Monday, February 10, 2020

Chaos Brings Opportunity...And Chaos

So, as I said I would at the end of that post, I went through my E.R.'s supplies this past weekend, and made a list of items that we source from China. The list is esoteric, and very inside-baseball, unless you're in the trade. I sent it, in a memo, up the chain, so that hopefully administration will source alternative vendors for items which may become Chinesium Unobtanium any day now, until further notice, because between 50-500M Chinese are no longer going to work in the toy factories that make the things I use to make sick people well. So forget the item list, but take away this TL;DR note:

Of 54 major items, 43% (23 items) are sourced from, assembled in, or produced in China. That's nearly half of everything we use, 24/7/365, forever.
Many of them might be sourced elsewhere (and I hope to hell we do it before it bites us in the ass); but many cannot be. The lack of some will get you or someone like you killed if I haven't got it.

Multiply that times nearly 5600 U. S. hospitals, and countless clinics and doctor's offices, just for healthcare, nationwide, and you can begin to grasp the magnitude of this problem.

Then, extrapolate that to the entire economy.

Then go from second-order effects, to third order effects.

WallyMart and Horror Freight live and die on importing literal metric mega-fucktons of cheap Chinese sh*t, to exist.

So when that pipeline dries up, possibly overnight, you tell me:

What does stock in WalMart or Harbor Freight open at on the market the day after they can't get their goods?

What about fourth-order effects?

Who gets laid off as a direct result?

What happens to the economy, not only for the family of Joe the Greeter and Sally the Checker, but for the folks whose groceries they don't buy, the movies they don't see, the gasoline they don't need to drive to work at the job they don't have any more, and the state and federal welfare dole they swell?

Because some little sh*theads, in some sh*thole, had to have batburgers last year, the economy, perhaps of the world, takes a punch right in the crotch.
And the rot of fiatbux means the house of cards could all come tumbling down.
Possibly in a matter of weeks. Or months. Or hours. Or never.

No one has any effing idea whether or not, nor how fast and far, such a collapse could go.

And it doesn't even require even one single person more outside China to get corona virus, (or whatever-in-hell this is).

That's enough rose-colored glasses for one morning.
Think it over yourself.

And have a happy day.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if the Department of Defense procurement system has any requirements for domestic sourcing of their medical goods?

Even if the supply is very limited, there is a good chance the production can be increased, because at least someone here knows how to make it. If no one makes it except the Chinese, then we need to start from scratch, and may not get it right even when we build it.

Anonymous said...

EMT-in-training here. So...what are the high points of the list?

Survivormann99 said...

Regarding Anonymous' comment above, I am no one's expert here, but I cannot imagine that there are alternate sources for great numbers of the Chinese medical instruments/devices/supplies that might provide relief very soon. Ginning up production in other countries and getting the supplies shipped here will no doubt take considerable time.

My son currently works for a US company that is dominant in its field. He has learned that its inventory will likely be exhausted in March. Layoffs can be expected in April. Fortunately for him, he already gave notice and is moving on to another company. While the company does not produce items that would be absolutely critical for the US economy, it represents the problems that so many other companies will face. Wall Street appears to be blissfully ignoring the reality. It will be a crotch blow to the US economy if the Chinese don't go back to work soon.

Anonymous said...

Complete novice at medical field so forgive me for stupid question. This will effect more than just the U.S. I'm sure.

Hasn't the medical community already factored this possibility of non delivery of materials ? Do some facilities have some of these materials 'put back' SOMEWHERE just in case this happened ? Will hospitals begin a 'Barter Town' where these materials they have stashed become traded for vital materials they need ?

I'm thinking heart surgeries that will have to be pushed back until ??. Really bad if those valves needing replacing aren't there.

June J said...

Based upon your extrapolations...Dims could blame Trump for the potential economic collapse and unseat him in November. Because voters are too stupid to realize that the Congress has spent three years opposing everything Trump has tried to do instead of working to bring home all the manufacturing lost to China and elsewhere.

FredLewers said...

Well, thanks for brightening up Monday. It'll be ok. Think of it as natural selection. Culling the herd...

Virginia Granny said...

CDC has a Medical and Pharmaceutical Strategic National Stockpile. Don't know how hard it is to get supplies or if CDC has to be onsite to manage them. But now would certainly be a good time for all hospital logisticians to be looking into it.


Strategic National Stockpile is the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for use in a public health emergency severe enough to cause local supplies to run out.

When state, local, tribal, and territorial responders request federal assistance to support their response efforts, the stockpile ensures that the right medicines and supplies get to those who need them most during an emergency. Organized for scalable response to a variety of public health threats, this repository contains enough supplies to respond to multiple large-scale emergencies simultaneously.

James M Dakin said...

97% of antibiotics from China, 80% of all medical supplies. According to Ice Age Farmer. I made my Last Call For Chinese Crap purchases this morning, luckily only a few items needed. I already noticed more items than usual out of stock. That could just mean I'm not the only one doing this, and they will be replenished. Personally I don't think so. If things in China don't reverse, this is the end of globalism and probably the US economy.

Anonymous said...

The "Strategic National Stockpile" is run by the same folks that brought us the ongoing FEMA disaster response to every major disaster in America.

You know the folks that created the Super Bowl disaster during Katrina and couldn't deal with Super storm Sandy because QUOTE "Their offices were closed due to inclement weather" Unquote... AND all those folks searching dumpsters for food as well as home owners *STILL* trying to get their government approved repair checks for Sandy.

So please forgive me if I don't suddenly feel better that Uncle Sam's "Top Men" are ON IT for a sudden shortage of Chinese Medical Supplies.

If your looking for a helping hand when this situation gets REAL look at the ends of your arms. I hope you have trusted friends to team up with because we are likely to NEED them.

RandyGC said...


Does that list include pharmaceuticals? Or just hardware/expendables? I know that a few years back sterile saline bags was becoming a concern for local EMS and hospitals.

Virginia Granny: The SNS is requested by local/state Public Health agencies and/or Emergency Management. CDC ships it out to the state and the state/local PH agencies are responsible for distribution and management.

IIRC the locals have to pretty much expend their local supplies and document that they can't find anything from regular or alternate vendors before the SNS is tapped.

SNS can be activated and distributed to the states fairly quickly, but I don't know how deep it is or how fast they can replenish at the national level.

Virginia Granny said...

Dear Aesop,

When you have nothing else to do, I propose a little mathematical mind-game:

China has an estimated 1.4 BILLION people. Of that number, roughly 50 percent male, 50 percent female (plus or minus a titch due to female infanticide and forced abortions).

Assuming 50 percent female, that is approximately 570 MILLION females divided into roughly 5 age groups: preschoolers, prepubescent, fertile young, fertile adult, and Over The Hill Grannies, ie., 40 and above. I have no clue how many fall within each grouping, but let's assume for argument that a bunch of the OTHGs end up dead from the Coronavirus Pandemic and the preschoolers don't really figure into this project either. Some of the other three categories will also contribute to the loss column in unknown distribution because China is not being exactly forth-coming.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that the CVP has a kill rate similar to the Spanish Flu, which killed an estimated 50-100 MILLION people worldwide. Also, for the sake of argument, let's also assume that ALL 100 MILLION are Chinese women of child-bearing age (won't happen, of course, but it makes the math easier....).

If China loses at least 100 MILLION people, all of child-bearing age, how long will it take China to recoup their losses and reconstitute their population?

My SWAG CONSERVATIVELY suggests that, given government support for the project, China could produce 100 MILLION new children in 1-2 years. However, why would the Chinese, knowing how easy it is to replace their population, want to do so?

I don't think they would. This population reduction is a God-send, IF the Party can prevent Civil War.

So - a thought: if China would benefit from a population reduction and the world economy (including the US, Russia, and pretty much everyone else) would tank, wouldn't that be a win/win for the Chinese?

Just wondering...Feel free to challenge my math/assumptions/etc. You won't hurt my feewings.

Charles in VA said...

So Solly if all you folks aren't already "tooled up". The only thing I use Harbor freight for is specialty tools...maybe once every five years or longer. I made a run 2 years ago, so I'm good.

Walmart could use a good old $2 F---in for how they crapped all over the 2nd Amendment anyway.

Since I'm all prepped up and divested from the stock market, I'm not too worried about the economy either. My skill sets have a long shelf life and they're never worth nothing, just like gold...which the mining of is one of those skills.

Hard times come around. Hard men and women survive them. It's Nature's way.

Charles in VA said...

If you don't know already, invest in some Stabil fuel additive for your gasoline reserves. It will extend the life of properly stored gasoline up to 5 years.

You'll need that gas for your chain saws, rotor-tillers and generators.

Prep up if you can. You won't regret it.

Anonymous said...

Aesop, if you're friendly with the facility engineers pop down to LL2 or where ever you keep them and ask them the same question about their MRO supplies. Many of the environmental control system parts are now imported. Fittings, switches, actuators, gaskets, seals, seats etc etc. Everything that moves water and air into and around the building and moves wastes away from the building. Even most 17ga p-traps are imported. The lack of a $5 capacitor or $2 fitting can shut down a piece of equipment.
Large facilities used to keep a pretty good inventory but in the last few years started reducing site inventories and relying on a wholesaler to be their warehouse. Wholesalers have reduced inventories and rely on importers to be their warehouses. Many of the direct import items we use are 90-100 days to receive when they are already boxed and sitting on a foreign dock ready to ship. Very little foundry work is done stateside anymore. There is some brass work done here but not much. These days the supply chain is all JIT in the best of times. Even if product flow returns to normal tomorrow there are likely to be some MRO parts shortages and delays in our near future.

Thanks for all the good info. Time to go check my Belgian Tripel. It should be ready for bottling.

Anonymous said...

Colloidal silver. Zicam swabs. Baking soda(used during the Spanish Flu Pandemic). Stay away from crowds/venues. Don't book a cruise. Above all, be vigilant. Keep in mind, WHEN it breaks out in the FSSA, there won't be the orderly, cooperative, suppression of peoples' liberties as you are witnessing now in China. The Blue Hives of Amerika will melt down and the Orcs and Orcettes with badges will be running for their lives; along with all of the political hacks. TPTB cannot get out in front of this situation. Bleib ubrig. - DWEEZIL THE WEASEL.

Charles in VA said...


It ain't just a natural sweetener. It's also an effective wound dressing with antimicrobial properties. best of all, it NEVER goes bad. Unlimited shelf life. Stock up while you can.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed some products I've ordered online have already been subjected to "elongated" delivery times. A cause or effect?
But, as of now, we have 25,000 people already dead just in this country from standard flu since October, so it's not yet panic time, unless you believe the Chinese really can cover up hundreds of thousands of deaths (insert conspiracy theories here).
Let's all keep calm and have a beer. Just keep an eye on the international cases.

Charles in VA said...

Hey, Aesop,

Being new here, I'm wondering if you've ever done a post on "the single best firearm" discussion. Of course we both know there is no one right answer to the question...but I'm betting YOU have an answer!

I've got a lot of thoughts on the subject myself, having decades of experience under my belt. I'd love to see the blow up on that topic.

Lost_Dog said...

Any thoughts on the veracity and/or significance of this?

Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes

Confirmed transmission routes of the novel coronavirus include direct transmission, contact transmission and aerosol transmission, a Shanghai official said on Saturday.

nick flandrey said...

From upthread, what are the CDC doing about running short of supplies? Well from the press call Feb 5, quote "We’re working with health care and industry partners to understand the supply chain for personal protective equipment. "

--so they're going to figure out the problems and then start working on a solution, eventually.

Also from that same call, NY POST: Thanks for taking my call. My question is about the national stockpile. How well prepared is the U.S. to provide hospitals with masks, gowns, gloves, face shields and other personal protective equipment if in fact for at least one or two regions in the country there is a real demand for that? And secondly, is our reliance on china as the manufacturer of a lot of this equipment a weak link?

MESSONNIER: I guess that is for CDC. And one thing that I will say is as many of you know, the national stockpile is actually under ASPA now not under CDC, but in general you bring up an important point which is is the current risk to the American public is low, but as we project outward with the potential for this to be a much longer situation, one of the things that we’re actively working on is projecting the long term needs for our health care system and certainly one of those important projections is personal protective equipment with a priority certainly for our health care workers. So, it is something that we are very much working on with additional meetings today about it. And hopefully we’ll have more to say about this in the coming days. But it is also a good reminder for me to tell folks that as we anticipate the potential for this, we want to make sure that when those personal protective equipment, masks and especially masks but also gowns and gloves are being used, they are being used appropriately to keep our staff and health care workers safe, but not excessively. Because we may need to be preserving them for later when the risk is higher. So, as I said, before we do not think that the American public should be going out and buying masks, we don’t think that normal U.S. citizens going about their day to day lives in the u.s. right now are at risk. And so, I would definitely caution people to be patient as we work through these longer-term issues, but to understand that our guidance to folks now is let’s make sure that we have enough of those personal protective equipments for the folks at highest risk and specifically our health care workers.

--that sounds like 'they don't know what the issues are, but they're pretty sure if we use them up now, we won't have any later. IE- no resupply.

--as they say RTWT--


Anonymous said...

My bet is it's on-par with the National Strategic Stockpiles of gold and oil, sold to either the highest donor or out the back door like all the brand-new "military surplus" that never was issued to troops in the field. comes to mind...

MN Steel

lineman said...

Get some 5 gal pails of coconut oil also...

shane said...

PRI-D (diesel) and PRI-G (gasoline) is much better product, used to preserve diesel for back-up generators at nuke plants.

lineman said...

You do realize that any national stockpile won't be used on us plebes so I wouldn't count on it...

Old NFO said...

Yep, just try to find N/P/R-95 masks all of a sudden. Hint... Lowes and Home Despot carry them for painters... :-)

Survivormann99 said...


You'd better check again. My Home Depot has no disposable N95 masks now, just several empty shelves. I bought one of the only two upscale multi-use respirators left. The other's packaging had been opened by someone already.

On Friday, a nearby Harbor Freight had a few N95s at $1.99 each. I am sure that they are gone unless new inventory arrived. Given the mess in China and its race to manufacture masks for itself, I wouldn't expect to see any new shipments anytime soon. Don't hold your breath (pun intended).

Aesop said...

BTW, I'm having to do a new mask fit test, along with 2000 co-workers.
It seems last week, all our supply of N95 masks were pilfered.
For the entire hospital.

No points for guessing where they're made.

You can probably find $15/box masks selling on E-bay this week for $250@.

Charles in VA said...


Yeah...I actually DO believe the ChiComs can hide 100's of thousands of deaths INSIDE China. That is totally doable, thanks to Alphabet Inc. and a totalitarian regime.

Also, totally keeping calm! Having those beers. Also went to the tobacconist today and stocked up on pipe tobacco. I had forgotten just how satisfying, calming and enjoyable smoking my old bulldog pipe could be! Love that cherry blend. Helps cut down costs on cigarettes by 50% too. Happier, wealthier and calmer.

Bring on the Tribulation! I think I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Charles in VA said...

@nick flandrey,

you Do realize that the CDC is a private corporation, don't you?

I wouldn't be looking for help from that quarter if I were you. In point of fact, I strongly suspect they are in the bio-weapons business as a profit driver.

Just a reminder.

Charles in VA said...

@ Aesop,

You selling any of those pilfered masks?


Just kidding you, dude.

That's some messed up shit though. Shows you how it'll go if it ever does go tits up SHTF. It'll go South so fast that Gravity will be playing catch up!

Harleqwin said...

What does it mean when the Chinese government is locking people inside their apartment buildings by welding the doors shut? How far down the scale of "oh FUCK, this is BAD" is that?

Are they seriously abandoning the whole population of a building? multiple buildings? Whole Cities?

nick flandrey said...

@charles in va, doesn't matter to me what CDC is or isn't. I don't expect anything but bumbling incompetence and interference from them, just like Ebola.

I do MONITOR them, because it's a great way to learn from what they DON"T say, as well as what they DO say. And, it lets me answer a direct question about our .gov's official response, with actual first hand statements from them.

Knowing that they don't know how the supply chain works, or will work in the new reality is worth knowing. Knowing that they think we better conserve masks for later is worth knowing. Listening to them dance around a question, when they've answered every other question directly is worth hearing.

Learning that they stood up their EOC, when they'd delayed doing that for months with ebola, told me this was probably serious, much more serious than people were saying.

I watch where people spend their money, as a better gauge of their true beliefs than their words.

What I see about this virus is terrifying to consider in full. 30 seconds later, I'm past the terror and into the "F them, what do I need to do to see myself and my family through this?"

Actually, that should be, "what do I need to do MORE of, and what do I need to tweak..." 'cuz I've been working this for years.


nick flandrey said...


you don't expect them to do anything but die in place at that point. Twitter has several videos of buildings burning. The official explanation is "arson" but the commentary is "someone burning plague houses."

Lots more guys with guns standing around today wearing tyvek in the vids than past days, FWIW.


Night driver said...


A friend of mine, Shane Connor, at has posted an excerpt of your post above in a couple venues.

Y'all ought to at least touch base and sniff noses and butts with him.

I've known Shane for a couple decades... One of my buds at college was a friend of his who did a TONNE of hang gliding both hill and towline launched. Yeah they were pros.

Charles in VA said...


Well buddy, I'm glad you're on top of it. Good luck with all that! And I'm glad to see you're keeping a cordial demeanor through it all. That's a BIG plus!

Charles in VA

Bezzle said...

> What does stock in WalMart or Harbor Freight open at
> on the market the day after they can't get their goods?

The same price as before, because it's a trick-question. Everybody manufacturer on the planet with a "just in time" production facility has been champing to take China's subsidized lunch-money for decades (e.g., India pharma), and to the extent that such businesses are in existence at all given the Chinese 800lbs gorilla, they are lean and hungry. Any hiccups in product supply-chains are covered by temporary price-hikes, because that's the way supply and demand works. The big-box merchants maintain the same margins, and therefore the same revenue, and therefore the same quarterly earnings. Yes, certain esoteric products (such as single-source medical gear) will be hard to come by for awhile, but their temporary scarcity will not affect the bottom line of a globe-spanning entity moving a ten-thousand-item catalog.

Of course the ENTIRE stock-market might shit the bed (say, from a global pandemic shutting down basic point-A-to-B commerce everywhere as opposed to just in China), taking WallyFreight along for the sleigh-ride. --But that'll be a suddenly-diminished world demand problem, not a regional supply problem.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 1607: for some areas you also have to factor in the state's role in this. Hereabouts a business' inventory is taxable under the property tax laws. Already can take 1-2 weeks to get parts that take minutes to hours elsewhere b/c the warehouses/supply houses won't stock slow moving parts and pay property tax on them.

As for masks.. forget it. Was in HD about a week back to pick up a few things. The entire mask shelf was empty. If you don't have em you probably will have a very hard time getting them. Saw posted elsewhere (didn't do any checking to verify) that Amazon is now requiring proof you are a med professional before selling N95+ masks to you.

If you are a DIY'er check to see if you just might happen to have a nearly full box of N95 laying around. Finally having to buy a boatload more than I needed at the time paid off!

Aesop said...

Long before that happens, WalMart goes into receivership, and the other nations selling stuff to China eat a shit sandwich too.
Starting with energy producers.

What you imagine would work if you pulled, say, Italy, or Canada, out of the world market at once, but with China, it's like yanking 5 different Jenga pins out at once: it's going to topple, and there's no telling where the pieces fall.

Lumber prices crater in the PNW. Steel prices worldwide skyrocket. Everything made somewhere else gets more expensive. Nobody's buying bonds. Interest rates rise. Budgets collapse. Taxes jump. Money that's already worthless gets tight, and liquidity disappears.

This is how depressions start, governments topple, and wars and revolutions start.

I'm telling you your legs have been blown off, and you're pretending it's all good, because that'll be less work for your heart to pump blood there, and you'll save money on shoes.

It doesn't work like that.

And if China, out of fear, convenience, or truth, suddenly latches onto the idea that this was dropped on them by an outside nation, like us or the Russians, it can go thermonuclear stupid in minutes.

Adino said...

No chain is stronger than its weakest link.

Global JIT supply lines for parts and finished goods mean there are a minimum of 2 countries and 2 companies doing business. Minimum. That # can be substantially higher depending on the product.

Then you have to add a bank at all ends of the transaction.

Letters of Credit between banks in countries precede shipments of raw materials, parts, and finished products.

Then shipping companies and their banks and insurers get involved.

When everything in the chain works, credit precedes product, which precedes final payment.

You now have at the table for global JIT:
1) Guv'ments and trade deals

2) Companies exchanging raw materials, goods, finished products.

3) Said company's banks

4) Shipping companies, their banks and insurers

None of the parties can address the other's weak links, often not even knowing what they would be.

None of the parties involved have anywhere near sane levels of debt. None. Of. Them.

Meaning $ must keep flowing to service the debt. No cash flow = no debt service = bankruptcy and those happen in cascades.

Solvency and liquidity for all parties involved is the real weak link in this whole chain folks.

It will be banks that go first. A recent stress test on Chinese banks showed a significant percentage would go under without 4% year over year growth (cash flows to cover debt service, money = blood in commerce). They are not going to get 4%, even if the all, clear sounded this evening.

Then multinational corps will go Tango Uniform.

Central banks will go under next trying to save the above and when they go they will take guv'ments with them.

The downward spiral of bankruptcies along the finance and supply chains would ensue.

The the JIT chains will be damaged in such a way there will be no quick fix. They may already be.

Even if there was a fix for the finances/goods/etc EVERYONE in the world would have to be on the same page like they were when they kept the spinning plates in the air back in 07-09. I don't see that happening in 2020.

The world is in the early stages of massive change.

Fourth Turning changes.

Buckle up, buttercup!

Bezzle said...

> Lumber prices crater in the PNW. Steel prices worldwide
> skyrocket. Everything made somewhere else gets more expensive.
> Nobody's buying bonds.

Well that's good, because (government) bonds are simply gambles in coercion and corruption, as opposed to actual investments in industry.

> Interest rates rise.

Interest rates rise (or fall) when the Fed wants them to, as part 'n parcel of its decadal Keynesian scheming, and for no other reason.

> Budgets collapse. Taxes jump.

If only you knew how little "modern" governments actually rely on taxation to fund themselves. These days, the bulk of it is via distributed inflation via locking the world to the dollar.

> Money that's already worthless gets tight, and
> liquidity disappears. This is how depressions start...

A commodity (such as a medium of exchange) cannot simultaneously be worthless and in tight supply.

Depressions start only when government jams its fat dick into the market, and gums up the works. E.g., FDR gets elected, confiscates gold, devalues the dollar 40% overnight, imposes a shit-ton of commie wet-dream Marxist legislation (the "New Deal"), and so turned a 1929 stock-market correction into a twelve-year economy crisis.

Bezzle said...

> And if China, out of fear, convenience, or truth,
> suddenly latches onto the idea that this was dropped
> on them by an outside nation, like us or the Russians,
> it can go thermonuclear stupid in minutes.

1. My go-to theory is that this was a containment-breach at a Chinese biowar lab, said virus-liberation "assisted" by outside entities tired of China's shit, China knows about it, and perhaps China was even *told* about it over a proverbial red telephone. Because China has been very naughty recently, everybody is sick of it, and so it was time for China to be spanked. China can either take its spanking and grow up, or get spanked even *harder*. I.e., "Aren't you glad we released your 'tamer' virus instead of the really dangerous ones right next to it in the same rack of test-tubs? Can you believe your luck? You're actually going to be able to lie your way out of this -- if you start behaving yourself."

2. The ChiCom bureaucracy's uncharacteristic agility in responding to what was, at the moment of third-week January, a hundred cases of the sniffles in a province of forty million people (i.e., statistical background noise) tells me that they already knew what it was. They're also acutely aware of how poor their ability to wage nuclear war would be, even as a lob-'em'all punitive measure. (Hell, they don't even get respect from India, which has nukes, and the Philippines, which doesn't.)

3. Nobody's going to nuke anybody*, because then you don't get to die of old age after a lifetime of harmonious rule soaking the tax serfs -- this being the modern behind-closed-doors diplomacy that has kept the world off each others throats for the better part of half-a-century under Shadow Party administration. It's also why leaders aren't assassinating each other all the time anymore. (*So long as that shit is kept out of the hands of Muslims.)

4. Diseases run their course. If China has to lock down for a couple months and burn a million bodies alive or dead, it'll do that, because it's China, and being China means you don't give a fuck what the round-eyes think while you're censoring the opinions you care about on Weibo at home. A million is basically nothing to China.

Adino said...

Complexity = fragility.

The world is about to grasp that unshakable and undeniable reality.

Aesop said...

@ mike 18xx

Your ideology has overtaken reality. You are flying blind, at night, in clouds, through mountains, without radar or a map.

That will lead to a short but interesting life.

When the Chinese stop buying our bonds, the whole Ponzi scheme ends, the music stops, and no one has a chair any more.

Interest rates rise when no one is buying what you're a selling at the current ROI.
That makes debt increase. At current levels, a slight increase is catastrophic to everyone who has to pay it back.

Taxes jump because the national government is not all government. Ask about this at city hall or your state capitol, not to mention your local utility companies, if you're unclear on this point.

Fiat currency can, indeed, be intrinsically worthless, and nonetheless in short supply.
Cf. 1929-1940.
When people, companies, and governments can no longer obtain ersatz currency, they start getting rather demanding about receiving actual money, of which there isn't nearly enough to run the economies of the world.
Then it gets rather ugly.

Our government has "had its fat dick in the market" non-stop since 1932. Technically, since 1913. Government, per se, since before history was written down.
You won't be getting it out any time soon, without globally catastrophic upheavals.

If you thought 1932 was bad, wait unti you see the next one.

1. Your go-to assumption is pure speculation. It may soothe your mind, but it has no bearing on reality on the ground. Not least of which simply because you could be wildly wrong.

2. Don't confuse rapidity for agility. The Flying Wallendas moved rapidly once, but not adroitly. They are now an historical footnote, because the rapidity was due largely to gravity.
A startled cat may leap straight up, but that doesn't ensure that it was wise nor adroit. The outbreak was known by the Chinese PTB all the way back to December, BTW. Possibly earlier than that. Just not to you. And the whole point of nukes is that they don't need to be accurate.
In fact, accuracy rather upsets the apple cart all around. They are tantrum weapons, not war-fighting tools, once the monopoly is lost. Simply a geopolitical version of a toddlers with live grenades. And once anyone lobs one, all bets for sane rational de-escalation are off. That's the ball game. The best move once they fly, is "use them before you lose them". This bodes poorly for long-term sanity, let alone survival.

3. Assumes facts not in evidence. Desperate people do stupid and foolish things, pretty much 24/7/365/6000 years of recorded human history.
I make my living on that reality, and I'm here to tell you it's still a thing.

4. If China thinks the only way to get respect is to slap any one country, or even the entire world around, they'll do that. Inquire about what that sort of thing looks like at the Douglas Macarthur Library. China does what it does for its own reasons. They are not rationales you nor I would agree with, nor even understand, but do them they will. Half a billion is nothing to China as well.

The whole problem with current events is precisely their total unpredictability, because there are too many variables in play, and too many plates on poles to keep them all spinning without some of them spinning out of control and crashing.

"This business will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to live through it."

kydrty1 said...

Not sure if this could help but I used to work hazmat/restoration and always kept boxes of N95 and other dust/particle masks on hand.We would always get some of the finer particles slipping in and around the edges of the masks.One trick an oldtimer showed me was to smear a thick line of Vaseline around the edges that touch your face for a tighter seal and to catch particles in before they slipped through.I believe for aerosolized droplets extra care would have to be taken after removing the mask and cleaning your face,so as not to wipe any into your mouth eyes etc.but you need to do that anyway regardless whenever removing it.(we just wiped off the excess and washed up with hot water and soap)Perhaps our host or someone can tell us a way to clean the face safely and what to use.This trick worked well enough short term with minimum talking and facial movement so maybe it would help with quickly checking a patient that may be coughing,sneezing etc.Oh yeah,buy goggles or tight safety glasses too before you cant.Thanks Aesop for the timely info on everything and stay safe.

The Gray Man said...

This was exactly my point I made on my last post to American Partisan. I’ve had my ER go “on backorder” for NS bags, plastic urinals, Nubain, Dilaudid (which, when we got dilaudid back, immediately morphine went to backorder), etc., over things like an earthquake here or a tsunami there, or a hurricane somewhere in the Caribbean... So if we run out nationally, or at least regionally, of singular items here or there because of short-lived events here or there where an item it two comes from... What do people think is going to happen when there is a long-lives event that shuts down production in a country/region where 90% of our stuff comes from?

Maybe we shouldn’t have sold our souls to the Chinese. I mean, we shouldn’t have sold them anything, since they’re just going to steal it anyway. At least make them work for it.

lineman said...

You have to wonder if this isn't a little tit for tat for flooding our country with fentanyl...

nick flandrey said...

Incompetence and laziness are more likely.


Anonymous said...

Chabuduo culture and BSL-4 labs are a bad mix.

Bezzle said...

> When the Chinese stop buying our bonds, the whole Ponzi scheme ends

While China's portfolio is the largest of foreign holdings (only slightly ahead of Japan), their $1.13 trillion stake in US debt instruments represents less than a fifth of total foreign holdings ($6.2T), and only about a twentieth of combined domestic and foreign holdings.

I remember a decade ago over on Karl Denninger's board watching him get burned pretty bad in 2009 expecting the Black Swan event right then and there, because he underestimated the capacity of Fed to QE the ever-livin' crap out of the markets, using fresh-wet-ink funny-money to buy at rock-bottom prices for the long-ride of the century. And so here we are ten years on with both the stock markets and USG fiduciary responsibilities now more bloated than ever by almost an order of magnitude, and still everything is chugging along like it's the mid-1960s. Some day the spinning plates may indeed crash all at once, but it won't be due to China suddenly being unavailable to buy a twentieth of US debt.

> > If only you knew how little "modern" governments actually rely
> > on taxation to fund themselves. These days, the bulk of it is via
> > distributed inflation via locking the world to the dollar.
> Taxes jump because the national government is not all government.
> Ask about this at city hall or your state capitol, not to mention
> your local utility companies, if you're unclear on this point.

I did not say that taxes don't jump. Kamin's Third Law is in effect everywhere at all times: "Combined total taxation from all levels of government will always increase (until the government is replaced by war or revolution)." Nevertheless, "direct" overt taxation is now a smaller contribution than the currency tidal-lock of pegged rates, without which 2009's gnome-like Fed scheming would have been impossible (i.e., Ireland tried it too, and blew up).

> Our government has "had its fat dick in the market" non-stop
> since 1932. Technically, since 1913.

Since 1783.

> Government, per se, since before history was written down.

Yep. Thieves & Murderers Amalgamated since Abel slew his brother.

> If you thought 1932 was bad, wait unti you see the next one.

I'm actually somewhat less pessimistic than I used to be: For starters, the utter worst of FDR's bullshit was actually repealed, and there's no going back despite the best attempts of Frank Marshal Davis, Jr. For a different data-point, the fact that cars are actually better now, despite the never-ending draconian regulations yearly dump-trucked over the industry, implies that the increasing *rate* of private-sector capacity to adapt has now eclipsed the rate of the government's capacity to meddle, because there's only so many hours in the day meddle, and bureaucrats are still lazy MFs even when they're hard-core commies. So Bernie and his useful-idiot brigade hatch their plans, while the big industries have AlphaZero chugging away on supercomputers. It's not our granddaddy's back-in-the-USSR anymore, and even Maduro down Venzy-way has had to throw in the towel and start taking those filthy capitalist running-dog dollars and Euros to fix his busted oil industry.

Bezzle said...

> > My go-to theory....
> 1. Your go-to assumption is pure speculation. It may soothe
> your mind, but it has no bearing on reality on the ground.
> Not least of which simply because you could be wildly wrong.

I "assumed" nothing; I ventured a "theory", with some circumstantial evidence in support of it. Could those pieces of evidence also support other theories? Very probably. But I don't buy for one second some BS about bats in a wet-market being God's own petri-dish for two different chocolate and peanut-butter strains of coronavirus to come together and hatch a new breed of "novel" Reese's Pieces. Blarney. And bats? What lovely scapegoats they've made ever since the latest Ebola scare, especially since their furry little soup-bound carcasses can't talk back.

> 2. ...The outbreak was known by the Chinese PTB all the way
> back to December, BTW. Possibly earlier than that.

If they knew about it earlier than the *first case*, that would rather support my ventured thesis.

> 3. Assumes facts not in evidence. Desperate people do stupid and foolish things

Even if 100% of those currently infected dropped dead, that represents a loss of 0.00003% of China's population, to a nation with no central-heating whose legendary mid-winter smothering smogs kill some 400,000 oldsters every year. China will be pounding through several more zeroes before any sort of Black Swan event is even remotely imminent.

> 4. If China thinks the only way to get respect is to slap any one country, or even the entire world around, they'll do that.

The historical M.O. of the post-Mao ChiCom leadership has been one of glacial restraint, patience, and calculation. Unless and until a new warlord murders his way onto the scene, it's far-fetched to compare the current regime to some lunatic Qing Dynasty emperor.

> "This business will get out of control, and we'll be lucky to
> live through it."

Odd choice of quotes, because most people made it through without luck, both within the fictional universe of 1990's "The Hunt for Red October", whose script, if not the film itself, was already in the can by the time the Berlin Wall fell in November, 1989, with the Soviets themselves going tits-up shortly thereafter, Putin & other KGB alumnus goons notwithstanding), and within our actual reality of everybody carefully backing away from nuclear triggers for the better part of forty years running now.

Unlike the dune-tick ascetics of the Middle East, China's authoritarians are now quite comfortable with being stinking rich in a land of gleaming skyscrapers, Shanghai-shades-of-Dubai, and aren't about to do anything crazy -- even if a bond portfolio gets a little creaky every so often.

After all, they still have the skyscrapers, and a nearly whole Africa they managed to buy while nobody was paying attention.

Aesop said...

You vastly over-estimate the resilience of corrupt baling-wired systems to adapt, and of the dimwits running things to notice until it explodes in their faces.
The wisdom that brought you Chernobyl, with the attention to detail that gave you the Soviet space program, times the coolie mentality.
This is entropy, writ large.
The meltdown this time is becoming biblical, precisely because unlike all of Africa combined, this time it's hardwired right into the West at a million contact points.

Whistling past the graveyard isn't going to cut it, and you're about to miscalculate the China Syndrome a la the Chosin Reservoir, except upscaled a couple of orders of magnitude.

Bezzle said...

> Whistling past the graveyard isn't going to cut it,
> and you're about to miscalculate the China Syndrome...

I lived through thirty-five years of everybody Chicken Littling full-time hysterically that the Doomsday Clock was going to strike midnight at any split-second during the whole wide, fat Cold War, ...and it never happened. Instead, Gorbachev's shiny round balloon head squealed and deflated flaccid. Then the US bought 80% of Russia's nukes and decommissioned them.

China has about a dozen things to worry about that are more important to it that the status of a $1.13 trillion US bond portfolio. That country's total wealth is approximately $64 trillion, or almost 18% of the entire world.

> this time it's hardwired right into the West at a million contact points.

Any troubles the West faces in the near-future are almost certainly going to be entirely self-inflicted. Say, a hypothetical "uncontrolled" Bernie presidency that for some reason the Shadow Party permits to exist in a scenario wherein he's not firmly in their back pocket like every other candidate they've permitted to Diebold to the front of the pack over the last third of a century and counting. It really does run a pretty slick, well-oiled machine by this point, which is why a Trump administration can be largely indistinguishable from an Obama administration at farther-than-magnifying glass distances all the while their hyperventilating professional wrestling fan supporters are earnestly convinced they are polar opposites worthy of engaging in low-intensity Seattle street-skirmishes over. But that's a busted hypothesis, so it'd have to be something else.

Aesop said...

You're looking at the gauges, and ignoring the smoke pouring out of the engine casings.

China's wealth is labor, and JIT manufacturing, not intrinsic wealth.
A pandemic impoverishes them at the rate of disease transmission.
And if they think (or think they can gain advantage from pretending) that this was foreign devilry, they'll play that card for all it's worth. Doubly so if desperation and losing face is driving their play, and triply so if they're looking at regression to poverty and vulnerability. They have not backed down from the West once in 70 years, and only make concessions in their own interest. This crisis presents them with neither thing.

They have global ambitions, and a navy that's bigger than, and performance-wise about on par with our misbegotten 250-ship used-to-be-somebody force. This isn't 1980, or 1989.

Globally, we really are a paper tiger.

And the nuclear clock to a pandemic is apples and oranges.
A virus isn't reasonable. Unlike Russians at the other end of a MAD teeter-totter.
Best case, this only becomes a total shitshow. Worse is always in the deck.

Anonymous said...

Just a theory to ponder. A while back some similar biologicals were purportedly taken from Canada to China by clandestine means. Supposedly these were designed to target the Asian population based on ACE2 levels. These were brought to China for the purpose of developing a vaccine however, they got out of the lab (whether by accident or purpose) before an effective vaccine was achieved. Hence, while initial virus was developed elsewhere, China shares in the release and thus owns event. Just another conspiracy theory that I give some merit without saying it's fact.

Bezzle said...

An alternative theory (because they're so much fun), which bubbles up due to the following statistical incongruity: within China, deaths are 22% of recoveries, while deaths are 3% of recoveries for the entire rest of the world combined, including places with complete ass for medical care. As of today, China has 1082 more deaths than it should have to match everyone else's collective 3%. For a lethal flu bug with purportedly asymptomatic traits, it seems strangely reticent to take anyone down for the count when outside of the Jade Kingdom.

Theory: COVID-19 (or whatever is its latest name) is a nothingburger that Beijing is using as an excuse to conceal an expedient solution to certain irritating undesirables it's been accumulating lately (such as various Hong Kong protestors who've been quietly disappearing in ones and twos for months now).

Aesop said...

Not entirely unlikely.

And I note in passing that when I first broached the bare logical possibility of such, no one could imagine why China PTB might be overstating the corona virus situation for their own ends.

nick flandrey said...

There you go, believing the reported numbers mean something.....

It's so tempting, it sucks people back in without them even realizing...

So now the number is 60,329 infected, which by eye, puts them back on the curve they were faking before.

WRT deaths outside china, if the Dr interview was at all valid, two weeks to show symptoms then you either start to get better, or you rapidly get worse, either option can take another week. IIRC we've still got a week left on the first 10 from the cruise ship, where it certainly seems to be infecting people left and right. The we'll need more time for the ones who started their symptoms later.

The call with the chinese crematorium seems to support the idea there are LOTS more deaths than reported. The exchanges seemed pretty genuine to me, contractors and bosses being the same everywhere... things like being short staffed, broken ovens, and converting the cars to carry 2 bodies while having to use the vans to carry 6-8 all suggest the same thing- lots of dead people.

It might make a difference in whether or not your door gets welded shut or you get dragged out of your house to be on the wrong clerk's shit list, or to have pissed off a neighbor. Or a low social credit score, or whatever. It does seem odd that the goon squads are willing to get hands on wrestling with people supposedly too sick to be left free.

Anyway, there'll be more to see later.


Eaton Rapids Joe said...

Hey bro, you called it and you called it first.