China purchase of Journalists is their Last Gasp in an International Game of Chicken

Based There seems to be a lot of effort being made by China to control the narrative in the Corona Virus. In terms of getting reporters to say what they want they’ve had some success, mainly because of the principles illustrated by the CNN letter post I had up earlier but also because money talks and bureaucrats and reports are bought cheap.

The fact that media companies see China as a big market helps too. China is very happy to leverage their market to make them act against us, but we aren’t willing to do the same, at least not yet.

It’s been made extremely clear to the world that China can’t be Trusted. Even a few in Iran are questing them (although the official media was quick to clamp down on them. Only those who hate Trump beyond rationality still buy what they sell and even they likely don’t actually believe what they’re saying.

They can keep the scare up for as long as they can but once the virus has peaked in the US they’re pretty much finished. Already Australians have refused to unload Chinese ships. I can’t see any western company going in and those already there are not going to be anxious to stay. By this time next year the words “Made in China” are going to be like “Made in Nazi Germany” or “Free dose of Smallpox with every item.”

The longer China can keep the money flowing to the media and keep the scare on the longer they can delay the inevitable. This is also the moment of greatest danger because if China decides it has nothing to lose there is always a chance that they might go the military route now while they still have own enough of the rest of the world but we also don’t know how bad things actually are in China or how bad this has spread throughout the land.

This is going to be a giant game of chicken until the west can be sure they can replace vital industries. Once vital production is built locally or moved to South America or Vietnam, or India or even Central America. Until then it’s a question of holding China accountable without pushing them to the point of war. Meanwhile during this time China will keep up the pressure online, via paid comments, paid media, and I suspect through paid posts at blogs from people who don’t demand editorial control for money.

China is a face culture. If Trump can play nice enough publicly still calling them out in public but being respectful in direct diplomatic conversations he can keep the string going until we can cut it without a shooting war. I think he’s up to it, meanwhile China will do their best to elect Biden and the Democrats and promise them rich rewards for a deal which lets them make loud noises while conducting business as usual.

It’s Jefferson Davis’ card vs Lincoln in 1864 but like Davis it’s all China really has so they’ll play this hand as long as they can stretch it.

Two Navies, Two Stories, One Choice

200321-N-TL141-1039 PHILLIPINE SEA (March 21, 2020) An MH-60R Sea Hawk assigned to the “Wolf Pack” Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, takes off from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) March 21, 2020. The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dylan Lavin)

The Navy is in the news a lot. On one coast, the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, named after the iconic President, is in the news in a bad way. Her Commanding Officer, CAPT Crozier, was removed by the Secretary of the Navy because of a letter he wrote (and didn’t safeguard adequately) where he argued to evacuate most of his crew due to a COVID-19 outbreak because “Sailors do not need to die.” Reading the letter on its own (available here), without any other context makes CAPT Crozier look like a selfless hero, amplified when he was removed from command by Acting Secretary Modly and then cheered by his own crew.

Obviously, very concerned about the virus spreading, just look at that social distancing!

Like most stories, the surface belies the true nature of the medium. The largest fallacy comes from thinking the Navy wasn’t already acting to help the THEODORE ROOSEVELT. The Navy was moving, quickly, to find a suitable plan for ROOSEVELT. It had already secured 3,000 beds in Guam, which if you’ve ever been to the tiny island, you’ll realize is quite an achievement. Secretary Modly was in contact with CAPT Crozier personally, on multiple occasions before the letter was sent.

Before you sign a petition supporting CAPT Crozier, or think the Navy is some evil, vile organization that hates its Sailors, try watching Secretary Modly’s full press conference. I can guarantee it is not boring:

The Navy balances Sailor morale and welfare with the mission assigned to it. Contrary to CAPT Crozier’s letter, where he asserts we “…we are not at war, and therefore cannot allow a single Sailor to perish…”, that’s simply not true. The Navy executes dangerous “peacetime” missions every day. We fly planes, drive submarines, spy on enemies, rescue mariners in distress, ride out rough weather, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to areas that have multiple infectious diseases. Every day we engage in these activities, which occasionally kill Sailors, and while we balance our risk, the risk is never zero, because the American people expect their Navy to be ready for war, and readiness is never achieved with zero risk.

CAPT Crozier’s actions smell of grand standing. You can’t simply shutdown a nuclear aircraft carrier and park it like some cheap rental car. You always have Sailors onboard to monitor the reactor plants and maintain critical gear. CAPT Crozier even acknowledges that he has to keep at least 10% of the crew onboard. If he had proposed a rotation plan to maintain THEODORE ROOSEVELT while the virus burned itself out, he would probably still be in command.

On the other coast is another Roosevelt. DDG-80, the USS ROOSEVELT, is preparing for a deployment to Europe and a homeport shift to Rota, Spain. No doubt her Sailors are worried about COVID-19, as are their families. Instead of inspiring doubt and fear, her Commanding Officer is finishing deployment preparations, in a quiet and professional manner.

From https://www.dvidshub.net/news/365634/uss-roosevelt-prepares-homeport-shift-rota

Emotions run high when things are uncertain. Emotions feel good, and can even make you popular. But emotions cause you to make mistakes in war. Emotions, and emotional responses, sap your reasoning and break down your training. In war, when time and training matter, emotions get you killed.

If we’re being emotional now dealing with a virus with a mortality rate of 2%, and likely less than that for young people, how are we going to deal with a Great Power Competitor that has a higher death rate? Will we write letters to the press about the Sailors we lost in missile exchanges? Will we complain about driving into harm’s way?

When the going gets tough, do you want to be lead by someone ruled by their emotions, or someone who chooses to rule them?

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

DaTechGuy’s AM Court Livestream 9:15 AM EST The China Syndrome Putting God to the Test and Baseball

In this morning’s podcast I talk China and the corona virus and what it means, a church in Florida looking to have services and some fantasy baseball just because I like it

If you like what you hear then consider liking the podcast or even better hitting DaTipJar

It’s okay to blame the Chinese government

Memo
To: Journalists
Re: China and Covid-19

Here are some suggestions about news coverage going forward:

The pandemic started in China because of inadequate sanitary conditions and a lack of law enforcement.

China’s government covered up the virus as it leaped across the world. If you are going to use Chernobyl as a simile, it’s China’s Chernobyl, not that of the United States.

China silenced doctors and dissidents who tried to publicize news of the virus.

Italy and Iran have high numbers of infections and deaths because both countries created strong relationships with China. The Black Plague started on the old Silk Road; the Wuhan virus started on the new Silk Road.

China has launched a massive disinformation campaign, including calling racist the use of the Wuhan virus. That hasn’t stopped DaTimes’ Paul Krugman from calling it the “Trump virus.”

China claimed it bought time for the rest of the world. No, it didn’t. It misled the world.

China expelled journalists from DaTimes, DaPost, and the Wall Street Journal. It was barely a blip on the radar screen because you were frightened China might do the same to your news organization.

The World Health Organization refused for months to declare a pandemic and instead thanked China for “making us safer.” The WHO has refused to allow Taiwan membership, due undoubtedly to Beijing’s influence over the WHO’s purse strings.

Here are some suggestions on what you should report on:

It is only since the outbreak of the pandemic that Americans have learned that China is the primary supplier of U.S. medicines. Eighty percent of America’s “active pharmaceutical ingredients” come from abroad, primarily from China (and India); 45% of the penicillin used in the country is Chinese made; and nearly 100% of the ibuprofen.

America’s broader economic dependence on China needs to be reduced. Materials such as rare earths, 80% of which come from China, should be produced at home when possible, while the U.S. military needs to limit its exposure to Chinese goods for everything from transistors to tire rubber.

Washington must ensure that China does not capture the global semiconductor chip-making industry, which is a priority for Beijing. To surrender a vital part of the digital economy would put America in a position of permanent dependence on China.

It’s time to stop pandering to China!

CNN Letter to Sean Davis (with apologies to Abe Lincoln & Horace Greeley)

There are many who seem confused by the MSM’s behavior toward China, Russia Iran and even towards the efforts to arrest the spread of the Corona / Wuhan Virus in the US. This behavior has drawn harsh responses from conservatives and confusion to those who believe the media operate in the pubic interest. For those who might be confused this letter might explain their actions:

CNN offices,
Atlanta, March 22, 2020.

Sean Davis The Federalist:
Dear Sir.

We have just read your tweet of the 21st. addressed to ourselves through that medium & previous statements through the Federalist. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which we may know to be erroneous, We and other mainstream media do not, now and here, controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which we may believe to be falsely drawn, We do not now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptable in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, We waive it in deference to a fellow member of the media although as you are on the right you don’t really deserve such deference.

As to the policy We “seem to be pursuing” as you say, we have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

We would save the Union from Donald Trump. We would save it the shortest way under the Constitution or outside of it. The sooner the national authority of our allies in the Deep state in general and the Democrat party in particular, can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” before those horrible days of the internet, Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge in the days before he decided to join our noble cause.

If there be those who would not save the Union from Donald Trump, unless they could at the same time attack Communist China or Putin Iran and save the nation from the spread of the Corona Virus , We do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Communist China, Putin or even Iran, We do not agree with them.

Our paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union from Donald Trump, and is not either to save or to destroy Communist China, Putin Iran or even the Corona Virus. If we could save the Union from Donald Trump without helping Communist China, Russia, Iran or even the spread of the Corona virus we would do it, and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump by directly helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus we would do it; and if we could save the Union from Donald Trump, by helping Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the corona virus in some cases and hindering Communist China, Russia, Iran and the spread of the Corona Virus in others we would also do that.

What we write, broadcast and report about Communist China, Russia, Iran and the Corona Virus,we do because we believe it helps to save the Union from Donald Trump; and what we forbear, we forbear because we do not believe it would help to save the Union from Donald Trump.

We shall do less to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus in the US whenever we shall believe what we are doing hurts the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November, and we shall do more to help efforts to fight the Corona Virus whenever we shall believe doing more will help the cause of defeating Donald Trump in November. We shall try to correct errors when shown to be also errors in our efforts in obtaining that goal of Trump destruction; and we shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be in aid of that effort to destroy Donald Trump.

We have here stated our purpose, shared by other members of the media on TV, online and in print according to our view of the official duty of the media to destroy conservatism in general and Donald Trump in particular; and we intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free of Donald Trump in particular and conservatism in general.

Yours,
CNN.

If you wish to read a slightly modified version of this letter which was sent by some fellow named Abe Lincoln to a newspaperman by the name of Horace Greeley on August 22nd 1862 in response to critiques of his actions concerning fighting of the American Civil War you can read it here.

Review, Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak

By John Ruberry

“While we can’t predict where the next influenza pandemic is going to come from,” Dennis Carroll, the director of the emerging threats unit of US Agency for International Development, says in the third episode of the new six episode Netflix documentary series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak, “there are certain places that you want to pay particular attention to–and China is one of those, that’s the place where we’ve seen the emergence of virtually all of the deadly influenza viruses over the last half-century.”

Carroll says this while images of a Vietnamese wet market, where live chickens are sold and slaughtered, are shown.

“We know that viruses move from wildlife into livestock into people,” he says early in that same episode.

I’m writing this from home in Illinois, where I am living under Governor JB Pritzker’s shelter-in-place order because of the COVID-19 coronoavirus outbreak. While the origin of this disease is still being debated it is likely, according to experts, that it did first infect humans at a wet market.

I saw Pandemic last week on my Netflix welcome screen and at first I looked away and said to myself, “If I want to know about pandemics I can switch on the local news–or cable news.” And I was concerned that this was, to use the legendary chant from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a “bring out your dead” series. And it starts that way, with Carroll, at a mass grave in western Pennsylvania, one that is marked by a single crucifix. The site contains the remains of victims of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Yes, not only can it happen here–but it has happened here.

And the “not-if-but-when” pandemic has arrived, only it’s coronavirus instead of influenza.

The focus of Pandemic is on the scientists, the aid workers, and the doctors on the front lines of disease prevention and cures. People like Jake Glanville and Sarah Ives, the scientists who are working with pigs in Guatemala to develop an all-strains flu virus, as well as Dr. Dinesh Vijay, who treats flu patients at a crowded hospital in Jaipur, India. But disease isn’t just an urban phenomenon. In Pandemic, we meet Holly Goracke, the sole doctor at tiny Jefferson County Hospital in rural Oklahoma, who works 72-hour shifts. And we also become acquainted with Dr.Syra Madad, the director of the special pathogens program of New York City Health and Hospitals.

Along the way we are introduced to anti-vaccination activists in Oregon, health care workers at an Arizona border detention center, and World Health Organization disease fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who not only face the risk of contracting the extremely deadly Ebola virus, but also getting murdered by gangs.

Surprisingly, religion is viewed favorably in this scientific docuseries. Madad, Goracke, and Vijay all rely on faith to strengthen them as they battle disease.

Not surprisingly there are a few knocks in Pandemic over lack of funding from the Trump administration. Including from Madad. But she’s not infallible. In January, in a CNBC interview shortly after the debut of Pandemic, Madad praised China’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, although she did parse her statement with, “It’s too early to tell.” I wager she’d like to take that praise back.

If you are suffering from anxiety over coronavirus, you may want to stay away from Pandemic. The same goes if you are an anti-vaxxer–you’ll just get POd. Also, I suggest if you decide to view Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak then take it in just one episode at a time. At times the series is emotionally exhausting.

Pandemic is rated TV-14, Netflix says, because of foul language and smoking. And there are some disturbing scenes.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Corona-basics

When I first learned how to drive a manual transmission car as a teenager, my dad made me go back and forth on the driveway. I’d put my car into first (grinding the hell out of the clutch), move it down the driveway, then stop, shift into reverse, and go back. Back and forth, hour upon hour until I had mastered the basics. Once I had that down, shifts into other gears were easy. I couldn’t be a good driver until I had mastered the basics.

Mastering the basics is why the world is struggling with the corona-virus. Everyone is talking about the corona-virus. Everyone. It’s tanking the stock market, ravaging cruise lines, and putting people into a panic. We now have governments bleaching streets to try and stop the spread.

Yet, all the things that we (as in the populace) need to actually do are pretty simple:

  • Get your flu shot
  • Wash your hands
  • Cough into your elbow
  • Keep your kitchen clean
  • Cook your food properly

(Yes, I realize the flu shot doesn’t cover the corona-virus. But if you’re sick with regular flu and then get the corona-virus, it has a higher chance of killing you.)

Despite all this, I guarantee I’ll see someone walk out of a restroom without washing their hands, sneeze without covering their mouth, and leave a kitchen messy for more than a day. I also bet that China won’t stop open food markets either.

We don’t have a corona virus outbreak problem. We have a culture problem, in that too many people aren’t doing the basic things right. If you can’t do basic hygiene, the best medicine in the world can’t help you.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

What an Opening for Central America on Trade

There is a famous political saying that one should never let a crisis go to waste, and another not from the political world that says one man’s meat is another man poison one piece of the China Trade Wars / Virus story is the opportunity it provides for countries in Central America, land of the caravans.

As has been noted the primary driver of the refugees and caravans that had been driving policy at the US border is economic. People need work and see the US as an entry point for this. As someone who has for the last five years worked in a place where Spanish, Portuguese , Creole were more common than English and Arabic almost as common I have seen this close up.

With both the Trade wars and now the Corona virus running rampant in China there is now a great incentive for produces of products to find alternatives to China for production.

Why not Central America?

This has the potential of a win win win here, you have countries closer to the US in terms of shipping, populations looking for work, governments eager to increase their tax base and to make an even darker point criminal organizations in the area looking for legitimate ways to launder money.

Furthermore given the relative population of China vs Central America the number of jobs and industries needed to fund a boom in the region would be a relative pin-prick in the side of the Communist state.

Now there are risks, you have the randomness of the corruption of the local governments (yes you have the corruption of a communist state in China but it tends to be more ordered and predictable) you have the costs of setting up a supply chain, and you never know what revolutionary group is going to spring up and of course you have the Cartels which if they don’t invest in the ventures will “tax” them to allow them to operate.

However even with those risks you have not only an alternative supplier in case of disaster but a way to lift people out of poverty where they are so they don’t have to come in caravan to the US to make a better life.

China, socialized medicine, and me

Hundreds of people wait to register to see a doctor in Guangzhou, China.

By Christopher Harper

If you want to see what socialized medicine looks like, China is a classic example—a system unable to meet the needs of many patients in normal times that crashes into chaos when a crisis occurs like a coronavirus.

During my travels throughout China over the past five years, I was able to see the system up close and personal. See https://datechguyblog.com/2018/06/05/healthcare-in-china/

While the wealthy can pay for the best care with foreign doctors, most people are relegated to overcrowded hospitals. In the countryside, residents must rely on village clinics or travel hundreds of miles to find the closest facility.

The country does not have a functioning primary care system. China has one general practitioner for roughly every 7,000 people, compared with the international standard of one for every 1,500 to 2,000 people, according to the World Health Organization.

Another major issue, particularly in a crisis like a coronavirus, is the system for handling patients at hospitals, which often is the place where most people go for treatment.

When I went to a hospital in Guangzhou, the third-largest city in China in the southern part of the country, I registered to see a doctor and waited for one hour to see a physician to diagnose a persistent cough.

I sat in a large waiting room to see the doctor—where you can get sick from some of the other 60 to 70 people with a variety of illnesses.

The doctor seemed competent during my five-minute visit, but I then had to go for tests, waiting for another two hours with 50 other people because the hospital closes for lunch from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

It took only a few minutes to get the results of an EKG, but the blood tests came after two hours.

I then saw another physician—in my case, another hour of waiting—before receiving three prescriptions to soothe my chest cough. It took another 30 minutes to have the prescription filled. Again, those waiting for prescriptions amounted to roughly 100 people.

By the time I was done, I’d been around hundreds of people, with a variety of diseases that I could have gotten, and they were exposed to my illness.

All I had was a chest cold and needed a prescription for some medicine. A visit, which would have taken me 15 to 30 minutes with my family doctor in the United States, took more than six hours in China.

But there’s more. At the time I was getting my chest cold diagnosed, hundreds of thousands of children were found to have been injected with faulty vaccines, amplifying the already existing frustration with the health care system.

In recent years, scandals have erupted over bribes to physicians from those who could afford to pay to move to the front of the line for critical treatments.

In my experience in China and elsewhere, socialized medicine may be adequate as long as there is no serious health threat.

Here’s what every voter should ask a Democrat candidate for president: Would you prefer socialized medicine fighting the coronavirus or the current system that exists in the United States? For me, the choice is pretty simple.

Wuhan: The city has plagued China’s leaders for a century

By Christopher Harper

For those who have studied the history of China, it is rather ironic to us that Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus, should once again stand at center stage.

Before the virus outbreak, Wuhan, a place unknown to most Westerners, has played a significant role in the demise of the Chinese monarchy in 1911 and later as a symbol of the flawed vision of Mao Zedong.

Often called the Chicago of China, Wuhan is the leading city of the central part of the country because of its railroads and riverway near the Yangtze River.

But Wuhan’s place in history began in 1911 when revolutionaries launched the opening of the attack against the Qing Dynasty, which had ruled China for 400 years.

Back then, many Western powers saw railway investments as part of the consolidation in their spheres of influence over China. Provincial governments, with permission from the Qing court, began to construct their own railways, obtaining huge loans from foreign countries that maintained financial control of the routes. This policy was met with stiff resistance, including massive strikes and protests. At one point, the military opened fire on protesters, leading to widespread dissatisfaction among the population.

On October 10, 1911, revolutionary forces within the military staged a mutiny in the Wuhan area and forced the Qing leaders out of government buildings and residences. Within two months, the country elected Sun Yat-sen as its leader and forced the young Qing emperor to abdicate the throne.

Fast forward to Mao and his dream for a huge hydroelectric dam. Wuhan, which sits near a critical part of the Yangtze River, became the site of the dam near an area known as the Three Gorges.

Mao started to promote the dam’s construction almost immediately after taking power in 1949. Although his ill-conceived economic plans stalled the building, the project was finally finished in 2008.

Although the dam provides 2 percent of China’s electricity, the project devastated the local economy, displaced 1.3 million people, and created numerous ecological problems from fish migration to landslides. Corrupt politicians lined their pockets with money intended to build the dam and help the local population.

During a trip along the Yangtze two years ago, I got to see the engineering feat and the consequences to the local population. The local economy is dependent on tourists—most of them Chinese–who travel along the river to see the dam and ignore its impact.

The coronavirus has put Wuhan on the international stage yet again. Not surprisingly, the government failed the recognize the impact of the disease on the population and limited public knowledge to help prevent the spread of the illness.

Although the ineptitude of President Xi is unlikely to result in the fall of the country’s current emperor, the coronavirus underlines the government’s failure to recognize the implications of its wrongheaded policies—much like the long-term impact of the Three Gorges Dam.