The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

The Next Problem Will Be Food

Alright, back in February I warned people to get ready to shelter in place.

Now I’m telling you to be concerned about food price increases and even shortages. As Vinay Gupta points out, the signs of future problems are visible now. We have a ton of food rotting in fields, we have farmers without migrant workers, we have packing plants shutting down and so on. In India we have migrant workers sent home, etc.

In the short run, this might lead to lower prices (if they make it to consumers), but in the long run this may lead to higher food prices, at the most it may lead to shortages in some places. It will lead to hunger among those who cannot afford the price increases.

Some countries will be particularly vulnerable, for example India.

So, stock up if you can. Simple stuff: rice, beans, canned goods, and so on. It’s highly unlikely, unless you have an ongoing issue already, that water will be a problem, so: food and medicine. This isn’t a “right now” issue, this is not for months–just buy a little extra when you go to the supermarket.

If it turns out you don’t need it, having some bags of rice and beans won’t do you any harm. If you do need it…

Actual functioning governments would be prioritizing things like keeping the food supply chain going: subsidize farm worker wages, and arrange protection for them, among other things. Instead, we are printing trillions of dollars and giving them to rich people to burn uselessly.

More on that later.

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April 13th US Covid Data


April 14th US Covid Data


  1. Daniel Lynch

    The potential problem is food processing plants Because they are \”essential,\” they are free to continue operating, nonetheless they can\’t operate if their workers are sick. There is no short term solution to this, though requiring everyone to wear real masks might help (the science on masks is uncertain). In the longer term, society might be better served by local butchers rather than corporate factory slaughterhouses. If one local butcher catches the virus, society is not going to starve. Realistically, government could and should break up the monopolistic food processors.

    Regarding the migrant workers, no one is going to die or even suffer very much if we have to go without fresh lettuce or strawberries. Rich people eat fresh fruit and veggies, poor people eat mac and cheese. Those who have a yard should be growing their own fruit and veggies, anyway.

    The town of Shelley, Idaho lets kids out of school during the spud harvest so the kids can work on the harvest. This has always made more sense to me than relying on immigrant farm labor. The Shelley kids are glad to earn the money and they\’re stupid enough to not mind the dirty work. So much for the claim that Americans won\’t do the job that immigrants do.

    Ian, in the U.S. people have taken your advice to stock up on food, now the problem is that many grocer\’s shelves are empty, and many stores are rationing. Last time I went to town there was a 2-of-each-item limit per customer. If you haven\’t stocked up by now, it\’s too late.

  2. Aqua Lung

    Instead we are printing trillions of dollars and giving them to rich people to burn uselessly.

    Apparently it’s not just in America. It’s China too. Even though China experienced a 40% decline in auto sales in March, not so for Tesla in China. Tesla hit a sales record in China for the month of March amidst the pandemic. Go figure. It’s always worked for me. Whenever there’s a pandemic, I get an uncontrollable impulse to purchase an EV. The Chinese are no different it seems.

  3. Willy

    In a functional government there’d be common survival priorities, like rapid deployment of masks, pandemic health training for anything corporate mass production related which has to keep going for the masses, available test kits, etc.. A country with 4% of the worlds population has nearly a third of all known coronavirus cases.

    A working man, an immigrant from Mongolia who I just worked with recently, pretty much told me all that plus what’s in this post.

    He was raised in one of the poorest countries in the world.

    I never got around to asking him about how fucked up he thinks Americas current government is compared to what’s in his native country. Of course I guess he did come here to ride the end of the wage wave still flowing from times long gone… but damn. He mostly takes advantage of liberal elite 10%ers who don’t have a clue what he makes or what they should be paying, who just “know” that immigrants always work harder and do a better job than any native can. I’m starting to digress. The point was that even he knows full well how completely effed up we are now.

  4. nihil obstet

    Let’s hope that foreign indigenous farming recovers from the devastation wrought by American subsidized agricultural exports. This isn’t an issue in India, but in much of Latin America and Africa local farmers were driven off their farms by cheap American food. It was a travesty.

  5. krake

    @ nihil obstet

    Driven off their traditional farms and herd routes, and into the bush meat trade, ivory and penis-potency trades, into the slash and burn of black market charcoal and drug farming – and poaching, slave trafficking, and blood resources – compounding every other Washington-Berlin-Paris-London caused feedback loop.

  6. Jerry Brown

    I think you are too scared about the food thing. My understanding is that at least grain farming is highly mechanized. Dairy seems to be also. Don’t know about fruits and vegetables. Or meats. But the US knows how to grow food- look at all the fat people. Canada does also. Maybe there will be less healthy variety in the near future available. Maybe it would be more healthy actually. But we are not going to starve. This thing is serious but don’t panic too much.

  7. DMC

    Don’t forget the GMO racket. The inability to save seeds for the next planting has been driving Third World farmers off their land for near a couple of decades now.

  8. krake

    @ Jerry Brown

    American farming is corporate, non-local, just-in-time, transit dependent and distribution centralized. It is vulnerable to cascading and catastrophic network breakdowns.

  9. Stirling S Newberry

    Transportation is the current issue, food will come later.

  10. Stirling S Newberry

    You will be missed.

  11. anon

    I’m in the fortunate position to be able to afford higher prices if it comes to that. I already had cans of soup and instant ramen stored before COVID-19, but that will only last for so long. My household has gone through food pretty quickly in our average sized refrigerator. There is only so much room in our freezer and it looks like it’s large enough to store only about 3-4 weeks of food. I plan to follow Ian’s advise and pick up a few extra canned food, pasta sauce, pasta, and other non-perishables whenever I go to the grocery store. A little extra with each visit will add up. I have driven this message home specifically to friends who live in areas that are heavily dependent on imports. If you live on an island state or nation, take this seriously and start stocking before prices become astronomical.

  12. CH

    Already happening: Coronavirus closes meat plants in Canada and the United States as world’s largest pork producer warns of shortages

  13. Ché Pasa

    Some prices at the one local grocery store (one of two in the county) have already doubled, in a few cases tripled. And there’s little likelihood of them being reduced any time soon. Shelves are not entirely bare of canned goods, rice, pasta and beans, but there is very little at any given time, and selection is very limited. There are almost no paper products or cleaning supplies (get there when the truck comes or you’re out of luck.) Bread and tortillas are showing up in larger quantities, but still amount to less than half usual stock. There is a good deal of chatter about the meat processing shut downs and the dairies dumping milk and the nearly universal problem of fruits and vegetables unharvested. There’s no shortage yet of fresh meat or vegetables, but that could change tomorrow, and very few people have sufficient frozen food storage space to hold them over for more than a month or two — if that.

    There are enclaves of survivalists and preppers, of course, but how well they’ll fare if things really go to shit is an open question. They tend to be… somewhat high strung.

    Most of the locals grow at least some of their own, but this is not exactly the finest land for truck farms. Mainly corn, beans, and cattle, that’s about it. Hope and pray your fruits and vegetables come in, but don’t count on it.

    Ultimately, water will be the critical issue. Most folks don’t have their own wells, and those who do crab all the time about their wells running dry. Nestle wants to drain the aquifer completely, but I guess they’re on hold for the duration.

    Folks around here know how to get by, but without water… not much can be done.

  14. Zachary Smith

    So, stock up if you can. Simple stuff: rice, beans, canned goods and so on. It’s highly unlikely, unless you have an ongoing issue already, that water will be a problem, so: food and medicine. This isn’t a “right now” issue, this is not for months: buy a little extra when you go to the supermarket.

    The staples are best. Keep them dry and away from insects/rodents, and most keep for ages. Dry beans do have a particular problem if they get any age on them – they’ll remain very crunchy with regular cooking. (Maybe the ordinary-cooked beans could be put through a grinder?) Old beans out of storage require pressure cooking, and I doubt if many people have this device. Those who do have probably neglected keeping a good gasket in the cooker. One final issue few know about – beans “froth” badly in pressure cookers, and unless some oil is added at the outset, the cooker may blow up when the hulls clog the vents.
    Spices – something else to get in volume if you’re thinking of storing that “simple stuff”. Stores which sell to restaurants usually have much lower prices than the grocery.

    I have to quibble about the water issue. If the town’s water utility runs out of electricity, the company won’t be supplying water. If an individual can’t run his well pump, he’s SOL without a reserve – at least until he can arrange some kind of rain collection. Unless a person has one of the “instant” inline water heaters, his tank heater has some water – maybe enough for weeks of drinking-only. Since most modern bottom drain valves quickly fail, the water might have to be siphoned out from the top.

    Last time I went to town there was a 2-of-each-item limit per customer. If you haven\’t stocked up by now, it\’s too late.

    For the most part my local groceries have a “2” limit too. Buy “2” even if you only need one box/bag. Try different flavors of the same product – “2” of them as well.

    The point was that even he knows full well how completely effed up we are now.

    The man is right. I read a lot about WW2, and marvel how the Feds did their very best to run a tight ship on the home front and also to maximize weapon production. They made plenty of mistakes, but they were TRYING! If WW2 US of A had been run by the Trumpies, I don’t think we’d have come out on the winning side. Example: Can anybody imagine President Dumb*ss doing Lend Lease?

    I think you are too scared about the food thing. My understanding is that at least grain farming is highly mechanized. Dairy seems to be also.

    The extreme mechanization of the farms might not always be a great thing. Recall how the US and the Apartheid state teamed up to destroy Iranian centrifuges. What if some foreign enemy (or a pimply faced native punk) designed a similar computer worm to infect the tractors, harvesters, and processing factories? The wonderful machines need fuel and electricity. There are man-made disasters where neither would be available to the farmers and industries. Or suppose the fields are planted, harvested, processed, and the foods setting in warehouses. Some diseases much worse than the coronavirus could kill enough truck drivers and/or grocery workers that it would never get to consumers.
    Having enough of a reserve to get you through late fall and winter could be the difference between living and dying.
    I do wish they were doing something with the surplus milk. Dry milk powder is extremely nutritious and keeps well if packed properly. In a freezer warehouse it would keep forever.

    Don’t forget the GMO racket. The inability to save seeds for the next planting has been driving Third World farmers off their land for near a couple of decades now.

    Unless I’ve been misinformed, the second generation of hybrid/GMO seeds will grow just fine. A few years ago I saved the seed saved from a particularly nice hybrid cucumber. The seeds germinated and grew into nice plants, but the cukes weren’t anything special. Ditto for the GMO corn. The kernels you picked up from the spill where they loaded the big trailer will – when planted – grow fine. It just won’t be “roundup ready” anymore.
    Buy some garden seeds. Get them very dry (ideally with a desiccant) then freeze them in a glass jar. For those with postage stamp yards, they might experiment this year – just to get some experience with what is involved with the work, insects, diseases, weeds, and four/two-legged predators. An ordinary shovel can quickly turn a bit of lawn into a micro-garden.

    Lots of people with workshops have plenty of time on their hands. They might consider building a solar food dryer. Make it, test it, then carefully take it apart for compact storage.

    Read up on water purification. The Survivalists and Scientists have uncovered some really nifty schemes make “bad” into “good”.

  15. Jerry Brown

    @krake and others. Come on- the world still spins and goes around the sun. Things grow when they grow- that hasn’t changed. We will grow food- calories won’t be a problem. We will transport it. People will get it.

    This is still a great country. We know how to do this and we will. We have shown it in the past and can do it in the present if we want to. Don’t hyperventilate about this.

  16. Zachary Smith

    @krake and others. Come on- the world still spins and goes around the sun. Things grow when they grow- that hasn’t changed. We will grow food- calories won’t be a problem. We will transport it. People will get it.

    This is still a great country. We know how to do this and we will. We have shown it in the past and can do it in the present if we want to. Don’t hyperventilate about this.

    The part I’ve bolded is obvious. The second sentence in italics is a meaningless word salad.
    The rest of your post is over-the-top Pollyanna. At least until you explain how the miracles you speak of are going to happen with the “leadership” the US is currently enduring.

  17. Eric Anderson

    Said it before and so once again …
    Get a .30-.30 and learn how to hunt.
    Get a rod and know how to fish.
    Get seeds and know how to garden organically.
    Get wet canning supplies so you can do it over a well stoked fire.
    Get a chainsaw and a wood stove.
    Get a bunch of iodine.

    I was reading one of Vinay’s tweets a while back in disaster prep. Check check check down the list I went. I’ve been preparing since I was a boy because I grew up “country.” I’m still country.
    I admit to being flummoxed as to why anyone would ever choose to live in a city. They’re death traps. And, nothing amuses me more than an “intellectual” who doesn’t know squat about how to survive when the power goes poof.
    Seriously, how many in this thread have ever shot, cleaned, and butchered a deer?
    I’ve wondered reading Vinay in the past how much advice he can actually put to practice.
    And folks, I don’t say any of this to be a smug jerk. But, being able to put these things into practice is the ground floor of self actualization. These skills are what it means to be human.

    I come now full circle to the Wendell Berry quote that formed the basis of my post several months back. “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”

    Paying attention Mandos?

  18. Eric Anderson

    I mean, come on. What good is it to be the smartest animal on the planet if you’re dead three weeks after the power shuts off?
    I certainly haven’t seen any of the “dumb” animals around me worrying about supply chains.

  19. KT Chong

    Lab-grown or culture meat is the future. Large-scale lab/culture meat farming will solve the food and protein problem for humans:

    I imagine the lab-grown meat farms of the future will be “vertical”, which is impossible to achieve under the current wasteful model of animal farming that spreads out across the lands. With lab/culture meat farming, a same small plot of land will be able to grow many times more protein than the conventional animal farming — by building and stacking multiple levels of “meat farms/labs” one atop another, (i.e., skycrappers as farms.)

    Lab-grown culture meat farming in mass scale will be cheaper and more humane. It will use less lands, less feeds, less waters, less transportation and less gas. It will produce less CO2, less pollution and less wastes. More importantly: in light of the ever increasing contamination and bacterial/viral risks of live animal farming like mad cow and pig flu, which is becoming more and more of a problem as climate change and globalization have allowed bacteria and viruses to spread more easily, quickly and widely, lab-grown culture farming will be cleaner, more hygienic, and much safer.

    Personally, I hope that China — which is a net food importer that has been trying to diversify and reduce its dependence on major food exporter countries like America — will lead the way in adopting lab-grown/culture meat farming. In the US, the animal farming industry is not willing to evolve and adapt this superior model of meat farming. The agriculture and farming industry has powerful lobbies in Washington, and the lobbies will stop any government incentive or program to move the country/world towards the future industry — and they will block and undermine new enterprises that intend to disrupt the animal farming industry.

  20. Hugh

    OT Sanders endorsed Biden. Big tell, as with Obama back in 2008, is the complete absence of any progressives in his campaign. Supposedly, the Sanders and Biden campaigns are working together on policy issues. I just don’t see Biden getting that many progressive or millennial votes. You have the object lesson of the coronavirus demonstrating the need for Medicare for All and Biden will continue to reject it because Obama and because he is owned by the rich and corporations. That’s something you just can’t paper over.

  21. Joan

    @Eric Anderson,

    I agree with a lot of what you said, and I think the future will be inherited by people like you and your children. At our current global population, we can’t all move back to the land or there will be no wild places left. Of course I hope the women of the future will have fewer children so there will be water and resources for everyone. It’s only natural to want to reproduce, and two or so kids is stable, but I’ve met women with a literal dozen children and I think that’s a bit much.

    Indeed, middle class parents raise their children to be almost useless, funnel them into college where they’ll graduate and hope to be hired as a computer grunt who pushes paper around or does data entry. Linked In culture is a strange system that I’ve experienced personally. I was always smiling yet miserable, stressed out and useless.

    I’m in favor of economic relocalization because that would allow small businesses to thrive and for skilled craftsmen to feed their families. Even if I don’t have a full homestead setup of my own, being part of a close-knit economic community would mean in return for making shoes (or what have you) I would be able to put food on the table. This is all stuff the past understands but our current culture behaves like it’s caught up in a temporary insanity.

  22. Aqua Lung

    Get a .30-.30 and learn how to hunt.

    Yes, because nothing protects you better against hundreds of nuclear power plants melting down than this.

    I’m currently watching The War of the Worlds on Epix and there is so much wrong with this story I don’t know where to begin but it’s still entertaining nonetheless and despite its contradictory failings.

    A massive electromagnetic pulse is unleashed by the aliens that causes the majority of humanity to die instantly. Only a handful of peeps survive and some of them are scientists and they are brainstorming, individually in most cases, on how to stymie & disable the alien invasion. Eight days have passed and still no sign of the ionizing radiation from the melting down nuclear power plants since they have no staff to manage them after the electromagnetic pulse that disabled all things powered.

    To all you survivalists who love this sh*t & ejaculate to it, you can’t survive the ionizing radiation that will be unleashed when the nuclear power plants melt down. They are, collectively, the cyanide capsule that will be involuntarily swallowed when there is a collapse from a disabling crisis.

    But, by all means, go out and hoard some more if you haven’t already. Everyone else is so you may as well too. You wouldn’t want to be the odd man out. Get on the Hoarding Train and strip the shelves bare. Let’s all play The Omega Man.

  23. Aqua Lung

    Get a rod and know how to fish.

    Good luck finding a fish that isn’t poisoned. Wendell Berry is correct. Know where you are. Where you are is in a world that’s largely been poisoned. A toxic world, in otherwords. So yeah, fish those fishies and when, in several years if that long, your kid exhibits signs of cancer, you can use your survivalist surgical skills to remove the exponentially growing tumors that threaten to take his life.

  24. Astrid

    Food gardening is apparently very difficult for most people. I have a natural knack for it and tried very hard to teach/share with people who show an interest. Most of them end up with weed patches with a few sorry stunted plants by mid July. I have gardened in different community gardens over 10+ years, maybe 1 in 3 plots look okay by late summer and many are completely abandoned with harvestable tomatoes and peppers rotting amongst weeds. Even people who talk a great game, very few have the productive and rationally planned garden to back it up by mid summer, and practically nobody (other than professional farm stand gardeners/farmers) understands the importance of shoulder season gardening where you can grow a mass of greens with very low disease pressure.

    Nothing is individually hard, I typically spend 3-4 hours a week during the growing season, plus maybe a few weeks at 6-8 hours a week during prep, planting, and clean up periods. Just Home Depot buckets and a few hand tools, on 300 to 800 square feet. At the start of the year, my plots look a little chaotic and weedy while others are beautifully rototilled ( which is terrible for the soil structure), but I’m producing food and flowers from March to early November, and regularly brings 20-50 lbs of produce for coworkers a week from May to August ( they coo over the beautiful produce, my produce is as pretty as any $5 farmer’s market tomato and usually tastes better, but take so little that I wonder what they eat at home).

    It just takes a little persistence and observation – make sure weeds are pulled before they go to seed, check on garden right before leaving for a vacation and immediately afterwards, water deeply once a week and pay attention to the weather forecasts, harvest tomatoes at the green blushed stage to minimize spoilage. It all seems so intuitive to me, but I only met a very few people who grasp thrifty food production. I enjoy my solitary time in the garden, doing something concrete with my hands, guiltlessly listening to podcasts, observing changes from week to week, time goes very fast.

    One thing I would recommend is buying some mung/moong beans and learn sprouting. There are other sprouting seeds but mung beans are tasty and cheap and require no special conditions It can be used in salads and stirfries easily and keeps in the fridge for a week after sprouting. Another is to start with arugula, kale, Swiss chard, and broccoli rabe. They tend to be the easiest, fastest, and most forgiving, and will allow repeated harvests over weeks and months. Even a 4 x 4 planting of kale can easily supply all your greens during the summer and plenty for the freezer (blanch and wrung out, you can feed a family on a gallon bag of kale for a week. Do make sure to buy a high nitrogen fertilizer and water well, especially early on, to make sure they don’t get stunted and are off to a good start. For tomatoes and other veggies, buy the highly rated hybrids like sungold, Juliet, and big beef. You don’t want to dicker around with brandywines as a first go, only to have it yield one tomato before succumbing to blight.

  25. Aqua Lung

    Who is America? America is Cuomo and his goobernatorial task force ready to do precisely what Trump says America should do and that is, walk into the melting down Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Seriously, CNN & MSNBC and the NYT are all abuzz about Trump claiming absolute authority in opening America back up for business and yet that is precisely what Cuomo is saying and doing and for it Cuomo gets praise versus derision. As a matter of fact, they’re all wrong and they’re all EQUALLY appalling and corrupt shysters.

    Who is America? America is a nation founded upon violence. It is a nation of mass murderers. America’s history is a history of violence. Of ritualistic blood sacrifice and this pandemic reveals it in all its inglory.

  26. Aqua Lung

    Prescient, I’d say. Nearly fifty years prior. Wet dreams never die.

  27. bruce wilder

    Instead we are printing trillions of dollars and giving them to rich people to burn uselessly.

    I will be interested in the more about this later.

    This is MMT, a movement of sorts that seems, by the evidence presented unintentionally at NC, to become both more spot-on and yet irrelevant and ridiculous daily. I was introduced to the idea that money regimes change dramatically with political cycles by you and Stirling. The U.S. and European systems shifted past some kind of inflection point in the late 1990s that set up the GFC and the Now of disaster capitalism that confronts us. It is a topic that deserves consideration for the politically interested.

  28. Will

    Eric your post made me think…. and your next one made me laugh. Good job. :p

    Growing a goodly amount of your own calories is tough. Really tough. And the boutique gardening that so many practice is almost useless in this regard. I have to admit that I find my own habits hindering me. How many pepper, tomato, bean varieties does one need? A lot of the time you need to grow only one to save seeds. Decisions I’ll need to make soon.

    And I need to get back to basics. In my hillbilly culture that means potatoes and green beans with ‘nice to haves’ filling in the edges. These late frosts mean few pears and cherries this year as well. I mostly have late blooming apples so at least they are still set up well. But my main orchard is still young… I needed another few years to get everything set up and producing well…. Sigh.

    And none of this stuff comes cheaply in time or money. I’m small time and yet basic stuff like a good tiller, cultivator, electric fence setup, stakes and cages, hand tools, etc fill my shed. The two composters had to be built. The soil had to be rebuilt after being run down by the previous owner (a family member).

    All of it hard work. While holding a full time job. If things go sideways I’m convinced that a change it attitude is my biggest obstacle. Maybe for others as well. This small time farming could move from hobby to necessity. That’s a big change in direction. One I’d wrestle with.

    Someone just starting out? In this environment? Man. That’s a real challenge. I wish everyone going that route well. But I think everyone who doesn’t at least try to provide “some” of their own necessities should perhaps rethink things.


  29. Eric Anderson

    Aqua Lung:
    Yeah. That’s the thing about grasshoppers. They’re really good at rationalizing their lazy existence.

    Until it’s time to come begging the ants.

  30. Damn, another one of those blind pigs found an acorn …

    ~ Based on data reported to the IAEA by 31 December 2019, 450 nuclear power reactors were in operation worldwide, totalling 398.9 GW(e) in net installed capacity, an increase of 2.5 GW(e) since the end of 2018. ~

    If it all goes Mad Max and there is no one left to care for them …

    I am oft reminded of Asimov’s robots opening the valves so as to so irradiate the planet mankind is forced to the stars. We’re not just leaving our grandchildren a poisoned atmosphere enveloping a resource depleted ball of mud. Our authoritarian future has been discussed, the one in sealed environments, in contained habitats. There is no Planet B.

  31. “Actual functioning governments would be prioritizing keeping things like food going: subsidize farm worker wages, and arrange protection for them, among other things. ”

    I would expect that even “averagely” corrupt governments would do stuff like this, as it’s in nobody’s interest to have hungry populations.

    Well, that’s not quite true, if there’s a hidden agenda to traumatize the public, so as to exert even more social control over them.

    A recent survey ( of over 6,000 doctors, from around the world, who were treating covid-19 showed that a plurality of 37% considered hydroxychloroquine “most effective”. Furthermore, it’s ‘officially’ recommended in India for prophylaxis by doctors, and being used as such, even ‘unofficially’, here in the US. Since a course of treatment is, typically, something like a whopping 10 days, one has to wonder why there’s been no large scale study completed, yet, here in the US, of the double blind, placebo controlled type, which is just SO important to the purists.

    The unmitigated greed seen in the “healthcare industry”, in the US, is well known, but since the fallout of keeping the economy shut down for a long time is such a threat, I have to wonder if we are not, in fact, dealing with a hidden agenda.

    Consider, further, that the CEO of Novartis donated 130 million doses of hydroxychloroquine. While I like to believe this was mostly for humanitarian reasons, it’s quite possible that the deleterious effects of a ruined global economy figured into this act of charity. If you’re broke, you can’t afford to buy pricey, still-on-patent drugs. And making a killing on vaccines may not even come close to making up for lost revenues on, well, everything else.

    Similarly, the ubiquitous efforts to shout down, suppress, and/or belittle all the positive news surrounding hydroxychloroquine (especially in conjunction with zpak and zinc) MAY just be due to a hatred of all things Trump, who has committed the indiscretion of saying he thinks hydroxychloroquine could be a “game changer”. Considering how much is at stake, though, I have to question this simplistic, even if plausible, explanation. Certainly, TDS is adequate explanation for much of this behavior amongst the “usual suspects” in the media.

    Matt Taibbi has written about the “vampire squid” Goldman Sachs, who made out nicely during the financial crisis of 2008. I’d keep my eye out for how they’re making out. In fact, if I was Trump, and this were even possible, I would have banned short selling since the crisis broke, as well as look into who may have been short selling before the crisis. I’d also look carefully at the doings of vaccine-advocate Bill Gates, who said his foundation will spend “billions” to “develop” a vaccine. With no contract, that’s quite a gamble. Is he doing this out of the goodness of his heart?

    Seems unlikely. Gates is also funding studies of hydroxychoroquine, which Michael Coudrey judges as designed to fail.

  32. KT Chong

    This may come to most of you as a surprise who do not pay much attention to what has been going on inside China, but I have been following a development for a few years.

    A decade ago, the Chinese people were laughing at Europeans (like Sweden) for allowing African and Middle Eastern migrants to rape and ravage their countries. Ten years later, after Xi Jinping — the General Secretary or “President” of China — had opened up China to the mass influx African migrants, now Chinese people are suffering the same fate as Swedes and Europeans did a decade ago. (And you are welcome to google to verify what I am saying here.) Guangzhou has become “Little Africa”. Over the past few years, I have seen Chinese people — especially Chinese men — becoming angrier and angrier online and when they were overseas, complaining about the rising crimes committed by African migrants, and Chinese women are aggressively being harassed by African men. (Again, you can google all this to verify.) Also, African migrants are competing with China’s own migrant workers for the same jobs, effectively suppressing the already low wages in China.

    Yet, the Chinese government has been suppressing the negative news — to protect and push Xi’s vision of a “globalized” China and the “Chinese-African friendship”. Many Chinese citizens and ethnics (including myself) believe Xi and the CCP have decided to sacrificed the Chinese culture, people and women to protect for Xi’s ego and vanity project. If Chinese people had a democracy and voice, I really believe they would have voted in a right-wing anti-migrant populist leader like Donald Trump. Yet Chinese people do NOT have a voice on this matter. Only Xi gets to decide. (This is something I have been eager to talk about with other Chinese, perhaps I will get into more about it here later. Honestly I am worried about the future of the Chinese culture and people due to the influx of African migrants.)

    Which is why common Chinese people are now lashing out against African migrants, and why an anti-African backlash is now breaking out in China. Unfortunately, the CCP will most likely try to suppress the Chinese people to protect Xi’s agenda. The irony is: the neoliberal and leftist media and governments in Europe would LOVE Xi for his pro-migrant (but IMO anti-Chinese) policies, and even envy Xi as the dictator who has the absolutely unchecked power to carry out the pro-migrant agenda AGAINST the wish of the Chinese people.

    So, is democracy the answer for China? I can guarantee you, if Chinese have democracy now, they will elect right-wing, anti-African migrant leaders to rid China of African migrants. The only reason why China has open the floodgate to let in African migrants is because the Chinese leaders do not have to listen or be accountable to the Chinese people.

  33. KT Chong

    I was responding to a post of Aqua Lung, “Who is America?”

    My point being: if China has democracy and elections, Chinese will elect their own Donald Trump, a right-wing anti-migrant populist leader, due to the current anti-African anger and anti-migrant backlash that have been boiling for the past few years.

  34. KT Chong

    Also, seeing what happened to Chinese and in China in the past few years has certainly made me become more receptive to Trump’s anti-immigration messages. Which is why Trump is somewhat popular among Chinese, which has puzzled a lot of outsiders, (seeing that Trump is also “anti-China”.)

  35. Jerry Brown

    How has Ian Welsh, who generally seems rational, attracted such a group of scared, to the point of paranoid, commentators to his blog? Got people here saying we are going back to hunter-gatherer scenarios. Got others dispute that because the nuclear power plants are going to melt down first. Got another worried the Africans are going to get all the Chinese women.

    We are no doubt in a very serious situation but you people are ridiculous. If the situation is so dire maybe you should spend your time hunting or getting away from the nuclear power plants or planting food or something. Rather than waste time writing comments on a blog.

  36. Will

    Eric: You made a post that made me think and promptly followed it up with one that made me laugh. (I imagined the local squirrel population debating the optimal supply chain for acorns) Good job. 🙂

    I then penned a nice long reply…. which got swallowed by the internet gods. :p

    Anyway I agree that most of us have lost touch with our land oriented roots. Growing even a decent sized chunk of your own food is a MAJOR undertaking. It is amusing to read some of the almost philosophical posts I’ve read by people extolling the feasibility of feeding a family on an acre garden or so. It’s very obvious to anyone who grows a decent sized garden that it is a political statement not a practical suggestion. Gardening on even a family sized scale is back breaking work. A lot of it. And a full time job for a goodly chunk of the year.

    And THAT is why our ancestors raised beef and hogs. And had an orchard if it was at all possible.

    Anyway I agree with your post and I enjoyed reading it. A caveat, I am one of those who takes his rifle out and brings back a couple deer each year. And I process it myself as well. Even then I have to admit that there is not a lot of meat on a whitetail. Maybe 1/3 of body weight. Maybe even less. It is greatly appreciated but it also is a lot of work.

    But food security is something I believe everyone should get as much of as they can. I wouldn’t want to be just starting out on that journey in this environment. But I offer encouragement and good luck to anyone who makes the effort. But a humble piece of advice: avoid all of those boutique gardeners who seem to flourish nowadays. You’ll need good tasting calories not purple tomatoes or striped beans from Peru or whatever.


  37. Just a regular Island of Misfit Toys ’round here … and trolls*.

    You ain’t even seen the wild ones yet, Jerry.

    *We’re all trolls, it’s the nature of commenting.

  38. DMC

    I’m no fan of nuclear power but does it not occur to anyone that the last person leaving a nuclear power plant would feel some obligation to shut down the reactor? Push all the rods all the way in and the reaction stops. They’d still present some danger as radioactive hotspots, but wouldn’t be melting down.

  39. KT Chong

    Donald Trump won the 2016 election mostly due to his anti-immigration rhetoric. Was that rational?

    Brexit and the rise of right-wing populism in Europe were mostly driven by anti-migrant sentiments. Was that rational?

    It is what it is. People felt a certain way about immigrants and migrants, and they voted based on how they felt, rational or not.

    In China, people do not get to vote. So they lashed out in other ways.

  40. Aqua Lung

    I’m no fan of nuclear power but does it not occur to anyone that the last person leaving a nuclear power plant would feel some obligation to shut down the reactor?

    Just as you would assume those in charge have an obligation to ensure healthcare employees in America have proper PPE in their effort to save lives and yet that PPE is not forthcoming.

    Also, it’s more than just inserting the control rods. Proper cooling takes months of management.

  41. KT Chong

    People in America and Europe have been feeling negatively about immigrants and migrants flooding into their countries, so they reacted and voted in right-wing anti-immigrant/migrant politicians and policies.

    So, Chinese have been feeling the same way about African migrants that have been flooding into China in the past 5-7 years, and they have reacted; (unfortunately, Chinese people do not get to vote.)

    But hey, pointing out the human nature of being territorial is so irrational and offensive.

  42. Aqua Lung

    In China people don’t get to vote and in America people get to vote but their votes don’t matter because voting is window dressing to make it appear America is democratic when it is in fact no such thing. China is owned and run by the CCP and America is owned and run by Wall Street. China and America have a lot in common, apparently. Just ask Tesla.

  43. KT Chong


    In 2016, Americans voted for Donald Trump to become the President…

    AGAINST the wish of the Wall Street and ruling class. At the time, the ruling class did NOT want Trump to be the President. The majority of the people did.

    In that particular case, democracy and elections actually worked, in people’s favor. You may not like Trump and the result, but you cannot deny that the majority of people voted for him — and his anti-immigration platform, which went AGAINST the wish of the Wall Street and ruling class, (which favored more immigrants and cheap labors.)

  44. KT Chong

    Trump was the “anti-establishment” candidate, compared to Hillary.

    Unfortunately and ironically, he still is, compared to Biden.

  45. Eric Anderson

    Jerry Brown:
    We’re all hunter gatherers. We’ve just forgotten how to do it and so rationalize away it’s importance. Odysseus is laughing in his grave.

    Yes, which is why I was laughing at Aqua’s comment. It takes a lot of negligence get to get a reactor to go critical. Some would, I’m sure. But irradiating the entire planet seems a stretch.

  46. Jerry Brown

    Just wait till the giant asteroid hits the earth in the middle of this all. Then we will be truly screwed. Just remember as we all die that I told you first.

  47. Eric Anderson

    KT Chong:
    “ … but you cannot deny that the majority of people voted for him.”
    Erm …
    Anyone see a flaw in this statement beside me?
    Not an endorsement. Just an observation.

  48. Aqua Lung

    AGAINST the wish of the Wall Street and ruling class.

    Hogwash. Donald Trump was the first choice of Wall Street all the way. And it showed and paid off for the filth. Until the pandemic but at this rate, all those shorted losses will be recovered in a month or two and those insiders who shorted it will end making a sh*tload of moolah on the way down and then again on the way up. What are they going to buy with all that dough besides gazillions of fishing rods and poles in which to catch toxic fish? Swampland on Mars?

    News for everyone in case you didn’t know. Thirty years prior, if you were to tell someone, anyone, what is transpiring today in all its glory, they would tell you that it “seems a stretch.” We’re in stretch times and some. “Seems a stretch” has lost its meaning and intent. The “stretch” and beyond has arrived.

  49. Aqua Lung

    Then we will be truly screwed.

    Such a pessimist. It would be the most perfect asteroid ever. It’s true. Better, much much better, than the phone call even. Trump would keep America open and his approval numbers would skyrocket to 100%. Term limits for presidents would be removed and he would serve for life until he died at the age Noah died — which was 950-years-old. They ate healthy back then like Donald Trump does now hence the longevity. Trump is a president of biblical proportions in every conceivable way. There is nothing he can’t handle and nothing he can’t do. He’s bigger and more powerful than Jesus Christ himself. The Beatles have nothing on him. Google Big & Powerful. What do you get? That’s right, you get Donald Trump. Donald Trump is The Omega Man. In fact. he’s the alpha and the omega and everything in between. He is everything and everything is him.

  50. Stirling S Newberry

    “How has Ian Welsh, who generally seems rational, attracted such a group of scared, to the point of paranoid, commentators to his blog?”

    This is what comments are. They gather where they are allowed.

  51. Aqua Lung

    Once we kick start the merry-go-round in a week or two, at Wall Street’s behest, it’s imperative we show our appreciation to the top 20% by hugging and kissing them every day. In fact, many times a day. Not just ordinary hugs and kisses. Give them big bear hugs and wet, sloppy french kisses to show them just how much you love them and to thank them for making America great again. I’m serious. Anytime you see one of them out and about in their Lexus or their BMW or their Tesla or their Audi or their Land Rover or their Ferrari, when they get out, give them that big bear hug and sloppy french kiss they deserve. Same for the waiters & waitresses who serve them. Show your love. The valets? Lick their steering wheels if you can’t lick their faces. Game on, right? Well then, learn to play the game and play it well. If you want the pandemic to be egalitarian, you’ll have to make it egalitarian. Social distancing schmocial schmistancing. America don’t do that shit. It does the Fandango instead.

  52. Aqua Lung

    KT Chong, I’m a yuge fan of Chinese poetry, fyi. Are you familiar with the famous Chinese poet Hu Phlung Poo and his famous poem Brown Spot On The Wall? If not, read it when you get a chance. For some reason, you reminded me of it. I don’t know why.

  53. Dale

    Hey KT, maybe you’re right about this anti-immigrant crap. I suggest that anyone in the Western Hemisphere who cannot prove that he/she is at least 1/16th Native American, First Nation, indigenous be shipped back to wherever their ancestors came from. Work for you?

    Too bad we weren’t listening more to folks like Paul and Anne Ehrlich and the Club of Rome 50 years ago. Now we’re stuck with the “Poop in the Pond” principle. The wife and I just got a good laugh watching “Every sperm is sacred” from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. But keep procreating, it is God’s will.

    We humans have done this all to ourselves. Now is the time that Mother Nature will begin to thin the herd. BTW, One bad thing about farming is that future armies will probably be going back to living off the land they pass through. My best to you all. Honest. Enjoy the world we have created. And please quit looking for other nationalities, races, religions to blame,just look in the mirror.

  54. The World Without Us is a very good read.

    I was the one who made cracks about irradiating the planet, not our adolescent (maybe) AI; about robot’s forcing humanity out of a poisoned atmosphere enveloping a resource depleted homeworld to the stars, a metaphor clearly lost on the class, in particular our esteemed guvna’. There are four hundred and fifty nukes around the planet requiring a minimum of ten or so thousand years of human intervention to maintain even a modicum of environmental safety. Like staying lily white across ten generations, across a thousand and twenty-four ancestors, it is a statistical impossibility.

    If it goes Mad Max, the asteroid smacks, pandemic kills billions of our billions, the world as we know it ends, within a generation any number of cascadian effects, from acid rain to broken windows to bird shit to generally buildings deterioration to incompetent construction to earthquakes volcanoes floods… whither or no someone had the forethought to flip the switch those four hundred and fifty nukes will begin their journey to the center of the earth. Leaving an atmosphere quite possibly not only gone Venus but an irreparably irradiated atmosphere gone Venus. Enveloping an utterly poisoned irreparably resource depleted ball of rock.

    I have long advocated thicker skin: seven and a half, ten in a generation, billion people on a ball of rock that can barely sustain one. On an irreparably poisoned resource depleted ball of rock enveloped by an increasingly hostile, increasingly toxic, atmosphere. Do the math, guvna’.

    Naw, not Death, Destroyer of Worlds. Maybe someday, but not today. Planet lice.

    [chuckling very much lime Jabba the Hutt]

  55. Eric Anderson

    Joan and Will:
    You aren’t wrong. It’s work and the learning curve is steep and can be disenheartening observing the failures along the way. Fortunately my wife and I had put together quite a bit of experience small scale gardening before we moved to our new place a couple years back. Bought it from a Mennonite widower who could no longer keep up with the place. But boy oh boy, what a garden plot! Bonus, we’re surrounded by cows so the fertilizer is free. Came with a great basement pantry too that doubles as a good root cellar. Gonna go all in canning this year, an art I learned from my parents growing up.

    And, I retract what I said earlier. It’s not really work if you enjoy it. It does take patience and the ability to learn from mistakes. My cat herd of legal clients? That’s work. The garden is an oasis of peace.

  56. Dale

    Dear Eric,

    I am about to turn 72. I had knee replacement surgery 6 weeks ago. Our suburban lot is about a third of an acre. Seven years ago I converted the southern third into a raised bed garden. Eleven beds and three remaining fruit trees. PT is a pain but I’m finally getting movement back in my leg. I’ve spent the past three days, three glorious days, weeding flower beds, repairing the irrigation system, and preparing the beds for planting next month. My wife is busy baking bread and getting around 135 starts going in peat pots.

    I bring all this up just to say how important growing our vegetables, herbs and fruit are. They don’t come near to meeting all our needs but are completely fulfilling nonetheless. And yes canning is a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labor throughout the winter months. Spaghetti sauce with homegrown tomatoes, garlic, and onions is an easy favorite. All is done as close to organic as possible.

    We worry about the future, especially for or children and families, but realize much is out of our control. We focus on what we can control. We also love being in nature.

    My hat is off to you and anyone who farms an acre or more! Reminds me of all my German American relatives and how we grew up. Almost everyone had farming in their blood but worked a full time job in the city to pay the bills.

    Bless you friend. Have a good life and loving family.

  57. Eric Anderson

    Thank you Dale. Good life and love to you and yours as well 🙂

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