Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 22, 2020

U.S. Claims Diplomatic Immunity For Covid-19 - Shuts Down Chinese Consulate

On Tuesday the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas. The move comes amongst a slew of factless accusations of Chinese hacking and surveillance.

While Trump, like Biden, is using anti-China propaganda as part of his campaign, the closure of the Houston consulate has nothing to do with it. But U.S. media fail to mention the real and unreasonable motive behind this move:

The United States ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston within 72 hours, dealing another blow to the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries. China promptly vowed to retaliate, calling the move illegal.

The State Department said the closure was made in response to repeated Chinese violations of American sovereignty, including “massive illegal spying and influence operations.”

The unmentioned reason for the State Department's move is a squabble over virus testing and quarantining of U.S. diplomats who are supposed to return to China.

In January, when the first outbreak of Covid-19 happened in the Chinese city of Wuhan the U.S. evacuated its consulate in the city. In total some 1,300 diplomats and their family members were moved out of China in January and February.

In June, after China had defeated the outbreak, the U.S. announced that that it diplomats would return:

U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, “intends to resume operations in Wuhan in the near future”, Frank Whitaker, minister counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, said in an email to Reuters, without giving a specific date.

But by then the U.S. had become Cootiestan while China had defeated the virus. Chinese public health officials insisted on testing and quarantining everyone who entered from the U.S. to protect their country from another outbreak.

The State Department however rejected that:

The United States has postponed flights for dozens of American diplomats who had planned to return to China later this month, after failing to reach agreement with Beijing over issues including COVID-19 testing and quarantine.
In a previously unreported June 30 email, Terry Branstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, told the mission staff that two charter flights for diplomats returning to Shanghai and Tianjin planned for July 8 and July 10 respectively had been scrapped and would be rescheduled.

“Protecting the health and safety of our community remains our guiding principle and our top priority in this unprecedented situation,” Branstad wrote. “This means that flight plans will not be confirmed until we have reached an agreement that meets these goals.”
A spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said there had been close communication regarding the return of U.S. diplomats to China.

“The virus is still spreading overseas and China continues to be under a fair amount of pressure to prevent the import of cases from overseas,” the spokesperson said in fax response to Reuters’ questions.

“The epidemic control measures for the diplomatic corps in China are applied equally across the board. China strives to preserve its hard-won achievement in countering the virus together with the diplomatic corps, and to provide good conditions and a good living environment for everyone to work and live in China.”

I have found no U.S. media which reported on this diplomatic conflict. Only Reuters and Asia Times noted it.

China's request to test and to quarantine for fourteen days everyone who is coming from abroad is not unreasonable. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut demand similar for people coming from Florida and Texas. China has already had an expensive second outbreak with several hundred of cases in Beijing that was traced back to a visitor from abroad. It does not want another one.

The U.S. says that its diplomats are immune under the Vienna Conventions. But Chinese officials claim that the virus is not a party of those agreements. They insist that legal and disease immunity are not the same:

While Beijing agrees that US envoys and emissaries should retain their diplomatic immunity, China’s public health authority insists no one is immune to the highly contagious novel coronavirus, and that the nation must not expose itself to the risk of returning Americans infecting the local population.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday that Beijing would accord courteous and equitable treatment to all foreign representatives. He also revealed that his ministry had already “fast-tracked procedures” and helped a “plane load” of US diplomats to return to China at the end of May, without confirming if they had all been quarantined upon arrival.

On his Weibo account, Zhao also took a swipe at Washington’s call for China to be more hospitable, saying if US President Donald Trump wants Americans to feel more welcome elsewhere, he should “make America well again,” alluding to the alarming resurgence of the respiratory disease across the country.

But other posts on Weibo noted that when the first batch of about 60 US diplomats flew into Tianjin at the end of May, they were immediately flanked by more than 150 paramedics in hazmat gear, who whisked them to a fully-enclosed facility on the tarmac to collect their saliva samples. These Americans then spent more hours than their flight to China waiting in a partitioned lounge before Chinese doctors could given them a clean slate and allow them to leave.

The squabble continues. The U.S. diplomats have not returned and the consulate in Wuhan has still not reopened. The U.S. order to close the Chinese consulate in Houston is obviously an attempt to press China into lifting its testing and quarantine demands for U.S. diplomats.

The BBC falsely claimed that the Houston consulate was ordered to close because of a fire:


That however turns cause and effect around. The consulate in Houston started to burn its confidential papers after it was informed that it had to close within 72 hours:

The consulate was informed of the decision Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, calling it "an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries."
KHOU-TV reports authorities responded to reports of a fire at the Chinese Consulate. Witnesses said people were burning paper in what appeared to be trash cans, the Houston Chronicle reported, citing police.
Houston police said in a tweet that officers responded to "a meet the firefighter" call at the Chinese Consulate building at 3417 Montrose Blvd. The tweet said smoke was observed in an outdoor courtyard area, and that officers were not allowed to enter the building.

The real motive for the consulate closure can be discerned from the State Department's coded statement:

The U.S., in a brief statement, did not provide any details on why the consulate in Texas was targeted.

"The United States will not tolerate (China's) violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated (its) unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior," said the statement, which was attributed to State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.

The "violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people" are an obvious reference to the Chinese demands towards arriving diplomats.

In a tit for tat reaction the Chinese government is likely to permanently close the U.S. consulate in Wuhan:

Late on Tuesday in Houston, media reported that documents had been burned in a courtyard at the consulate. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the consulate was operating normally, declining to comment further on those reports.
“We urge the U.S. to immediately revoke this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures.”
A source with direct knowledge of the matter said China was considering closing the U.S. consulate in Wuhan, where the State Department withdrew staff and their families early this year amid the coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in the central city.

Closing the consulate in Wuhan will of course solve the problem for the U.S. diplomats who left Wuhan during the January outbreak and now expect to be allowed to return without being tested.

That all U.S. media which I have read on the issue have failed to mention the diplomatic spat about testing should be of concern.

But it of course relieves them from explaining the unreasonable behavior of the State Department which demands that its cooties infested diplomats can return to China without taking the necessary precautions.

Posted by b on July 22, 2020 at 16:36 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Why are they so upset that they have to be quarantined? Maybe it disrupted their strategy...

Posted by: ANON | Jul 22 2020 16:39 utc | 1

Looks like a similar escalation to the Russian embassy one a few years ago. Trump regime doesn't know or want to engage in diplomacy and would rather rattle the sabres. Leave plaguistan (US) to its demise.

Posted by: Bob | Jul 22 2020 16:57 utc | 2

...perhaps they wont shut down wuhan. they could claim wuhan even though largely unstaffed is officially open from the chinese perspective, then close another one as retaliation. to staff wuhan, the US would then still have to fulfil the quarantine requirements. of course, this is if the chinese choose to take a hard line.

Posted by: Otavia | Jul 22 2020 17:01 utc | 3

Am I in an IMAX theater? Because there is so much projection going on here.

Posted by: J W | Jul 22 2020 17:01 utc | 4

Buckle-up buttercup, it's only gonna get worse.

I forsee China's being punished further via lawsuits by US companies and individuals against China. When China starts to see that as a threat, Trump will freeze China's assets in USA including about $1 trillion of China-owned US Treasury bonds.

That will be a significant speed-bump for China's hopes for the Yuan as an international/reserve currency.

<> <> <> <> <>

Cue the USA/Trump apologists who will insist that:

  • It's just election politics!

  • Trump hasn't started a war!



Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 17:03 utc | 5

There is something going on here but you don't understand, do you, Mr Jones?

Maybe China wants to put an end to cootie infested values of the West.

Maybe there needs to be a cover story for British Airways retiring all of its Boeing 747s

Maybe global private finance controlled society has met its match with China and is shitting its pants. Instead of diplomatic immunity for covid-19, empire wants continued ongoing control of finance which China with its public banking core is challenging.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 22 2020 17:13 utc | 6

Travel bans are only important BEFORE the virus gets in and becomes widespread. The US (and the West) allowed infected and exposed (presumably infected) people in (while Asian countries had their usual tough travel bans). NYC allowed its infected and exposed (presumably) infected people to travel throughout the country (Cuomo threatened to sue Gov Raimondo and Trump if they interfered with the god-given rights of NYers to spread disease). China (and the EU) has no reason to fear returning Americans, UNLESS they fear the CIA may be shipping new mutants of the virus in (which would not be surprising-- just look at people like Pompeo, Haspel and Bolton.) If T cells are the predominant mechanism of immunity, it is unlikely that people will have serious infections twice (unless immune deficient).

Posted by: Michael888 | Jul 22 2020 17:19 utc | 7

The humility of it all , being treated like "common" folk, next thing they'll be required to pay their own way. If the US only learned one thing from China it should be the sword cuts clean and it cuts deep.

Posted by: Tobi | Jul 22 2020 17:19 utc | 8

"US insanity is shocking" is Global Times assessment, and asks:

"Isn't the US deliberately destroying the China-US relations?" [My Emphasis]

After observing the huge volume of commerce between the Outlaw US Empire and China which is why the need for multiple consulates exists, the Editorial continues:

"That's why we say the latest US move is crazy. Many people believe that this is another way the Trump administration creates China-US tensions and helps his reelection efforts. The US is trying to blame everything on China and to make US voters, who do not understand China well, believe in Washington's words. The November presidential election is driving Washington mad." [My Emphasis]

Well, not all of Washington; just TrumpCo and his allies in both parties. But the editor's correct IMO that it's all related to Trump's increasingly desperate attempt to get reelected. This article looks at recent nationwide trending; and this shows the currently projected Electoral College map, with Biden ahead 319 to 187. A look at the map tells you why Georgia and North Carolina are so important to Trump as their 31 votes drastically changes the calculus.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 17:28 utc | 9

JR @5--

China doesn't seek to have the Yuan elevated to reserve currency status and wants a basket or digital currency instead, which is continually being crafted. Geoeconomically, the Outlaw US Empire is at a huge disadvantage to China. A recent report had the Fed buying almost 100% of the T-Bill sale.

Bob @2--

I thought the same at first--the consulates will be forced to close then Trump will steal the property just as Obama did to the Russians. All that does is further the destruction of what little remains of the Empire's credibility and worthiness of its obeying contractual terms. IMO, the international perception that existed in 1990 is now reversed with the Outlaw US Empire seen correctly as the liar, cheater, undemocratic entity that it's been for decades which will move the NAM and particularly Africa further toward the Eurasian Camp led by Russia and China. If Trump reasons at all, he may figure that since the Empire's credibility is already diminished, what's there to lose by throwing what remains under the bus, cause what he's doing looks exactly like that.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 17:45 utc | 10

karlof1 @Jul22 17:28 #9

The November presidential election is driving Washington mad." [My Emphasis]

The election is just an excuse. The USA/Deep State's move against upstarts China-Russia-Iran is not new and not driven by election calculus. IMO it began in 2014 when Russia stood up the USA in Syria and Ukraine and Washington realized that the Russia-China SCO Alliance was a real threat to the Empire.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 17:46 utc | 11

@karlof1 9

Regarding the relation to the election, I read the logic of the situation a little differently.

The China hawks come from both parties, and even the subgroup now running the foreign policy have only a shallow attachment to Trump. But like everyone else, they are getting ready for the a high chance of Biden coming into office, and so a slightly different group of faces being put in charge.

Thus, for China hawks who expect to fall in status under Biden, the imperative is to make use of the rest of this year to lock whatever aspects of the US-China relationship they feel are important, while they have the chance. Meanwhile, China hawks who expect to rise in status under Biden have reason to ensure that any particularly ugly actions are done while Trump is still around to take the blame. The intersection of those two groups of China hawks certainly involve actions designed to lock in hostility and especially intimidate third countries from doing trade with China. I would think there there is more to see than just sanctions, propaganda, or closing of consulates -- more like industrial sabotage and perhaps a regime change operation taking out belt-road participants.

Posted by: ptb | Jul 22 2020 17:57 utc | 12

Well, 2013 when Lavrov and Putin caged Kerry over Syria's ancient chemical weapons, then MINSK agreement doing same with Ukraine idiocy. As I wrote elsewhere, the big change is Russia's rearming with advanced weapons the Outlaw US Empire won't be able to field for another decade--and the huge fact that development went undetected. There's a particular type of confidence you gain when you know your poker hand beats the other guy's. Internationally since 2003, the Outlaw US Empire's been digging itself into an ever deepening hole where only its exceptionalist light escapes.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 18:02 utc | 13

karlof1 @Jul22 17:45 #10

China ... wants a basket or digital currency instead

Whether it is a fiat basket or gold or some combination, the loss of $1T of assets will set-back the effort.

A recent report had the Fed buying almost 100% of the T-Bill sale.

There's a lot of reasons for that. Doesn't change the fact that China's T-Bond assets are at risk by US policy to allow American citizens and companies to sue sovereign nations. USA has been less than helpful to 9-11 families suing Saudi Arabia, but great-power competition means USA will be very inclined to be helpful to those suing China.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 18:05 utc | 14

Closing down the US Consulate General in Hong Kong would kill several birds with one stone.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Jul 22 2020 18:20 utc | 15

Michael888 @7

Perhaps you misunderstand. The virus is not widespread in China. The virus is very widespread in the US. The Chinese do not care if American "diplomats" give each other and their fellow Americans the covid. The Chinese are trying to prevent diseased Americans from spreading their diseases in China. This is the point of testing and quarantining everyone trying to enter China from the US.

China is covid-free. The USA is very much not. China cannot do anything about the spread of the disease in the USA, but they can prevent the virus spreading from the USA to China.

To my knowledge there is so far no evidence of any effective immunity to the novel coronavirus at all. That any immunity is even possible is still mere speculation. Transfusions of antibodies from recovered covid patients seem to have been effective in a few cases and this makes the possibility of at least some degree of immunity hopeful, but it is certainly not proof.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 22 2020 18:25 utc | 16

The US won't allow its 'diplomats' in Wuhan to be tested because it doesn't want China to have DNA samples of its spies.

Posted by: occupatio | Jul 22 2020 18:26 utc | 17

Guy Thornton @15 <-- This suggestion is the way China should go. How could the US complain when it is a balanced response?

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 22 2020 18:27 utc | 18

They have none except in name only, the US banks that hold them as collateral for loans given have a major problem
though.Russia followed the exact same playbook to divest themselves of their USTs,interest only loans and never paid off
the capital at term.The problems in REPO last year were a symptom misdiagnosed of UST divestment forcing FedRes

Posted by: winston2 | Jul 22 2020 18:28 utc | 19

Note that the US govt sold billions worth of embassy related properties in Hong Kong some weeks prior. Perhaps that was already in anticipation of blowback from this plan to close China consulate in Houston. (on top of knowing its HK gig is up, after the natl security law was passed)

Posted by: occupatio | Jul 22 2020 18:32 utc | 20

There’s no way the trillion in T-bills will be seized/defaulted/whatever. The damage to US credibility will be unrecoverable.

It is certainly crazy time. AG Barr threatened major US corporations Disney & Apple with having to register as “foreign agents” due to their Chinese investments. Earlier in the year, the FBI and Congress decided to destroy the career of one of America’s top scientists over failure to submit relatively inconsequential paperwork. These are the types of things which should result in a determined pushback against an intrusive national security state, but the balance of power in USA may have flipped.

Posted by: jayc | Jul 22 2020 18:40 utc | 21

ptb @12--

Thanks for your reply! You'll have noted that I included those D-Party allies @9 but without the context you provided. As I wrote above, China is far ahead of the sinking Outlaw US Empire geoeconomically and has probably overtaken it as the largest overall economy, not just by PPP, but by Real GDP. And as with weapons and Russia, it won't be able to catch China. For the US Citizenry, the underlying problem is the Duopoly's being owned by Neoliberal worshiping Financial Parasites who don't care that the USA will never catch China; and until that ownership is severed, the citizenry will continue to see its living standards decline for that's the Neoliberal's plan. In many ways, the Geopolitical and Domestic fates of the Outlaw US Empire are intertwined. Hudson has explained why many times. But myself and many see more immediate concerns in this short list:

1) Defeat Trump and end GOP control of Senate.
2) Make War on the Virus so a return to some semblance of normalcy can be done safely.
3) Enact Universal Healthcare.
4) Increase Capital Gains Tax to 60%
5) Cut Defense budget 60% and withdrawal all overseas troops.
6) Further efforts to destroy Duopoly and install citizen control over all levels of government, particularly oversight and regulation.
7) Eliminate the Federal Reserve, return its functions to the Treasury Department and heavily tax unearned income while prosecuting fraudulent bankers and Brokers.
8) Go after the loot stashed in offshore "tax havens."

Yes, much more would need to be done, but the above list will change the balance of power domestically.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 18:41 utc | 22

winston2 @Jul22 18:28 #19

Well, that begs the question: what portion of China's T-Bond holdings are unencumbered?

Are they any good sources of data for answering that question?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 18:50 utc | 23

Organ harvesting ... while reading the propaganda about the fake genocide of the Uighurs posters who believe it consistently bring up 'organ harvesting'. I've been hearing this meme for years. Dare I ask the origin of this? The only claim I believe about China is that they had forced abortion but I don't even know if this is true anymore.

Strangest coincidence ever ... whenever Pompeo or well known hawks announce a new campaign of aggression against a country like China suddenly that country is responsible for all hacking. The accusations of hacking always follow us hating the country for a different reason. When we withdrew from the JCPOA suddenly I heard about Iranian hacking, when N.Korea did nuclear weapons testing we got N. Korea hacking, when Russia was all the rage it was nothing but Russian hacking. The powers that be know we are stupid.

Country A becomes a special target then Country A is responsible for 100% of all Cyber espionage on earth.

Trail of tears does anyone, and I am wondering if I have a blind spot, see what the problem is here?
I see a few hundred young men, in bonds, being transferred somewhere. The Ambassador says that he wasn't there but says it looks like a prisoner transfer. This looks plausible as 100% of the people are young men, typical of a prison population. Why is conservative media acting like they caught China in the act of sending innocent civilians into death camps, what am I missing? Are these really Uighurs or are they Han Chinese.

How is this different from having footage of men in orange jumpsuits in the U.S. leaving a bus?

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jul 22 2020 18:59 utc | 24

"The problems in REPO last year were a symptom misdiagnosed of UST divestment forcing FedRes

Very interesting observation.

Posted by: arby | Jul 22 2020 19:01 utc | 25

Obituaries now used to attack politicos and rightly so, IMO, in this instance aimed at Texas Governor Abbot, who's just as bad as Trump and Kemp. In fact, his gross mismanagement of COVID might result in Texas going Blue in the election. Trump's likely ignorant of the amount of business China does with Texas, an amount that will now decline with the consulate closing. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 19:13 utc | 26

The author ("b") says: "In a tit for tat reaction the Chinese government is likely to permanently close the U.S. consulate in Wuhan:"

I don't know whether that will happen. But online survey of Chinese Internet users indicates that most suggest closing the US Embassy in Hong Kong instead. I think it makes more sense because most of the US staff in Hong Kong are "intelligence" agents. And now that the Hong Kong security law is passed, those agents will need to leave the city anyway.

Posted by: d dan | Jul 22 2020 19:26 utc | 27

According to an article this morning in China'a Global Times:

"China is considering ordering the closure of the US consulate in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, Reuters said on Wednesday, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

However, those who speculate that China will shut the US consulate in Wuhan in retaliation are underestimating Chinese government's will. As staff has not returned to Wuhan consulate, so a closure would not be an equivalent countermeasure compared with the US bullying tactics, said observers." does indeed look like the Chinese Government just might "retaliate" by closing the US Consulate in Hong Kong - which would be a fairly major blow for the American "Intelligence" apparatus that mainly populate that particular property..

Posted by: time2wakeupnow | Jul 22 2020 19:47 utc | 28

d dan @27

There is just a US consulate in Hong Kong. The US Embassy in China is in Beijing.

Posted by: TN | Jul 22 2020 19:58 utc | 29

@22 karlof1

Yes to all of those! At this point even one thing from that list beyond #1 would feel like a huge victory.

Posted by: ptb | Jul 22 2020 20:13 utc | 30

>>While Trump, like Biden, is using anti-China propaganda as part of his campaign

Personally i do not see them as being equally hostile on China.

Trump is the most anti-China president for the last 50 years.

The republicans are mostly going crazy about China, Steve Bannon types, probably due to hidden racism too. Democrats are more triggered about Russia.

Trump pushed for higher military spending and for trashing nuclear arms control agreements, unlike Dems.

Most spending cuts according to Trump's budget must be civilian domestic spending, but the military must be spared.

That is - let ordinary americans live in poverty so that there is more money for the military.

The aim behind high military spending and removing nuclear arms control is world domination.

The retard Trump hopes he can dominate the world. Make America great again means destroy all US competitors again and leave the US as last man standing. He is an enemy of the world. He had a choice and he made it.

The choice of US supremacism. F u Trump then.

Posted by: Passer by | Jul 22 2020 20:25 utc | 31

The BBC falsely claimed that the Houston consulate was ordered to close because of a fire:

The BBC has become even more of a Fake News joke than usual. Last week, during the Gislaine Maxwell bail hearings, Al Jazeera reported that her bail application had been rejected. Half an hour later BBC's reporter on the spot reported that "Today is the final day of the hearings and proceedings are about to begin." Which begs the question: "Is the BBC too stupid, or too lazy, to find out what other news outlets are saying?"
I watched CGTN to find out what China's version of the Houston storm in a tea cup is. Interestingly, China treated the story as a diplomatic dispute and accused the US of making false claims but didn't mention the quarantine issue. This suggests, to me, that China intends to shut down a US Embassy in China and then whack Pompeo over the head with the the insane demand to exempt US consular staff from sane Chinese quarantine requirements.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the Trump Show. He's giving The Swamp carte blanche on EVERY dopey scheme they can dream up - the dopier the better. Even AmeriKKKa's Best Friends Forever must be beginning to wonder WTF has gone wrong?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 22 2020 20:26 utc | 32

The BBC falsely claimed that the Houston consulate was ordered to close because of a fire:
That however turns cause and effect around. The consulate in Houston started to burn its confidential papers after it was informed that it had to close within 72 hours

Russians did the same thing at their consulate in San Francisco in 2017 when it was shut down at short notice.

Posted by: Brendan | Jul 22 2020 20:42 utc | 33

Some people say US presidents are the same. I differ. I see Trump as the much more hostile to the world than, let's say, Obama.

Let's compare.

Obama got in JCPOA with Iran.
Trump got out of JCPOA. Put all time high sanctions on Iran.

No US killings of high ranking iranian officials during Obama.
General Soleimani bombed in Baghdad International Airport in Iraq by Trump.

No captured Russian Consulates during Obama.
Captured the Russian Consulate in SF during Trump. Captured chinese consulate in Houston. Blocks russian, iranian and chinese diplomats visiting the UN.

No attempt to bomb Syria during Obama
Trump tries to bomb Syria several times. Starvation sanctions on Syria. Openly gave syrian land to Israel.

Obama got out of Iraq.
Trump bullies and threatens Iraq to stay there, bombs local iraqi millitias.

One could say Trump did not get into new wars. This is only because the US is bankrupt, not having money for petty conflicts. Not due to lack of desire, but due to lack of money.

Obama started Libya, more about following France and Sarkozy there.
Trump does not care about Libya.

Obama - no trade war with China
Trump = trade war with China.

Obama - no trade war on the world.
Trump started tarrif wars with the whole world and blocked the WTO to sabotage world trade, as world trade helps the world develop.

Obama - no getting out of INF and Open Sky treaties.
Trump gets out of INF and Open Sky treaties, wants to get out of START. Wants to trash nuclear arms control with the purpose of nuclear bullying of the world.

Far bigger sanctions against Russia, Iran, Lebanon, Venezuela, Syria, China/Huawei etc. during Trump.

Biggest NATO exercise in Europe for last 30 years planned during Trump (Coronavirus broke it)

No sanctions against Nord Stream during Obama.
Sanctions against Nord Stream during Trump. Sanctions on Europe too.

Spike in military spending during Trump.
Decrease in military spending during Obama.

Obama deactivates Second Fleet (Russia containment fleet)
Trump activates Second Fleet for Russia containment purposes.

Big bullying of Europe to pay more for NATO during Trump
No such high level of bullying on this issue by Obama.

Bullying and sanctions against Turkey as well.

Agrees with biggest Israeli annexation of Palestine, moves US Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizes Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Objectively, Trump is much more imperialist than Obama. Even though i initially supported Trump, i changed my opinion on him.

Posted by: Passer by | Jul 22 2020 20:46 utc | 34

Guess what: it is forbidden according to European laws to check people's temperatures, because it is a violation of privacy. Good luck with that.
So that is the explanation for no one following the WHO advice of "test test test" already back in march. It is clear the manpower to do PCR tests is not available everywhere, and temperature tests, as unperfect as they are, can still help detect cluster through a wide policy of blind testing.

Posted by: Mina | Jul 22 2020 20:49 utc | 35

b good analysis. Follow up from Global Times "China’s countermeasures to cause the US real pain over closure order of Chinese Consulate General in Houston". Almost everyone including you believes US Consulate in Wuhan targeted to close.

I looked for key words after watching CGTN, XinHua and other Chinese websites and concluded to cause real pain it must be US Consulate in HK. Once US Consulates in HK shut down there are no other places in China US can spies without being caught except SCMP’s (Remember Joe Tsai and Gary Liu both are Taiwanese) reporters in China. I also believe soon or later HSBC banking licenses slowly revokes. It was HSBC that sold Meng Wanzhou to the US.

Posted by: JC | Jul 22 2020 20:56 utc | 36

To my knowledge there is so far no evidence of any effective immunity to the novel coronavirus at all. That any immunity is even possible is still mere speculation. Transfusions of antibodies from recovered covid patients seem to have been effective in a few cases and this makes the possibility of at least some degree of immunity hopeful, but it is certainly not proof.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 22 2020 18:25 utc | 16

Actually, "effective immunity" in the form of asymptomatic infection was documented very well, and a big percentage, perhaps majority, does have that immunity. In many of those cases, antibodies developed during previous coronavirus infections -- also asymptomatic or in the form of common cold -- worked well enough. In other cases, so-called innate immunity suffices, that may be the case with the majority of very young children. The problem is that immune systems vary from person to person and a vaccine, a reliable induction of a proper immune response, is speculative.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 22 2020 20:57 utc | 37

Christian J. Chuba @24:

The organ harvesting claim originated with the Falungong cult (CIA funded, of course). It shouldn't be too hard to find exposes of these people nowadays.

As for the video/picture of prisoners making the rounds, I cannot be 100% sure, but it does look quite a lot like what was in this post on Chinese social media, from August 2017:
According to this post, this was the arrest of a large group engaged in pyramid-scheme type scams (which in China can often involves kidnapping, brainwashing, illegally detaining people by force, and other gang-type activities.) in Bijie, Guizhou Province.

Posted by: Chinese American | Jul 22 2020 20:57 utc | 38

Objectively, Trump is much more imperialist than Obama. Even though i initially supported Trump, i changed my opinion on him.

Posted by: Passer by | Jul 22 2020 20:46 utc | 34

For complete picture, one has to add the destruction of Libya (done) and Syria (almost done, but damn Ruskies entered the country when the government was tottering). The "controlled" use of ISIS to destroy Syria had wider consequences, quite lamentable. War on Yemen with Western assistance (heavily rewarded) to local satraps and nabobs also counts as "Obama war".

My modest conclusion was that if you want to vote in USA, you may choose lesser evil on the account of domestic issues. Progress on foreign and military affairs has to wait until more people understand that s...t happens and they loose in the process.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 22 2020 21:14 utc | 39

Thanks b, China does not have to do anything in response. As long as USA consular positions are restricted the USA dirty tricks are equally limited. Simultaneously the Chinese security apparatus is given a window of opportunity to identify the USA spy networks established locally due to the changes in communications and behavior of citizens under observation. A rapid decay in networks sets in and re-establishing those networks becomes almost impossible.

Shutting the China embassy in the USA would have been anticipated in this current climate.

Currently the USA is sending Covid-19 infected military personnel across the world to its bases as part of force rotations and specialist support and they are infecting local populations. This is enough to alarm all states as to the need to restrict embassy staff movements from any country that has rampant infection policies or practices.

The wise nations will close the UKUSAI embassies and life will proceed in a better direction.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jul 22 2020 21:16 utc | 40

The global oligarchs have so many fooled. The global oligarchs care nothing about nation-states it just a level of control for the masses.

Posted by: O | Jul 22 2020 21:22 utc | 41

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 22 2020 21:14 utc | 39

I think i mentioned Libya. Although this was driven by europeans mostly, such as Sarkozy.

Yemen conflicts escalated much more during Trump.

As for Syria - US already lost there. It was too late when Trump came and he got that. But he decided on a scorched earth sanctions policy against Syria (if i can't have it, no one can have it) and gave syrian land to Israel instead.

Posted by: Passer by | Jul 22 2020 21:23 utc | 42

This, in a way, highlights the extent of the embarrassment to the US public across all spheres. I pointed out the same on a tennis network which is already commenting on whether /which players would come to the US Open. Neither the host, nor the (mostly American) commenters realized that the US Open is dead on arrival because of the EU travel ban. US players cannot come to Europe. Canadian players have to realize that committing to play in Cootistan means jeopardizes their European season. European players can go to the US, but if they want to go back, they have to wait 2 weeks - in quarantine@! which means NO access to tennis courts or gyms, let alone the Rome, Madrid or Roland Garros tournaments. Same for the Asian tour following it - if as a European player you venture out of your continent to the US, you face a quarantine punishment upon return. It truly is like visiting Cootistan: any tennis players going to the infected place need to be quarantined. Welcome USA to the world you created for yourself.

Posted by: Josh | Jul 22 2020 21:27 utc | 43

I kinda wish they shutdown China's consulate for something like Chinese Fentanyl being shipped into the US. That would mean Pompeo cared about his onetime voters and the rest of flyover country. Ha,ha! The flip side has there been any interruption to junk made in China flowing into the US beside Covid19? American corporations don't make much of a stink about the "trade wars". Odd!

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Jul 22 2020 21:39 utc | 44

As Wuhan was the first major outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, going through the paperwork at the US consulate there may be interesting.

On the financial side, the US fed is pumping dollars, but gold is going up.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 22 2020 21:42 utc | 45

Passerby @Jul22 20:46 #34

They are both really onerous. Difficult to say who is worse because each is just a front man.

Obama was hired to present a peaceful, inclusive presence that 'turned the page' on the illegal war in Iraq and CIA rendition and torture. No-drama Obama didn't hold anyone accountable for these crimes and also didn't keep his campaign promises to exit Iraq, Afghanistan, and close Guantanamo. (Obama wanted to stay in Iraq but USA was forced to leave because Iraq wouldn't grant US troops immunity.) His militarism was covert.

Trump was hired to confront Russia and China. He has turned the page back to overt militarism.

Obama: faux populist outsider
Trump: faux populist outsider

Obama: wins undeserved noble prize for not-being-GW Bush
Trump: wins undeserved kudos for not-being-Hillary

Obama: 'wilful decision' to allow ISIS to grow, blames Assad for growth of ISIS
Trump: 'wilful decision' to allow pandemic to spread, blames Xi for spread of virus

Obama: makes 'peace deal' with Iran as delaying tactic (war in Syria dragged on)
Trump: tears up JCPOA - US Congress never ratified it (not surprisingly)

Obama: bails out Wall Street
Trump: bails out Wall Street ... and Boeing

Obama: bows to Saudi King
Trump: sword dance with Saudi King within first 100-days of taking office

Obama: makes most Bush tax cuts permanent (breaking campaign pledge)
Trump: further cuts taxes and also regulations

Obama sidelines critics: don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good
Trump sidelines critics: fake news!

Obama apologists: our wise leader plays 11-dimensional chess!
Trump apologists: our wise leader plays 11-dimensional chess!

"Law and Order" Trump: nominates document-shredder Gina Haspel; steals Venezuelan State Assets; assassinates Iran General

"Change You Can Believe In" Obama: covert war; no 'public option' in Obamacare; no accountability; drones weddings

I won't belabor the point.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 21:47 utc | 46

Passer by @31 & 34--

Thanks for your observations. FYI, attaining Full Spectrum Domination become the #1 policy goal of the Outlaw US Empire during Clinton's 2nd term with the publication of Joint Vision 2010 in July 1996. It was upgraded with Joint Vision 2020, published in May 2000. 911 was employed to provide the impetus for that policy drive, although it appears that was circumvented with the plan to help Occupied Palestine become Greater Israel. One way of looking at the consequences is the world's benefitted from the gross ineptitude of Outlaw US Empire policy planners and politicos, although the Rentier Class controlling its finances has made out extremely well and doesn't seem to care about territorial conquest. It's also important to recall that it's Congress that doles out the dollars for the proposed policies.

As for Defense spending versus total budget, the chart at the bottom of this link shows recent appropriations against this historical chart proving the utility of 911. What isn't shown is the total yearly cost of the entire Overseas US Empire which ought to be combined with the Defense budget and amounts to over one Trillion dollars. Here's an 8 year-old article attempting to add up just the overseas side, which gives you an idea of why the Pentagon will never pass an audit.

The US government has never instituted an Industrial Policy, and indeed has no Cabinet level department to deal with that issue, although there're the Commerce, Agriculture and Labor Departments. No direction made it easy for owners to offshore despite the 1946 Full Employment Act. One POV is that Free Markets killed the USA's real economy--the one ordinary folk depend upon. Although not completely vanished, I've explained some of the reasons why the number of unemployed within the Outlaw US Empire is actually close to 100 Million out of the 270 Million wanting fulltime employment at a living wage.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 21:50 utc | 47

Piotr Berman @Jul22 20:57 #37:

Actually, "effective immunity" in the form of asymptomatic infection was documented very well, and a big percentage, perhaps majority, does have that immunity.... In other cases, so-called innate immunity suffices, that may be the case with the majority of very young children.

The young don't get it because they don't have the necessary gene expression. This isn't "innate immunity" - it has nothing to do with any kind of innate immune response: they are simply not susceptible.

It is now thought that the existence of 'asymptomatic' individuals is incorrect. Most people are asymptomatic (meaning not showing signs of illness but capable of spreading the virus) only for a few days before they show symptoms. But for many people symptoms are mild once they show up.

While some have mild symptoms, others have symptoms that persist for months. We are still learning about this virus.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 22:01 utc | 48

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Posted by: Yossi Balagan | Jul 22 2020 22:03 utc | 49

The flip side has there been any interruption to junk made in China flowing into the US beside Covid19? American corporations don't make much of a stink about the "trade wars". Odd!

Posted by: Old and Grumpy | Jul 22 2020 21:39 utc | 44

Exactly, other than toilet paper, Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Best Buy, Amazon and other major corps. all seem to be well stocked and doing quite well while in the midst of a world wide "pandemic" and "trade war"

Posted by: O | Jul 22 2020 22:09 utc | 50

"The young don't get it because they don't have the necessary gene expression. This isn't "innate immunity" - it has nothing to do with any kind of innate immune response: they are simply not susceptible."

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 22:01 utc | 48

You are obviously not a cellular molecular biologist stop pretending to being one.

Posted by: O | Jul 22 2020 22:15 utc | 51

Hard to see how this escalation ends well. I read yesterday that Trump imposed sanctions on a Huawei supplier (in addition to TSMC), so I guess the game is to starve Huawei indirectly via sanctions on business partners. And no big surprise but France fell in line: France folds on Huawei

As for picking on Huawei, there is nothing like going after the biggest target first and then the rest of China's tech companies and can be picked off one by one via sanctions. I wonder at what point China decides to directly break sanctions on Iran which would surely up the ante to a near war footing. Could China import enough oil from Russia and Iran (ie, bypass the US dollar?).

Posted by: Schmoe | Jul 22 2020 22:17 utc | 52

RE ptb@12
that was a good list of things that should be done. Of course none of them will be done. The supreme court decisions of money equaling free speech and corporations having the rights of citizens have ensured that Congress will never be run by actual representatives of the general population. There will never be real election finance reform. That is what is needed so that we in the US would have a Congress that would look out for us regular people. It won't matter if the power of making the dollar returns to the Treasury as what real choice do we have in Presidential elections. Trump or Hillary lol Trump or Biden two 70+ old white men with mental issues. Every candidate that gets the nomination of the two wings of the same bird of prey continues the policies that the powers that be wants. Putin said something like, the candidates change but the policies don't. Obama was not an old white man but we didn't get "hope and change" We needed a Franklin Roosevelt to get real financial reform which was possible because Wall Street had really fu*ked up. But Obama basically just continued the same financial poloies towards Wall Street as George W. Obama was what used to be a moderate Republican B. Clinton sounded like a liberal but as we can now surmise he was so compromised that he had to do whatever the Deep State wanted. He managed to get many policies a Republican would have been hard to get done. Remember that Gore's VP was Lieberman. And every President since Kennedy has seen that film.

Posted by: gepay | Jul 22 2020 22:33 utc | 53

I highly suggest spending 15 minutes watching the first half of this most recent Keiser Report:

"Max and Stacy discuss US Attorney General Bill Barr having accused China of 'economic blitzkrieg' – that is, 'an aggressive, orchestrated, whole-of-government – indeed, whole-of-society – campaign to seize the commanding heights of the global economy and to surpass the United States as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.' Is that what happened? Or did US corporations willingly and actively send US manufacturing capacity to China?"

Barr is proven to be lying bigtime. Other aspects of the Outlaw US Empire's economy are also examined, such as why the "Zombie Banks" are kept afloat and the Fracking Fiasco as a jobs and Ponzi program. Plus so much more in such a short space of time. The second half interviewee describes the woeful state of NYC and assess the failed approach by Trump to the pandemic. But I'm rather surprised that nobody has put forth the Barr accusation as proof of the huge disconnect between TrumpCo and reality. I find it very similar to Reagan's bashing of Japan.

Given the level of mendacity, the China bashing is all about Trump's reelection, but the reality is the economic and pandemic problems all result from domestic policies, some by TrumpCo, others by former administrations going back to Nixon.

The previous episode examines Moral Hazzard and is also worth spending 13 minutes to watch as a poor Texas man gets busted for doing what JP Morgan gets away with daily. Yes, I agree with Max saying the Outlaw US Empire "is the most corrupt creation ever."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 22:54 utc | 54

Posted by: Passer by | Jul 22 2020 20:46 utc | 34 No attempt to bomb Syria during Obama

Ah, no. Obama was within hours of ordering an attack on Syria over the August, 2013, fake "gas attack." He only backed down when 1) Congress pushed back, and 2) Putin got Assad to agree to destroy his chemical weapons.

Also the only reason Obama negotiated the JCPOA was because 1) he wanted a foreign policy win for his "legacy", and 2) he knew it would be ripped up by whoever came in after in, whether it was Clinton or Trump.

Obama was like Trump in that both were narcissists. Obama didn't want to be *blamed* for starting a war. Nonetheless he did the heavy lifting for France on Libya, he supported the overthrow of Assad in Syria in order to give Israel a chance to invade Lebanon through the Bekaa Valley (which Russia stopped with its intervention), and supported the Ukraine mess, as well as supporting Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

Hardly the efforts of a "peace President".

But in most respects, you are correct that Trump is a *far* worse President than Obama in terms of foreign policy. The "Trump has started a war" meme is bullshit. The operative word is "yet". The *only* reason he hasn't started a war with Iran - *yet* - is that Israel won't let him until Hezbollah is dealt with (and probably also because the Pentagon would prefer not to.)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:11 utc | 55

karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 22:54 utc | 54

Barr is correct to some extend, from the description, instead of having honest neo-liberal policies, Chinese grossly intervened in the economy, something that here, in USA, we know that is both dishonest and inefficient.

But they falsified statistics and pretended to be efficient.

But now we see that they did not falsify statistics but cunningly let us believe that we are more efficient thus becoming complacent.

So yea, we are inefficient, but unlike the Chinese, we are honest. Given that, it is deeply unjust to tolerate trade with China. Instead we will import from Vietnam that is equally dishonest (i.e. not neo-liberal) but at least, it is not China.

In the meantime, American workers are glad that at long last there is Administration that cares about them. Which raises the question: can one be honest, inefficient and stupid in the same time? (That would improve Pompeo: we cheat, we steal, we lie AND we are stupid.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jul 22 2020 23:13 utc | 56

At least our newest Troll has an appropriate moniker.

gepay @53--

As long as cynicism reigns and citizens fail in their duties, then it will be hard to get the list of things I posted accomplished. But that climate is changing thanks to Trump's authoritarianism and his complete dereliction of duty--Treason--as president. Many were likely correct that Sanders was to perform the task of mitigating the swelling Progressive Movement, but he abdicated and now there's nobody in place to stop what's clearly at the moment a Wildcat Movement which Trump is unwittingly uniting. The common denominator of total neglect for the health and wellbeing of the citizenry by Republicans in Statehouses and in DC has genuine conservatives pissed-off along with Democrats. Yes, lots of work lies ahead if the citizenry wants to fulfill the promise of self-governance and to have hope for the future. Yes, it needed to start 40 years ago, but that can't be allowed to become the lament of Eeyores.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 23:14 utc | 57

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 22 2020 22:01 utc | 48 It is now thought that the existence of 'asymptomatic' individuals is incorrect.

Link please. Latest CDC estimates are 25-40 percent of infected persons are "asymptomatic" - *not* "pre-symptomatic* (which is everyone else who gets infected, and eventually shows symptoms.)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:18 utc | 58

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:11 utc | 55 The "Trump has started a war" meme is bullshit.

s/b "Trump has never started a war"...

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:19 utc | 59

Piotr Berman @56--

Don't know whether to laugh at or bemoan your reply as nothing Neoliberal is honest. But one thing does seem clear--Barr's head is too big to fit up his ass, so he can't claim that condition as an excuse.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 23:20 utc | 60

RSH @59--

Depends on the definition of War being used. He's certainly escalated wars and has ended none. If we use the term Hybrid War, then he's started several. And given the evidence supplied by Wayne Madsen, Trump declared war on the US Citizenry through his treasonous Do Nothing COVID-19 policy. "Lawfare" is a new term utilized to describe actions taken in waging Hybrid War as this Trade War Timeline shows. And of course, Trump has yet to declare the Outlaw US Empire's #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance null and void, meaning he's still actively pursuing it and thus warring on the world as that's how a nation attains such a position.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 23:40 utc | 61

thanks b... excellent coverage as usual..... i agree with closing the hong kong consulate is the way for the chinese to respond...

passerby and jackrabbit... interesting exercise... thanks.... it is all bad and bodes ill for the usa here forward...

Posted by: james | Jul 22 2020 23:42 utc | 62

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 22 2020 23:40 utc | 61

Correct. The *only* evidence for Trump "not wanting to start a war" comes from his random comments during his election campaign in 2016 that he "wanted" to get out of Iraq and "wanted" to "get along" with Russia. Give his actions against Russia and inside Iraq recently, I'd say both have been proven false.

Anyone who continues to believe anything Trump says is delusional. I just saw a Washington Post article that claims Trump has lied or "made false claims" (like there's a real difference) *twenty thousand times* during his term.

As I've said before, he's such a scatterbrain that the only problem is determining whether he's lying or simply an idiot. So anything he says is likely to be either BS he's feeding people so they support him or nonsense or outright lies. It's like that bit in the Blues Brothers movie where Jake accuses Elwood of lying, and Elwood says, "It's not lies, it's...bullshit."

Same applies to most of his people. Here, for example, AG Barr claims the FBI arrested 200 people in Kansas City. Kansas City says they arrested...wait

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:51 utc | 63

Richard Steven Hack 58

Going by their inability to create a test kit at the start plus other similar bungling, CDC may not be in any better state than the rest of the US.

I know China had a separate classification for those that tested positive for the virus but had no clinical or otherwise symptoms of disease. I think they were classed as suspected cases. Some were pre symptomatic and later developed symptoms, but some didn't. I haven't got the numbers for China that tested positive but never developed symptoms.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 22 2020 23:53 utc | 64

Speaking of who wants "to end wars and regime change" more - Obama or Trump - look at how the Democrats wants to campaign against Trump in their new foreign policy platform...

Democrats Unveil Draft Foreign Policy Platform With Promises to End “Forever Wars” and “Regime Change”

Not that I believe them for an instant... But it's amusing that they apparently learned from 2016 that many, if not most, of Trump's voters were interested in ending regime change wars. So now they appear to want to take the same tack. If they can convince swing voters they mean it, it might help them considerably. OTOH, maybe it will lose them votes for the swing and Democrat voters who also want "responsibility to protect" wars. It will have no effect on Trump supporters who *do* want war with Iran or China or whoever, of course.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 22 2020 23:58 utc | 65

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 22 2020 23:53 utc | 64

I can't find any updated estimates of how many Chinese were asymptomatic. In April it was estimated maybe 10-16 percent.

According to a new study, it is alleged that some infected patients shed "defective" virus particles that are apparently not capable of causing the illness but can be detected by virus tests falsely indicating that they are contagious. This might have something to do with the difficulty of counting asymptomatic cases. But that study is not peer-reviewed yet and raises more questions than it answers.

Yesterday China reported they have 184 asymptomatic cases under observation, with 84 of those from visitors.

Related to b's post, they also said this:

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has published a statement on its website requiring that passengers flying to China must provide negative COVID-19 test results before they board the flight. The aviation authority also stipulated that the nucleic acid tests must be completed five days before embarking.

Urumqi, the capital of China’s Xinjiang region, is currently under lockdown as a result of a surge of cases.

Then there this: How many COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic? Research shows it may be a lot more than thought (Note: Also not peer-reviewed yet.

Seems that the asymptomatic can be detected for sure only with an antibody test, rather than just the genetic test. Supposedly if only the genetic test is used, perhaps 80 percent of asymptomatic persons might not be detected.

So we've got two complications: 1) some people test positive but are not infectious; 2) some people test negative, but are asymptomatic and infectious.

That's a recipe for dueling studies.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 23 2020 0:16 utc | 66

The global oligarchs care nothing about nation-states it just a level of control for the masses.

Posted by: O | Jul 22 2020 21:22 utc | 41


Posted by: Rae | Jul 23 2020 0:23 utc | 67

RSH @65--

IMO, part of that change ought to be attributed to Tulsi Gabbard's steadfast Anti-War stance. But what I want to see/hear is the denunciation of the #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance and an attempt at atonement with Russia and China while also saying the priority will change to eliminating COVID-19 followed by an attempt to recover the economy. In face of Trump's total failure, such a platform would be a winner.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 23 2020 0:25 utc | 68

I would say that murdering Solemeni was a flagrant attempt to start a war. Giving Trump credit for no new wars is not credible. Russia and the adults are not taking the bait, but will respond in unacceptable ways if they do.

Posted by: arby | Jul 23 2020 0:26 utc | 69

o, rsh, everyone

Why COVID-19 may be less common in children than adults

The virus that causes COVID-19 uses a receptor known as ACE2, found on the surface of certain cells in the human body, to enter its victims. Now, Mount Sinai researchers have found that children have lower levels of ACE2 gene expression than adults, which may explain children's lower risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality. Gene expression is a measure of how much a gene is transcribed.

Could asthma and allergy protect against severe COVID-19?

People with asthma and allergies have reduced angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) gene expression and this may offer protection against severe COVID-19 illness, a new study suggests.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, uses ACE2 to infect cells. Studies have shown that higher expression of ACE2 is associated with smoking, diabetes and hypertension, all of which have been tied to increased COVID-19 severity.

The real story about asymptomatic people and whether they spread the coronavirus

How many people are truly asymptomatic? Studies vary wildly. Most look at a specific population, whether that be people on a cruise ship, a jail, a homeless shelter, or living in Iceland, and find what percentage of people who tested positive reported symptoms at the specific time of the test. When you do that, you find huge percentages of asymptomatic people, from 30% to 90% depending on the group.

But when you look at only studies in which people are monitored for 14 days, you find a far smaller percentage of people who remain asymptomatic. A review of studies found that only 15% of cases stayed asymptomatic the whole time. Many or most of the people who test positive while asymptomatic get symptoms later on.

There’s more. Van Kerkhove said that “[What] we’re finding is that when we go back and say, how many of them were truly asymptomatic, we find out that many have really mild disease.” In other words, many people who report no symptoms for one reason or another actually do have some symptoms: a sore throat, an undetected fever, a rare cough that doesn’t seem out of the norm, etc.

* Maria van Kerkhove, is technical lead of WHO's Health Emergencies program.

<> <> <> <> <>


  • Gene expression explains why children and some other groups don't get coronavirus and can't pass it on.
  • Testing people and asking them if they have symptoms leads to misleading findings. Some of those people will develop symptoms later. They are not really asymptomatic but pre-symptomatic.
  • Some people who are asymptomatic and never develop symptoms may simply have low gene expression - they are not very susceptible (like children) and the virus doesn't take hold. These people don't appear capable of passing on the virus.
  • Some people who are pre-symptomatic get such a mild form that they don't realize that they have it or had it.
  • There seems to be a consensus that everyone that develops symptoms, whether a mild case or severe case, is infectious in the days before symptoms appear.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 0:28 utc | 70

Richard Steven Hack

The only way to know for sure is to take a number of swabs of those that test positive but don't have symptoms - a test group would be required and visual look for the bug under a microscope. It could be that those that remain asymptomatic are because their immune system destroyed the virus before it can take hold so that group may only be infected with the virus for a few days or less.
I guess more studies will come out in the future so its worth keeping an eye on the countries (both sides of the ge-political spectrum) that have good apolitical health care.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 0:47 utc | 71

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 0:28 utc | 70

All you are providing is more evidence that this virus is not the deadly plague the media and governments are tying to hype this up to be.

From The Who own lying numbers.

Out of the supposed 15 million confirmed cases worldwide, only 4.1 percent of those resulted in death. In other words if you catch it you have generally a 96 percent chance of surviving it. 80 percent of persons with covid have mild to no symptoms at all.

Better efficacy than most vaccines already out there.

The hysteria and huge governmental overreaction and overreaction is no where near warranted.

Who stands to gain the most? Big Pharma.

Anyone who can't see this scamdemic for what it truly is has been breathing too much of their own CO2.
Biggest and most powerful lobby in Washington DC and the world? Big Pharma
Largest profit margins in the world? Big Pharma
Largest profit centers for Big Pharma? vaccinations.

Are there actual free and open independently verified elections in the U.S.? Keep dreaming.

If a mask is all one needs to protect themselves from a supposedly contagious and deadly virus why would you need to have a BSL 4 suit in a BSL 4 lab to work with said viruses?

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 1:04 utc | 72

@ karlof1 #54 who had in comment
Or did US corporations willingly and actively send US manufacturing capacity to China?"

Outsourcing is the micro-economics of financialization and yes, it has been going on as a empire strategy since Nixon went off the gold standard for money in 1971. The engineers that use to run Boeing didn't send manufacturing to the East or move headquarters out of Seattle but the global financial elite who own/run corporations similar to governments did so as a profit strategy and global competition/conflict strategy.

Just like the underlying thread of this posting where empire is saying its a rules based world and we make the rules as we go and China is saying no, it is going to be a unipolar world where China and aligned nations have public finance at the core of their governments....that is the civilization war we are engaged in.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 23 2020 1:06 utc | 73

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 0:28 utc | 70

The gene expression thing looks interesting. Probably not surprising as a virus has to get it exactly right to be able to infect everyone.

But the suggestion that most patients *described* as asymptomatic are actually "pre-symptomatic" seems to be offset by the study I mentioned that suggests that many subjects who test negative for the virus are actually asymptomatic shedders (although what they shed might not always be infectious.)

Just found this study: The incidence of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic patients: a systematic review

Basically say if the study is large, the number of asymptomatic is small, but if your study is small the number is large. Big help, that. LOL

The real problem is that asymptomatic subjects *can* be contagious. And even one such person, if not detected, can affect many more than an R factor of 1 or even higher. We have no idea how many of these people are "super-spreaders." So whether it's 1% or 15% or 40%, it's a problem that only mass testing - of the right *kind*, if that report I linked to is right - can determine. And without mass testing, and followup of the quarantined exposed, there's no way to tell how many of the asymptomatic were actually pre-symptomatic. And we don't have mass testing or contact tracing or isolation.

It's a mess.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 23 2020 1:07 utc | 74

Houston. US oil capital and no doubt a center for US oil extraction tech. I wonder why Trump chose the Houston consulate for closure.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 1:14 utc | 75

Trump sending the feds to more cities for a bit of law and order.

The leaders of the leaderless protests in Portland.

Looks like the colour of this revolution is yellow.
Hong Kong umbrella revolution with American characteristics.

Be interesting to know who funds and controls the anonymous PNW Youth Liberation Front

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 1:20 utc | 76

Apologies to the Americans here, but sitting outside the animal cage looking in, its quite amusing to see colour revolutions being used for presidential election campaign in the US.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 1:25 utc | 77

Richard Steven Hack @Jul23 1:07 #74

It's a mess.

The "mess" is not what you think it is.

The important info on asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic from the WHO is this: contact tracing works.

But the CDC's use of a 40% number discourages contact tracing by US States and localities. Yet another way that USA neolib/neocon-controlled govt fails us as they pursue their own glorious agenda.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 1:30 utc | 78

Yes, this issue may be about the Chinese requirement to quarantine US diplomats.

Another theory is that the US is demanding a consulate in western China--Llasa or perhaps Urumqi in Xinjiang. Right now, China has five consulates in the US--New York, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The US has four consulates in China--Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang and Wuhan.

The US is apparently claiming it should have a fifth consulate and wants it in the West where it can probably cause trouble for China.

So it may be that both these issues contributed to the order to close the Houston consulate.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jul 23 2020 1:33 utc | 79

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 0:47 utc | 71 its worth keeping an eye on the countries (both sides of the ge-political spectrum) that have good apolitical health care.

That motivated me to look for the asymptomatic rate for South Korea and elsewhere.

I found a report that said the Korean Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reported the asymptomatic case proportion for COVID-19 is 33.3%. The asymptomatic case proportion in South Korea closely approximates the rate of 30.8% reported by Nishuara et al based on a study of repatriated Japanese citizens from Wuhan.

Unfortunately the South Korean press release didn't separate out "true" asymptomatic from those that were actually pre-symptomatic, so we still don't know for sure.

Then there's this report: 'Superspreading' events, triggered by people who may be asymptomatic, propel virus pandemic

Apparently there are also people who shed more than others (I've read that's true of people who "shed" DNA in general, at crime scenes, for instance - some shed a lot, some very little) even while being asymptomatic. It's suggested in the article that these people may be worse than "normal" contagious subjects. It is suggested this is why outbreaks appear to be in fits and spurts.

It's a mess. Without widespread tests, contact tracing, isolation *and followup*, it may be a long time before we know the facts. Not that it matters *now*, however, since what matters is how many cases we actually *have*, since we don't have all the facts. It's all speculation right now.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 23 2020 1:37 utc | 80

@ Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 1:14 utc | 75 who wrote
Houston. US oil capital and no doubt a center for US oil extraction tech. I wonder why Trump chose the Houston consulate for closure.
In 1971 Nixon shift what is left of the promissory value of money to oil. Empire is still trying to exert global control over value and availability of that energy/product source and control of worldwide energy sources is a major face of the civilization war we are in......Houston is the Wall Street of oil just like HK is the Western Wall Street of China..

It will be interesting to see what China's response is because I doubt us Western folks can think like they do.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 23 2020 1:37 utc | 81

@69 arby

I've speculated here recently that no one in Trump's office during the same period could have started wars - that, in other words, what has been done and not been done were not from White House decisions.

Mostly I think the State Department/CIA has things it would like to do and the Pentagon keeps saying, no, we can't do that - meaning no, we literally are incapable of taking that action because we will lose (and also, this defeat may show in public beyond our capacity to hide it from the domestic populace).


I also don't think killing Soleimani was an attempt to start a war. The US thought it could do it with light consequences. When Iran attacked the US base with its missiles, the US trembled in fear.

"All is well" said the White House after the missiles stopped. "Some service personnel have bad headaches," later said the Pentagon, as the injured were surreptitiously removed from the scene.

Let me just repeat that thing the whole world saw when Iran attacked the US: the US trembled in fear.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 23 2020 1:42 utc | 82

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 1:30 utc | 78 The important info on asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic from the WHO is this: contact tracing works.

Agreed. As I say above, without mass testing, contact tracing, isolation *and followup*, we may never know the actual figure. But as I said to Peter, right now it doesn't matter - since we don't have all that - and as long as Trump is in charge, we probably won't (at least not from the US.)

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 23 2020 1:42 utc | 83

Oscar Peterson 80

US has five consulates plus the Embassy in China.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 1:46 utc | 84

The Issue:

"Much of the focus of the Trump administration's trade dispute with China has centered on the size of the U.S. bilateral trade deficit. Most economists agree that this focus is misdirected, and that the existence or size of bilateral trade deficits should not generally be a matter of concern or a target of public policy. Instead, there is bipartisan agreement regarding a different problem at the core of trade issues with China: China's persistent misappropriation of foreign technology. Forced technology transfer occurs when foreign multinational companies have to provide strategically significant technology to an indigenous entity they do not control in order to gain access to the massive Chinese market."

The other oligarchs want the Chinese oligarchs to be more fair, in particular Huawei to transfer their tech the other way in order to play in western markets.

"The global business community would generally prefer that business with Huawei could just go on as usual. Huawei and its affiliates are the acclaimed leaders in 5G technology, and the rest of the commercial world wants to have access to that technology, and also to be able to interoperate with it. In other words, to the extent that western companies agree with the US administration the risks, they have decided that the rewards outweigh those risks and are willing to accept them -- as most recently evidenced by the news yesterday relating to how many US components are finding their way into Chinese handsets."

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 1:55 utc | 85

Richard Steven Hack

The problem I see is follow up after initial testing to see what percentage develops symptoms. China looks to have done a few of those so they may have more info that can be tracked down. The study you linked earlier apart, from a couple of numbers from China was simply on numbers that test asymptomatic when first tested.

The first, 45 patients, which were 15.2% of the group tested where initially asymptomatic. Of those, 30 later began to show clinical symptoms. that leaves a ball park figure of 5% remaining asymptomatic from the original group tested.

Another China study further down - another group 26 male and 32 female - nothing what percentage of a larger tested group -
of them 16 patients developed symptoms. But without what percentage of the larger tested group this, the numbers are meaningless as is the rest of the numbers in that piece.

So on the one example where percentage of the larger test group is known (assuming the clowns that did this parody of scientific research have the correct numbers) asymptomatic carriers or people that are infected for a very short term are around 5%.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:02 utc | 86

Furthermore, Houston is one the main cities where total 5g tech is being implemented first along with L.A and Chicago.

Houston’s a player in the race for 5G dominance

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 2:07 utc | 87

I forgot Hong Kong. US doesn't list the Hong Kong consulate with the US embassy in China so I guess they think HK is not China. Makes 7.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:09 utc | 88

Peter AU1 @Jul23 2:09 @89

Makes 7.

Embassy in Taipei makes 8 (from PRC's perspective).


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 2:19 utc | 89

The 5G 'race'? hardly are race when US have lost sight of China's dust and are still stuffing about at the start line.

China will build more than 500,000 5G base stations this year and 198,000 have already been built as of the end of March, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

At the end of last year, more than 20 million people connected to the country’s 5G network with their mobile devices, said Wen Ku, head of the Department of Information and Communications Development of the MIIT.

The MIIT granted network access licenses to 96 kinds of 5G phones as of Wednesday, compared with 39 at the end of last year, Wen said. The prices of 5G phones have decreased, with many priced at about 2,000 yuan (US$282.47) each, he said.

US a so far behind in most areas that their only hope of catching up to China is to cut its oil supply.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:21 utc | 90

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 1:55 utc | 86

Forced technology transfer occurs when foreign multinational companies have to provide strategically significant technology to an indigenous entity they do not control in order to gain access to the massive Chinese market.t

This is so laughably hypocritical. There is no "forcing", if the West don't like the terms set by the Chinese they can always choose to walk away and find other place to plunder-, I mean "do business".

Posted by: J W | Jul 23 2020 2:23 utc | 91

Peter AU1 @Jul23 2:02 #87

5% remaining asymptomatic from the original group tested.

Now, if those truely asymptomatic are also very unlikely to spread the disease, then virtually everyone that is contagious will show some symptoms.

That means nearly 100% contract tracing is possible.

Combined with measures to reduce R0, plus early treatment of those who were exposed, a sufficiently motivated populace should be able to beat the disease in a matter of weeks.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 23 2020 2:26 utc | 92

Another high priced whore at work.
Yanks 'forced" to blah blah. It was only their own greed that "forced" them to sign deals.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:27 utc | 93

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:21 utc | 91

It is why the western oligarchs want the Chinese to transfer that tech to them in order to play in western markets.

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 2:31 utc | 94

Jackrabbit "Combined with measures to reduce R0, plus early treatment of those who were exposed, a sufficiently motivated populace should be able to beat the disease in a matter of weeks."

Exactly what China did.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:36 utc | 95

Posted by: J W | Jul 23 2020 2:23 utc | 92

You are right no one in forced to play by the Chinese rules but their market is too lucrative to pass up. One must remember also that the US has been transferring tech voluntarily and involuntarily since the Nixon era.

This is not a comment on who is being fair to whom it is just a comment on the state of affairs between the western and eastern oligarchs. I root for neither.

Posted by: O | Jul 23 2020 2:37 utc | 96

Claims of huge numbers of asymptomatic and mild symptoms but not tested are made by the herd immunity/ it's just a flew types.

On the other hand, bats can carry and harbor these type viruses - apparently without being affected by them. In the past I have read that people can carry and spread disease without suffering symptoms themselves so I guess there will be a few of them with SARS-CoV-2 but their numbers will be small.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:45 utc | 97

Richard Steven Hack 81

It's a pity that piece did not go into who was infectious at that bar. One or two of the employees being infected, a cough hear an sneeze there, anything the touched becoming contaminated....

At the Wuhan market it was the traders and workers who fist became infected. A large gathering where the host or hosts are infected, would I think be in the fad terminology a super spreading event. Americans sure like their superman stuff.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:59 utc | 98

Jackrabbit 90

Both mainland and Taiwan have considered themselves China, but I left Taiwan out as at the moment it is a separate state rather than an Autonomous region. Sort of like saying a US consulate in Idlib would be a US consulate in Syria.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 3:20 utc | 99

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jul 23 2020 2:27 utc | 94

Responsibility has never been a strong suit for the Yanks, and it's also the core reason for all their wonderful and spectacular displays of mental gymnastics.

Posted by: J W | Jul 23 2020 3:20 utc | 100

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