Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 10, 2020

Open Thread 2020-72

News & views ...

Posted by b on September 10, 2020 at 13:09 UTC | Permalink

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And since no one has mentioned it I'll link to the amusing French news concerning Schrödingers poison that I alluded to earlier.

Gave me a laugh anyway :)

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Sep 13 2020 2:40 utc | 201

Below is a Xinhuanet link about the ASEAN conference that is going on

China, ASEAN, other regional countries to step up cooperation in post-pandemic recovery

The take away quote to get under Big Pharma skin

Moreover, they stressed enhanced collaboration and sharing of experience with ASEAN's partners in research, development, the production and distribution of vaccines, providing access to medicines for COVID-19 and other diseases in future public health emergencies, and making them available and affordable to all as global public goods.
Global public goods sounds like the global commons of old that have been lost in the West.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 13 2020 3:45 utc | 202

Below is a posting from Xinhuanet about US military supplies going into Syria

DAMASCUS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Fifty truckloads of military gears and logistic supplies for the U.S.-led coalition entered Syria from Iraq on Saturday, a war monitor reported.

The convoy entered through the al-Walid crossing and headed to the bases of the U.S.-led coalition in the countryside of the northeastern province of Hasakah, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based watchdog group said the shipment is the latest to reach the U.S. bases in Hasakah. On Aug. 29, 50 truckloads of military gears already reached these bases.

The U.S. maintains several bases in the areas controlled by the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the presence of U.S. forces in Syria as illegitimate.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 13 2020 3:53 utc | 203

Perhaps stopping natural gas transport is cover for destroying the infant Hydrogen industry.
Rosatom/Gazprom seem confidant they will commence export in 2024, from Leningrad and Kola power plants, via a modified Nordstream 2.
In the Far East, Rus Hydro is partnering with Kawasaki on a similar project.
Perhaps we will see the charmful Miss Thunberg, as industry pin-up, saving the pipeline.
In any event the USA frackers still need a massively hiked oil price to be self financing.

Posted by: necromancer | Sep 13 2020 5:49 utc | 204

A few early Sunday stories:

Apparently the White Helmets are still a thing:

White Helmets tackle raging infernos as regime forces loom ahead

German fellow rips into Western China "experts":

The Rising Cult of China Experts

Two police in a walkup ambush in Los Angeles:

2 Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies shot in ambush

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 13 2020 8:02 utc | 205

Andre Vltchek reports on the rise and fall of the Guo thieving oligarch.

Bannon and his Nazi dreaming are in a rough patch.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Sep 13 2020 9:18 utc | 206

"Recap of the Julian #Assange trial thus far:"

"US prosecutors said they are NOT prosecuting Assange for revealing war crimes, they don't want to talk about the war crimes, witnesses cannot talk about the war crimes, WOULD EVERYBODY PLEASE SHUT UP ABOUT THE WAR CRIMES?!?!?"

Posted by: arby | Sep 13 2020 12:25 utc | 207

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 12 2020 20:25 utc | 186

Covid-19 is both more lethal and quite infectious. From the aftermath of lethal outbreaks of coronaviruses in 2019, there were strains more lethal to geriatric patients and people in old age hospices than average, but they were not particularly infectious and those outbreaks, with symptoms resembling Covid-19 ("glass lung") remained local.

somebody | Sep 12 2020 22:01 utc

I doubt it. You cannot distinguish an excess immune reaction caused by other viruses from an excess immune reaction caused by covid-19. More likely or not you fight more than one virus anyway when you are immune deficient. Covid-19 has no distinct symptoms...


Piotr again: I was puzzled what does somebody doubt. I wrote that "prior Covid-19 outbreaks" were most probably similar but not identical to Covid-19, and such outbreaks appear periodically. This is precisely why Chinese authorities, WHO experts etc. were unsure how to approach Wuhan outbreak when it happened. Importantly, Trump falsely claims that China is responsible for the pandemic by failing to take necessary measures. Western countries knew basically what Chinese authorities knew, perhaps with a week of delay, perhaps not -- is Western intelligence that has at least five eyes capable of monitoring chat traffic in China and apply text mining? Or "China send people to USA"??!! When China started to apply isolation of Wuhan metro area etc., Americans could decide if Chinese authorities are being weird, or there is something serious that requires measures on their side too. Ditto Italians, French etc.

Back to somebody: do you doubt my opinion that pre-Wuhan outbreaks were only similar to Covid-19? Or you doubt that Covid-19 is a separate new disease? If the former, you should write "I doubt it too." If the latter, I would doubt that doubt, did Peru misinterpreted cause of death for about 0.1% of the population (perhaps 10% of all deaths in 2020, 20-30% of deaths during the months of the high level or the epidemic)? Peru tops statistics for countries with more than 1 million people (33 millions there), but statistics in many populated regions are hard to explain without a serious epidemic.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 13 2020 12:37 utc | 208

@karlof1 #155
Americans have no problem with 70K opioid deaths per year, or 36K car accident deaths, or 48K suicides.
Unless you're going to try to say all of the 190K COVID-19 deaths were preventable, it is utterly stupid to portray them as an avoidable tragedy like pointless war deaths.
The US rate of COVID-19 deaths per million is still below Belgium, Spain and the UK; almost the same as Italy and slightly above Sweden.
Furthermore, examination of the COVID-19 death rates per state show that the only effect policy decisions had is whether the deaths occurred all at once or are spread out over multiple months.
The economic impact, however, is dramatically different.
While I have no dog in this hunt either way: the point is that there was no public consideration of *all* the ramifications of said policy decisions - which are ongoing in California and some other states.

Posted by: c1ue | Sep 13 2020 14:56 utc | 209

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Sep 13 2020 12:37 utc | 208

If it is a poor country with a hard military lockdown you can speculate if the death rate was caused by the lockdown or by covid-19. If you believe statistics the over all excess mortality in Peru exceeded the covid-19 cases by far.

You do have to wonder though how one and the same virus can be deadly in one country and safe in another - I live in a country with no excess mortality but with - by now mostly lifted - mild lockdown, and there is Japan with no lockdown, just people being extra careful, and Japan was most successful in keeping the covid-19 death rate down - except maybe for China, where infections were largely over when they detected the virus or Belarus where they managed to have military parades, an election and a color revolution with a raise in the all cause death rate in the first half of 2020 of 0.05 percent.

So whatever they are doing in Peru, it must be another virus, or the virus is not that dangerous by itself.

In my country you are much more likely to die from hospital infection than from covid-19. Funeral businesses had to do short-time work, as hospital beds were kept free for covid-19 and operations were post-poned (that tells you something about the risks and benefits of some operations).

Of course you can and will get viral pneumonia with a weak immune system and of course sars is not the only virus circulating. They do not test for other viruses.

It is a case of what you see and what you don't see.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2020 17:08 utc | 210


They do not test for other viruses.

It is a case of what you see and what you don't see

yeah, excellent point.

Posted by: john | Sep 13 2020 17:28 utc | 211

Re: Piotr Berman | Sep 13 2020 12:37 utc | 208

"Western countries knew basically what Chinese authorities knew, perhaps with a week of delay, perhaps not."


(partial timeline)

Ten days after a Chinese doctor noticed what seemed to be a "strange form of flu" (Dec 26) China notified the US government (Jan 5) of what it knew at that time.

Dec 27: Dr. Zhang reported unusual pneumonia cases to the local Center for Disease Control

Jan. 7. 2019-nCoV identified by Chinese scientists -- Trump did nothing.

Jan. 10. WHO issued a comprehensive package of technical guidance online with advice to all countries on how to detect, test and manage potential cases, based on what was known about the virus at the time. Trump did nothing.

Jan 12: nCoV19 genomic sequences identified and shared with world by China and WHO. Trump did nothing.

Jan. 14 WHO's technical lead for the response noted in a press briefing there may have been limited human-to-human transmission of the corona virus (in the 41 confirmed cases), mainly through family members, and that there was a risk of a possible wider outbreak. Trump did nothing.

Jan. 21. First case in US identified in Kirkland, WA
Trump did nothing.

Jan. 22. Trump interviewed by CNBC's Joe Kernan:
JOE KERNEN: “--are there worries about a pandemic at this point?”
TRUMP: “No. Not at all. And-- we’re-- we have it totally under control.”

Jan. 31. After spending weeks assuring US population that he has "everything under control," but doing nothing, Trump bars flights from China.

(Timeline from information compiled by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which has representatives stationed in China.)

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 13 2020 18:09 utc | 212

Posted by: AntiSpin | Sep 13 2020 18:09 utc | 212

No difference in Germany. Main German virologist speaking for the German state institute fighting infections (equivalent to CDC), February 14, 2020:

Sars-Cov-2 might equal heavy influenza.

7 from 8 patients in Germany just showed symptoms of a mild cold. One patient showed signs of viral pneumonia but recovered.

Then, something suddenly changed on March 11 after WHO declared sars-cov-2 a pandemic. After that it took Germany 2 more days and a weekend to decide on a general lockdown.

So what is the definition of a pandemic?

Central to this debate has been the question of whether H1N1 influenza should have been labelled a “pandemic” at all. The Council of Europe voiced serious concerns that the declaration of a pandemic became possible only after WHO changed its definition of pandemic influenza. It also expressed misgivings over WHO’s decision to withhold publication of the names of its H1N1 advisory Emergency Committee.3 WHO, however, denied having changed any definitions and defended the scientific validity of its decisions, citing “numerous safeguards” for handling potential conflicts of interest.5

At stake in this debate are the public trust in health officials and our collective capacity to respond effectively to future disease threats. Understanding this controversy entails acknowledging that both parties are partially correct, and to resolve it we must re-evaluate how emerging threats should be defined in a world where the simple act of labelling a disease has enormous social, economic and political implications.
Since 2003, the top of the WHO Pandemic Preparedness homepage has contained the following statement: “An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity, resulting in several simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.”6 However, on 4 May 2009, scarcely one month before the H1N1 pandemic was declared, the web page was altered in response to a query from a CNN reporter.7 The phrase “enormous numbers of deaths and illness” had been removed and the revised web page simply read as follows: “An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity.” Months later, the Council of Europe would cite this alteration as evidence that WHO changed its definition of pandemic influenza to enable it to declare a pandemic without having to demonstrate the intensity of the disease caused by the H1N1 virus....
WHO’s defence of its decision to declare H1N1 influenza a pandemic because it met “hard to bend”, “clearly defined virological and epidemiological criteria”26 overlooks the fact that these criteria changed over time. As Gross noted, under WHO’s previous (2005) guidelines the 2009 H1N1 virus would not have been classified as a pandemic influenza virus simply because it was not a new subtype.27 The 2009 plan, by contrast, only required a novel “reassortant” virus (Table 1).

Statements from WHO such as “Is this a real pandemic. Here the answer is very clear: yes”5 suggest that pandemics are something inherently natural and obvious, out there in the world and not the subject of human deliberation, debate and changing classificatory schemes. But what would and would not be declared a pandemic depends on a host of arbitrary factors such as who is doing the declaring and the criteria applied to make such a declaration.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2020 19:08 utc | 213

add to 213

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky: Covid-Gate

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2020 20:18 utc | 214

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