Archive for the ‘GALVESTON TEXAS’ Tag


John Chuckman



To bury memories of his own grotesque mismanagement in the pandemic, Trump has opened an intense new verbal assault on China. His earlier attacks on China, although truly motivated by resentment at superior business success and no little tinge of prejudice, at least related superficially to economics and trade, but the new ones are something else entirely.

Trump’s record of ignoring serious advanced warnings about the disease, of belittling its nature for a considerable period, and of then advocating absurd efforts like injecting household disinfectant or heavily using an unproved anti-malarial drug, one with dangerous side effects, have left him looking absurdly incompetent in the eyes of many.  Especially in view of his country’s now running by far the world’s greatest toll of infections and deaths under the watchful eye of “the chosen one,” the unique American “stable genius.”

So, Trump has to create a distraction as he heads towards what in his eyes is the world’s most momentous event, his re-election. He has to generate some heat, some hatred and simmering resentment, because those are the kinds of intense feelings that make people forget inconvenient facts. Hate blurs all details the way a blast furnace melts iron.

New steps have been taken to block American government pension funds from investing in China as well as putting an end to any science grants which support the Wuhan bio-lab. These are unreasonable acts. Investment should go where investors feel it is best to go, and not be restrained by presidential diktats. And science grants are just part of the international system of support and information exchange involved with all top science.

I’ll briefly repeat a bit of what I’ve written before. Many facilities at Wuhan were installed by the French, who also have such a lab. Many of the technical staff at Wuhan were trained in Galveston, Texas, where the US has a facility. Wuhan has been given grants by the US National Institutes of Health and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Wuhan’s findings are shared with the global virology community.

If anything, the pandemic should stress the immense importance of maintaining such work. Nature is constantly evolving new virus strains, and the only way people can be prepared to deal with them is by maintaining research. Trump’s approach is backward, not only in terms of assuming something for which there is no proof – that the virus came from the Wuhan bio-lab – but also because it goes against an important scientific principle.

Top scientists in the field say that there has never been a release of pathogens from a high-level lab like Wuhan. The labs are designed with many redundant safety features. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control last year closed the American military’s bio-lab at Fort Detrick, Maryland, over concern about its waste water treatment, but no release of pathogens was involved.

Remember, absolutely nothing has been proved about the Wuhan lab, nor is it in the least likely anything can be proved. Scientists studying the coronavirus have said that it did not come from a lab but made the kind of jump in nature from animals to humans often seen as viruses evolve.

Only recently, the US Director of National Intelligence said that there was “wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not man-made or genetically modified”

But those unwarranted measures by Trump are nothing compared to other possible activities being discussed. And at this writing a 15-page dossier compiled by intelligence agencies, has been leaked. Use of the word “dossier” is very telling, as in the “Steele Dossier” commissioned privately to defame Trump himself or in Tony Blair’s “dodgy dossier” compiled by British security services to justify the invasion of Iraq. Both the last two were proven frauds. But people trying to do what Trump is aren’t terribly concerned about accuracy. He just needs some red meat to throw to the animals.

Here is a man, demonstrated many times over to have no scientific understanding and little sound knowledge, suddenly telling the world that he knows things they do not. And those things add up to China somehow owing America for all the costs and damages of a new disease. Billions and billions of dollars. We’ve heard mumbling about unilaterally seizing those “damages.” After all, what court would be competent to judge such wild claims?

Certainly, stealing other people’s valuables is nothing new for Trump. We’ve seen him at it, always done under a feeble pretext, in every attempted coup and unwarranted attack on other states. In Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Palestine, and other places.

The idea of invalidating some of China’s vast holding of American T-bills, more than a trillion dollars worth, has been heard – in other words, reneging on your solemn financial obligations to benefit yourself, stealing from your customer’s account at the bank. Also heard is the idea of levying big new punitive tariffs against China, tariffs based on not even a pretense of trade arguments, but simply the claim that America is owed vast sums. Any of the approaches runs counter to international law and good practices. Any of them would further darken what’s left of the honor and credit of the United States.  And any of them would rightly infuriate China.

Any such behavior introduces a gigantic new destabilizing element into international relations. Well, the United States has long done such things, but it does them to relatively weak economies, ones having little influence on the world’s economic and trade affairs, countries such Venezuela or Cuba or even Iran.

But China is something else entirely. Its economy is almost the same size as that of the United States, and by some measures, is indeed already larger. In not many years, it is certain to be larger by every important measure.

Of course, the world’s economy is in a very shaky situation already owing to multiple causes. What kind of mind thinks up new ways to weaken it?  For surely, trying to seriously hurt China, often the world’s engine of economic growth in recent years, is directly attacking the world’s economy. Indeed, while the US is still struggling with the world’s greatest infection of coronavirus, China will be back comparatively to normal, having successfully dealt with the virus, and ready to provide the world economy some stimulus.

It is the same kind of mind that talks about people injecting household sanitizers to fight a virus. Or that takes credit for sweeping achievements that never happened, as millions of Americans supposedly saved by Trump’s (imagined) timely efforts in the pandemic. Or that gives his daughter and her husband – neither of them with any special competence or expertise or even talent – offices with big titles in the White House, with the son-in-law having a special role in the pandemic, an appointment very much in keeping with all of Trump’s dishonesty and bravado and incompetence during the early stages of the pandemic.

Somehow or other, rather than being seen as the disease’s early and rather heroic victim, China is now to be seen as responsible for all the harm done by it, perhaps sharing responsibility with the WHO, the kind of international organization Trump just viscerally dislikes. His reaction to international organizations being a mix of instinctive authoritarianism, hatred of outsiders, and readiness to harm those who believe they know better than he does, even if they clearly do. As well, we have a man with no regard for learning or expertise of almost any description, except for that which manipulates people and takes money from them.

No matter which method Trump fixes on, what he is really trying to do is to steal hundreds of billions of dollars from someone while at the same time heaping them with insults and accusing them of things they didn’t do. China did things right with the outbreak of the virus, as every international expert says. No one did things as badly as Trump’s America. All so that he can be re-elected to inflict still more incompetence and bellowing on the world. Does that sound like a scheme that a proud and ancient society will quietly accept? A remarkably successful society in the modern era, almost the polar opposite of America?

Of course, it isn’t. Trump, being the kind of vicious personality that he is, knows exactly how to inflict hurt and insult on others. That’s just what his kind of morbid personality does. But to believe China will just accept such treatment is to believe a fantasy, an extremely dangerous one.

Trump sharpens his insults with the most insensitive activity in China’s backyard, “freedom of navigation” trips by American warships in waters where China already guarantees all nations freedom of navigation, so long as they follow the basic rules. He adds new provocations about Taiwan, a place that Richard Nixon solemnly pledged America recognizes as an integral part of China, which in fact is just the historical truth, only politics in America having interfered with the fact.

How long before activity on all these fronts leads to war? Calling names. Heavy-duty false accusations. Provocations in China’s territory. And a plan to steal hundreds of billions of dollars. And more effort to undermine China’s remarkable economy at a dangerous time. America is pursuing a reckless course under the generalship of a genuine lunatic. One thinks of General Ripper in Stanley Kubrick’s “Doctor Strangelove.”

Trump’s motive is to blame others for upending what he thought was going to be an easy re-election. For that he is willing to do almost anything, ignoring all the world’s many terrible problems.

Mike Pompeo might regard the lying, cheating, and stealing he did in the CIA as amusing and acceptable, as he once not long ago joked about at a university appearance, but applying that sense of values as working principles to China is not going to result in smiles and chuckles.

A figure like Trump is quite capable of calling down Gotterdammerung upon his head, seeing that his fantasies about himself, fantasies of great leadership, are proved just that, fantasies, ridiculous ones, in all the world’s eyes.

We are entering a seriously dangerous period, and the madman in the White House only sees the next six months as a barrier to his re-election that he believes he knows how to overcome. Yes, war would do it. When don’t Americans loyally endorse a president in time of war, even if he is completely wrong as most American presidents have been in their wars? Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more – you name it. All pointless and destructive but all supported by the people as though it were impossible for Old Glory to do any harm.



Just the day after I wrote this, I read an item saying President Xi Jinping’s staff had prepared a memo for him warning of the risk of war from the United States.



Trump at this writing has called the coronavirus pandemic the worst “attack” his country has ever experienced. He blamed China for not stopping it.

“This is worse than Pearl Harbor. This is worse than the World Trade Center,” Trump said in the White House.

Dangerous words indeed, and as complete a lie as those he offered when he hurled missiles into Syria for a gas attack which never happened or when he assassinated Iran’s national hero, General Soleimani, claiming he had been up to an evil plan when the opposite was true, he was working on a plan towards stability in the region.





Posted May 3, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


John Chuckman



American intelligence warned the White House in November, 2019, about the outbreak in Wuhan, China. The warning had a number of specific observations about the nature of what was happening and was not theoretical.

Trump ignored the warning and took no action to prepare the United States, as at least making sure stocks of medical supplies were in order, which later very much proved not to be the case.

In late January, 2020, here was Trump being interviewed at Davos, Switzerland: “It’s going to be just fine,” Trump assured the interviewer. “We have it totally under control.”

In a speech in late February, 2020, Trump told a crowd, “Now, the Democrats are politicising the coronavirus… this is their new hoax.”

Imagine using the word “hoax” for a disease? One that would shortly infect 2 million of the world’s people and kill at least 150,000?

By the third week of February, 2020, advisers made a list of measures they thought would soon be required, measures such as school closings, sports and concert cancellations, and stay-at-home orders, but Trump did not act on them until mid-March.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview recently that imposition of those policies sooner would have saved lives. It made Trump and his followers very angry, and Trump may just have toyed with idea of firing Fauci, but Fauci has held his position for thirty-six years and received many high honors, and firing him would bring tidal waves of criticism.

In April, 2020, at a briefing, Trump used the smarmy methods of gossip to spread the unsupported notion that the coronavirus pandemic began when the pathogen accidentally escaped a Chinese laboratory, saying, “more and more we’re hearing the story.”

Note that contrived language, “more and more we’re hearing the story.” Yes, indeed, and the “more and more” is from Trump’s own shabby crew retailing exactly the same gossip.

It is also very much from Trump’s old favorite news source, China-hating Fox News, a network which has earned a reputation for undependable reportage, rumor-mongering, and playing to fears to boost ratings. It is the “yellow rag” (an old newspaper expression for publications with low-grade, cheap journalism) of television news networks.

Imagine the leader of a huge country depending, in any way, on that kind of source for information? And on top of the fact that he previously ignored accurate reports of intelligence professionals? He understands the difference of course. He is just being vicious. It just comes naturally to him.

Chinese experts say that although the novel coronavirus was first discovered in Wuhan, there are no facts to support that it originated there. A gene sequence in the virus, compared to a world database of related viruses is said to demonstrate that the virus was imported to Wuhan.

The US National Institutes of Health had awarded a $3.7million research grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology for work on such viruses. They certainly don’t do that for second-rate outfits. Top-level science is of course international in character, just as we see with the CERN particle accelerator or the International Space Station and the world’s huge network of international collaborations and conferences.

Yuan Zhiming, an expert from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said in an interview that it is absolutely impossible for the virus to have been leaked from the institute. The standards maintained there are world-class.

Dr Gerald Keusch, Professor of Medicine and International Health at Boston University, said that no release of virus from a high-level lab, such as the one in Wuhan, has ever happened. He added, “The Wuhan lab is designed to the highest standards with redundant safety systems and the highest level of training. Many of its research faculty trained at a similar laboratory in Galveston, Texas.” Note again, with the reference to training, the international nature of high-level science.

Trump’s many references to the “Chinese virus” and the “Wuhan virus,” instead of using the proper scientific name, is a direct appeal to prejudice and just one more in his long series of public efforts to denigrate and attack China – all of course reflecting resentment of Chinese economic success and competitiveness and not any wrongdoing. Trump’s effort was coordinated with the graceless Mike Pompeo, who tried imposing the same language on the G-7’s foreign ministers in a tele-conference. They declined to do so.

The White House was asked through diplomatic channels to stop using the terms, but when they wouldn’t, China took the unusual step – unusual, given that country’s quiet and respectful ways of conducting its affairs – of rebuking the American government in a public statement.

At the same briefing where Trump gossip-mongered about the virus’s origin, he also said with absolutely no evidence, “It took them a long time to realise what was going on, but I have a feeling they knew exactly what was going on.” He added, “Tragically, other nations put their trust in the WHO.” That from the man who shortly before had cut funding to the WHO (World Health Organization) in an effort to deflect public attention from his own blundering.

It would be hard to recall statements and acts by the leader of a major nation which were more irresponsible than Trump’s towards the world’s most important health agency at a time of global crisis.

Here’s Trump again, at this writing, “A lot of strange things were happening, but there is a lot of investigation going on, and we are going to find out,” Asked to comment on the likelihood of leaking from the Wuhan laboratory, he said, “All that I can say that whatever it came from, it came from China, in whatever form. 184 countries now are suffering because of that. And it’s too bad, isn’t it?”

All diseases arise somewhere. Evolution at the micro- and macro-level never stops anywhere. Studies of the devastating viral disease, AIDS, suggest it arose in what today is the Democratic Republic of Congo, then the Belgian Congo, likely in the 1920s, the virus changing form and passing from chimpanzees to humans. Is Belgium or the DRC to be held accountable?

Trump’s suggestions of blame for China are those of a vicious, ignorant man. Unfortunately, judging by the number of his followers, there are a good many such people in the country.

Dr. Fauci was asked to comment about a possible artificial origin for the virus. He said “There was a study recently that we can make available to you, where a group of highly qualified evolutionary virologists looked at the sequences there, the sequences in bats as they evolve, and the mutations that it took to get to the point where it is now is totally consistent with the jump of a species from animal to human.”

Posted April 19, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,