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Dispatch 32: Flat Screen Riots, The Virus — the ECONOMY


Some quick, unedited thoughts. Much going on here so making this fast:

You may have noticed the latest Flat Screen Riots in Philadelphia, New York, on the West Coast, and Here-and-There.

Messages coming to me from media, “Are you in Philly yet?” No. I am a serious war correspondent and analyst, not an adrenaline photographer. My credentials do not hang on walls but in historical notes. Proven year-by-year with accurate assessments. Results of hard work and calling the ball no matter where it lands. There is little value in wasting time at Flat Screen Riots. Our economy is a thousand times more important than FSRs.

FSRs can be ended by local and State governments putting an end to looting and arson. Some governments pretend to be able to control a virus when they cannot even stop looting and arson in very finite times and places.

I jumped on an airplane to Hong Kong in June 2019 when corporate media was calling that “protests.” Now look.

Before Hong Kong, I had just gotten stuck with a bunch of vaccines in Thailand before heading to India when Hong Kong erupted.

I masked up against this virus on about 11 January 2020. Several months before some ‘experts’ realized the seriousness when they got the message by losing their jobs or even their businesses.

While Fauci and others were saying no masks, back in January I was having masks sent to family and friends in Hong Kong and Thailand. I already had masks and other PPE. Pandemic is as predictable as hurricanes. We never know specifics, but we know they are coming.

I was one of the first alerting in January to close air travel until we sort out the danger level. And later one of the first saying to open up, take reasonable precautions, and realize this virus from China will kill many innocent people. But we must keep the economy going.

As for rushing to Philly to see a mindless looting. Battle chasing is for amateurs. And in the case of Flat Screen Riots — FSR — it’s not even Battle Chasing but Cattle Chasing. FSR are part of the American stage.

I will not chase down every authentic battle. And to be clear, FSRs are not even battles or protests. FSR looting-riots. FSR have become cultural fixtures. Like bullfighting in Spain.

Morphology of a Flat Screen Riot:

1) Spark: usually a black person is killed by police. Details are not important. Facts are irrelevant.

2) Corporate media fans flames with “Another black person killed by police.”

3) Violence, looting, arson — often spreads to other cities

4) Images of people stealing shoes and flatscreen televisions. Extreme violence including murder

5) Corporate media fuels debate with ‘facts’ about how it all started

6) Cameras go away. Businesses leave community and never return

And then quiet until the next Flat Screen Riot.

Flat Screen Riots have nothing or little to do with specific elections. FSR are results of authentic social injustice going back centuries, but…now hijacked and exacerbated for various ends and benefits.

I spent years in wars and conflicts and am very good at the analysis side. Professionals create systems, networks, and work methodically from first principles — as close to first principles as possible — to develop predictive paradigms.

Creating a predictive paradigm requires identifying the strongest lines of influence and monitoring those lines.

The strongest current predictive line is our economy. Full stop.

If there is one single line of influence whose collapse will burst beyond passive resistance into proactive, large scale violence, that will be a collapsed economy. Not simple Flat Screen Riots that end when the stores are empty and people return home with all the whiskey they stole. But real violence. The sort that stops trains and highways. The sort war veterans will tell you about.

Remember, I masked up on about 11 January 2020 — fully two months before most people even realized we were in pandemic, and I was saying in January/February that the world you knew in 2019 is over. Gone. Never coming back. I said clearly on many podcasts and posts that will be able to draw three lines in history:

1) 2019 and before
2) 2020
3) 2021 and beyond

And remember, I was saying in January, and have not changed, that I will not be surprised if a million Americans die from this virus. Back in January, I was making podcasts and publishing that we may see restaurants close, flights restrictive, international and domestic travel restrictions. Remember how many people said this was crazy? It’s not.

This was highly predictable by Studying History.

And to that end, I say with clarity that we must accept that many people will die from this plague from China. Yet we must hit the beach at Normandy, knowing we will take casualties, and open our economy.

Small businesses have been hammered into shallow graves, still kicking and screaming while buried alive, from panic-creation and power-grabbing.

How I see America now:

We have reached a distinct fork in the road. We have enough discretionary free will to sharply influence the major path we take.

We must be steady. We must be resilient like our parents and grandparents. I have read more than forty books on pandemic. This is NOTHING by comparison to so many others. Serious? Why do I read so much on pandemic through the years? Because I spend many years in wars and third world countries, and developing countries.

More than half my life abroad from America — much of that in wars, conflicts, and places so ridden with disease that only a fool would walk in there without reading some books. The ringtone on my phone is the flying sound of aedes aegypti. If you do not know aedes aegypti, this is a good time to learn. Especially during times of electrical blackout when people may spend more time outdoors or with windows open without screens. (Not that this should be much concern until next warm season.)

Despite years in dengue and malaria-ville, I have somehow managed to avoid all mosquito borne diseases even while so many around me flop. (Thank you to old Green Beret Vietnam vets for hammering that into my head, and University of Florida researchers whose names I sadly have forgotten. Apologies, but thank you.)

All children should read at least one book on mosquitos, and insect-borne monsters. (There really are monsters — and most of them can be seen under a microscope, or in Washington, DC.)

Yes, this is serious. Earth shattering? No. Not organically. This is serious only if we panic and over compensate and flip the truck.

Again, my apologies for train of thought without editing — much going on.

Steady as she goes. Stay Calm. Open the Economy. Carry On.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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