Boom Times For Doomsday

Imagine a variant of the flu that is four or five times more lethal than the common flu and it is spreading quickly. The experts are not sure exactly how lethal this new flu variant will be, other than it will be considerably worse than the common flu that hits every fall and winter. Further, they are unsure of the origin or how to combat it with drugs and therapeutics. Before long, it is a serious problem. This new influenza is a pandemic spreading rapidly all over the world

Now, you don’t have to imagine it, because you lived through it. The Swine Flu pandemic of 2009 infected about a billion people worldwide, according to most estimates. As is always the case with these things, the number of infected is always a best guess, as many are infected but are never confirmed. The death toll is a little easier to grasp, as it is hard to ignore a corpse, but many flu deaths are classed as other things. It probably killed half a million people.

The salient thing about the Swine Flu epidemic is that no one remembers it, until someone mentions it. Even then, most people probably think it killed pigs. While it caused lots of disruption and killed up to half a million people, most people did not notice it. No one remembers the SARS outbreak, which was way back in the dark ages of 2002 or the MERS pandemic in 2012. Both of those were much more lethal than the current virus spreading around the globe.

This is a good thing to keep in mind when watching the panic ensue on-line and in the mass media. While these virus pandemics are serious, they are not uncommon and they don’t usher in the end times. Human society is actually quite resilient to these sorts of pestilences. Sure, it is very serious, but it not the plague. That was many times worse than the worst case scenario for the Covid-19 pandemic. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population.

The Covid-19 pandemic is serious, especially if you are very old or have respiratory issues or you smoke. Like the common flu, the most vulnerable are always those with the weakest immune systems. For everyone else, the risk drops considerably, as our immune systems can fight off the virus. As was true of SARS and MERS, the spread of these potent strains of flu tend to stall with public awareness. We don’t give ourselves any credit for reacting sensibly to these things.

A big difference this time, of course, is the political situation. In 2002, when SARS appeared, the Left was wrapped up in anti-war hysteria. When MERS appeared in 2012, the sainted Obama was on the throne. Now, the evil Orange Man and his Russian handlers are wrecking our democracy, so the Left is going all in on the Yellow Panic, hoping to make this his Katrina. This is magnifying the normal racket that comes from Doomsday Inc., whenever there is a scare like this.

Of course, this is a boom time for Doomsday Inc. There used to be an old joke about these guys in the financial world. The line was, “the bears have predicted 10 of the last two market crashes.” It is a variant on the old line about a stopped clock being right twice a day. For Doomsday Inc., all signs always point to the great calamity they are sure is right around the corner. Past performance, of course, is never an indication of future events. This time it is different.

It says something about modern times that a significant portion of the public thinks the whole thing will come crashing down at any moment. The evidence is strongly against that view. Just a decade ago the financial system faced the greatest threat since the 1929 market crash. The mortgage meltdown was supposed to be the big one, but it was not the big one after all. The Y2k scare was another boom time for the doomsday business, something similar to what we see now.

Doomsday Inc. seems to feed on a sense of detachment many feel toward modernity and its consequences for society. There’s fellowship in telling scary stories about the looming disaster. It feels good to be scared. In fact, one feels most alive when scared, so that’s part of the rush these people get from indulging in these fantasies. It’s like playing a live action video game. The doomsday enthusiast gets the exhilaration of being in real danger, without actually being in danger.

In fairness, the doomsday fan spawns an on-line adversary that gets a similar emotional rush from these events. The dismissive cynic relished these times, because he gets to pretend to be the cool, level-headed guy when everyone is panicking. These guys show up in comment sections and in response to twitter posts. They take pleasure in telling the doomsday types that they are a bunch of hysterical sissies. These are great times for the dismissive cynic. It’s their time to shine too.

There is third type that comes out at these times. This is the person, who is sure everyone is panicking except him and everyone they know. There’s an urban myth quality to him. “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw people in hazmat suits down at Costco buying all the water.” He would never panic like that, but he is sure everyone else is ready to go bonkers.

What ties all of these types together is a sense that the current arrangements are simply too fragile to last much longer. Something is going to pull the wrong peg out of the pile. Like the kid’s game, the pile will collapse. Maybe it will be a collapse, maybe a panic that causes a collapse or maybe just a panic that unleashes the stupid on the rest of society, which in turns causes a crash. Somehow, someway, the stupidity of mankind will overrun the system and we reach the end times.

None of this panic, counter panic and so on should diminish the reality of this Covid-19 virus that is turning up all over the West. So far, it looks to be much more serious than Swine Flu, which killed a lot of people. Those in poor health or with pulmonary issues should exercise extreme caution. This is especially true if you have old and frail people in your life. You could have the virus and not know it, so assume you have the flu when around older people or people in poor health.

Part of that caution is avoiding the scare mongers, who relish these times. They can be quite convincing. What most people are going to experience from this is inconvenience, things like cancelled events or an extra hassle when traveling. There is a great swath of area between the scare mongers and the smugly indifferent. That is the zone of prudence, where sensible people take steps to deal with what is a serious issue. In these sorts of crises, the prudent shall inherit the earth.

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215 thoughts on “Boom Times For Doomsday

  1. The other interesting reveal from this sort of event how it proves exactly what hypocrites the EU really is when the rubber hits the road. Italy calls for help and the EU, in nearly predictable fashion, refuses to help –

    “EU countries have so far refused Italy’s plea for help fighting coronavirus, as national capitals worry that they may need to stockpile face masks and other medical gear to help their own citizens, officials and diplomats said.

    The refusal so far to volunteer help for Italy, which requested face masks through the EU’s civil protection mechanism, highlights the urgency for Brussels as it seeks to orchestrate a coordinated response to the epidemic, and to make use of its still relatively limited powers during public health emergencies compared to the broader authority of member states.”

    Suddenly the EU claims to have have “limited” powers and defaults to member states. How convenient is that?

    I hope this is one more nail in the EU’s coffin.

    • Karl is, as usual, right. The EU is a classic example of how a trading bloc growing bloated cannot really intervene in much other than raising capital through taxes. As a Brit I voted repeatedly for us to leave the EU, not because I hate Europe (I don’t) but I hate that the EU is everything that is weak and shiftless about politics on a large scale. It has no personal identity, no affiliation to any area or its peoples.

      The nations of Europe have, despite their histories and achievements and individual identities, become just statistics for a central clearing house of disinterested bureaucrats.

      Greece is under the threat of invasion and the EU, who has pissed on Greece in the past, will do nothing to help them hold the border–and the Greek border is all our borders. The Catalans want independence from Spain (I have no idea if this is good or bad but the armed police, backed by the EU, think it is bad and that’s all that counts.) The French are, as usual, up in arms but they keep being beaten back by armed thugs, some of who proudly wear the EU ring of arseholes badge. In the UK the BBC refuses to report the ongoing strife in French cities, preferring instead to take money from Brussels to say nothing.

      During the financial woes of 2008 or so, the EU did nothing at all. Which was odd as they need more and more money for ever more grand plans, like an army. What, a mutual trading bloc with an army? Wow.

      Given all this, what makes anyone think they can offer any idea of what to do about a pandemic? The EU is useless and hopeless but it takes a lot to get away from them, as our feeble Westminster lackeys keep proving.

      So yes, the EU has member states when it suits, and global powers when they start winding up their fantasies.

  2. The global ruling elite is definitely in a state of panic. Most of them are over 70, and they can’t work from home. It’s said that ninety percent of success is showing up, and nowhere is this more true than in national politics and global business. Frequent international travel, attending meetings with dozens of other elite and their hundreds of support staff, and firm handshakes are all part of the job. You just can’t phone it in.

  3. We need to calibrate our response & anxiety to be constructive and sensible. Most of us have many decades left to live & have kin so we instinctively don’t want to “burn it all down”.
    What is exasperating is that so many refuse to learn from Black Swan events & cycles. There will eventually be another major earthquake on the west coast. How many will be ready? Same goes for forest fires, droughts, crop failures, & oil supply shocks. That so few have contingencies for any turbulence at all gets one thinking that our society is decadent, numb & asking for trouble.

    • Think about doomsday like this. “…A civilization can, indeed, advance and decline at the same time—but not forever. There is a limit toward which this ambiguous process moves; the limit is reached when an activist sect which represents the Gnostic truth organizes the civilization into an empire under its rule. Totalitarianism, defined as the existential rule of Gnostic activists, is the end form of progressive civilization.”
      ― Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction

  4. I’m not a doomsayer but neither am I one of those “on-line adversary” types that “gets a similar emotional rush from these events”. Nor am I one of the 3rd types the ZMan described. I simply refuse to fall for the hype. I’ve looked around the web and the numbers I see are concerning (somewhat) but not disconcerting. Everything I have been able to find out about corona viruses is that they’re simply not that bad. Here are some numbers I picked up a couple of days back:
    Italian figures: 280 cases with 10 fatalities or a 3.5% mortality rate
    Reuters’ China figures: 80,000 infected with 2,700 fatalities or a 3.3% mortality rate

    Now I most emphatically do NOT trust the Red Chinese but I do trust Reuters. Now the Red Chinese may be (doubtless are) under-reporting but unless they’re under-reporting fatalities worse than over all cases then it is the percentages that I find interesting. Notice that both the Italians AND the Red Chinese are reporting similar mortality rates – approximately 3.5%. Other figures I’ve seen work out to comparable mortality rates. Now, yes, if your loved one happened to be one of the 3.5% who do not survive Covid-19 that is a tragedy – but it is most emphatically NOT a cause for alarm on a global or even a national scale.

  5. The girls at my work are terrified of the virus. I’ll admit, it’s fun to play on their fears a little.

    Girl turns to me with big wide eyes after reading a headline and breathily confides that she’s thinking of cancelling her upcoming flight to Big City. “You think it’s serious?” I put on somber face and nod with great solemnity…her eyes widen further…

    • Hells bells, man. Did you capitalize on the moment?! Never let a good crisis go to waste.

  6. It’s also Doom Time for Boomsday.

    One problem is some (you’re sufficiently elderly) to remember Gerald Ford’s handling of the Swine Flu back then (mid 1970s) where the vaccine caused Guillame Barre syndrome and killed an paralyzed a lot of people.

    Speaking of Boomertime: I was wondering how to save Social Security and Medicare….

  7. All the people in January assuring us that there was nothing to see here and this was nothing more than the seasonal flu were just as irritating as all the doomsters that came out of the woodwork in the last week or so. Sometimes, they’re the same people.

    Institutions, including the corporate media, have lost all credibility, which leaves people on their own to make up their own versions of reality. The Spanish flu of 1917-18 was followed by the Roaring Twenties. Somehow, it doesn’t feel like history will repeat.

  8. Z Man said: “Doomsday Inc. seems to feed on a sense of detachment many feel toward modernity and its consequences for society. There’s fellowship in telling scary stories about the looming disaster. It feels good to be scared. In fact, one feels most alive when scared, so that’s part of the rush these people get from indulging in these fantasies.”

    Here’s a quote I’ve always loved.
    “How did you go bankrupt?”
    “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

  9. “What You Need to Know about the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic: Timeline and Analysis”

    This econ professor’s analysis and timeline should interest everyone here. It matches what I have read here, there, and yon.

    Teaser: “These figures confirm that we are not facing a global health emergency, that the probability of infection is low. And Based on China’s experience the treatment for the virus infection is effective.” (towards the end of the article)

  10. Corvid-PLA/CIA PillowVirus19 has already killed globalonialism. No Chinese made junk is going to the Port of Long Beach for the past few weeks. The trucking companies are charging a $500 or more surcharge for all truckloads going into California because they cannot get a load out of California and thus must deadhead north or east burning fuel pulling an empty trailer.

    The Confirmed cases numbers are low likely because there are plenty of a-symptomatic carriers who will not be tested because they don’t have the symptoms but who are infected carriers like Typhoid Mary or a Corvid-PLA/CIA-Pillow Virus James who is either deliberately or inadvertantly spreading the disease.

    It took years to find and catch her and she ended up being in quarantine because she refused to stop being a cook.

    What if — as seems likely — there are hundreds or thousands of asymptomatic carriers of this disease?

    Hail Victory !!!

    Pastor Martin Lindstedt
    Church of Jesus Christ Christian/Aryan Nations of Missouri

    • It isn’t all junk, though. It’s that the majority of pharmaceuticals and their components sold in this country now come from China. This comes after the poisoned baby-food and poisoned pet-food scandals. That happened because of outsourcing. Codified into law by bought-and-paid-for politicians from both parties.

  11. Oh, and the toilet paper thingie.

    FFS, you need food and water, you idiots!

    (Me: bags of tobacco, weed, and booze.
    I’m gonna be a frickin’ King!)

  12. In public, I use mechanic’s gloves, about $19.
    Leather tips, touchscreen capable. In black w/ trim, stylish not scary like latex, easy off/on.

    I don’t touch anything with bare hands.
    Cash I’ll spray with disinfectant fabric softener, but try to use the card chip.

    A wipe and alcohol spritzer in the pocket with a mask. (Refill those 99c spritzers with alcohol.)
    Hand sanitizer works fine on gloves.

    Viruses ride on water vapor (breath), bacteria doesn’t, so a mask when unsure and distance whenever possible, please.

    Bless you and keep you, thanks, Zman.

  13. People enjoy watching horror and disaster movies for exactly the reasons you have explained in this post. We all have an innate need to experience existential threat (either directly in reality or vicariously via imaginary media) in order to feel a sense of self-worth and justification for being alive. No one wants to be a parasite and live a derivative life of dependency. Internally, we all want to be heroic champions leading a life well lived. Unfortunately, in this modern age of civilized affluence, our environment provides damn few opportunities to test our mettle.

  14. The Gloom and Doom from some quarters is all about returning the favor to Trump and the GOP for declaring war on them. They used to defend Trump from media lies, and now they amplify them. This is duplicitous, to be sure, but there is plenty of that to go around.

    • As I have written elsewhere, dissident politics is painfully immature. “Trump was mean to me so I hope he gets cooties” is what you would expect from high school girls.

      • The rest of our politics is even worse. Immaturity doesn’t begin to describe it. We are considering electing a dementia patient for President because Trump is rude to people…

      • One could make the same argument in the reverse. Nothing was more “mean girls,” than the way Trump’s team treated their “dissidents,” around five minutes after they had the election in hand.

  15. There’s some key piece of information missing about this pandemic. Why would China shutdown its economy over a flu that was killing 1% (and mostly old & sick people) ? They wouldn’t care about that at all. What’s different this time?

    • I suspect China reacted, as usual, out of self interest. First it ignored it, then jumped in with both feet when they decided that such was the best/only way to calm the markets and keep exporting. This flu would/did kill more in China than 1%. If the hospitals got even more patients than they did, it would rise enough that the work force would simply stay home or begin to flee to other areas less affected—all of which would affect the export markets they depend on. All of which is not to say, the CCP did not leak this virus to the public, just that they are nervous of economic disruption.

    • Because 1% of 1b is still 10,000,000 dead, and i dont care how heartless a commie is, they care about ten million dying. Come on here; yes, flu kills lots of people, it does every year everywhere. By analogy, the fact that they shut down and evacuate Galveston TX for a hurricane doesn’t mean the sky is falling: it means they’re in a typical hurricane path, and if you dont do that lots of people die. So you do that. Of course people react to disease and disasters, but the existence of normal, expected responses to predictable and normal diseases and disasters is, well, normal.

    • Drake;
      Yeah, this is a vexed subject, but one that’s worth examining to assess how deep in the kimchee we are. As usual in intel Q’s, there are indicators for and indicators against, specifically in this case, the theory that COVID19 is an engineered pathogen that escaped containment, either deliberately or through carelessness.

      Tl/Dr: I think we’ll be OK, given sensible personal precautions, much better diagnostic screening and ruthless application of quarantine.

      The bioweapon question matters because if it *is* one, then the ‘soup’ is a lot deeper. Based on external indicators, I think it’s *not*, FWIW.

      Indicators against:
      1. Viruses are well known to be latent in animal populations without killing those animals (e.g. monkeys & Ebola).
      2. Viruses are well known to mutate rapidly.
      3. Other viruses are known to have mutated or jumped from animal populations to humans (and vice-versa, I think).
      4. Relatively low lethality (flu. < COVID19 < SARS): I.e., not much bang for the bioweapon buck. By contrast, the USSR bioweapon program went big on Anthrax, for example.
      5. Whether the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cares about the people of China or not, they surely care about their own hides and wealth. So it would be complete lunacy for them to deliberately release an engineered pathogen and thereby blow up their own economy and forfeit 'The Mandate of Heaven'.
      6. The CCP promptly released the virus DNA profile, enabling a head start on detection kits and vaccines for as yet then unaffected areas (i.e. us). Not what you do when you're trying to facilitate spread.

      Indicators for:
      1. There has been at least one other virus plague (SARS ?) originating in Wuhan recently.
      2. Stupid origin story (wet market bat soup) indicating deception. It is now debunked, even by an English language CCP propaganda organ, no less.
      3. CCP sure acted like they thought it was super dangerous once they stopped lying about it and trying to suppress the story.
      4. Finally, there is a combination of characteristics that might seem to be 'designed' to overwhelm conventional public health defenses, namely that:
      a. It seems to be as transmissible as the regular flu. That is, pretty transmissible.
      b. It seems to have an extremely long infectious latency stage (7 -14 days) where you are infectious to others but show no symptoms yourself.
      c. It seems to have a long and treatment intensive infectious period. IOW, for those few (~20%) who *do* develop an acute case, a long (~10 days) hospital stay on pretty intensive care (neg. pressure room/ward + ventilator).

      All of these characteristics surely *could* be the result of an unfortunate combination of random mutations. Assessing the combined probability is well above my pay grade.

      By way of explanation, conventional public health defenses include individual and community quarantine plus social distancing (no large gatherings). Saturday's WSJ reported that, in the US, when promptly and rigorously applied, these conventional public health measures significantly reduced the severity of the 1918 'Spanish Flu' pandemic. This was despite the lack at the time of most of the knowledge and resources that we have today. The better results were in contrast to places in the US where such measures were not so applied

      Long infectious latency means that you can infect others without showing symptoms, and thus being detected, yourself. This makes prompt individual quarantine less effective in slowing the spread. Likewise community or country based quarantine is more readily compromised, even with prompt travel cut-off: You have to retrospectively track down several weeks worth of arrivals from an infected area once it's identified. Then you have to screen them all.

      Long and demanding hospitalization means new cases can (and did in China) rapidly stack up in hospitals, taking down medical staff (who also have to be quarantined or treated).

      On balance, FWIW, my personal assessment is that *deliberate* release of an engineered pathogen *can* be ruled out. If it was careless release of an engineered organism, it seems that it would have to be one at an intermediate stage of development, since it lacks the total deadly attribute package of something like smallpox.

      This means, in turn, that it *can* be dealt with. Low cost mass *diagnostic* screening will be key to countering the long latency problem. So will rigorous enforcement of quarantine.

      Per Pres. Trump's CDC presser this weekend, they are indeed focused on the rolling out mass diagnostic screening ASAP.

  16. The mutual trust and willingness to sacrifice once common in the wider American community was killed by diversity some unmarked day between 1965 and now. Our fears are exaggerated and our BS meters are choking on static because they really are lying to us about everything and they really do hate us.

    However this ultimately plays out, this is another example for Chad & Becky of how the U.S. government can’t be trusted to be competent or reasonably honest. The bigger the event, the less trustworthy the information or advice.

    Anything that shakes their faith in the system helps us. If we shake them loose from the Liberty Tree, they tend to roll our way and stay. As the latest SHTF, keep our credibility high by not flying off the handle. Show normies you have a grounded prepper mindset that makes you an asset, not a loose cannon. You’re a guy who has a plan and some solid heuristics instead of speculating, pretending to insider info or Trusting the Plan. Then you can be the guy who can explain why Uncle Sucker does what he does when the time is right and the audience is ready.

    Political legitimacy isn’t a zero sum thing but it’s very close. People feel a leadership vacuum instinctively and want it filled. If we’re ready to provide it on a local scale when existing authority tanks, we can red-pill in bulk.

      • Spot on indeed.
        Mother Nature took one look at Drag Queen Story Hour and said, “Oh HELL no!”.

        Tah, globalism! Buh-bye!

    • Great post.

      Political legitimacy isn’t a zero sum thing but it’s very close.

      Yes. The more credibility they lose, the more we gain.

  17. On the bright side, I see two positive outcomes from the Kung flu pandemic:

    First, the western world is getting a decent look at the downside of outsourcing nearly every thing to China. For the first time I can recall, people are discussing this issue and actually questioning its wisdom. One simple tactic to get people talking about it is to look around your setting (nearly any will do) and ask, “Is there one manufactured item here that doesn’t have at least a component that comes from China?” It likely won’t last long, but is yet another nudge in our direction.

    Second, as a part of the community that has to physically deal with the problem, most of us are using the influx of money and attention to plan and prepare for the real thing when it actually happens. Sort of a dry run, near-real life drill. Sadly, the bureaucratic parts are also using it to fatten their chairs and budgets, with inevitable expansions.

    • As to your second point: this is a great opportunity to form communities or find reliable people. This may not be the Big One, but it will come, and knowing good people and having useful skills will keep you healthy longer than most.

    • And when the Covid-19 passes all talk about bringing back manufacturing will cease. Even the DR doesn’t care about it. To be blunt I can’t even figure out what the DR leaders consider important or relevant to Americans.

    • As far as dry runs go, this is one for the preppers. I don’t qualify as such, but do try to keep multiples of anything on hand – because there have been too many times I’ve looked for something I was certain I had and found that I was out – and because I hate going to the store. All the paper Americans here buying out all the disinfectant wipes and anti-bacterial hand soap doesn’t mean I don’t have any, but it does mean I may have trouble when I need it in the future. If our budget and space permitted, there are many things I’d just buy a case of. Yesterday I literally walked through the soap aisle at Walmart en route to the register, and there was a Chinese woman who furtively glanced at me, and then scooped up the remaining four boxes of some sort of expensive wipe in which I had no interest – but she got it all, so she was certain she won. I hate people.

      • Everyone should have food/water/meds to last a couple of weeks. Maybe with a buffer to help out friends, family, and neighbors in need.

    • Chatted an hour with a really smart 21-year old. His main concern was clmate disruption.

      Muh climate vs muh GDP.

      This is where they steer us.
      If I had not let him yank my string- sorry, I did- I should’ve simply taken a breath, paused, and said, We’re working on different information, so forget what I think- what are you hearing, what are your concerns, and what do you recommend.

      The Zman podcast was right: sales is hard, so don’t get too far ahead of your skis.

      Best way to gain allies– just listen. It’s ok.

      • (My mistake the last couple years is I’m pitching. Trying too hard in a panic.
        Shut the F up, alzaebo, and ask!)

        “Anything here not made in China?”
        Good stuff. All ya gotta say.

  18. Regardless of how this turns out, comparing it previous events in America’s past, say the Spanish Flu or the Great Depression, is comparing apples to extraterrestrials. America was a majority white nation confident in itself and its future (I always remember that story Bukowski wrote about going to the horse track during the Gulf War, looking at the people and thinking, ‘Things were much, much better in the Great Depression’). I’ve been reading about the Spanish Flu recently, and apparently quarantine was going great guns until there was some massive rally held in the street, which caused the thing to break out again. Just imagine (for the sake of argument) that Covid mutated and the CDC recommended that all massive gatherings be cancelled, the conventions be delayed, and the election be postponed. Could you imagine the Oy-Veying about Trump the fascist trying to burn the Reichstag and become dictator for life? It would be like Alexander Haig’s “I’m in charge” moment times ten.

    • Yeah everything is getting more and more complex (supply chains, technology, etc.) as the population is getting more and more dumb, and non-white.

      The drive to increase efficiency is a white thing. You think Mexicans care about just in time delivery?

      Basically if things were to fail we have a population that could not sustain itself, and worst of all, could not restart things once it’s over. The legacy white systems of increasing complexity are running for now but the new grad pools of STEM is looking precipitously non white. 20, 30 years till it’s all non whites in important positions?

      • Mexico stumbles along due to its non-White elite. What would happen if they were gone? Import foreigners to keep the 21st Century up and operating the way oil-rich Gulf countries do?

      • I disagree with him about a lot of things, but I still read James Kunstler’s blog and his books, and it’s looking like his Long Emergency might be coming sooner rather than later. There will birth pains if it happens (re: a lot of dying, probably) but it will mean the return of small-scale, workable arrangements, genuine communities, and sane gender roles grounded in biology. Is it worth enduring thirty or forty years of ugly transition, the end of the power grid, and endemic violence in order to get back to a world where people make music on a fiddle on their porch and eat food they create, and get most of their entertainment from books? Hell, it’s worth anything. There could be worse things than collapse, like continuing on with our current arrangement.

      • I think people are underestimating the resiliency in the system and the ability to fix problems as they arise. It took Rome hundreds of years to fail. It all seems very sudden and quick when reading about it in a book, but generations of people lived their entire lives entirely within the period it was failing.
        I think it was our Z-Man who said that it’s like taking an escalator down, not the elevator. It’s down 3 steps and back up 2 steps as well and not straight down. I think we are already in the decline.

        I think they are also underestimating just how bad things would be if the system were to collapse all at once. But outside of something absolutely crazy like an asteroid hitting the Earth or a nuclear war or something of that magnitude, it’s just going to be a long slow decline that people barely even notice in real time.

        I am even convinced they will present the decline as progress. For example, as more and more people are priced out of home ownership or even car ownership, it will be framed as either a change in “consumer preferences” or being freed of the drudgery of driving or home ownership.

      • That’s it. That’s why they’re Breiviking the next generation- so there won’t be any future leaders after the Glorious Reset.

  19. I was sure that the media was going to have to reign in the hysteria around Trump if he won the election. I really did think they were going to have go to back to normal when modern Hitler was elected and man was I wrong. But it really is hard to see how they can keep up this level of hysteria around the wuflu for another 18-24 months. People usually get bored when people are screaming about a falling sky when they look up and see the sky sitting in the usual place. The narrative around Trump was constantly shifting to keep up the interest. But “we’re all gonna die” is hard to keep up or morph into something else when the bodies fail to appear.

  20. I had just retired from the telephone company and was contracting during the Y2K thing. One contract I had was overtly just CYA just in case. In reality, there wasn’t a problem and if there was, IBM had already handled it.

  21. This whole thing is getting a little confusing. Am I supposed to wash my hands, and stay away from people, or wash people, and stay away from my hands? I’ve been standing out front with the garden hose, but no one seems interested.


    • After showering in the morning and putting on underwear, your penis is probably the cleanest part of your body during the day. Our hands touch all kinds of filthy things. Yet after going to the bathroom, we wash our hands. After touching it with our hands, shouldn’t we wash our penis instead?

      • And DLS illuatrates exactly why every glibertarian got punched so much in middle school.

    • jw;
      The only thing I know is if it’s deadly to touch your face with your hands, then I’m a dead man walking. Tried focusing on not to doing this yesterday. I couldn’t last 2 minutes

  22. The corona virus would be a two line write-up on the bottom of the very last page of the SUNDAY NY Times if Obama were president.
    And the propaganda arms of the demokrat party – the media – would be covering it the same way they are presently covering the little by little , but inexorable , extermination of white farmers in South Africa.

  23. Ya’ see?! The Russkies created a Vulcan mind meld that made people pull the lever for Trump. If only HRC was in the oval office – this never woulda’ happened.
    And now I also seem to have mispalced my tin foil hat.

  24. In all fairness, the mortgage meltdown of 2008 *WAS* the big one. Stock markets collapsed, real estate values plummeted, and global credit markets locked. There was no liquidity in the system.

    A global deflationary depression would certainly have followed but for the coordinate interventions of world governments and central banks. Congress immediately authorized Paulson’s $700B TARP plan, regulatory changes allowed banks to carry underwater assets on their books at full value, the Fed dropped interest rates to zero, opened the discount window to investment banks, and expanded its balance sheet from $800B to $4.7T in five years–to this day nobody really knows the true value of the assets on the Fed’s books. For better or worse, these policies were successful in reinflating the asset bubble that burst in 2008.

    The financial issue now is that the Coronavirus could very well be the pin that pricked the existing asset bubble. Prices for commodities and financial assets are collapsing. Real estate will surely follow. The Fed will be forced to drop interest rates to zero again, and maybe to go negative. Can the Fed expand its balance sheet to $10T or $15T? Who knows?

    • To build on that, most certainly the government and the Fed are buying securities (through the futures markets to avoid detection and obvious inventories), to buy time. That time-buying allows the short term market panics, like this morning, to dissipate. But to your point, and to the larger value-for-money question, economic damage is being done, that will show up in valuations over time,

      • Exactly, Dutch! It’s illegal for the gov to sell debt to the central bank, so they issue a Treasury Bill to a commercial bank and then the central bank can buy the T-bill back 24 hrs later. And our descendants who haven’t even been born yet are supposed to be on the hook for this scam they had no part in? Sadly people are either too busy, too stupid, or just uninterested to pay attention.

        • BestGuest, finally the Fed explained!
          Much applause. One sentence!

          Also, “buying securities (through the futures markets to avoid detection and obvious inventories), to buy time”. Excellent.

          (That’s how the petrodollar works. The Saudis buy 30-year gold futures contracts and exchange them for Treasuries. Weird.)

          • I am but a humble follower of FinTwit: At least we have some guys willing to tell the truth.

      • Liquidity is evaporating and credit markets are locking up right now. Trump has 48-72 hours to get an emergency plan in front of Congress, get the Fed on board, and get other developed nations on board. If he fails markets will collapse and he will lose 2020 and the Democrats will keep the House and flip the Senate.

        • There is plenty of liquidity, but there is no more liquidity for mega-companies to finance any big stock buyback programs. The end of that kind of thing is upon us. The equity markets are finding out how much those financed stock buybacks propped up stock prices.

    • I also see la Corona primarily as a financial attack. Somebody’s pulling the trigger.

      This may be the Great Reset, giving us the eternal rule of the Long Emergency.

      Now, negative interest is a wealth tax.
      But, is it also a consolidation, further robbing of the seed corn? The .1% robbing the 10%?
      I vote Coyote Cliff.

      (I just erased a tedious trail back to Kuwait’s Desert Storm, re the Iraq oil shock that quaked the mortgage bond and CDO markets.
      These Tier 1 psychos do long-term strategy, so by the time the effect becomes noticeable, the cause is forgotten.)

  25. Z: “a sense that the current arrangements are simply too fragile to last much longer.”

    While that’s certainly true in terms of consciousness, I’d say the reality is more of a gradually-then-suddenly sort of thing, and that the current arrangements gave out quite some time ago. Wile E. Coyote walked off the cliff twenty paces ago, and he just looked down and noticed.

    We’re all reading this blog because for each of us, one fine morning that already happened a while ago, we woke up, stretched, looked out the window, and realized this wasn’t America anymore.

  26. I am not at all concerned about the Kung Fu Flu but the real concern is the ripple effect it has on people. As several people have noted, if the response we are seeing to a relatively minor outbreak is any indication, a more serious crisis will cause the whole thing to unravel pretty quickly.

  27. Gotta love mainstream media. They stampede the herd and then report the ensuing damage. When reporting on toilet paper shortages becomes front-page news we’ve got a problem.

    Trouble is they have cried wolf one too many times. Saw some Elizabeth Warren look alike jump on three different machines at the gym never bothering bothering to wipe down any of them. Even in this heightened scare the filthy b**** was too f****** lazy .

  28. Somehow, someway, the stupidity of mankind will overrun the system and we reach the end times.

    It’s hard not to believe that when some State Department loon ships infected people back to the US. Or a dad, whose family is under quarantine because the wife is infected, takes his daughter to a father-daughter dance. Also add in that some libertardian was arguing in defense of the father. You can see how people come to believe that it is all going to collapse. The powers in charge and a significant number of your fellow citizens seem to be incompetent and stupid.

  29. “These guys show up in comment sections and in response to twitter posts. They take pleasure in telling the doomsday types that they are a bunch of hysterical sissies.” Challenge accepted. You’re all a bunch of hysterical sissies.

    I encourage every serious dissident to pick up a copy of W.M. Briggs’ book, Uncertainty, which breaks down some of the more terrible ways statistics is commonly used today (and the ‘Scientism’ that it enables), and offers an alternative using logical probability and model testing. You can skip some of the more detailed math if you aren’t a math geek, but just know that if someone is using a p-value, you can be certain that they’re far to certain in their predictions. Relative Frequency != Probability. In particular, Chapter 4 will teach you more than what most modern ‘data science’ practitioners know about probability.

    • Sounds interesting and revealing. Thanks. I just bought the hard cover on Amazon for $62. The paper back is $85!

      People are often unaware of all the assumptions that are made in a statistical proclamation, from the distribution that is assumed to underlie the data in question to choosing the confidence intervals.

      • Yeah, Briggs even dismissed confidence intervals as over-certain (unless the parameters have been integrated out). The key is being sure to define your assumptions and your evidence. He talks a ton about *Cause* as well, and how we forget that nothing in the world is actually ‘normally distributed’ – every single thing has a physical cause (we might not be able to measure some of them), and we only describe our uncertainty in something *using* that distribution.

        • Funny, but I’ve had this debate with people about the normal distribution assumption. That’s a bit of faith that is unshakable, I think.

          • The possibility of outliers means that sometimes the outlier comes in. Because the probability of the outlier coming in is considered very small, a few extra times the outliers come in throws everything off. As we get better at identifying how the probabilities can work in business and markets, and position ourselves to them, the tails being fatter than expected can really screw up the positioning.

            That said, some things defy a good setting of probabilities, and C-virus is one of them. Position yourself to survive most all possibilities, and let it all play out. More than that is trying to guess whether the next coin flip is heads or tails. You might be right or you might be wrong, but it is dumb luck that gets you there.

          • Everything has a real, physical cause, and reality is *discrete* – there is no such thing as ‘chance’ as we tend to think of it (except to simply mean ‘we don’t know the cause’). Outliers and high variation in data (often hidden by drawing pretty regression lines and doing aggregation) should be warnings that our understanding of the pattern is naive at best, dangerous at worst. Taleb talks about this a bit with black swans and the like, the problem he has is that he confuses his replacement math (‘long tails’) with reality – which is neither ‘long tailed’ nor ‘normally distributed’ at all.

            You can quantify your uncertainty in something with a probability distribution, and you can draw a smooth line over data generated by a mathematical formula, and even compute an ‘average’ value of a group. But the problem with a lot of those things is they take shortcuts to make the math work out easier, or to tell a pretty story with a picture. Modern ML techniques are starting to do a better job with this since they’re all about *making good predictions*, which means testing them against data *that has never been seen*, but they still say nothing about cause.

          • The normal distribution is often a factor of our measurement of the underlying phenomenon. The explanation is more complex than can be easily stated here, but yes much everything is artificially “bell curved”, but it is still useful.

          • Agreed. I fond that people tend to not understand the limitation of tools. The old line about the man being good with a hammer sees all the word as a nail is very true.

          • In the physical sciences, I’ll agree, for the most part. But it’s used far to often in the social sciences, where the ‘underlying phenomenon’ is pretty much never actually measured at all. Proxies are invented, minds are magically read, etc, and a P < 0.05 is produced for publishing, and everybody then believes that X caused Y (until the next news cycle).

          • We’ll just log-transform it, add a small positive constant “episilon” and plow ahead with the usual analyses. Easy-peasy, Bob’s your uncle. Oh, and don’t forget to impute the missing values comprising 30% of the dataset….

            (Why no! I’m neither suspicious of nor bitter about the usual epidemiological analyses. Not at all, no siree!)

          • Aaagh. Obviously you add the miniscule constant first, (because log(0) is undefined and you have to deal with zero values somehow) THEN log transform. No idea what I was thinking when I typed the above, erroneously.

            /hangs head in shame
            /not, repeat NOT, anal retentive

    • In deference to our host, Zman, I’d second his essential reading title “Naked Statistics.”.

      It’s math for dummies, without numbers. Highly recommend.

    • Expect the “but correlation is not necessarily causation!” crowd to jump in.
      Well, when the heck is probabilty useful, then?
      Is all pattern matching a random walk, Inshallah?

      Best guess. I can work with a best guess, aka ‘stochastics’ or the Black-Scholes options equation: blah blah blah blah we’re guessing.

    • Oof. Well, I just embarrassed myself with that unnecessary bit of peevage. My apologies and approval to Mr. Badthinker and the informed commenters to follow.

      Something else to learn.
      Always some dang thing else.

  30. “It says something about modern times that a significant portion of the public thinks the whole thing will come crashing down at any moment. The evidence is strongly against that view.”

    Z is such a buzz kill.

  31. The vast majority of people who become infected with coronavirus never will know they had it. We have seasonal allergies starting as grass and other plants pollinate and it will be next to impossible to tell the difference unless a fever presents and is detected. This is worth bearing in mind as trading is suspended on the NYSE. It’s not unlikely some of the traders and talking heads already have suffered the virus and didn’t have a clue. While some of the panic is semi-rational most is not. Obviously there are those who would like to see the gyrating markets lead to a recession to harm or take out Trump. But the primary takeaway is how much irrationality has infected our low trust society. The moral panic over Trump is just the tip of the iceberg, and when an actual crisis presents God have mercy.

    • Read this argument (“Most will never know they had it“) and hear it daily from many people. I think to myself “Well, those silly Chinese, don’t they know it was just a flu?”

      And I thought the Chinese were pretty smart people, getting ready to totally dominate the 21st century, through both hard and soft power. China is reasserting it’s historical hegemony; difficult for those of us in the west to accept what an awesome, multi-millennial presence China has historically been, and is becoming again.

      CORVID-19 is something else. HOW MUCH else is TBD, and that’s the uncertainty fueling the hysteria.

      Grok your “low trust society” point; wholeheartedly agree. The west, right now, it a house of cards, and the enemies of the west know it.

      • Most of the enemies of the West are also houses of cards.
        Communist China is an incredibly low-trust society, for one.

        “He who is the least screwed up wins (probably)” is a strange way of looking at things, but I’m starting to think that this is how we are going to bumble and muddle our way through.

    • So the Chinese panicked over nothing, same thing with SK and Italy.

      Okay gotcha. It’s all pretty much about nothing.

      And the markets are not hyper inflated beyond all rationality and so the little down turn we have is just fear mongering

      So lets get back to smoking blunts, eating Doritos, fattening our bank accounts and enjoying our Chinese slave made consumer goods.

      Boobus Americanus at it’s finest.

      • A seven percent market drop today in response to aworldwide death toll of 1,000 over three month period seems, umm, a little excessive, no? As for your point about China and exploiting the crisis to get off that teat, yes.

        • Funny how no one in the media is mentioning the oil markets and what is driving them. That’s way more important to the markets than the flu. It’s also complicated. It’s easy to show images of people in bubbles and empty shelves the crew just cleaned off for CNN’s live shot.

          • There’s very little political advantage in citing the prime reason for today’s drop. Additionally, lots of cheap oil is frowned upon by the globalists through the propaganda outlets.

          • What’s the reason for the oil drop, do you think?

            Bin Salmen(?) just opened the Saudi spigot to flood the spot price- why?

            Is this a co-ordinated campaign?

          • A few days ago MBS detained a bunch of senior members of the Saudi mafia royal family.

            And the Kremlin is really tired of American Shale… I imagine there’s something to do with Syria and the Turks wrapped up in there too.

          • I find it funny that people buy the “empty shelves” footage – from the same CNN reporters where we have side-shots of them walking into a drainage ditch for their broadcast report to make the flooding look worse. Did everyone just forget that “Fake News” means they actually fake what they are reporting?

          • Empty shelves?
            I was just at the local Rite-Aid in Brooklyn NY..
            Scott-tissue toilet paper on sale
            12 rolls for $8.00…
            the shelves are overflowing.

            OTOH, I went to 3 Rte-Aids in total; none of them had hand sanitizer, but they expect to maybe get it tomorrow.

          • To be fair, on Sunday all the hand sanitizer was gone where I shop. It was kind of funny, they moved the ‘flushable wipes’ to an end cap, but they were full stocked. People love ‘Anti-Bacterial’ things to fight a virus apparently. Also, they had lots of isopropyl alcohol.

      • >>> So the Chinese panicked over nothing, same thing with SK and Italy.<<<

        Pretty much, yeah.

    • Jack, good point. I’ve seen panic, usually from women, and it is infectious and completely debilitating. No wonder they shoot such folk in combat. Perhaps they should start now?

    • That’s how pandemics begin. Nobody (other than a sociopath) looks forward to infecting anyone with anything, really.

  32. The real danger depends on the number of people who end up seriously ill and when. There sure seems to be a chance that our hospitals get totally overwhelmed with serious cases. Not sure what that looks like, but it could be ugly.

    • Yes. Folks need to look at the big picture. On one hand it’s the disruption to foreign supply chains and critical shortages. It’s also a virus that can be spread by entirely asymptomatic people. If it becomes a full-blown pandemic it will certainly expose the cracks in the globalist, financialization-of-everything, fraud economy.

  33. Compellingly argued synopsis. I’m surely not sitting around expecting the sky to fall, but I think its hard to dismiss the expanding fragility of our US population. The Great Depression and WW2 generation is gone, replaced by comparatively soft and delicate people who are incredibly dependent on an increasingly complex systems-of-systems for necessities.

    What this means is that it no longer takes a genuine crisis to disrupt an inherently tenuous economy. The “herd” of the 1930s could feed themselves amid disaster … disasters that endured for years. The herd of the 2020s stocks up on toilet paper. We take snow-days as the first flakes fall. Mainstreamers consider anything a “disaster” that disrupts their routine or threatens a soft-wipe for their rear end. Those who recognize the fragility aren’t wrong to point out that things CAN go from bad to worse to catastrophe in relatively short order. Odds are against COVID-19 being the instigator to collapse, but the odds are NOT against increasing fragility. And if all it takes is a relatively mild virus to shake things up now, where will we be in 100 years?

    • 70% of HS are not capable of being recruited by the Army because of physical or mental issues.

      Our population is much vulnerable that the MSM is letting on. Every Diabetic, 300lb fattie,smoker, boozer or those with COPD or immune disorder is vulnerable to Covid-19 because their cardio-pulmonary systems are shot. Remember CV-19 generally robs lung capacity so if you have any extra…it’s RIP.

      How many diabetics in the U.S.? 30 million
      How many with COPD? 16 million

      At the minimum we have almost 50 million at risk. Not a show stopper but enough to overwhelm our medical system. And any of you who have visited the ER of a major hospital knows how impacted they are in the best of times.

      But wait there is our structural risk. We import almost everything from China for our remaining U.S. manufacturers. And China is not producing. Tech companies here on the West coast are already having issues sourcing parts from China.

      Wait until our hospitals can’t get the PPE gear they need or the drugs.

      People here make light of our dependency on China because they don’t understand the situation it puts us in because they are making bank. They ought to because it’s going to bite us on our collective ass.

    • Keep in mind that it’s the corporate/billionaire media that’s making such a big deal out of this latest “crisis”. Most of us mere proles remember all of the previous crisis that we somehow managed to survive.

      The media has been promoting crisis for a very long time. For example, it was a crisis when those evil North Vietnamese thugs launched a torpedo at our brave, innocent sailors who were minding their own business in the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. It was a crisis when those henchmen of the evil Saddam Hussein tossed babies out of incubators in Kuwait, leaving them to shiver on the cold concrete floor. It was a crisis when that naughty bully Hussein plotted with the hijackers on 9/11 to attack the warm cuddly folks at the Pentagon.

      Keep the sodium chloride handy.

  34. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I haven’t heard nearly as much crowing from the MOOOGA crowd the past 10 days or so.

    • It is. You should take a break from the TRS content. Those guys have crossed into despondency. Remember, the dark spiral crowd was sure we were invading Iran too.

      • I have. When TDS and especially FTN started inferring the Joooooz have created the novel coronavirus in order to make money off a vaccine, I backed out.

        • The Jews don’t need the vaccine business in order to profit off a crisis. When they aren’t busy being loan sharks, extortionists, slave traders, drug dealers, swindlers, war profiteers or influence peddlers, the Jews are natural middlemen… and the middle-man thrives on churn.

          It almost doesn’t matter what is churning, on each transaction of churn, the middle-man gets his slice. The Jews will profit if the market goes down and everybody dies, and they will profit if the market goes up and nobody dies. They didn’t have to cause the virus itself: causing the panic over the virus (which of course they did do) will suffice.

          “The secret mischiefs that I set abroach,
          I lay unto the grievous charge of others.” — who said?

          • Tell them that God bids us do good for evil;
            And thus I clothe my naked villainy
            With odd old ends stolen out of Holy Writ,
            And seem a saint when most I play the devil.

          • Brilliant analysis, but how come (((they))) are not selling the vaccine this time. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate money maker? First invent the virus, then sell the vaccine. Or maybe (((they))) are selling long term care insurance this time.

        • Same here. I saw FTN as the less wild of the two, but now I’m like, guys, you’re really starting to become the mask…

      • There’s a lot of black-porn within the dissident right, especially from them. Trump is probably the best president in many decades when it comes to war. Just his being there prevents some other lunatic looking to start wars from being there. Things are pretty calm on that front compared to where they were in Nov 2016.

        • I’m not sure what happened, but The constant negativity is tiresome. Despair is a sin for a reason.

          • We come to the Z Man for level headedness. TRS was once TDS which meant The Daily Shoah. They are constantly looking for something of daily Shoah in proportion. Yes, we all know about the rimless hat wearing folk and their disproportionate control over global events. No, they did not invent coronavirus as a weapon against China and Iran or to make money off of vaccines. Highest likelihood is Chinese incompetence. In America we take more precautions than we need, slowing us down. In China they take less than they need speeding them up. The cost of their reckless and naked ambition has unleashed what could possibly become the most devastating viral illness endemic to humanity.

          • I think a lot of people swept up in the alt-right really thought the great revolution was at hand. Trump would sweep the enemies from the field and Washington would just roll over and accept their new master. That was never going to happen. When that failed to materialize, when politics proved resilient to their demands, they went into a deep funk. Now, they root for failure and often confuse what they want to happen with what is actually happening.

          • Z Man;
            Kinda like a mirror image of the Fem Cloud after Hilary lost, no_?

            They were sooo close.

          • Charles Lieber of Harvard is Chinese?
            Underrepresented on the boards of Big Pharma, are they?

          • Agreed. It’s largely why I’ve stopped interacting here much. The comment section here is not what it used to be.

          • Agreed. More voices with new twists so I enjoy reading now more than posting. I still have my perennial favorites but the civil tone has been maintained among the overwhelming majority of the newer folks.

            The despair level seems to have crept up a bit, but then again, I think a lot of the older posters came to the realization that the American Restoration/White Reawakening/Whathaveya wasn’t going to just be handed to them. They worked through the reality of the thing and realized it’s going to take personal action, patience and a positive outlook to begin this thing. The new arrivals will get there too.

        • There’s a lot of black-porn within the dissident right, especially from them.

          A real problem, especially with sites who make a business out of poc-on-white crime-porn to dispirit our people.

          Also, I suspect a lot of the displacement-porn posters are only there to gloat. This is quite obviously the case with the Breitbart community, where you’ll have a torrent of “stupid Swedes/Germans/Brits/French, they voted for this now they get to lie in it, haha!”

          Some of them are East European, venting decades of West-envy, but I smell the lox on a lot of the posts – an envy much older.

          • There have got to be at least a dozen PhD theses embedded in that last paragraph. E.g. “Value of malignant spite in long-term maintenance of cultural cohesion”. And so forth.

  35. Basic innacuracies. Swine flu may have killed up to 200,000 not half a million and has a lower death to infection ratio than COVID-19.

    • It may have killed a million. That’s how estimates work, which was explained in the post. In a real emergency, pedants will be shot on site as they cannot be tolerated.

      • From the American Hospital Association:

        American Hospital Association “Best Guess Epidemiology” for #codiv19 over next 2 months:
        96,000,000 infections
        4,800,000 hospitalizations
        1,900,000 ICU admissions
        480,000 deaths

        vs flu in 2019:
        35,500,000 infections
        490,600 hospitalizations
        49,000 ICU admissions
        34,200 deaths

        • Remember, the flu in 1918-1920 was an event that did not repeat. This is typical. Such a pandemic wipes out the susceptible and dies down (culling the herd). The flu of this season is not quite over, but looks to be on par with Corona CoVID-19. My suspicion is that CoVID-19 will also burn itself out after a season or two.

          In any event, the very old are being culled in a disproportionate number to the young and economically useful. Much as I defend my Boomer cohort, the reality is that we are not economically useful. Getting rid of 5 or 10% will most likely have beneficial effect economically.

    • Close. It will hammer old people, those with COPD, diabetes, smokers,boozers, fatties and those with immune issues like cancer patients, Preemies(NICU babies), transplant patients, etc.

      Some 50 million plus Americans are at risk.

      Kids so far are safe from Covid-19.

      What Z ain’t talking about is the collapse in the China supply chain. It’s already hammering manufacturers in the Tech sector than source parts from China.

      Same with the medical field who gets 95% of medical supplies and drugs from China.

      I live within a few blocks of the main CA train line that takes containers from Long Beach Harbor to the rest of the U.S. and those trains are not running at all. Normally we’d get one every hour or so. Now we get one or two a day. of mixed freight. It is far worse this time than the housing collapse of 2008.

      The whole system is going to seize up while the DR clowns laugh about it. Damn fools.

      • The problem is that there are several risks associated with this virus, and most people seem to be capable of only thinking about one of them at a time, including perhaps our esteemed host here.

        The virus: No, it’s not that dangerous in itself. Those who contract it will experience anything ranging from nothing at one end to a very, very nasty flu at the other. Some will be hospitalized, while a small percentage will die.

        But it’s highly contagious and puts a significant fraction of infectees in hospital, which brings us to…

        The healthcare system: As many have pointed out, we just don’t have enough resources to accommodate the number of people who will require care if this virus continues to spread. And healthcare workers will then catch it, putting them out of commission for a few weeks each. And if the beds are filled with coronavirus patients, they won’t be available for other critical-care needs. Not to mention the scarcity of medical equipment, which brings us to…

        The economy: China’s factories still aren’t running anywhere close to capacity, and ordinary people are just beginning to realize how fragile this Rube Goldberg machine of international trade is. We just assumed that nothing would go wrong ever, and now we’re caught with our pants down (hence the rush for toilet paper, I guess).

        If supplies for critical needs and infrastructure depend largely on Chinese imports (as they do), and those imports are held up for a couple of months (as they possibly will be), then there will be disruption. If another crisis materializes in the midst of all this (say, a major grid outage or a natural disaster), then the disruption will be severe.

        You don’t need to be a panic-stricken lumpenprole brawling over family-size Chips Ahoy at Costco to think this is a concern. Whatever happened in past pandemics, they didn’t put the largest factory system on earth out of commission for an extended period. It’s entirely rational to be worried.

        • It exposes the fragility of the system. Not by attacking any particular weakness but by showing how poorly-designed it is. We’re going to see some fundamental changes to make things more resilient.

        • Murray, I am curious about another unknown, and that is how presence of the disease may make one less robust in the areas of lung capacity and overall vigor years later, thus making people more fragile in late middle age later on.

      • Used to drive a truck. My sources still in trucking tell me that the small operators are demanding a $500 surcharge for carrying loads INTO California because they can’t get any loads from Long Beach OUT of California and need to buy fuel to drive with empty trailers north to Oregon or east to the Midwest. The bigger operators like England, Swift, and Schneider have demanded — and got higher surcharges. And still they are hurting. A lot of them have simply parked the rigs against the fence in the lot. It is hurting the smaller fleets.

        The old style trucks needed to be driven under load at least once a month to make sure that their compression engine seals didn’t dry out. There are a bunch of 1988 – 2006 era trucks with Caterpillar engines still on the road because of California emissions laws in 2007 took down the manufacture of the 425 hp diesel engines because Caterpillar didn’t want to re-engineer their diesel engines. A “4 & a Quarter” Cat with an Eaton-Fuller 13-gear Road-Ranger transmission able to go from St. Louis to Denver without dropping a full gear” with a rattling cab with a shot electrical system with four million miles still making the Tyson’s “Chicken-Run” in the South East — but NOT in California hauling produce.

        About 40 percent of the freight has dried up. Yes, you’ll have produce, the chicken-runs and paper traffic internal traffic, but the global freight has dried up. This is why the Financial System has sunk due to these realities.

        Hail Victory !!!

        Pastor Lindstedt CJCC/AN

  36. Of all of these doomsday events of the past 20 years, I think it was Y2K, SARS, and Mad Cow Disease that had the most people on edge. But I don’t think any of them can hold a candle to COVID-19. I’m not sure why this seems to be so much bigger: is it because I’m in dissident politics now, and there tends to be a lot of doomsayers in dissident politics? There seems to be, on one hand, “just the flu” types, which include government officials urging calm. But at the same time, there are some pretty serious measures being taken by governments and organizations around the world. It could be prudence, or it could be that they know more than they want the people to know, and in the case of the USA, they are more concerned with market disruptions. So I’m going to use my own eyes here. If people are dropping dead all around me, I’m going Mad Max. If not, I’m just going to ride it out.

    • I think we’re living through a changing of the guard. Big changes coming this time, so it’s going to be a bumpy ride. The panic is coming from the people who stand to lose. It’s not so bad for the people who will survive and thrive. That’s what it looks like to me.

      I’m with you: just stay aware. And wash your hands!

      • To be be more specific: I think it’s the end of an era. I don’t think the virus is the change agent. It might be the last straw but it’s been a long time coming. I do think the panic over it reflects the anxiety of people who know they’re going to lose their position. It probably feels like the end of the world to them. Then of course some of that panic reaches the public.

        • I’ve seen half a dozen of these scares in my lifetime.

          Last time, half of the world’s governments were, with the connivance of WHO, scared into buying large stocks of Tamiflu from Donald Rumsfeldt’s company, Gilead Sciences.

          Oh, the wolf is out there, no doubt about it. But at this point, there’s no particular reason to assume that Corona-chan is it.

    • The reason this is different is the coronavirus has long term implications that Mad Cow, SARS and Y2K didn’t. Y2K would have lead to revolution, SARS and Mad Cow could have lead to mass death. Coronavirus will lead to something worse: an endemic disease (the last stage of the evolution of an epidemic —> pandemic —> endemic). This means that for centuries to come, all human beings with reasonable access to healthcare infrastructure will need to get a vaccine, and the disease will never leave the gene pool, much like influenza. Not only will it become the “second annual flu,” but it will do so with a 10X higher chance of killing old people. This means people over 50+ will have a 10X higher likelihood of dying from a virus, making it a competitor for mortality along the lines of cancer, heart failure.

      • That’s one scenario Jim, but not grounded in experience with its two closest relatives, SARS and MERS. SARS has not recurred to my knowledge and there seems to be no vaccine produced. MERS never left the ME—deadly, but really only for those who are camel jockeys. Much wrt endemic and annual vaccines will depend on how the virus mutates, whether it mutates into a more mild form (family is known for common cold), and perhaps also if it finds an animal reservoir.

        Basically the answer is, we don’t know—and will not know for several years.

      • Read the recent articles on V Dare by Lance Welton. There seems to be rather strong associations with specific ethnic groups. He makes an interesting case.

        • What I would love to see is the age and ethnicity of all confirmed cases and the confirmed deaths. When you adjust for population, Italy is the real hot spot, not China. Italy has a median age of 53. South Korea is at 56.5. China is 38. The source country has a low infection rate than Korea and Italy, but also has a much younger population.

          • Do you trust Chinese GDP stats the way you seem to trust their official covid case numbers? The word is “goal-seeking”

          • I think if they were faking it, they would do a better job. The fatality rate, for example, would be dropping. Instead it went up. I don’t trust anything about the ChiComs, but I think the unique ineptitude of China may be playing a larger role here. The numbers may be off significantly, but not deliberately.

          • That they keep the information from us, on mortality by age and ethnicity, tells me there is probably something to it.

          • Median age in China is only 38 years? I’m surprised at that. I assumed their one child policy for the past thirty years or so would have pushed that way up. Are you sure of that statistic?

    • Back in the 1980s, some of the radical environmentalists I knew were thrilled at the prospect of AIDS reducing the human population by ⅓. Time Magazine had an article explaining how, in effect, HIV was almost a magical virus. They described how HIV could do things that no other virus had ever done before. This was music to the ears of environmentalists. Of course it never occurred to them that the disease in question behaved as it did only because in fact it wasn’t caused by a virus. Covid-19 will probably go the way of AIDS. For most of us an interesting scare while it lasted, but soon forgotten.

      • GAIDS was caused largely by homosexual behavior. No one really needs to rump-range but everyone living needs to breathe. Corvid-PLA/CIA-Pillow19 Virus is spread by breathing and coontact. It will hit the big cities first and kill a harge percentage of the elderly and immune-depressed and those with lower lung function, which is why I call it a “[Boomer&Older] Pillow Virus.

        It has affected Global trade already. There is no more cheap Chinese made junk coming in. You need to stockpile canned goods and shotgun shells like the Tony Randall Gremlin advised in Gremlins II.

        There is a lot of difference between GAIDS and Corona-CIA/PLA Pillow19 Virus.

        Hail Victory !!!

        Pastor Lindstedt CJCC/AN

  37. It has to be very difficult not to be smugly indifferent for a good portion of thinking individuals. Don’t sweat the psychosis. And brother, it’s all psychosis.

  38. RE: Doomsday. I think this is one of the reasons why I love the Woodpile Report. My thanks to the Z man for sharing this treasure.

  39. Plunge into your philosophy of choice, with no desire to avoid or change what can’t be changed. Philosophy has that unique way of solving problems, by simply getting rid of them.

  40. Covid 19 will cause the death of fragile and older Americans it’s dangerous for certain.
    And dangerous to Trump. What happened in the oil markets this weekend struck me as maybe the bigger issue for Trump.
    But maybe not?
    What is the break even for US shale oil $45 a barrel? Saudi breakeven is what $15 and what is breakeven for Russian oil? I got no idea?
    But US shale oil costs more to get out and wells do not last as long. It requires more debt to produce that oil.
    Oil workers are usually men trying to support a family vs the green Tesla battery manufacturing robot controlled by a blue fingernailed lesbian or homosexual
    Our men need oil
    Our allies in the Mid East Israel and Saudi are good at screwing us over.
    We dissidents should push for the exact opposite foreign policy as Trump.
    Arm the Persians.
    Let the Persians pester the Saudi oil fields creating higher oil prices and pester the Jews in Israel.
    Nothing will get the attention of the usual suspects like a strong Babylonian ready to carry away Daniel again.
    We can drive up oil prices to benefit our oil workers and we could give the usual suspects like Adelson and Singer a Babylonian civilization to worry about instead of screwing around in our civilization.

    • Every recession has been preceded by a run up in oil prices. Conversely, drops in oil prices have heralded good times. The reality of the modern age is all money is based in BTU’s. That said, I don’t expect these numbers to hold for very long. No one, including the Saudis can sustain these numbers. My guess is they return to the 40-50 range shortly.

      As far as Trump, he is not handling this well at all, but it i still too early to draw any conclusions. His hunch and probably based on what he is being told, is to be the calming voice. That’s not wrong, but I’d like him to be out front talking about the prudent steps being taken and telling people to be vigilante about basic precautions.

      • As soon as he starts listening to his advisors and not himself, he gets into trouble.

        He did listen to himself by closing the borders with China but now it’s clear that he’s following his advisors again.

        I dunno man it must be awful, to be POTUS and not able to trust a single person around you. Huge pressure.

        All he has to do is go to rural Michigan or Montana and hire a bunch of middle class white people. They would do much better than the Swamp variety.

        • “hire a bunch of middle class white people”

          We aren’t living in 80s or even 90s that matter
          Early 2000s bush administration fill with ((ivy league graduate)) and minority
          Why? Because paymaster told him to do, of course he doesn’t have to listen, but did it anyway

          After Obama administration, system have filtering hell out white people who not so woke
          I believe trump abandon his base a long time ago, and now didn’t bother to pretend anymore

          • Yman what you are saying is true but wow your english is not so great. You sound like the asian immigrants I go to school with. But anyway, yeah trump is in the pockets of people like Adelson and Singer, and he has really only served to quell white anger temporarily. I get why some people want to cling to him as the lesser evil but imo, at this point, we would be better off without him. And I’m also really fuking tired of hearing about how everyone except white people are doing so well every time he gives a speech.

          • Haha yeah. See my point above about how he losers when he follows his advisors.

            That line makes me cringe every time I hear it.

      • I remember in ‘99 gas plummeted to 89 cents/gallon. Ridiculously low even then. The budget surplus was going to pay off the national debt and every college grad was guaranteed a career. Soccer moms were trading in the minivan for an SUV. It didn’t last very long.

        • Yep. I remember it well. I read an analysis a half dozen years ago that looked at oil prices relative to lots of other things. It then looked at the real cost of production and historic margins. The bottom line was oil should fall within a range of 40-60 dollars per barrel. That range will decline relative to other good, due to better technology. That means this current plunge cannot last long. Enjoy it while you can.

        • Painters;
          Recall a biz trip to Houston to help work the last (for a while) Offshore in ’83 (?) Upscale restaurant had a chalk graffiti board. Best entry: “Please God, give us back $50 oil. We promise not to piss all the money away this time.”

          Spoiler: He did and they did

        • Yup. Went from an unheard of $5/gallon in Phoenix (broken pipeline) to <$1 in less than a year. Mind boggling.

      • Agree, Trumps sales guy everything is good attitude is useful in a leadership role but in a real life crisis we need some seriousness in our leaders.
        One thing I wonder? How much more American oil jobs were created due to shale vs the pre shale oil world in America?
        Just wondering because Z is right, past recessions have started with high oil prices not low oil prices.
        But could we be living in a new world now?
        Automobiles are much more efficient and therefore low oil prices do not give the economy as much of a boost as in past?
        Also those Bakken and Permian Basin shale jobs go to a lot of white men and Trump voters and they pay well.
        Low oil prices staying low could possibly be different this time around?

        • High oil prices can Cause a recession. I think there’s a little confusion about cause and effect here.

      • The reality of the modern age is all money is based in BTU’s.

        Yes. The dollar is not a fiat currency, it’s anchored in oil, (plus a basket of other commodities) and all other currencies are anchored in the dollar.

        This dollar hegemony is secured by the US military, so when the US military fails, everything else comes tumbling down.

        • Our great allies the Saudis sure aren’t very loyal are they? I never understood why, if we are going to be unilaterally invading countries anyway, we don’t just take the place over. Would be much easier to take than Iraq. Saudis are fat and soft.

          • Yes. The only problem with the Iraq-war was the target.

            I’d pay real money for gun-cam footage of fat, Saudi princes trying to flee the gunships, gold bathroom fixtures and bricks of dollar bills spilling from the trunks of their Maseratis and their Rolls Royces.

      • Don’t you think if the POTUS starts with the “out front taking prudent steps” strategy, this will only feed the Leftist media/Dems beast?

        Having experts like The surgeon general, the head of the CDC Gives way more authority that his words would in the eyes of the MSM. He plays the role correctly of the calming voice who listens to the experts.

        The conservative side already is convinced the media/Dems is blowing it out of proportion. I don’t want him everywhere/all over the place. Then the media will say why did not you do more earlier.

        • If I were advising Trump, I’d suggest a prime time talk from the Oval Office to update the public on what efforts are under way, along with an honest appraisal of the situation. Follow that up with updates using his weekly radio address. He can both calm things down, but also focus people on what’s important. He could turn this into a massive political gain for himself.

      • This is a well known phenomenon in economic. Up like a rocket, down like a feather. In the case of gasoline at the pump, you are paying a price based on oil prices a month to three months ago, depending about the time of year.

        • I think the term used is ‘stickiness’. Wages, for example, have a hard time falling after they’ve risen. Many other prices operate like that as well. Just another reason the typical elastic ‘supply-demand’ curves that are taught in basic economics are a bit of a joke.

        • A local Quick-Chek and the new Wawa across the street are conducting a gas war. $2.25 this morning. Down the highway, a Delta and further down Speedway joined the battle.

        • If my economics course is remembered correctly, one should sell at the current price of stock replacement—not what you paid—in order to remain competitive.

          My thinking is that perhaps such slow price decreases are somewhat planned (colluded) for. When I was working my way through school at a gas station, I was instructed that I might get a phone call upon opening. There would be a voice on the other end that would not identify himself, but rather simply state what the new prices were for our three grades of gasoline, then hang up. I was to immediately change the pricing to reflect such. Something smelled—obviously—but I needed the job and did what I was told.

          • If you bought a house in a booming market for $300,000 and could now get $500,000 for it, you do it. Not because you’re greedy but because you need those funds to stay in the market yourself. Similarly, if the bottom falls out of the market, you still don’t want to sell at a loss.

            Gasoline prices drop slowly because the owner’s got to recoup what he spent to stock his tanks. Prices rise quickly because he’s got to accumulate funds to pay for replacement stock.

          • That’s not economically sound. In a true competitive market, the owner of the now “depreciated” product, gasoline, would sell none, because his competitors would price theirs according to replacement value.

            Something more must be at work. Gas purchasers are extremely price conscious. The station across the street selling at a couple of pennies less will drive all the local traffic to itself. If the cost difference is a nickel, then you don’t have a chance.

  41. Covid is mother nature’s ‘OK Boomer’, to their travel plans, portfolios, and lives, in that order.

    • I’d be good with that but its messing with my travel plans, too :p

      Taking 3 school age kids to see their new cousin for the first time is feeling less like a good idea.

  42. I’m staying in a hotel. In the dining room this morning of course CNN was the news feed. I was there for 3 segment: a medical panel attacking Trump that managed to weave in an unfair attack on Biden, a retweet by Trump labeled fake news and a reference to his impeachment.

    The second was a panel of non entities discussing the market reaction to Trump’s catastrophic handling of the situation. They literally said it was his Katrina.

    The third segment was the CNN gang eagerly waiting for the bottom to finally fall out of the Trump presidency. They were disappointed that it will be due to a natural disaster and not due to all of the crimes he’s committed. They also hit the Katrina button.

    It was like watching a community theater rendition of this morning’s Zman column.

        • The only valid numbers would be positive tests. The rest are guesstimates. The current CDC protocol for Covid-19 testing is ((being symptomatic and having contact with a person with a positive diagnosis;) OR (being symptomatic and having traveled to certain countries within the last fourteen days.)) Fewer than 2K have been tested as I type this. The numbers are meaningless at this point.

          • Already peaked in China where the hotspot originated. Like Michael Fumento said in the New York Post, this simply is not as contagious as the generic flu. Not even close. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it hasn’t been in the United States since November, undetected of course.

          • Peaked? Hope so.
            They’re turning on the lights and machines to show activity, but nobody’s showing up to those empty factories.

  43. Good synopsis. The corporate media tends to ignore the natural tendency of people to adapt to changing conditions and promote the worst possible outcome. I’m sure it’s good for their business. At midnight, January 1, 2000, all of the civilized world was supposed to come to a grand screeching halt due to the Y2K bug. My wife and I were off on a cross country ski weekend. That Saturday, the snow was just fine. As was everything else.

    • That complacency is because a hell of a lot of people went to work to fix the bug and money was spent as needed.

      I have equipment that outright failed do the the Y2K error and while this was an old an inconsequential fax machine (worked fine 1999, failed new year) I shudder to think what would have happened had we not got off our buts and fixed the issue or the if the US was as beclowned as it now.

      • Well of course that’s true. But even though all that work was being done, there were still gloom and doomers out there claiming that it wouldn’t be enough. Gary North was one such saying that there was far too much that couldn’t be patched, and civilization would come crashing down.

        • Ah, Y2K hysteria. About mid-January I put the canned tuna, rice and bottled water into the weekly meal rotation. All these years later, I still don’t relish a tuna salad sandwich. Egg salad has displaced her in my stomach’s affection. I also still have the several boxes of pistol ammo I bought in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse that would shortly ensue after the planes dropped out of the sky. That may yet come in handy, but I suppose I’ve become one of Zman’s dismissive cynics about panics of all sorts. Jenga anyone?

      • “hell of a lot of people went to work to fix the bug and money was spent as needed”

        The truth is that, for the most part, the Y2K “bug” was pure hype. I spent a couple of months testing the company I worked for’s software TRYING to make it act up as a result of the year changing and got nothing. Hell! I went all the way to 2050 using accounts with dates as far back as 1940 and none of OUR stuff – which most emphatically was NOT written with the coming century change in mind – so much as burped after the century change. As I wrote in comments online in testing billboards, the only software which would have trouble with the century change was stuff so badly written it should never have been released onto an unsuspecting world.

    • Of course people adapt. People adapted the Roman Empire collapse, Russian Empire collapse and I personally adapted Soviet Union collapse. Nothing will happen, only current world order and financial system will be gone and good riddance. Probably there will be a lot of small wars too with millions dead. I think corona works like Chernobyl. Small death rate but big political consequences.

      • The panic which will accompany this pandemic will likely kill an even bigger percentage than the virus itself as you see a lessening of “carrying capacity”.

        Going back to 1890s agriculture means that only 120-150 million can be fed and half of them will have to be Amish-style farmers. We now have less than a few million, if that, Amish organic farmers. The ZOG population is 1/3 billion or over 333 million, half or more of them useless at feeding theysselfs.

        What do you think will happen when of 333 million there is only a carrying capacity of 120 million and that is not even possible due to lack of knowledge and skill? Carrying capacity is reduced to 25% or less as the surplus population struggles for lessening access to survival?

        Sounds like a Doomsday Scenario to me.

        Hail Victory !!!

        Pastor Martin Lindstedt
        Church of Jesus Christ Christian / Aryan Nations of Missouri

        • Carrying capacity? Folks all gonna start hunting and fishing? How the hell are we being fed now? 2% of the population farms. We are a net exporter of food stuffs. CoVID-19 will never cause a famine. Disruptions, yes—in certain products. Pastor—if that is your job title—you’d best get a bit more education in the field before posting more scare stories.

          • I take it that you have neither driven a truck or a combine and never lived on a farm. You’ve probably never seen starving cattle or an entire flock wiped out by disease. Dimitry Orlov, James Howard Kuntsler and James Dakin agree with me that the current system is unsustainable. In fact, Kuntsler’s column today was pretty dire.

            That said you are at liberty to believe whatever you wish to believe. I didn’t say Covid-19 would cause a famine. A famine will be caused by a lack of the fossile-fuel inputs necessary to produce the GMO corn and soybeans of Big Agribusiness, and 1890s agriculture will not be able to take up the slack.

            Hail Victory !!!

            Pastor Martin Lindstedt
            Church of Jesus Christ Christian / Aryan Nations of Missouri

        • The panic which will accompany this pandemic will likely kill an even bigger percentage than the virus itself as you see a lessening of “carrying capacity”.

          Here’s a thought fretting about such TEOTWAWKI scenarios accomplishes nothing. If a little thing like Covid-19 can bring down our civilization then it was in worse shape than anybody ever imagined. Prepare for what you can and then suck it up and drive on. Fretting accomplishes nothing!

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