The coronavirus propaganda war

If any facts have actually been established they are that the CV originated in Wuhan, China and that the Chinese authorities suppressed all information about its existence and its pandemic potential until eventually it had spread across the world. Another fact I will add is that the Chinese government is a totalitarian state in which all media is controlled. One should also bear in mind China’s social credit system if you are thinking about the way things are done in the People’s Republic. This is from The Age: The war within the war over coronavirus.

Five weeks into the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, the World Health Organisation’s director general paid a visit to Beijing to understand the situation in China.

At the conclusion of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ January 29 meeting with Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People, the Chinese government issued a statement.

“Hailing the high speed and massive scale of China’s moves […] rarely seen in the world, Tedros said it showed China’s efficiency and the advantages of China’s system,” the statement said. “The experience of China is worth learning for other countries…”

The endorsement of “China’s system” was incongruous: the Chinese Communist Party initially sought to hide the outbreak in Wuhan and punish the doctors who tried to raise the alarm.

By the time China’s government admitted the outbreak was happening, it had gone global. Now governments worldwide are on a “war” footing to contain the pandemic that has infected half a million people worldwide, killed more than 23,000 and threatens to destroy economies from the inside.

That is exactly how I understand what happened. The rest of the article is about how China and the US have engaged in a battle to determine who is at fault. As noted in the article:

Beijing has dialled up the volume and variety of messaging on coronavirus through diplomatic channels, state media and social media for weeks, to deflect blame for the outbreak and to try to position itself in the world’s eyes as the competent, generous problem-solver.

A quite interesting article from end to end with this as the conclusion:

Should China succeed in the global propaganda war around coronavirus, as it appears to be attempting, the CCP will have achieved a revision of history in real-time on the screens of social media users everywhere.

But this would be ironic, because as Bandurski says: “we cannot, or should not, forget the fact that the Chinese Communist Party’s obsession with perception over truth was actually how the saga of this global pandemic began.”

An obsession with the perception of truth is the farthest thing in the world from an obsession with actually knowing the truth. News media that present the Chinese side and slag Donald Trump’s efforts in America are no friends of our democratic and open way of life.

Attention Greg Hunt, you should listen to this

Because we are all self-isolating we have been discussing things online, and then suddenly there was this in relation to a post on the Corona Virus by Phil Ruthven. A quite sensible post I might add, but that is, in this case, neither here nor there. In the midst of our online conversation among others was this.

Sue: I told Greg Hunt not to put Covid clinics at hospitals and guess what? Our first two deaths in Victoria were at the Alfred Hospital where they have a Covid-19 unit and they were cancer patients. Three staff so far have tested positive to the virus and 60 are now in self isolation………How can we function with 60 staff away from a hospital???

Always knew staying at home, ringing the Hotline and not going to either the hospital or to a GP was the solution …… We would come to you.

Me: That is an incredible story. I’m afraid I may not understand why you were in a position to tell Greg Hunt anything. How sensible you were. But why were you advising him?

Sue: Sadly I do not advise Greg Hunt but I just email and ring and generally annoy him and his staff constantly. It started nearly 5 weeks ago and it continues.

He is going to get another call on Monday to close down the Covid Clinics (which I also told him to do) because he cannot guarantee the safety of all other patients or the Alfred as I explained previously.

None of this is rocket science just common sense. I know of one girl who went to the Alfred suspecting she had Covid-19 and went through 5 people before she had a swab taken. That is way too much exposure to the staff. So I will be suggesting if you think you have Covid-19 you ring the Hotline, you do not go to your GP or to the hospital (unless you are very very unwell). We will come to you or set up a drive by and you can go there. We need to be smart because with increased exposure the staff can get into serious trouble themselves. (This is well documented internationally)

We also know of a RN from the Alfred who is not at work because she has had too much exposure – she is not happy. We also have a vested interest as we have a daughter who is a Doctor who because she does General Medicine is on the Front Line and we are very mindful of this. Same goes for all the Front Line nurses and anyone who cares for these patients.

All this sounds ultra-sensible. Why is this not being done in exactly the way Sue suggests?

With Paul Kelly in The Oz might as well read The Age

It’s Paul Kelly and he is right up to form: Coronavirus: It’s masks on, gloves off for Trump and Xi. Does he not know that China covered up for more than a month? Does he not know that the US is an open society where the President is surrounded by a media made up of people such as himself who are always on the lookout for something, anything, to criticise? This is how the article begins:

A vicious competition, propaganda war and nationalistic blame game has been unleashed between China and the US as their relations nosedive and the struggle against COVID-19 — affecting virtually every nation — becomes decisive in 21st-century global leadership.

National leaders, China’s Xi Jinping and America’s Donald Trump, have both launched domestic campaigns with megaphones to the world seeking to discredit each other’s countries in a test of their rival ideological systems, ability to save their own people and offer an example to the world.

Current trends suggest more Americans than Chinese will die from COVID-19, a virus that originated in China. It is hard to imagine a more incendiary political package for Trump who brands the pandemic a “China virus” to deflect responsibility as the US health system falters amid a rising death toll.

My disgust level is at near peak level. The final para:

But the ultimate play is China. Every sign is that Trump, from the start, sought an economic confrontation with Beijing but wanted to avoid any military confrontation. Now he has got more than he bargained for — not the military showdown — but a comprehensive contest of political systems. By our standards, America should win. America needs to win. But is Trump the man for the job?

He actually takes Chinese propaganda at face value! It really does disgust me to read such stuff.

SINCLAIR ASKS: “Weren’t you promising to subscribe to the Age? How’s that working for you?”

It’s actually working out quite well. I didn’t cut my sub to The Oz, just added in The Age. I therefore now have three sudokus to do each day instead of just two.

FROM LOUISE AT THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THE OZ: Virtually all of the comments are similar to mine and hers, but this does stand out.

This morning I watched Donald Trump’s press conference on Sky New Live. He gave an informative, measured and statesman like speech. He spoke about the need for global cooperation against a common enemy.

He detailed his conversation with President Xi and stressed that it was in no way combative and they had a good working relationship. They will be exchanging all data for analysis and research in both countries.

He also spoke about the capacity of the US to produce ventilators in large quantities and how they can be used domestically and to assist their friends across the globe.

He had to put up with snide, nitpicking questions from many of the journalists present, and he did this calmly and without losing his temper.

He came across as a man who recognised the gravity of the situation, was concerned for his countrymen, indeed all people, and was doing his very best to keep his country afloat.

Going on the offensive

Speaking of The Midwich Cuckoos, I genuinely do find talking to anyone on the left all too frequently just like talking to a wall. What especially infuriates me when I think I am just chatting, I am often and suddenly told “I don’t want to talk about that” which just comes out of nowhere to me. Not only are these idiots offended when I say something, even obliquely, about something that’s on my mind, but they don’t want to engage and immediately want to end the conversation.

And while on the subject of being offended, I was in a book shop today and I said to the 30-ish chap behind the counter how put off I was by all the titles such as “The Art of Not Giving a F*ck” – and there were quite a number like that – and he was obviously put off by my language. So I said to him, if you are put off by my saying what I said, just think of what I feel by having to read such titles. I think he saw my point but only barely. He can get knotted.

And another thing. I was reading an article on the recessionary effects of the CV and right in the middle was an unintended rhyming couplet.

The deeper they are and the longer they last,
The more ongoing the damage after the downturn has passed.

And so all such recessions seem always to be.

But if you’re going to quote this couplet you’ll have to cite me.

At long last a practical suggestion to deal with the economic consequences of the CV

From The Onion, of course.

This, however, not from The Onion, but seems related. It is a story you will see today, if you see it at all, and never again after: Former Senate Staffer Who Opposes Trump Accuses Biden of Sexual Assault.

Why anyone thinks this is newsworthy is completely beyond me.

The Fish Face Files

Every single one of my friends from youth is on the left and often on the loopiest part of the moronic left. Since I see them each for around one day every two years, we manage to get by well enough so that I can still exchange Christmas cards and we let each other know when they have added to their number of grandchildren. To talk politics with them is the instant death of friendship of any kind so I don’t. I, of course, cut no one off, but they would and do. In fact, the six links below is from one of these former friends who now lives in the most idiotic part of the world, possibly bar none, Silicon Valley.

Since the election of PDT he has sent me more than 3200 emails, every one of them containing some news item from media organisations around the world which all have a single characteristic, they are all fanatically anti-Trump. When I was there in Palo Alto in January, I suggested we get together, but after three days he wrote back to say that he had suddenly decided to go to Hawaii for his anniversary. It really is hard on my nerves anyway since he has no other conversation, other than to tell me about how he loves to drive the California hills in his Porsche – no license plates so that he can speed as much as he likes without getting ticketed. I call the file of his emails the Fish Face Files because my Dad could not remember his last name so he called him “fishface” (only to me, of course) which sounds similar to his actual name. Here for your interest are these latest six. The media road guaranteed to bring you to a peak level of ignorance.

From the New York Times: An Open Letter to President Trump

New York Times again, but Paul Krugman: On Coronavirus, We’re #1

More New York Times but the editorial this time: Why Is America Choosing Mass Unemployment?

Another NYT editorial: Trump Wants to ‘Reopen America.’ Here’s What Happens if We Do

More from the NYT: ‘It’s a Wreck’: 3.3 Million File Unemployment Claims as Economy Comes Apart

And this last one from CNN: Fact check: Trump utters series of false and misleading claims at coronavirus briefing

I, of course, welcome these emails since they keep me up to date on the latest thinking on the left. But they are depressing all the same, and remind me why Joe Biden might yet be president.

Herd immunity from common sense is the fundamental characteristic of the left

Talking to friends on the left (actually they are almost entirely my wife’s friends) never fails to astonish me about how lock-step they all are with whatever happens to be the latest ideological fashion statement of the moment. I am often taken by surprise since it is often difficult to keep up with the what beliefs are in or out, but it only requires a conversation with any one of them and I find myself right up to date.

It reminded me of one of my favourite books of my youth, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndam. I read every one of his books when I was a young lad, the most famous being The Day of the Triffids. All of Wyndam’s books are astonishing reads and it seems all are still in print. But the Midwich Cuckoos remains the one I have loved the most, and strangely seems absolutely relevant to understanding the mentality on the left side of politics. I will describe the plot but from the movie made from the book, Village of the Damned (1960 film). The book is better, an absolute page turner. From these plot details of the film you will see how relevant the book is to the mind-numbing sameness of the belief structures on the left. I have left out anything that might give the plot and ending away in the following which is mainly done to show how accurately the book describes the modern left.

The inhabitants of the British village of Midwich suddenly fall unconscious, as does anyone entering the village. Two months later, all women and girls of child-bearing age in the affected area are discovered to be pregnant. All the women give birth on the same day. Their children have a powerful telepathic bond with one another. They can communicate with each other over great distances, and as one learns something, so do the others.

At age three, the children dress impeccably, always walk as a group, speak in an adult manner, and behave maturely, but show no conscience or love, and demonstrate a coldness to others, causing the villagers to fear and be repulsed by them. The children begin to exhibit the power to read minds and to force people to do things against their will. Zellaby, whose “son” David is one of the children, is eager to work with them. Zellaby compares the children’s resistance to reasoning with a brick wall and uses this motif as self-protection against their mind reading after the children’s inhuman nature becomes clear to him.

It may even be that Wyndam wrote the book as a caricature of the mentality on the left in his own time, published as it was in the midst of the cold war (1957). Whether or not that was his intention, it certainly fits the mould today.

How to structure public spending so it actually does some good

I have an article up at the American Institute for Economic Research explaining how idiotic a “stimulus” at this time is: A Classical Economic Response to the Coronavirus Recession. It takes as read that we are going to have a massive amount of public spending, and given that as the certainty, how to do it with minimal economic damage. That we are even having a lock-down is also taken as read since others have already made that decision. This is the central point made in the article.

Let me take you back to the economics before Keynes, to when economists understood the nature of the cycle.

Recessions in those days were rightly understood as due to structural faults in the economy. A recession occurred when the bits did not properly mesh. Some parts of the economy were no longer able to run at a profit because of structural changes in the economy, sometimes on the demand side but more often on the supply side. There, therefore, needed to be some shifts in the entire apparatus of production. What turned the adjustment process into a recession occurred when the adjustment process required was too large to occur as in normal times when as one business would close down another would open.

During recessions, for whatever the reason might be, the number of businesses closing would exceed the number opening, and along with the slowing of production in total, there would be a rise in unemployment. If ever there has been a downturn that cannot in any way be explained as a fall in demand it is the forced closures that have followed the coronavirus panic. The downturn is entirely structural in nature. That is why when I hear discussions of the need for a stimulus I am even more than usual amazed at how beyond sense economic policy has become. What is needed, and what is largely being done, are measures to hold both capital and labour in place until the closures are brought to an end.

The last thing we need now is a Keynesian-type “stimulus” where government spending on wasteful junk takes over from actual productive firms.

But the policy everywhere is never let a crisis go to waste. It is not you and me the political class are thinking about, but themselves in how they can use the crisis to benefit themselves. You just have to hope against all likelihood that the damage done is kept to a minimum.

A sampler of the politics of The Atlantic

If you are interested in the politics of The Atlantic, let me present you with the final paras of this long and astonishingly inane article which I have just received: How the Pandemic Will End.

One could easily conceive of a world in which most of the nation believes that America defeated COVID-19. Despite his many lapses, Trump’s approval rating has surged. Imagine that he succeeds in diverting blame for the crisis to China, casting it as the villain and America as the resilient hero. During the second term of his presidency, the U.S. turns further inward and pulls out of NATO and other international alliances, builds actual and figurative walls, and disinvests in other nations. As Gen C grows up, foreign plagues replace communists and terrorists as the new generational threat.

One could also envisage a future in which America learns a different lesson. A communal spirit, ironically born through social distancing, causes people to turn outward, to neighbors both foreign and domestic. The election of November 2020 becomes a repudiation of “America first” politics. The nation pivots, as it did after World War II, from isolationism to international cooperation. Buoyed by steady investments and an influx of the brightest minds, the health-care workforce surges. Gen C kids write school essays about growing up to be epidemiologists. Public health becomes the centerpiece of foreign policy. The U.S. leads a new global partnership focused on solving challenges like pandemics and climate change.

In 2030, SARS-CoV-3 emerges from nowhere, and is brought to heel within a month.

It’s all politics on the left. Saving lives is the last thing on their minds.