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Monday, March 16, 2020

The Chinese Virus


Silverfiddle Rant!
Proof there is a God:

Despite our criminally stupid government, the nation yet endures.

China produces around 90% of our pharmaceuticals, holds near-monopoly on rare earth elements, and our dependence on them for food and everyday household items is disconcerting.

Why would supposedly responsible people in government, Democrats and Republicans, think its a good idea to hand so much power over us to a brutal communist dictatorship that has publicly stated its goal is to overtake us economically, militarily, and replace us as the dominant force on the globe?

From Project Syndicate:
The COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for a world that has accepted China’s lengthening shadow over global supply chains for far too long. Only by reducing China’s global economic influence – beginning in the pharmaceutical sector – can the world be kept safe from the country's political pathologies.
It is also clear the communist dictatorship plays by its own rules, and gets by with it:
If any other country had triggered such a far-reaching, deadly, and above all preventable crisis, it would now be a global pariah. But China, with its tremendous economic clout, has largely escaped censure. Nonetheless, it will take considerable effort for Xi’s regime to restore its standing at home and abroad.
Can you imagine Germany, Japan or other responsible nations performing such a dark passive aggressive threat disguised as hurt feelings?
China’s leaders are publicly congratulating themselves for not limiting exports of medical supplies and APIs used to make medicines, vitamins, and vaccines. If China decided to ban such exports to the United States, the state-run news agency Xinhua recently noted, the US would be “plunged into a mighty sea of coronavirus.” China, the article implies, would be justified in taking such a step. It would simply be retaliating against “unkind” US measures taken after COVID-19’s emergence, such as restricting entry to the US by Chinese and foreigners who had visited China.
Isn’t the world lucky that China is not that petty?
What say you?

57 comments:

  1. Now is a moment for global cooperation and mutual support. Let's tell china off later.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good advice.

      I don't blame China. I blame our "leaders" for letting this happen. I have to give people on the left credit. For decades they have been telling us globalization is a race to the bottom, and they are right.

      Delete
    2. Ancient wisdom never goes away, it is only ignored. Long before the common era, Aesop told us that familiarity breeds contempt. It was true back then, it is true today, and this is the first mistake of American diplomacy. Familiarity has caused the United States much grief over our short lifespan as a nation. We have got to stop referring to other nations as “our friend.” They are not friends. They are competing nations with their own set of values, their own national interests and objectives, which shape their own policies —all of which are intended to benefit them. In matters of trade, US policy should focus on how policy benefits us —and if this policy benefits others as well, then it is a mere coincidence. Besides, policy benefitting other nations is at best circumstantial and all that is required is that our trading partners “perceive” that trade with the USA is beneficial to them (even if it isn’t).

      Trump’s pronouncements with regard to China and/or its president are too often sophomoric. Even if it is true that the Chinese are “good people,” it is irrelevant to US foreign policy. Even if it is true that President Xi is “a good man,” so what? Xi will develop policy consistent with his view of what is beneficial to China and to hell with the United States. My point is that if we realize this, there is no need to proclaim China as our friend (when they are no such thing) and doing this ultimately leads to Chinese policies that hold the US in its contempt. We should give this a careful think before assigning the Chinese an enviable position of becoming our primary manufacturer of pharmaceuticals (and a range of other goods).

      I agree with Silver ... this is not so much a problem with China as it is a problem internal to the USA. Our politicians and policy makers are dopes and the primary victims to this dopishness (new word, perhaps) is the American citizen.

      Delete
    3. 100% Mustang and Silverfiddle.

      Delete
    4. Silver, Mustang and others...

      Given the cheap labor in China, what should US companies, for example, both pharma and tech do? Their stockholders, US citizens and 401K owners, demand sales increases year to year, increases that will not be possible with US labor.

      Publicly held companies have a fiduciary responsibility to grow their profits and improve results. How can we demand they spend more money, and make less profit?

      I'm not arguing against that idea, indeed leftists, as Silver has mentioned, have asked for this for year. I'm just looking for the mechanism that could make this happen?

      Delete
    5. Jez... I think the issue is this. Every solution has powerful opposition. But let's say tariffs, or something else worked. Take that $1000.00 IPhone. It's made for what? A buck an hour max? What does that 1000 become if it's made at US labor rates?

      Will ppl be willing to immediately pay perhaps a 20% upcharge on everything they currently buy to get it made here in the US? Are ppl able to do so?

      This is the same question when it comes to illegal immigration. If we shut down illegal labor, would ppl accept an immediate increase in the price of food? And again, would they even be able to pay that upcharge.

      The solution is a first step. Rolling it out, perhaps becomes the hardest part.

      Delete
    6. I’ve never worked in healthcare, so I have no expertise in the area beyond what I read, which is always a problem because if you don’t know any more than what someone else tells you, who’s to say that you aren’t being bullshitted? Still, it seems to me that there are many factors that help explain the overall high cost of healthcare in the USA.

      That said, economists say that about a quarter of all healthcare costs are wrapped up in administrative costs. Duke University Hospital is a 900-bed facility; it employs 1,300 billing clerks.

      Drug costs are high because Congress refused to allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs with the major pharmaceutical companies. Added to this, the US agreement with the UN (WHO) offers pharmaceuticals to the citizens of poor countries at production costs, which are supplemented by gouging US citizens. After all, we’re all so rich we can afford to pay for drugs provided free to people from Outer Slobovia. The proof of this, by the way, is comparing the cost of a drug in McAllen, Texas to the same item sold in Reynosa, Mexico (a ¾ mile walk). It comes down to pennies on the dollar in Mexico.

      Another problem appears to be in “defensive medicine,” where doctors hoping to avoid lawsuits order multiple labs for “rule out” diagnoses. The cost of defensive medicine has been estimated at $650 billion/annually.

      Wage costs are high, also, but I would rather not have a moron giving me a shot, so this is just something we have to accept as part of life. I can say that healthcare wages are low in the UK and I’ve never seen a worse bunch of knuckle draggers in my life than the nurses and technicians in British hospitals. You get what you pay for, right? Healthcare in the UK is free.

      The former chairman of Kaiser Health admitted that in healthcare, “prices are made up depending on who the payer is.” I’m thinking that this could be a problem. The ACA has buggered the system up even worse, IMO—a gift of politicians who know less about healthcare than I do.

      Delete
    7. Dave,

      God bless you, and I mean that sincerely, brother.

      I will answer your legitimate "rightwing" challenge with a legitimate leftwing answer: Global corporations squatting here in the the greatest nation on God's green earth, hoover up obscene profits building their crap overseas with slave labor and then selling it at a premium here in the affluent United States. Tarrifs?

      I have read smart economics people saying we can offer tax incentives, etc for manufacturers to return here. The government can also mandate (CPAC forbid!) that X% of medicines be purchased from US manufacturers.

      I would not be nervous depending somewhat on Canada, Germany, UK, Japan or other responsible nation we share values with and cooperate with.

      Becoming this dependent on a communist dictatorship whose goal is to overtake us is suicidal.

      Delete
    8. Silver said... "Becoming this dependent on a communist dictatorship whose goal is to overtake us is suicidal."

      100% agreed.

      Sadly we're thinking about closing the barn door, but the horse is gone.

      There are, I really believe, a lot of things we can do. But our politicians will not go for them. Nor will corporate America or shareholders.

      On another blog many here read, they're advocating for profiteering. That's exactly the attitude that drives the decisions to go to China and get their products for the cheapest price anywhere.

      If that is our attitude, how can we move forward?

      Delete
    9. BTW Silver... Thanks. Be well. And I mean that sincerely too.

      Delete
    10. It was a glib one-word answer, but i do think tariffs are the general mechanism to level competition across distinct tax regimes, correct for subsidies etc., and i don't see why they wouldn't apply to a company importing its own products for sale. I can see arguments in favour of for compulsary local production of some strategic products. But if they're not competitive, who are you gonna force to buy them? or will you subsidise?
      An important dimension to this is moral. IMO it's legitimate to ban the importation of goods produced in unsafe or inhumane conditions. Not that a slave workforce is the only "advantage" chinese production has, but to the extent that it is one, shame on us for profitting from it.

      Delete
    11. An alternative to tariffs would be tax breaks, etc for hiring Americans.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Franco,
      IT'S PAINFULLY OBVIOUS THIS "CRISIS" –– REAL or URAl –– IS BEING U___S___E___D BY THE L__E__F__T TO HARM PRESIDENT TRUMP asmuch as possible in the hopes of DESTROING his presidency and RUINING his chaces fo REELECTION

      IMO, the hysteria is manufactured, but the microbe is real.

      Delete
    2. I never said I WASN'T real.

      I DID say it's been MALICIOUSLY over-hyped by The Forces of darkness" in order to MANIPULATE the situation for destructive, entirely NEFARIOUS political purposes.

      "Never let a crisis go to waste."

      Remember?

      Delete
    3. Franco,
      If you had let me finish what I was saying this morning, you might have learned that I disagreed in part and agreed in part.

      Whatever. What's done is done.

      Delete
  3. I have a cousin who is on the front lines of this: a microbiologist who is responsible for this county's emergency announcements -- and decisions, too, for that matter. She is a libertarian and assured me last night, "The microbe is real." Then she added, "The hoarding is nuts!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I continue to struggle with understanding how the hording of toilet tissue is a rational response to Covid-19. Our paranoia reveals to the world how weak and irrational we are, as a people. Our enemies do not have to actually deliver a plague to our shores; they only need to convince us that they might and that should take all of about ten seconds.

      Delete
  4. I've HAD it!

    Goodbye, Good luck and God bless you!

    "O, judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason."

    ~ Shakespeare - Julius Caesar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Franco,
      Things have come to a sorry pass when friends can't disagree without one of them exploding.

      Cognitive bias on steroids, I suppose.

      I will be running all my classes (prepaid for at least a month) and tutoring sessions (fee paid at the time of service) on line. The library is closed, anyway, so we have no place to meet.

      Delete
  5. BTW, West Virginia has no cases. No reported cases or no cases? Who knows?

    But I do know this about most West Virginians: they despise "furriners." And they aren't world travelers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. At least there is a silver lining (no pun intended to SF). This pandemic, more lethal though it is compared to the flu, H1N1, etc......is nothing compared to what we could be faced with in worst case scenarios.

    For a variety of reasons, our response to this domestically, has been a sh*tshow. Pandemics are national security events (might have been nice to have the NSC Global Health Security team on hand); and we were found to be woefully unprepared. Case in point, is the very issue of life saving pharmaceuticals being manufactured in an adversary nation, that SF brings to the fore.

    If planners and legislators are paying attention, we have the opportunity to rectify some key issues and hopefully place is in a far better response position for the next pandemic. And there will be one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. KIPLING'S LITTLE MAN

    ________~ or ~ ________

    _ Bolshevism Revisited _

    A Leftist caught in doubt
    Lifts up his head to shout:

    Your treatment is unfair,
    You bully! How you dare
    To question my veracity
    With cruel, hard-eyed tenacity
    I do not know. My views
    Which boldly you accuse
    Of being falsely ranked
    In truth are sacrosanct.

    My thoughts are Holy Writ.
    Your thoughts are quite unfit;
    Based on selfish fears
    They inspire tears
    And dare to say the blame
    Lies squarely in the frame
    Of those whose failing lives
    Look to him who thrives
    And say: Your gold is mine,
    You greedy, bloated swine.
    You have more than you need.
    It's up to you to feed
    Me, the ill and weak,
    Else Heaven that you seek
    Will ever be denied.

    And I will see your hide
    Shredded, tanned and dried.
    And hung outside the gates
    Of each neighborhood that hates
    The needy and the poor,
    Who soon will storm your door
    And drag you from your bed
    And then lop off your head.
    While the masses you denied
    Will ever take great pride
    Your ignominious demise
    Was effected in the guise
    Of condign righteous wrath
    Giving Bourgeois digs a bath.

    With stolen food and goods
    We'll raze your neighborhoods
    And laugh to see you hurt
    Dying in the dirt.


    WE DO NOT CARE TO RISE

    We live for your demise.
    We thrive on righteous hate.
    It is by now too late
    To make a plan to stop us
    End the Founder's opus.
    Our Marx destroyed your God.
    He's in - not on - the sod
    Feeding nematodes
    In their dark abodes.

    With mockery and shrill
    Sarcastic gibes we kill.
    We drool with sheer delight
    At the thought of Endless Night.
    Where everything that's witty,
    Charming, gracious, pretty
    Slumps to the nitty gritty,
    As we revel in the dung
    Corrupting all your young.

    For 'we are the little folk, we
    Too little to love or to hate.
    Leave us alone, and you'll see
    How quickly we'll drag down the state.'*


    ~ FreeThinke
    –––––––––––––––––
    * Rudyard Kipling

    ReplyDelete
  8. Worth reading:

    10 Ways the Left Has Politicized the Coronavirus Pandemic.

    I don't know if all is accurate in the above, but certainly some is accurate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ironic that the number is the same score Trump gave himself on the Administration’s response to the pandemic.......

      Delete
  9. Proof that our government is either incompetent, doesn't give a rat's ass or both. I say both.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I try to watch the Coronavirus Task Force's Daily Briefing -- and some "talking heads" on various networks.

    What I see the past day or two: facial expressions and body language much like that in the hours and days immediately following 9/11 -- and the three weeks of the D.C. Sniper Attacks.

    Except that this time, the enemy is a microbe. A more fearsome enemy? You decide.

    Make no mistake....Hunkering down a few weeks won't defeat this virus but rather may "flatten the curve" and somewhat -- somewhat -- prevent overwhelming our medical care system.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'may "flatten the curve" and somewhat -- somewhat -- prevent overwhelming our medical care system'

      this is the best we can hope for. This has been the reality for over a week, in my estimation. For what it's worth, it's an outcome that's well-worth having, although it's far worse than anything we would wish for.

      Good luck.

      Delete
  11. Personal update: Mr. AOW and I are, more or less, sheltering in place. All my tutoring and other instruction is being done via the web (Google Hangouts or Skype or FaceTime).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise. Very wise.

      When you think about it, given our technology today, one wonders why we continue to spend billions on school complexes when all materials could be presented on line. Testing, of course, would be another matter. Seems to confirm that the real reason for public schools is to provide day care centers for the children of working parents.

      Delete
    2. Mustang,
      For the first time today, I held class via Google Hangouts. I must say that I prefer in person teaching, but I'm sure that I'll get used to what I must do now.

      I must agree with you this: the real reason for public schools is to provide day care centers for the children of working parents!

      Delete
    3. Mustang and AOW... if we go online, I hope it's a lot better than those television lessons of my 1960's elementary school days. Black and white talking heads, boring as all get out.

      Delete
    4. Dave! So funny you should say that because I literally JUST heard that LA Schools have partnered with PBS to do teaching on line "K-3 from 10-12..." etc. I just clicked on PBS to see but they've either not started yet or they're as incompetent as the real schools are :-)

      Delete
  12. Gloved up most of the time, I ventured out today: pharmacy for Mr. AOW's necessary medications and the convenient mart of his daily fresh banana.

    Tomorrow, I will head to Fresh Mart @ 8:00 AM-9:00 AM for the senior shopping time. Not for toilet paper! Instead, I'll be shopping for some cheese and fresh milk.

    Other than the above, we are sheltering in place. Period. Full stop.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The MERCY and the COMFORT ships are being deployed, I wish the public was hearing that...1000 beds each; already equipped and outfitted with what a retired nurse friend of mine who worked on one of those ships said were "the very best trained young nurses, men and women, I have EVER worked with in my whole career."

    I had suggested we use cruise ships which are empty and hoping for bail outs, and a friend who knows one of the bigger guys working for Trump told him! his response was about the Mercy and the Comfort... I think that's a great thing for us to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Helloooo, KP! Should I recognize "KP"??? Or did I know you under a different moniker? TELL ME :-)

      Delete
    2. Like AOW and SF we used to speak on Western Hero and your blog. I am Kevin Purcell, in San Diego and I believe you are in Santa Monica. Our chats on line and in e-mail were a bit after after Mr Z passed. Nine or ten years, maybe. I hope you are well. Singing at church?

      Delete
  14. Z... those ships, as just announced by the Pentagon, will not treat Covid-19 patients. They will instead, take regular patients from NY hospitals, freeing up beds in those facilities for coronavirus patients.

    Interesting. I guess they're trying to keep the ships Covid-19 free...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave, have you heard about mitigating symptoms treatment for both acute (hospitalized) and early stages of COVID-19 with Chloroquine, an anti-malarial drug and hydroxychloroquine, an older DMARD (disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug. Use is off label but most docs can prescribe off label. My understanding is that neither are a relative risk and are quite promising in testing on the ill. We will see. I defer to those above my pay grade.

      Delete
    2. KP... I did see that mentioned somewhere, but no details. None of the docs I work with have much to say about it though. Be safe amigo!

      Delete
    3. Dave, I did see that update about the ships...it makes much more sense the way they're doing it because virus patients don't need 12 ORs and ICUs, etc....this is a great solution for freeing up neighborhood hospitals for virus patients.

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. LOTS of scary things and anomalies like this...I just saw on FB a 34 year old guy went to Disney WOrld on business, stayed a few days for fun with friends, came back to LA and had to go on a ventilator, testing positive...the article makes it sound like he was healthy JUST UNTIL THE END where it finally says he'd had asthma all his life and bronchitis problems and so his lungs were in terrible shape. Let's try to remain positive. I know two Sixty-seven yr olds who spent twelve days in their stateroom on that Japanese cruise ship; he got it, she did not. TWELVE DAYS in a small room on a ship!! He has an immune problem. SHe did not. Let's think positive and be heartened by it!!

      Delete
  16. Parents have failed to rear their children properly....

    ‘If I get corona, I get corona’: Miami spring breakers say covid-19 hasn’t stopped them from partying.

    Excerpt from the above:

    Not even a pandemic could prevent Brady Sluder from partying in Miami for spring break.

    An Ohio native, Sluder had been planning the getaway for about three months, according to Reuters, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) ordered all the state’s bars and nightclubs to shut down for 30 days to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. It unfolded as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged a nationwide halt to gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.

    Yet, the aspiring SoundCloud rapper suggested that enjoying spring break and going against a nationwide call for social distancing was worth the public health risk.

    “If I get corona, I get corona,” a shirtless Sluder told Reuters. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying. … We’ve been waiting for Miami spring break for a while.”

    Similar sentiments were echoed by other spring breakers...

    ReplyDelete
  17. AOW... maybe the "aspiring rapper" has decided that all the news is just hype and a media promoted hoax. There are plenty of people as of late who have espoused that view.

    I completely agree with you view on how that person was raised, but would I be wrong to apply what you said to everyone who goes with the laissez faire whatever will be will be attitude?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave,
      People should use some common sense.

      Delete
    2. Everyone of us has had to gradually come to realise how serious this is. Sluder's attitude is not characteristic of any particular demographic... check out the middle-aged English tourists in this report... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvPyF733sFw

      Delete
    3. Jez,
      Sluder's attitude is not characteristic of any particular demographic

      I think that it is: the Spring Breakers who head to Florida.

      What will happen when they finally go elsewhere?

      Delete
    4. Jez,
      Maybe it's the boozers who are stupid.

      Delete
    5. I expect there are plenty of people who think it's all a lot of fuss about nothing, not just boozers. Not necessarily stupid, just a week or two behind you or me.

      Delete
    6. Jez,
      there are plenty of people who think it's all a lot of fuss about nothing

      That's the way of every epidemic, I'm sure.

      They change their minds when family members and friends fall ill and die. Meanwhile, the deniers are spreaders.

      Delete

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