My dislike of the current Speaker of the House is nothing short of Brobdingnagian, but I laud her for standing by an ally. I also think that she and the congressional delegation now HAVE to visit Taiwan as not doing so will send a message of weakness and acquiescence that will almost certainly come back to haunt us most calamitously in the near future.
Things are sufficiently messed up in the Middle Kingdom right now that it is quite possible that Xi might roll the dice in hopes of a 'short victorious war'.
Taiwan is where the vast majority of our semi-conductors are made, at least the ones not made with Chinese spyware. Taiwan is actually of such strategic importance that it's a place that most Democrats, Republicans, and even some Libertarians are willing to fight for for both moral, economic and strategic reasons.
I have much skepticism that anything close to a majority or a plurality in the Democrat Party are willing to fight for Taiwan, especially given the comfortable and profitable relations said Democrats had with the PRC. If anything, I am surprised that the Democrats have not given up Taiwan already to the PRC (Recall that during the Obama era, some Democrat brain-trust were writing opinion pieces in periodicals speculating on how much the PRC might be willing to pay the US if the US gave Taiwan to them Commies.).
While there are Republicans who are willing to enforce the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act (Adam Kinzinger, for all his despicable behavior, was originally a major supporter of Taiwan to the point of endorsing the US supplying nuclear weapons to the ROC.), there are precious few Democrats - and that is before getting to Biden and other Democrats finding joy in surrendering something important to the US to our enemies.
No, the Democrats are not supporters of Taiwan, either inherently or on a transactional basis - and it would be fooling oneself to believe the idea.
Posted by: cxt217 at Mon Aug 1 00:33:50 2022 (2tHvf)
Yeah, I'm shocked that Pelosi would do this; I thought she was firmly on the side of 'sell out everyone to the PRC'.
Probably more Americans are boycotting goods made with Red China's slave labor. Perhaps MOSS are no longer able to make their payments to the California faction of Democrats.
Posted by: Pat Buckman at Mon Aug 1 00:45:09 2022 (r9O5h)
I'm reminded that the Democrats were probably pushing war with Russia in the hope that it would be excuse to clamp down on internal dissent.
So, this may be the same motivation as that absolutely insane gun control thing that the House just passed.
I don't think Pelosi is willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of their goal But, if their motivations are purely domestic, they may be surprised at the PRC not playing along.
Posted by: Pat Buckman at Mon Aug 1 01:02:23 2022 (r9O5h)
Pelosi is a bid of an odd duck with regards to China. She takes her progressivism seriously, and has at least partially supported if not even pushed for most of our "security actions" that are nominally in support of defending oppressed peoples, eg our actions in Libya, Syria, etc. Many many years ago she visited the PRC, and was rather rudely chased away from Tiananmen Square, which she did not take kindly. On the other hand, she's generally happy to take most anyone's donations and happily sits down at the table with just about anyone who mouths the right sayings, even when it turns out that they are members in good standing of the CCP.
If China goes after Taiwan, either via pure military force or just untenable diplomatic pressure, and we don't step in with a credible response, it will basically mark the end of the current era of international security arrangements. It will be every nation for themselves, take what you think you can grab and hold, and things will get very ugly, very quickly.
Posted by: David at Mon Aug 1 02:18:00 2022 (D6Mju)
5If China goes after Taiwan, either via pure military force or just
untenable diplomatic pressure, and we don't step in with a credible
response, it will basically mark the end of the current era of
international security arrangements.
Obama already killed that with both the nuclear deal with Iran and voiding Prague Agreement. Given the Biden is even less willing to use force to back US interests or even support them, and it is amazing that PRC has not done more sooner.
Posted by: cxt217 at Mon Aug 1 11:48:05 2022 (2tHvf)
There have been a number of disease outbreaks that have caused concern over the last few years, SARS, MERS, any number of bird flu variants, Ebola, and others were (and in the case of Ebola still are) serious problems and genuinely dangerous, but they did not approach anything like what was feared and may contribute to a cry wolf effect when the big one hits. Something feels different about this, it may not pan out but the impression I get is that if it doesn't become a pandemic, it will be because of heroic efforts and luck.
I was asked on Discord to comment about the following:
There has been some speculation that the location of China's Class 4 Biohazard facility smack dab in the middle of this mess, and that the 2 week asymptomatic contagious period (which is near the gold standard for a bioweapon) indicate that this disease is a military pathogen that got away from them like Glanders did from the Germans in WW1.
First of all, there's no direct evidence. Second, evolution is perfectly capable of producing horrific examples of pestilence as the Black Death, Plague of Justinian, Smallpox and Spanish Influenza show. Third, it is probably not relevant as the disease exists and must be dealt with. I emphasize probably because if it were an engineered virus that might have implications for treatment, though such matters are beyond a mere bachelor of arts' area of expertise.
I'm skeptical, but in the interest of devil's advocacy it should be noted that the P.R.C. is, like the U.S.S.R. before it, is a communist dictatorship. Using bioweapons seems unwise in the extreme, but the hubris of a bureaucrat knows no bounds and if the 5-year plan says that there will be a vaccine fore one's own forces, then in the mind of a bureaucrat that vaccine will exist. Additionally, in an earlier post we mentioned that serious concerns were raised about the then-under-construction Wuhan lab in 2017 and that there were 2 earlier containment failures with the less dangerous SARS virus in a Beijing lab about a decade ago. One involved a protocol issue and one involved an attempted live virus vaccine that had not, in fact, been rendered fully safe. China doesn't have a good track record in this area. Here is an interview with Ken Albiek who was an executive at Biopreparat (the soviet bio-warfare program). It's pretty horrifying, particularly the bit about what happened in Sverdlovsk when a filter was not properly installed and someone broke a container. Anthrax is not person to person contagious, had it been a more virulent disease it would have been a major incident, with the only saving grace being the closed nature of the Soviet Union. It's entirely possible that the odious Chinese regime did botch something like happened in Sverdlovsk , but there is no hard evidence I'm aware of and eating fruit bats is a perfectly reliable way to get dreadful new diseases.
So heed this friendly advice...
Also:If you are interested in biowarfare,its potential for bio-terrorism or find that you sleep too soundly at night, I recommend buying BioHazzard, by Ken Albiek, which gives an overview in layman accessible terms of the mischief that Biopreparat was involved in.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sat Feb 8 09:57:44 2020 (PiXy!)
Read an article that identified a similar virus carried by Pangolins. Which although endangered, still manage to show up in Chinese traditional medicine.
Posted by: Mauser at Sat Feb 8 12:35:55 2020 (Ix1l6)
Saw a rather disturbing video if haz-mat suited Chinese officials confronting a couple on the street, and then stuffing them into a giant metal box in the bed of a government pickup truck. And another of people begin dragged out of their apartment by force by similar men.
Those 1000-bed hospitals aren't really there for treatment, but if you end up in one, if you weren't sick, you're guaranteed to end up sick. Clearly that's why nobody wants to go.
Another article, not second sourced yet, says that the government is seeking court permission to put the infected down. Sounds horrifying, but I can't imagine the Chicoms would defer to a court.
Posted by: Mauser at Sat Feb 8 12:46:47 2020 (Ix1l6)
More Pronouncements Pertaining to Pestilence
There's nothing particularly unexpected in the
news of the Coronavirus except for this that Instapundit found this
morning. A story indicating that the bug's transmission rate outside
China is expected to closely follow that inside China (hardly news) is
Over 17,000 chickens have been killed trying to get a handle on this secondary mess, about which the news is mixed.
The virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to
person appears to be unusual," the WHO said. "There is no evidence that
the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and
thoroughly cooked food." The mortality rate in humans is 60%, the WHO
A Note of Concern:
With regard to what we mentioned day before yesterday regarding the situation in Wuhan PRC and Captain Tripps this new Coronavirus, it's hard for us outside the loop to know what is hype, misinformation, miscommunication, mistranslation, a combination of all four, or rock solid investigative reporting.
What we can be reasonably confident of is that the Chinese Communist Party, being a totalitarian state, is going to try to cover-up or minimize the situation to the maximum extent possible and even rather beyond credulity.
Thus, seeing that Chinese Premier Xi Jinping has declared that the situation is "grave" is cause for some concern. This is as close to a declaration of emergency as we're ever likely to see from the politburo. I've got a degree in Asian history and while certainly no China hand, I've done several papers on Chinese politics, and the fact that Xi Jinping is admitting even this much is a genuinely terrifying thing. The CCP considers its people to be grease for the machinery of their state.
But this situation actually seems to have them scared.
Take With a Grain of Salt (UPDATE)
There's a lot of talk about the outbreak of this coronavirus which started in Wuhan and has now spread to multiple countries. At this point the death toll 5 days on is said (by the ever-so-trustworthy government of China) to be 25. That's almost equal to a half-hour in a really bad flu season, but given the small numbers reported (~825) that comes to one in 33 of those infected being killed...which is....quite impressive if the data is accurate.
The data's probably NOT accurate. It's almost certainly skewed one way or another. However, the Chinese have instituted a quarantine(!) of Wuhan, where the outbreak started. Wuhan is a city that's bigger than London. There are now multiple cities that are also locked down. I don't know the provenance of the following video, but it is alleged to be from inside Wuhan...where they are apparently going to great lengths to look like the beginning of a zombie movie.
Fortunately, we can all rest easy, because despite what some on the internet are implying when they talk about the situation in Wuhan City, it turns out that the Chinese word for raccoon is not actually wuhan , it's huÃ nxiÃ³ng.
So rejoice! There are no zombies in evidence at this time.
But there is reason to keep one's eye on this.
This story dates from March, but it caught my eye for a couple of reasons.
"Weâ€™re seeing members from all the three letter agencies,â€ said Fortitude creator Drew Miller, a retired Air Force colonel and intelligence officer, in a reference to the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The gentleman being quoted runs Fortitude Ranch, a prepper outfit that provides a number of fallout shelters and protected compounds around the U.S. in the event of a societal catastrophe.
The two facilities near D.C. are reportedly getting a lot of business from civil servants in agencies that would be standing duty during a crisis with the aim of protecting family members.
Over the last several years, there have been quite a few luxury bomb shelters in the news like Vivos that cater to millionaires and such. While those are certainly cause for interest with regards to what the rich and connected might be anticipating, this particular collection of facilities are interesting in part because of their austerity.
The underground portions of the compounds are not 5-star accommodations.
They do, however, appear to be reasonably well thought out and adequate.
The company requires that everyone familiarize themselves with their facilities weapons and stand watch at the gates in the event the area is habitable. They provide air transport from the many small airports in the DC area, to get the families to the facilities in a crisis.
One clever bit: they want their clients to be familiar with the facilities so they double as rustic resorts (as they have large acrerages and the east coast facilities are in the mountains) at which the members can relax and get training on the facilities weapons(!).
So why should this be of any interest:
The impression given by their approach and lack of granite countertops is that this series of shelters is for people who are...serious...about this sort of thing. More importantly, civil servants in the agencies that concern themselves with this stuff have reportedly looked at the situation the country is in and decided to put down money on it.
The whole thing brings to mind this...
Yes kids. It's time to get your bug out bags in order.
A Solution to the Fermi Paradox
At some point every advanced species reaches such a level of prosperity and safety amongst their creative classes that whatever serves as their equivalent of an amygdala atrophies to such a degree that some theoretically intelligent minds conclude that an "internet of things" is a good idea and nobody has the good sense to tar and feather them.
The cyber threat hunters had honed their chops at the National Security Agency -- the world's premier electronic spy agency. And last fall, they were analyzing malware samples from around the world when they stumbled across something highly troubling: the first known piece of computer software designed to kill humans.
Now yes; " first known piece of computer software designed to kill humans" indicates a lack of understanding of how fire control systems work. But, they're talking about malware here so, all pedantry aside... There is a bit in the article about a particular company's policy not to provide information on the source of the attacks. I have some questions about that for my more technically inclined readers.
I would imagine that it is very difficult to achieve any certainty on where an attack comes from since it would seem likely that routing access through a third party one might want to frame would inherently be well within the capability of entities doing this sort of thing. I'm not particularly tech savvy so I have to ask if this is this even remotely correct.
Is it still considered best practice to have an air gap between one's equipment software and the internet? Obviously this is pretty much thrown out the window by the internet of things, which are all about convenience with little or no thought to security. However if someone's internet connected slow cooker is hacked there is a culinary mishap. If someone's refrigerator is hacked to empty their checking account and order 500 gallons of natto and boiled okra, then one person stupid enough to give his the refrigerator the keys to his Amazon account has learned a lesson. If these industrial systems are hacked we could have another Bhopal. Why is there a way to access these on site systems from the internet at all? Shouldn't that be on site?
Of course one needs the ability to send out a general alarm but that interface can be electro-mechanical and therefore nigh un-hackable, at least remotely.
Anyway, I'm curious what others have to say on this.
First off, one of the 'Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes' has some thoughts on science reportage....
Of course the 'Science Babes' are just the imaginary braniac waifus of a lonely male blogger who has a sick fetish for smart girls, so it is likely that their supposed views on such microagressions are no different than any member of the macho women haters club....
The Russians, always eager to remind us that we are loved, have decided to regularly send nuclear capable bombers to patrol the Gulf of Mexico.
In unrelated news PRAVDA is running the headline Russia prepares nuclear surprise for NATO. It should be noted that the use of the words "nuclear" and "surprise" next to each other is generally frowned upon. However, there are always translation issues and the Muscovites probably have a different style guide. In any event, given the relative parity in acknowledged warheads the Russians are unlikely to do anything really stupid unless they think our deterrent is seriously unreliable for some reason.
"If you talk about it openly, you cross the line and unnecessarily antagonize," Greenert said at a forum in Newport, Rhode Island. "You probably have a sense about how much we trade with that country. It's astounding. "
Over 25 daysI note that the Spanish nurse who has contracted Ebola got it from treating Father Miguel Pajares, who was reported dead on the 12th of August. Therefore, one can assume that 25 or more days passed since she was exposed.
Incubation is said to be no more than 21 days.
UPDATE: Belay all that.
Well then: JP Gibb in the comments points out that she had treated another priest since the death of Father Pajeares,
I swear, when I looked this up this morning trying to get the dates there was no mention of the second priest. However Father Manuel Garcia Viejo is also mentioned here. He died 12 days ago which puts this well within the 21 day incubation period.
...we opined about the matter of the Ebola patient in Texas, advised our readers that there was a lot of hype and pointed to the heartening examples of Senegal and Nigeria as representative of how, when alerted to the danger ahead of time and given basic health care facilities, even a third world government can successfully deal with an outbreak of this disease.
Last night however, I noted something that concerned me. It concerned me enough that I was not, in fact, able to sleep the rest of the night and this has haunted me all day. Before I potentially alarm our readers I think it advisable to get a second opinion, so we'll ask some of the Brickmuppet's Crack Team of Science Babes if they are optimistic about the situation in Dallas...
Last night on Gateway Pundit, these two images in particular caused me some worry.
These pictures are allegedly of the cleanup of the vomit and blood soaked sheets in the apartment that the Ebola patient was in. It took days for the city to get a cleanup team out there which puts the family's efforts to break quarantine in a far more sympathetic light. as they were in the house with deadly, infectious blood and spew...in Dallas...In September.
It gets worse of course.
They aren't wearing any hazmat gear.
I did hazmat cleanup and response for 12 years and EVERYTHING in these pictures is wrong. The pressure washer is the LAST thing one should use as it temporarily aerosolized the infecty bits. Dispersing it into the dirt where children play is an additional sin and as Gateway Pundit notes, there is a woman in sandals walking through the stream unaware. The apartment cleaning crew's precautions consist of holding the bags of death at arms length.
EVERYONE in these photo's is likely exposed and their friends. coworkers and families are now at risk too when some or all of these people develop symptoms in 3-21 days. Every single person in the picture needs to be tracked down and quarantined. Not only that, other employees of the cleaning firm have likely been exposed as well, from the pressure washer, vehicle and the linens themselves, since no particular precautions seem to be being taken...those do not appear to be HAZMAT bags.
It gets worse. The pressure washer makes it likely that droplets got inhaled by some people. This could cause the bug to develop in the lungs first. Ebola is NOT airborne. It can't hang in the air like a flu virus, but it is conceivable that a pneumonic infection could make a victim able to spread the disease over a wider area more efficiently much like pneumonic plague. Note that plague is also not really airborne. It's spread mainly by fleas and exploding buboes, but if inhaled it is far more virulent as sneezing and coughing can project it a much longer distance. This does not require any mutation of the disease just that it get into the lungs.
Whoever sent these completely unprepared and untrained men (who are obviously woefully uninformed about what they are dealing with) to this apartment needs to be arrested, and tried for negligent manslaughter as soon as anyone associated with this fiasco dies. Whatever government agency hired these people needs to have its chairman, and all responsible for this fiasco face the same fate. There is NO reason why a city health department does not have a HAZWOPER qualified contractor or in house department to handle an infectious substance cleanup. That would seem to be one of the Health Department's main jobs. Heads need to roll, but I fear that a far worse fate awaits many Texans because of this gross negligence
What should have been a scary but contained event like the Nigeria outbreak now looks like it could very possibly be an utter catastrophe. Add everyone in these picture, the children who play in the complex, their families and friends and the owners of any dogs that happen by and lap up a bit of the water to the potentially exposed list.
Now it is possible that they were using bleach, but given the level of PPE displayed in the photo's I'd say that was not likely.
If this pans out like I fear (and I pray to God I am wrong) this is going to be a real disaster. If it finds an animal reservoir, it's going to be with us a long time.
It is never the time to panic. Situations like this demand anything but panic. Panic is why this disease is rampaging through Liberia, In that case though the doctors were caught flat-footed. Dealing with a malaria outbreak they were were unaware Ebola was in the area, and misdiagnosed the disease and infected themselves in the process. By the time they realized they were dealing with Ebola a huge number of the doctors were infected and dying themselves...The United States had ample warning and rescources that the doctors in Liberia ( and Nigeria for that matter) could only dream of. And we may have squandered it with negligence and stupidity.
Ebola Tan says: "Negligence and stupidity are two of my favorite things!"
OK, I won't panic. I will calmly buy 12 months of food to fill my spare room, coolly buy activated charcoal filters for my air vents and water facets, and then seal myself into my home in a collected manner...
Posted by: Siergen at Fri Oct 3 18:18:54 2014 (r3+4f)
What I want to know is: where is Rick Perry? This kind of thing is exactly what he should be paying attention to, and moving heaven/earth to get it corrected. He really ought to be kicking asses and knocking heads about it.
If those photos are the real thing, then everyone involved in the decision-making process needs to be in jail.
And as Steven said, where the hell is Rick Perry? All it takes to sort this out is one brief moment of competence. So WTF?
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Oct 3 21:57:09 2014 (PiXy!)
Sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, Brickmuppet, just thinking it over and getting more and more annoyed.
The only way a pressure washer would be suitable for this is if the area had already been thoroughly decontaminated with bleach or other strong disinfectant. I'm not sure what's considered best for viruses, but bleach is always good; it does for organic molecules what a blender does for frogs.
Even then, of course, the area should have been taped off and the workers wearing proper protective gear. So the best case is that this is a huge bureaucratic clusterfrog.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Oct 3 22:36:18 2014 (PiXy!)
I thought it was a joke, but the CDC page really does have info on Romero-zombies. Of course it IS a joke...I hope...but it actually is on the CDC site.
Now as I type this, tomorrow is alleged to be the end of the world. The Anchoress of all people is, amongst other things directing her readers to Rapture looting parties.
I'm pretty sure that this whole silly thing is being hyped out of proportion by Dick Dawkins athiests. Predicting the end times is actually a sin in Christianity and I'm unaware of anyone who takes this seriously except the dunderhead preacher and members of his flock. I suspect at least some of the "believers" being interviewed are Mobys. Still, there is much idiocy to lampoon here. Don has thoughts and links to thoughts along those lines.