Even if you don’t experience a shortage of eggs, expect prices to go up
Some major food companies have turned to Hampton Creek, a plant-based food company, for egg substitutes.
Bird flu, which has forced the American poultry industry to cull upwards of 30 million birds across at least 14 states this year, is poised to cause major egg shortages that could impact major companies like McDonald’s, Unilever, and General Mills, among others.
An estimated 87 percent of the birds affected by H5N2 are egg-laying hens, which will undoubtedly affect the industry’s egg production over the next several months, especially if the disease continues to spread.
In mid-May, the disease reached Nebraska for the first time, affecting 1.7 million birds. Days earlier, H5N2 was confirmed yet again in the neighboring state of Iowa, affecting 4 million egg-laying chickens. Iowa, which has been the most affected by the disease, has lost an estimated 25 million birds.
Although most food companies are not expected to be affected by potential shortages, larger corporations like McDonald’s are looking for alternate suppliers.
“One of our suppliers has been directly impacted by avian influenza despite their taking appropriate biosecurity precautions,” Lisa McComb, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s, wrote in an email to The New York Times. “We proactively developed contingent supply plans, and we do not anticipate an impact to our ability to supply eggs to our restaurants and serve our customers.”
Other companies are turning to egg substitutes for the time being, including General Mills, which ordered tens of thousands of pounds of powdered egg substitute from Hampton Creek, for a variety of processed items.
“Eight companies called today to see if we could do anything for them,” Josh Tetrick, chief executive at Hampton Creek, told the Times. “Everyone is worried about a shortage of eggs.”
Egg Shortage Looms Ahead As a Result of Devastating Bird Flu - Recipes
Kaiser Health News Original Stories
A new survey shows that unvaccinated Hispanics are almost twice as likely as unvaccinated Blacks or whites to want a covid vaccination. But many still face a variety of access problems, ranging from fear to time squeeze. (Anna Almendrala, 5/13)
Democratic leaders in Congress have vowed to pass legislation to address high prescription drug prices this year, but some moderates in their own party appear to be balking. Meanwhile, younger teens are now eligible for a covid-19 vaccine and the Biden administration reinstated anti-discrimination policy for LGBTQ people in health care. Joanne Kenen of Politico, Sarah Karlin-Smith of the Pink Sheet and Rachel Cohrs of Stat join KHN’s Julie Rovner to discuss these issues and more. (5/13)
KHN's Julie Rovner joins The Atlantic's “Social Distance” podcast, hosted by Dr. James Hamblin and Maeve Higgins, to talk about President Joe Biden's support for an initiative to waive patent protection for covid vaccines and the politics of drug policy in the United States. (5/14)
Kaiser Health News provides a fresh take on health policy developments with "Political Cartoon: 'On the Couch'" by Dave Coverly.
Here's today's health policy haiku:
MOMENTOUS DAY FOR YOUNGER TEENS
It feels like freedom
I got the vaccine today
It feels really good
If you have a health policy haiku to share, please Contact Us and let us know if you want us to include your name. Keep in mind that we give extra points if you link back to a KHN original story.
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Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 23-24
A woman, dropping off items, stands outside the front entrance of Gateway Care and Rehabilitation Center, located at 26660 Patrick Ave., on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Hayward, Calif. The facility currently has thirteen COVID-19 related deaths that prompted an investigation by the Alameda County district attorney?•s office. Gateway also has 102 cases related to the novel coronavirus with 69 patients and 33 staff members infected. Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle
The Chronicle began covering the coronavirus crisis before the first cases were reported in the Bay Area and a pandemic was declared. We reorganized the newsroom to dedicate nearly every resource to stories focusing on the health and economic disasters. Every day we have published live updates to reflect the most critical local, national and global updates on COVID-19, and this news is free of charge in an effort to keep our community safe and informed.
&bull Read the previous batch of updates from April 21-22.
&bull Read the next batch of updates for April 25.
Updates from Friday, April 24:
9:35 p.m. Surge of strokes in coronavirus patients in 30s, 40s, doctors say: Some hospitals in the United States are reporting a surge of strokes in young and middle-aged patients with coronavirus, according to The Washington Post. Some medical centers, such as Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, are seeing more patients in their 30s or 40s who have the coronavirus and exhibited few symptoms, but still experienced or died from severe strokes.
8:47 p.m. San Francisco Unified School District adds five new pick-up sites for free meals: The district announced Friday it has partnered with five community organizations to add new sites where San Francisco&rsquos kids can get free meals while schools are closed. The new organizations where food will be provided are Chinatown YMCA, Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, St. Paul of the Shipwreck, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation and The Village. For information on school lunch programs and other school-related developments around the Bay Area, see The Chronicle&rsquos question-and-answer page on schools.
8:39 p.m. San Francisco researchers seek recovered COVID-19 patients to donate plasma: San Francisco General Hospital and UC San Francisco researchers are seeking people who recovered from COVID-19 to participate in a study by donating blood plasma. The plasma would be transfused into a patient to find out if COVID-19 antibodies could help treat the disease.
8:34 p.m. World&rsquos &lsquotech capital&rsquo strains under unemployment load: California Labor Secretary Julie Su acknowledged that the state that is home to Silicon Valley has &ldquomultiple antiquated systems&rdquo running unemployment benefits. To compensate for technical limitations, the state has been increasing staffing and is now waiving the requirement that those who have lost jobs certify their status every two weeks to keep receiving payments. Chronicle personal finance columnist Kathleen Pender explains the problem &mdash and what the new efforts mean.
8:28 p.m. Kaiser study finds coronavirus people of all ages can land in the hospital: A study of 1,300 Northern California Kaiser patients who tested positive for the coronavirus found that nearly a third were hospitalized and almost one in 10 ended up in intensive care &mdash and younger and middle-aged adults were almost as likely to be admitted as people 60 and over. The analysis is among the first large studies of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States, and the first in California. Read the full story here.
7:33 p.m. California experts question legal basis for Barr&rsquos plan to challenge coronavirus shelter orders: Conservatives rallying against state governors&rsquo shelter-in-place orders have found an ally in President Trump&rsquos attorney general, William Barr, who has described shelter-in-place orders as &ldquodisturbingly close to house arrest.&rdquo But any federal efforts to force states to open up will have a tough time succeeding, legal experts told The Chronicle. Read legal reporter Bob Egelko&rsquos story here.
6:56 p.m. Feds charge two with robbing a Walgreens while coughing, claiming infection: Two San Francisco women entered a Walgreens near Civic Center without masks and stuffed items into bags, while coughing and claiming to have the coronavirus, according to the U.S. Attorney&rsquos Office in San Francisco. Read the full story here.
6:42 p.m. Solano County extends shelter-in-place order until May 17: Solano County health officials have extended the shelter-in-place order that requires people to stay home except for essential activities until May 17, citing the need to keep the health care system from being overwhelmed. There were 199 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and four deaths in the county as of Friday. &ldquoThis extension is necessary to continue to slow the rate of spread of the virus, to allow for additional testing and to continue working with the healthcare community to ensure the hospital and healthcare systems do not become overwhelmed,&rdquo county officials said. Other Bay Area counties are also expected to extend their shelter-in-place orders. Napa did so this week, with an means the Golden Gate Theatre and the Orpheum Theatre will stay dark at least through August.
4:59 p.m. California does not release death figures at nursing homes: Some counties, including Santa Clara, release the number of deaths and infections at nursing homes, which have been hard-hit by the coronavirus. But California does not, though a state health official told The Chronicle it plans plans to do so &ldquo&ldquoin the future.&rdquo Read the full story here.
4:27 p.m. Infections among health workers rise to 4,322: That figure is up from 4,153 that the state reported on Thursday. California also reported 22 deaths statewide among health care workers.
3:45 p.m. Health officials plan to hold SF convention in October: In a sign of optimism about where the coronavirus pandemic may stand in the fall, the American Public Health Association will hold its annual convention in San Francisco in October. Not everyone is as sanguine: Some tech companies have said they will avoid in-person events through next year.
3:43 p.m. Swab shortage holds up coronavirus testing in California: Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that a critical global shortage of nasal swabs is the primary factor impeding the state from hitting its target to test between 60,000 and 80,000 people daily in order to reopen its economy. Read the full story here.
3:40 p.m. Berkeley restaurant to close permamently: 35-year-old Lalime&rsquos in Berkeley announced its closure via its Facebook page, adding to the growing list of permanent restaurant closures. Owners Cindy and Haig Krikorian thanked many of their regulars and colleagues by name and pointed to the economic impact of the coronavirus as the reason for closing.
3:33 p.m. Delivery apps add worker health benefits: A move by DoorDash and other companies to provide telemedicine and other health-related benefits to delivery workers highlights a tension gig companies face: Workers, customers and public officials are clamoring for more protections for frontline delivery personnel, but the companies are still eager to keep paying them as independent contractors without normal employee benefits.
3:20 p.m. FDA says therapeutic trials are underway: Food and Drug Administration commissioner Stephen Hahn said during a White House news conference Friday that 72 ongoing trials of therapeutics are currently underway in the United States under FDA oversight. No therapies have been approved to treat the coronavirus, but Hahn said, &ldquowe are leaving no stone unturned in finding treatments for COVID-19.&rdquo
3:10 p.m. Trump takes no questions in White House briefing: Vice President Mike Pence announced that as of Friday morning, 5.1 million Americans had been tested for the coronavirus. In an unusual move, President Trump walked out of the briefing room without taking questions from journalists. Federal press conferences on the coronavirus response often go on for a few hours, but this one lasted just over 20 minutes.
2:49 p.m. US to send ventilators to countries across globe, Trump says: President Trump said in a Friday White House news conference that the United States is sending ventilators to Mexico, Honduras, Indonesia, Spain, France, and perhaps Germany, &ldquoshould they need it,&rdquo Trump said.
2:44 p.m. SF long-term care facilities have 113 cases: Dr. Grant Colfax, director of health, said there are 113 confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to long-term care facilities in San Francisco, and he did not know the number of deaths. Major outbreaks have been reported at Laguna Honda and Central Gardens Post Acute. Colfax said if a resident has an address outside of San Francisco, that case would be reported in that county of residence &mdash suggesting that the true number of positive cases in the city&rsquos longterm care facilities could be even higher.
2:35 p.m. Bay Area Book Festival looks to rebound with #Unbound: After the cancellation of this year&rsquos in-person event, the Bay Area Book Festival is carrying on through with #Unbound, a series of live and prerecorded panel discussions on the festival&rsquos YouTube channel the weekend of May 1-3.
2:16 p.m. San Francisco police cite additional business: Chief Bill Scott said the city has issued 17 citations, including eight businesses and nine people, for shelter-in-place violations. &ldquoI&rsquod like to thank the people of San Francisco for complying, by and large, when officers interact with them,&rdquo he said. Scott also said that the California Highway Patrol has reported an 87% increase in drivers speeding more than 100 mph.
2:13 p.m. California State Fair canceled: The Cal Expo board announced on Friday that it has decided to cancel this year&rsquos California State Fair, which was scheduled to take place in Sacramento July 17 to August 2. It marks the first time the fair has been canceled since World War II.
2:11 p.m.: UC online high school shows growth: UC Scout, an online high school program run by the University of California, has seen daily use of its course material increase 234 percent since shelter-in-place orders went into effect, according to UC officials. The program offers college prep courses to California public school students and teachers for free. UC Scout, which started in 2012, recently completed a state-funded, $4 million upgrade, expanding its selection of courses.
1:52 p.m. Homeless, SRO cases 10% of San Francisco total: Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the city&rsquos public health department, said during a news conference that 10% of San Francisco&rsquos coronavirus cases are people who are homeless or live in single-room occupancy hotels. That is 134 of the city&rsquos total 1,340 cases confirmed on Friday. These cases included those infected at MSC South, the city&rsquos largest homeless shelter, and Casa Quezada, a supportive housing facility.
1:45 p.m. Breed says extension of shelter-in-place order &lsquovery likely&rsquo: As people wonder when their lives can return to normal, Mayor London Breed hinted at an extension of San Francisco&rsquos shelter-in-place order, which ends May 3. &ldquoThe likelihood that that will happen is very likely,&rdquo Breed said about an extended order. &ldquoWhat that means is another few weeks or even a month of asking you all to comply and to remain at home and to continue to follow the social-distancing orders that we put forth.&rdquo Read the full story here.
1:37 p.m. Two more deaths in Alameda County: Two additional people in Alameda County died of COVID-19. The total of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 1,401, according to health officials. The county has recorded 48 deaths.
1:35 p.m. Breed describes challenges acquiring supplies: Mayor London Breed said acquiring personal protective equipment for medical workers has been one of the &ldquomost frustrating things to deal with&rdquo during the pandemic. An order of medical gowns that was on the way to San Francisco was diverted to France by suppliers in China, some shipments were diverted by FEMA to other U.S. locations, and other times items have been confiscated and &ldquoput on the market for the highest bidder,&rdquo Breed said.
1:20 p.m. Stocks post solid gains: Markets rose Friday, but not enough to offset losses during the week. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 260 points to close at 23,775, a gain of more than 1%. Oil futures, which had pulled stocks down when they went negative, appear to be stabilizing. U.S. crude for June delivery rose 2.7% to close at $16.94 per barrel.
1:17 p.m. California health care worker deaths: A total of 22 of the state&rsquos health care workers have died from COVID-19 as of Friday, according to the California Health and Human Services Agency. That number is folded into the total daily death count reported by the California Department of Public Health.
1:08 p.m. Newsom urges caution outdoors over warm weekend: Gov. Gavin Newsom urged people to think twice before heading to beaches and parks over the weekend, which is expected to deliver sunshine throughout the state and warmth in some areas. &ldquoI want to encourage people to do their best through this difficult weekend, where your temptation is higher to want to experience our natural beauty, just to again consider the impact of those decisions,&rdquo he said.
1:05 p.m. SF General staff has 13 coronavirus cases: Thirteen staff members at San Francisco General Hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data provided to The Chronicle. There were six positive staff members a week earlier. It is unclear which departments these staff members worked in.
1:04 p.m. France plans for second wave of coronavirus: France plans to keep thousands of newly built intensive care units ready for a second wave of virus cases, even though the first wave is now receding, the Associated Press reports. Health authorities say France doubled its number of intensive care beds to more than 10,000 as the virus raced across the country.
12:58 p.m. Outbreak at Redwood City assisted-living facility: Ten people have died of COVID-19 at the Gordon Manor assisted-living facility in Redwood City. Former Stanford University President Donald Kennedy lived at the facility and died Tuesday in the outbreak made public on Friday. Read the story here.
12:55 p.m. Coronavirus at 522 of state&rsquos care facilities: Gov. Gavin Newsom said that 522 skilled nursing facilities and senior care centers across the state have had at least one person infected with COVID-19. Over 2,700 staffers and patients currently have the coronavirus, Newsom said.
12:53 p.m. Authorities close Walmart store after deaths: Health officials ordered the immediate closure of a Walmart in suburban Denver after three people connected to the store died after being infected with the coronavirus and at least six employees tested positive. The Tri-County Health Department said the store didn&rsquot adhere to social distancing requirements.
12:33 p.m. State pays for 56,000 hotel room nights for caregivers: Gov. Gavin Newsom said California officials have procured 56,000 hotel room nights for health care workers. The costs will be completely reimbursed as part of a relief program for frontline workers.
12:29 p.m. California confirms 93 more deaths, some stats continue stabilizing: The state reported 93 more Californians died of COVID-19 Thursday as the number of hospitalizations remained stagnant and persons in intensive care units increased by 1%, Gov. Gavin Newsom said, calling the statistical stability &ldquogood news&rdquo but cautioned the number of deaths and a 5% increase in the number of people who tested positive &ldquoshould be sobering and cautionary statistics.&rdquo
12:25 p.m. Navy recommends Capt. Crozier be given his ship back: Capt. Brett Crozier should be restored to command of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, the Navy&rsquos top officials recommended Friday, according to the New York Times. But Defense Secretary Mark Esper has asked for more time to consider whether to sign off on the reinstatement of the Santa Rosa native. Crozier was fired for sending a fraught email to commanders pleading for faster action to protect his crew from a coronavirus outbreak, officials familiar with the investigation said Friday.
12:18 p.m. Sacramento State, United Airlines to help check on older people: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that students at Sacramento State and workers at United Airlines call centers will be among a cohort that will check on older residents throughout California as part of the state&rsquos latest move to bolster wellness and outreach efforts. People also can call a &ldquoFriendship Line&rdquo if they want to talk to someone at 888-670-1360. &ldquoYou just need someone to talk to, that&rsquos the line to call,&rdquo Newsom said.
12:16 p.m. Uber Eats cuts off deliveries to Treasure Island: In a move that Supervisor Matt Haney says is &ldquoretaliation&rdquo for San Francisco&rsquos emergency limits on the commissions food delivery services can charge restaurants, Uber has told customers in Treasure Island it can&rsquot serve them. San Francisco imposed a 15% cap on restaurant commissions, as restaurateurs complained of high fees from delivery apps.
12:09 p.m. Newsom unveils partnership to deliver meals to seniors: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a partnership between local governments, FEMA and the restaurant and hospitality industries to deliver three meals a day, seven days a week to the state&rsquos older residents who need assistance. The Home Meals for Older Californians program is the first of its kind in the nation and will see local restaurants producing the food.
11:54 a.m. UC Berkeley study challenges Stanford estimates on fatality rates: Researchers at UC Berkeley estimate the fatality rate in New York City and Santa Clara County can be no less than 0.5% or one of every 200 people who become infected. The study, which reached the conclusion by extrapolating a comparison of deaths in Italy since January with ones from the past five years, contrasted the findings of a Stanford study posted online last week that estimated the fatality rate to be between 0.1% and 0.2%.
11:50 a.m. France spends $7.6 billion to save Air France: The French government announced a &ldquohistoric&rdquo $7.6 billion aid package to save the airline.
11:38 a.m. Farms to destroy nearly 2 million chickens due to staffing shortages: Coronavirus-related staffing shortages at chicken processing plants will lead farms in Maryland and Delaware to destroy nearly 2 million chickens, the Baltimore Sun reports. Plants are unable to keep pace with the number of birds that are ready for harvest. They had been placed into poultry houses as chicks several weeks ago.
11:36 a.m. Contra Costa announces 16 new cases: Sixteen more people in Contra Costa County have tested positive for the coronavirus, growing the number of known cases to 786, health officials said.
11:33 a.m. Images of the coronavirus pandemic: Check out this visual essay on the pandemic by Chronicle photographers.
11:29 a.m. Coronavirus? Economic free fall? Things can always get worse: As the world descends into panic and hysteria, former Chronicle staff writer Carolyn Jones invokes her dear departed mother, Barbara Jones: She could withstand pretty much anything with a shrug and a smile and a &lsquoQue sera, sera!&rsquo Read more here.
11:26 a.m. White House says it has given California $33.4 billion in loans, more in pandemic response: FEMA committed $1.05 billion to California while 112,967 small businesses in the state received $33.4 billion worth of loans, a White House official said. Additionally, federal officials have sent the state 170 ventilators, 1.1 million N95 masks, 2.6 million surgical masks, 412,017 medical gowns, 7,006 coveralls, 504,442 face shields and 1.7 million gloves.
11:17 a.m. Trump says he was not serious about ingesting disinfectant: President Trump says his comments suggesting people can ingest disinfectant to fight COVID-19 was an attempt at sarcasm. Trump noted Thursday that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus &ldquodoes a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.&rdquo But speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Friday, Trump insisted his comments were misconstrued. &ldquoI was asking the question sarcastically to reporters like you, just to see what would happen,&rdquo Trump said.
11:05 a.m. Newsom waives gym class requirements and budget deadlines during coronavirus school closures: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Thursday that gives school districts some breathing room in terms of meeting state mandates during coronavirus closures. The order waives state laws dictating a set time spent on physical education as well as the requirement to conduct physical fitness testing this spring. Read more here.
11:03 a.m. Hundreds of masks, sanitizer bottles coming to Tenderloin: The poverty-aid nonprofit Code Tenderloin will hand out 500 masks and 300 bottles of hand sanitizer for free Friday in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The distribution will begin at 144 Taylor St. at 2 p.m., said Del Seymour, head of the organization, which got the supplies with donations from Supervisor Matt Haney&rsquos office and Baltimore-based developer War Horse Cities.
11:01 a.m. Diary of Bay Area parent&rsquos so-called homeschool life: San Francisco parent and writer Rachel Levin recounts a day playing teacher to her kids, Oren, 8, and Hazel, 11, as she and her husband work from home and shelter in place.
10:53 a.m. Pelosi slams McConnell, Trump comments: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said comments by President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week show how &ldquothe Republicans reject science and reject governance.&rdquo She told reporters: &ldquoSpeaking of Mitch, what&rsquos gotten into him? &hellip The president is saying people should inject Lysol into their lungs, and Mitch is saying states should go bankrupt.&rdquo
10:48 a.m. For many Bay Area families, coronavirus rewriting the roles: During the shutdown, one multigenerational family has drawn even closer, spending days in the backyard. For another family with divorced parents, where before there might have been disagreements over parenting and difficulties over relationships, when the pandemic swept away routines, it took the friction, too. Read more here.
10:20 a.m. Santa Clara County announces three new deaths as cases surpass 2,000: Three more people in Santa Clara County have died of COVID-19 while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 2,018, health officials said. The county has recorded 98 deaths.
10:19 a.m. CBO forecasts $3.7 trillion deficit: The Congressional Budget Office says that coronavirus aid and the likely recession will cause the federal deficit to reach $3.7 trillion this year. The 2020 budget deficit will explode after four coronavirus response bills passed by Congress and signed by President Trump promise to pile more than $2 trillion onto the $24.6 trillion national debt in just the remaining six months of the current fiscal year, according to the CBO. That&rsquos more than double the deficit record set during President Barack Obama&rsquos first year in office.
10:13 a.m. Navy decision on Capt. Crozier&rsquos fate expected: The decision on Capt. Brett Crozier&rsquos future is expected to be made today, as the Chief of Naval Operations plans to brief Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the Navy&rsquos findings on the handling of the Theodore Roosevelt coronavirus outbreak, a Pentagon spokesman said. Crozier was relieved of command of the aircraft carrier after writing a letter in which he pleaded for help to contain the spread of the coronavirus on the ship. The Navy&rsquos decision would come less than a week before the Navy&rsquos repopulation plan will begin on the vessel, The Chronicle has learned.
9:58 a.m. Trump signs new stimulus package: President Trump has signed a nearly $500 billion coronavirus aid package into law, the latest effort to stimulate the economy and help hospitals. It is the fourth coronavirus relief bill Congress has passed, for a cumulative total of $2.4 trillion for businesses, testing and treatment, and direct payments to individuals and the unemployed, the Associated Press reports.
9:53 a.m. One quarter of adults say household is suffering job loss: One of every four American adults says someone in the household has lost a job to the coronavirus pandemic, but the vast majority expect those former jobs will return once the crisis passes, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
9:46 a.m. Another Navy ship stricken: A second U.S. Navy ship, the Kidd, has been hit by an outbreak of coronavirus, with at least 18 cases on the destroyer, CNN is reporting, citing a Navy official.
9:40 a.m. Georgia goes ahead with reopening: Barber shops, nail salons, gyms and a few other businesses have reopened in Georgia as the governor eased a month-long shutdown, even as coronavirus cases in the state continued to rise, and despite warnings from health experts of a potential new surge of infections.
9:13 a.m. DMV waives penalties, extends deadlines: The Department of Motor Vehicles will waive late fees and penalties for vehicle registrations while extending expiring identification cards, officials said. Identification cards that expired on or after March 4 will be valid through June 22. The requirement to submit a transfer of ownership within 10 days of a vehicle transfer was suspended for 60 days, as were temporary operating permits that expired on or after March 4. Motor carrier permits that were due to expire in March, April and May were extended to June 30.
9:08 a.m. Subdued Ramadan begins amid coronavirus outbreak: Muslims worldwide began Ramadan on Friday with dawn-to-dusk fasting, but many will have to forgo the communal prayers and family gatherings that make the holy month special, as authorities maintain lockdowns aimed at slowing the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reports that many are also weighed down by anxiety about the pandemic and widespread job losses.
8:43 a.m. Clashing rules vex Californians who seek recreation during pandemic: Every county, city, park district and water agency has its own interpretation of the state&rsquos stay-at-home order and how it should be implemented. As a result, closures of park and recreational sites across the state have been haphazard. Those looking to engage in outdoor activities are often confronted by a clashing series of regulations.
8:39 a.m. Coronavirus deaths in New York surpass 400: The state reported 422 more deaths from COVID-19 as the number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus decreased and officials started monitoring how fast the pandemic&rsquos impact will diminish, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. &ldquoIt&rsquos dropping somewhat but it&rsquos still devastating news,&rdquo Cuomo said while announcing the new deaths at a news conference.
8:37 a.m. San Francisco announces new coronavirus death as more cases are confirmed: A 22nd person in San Francisco has died of COVID-19 while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 1,340, according to the Department of Public Health.
8:36 a.m. Coronavirus deaths in US surpass 50,000: The number of people in the United States who have died of COVID-19 reached 50,031 Friday morning, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Some 870,000 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., the most of any country and about four times as many as Spain, the second hardest-hit nation. Nearly 81,000 Americans have recovered from the disease.
8:17 a.m. Not all news is bad during pandemic: On the bright side, there are senior sing-alongs in Oakland, and there&rsquos St. Pancake&rsquos Day in your kitchen. Read more here.
8:11 a.m. Biden says Trump could try to postpone election over coronavirus: Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted President Trump for working to block emergency funding for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, which would handle tens of millions of ballots this fall. Biden said it&rsquos evidence that Trump already is trying to &ldquoundermine&rdquo the election and make it more difficult for Americans to vote. Going further, Biden predicted without evidence that Trump will attempt to postpone the election altogether.
8:09 a.m. California suspends unemployment certifications: The state temporarily suspended its unemployment &ldquocertification&rdquo requirement to ensure people continue receiving benefits as the high volume of claims paralyzes the agency&rsquos system and jeopardizes filing claims by newly unemployed people. Those receiving unemployment benefits normally have to answer questions online every two weeks to continue receiving benefits. State Labor Secretary Julie Su directed the Employment Development Department to suspend the certification requirement for weeks ending March 14 through May 9.
7:49 a.m. Don&rsquot use hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine without supervision, FDA pleas: Food and Drug Administration officials on Friday urged people not to use hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for COVID-19 treatment outside of hospitals or clinical trials because they can cause abnormal heart rhythms. &ldquoWe would like to remind health care professionals and patients of the known risks associated with both hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine,&rdquo officials said in a statement. &ldquoHydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have not been shown to be safe and effective for treating or preventing COVID-19.&rdquo
7:41 a.m. California cities expect layoffs from financial losses during pandemic: The state&rsquos 482 cities say they will collectively lose $6.7 billion over the next two years because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting layoffs and furloughs for public workers and potential cuts to basic services such as sanitation, public safety and housing. But that estimate, compiled by the League of California Cities, assumes the stay-at-home order lifts by June 1 &mdash an unlikely scenario. Read more here from the Associated Press.
7:35 a.m. Road restrictions during coronavirus crisis old hat in Berkeley: If you think Oakland and San Francisco&rsquos recent moves to close selected neighborhood streets to through traffic during the coronavirus crisis feel familiar, there&rsquos a reason: Berkeley has been doing it for at least 50 years.
7:26 a.m. Nursing homes biggest spreaders of coronavirus in Italy: At least 44% of new coronavirus infections this month in Italy occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, according to the Superior Institutes of Health. Also, the average number of people who will get COVID-19 from a single infected person &mdash the so-called R0 &mdash is now under 1 nationwide for the first time, the Associated Press reports. It started out between 2 and 3 in hard-hit parts of the north, where the epicenter of Europe&rsquos pandemic erupted Feb. 21.
7:22 a.m. Two more deaths in San Mateo County as confirmed coronavirus cases near 1,000: Two more people died in San Mateo County of COVID-19 as the number of cases increased to 989, according to health officials. The county has recorded 41 deaths.
7:02 a.m. Social media use increases amid pandemic: The use of social media apps during the coronavirus pandemic has increased, claiming 24% of all mobile app usage from adults in the United States, Axios reports. That&rsquos up from 21%.
6:55 a.m. How did we get to this point? Check out The Chronicle&rsquos timeline of key events in the coronavirus pandemic.
6:47 a.m. Stocks rise again: The Dow Jones industrial average rose more than 100 points, with rebounding oil prices an encouraging factor.
6:46 a.m. Coronavirus canceled fertility treatments, but Bay Area residents hope to restart them: For patients dealing with infertility, the process of starting a family can feel largely out of their control, but the novel coronavirus has added an extra layer of uncertainty. Read more here.
6:17 a.m. New timeline leaves many to wonder if they had flu or coronavirus: It&rsquos a nagging question for the millions of California residents. Were those flu symptoms &mdash dry cough, fever, chills &mdash as far back as December actually the coronavirus? There have been hints that the virus may have been circulating in the Bay Area weeks before the outbreak took off in early March, but due to a lack of testing there was no way to know for sure. The discovery of three unrelated at-home deaths from COVID-19 in Santa Clara County &mdash and in particular, one death in the first week of February &mdash provide that proof. Read more here.
6:06 a.m. Don&rsquot inject or ingest disinfectant, says maker of Lysol and Dettol: Reckitt Benckiser, which produces Lysol and Dettol, urged people not to inject or ingest disinfectants after President Trump suggested health officials consider the idea. &ldquoAs a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),&rdquo the company said in a statement. &ldquoAs with all products, our disinfectant and hygiene products should only be used as intended and in line with usage guidelines. Please read the label and safety information.&rdquo Read more here.
Updates from Thursday, April 23:
11:55 p.m. U.S. approaching 50,000 coronavirus deaths: Nearly 50,000 coronavirus-related deaths had been reported in the U.S. as of late Thursday night, according to Johns Hopkins University&rsquos online tracker. The U.S. had confirmed 49,963 deaths from COVID-19 and will likely reach the grim milestone Friday morning. The global death toll was 190,890 late Thursday night, per Johns Hopkins data, with more than 2.7 million cases of the coronavirus reported worldwide.
10:55 p.m. California temporarily suspends charge for grocery bags: Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order Thursday that suspends the state&rsquos 10-cent charge for grocery bags and allows grocery stores and other retailers to provide single-use plastic bags for 60 days as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The order also pauses in-store recycling of beverage bottles and cans and suspends requirements for recycling centers to be open for a minimum number of hours. The changes are aimed at protecting workers at stores and recycling centers from being exposed to the virus by handling reusable bags or recyclable containers, the order states.
9:27 p.m. Family of first U.S. coronavirus victim in shock: The father of a 57-year-old San Jose woman who died in early February &mdash the first known U.S. victim of the coronavirus, officials said this week &mdash described to The Chronicle how his family is trying to navigate life without her and amid stay-home orders.
9:20 p.m. Sonoma County to expand testing, starting with health care workers: Health workers in Sonoma County will have access to drive-through coronavirus testing whether or not they display symptoms beginning Saturday, the county announced. Testing will be conducted in the parking lot of the county public health laboratory in Santa Rosa, requires an appointment and applies to any worker at a health care facility who has contact with patients, including medical, front desk, janitorial and security staff. The county soon plans to expand testing for first responders, people over age 65 and people with virus symptoms, officials said.
9:04 p.m. Sonoma County reports wave of new cases: Officials in Sonoma County reported 22 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, a one-day 11.3% increase, to bring the county&rsquos total to 216. Of those cases, 121 are active, 93 people have recovered and two people have died, according to the county&rsquos website.
8:50 p.m. Cases among state health care workers surpass 4,000: Local health departments have reported 4,153 confirmed cases of the coronavirus among California health care workers, the state&rsquos public health department said Thursday. That reflected a one-day increase of 276 cases, or 7.1%.
8:26 p.m. California Rep. Maxine Waters&rsquo sister dying of COVID-19: Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, said ahead of a vote on the House floor for the $480 billion stimulus package that her family has been affected by the coronavirus. &ldquoI&rsquom going to take a moment to dedicate this legislation to my dear sister who is dying in a hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, right now, infected by the coronavirus,&rdquo Waters said, according to CNN. Sen. Kamala Harris expressed her condolences on Twitter, where she wrote, &ldquoAwful news. (Rep. Maxine Waters), we are keeping your sister and your entire family in our prayers during this difficult time.&rdquo
8:00 p.m. Slack workers to stay home through Sept. 1: San Francisco software company Slack will keep work-from-home policies through Sept. 1, HR executive Robby Kwok wrote in a blog post. It will continue paying contractors and hourly workers who cannot work remotely through that time. Slack was among the Bay Area tech companies that ordered employees home because of coronavirus concerns well before local and state shelter-in-place mandates required it.
7:33 p.m. Alameda County issues reminders for observing Ramadan amid shelter-in-place: In an online letter, Alameda County officials ask residents to &ldquocontinue to stay home and modify your observance of Ramadan to protect yourself and those you love from COVID-19.&rdquo The letter notes mosques must remain closed due to the shelter-in-place order and residents should avoid leaving home to distribute food to charity or visit others. It states some mosques are offering virtual services during the Muslim holy month, which begins Thursday, and that &ldquosuspension of in-person gatherings is not a suspension of worship..&rdquo
7:24 p.m. Napa vintner Dario Sattui pledges to return $1.2 million small business loan: The owner of Calistoga winery Castello di Amorosa learned this week that he would be receiving a $1.2 million loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program to help with payroll for his 135 employees. He&rsquos decided to return it, following the lead of national restaurant chains like Ruth&rsquos Chris Steak House that have returned loans from the program after it quickly ran out of funding for small businesses.
7:15: Job cuts loom at Presidio of San Francisco: The economic repercussions of the coronavirus are being felt in an unexpected location: San Francisco&rsquos Presidio, where 20% of the 350-person staff could be laid off in the coming month. Jean Fraser, the Trust&rsquos CEO, said that one-fifth of the Presidio&rsquos business and residential tenants were unable to pay their rent in April &mdash a percentage &ldquothat potentially could grow in May.&rdquo John King&rsquos full report.
Media hysteria means Arizona election audit may be on to something
May 4, 2021 (American Thinker) – While an uncertain public awaits results from the Arizona election audit, the immediate major media outcry, prematurely denouncing it, should be viewed as the audit’s hitting a major media nerve. The media’s reaction vividly demonstrates their fear of a searching re-examination of the election purity they have so arrogantly and unwaveringly proclaimed.
After all, if this election were as well run as touted (with the customary admission to the mere occasional and inevitable, but insignificant, error), then the Biden-centric media should be cheerleading the effort. Shouldn’t the audit, to use a favored media word, be anticipated to “debunk” the claims of widespread irregularities?
Camp Axe (13 inch)
The media have drawn great succor from numerous court cases turning down challenges to the 2020 election results. However, these claims raised issues not properly cognizable by our judicial system. Ordering a recount is one thing relitigating a multimillion-vote election is quite another. It looks tremendously suspicious that, after Republican poll-watchers were banished, massive blocs of Detroit votes were introduced in the early morning, with 95% Biden selection. But what exactly is a smart person in black robes supposed to do with this tableau? Overturn the election without taking evidence? Convene a three-month trial with numerous witnesses and experts, while Biden and Trump cool their heels? A wise court should toss the case, as each reviewing jurist did. But this rejection should not be seen as validating the election process, as the major media did.
The election process itself, not the judicial system, is supposed to be administered so as to provide the public with confidence in the announced tallies. For this reason, the only widely recognized judicial remedy, as in Bush v. Gore, is an order to recount, which brings the process back to its proper venue: the election centers. So the unsuccessful Republican and Trump lawsuits to invalidate the various election results do not validate the propriety of election procedures they merely demarcate the limited jurisdictional boundaries of our judicial system.
But that is not how major media, at once partisan and ignorant, have spun this string of unsurprising Republican defeats:
To Cast Doubt On Election Results, Republicans Lean On Conspiracy Theories —npr.org
Arizona Republicans are auditing election results using company run by man who spread conspiracy theories about them —chicagotribune.com
QAnon fans are obsessed with Arizona vote “audit,” still hoping for Trump comeback —salon.com
Arizona Republicans’ desperate crusade to find nonexistent voter fraud —washingtonpost.com
Media hyperventilation about the recently commenced Arizona audit is evidence that pro-Biden forces discern grave danger in the process. They have known all along that an audit, not a court case, is the proper forum for detection of maladministration allowing improper votes. If the media can portray the audit as being about nothing more than warmed-over voting machine paranoia, the yells of “conspiracy theory” will become even louder. But if a credible evidentiary challenge to the results in Arizona can be strongly shown, the media will be soundly discredited, and with them their assurances of election legitimacy. (Click to Source)
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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Therein lies the problem at Lebanon’s international airport
The bird hunters stepped nonchalantly over plastic bottles, wrappers and other detritus, unconcerned by the noise they made as they patrolled this shabby-looking section of Lebanon’s coastline.
But, save for the occasional passenger jet lumbering out of Beirut’s international airport a mere 500 feet away, the sky above the Costa Brava landfill was empty.
“Not a bird … not a single one,” boasted one hunter.
His words marked the end of the third workday for Lebanon’s state-appointed “bird repellers” -- the government’s answer to a months-long trash crisis in this capital by the sea.
The problem came to a head this month when local media outlet LBC reported a passenger plane from Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines, had almost slammed into a flock of seagulls seconds after it landed on Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport’s west runway.
“Today we face an emergency, there is a danger posed to civil aviation movement by the birds,” Lebanon Transport Minister Yousef Fenianos said in a press briefing. “Thank God, up until now, the flights have not encountered any real danger.”
The birds have been gathering in steadily increasing numbers since March, when authorities opened a controversial landfill in the Costa Brava, despite warnings by civil society groups, environmentalists and the local pilots’ union of the dangers of establishing such a site so close to the airport. A number of international civil aviation organizations stipulate dumps should be placed more than five miles away from runways.
A general view shows a flock of birds (foreground) near the runway as a Middle-East airlines plane taxis at Beirut International airport in the Lebanese capital on Jan. 12, 2017.
The city has experienced garbage woes tied to the mid-2015 closure of Beirut’s main dump following 17 years of operation. Mountains of rubbish appear on the street.
A processing facility that was expected for Costa Brava within months of its opening remains nowhere in sight. The trash has piled up 30 feet high at times, presenting an irresistible feeding area for birds.
The smell also provides a pungent welcome for new arrivals to the country. One blogger likened the stench to that “of a million rotten eggs.”
“The birds were like a cloud over here a few days ago. Hundreds of them. More like thousands,” a soldier patrolling the area said recently. He declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The government this month sought to enact a series of measures to improve safety for flights. Among the measures that got underway was the installation of devices that emit the sounds of birds of prey and are supposed to keep away seagulls. Another tactic, the bird hunters, were brought in to obtain more immediate results.
Men equipped with shotguns and a seemingly endless supply of Rio, Prima and Foxy 12-gauge birdshot shells began to show up at Costa Brava, engaging in a culling which environmentalists condemned as a massacre — and a violation of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds, which the government signed in 2002.
Many people took to social media to upload jarring images of dead birds collected in a bloody heap on the sand, or of hunters marveling at the wing span of a seagull they had shot down.
“This time of the year, it’s not just the local seabirds and seagulls that congregate, but also migratory birds that come from Europe and Asia to the Mediterranean and especially to Lebanon,” said Asaad Serhal, director of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon, which runs a campaign to save seagulls in the country.
“In pictures we’ve seen . the shooters have killed Dalmatian pelicans, comorants, terns and sandpipers,” said Serhal, who called it unacceptable for authorities and others to sanction the killing of birds. “They’re asking people to break the law and start shooting…. And they’re sitting near the airport and a highway, shooting at every bird that flies.”
On social media, some people have taken a more lighthearted approach to the problem, uploading images of runways with scarecrows. One person suggested broadcasting Lebanese politicians’ speeches via loudspeakers, which, he said, would “scare the birds to emigrate from Lebanon and never return.”
Middle East Airlines Chairman Mohammad Hout asked people to choose between seagulls and “the birds of MEA,” according to local media outlets, while touting the company’s environmental bona fides and insisting that passenger safety comes first.
Meanwhile, the country’s environment minister, Tarek Khatib, challenged the public to come up with a “more appropriate solution and scientific alternative.”
Many activists and observers said a shooting spree against the country’s avian population was a bad idea.
“We can’t call the improvisatory measures by the government to be solutions, because solutions have clear guidelines according to airport safety parameters,” said Bassam Kantar, managing editor of Green Area, an environmental media organization.
“Unfortunately, the government was satisfied with sending unlicensed hunters to shoot seagulls without a preset plan to specify what they’re shooting and why.”
Elie Fares, creator of the State of Mind 13 blog, wrote that killing birds was unlikely to help solve the problem.
“To put it bluntly, how ridiculous, shortsighted and utterly silly is our government to think that killing the birds is a fix to the problem?” he wrote. “The thing about those birds is that they will keep coming, no matter how many of them you kill, because of that landfill whose existence you’re trying to ignore.”
They found clear trends in spillover risk of viruses from animals to humans that highlight how people have interacted with animals throughout history.
WHAT IS A ZOONOTIC DISEASE?
A zoonotic diseases is an infectious disease caused by a pathogen that has jumped from animals to humans.
It could be any infectious agent, including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and prions.
Ebola virus disease, HIV, most strains of flu and COVID-19 are all examples of Zoonotic diseases.
In fact 51 per cent of 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans were known to be zoonotic.
livestock, have shared the highest number of viruses with humans, with eight times more zoonotic viruses compared to wild mammalian species, according to the study.
This is likely a result of our frequent close interactions with these species for centuries, researchers say.
The scientists also found wild animals that have increased in abundance and adapted well to human-dominated environments share more viruses with people.
These include some rodent, bat and primate species that live among people, near our homes, and around our farms and crops, making them high-risk for ongoing transmission of viruses to people.
Researchers say threatened and endangered species also tend to be highly managed and directly monitored by humans trying to bring about their population recovery, which also puts them into greater contact with people.
Domesticated animals, including livestock, have shared the highest number of viruses with humans, with eight times more zoonotic viruses compared to wild mammalian species, according to the study
They set out that bats have repeatedly been implicated as a source of 'high consequence' pathogens.
These included: SARS, Nipah virus, Marburg virus and ebolaviruses, the study notes.
Professor Johnson said: 'We need to be really attentive to how we interact with wildlife and the activities that bring humans and wildlife together.
'We obviously don't want pandemics of this scale so we need to find ways to co-exist safely with wildlife, as they have no shortages of viruses to give us.'
The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
EXTINCTION LOOMS FOR MORE THAN ONE MILLION SPECIES
Nature is in more trouble now than at any time in human history with extinction looming over one million species of plants and animals, experts say.
That's the key finding of the United Nations' (UN) first comprehensive report on biodiversity - the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a particular habitat.
The report - published on May 6, 2019 - says species are being lost at a rate tens or hundreds of times faster than in the past.
Many of the worst effects can be prevented by changing the way we grow food, produce energy, deal with climate change and dispose of waste, the report said.
The report's 39-page summary highlighted five ways people are reducing biodiversity:
- Turning forests, grasslands and other areas into farms, cities and other developments. The habitat loss leaves plants and animals homeless. About three-quarters of Earth's land, two-thirds of its oceans and 85% of crucial wetlands have been severely altered or lost, making it harder for species to survive, the report said.
- Overfishing the world's oceans. A third of the world's fish stocks are overfished.
- Permitting climate change from the burning of fossil fuels to make it too hot, wet or dry for some species to survive. Almost half of the world's land mammals - not including bats - and nearly a quarter of the birds have already had their habitats hit hard by global warming.
- Polluting land and water. Every year, 300 to 400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents and toxic sludge are dumped into the world's waters.
- Allowing invasive species to crowd out native plants and animals. The number of invasive alien species per country has risen 70 per cent since 1970, with one species of bacteria threatening nearly 400 amphibian species.
How the World’s Energy Problem Has Been Hidden
We live in a world where words are very carefully chosen. Companies hire public relations firms to give just the right “spin” to what they are saying. Politicians make statements which suggest that everything is going well. Newspapers would like their advertisers to be happy they certainly won’t suggest that the automobile you purchase today may be of no use to you in five years.
I believe that what has happened in recent years is that the “truth” has become very dark. We live in a finite world we are rapidly approaching limits of many kinds. For example, there is not enough fresh water for everyone, including agriculture and businesses. This inadequate water supply is now tipping over into inadequate food supply in quite a few places because irrigation requires fresh water. This problem is, in a sense, an energy problem, because adding more irrigation requires more energy supplies used for digging deeper wells or making desalination plants. We are reaching energy scarcity issues not too different from those of World War I, World War II and the Depression Era between the wars.
We now live in a strange world filled with half-truths, not too different from the world of the 1930s. US newspapers leave out the many stories that could be written about rising food insecurity around the world, and even in the US. We see more reports of conflicts among countries and increasing gaps between the rich and the poor, but no one explains that such changes are to be expected when energy consumption per capita starts falling too low.
The majority of people seem to believe that all of these problems can be fixed simply by increasingly taxing the rich and using the proceeds to help the poor. They also believe that the biggest problem we are facing is climate change. Very few are even aware of the food scarcity problems occurring in many parts of the world already.
Our political leaders started down the wrong path long ago, when they chose to rely on economists rather than physicists. The economists created the fiction that the economy could expand endlessly, even with falling energy supplies. The physicists understood that the economy requires energy for growth, but didn’t really understand the financial system, so they weren’t in a position to explain which parts of economic theory were incorrect. Even as the true story becomes increasingly clear, politicians stick to their belief that our only energy problem is the possibility of using too much fossil fuel, with the result of rising world temperatures and disrupted weather patterns. This can be interpreted as a relatively distant problem that can be corrected over a fairly long future period.
In this post, I will explain why it appears to me that, right now, we are dealing with an energy problem as severe as that which seems to have led to World War I, World War II, and the Great Depression. We really need a solution to our energy problems right now, not in the year 2050 or 2100. Scientists modeled the wrong problem: a fairly distant energy problem which would be associated with high energy prices. The real issue is a very close-at-hand energy shortage problem, associated with relatively low energy prices. It should not be surprising that the solutions scientists have found are mostly absurd, given the true nature of the problem we are facing.
 There is a great deal of confusion with respect to which energy problem we are dealing with. Are we dealing with a near-at-hand problem featuring inadequate prices for producers or a more distant problem featuring high prices for consumers? It makes a huge difference in finding a solution, if any.
Business leaders would like us to believe that the problem to be concerned with is a fairly distant one: climate change. In fact, this is the problem most scientists are working on. There is a common misbelief that fossil fuel prices will jump to high levels if they are in short supply. These high prices will allow the extraction of a huge amount of coal, oil and natural gas from the ground. The rising prices will also allow high-priced alternatives to become competitive. Thus, it makes sense to start down the long road of trying to substitute “renewables” for fossil fuels.
If business leaders had stopped to look at the history of coal depletion, they would have discovered that expecting high prices when energy limits are encountered is incorrect. The issue that really happens is a wage problem: too many workers discover that their wages are too low. Indirectly, these low-wage workers need to cut back on purchases of goods of many types, including coal to heat workers’ homes. This loss of purchasing power tends to hold coal prices down to a level that is too low for producers. We can see this situation if we look at the historical problems with coal depletion in the UK and in Germany.
Coal played an outsized role in the time leading up to, and including, World War II.
History shows that as early coal mines became depleted, the number of hours of labor required to extract a given amount of coal tended to rise significantly. This happened because deeper mines were needed, or mines were needed in areas where there were only thin coal seams. The problem owners of mines experienced was that coal prices did not rise enough to cover their higher labor costs, related to depletion. The issue was really that prices fell too low for coal producers.
Owners of mines found that they needed to cut the wages of miners. This led to strikes and lower coal production. Indirectly, other coal-using industries, such as iron production and bread baking, were adversely affected, leading these industries to cut jobs and wages, as well. In a sense, the big issue was growing wage disparity, because many higher-wage workers and property owners were not affected.
Today, the issue we see is very similar, especially when we look at wages worldwide, because markets are now worldwide. Many workers around the world have very low wages, or no wages at all. As a result, the number of workers worldwide who can afford to purchase goods that require large amounts of oil and coal products for their manufacture and operation, such as vehicles, tends to fall. For example, peak sales of private passenger automobile, worldwide, occurred in 2017. With fewer auto sales (as well as fewer sales of other high-priced goods), it is difficult to keep oil and coal prices high enough for producers. This is very similar to the problems of the 1914 to 1945 era.
Everything that I can see indicates that we are now reaching a time that is parallel to the period between 1914 and 1945. Conflict is one of the major things that a person would expect because each country wants to protect its jobs. Each country also wants to add new jobs that pay well.
In a period parallel to the 1914 to 1945 period, we can also expect pandemics. This happens because the many poor people often cannot afford adequate diets, making them more susceptible to diseases that are easily transmitted. In the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1919, more than 50 million people worldwide died. The equivalent number with today’s world population would be about 260 million. This hugely dwarfs the 3.2 million COVID-19 deaths around the world that we have experienced to date.
 If we look at growth in energy supply, relative to the growth in population, precisely the same type of “squeeze” is occurring now as was occurring in the 1914 to 1945 period. This squeeze particularly affects coal and oil supplies.
The chart above is somewhat complex. It looks at how quickly energy consumption has been growing historically, over ten-year periods (sum of red and blue areas). This amount is divided into two parts. The blue area shows how much of this growth in energy consumption was required to provide food, housing and transportation to the growing world population, based on the standards at that time. The red area shows how much growth in energy consumption was “left over” for growth in the standard of living, such as better roads, more vehicles, and nicer homes. Note that GDP growth is not shown in the chart. It likely corresponds fairly closely to total energy consumption growth.
Figure 3, below, shows energy consumption by type of fuel between 1820 and 2010. From this, it is clear that the world’s energy consumption was tiny back in 1820, when most of the world’s energy came from burned biomass. Even at that time, there was a huge problem with deforestation.
Clearly, the addition of coal, starting shortly after 1820, allowed huge changes in the world economy. But by 1910, this growth in coal consumption was flattening out, leading quite possibly to the problems of the 1914-1945 era. The growth in oil consumption after World War II allowed the world economy to recover. Natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear have been added in recent years, as well, but the amounts have been less significant than those of coal and oil.
We can see how coal and oil have dominated growth in energy supplies in other ways, as well. This is a chart of energy supplies, with a projection of expected energy supplies through 2021 based on estimates of the IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021.
Oil supplies became a problem in the 1970s. There was briefly a dip in the demand for oil supplies as the world switched from burning oil to the use of other fuels in applications where this could easily be done, such as producing electricity and heating homes. Also, private passenger automobiles became smaller and more fuel efficient. There has been a continued push for fuel efficiency since then. In 2020, oil consumption was greatly affected by the reduction in personal travel associated with the COVID-19 epidemic.
Figure 4, above, shows that world coal consumption has been close to flat since about 2012. This is also evident in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5 shows that coal production for the United States and Europe has been declining for a very long time, since about 1988. Before China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, its coal production grew at a moderate pace. After joining the WTO in 2001, China’s coal production grew very rapidly for about 10 years. In about 2011, China’s coal production leveled off, leading to the leveling of world coal production.
Figure 6 shows that recently, growth in the sum of oil and coal consumption has been lagging total energy consumption.
We can see from Figure 6 that the only recent time when oil and coal supplies grew faster than energy consumption in total was during a brief period between 2002 and 2007. More recently, oil and coal consumption has been increasingly lagging total energy consumption. For both coal and oil, the problem has been that low prices for producers cause producers to voluntarily drop out of coal or oil production. The reason for this is two-fold: (1) With less oil (or coal) production, perhaps prices might rise, making production more profitable, and (2) Unprofitable oil (or coal) production isn’t really satisfactory for producers.
When determining the required level of profitability for these fuels, there is a need to include the tax revenue that governments require in order to maintain adequate services. This is especially the case with oil exporters, but it is also true in general. Energy products, to be useful, produce an energy surplus that can be used to benefit the rest of the economy. The way that this energy surplus can be transferred to the rest of the economy is by paying relatively high taxes. These taxes allow changes that aid economic growth, such as improvements in roads and schools.
If energy prices are chronically too low (so that an energy product requires a subsidy, rather than paying taxes), this is a sign that the energy product is most likely an energy “sink.” Such a product acts in the direction of pulling the economy down through ever-lower productivity.
 Governments have chosen to focus on preventing climate change because, in theory, the changes that are needed to prevent climate change seem to be the same ones needed to cover the contingency of “running out.” The catch is that the indicated changes don’t really work in the scarcity situation we are already facing.
It turns out that the very fuels that we seem to be running out of (coal and oil) are the very ones most associated with high carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, focusing on climate change seems to please everyone. Those who were concerned that we could keep extracting fossil fuels for hundreds of years and, because of this, completely ruin the climate, would be happy. Those who were concerned about running out of fossil fuels would be happy, as well. This is precisely the kind of solution that politicians prefer.
The catch is that we used coal and oil first because, in a very real sense, they are the “best” fuels for our needs. All of the other fuels, even natural gas, are in many senses inferior. Natural gas has the problem that it is very expensive to transport and store. Also, methane, which makes up the majority of natural gas, is itself a gas that contributes to global warming. It tends to leak from pipelines and from ships attempting to transport it. Thus, it is doubtful that it is much better from a global warming perspective than coal or oil.
So-called renewable fuels tend to be very damaging to the environment in ways other than CO2 emissions. This point is made very well in the new book Bright Green Lies by Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith and Max Wilbert. It makes the point that renewable fuels are not an attempt to save the environment. Instead, they are trying to save our current industrial civilization using approaches that tend to destroy the environment. Cutting down forests, even if new trees are planted in their place, is especially detrimental. Alice Friedemann, in her new book, Life after Fossil Fuels: A Reality Check on Alternative Fuels, points out the high cost of these alternatives and their dependence on fossil fuel energy.
We are right now in a huge scarcity situation which is starting to cause conflicts of many kinds. Even if there were a way of producing these types of alternative energy cheaply enough, they are coming far too late and in far too small quantities to make a difference. They also don’t match up with our current coal and oil uses, adding a layer of time and expense for conversion that needs to be included in any model.
 What we really have is a huge conflict problem due to inadequate energy supplies for today’s world population. The powers that be are trying to hide this problem by publishing only their preferred version of the truth.
The situation that we are really facing is one that often goes under the name of “collapse.” It is a problem that many civilizations have faced in the past when a given population has outgrown its resource base.
Needless to say, the issue of collapse is not a story any politician wants to tell its citizens. Instead, we are told over and over, “Everything is fine. Any energy problem will be handled by the solutions scientists are finding.” The catch is that scientists were not told the correct problem to solve. They were told about a distant problem. To make the problem easier to solve, high prices and subsidies seemed to be acceptable. The problem they were asked to solve is very different from our real energy problem today.
Many people think that taxing the rich and giving the proceeds to the poor can solve our problem, but this doesn’t really solve the problem for a couple of reasons. One of the issues is that our scarcity issue is really a worldwide problem. Higher taxation of the rich in a few rich countries does nothing for the many problems of poor people in countries such as Lebanon, Yemen, Venezuela and India. Furthermore, taking money from the rich doesn’t really fix scarcity problems. Rich people don’t really eat a vastly disproportionate amount of food or drink more water, for example.
A detail that most of us don’t think about is that the military of many different countries has been very much aware of the potential conflict situation that is now occurring. They are aware that a “hot war” would require huge use of fossil fuel energy, so they have been trying to find alternative approaches. One approach military groups have been working on is the use of bioweapons of various kinds. In fact, some groups might even contemplate starting a pandemic. Another approach that might be used is computer viruses to disrupt the systems of other countries.
Needless to say, the powers that be do not want the general population to hear about issues of these kinds. We find ourselves with narrower and narrower news reports that provide only the version of the truth that politicians and news media want us to read. Citizens who have developed the view, “All I need to do to find out the truth is read my home town newspaper,” are likely to encounter more and more surprises, as conflict situations escalate.
The most watched TV programs are also the ones that have the most “programming” (of the people). Yes, it is a program for your mind. You’ll watch TV shows with a whole new understanding after reading the short article: They Call it Television Programming For a Reason
So when you watch the news, watch it, not to find out what’s going on, but to see which way “they” are currently leading society. Remember that what goes on the news is carefully constructed to get most people to react – just the way most people react to it. If we see something shocking on the news, we need to realize that our initial reaction is probably exactly the reaction that the story was designed to bring. We need to ask ourselves: “Why are they putting this on the news, now, in this way? What REACTION is it designed to bring? What agenda or SOLUTION do they want to bring on, based on this reaction?” Could the PROBLEM have been artificially created solely for this purpose?
DuPont Poisoned 99.7% of Americans With Teflon Chemicals Erin Brockovich, Filmmakers Fight Back
(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) — Nothing sticks to Teflon, but it definitely sticks to you — your organs, blood, and tissues, and your body doesn’t eliminate it easily — if at all. Documentarians Morgan Spurlock, Stephanie Soechtig, and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich have teamed up to expose this prevalent and real danger affecting the health and water of millions of Americans. Their documentary, The Devil We Know, is airing on Netflix and examines the hazards of C8, a PFOA, that is “everywhere” and “never” breaks down in the environment.
What are PFAS and PFOA?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS is the umbrella category for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, including PFOA (perfluorooctanoate ammonium), PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), and GenX, a trade name used by DuPont, and its spinoff company Chemours. GenX refers to their processing aid technology, which includes hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and the ammonium salt HFPO dimer acid. Many of these chemicals, used in the manufacturing of non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, and stain-resistant or water-resistant fabrics, never break down in the environment, according to the CDC, and accumulate in the body over time. Substances in these groups are aptly nicknamed “forever chemicals.”
The bioaccumulation of PFAS doesn’t only affect people. PFAS can also be found in fish and animals, which adds to a person’s bio-load when these organisms are consumed as food. Fire fighter training facilities and airports are a major source of these pollutants, according to the EPA, due to the use of PFAS in foam-retardant used to fight oil-based fires.
The EPA also says the most consistent findings concerning PFOA and PFOS include higher cholesterol levels in exposed populations, and “reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in animals.” PFAS are also indicated in lower birth weights and immune system dysfunctions, though that data is limited. Specifically, the substances have been linked to testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and pre-eclampsia.
The discovery of this widespread problem isn’t new either, leaving many to wonder why the U.S. Government hasn’t acted more expediently to stop the flow of these “forever chemicals” into the environment, and hence, into all of our bodies. Back in 2007, journalist Leslie Savan wrote in Mother Jones:
It shows up in dolphins off the Florida coast and polar bears in the Arctic it is present, according to a range of studies, in the bloodstream of almost every American — and even in newborns (where it may be associated with decreased birth weight and head circumference). The nonprofit watchdog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls PFOA and its close chemical relatives “the most persistent synthetic chemicals known to man.” And although DuPont, the nation’s sole Teflon manufacturer, likes to chirp that its product makes “cleanup a breeze,” it is now becoming apparent that cleansing ourselves of PFOA is nearly impossible.
Water Problems in Madison, Wisconsin
On Aug. 2, 2019, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) issued a statement regarding the contamination of wells in Madison. Wells 15 and 16 supply water to the city’s northeast side and part of the westside, respectively. PFAS contamination was found in both wells during “voluntary sample events.”
“Clean drinking water is a public health priority. This pilot project serves as an example of the Department’s efforts to raise water quality issues to the forefront and assist Madison in its mission to provide safe, reliable water to the community,” said WDNR Secretary Designee Preston Cole, in a press release. “The Department remains committed to working collaboratively with the city, county, water utility and sewage district.”
Brockovich weighed in on the finding in a Facebook post, stating Wisconsin has two options: “Abandon the contaminated sources and hide from the problem, only to allow it to migrate to other wells,” Brockovich wrote. “Or, Madison can treat the water, removing the toxic contaminants from our environment forever. Madison should then send the bill for the cost of cleanup to 3M Corporation and DuPont.” 3M Corporation is the multinational entity behind Scotchgard — another product that uses the chemicals.
Problems Throughout the Country — Why Should You Care?
Wisconsin isn’t the only state affected. In July, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported 712 sites in 49 states are contaminated with PFAS — and those are only the ones the NGO knows about.
The Devil We Know focuses on the contamination in Spurlock’s hometown of Parkersburg, West Virginia, where DuPont exposed residents and workers to C8. According to Deadline, C8 is found in the drinking water of 6.5 million Americans.
The PFAS contamination of California’s water affects over 7.5 million people. California doesn’t have laws setting a maximum level of PFAS allowed in the water, according to CBS Sacramento.
On Sept. 25, 2019, the U.S. Air Force agreed to pay $1.3 million to the City of Westfield, MA for the cleanup of PFAS-contaminated water. The decontamination effort cost the city $13 million or more according to MassLive. Rep. John C. Velis, (D-Westfield), is seeking to get more money from the state for Westfield’s proactive actions for C8. The city had already started its remediation process before the state passed the current budget proposals, which appropriated money to help other cities with their cleanup efforts, but left Westfield behind. According to a separate article in MassLive, “Massachusetts officials are dealing with PFAS contamination in three main clusters: near Barnes, in the MetroWest region near Boston and near Joint Base Cape Cod.”
Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) “is preparing a legislative proposal that would give that agency authority to order companies to clean up contamination from PFAS chemicals,” according to NBC Newscenter Maine. The legislation is required because PFAS aren’t classified as potentially dangerous at the federal level.
“If we wait for the feds to come in, they’ll have a large number of sites to deal with nationally [and] they won’t be able to work with everyone who needs help,” says Patrick MacRoy, Deputy Director at the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
In a letter addressed to Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Robert McMahon, U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) urged the Department of Defense (DOD) to take responsibility for PFAS contamination in Michigan communities. Michigan has already seen drinking water issues in Flint due to lead contamination, and people’s emotions are still running high around the water quality issue there.
The PFAS issue is widespread leaving many to wonder where they can find clean drinking water. While The Devil We Know exposes the problem with PFAS, the action needed to deal with them must come from U.S. Government and the culprits and profiters who release them into the environment.
Erin Brockovich: ‘Shit Flows Downhill’: What the Trump Clean Water Act Rollbacks Really Mean
(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – On Jan. 23, 2020, the Trump Administration finalized a rule rolling back the Clean Water Act (the Act), marking the first time it has ever been reduced in power outside of the courts. Specifically, the changes lay waste to protections for ephemeral and intermittent…
Chromium 6, the ‘Erin Brockovich Carcinogen,’ Now in the Drinking Water of 250m Americans, Report Reveals
(EnviroNews USA Headline News Desk) – Washington D.C. – Hexavalent chromium (chromium 6), nicknamed the “Erin Brockovich Carcinogen,” is said to “[cause] cancer when ingested at even extraordinarily low levels.” Created as a byproduct from numerous industrial activities, the substance is now in the drinking water of 250…
Stunning Report: 170m Americans Now Drinking Radioactive Water – See if Your H20 is Affected
(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – More than 170 million Americans, or around 52 percent of the entire population, may be at risk of radiation exposure through their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of the country’s leading water testing organizations. The EWG published its…
CHECK OUT THESE GREAT VIDEOS FEATURING ERIN BROCKOVICH ON ENVIRONEWS:
Remembering Rocketdyne – Discussing America’s Worst Nuclear Meltdown (Not Three Mile Island) With Erin Brockovich
(EnviroNews California) – The infamous accident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island power facility is typically the first meltdown that comes to mind when people think about nuclear disasters in America. While journalists and editors at CNN have reported it was the worst nuclear meltdown ever in the United…
California’s Top 10 Environmental Disasters Featuring Erin Brockovich
(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – While speaking with Erin Brockovich, the topic of the worst environmental disasters in California history came up. The following list of the top 10 man-made environmental disasters that California has experienced contains some disturbing information about what the government and corporations have…
Erin Brockovich Is Asked: “Why no time for environmental crime?”
(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – There have been few instances in the history of the industrial revolution where anyone has actually gone to jail for atrocities committed against the environment. It seems at least pertinent to ask: Why hasn’t anyone been put in handcuffs yet for the…
Erin Brockovich Weighs in on Fracking and Gives Praise to GasLand the Movie
(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – Erin Brockovich is a people’s champion when it comes to battling against big industrial polluters who contaminate and poison groundwater, so much so that they even made a Hollywood movie showcasing her first amazing success story in Hinkley, California. The movie, ‘Erin…
Erin Brockovich on How to Fight Back Against Big Polluters at the Local Level
(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – In this interview segment, Erin Brockovich reveals exactly what can be done at the community level to fight back against large and often irresponsible industrial polluters.
Erin Brockovich Addresses What Should Be Done Federally About the Incineration of Deadly Medical Waste
(EnviroNews California) – “How are we going to dispose of it without destroying ourselves?” This was the question posed by celebrity activist Erin Brockovich to EnviroNews California during a full-feature sit-down interview in Los Angeles. Medical waste is a topic that most people have probably given very little…
Erin Brockovich Explains Her New Environmental Battle – Stericycle and Medical Waste
(EnviroNews California) – Los Angeles – In a full-feature sit-down interview with EnviroNews USA Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry, celebrity activist Erin Brockovich laid down strong messages on an array of environmental topics. From fracking to nuclear meltdowns, this woman is a coast-to-coast, worldwide environmental activism powerhouse. After catapulting into…
Erin Brockovich to Concerned Residents in Stockton CA: ‘We are all one when it comes to protecting our water’
(EnviroNews California) – Stockton, CA – At a packed and emotionally charged town-hall meeting on Feb 1, 2016, in Stockton, California, celebrated environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich addressed a crowd of over 1,200 people concerning the city’s festering water crisis. After failing a compliance test for…
Team Erin Brockovich on Stericycle: “We’re going to see some people go to jail for this!”
(EnviroNews Utah) – Concerned and downright outraged citizens congregated outside preceding a town-hall that featured freshman Republican Congressman Chris Stewart, who just also happens to be the Chair of the Congressional environmental subcommittee. The groups and individals shared a unified message that preached the same ideal from a…
Are You Cooking With Chloraminated Water? Adding Salt Could Make Chloramine 10,000X More Toxic
(EnviroNews California) – Stockton, California – As the festering water crisis in Stockton, California continues to unfurl, legendary groundwater defender and celebrity activist Erin Brockovich arrived on the scene February 1, 2016, to add her voice to the many outraged voices from the community, already calling foul. Traveling…
CRAWLING OFF THE END OF THE (FROZEN) SPECULATION TWIG
Today I'm departing from my normal practice of blogging about articles and stories people send me to indulge in a bit of complaining, whining, and speculation. As most people know, the United States have been hit, this past two weeks or so, by a very bad winter storm. So here comes the "whining and complaining" part: First came the freezing drizzle, then came snow on top of it, record cold (I mean, we're talking South Dakota cold) pushing down to southern Texas and New Mexico and snow all over the place (one friend in New Mexico informed me they had about a foot of snow in the desert, and I know where this friend lives and can assure the readers that snow in that region to that depth is unheard of), and in my case, a dead car battery, which I've not yet been able to fix, because as soon as it died, "round two" hit, with even colder weather, and more snow which was moving northeast from - get this - New Mexico and Texas, across Missouri, Illinois, and so on. You get the idea. Normally when it snows in the plains states, it sort of "sneaks" down from the northwest or west, but not this time. It came from the southwest. It would be rather like a winter storm system forming in the Florida panhandle before moving up into Georgia. In spite of the fact that the United sates are not experiencing anything that unusual in that weather systems can "begin" in the southwest and move northeast across the country, there was something a little "off" and strange about this one. After all, there's a few inches of "global warming" in the deserts of New Mexico.
What's unusual is the severity and length of this storm: single digit temperatures as far south as the Red River, and temperatures well below freezing in Texas. Then came something else: power outages. Again, power outages are not unusual during storms, especially winter storms. Except. except. I remember a particularly harsh winter as a boy growing up in South Dakota I believe it was the winter of 67-68, or 68-69, but I do remember that Lyndon Johnson (ugh. barf, hurl, puke, wheeze) was still the President, though Deo gratias on his way out. That winter Sioux Falls had well over 120" of snow. it was piled so high that the streets were little canyons, and people stuck orange balls on their car antennae to see other cars approaching intersections on side streets. And not once did the power go down due downed power lines. Again, in 1982, as I was getting ready to fly to England for my interview to enter Oxford, we were hit with a massive snow storm. The city was buried beneath several feet of snow, and the drifts in front of our house reached to the eaves of the roof. Tree branches snapped, power lines were downed, but not extensively.
But with this last storm I'm hearing some completely different things: First off: rolling blackouts, as power companies from all over the region are blacking out regions of customer service due to increased demand and diminishing supply. On my local radio, they're saying it's because of the fact that Texas derives much of its power from those large wind turbines, which, due to the record cold temperatures, have frozen, cutting the power available just as people are huddled in their homes, unable to drive to work, and increasing demand for power. So much for "clean green energy." Don't give up those oil and natural gas supplies just yet, the turbines can freeze. And it's especially not a very bright idea when we're entering a period of solar minimum, which, the last time anyone checked, resulted in much cooler temperatures for a period. (Note to Baal Gates: Best rethink that plan to spray the world to block out sunlight to cool the temperatures. Here's a Mr. Potato Head set, go play with that.)
What made me start thinking differently about all this was listening to subscribers and members of this website - some not even in the northern hemisphere - saying that their weather (it's summer down there) has been unusually and unseasonably cool. I began to wonder if we were, and are, looking at the possibility of a man-manipulated system. It's certainly been a year where such ideas can be entertained: consider only the record, and sustained, flooding in China, flooding so extensive that there was even some speculation that the Three Gorges Dam might fail, and water levels there are still abnormally high. Nor is the Chinese intention to turn all of Tibet into a major weather modification region to be forgotten.
But "man-manipulated" system can mean two things: (1) the system is "blowback" from other systems, an "unintended consequence" of manipulations of other systems. Anything here could function as a catalyst: magnetic resonance effects from CERN and ionospheric heaters to VLF and ULF broadcasting systems, and so on or (2) the manipulation and result could be intentional. I want to explore this second possibility in my high octane speculations today, because a number of people have emailed me suspecting the same thing concerning this recent storm system. My basic methodology for entertaining such speculations on weather or geophysical events such as earthquakes, is to view their timing in the political and/or geopolitical context in which they occur: if they happen in close proximity to major political events - either before or after such an event - there are grounds for suspicion. For example, Catherine Austin Fitts has mentioned many times the Indonesian tsunami. She could not figure out why there was such a rush too sell Indonesian sovereign securities a few years go, and then, a week later, the tsunami struck indicating to her either a much more robust ability to predict such events or the capability to actually engineer them. Similarly, I've often commented that I have similar suspicions regarding the Fukushima tsunami and subsequent nuclear disaster, which occurred shortly after a new Japanese government took power, and "warnings" from the then US Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Japan that were little more than threats not to pursue certain new policy objectives. Japan went ahead, and then the disaster struck. In the case of the floods in China and the long-suffering millions of Chinese impacted by them, I cannot avoid the impression that it may be some sort of economic warfare against that country, given the context of the Trump administration's positions regarding that country. Granted, anyone with the means to engineer such systems might be involved: a third party wanting to raise tensions between the two countries.
So, is there a context in which to view this recent system and its resulting dislocations in the economy from the standpoint of a deliberately intended manipulation? I suspect there are, not the least being that the states apparently hardest hit - Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri - have been on the forefront of legislative and executive pushback against the overreach exhibited by the current federal government. Another aspect of the timing that is curious is that it occurs as there's growing pushback against the covid "lockdowns." Yet a third component of the timing is its occurrence during a period that every available means seems to be used to distract attention from the financial shenanigans Mr. Globaloney is up to.
To be sure, this is not a solid methodology it can be all too easy to extend such analysis to any abnormal or unusual weather event. After all, we're in a solar minimum, and it may be nothing more than that.