s position now is that it has always helped Serbia, and spent lots of money on it, too, even before it was in trouble. I don’t think Vucic is buying it.


    1. Wow; he certainly is a psychic, isn’t he? Send all the working people home to where they can’t work, and by God, you don’t need to draw a picture for Kudrin – his keen mind intuits what is going to happen. Maybe he was tipped off by the massive unemployment claims in Canada and the United States, and the plans of those countries to fire up the presses and print more money to make sure they can afford groceries and rent.


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