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Trump's impulsivity and incompetence

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  I’m very close to Israel . . .  very close. I have a great relationship, very close. Far better than our president has,” he told the jubilant Birch Run audience.

Trump at the 2015 Birch Run, Michigan Lincoln Day Dinner—the 28:44 mark in the video.

“I know Bibi very well. In fact, he asked me if I’d do a commercial for him. In fact, I’m the only so-called celebrity that did a commercial for him.”

Trump on Hugh Hewitt’s daily radio show.

“You don’t become a Manhattan real estate mogul without seeding the Kosher pot.”

~Brother Nathanial Kapner

One would think that being  a real estan developer in NY requires high level of intelligence  and strict self-discipline. Wrong. As Trump proved you can be obnoxious bully and narcissist and still succeed. It is absolutely incredible that such  an uneducated narcissist became the US President but large pat of this fault lies on Hillary Clinton and the US neoliberal establishment. Which pushed Sanders under the bus in2016.

The pieces of the puzzle are all falling into place now  and  we see who Trump really is not who he is pretend to be (Donald Trump, the Impulsive Demagogue in the White House The New Yorker )

... it's hard to recall a President who had such little interest, or expertise, in the details of governing. Wayne Barrett, the legendary Village Voice muckraker who died on Thursday, at the age of seventy-one, had covered Trump for almost as long as anybody. (He published a book about him, in 1992.) “Donald just has no interest in information," Barrett told Jennifer Gonnerman, shortly after the election. "He has no genuine interest in policy. He operates by impulse.”

We now knew Trump was being financed and heavily supported by the Zionists such as Sheldon Adelson who gave Trump a huge campaign donation. His son-in-law and Ivanka are is clearly Zionists.  his major appointment  such  as Bolton  and Pompeo are typical rabid neocons which  would be  perfectly at home in Bush II administration.

Trump’s brazen, shoot-from-the-hip style appealed to many voters fed up with neoliberal Washington. And since his inauguration, Trump has made a show of breaking the rules — shaking up the political establishment with everything from unorthodox decisions to off-the-cuff comments to full-blown international scandals.

Some pundits have questioned the president’s mental state and wondered aloud whether he has a diagnosable mental health condition called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Some ADHD experts, including George Sachs, Psy.D., and Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., posit that Donald Trump might be running the country with undiagnosed ADHD.

Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter of Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal, cited the President’s short attention span, impulsive tendencies, restless behavior, and daily fix via Twitter.  Nothing in Trump’s public medical records indicate he has ever been diagnosed with ADHD but  his father send him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA), the private boarding school to rain on his behaviour (How young Donald Trump was slapped and punched until he made his bed - New York Daily News)

According to the DSM-V, an individual may qualify for an ADHD diagnosis only if five or more symptoms under one or more of the categories below are present before age 12, are present in more than one setting (i.e. work and home), and “interfere with, or reduce the quality of, social, school, or work functioning.”

Inattention

Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities — Trump is known for making spelling errors in tweets (the confounding “covfefe” is perhaps the most obvious example). He has misspelled “honored” as “honered,” “tap” as “tapp,” and “unprecedented” as “unpresidented” — painting a picture of an impatient typist who doesn’t take the time to proofread the words reaching 34 million followers.

Has difficulty sustaining attentionJack O’Donnell, a former business associate of Trump’s, said in an interview that if he wanted to run something by Donald, he would do it immediately upon seeing him. Otherwise, he added, “If you hit him too late in the conversation, he might say, ‘Let’s talk about it later’ — and he was gone.”  O’Donnell isn’t the only one who’s noticed Trump’s tendency to get bored quickly.  The magazine Foreign Policy, in its article “NATO Frantically Tries to Trump-Proof President’s First Visit,” quoted one anonymous NATO source who said: “It’s like they’re preparing to deal with a child — someone with a short attention span and mood who has no knowledge of NATO, no interest in in-depth policy issues, nothing.”

Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly — Early in his presidency, it was revealed that while Trump appeared to be nodding along to remarks given by Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, he was in fact not wearing a translation device in his ear, and thus could not actually be listening.

Does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace — At his transition meeting with former President Barack Obama, Trump “seemed surprised” by the job ahead of him, insider reports said

Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities — After his Electoral College victory, Trump and his team struggled to organize their personnel and materials for the post-Obama transition.

Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort — Trump has asked his staff to keep his daily briefings short, and fill them with “killer graphics” whenever possible. “I like bullets, or I like as little as possible,” Trump said in an interview before his inauguration. “I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page.”

Easily distracted by extraneous stimuli — Trump once paused in the middle of his own speech on infrastructure projects to wave at a passing boat captain. “We’re going to restore America’s industrial might,” he said. “And I look here, and, something, those barges, they’ve been waiting for us to say hello. The captain says please wave. Hello, Captain.”

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QNnpri38QoY 

Hyperactivity

Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat — Donald Trump often moves items on tables when he sits down, as late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel realized.

Appears “on the go” or acts as if “driven by a motor” — Trump is an avid golfer, and former playing partners have reported that he speeds through courses at a breakneck pace. Sportswriter Rick Reilly, who played a round of golf with Trump over a decade ago, wrote that they completed 18 holes in less than three hours — “and that,” Reilly wrote, included “stopping often to harangue the stonemason, the path paver, and the greenskeeper to redo the bricks, or re-trim a tree, or re-pave a path that is not absolutely, immaculately Trumpalicious.”

Talks excessively — The President has been known to give long-winded speeches that stray widely from his prepared remarks, though this is hardly a unique trait among politicians. He’s also a habitual tweeter, often going on late-night “Tweetstorms” regarding whatever’s on his mind (or on TV) that day.

Impulsivity

Blurts out the answers before the questions have been completed — Trump often speaks without clearing it with his team, which has led to some scrambling on the part of the White House. He once told the Associated Press that a tax reform plan would be rolled out in the next five days; his aides, however, were unaware of this and had no such intentions. “The reason your head is spinning on this is that the plan isn’t even written yet,” one senior White House official said shortly after Trump’s remarks.

Speaking off the cuff, he has also contradicted statements made by the White House team, as he did when speaking on camera with NBC News anchor Lester Holt about the firing of FBI director James Comey. After Vice President Mike Pence said the firing came at the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Trump said quite the opposite on camera: “I was going to fire Comey — my decision… I was going to fire regardless of recommendation.”

Has difficulty awaiting turn — During a NATO meeting earlier this year, Trump was caught on video shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro in an apparent bid to get to the front of the group of world leaders. On the day of his Inauguration, he was also criticized for leaving behind his wife, Melania Trump, as he eagerly bounded out of their shared limousine.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/T4rWVOeEI7Y 

Interrupts or intrudes on others — During the debates, Trump repeatedly interrupted or spoke over his adversaries. After his first head-to-head match with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, The New York Times counted 39 interruptions from Trump — compared to just 8 by Clinton.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dN6f6K3E5QQ 

What Do These Symptoms Mean?

Do the examples above prove that Donald Trump has ADHD? Absolutely not. Could strategically selected videos and quotes be found to support almost any similar claim against a public figure like Trump? Quite likely.

The fact is: Only a qualified professional with experience evaluating symptoms of ADHD in adults could make that determination following diagnostic interviews, test analysis, and a study of Trump’s family medical history. Without a full medical history and a transparent diagnostic process, we may never know whether Trump has attention deficit or, as others have suggested, BMD, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or early signs of dementia.

Still, many experts have criticized the recent trend of “armchair diagnosis,” accusing unqualified pundits of jumping to conclusions without first engaging in a full or accurate evaluation.


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[Aug 01, 2020] Trump administration overspent on ventilators by as much as $500 million, Democrats' report says

Aug 01, 2020 | www.msn.com

WASHINGTON -- An investigation released Friday by House Democrats says President Donald Trump's administration overpaid by up to $500 million on ventilators as the coronavirus pandemic first struck the United States.

Click to expand 00:00 00:47 Fauci optimistic on COVID-19 vaccine availability

In a review of thousands of pages of internal administration documents, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee said Phillips North America was contracted to deliver 43,000 ventilators to the federal government for a significantly higher price than it did under previous contracts for functionally identical ventilator models delivered under contracts dating to President Barack Obama's administration.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House. © Evan Vucci, AP Images President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House.

"The American people got ripped off, and Donald Trump and his team got taken to the cleaners," said Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., whose subcommittee led the investigation. "The Trump Administration's mishandling of ventilator procurement for the nation's stockpile cost the American people dearly during the worst public health crisis of our generation."

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Democrats called for Phillips to return the amount of money they said the government was overcharged.

More: Trump praises Jim Jordan and Anthony Fauci after they clashed during coronavirus hearing

More: Biggest coronavirus vaccine deal yet: $2.1 billion to Sanofi/GSK for up to 100 million doses

Phillips denied the report's findings, saying the company did not raise prices in relation to the pandemic, and argued the increased price of the ventilators actually represented a "discount."

Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips, said in a statement the company did "not recognize the conclusions in the subcommittee's report, and we believe that not all the information that we provided has been reflected in the report."

"I would like to make clear that at no occasion has Philips raised prices to benefit from the crisis situation," van Houten said.

According to Phillips, the list price of the ventilator ordered under the contract is $21,000 and was supplied to the Trump administration for $15,000, which the company called a "discount" given the rushed production schedule.

More: How ventilators work and why COVID-19 patients need them to survive coronavirus

The report, however, disagreed with Phillips' claim. A functionally identical ventilator was delivered to the Obama administration under a 2014 contract for $3,280. Based on the report's review of purchases between December 2019 and May 2020, other small purchasers, even those that purchased only one ventilator of the same model, secured them for as low as $9,327.

"No American purchaser paid more than the U.S. government," the report said.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told USA TODAY in a statement the report was "misleading and inaccurate."

"Because of the President's leadership, the United States leads the world in the production and acquisition of ventilators. No American who needed a ventilator was denied one, and no American who needs a ventilator in the future will be denied one."

Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Ryan Murphy said the Trump administration's efforts ensured the "federal government procured enough equipment to care for all hospitalized patients in the United States who needed a ventilator for respiratory support related to COVID-19 infections."

Some of the ventilators ordered under the contract were already in use to treat COVID-19 patients, he added.

Murphy declined to comment on an ongoing contract, but said HHS follows "all Federal Acquisition Regulations for Strategic National Stockpile contracting efforts."

The Trump administration has frequently touted the production of ventilators as evidence of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

"When you look at the United States response, you look at the fact that we were supposed to have a ventilator shortage. In fact, we had a ventilator surplus," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a Friday briefing.

Phillips had first signed a contract with the Obama administration to deliver 100,000 ventilators in the event of a pandemic by June 2019, but the delivery date was pushed back, eventually to June 2021, as the company missed deadlines, the report said. Phillips approached the Trump administration about moving up the delivery date in January 2020, when the first coronavirus cases were reported in the United States, but the Trump administration ignored the offer, according to the report.

Then, in March 2020, the Trump administration agreed to extend the ventilator delivery deadline to September 2022, but did not ask Phillips to produce more ventilators or move up delivery times. Instead, in April 2020, the Trump administration negotiated a new contract with Phillips to deliver 43,000 ventilators at a price of $15,000 per ventilator.

According to the report's review of documents, "the Administration accepted Philips' first offer without even trying to negotiate a lower price."

According to emails released by the committee, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who served as the lead negotiator with Phillips, offered to prepay half of the total cost, or over $323 million, to Phillips before a single ventilator was even delivered. Department of Health and Human Services staff later reduced the amount prepaid to 10% of the total cost of the contract, or about $65 million.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump administration overspent on ventilators by as much as $500 million, Democrats' report says


[Jul 23, 2020] Beyond Trump vs. Trump- We Have a Nation to Safeguard

Jul 23, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The seldom-seen niece's shoddy attempt at psychoanalysis may, despite its flaws, point to worthwhile considerations. (By Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock)

JULY 23, 2020

|

12:01 AM

JAMES PINKERTON

President Trump is obviously not happy about about the highly unflattering portrait of him painted by his niece, Mary Trump, in her best-selling book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.
On July 17, reacting to her description of him as "narcissistic," "dysfunctional," and "perverted," the president jabbed back in a tweet , describing her as "a seldom seen niece who knows little about me, says untruthful things about my wonderful parents (who couldn't stand her!) and me."

Of course, the Main Stream Media loves the new book; indeed, pressies are always careful to insert that Mary Trump is a "clinical psychologist," thereby seeking to assign greater weight to her judgment on the famous uncle; she's not just an estranged family member, she's a trained clinician . Thus when Mary declares that Donald's "pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neuropsychological tests that he'll never sit for" -- the MSM treats her words as the voice of an oracular psycho-authority.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13045197114175078?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13045197114175078-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&rid=www.theamericanconservative.com&width=838

Indeed, speaking of long-distance diagnosis, it might be small comfort to the 45th president to know that plenty of other American presidents have been similarly psychoanalyzed. In fact, no less than the father of psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund Freud, co-authored an unsparing assessment of our 28th president, Thomas Woodrow Wilson: A Psychological Study .

Moreover, we've learned, over the last century or so, that the mind of any individual, when perceived though the Freudian prism, appears to be nothing more than a heaving mass of Greek-named complexes and phobias. And yet through it all, most people manage to get off the couch and do things, including becoming politicians -- a very few even becoming president of the United States. So how do they manage that? And what does that mean for the rest of us?

Some enduring answers to such questions can be found in Harold Lasswell's 1930 book, Psychopathology and Politics. Lasswell is obscure now, but in his day, he was a professor at Yale Law School as well as president of the American Political Science Association. Moreover, he was active when Freud was at the peak of his influence; Psychopathology and Politics is much shaped along the contours of the Viennese Herr Doktor 's thought.

Evidently realizing that the word "psychopathology" in the title would send a strong signal, Lasswell opened his book, a bit defensively, with the declaration, "The purpose of this venture is not to prove that politicians are 'insane.'" In fact, Lasswell, being mostly a political scientist, was careful to stipulate that "the specifically pathological is of secondary importance to the central problem of exhibiting the developmental profile of different types of public characters." In other words, for all his fascination with individual minds, in the end, the author was actually most interested in collective political outcomes.

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For purposes of analysis, Lasswell categorized three types of political personality: the "agitator," the "administrator," and the "theorist." To illustrate this triptych, Lasswell named a few names; Herbert Hoover, for instance, was labeled an administrator, while Old Testament prophets were labeled as agitators, and Karl Marx labeled as a theorist. Interestingly, Vladimir Lenin was listed as all three types.

Still, for the most part, Lasswell chose to focus, in the Freudian clinical style, on anonymized exemplars of each political personality type, detailing the mental circuities of "Mr. A," as well as "B," "C," and so on.

From there, Lasswell considers how each type meshes with politics. As he puts it, the state is a "manifold," into which political figures enter, and through which political events "are to be understood."

He writes, "political movements derive their vitality from the displacement of private affects upon public objects." Using dark Freudian terminology, Lasswell asserts that "Political crises are complicated by the concurrent reactivation of specific primitive impulses." In that same bleak spirit, he also avers, "Politics is the process by which the irrational bases of society are brought out into the open."

Yet while phrases such as "primitive impulses" and "irrational bases" are the stuff of psychiatry, Lasswell also wrote in political science-y language, as when he laid out his equation for political action: p } d } r = P . Here, p stands for "private motives," } stands for "transformed into," d equals "displacement on to public objects," r stands for " rationalization in terms of public interest," and P "signifies the political man."

In Lasswell's formula, individuals bring their personality with them into the political arena, and then, if they wish to make a mark in politics, they must reconcile, somehow, their own personalities with the political environment. As Lasswell explains, "The distinctive mark of the homo politicus is the rationalization of the displacement in terms of public interests."

We might note that in no sense was Lasswell saying that homo politicus was necessarily good-hearted, or that people were always wise about their own well-being; as he put it, oftentimes, "people are poor judges of their own interests." And so the "solution" in politics, he continued, is "not the 'rationally best' one," but rather, "the emotionally satisfactory one."

Still, Lasswell did not believe in autocracy or dictatorship; he approvingly quoted another political scientist who argued, "Society is not safe . . . when it is forced to follow the dictations of one individual."

Yet because Lasswell shared Freud's gloomy view of human nature, he argued for a sort of guided system, dubbing it "preventive politics." As he put it, "The politics of prevention draws attention squarely to the central problem of reducing the level of strain and maladaptation in society." Thus Lasswell endorsed the application of therapeutic psychology to the population as a whole -- putting the country, as it were, on the therapist's couch.

If that doesn't sound like a plausible solution, we might note that we often do just that to our country's leaders -- and the latest instance is what Mary Trump has done to her uncle.

Yet even those who mistrust a long-distance diagnosis -- and who might see Mary Trump's book as opportunistically timed to the election -- might nonetheless reflect on Lasswell's political equation, p } d } r = P.

After all, individuals do enter into the political system, and they do what they do -- and so it's best if we understand them as well as we can. Indeed, each new entry can be seen as a case study, providing us with an opportunity to learn: What went right? Or, what went wrong? And who makes a good leader?

Such cumulative study gives us all a chance to practice a Lasswellian "politics of prevention." That is, while we don't seem to be able to cure the mentally ill, we can nevertheless take sterner measures to keep the pathological out of political office, especially high political office.

In particular, we might take the view that the electoral political system should serve as a kind of filter, separating out the gold from the dross. If, as Max Weber put it, politics is "the slow boring of hard boards," then maybe we should favor politicians who actually know how to drill a hole, and who know to drill it in the right place -- and not smash the board.

Indeed, if we think of prosaic electoral politics as a filtering process, we might gain more respect for those who prove themselves in a minor office before seeking a major office -- and major responsibility. To put the matter bluntly, if a wannabe pol is maladaptive, let's know early on, when the stakes are low.

This wisdom was well expressed by Sam Rayburn, the Texas politician who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 48 years, as well as in the Texas state house for six years before that -- and, remarkably, rose to be speaker in both chambers, in Austin as well as in Washington, D.C. As recorded in David Halberstam's classic book about the origins of America's fiasco in the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest , in 1961, then-Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson gushed to his old pal Rayburn about how smart and impressive were the men of John F. Kennedy's administration, bandying about brilliant ideas for saving the world. To which Rayburn responded to LBJ, "You may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say, but I'd feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once."

In other words, it would be better if the soaring kites of their intellects were tethered to mundane human experience and political reality -- including the reality of running for office. As we know, absent such tethering, those best and brightest led us into an Asian quagmire, drowning even the political career of LBJ.

So now, in 2020, in these extraordinarily trying times, the voters are about to run their political filter yet again. Indeed, if the presidential polls are to be believed, this filtration system is favoring Joe Biden, who has, after all, undergone the "extreme vetting" of a half-century in elective politics.

So is this an instance in which Lasswell's idea of "preventive politics" is being applied? We can never know from the Yale professor himself, of course, since he long ago went to that great ivory tower in the sky. Yet still, one senses that the author of Psychopathology and Politics would be pleased.

Because, after all, the fate of the nation is more important than the strange case of Trump vs. Trump. ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James P. Pinkerton is a longtime contributing editor at The American Conservative , columnist, and author. He served as longtime regular columnist for Newsday. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Fortune, and The Jerusalem Post. He is the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government--and the New Paradigm Ahead (1995) . He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns.

[Jun 24, 2020] Trump has caved numerous times, he is an idiot when it comes to hiring his enemies hoping to appease them, but there is no question that he opposes mass immigration and invasions.

Jun 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Hegar , says: Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2020 at 5:44 pm GMT

Giraldi's first paragraph is spot on. But after corona dealing the economy a heavy blow, I don't think Trump will start a war before the election. I don't think he would have done that otherwise either, though there was some risk. Trump has caved numerous times, he is an idioht when it comes to hiring his enemies hoping to appease them, but there is no question that he opposes mass immigration and invasions.

I suppose most people here know this, but let's look at how many of the pro-war names mentioned belong to the 2.5 % "Chosen":

George Bush
Donald Rumsfeld
Hillary Clinton
Michael Ledeen (White, but studied history under *George Mosse, immigrated from Germany)
Reuel Gerecht
Dan Senor

*Richard Perle
*Paul Wolfowitz (The architect of the Afghan-Iraq invasions, who gathered support for them in Congress and organized the pro-war communication)
*Douglas Feith (would have been the Sec. of Defense if people hadn't objected too much, as he was infamous after the Iran-Contra affair)
*Eliot Abrams
*Lewish "Scooter" Libby of the dead eyes
*Robert Kagan
*Frederick Kagan
*Victoria Nuland
*Madeleine Albright (Half a million dead Iraqi children from starvation sanctions and bombing the infrastructure for twelve years was "worth it")

That's six Whites and nine Tribe.

If those nine hadn't existed millions would have been alive today, there would have been no flood of Somalis, Afghans, Iraqis and Syrians to Europe, and the U.S. and the Middle East would have been far better off.

[Jun 15, 2020] In the 20th Century approximately 30 world leaders were assassinated. I bet in most cases those prosecuted for the crime were little more than Oswald-like patsies. And this list doesn't even include government leaders killed in mysterious plane crashes.

Jun 15, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Charlotte Russe Jun 13, 2020 1:21 PM CONTROLLED OPPOSITION

In the 20th Century approximately 30 world leaders were assassinated. I bet in most cases those prosecuted for the crime were little more than Oswald-like patsies. And this list doesn't even include government leaders killed in mysterious plane crashes.

One such political figure was Senator Paul Wellstone who died in a highly suspicious 2002 plane crash. "Wellstone's death comes almost two years to the day after a similar plane crash killed another Democratic Senator locked in a tight election contest, and that was Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, on October 16, 2000.

Wellstone was in a hotly contested reelection campaign, but polls showed he was beginning to pull ahead of Republican nominee Norm Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul, in the wake of the vote in the Senate to authorize President Bush to wage war against Iraq.

The liberal Democrat was a well-publicized opponent of the war resolution, the only Senator in a tight race to vote against it. there are enormous financial stakes involved in control of the Senate. Republican control of the Senate would make it possible to push through new tax cuts for the wealthy and other perks for corporate America worth billions of dollars -- more than enough of an incentive to commit murder." The death of US Senator Paul Wellstone: accident or murder?

It would appear, politicians risk being murdered if they "genuinely" go against the grain remaining true to their beliefs and principles by deliberately using their power to jeopardize insidious ruling class lucrative schemes and scams. By the way, this is how you know ALL the nonstop "resistance" against the orange buffoon is just utter bullshit. If Trump was a actually a threat to the military/security/surveillance/corporate state he would have already been JFK'd or Olof Palme'd.

The worldwide gangster ruling class is just like any other criminal organization which regularly eliminates anyone who has the power to alter the status quo. The security state like common mobsters use extortion or murder to get their way. We all know about J Edgar Hooverr and his extortion files. Hoover maintained a special official and confidential file in his office. The "secret files," as they became widely known, guaranteed Hoover's longevity as Director of the FBI. In fact, today those intelligence agency "dirty files" are even more extensive given the sophisticated and heightened nature of surveillance. Funny, that gives the term "controlled opposition" a whole new meaning. Gezzah Potts Jun 13, 2020 1:57 PM Reply to Charlotte Russe You hit the nail on the head Charlotte. If Trump really was a genuine threat, they would've already got rid of him. It's all one giant charade.
A Punch and Judy Show for the masses.
Find it quite startling the divisiveness in the United States, and those that I often come across who fervently believe that Trump or Qanon will save the United States and also lock up Obama, the Clinton's, Soros, etc, etc. What can you say?
While reading your comment, four names popped into my head: Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Bishop and Salvador Allende.
And we know what happened in Chile after Allende's death. It became the test tube guinea pig for Neoliberalism. 6 0 Reply Charlotte Ruse Jun 13, 2020 3:47 PM Reply to Gezzah Potts Yes it's all showbiz ..

[Jun 06, 2020] One crisis too many -- Will the riots be Trump's undoing by Arnon Mishkin

Jun 06, 2020 | www.foxnews.com

But even among those who justified the unrest, there was a sense that it, particularly the video of looting and violence, could result in a sense of "white backlash" and play into President Trump's reelection effort. This is a president who used his inaugural address to promise to fight "American Carnage" and has successfully appealed to "white backlash" throughout his career.

The history of urban unrest – starting with the 1967-68 riots, but extending through 1992 and 2014 – was consistent with the belief that Trump could benefit politically. Indeed, the 1968 riots helped both George Wallace and Richard Nixon run on "law and order" platforms, the 1992 riots arguably helped lead to the 1994 "Super Predators" crime bill, and the 2014 protests clearly, in the end, benefited Trump politically.

Indeed, many assumed that the response would help Trump successfully benefit from the 2020 unrest. Among those was Trump himself, who came out strongly arguing for "law and order" –criticizing governors who were not dealing sufficiently harshly with protesters, sending the U.S. military into Washington, D.C., and suggesting he was going to send them into other cities as well.

But so far, it hasn't worked out politically as some expected. Trump's poll numbers continue to decline – Biden currently leads him by eight points in the RealClearPolitics average

[Jun 02, 2020] Trump vs spring riots

Notable quotes:
"... All this race hatred, discrimination and societal engineering should have been over in the 60s and 70s , but the USG always needs to have an enemy . In fact it pays to have several , ask the Pentagon and the Law Enforcement Agencies, in regards to wages, benefits, kickbacks, cash theft, and pensions , these days. ..."
"... You want the Trump you voted for? You got him. A liar with all the integrity of a corona virus. You indirectly voted for Bibi too. Don't try to claim you didn't know for heavens sake. Kushners and Trumps are openly in Bibi's pocket. It was in plain sight and you voted accordingly. ..."
"... Trump was always a weak coward who believes in nothing, save the ego of Trump. Events have simply caught up to him. If the Republicans stick with this useless coward, not only are they committing suicide as a Party, they are dooming the nation as well. ..."
Jun 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

vot tak , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 9:29 am GMT

Trump hid from protesters in UNDERGROUND BUNKER, claims NYT, triggering #BunkerBoy trend

https://www.rt.com/usa/490358-trump-underground-bunker-hashtag/

"Trump wants to portray himself as a strongman, authoritarian did he really go hide in a bunker from some 20 year old kids? real tough guy"

Actually likud quisling trump is an ideal poster boi for vdare "values".

Truth3 , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT
Trump is a narcissistic windbag clown, that lied his way into Bill Clinton's Oral Office.

I know, personally, how evil he is.

Total JooStooge and he deserves nothing less than complete rejection by those he fooled honest law-abiding working Christian Americans.

Good riddance.

Of course Hillary is worse. Of course Biden is worse.

But until real Americans finally realize that we can't wait for a saviour, but have to save ourselves, Trump and his kind will continue to drag us deeper into the bog of Joogoo.

GMC , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 9:37 am GMT
All this race hatred, discrimination and societal engineering should have been over in the 60s and 70s , but the USG always needs to have an enemy . In fact it pays to have several , ask the Pentagon and the Law Enforcement Agencies, in regards to wages, benefits, kickbacks, cash theft, and pensions , these days.

But the Owners knew, that keeping the populace fighting, is like money in the Banks { literally } so those folks breaking through for Peace in the 60s, had to be silenced, bought off, run off or assassinated. It's been one evil social game after another – and its more visible today , than it was 50 yrs ago- I won't get started on what or who put the nail in the coffin, with the 1965 Open, Unlimited, Unvetted Immigration changes.

Emily , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 10:14 am GMT
You want the Trump you voted for? You got him. A liar with all the integrity of a corona virus. You indirectly voted for Bibi too. Don't try to claim you didn't know for heavens sake. Kushners and Trumps are openly in Bibi's pocket. It was in plain sight and you voted accordingly.

Where were all these voters weeping into their coffee when the primaries were held?. The best choice was Rand Paul – got nowhere – as all these now weeping cupcakes voted for Trump – a man with such an appalling record of honesty and integrity and an insult to any decent person.

You voted for Trump. And have voted for Hillary for years too. Probably the worlds biggest financial criminal and a war criminal without parallel even by US standards.. You also voted for Bush one and two. Obama twice. And one of the most corrupt and hideous candidates – Bill Clinton also Twice. And you imposed this roll of lies and dishonour onto the entire planet.

No wonder America and its people are being seen as depraved and stupid, lacking in simple understanding of international law and any decency and honour.
And now all set to vote for Biden are you? A rapist and vilely corrupt, outstandingly so in a bed of of corruption misnamed Washington.

Emily , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 10:25 am GMT
@ebear

So you will vote for a man who has so far refused to arrest and put on trial the group of men and women who would appear to be guilty of sedition and treason against your country?

Wow!. Traitors going to walk – so it seems.. Vote for a man so devoid of respect for America, its people, its rule of law and its constitution. A band of absolute traitors to the state – laughing..

The day you see indictments of Comey, Brennan, McCabe and the rest of the nest of vipers – then consider your vote – but to vote for a man who refuses – so far and its now years – to take action against those guilty of trying to overthrow the governance of the United States – is not a man fit for the office of President. You need an outstanding third party candidate and the brains to vote for them

Dream on. Biden ot Trump – are you mad or just brainwashed psychos. Its makes Xi look good.

theMann , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 10:29 am GMT

Trump was always a weak coward who believes in nothing, save the ego of Trump. Events have simply caught up to him. If the Republicans stick with this useless coward, not only are they committing suicide as a Party, they are dooming the nation as well.

Anonymous [661] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 10:53 am GMT
The current situation is nothing new. In '92 Mayor Bradley publicly announced no police would intervene in the LA riots because it was too dangerous–thereby guaranteeing widespread arson and looting. Same thing in Baltimore a few years ago, it's okay 'we just need to let the rioters blow off some steam'.

And why wasn't Antifa declared a terrorist organization three years ago? Why did they get a free pass all this time?

I guess nothing will happen until Netanyahu picks up the phone and tells Trump what to do.

Emslander , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 11:38 am GMT
@Herald Don't believe for a second that Joe Biden is being helped by any of this. Trump is a weak blowhard, but naming Antifa a terrorist organization will be very important over the next three months.

Trump will win, but it'll be a vapid and lukewarm next four years of him trying to develop a "legacy" of sweetness and liberality. Someone will come along, then, who will make him look like a pussy.

Realist , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 11:49 am GMT
@Really No Shit

Trump has one weakness that he can't overcome even if his life depended on it. the love of money which is the driving force behind his decisions and not the jingoistic hogwash about the love for America!

That weakness is one that is shared by those that rule this country. It is called avarice avarice for wealth and power. Trump is a minion of the Deep State. Today in spite of all the shit the stock is up in pre market trading. If the market were valued realistically it would have been down at least 30% from here before the recent bullshit.

Manfred Arcane , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 12:06 pm GMT
@Anonymous Kirkpatrick was declaring Trump in freefall, a fool who abandoned his early promises, etc., as early as the 2016 Wisconsin primary. He has been writing variations on this theme for four years, and I don't know why anyone takes him seriously. Do I want Trump to declare martial law, round up every last BLM and Antifa member, and start telling everyone that Floyd got what was coming to him? Of course. Do I expect him to do it? Of course not. A lot of people don't seem able to understand that Trump is not playing to us, or to the blacks, when he tries to take the middle road when dealing with situations like this; he's playing to the enormous amount of middle-class suburban Boomers and Evangelicals out there, who unfortunately he can't get elected without, and who will never be willing to accept the truth about vibrancy and its effects. To them, black folks are still sacred objects, and they will freak out in large numbers if the President starts mouthing "white nationalist" rhetoric and having "protesters" gunned down in the streets. I love Trump and appreciate what he's been able to do, but he can't save people who aren't willing to be saved–and since that includes a majority of the "conservative" citizens, America is ultimately unsalvageable, regardless of what Trump does or doesn't do.
Norman , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 4:08 pm GMT
@NDarwish No, you have it backwards. WE never gave up on Trump. Trump gave up on US. Filling the white house with the Tel Aviv mafia.

[Jun 02, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Donald Trump A Nation Turns Its Yearning Eyes To You by James Kirkpatrick

This riots in no way represent a danger to Trump other then in PR. They have zero organization and most rioters soon iether be arrested or gone home. In a way "Occupy Wall Street" was a more dangerous for the elite movement. This is just a nuisance.
As for elections on one side Trump again demonstrated upper incompetence and inability to act with some nuance, on t he other it discredited Democrats identity politics.
Notable quotes:
"... Live Updates, George Floyd Protests Continue ..."
"... Twitter changed its profile to honor Black Lives Matter amid George Floyd protests ..."
"... Business Insider, ..."
"... Looter shot dead by pawn shop owner,' during George Floyd riots ..."
"... Family identifies federal officer shot, killed in connection with George Floyd protest in Oakland ..."
"... Woman Found Dead Inside Car In North Minneapolis Amid 2 nd Of Looting ..."
"... , Fires, CBS Minnesota, ..."
"... Separate shootings leave 3 dead in Indianapolis overnight ..."
"... Attorney General William P. Barr's Statement on Riots and Domestic Terrorism ..."
"... , Department of Justice, ..."
"... Tim Walz Blames Riots On 'Outsiders,' Cartels And White Supremacists -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joy Reid Join in ..."
"... St. Paul police rebut social media theory that officer instigated Minneapolis unrest ..."
"... Right-Wing Conspiracists Pull From Old Playbook: Blame George Soros For Riots ..."
"... LA appeals for National Guard as looting spreads, ..."
"... George Floyd's brother says Trump 'kept pushing me off' during call ..."
"... Advantage Biden, with risks; Trump disapproval grows: POLL ..."
"... Bush Wins Points for Speech on L.A. Riots ..."
"... The Christian Science Monitor, ..."
"... When trump spoke at AIPAC before the 2016 election, I already wrote him off. I was 1000% on the money. ..."
"... Trump was always the Pied Piper, following Hillary's orders while leading foolish populists off the cliff. If you're still expecting anything else from him, you're deluded. ..."
"... A true opponent of Deepstate would have spent the first month firing and jailing thousands of bureaucrats. Trump didn't fire anyone at all. ..."
"... Trump is finished. Unfortunately, his opponents are just as corrupt and criminal. ..."
"... I see a lot of whites among the protesters. How much of that is anger over Floyd and how much is pent up rage over the senseless lockdowns I cant say. ..."
"... As in 2016, people will again vote Trump as a giant FU to the Left, which they'll perceive as having caused, if not instigated this crisis. Disaffected Trump supporters who might not have bothered this time, are rethinking that as we speak. At this point, a Trump landslide is a very real possibility. ..."
"... the unholy and fragile Democrat alliance that includes white-hating blacks, left-indoctrinated students, hysterical femmes, radical queers, antifa terrorists, disaffected POC, and white 'moderates' constitutes an arranged political marriage that will not endure ..."
"... On the other hand, Trump now gets to advocate for political stability, cultural continuity, and even physical safety. The unhinged, far-too-left looters now seen on TV are actually a Godsend for Trump. Watch him amass most of what's left of America's silent (white, middle class) majority on election-day. Regular folks will reemerge as a unified block in the wake of these despicable acts of lawlessness and greed. ..."
"... It would take more then a department store and a police precinct to make a point: "We want leadership, not profiteering", "Bust the bulb" add focus. Corporate headquarters, gated communities, the White House, Capitol Hill, Millionaire communities, airports, bridges, paralysing the hardware farms of Google, Facebook and Twitter, spreading to cities as London, Amsterdam, Paris, great opportunities there. "No borders, no castles". Disruption is a start and a means to an end. Explaining comes later. Only going that direction would cause any effects that last. ..."
May 31, 2020 | www.unz.com

President Donald Trump ran on a Law And Order platform in 2016 but he's currently presiding over the most widespread civil disorder of this generation. The obvious reality: these riots are simply an excuse for blacks to loot without fear of punishment. Without an immediate policy of ruthless coercion directed and executed by the federal government, most Americans will correctly assume that Trump is unwilling or incapable of defending their lives and property. If so, his re-election campaign is probably finished -- and America along with it.

Link Bookmark It's hard to overstate the extent of the violence, with riots, arson and looting in Scottsdale, Dallas, New York , Ferguson, St. Louis, Richmond and countless other cities [ Live Updates, George Floyd Protests Continue , by Tony Lee, Breitbart, May 30, 2020]. In Minneapolis, where the riots began, Mayor Jacob Frey blamed riots on " white supremacists ," an insane conspiracy theory which went completely unchecked by Twitter's "fact checkers." Twitter itself, showing utter contempt for President Trump's executive order alleging political bias, changed its profile to show solidarity with Black Lives Matter [ Twitter changed its profile to honor Black Lives Matter amid George Floyd protests , by Ellen Cranley, Business Insider, May 31, 2020].

President Trump had previously tweeted that " when the looting starts, the shooting starts " (a tweet censored by Twitter). However, while Minneapolis police were unable to prevent their own precinct headquarters from being burned down , they did have the time to arrest a man for allegedly shooting looters near his business [ ' Looter shot dead by pawn shop owner,' during George Floyd riots , by James Hockaday, Metro, May 28, 2020]. Unless President Trump demands pardons for all those who will be in a similar situation, such anarcho-tyranny will continue.

There have already been deaths, few of which attracted much attendance from the Narrative-promoting Main Stream Media . These include:

Federal Protective Service officer Dave Underwood, a black man whose life doesn't Matter to Black Lives Matter [ Family identifies federal officer shot, killed in connection with George Floyd protest in Oakland , by Dan Noyes and Lauren Martinez, ABC News, May 31, 2020]. A woman found dead in Milwaukee "trauma visible" on her body; some reports on social media suggest she was kidnapped before being murdered [ Woman Found Dead Inside Car In North Minneapolis Amid 2 nd Of Looting , Fires, CBS Minnesota, May 29, 2020] Three dead in Indianapolis, another city which has been ravaged by recent anti-police protests; none of the shootings involved police officers [ Separate shootings leave 3 dead in Indianapolis overnight , WISHTV8, May 31, 2020].

There were also countless beatings, including of a man holding an American flag in Portland and another who tried to help him , a man who allegedly tried to defend his business with a sword , and people at a shop in broad daylight .

It is useless to try to find all the examples, they are incalculable, as is the number of businesses destroyed or the amount of property damage.

President Trump said Sunday morning the government would declare Antifa a terrorist organization. Attorney General William Barr said violence "instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly" [ Attorney General William P. Barr's Statement on Riots and Domestic Terrorism , Department of Justice, May 31, 2020].

We'll know that this is serious if these Leftist networks, which raise money and operate openly, are arrested using the RICO statutes and other prosecutorial tools.

I have my doubts but also my hopes.

It is truly amazing is that Leftists have decided to believe that the rioting is being carried out by whites, or at least is directed by whites. Leftists, not just in Minnesota, think " white supremacists " are to blame [ Tim Walz Blames Riots On 'Outsiders,' Cartels And White Supremacists -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joy Reid Join in , by Virginia Kruta, Daily Caller, May 30, 2020]. Others think the police are instigating the violence with undercover officers [ St. Paul police rebut social media theory that officer instigated Minneapolis unrest , by John Shipley, Pioneer Press, May 29, 2020].

It's important to note that Leftists actually believe this. They believed in the Russia Hoax, didn't they?

Meanwhile, President Trump and conservatives' focus on white "Antifa" or George Soros makes a similar mistake [ Right-Wing Conspiracists Pull From Old Playbook: Blame George Soros For Riots , by Sergei Klebnikov, Forbes, May 30, 2020]. Much of this violence is simply blacks robbing and looting because they can , not because there is any political end beyond a vague fury at police and whites generally.

President Trump has avoided addressing the nation, reportedly because First Son-In-Law Jared Kushner thinks it will make things worse [ LA appeals for National Guard as looting spreads, by Ella Torres, William Mansell, and Christina Carrega, ABC News, May 31, 2020]. But, as with his handling of the coronavirus, Trump is suffering politically not because he is being too forceful, but because he is being too weak.

Trump called George Floyd's family, but the family is condemning him for it, not praising his compassion [ George Floyd's brother says Trump 'kept pushing me off' during call , by Martin Pengelly, The Guardian, May 31, 2020]. He now heavily trails Joe Biden in the polls and is once again falling into his signature trap: saying tough things that infuriate Leftists without backing up his words with action that rallies the Right [ Advantage Biden, with risks; Trump disapproval grows: POLL , by Gary Langer, ABC News, May 31, 2020].

During the Los Angeles Riots, even President George H.W. Bush eventually sent in the Marines and then addressed the nation, simultaneously displaying leadership and paternal concern for the American people [ Bush Wins Points for Speech on L.A. Riots , by Linda Feldmann, The Christian Science Monitor, May 4, 1992].

https://www.youtube.com/embed/KD_3NOIEk-0?feature=oembed

President Trump thus far is limited to vague tweets about "STRENGTH!' without much tangible proof of it.

Even worse, in the case of this "STRENGTH" tweet, Twitter once again instantly suspended the account of the person President Trump quote-tweeted.

The company knows the White House won't do anything. This situation is becoming increasingly humiliating not just for the president, but for his supporters.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump seemed to have remarkable luck, with extraordinary events breaking in his favor. In the run-up to this election, he hasn't had great luck, but he has had a series of crises that any competent nationalist politician could have easily exploited:

He had a foreign pandemic and huge public support for enacting at least a temporary immigration moratorium or more creative economic populist policies . Instead, he disastrously tried to downplay the pandemic to try to appease the stock market in the short term. He has Twitter revealing its bias to the entire world, giving him a sure-fire rationale for protecting the free speech of his supporters. This would dramatically ease his task of fighting the Main Stream Media/ Democrat cartel during the re-election campaign. However, the president has done nothing substantive, once again coming off as weak and feckless and leaving his supporters isolated. Now, he has nationwide riots and videos of businesses being burned to the ground, all being essentially cheered on by his MSM/Dem opponents. America is begging for a crackdown. Instead, President Trump is blaming Democratic state and local elected officials rather than taking action himself.

President Trump simply can't afford any more mistakes. America is burning. The nationalist that voters thought they were electing in 2016 needs to act.

If he doesn't, he can't be surprised if Leftists simply become more emboldened, and if demoralized patriots stay away from the polls.

This is President Trump's one last chance not to let his voters down. If he blows it, I think the 2020 campaign will be irredeemable -- and unlike Republicans, Democrats will have no problem in using government power to crush their political enemies once they are in the White House again.

James Kirkpatrick [ Email him |Tweet him @VDAREJamesK ] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. His latest book is Conservatism Inc.: The Battle for the American Right . Read VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow 's Preface here .


Anon [333] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 4:40 am GMT

Why doesn't Trump realize Jared is a viper at the heart of his family and administration? He absolutely needs to address the nation. Jared might be setting up another style of coup attempt.
Astuteobservor II , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 4:43 am GMT
When trump spoke at AIPAC before the 2016 election, I already wrote him off. I was 1000% on the money.
polistra , says: Website Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 4:44 am GMT
You're four years late. Trump was always the Pied Piper, following Hillary's orders while leading foolish populists off the cliff. If you're still expecting anything else from him, you're deluded.

There's one small point of forgiveness for fools. Obama showed his Deepstate loyalty BEFORE the 2008 election, so there was no reason for any honest observer to vote for him. Trump didn't show his hand until just AFTER the 2016 election. After the first week it was amply clear that he had no intentions of "draining the swamp". A true opponent of Deepstate would have spent the first month firing and jailing thousands of bureaucrats. Trump didn't fire anyone at all.

Uncle J , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 4:44 am GMT
Another white supremacist trash piece. You guys never learn. Trump is finished. Unfortunately, his opponents are just as corrupt and criminal. This country is doomed and it will not be able to redeem itself, and deserves what's coming to it. Especially, not with the moronic and insensitive example of articles, authors and a blind culture that is portrayed above.
Pft , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 5:17 am GMT
I see a lot of whites among the protesters. How much of that is anger over Floyd and how much is pent up rage over the senseless lockdowns I cant say.

If you look back to last year Barr developed his precrime program, Trump pushed HARPA/SAFE HOME, bills for Domestic Terrorism were proposed, FBI issues memo that conspiracy theories (question official narratives) promote terrorism , etc. This all happening while Crimson Contagion exercises, Urban Outbreak Exercises and Event 201 simulation are happening. Coincidence?

The Rockefeller Lockstep Report in 2010 predicted pushback

After Lockdowns over the virus , conditions were ripe for an explosion that would allow the pre-crime/domestic terrorism agendas to get political support. Just needed a trigger and I think the Floyd killing was an operation intended to be that trigger. Push back begins. The protests gone violent with a convenient supply of bricks may be due to agent provocateurs. Contract tracing apps issued before the protests will certainly be put to good use. Contract tracers will be given another job.

Trump now declares antifa a Terrorist Group. Basically anyone opposed to fascism and authoritarianism can be suspected of being antifa and a terrorist. How convenient for fascists and authoritarians.

Trapped on Clown World , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 5:20 am GMT
At this point people have to be considering the fact that Trump is more of a hindrance than a help. He appears to be nothing more than a lullaby used to put his supporters to sleep, secure in their delusions that they have a viable political future as long as they vote hard enough.

If it takes a president Stacy Abrams to wake them up, then why not now? In the extremely unlikely event that Trump pulls off another victory, what will be the purpose? He's clearly demonstrated that he is incapable of any action beyond nominating a SC justice and tweeting. 4 more years of having to listen to delusional MAGA people is too much to stomach for no payoff.

I'd rather have an obese gap toothed woman of color ordering the construction of all POC settlements in white neighboorhoods. Maybe then the MAGA folks would wake up. Of course it's more likely that they would start cheering Marco Rubio by claiming that he only wants to build 10 apartments per un-diverse town instead of 30.

I have America fatigue.

ebear , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 6:16 am GMT
I'll preface this with I'm no fan of Donald Trump.

That said, I believe the soon-to-be-wrath of the people will fall mainly on state governors and city mayors rather than on Trump. Polls mean nothing these days. 2016 proved that one. What's right in front of many people today is that they've not only lost wages to CV-19, but now, just as they're gearing up to return, their workplace is gone -- either burned down, or indefinitely closed due to the riots and related damage to public infrastructure.

Meanwhile in flyover country, people look on in horror at what, rightly or wrongly, is associated in their minds with BLM and ANTIFA. That is to say The Left. Cartoonish, yes, but that's what they see.

As in 2016, people will again vote Trump as a giant FU to the Left, which they'll perceive as having caused, if not instigated this crisis. Disaffected Trump supporters who might not have bothered this time, are rethinking that as we speak. At this point, a Trump landslide is a very real possibility.

This is not the outcome I want -- that doesn't actually exist at this time -- but FWIW, it's the way I see it playing out. I know history doesn't always repeat, but this looks a lot like 1968 to me.

Franz , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 7:29 am GMT
@Meena

Trump is hiding in a bunker . Hope he stays there for good.

Yes. It's why some of us stayed home in 2016. A choice between Hillary, a lifelong flake, and yet another third-rate actor. Did everyone forget that the other third-rate actor, Reagan, gave the country away?

It's fitting for Trump to tweet and hide. He has successfully updated hit and run.

green , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 7:43 am GMT
Welcome back, James Kirkpatrick! Trump has disappointed, and he may be down in the polls, but he's not out.

This Mau Mau power grab (and the media's role in promoting it) is actually winning votes for Trump. The President represents the rule of law. Civilization. This is a winning ticket. And people are fed up with all the slick media favoritism. It's toxic.

Meanwhile, the unholy and fragile Democrat alliance that includes white-hating blacks, left-indoctrinated students, hysterical femmes, radical queers, antifa terrorists, disaffected POC, and white 'moderates' constitutes an arranged political marriage that will not endure . Most of these assorted malcontents have only one thing that unites them: hatred of Trump and his base. This is not a winning platform. Plus, sleepy Joe will have to repudiate all this liberal violence and looting if he's to maintain his (allegedly) leading position in the polls. BLM may not like this, nor will the uber-progressive wing of the Democrat party. Expect fireworks.

On the other hand, Trump now gets to advocate for political stability, cultural continuity, and even physical safety. The unhinged, far-too-left looters now seen on TV are actually a Godsend for Trump. Watch him amass most of what's left of America's silent (white, middle class) majority on election-day. Regular folks will reemerge as a unified block in the wake of these despicable acts of lawlessness and greed.

After Trump chews up sleepy Joe in the debates, watch this race flip into a Trump landslide. It happened for Nixon. Maybe then, Trump the two-term President will revisit the agenda that got him elected as a candidate in 2016. This final scenario might not be likely, but stranger things have happened.

Carlos22 , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 7:45 am GMT
So what's the difference between this and the Rodney King riots?

They'll blow off some steam and will return back to their shitty little lives by the end of the week.

Commentator Mike , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 7:57 am GMT
@Pft Even all this arson may be of benefit the business community. Weren't we reading endless comments how the lockdown has badly affected small businesses, many of which would go bankrupt due to lack of customers? Perhaps the best thing for them is to get burnt down so they can claim the insurance as many of them would probably have had to close shop anyway.
nietzsche1510 , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 8:00 am GMT
@Anon show me one single pick of his admin. who ended up beneficial for him or his reelection: Jared is the personification of Netanyahu in the White House: clusterfuck nation will be his signature at the court of History.
anon [113] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 8:03 am GMT
@Pinche Perro This is the same guy who sat back and did nothing as Covid-19 approached American shores. You think he cares about you now?

Trump allegedly asked Fauci if officials could let coronavirus 'wash over' US

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/492390-wapo-trump-allegedly-asked-fauci-if-officials-could-let-coronavirus

nietzsche1510 , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 8:12 am GMT
Minnesota is diverting the looming class war to racial rioting.
PetrOldSack , says: Show Comment June 1, 2020 at 8:54 am GMT

Where Have You Gone, Donald Trump? A Nation Turns Its Yearning Eyes to You
James Kirkpatrick • May 31, 2020

Out of context, the whole of the elites bulb is irrecoverable. The "bend" to turn it into politics, is going to be little of a patch, won´t last the next round.

The "ramble" in the streets is way exaggerated, nothing will come of it if all semi-organized groups that have ambitions do not add to the noise, and get some pertinent rusults: bargaining power. It is a dream opportunity to "vote" with one´s feet. Real disorder cannot be worse, when the asserted elites are morally corrupt and have no ethics.

It would take more then a department store and a police precinct to make a point: "We want leadership, not profiteering", "Bust the bulb" add focus. Corporate headquarters, gated communities, the White House, Capitol Hill, Millionaire communities, airports, bridges, paralysing the hardware farms of Google, Facebook and Twitter, spreading to cities as London, Amsterdam, Paris, great opportunities there. "No borders, no castles". Disruption is a start and a means to an end. Explaining comes later. Only going that direction would cause any effects that last.

These are few things that come to mind. When historically, "real" leaders can have a chance to re-assert and reorganize, effectively stump out the "rot at the top", there must be some serious rioting first.

There is not much of an alternative, and outside the US forces, Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, people up to dumps as Bangladesh, Libya, will gladly stomp the US obese backside.

These above are thoughts that come to mind, regarding a minor overblown bush-fire for now. The thing is a fizzle.

[May 28, 2020] U.S. Declares a Vaccine War on the World

Notable quotes:
"... The failure of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against COVID-19, with nearly four times the annual budget of the WHO, is visible to the world. The CDC failed to provide a successful test for SARS-CoV-2 in the critical months of February and March , while ignoring the WHO's successful test kits that were distributed to 120 countries. ..."
"... Trump has yet to hold his administration and the CDC responsible for this criminal bungling. This, more than any other failure , is the reason that the U.S. numbers for COVID-19 are now more than 1.5 million and about a third of all global infections. Contrast this with China, the first to face an unknown epidemic, stopping it at 82,000 infections, and the amazing results that countries such as Vietnam and South Korea have produced. ..."
"... Taiwan was the first to inform the WHO of human-to-human transmissions in December, but was completely ignored. ..."
"... "Just how evil does this situation become? Is the general leadership of the American political economy trying to be evil just for the fun of it?" ..."
"... And at what point does the general indifference to this state of affairs that still, incredibly, obtains, turn over into mass outrage and condemnation? Skrelli, Bayer, and all the rest are frelling evil. Extortion writ large, with easily preventable death and suffering. ..."
"... As you note it's about profits. One of the disturbing condemnations of the now fading American Century, which most USians remain contentedly oblivious to is that during their watch as global hegemon, the US, in what can be seen, in the best light, as bad faith, worked to undermine the democratic functionality of international cooperative organizations like the WHO, the UN, etc. ..."
"... The intention of granting copyrights and patents was noble, to provide a limited monopoly on an invention or literary work for a limited period. IP has been distorted and twisted, extended to insane time limits to protect works that for any common sense thinkers have already become public domain (see, e.g. the Happy Birthday song, Mickey Mouse or re-formulation of a drug that's gone out of patent). Software should have had its own IP regime but that ship has sailed (thanks Bill G.). ..."
May 28, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Donald Trump launched a new vaccine war in May, but not against the virus. It was against the world. The United States and the UK were the only two holdouts in the World Health Assembly from the declaration that vaccines and medicines for COVID-19 should be available as public goods , and not under exclusive patent rights. The United States explicitly disassociated itself from the patent pool call, talking instead of "the critical role that intellectual property plays" -- in other words, patents for vaccines and medicines. Having badly botched his COVID-19 response, Trump is trying to redeem his electoral fortunes in the November elections this year by promising an early vaccine. The 2020 version of Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan is shaping up to be, essentially, " vaccines for us" -- but the rest of the world will have to queue up and pay what big pharma asks, as they will hold the patents.

In contrast, all other countries agreed with the Costa Rican proposal in the World Health Assembly that there should be a patent pool for all COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. President Xi said that Chinese vaccines would be available as a public good , a view also shared by European Union leaders . Among the 10 candidate vaccines in Phase 1 and 2 of clinical trials, the Chinese have five, the United States has three, and the UK and Germany have one each.

Trump has given an ultimatum to the World Health Organization (WHO) with a permanent withdrawal of funds if it does not mend its ways in 30 days. In sharp contrast, in the World Health Assembly (the highest decision-making body of the WHO), almost all countries, including close allies of the United States, rallied behind the WHO. The failure of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against COVID-19, with nearly four times the annual budget of the WHO, is visible to the world. The CDC failed to provide a successful test for SARS-CoV-2 in the critical months of February and March , while ignoring the WHO's successful test kits that were distributed to 120 countries.

Trump has yet to hold his administration and the CDC responsible for this criminal bungling. This, more than any other failure , is the reason that the U.S. numbers for COVID-19 are now more than 1.5 million and about a third of all global infections. Contrast this with China, the first to face an unknown epidemic, stopping it at 82,000 infections, and the amazing results that countries such as Vietnam and South Korea have produced.

One issue is now looming large over the COVID-19 pandemic. If we do not address the intellectual property rights issue in this pandemic, we are likely to see a repeat of the AIDS tragedy . People died for 10 years (1994-2004) as patented AIDS medicine was priced at $10,000 to $15,000 for a year's supply, far beyond their reach. Finally, patent laws in India allowed people to get AIDS medicine at less than a dollar a day , or $350 for a year's supply. Today, 80 percent of the world's AIDS medicine comes from India. For big pharma, profits trumped lives, and they will continue to do so, COVID or no COVID, unless we change the world.

Most countries have compulsory licensing provisions that will allow them to break patents in case of epidemics or health emergencies. Even the WTO, after a bitter fight, accepted in its Doha Declaration (2001) that countries, in a health emergency, have the right to allow any company to manufacture a patented drug without the patent holder's permission, and even import it from other countries.

Why is it, then, that countries are unable to break patents, even if there are provisions in their laws and in the TRIPS Agreement? The answer is their fear of U.S. sanctions against them. Every year, the U.S. Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) issues a Special 301 Report that it has used to threaten trade sanctions against any country that tries to compulsorily license any patented product. India figures prominently in this report year after year, for daring to issue a compulsory license in 2012 to Natco for nexavar, a cancer drug Bayer was selling for more than $65,000 a year . Marijn Dekkers, the CEO of Bayer, was quoted widely that this was "theft," and "We did not develop this medicine for Indians We developed it for Western patients who can afford it."

This leaves unanswered how many people even in the affluent West can afford a $65,000 bill for an illness. But there is no question that a bill of this magnitude is a death sentence for anybody but the super-rich in countries like India. Though a number of other drugs were under also consideration for compulsory licensing at that time, India has not exercised this provision again after receiving U.S. threats.

It is the fear that countries can break patents using their compulsory licensing powers that led to proposals for patent pooling. The argument was that since many of these diseases do not affect rich countries, big pharma should either let go of their patents to such patent pools, or philanthropic capital should fund the development of new drugs for this pool. Facing the pandemic of COVID-19, it is this idea of patent pooling that emerged in the recent World Health Assembly , WHA-73. All countries supported this proposal, barring the United States and its loyal camp follower, the UK . The United States also entered its disagreement on the final WHA resolution, being the lone objector to patent pooling of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines, noting "the critical role that intellectual property plays in incentivizing the development of new and improved health products."

While patent pooling is welcome if no other measure is available, it also makes it appear as if countries have no other recourse apart from the charity of big capital. What this hides, as charity always does, is that people and countries have legitimate rights even under TRIPS to break patents under conditions of an epidemic or a health emergency.

The United States, which screams murder if a compulsory license is issued by any country, has no such compunction when its own interests are threatened. During the anthrax scare in 2001, the U.S. Secretary of Health issued a threat to Bayer under "eminent domain for patents" for licensing the anthrax-treatment drug ciprofloxacin to other manufacturers. Bayer folded, and agreed to supply the quantity at a price that the U.S. government had set. And without a whimper. Yes, this is the same Bayer that considers India as a "thief" for issuing a compulsory license!

The vaccination for COVID-19 might need to be repeated each year, as we still do not know the duration of its protection. It is unlikely that a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 will provide a lifetime immunity like the smallpox vaccine. Unlike AIDS, where the patient numbers were smaller and were unfortunately stigmatized in different ways, COVID-19 is a visible threat for everyone. Any attempt to hold people and governments to ransom on COVID-19 vaccines or medicines could see the collapse of the entire patent edifice of TRIPS that big pharma backed by the United States and major EU countries have built. That is why the more clever in the capitalist world have moved toward a voluntary patent pool for potential COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. A voluntary patent pool means that companies or institutions holding patents on medicines -- such as remdesivir -- or vaccines would voluntarily hand them over to such a pool. The terms and conditions of such a handover, meaning at concessional rates, or for only for certain regions, are still not clear -- leading to criticism that a voluntary patent pool is not a substitute for declaring that all such medicines and vaccines should be declared global public goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike clever capital, Trump's response to the COVID-19 vaccine is to thuggishly bully his way through. He believes that with the unlimited money that the United States is now willing to put into the vaccine efforts, it will either beat everybody else to the winning post, or buy the company that is successful . If this strategy succeeds, he can then use "his" COVID-19 vaccine as a new instrument of global power. It is the United States that will then decide which countries get the vaccine (and for how much), and which ones don't.

Trump does not believe in a rule-based global order , even if the rules are biased in favor of the rich. He is walking out of various arms control agreements and has crippled the WTO . He believes that the United States, as the biggest economy and the most powerful military power , should have the untrammeled right to dictate to all countries. Threats of bombing and invasions can be combined with illegal unilateral sanctions ; and the latest weapon in his imaginary arsenal is withholding vaccines.

Trump's little problem is that the days of the United States being a sole global hegemon passed decades ago. The United States has shown itself as a fumbling giant and its epidemic response shambolic . It has been unable to provide virus tests to its people in time, and failed to stop the epidemic through containment/mitigation measures, which a number of other countries have done.

China and the EU have already agreed that any vaccine developed by them will be regarded as a public good. Even without that, once a medicine or a vaccine is known to be successful, any country with a reasonable scientific infrastructure can replicate the medicine or the vaccine, and manufacture it locally. India in particular has one of the largest generic drug and vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world. What prevents India, or any country for that matter, from manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines or drugs once they are developed -- only the empty threat of a failed hegemon on breaking patents?


Noel Nospamington , May 28, 2020 at 4:19 am

Clearly the Trump and Johnson administrations are completely wrong in not supporting that all COVID vaccines and medications be declared as public goods. This is an unprecedented global threat requiring unprecedented global response.

But as a Canadian I have to reluctantly admit, there are legimate reasons to oppose the WHO. Trump like a broken clock can be correct twice a day, even if he is wrong the other 1438 times a day.

The worst offence is that the WHO (World Health Organisation) is suppose to represent the world, and yet it deliberately excludes Taiwan, which it a known part of the world with 24 million people.

Taiwan was the first to inform the WHO of human-to-human transmissions in December, but was completely ignored. And Taiwan has best handled its response to the pandemic.

Personally I think that all countries should stop supporting the WHO until it restores Taiwan's observer status it previous had until 2016. The only other reasonable option would be to create an alternative health organisation to the WHO which does not exclude any part of the world.

The WHO also has other failings, including corruption, exorbitant travel expenses, and an unqualified president beholden to the CCP. But these failings pale in comparison to Taiwan's exclusion, and hopefully the other failings can be fixed within the organisation.

Amfortas the hippie , May 28, 2020 at 7:49 am

"Just how evil does this situation become? Is the general leadership of the American political economy trying to be evil just for the fun of it?"

And at what point does the general indifference to this state of affairs that still, incredibly, obtains, turn over into mass outrage and condemnation?
Skrelli, Bayer, and all the rest are frelling evil. Extortion writ large, with easily preventable death and suffering.

it did NOT begin with trump.It's been there for most of my life. What will it take for ordinary people to get mad enough about it all to do something about it?

Even in this article, the unspoken assumption is that our hands are somehow tied that these corps have agency far beyond anyone else's but those corps can be seized, and exist only at the pleasure of governments in the places they pretend to exist in.

They are a human creation an Egregore, set tottering about as if it were willful and alive but even Lefties treat them as untouchable godlike entities "oh, well lets appeal to "Benevolent Capital, instead "

"Behold, I show you the last man. 'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?' thus asks the last man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest. 'We have invented happiness,'say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth

One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.

No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse. 'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most refined, and they blink

One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health. 'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, and they blink.""

-Zarathustra

mpalomar , May 28, 2020 at 8:50 am

As you note it's about profits. One of the disturbing condemnations of the now fading American Century, which most USians remain contentedly oblivious to is that during their watch as global hegemon, the US, in what can be seen, in the best light, as bad faith, worked to undermine the democratic functionality of international cooperative organizations like the WHO, the UN, etc.

Thus when emergencies arise such as international diplomatic crisis or pandemics, it is found these organisations have been rendered untrustworthy, corrupted and unreliable; unsuited to purpose. American exceptionalism?

VietnamVet , May 28, 2020 at 5:55 am

It is clear now that the USA will not fund a national public health system to fight the coronavirus epidemic. The only conclusion is the reason is to allow Pharmaceutical Corporations to make huge profits by marketing patented drugs and vaccines to treat the illness; if and when, they become available sometime in the future.

Due to incompetence, lack of money and bad messengering; the economic reopening of the USA could kill close to a million Americans. To Republicans and Libertarians, this is of no concern. Democrats may acknowledge the deaths but say they are unavoidable.

For the Elite keeping their wealth is more important than spending a portion to prevent the huge costs in lives and treasure that will come once the Wuhan Coronavirus is established across North America like the related common cold.

Alternate Delegate , May 28, 2020 at 6:32 am

This is a teachable moment on the immorality of all "intellectual property". I am pleased to see that so many countries – other than the US and the UK – can get together on the common decency of allowing everyone to live, and set that above the "justice" of paying off intellectual property assignees. But these countries still have some ways to go in understanding that this applies to all information. That the creation of information can never be a living – in contrast to a living based on the creation of essential goods and services, about which we are learning so much right now! – and that information can never be owned.

They do not yet fully comprehend that all claims to own and extract rent from information are in fact crimes against humanity.

But they will. A teachable, as I said, moment.

Bugs Bunny , May 28, 2020 at 7:05 am

The intention of granting copyrights and patents was noble, to provide a limited monopoly on an invention or literary work for a limited period. IP has been distorted and twisted, extended to insane time limits to protect works that for any common sense thinkers have already become public domain (see, e.g. the Happy Birthday song, Mickey Mouse or re-formulation of a drug that's gone out of patent). Software should have had its own IP regime but that ship has sailed (thanks Bill G.).

Either a giant reform is due or people will ignore the law and infringe the IP. Chinese companies do it with impunity. Maybe they're right to do so.

John Wright , May 28, 2020 at 9:59 am

It appears that the USA has some real competition in the intellectual property game.

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Intellectual_Property_Indicators

Patent applications for the top 20 offices, 2018
Rank Country Patent applications
1 China 1,542,002
2 U.S. 597,141
3 Japan 313,567
4 South Korea 209,992

If one sums up USA patent applications vs Asia (China, Japan, SK), it is USA 597K vs Asia 2066K.

So Asia is putting in patent applications, vs the USA, at a 3.46 multiple vs the USA.

It will be interesting to see if the USA attitude about the sanctity of intellectual property changes when important key patents are held by the rest of the world.

timbers , May 28, 2020 at 8:33 am

Teachable moments. This could get really interesting if China or a non US & associated puppets develops an effect Covid treatment first.

I will dream of something like this: China develops vaccine, offers it free to US on condition it reduce it's Dept of War & Aggression by 80% and honor all existing and recently existing arms control agreement, and withdraws it's Naval forces though out the world and confines them to the North Atlantic and California coast.

ProNewerDeal , May 28, 2020 at 8:55 am

I wonder if a geopolitically powerful nation/bloc of nations such as China/India/etc might announce that they disregard pharma IP, & announce that they will adhere to the economist Dr Dean Baker-type policy of open source pharma R&D/recipe publication, any private manufacturer may manufacture & sell the resultant pharma SKU. I am referring to any type of pharma or medical device (such as ventilators), not just a COVID-19 vaccine. I would guesstimate that the "soft power" & goodwill generated by such a policy would be extremely beneficial to those nation(s). Furthermore, the US if it tried to retaliate via sanctions or other threats would get a corresponding additional decrease in soft power.

Raj , May 28, 2020 at 9:37 am

To be honest, in some instances Indian govt practices on pharma are quite bad. It is extremely hard in some instances to recoup investments at prices they ask for.

[May 24, 2020] Shadow of coronavirus over the US Presedential elections

Did Trump really lost "Over 65" voting block? If so he is cooked.
May 24, 2020 | www.globaltimes.cn

"The American people are miserable amid the epidemic, and their president is an eccentric who does not care about the safety of ordinary people and is good at passing the buck," Li said.

Many analysts have noted the epidemic in the US might not end before the US election , and Trump's repeated emphasis on work resumption would not take off as long as the coronavirus enjoys freedom to spread.

... ... ...

Ni Feng, director of the institute of American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times the death notice of COVID-19 victims on the New York Times' front page could "deal a fatal blow to Trump's re-election" as most of the names on the front page were elderly people, his potential voters.

The elderly are always conservative, and thus most are potentially Trump's voters, Ni opined.

The voter turnout of the elderly is also higher than young people, said Ni, noting Trump's behavior will make the firmest supporters change their mind, "facing the crisis of life."

[May 24, 2020] Did coronavirus cooked Trump, including the erosion of his support by evangelicals?

May 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Po litico says that some recent polls showing the president's support among his white Christian base is eroding has prompted Trump to call for churches to re-open. Excerpts:

The anxiety over Trump's standing with the Christian right surfaced after a pair of surveys by reputable outfits earlier this month found waning confidence in the administration's coronavirus response among key religious groups, with a staggering decline in the president's favorability among white evangelicals and white Catholics. Both are crucial constituencies that supported Trump by wide margins in 2016 and could sink his reelection prospects if their turnout shrinks this fall.

The polls paint a bleak picture for Trump, who has counted on broadening his religious support by at least a few percentage points to compensate for weakened appeal with women and suburban populations. One GOP official said the dip in the president's evangelical support also appeared in internal party polling, but disputed the notion that it had caused panic. Another person close to the campaign described an April survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, which showed a double-digit decline in Trump's favorability among white evangelicals (-11), white Catholics (-12) and white mainline protestants (-18) from the previous month, as "pretty concerning."

More:

Following the PRRI survey, which was conducted while Trump was a dominant presence at televised daily briefings by his administration's coronavirus task force, Pew Research Center released new data last week that showed a 7-point increase from April to May in white Catholics who disapprove of Trump's response to the Covid-19 crisis and a 6-point decline among white evangelicals who previously gave him positive marks.

The open-the-churches call from Trump today is just rhetorical. The president doesn't have the power to re-open them; state governments do. The president is trying to send a signal that he is on the side of churchgoers. Not sure that's going to do the trick. From Politico:

It's unlikely that critics of church closings alone are responsible for the decline in Trump's favorability among critical religious demographics. According to the Pew survey, 43 percent of white evangelicals and 52 percent of white Catholics think the current restrictions on public activity in their areas are appropriate versus 42 percent and 31 percent, respectively, who think fewer restrictions would be better. Greater shares of white evangelicals and white Catholics also said they are more afraid about their state governments lifting restrictions on public activity too soon than they are about leaving the restrictions in place for too long.

Read it all.

Maybe the truth is that conservative Christians may prefer Trump to Biden on issues that matter to them, but his handling of the global pandemic overrides everything else this year. No doubt that many Christian voters would vote Trump no matter how he performed on pandemic response. Andrew Sullivan writes today:

A year ago precisely, Trump's approval rating was, in FiveThirtyEight's poll of polls, 53.8 percent disapprove, 41.1 percent approve. This week, the spread was 53.1 percent disapprove and 43 percent approve. Almost identical. None of the events of the last year -- impeachment, plague, economic collapse -- have had anything but a trivial impact on public opinion.

Sullivan unspools a merciless reel of Trump's failures in the crisis -- really crushing stuff. TAC's Bob Merry wrote earlier this week that Trump will probably lose this fall because he has not been a very good president. Excerpt:

It is true also that Trump's knot of popular support–about 43 percent of the electorate, based on approval surveys–is remarkably solid, willing to accept just about anything he does or says so long as he continues to attack those dastardly elites.

But presidential elections also don't turn on any incumbent's base of support. Reelection requires that a president build upon that base and create a governing coalition by bringing in new converts through Oval Office achievement. Richard Nixon, a 43 percent president following the 1968 election, pulled to his party much of the George Wallace constituency, nearly 14 percent of the popular vote in 1968. The result was a reelection landslide. Similarly, following the 1980 election Ronald Reagan pulled to his banner the so-called Reagan Democrats, which contributed to his margin of victory in numerous congressional battles and in his own landslide reelection in 1984.

Or consider the case of Bill Clinton, like Nixon a 43 percent president after his 1992 victory against incumbent George H. W. Bush and upstart candidate Ross Perot, who garnered 19 percent of the popular vote. Clinton had his head handed to him in the 1994 midterm elections following a sub-par performance during his first two years in office. But after that he brilliantly calibrated his leadership to capture a significant portion of the Perot vote. Thus did he build on his base through performance in office and become a two-term president.

Trump has proved himself incapable of this kind of political calibration. He can't even talk to those Americans who might be receptive to his policies but haven't yet joined up. He talks only to his base.

This is true. If Trump gets bad news, he blames the messenger. He attacked Fox News today over a poll showing him behind Biden nationally -- as if reporting what their poll actually found was an act of disloyalty. As Sullivan writes,

Directly challenging him, even when his numbers are wrong, appears to erode Mr. Trump's trust, according to former officials, and ultimately he stops listening. In other words, the officials who tell him things he doesn't want to believe are soon sidelined or fired.

Again, everybody knows that there is a solid rock of immovable Trump voters -- I'm guessing that the 44 percent of Republicans who believe that Bill Gates wants to inject microchips into people with a coronavirus vaccine are part of that crowd -- but they are not enough to win Trump a second term. What about everybody else? Why are those Christian voters who had a favorable opinion of Trump now abandoning him? I'd say a lot of it has to do with exhaustion. The country is facing a crisis like none it has seen in a century. It is crashing the economy. We can re-open, but if people start getting sick again, everybody's going to stay home. These people who are normally inclined to Trump, but now going off of him -- they're going to make the difference between victory and defeat for the president. And they're worn out with all this instability, and the stupid, pointless drama.

I mean, look at this. Whatever you think of Jeff Sessions, he stood by Trump early, when few others in Washington did. But he made the mistake of putting duty to the law above personal loyalty to Trump. This is the kind of thing that once upon a time, conservatives thought worth supporting. Trump has never forgiven him for it. Sessions is running for his old Senate seat back -- and Trump is trying to keep him from getting it. Look:

. @realdonaldtrump Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law. I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don't dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do. https://t.co/QQKHNAgmiE

-- Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) May 23, 2020

See what I mean? What is the point of doing this to Jeff Sessions, except spite? I mean, come on, Jeff Sessions? Really? There are a certain number of conservatives who are just fed up with crap like this, and can't stand the thought of four more years of it.

That's my guess -- but then, I'm talking about somebody like myself: never a fan of Trump, and genuinely frightened about what a Democrat in the White House would do, especially if the Dems take the Senate (which they will likely do if Trump loses in a landslide). But nobody knows what the future holds for the country in this pandemic, either in terms of public health or the economy. Can we risk four more years of this chaos and craziness and overall incompetence, especially not knowing what's ahead on the virus and the economy? Is that prospect scarier than a Democratic president and Democratic Senate naming and confirming judges?

Maybe. I did not imagine anything like this in January, but then, I didn't imagine that we would get to Memorial Day weekend with almost 100,000 Americans dead, and 40 million unemployed.

UPDATE: Reader Daniel (Not Larison)'s comment resonates with me:

This Pandemic, and the response to it, and the response of the public to the response, has left me utterly exhausted.

My Facebook feed is getting crammed with my conservative friend's fear-mongering about how (a) the virus is just a "cold", (b) the official death counts are greatly exaggerated (through wide-spread incompetence and fraud), (c) the left is using this crisis to destroy our freedoms, (d) masks are tyranny, (e) Trump's response has been perfect, (f) blue state governors want to gain power and destroy their economies just to make Trump look bad, and (g) the people who died would have died from something else any way. Sprinkled among these responses are things like the Gates microchip thing, 5g causes the virus, it's really Obama's fault, etc.

Sometimes they post some actual true information, like the errors of 4 states in double-counting positive test results or that congressional democrats did try to pack the COVID-19 relief bill with a wishlist of progressive causes. But mostly I see wild assertions and baseless accusations. Anyone who agrees with Trump is smart and can be trusted, anyone who disagrees with him is stupid and/or evil.

It truly is remarkable how even this kind of a crisis has been politicized. There is nearly a perfect correlation between COVID-19 skepticism and Trump support. Tens of thousands of health professionals and medical examiners committing fraud or incompetent by including COVID-19 as a cause of death? Certainly, if it makes Trump look bad. Dozens of other nations adopting similar policies to blue governors? Yeah, they're crashing their economies because they hate Trump, too.

It is utter madness. Rather than respecting genuine differences in opinion, rather than arguing with facts and data, we are responding with hatred, contempt, and raw emotion.

The left certainly is not above this–as we have seen in issues like transgenderism and Project 1619, the left certainly has engaged in this and continues to do so. I've lost count of how many liberal friends I've had to stop following on Facebook because of their utter contempt not just of Trump, but of anyone who would dare express support for him or his policies. And their cursing like sailors they wear like a badge of honor, as of it's a mark of liberation.

Weimar America, truly. We're facing a dual crisis of health and economic collapse that we hadn't seen in a century, and rather than rising to the occasion, many of us are just attacking each other. It reminds me of what Josephus wrote in "The Jewish War" about the Jews, under siege by Roman forces in an incredibly over packed Jerusalem, were busy killing each other rather than facing the enemies outside.

Perhaps I am just a pessimist. Certainly not all Americans are rigidly divided into Team Red and Team Blue–maybe not even the majority. But enough are for me to lose much of my hope for the future of this country.

Yet I know God is in control, and this could very well be a manifestation of his judgment on our wicked, wicked culture. Or even from a secular perspective, our culture has built such a toxic response to crisis that we cannot survive. Either way, without change, I cannot see us surviving as a unified nation and people (if we truly are any more) too far into the future.


William Anderson a day ago

Rod, there is one thing you left out of the article: Democrats have made it absolutely clear that they hate white evangelicals and their campaign rhetoric will be quite incendiary on any issues of Christianity and society. At best, they will tell evangelicals that they should be more like the so-called Religious Left (Sojourners, Natalie Bolz-Weber, etc.) and at worst, they will sound like Beto O'Rourke when he called for taxing churches that did not change their theology to welcome homosexuality and transgenderism.

Biden already has declared that transgender rights are "today's civil rights issue," and I expect him to double down on his commitment there. Furthermore, given his tendency to say outrageous things, you can bet he will be going right up to the line to where he declares the Bible to be hate speech, and he is going to outright threaten evangelicals. He will go radical on abortion rights and let it be known that churches that do not support open-ended abortions to the time of birth (paid for by taxpayers) are going to face the wrath of his administration.

Does anyone believe Biden will be silent on these issues or be anything but in-your-face incendiary? Now, Donald Trump will not respond very well, since Trump doesn't respond very well on anything and he almost surely will say and do things that will partially neutralize this advantage that Biden will drop into his lap. Nonetheless, Joe Biden will be absolutely clear that he hates evangelicals and means to do them harm if he is elected. Given that much of secular America feels the same way, it probably will get him votes on the left.

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Beowulf 21 hours ago
In political years, five months is like a few generations these days. Trump is not anyone's idea of an effective president but I think it is way too early to see how corona affects him. I suspect most of his supporters think this is a hoax anyway and the people really freaked out by corona weren't voting for Trump in the first place.

As to Trump's performance on corona, how is that going to be assessed? I'd assume by lives lost and economic damage. But corona has hit a lot of countries. If Trump's bumblings actually had an effect, how would we know except by comparison? In the good 'ol moneyball stats there is a
metric called "value over replacement player" (VORP) where you compare the performance your player in question to the performance you would get from the average replacement. Just because you are disappointed in the performance of your player doesn't mean you can expect to get much
better from replacing him. It could turn out he's close to the average.

So if we are looking at stats to assess Trump, we are gonna have to moneyball it. Which leader are we going to compare Trump to? Which country "did things right"? What's our baseline? Our average replacement player? I don't think any of us can say right now which countries did things right. It is too early, we don't know enough about corona and we don't know the ways in which the decisions of leaders have affected the outcome or failed to affect it. In terms of deaths per million, U.S. seems pretty average. Plenty of countries in Europe with leaders who "listen to experts" have far higher deaths per million at the moment. Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, UK, Italy, France, Spain all look worse than us.

None of this is to attribute any real skill to Trump, but in a situation where there is no prospective
criteria by which to identify who has the wisdom to navigate the situation (only retrospective analysis of the data of countries that all tried different things) you might rather be lucky than good.

Heroic Fool 21 hours ago
I'm genuinely puzzled as to where you and Politico are coming to this conclusion based on the evidence presented. Looking at the data used in the article, it appears that Trump's approval rating among certain groups felt a bump around the time when the main COVID panic started, and then, a month later decreased to....where it was at the beginning of the year. His overall approval/disapproval rating is still more or less the same as it had been throughout his presidency, and more interestingly, Trump's approval among his "core base" has increased significantly compared to 2017, not to mention 2015.

The other key fact embedded in the data is that Trump's approval among certain groups was still considerably low during November 2016 , much lower than it is today for example. This speaks to the simple truth that the majority of people who vote for Trump aren't necessarily that fond of the man, but they still pulled the lever for him. Until there is hard evidence that the number of people who absolutely will not vote for Trump increases, we can't make any conclusions as to how more or less likely Trump's chances are in November.

One last item to note is that the worst cases by far occurred in heavily Democratic districts, and, as the reports explained, were the main areas where this loss of support among Christians was reported. On the one hand, it's very likely that these people, to be blunt, wouldn't have had much chance at pushing their districts to the Republican side anyway and thus their support is not nearly as important as those in swing states. On the other hand, to be a bit cheeky, given how poorly Democrat-run areas have fared in this crisis, why on earth would you want another Democrat in the highest executive office?

Megan S 20 hours ago
I thought we'd seen into Trump's soul over the past five years, but the way he's revealing himself now is astounding. The man is just unraveling, all his spitefulness and sociopathies bubbling to the surface. There's nothing left to him now but his impotent rage. Maybe the people who didn't want to see the truth of the man can't help but see now.
Siarlys Jenkins Megan S 3 hours ago
He's a failure, on a world stage, and his self-image is that he's a genius whose wise leadership will bring us all peace, contentment and prosperity. Naturally, he's throwing a temper tantrum and lashing out in all directions.
MacCheerful 20 hours ago
I think you underestimate the power of fear and self-delusion. Nearly all Republicans have been convinced that all Democrats are nearly satanic. For the next week conservative media will dwell relentlessly and obsessively on Biden's recent stupid statement while ignoring whatever additional nonsense comes out of the White House. (Did you know there's a recent study showing that widespread use of hydroxychloroquine (sp?) is probably bad? You wouldn't if you read conservative media) It's strange to live in a country where a substantial number of people can no longer see the good in other citizens, but here we are
Rod Dreher Moderator MacCheerful 6 hours ago
Do you not see that most Democrats regard Republicans in the same way? This has been documented.
MacCheerful Rod Dreher 6 hours ago
Oh absolutely. Speaking for myself only, I regard Republican leadership, people like Mitch McConnell, Pompeo, and of course our president as various mixtures of stupid and evil, and their more devoted followers as pretty close to the same. The people who vote Republican because they always vote Republican and don't pay much attention to politics, like members of my family, I regard simply as incurious, but as family I still love them.

But I still think Democrats are a lot more justified in their disdain, as implied by Kevin Drum in a recent post:

https://www.motherjones.com...

Did you know the candidate for the U.S. Senate in Oregon is a Q follower? And that when the National Review advised Republicans to abandon her the majority of the comments on the page retorted that Democrats are worse and more deluded and more crazy than Q?

Daniel (not Larrison) 15 hours ago
This Pandemic, and the response to it, and the response of the public to the response, has left me utterly exhausted.

My Facebook feed is getting crammed with my conservative friend's fear-mongering about how (a) the virus is just a "cold", (b) the official death counts are greatly exaggerated (through wide-spread incompetence and fraud), (c) the left is using this crisis to destroy our freedoms, (d) masks are tyranny, (e) Trump's response has been perfect, (f) blue state governors want to gain power and destroy their economies just to make Trump look bad, and (g) the people who died would have died from something else any way. Sprinkled among these responses are things like the Gates microchip thing, 5g causes the virus, it's really Obama's fault, etc.

Sometimes they post some actual true information, like the errors of 4 states in double-counting positive test results or that congressional democrats did try to pack the COVID-19 relief bill with a wishlist of progressive causes. But mostly I see wild assertions and baseless accusations. Anyone who agrees with Trump is smart and can be trusted, anyone who disagrees with him is stupid and/or evil.

It truly is remarkable how even this kind of a crisis has been politicized. There is nearly a perfect correlation between COVID-19 skepticism and Trump support. Tens of thousands of health professionals and medical examiners committing fraud or incompetent by including COVID-19 as a cause of death? Certainly, if it makes Trump look bad. Dozens of other nations adopting similar policies to blue governors? Yeah, they're crashing their economies because they hate Trump, too.

It is utter madness. Rather than respecting genuine differences in opinion, rather than arguing with facts and data, we are responding with hatred, contempt, and raw emotion.

The left certainly is not above this--as we have seen in issues like transgenderism and Project 1619, the left certainly has engaged in this and continues to do so. I've lost count of how many liberal friends I've had to stop following on Facebook because of their utter contempt not just of Trump, but of anyone who would dare express support for him or his policies. And their cursing like sailors they wear like a badge of honor, as of it's a mark of liberation.

Weimar America, truly. We're facing a dual crisis of health and economic collapse that we hadn't seen in a century, and rather than rising to the occasion, many of us are just attacking each other. It reminds me of what Josephus wrote in "The Jewish War" about the Jews, under siege by Roman forces in an incredibly over packed Jerusalem, were busy killing each other rather than facing the enemies outside.

Perhaps I am just a pessimist. Certainly not all Americans are rigidly divided into Team Red and Team Blue--maybe not even the majority. But enough are for me to lose much of my hope for the future of this country.

Yet I know God is in control, and this could very well be a manifestation of his judgment on our wicked, wicked culture. Or even from a secular perspective, our culture has built such a toxic response to crisis that we cannot survive. Either way, without change, I cannot see us surviving as a unified nation and people (if we truly are any more) too far into the future.

Kessler 14 hours ago
I think Trump entered oval office as a political tabula rasa. Republicans could have moulded him into anything policy-wise, since he lacked knowledge of washington insider on how to run things. So they did. Republicans turned him into a traditional, respectable republican corporatist stock market whisperer President(tm). I think Republicans deserve to lose because of their terrible policies and incompetence, though I don't see how democrats deserve to win, because of their terrible policies and incompetence. But then again, it's not like policies matter. As Cuomo demonstrates, all you need is good media coverage. It's frustrating, that Trump is likely going to lose, because his PR is worse, not because his policies have been terrible.
5Miriam9 Kessler 4 hours ago
Republicans didn't have to work too hard given how willfully ignorant Trump is. All he's ever been interested in doing is brandishing his brand and lining his pockets. There's nothing there but endless appetite and resentment. He has no policies save for self-aggrandizement.
David Naas 13 hours ago
Even out of office, he has been exposed to the addictive thrill of cheering crowds, and so he will not fade from the scene. Certain Progressivists are salivating at the prospect of hauling him and his associates through the courts, but that will not stop his rallies, and will only keep his name in lights for a long time.

The Democratic Party leadership - - or "Donorship" - - wants to return to their version of normal, getting rich(er) off globalism. The neocons want to get back to endless wars. And Trump's Troopers will be there, carrying their AR-15 clones to protests and occupying national park rest areas. It will be chaotic. One can easily foresee more "Ruby Ridge" scenarios in our collective future.

Shy of a nation-wide revival of religion or of the civil religion, it won't get better for a long time.

Those who liken this time to how WW1 changed the world forever are partly right. But they miss that the world is always changing forever. And yet it is always the same. Face it, the last half of the 20th Century was an unusually easy time for Americans. We are now moving into what the rest of the world, throughout history, considers normal.

[May 22, 2020] Why Trump Will Likely Lose in November

Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. Who wll vote for Creepy Joe? that is the question. But it is true that many people who voted for trump in 2016 hoping for changes will not vote for him. Most will not vote at all. With his foreign policies and smug warmonger Pompeo at the State Department he lost all anti-war independents block. With COVID-19 fiasco he lost a large part of working class -- which was most severely hit by the lockdown as well as small business support.
Notable quotes:
"... Look at how Trump is getting killed among people that don't like either candidate. And how he's losing independents solidly. That's your danger zone, not the left. He won in 2016 in large part because he had those two in the bag. ..."
May 22, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mitt Romney was treated by the mainstream media with derision and ridicule, portrayed as an out-of-touch plutocrat who babbled about binders full of women. They depicted him as "a wealthy 1950s sitcom dad who liked firing poor people. Trump will attacked in the same way

Donald Trump captured the presidency in 2016 in part because he perceived, alone among presidential contenders that year, that a chasm had opened up between the country's arrogant meritocratic elite and vast numbers of citizens who felt the elites had turned on them and were leading the country astray. But another factor was the perception of many voters that Barack Obama's second term had been a mild failure (following a mild first-term success; hence his 2012 reelection). Incumbent performance in office remains a potent factor in presidential elections.

And that's why Donald Trump likely will lose the presidency come November. His performance, thoroughly at variance from his blustery rhetoric, will have rendered him, in the eyes of a majority of Americans, ineligible for rehire. His is not the kind of record that normally leads to a two-term presidency or to party retention of the White House when the incumbent is not on the ballot. Viewed from this perspective, Trump looks like a goner.

Trump supporters will of course recoil at this prediction. In disbelief, they will point to the intensity of his followers and the fecklessness of his opposition. And it is true that former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate, appears hapless as he hunkers down in his Delaware basement and projects himself with a certain halting awkwardness. But history tells us that voters focus far more on incumbent performance, which can be sharply defined, than on predictions of challenger performance, which are wispy at best.

It is true also that Trump's knot of popular support–about 43 percent of the electorate, based on approval surveys–is remarkably solid, willing to accept just about anything he does or says so long as he continues to attack those dastardly elites.

But presidential elections also don't turn on any incumbent's base of support. Reelection requires that a president build upon that base and create a governing coalition by bringing in new converts through Oval Office achievement.


engineerscotty David Naas 3 days ago

With Trump, I expect a "surprise" (and other various dirty tricks) here on out.

As I've noted before, the Burisma nonsense may end up backfiring. Not only did it get him impeached (even though he wasn't removed from office), but it may innoculate Biden from further such surprises--there will be a presumption, if anything scandalous comes from out of left field, that it might well be another attempt at rat-f***ing.

(And Biden has been equally fortunate in his accusers from the left; as the Tara Reade allegations seem to be falling apart. He's not entirely in the clear--the vagueness of the allegations prevent Biden from mounting an affirmative defense, such as an alibi, but right now he seems to be winning the credibility battle on that front).

Mother124 engineerscotty 2 days ago
The Tara Reade allegations aren't "falling apart." They're being smothered. They're either ignored, or dismissed with a "Biden says it never happened? Oh, OK....never mind" attitude.
Room_237 David Naas 2 days ago
A QAnnon crazy just won the Oregon GOP senate primary. Not only is Trump losing he is taking the entire GOP down with him. Either the GOP clears up the nuts or the nuts take over.
Mother124 PeteZilla 2 days ago
I agree. Trump has taken politics to a new low. When he's not on teleprompter, his "speeches" are more of a stand-up act where he exaggerates his accomplishments ("the best ever"..."record" everything) and lobs personal insults at his perceived enemies "loser,""incompetent," "the worst").

He has NO intention of expanding his base. He's happy to play to their adoration. And his cultists don't want him to "pivot and change." They cheer him on.

That this is what so many people in this country want from a president is appalling.

TISO_AX2 KeepAmericaGreat! 2 days ago
He proved that in '16. Rather, we did. We the people made it happen. DJT just happens to be the means by which we re-made the American political landscape. Leftist Democrats still haven't caught up.

They learned nothing from 2016 and after...nothing. They still cling to Washington establishment politics like a communist to The Party. Power in a handful of politicians is all that matters to them. They'll sooner or later see that the people are the source of our government.

MPC TISO_AX2 a day ago
TISO you seem like a pretty reasonable guy generally.

Look at how Trump is getting killed among people that don't like either candidate. And how he's losing independents solidly. That's your danger zone, not the left. He won in 2016 in large part because he had those two in the bag.

I'm in those groups and voted for him then - I won't repeat this year. He was a good statement to make in 2016 but for me that's now made. Personally he looks like a real idiot handling a crisis but I don't like his personality cult, I don't like his floppiness with the ruling elite, and I especially don't like his turning immigrants into the white male of the right. I hate idpol and he's just refined a right wing version of it.

My two cents. No doubt I'll be back to voting Republicans in 22 or 24.

Robert Bruce MPC 16 hours ago
Nice post!!!!!!! Trump is indeed losing the indie vote as well as a sliver of the true conservative vote. The guy is only a shade or two better than having a president Camacho from Idiocracy. Trump won both the GOP nomination and the general election because he was the only GOP candidate that said what the majority of GOP voters wanted to hear and was the only candidate that didn't come off as an Establishment clone. On top of that, Hilary was not a well liked candidate(either was Trump) as two thirds of GOP and Dem voters didn't like their candidate, but disliked the other just a bit more. It is sad that we are in the same situation in 2020, in which there really isn't a really good candidate to choose from
Robert Bruce TISO_AX2 16 hours ago
Guy was a moron for his famous line to a GOP crowd insinuating that half the people in the country were freeloaders. Not too far fetched of a statement, but absolutely a campaign killer. They indeed did depict him as a rather wealthy 1950's Mr Cleaver type that was a job killer, but that wasn't far off the mark either. The banking cartel had their boy in office already so there was no need for a change, thus the rather stale, boring, and easily targeted Romney was hung out to dry.
EboTebo PeteZilla 2 days ago
He's NOT stupid, but he's dumb, thick and most of all lazy, too lazy to stand up and do the right thing!
The_Anthropologist_Forensic Bryce David Sylvia 2 days ago • edited
He "defeated" the ISIS Caliphate? And here i was under the impression that Iran was a Shia country and Syria was mostly secular, while ISIS was a product of Salafist and Wahabist American allies like the Saudis?

This commenter epitomizes everything wrong with the Fox News cheerleading devotee. So consumed by the cult of Personality that is Trump and "owning the Libs" that they can't see they have gotten nothing from Trump. No immigration reform, no wall, no end to Middle East adventurism..... Just "tough tweets"

LETS LOOK AT THE FEW THINGS HE HAS DONE...He along with Kim Kardashian put forth the "First Step Act" freeing tens of thousands of mostly inner city felons; the situation in the Middle East exponentially worse "thanks" to his rhetoric, loose usage of missiles on countries WE ARE NOT at war with along with ASSASSINATING NATIONAL HEROES/MILITARY COMMANDERS of other sovereign nations we are not at war with; he passed a corporate tax cut, Trump has focussed on spreading LGBT values to Africa and abroad, and after attacking NAFTA for two decades passed "NAFTA 2.0", and has consistently made this country look even worse than it normally has over the past 40 years.

If Israel isn't your priority in regards to the embassy moves or if your not a corporate head benefiting from Trumps "we need more immigration than ever before" glut of cheap third world labor, then you should see him as an unmitigated disaster. Look beyond the Grifters like Charlie Kirk and Sean Hannity.

FND The_Anthropologist_Forensic 2 days ago
The ISIS caliphate was defeated. ISIS still exists. One cannot destroy an ideology on the battlefield. The caliphate was their "country" that they carved out of Syria. Virtually ALL of the rebels in Syria, even the non-ISIS ones are Sunni, not Shia. The Shia are on the side of the Syrian government. That includes Iran.
JonF311 FND 2 days ago
To be clear, the US did not defeat the "caliphate". That honor goes to Syria and its patron Russia. America was just the cheering section.
Blood Alcohol JonF311 2 days ago • edited
Iran was not mentioned for some reason!
Iranians were the first to recognize ISIL was an arm of Israel/UAE/US axis to destabilize not only Syria but any country that stood up to the axis. Then the Russian read the message on the wall and got involved.
Robert Bruce DukeofAnarchy . 16 hours ago
Of course they did. Any decent economic/business magazine/ web site/blog was saying as far back as last September that the FED was running out of "ammo" to forestall a collapse that was going to happen late this summer or early fall, then the virus hits to take the blame for the poor economy instead of where it belongs and that is with the Federal Reserve and co. Now we are hearing we are going to get QE to infinity and beyond, which basically means the globalists are tanking the dollar for probably a global digital currency sometime in the not too distant future.

[May 22, 2020] Grandma Killer Cuomo Sent 4,300 Patients Back To Nursing Homes Despite Positive COVID-19 Tests

May 22, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

"Grandma Killer" Cuomo Sent 4,300 Patients Back To Nursing Homes Despite Positive COVID-19 Tests by Tyler Durden Fri, 05/22/2020 - 17:25 Earlier this month, a reporter at one of NY Gov Andrew Cuomo's daily press briefings asked the governor about reports that the state issued guidance calling for hospitals to return thousands of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 to nursing homes or long-term care facilities where they lived.

Somehow, despite the horrifying notion that Cuomo deliberately sent patients back to nursing homes where they unleashed some of the deadliest outbreaks in the country, the governor readily owned up to the decision, and insisted public health officials believed this to be the best option to prevent the patients from just hanging around the hospital.

With the benefit of hindsight, we now see that the hospital bed shortages that the US had prepared for never came to pass. So, not only did this decision lead to thousands of deaths, it was also totally unnecessary.

Because as the Associated Press reported Friday morning, an investigation discovered that more than 4,000 nursing home patients who had tested positive for COVID-19 were returned to their care facilities due to this state order.

More than 4,300 recovering coronavirus patients were sent to New York's already vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid criticisms it was accelerating the nation's deadliest outbreaks, according to a count by The Associated Press.

AP compiled its own tally to find out how many COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals to nursing homes under the March 25 directive after New York's Health Department declined to release its internal survey conducted two weeks ago. It says it is still verifying data that was incomplete.

The issue has become a huge problem for Cuomo, who has been labeled "the grandma killer" by critics. When confronted with the data by the AP, the state health department declined to comment. One individual quoted by the AP called it "the single dumbest decision" made during the response to the pandemic.

And guess what - this decision had nothing to do with President Trump. While Cuomo of course tried to deflected criticism to the Trump administration by claiming that the decision stemmed from federal guidance, the AP pointed out that "few states went as far as New York and neighboring New Jersey, which has the second-most care home deaths, in discharging hospitalized coronavirus patients to nursing homes. California followed suit but loosened its requirement following intense criticism."

Whatever the full number, nursing home administrators, residents' advocates and relatives say i t has added up to a big and indefensible problem for facilities that even Gov. Andrew Cuomo -- the main proponent of the policy -- called "the optimum feeding ground for this virus."

"It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people," Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of COVID-19 at home.

"This isn't rocket science," Arbeeny said. "We knew the most vulnerable - the elderly and compromised - are in nursing homes and rehab centers."

Told of the AP's tally, the Health Department said late Thursday it "can't comment on data we haven't had a chance to review, particularly while we're still validating our own comprehensive survey of nursing homes admission and re-admission data in the middle of responding to this global pandemic."

Cuomo didn't reverse the order until May 10. According to the directive, nursing homes could "refuse" to take in the patients if they weren't "equipped" to handle them. But unsurprisingly, no nursing homes did so - since this would be tantamount to admitting that the facilities weren't safe .

Cuomo, a Democrat, on May 10 reversed the directive, which had been intended to help free up hospital beds for the sickest patients as cases surged. But he continued to defend it this week , saying he didn't believe it contributed to the more than 5,800 nursing and adult care facility deaths in New York -- more than in any other state -- and that homes should have spoken up if it was a problem.

"Any nursing home could just say, 'I can't handle a COVID person in my facility,'" he said, although the March 25 order didn't specify how homes could refuse, saying that "no resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the (nursing home) solely based" on confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Over a month later, on April 29, the Health Department clarified that homes should not take any new residents if they were unable to meet their needs, including a checklist of standards for coronavirus care and prevention.

And according to the AP, even the most well-equipped nursing homes in the state saw the trickle of COVID patients turn into a flood that quickly overwhelmed their ability to cope. Across the country, thousands of nursing home residents and staff have succumbed to the illness.

Gurwin Jewish, a 460-bed home on Long Island, seemed well-prepared for the coronavirus in early March, with movable walls to seal off hallways for the infected. But after the state order, a trickle of recovering COVID-19 patients from local hospitals turned into a flood of 58 people.

More walls were put up, but other residents nonetheless began falling sick and dying. In the end, 47 Gurwin residents died of confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

The state order "put staff and residents at great risk," CEO Stuart Almer said. "We can't draw a straight line from bringing in someone positive to someone catching the disease, but we're talking about elderly, fragile and vulnerable residents."

Nationally, over 35,500 people have died from coronavirus outbreaks at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, about a third of the overall death toll, according to the AP's running tally.

Bottom line: Irony of ironies, the most sanctimonious blue-state governors, who used every conceivable pretext to bash President Trump, also allowed the largest numbers of vulnerable patients to die because of what amounts to sheer bureaucratic idiocy.

The scandal has earned Cuomo a new nickname that has been heavily suppressed by the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter: The "Grandma Killer".

[May 22, 2020] Cuomo Order That Sent Estimated 4,300 Covid-19 Patients to Nursing Homes Denounced as 'Single Dumbest Decision Anyone Could Make'

May 22, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing new criticism after the Associated Press reported Friday that a state directive led to over 4,300 still recovering coronavirus patients being sent to New York's "already vulnerable nursing homes."

"It was a death sentence," tweeted Daniel Choi, a doctor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He called the directive a "horrendous idea" and "definitely not something any doctor taking care of nursing home patients would have signed off on."

The state health department directive (pdf), issued March 25, barred nursing homes from requiring patients deemed "medically stable" from being tested for Covid-19 prior to admission. Cuomo, a Democrat, rescinded the order May 10, but not before thousands of infected patients likely entered nursing homes and contributed to the coronavirus's spread.

The estimated number tallied by the AP amounts to what would have been a "big and indefensible problem for facilities," the outlet reported.

From the AP :

"It was the single dumbest decision anyone could make if they wanted to kill people," Daniel Arbeeny said of the directive, which prompted him to pull his 88-year-old father out of a Brooklyn nursing home where more than 50 people have died. His father later died of Covid-19 at home.

"This isn't rocket science," Arbeeny said. "We knew the most vulnerable -- the elderly and compromised -- are in nursing homes and rehab centers."

CBS New York reported Friday that the conoravirus has taken the lives of almost 5% of nursing home residents in the state, and this week the Cuomo tried to deflect blame for the directive.

"Why did the state do that with Covid patients in nursing homes?" asked Cuomo. "It's because the state followed President Trump's CDC guidelines. So they should ask President Trump."

In an op-ed at the Guardian on Wednesday questioning the recent accolades heaped on the New York governor -- including suggestions that Cuomo run for president -- journalists Lyta Gold and Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs magazine write that "Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. "

Gold and Robinson argue that blame for New York's high death toll from the virus should sit largely with Cuomo.

"Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor," they wrote, citing as examples his failure to take swift action, delays in imposing social distancing measures, Medicaid cuts both before and after the start of the pandemic, and his partnership with Silicon Valley billionaires to "reimagine education."

"This is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by 'whether they are better than Republicans,' wrote Gold and Robinson. "This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again."

[May 22, 2020] Andrew Cuomo is no hero. He's to blame for New York's coronavirus catastrophe

May 22, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

Andrew Cuomo may be the most popular politician in the country. ... All of which is bizarre, because Cuomo should be one of the most loathed officials in America right now. ProPublica recently released a report outlining catastrophic missteps by Cuomo and the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, which probably resulted in many thousands of needless coronavirus cases. ProPublica offers some appalling numbers contrasting what happened in New York with the outbreak in California. By mid-May, New York City alone had almost 20,000 deaths, while in San Francisco there had been only 35, and New York state as a whole suffered 10 times as many deaths as California.

Federal failures played a role, of course, but this tragedy was absolutely due, in part, to decisions by the governor. Cuomo initially "reacted to De Blasio's idea for closing down New York City with derision", saying it "was dangerous" and "served only to scare people". He said the "seasonal flu was a graver worry". A spokesperson for Cuomo "refused to say if the governor had ever read the state's pandemic plan". Later, Cuomo would blame the press, including the New York Times for failing to say "Be careful, there's a virus in China that may be in the United States?" even though the Times wrote nearly 500 stories on the virus before the state acted. Experts told ProPublica that "had New York imposed its extreme social distancing measures a week or two earlier, the death toll might have been cut by half or more".

But delay was not the only screw-up. Elderly prisoners have died of coronavirus because New York has failed to act on their medical parole requests. As Business Insider documented:

"Testing was slow . Nonprofit social-service agencies that serve the most vulnerable couldn't get answers either . And medical experts like the former CDC director Tom Frieden said 'so many deaths could have been prevented' had New York issued its stay-at-home order just 'days earlier' than it did. On March 19, when New York's schools had already been closed, Cuomo said 'in many ways, the fear is more dangerous than the virus.'"

The governor has failed to take responsibility for the obvious failures, consistently blaming others and at one point even saying " governors don't do pandemics ". (Actually, some governors just don't read their state's pandemic plans.) But much of the press has ignored this, focusing instead on Cuomo's aesthetic presentation: his poise during press conferences, his dramatic statements about "taking responsibility" (even when he obviously hasn't), and his invisible good looks. ...

There's something disturbing about Cuomo being hailed as the hero of the pandemic when he should rightly be one of the villains. As Business Insider notes, he is now only able to attain praise for his actions because his earlier failures made those actions necessary. He's lauded for addressing a problem that he himself partly caused. Of course, part of this is because Donald Trump has bungled the coronavirus response even more badly , so that Cuomo – by not being a complete buffoon – looks like a capable statesman by contrast. But this is the problem: for too long, Democrats have measured their politicians by "whether they are better than Republicans". This sets the bar very low indeed, and means that Democrats end up settling for incompetent and amoral leaders who betray progressive values again and again.

[May 19, 2020] America: "We demand an coronavirus origin investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Highly recommended!
May 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , May 18 2020 15:40 utc | 13

America: "We demand an investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Why not? It works for gas attacks, chemical weapons poisoning, and airliner shoot downs, so why not biological weapons attacks too?

[May 16, 2020] The obvious shortcomings of the USA government reaction: no distributions of free masks, no temperature checks, no oxymeter checks, no retrofitted busses and other transportation to have individual air supplies, no retrofitting air conditioners

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... > How about we follow WHO's rule zero: test, test and test? ..."
"... Why the USA did not implemented entry/exist temperature checks (even at airports) I do not understand. The richest nation in the world has the government which is probably the most inept and disfunctional ..."
"... It looks like this is mainly the disease of megacities and industries with closely packed people (ships, meatpacking plants, Amazon warepuses) . And a large part of large cities infrastructure such as subways and air-conditioned building, hotels and shops are ideal environment for spreading of the virus. ..."
"... Another interesting feature of this virus is that it simply revealed how unhealthy the USA population generally is. For example, the epidemic of obesity now is tightly intermixed with the epidemic of COVID-19. Within the limits of the neoliberal social system very little can be done about it: for profit medicine makes is more fragile and create multiple avenue of abusing people. ..."
May 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

likbez , May 16, 2020 at 19:42

@vk | May 16 2020 15:52 utc | 108

> How about we follow WHO's rule zero: test, test and test?

Do you understand the cost of each test? Some data suggest that it is between $50 and $100. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-03-15/coronavirus-tests-from-labcorp-quest-will-cost-50-to-100

Do you understand that the current polymerase tests have 20-30% of false positives?

So if everybody in the USA is tested around 60-80 million people in the USA would be deemed infected. I suspect that a very large percentage of "asymptomatics" are in reality false positives.

We need to distinguish between the necessary measures and fearmongering. I suspect that in the case of polymerase test the mantra "test, test, test" is close to the latter. This is s rather expensive test and money probably can be better spend distributing masks to the population. That would instantly give a larger effect. The simple measure that in the USA was not done. Just for that Fauci should be fired and probably tried, IMHO.

The same is probably true with the distribution of oxymeters too: people with lows reading need oxygen. As simple as that. That probably will cut hospitalizations in half.

My impression is that temperature and oxymeter testing might be a proxy for polymerase testing and much cheaper: if oxygen saturation is less then 90% the person need to be isolated/treated with oxygen

Why the USA did not implemented entry/exist temperature checks (even at airports) I do not understand. The richest nation in the world has the government which is probably the most inept and disfunctional

It looks like this is mainly the disease of megacities and industries with closely packed people (ships, meatpacking plants, Amazon warepuses) . And a large part of large cities infrastructure such as subways and air-conditioned building, hotels and shops are ideal environment for spreading of the virus.

Even reasonable prophylactic measures do not work that well in large cities. Slums and homeless are and will be hotspots.

Even at work enforcing prophylactic measures is non trivial. You need to change mask each 2 hours when you are working inside. How many people will do that ?

I think there is not way out other then clench your teeth and go forward adapting the behavior as new information about the virus emerge.

For example individual supply of air in planes, trains and buses (which existed in old planes and some buses ) might be an important psychological (and with better filters medical) measure required.

Also Cruise ships "experiments" suggest that only around 20% of population is susceptible to the virus. Even among Wuhan medics who started working with coronavirus patients without wearing protective equipment only around half got the disease. The simplistic assumption that 100% of people is susceptible is just a myth propagated by fearmongers for fun and profit.

Another interesting feature of this virus is that it simply revealed how unhealthy the USA population generally is. For example, the epidemic of obesity now is tightly intermixed with the epidemic of COVID-19. Within the limits of the neoliberal social system very little can be done about it: for profit medicine makes is more fragile and create multiple avenue of abusing people.

[May 16, 2020] TSA Better late then never: To Check Passengers' Temperature At Airports

There are four month late...
May 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be checking passengers' temperatures at select airports next week.

People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that additional details would be unveiled in the near term. The program is expected to roll out at 12 airports next week and will cost $20 million to implement. Thermal check fees will be waived for travelers and likely expensed to the federal government.

[May 13, 2020] A Pandemic of Know-Nothings

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The coronavirus reminds us that the gap between what we think we know and what we actually do know is enormous. ..."
"... American Journal of Public Health ..."
May 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The coronavirus reminds us that the gap between what we think we know and what we actually do know is enormous.

Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, shows off charts with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

May 13, 2020

|

12:01 am

Matt Purple St. Louis Federal Reserve watchers, rejoice! And yes, I'm talking to both of you. The St. Louis Fed is freshly relevant this week thanks to a paper it published back in 2007 that examined the economic effects of the 1918 Spanish flu. Drawing on old newspaper articles, local surveys, and other studies -- national data back then was scarce -- the report found that the damage done to businesses by the outbreak was both severe and short-lived. The impact on the next generation, however, was longer-lasting. Those in utero during the pandemic went on to attain less education and lower incomes than had previous generations.

What we wouldn't give for that kind of glimpse from the future today. The coronavirus has killed hundreds of thousands while sledgehammering the economy, leaving close to a quarter of working-age Americans either unemployed or underemployed. And we still have no idea how it will end. It may be that this recession is similar to the one in 1918, cutting deeply but easing rapidly. Or it may be that we're in for another lost decade of stubborn unemployment and stagnant growth. It may be that the virus is seen off this summer, remembered as a frightening but ultimately brief ordeal. Or it may be that it lurks into the autumn, whereupon it comes roaring back.

We don't know, and we hate that we don't know. Consequently a cottage industry has sprung up around our uncertainty, hawking models, projections, expert opinions. These things have valid scientific purposes, of course, but thrown down the rabbit hole of our popular discourse, they've taken on a kind of hysterical clairvoyance, supposedly able to tell us what's coming and how we should respond. With climate change, we grew accustomed to the idea that scientists could see into the future. Now we're demanding they do the same with the coronavirus. That's despite the fact that so far, none of these projections have demonstrated any greater predictive ability than your average call to Miss Cleo.

Take the government's official death toll projections. Back in January, the White House was largely complacent over the coronavirus, with President Trump comparing it to the seasonal flu and his health secretary saying that Americans need "not worry for their own safety." Then in late March, the pendulum swung towards apocalypse. Actually, the White House said, 200,000 Americans could die. Two weeks later, the death toll projection fell to a far rosier 60,000 , and the country breathed a sigh of relief ahead of Easter weekend. Then the projections ticked upwards yet again. Today, IHME, the White House's principal modeler, predicts that 147,000 Americans will be killed by August 4.

Some of the issue here may be the choice of models. IHME has been criticized by epidemiologists , as have the Imperial College modelers in Britain (who have lately been distracted by, er, more extracurricular activities ). But the bigger problem is best summed up in a quote to Politico by the head of IHME, explaining why his organization's projections were so wrong. "We had presumed, perhaps naively," he said, "that given the magnitude of the epidemic, most states would stick to their social distancing until the end of May." In other words, the models are premised on assumptions that can be scrambled by real-world events, whether political decisions or acts of God or the caprices of the virus itself. They aren't showing us the future so much as extrapolating off of a snapshot, one that can easily change. Yet we treat them as practically mystic. "200,000 could die!!" scream the headlines, with "could" ever the weasel word.

We don't just do this with the death toll. On the economy, too, we seem hopelessly confused. Here's a smattering of headlines from the past two months: "Unemployment rate could exceed 20% by June, top White House adviser says." "Economists see uneven jobs recovery, high U.S. unemployment through 2021." "Top JPMorgan investment advisor: It will take '10 to 12 years' for U.S. employment levels to return." "The coronavirus recession will be deeper and faster than the financial crisis." "Economists say quick rebound from recession is unlikely." "Trump's baseless claim that a recession would be deadlier than the coronavirus." "U.N. warns economic downturn could kill hundreds of thousands of children in 2020."

Stare into this blurry puddle long enough and you might conclude that no one has any idea what the hell they're talking about. Or you might fall back on your own biases, choosing to believe stories that buttress your political beliefs and speak to your own personal circumstances. Either way, this kind of confusion can have long-reaching effects. Consider, for example, a new study that was released last week, which found that there could be 75,000 so-called deaths of despair -- meaning suicides and drug and alcohol overdoses -- as a result of the coronavirus recession. It called to mind another social science finding , one of the most consequential of the last decade: that life expectancy among less educated, middle-aged, white Americans was declining, driven primarily by those deaths of despair.

That claim, courtesy of researchers Anne Case and Angus Deaton , made its way around the internet. It fed into the narrative of the populist right and Donald Trump. It provided an empirical grounding for "American carnage." But wait: a less noticed study a year later, which took Case's and Deaton's data and adjusted for age, found a more mixed picture. According to research from Columbia University , while middle-aged white women had indeed seen increased mortality rates, middle-aged white men had reversed this trend back in 2005. And then came another study, in the American Journal of Public Health , that challenged the very concept of "deaths of despair," warning that "the gap between deaths of despair as a claim and deaths of despair as a rigorously tested scientific concept is wide."

There is a Grand Canyon-sized gap between what we think we know and what we actually know. How to navigate this chasm? Two maxims can help.

The first comes from Friedrich Hayek: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." Hayek was concerned with what he called the "fatal conceit," which he defined as the belief "that man is able to shape the world around him according to his wishes." We might add a corollary: that man is able to anticipate the world around him according to his wishes. Because knowledge is complex and dispersed, Hayek argued, no one can ever marshal enough of it to centrally plan an economy. Likewise even a sophisticated model can't have enough data to foresee how a pandemic will play out. There are simply too many variables, drawing on too many areas of life.

The second maxim comes from a very different source: John Dickinson, perhaps our most conservative founding father. "Experience must be our only guide," Dickinson said. "Reason may mislead us." Of course, by reason, he didn't mean vast computer algorithms struggling to track contagion across seven continents; he was thinking of 18th-century rationalism, which he contrasted with the more reliable yardstick of historical experience. While what seemed philosophically sound in the abstract could be tainted by personal bias or disconnected from real life, precedent was far more settled. How something had worked in the past was a good indication of how it would work in the future.

Unfortunately we have very little precedent when it comes to the coronavirus, though the Spanish flu can perhaps offer some clues. The 1918 influenza, like the current pandemic, began in the spring, only to enter a second wave in the fall that killed more people than the first. A third wave then began that winter and stretched into the summer of 1919. That's chilling, yet there's good news too: the recession that followed was short and quickly blossomed into the 1920s, one of the most dizzying economic expansions in our history.

So top hats and flapper dresses all around? Who knows? It's called the novel coronavirus for a reason. The awful truth is that we have very little idea how long this will go on and how it will ultimately turn out. And the reason for that is that we know so very much less than we think we do.

[May 12, 2020] We need a radically different model to tackle the COVID-19 crisis By James K. Galbraith Defend Democracy Press

May 12, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

We need a radically different model to tackle the COVID-19 crisis | By James K. Galbraith 12/05/2020

The Current Situation in the United States: May 2020
James K. Galbraith

Two weeks ago week the US death toll from Covid-19 exceeded that of US soldiers in Vietnam, 1955-1974. On May 1 the one-day toll reached a new high, greater than that in New York City on September 11, 2001. Meanwhile economic output has collapsed and over thirty million Americans had filed unemployment claims as of April 30, 2020. On the public health front, testing remains inadequate, contact tracing non-existent, treatment options appear stalled and millions remain uninsured. The federal bailouts have worked well in one way only: to spur a modest revival of stocks and to forestall massive defaults on bonds.

The failures of the public health system border on sabotage. Test kits were available from the WHO in January; the US elected not to use them. The first production of tests from the CDC was botched. Testing was deliberately limited as community transmission grew, so that the virus escaped from early containment that might have been possible. Lockdowns and quarantines came late, were poorly organized and weakly enforced. Supplies of PPE were not allocated to hospitals and health care providers according to need; the Defense Production Act was not deployed in timely and effective manner to ramp up home production; no effective federal system to manage international medical supply chains exists to this day. While some firms have no doubt done their best, reports of profiteering and scams are rampant.

The push to reopen the economy is a further mark of failure. As food supply workers were not properly protected, unacceptable levels of sickness and workplace contamination have occurred, notably in meat. Food banks are in crisis, while milk, eggs and other perishables are wasted. State governments facing fiscal catastrophe press businesses to reopen on terms that cannot be profitable, because capacity is constrained for health reasons. The openings are calculated to force workers off of unemployment insurance, which can be revoked if they decline to return to risky jobs. Many smaller businesses are deciding not to reopen; they will face bankruptcy instead and disappear. Although evictions and foreclosures are technically deferred, many landlords have ignored this and in any event rent, mortgages, utility bills and other debts continue to accrue.

Models of the pandemic now openly predict infections rising further as lockdowns are relaxed, to the point of testing the capacity of health care systems even in parts of the country not yet severely affected. Whether this will happen or not is not yet clear; the public may continue, as a general rule, to practice safe contact behavior, and if the transmission rates hold below 1, as they presently are estimated to be in almost all of the American states , the pandemic may continue to decline. But if the models are borne out, death rates will rise by many multiples of their current values. These events are projected to lead to further lock-downs on a rolling basis, until such time as a vaccine or therapy is available. There is no guarantee of either.

Read also: Brazil's Haddad Extends Support to 23% of Voter Intent

Even if the pandemic is now contained the economy will not revert to "normal." The United States is a premier producer of energy, aerospace, advanced information technologies and financial services. It assembles many million automobiles, appliances and other consumer durable goods every year. The oil sector has suffered a price collapse and borders now on mass bankruptcy; when fracking wells are capped they will sand up and become very costly to reopen, so the US energy-based economic expansion is over. Airplanes are lined up in parking spaces; no new civilian passenger airliners will be needed indefinitely. Households who are either unemployed or working from home (and therefore not commuting) or that face deferred rent and mortgages will not soon be in the market for new cars; in any event the old ones will last longer as they are being driven much less. As office buildings remain empty, new ones will not be built. Similarly for retail stores, already driven to the wall by on-line ordering and deliveries. The banking sector is on the hook for energy loans gone bad, and for household debts, and for corporate loans that will be at risk once the bailout money runs low. The debts built up during the pandemic will be defaulted in many cases, ruining credit for the households affected. All of which foretells a long depression even under the best foreseeable public health conditions. A cycle of infections and lock-downs will make all of this that much worse.

There is an illusion about, that the recent prosperity can be revived by "reopening." But many industries – aircraft, airlines, hotels, automobiles, appliances, commercial construction, energy – will definitely shrink, whatever happens now and no matter how much money they receive. The bailouts were a measure predicated on the idea that these industries were facing just a temporary interruption. But it is difficult to see how bankruptcies and liquidations can be avoided if there is no revival in the demand for product. And large-scale production relies on interlinked supply-chains, so that if a single major producer (for example one of the majors in the automotive sector) fails, there is a risk of cascading liquidations (for example in auto parts), making operations difficult – perhaps impossible – for the survivors. In these industries the supply chains and subcontractors are much larger in the aggregate than the assembly operations of the final production firm.

Higher education, a large sector in America, faces a crisis of high costs, collapsing enrollments and the actual alternative of cheap on-line instruction in many fields. This was already in the works for demographic reasons, and is now being accelerated by the loss of household wealth. Health care, ten times larger, also faces financial difficulties as millions are losing their insurance and – for the moment anyway – as accidents, other infectious diseases and such are down, depriving doctors and hospitals of reimbursements. Service industries from restaurants to retailers cannot function profitably at one-quarter of capacity; bars, nightclubs, and most sporting venues cannot reopen at all.

Read also: America's Painful Self-delusion

Federal decision-making has failed at every level. In the executive branch, it has been at best a complex of incompetence, denial, and political motivation. At worst, decisions were taken and are still being taken in full knowledge of the projected death rates and potential for private profiteering, both in the medical sector and in the larger financial economy. It is known that some private speculators made over three hundred billion dollars shorting the stock market before the February collapse, and that some Members of Congress sold their holdings based on information provided in intelligence briefings. Congressional action has been slow, marred by politics, lobbies, regional rivalries, poor judgment and a misdiagnosis of the economic issues, as Congress reached for legislative models used in past business downturns, especially the crisis of 2007-2009, which had no quarantine or other public health component.

The specific policies implemented were plagued by problems. To calculate payments under the first CARES Act, the IRS had to use filings from tax year 2018, and also ran into printing bottlenecks for paper checks that had to be mailed to those without direct deposit. Unemployment insurance benefits were made relatively generous, and the state unemployment insurance web-sites could not handle the crush, so they crashed, leaving many without the ability to access the program. Instead of simple wage replacement (which would have protected health insurance and union membership) the Small Business Administration issued rules that appeared unusable for many firms, banks gave preference to favored clients, and in the first round also the money soon ran out. In short, the effort to save the economy by pouring money into it through conventional channels was inadequate, ill-considered, inefficient, and in some respects corrupt. The best that may be said is that it was much better than doing nothing at all.

As events progress, the usual pattern of property sales and purchases cannot proceed. So property values will collapse, leaving millions of homeowners without equity; as this happens, mass foreclosures and property seizures are inevitable under the present legal rules. Predatory private investors will buy distressed assets at firesale prices and the American population will revert, largely to renter status. For those with means, private tutors and doctors will remain available; the others will manage as they can. Needless to say, depression, despair, drug abuse and suicide will prevail.

Or maybe they won't . In the wake of the Great Financial Crisis, it was possible – barely possible, but possible – to shift the blame from the bankers to the victims, from those who built a massively fraudulent financial system to those who took out the loans that they could not repay. But there was no viral element, no public health trigger, to that crisis. This one is different. Every development described above is a consequence, direct or indirect, of the coronavirus. Those who were laid off, and who went home, and who broke the transmission of the disease, did their part, just as health-care professionals and grocery clerks did theirs. Their legal case for relief remains weak. But the moral case is strong and the economic case is beyond dispute. Even the incumbent Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, a foreclosure-predator of the first water after 2008, has stated that the economic crisis "is no fault of American business, it is no fault of American workers, it is the fault of a virus." This is true but it does not mean that things will return to the past if the virus can be made to go away.

Read also: IMF issues warning over growing Chinese debt problems

To move forward, first of all, debts incurred before and during the pandemic will have to be written down. The energy sector and transport sectors will have to be rebuilt, based far more on renewables and sources other than oil. A large share of basic industries – especially in the health sector – will have to be repatriated so that basic sufficiency exists in this country. Millions of people will be needed to monitor and support public health; jobs for them must be organized and funded by the government. State and local governments will have to be federally-funded, in substantial part, to provide basic public services. New and sustainable housing must be built, in new community structures. High speed broadband must be provided to all. A new financing model – cooperative, with public support – will be required to re-establish small businesses. Local, decentralized cultural and sporting venues will have to replace mass-based experiences; these too will require cooperative structures and public support. In short, the only way out, remotely acceptable to the population at large, will require a comprehensive restructuring of the economy on a cooperative foundation, with the government stepping up to guaranteed funding, employment, and public investments.

Disaster capitalism is being tried, and the worst case is now the likely case. But there is a scale beyond which disaster capitalism cannot go. At a certain point, the carnage becomes too great to neglect, impossible to avoid and lethal to overlook. At a certain point, ordinary people will stand up and refuse to be bullied any more. That point has not quite arrived; we are still in the mind-set of "getting back to normal," even as the pandemic continues. The contradiction between normality and public health is on people's minds; the impossibility of returning to the previous abnormal-normal has not yet settled in. It will, in due course. At that point, the question of alternatives will have to be faced.

[May 11, 2020] Trump and the culture of ling in his administration

May 11, 2020 | www.unz.com

As noted above, the Establishment view on foreign and national security policy was based on the principle that there must always be a united front when dealing with situations that are being closely watched by foreigners. If a cabinet secretary or the president says something relating to foreign or military affairs it should be the unified view of both the administration and the loyal opposition. Unfortunately, with President Donald Trump that unanimity has broken down, largely because the chief executive either refuses to or is incapable of staying on script. The most recent false step involved the origin of the corona virus, with the intelligence community stating that there was no evidence that the virus was "man made or genetically modified" in a lab followed by the president several hours later contradicting that view asserting that he had a "high degree of confidence" that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China based on secret information that he could not reveal .

There has also been reports that the Trump White House has in fact been pushing the intelligence community (IC) to "hunt for evidence" linking the virus to the Wuhan laboratory, suggesting that the entire China gambit is mostly political, to have a scapegoat available in case the troubled handling of the virus in the United States becomes a fiasco and therefore a political liability. This pressure apparently prompted an additional statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence saying: "The IC will continue to rigorously examine emerging information and intelligence to determine whether the outbreak began through contact with infected animals or if it was the result of an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has claimed without providing any details that there is "overwhelming evidence" that coronavirus came out of the Wuhan laboratory, is reportedly leading the push to demonize China. He and other administration officials have expressed their frustration over the C.I.A.'s apparent inability to come up with a definitive explanation for the outbreak's origin. C.I.A. analysts have reportedly responded that there is no evidence to support any one theory with "high confidence" and they are afraid that any equivocating response will immediately be politicized. Some analysts noted that their close monitoring of communications regarding the Wuhan lab suggest that the Chinese government itself does not regard the lab as a source of the contagion.

To be sure, any intelligence community document directly blaming the Chinese government for the outbreak would have a devastating impact on bilateral relations for years to come, a consequence that Donald Trump apparently does not appreciate. And previous interactions initiated by Trump administration officials suggest that Washington might use its preferred weapon sanctions in an attempt to pressure other nations to also hold China accountable, which would multiply the damage.

Given what is at stake in light of the White House pressure to prove what might very well be unprovable, many in the intelligence community who actually value what they do and how they do it are noticeably annoyed and some have even looked for allies in Congress, where they have found support from the Pentagon over Administration decision making that is both Quixotic and heavily politicized.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith of Washington has responded to the concerns expressed to him by both the military and intelligence communities, admitting that he is " worried about a culture developing" where many senior officials are now making decision not on the merits of the case but rather out of fear that they will upset the president if they do not choose correctly.

While the intelligence agencies are concerned over the fabrication of a false consensus over the coronavirus, similar to what occurred regarding Iraq's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction in 2002-3, the Defense Department is more concerned that fundamental mechanisms that have been in place since the Second World War are now under attack, including how the military maintains discipline and punishes officers and enlisted men who have deviated from established policies.

[May 07, 2020] US Epidemiologist Slams Trump Admin's COVID-19 Response as Possible War Crime

May 07, 2020 | sputniknews.com

A Yale University epidemiologist is calling into question the legality of US President Donald Trump and his administration's response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, appearing to suggest that federal government officials could be tried under international law. Hours before Trump took to Twitter to announce the Coronavirus Task Force would "continue on indefinitely," Gregg Gonsalves , an assistant professor of epidemiology of microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, posed a series of questions to fellow netizens on the social media site regarding Washington's handling of COVID-19.

How many people will die this summer, before Election Day? What proportion of the deaths will be among African-Americans, Latinos, other people of color? This is getting awfully close to genocide by default. What else do you call mass death by public policy? #COVID19 #coronavirus

-- Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) May 6, 2020

As of this article's publication, the US has tested over 7.5 million individuals for the novel coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University . Data provided by the university details that the country has confirmed 1.2 million cases of the novel coronavirus and suffered over 71,400 associated deaths. At least 189,791 recoveries from COVID-19 have been observed in the US.

Gonsalves' emphasis on the COVID-19 deaths of Black Americans, Latinos and other people of color in the US stems from the fact that there has been a disproportionate amount of novel coronavirus deaths in the Black community.

"Social conditions, structural racism, and other factors elevate risk for COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths in black communities," wrote a team of epidemiologists and clinicians in a new study analyzing novel coronavirus cases and death on a county level, as reported by CNN. The scientists found that counties where Black residents made up more than 13% of the population - about the percentage of the total US population that is Black - suffered 52% of COVID-19 diagnoses and 58% of associated deaths in the country.

"Structural factors including health care access, density of households, unemployment, pervasive discrimination and others drive these disparities, not intrinsic characteristics of black communities or individual-level factors," noted the researchers.

It's worth noting that the findings are preliminary, as the study still needs to go through the peer review process.

"So, what does it mean to let thousands die by negligence, omission, failure to act, in a legal sense under international law?" asked Gonsalves in another tweet Wednesday morning .

The conduct of Trump and his administration has been called into question over the past several weeks after reports revealed that the president and federal officials were briefed on the novel coronavirus, and its potential threat to the US, several weeks prior to the declaration of a national emergency on March 13.

Recently, Dr. Rick Bright, the former director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, said that he alerted Department of Health and Human Services officials in January about the US' unpreparedness for a possible COVID-19 outbreak. Bright said that he was met with "indifference which then developed into hostility" from the administration and, in his opinion, was the reason for his demotion within the agency.

While Trump is pushing for more Americans to return to their workplaces and restart the US economy - which some believe could lead to a second wave of infections - Gonsalves wondered if there could be some kind of intervention or charges brought against the federal government on an international level.

"And I am being serious here: what is happening in the US is purposeful, considered negligence, omission, failure to act by our leaders. Can they be held responsible under international law?" he asked .

[May 05, 2020] Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??

Notable quotes:
"... The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow... ..."
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

farm ecologist , May 4 2020 18:53 utc | 4

RADDATZ: Do you believe it was manmade or genetically modified?

POMPEO: Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.

RADDATZ: Your -- your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was not manmade or genetically modified.

POMPEO: That's right. I -- I -- I agree with that. Yes. I've -- I've seen their analysis. I've seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate at this point.

To summarize: Pompeo does not doubt that the virus has been genetically modified, but he also does not doubt that is has not been genetically modified.

Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??


Jpc , May 4 2020 19:13 utc | 8

To Farm ecologist.

You are totally on the money. How or why is he in this job?
It's demented!

Sol Invictus , May 4 2020 19:16 utc | 12
Those incompetent neo-confederates leading america into oblivion will jumble strategic defeats with winning. So much for accountability, hard work and personal responsability... Seems they can't compete fairly without superior military variable of adjustment and threat of violence against adversaries. Orange springs eternal and their great white hope has now adopted a paralizing rhetoric of victimization - republican lawmakers follow suit and are going so far as invoking a western bid for monetary reparations from Chinese depredations. # the art of winnig for maggots, derp.
Daniel , May 4 2020 20:56 utc | 34
The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow...

[May 05, 2020] I can do a lot Trump blames China for Covid-19 seeking to undermine his re-election -- RT USA News

Notable quotes:
"... The president has ramped up attacks on China in recent weeks, insisting it concealed information about the coronavirus in the early stages of the outbreak and has all but blamed the country for the health crisis. Asked whether he would use tariffs or debt write-offs to penalize Beijing, Trump refused to offer much detail, saying only that "we're looking for what happened" and how to respond to the alleged "cover-up." ..."
"... There are many things I can do. ..."
Apr 30, 2020 | www.rt.com
US President Donald Trump believes China "will do anything they can" to make him lose his re-election bid, pointing to Beijing's handling of the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 60,000 Americans already. Taking aim at Beijing, Trump told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday that the country would prefer to see his Democratic rival Joe Biden take the Oval Office in November, stating it would pull out all the stops to see him win – though the former VP would first need to secure his party's nomination.

China will do anything they can to have me lose this race.

Exclusive: Trump says China 'will do anything they can' to make him lose the re-election race in 2020 https://t.co/WB0zbWYZEkhttps://t.co/WB0zbWYZEk

-- Reuters (@Reuters) April 30, 2020

The president has ramped up attacks on China in recent weeks, insisting it concealed information about the coronavirus in the early stages of the outbreak and has all but blamed the country for the health crisis. Asked whether he would use tariffs or debt write-offs to penalize Beijing, Trump refused to offer much detail, saying only that "we're looking for what happened" and how to respond to the alleged "cover-up."

There are many things I can do.

Beijing has maintained that it tackled the pandemic appropriately and that it shared information about the virus with the international community as soon as it was available. Chinese officials have also hit back at the US accusations, suggesting Washington's handling of Covid-19 has been slow and ineffective, while warning against politicizing the global crisis.

Also on rt.com Hello 'Chinagate': Why blaming Beijing is all the rage this US election cycle

[May 05, 2020] I hope Trump gets everything he deserves.

May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , May 5 2020 13:48 utc | 158

Circe , May 5 2020 14:09 utc | 159

...There's no New York Times before Covid and after Covid and intelligence was crooked before it was straight on no WMDs in Iraq before Zionists gave Bush the fake intelligence he wanted. Intelligence will be crooked and sometimes right depending, but more often it's a trained pitbull. None of that matters.

I have long disliked the New York Times as a perfect example of Neo-liberal trash propaganda, and I really disagreed with b's whitewash of Trump until recently when his interpretation of Trump has become less clouded by his protect Russia bias and more cognizant of the avalanche of proof that Trump is a Zionist fascist in service of 1% power and specifically chosen for his unflinching loyalty to the peak of the corruption pyramid.

Now, what I mean by this is that when your loyalty is to the unbiased truth, you don't and shouldn't care from whence it emerges cause the truth can emerge from a sewer dripping in filth as easily as it can fall out of the sky pure like driven snow. The vehicle means one iota to me; I only care about the truth, unlike some of you here who want to shoot the messenger cause right now the messenger can't help giving you the facts for whatever reason, and you can't handle the truth.

Wise up! And learn to recognize the truth when you see it even if it's covered in what you consider shet.

Now on the j'accuse Chine , Trump strategy. Very little of the virus travelled from China to the U.S. and what did land in the U.S. from China was mostly contained. The worst spread of infection came from Europe, but Trump being the asshole that he is got caught in his xenophobic trap, immediately shutting down flights from China but allowing hundreds of thousands of carriers from Europe to disembark for weeks. So now to cover that huge blunder that emanated from his racist skewed judgment, he's spewing fake intelligence and hate propaganda against China to cover his butt and salvage his poll numbers.

The truth is that small and medium-sized farms are failing under the weight of his tariff blowback and now under Covid. He's starting to bleed support in rural areas so he needs to play the racist blame card to inflame patriotic loyalty to rally around him.

I hope he also gets everything he deserves. A spectacular downfall might suffice.

[May 03, 2020] Western countries simply did not have an appetite to do any qurantine measures until the pain was high enough

May 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , May 1 2020 18:36 utc | 66

That WHO basically fucked up because of Western pressure more than because of China is obvious. Just look at the most recent idiocy they promoted: masks are useless. China would never claim that - both because they rely massively on them and because they produce and sell a lot of them. On the other hand, Western governments who were asleep at the wheel and never bothered to store or produce facemasks were desperately trying to convince their sheep flock, I mean, people, that they were all good, managed the crisis as best as anyone could, and that there wasn't any shortage of masks because these weren't useful to begin with.
Case closed.
And for the eternal record of universal history: China's dictatorship obviously cared more about its people than self-claimed democratic governments. Let that sink in for a minute.

CharkVaror , May 1 2020 18:44 utc | 67

This whole coronabs is the biggest psyops in the history of mankind, 11/9 looks like a joke compared to it.
hopehely , May 1 2020 18:57 utc | 68
Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 1 2020 18:36 utc | 66
That WHO basically fucked up because of Western pressure more than because of China is obvious.

I don't think WHO fucked up. Western countries simply did not have an appetite to do any measures until the pain was high enough.

[May 03, 2020] WHO as a corrupt bereaucracy

May 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Allen , May 3 2020 2:09 utc | 70

There's a lot of trash science out there re:Covid- it was founded on trash science.

Maybe next post you could go into the trash science of the fraudulent tests themselves.

In the mean time this is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what is going on- one of the most concise pieces on the subject to date:

The WHO makes gratuitous use of appellations such as "world" and "health" but is actually a semi-private entity lavishly financed by Bill Gates and Big Pharma, which is owned by a handful of highly inbred oligarchic entities that include Vanguard, BlackRock, Capital Group, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Northern Trust and State Street, which in turn own each other in various convoluted ways.

WHO's main function is to scare people into getting vaccinated and accepting expensive drug regimens (barely half of which do any good at all), thus funneling resources toward Big Pharma.

The World Health Organization establishes thresholds to determine whether to declare an influenza epidemic that range between 2.5% and 5%. The novel coronavirus misses the mark by a thousand-fold, yet the WHO has declared it to be the cause of a global pandemic.

If this seems like an extreme overreaction, that is because this is an extreme overreaction.

Some conspiratorially-minded people may surmise that this is a conspiracy, but it isn't. It is yet another blatant attempt to confiscate a chunk of the world's wealth by requiring it to buy something worthless, just like this same set of medical/financial interests did with the relatively worthless Tamiflu antiviral medication during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009-10 which caused a mere 18,036 deaths worldwide. This is a specific group pursuing its own group interests.

......

https://thewallwillfall.org/2020/05/02/gaslighting-the-coronavirus-dimitry-orlov/

[May 03, 2020] Cuomo incompetence: Last month, the state paid Yaron Oren-Pines $47,656 per ventilator for 1,450 ventilators, three times the normal asking price

May 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 2 2020 22:28 utc | 43

Thanks b for that polite and quiet reference to:
Last month, the state paid Yaron Oren-Pines $47,656 per ventilator for 1,450 ventilators, three times the normal asking price,.....

...Oren-Pines has no known capability or expertise in making ventilators. According to BuzzFeed, his social media shows expressions of support for Trump since at least 2015.

He has not provided the ventilators, and New York state is attempting to recover the money, BuzzFeed reported. Oren-Pines would not comment to the online news site.

An unnamed official for the New York state government said the recommendation to deal with Oren-Pines came directly from the White House coronavirus task force. A spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the task force, denied any involvement in making the recommendation.

The carpetbaggers are always in the lead if not the instigators. Perhaps he was on the last flight home.

[May 03, 2020] Shadow of the USSR over the USA: sclerotic incompetent leadership is a sad reality

May 03, 2020 | econintersect.com

"Sclerotic America" [John Furlan, Econintersect ].

"The U.S. has had sclerotic political leadership during this crisis. The U.S. is being offered the "choice" between Trump, 73, and Biden, 77. Its other major political players are Pelosi, 80, and McConnell, 78 .

Trump of course bears most of the blame for the Covid-19 Crisis.

But the Dems and liberal media also share a lot. Trump dithered for many crucial weeks after China's CCP very belatedly shut down Wuhan on January 23, many weeks after the virus emerged What were the Dems and liberal media doing during those crucial weeks? From December 18 to February 5 they culminated three years of wasting the nation's time trying to impeach Trump for Russia- and Ukraine-gate, as the virus picked up steam.

The Dems and liberal media held "debates" and primaries through March 17 in which Covid-19 was barely mentioned except in the context of Sanders' Medicare for All, focusing instead on such issues as Bloomberg's NDA's (Biden's opponents are now using a similar #MeToo attack)." • "The duty of an opposition party is to oppose."

[May 02, 2020] Many field hospitals went largely unused, will be shut down

Apr 29, 2020 | www.militarytimes.com

Gleaming new tent hospitals sit empty on two suburban New York college campuses, never having treated a single coronavirus patient. Convention centers that were turned into temporary hospitals in other cities went mostly unused. And a Navy hospital ship that offered help in Manhattan is soon to depart. When virus infections slowed down or fell short of worst-case predictions, the globe was left dotted with dozens of barely used or unused field hospitals. [ Too bad Cuomo didn't send COVID-19 patients from the nursing homes to these ships for treatment... ]

[May 02, 2020] For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

Notable quotes:
"... The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic. ..."
"... Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us. ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
May 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J Chuba , May 1 2020 13:17 utc | 9

Spy vs Spy

For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

There is a remnant that is doing their jobs properly but is shut out from higher level offices. But I cannot give long disclaimers at the start of my posts, (I'm not talking about the men and women ...) where 50 words later I finally start to make my point. It's boring, sounds insincere, and defensive.

This is yet another effective defense mechanism that protects the troublemakers in our IC bureaucracy.
1. The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic.

2. These rogues get to use the remaining good people as human shields.

3. They know their customers, it gives the politicians a way to turn themselves into wartime leaders rather than having to answer for their shortcomings.

Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us.


/div> Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill , May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill | May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

dan of steele , May 1 2020 14:32 utc | 23
GeorgeV

I think there is very good intelligence in the US. so much data is collected and there are many analysts to go over the data and present their forecasts. The World Factbook is an example of collected intelligence made available to the unwashed masses.

what you are thinking is that this information should be used to your benefit. that is where it goes wrong. the big players are able to access and exploit that mass of data and use it to their benefit.

Billmon used to say that this is a feature, not a bug.

Piero Colombo , May 1 2020 15:08 utc | 28
s @19

"Not precluded" are also a Fort Detrick origin and contagion taken to Wuhan by the US military, staying at a hotel where most of the first cluster of patients was identified. So why wouldn't you always mention both in the same breath?

concerned , May 1 2020 15:27 utc | 31
First hollywood movie I am aware of that deals with pandemics and has Fort Detrick front and center was "Outbreak" 1995. In this film, the "Expert" played by D. Huffman uncovers a plot by a rogue 2 star general sitting on the serum from another outbreak years ago, and how he witheld this information and the serum to "protect their bioweapon". There is also a very overt background sub-plot about Dod and CDC being at odds.

DoD is not listed in the credits for Outbreak. Many of the scenes are supposed to take place in CDC and Fort Detrick.

--

Last hollywood movie was "Contagion" 2011. In this film, which pretty much anticipates Covid-19 madness but with an actually scary virus, the "Expert" in charge tells the DHS man that "Nature has already weaponized them!".

So this lie about the little bitty part "function gain" man-made mutations being the critical bit for "weaponizing" viruses is turned on its head. It was "Nature" after all. A wet market, you know.

Contagion does list DoD in its credits. Vincent C. Oglivie as US DoD Liason and Project Officer.

Just some 'fun' trivia for us to while away our lives. Remember that consipirational thought is abberational thought. Have a shot of Victory Gin and relex!

md , May 1 2020 15:34 utc | 32
Ten questions the US needs to answer
https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesDaily/posts/3243339602384501

[May 01, 2020] Antiwar and anto0interialsim voters who voted for Trump in 2016 are up to a cold shower: it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

May 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1 2020 15:58 utc | 37

Just as i said many times, it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

A racist white man goes crazy the moment he understands he does not have the "biggest dick" anymore, and is humiliated due to that, since this wasn't supposed to happen to the people who ruled the world for 500 years.

What will happen is that american white male right wingers will start going crazy. Lashing out in hatred against the world, after understanding they are no longer "number 1", and that their fate will not be pretty.

You should expect US right wingers to go crazy as the US further declines. These people thought they would rule the world. Instead they started to decline. This wasn't supposed to happen to such superior people.

US elite will simply go crazy as the "best country in the world" loses its power.

Expect anglo craziness, outbursts of hate and hysteria. The US elite will become a mental institution. If not for nukes, they would have started a world war already.

[May 01, 2020] Trump is a salesman first and foremost. As a former pharmaceutical rep I am well aware that most salesmen are suckers for most sales pitches as an intrinsic part of their personalities.

The absence of sufficient state controls in a democracy enables the wealthy class to manipulate the economy, the press and elected representatives for its own gain. A widening gulf between poverty and affluence develops, gradually dragging the working class to ruin
Notable quotes:
"... Our economy is based on the wet dream of sycophants like Mnuchin who barely escaped prison for his games in the wake of devastation of the subprime loan disaster on 2008, and neoliberals who are much better at playing him then the opposite. So he's a puppet for Wall Street AND a closet neocon. Would the demonstrably senile Biden be any better? Not a chance, so once again the majority of Americans are left with a sham election whereby two flavors of the same shit are what's being fed to us. ..."
May 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Gyre07 , says: Show Comment April 30, 2020 at 3:45 pm GMT

@Priss Factor Assuming he's even motivated by a desire to make America a better Constitutional Republic, Trump is a salesman first and foremost. As a former pharmaceutical rep I am well aware that most salesmen are suckers for most sales pitches as an intrinsic part of their personalities.

So as I watch Trump being manipulated continuously by a variety of slick and confident grifters inhabiting the world stage with their multitude of transparent agendas I can only go, "that figures". I mean, he's basically just a more alpha version of GW Bush, so the fact that we haven't gone full gonzo yet on another nation is something of a miracle. Instead he's waging war by collapsing economies he views as competitors OR those of countries he wants to invade to steal natural resources from. As for the health of America, we're fucked.

Our economy is based on the wet dream of sycophants like Mnuchin who barely escaped prison for his games in the wake of devastation of the subprime loan disaster on 2008, and neoliberals who are much better at playing him then the opposite. So he's a puppet for Wall Street AND a closet neocon. Would the demonstrably senile Biden be any better? Not a chance, so once again the majority of Americans are left with a sham election whereby two flavors of the same shit are what's being fed to us.

Digital Samizdat , says: Show Comment April 30, 2020 at 4:49 pm GMT
@anon

Government and big money seem to have formed a nexus, dominated by a very small number of people, who seem to be at war with us.

I seem to agree.

Emily , says: Show Comment April 30, 2020 at 9:34 pm GMT
Until the American people demand electoral reform – you ain't going nowhere.
You need another party and you need to vote for it.
Stuff the neo lib or neo lib or neo lib – of the existing choice.
You have a two headed hydra – in reality a one party state.
Financed and controlled by puppet masters.
The democracy in the US is a total sham
A fraud and farce.
And you need fair voting.
Used by most democracies – PR – Proportional Representation.
Where votes mean seats.
A Ron Paul party would be a dream.
But until America gets off its fat bots and seriously acts to become a democratic state – you are getting what you continue to vote for.
Greed, corruption and elite rule – bought and paid for in the House and Senate down.
Nothing but a puppet, pawn and tax collector for another foreign power.
And you dare to mass murder and bomb in the name of 'regime change' and democracy to create your vile rule of law across the planet
Gross, an abomination – a facist state.

[May 01, 2020] Evil intent and premeditation are perfectly compatible with bad planning and gross incompetence.

May 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russ , Apr 29 2020 20:55 utc | 49

Evil intent and premeditation are perfectly compatible with bad planning and gross incompetence.

Look at every US war of aggression: It fails utterly at every affirmative goal, but so far always accomplishes the purely negative goals of mass murder, gross physical destruction and generating failed states. Same for disaster responses like with Katrina: They couldn't save any lives or help poor people rebuild, but they could complete the destruction of social infrastructure which the hurricane hadn't finished off.

That's the US, domestically and around the world. And people really think any kind of intensive response to an epidemic would have any other kind of outcome?

Jackrabbit , Apr 29 2020 21:32 utc | 53

NoOneYouKnow Apr29 20:41
... it wouldn't surprise me if they deployed this virus in China without assuming, or caring about, blowback in the US.

karlof1 has speculated along the same lines weeks ago.

My understanding of karlof1's argument is as follows: China turned the "weapon" (assuming it was a deliberate attack) back on USA by revealing the virus instead of keeping the outbreak quiet. The result has been the destabilizing of US society because USA leadership had never planned to respond to the virus in any way that is appropriate to a new virus.

!!

[May 01, 2020] Bright transfer was in response to his insistence that the government invest into safe and scientifically vetted solutions for fighting COVID-19, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit

May 01, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The people need science. The teaching is a legacy of pathologist Rudolph Virchow who was at the barricades in Berlin in 1848. A journal entry in that year of revolutions reads, " Medicine is a social science , and politics nothing but medicine on a grand scale." The pioneering Virchow first pronounced upon the biological importance of cells in health and disease. He was the " chief founder of modern scientific medicine." (William H. Welch, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1902),

Virchow inspires today's imperative that the entitled classes not abandon science in the face of danger nor twist science to fit proprietary uses. This is the Virchow whose study of a typhus outbreak in Upper Silesia convinced him that class-based oppression – poverty and lack of education – was responsible for the epidemic, the Virchow who helped form the German Radical Party in 1884 and served in the Prussian and German parliaments.

Ask immunologist and virologist Rick Bright about science serving the people. That expert in preventing viral disease, particularly influenza, on April 21 was removed from his position in the Department of Health and Human Services. Bright was in charge of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and of efforts to develop an anti-COVID 19 vaccine. He had 63 scientific articles to his credit.

Bright told the press that, "I believe this transfer was in response to my insistence that the government invest the billions of dollars allocated by Congress to address the COVID-19 pandemic into safe and scientifically vetted solutions, and not in drugs, vaccines and other technologies that lack scientific merit. I am speaking out because to combat this deadly virus, science -- not politics or cronyism -- has to lead the way."

He added that, "contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the Administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit."

Science has been a bit player in the U.S. government's confrontation with the pandemic. President Trump's anti-science attitudes are far from the whole story, although his cut-off of U.S. funding for the World Health Organization was as dangerous as it was symbolic.

That government failed to take steps that would have allowed scientific inquiry during the early stages of the pandemic Early case-finding and tracking of contacts did not take place. Investigators lacked the raw material that might have allowed them to define the contours of an evolving epidemic, its special characteristics.

The fact of delay was clear on April 21 when a California medical examiner announced that COVID 19 had accounted for one death on February 6 and another on February 17. Neither victim had traveled outside the United States. The onset of their infections was presumably in mid-January. All along, authorities had regarded a Washington-state patient who tested positive on February 26 as the first U.S. victim of community-acquired infection. Yet CDC director Robert Redfield, testifying before a congressional committee on March 11, revealed that some patients assumed to have died from influenza did die from COVID 19 infection.

Also, the administration's China-bashing and even conspiracy theories about the origins of the pandemic testify to its dismissal of useful scientist research, particularly the findings of scientists throughout the world who know about the beginnings of the pandemic, in China.

British and German scientists " reconstructed the early 'evolutionary paths' of COVID-19 in humans." A Cambridge University team "mapped some of the original spread of the new coronavirus through its mutations, which creates different viral lineages." Virus genomes were studied " from across the world between 24 December 2019 and 4 March 2020."

The researchers categorized three types of COVID 19. The original Wuhan virus was type A; its mutated versions showed up in the United States and Australia. Type B, predominating in Wuhan, stayed put in East Asia. Type C appeared only in Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. The researchers "traced established infection routes: the mutations and viral lineages joined the dots between known cases." Such information about the virus's biologic behavior might have enabled public health officials to identify at-risk populations within the United States and abroad.

Lead author Peter Forster suggested to a reporter that in Wuhan "the first infection and spread among humans of COVID-19 occurred between mid-September and early December." His disclosure has implications for U.S. military athletes participating in the "World Military Games" in Wuhan in late October. They were among 9308 military athletes on hand from 100 countries. The athletes might have carried the virus with them on their return to the various nations.

Zoologist Peter Daszak, president of the New York – based EcoHealth Alliance, does research in China on inter-species sharing of viruses. He pointed out in 2013 that, "Coronaviruses evolve very rapidly [and] are exquisitely evolved to jump from one species to another." At the time, he was reflecting on the SARS coronavirus epidemic of 10 years earlier.

He offered a suggestion that, if acted upon, might have prevented the COVID 19 pandemic. The cost, Daszak estimated, would have been "about $1.5bn to discover all the viruses in mammals. I think that would be a great investment because once you have done it, you can develop vaccines and get ready with test kits to find the first stage of emergence and stop it."

This story of the U.S. government's abuse of science ends with lessons learned. They are: (1) science must exist for the benefit of all people and not be left to the mercies of the rich and powerful, (2) a government restricting and disrespecting scientists, like Dr. Bright, is dangerous to the people, and (3) a capability to plan is of the essence to a state that would assure the safety and flourishing of all its people. These basic standards, it seems here, will be identifying features for those societies that do emerge relatively intact from the pandemic. The odds favor the socialist ones.

[May 01, 2020] It Took COVID To Expose the Fraud of 'American Exceptionalism' by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... The New York Times ..."
Apr 30, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

12:01 am

Our leaders were so preoccupied with remaking the world they failed to see that our country was falling apart around them. Has the time come to bury the conceit of American exceptionalism? In an article for the American edition of The Spectator , Quincy Institute President Andrew Bacevich concludes just that:

The coronavirus pandemic is a curse. It should also serve as an opportunity, Americans at long last realizing that they are not God's agents. Out of suffering and loss, humility and self-awareness might emerge. We can only hope.

The heart of the American exceptionalism in question is American hubris. It is based on the assumption that we are better than the rest of the world, and that this superiority both entitles and obligates us to take on an outsized role in the world.

In our current foreign policy debates, the phrase "American exceptionalism" has served as a shorthand for justifying and celebrating U.S. dominance, and when necessary it has served as a blanket excuse for U.S. wrongdoing. Seongjong Song defined it in an 2015 article for The Korean Journal of International Studies this way: "American exceptionalism is the belief that the US is "qualitatively different" from all other nations." In practice, that has meant that the U.S. does not consider itself to be bound by the same rules that apply to other states, and it reserves the right to interfere whenever and wherever it wishes.

American exceptionalism has been used in our political debates as an ideological purity test to determine whether certain political leaders are sufficiently supportive of an activist and interventionist foreign policy. The main purpose of invoking American exceptionalism in foreign policy debate has been to denigrate less hawkish policy views as unpatriotic and beyond the pale. The phrase was often used as a partisan cudgel in the previous decade as the Obama administration's critics tried to cast doubt on the former president's acceptance of this idea, but in the years since then it has become a rallying point for devotees of U.S. primacy regardless of party. There was an explosion in the use of the phrase in just the first few years of the 2010s compared with the previous decades. Song cited a study that showed this massive increase:

Exceptionalist discourse is on the rise in American politics. Terrence McCoy (2012) found that the term "American exceptionalism" appeared in US publications 457 times between 1980 and 2000, climbing to 2,558 times in the 2000s and 4,172 times in 2010-12.

The more that U.S. policies have proved "American exceptionalism" to be a pernicious myth at odds with reality, the more we have heard the phrase used to defend those policies. Republican hawks began the decade by accusing Obama of not believing in this "exceptionalism," and some Democratic hawks closed it out by "reclaiming" the idea on behalf of their own discredited foreign policy vision. There may be differences in emphasis between the two camps, but there is a consensus that the U.S. has special rights and privileges that other nations cannot have. That has translated into waging unnecessary wars, assuming excessive overseas burdens, and trampling on the rights of other states, and all the while congratulating ourselves on how virtuous we are for doing all of it.

The contemporary version of American exceptionalism is tied up inextricably with the belief that the U.S. is the "indispensable nation." According to this view, without U.S. "leadership" other countries will be unable or unwilling to respond to major international problems and threats. We have seen just how divorced from reality that belief is in just the last few months. There has been no meaningful U.S. leadership in response to the pandemic, but for the most part our allies have managed on their own fairly well. In the absence of U.S. "leadership," many other countries have demonstrated that they haven't really needed the U.S. Our "indispensability" is a story that we like to tell ourselves, but it isn't true. Not only are we no longer indispensable, but as Micah Zenko pointed out many years ago, we never were.

It was 22 years ago when then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright publicly declared the United States to be the "indispensable nation": "If we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us."

In a recent interview with The New York T imes, Albright sounded much less sure of her old position: "There's nothing in the definition of indispensable that says "alone." It means that the United States needs to be engaged with its partners. And people's backgrounds make a difference." Albright's original statement was an aggressive assertion that America was both extraordinarily powerful and unusually farsighted, and that legitimized the frequent U.S. recourse to using force.

After two decades of calamitous failures that have highlighted our weaknesses and foolishness, even she can't muster up the old enthusiasm that she once had. No one could look back at the last 20 years of U.S. foreign policy and still honestly say that "we see further" into the future than others. Not only are we no better than other countries at anticipating and preparing for future dangers, but judging from the country's lack of preparedness for a pandemic we are actually far behind many of the countries that we have presumed to "lead." It is impossible to square our official self-congratulatory rhetoric with the reality of a government that is incapable of protecting its citizens from disaster.

The poor U.S. response to the pandemic has not only exposed many of the country's serious faults, but it has also caused a crisis of faith in the prevailing mythology that American political leaders and pundits have been promoting for decades. This found expression most recently in a rather odd article in The New York Times last week. The framing of the story makes it into a lament for a collapsing ideology:

The pandemic sweeping the globe has done more than take lives and livelihoods from New Delhi to New York. It is shaking fundamental assumptions about American exceptionalism -- the special role the United States played for decades after World War II as the reach of its values and power made it a global leader and example to the world.

The curious thing about this description is that it takes for granted that "fundamental assumptions about American exceptionalism" haven't been thoroughly shaken long before now. The "special role" mentioned here was never going to last forever, and in some respects it was more imaginary than real. It was a period in our history that we should seek to understand and learn from, but we also need to recognize that it was transitory and already ended some time ago.

If American exceptionalism is now "on trial," as another recent article put it , it is because it offered up a pleasing but false picture of how we relate to the rest of the world. Over the last two decades, we have seen that picture diverge more and more from real life. The false picture gives political leaders an excuse to take reckless and disastrous actions as long as they can spin them as being expressions of "who we are" as a country. At the same time, they remain blind to the country's real vulnerabilities. It is a measure of how powerful the illusion of American exceptionalism is that it still has such a hold on so many people's minds even now, but it has not been a harmless illusion.

While our leaders have been patting themselves on the back for the enlightened "leadership" that they imagine they are providing to the world, they have neglected the country's urgent needs and allowed many parts of our system to fall into disrepair and ruin. They have also visited enormous destruction on many other countries in the name of "helping" them. The same hubris that has warped foreign policy decisions over the decades has encouraged a dangerous complacency about the problems in our own country. We can't let that continue. Our leaders were so preoccupied with trying to remake other parts of the world that they failed to see that our country was falling apart all around them.

American exceptionalism has been the story that our leaders told us to excuse their neglect of America. It is a flattering story, but ultimately it is a vain one that distracts us from protecting our own country and people. We would do well if we put away this boastful fantasy and learned how to live like a normal nation.

[May 01, 2020] Deep State as Deep Corruption.

May 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment April 29, 2020 at 5:22 pm GMT

Here's something to be disillusioned about. Deep State as Deep Corruption.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/0tO11hclNv8?feature=oembed

But what happened to the Trump who was going to drain the swamp? He filled it with more sewage.
He murdered Soleimani and interferes in Venezuelan politics in ways that Russia has been accused(falsely) of interfering in US politics.

AaronInMVD , says: Website Show Comment April 29, 2020 at 9:45 pm GMT
@Priss Factor I suspect the true backbreaker when it comes to disillusioning for me was seeing how thoroughly Trump was disconnected from the levers of power except for those few cases when he'd been surrounded by war lobby shills.

Whatever welcome change Trump could have brought has been completely negated by the fact everyone he hired or could have hired is too stuck in the status quo to welcome change. Even the people he though could have been the "rebels" on his side lead him down that path of seeing Iranian ballistic missiles hitting US troop positions in Iraq.

The only thing that might have worked would have been firing everyone he could during the first 7 days and filling as many posts as he could with clean cut (as opposed to neck bearded) alt-right 20-somethings.

I voted for Trump, but Trump still wasn't enough to keep me in the US.

[Apr 30, 2020] I do think it has been a mistake not to quarantine nursing homes, ltc facilities, hospitals, etc.. Including the docs, nurses, workers. Those are the vectors 50% of covid deaths could have been prevented, esp in NY, like that.

Apr 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

BDrizz , Apr 30 2020 2:09 utc | 92

These lockdowns have ended life as we know it, no matter which position you take. I do think it has been a mistake not to quarantine nursing homes, ltc facilities, hospitals, etc.. Including the docs, nurses, workers. Those are the vectors & 50% of covid deaths could have been prevented, esp in NY, like that. At year-end, we can look at all-cause mortalities trends, see how this year stacks up. I hope these measures make sense given the extreme poverty, violence, death they will cause. There will be no permanent vaccine, they've been trying w/Coronav's for a long time. This thing is a fact of life going forward. It will mutate like any other cold or flu. Are we going to shut down & go Orwell every time it pops up? We're f'ed.

[Apr 30, 2020] Ferguson's alamist narrative about two million dead int he USA alone has triumphed, helped by our incontinent and irresponsible media. ...

Apr 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

fairleft , Apr 30 2020 0:43 utc | 80

Neil Ferguson hasn't been part of b's coronavirus narrative, but his bad statistics (he has a history) are key to the whole story. Great opinion piece by R.R. Reno :

"On March 16, Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London predicted a coronavirus death toll of more than two million in the United States alone. He arrived at this number by assuming that infection would be nearly universal and the fatality rate would be high -- a terrifying prospect. The next day, Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis sifted through the data and predicted less widespread infection and a fatality rate of between 0.05 and 1.0 percent -- not that different from the common flu. The coronavirus is not the common flu. It has different characteristics, afflicting the old more than the young, men more than women. Nevertheless, all data trends since mid-March show that Ferguson was fantastically wrong and Ioannidis was largely right about its mortal threat. [fairleft: Reno goes too far here: data indicates Covid-19 is worse than the flu for the vulnerable, possibly much worse depending on age and the severity of their vulnerability.]

"But Ferguson's narrative has triumphed, helped by our incontinent and irresponsible media. ...

"Our entire ruling class, which united behind catastrophism and the untested methods of mass shutdown, is implicated in the unfolding fiasco.

"Journalists continue to sustain the pandemic narrative. Ioannidis is still ignored, though the evidence I outlined above has been building for weeks. ..."

[[U of Oxford prediction: "Taking account of historical experience, trends in the data, increased number of infections in the population at largest, and potential impact of misclassification of deaths gives a presumed estimate for the COVID-19 IFR somewhere between 0.1% and 0.36%." All studies so far are flawed and not all are within that range, but here are basically ALL of them, which generally point to the Oxford prediction being about right:

NYC shopping center: 0.6%
Santa Clara County: 0.1 - 0.2%
LA County: 0.1 - 0.3%
Oise, France high school: 0.0%
Gangelt, Germany: 0.37%
Bergamo, Italy: 0.57%
Lombardio, Italy: 0.87%
Iceland: 0.05%
UK: 0.9%
China: 0.66%
Boston homeless shelter: 0.0%
US Navy ship: 0.07% ]]

R.R. Reno concludes:

"We've been stampeded into a regime of social control that is unprecedented in our history. Our economy has been shattered.... As unemployment numbers skyrocket and Congress spends trillions, the political stakes rise.

"The experts, professionals, bureaucrats, and public officials who did this to us have tremendous incentives to close ranks and say, 'It is not wise to tell people that the danger was never grave and now has passed.' Sustaining the coronavirus narrative will require many lies. It will be up to us to insist on the truth."

[Apr 24, 2020] Ted Arison, the Israeli-American founder of Carnival [Covid] Cruise Line is among those appointed to advise president Trump on how to open up the US economy.

Apr 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul , Apr 23 2020 20:14 utc | 53

Ted Arison, the Israeli-American founder of Carnival [Covid] Cruise Line is among those appointed to advise president Trump on how to open up the US economy. Perhaps, as music to the ears of a seasoned New York real estate shark, he will advise Trump to blame China and then default on the China debt mountain. Litigation pays as Arison is about to find out.

https://www.afr.com/companies/tourism/carnival-knew-it-had-a-problem-but-it-kept-the-party-going-20200420-p54lbb

[Apr 21, 2020] A Government Against the People by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... To be sure, Trump has good reason to hate the intelligence and national security community, which utterly rejected his candidacy and plotted to destroy both his campaign and, even after he was elected, his presidency ..."
"... While it is not unusual for presidents to surround themselves with devoted yes-men, as Trump does with his spectacularly unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner, his administration is nevertheless unusual in its tendency to apply an absolute loyalty litmus test to nearly everyone surrounding the president ..."
"... Most damaging to consumer interests, the rot has also affected the so-called regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor the potentially illegal activities of corporations and industries to protect the public. As University of Chicago economist George Stigler several times predicted, under both Obama and Trump advocates of ostensibly "regulated" corporations have taken over every U.S. federal regulatory agency . The captured U.S. government regulators now represent the interests of the corporations, not the public. This is more like government by a criminal oligarchy rather than of, by and for The People. ..."
Apr 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

The 24/7 intensified media coverage of the coronavirus story has meant that other news has either been ignored or relegated to the back pages, never to be seen again. The Middle East has been on a boil but coverage of the Trump administration's latest moves against Iran has been so insignificant as to be invisible. Meanwhile closer to home, the declaration by the ubiquitous Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that current president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro is a drug trafficker did generate somewhat of a ripple, as did dispatch of warships to the Caribbean to intercept the alleged drugs, but that story also died.

Of more interest perhaps is the tale of the continued purge of government officials, referred to as "draining the swamp," by President Donald Trump as it could conceivably have long-term impact on how policy is shaped in Washington. Prior to the virus partial lockdown, some of the impending shakeup within the intelligence community (IC) and Pentagon were commented on in the media, but developments since that time have been less reported, even when several inspectors-general were removed.

To be sure, Trump has good reason to hate the intelligence and national security community, which utterly rejected his candidacy and plotted to destroy both his campaign and, even after he was elected, his presidency. Whether one argues that what took place was due to a "Deep state" or Establishment conspiracy or rather just based on personal ambition by key players, the reality was that a number of top officials seem to have forgotten the oaths they swore to the constitution when it came to Donald Trump.

Be that as it may, beyond the musical chairs that have characterized the senior level appointments in the first three years of the Trump administration, there has been a concerted effort to remove "disloyal" members of the intelligence community, with disloyal generally being the label applied to holdovers from the Bush and Obama administrations. The February appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard "Ric" Grenell as interim Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a position that he will hold simultaneously with his ambassadorship, has been criticized from all sides due to his inexperience, history of bad judgement and partisanship. The White House is now claiming that he will be replaced by Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe after the interim appointment is completed.

Criticism of Grenell for his clearly evident deficiencies misses the point, however, as he is not in place to do anything constructive. He has already initiated a purge of federal employees in the White House and national security apparatus considered to be insufficiently loyal, an effort which has been supported by National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Many career officers have been sent back to their home agencies while the new appointees are being drawn from the pool of neoconservatives that proliferated in the George W. Bush administration. Admittedly some prominent neocons like Bill Kristol have disqualified themselves for service with the new regime due to their vitriolic criticism of Trump the candidate, but many others have managed to remain politically viable by keeping their mouths shut during the 2016 campaign. To no one's surprise, many of the new employees being brought in are being carefully vetted to make sure that they are passionate supporters of Israel.

While it is not unusual for presidents to surround themselves with devoted yes-men, as Trump does with his spectacularly unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner, his administration is nevertheless unusual in its tendency to apply an absolute loyalty litmus test to nearly everyone surrounding the president, even several layers down into the administration where employees are frequently apolitical. As the Trump White House has not been renowned for its adroit policies and forward thinking, the loss of expertise will be hardly noticeable, but there will certainly be a reduction in challenges to group think while replacing officials in the law enforcement and inspector general communities will mean that there will be no one in a high enough position to impede or check presidential misbehavior. Instead, high officials will be principally tasked with coming up with rationalizations to excuse what the White House does.

... ... ...

Subsequent to the defenestration of Atkinson, Trump went after another inspector general Glenn Fine, who was principal deputy IG at the Pentagon and had been charged with heading the panel of inspectors that would have oversight responsibility to certify the proper implementation of the $2.2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief package. As has been noted in the media, there was particular concern regarding the lack of transparency regarding the $500 billion Exchange Stabilizing Fund (ESF) that had been set aside to make loans to corporations and other large companies while the really urgently needed Small Business Loan allocation has been failing to work at all except for Israeli companies that have lined up for the loans. The risk that the ESF would become a slush fund for companies favored by the White House was real, and several investigative reports observed that Trump business interests might also directly benefit from the way it was drafted.

Four days after the firing of Atkinson, Fine also was let go to be replaced by the EPA inspector general Sean O'Donnell, who is considered a Trump loyalist. On the previous day the tweeter-in-chief came down on yet another IG, the woman responsible for Health and Human Services Christi Grimm, who had issued a report stating that the her department had found "severe" shortages of virus testing material at hospitals and "widespread" shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. Trump quipped to reporters "Where did he come from, the inspector general. What's his name?"

On the following day, Trump unleashed the tweet machine, asking "Why didn't the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!"

A comment about foxes taking over the hen house would not be amiss and one might also note that the swamp is far from drained. A concerted effort is clearly underway to purge anyone from the upper echelons of the U.S. government who in any way contradicts what is coming out of the White House. Inspectors general who are tasked with looking into malfeasance are receiving the message that if they want to stay employed, they have to toe the presidential line, even as it seemingly whimsically changes day by day. And then there is the irony of the heads at major agencies like Environmental Protection now being committed to not enforcing existing environmental regulations at all.

Most damaging to consumer interests, the rot has also affected the so-called regulatory agencies that are supposed to monitor the potentially illegal activities of corporations and industries to protect the public. As University of Chicago economist George Stigler several times predicted, under both Obama and Trump advocates of ostensibly "regulated" corporations have taken over every U.S. federal regulatory agency . The captured U.S. government regulators now represent the interests of the corporations, not the public. This is more like government by a criminal oligarchy rather than of, by and for The People.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


Exile , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 2:28 am GMT

I yield to no one in my contempt for the fraud-failure of God Emperor Bush III but the author has to be aware that talk of "impeachable" offenses is meaningless in American politics.

There has never been and never will be an impeachment effort that's not primarily political rather than process-motivated. It's an up-or-down vote based on a partisan head-counting and opportunism and public dissatisfaction. All the Article-this-and-that is Magic Paper Talmudry.

Trump is a somewhat rogueish, somewhat rival Don and faction-head in the same criminal (((Commission))) that's been running America for well over a century. He's Jon Gotti to their Carlo Gambino, and his gauche nouveaux-elite style offends the sensibilities of the more snobbish Davoise, but he's just angling for a seat at the table and a cut of the spoils, not a return of power to the people.

Impeachment would serve no purpose but what we've seen so far with Russiagate, etc.. – a sideshow distraction from the real backroom, long-knife action going down, ala the "settling scores" montage in Godfather III.

Getaclue , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 5:48 am GMT
"To be sure, Trump has good reason to hate the intelligence and national security community, which utterly rejected his candidacy and plotted to destroy both his campaign and, even after he was elected, his presidency." -- Yes to this. This is OBVIOUS to all but the dullest rubes or those who are in on it and trying to escape what they tried to do in attempting to over throw the US Government. The rest?

Once you have this stated– that an actual Coup which was certainly plotted/sprung by the last occupant of the Presidency along with Clinton, Brennan, Comey, and many other NWO Globalists throughout the Government (FBI, CIA, DOJ ) and outside of it (the Globalist NWO MEDIA) the rest is drivel -- they tried to take him out–JFK they used a bullet, here not yet– so to say he shouldn't put in people he absolutely trusts at this time into any position he can? Are you kidding or what? You can't be serious– I've actually had someone try and kill me they were quite serious about it– my reaction after was not anything like what I see you suggesting or mirrored in your "analysis". This is how the CIA "counsels" in response to a murderous Coup -- an attempt to overthrow the duly elected Government?

How do you overreact to a group of the most powerful people in the World getting together to try to murder you? That's your argument basically– he's over reacting to that? He shouldn't have "Loyalists". He needs to work with these other people -- the ones who want to murder him -- keep some of those "non-Loyalists" on board who time after time have plotted against him in every way possible during the last nearly 4 years?

You seem to be one strange dude from my life's vantage point any way, what a perspective .Maybe you would actually deal with people of this magnitude trying to destroy you in the way you state but no sane/fairly intelligent person would -- I can't get past you have that sentence in there and then follow it with all the rest -- you seem to live in some alternate reality where when someone tries to murder you the right reaction is to blow it off and work with them– give them another few shots at you– say what? You learned this from your years at the CIA– this is how they train/advise things like this should be dealt with up at Langley? Or is it just wishful thinking on your part that they get another shot at him?

mark green , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 6:33 am GMT

While it is not unusual for presidents to surround themselves with devoted yes-men, as Trump does with his spectacularly unqualified son-in-law Jared Kushner, his administration is nevertheless unusual in its tendency to apply an absolute loyalty litmus test to nearly everyone surrounding the president

True enough. Trump has also injected into Washington his own nest of swamp creatures and Wall St. bigwigs. However it is also true that Trump has been under unrelenting attack since the day he announced his candidacy. This is not fair. With the possible exception of Nixon, I've never seen a more ruthless campaign by political insiders to demean a public figure.

But to whom must Trump show ceaseless and attentive loyalty to?–no matter what?

https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-days-remembrance-victims-holocaust-2020/

chris , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 6:51 am GMT
@onebornfree Absolutely!

I can't get too worked up about the firing of the prison guards; I rather enjoy the charade.

The real problem is that: 'It's the system, stupid!' and no amount of tinkering or puting the 'right' people in these positions will ever do anything more than just changing the illusion that something is being done.

It reminds me a little of that late Soviet Union film "Burned by the Sun" about Stalin's purges of the criminals that had ridden his coat tails to power. Try as the movie makers did, I could not and would not feel an ounce of sorrow for those (these) scumbags who had wielded immoral, arbitrary, and disproportionate power over their subjects.

gotmituns , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 10:17 am GMT
The government has been against the people for my entire lifetime (I'm an old man now). One of the only glimmers of light in that time, JFK was snuffed out. After all, who did he think he was, trying to stop the elites from having their war in Vietnam?
Z-man , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 10:24 am GMT
He (Trump) should have purged all of the Obama appointees on day one.
The Vindman twins are a perfect example of the Deep State.
While I can understand your loathing of Trump's middle East policies, I do also, what he has blatantley done vis a vis the Zionist Entity is very little different than what slick Obama did under the table, outside of the Iran deal.
And to tell you the truth, as much as I loathe Israel the Iran deal was definitely flawed and should have been more advantageous to America and the West. Iran should have seen the advantages of totally relinquishing nuclear weapons even with mad Zionists in their neighborhood. They could have still kept their ballistic missiles, sans nuclear tips.
Realist , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 11:31 am GMT
@Getaclue The idea that Trump is fighting the Deep State is ludacris this is a charade if the Deep State didn't want Trump to be President he wouldn't be. Trump is a Deep State minion. No matter the existential threat to the US the 1% get richer and the 99% get poorer.
Realist , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 11:40 am GMT
@Z-man

He (Trump) should have purged all of the Obama appointees on day one.

That supposes that Trump is not a Deep Stater as was Obama this is a poor supposition.

Iran should have seen the advantages of totally relinquishing nuclear weapons even with mad Zionists in their neighborhood. They could have still kept their ballistic missiles, sans nuclear tips.

Ballistic missiles, sans nuclear tips are useless. Did anybody care when North Korea had ballistic missiles before they had something worthwhile to put on the tip? Hell no.

fatmanscoop , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm GMT
Trump has had two open coup attempts in three years, and a constant barrage of leaks etc. His purges are clearly at least three years too late.

Also, to an outsider, it's strange how some right-wing American journalists write in a way which indicates that they have faith in the due process, checks-and-balances etc afforded by the American system. I don't understand how any American right-winger could maintain their faith in the U.S. political system, it seems corrupt approaching the point that it is beyond-repair.

A123 , says: Show Comment April 21, 2020 at 12:51 pm GMT
Barack Hussein was Against The People

Trump's MAGA For The People efforts, must take steps to undo the damage done by the prior criminal admistration.

Here is an detailed explanation of how Barack Hussein intentionally undermined the rule of law:(1)

Aside from the date the important part of the first page is the motive for sending it. The DOJ is telling the court in July 2018: based on what they know the FISA application still contains "sufficient predication for the Court to have found probable cause" to approve the application. The DOJ is defending the Carter Page FISA application as still valid.

However, it is within the justification of the application that alarm bells are found. On page six the letter identifies the primary participants behind the FISA redactions:

DOJ needed to protect evidence Mueller had already extracted from the fraudulent FISA authority. That's the motive.

In July 2018 if the DOJ-NSD had admitted the FISA application and all renewals were fatally flawed Robert Mueller would have needed to withdraw any evidence gathered as a result of its exploitation. The DOJ in 2018 was protecting Mueller's poisoned fruit.

If the DOJ had been honest with the court, there's a strong possibility some, perhaps much, of Mueller evidence gathering would have been invalidated and cases were pending. The solution: mislead the court and claim the predication was still valid.

I am not sure why Giraldi is defending Barack Hussein and Hillary Clinton's behaviour & staff choices. All rational human beings see the damage that Hillary created at the State Department.

PEACE
_______

(1) https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2020/04/17/declassified-doj-letter-to-fisa-court-highlights-severe-institutional-corruption-doj-blames-fbi-for-spygate/

[Apr 20, 2020] NYC vs Singapore: Discipline, competence and sound management do matter

Apr 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

hopehely , Apr 19 2020 18:19 utc | 54

Posted by: vk | Apr 19 2020 17:49 utc | 53
NY has 8.4 million inhabitants - in an 302.6 square miles area.

Singapore has 5.6 million inhabitants in 280.2 square miles area.
Discipline, competence and sound management do matter.

[Apr 20, 2020] Trump's cuts to the WHO are self-serving, but he also has a point WHO has become a bloated bureaucracy riddled with politickin

Apr 20, 2020 | www.rt.com

The US is the biggest funder of the World Health Organization and his announcement drew widespread criticism. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, whose foundation was the second-biggest funder of the WHO in 2018-19, called the decision " as dangerous as it sounds ."

Halting funding for the World Health Organization during a world health crisis is as dangerous as it sounds. Their work is slowing the spread of COVID-19 and if that work is stopped no other organization can replace them. The world needs @WHO now more than ever.

-- Bill Gates (@BillGates) April 15, 2020

Trump also faces a battle with Congress, which is actually responsible for allocating funding. I'm not a fan of Trump, but to some extent he has a point.

There have been plenty of critics of the WHO's handling of the outbreak. The organization's initial response is now seen as far too accepting of the official Chinese government line in the first few weeks. In particular, a single social media message has come back to haunt it. On January 14, the organization said on Twitter: " Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China. "

Defenders of the WHO point to guidance sent to governments on January 10 and 11, outlining the way the virus spreads and asking health officials to be alert to any 'evidence of amplified or sustained human-to-human transmission.' Those WHO supporters also note that Trump himself had tweeted support for Beijing's handling of the situation in the early days of the outbreak. For many observers, Trump's attacks on the WHO are self-serving, designed to deflect criticism away from his initially slow and skeptical response to what he calls the "Chinese virus."

While the WHO was perhaps too slow on the uptake, we should be wary of critics' implication that it should be given the job of policing national governments. For now, the WHO is in an awkward position of having to deal with the politics of different member countries while responding to health emergencies. Moreover, the WHO 'cried wolf' over the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The WHO's director general at the time, Margaret Chan, famously said " All of humanity is under threat " from the outbreak, but it proved to be far less deadly than feared. A bit more caution over the new coronavirus was probably sensible.

[Apr 19, 2020] Bickering between two major parties: Trump slams 'rude nasty' Dems admitting Covid-19 cooperation bad between parties

Don't shoot the piano player...
Notable quotes:
"... "No matter what you do for the Do Nothing Democrats, no matter how GREAT a job you are doing, they will only respond to their Fake partners in the Lamestream Media in the negative, even in a time of crisis," ..."
"... "rude and nasty" ..."
"... "He gave them everything that they would have wanted to hear in terms of gaining ground on the CoronaVirus, but nothing that anyone could have said, including 'it's over,' could have made them happy," ..."
"... "They were RUDE and NASTY. This is their political playbook, and they will use it right up to the election on November 3rd," ..."
"... "America will not be fooled!!!" ..."
"... "never been so mad about a phone call" ..."
"... "the administration still doesn't have a plan to track daily testing capacity in every lab in the country, publicly release that data, and put forward a plan and timeline for identifying gaps." ..."
Apr 19, 2020 | www.rt.com

Donald Trump slammed Democrats for a "rude and nasty" phone call with the vice president over the Covid-19 pandemic, and theorized nothing will satisfy them as they try to "fool" America in November's election.

"No matter what you do for the Do Nothing Democrats, no matter how GREAT a job you are doing, they will only respond to their Fake partners in the Lamestream Media in the negative, even in a time of crisis," Trump tweeted on Saturday.

He added that his working relationship with Democrats during the Covid-19 pandemic has been "even worse" than before and revealed senators held a "rude and nasty" conference call with Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on Friday where little progress was made.

"He gave them everything that they would have wanted to hear in terms of gaining ground on the CoronaVirus, but nothing that anyone could have said, including 'it's over,' could have made them happy," the president vented.

"They were RUDE and NASTY. This is their political playbook, and they will use it right up to the election on November 3rd," he continued, adding that "America will not be fooled!!!"

No matter what you do for the Do Nothing Democrats, no matter how GREAT a job you are doing, they will only respond to their Fake partners in the Lamestream Media in the negative, even in a time of crisis. I thought it would be different, but it's not. In fact, it's even worse...

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2020

....them happy, or even a little bit satisfied. They were RUDE and NASTY. This is their political playbook, and they will use it right up to the election on November 3rd. They will not change because they feel that this is the only way they can win. America will not be fooled!!!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2020

Some lawmakers have expressed just as much animosity over the talk as the president. Maine Sen. Angus King (I) said he has "never been so mad about a phone call" in his life.

A point of contention appears to be Trump's desire to begin rolling back stay-at-home orders and reopening the US economy next month, while many Democrats insist more Covid-19 testing must be done first.

Also on rt.com 'We're being held hostage!' Minnesota governor eases coronavirus lockdown after angry outcry from #ReopenMN protesters

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) tweeted after the call that she is concerned "the administration still doesn't have a plan to track daily testing capacity in every lab in the country, publicly release that data, and put forward a plan and timeline for identifying gaps."

Various governors, such as New York's Andrew Cuomo, continue to insist more thorough testing and tracing of the virus is needed before they consider reopening their states and easing back lockdown orders, while places like Texas, Minnesota, and Florida have already begun dropping restrictions as more and more citizens take to demonstrating and protesting against the measures.

Also on rt.com 'Fire Fauci, let us work': No social distancing as Alex Jones joins hundreds in rally against Covid-19 lockdown measures in Texas

[Apr 19, 2020] The coronavirus crisis has exposed the relative merits of nations, so the entire world can see, for example, how broken and corrupt the US is, with no leadership to speak of

Level of mismanaging of epidemic in Trump administration is staggering. Initially they ignored it, but then switch to full panic mode facilitated by such questionable experts as Fauci. Panic reaction with "one size fits all" quarantine measures created record unemployment.
BTW NIH fiscal year 2020 budget totals $41.6 billion.
The fact that Fauci did nothing to protect NY metropolitan areas means that he is incompetent to hold this position.
Apr 19, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

More than a dozen U.S. researchers, physicians and public health experts, many of them from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were working full time at the Geneva headquarters of the World Health Organization as the novel coronavirus emerged late last year and transmitted real-time information about its discovery and spread in China to the Trump administration, according to U.S. and international officials.

A number of CDC staffers are regularly detailed to work at WHO in Geneva as part of a rotation that has operated for years. Senior Trump-appointed health officials also consulted regularly at the highest levels with the WHO as the crisis unfolded, the officials said.

The presence of so many U.S. officials undercuts President Trump's charge that the WHO's failure to communicate the extent of the threat, born of a desire to protect China, is largely responsible for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States.

Saggy April 19, 2020 at 1:54 pm GMT

What a great paragaph – summary ..

There is hope. The coronavirus crisis has exposed the relative merits of nations, so the entire world can see, for example, how broken and corrupt the US is, with no leadership to speak of. Dawdling, it failed to prevent needless deaths, then shut down much of the country, bankrupting thousands of businesses and throwing millions out of work. As a fix, it throws mere crumbs at desperate citizens, while bailing out the big banks, again.

[Apr 19, 2020] His first and most precious redeeming feature is his crude, brazenly outspoken directness, which aggravates and strains psychopathic relations with close mafia colleagues (i.e. "allies"), opens the eyes of potential doubters, and stirs to a fever the passions of the US's many opponents and victims

Apr 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Apr 18 2020 6:13 utc | 174

A rant it certainly is.

Whilst most of the text is basically true, it never at any point rises above the level of a rant. And whilst I agree that Trump is a malicious and incompetent psychopath and pathological liar, I disagree that he has no redeeming features.

His first and most precious redeeming feature is his crude, brazenly outspoken directness, which aggravates and strains psychopathic relations with close mafia colleagues (i.e. "allies"), opens the eyes of potential doubters, and stirs to a fever the passions of the US's many opponents and victims.

His second most important redeeming feature is his incompetence and his proclivity to surround himself by retarded idiots blinded by their hippocracy, bigotry and hubris.

Together, these two valuable redeeming features serve to accelerate the high speed train leading to the inevitably and amply deserved collapse of Empire.

In his maliciousness, his incompetence, his psychopathic behaviour, his pathological lying, his brutal scheming, his avidly undertaken crimes against humanity, and his gross inhumanity he differs not one single iota from all other US presidents in living memory if not beyond. All that differentiates him from those other presidents are his redeeming features. We would do well to bear that in mind when judging him. That is in sharp contrast to the slimy suave lies and crafty covering up of Obomber, from whom he differs in no other respect.

It is very unfortunate about the Covid-19 outbreak, but that too may have a potential redeeming feature - maybe, just maybe, we will be able to see the collapse of Empire without war. Or even if there is a war initiated by these crazed psychopaths, in their drunken Covid-19 laden stupors, maybe the US military will simply fizzle out like a damp firework under their weight of gross incompetence, ineptitude and Covid-19 enstranglement.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you a toast: to the collapse of Empire, may it be speedy and thorough, like a high speed train crashing headling into a cliff, and may it be without war!


There, a rant in reply to a rant! Alas, MoA is not at its finest hour.

[Apr 17, 2020] Ranting In A Time Of Plague by Michael Brenner

Notable quotes:
"... FEMA and Homeland Security are but the most glaring example of departments stocked with hacks capable only of crippling the organizations that they are supposed to direct. They even corrupted the Center for Disease Control. ..."
"... The readiness of executives to do anything necessary to protect against exposure of their own failures or illicit actions has become commonplace within our institutions. ..."
"... As to the Crozier scandal, let's be clear: it is not a matter of ethics alone, but also of ability to meet critical obligations. ..."
"... Naval Secretary Thomas Motly – who missed his calling as a political commissar in the old Red Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Miley and Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday who both are testament to the Peter Principle that determines promotion in today's military. ..."
"... An [neoliberal] "oligarchy" has no interest in the long-term prosperity and strength of the nation - or perhaps, they simply have no faith in it. They are motivated to strip-mine the nation of all wealth while it lasts, because if they don't someone else will. They can live in walled compounds and go to private doctors, and if it all falls apart they can just gather up their loot and sail away on their yachts. ..."
"... After all the agony and hysteria surrounding the election of Trump for 3 years, they will nominate an elderly warmonger with obvious signs of dementia, who can't seem to keep his hands off women in a creepy fashion - as the alternative. It's as if there was a contest on how extreme a "lesser of two evils" can get. Tack on Covid and financial ruin. It's astounding. ..."
"... Come this epidemic and what do we see? What we see is that at least the UK government, the US government and the Canadian government were lying. It is quite clear that they were NOT expecting to be attacked. How do I know they were not expecting to be attacked? They had NO stores of hand sanitizer, NO stores of masks, NO goggles, NO stores of PPE, No factories for making any of them. NO troops of Bio/Chem warfare soldiers ready to spring into action and NO PLANS, as far as I can see. Are we to assume that if they were attacked by, say, the Russians, they were going to rely on the Chinese to supply them? (Sarcasm!) ..."
"... Lol. Trump has under 4 years working for the federal gov. It isn't his system. It is the typical repugs and dingbats system. He is an idiot for leaving his cushy life to join these idiots. It certainly doesn't speak well of his judgement. The people who work there and the people he has hired... Pompeo, Bolton, Esper, etc have worked there for decades. Bolton is an especially rotten character that seems to just keep popping up. ..."
"... i would like to emphasize a key point you make - accountability, and how there is none.. that to me is the number uno issue in the world today and it is very stark with regard to the usa - accountability... of course obama kicked that concept down the road too... no accountability.. it sucks big time.. we need it desperately... ..."
"... Okay... he's not a psychoapath, Don. I'll settle malignant sociopathic narcissist, which means by definition and demonstration that he would not know empathy were it to leap up and smack him in the face. Liar? We can soften that too. He is a serial fantasists living in the worlds he creates and like a spoiled child demands, raging when his wishes are not instantly gratified. ..."
"... When I was young I was always looking up for US, don't know why, maybe I have been fascinated by a culture, lifestyle, innovations.. when I got older and started to read about what actually happens in the world, I realized that US is not what it seemed to be anymore and I think its just getting worse.. ..."
"... Basically, no matter if is there Trump, Obama, Bush, Biden, Hillary or Easter Bunny.. your government to its core is really sick.. ..."
"... Everytime i read about decision US made, how is profit driven at expense of regular people, its a disgrace.. and more and more people in the world can see it.. just Trump himself exposed more the whole thing, chaotic, selfish, rude and arrogant government, not ashamed of anything. ..."
Apr 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

Collective tragedy is always a learning experience. So it has been for great wars, natural disasters, economic collapses, political revolutions. The COVID-19 pandemic is such a tragedy. Although the number of casualties may pale compared to the carnage of war, there are ancillary effects that leave us shocked and sobered. Most obviously, there is sudden onset of a severe economic depression with attendant social distress whose toll we will be registering for years to come. Then, there is the exposure of how incompetent our public institutions have become – the callous inhumanity of those who rule in Washington matched only by their clownish ineptitude. It is in the realm of these latter intangibles that we should look first for morals and lessons.

Overriding all else is the spectacle of a President, duly elected by the American people, who is a malicious psychopath with not a single redeeming trait. A physical, intellectual and emotional spectre who would defy our imaginative powers were he not on display before our eyes. He has gathered around him a witch's coven of scoundrels, crooks and crackpots as bereft of mind and ethics as he is. They also are inveterate liars; Trump himself is a congenital liar since clinical narcissism is inborn. Yet, we refer to this motley assemblage as an 'administration' – in our impulse to 'normalize' the abominable. No dry bill of particulars is necessary, nor could it do justice, to the squalid theater we see played out before us on a daily basis. This man, at this moment, is viewed favorably by 46% of the public. That reality eclipses everything else.

There is no organized opposition worthy of the name. This is the second great failure of our democracy. The Democratic Party creaks under the weight of geriatric nominal leaders – plodding along without conviction, without will, without the integrity to free itself from the monied interests and the self-serving careerists who have dragged it into the mire. Yes, they may succeed, come November, in sparing the Republic the coup de grace of four more Trumpian years. This despite their suicidal instinct in choosing Joe Biden to bear the standard – a man barely robust enough to keep the banner from dragging in the dust on his slog along the campaign trail. This bunch can't even get themselves to a microphone for a news clip at a time of historic crisis aggravated by the atrocious sins of the existing government. Surely, a first. Worried about Covid-19 contagion? Order a box of alcohol wipes from China. Instead, Biden makes a call to Trump for what both agree was a 'nice conversation.' What does that get him?

Cuomo has to placate Trump with soothing words – even at the expense of lying about how much aid New York actually received from Washington – since the lives of his people are at stake. For Biden, the opposite is true; avoiding soothing words is crucial since the November election is dependent on undercutting Trump and discrediting him.

Three, the United States is a poorly governed country. Manifest ineptitude in performing collective functions is by no means limited to Washington under Trump. It has become a feature of the institutional landscape. True, the Trumpites have launched a dedicated campaign to realize the anti-government fanatics' wet dream of disabling all public agencies. FEMA and Homeland Security are but the most glaring example of departments stocked with hacks capable only of crippling the organizations that they are supposed to direct. They even corrupted the Center for Disease Control. Its leaders, evidently eager to curry favor with the madman in the Oval Office, gave its stamp of approval to the unproven – and dangerous drug HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE that Trump's been promoting as the Silver Bullet to cure Covid-19. (April 4-6) Luckily, saner heads prevailed, or a conscience was pricked, and these panting spaniels withdrew the recommendation from their website.

... ... ...

At local levels, just look at the condition of infrastructure, of pension funds – of public health. The extremity – and, frankly, the absurdity - of what's happening in the health sector is highlighted by what we see elsewhere in the world. Face masks, including ones that actually provide protection, are readily available throughout East Asia – and elsewhere. A personal anecdote: relatives in Tunisia are mailing me N95 masks which they purchased in their neighborhood pharmacies. Indeed, as of April 8, Tunisia had produced by their own resources, and distributed 30 million masks to a population of 11 million. The equivalent here would be 1 billion masks! (Minus the 1 million sent express to Israel by the Pentagon as a ritual gift of fealty.) In America, we are offered instructions on how to sew a (probably useless) mask out of discarded T-shirts. MAGA!! Hospital directors fire nurses who buy their own equipment out of concern that they will be upstaged and exposed as the callous, profit obsessed bozos they are. Yet, we blind ourselves to the realities of other nations – because to do so is embarrassing, because our so-called leaders are protecting their behinds, and because we compulsively retain our dogmatic faith in American superiority.*

The readiness of executives to do anything necessary to protect against exposure of their own failures or illicit actions has become commonplace within our institutions. The current Corona crisis puts that reality into the headlines – as with the despicable act of the Pentagon in dismissing summarily Captain Brett Crozier whose petition made known that his superiors were prepared to sacrifice his crew's lives to the imperative of hiding their own errors. Is this notion that 'anything goes except accountability' any different from Harvard's studied silence about its embrace of Jeffrey Epstein or its abrupt sacking of a professor who dared reveal that the President was sweeping under the academic rug rampant sexual abuses? We all have personal experience of similar stories.

As to the Crozier scandal, let's be clear: it is not a matter of ethics alone, but also of ability to meet critical obligations. In the event that the country found itself at war against a serious enemy, it is a dangerous liability to have in positions of command people like Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (hack lobbyist for Raytheon and the Aerospace Industries Association ), Naval Secretary Thomas Motly – who missed his calling as a political commissar in the old Red Army, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Miley and Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday who both are testament to the Peter Principle that determines promotion in today's military. They would either be washed out in the wake of gross failures, or continue to be albatrosses dragging out pointless missions like the 17 bemedaled but clueless U.S. generals who have proven so useless in Afghanistan. As it is, they seem unable to keep their warships from slamming into inanimate objects in placid waters.

Here are Motly's last remarks before riding off to join corporate boards: "The men and women of the Department of the Navy deserve a continuity of civilian leadership befitting our great Republic, and the decisive naval force that secures our way of life he acknowledged that he "lost situational awareness" during his address to the Roosevelt's crew." "There is no excuse, but perhaps a glimpse of understanding, and hopefully empathy. I am deeply sorry for some of the words and for how they spread across the media landscape like a wildfire." (The New York Times – ever twisting its hat with eyes averted in the presence of intimidating Presidential authority – features a long letter from Motly justifying his actions, 4/7. Only 3, 1 Republican, 2 Democrats, protested Crozier's mistreatment. Among the silent chorus were the 22/23 aspirants to the Democratic nomination who bored us stiff for fifteen months with their unceasing calls for "LEADERSHIP!" 'Profiles In Courage' is not a best-seller at the Capitol. Even Dr. Fauce doesn't have a copy.

Absence of accountability is incompatible with good governance. That is especially true in democracies where accountability is ultimately downwards. In a country like China, where accountability is primarily upward, the circle can be squared by the occasional resort to putting some miscreant up against the wall. We don't have that luxury. Here, it is only the weak, the indigent and the naïve who need fear punishment – of any kind. The powerful and well-connected worry less about a last cigarette than about their first.

In compiling a list of factors that have contributed to the drastic decline in the performance of American institutions, this parochialism figures prominently among them. We put up with levels of dereliction matched in the developed world only by Britain. Think of the debate over Medicare-for-All and like proposals. As alluded to in an earlier commentary, the best national medical insurance systems (as confirmed by the WHO and other independent bodies) are in Western Europe, Canada and Japan – France topping the list. Yet, their expenditure on those systems is only 2/3 of what we pay for our own ramshackle non-system. That fact is ignored. Instead, the political class agonizes over the specious issue of whether we can afford it. Joe Biden has pledged to veto any such plan on grounds that it would cost $35 trillion – or whatever number has floated into his fog-bound mind. This lethal combination of ignorance, dogmatism and fidelity to special interests has come to be a hallmark of how we approach government and the meeting of collective needs.

A full treatment of the several intertwined, mutually reinforcing elements that have led us along the path of decline is well beyond the limits of a brief commentary. A few, though, do deserve to be mentioned for what – one hopes – might be future reference. One is the 'privatization ' craze. It has become the preferred method for transferring public assets to private profiteers. The effects are degraded services, the loss of expertise in public bodies, the exploitation of workers and the abandonment of intelligent planning (ventilators anyone?). With the COVID-19 affair, we've reached the ultimate privatization: the Federal Reserve has hired BlackRock to conduct its operations on the bond market as the central component of its $4 trillion Quantitative Easing strategy (BlackRock itself being the dominant player on that market). The same effects have been produced by the swarm of hedge funds and private equity who are parasites feeding on the prostrate host that is the real economy and its dependents. American society celebrates, and empowers, these critters. Then there are the ' consultants ' – the locust hordes which our culture designates as vital contributors to the good works of government, of business, of universities, of charities, of sports teams, of hospitals, of failing marriages, of the US Army that puts guns in their hands. They, too, add to the toll on public competence and collective services.

Another anecdote: the city of Austin, Texas has hired a consulting firm to advise them on designs for a reconfiguration of the street that runs in front of the University of Texas. Should the sidewalks be 8' wide or 10' wide? Curbed or uncurbed? With bicycle racks or without? These matters evidently are beyond the competence of the city government, and of the University's 3,000 strong expert faculty.

'My Kingdom for a tape measure!' How about a 69-cent face mask?

*Consider this. During WW II, the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond, CA – along with its 17 counterparts - were able to construct 2,710 Liberty ships between 1941 and 1945 (an average of three ships every two days), In other words, it took each yard just twelve days to put a ship in the water. That was the work of Rosie the Riveter and her colleagues. Today, we struggle to produce a few thousand $1 face masks - much less reliable COVID-19 test kits. Of course, back then the country was led by responsible adults – not the bunch of clods and delinquents we're stuck with nowadays.

Posted by b on April 17, 2020 at 14:00 UTC | Permalink


Walter , Apr 17 2020 14:27 utc | 3
Well and artfully crafted rant. I wish all rants were are cogent!

The picture sketched? It seems to be a detailed description of.."collapse".

Wally thinks of the coyote and roadrunner...coyote runs off cliff, but falls only when he realizes that the ground has collapsed under himself.

For the moment...people, like 'b', are looking down...

What's next? QED

"film at 11" they used to say...

Jose Garcia , Apr 17 2020 14:29 utc | 5
If this virus is not a nasty flu, then what is it? A plague? Similar in effect as the Black Death? Had 2 members of my family and a dear friend catch this thing. 2 of them suffered just 3 days of a fluctuating fever and cold symptoms. After that it disappeared. Only one, my aunt, in her early seventies, had to be put on a respirator. But is recovering well. Is it worth it to bring our economy to absolute devastation, where good people lose everything, end up destitute, having to live in the streets, with no where to go? \

And rely on bureaucrats, our government, whether state or federal, Democrat or Republican or Socialist, for their daily bread? What about people with severe mental health, who need to be away from home, need a job to maintain their stability, now with no work or money, will fall off the deep end, even commit suicide because they have no where to turn? Is it worth it ? Everything we've been doing? Why in other periods in history, with similar diseases, nothing was shut down as profoundly as being done these days, and life went on? People did die, not to mock their passing. But it brings me back. If not a nasty flu, is it worth it?

Seward , Apr 17 2020 14:30 utc | 6
Agree with #1. Our leader, as imperfect as he is, as we all are, is the only leader we have. If he fails to lead us through this crisis, we all fail. IMHO aside from occasional politic-ing, answering charges of one kind or another against him, often the opposite from day to day (e.g. one day he's trying to control everything, now he's abandoned control to the overwhelmed governors), is doing an acceptable job, considering the problems he;'s facing.
M , Apr 17 2020 14:33 utc | 7
Hello,

Couldn't agree more with Don in comment 1, the newfound lust for censorship and evangelism for official right think found here is disappointing, this seems no longer to be a place to ask questions and seek truth sincerely.

Thank you and good bye,

M

Trisha , Apr 17 2020 14:40 utc | 8
What is now obvious has for a long time been concealed: the U.S. is not a democracy, there is no such thing as a "free market", capitalism has proved incapable of meeting the most basic needs during a crisis, there are no leaders accountable to anyone other than our ruling oligarchs, the U.S. is anything but a "bastion of freedom", and most other nations have plenty of justifiable reasons to hate the U.S.

The only question remaining is how long will folks in the U.S. hide from these truths and do nothing about them?

gm , Apr 17 2020 14:43 utc | 9
@ Don Wills | Apr 17 2020 14:14 utc | 1

I agree this is ridiculous. Trump may be a lot of things, but the last thing he would EVER want to do/happen in this election year where was cruising along home-free, is to have this horrible pandemic blow up in front of him.

Also, he would NEVER have taken along and risked his entire family on a useless state visit to India where all they did was attend meaningless photo-op events and watch Indian kids dance the Hindi cha-cha.

Not even his chief of staff Mike Mulvaney went alond (unheard-of for CoS to not accompany a potus on official state visits).

This tells me Trump was (kept?) in the dark about true depth of pandemic risk brewing.

TG , Apr 17 2020 14:44 utc | 10
A fine rant. Well said.

An honest economist (back in the day when there actually were still a few) once said that the key to a nation is whether it ruled by an establishment, or an oligarchy.

An "establishment" is old-money connected etc., but has some sense of ownership and duty. An establishment is willing to forgo short-term profits in favor of long-term strength, because they expect that they or their heirs will be around to have a piece of it. "Establishment" leaders would be FDR, Eisenhower, DeGaulle, Bismarck, Lee Kuan Yew...

An [neoliberal] "oligarchy" has no interest in the long-term prosperity and strength of the nation - or perhaps, they simply have no faith in it. They are motivated to strip-mine the nation of all wealth while it lasts, because if they don't someone else will. They can live in walled compounds and go to private doctors, and if it all falls apart they can just gather up their loot and sail away on their yachts.

bevin , Apr 17 2020 14:45 utc | 11
Very good. I particularly liked:" ..We put up with levels of dereliction matched in the developed world only by Britain..."

See below link for example https://www.rt.com/op-ed/486065-uk-care-homes-disregard/

As to Jose Garcia@5 any decent community would do all that it could to save the lives of its members.

krypton , Apr 17 2020 14:48 utc | 12

For Trump, Brenner can thank the silver-tongued Obama and his murderous secretary of state, both of whom are worst kind of liars - the kind that tell people what they want to hear while doing the opposite.
Eighthman , Apr 17 2020 14:59 utc | 14
Thank you for posting this. The US seems to be like coming to your home and finding Bigfoot seated in a living room chair - with no one expressing any surprise or even interest in his presence.

After all the agony and hysteria surrounding the election of Trump for 3 years, they will nominate an elderly warmonger with obvious signs of dementia, who can't seem to keep his hands off women in a creepy fashion - as the alternative. It's as if there was a contest on how extreme a "lesser of two evils" can get. Tack on Covid and financial ruin. It's astounding.

The only positives I can find are evidence that the elite aren't totally in control ( or there would be no Biden or Trump running) AND that the US is too big and dominant to collapse anytime soon - a sort of geo-political inertia. Same goes for the dollar, even if they turn it into high grade toilet paper.

Susan , Apr 17 2020 15:00 utc | 15
This is the first time I have commented on your site but read daily. This is one of the best reads I have seen. It defines the failure of the country so clearly, to bad Don was unable to hear the criticism of his fearless leader and move beyond it. This failure has long roots and the writer nails it. I remember a few years back sitting down with our commissioner and having her explain to us why they were getting nothing done. city and state moneys were lower and the federal government that had always provided grants no longer did. This was under Obummer.

The long strip mining of the US and the rest of the world by the elite should have made itself completely obvious under trump but I am beginning to think that we humans are no more than a plague upon the earth. We seem to be so intent on sticking to our team the Rs or Ds we are no different then sports fans, who's obsessed behavior and willingness to spend thousands to watch sports is mind boggling, when often the same people bitch about teachers pay.

Or during the healthcare debates I went to hear the town hall that my congressmen had. 2000 people showed up most screaming about Obama and free hand outs. The 2000 people where mostly over 65, and in this case military so all these people had theirs but didn't think their own kids or grandkids should have medical care.. what the hell! The Republican Party built the montra of evil government well and the Democratic Party used it the build up the pentagon to the point it takes over 70% of the discretionary budget, to slaughter people in 3rd world countries so we can strip mine them or threaten Russia and China . The virus shows one thing the elites have lots of money to build military stuff that they fleece , so what we have is crap. What the poor soldiers in this country are is fodder for the wealthy.

oglalla , Apr 17 2020 15:06 utc | 17
lol. - Some partisans mount a partisan defense of Trump. I didn't know such incredibly partisan dummies read MoA. You guys are more than welcome to leave.
foolisholdman , Apr 17 2020 15:11 utc | 18
Something occurred to me this afternoon.

Thinking about the Covid-19, it occurred to me that the governments of the UK, the USA, of Canada and probably many other countries that have had biological warfare labs have all said to their people "We have to do this research because the USSR, the Russians The Chinese, The North Koreans or thr Terrorists may use biological/chemical weapons against us and WE MUST BE PREPARED!!. If they were telling the truth they should have been well prepared as they have spent billions on this research. So, now we can see they were lying because, THERE WAS NO PREPARATION WHEN IT WAS NEEDED? Precisely NONE!

Come this epidemic and what do we see? What we see is that at least the UK government, the US government and the Canadian government were lying. It is quite clear that they were NOT expecting to be attacked. How do I know they were not expecting to be attacked? They had NO stores of hand sanitizer, NO stores of masks, NO goggles, NO stores of PPE, No factories for making any of them. NO troops of Bio/Chem warfare soldiers ready to spring into action and NO PLANS, as far as I can see. Are we to assume that if they were attacked by, say, the Russians, they were going to rely on the Chinese to supply them? (Sarcasm!)

The Chinese government which may or may not be developing biological weapons, (I have no way of knowing) obviously, was relatively well prepared. This is hardly surprising; as they think they have been under biological attack, on and off since the Korean war when they were so attacked. They had factories making the kit they needed and it took only days to ramp up production and get other factories to join in. They had medical troops who were trained and ready to take an important part in controlling the outbreak. They had plans that enabled them to build hospitals for mass intensive care in a matter of days and (I would imagine) plans to turn other structures into holding areas for less serious cases. It also looks as though they had either very versatile organizers or well laid plans for feeding and monitoring people under lock down.

Et Tu , Apr 17 2020 15:15 utc | 19
@ Don Wills,

You may understandably reject criticism to Your chosen party of faith, but i believe the essence of his message was not about partisanship, rather an honest appraisal of the current sad state of affairs, which, if you had bothered reading further, was just as scathing about Obama et al. as it was about your beloved Stable Genius.

I'm afraid your choice to not read further was a far stronger statement of partisanship than anything the author laid out. Your loss, and ours too.

Jackrabbit , Apr 17 2020 15:17 utc | 20
TPTB channel all dissatisfaction in USA into partisan politics where it can be managed, and ultimately dismissed or diffused.

This rant plays into that game. Only a genuine Movement for democracy (like Yellow Vests in France) will change anything.

!!

Bemildred , Apr 17 2020 15:22 utc | 21
Posted by: foolisholdman | Apr 17 2020 15:11 utc | 19

Yep, exactly. What they have is the CCP, an army that can be called on command, which thinks it's job is to govern, not just get paid extra. And legitimacy, the Chinese people accept their governing, mostly, because they try to do a good job. It's like all this unity bullshit they feed us here (see above), but it's real.

Goldhoarder , Apr 17 2020 15:24 utc | 22
Lol. Trump has under 4 years working for the federal gov. It isn't his system. It is the typical repugs and dingbats system. He is an idiot for leaving his cushy life to join these idiots. It certainly doesn't speak well of his judgement. The people who work there and the people he has hired... Pompeo, Bolton, Esper, etc have worked there for decades. Bolton is an especially rotten character that seems to just keep popping up.

If Trump did win another term I wouldnt be surprised to see him back. Remember when that nutjob from Israel that delights in murdering defenseless people came over and gave a speech to Congress? He received an enthusiastic standing ovation. What more needs to be investigated or discussed? It needs to fail and the people will have to suffer in order for more responsible leadership to emerge. The US has waged war on the people of Iraq for 30 fucking years.

Everytime the system is about to collapse from its own corruption they just create more money and threaten other countries with destruction if they attempt to divorce themselves from the IMF "global" economy. The idea that the empire exists to help the average citizen is insane and rather childish thinking. The empire exists to maintain power, control, and a dominant position. By the way... during all this crazyness has anybody bothered to follow what is going on with US/China trade? There was a much publicized 1st stage agreement over the easy issues but CNN warned it might collapse putting the global economy at severe risk. Has the US lost billions of dollars worth of economic inputs the last couple months? What is the USA going to look like if that continues? Without China propping up the US economy the US will have to rely on its own resources. As you mention the US cant produce N95 masks let alone coronavirus test kits. Testing might allow the powers that be to not feel frightened about coming into contact with the drooling masses. They might let us out of our cages so we can start foraging for food.

bevin , Apr 17 2020 15:31 utc | 24
Entirely predictable, (knee jerk motion, robotic) Jackrabbit@22.

Your real objection to this, extremely reasonable, statement:

" ...They even corrupted the Center for Disease Control. Its leaders, evidently eager to curry favor with the madman in the Oval Office, gave its stamp of approval to the unproven – and dangerous drug HYDROXYCHLOROQUINE that Trump's been promoting as the Silver Bullet to cure Covid-19. (April 4-6) Luckily, saner heads prevailed, or a conscience was pricked, and these panting spaniels withdrew the recommendation from their website..."

It is an indication of your general irresponsibility, also exemplified in your casual use of the internet to give, potentially dangerous, medical advice, that you pretend to be dissenting from Brenner because he critiques government. You imply that by doing so he is urging people to support one or other political party. In fact his is a comprehensive critique of the entire political system, whose purpose, for 230+ years has been to prevent the people from governing themselves.

It is a pity to see those tireless and sincere campaigners the Yellow Vests of France drafted into an argument for apathy and defeatism.

james , Apr 17 2020 15:39 utc | 26
thanks michael... i can apply some of these ideas directly to other countries.. i don't care for the usa centric world point view, but i am sure many readers will get into it.. i would like to emphasize a key point you make - accountability, and how there is none.. that to me is the number uno issue in the world today and it is very stark with regard to the usa - accountability... of course obama kicked that concept down the road too... no accountability.. it sucks big time.. we need it desperately...
John , Apr 17 2020 15:42 utc | 27
Okay... he's not a psychoapath, Don. I'll settle malignant sociopathic narcissist, which means by definition and demonstration that he would not know empathy were it to leap up and smack him in the face. Liar? We can soften that too. He is a serial fantasists living in the worlds he creates and like a spoiled child demands, raging when his wishes are not instantly gratified.

His dictatorial moments would be familiar to anyone who ever worked at his jumped up mom 'n pop real estate shop. His blustering, bullying, blaming, bragging, bloviating, and berating are on display each day now at the late afternoon campaign commercial live-from-the-White-House. He's all yours Don.

Martin , Apr 17 2020 15:54 utc | 30
Hey everyone.. not sure how to start

When I was young I was always looking up for US, don't know why, maybe I have been fascinated by a culture, lifestyle, innovations.. when I got older and started to read about what actually happens in the world, I realized that US is not what it seemed to be anymore and I think its just getting worse..

Im not speaking about regular people, of course not, they have worries, goes thru hardships in life, same as me here in Europe.. Basically, no matter if is there Trump, Obama, Bush, Biden, Hillary or Easter Bunny.. your government to its core is really sick..

Everytime i read about decision US made, how is profit driven at expense of regular people, its a disgrace.. and more and more people in the world can see it.. just Trump himself exposed more the whole thing, chaotic, selfish, rude and arrogant government, not ashamed of anything.

I wish you all.. you good and smart people of the US, to win this struggle, get back on track and have a better future, god bless you in your fight.

[Apr 17, 2020] The WHO provided validated working test kits on 16th of January. The USA botched the delopyment due to CDC incompetence and NIH syndrom

Highly recommended!
The USA government was paralyzed by Ukrainegate and impeachment in January.
Notable quotes:
"... Another factor was that any real measures against the virus were a huge blow to the neoliberal globalization and the USA as the central force that pushed neoliberal globalization was vary to implement them. ..."
"... Pentagon treatment of the USS Theodor Roosevelt epidemic was worse than incompetent because clearly, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of looking into the core problem, they decided to find a scapegoat. Why they did not react as soon as problems on Diamond Princess surfaced are unclear to me. They failed even to provide masks. That's simply incredible. I think a bunch of perfumed princes of Pentagon needs to be fired. I wonder what is the situation on submarines. ..."
Apr 17, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Ulenspiegel | 17 April 2020 at 07:18 AM
The WHO provided validated working test kits on 16th of January.

Even if I am not happy with the Chinese policy overall, the main problem in most advanced western countries was and still is that the response of the governments are often poor:

  1. Not implementing a coherent communication strategy. It does not make sense when one minister tells that the virus situation is an real issue and another minister tell you at the same time that everything is not so bad.
  2. Downplaying the infection numbers for domestical political reasons. Complete lack of understanding of an exponential function or more precise the combination of an virus operating on an exponential function, while the own resources are more or less a constant.
  3. Too late start of testing, be it a result of faulty administrative structures, rooky mistakes during test kit development or combination of both.

Fighting a virus is like warfare on the operational level, you start with incomplete information, but have to make important decisions, time is a very important resource, lost time is almost impossible to regain.

likbez , 17 April 2020 at 12:22 PM

@Ulenspiegel | 17 April 2020 at 07:18 AM

Fighting a virus is like warfare on the operational level, you start with incomplete information, but have to make important decisions, time is a very important resource, lost time is almost impossible to regain.
Very true. But we should not forget the role of Pelosi in this mess: Trump administration was partially paralyzed in January by impeachment proceedings. She acted like the fifth column in this respect.

Another factor was that any real measures against the virus were a huge blow to the neoliberal globalization and the USA as the central force that pushed neoliberal globalization was vary to implement them.

IMHO, Trump demonstrated some level of courage by closing flights from China on Jan 31. I guess pressure to postpone this measure further was tremendous. But they missed the time, and it was too late.

3) Too late start of testing, be it a result of faulty administrative structures, rooky mistakes during test kit development, or a combination of both.
That's true, and the CDC needs to be investigated for this blunder. But also implementing social distancing measures and the obligatory wearing of masks in large cities was completely botched.

Retired persons can be quarantined without a major blow to the economy. And that should have been done first. The nursing homes are starkly vulnerable to the coronavirus. It was clear from the beginning. That means that the medical personnel in them need to be provided with full protection gear and isolated with patients. That was not done. On the contrary, they became hotspots that spread the disease.

Treatment of medical personnel, who along with patients in nursing homes are the most vulnerable category, was abysmal. No free hotel stay (for those without children), no special transportation and free meals were provided for them. Even basic protection equipment was absent in home hospitals until late March.

The USA did not have strategic storage of masks and, which is more important, equipment to make them and materials from which they are made. That was a big blunder for which previous administrations also share responsibility.

Pentagon treatment of the USS Theodor Roosevelt epidemic was worse than incompetent because clearly, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Instead of looking into the core problem, they decided to find a scapegoat. Why they did not react as soon as problems on Diamond Princess surfaced are unclear to me. They failed even to provide masks. That's simply incredible. I think a bunch of perfumed princes of Pentagon needs to be fired. I wonder what is the situation on submarines.

[Apr 13, 2020] Eisenhower: we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite

Apr 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Pft , Apr 13 2020 2:42 utc | 103

A few Easter musings.

No church on Easter for the faithful. The illuminati must feel like they are in heaven. Their goal of achieving a godless society is in reach. Well, not exactly godless since they think the elites among them have a mission to become like God, as man was made in Gods image for the purpose of knowing himself through man. We shall all worship God, which are our elites, and the priests of this Man-God religion are technocratic scientists. Some call it scientism or gnosticism or transhumanism

The idea is to transhumanistly "upgrade" humanity, create an Internet of Us, and to geocybernically control the processes of the earth system (this is known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4IR)

Capitalism. How strange so many here recognize the evils of Bad capitalism, more properly defined as Monopoly Capitalism, or Neoliberalism to distinguish it from good Capitalism -which is competitive capitalism well regulated in the interests of society as a whole, with a dash of socialism and monopoly (state or private) capitalism in certain industries as needed.

When we talk of Bad Capitalism of the sort Marx no doubt had in mind, we must look back and recall something Marx never envisioned, perhaps because it was a reaction to the globalist socialist theories he espoused. That was Mussolini's and then later Hitlers National Socialism, or economic Fascism. This was more accurately defined as a public private partnership (P3) that is so often referred to by the Gates funded WOrld Economic Forum and those talking about UN Sustainable Development Projects, and has become a religion of sorts in the West and also in China (more about that in a separate comment when I have time) and is really the essence of todays neoliberalism (not the propaganda you read about neoliberalism from its supporters)

Back in the 30's Mussolini's economic fascism was greatly admired by the Capitalists of that day, even FDR who has been mislabelled as socialist and anti-capitalist despite coming from the financial elite (much like Trump who is mislabelled as nationalist snd antiestablishment despite being a globalist and financial elite in private life).

Indeed just before and after Hitler took over in Germany with his partnership with German companies - the Capitalists in the US and UK/France rushed in via cartel agreements with German companies to invest and transfer technology. FDR did little to stop this.

FDR if we recall was the father of NRA which was his first priority after confiscating the peoples gold and devaluing the dollar. Fortunately his fascist NRA economy was struck down by the Supreme Court only to later reemerge during WWII. This is when P3 really crystallized in the US although it would take decades to morph into todays beast, and required another Pearl Harbor to gain acceptance for the purpose of keeping us safe from Islamic Terrorism and now the virus terrorists

One might argue that the difference between Mussolini's and Hitlers P3 and today is the government was the dominant power then, and today its at best an equal partner or more likely dominated by the corporate side (in China the private ownership is largely in the hands of the party elite as individuals and not the state which serves to subsidize their enterprises while socializing losses and privatizing profits-like the West) . Those in government, after public retirement go on to lucrative employment on the private side as their reward. Regulatory agencies are all captured by the private side of this public private partnership

This is apparent in many industries. Many of you see it with Military, intelligence and homeland security, Big Tech/Data, finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE), etc.

However, when it comes to Medical -Pharma Industry and other "science" based industries like the Climate Industry you are blinded by scientism promoted by the MSM spinmeisters supporting the Green-Virus Globalist Agenda. Yet both of these industries are driven by Public Private Partnerships to achieve Global Capitalist and Global Government Control objectives.

As Eisenhower said in his 1961 exit speech where he warned of the dangers of the MIC he also said "we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

So looking specifically at the actors involved in the latest Pandemic, and one sees many of them are the same players behind the Climate Terror Industry, one sees a tremendous amount of collaboration between Big Pharma, UN agencies, national health agencies, military, academia and tax free philanthropic foundations (Gates, Rockefeller, etc).

Government funds basic science via military and health/science agencies to search for new viruses or enhancing known viruses with gain of function research, that Big Pharma then exploits to develop vaccines with government and philanthropic funds in the event such viruses are released. All kinds of money gets spent in preparing for a pandemic, stockpiling supplies , medicines, vaccines in advance of a pandemic, studying ways to control people once a pandemic arrives, and studying more ways to control people to prevent another pandemic (digital id, health certificates, mandatory vaccines) . When a pandemic does arrive, all those exercises and simulations (Crimson Orange, Event 201, Dark Winter, etc) pay off, trillions of dollars are unleashed out of thin air thanks to the Fed Reserve and handed out to the private partners.

Disaster Capitalism at its finest, public private partnership working toward total control of people and earning plenty of money while doing so. Companies having nothing to do with the Pandemic but affected (Airlines, hotels) , some of which are already in trouble (Boeing) are bailed out. Small business owners get crushed.


[Apr 13, 2020] Yes Trump truly fumbled the ball on the response but he isn't the only one solely responsible for how many people have gotten sick and have died.

Apr 13, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump failed to respond. But in January and February, it was clear coronavirus would hit NY. Cuomo and de Blasio could have instituted full lockdowns by early March when first cases appeared. Meanwhile, Washington State and California moved more quickly and saved many lives.

-- Ross Barkan (@RossBarkan) April 11, 2020

pic.twitter.com/X7pVPmrBTL

-- ragonepr (@ragonepr) April 11, 2020

Countless other state governors didn't close things down as quickly as Newsom in California and other governors. Florida let spring break go one and once finished no state put kids in quarantine. The blame for this response falls on many shoulders. And the lack of response is hiding the biggest transfer of wealth in history. Not here of course. As usual the blue blog has been on top of most issues and way ahead of others.

I'm very concerned about how this country will look once it's open again. I think it's going to be unrecognizable because of how many businesses will have permanently closed down and how many people will stay unemployed. Lots of businesses are going to be bought out at Fire sale prices by those who got all the money. Like usual. Workers desperate for a job might have to take less than minimum wage cuz of the demand for jobs. But whoboy congress better be thinking about that or they will be in for a big surprise. OWS will look like just a warmup for what might be coming.

Hospitals have been closed down for decades or been asset stripped after they were bought out by hedge funds. Obama and Biden didn't replenish the supplies for epidemics after they dealt with the H1N1 flu. Blame goes to both parties and especially their embrace of neoliberalism.

He's thinking of reopening the country. Hardily and bigly.

"I don't know that I've had a bigger decision. But I'm going to surround myself with the greatest minds. Not only the greatest minds, but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason," Trump told reporters.

Trump's labor leader doesn't want people to get used to being on government assistance and is trying to restrict who can get unemployment benefits and for how long. Now it takes brass balls for little Anthony Scalia to say that to desperate people after the corrupt and especially the banks have gotten trillions! This guy should be embarrassed to show his face in public ever again. But he isn't.

up 25 users have voted. --

"I will be the best, the best, you know, you know the thing!"

- Joe Biden

Roy Blakeley on Sat, 04/11/2020 - 10:57pm

The CDC blew the test kits as well

@snoopydawg They decided to go with their own unnecessarily complex kit instead of going with the Qiagen kit or some variant (RT-PCR is a pretty routine procedure in labs). They initially stuck with the influenza model of having the samples sent to Atlanta for analysis. This is fine if you are just monitoring the flu, but useless for trying to stop a pandemic. Tens of thousands of people in the US have died and will die unnecessarily.

but he isn't the only one solely responsible for how many people have gotten sick and have died.

Trump failed to respond. But in January and February, it was clear coronavirus would hit NY. Cuomo and de Blasio could have instituted full lockdowns by early March when first cases appeared. Meanwhile, Washington State and California moved more quickly and saved many lives.

-- Ross Barkan (@RossBarkan) April 11, 2020

pic.twitter.com/X7pVPmrBTL

-- ragonepr (@ragonepr) April 11, 2020

Countless other state governors didn't close things down as quickly as Newsom in California and other governors. Florida let spring break go one and once finished no state put kids in quarantine. The blame for this response falls on many shoulders. And the lack of response is hiding the biggest transfer of wealth in history. Not here of course. As usual the blue blog has been on top of most issues and way ahead of others.

I'm very concerned about how this country will look once it's open again. I think it's going to be unrecognizable because of how many businesses will have permanently closed down and how many people will stay unemployed. Lots of businesses are going to be bought out at Fire sale prices by those who got all the money. Like usual. Workers desperate for a job might have to take less than minimum wage cuz of the demand for jobs. But whoboy congress better be thinking about that or they will be in for a big surprise. OWS will look like just a warmup for what might be coming.

Hospitals have been closed down for decades or been asset stripped after they were bought out by hedge funds. Obama and Biden didn't replenish the supplies for epidemics after they dealt with the H1N1 flu. Blame goes to both parties and especially their embrace of neoliberalism.

He's thinking of reopening the country. Hardily and bigly.

"I don't know that I've had a bigger decision. But I'm going to surround myself with the greatest minds. Not only the greatest minds, but the greatest minds in numerous different businesses, including the business of politics and reason," Trump told reporters.

Trump's labor leader doesn't want people to get used to being on government assistance and is trying to restrict who can get unemployment benefits and for how long. Now it takes brass balls for little Anthony Scalia to say that to desperate people after the corrupt and especially the banks have gotten trillions! This guy should be embarrassed to show his face in public ever again. But he isn't.

[Apr 13, 2020] He Could Have Seen What Was Coming Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus by Eric Lipton , David E. Sanger at all

This is a case study of bureaucratic incompetence, when conflicting institutions and agenda paralyze any efforts. Trump incompetence is only the tip of the iceberg. the whole Deep State proved to be too rigid to properly react to the epidemic, because each measure looked too drastic until it was late to implement it. and then it was implemented anyway. One effect of any large bureaucracy is that rare oasises of reliable and timely information that exist are to be suppressed. and this is not Trump fault. This is iron logic of any large bureaucracy.
What is interesting is that the epidemic is localized in few hot spots with the largest being New York metropolitan areas. So governments could took measures immediately even without federal government prompting them. And that would be much better that nationwide shutdown. And FBI and CIA have the local governments in pocket anyway (this is a national security state, not something else after all). So where was the CIA boss when we needed her ? Or she is just capable of running Russiagate gaslighting operation type of operations? CIA honchos used to have audacity to launch the efforts to depose Trump. Can we believe that they can't bypass Trump when they need to?
Notable quotes:
"... The National Security Council office responsible for tracking pandemics received intelligence reports in early January predicting the spread of the virus to the United States, and within weeks was raising options like keeping Americans home from work and shutting down cities the size of Chicago. Mr. Trump would avoid such steps until March. ..."
"... Despite Mr. Trump's denial weeks later, he was told at the time about a Jan. 29 memo produced by his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, laying out in striking detail the potential risks of a coronavirus pandemic: as many as half a million deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses. ..."
"... By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration's public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences. ..."
"... It was becoming apparent that the administration had botched the rollout of testing to track the virus at home, and a smaller-scale surveillance program intended to piggyback on a federal flu tracking system had also been stillborn. ..."
"... A 20-year-old Chinese woman had infected five relatives with the virus even though she never displayed any symptoms herself. The implication was grave -- apparently healthy people could be unknowingly spreading the virus -- and supported the need to move quickly to mitigation. ..."
"... These final days of February, perhaps more than any other moment during his tenure in the White House, illustrated Mr. Trump's inability or unwillingness to absorb warnings coming at him. He instead reverted to his traditional political playbook in the midst of a public health calamity, squandering vital time as the coronavirus spread silently across the country. ..."
"... Over nearly three weeks from Feb. 26 to March 16, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States grew from 15 to 4,226. ..."
"... The earliest warnings about coronavirus got caught in the crosscurrents of the administration's internal disputes over China. It was the China hawks who pushed earliest for a travel ban. But their animosity toward China also undercut hopes for a more cooperative approach by the world's two leading powers to a global crisis. ..."
Apr 11, 2020 | www.nytimes.com

By Eric Lipton , David E. Sanger , Maggie Haberman , Michael D. Shear , Mark Mazzetti and Julian E. Barnes

An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

"Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion," President Trump said last month. He has repeatedly said that no one could have seen the effects of the coronavirus coming. Credit... Erin Schaff/The

WASHINGTON -- "Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad," a senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. "The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe."

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing -- a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives -- Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation's public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.

"You guys made fun of me screaming to close the schools," he wrote to the group, which called itself "Red Dawn," an inside joke based on the 1984 movie about a band of Americans trying to save the country after a foreign invasion. "Now I'm screaming, close the colleges and universities."

His was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government -- from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies -- identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.

Even after Mr. Trump took his first concrete action at the end of January -- limiting travel from China -- public health often had to compete with economic and political considerations in internal debates, slowing the path toward belated decisions to seek more money from Congress, obtain necessary supplies, address shortfalls in testing and ultimately move to keep much of the nation at home.

Unfolding as it did in the wake of his impeachment by the House and in the midst of his Senate trial, Mr. Trump's response was colored by his suspicion of and disdain for what he viewed as the "Deep State" -- the very people in his government whose expertise and long experience might have guided him more quickly toward steps that would slow the virus, and likely save lives.

Decision-making was also complicated by a long-running dispute inside the administration over how to deal with China. The virus at first took a back seat to a desire not to upset Beijing during trade talks, but later the impulse to score points against Beijing left the world's two leading powers further divided as they confronted one of the first truly global threats of the 21st century.

The shortcomings of Mr. Trump's performance have played out with remarkable transparency as part of his daily effort to dominate television screens and the national conversation.

But dozens of interviews with current and former officials and a review of emails and other records revealed many previously unreported details and a fuller picture of the roots and extent of his halting response as the deadly virus spread:

When Mr. Trump finally agreed in mid-March to recommend social distancing across the country, effectively bringing much of the economy to a halt, he seemed shellshocked and deflated to some of his closest associates. One described him as "subdued" and "baffled" by how the crisis had played out. An economy that he had wagered his re-election on was suddenly in shambles.

He only regained his swagger, the associate said, from conducting his daily White House briefings, at which he often seeks to rewrite the history of the past several months. He declared at one point that he "felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic," and insisted at another that he had to be a "cheerleader for the country," as if that explained why he failed to prepare the public for what was coming.

Mr. Trump's allies and some administration officials say the criticism has been unfair. The Chinese government misled other governments, they say. And they insist that the president was either not getting proper information, or the people around him weren't conveying the urgency of the threat. In some cases, they argue, the specific officials he was hearing from had been discredited in his eyes, but once the right information got to him through other channels, he made the right calls.

"While the media and Democrats refused to seriously acknowledge this virus in January and February, President Trump took bold action to protect Americans and unleash the full power of the federal government to curb the spread of the virus, expand testing capacities and expedite vaccine development even when we had no true idea the level of transmission or asymptomatic spread," said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.

There were key turning points along the way, opportunities for Mr. Trump to get ahead of the virus rather than just chase it. There were internal debates that presented him with stark choices, and moments when he could have chosen to ask deeper questions and learn more. How he handled them may shape his re-election campaign. They will certainly shape his legacy.

The Containment Illusion

By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration's public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences.

When Dr. Robert Kadlec, the top disaster response official at the Health and Human Services Department, convened the White House coronavirus task force on Feb. 21, his agenda was urgent. There were deep cracks in the administration's strategy for keeping the virus out of the United States. They were going to have to lock down the country to prevent it from spreading. The question was: When?

There had already been an alarming spike in new cases around the world and the virus was spreading across the Middle East. It was becoming apparent that the administration had botched the rollout of testing to track the virus at home, and a smaller-scale surveillance program intended to piggyback on a federal flu tracking system had also been stillborn.

In Washington, the president was not worried, predicting that by April, "when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away." His White House had yet to ask Congress for additional funding to prepare for the potential cost of wide-scale infection across the country, and health care providers were growing increasingly nervous about the availability of masks, ventilators and other equipment.

What Mr. Trump decided to do next could dramatically shape the course of the pandemic -- and how many people would get sick and die.

With that in mind, the task force had gathered for a tabletop exercise -- a real-time version of a full-scale war gaming of a flu pandemic the administration had run the previous year. That earlier exercise , also conducted by Mr. Kadlec and called "Crimson Contagion," predicted 110 million infections , 7.7 million hospitalizations and 586,000 deaths following a hypothetical outbreak that started in China.

Facing the likelihood of a real pandemic, the group needed to decide when to abandon "containment" -- the effort to keep the virus outside the U.S. and to isolate anyone who gets infected -- and embrace "mitigation" to thwart the spread of the virus inside the country until a vaccine becomes available.

Among the questions on the agenda, which was reviewed by The New York Times, was when the department's secretary, Mr. Azar, should recommend that Mr. Trump take textbook mitigation measures "such as school dismissals and cancellations of mass gatherings," which had been identified as the next appropriate step in a Bush-era pandemic plan .

The exercise was sobering. The group -- including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci of the National Institutes of Health; Dr. Robert R. Redfield of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Mr. Azar, who at that stage was leading the White House Task Force -- concluded they would soon need to move toward aggressive social distancing, even at the risk of severe disruption to the nation's economy and the daily lives of millions of Americans.

If Dr. Kadlec had any doubts, they were erased two days later, when he stumbled upon an email from a researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who was among the group of academics, government physicians and infectious diseases doctors who had spent weeks tracking the outbreak in the Red Dawn email chain.

A 20-year-old Chinese woman had infected five relatives with the virus even though she never displayed any symptoms herself. The implication was grave -- apparently healthy people could be unknowingly spreading the virus -- and supported the need to move quickly to mitigation.

"Is this true?!" Dr. Kadlec wrote back to the researcher. "If so we have a huge whole on our screening and quarantine effort," including a typo where he meant hole. Her response was blunt: "People are carrying the virus everywhere."

The following day, Dr. Kadlec and the others decided to present Mr. Trump with a plan titled "Four Steps to Mitigation," telling the president that they needed to begin preparing Americans for a step rarely taken in United States history.

But over the next several days, a presidential blowup and internal turf fights would sidetrack such a move. The focus would shift to messaging and confident predictions of success rather than publicly calling for a shift to mitigation.

These final days of February, perhaps more than any other moment during his tenure in the White House, illustrated Mr. Trump's inability or unwillingness to absorb warnings coming at him. He instead reverted to his traditional political playbook in the midst of a public health calamity, squandering vital time as the coronavirus spread silently across the country.

Dr. Kadlec's group wanted to meet with the president right away, but Mr. Trump was on a trip to India, so they agreed to make the case to him in person as soon as he returned two days later. If they could convince him of the need to shift strategy, they could immediately begin a national education campaign aimed at preparing the public for the new reality.

A memo dated Feb. 14, prepared in coordination with the National Security Council and titled "U.S. Government Response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus," documented what more drastic measures would look like, including: "significantly limiting public gatherings and cancellation of almost all sporting events, performances, and public and private meetings that cannot be convened by phone. Consider school closures. Widespread 'stay at home' directives from public and private organizations with nearly 100% telework for some."

The memo did not advocate an immediate national shutdown, but said the targeted use of "quarantine and isolation measures" could be used to slow the spread in places where "sustained human-to-human transmission" is evident.

Within 24 hours, before they got a chance to make their presentation to the president, the plan went awry.

Mr. Trump was walking up the steps of Air Force One to head home from India on Feb. 25 when Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, publicly issued the blunt warning they had all agreed was necessary. But Dr. Messonnier had jumped the gun. They had not told the president yet, much less gotten his consent.

On the 18-hour plane ride home, Mr. Trump fumed as he watched the stock market crash after Dr. Messonnier's comments. Furious, he called Mr. Azar when he landed at around 6 a.m. on Feb. 26, raging that Dr. Messonnier had scared people unnecessarily. Already on thin ice with the president over a variety of issues and having overseen the failure to quickly produce an effective and widely available test, Mr. Azar would soon find his authority reduced.

The meeting that evening with Mr. Trump to advocate social distancing was canceled, replaced by a news conference in which the president announced that the White House response would be put under the command of Vice President Mike Pence.

The push to convince Mr. Trump of the need for more assertive action stalled. With Mr. Pence and his staff in charge, the focus was clear: no more alarmist messages. Statements and media appearances by health officials like Dr. Fauci and Dr. Redfield would be coordinated through Mr. Pence's office. It would be more than three weeks before Mr. Trump would announce serious social distancing efforts, a lost period during which the spread of the virus accelerated rapidly.

Over nearly three weeks from Feb. 26 to March 16, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States grew from 15 to 4,226. Since then, nearly half a million Americans have tested positive for the virus and authorities say hundreds of thousands more are likely infected. The China Factor

The earliest warnings about coronavirus got caught in the crosscurrents of the administration's internal disputes over China. It was the China hawks who pushed earliest for a travel ban. But their animosity toward China also undercut hopes for a more cooperative approach by the world's two leading powers to a global crisis.

It was early January, and the call with a Hong Kong epidemiologist left Matthew Pottinger rattled.

Mr. Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser and a hawk on China, took a blunt warning away from the call with the doctor, a longtime friend: A ferocious, new outbreak that on the surface appeared similar to the SARS epidemic of 2003 had emerged in China. It had spread far more quickly than the government was admitting to, and it wouldn't be long before it reached other parts of the world.

Mr. Pottinger had worked as a Wall Street Journal correspondent in Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic, and was still scarred by his experience documenting the death spread by that highly contagious virus.

Now, seventeen years later, his friend had a blunt message: You need to be ready. The virus, he warned, which originated in the city of Wuhan, was being transmitted by people who were showing no symptoms -- an insight that American health officials had not yet accepted. Mr. Pottinger declined through a spokesman to comment.

It was one of the earliest warnings to the White House, and it echoed the intelligence reports making their way to the National Security Council. While most of the early assessments from the C.I.A. had little more information than was available publicly, some of the more specialized corners of the intelligence world were producing sophisticated and chilling warnings.

In a report to the director of national intelligence, the State Department's epidemiologist wrote in early January that the virus was likely to spread across the globe, and warned that the coronavirus could develop into a pandemic. Working independently, a small outpost of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Center for Medical Intelligence, came to the same conclusion. Within weeks after getting initial information about the virus early in the year, biodefense experts inside the National Security Council, looking at what was happening in Wuhan, started urging officials to think about what would be needed to quarantine a city the size of Chicago.

By mid-January there was growing evidence of the virus spreading outside China. Mr. Pottinger began convening daily meetings about the coronavirus. He alerted his boss, Robert C. O'Brien, the national security adviser.

The early alarms sounded by Mr. Pottinger and other China hawks were freighted with ideology -- including a push to publicly blame China that critics in the administration say was a distraction as the coronavirus spread to Western Europe and eventually the United States.

And they ran into opposition from Mr. Trump's economic advisers, who worried a tough approach toward China could scuttle a trade deal that was a pillar of Mr. Trump's re-election campaign.

With his skeptical -- some might even say conspiratorial -- view of China's ruling Communist Party, Mr. Pottinger initially suspected that President Xi Jinping's government was keeping a dark secret: that the virus may have originated in one of the laboratories in Wuhan studying deadly pathogens. In his view, it might have even been a deadly accident unleashed on an unsuspecting Chinese population.

During meetings and telephone calls, Mr. Pottinger asked intelligence agencies -- including officers at the C.I.A. working on Asia and on weapons of mass destruction -- to search for evidence that might bolster his theory.

They didn't have any evidence. Intelligence agencies did not detect any alarm inside the Chinese government that analysts presumed would accompany the accidental leak of a deadly virus from a government laboratory. But Mr. Pottinger continued to believe the coronavirus problem was far worse than the Chinese were acknowledging. Inside the West Wing, the director of the Domestic Policy Council, Joe Grogan, also tried to sound alarms that the threat from China was growing.

Mr. Pottinger, backed by Mr. O'Brien, became one of the driving forces of a campaign in the final weeks of January to convince Mr. Trump to impose limits on travel from China -- the first substantive step taken to impede the spread of the virus and one that the president has repeatedly cited as evidence that he was on top of the problem.

In addition to the opposition from the economic team, Mr. Pottinger and his allies among the China hawks had to overcome initial skepticism from the administration's public health experts.

Travel restrictions were usually counterproductive to managing biological outbreaks because they prevented doctors and other much-needed medical help from easily getting to the affected areas, the health officials said. And such bans often cause infected people to flee, spreading the disease further.

But on the morning of Jan. 30, Mr. Azar got a call from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Redfield and others saying they had changed their minds. The World Health Organization had declared a global public health emergency and American officials had discovered the first confirmed case of person-to-person transmission inside the United States.

The economic team, led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, continued to argue that there were big risks in taking a provocative step toward China and moving to curb global travel. After a debate, Mr. Trump came down on the side of the hawks and the public health team. The limits on travel from China were publicly announced on Jan. 31 .

Still, Mr. Trump and other senior officials were wary of further upsetting Beijing. Besides the concerns about the impact on the trade deal, they knew that an escalating confrontation was risky because the United States relies heavily on China for pharmaceuticals and the kinds of protective equipment most needed to combat the coronavirus.

But the hawks kept pushing in February to take a critical stance toward China amid the growing crisis. Mr. Pottinger and others -- including aides to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- pressed for government statements to use the term "Wuhan Virus."

Mr. Pompeo tried to hammer the anti-China message at every turn, eventually even urging leaders of the Group of 7 industrialized countries to use "Wuhan virus" in a joint statement.

Others, including aides to Mr. Pence, resisted taking a hard public line, believing that angering Beijing might lead the Chinese government to withhold medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and any scientific research that might ultimately lead to a vaccine.

Mr. Trump took a conciliatory approach through the middle of March, praising the job Mr. Xi was doing.

That changed abruptly, when aides informed Mr. Trump that a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman had publicly spun a new conspiracy about the origins of Covid-19: that it was brought to China by U.S. Army personnel who visited the country last October.

Mr. Trump was furious, and he took to his favorite platform to broadcast a new message. On March 16, he wrote on Twitter that "the United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus."

Mr. Trump's decision to escalate the war of words undercut any remaining possibility of broad cooperation between the governments to address a global threat. It remains to be seen whether that mutual suspicion will spill over into efforts to develop treatments or vaccines, both areas where the two nations are now competing.

One immediate result was a free-for-all across the United States, with state and local governments and hospitals bidding on the open market for scarce but essential Chinese-made products. When the state of Massachusetts managed to procure 1.2 million masks, it fell to the owner of the New England Patriots, Robert K. Kraft, a Trump ally, to cut through extensive red tape on both sides of the Pacific to send his own plane to pick them up.

The Consequences of Chaos

The chaotic culture of the Trump White House contributed to the crisis. A lack of planning and a failure to execute, combined with the president's focus on the news cycle and his preference for following his gut rather than the data cost time, and perhaps lives.

Inside the West Wing, Mr. Navarro, Mr. Trump's trade adviser, was widely seen as quick-tempered, self-important and prone to butting in. He is among the most outspoken of China hawks and in late January was clashing with the administration's health experts over limiting travel from China.

So it elicited eye rolls when, after initially being prevented from joining the coronavirus task force, he circulated a memo on Jan. 29 urging Mr. Trump to impose the travel limits, arguing that failing to confront the outbreak aggressively could be catastrophic, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths and trillions of dollars in economic losses.

The uninvited message could not have conflicted more with the president's approach at the time of playing down the severity of the threat. And when aides raised it with Mr. Trump, he responded that he was unhappy that Mr. Navarro had put his warning in writing.

From the time the virus was first identified as a concern, the administration's response was plagued by the rivalries and factionalism that routinely swirl around Mr. Trump and, along with the president's impulsiveness, undercut decision making and policy development.

Faced with the relentless march of a deadly pathogen, the disagreements and a lack of long-term planning had significant consequences. They slowed the president's response and resulted in problems with execution and planning, including delays in seeking money from Capitol Hill and a failure to begin broad surveillance testing.

The efforts to shape Mr. Trump's view of the virus began early in January, when his focus was elsewhere: the fallout from his decision to kill Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani , Iran's security mastermind; his push for an initial trade deal with China ; and his Senate impeachment trial, which was about to begin .

Even after Mr. Azar first briefed him about the potential seriousness of the virus during a phone call on Jan. 18 while the president was at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Mr. Trump projected confidence that it would be a passing problem.

"We have it totally under control," he told an interviewer a few days later while attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. "It's going to be just fine."

Back in Washington, voices outside of the White House peppered Mr. Trump with competing assessments about what he should do and how quickly he should act.

The efforts to sort out policy behind closed doors were contentious and sometimes only loosely organized.

That was the case when the National Security Council convened a meeting on short notice on the afternoon of Jan. 27. The Situation Room was standing room only, packed with top White House advisers, low-level staffers, Mr. Trump's social media guru, and several cabinet secretaries. There was no checklist about the preparations for a possible pandemic, which would require intensive testing, rapid acquisition of protective gear, and perhaps serious limitations on Americans' movements.

Instead, after a 20-minute description by Mr. Azar of his department's capabilities, the meeting was jolted when Stephen E. Biegun, the newly installed deputy secretary of state, announced plans to issue a " level four " travel warning, strongly discouraging Americans from traveling to China. The room erupted into bickering.

A few days later, on the evening of Jan. 30, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff at the time, and Mr. Azar called Air Force One as the president was making the final decision to go ahead with the restrictions on China travel. Mr. Azar was blunt, warning that the virus could develop into a pandemic and arguing that China should be criticized for failing to be transparent.

Mr. Trump rejected the idea of criticizing China, saying the country had enough to deal with. And if the president's decision on the travel restrictions suggested that he fully grasped the seriousness of the situation, his response to Mr. Azar indicated otherwise.

Stop panicking, Mr. Trump told him.

That sentiment was present throughout February, as the president's top aides reached for a consistent message but took few concrete steps to prepare for the possibility of a major public health crisis.

During a briefing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 5, senators urged administration officials to take the threat more seriously. Several asked if the administration needed additional money to help local and state health departments prepare.

Derek Kan, a senior official from the Office of Management and Budget, replied that the administration had all the money it needed, at least at that point, to stop the virus, two senators who attended the briefing said.

"Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus," Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, wrote in a tweet shortly after. "Bottom line: they aren't taking this seriously enough."

The administration also struggled to carry out plans it did agree on. In mid-February, with the effort to roll out widespread testing stalled, Mr. Azar announced a plan to repurpose a flu-surveillance system in five major cities to help track the virus among the general population. The effort all but collapsed even before it got started as Mr. Azar struggled to win approval for $100 million in funding and the C.D.C. failed to make reliable tests available .

The number of infections in the United States started to surge through February and early March, but the Trump administration did not move to place large-scale orders for masks and other protective equipment, or critical hospital equipment, such as ventilators. The Pentagon sat on standby , awaiting any orders to help provide temporary hospitals or other assistance.

As February gave way to March, the president continued to be surrounded by divided factions even as it became clearer that avoiding more aggressive steps was not tenable.

Mr. Trump had agreed to give an Oval Office address on the evening of March 11 announcing restrictions on travel from Europe, where the virus was ravaging Italy. But responding to the views of his business friends and others, he continued to resist calls for social distancing, school closures and other steps that would imperil the economy.

But the virus was already multiplying across the country -- and hospitals were at risk of buckling under the looming wave of severely ill people, lacking masks and other protective equipment, ventilators and sufficient intensive care beds. The question loomed over the president and his aides after weeks of stalling and inaction: What were they going to do?

The approach that Mr. Azar and others had planned to bring to him weeks earlier moved to the top of the agenda. Even then, and even by Trump White House standards, the debate over whether to shut down much of the country to slow the spread was especially fierce.

Always attuned to anything that could trigger a stock market decline or an economic slowdown that could hamper his re-election effort, Mr. Trump also reached out to prominent investors like Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chief executive of Blackstone Group, a private equity firm.

"Everybody questioned it for a while, not everybody, but a good portion questioned it," Mr. Trump said earlier this month . "They said, let's keep it open. Let's ride it."

In a tense Oval Office meeting, when Mr. Mnuchin again stressed that the economy would be ravaged, Mr. O'Brien, the national security adviser, who had been worried about the virus for weeks, sounded exasperated as he told Mr. Mnuchin that the economy would be destroyed regardless if officials did nothing.

Soon after the Oval Office address, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a trusted sounding board inside the White House, visited Mr. Trump, partly at the urging of Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. Dr. Gottlieb's role was to impress upon the president how serious the crisis could become. Mr. Pence, by then in charge of the task force, also played a key role at that point in getting through to the president about the seriousness of the moment in a way that Mr. Azar had not.

But in the end, aides said, it was Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the veteran AIDS researcher who had joined the task force, who helped to persuade Mr. Trump. Soft-spoken and fond of the kind of charts and graphs Mr. Trump prefers, Dr. Birx did not have the rough edges that could irritate the president. He often told people he thought she was elegant.

On Monday, March 16, Mr. Trump announced new social distancing guidelines , saying they would be in place for two weeks. The subsequent economic disruptions were so severe that the president repeatedly suggested that he wanted to lift even those temporary restrictions. He frequently asked aides why his administration was still being blamed in news coverage for the widespread failures involving testing, insisting the responsibility had shifted to the states.

During the last week in March, Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House adviser involved in task force meetings, gave voice to concerns other aides had. She warned Mr. Trump that his wished-for date of Easter to reopen the country likely couldn't be accomplished. Among other things, she told him, he would end up being blamed by critics for every subsequent death caused by the virus.

Within days, he watched images on television of a calamitous situation at Elmhurst Hospital Center, miles from his childhood home in Queens, N.Y., where 13 people had died from the coronavirus in 24 hours.

He left the restrictions in place.

[Apr 13, 2020] "Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion,"

Apr 13, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

CB on Sat, 04/11/2020 - 4:46pm Timeline on how Donald Trump completely failed America.

This expose by the New York Times is the best reporting I have seen on Trump's complete inability and subsequent failure to lead during this time of acute crisis.

He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus

An examination reveals the president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but that internal divisions, lack of planning and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response.

April 11, 2020
Updated 4:33 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON -- "Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad," a senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. "The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe."

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing -- a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives -- Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation's public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.
...
The Containment Illusion

By the last week of February, it was clear to the administration's public health team that schools and businesses in hot spots would have to close. But in the turbulence of the Trump White House, it took three more weeks to persuade the president that failure to act quickly to control the spread of the virus would have dire consequences.
...
The China Factor

The earliest warnings about coronavirus got caught in the crosscurrents of the administration's internal disputes over China. It was the China hawks who pushed earliest for a travel ban. But their animosity toward China also undercut hopes for a more cooperative approach by the world's two leading powers to a global crisis.
...
The Consequences of Chaos

The chaotic culture of the Trump White House contributed to the crisis. A lack of planning and a failure to execute, combined with the president's focus on the news cycle and his preference for following his gut rather than the data cost time, and perhaps lives.

[Apr 11, 2020] Coronavirus spread in UK is a 'crime' as NHS had 4 years to prepare for pandemic – John Pilger

Apr 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

Award-winning journalist John Pilger has revealed that the NHS staged an exercise in London in 2016 which proved it was unable to cope with a pandemic like Covid-19, but its findings were suppressed. Speaking to RT's Going Underground , Pilger said that back in 2016, the UK government ran a drill in London that showed the health service was incapable of dealing with an outbreak.

He described the failure as a "crime" and told host Afshin Rattansi that the findings from the exercise, titled Cygnus, had been concealed by the government.

"The result of the drill was that the health service was overwhelmed, there weren't enough beds, there weren't enough ventilators, there weren't enough clinicians in the right places. The whole system, which had been battered by cuts and privatization for years, failed," he said.

The journalist explained that the NHS had been "devastated" by the Tory-led government's decision to bring in the Health and Social Care Act in 2012.

Pilger's scathing comments come a day after the UK recorded its most deaths in a single day since the crisis began. The 854 fatalities took the total to 6,159.

Projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in Seattle, US, warned that the UK could become the European country worst-hit by Covid-19, possibly accounting for 40 percent of the continent's deaths.

The documentary film maker, whose most recent works include 'The Dirty War on the NHS,' also blasted successive British governments since the 1980s for slashing NHS funding and pursuing a policy of privatization by "stealth."

[Apr 10, 2020] We are awash in examples of U.S. government incompetence - look up incompetence on Wikipedia has Pompous' photo (OK but it should).

Apr 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jared , Apr 8 2020 16:58 utc | 52

@45 Posted by: JohninMK | Apr 8 2020 16:05 utc | 45

If I comprehend, the issue was that they knew there was a problem in November rather than December.
Not sure the point really, we are awash in examples of U.S. government incompetence - look up incompetence on Wikipedia has Pompous' photo (OK but it should).

Realistically:
- the government is slow to respond
- the government is bad at planning
- the government is around 1 million people all pulling in different directions
- it is only when problem is obvious and damaging that the government gets somewhat focused
- the virus is invisible
- the extent of damage was uncertain

I think at this point it has their attention.

[Apr 08, 2020] WHO can we trust Just when coronavirus gave the World Health Organization its moment to shine, it bottled it -- RT Op-ed

Apr 08, 2020 | www.rt.com

The WHO had been made aware of Covid-19 by December last year. In January, it posted a tweet saying: "Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China."

Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan , #China 🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG

-- World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020

Then in February, Ghebreyesus declared that there was no need for travel bans, saying the spread of the virus outside China was "minimal and slow." Fast forward to March 11, and Dr Tedros was telling the world that coronavirus was officially a pandemic and that he was "deeply concerned by alarming levels of inaction" as it spread. Days later, he tweeted that the "pandemic is accelerating."

Then, at a press conference, he said that "all countries should be able to test all suspected cases" because "they cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded." Perhaps if countries had been warned about the need for widespread testing sooner; they would have been better placed to implement such measures?

The #COVID19 pandemic is accelerating. It took 67 days from the 1st reported case to reach the first 100K cases, 11 days for the second 100K cases & just 4 days for the third 100K cases.These numbers matter, these are people, whose lives & families have been turned upside down. https://t.co/VydhLBNq36

-- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 23, 2020

Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and it is very easy to criticize a person or an organization for not predicting something after it has happened. But the WHO should have been better prepared for this, not least because it already had experience of the spread of SARS, MERS, H5N1 and swine flu in recent years to draw on. Admittedly, none spread as virulently as Covid-19, but it was obvious from those outbreaks that measures such as testing and restricting travel would help slow the spread.

Perhaps it was concerned about again being accused of overreacting, as it had been by some in response to the 2009 swine flu outbreak. Possibly, it too readily believed the low figures being reported by China during the early part of this year. Maybe it assumed countries were more prepared to deal with pandemics than they turned out to be. Whatever the reasons may or may not be, the fact remains that when the world turned to the WHO, it failed. No amount of publicity stunts, like today's appearance by Lady Gaga, will change that.

WHO will have a special guest at today's #COVID19 press conference: @ladygaga will be joining us to announce the One World: #TogetherAtHome virtual global special on 18 April 2020. 📺 at 15.30 GMT

-- World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) April 6, 2020

Exactly where in the organization's structure the blame lies is impossible for an outsider to say, but surely the buck must stop eventually with Dr Tedros. His messaging early on in this crisis hugely downplayed the risks and has without question led to a situation that at least had a chance of being avoided. When the dust has settled, and the virus is finally brought under control, a serious question will have to be asked: who can trust the WHO?

[Apr 06, 2020] Coronavirus A Theory of Incompetence

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US for decades has as a matter of policy tried to reduce the number of hospital beds, which among other things has led to the shuttering of hospitals, particularly in rural areas. Hero of the day, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo pursued this agenda with vigor, as did his predecessor George Pataki. ..."
"... In a functional system, much of the preparation and messaging would have been undertaken by the CDC. In this case, it chose not to simply adopt the World Health Organization's COVID-19 test kits -- stockpiling them in the millions in the months we had between the first arrival of the coronavirus in China and its widespread appearance here -- but to try to develop its own test. Why? It isn't clear. But they bungled that project, too, failing to produce a reliable test and delaying the start of any comprehensive testing program by a few critical weeks. ..."
"... Thomas Hobbes argued that life apart from society would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Outside poor countries and communities, advances in science and industrialization have largely proven him right. ..."
"... Come quietly to The Gap ..."
"... "notions about parenting changed very drastically in the 80's" ..."
"... "the too-common belief that it is possible to run an operation, any operation, by numbers, appears to be a root cause." ..."
"... A sound banker, alas! is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him. ..."
"... it didn't matter ..."
"... our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. ..."
"... Variable coronavirus outcomes by nation could suggest a combination of elite incompetence, poor individual judgment, a lack of appreciation of risk in all its Rumsfeldian forms, corruption, a desire by oligarchs for autocratic control and being insulated and divorced from actual operations; or underlying cultural and economic factors. ..."
"... My own view is that we can trace the root cause of policy failure back to the dominant values of leadership and the values of the society/culture which spawned them regarding the relative importance of money in determining policy choices regarding public health and safety. ..."
Apr 06, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Leaders in the public and private sector in advanced economies, typically highly credentialed, have with very few exceptions shown abject incompetence in dealing with coronavirus as a pathogen and as a wrecker of economies. The US and UK have made particularly sorry showings, but they are not alone.

It's become fashionable to blame the failure to have enough medical stockpiles and hospital beds and engage in aggressive enough testing and containment measures on capitalism. But as I will describe shortly, even though I am no fan of Anglosphere capitalism, I believe this focus misses the deeper roots of these failures.

After all the country lauded for its response, South Korea, is capitalist. Similarly, reader vlade points out that the Czech Republic has had only 2 coronavirus deaths per million versus 263 for Italy . Among other things, the Czech Republic closed its borders in mid-March and made masks mandatory . Newscasters and public officials wear them to underscore that no one is exempt.

Even though there are plenty of examples of capitalism gone toxic, such as hospitals and Big Pharma sticking doggedly to their price gouging ways or rampant production disruptions due to overly tightly-tuned supply chains, that isn't an adequate explanation. Government dereliction of duty also abound. In 2006, California's Governor Arnold Schwarznegger reacted to the avian flu by creating MASH on steroids. From the LA Times :

They were ready to roll whenever disaster struck California: three 200-bed mobile hospitals that could be deployed to the scene of a crisis on flatbed trucks and provide advanced medical care to the injured and sick within 72 hours.

Each hospital would be the size of a football field, with a surgery ward, intensive care unit and X-ray equipment. Medical response teams would also have access to a massive stockpile of emergency supplies: 50 million N95 respirators, 2,400 portable ventilators and kits to set up 21,000 additional patient beds wherever they were needed

"In light of the pandemic flu risk, it is absolutely a critical investment," he [Governor Schwarznegger] told a news conference. "I'm not willing to gamble with the people's safety."

They were dismantled in 2011 by Governor Jerry Brown as part of post-crisis belt tightening.

The US for decades has as a matter of policy tried to reduce the number of hospital beds, which among other things has led to the shuttering of hospitals, particularly in rural areas. Hero of the day, New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo pursued this agenda with vigor, as did his predecessor George Pataki.

And even though Trump has made bad decision after bad decision, from eliminating the CDC's pandemic unit to denying the severity of the crisis and refusing to use government powers to turbo-charge state and local medical responses, people better qualified than he is have also performed disastrously. America's failure to test early and enough can be laid squarely at the feet of the CDC. As New York Magazine pointed out on March 12:

In a functional system, much of the preparation and messaging would have been undertaken by the CDC. In this case, it chose not to simply adopt the World Health Organization's COVID-19 test kits -- stockpiling them in the millions in the months we had between the first arrival of the coronavirus in China and its widespread appearance here -- but to try to develop its own test. Why? It isn't clear. But they bungled that project, too, failing to produce a reliable test and delaying the start of any comprehensive testing program by a few critical weeks.

The testing shortage is catastrophic: It means that no one knows how bad the outbreak already is, and that we couldn't take effectively aggressive measures even we wanted to. There are so few tests available, or so little capacity to run them, that they are being rationed for only the most obvious candidates, which practically defeats the purpose. It is not those who are very sick or who have traveled to existing hot spots abroad who are most critical to identify, but those less obvious, gray-area cases -- people who may be carrying the disease around without much reason to expect they're infecting others Even those who are getting tested have to wait at least several days for results; in Senegal, where the per capita income is less than $3,000, they are getting results in four hours. Yesterday, apparently, the CDC conducted zero tests

[O]ur distressingly inept response, kept bringing to mind an essay by Umair Haque, first published in 2018 and prompted primarily by the opioid crisis, about the U.S. as the world's first rich failed state

And the Trump Administration has such difficulty shooting straight that it can't even manage its priority of preserving the balance sheets of the well off. Its small business bailouts, which are as much about saving those enterprises as preserving their employment, are off to a shaky start . How many small and medium sized ventures can and will maintain payrolls out of available cash when they aren't sure when and if Federal rescue money will hit their bank accounts?

How did the US, and quite a few other advanced economies, get into such a sorry state that we are lack the operational capacity to engage in effective emergency responses? Look at what the US was able to do in the stone ages of the Great Depression. As Marshall Auerback wrote of the New Deal programs :

The government hired about 60 per cent of the unemployed in public works and conservation projects that planted a billion trees, saved the whooping crane, modernized rural America, and built such diverse projects as the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh, the Montana state capitol, much of the Chicago lakefront, New York's Lincoln Tunnel and Triborough Bridge complex, the Tennessee Valley Authority and the aircraft carriers Enterprise and Yorktown. It also built or renovated 2,500 hospitals, 45,000 schools, 13,000 parks and playgrounds, 7,800 bridges, 700,000 miles of roads, and a thousand airfields. And it employed 50,000 teachers, rebuilt the country's entire rural school system, and hired 3,000 writers, musicians, sculptors and painters, including Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

What are the deeper causes of our contemporary generalized inability to respond to large-scale threats? My top picks are a lack of respect for risk and the rise of symbol manipulation as the dominant means of managing in the private sector and government.

Risk? What Risk?

Thomas Hobbes argued that life apart from society would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Outside poor countries and communities, advances in science and industrialization have largely proven him right.

It was not long ago, in historical terms, that even aristocrats would lose children to accidents and disease. Only four of Winston Churchill's six offspring lived to be adults. Comparatively few women now die in childbirth.

But it isn't just that better hygiene, antibiotics, and vaccines have helped reduce the scourges of youth. They have also reduced the consequences of bad fortune. Fewer soldiers are killed in wars. More are patched up, so fewer come back in coffins and more with prosthetics or PTSD. And those prosthetics, which enable the injured to regain some of their former function, also perversely shield ordinary citizens from the spectacle of lost limbs. 1

Similarly, when someone is hit by a car or has a heart attack, as traumatic as the spectacle might be to onlookers, typically an ambulance arrives quickly and the victim is whisked away. Onlookers can tell themselves he's in good hands and hope for the best.

With the decline in manufacturing, fewer people see or hear of industrial accidents, like the time a salesman in a paper mill in which my father worked stuck his hand in a digester and had his arm ripped off. And many of the victims of hazardous work environments suffer from ongoing exposures, such as to toxic chemicals or repetitive stress injuries, so the danger isn't evident until it is too late.

Most also are oddly disconnected from the risks they routinely take, like riding in a car (I for one am pretty tense and vigilant when I drive on freeways, despite like to speed as much as most Americans). Perhaps it is due in part to the illusion of being in control while driving.

Similarly, until the coronavirus crisis, even with America's frayed social safety nets, most people, particularly the comfortably middle class and affluent, took comfort in appearances of normalcy and abundance. Stores are stocked with food. Unlike the oil crisis of the 1970, there's no worry about getting petrol at the pump. Malls may be emptying out and urban retail vacancies might be increasing, but that's supposedly due to the march of Amazon, and not anything amiss with the economy. After all, unemployment is at record lows, right?

Those who do go to college in America get a plush experience. No thin mattresses or only adequately kept-up dorms, as in my day. The notion that kids, even of a certain class, have to rough it a bit, earn their way up and become established in their careers and financially, seems to have eroded. Quite a few go from pampered internships to fast-track jobs. In the remote era of my youth, even in the prestigious firms, new hires were subjected to at least a couple of years of grunt work.

So the class of people with steady jobs (which these days are well-placed members of the professional managerial class, certain trades and those who chose low-risk employment with strong civil service protections) have also become somewhat to very removed from the risks endured when most people were subsistence farmers or small town merchants who served them.

Consider this disconnect, based on an Axios-Ipsos survey :

The coronavirus is spreading a dangerous strain of inequality. Better-off Americans are still getting paid and are free to work from home, while the poor are either forced to risk going out to work or lose their jobs.

Generally speaking, the people who are positioned to be least affected by coronavirus are the most rattled. That is due to the gap between expectations and the new reality. Poor people have Bad Shit Happen on a regular basis. Wealthy people expect to be able to insulate themselves from most of it and then have it appear in predictable forms, like cheating spouses and costly divorces, bad investments (still supposedly manageable if you are diversified!), renegade children, and common ailments, like heart attacks and cancer, where the rich better the odds by advantaged access to care.

The super rich are now bunkered, belatedly realizing they can't set up ICUs at home, and hiring guards to protect themselves from marauding hordes, yet uncertain that their mercenaries won't turn on them.

The bigger point is that we've had a Minksy-like process operating on a society-wide basis: as daily risks have declined, most people have blinded themselves to what risk amounts to and where it might surface in particularly nasty forms. And the more affluent and educated classes, who disproportionately constitute our decision-makers, have generally been the most removed.

The proximity to risk goes a long way to explaining who has responded better. As many have pointed out, the countries that had meaningful experience with SARS 2 had a much better idea of what they were up against with the coronavirus and took aggressive measures faster.

But how do you explain South Korea, which had only three cases of SARS and no deaths? It doesn't appear to have had enough experience with SARS to have learned from it.

A related factor may be that developing economies have fresh memories of what life was like before they became affluent. I can't speak for South Korea, but when I worked with the Japanese, people still remembered the "starving times" right after World War II. Japan was still a poor country in the 1960s. 3 South Korea rose as an economic power after Japan. The Asian Tigers were also knocked back on their heels with the 1997 emerging markets crisis. And of course Seoul is in easy nuke range of North Korea. It's the only country I ever visited, including Israel, where I went through a metal detector to enter and saw lots of soldiers carrying machine guns in the airport. So they likely have a keen appreciation of how bad bad can be.

The Rise and Rise of the Symbol Economy

Let me start with an observation by Peter Drucker that I read back in the 1980s, but will then redefine his take on "symbol economy," because I believe the phenomenon has become much more pervasive than he envisioned.

A good recap comes in Fragile Finance: Debt, Speculation and Crisis in the Age of Global Credit by A. Nesvetailova:

The most significant transformation for Drucker was the changed relationship between the symbolic economy of capital movements, exchange rates, and credit flows, and the real economy of the flow of goods and services:

in the world economy of today, the 'real economy' of goods and services and the 'symbol economy' of money, credit, and capital are no longer bound tightly to each other; they are indeed, moving further and further apart (1986: 783)

The rise of the financial sphere as the flywheel of the world economy, Drucker noted, is both the most visible and the least understood change of modern capitalism.

What Drucker may not have sufficiently appreciated was money and capital flows are speculative and became more so over time. In their study of 800 years of financial crises, Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff found that high levels of international capital flows were strongly correlated with more frequent and more severe financial crises. Claudio Borio and Petit Disyatat of the Banks of International Settlements found that on the eve of the 2008 crisis, international capital flows were 61 times as large as trade flows, meaning they were only trivially settling real economy transactions.

Now those factoids alone may seem to offer significant support to Drucker's thesis. But I believe he conceived of it too narrowly. I believe that modeling techniques, above all, spreadsheet-based models, have removed decision-makers from the reality of their decisions. If they can make it work on paper, they believe it will work that way.

When I went to business school and started on Wall Street, financiers and business analysts did their analysis by hand, copying information from documents and performing computations with calculators. It was painful to generate financial forecasts, since one error meant that everything to the right was incorrect and had to be redone.

The effect was that when managers investigated major capital investments and acquisitions, they thought hard about the scenarios they wanted to consider since they could look at only a few. And if a model turned out an unfavorable-looking result, that would be hard to rationalize away, since a lot of energy had been devoted to setting it up.

By contrast, when PCs and Visicalc hit the scene, it suddenly became easy to run lots of forecasts. No one had any big investment in any outcome. And spending so much time playing with financial models would lead most participants to a decision to see the model as real, when it was a menu, not a meal.

When reader speak with well-deserved contempt of MBA managers, the too-common belief that it is possible to run an operation, any operation, by numbers, appears to be a root cause. For over five years, we've been running articles from the Health Renewal Blog decrying the rise of "generic managers" in hospital systems (who are typically also spectacularly overpaid) who proceed to grossly mismanage their operations yet still rake in the big bucks.

The UK version of this pathology is more extreme, because it marries managerial overconfidence with a predisposition among British elites to look at people who work hard as "must not be sharp." But the broad outlines apply here. From Clive, on a Brexit post, when Brexit was the poster child of UK elite incompetence :

What's struck me most about the UK government's approach to the practical day-to-day aspects of Brexit is that it is exemplifying a typically British form of managerialism which bedevilles both public sector and private sector organisations. It manifests itself in all manner of guises but the main characteristic is that some "leader" issues impractical, unworkable, unachievable or contradictory instructions (or a "strategy") to the lower ranks. These lower ranks have been encouraged to adopt the demeanour of yes-men (or yes-women). So you're not allowed to question the merits of the ask. Everyone keeps quiet and takes the paycheck while waiting for the roof to fall in on them. It's not like you're on the breadline, so getting another year or so in isn't a bad survival attitude. If you make a fuss now, you'll likely be replaced by someone who, in the leadership's eyes is a lot more can-do (but is in fact just either more naive or a better huckster).

Best illustrated perhaps by an example -- I was asked a day or two ago to resolve an issue I'd reported using "imaginative" solutions. Now, I've got a a vivid imagination, but even that would not be able to comply with two mutually contradictory aims at the same time ("don't incur any costs for doing some work" and "do the work" -- where because we've outsourced the supply of the services in question, we now get real, unhideable invoices which must be paid).

To the big cheeses, the problem is with the underlings not being sufficiently clever or inventive. The real problem is the dynamic they've created and their inability to perceive the changes (in the same way as swinging a wrecking ball is a "change") they've wrought on an organisation.

May, Davies, Fox, the whole lousy lot of 'em are like the pilot in the Airplane movie -- they're pulling on the levers of power only to find they're not actually connected to anything. Wait until they pull a little harder and the whole bloody thing comes off in their hands.

Americans typically do this sort of thing with a better look: the expectations are usually less obviously implausible, particularly if they might be presented to the wider world. One of the cancers of our society is the belief that any problem can be solved with better PR, another manifestation of symbol economy thinking.

I could elaborate further on how these attitudes have become common, such as the ability of companies to hide bad operating results and them come clean every so often as if it were an extraordinary event, short job tenures promoting "IBG/YBG" opportunism, and the use of lawyers as liability shields (for the execs, not the company, natch).

But it's not hard to see how it was easy to rationalize away the risks of decisions like globalization. Why say no to what amounted to a transfer from direct factory labor to managers and execs? Offshoring and outsourcing were was sophisticated companies did. Wall Street liked them. Them gave senior employees an excuse to fly abroad on the company dime. So what if the economic case was marginal? So what if the downside could be really bad? What Keynes said about banker herd mentality applies:

A sound banker, alas! is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him.

It's not hard to see how a widespread societal disconnect of decision-makers from risk, particularly health-related risks, compounded with management by numbers as opposed to kicking the tires, would combine to produce lax attitude toward operations in general.

I believe a third likely factor is poor governance practices, and those have gotten generally worse as organizations have grown in scale and scope. But there is more country-specific nuance here, and I can discuss only a few well, so adding this to my theory will have to hold for another day. But it isn't hard to think of some in America. For instance, 40 years ago, there were more midsized companies, with headquarters in secondary cities like Dayton, Ohio. Executives living in and caring about their reputation in their communities served as a check on behavior.

Before you depict me as exaggerating about the change in posture toward risks, I recall reading policy articles in the 1960s where officials wrung their hands about US dependence on strategic materials found only in unstable parts of Africa. That US would never have had China make its soldiers' uniforms, boots, and serve as the source for 80+ of the active ingredients in its drugs. And America was most decidedly capitalist in the 1960s. So we need to look at how things have changed to explain changes in postures towards risk and notions of what competence amounts to.

_____
1 One of my early memories was seeing a one-legged man using a crutch, with the trouser of his missing leg pinned up. I pointed to him and said something to my parents and was firmly told never to do anything like that again.

2 The US did not learn much from its 33 cases . But the lack of fatalities may have contributed.

3 Japan has had a pretty lame coronavirus response, but that is the result of Japan's strong and idiosyncratic culture. While Japanese are capable of taking action individually when they are isolated, in group settings, no one wants to act or even worse take responsibility unless their is an accepted or established protocol.


PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 7:15 am

Ian Walsh has a good take on it – he ascribes it to a new aristocracy, which has all the vices of the old aristocracy.

Let's chalk this up to aristocratic elites. Aristocrats, unlike nobles, are decadent, but don't stop with that word; understand what it means.

Elites who are not aligned with the actual productive activities of society and are engaged primarily in activities which are contrary to production, are decadent. This was true in Ancien Regime France (and deliberately fostered by Louis XIV as a way of emasculating the nobility). It is true today of most Western elites; they concentrate on financial numbers, and not on actual production. Even those who are somewhat competent tend not to be truly productive: see the Waltons, who made their money as distributers–merchants.

The techies have mostly outsourced production; they don't make things, they design them. That didn't work out for England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and it hasn't worked well for the US, though thanks to Covid-19 and US fears surrounding China, the US may re-shore their production capacity before it is too late.

I think there is also a lot to be said for historical (and current) memories of crisis. Both South Korea and Taiwan are countries on a near permanent war footage – both have genuine reasons to fear an external attack (this is particularly visible in South Korea – bomb shelters and warnings everywhere). They are simply at a higher level of alert than most countries and take civil defence very seriously. Much the same applies to Vietnam.

I've noticed here that so far as I can see, the response in Ireland has been significantly better than the UK, despite the NHS being a far better system than the rickety, unequal, and notoriously bureaucratic Irish system. I've noticed that a lot of the official response has revived old protocols for TB and Polio – both diseases that ravaged Ireland into living memory – most old doctors of my acquaintance here will tell you horror stories and I grew up knowing people crippled from polio. While in the UK its fair to say I think that such horrors have slipped out of bureaucratic memory. People talk about the War, but in reality they have no real memory of the horrors of seeing neighbours die. So I think there is a lot to be said for simple institutional memory and practice allowing some countries to respond that big quicker. And with this virus even just 2-3 weeks extra preparation could have made all the difference to a country or region.

NotTimothyGeithner , April 6, 2020 at 9:58 am

And they don't have to live where they are from anymore. When Tony Blair wants positive attention, he jets off to the US or Israel. Claire McCaskill lost a statewide race when the same electorate passed a minimum wage increase and legalized at least medical Marijuana. She now opines on Comcast PR about elections.

PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 10:26 am

That does make a difference. After the Celtic Tiger crash in Ireland, the PM (Bertie Ahern) who was largely responsible ended up banned from his regular pub where he was well known to have a pint every evening after his day job. The owner explained that if he didn't bar him, he'd lose the rest of his customers.

Mind you, like all the others he still makes a living on the public speaking circuit and his chiklit writer daughter got a mysteriously large book deal from a Murdoch owned publisher..

Cat Burglar , April 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

The Irish case is interesting, because the performance of the state in recent times has been anything but competent. The bank bailout and the cervical cancer cases allowed by the botched testing program are examples. I remember a Morgan Kelly lecture where he said, "We don't do competence in Ireland. You start holding people responsible and you might get some of the 'wrong' people."

The Irish leadership stratum so far looks as if it has done a better job than even the US. Your point about the living memory TB and Polio -- in the 50s, my aunt and uncle, visiting from the US, were advised by the priest not to go to mass because of the danger of picking up TB -- rings true. I wonder if the recent fails by the state, that seem to have left the public abidingly angry (the bailout) and aghast (authorities letting women die of cervical cancer ) have shown elites that they have no political room to fail this time, and that they must show tangible success.

DJG , April 6, 2020 at 11:20 am

Plutonium Kun: Thanks for re-posting the Ian Welsh essay, which was posted at Naked Capitalism a couple days ago–and which has been on my mind since I read it then. I recall that when I was living on the North Shore, the belt of rich suburbs north of Chicago, on a whimsy for a few years, the prevailing stance in dealing with others was a kind of genial incompetence. Shortly after, I returned to Chicago for some grit and consequences.

I woke up this morning thinking of this example of the decadence (a term Welsh describes): The serious person Hillary Clinton opining on something or other. Where is serious person, and vision of competence, Hillary Clinton these days? Why isn't she advocating for the little people? Or at least for her slobbering fan club? Or hoping for another soft-ball interview that doesn't ask what it was like to be Bill's bag-man all those years as they raked in the moolah?

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-single-payer-health-care-will-never-ever-happen/

Unfortunately, in Italy, the Hillary Clinton of Italian politics, Matteo Renzi, hasn't taken heavy hints to go away.

Synoia , April 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm

It is hard to distinguish between incompetence and fraud.

I personally believe much that looks incompetent conceals fraud.

HotFlash , April 6, 2020 at 2:09 pm

It's not that hard. Follow the money.

divadab , April 6, 2020 at 7:18 am

The incompetence is a symptom of a morally-degenerate managerial class Infected with bad ideas and having no sense of responsibility to anyone other than themselves. They plan out quarter by quarter, loot their companies instead of investing in them, and lie habitually. This is CORRUPTION. Consider that the ex-CEO of GE, with all his hundreds of millions garnered by cheating GE employees and offshoring their jobs, looting company funds to enrich himself and his co-conspirators, was also a tax cheat, buying art for his NY city palace but claiming it was for his abode in NH and evading NY sales tax. Committing fraud to evade his fair share. A better model for what ails US America cannot be found than this scum.

And note that Boeing moved its headquarters to Chicago "to be more like GE". Well they've destroyed the company to be more like the looters and liars and cheats. Nice work if you can get it.

Yves Smith Post author , April 6, 2020 at 7:40 am

This post is not just about the private sector. State and local governments are primarily responsible for public health.

Your theory does not explain Jerry Brown killing the Schwarznegger emergency response apparatus.

Nor is it adequate to respond to the general idea that "never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence". Even though it is obvious that America has a lot of corruption, you omit the notion that a lot of stupid will also explain much of what we are seeing now.

eyebear , April 6, 2020 at 8:09 am

Thank for your article – due to that we humans tend to compare us to each other, we are prone to error. Why shouldn't we do, what the others do?
And that's were the incompetence gets it's grip on. Here in Germany we just avoided the closure of smaller hospitals, because they are not efficient enough – now we are the lucky ones with the higher number of beds and ICU's and ecma and so on.

That's not only luck, but the preachers of the neoliberal agenda have a hardship nowadays – and 'we, the people' have a minimum of two years to redesign our societies.

c_heale , April 6, 2020 at 8:23 am

Maybe the Dead Kennedys had it right about Jerry Brown in California Über Alles

Cat Burglar , April 6, 2020 at 10:22 am

They did have it right!

But remember, too, that Brown showed in his first term, in the 70s, that he was a textbook case of being one of Stoller's progressive post-Watergate Democrats that set aside New Deal programs and regulation. I remember his deregulation of intrastate trucking from that time, which the highly unionized truckers opposed. Come quietly to The Gap

rd , April 6, 2020 at 8:54 am

I think one of the problems is that financialization and securitization of everything has effectively separated the managerial class in both private and public sector from knowledge and experience of actual logistics and execution.Transferring securities with the push of a button is not the same as getting an industrial plant or phone center built, trained, and running efficiently. Companies and organizations with a history of doing this well can completely undo that capability in only a couple of years (e.g. CDC, FEMA, numerous companies taken over by PE). While my examples below are US-based, I think a lot of the same thought processes have been going on in much of the OECD (e.g. Brexit debacle).

Once everything is measured in dollars with a maximum of a 1 to 5 years window, then it becomes really easy to just focus on the little ball needed to become really "efficient" without thinking about the bigger societal picture. I think the generations that grew up in WW I, 19189-19 Flu, Prohibition, Great Depression, WW II had a much bigger picture of life and society. In some respects, things like Vietnam, were an over-reaction (like immune system going haywire) but on the whole, there was a big focus for 50 years on the potential for really big, bad things to happen. Once the Berlin Wall fell, much of that dissipated and so the shocks that come are generally responded to with a combination of bewilderment, lack of general interest unless it personally impacts you, or the immune system going wild (Iraq invasion, torture).

As a result, you get bulls*#t like this from people like Fed Governor Bullard: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-bullard-says-there-is-good-news-for-those-worried-about-the-economys-future-that-universal-covid-19-testing-will-help-restore-economic-health-2020-04-05?mod=home-page

He wants universal daily testing of all Americans to prove daily they can be out and about. This is in a country that can't figure out how to have half the country vote without standing in lines for hours or hasn't been able to figure out how to even get sick people tested and waiting a week or more more for the test results to come back. Granted, the 15 minute tests mean that it might be possible to set up a lemonade stand at the entrance to every subdivision or subway station for people to get their daily test. The logistical undertaking to do this would be mammoth, although there are at least lots of unemployed people who could get several months of training to learn how to do such a test.

Once everything is measured in dollars with a maximum of a 1 to 5 years window, then it becomes really easy to just focus on the little ball needed to become really "efficient" without thinking about the bigger societal picture. I think the generations that grew up in WW I, 19189-19 Flu, Prohibition, Great Depression, WW II had a much bigger picture of life and society. In some respects, things like Vietnam, were an over-reaction (like immune system going haywire) but on the whole, there was a big focus for 50 years on the potential for really big, bad things to happen. Once the Berlin Wall fell, much of that dissipated and so the shocks that come are generally responded to with a combination of bewilderment, lack of general interest unless it personally impacts you, or the immune system going wild (Iraq invasion, torture).

I am a design engineer and I have found it is really difficult to get people to engage in real discussions of potential risks and solutions. Generally the only thing that anybody wants to know is "What will it cost to be prepared?" Almost nobody wants to talk about low probability, high impact events because that generally would not show up in the 1-5 years time limit people care about.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 11:43 am

low probability – high impact events and human nature. We just went thru a surprising 5.6 earthquake – I'm pretty sure we were ground zero because it not only shook the house like a hurricane for 4 seconds, there was also the sound of a very loud explosion. Sometimes earthquakes make booms like that. If it had lasted another 2 or 3 seconds the roof would have come down; the gas lines would have pulled apart; the plumbing would have been disabled and etc. But we just went, Well that was interesting. Lucky there was no damage. Probably not worth taking out earthquake insurance – it's so expensive.

Anon , April 6, 2020 at 1:27 pm

State and local government ARE responsible for public health. The local people running those agencies do not control their budgets. With insufficient funds their experience and qualifications are wasted by scrambling for stop-gap methods. The political leaders (Governors, mostly.) are most to blame. So the next time folks are choosing at the ballot box remember that public health needs vigoroous funding.

As for the incompetence of "managers" and the credentialed, it occurs everywhere in organizations in America, and beyond. A paycheck is essential while "speaking up" is dangerous. See: Captain Crozier. Most folks are neither secure enough financially or academically to voice a contrasting observation.

Yves, this was an excellent post. Decidedly pointed. There are few who dare to take this challenge. That is why NC is so important. Stay safe!

Felix_47 , April 6, 2020 at 11:00 am

Are you sure you don't mean Dennis Koslowsky (spelled something like that) who was a CPA from New Jersey and ran Tyco? At least he did some jail time. The smart ones figure out how to cheat legally by hiring the well connected white shoe Ivy League lawyers. That is not to say that GE was not mismanaged but it really was done in by the finance crisis because Jack Welch bet the company on it which worked really well for a long time until it did not which covered up the fact that manufacturing in the US is essentially impossible secondary to the legal system and the health care system, or lack thereof.

Clive , April 6, 2020 at 11:02 am

If only it was as simple as saying that services operated by the state were fine, it's private capital where the problem lies.

It's not. This is a societal and cultural problem.

There are employer "pushes" towards the deskilling and degrading of levels of operational competence. One is employers ( both public sector and private sector) do not want to pay for training and to retain a body of experienced employees because both of these cost money up-front with a payoff (in the form of competent, knowledgeable staff) that comes only slowly, later. And a churn of staff is seen as the sign, wrongly, but this is what the MBAs sell as snake oil, of a dynamic, healthy organisation which is bringing in (through a process which never seems to be adequately explained) new talent. Plus, of course, most obviously, younger and newer employees are cheaper so your average headcount cost is lower which is usually a management metric -- often one which is incentive-ised through reward.

There are also employee "pulls" -- and again, these are not just observed in the private sector. You see them in medicine, academia and even, most bizarrely, the arts. An example of these employee-instigated causes of a reduction in capability is that it becomes in-cultural-ated that if you spend too long in the same place, you're only doing so out of necessity because you're so useless, no-one else will employ you. So even if don't really want to move onto a different organisation or a different field of work outside your skillset, you feel you have to, in order to avoid looking "stale", "resistant to change", "stuck in your comfort zone" or any other of the myriad of thought-crimes which you don't want, in today's job market, to be seen to having evidence of committing. And also, as collective union bargaining has gone the way of the dinosaur, more often than not, if you want a raise you have to threaten to quit to get one. But again, more often than not, your current employer will call your bluff and let you leave. So you have to have another job lined up to to go to, if you're not to fall into a trap of flouncing off in a huff but having no other work to walk straight into. While your current employer might not, if they were honest, want to lose you, the dynamics of the workplace being what they are, neither side can then climb down from the ultimatums they've just served.

Yes, there are some notable poster-children of how private enterprise has committed suicide through the wanton bloodletting of its skilled employees (Boeing being a recent case-in-point). But even if you cast your gaze in the direction of public employers, this same phenomena can be found in universities, colleges and K-12 schools (where faculties are no longer bolstered by a strong bench of tenured staff, contract and non-tenured hire-and-fire disposable staff are now the norm, I won't even go there on the effect of charter schools) healthcare (even in the UK's entirely public sector NHS, there is huge reliance on contract and agency staff which the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted and the government is trying, belatedly and without any clear indication it can do so in the short term to redress this and avoid being price-gouged). Or federal and state regulators which now simply do not understand the businesses they are supposed to be regulating and have to buy-in external "expertise" (and merely exacerbate the revolving door problem).

In summary, I wish it were so simple to merely say "private sector bad, government good". But the rot has set in from top to bottom across all aspects of how we manage our shared organisational maturity (or, should I say, now, fix our shared organisational immaturity) and whether or not it started in the private sector, it has well and truly spread to infect the public sector, too. This was the unmistakable point of the post, so it bears re-reading it again with a particular emphasis on understanding why this is the case.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm

devolution by automation. the dystopia we didn't see coming. can't help believing that automation itself – even though it has often been, or seemed to be, beneficial – hasn't undermined and/or destroyed what should be a collective human intelligence and contagious creativity that is the real thing that makes us thrive. But it takes a long steady progression and we're all too impatient.

David in Santa Cruz , April 6, 2020 at 12:35 pm

Terrific comment, Clive.

In my experience working as a lawyer in government service for 34 years, I saw this obsession with "new blood" and "innovation" flooding the system with lawyers -- and judges -- who were breezily ignorant of the law, yet supremely confident in their own cleverness.

University faculties dominated by TA's and adjuncts; charter schools taught by 6-week-wonder TFA's; warships piloted by teenagers; Presidents with no experience in government The list goes on and on.

I blame the instant and consequence-free ego gratification of television-watching for this phenomenon.

Laura in SoCal , April 6, 2020 at 1:20 pm

100% on the employer pushes. I've seen this plenty in my 25 years of working in engineering and manufacturing businesses. And no matter how many "systems" and "quality functions" they put in place, experience matters. In has happened several times that even with great and detailed documentation, when a particular machinist retires, a product line starts having quality issues. Several times we've had layoffs for some reason or another and they have to bring particular individuals back because there was some function they did that no one else is qualified or able to do. Also, because we run lean, cross training is difficult no one has the extra time.

Rob Urie , April 6, 2020 at 7:38 am

Prior to the advent of neoliberalism and through it child mortality rates have been much higher in the U.S. than other OECD countries.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/08/health/child-mortality-rates-by-country-study-intl/index.html

It is very heavily concentrated among the poor.

The refusal to provide public goods is capitalist class relations 101.

Yves Smith Post author , April 6, 2020 at 7:48 am

It is disappointing to see these early comments ignore the framing of the post and go for simplistic takes.

I said at the top that this post was about advanced economies that had poor coronavirus responses, not just the US. That includes Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, all of which have much higher fatalities per capita than the US. None of those countries have high rates of infant mortality.

Try again.

False Solace , April 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm

That's a bit optimistic.You could argue Belgium and the Netherlands have already plateaued in terms of new cases and deaths. For France the numbers are not as clear thanks to a one-day spike in reported nursing home cases. But the US has shown clear exponential growth in both new cases and deaths thru today. I don't think the data is in.

For the last week the US has reported 20-30k new cases a day which means the deaths won't hit for another 1-2 weeks. The number of tests is comparable to the other countries you listed, so it isn't a matter of overdiagnosis. The East Coast is the only region in the US doing meaningful testing.

It's not farfetched to think the US will experience a uniquely bad result in terms of health care and economic outcomes because of its uniquely bad health care system and elite indifference. Never attribute to malice or indifference that which can be adequately explained by indifference. Malice is too difficult to prove, and when it comes to enriching themselves, elites are demonstrably competent. What they are, is indifferent. They simply don't care about long term outcomes or their population. For them, everything is consequence free. Coronavirus is just another example in the litany.

bmeisen , April 6, 2020 at 11:36 am

2 models dominate the informed universal health care coverage debate: 1) a purely public (state) model, as in the UK and Italy, in which financing for health care costs is located in the federal budget where it is allocated from a stream of tax revenues and financing sources; and 2) a highly regulated non-profit (non-state) model, as in most of Scandinavia and central Europe, in which financing is located in a pool of premiums and when needed, e.g. for the very young, poor, elderly who cannot afford to pay premiums, state subsidies.

A variation on 2) is a hybrid of non-profits and private, profit-oriented insurers, as in Germany and the Netherlands, in which the mix is critical and is subject to regulation. Something like 90% non-profit, 10% private is IMHO OK though in Germany it might be more like 70/30.

The EU has been blamed for the devastation caused by Covid-19 in Italy. The argument goes something like, the austerity imposed by the Germans forced Italy to reduce health care capacities. The Frankfurter Allgemeine argues today that ECB imposed austerity is not to blame. Rather the purely state model of financing for health care coverage is at fault. The fact is that in the Italian model many stakeholders want a share of the stream of tax revenues and financing sources from which funds for the provision of health care are also drawn. The FAZ notes that Italian state retirement benefits have risen substantially in recent years while funding for health care has been level.

Christopher Herbert , April 6, 2020 at 7:48 am

The rise of the FIRE sectors as a percentage of GDP has been obvious. We are over-financialized. All this has done is over lay a very expensive layer of debt and interest payments on the real economy. This is the bubble the pandemic pricked.

Yves Smith Post author , April 6, 2020 at 7:59 am

Again, this post is not about the US. It is about trying to develop theories as to why some countries responded reasonably well to the coronavirus crisis and others not.

Italy's banking sector, even with its dud loans not written down, is 1.5 trillion euros v. a GDP of about 1.9 trillion euros, or 79% of GDP. Unlike the US, Italy does not have a ginormous securities market nor a big asset management business, so its banking industry is pretty much the only game in town except for government bond issuance. By contrast, in the US, banks are a way smaller proportion of financial activity (they represent <15% of non-farm private loans) but even banking assets alone are a higher % of GDP, 94%.

Your explanation does not fit key facts. Italy, one of the very worst hit countries, is not heavily financialized. It is also dominated by medium and small businesses

NotTimothyGeithner , April 6, 2020 at 9:45 am

Besides the new aristocracy aspects and a general lack of accountability, I do wonder about rates of foreign elites being "educated" in the US. When my parents go to Boston, all they do is complain about how nice it is, but they remember when the nice areas were where regular people lived. Like US tourists think all Europeans take high speed trains to work, how much of Euro attitudes by seeing the rise of enclaves in the US?

I'll use UVA and Charlottesville Virginia, but if you never go beyond Preston Ave (gentrification may have shifted it) away from Grounds, why would a student see poor people or any lower class employees beyond UVA employees who aren't making a living wage? Charlottesville has the highest rate of wealth inequality in the state.

John , April 6, 2020 at 7:51 am

Thank you. You analyze it. For years I have called it "playing video games". Years ago I knew a guy who said it did not matter of what but he had to be a manager.It was some sort of prestige thing for him. Took him out of the common herd in his way of looking at things.
Yesterday, I read Paul Johnson's short biography of Winston Churchill. Churchill did not like desk work according to Johnson and every new task he undertook, he went out and learned the ins and outs of it. He was a relentless inspector and questioner. He taught himself how to lay bricks. He learned by doing and led from knowledge. He made mistakes. He took responsibility. Certainly he was not a typical person, but neither did he sit in an office assuming he knew it all because the model said he did.

vlade , April 6, 2020 at 7:58 am

That is why Boris Johnson is no Churchill. Churchill was in a lots of was a dilletante, but he was an informed dilletante. He had hunger to learn, maybe too much of it to be good at anything.

Johnson's hunger is just to be in the news, to make a history. I do wonder whether he still believes it worth it now, or in a short future as he's being sedated for intubation (which would not surprise me).

vlade , April 6, 2020 at 7:56 am

I do not really have much to add to what you write Yves. The "we lost sense of danger" is something I have thought of for a long time. IMO, every system that loses feedback will crash, sooner or later. We have worked really hard to remove not just the feedback, but any traces of the feedback.

Everyone who asks for *real* feedback is looked at as a weirdo. We need to know shit happens, we need to have bad shit happen to us now and then (speaking as one who had some really bad shit happen).

One place you can learn about society is how it treats its kids. Most of the kids today are way more cosied that even I ever was, and it's getting worse. We want to remove any and all dangers, and we go to anyone who promises us that, even if we really know it's not possible.

But we have to be very careful there. I believe that claims "we need suffering" are bulshit, because most of the time they want to say that suffering is good for us. It's not. It _may_ be necessary to remind us that bad stuff can happen, the same way as pain does. But it doesn't mean we'd use it to excuse suffering.

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 8:10 am

: Grand strategy, according to Boyd, is a quest to isolate your enemy's (a nation-state or a global terrorist network) thinking processes from connections to the external/reference environment. This process of isolation is essentially the imposition of insanity on a group. To wit: any organism that operates without reference to external stimuli (the real world), falls into a destructive cycle of false internal dialogues. These corrupt internal dialogues eventually cause dissolution and defeat.

[John Robb, globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2004/05/journal_boyd_on.html]

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 8:22 am

Taleb Nassim on Skin in the Game:

For the central attribute is symmetry: the balancing of incentives and disincentives, people should also penalized if something for which they are responsible goes wrong and hurts others: he or she who wants a share of the benefits needs to also share some of the risks.

. . .

And in the absence of the filtering of skin in the game, the mechanisms of evolution fail: if someone else dies in your stead, the built up of asymmetric risks and misfitness will cause the system to eventually blow-up.

[medium.com/incerto/what-do-i-mean-by-skin-in-the-game-my-own-version-cc858dc73260]

vlade , April 6, 2020 at 8:38 am

Taleb's skin in the game ignores the disincentives the skin-in-the-game creates, which are often fat-tailed.

Feedback is not the same as skin-in-the-game.

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 9:30 am

I read your use of feedback as >reference to external stimuli (the real world).

With Taleb, I'm reading disincentives as penalties, and that lack of penalty/punishment warps the selection process of evolution. With respect to the post, that has created a lack of respect for risk by those who make decisions.

It can be taken a step farther, that the selection process has created perverse incentives. For example, the bailouts from 2008 made the FIRE sector qliphotically antifragile. In that scenario, risk becomes rewarding.

I want to be careful here about using the word feedback, its ambiguities could be confusing. Given that, I'm interested in knowing what you mean about ignoring the disincentives skin-in-the-game creates. Could you please expand on that?

vlade , April 6, 2020 at 10:07 am

Feedback as reference to external stimuli is ok.

My problem with Taleb's skin in the game is that, as he well knows, it's hard to distinguish luck (good or bad) and skill. How can we punish for luck though?

Think of a judge, who gets, through his skill, 99 out of 100 cases right. But the 100th – which, by pure luck, could be really large case – he gets wrong.

Or, even simpler. Technically, if you do one decision a day, and have 99% success rate, every three months you get somethign wrong (1-0.99^60 = 0.54) more likely than not. Should you be punished for this? If we yes, then people will start takin decisions where alternate history is hard to prove, i.e. you create a selection bias towards "do nothing". You can then be punished for "doing nothing" but most of the time "do nothing" is a safe choice. (it's a specific case of "go with the crowd")

Also, in decision making, context is extremely important (which is why courts go to super lenghts to establish it in judical cases). Taleb should know it, and he should also know that unless context is taken into account _in_full_ then the skin-in-the-game will not be seen as fair. But the problem is, the context can never be fully established, and rarely w/o the participation of the major decision maker. Who will have no incentive to participate. Which will hamper learning from it.

Skin in the game makes sense when you can clearly separate luck and skill, and clearly establish context. Even one of those is rare occasion, both is extremely so.

That said, you can often establish post fact when someone blew up (this is what the various enuiries do). And then you'd treat accordingly. But that's not skin-in-the-game, because again, the enquiry can establish that you acted in good faith, as most people would act at the time – and so assign no blame. So you may "fail honourably".

Skin in the game does not let you fail honourably – because it's not skin in the game anymore (because it can let you game the system again, via doing just enough to pass any future enquiry as "more could have been done, but there's no clear knowing dereliction of duty).

TLDR; skin-in-the-game is an attempt at simplictic solution to a complex problem. Taleb should know better.

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 10:58 am

Thanks, vlade. I shall ponder this.

funemployed , April 6, 2020 at 9:13 am

"Most of the kids today are way more cosied"

I'd like to expand on this a bit, as I think it's deeply related Yves' point on risk and perceptions of risk. Far as I can tell, notions about parenting changed very drastically in the 80's when

1) mainstream media companies discovered that endlessly replaying (and sometimes plain inventing) lurid tales of horrible things happening to children was good for ratings and required no real journalistic effort or talent.

And 2) I'm not exactly sure how to describe what I'm trying to say, but somehow both responsibility for rare and terrible tragedies along with childrens' and young adults' agency got transferred to their parents. As if everything that happened to a child or that a child did resulted directly from the adequacy of parenting received.

So rather than cozied (which I think of has having all one's needs met and being protected from awfulness – a good thing), I think many children are micromanaged, isolated from authentic social interactions, and perhaps worst of all, taught that profound questions of morality and existence are best ignored (lest they cause distress). This, along with cultivating an intense desire for approval from authority, seems to have become the default mode of preparing children for membership in the privileged classes.

Somehow though, at the same time, we were also taught that our life situation is also wholly the result of our qualities as people. Wondering about a person's station in life? We were taught not to ask "what happened" but "what kind of person are they?" Are they smart or dumb, cultured or trashy, attractive or loathsome? Unnattractive and trashy but rich, they must be really really smart.

I think this combination of dramatically limiting children's opportunities for growth in competence, confidence, friendships, independence, morality, worldview, and all the other things that go into discovering who you are and where you fit in the world, combined with relentless meritocratic mythologizing have raised a couple generations now that are both terrified of risks yet somehow often heedless of the consequences of their decisions. We're terrified to speak up in a meeting, but if the result of that meeting harms a lot of people, well, not our fault, just how the world is.

All that said, there aren't many power brokers I can think of under the age of 65, so maybe all this generational analysis is beside the point. Have the powers that be always been so old?

vlade , April 6, 2020 at 9:25 am

The powerbrokers are (often) elected by the people. Who may be looking for a father figure, rather than anything else. Someone who would take the responsbilities for them, because they are too hard to bear (you'd argue that some poor don't vote because they don't feel the need to offload their responsibilities on others, but it could be a bit overconvoluted – I think most humans want to dump responsiblity elsewhere).

How to truly accept responsibility for ourselves is IMO one of the most important things we'd teach out kids, and that we're failing to do so (myself included). It's hard, and paradoxicaly, our society made it harder.

funemployed , April 6, 2020 at 9:43 am

I think all I described has been hard on parents too. IMO, parents are only the primary teachers of children in the early years before peers and society take over. To the extent neoliberalism has a pedagogical philosophy, it's that we can't control things we do have power over, and can control things we don't have power over. Love and accept your kids, treat them with respect, listen, help them when you can, and make sure to laugh together from time to time, and you'll be a parent I'd envy the children of.

mpalomar , April 6, 2020 at 11:09 am

"notions about parenting changed very drastically in the 80's"
– Brings to mind a long ago article regarding children raised in hunter-gatherer units, was it Papua New Guinea? who were from toddler stage spared much of the parental policing now considered appropriate. Allowed to play with the machete and roam free around the open camp fire they emerged with far less anxiety and perhaps a more practical and functional risk assessment process than modern kids.
Playgrounds today are foam buffered and accident proofed as much as possible, football and hockey helmets and padding are designed to absorb the shock of contact. Automobiles are seat belted, air bagged, AI driver assisted with back up cameras. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers rely on ever advancing auto pilot systems, a trade off that dispenses with higher salaried experienced pilots for lower paid, less flight tested, dial tenders.
"the too-common belief that it is possible to run an operation, any operation, by numbers, appears to be a root cause." -YS
I believe quantum physics has largely, by numbers alone, drifted off into string theory and multiple universes, all fascinating but of a highly extenuated and dubious relation to anything real.
We have lost touch with consequences through the intermediary remediation of technology and virtual modeling, great tools but they have unintended consequences on human behavior.

Hayek's Heelbiter , April 6, 2020 at 7:57 am

What's struck me most about the UK government's approach to the practical day-to-day aspects of Brexit is that it is exemplifying a typically British form of managerialism which bedevilles both public sector and private sector organisations.

The genetic map of England (outside the major cities) is essentially unchanged since the Anglo-Saxon invasion.

https://www.theverge.com/2015/3/18/8252797/uk-genetic-map-reveals-invasions-regional-identity

As a decades-long American ex-pat living in London, it's taken me a long-time to realize, that despite its modern trappings, England remains a feudal society. The way ordinary individuals feel a lack of agency and still look up to the aristocracy and Oxbridge graduates for guidance rather than trusting their own skeptical instincts and standing up for those such beliefs is astonishing.

The fact that "forelock tugging" (an act of deference to a passing lord) remains a phrase in common usage says it all.

Ps. "bedevils"

Larry , April 6, 2020 at 8:02 am

I've felt that the only thing that enforced competence was the elites credible fear of communism after world War II. They had to do some things for the public lest their wealth be seized by the public. And propaganda was used right up to the fall of the USSR. I was fairly shocked that we then looked to China for all our outsourcing needs. The myth was that capitalism would make China an open democracy. Whoops! We enabled them to become a great power without any credible plan to make them any kind of ally beyond some mutual threat of dual self destruction if a trade war erupts. China is credibly working to become independent of the US with heavy state planning while we bail out and reward failed financiers and abandon all public planning to rent extractors. What I wonder is if people will start to look to another way that will credibly threaten the standard elite disaster capitalism approach that has been the norm for decades now.

notabanktoadie , April 6, 2020 at 8:04 am

A sound banker, alas! is not one who foresees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him. Keynes via Yves

The problem is that the payment system, besides grubby coins and paper Central Bank notes (e.g. Federal Reserve Notes), must work through private depository institutions or not at all.

How then can we have a sound economy when it is held hostage by "sound" bankers?

And are not the banks a form of rentier – who rent the Nation its money supply?

Then where are the proposals of the MMT School to euthanize those rentiers?

oaf , April 6, 2020 at 9:55 am

Please reconsider! Euthanasia is supposed to be kind!; not appropriate in such a case!

Bugs Bunny , April 6, 2020 at 8:23 am

Right out of college, I got a job at a commodities trading firm on a recommendation from my "Political Economics" prof. This was just when the PC started getting incorporated into technical analysis. I learned one of the programs pretty quickly and made a few fortuitous currency trades for some weird clients. One of my thoughts was, "what if you could just make this program run and trade automatically?" I think a lot of people had the same thought. Where has this laziness taken us? (I left after 6 months go to law school but that's another story).

I see this thought trap how to be more lazy as sort of an alienation that happens when you don't have to think about what you're doing anymore but how to get around it, and that gets passed on to others who see that you don't really have to "work" but that it's more about being clever enough to come up with a solution that pushes the whole process of being responsible, reflective and hard working on to something – or more likely someone – else.

I sometimes think we live in a world like Jerry Lewis in the Disorderly Orderly where he's the only sane one in the asylum, constantly tripped up by insanity from doing the job of an orderly.

eyebear , April 6, 2020 at 8:36 am

As of incompetence the Brits bought some corona-tests which were just crap. Seven-And-A-Half million tests just for the bin.

That's were the incompetence has it's home nowadays: 10 Downing St. If everything goes according to plan, the Brits will be redeemed from the incompetence reigning there in these days.

orlbucfan , April 6, 2020 at 8:53 am

Which is worse, out-of-control greed or rampant stupidity? What's wrecked America is a combination of the two. Thanks for the read.

Stephen The Tech Critic , April 6, 2020 at 8:56 am

On "The Rise and Rise of the Symbol Economy":

I think you hit some critical points about "spreadsheet models" and their disconnection with reality. Unfortunately, it's not just the business and finance world that's struggling here. I've seen serious failures along these lines in science and engineering as well. Unfortunately even experts in those fields (who should know better), routinely interpret model results very uncritically.

Like with business and finance, I believe the availability of computers for calculation and plotting has made scientists and engineers a lot more prone to misinterpreting their results or the results of others. I believe visualization of data via plotting software may actually facilitate uncritical interpretation of that data. ("Seeing is believing". ) Before computers, technicians had to construct plots by hand, which often involved close study of the raw data to determine the best design for conveying that data.

Then there's also the problem of romantization of computation. Particularly recently, a great many people (technical or otherwise) erroneously assume that a more complicated model or a model that relies on a broader range of data input will produce more accurate results. In reality, models involve *abstraction* of real things into data, which often requires making assumptions and/or discarding information. Proper interpretation of the model results requires taking the process of abstraction into account, but this is rarely done properly and is often impractical when complicated models or heterogeneous data sets are involved.

Yet another problem is that scientist and engineer livelihoods often depend more on abstract deliverables like "peer reviewed" papers (academia), reports, presentations, demonstrations, etc. The target audience is typically either a non-specialist manager or a specialist who doesn't have enough time to give proper critical attention to the work anyway. Hence, there is great incentive to produce "results" for their own sake and typically fewer negative consequences to the person (in terms of career / money) for "getting it wrong" than for "failing to deliver".

For me these things are fundamental to the reason that I'm not in a satisfying technical career. I could have made a whole career out of doing sciency bullshit. I had a very successful and well-connected Ph.D. advisor and could have been one of a lucky few to score a "tenure-track" position without doing post-doc work. Unfortunately every time I raised concerns about the integrity of the methods, he would blow me off with "we can talk philosophy another time". All he wanted to talk about was how to present the "results" for maximum "impact". Success in that and many other "scientific" fields depends on marketing over integrity, and someone such as myself who values integrity will struggle to match productive output (in terms of prestige and career development) with those who just want to "win".

I should clarify that I don't believe all scientific fields (or sub-fields, really) are incompetent as I describe above. I know many aren't. And it's a bit of a mystery to me why some are very tight and others are full of nonsense. I don't have a good answer.

PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 10:22 am

When the dust settles I do think the scientific establishment will have a lot of hard questions to answer. The response from official science bodies and advisors has often been terrible (not just with the face mask debacle). Among other issues, I think a fake form of 'scientism' has taken hold whereby models based on dubious assumptions are treated as a form of reality.

Nicholas Nassim Taleb has a paper out on the topic of models. His maths is way beyond my poor skills, but the general point he is making is that there are fundamental problems with models that extrapolate from past events poorly – in particular the often inbuilt assumption that the worst case scenario is the worst previous event. There is an entertaining explainer from a maths teacher in this article .

Ignacio , April 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm

This is not an easy issue. If one is to review the scientific literature, there was no lack of risk warnings from specialized scientific sources on the possibilities of new SARS-like outbreaks. I also believe there were scientists that from the very beginning worried about this. Once we saw how the outburst in Hubei evolved and watched coming data, surely many could go and check that we were confronting a new guy with a very different epidemiological and clinical behaviour compared with SARS. I am not at the forefront in science but i recall commenting this a couple of months ago here, so I can guess some many others did exactly the same. I don't think we were short on scientists able to do a good job on risk assessment. Particularly scientists working in public institutions. What's the problem then? I believe part of it is that we collectively turn a deaf ear to them. I noticed from the very beginning a focus on the clinical aspects of the disease but almost full blindness regarding the analysis of the epidemics. I think it possible that authorities in Western countries took HC experts for advice to their tables but these experts had no idea on epidemiology so they could barely give counseling on the dynamics of the outbreak and couldn't predict the speed of the spread. If someone tried to notice this would have been received with disbelief as all here were in negationist mood. Still many are. Also, I believe tha many thought this was a Chinese thing and felt comfort on the fact that Chinese authorities seemed to control it. Control, hah!

makesi , April 6, 2020 at 10:46 am

There is a parallel in union organizing. Old school organizers do their workplace charts, listing every employee, their relationships to one another, and tracking their support for the union, by hand. Doing so helps makes the organizer retain this "map" in their head. Younger organizers (myself included) tend to substitute databases and spreadsheets for the old hand-drawn version. Not saying these are entirely ineffective–I can speak from experience that they are not. Rather that the pervasiveness of the technological change is across many boundaries. Woe to the revolutionaries who use a google sheet!

David , April 6, 2020 at 9:10 am

A lot of useful things have already been said, not least by Yves, and I won't repeat them. But if you think about it there are a whole series of different issues here, and it's important not to mix them up. For example: how the virus got started, why it spread so quickly, whether it should have been anticipated, whether it was prepared for, what was assumed about it, what was done, how quickly it was done, whether the consequences (especially economic) were foreseen etc. etc. If you're going to argue incompetence (which I think there has been) you also have to have some idea of what would have constituted a competent reaction. Simply comparing countries doesn't really help, because there are too many variables, especially political and administrative ones: the US and China would not and could not have reacted in the same way, for example. So Italy, for example, has always had a weak state (to the point where many Italians have seen the EU as their salvation) and this is probably a more important factor than many more technical ones.
If there's a common thread that links all of these elements, it's dissociation from reality, which is also the cause of the incompetence on display. Globalization, for example, responsible for the speed of the spread and much of the economic dislocation, could only have been forced on the world by people who did not know about, or were indifferent to, the likely consequences. Some of this dissociation comes just from wealth and power of course (how to travel the world and see nothing) but some of it comes from ideology. For globalists, and neoliberals generally, the idea that the market will adjust to meet any short-term requirements (like masks) is not a simplification in a textbook but a statement of belief. So, even if globalists were aware that masks, testing kits and ventilators were no longer made domestically, they would have replied that it didn't matter because the market would provide.
A corollary of the above is that, if the market will always provide, then there's no real reason to plan or provision anything, provided you can buy it fast enough when you have to. Thus, all organizations should concentrate on being as small and "flexible" as possible, doing only those things that are essential, and thus in turn the stifling obsession with process and organizational change to the exclusion of actually, you know, doing things, which is the characteristic of our MBA-ised culture.
And finally, popular and political culture is no longer about anything. Children's books and TV are purged of anything that might seem threatening, and even adults demand a life free from even the possibility that something might happen that upsets them. We no longer have the vocabulary and cultural references to handle collective grief and trauma. Our elites, for the first time in history, have no personal experience of genuine crisis or deprivation, and, since the 90s politics and PR have become effectively indistinguishable. Politics has degenerated into a classically Liberal struggle for power between groups, and political society is divided into smaller and smaller warring tribes, defined by skin color or genital arrangement, competing for the spoils.
There's a lot more that could be said but I won't presume any more on the patience of others. Essentially, though we have been living in Dreamland, and, for all that our elites may think they've been cleverly manipulating us, they have been faster asleep than anyone. Our elite and popular cultures, in other words, have long been full of shit. And that mess you see is what happens when it hits the fan.

PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 10:12 am

Thats a hell of a meaty post, lots to chew on there and I'd agree with all of it. This virus really has identified the weak spot of so many institutional systems. Its a genuine game changer in so many ways. It will be fascinating (and not a little terrifying) to be able to observe this in real time.

Mike Gualario , April 6, 2020 at 10:49 am

Great post!

DJG , April 6, 2020 at 11:29 am

David:

Thanks for this:

And finally, popular and political culture is no longer about anything. Children's books and TV are purged of anything that might seem threatening, and even adults demand a life free from even the possibility that something might happen that upsets them. We no longer have the vocabulary and cultural references to handle collective grief and trauma. Our elites, for the first time in history, have no personal experience of genuine crisis or deprivation, and, since the 90s politics and PR have become effectively indistinguishable.

I belong to some playwrights groups (one is a kind of old-fashioned list-serv). Many of the writers are waiting for this to blow over, so that they can go back to submitting the same old, same old. Then they may get a production in which the playwright's background is made much of. The work of art matters much less than the world of P.R. that now surrounds the typical rising U.S. writer, playwright, or painter.

What so many of these people don't get is that the New Rococo is over. As you say, "Our elite and popular cultures, have long been full of shit." It has been fifty or more years of Rococo paintings of doilies and flourishes and word-salad on stage.

Ignacio , April 6, 2020 at 12:50 pm

I have these days been writing on a theory that is flying around like an evasive butterfly on the conditions that may have been at the root of this and other recent outbreaks. I am replying to your comment because this is the first question in your well organized set of questions. I think this post touches many points that merit an in depth view and I like yours as well as many other comments here that add more insights. It seems to me very few are dedicating a single neurone to these arguments or at least I can only find them at NC.

As for the origin of Covid-19 I have read a solid narrative that says the origin could be the vulnerabilities of industrial farming practices in China. The world's largest producer of pork meat suffered in 2019 a devastating African swine fever outbreak that decimated hogs and very much reduced the most important source for meat production in China. Whether this resulted in a significant increase in wild animal farming and traffic is not clear because China doesn't provide data on this. Anyway it could be the case that such hidden practices, that I think were encouraged by Chinese leadership, could have increased by a lot during 2019 becoming an important business by itself and a relevant source for food in Chinese markets. This could have increased by much the possibility of a zoonotic outbreak like this.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 1:03 pm

thanks david ("our elite and popular cultures have long been full of shit"). I'm thinking we are far too aggressive as a species to stop to examine our equally aggressive fantasies. What we do best when we are not daydreaming is fight, usually without thinking it through. (So what happened to that instinct when it comes to fighting a virus? We couldn't switch back from the daydream in time?) We are either in some bloody confrontation or we are indulging ourselves in escape. We are totally bipolar. Economically as well. I recommend mandatory therapy, starting with members of Congress. And it wouldn't hurt to use our instincts as capitalists right now to do a government sponsored program to produce testing equipment that is reliable and can be distributed to every household. (Why is Capitalism so AWOL? It doesn't look like the fault of capitalism, it looks more like the absence of capitalism.) Likewise for first treatment – if it's hydroxychloroquine every household should have a current supply. We really shouldn't rely on our schmoozer-in-chief to jet off to India at the very last moment and cut a deal for drugs – which promptly get confiscated by the Indian Government. I mean duh.

rd , April 6, 2020 at 9:13 am

FYI – re your comment on PCs and Visicalc

I deal with a lot of computer modeling, but am also old enough to know how it used to be done with design charts etc. before computeres were available. The design charts were developed using human computers like shown in "Hidden Figures". So I spend time with the junior engineers and scientists teaching them about how the entire infrastructure that they use daily was designed before computers were even available.

The first thing I look at when somebody gives me calculations is how many significant digits they are reporting the answer to. If there are more than 1 or 2 after the decimal place, I go through the entire thing with a fine tooth comb, because that means they don't understand significant digits and the inherent limitations of modeling and are just regurgitating whatever the computer spits out at them. There are often significant errors.

If somebody gives me something to look at that has a detailed computer analysis reported to one or two decimal places and checked with a simple design chart to ensure order of magnitude correctness, it is much easier to check and is invariably more than likely to be usable.

lou strong , April 6, 2020 at 9:18 am

Italy has an historical weakness with the national state structures, and if we look at national stereotypes we are supposed to be naturally messy and disordered.This is reflected in our own expression "fare le cose all'italiana" ( to do things the italian way ) , which is used when somebody acts in a range of ways going from messy , to corrupt ,to shallow ,to disorganised, to tricky.
As for our political and practical management of the Covid crisis, I see now rolling on the usual controversies among the factions of decision-makers, such as the ping-pong of blame between the Lombardy governor and the central government. The issue below ,in my view, is that NHS was regionalized , hence making it difficult a real joint effort and a joint national policy, and any decision on the ground was the result of a political wrestling between them .If there is some link with the article issue is that I tend to think that all the fundamental policies that have been implemented and publicized in the last decades in Italy were based on the idea and ideology of the external constraint . If you go on saying that whatever you are actually doing as a ruling class is because of some external constraint, you are saying that in the end you are not really responsible of you do in front of your citizens.This has little to do with the economical structure, or if it has something to do I don't see it at first sight.
I stopped a long time ago to try to understand whether or not the death count criteria were worldwide standardised, so I apologize if I'm saying nonsense with the following : when in my country death toll was approx ten times less than now, I remember that Italian HPA came out with the official digits that , with 1266 deaths of people with Covid, 2 deaths were with Covid alone.

Alex morfesis , April 6, 2020 at 9:22 am

A simple and probably useless idea is the effect the jet airplane and it's compression of time has had an effect on top dog thinking, creating an illusion of being able to simply avoid risk by running from it. We might also have hit a fulcrum point with financioneers running out of countries to easily exploit and razzle dazzle although traditional legacy media may have hit a ditch in the road the googoylemonstyr is simply still just a glorified electronic yellow pages and bookfaze is the excuse used to explain bad and failed systemization in media operations There are many outlets for information gathering and most people outside the oecd have been imf-ed in recent enough history to not be so easily mesmerized by promises of some mythical sparkle pony happy ending

Finally perhaps also the eloquent ignorance of your correct observation of the notion one can simply PR problems past the newshole and blurb past the facts. There are more lobbyists and PR flax then have ever existed in most parts of the world.

Lastly, and perhaps it is just new to moi, but it would appear, despite the facts most countries outside the big three have multi party parliamentary systems, most have adjusted to a simple two party system with the hand offs then followed with a loud and proud but "loyal approved" opposition

Same old stale bread

My two cents in this 3 penny opera

funemployed , April 6, 2020 at 9:34 am

"In the remote era of my youth, even in the prestigious firms, new hires were subjected to at least a couple of years of grunt work."

I think this is hugely important. I'm a big fan of Lave and Wenger's theory of legitimate peripheral participation: basically that becoming an expert at something requires apprenticing to a community of practice possessing large amounts expertise, and doing increasingly consequential tasks until one gains expertise.

I think one major – perhaps the major – casualty of the symbolic economy was that there isn't any simple way to quantify the years (and in some cases decades) of apprenticeship it takes to become highly competent at a highly complex, highly consequential set of responsibilities. Expertise is obviously highly valuable, but let some other suckers or universities do the training, or substitute a credential, amiright ;)

I'm curious to hear from those of a certain age who are experts at something or other. My guess is that you can all name a handful of people without whom you never would have attained your current level of expertise, and that you cannot name a comparable number of young people that you have similar opportunities to mentor.

Tom Stone , April 6, 2020 at 9:46 am

To get ahead as part of the PMC you need two attributes, ethical flexibility and a taste for eating shit.
Being a psychopath is also helpful.

PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 9:47 am

In many ways I think this virus has been adept at exposing the weaknesses in nearly every countries system. In China, the policy of governing by way of top down directives, interpreted in varying ways by local governments ensured that the initial response was to suppress news of the outbreak rather than deal with it aggressively. In South Korea the problem was stubborn religious extremists. In japan, a sclerotic and over-rigid bureaucracy. In the US, all three.

DJG , April 6, 2020 at 11:34 am

Plutonium Kun: Agreed.

Siggy , April 6, 2020 at 9:52 am

There are six fundamental questions to which there are two fundamental answers; or there are 479,001,600 permutations that might describe a given circumstance. Taken one at a time, each permutation is partially correct, 1/479,001,600. Your thoughts here avoid the error of examining the errors made in dealing with the pandemic by examining one error at a time and focus on the factor set that drove the errors. There is no simple single factor to be altered. There is a factor set that consists of several risks ignored. There is no benefit, at this moment, in fault finding. Here and now, we need massive testing, we need at least one reliable treatment regime, and most importantly we need a vaccine. Once we have those things we can then examine who decided what and hopefully we can examine what we need to do to preserve protect and defend the grand American experiment in political economy. Our Constitution calls for a Federal Republic that employs democratic means to achieve a representative government of, by and for, the people. As my high school civic teacher taught, you have to read all the words and a multifaceted thing cannot be described by citing only one of the facets. Consider the recent event, Hillary won the vote and lost the election. Your thoughts here address much of what we should be contemplating as individuals and as a society. One might differ with you with respect to one or more of the components; but, taken all together, you point to a cancer that needs to be eradicated. Thank you.

Senator-Elect , April 6, 2020 at 10:08 am

Ultimately, it's a case of power corrupts. Thinking through all of the above, it was all enabled by people in power thinking they could get away with something, trying it and then knowing they can do whatever they want. The power they held let them put greed first, and the lack of real potential deprivation or threats led them to make money (as opposed to self-sufficiency or equality or sustainability) the new god. After all, since when has money not delivered? This is the first time in a long time that money can't buy safety. As Stoller has said on Twitter, the Fed can't print a vaccine.
The corrective is accountability, or as vlade said, feedback. Elites can't just sit in their offices, mansions and private jets all day and fail upward, or sideways at worst. We had a little crisis not 12 years ago, but there was no accountability. So here we are.

Zamfir , April 6, 2020 at 10:11 am

A remark about SARS and South Korea:

Their preparedness did not come from SARS, but from MERS in 2015. That one ended up killing 30 people, not much these days but enough for a large scare. It included hundreds of school closures and the like – it looked much larger at the time. There was also a huge scandal, when it turned out that medical institutions had been hiding infections, and this added to the scare.

The current Korean epidemic response system was set up after that – it's just a few years old. It is not deeply rooted in their history or culture or something

PlutoniumKun , April 6, 2020 at 10:16 am

Yes, I'd agree with this – in fact, this is precisely what the Koreans authorities themselves are saying. There is a lot of nonsense being talked about 'confucian values' and so on – the reality is that South Korea was on much higher alert because of its recent history (similarly with Taiwan, Singapore and Vietnam). This isn't to dismiss the excellent quality of the response which reflects very well on their government institutions and people, but a lot of outsiders are reading far too much into it.

HighDesert , April 6, 2020 at 10:27 am

Perhaps another Minksy-like pro-cyclical flaw in our current system is underestimating the marginal cost of incompetence. We can socialize the cost of the occasional minor disaster made worse by incompetence. Ditto for socializing the occasional cost of a parasitical rentier class. As with all short term thinking, it works until it doesn't.

As you point out, things like offshoring further undermine our ability to assess costs (ex. to the local workers, environment). Out of sight, out of mind.

I want to say that a portion of the electorate bear some responsibility here. In addition to the moneyed influencers, enough of the electorate agreed to put these officials in office. In the calculus of what the voters thought they stood to lose or gain, they believed they came out ahead.

Carolinian , April 6, 2020 at 10:46 am

Great post. My dad used to say "nothing beats experience" and when I was a younger know it all–lover of books and libraries–I scoffed. But now I know he was absolutely right. "No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy." The people making the decisions are divorced from the results and the real world that most citizens live in–from experience. And so we've gone from a country with a genius for the practical–"heroic materialism" Kenneth Clark called it–to one where the elites are going through the motions until it all falls in. It may be falling now.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 1:18 pm

I think this comment is absolutely spot on.

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 10:55 am

I'd like to throw a perspective that could be seen as CT onto the barbie, grill away.

This is a use of Howard Becker's Machine Trick: Design the machine that will produce that result your analysis indicates occurs routinely in the situation you have studied.

This assumes that results are (at least in part) due to the machines functioning exactly as intended. National differences of responses are a result of different de-facto policies.

I. The Big Picture.
Rule #2: Go die!
There is a actuarial perspective that letting people die has a net benefit.

Image: facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10222313535613412&set=a.1528083088162&type=3&theater

The Greeks and Malthus were aware of overpopulation problems. 1972's Limits to Growth showed that famine was not the trigger for population crash, pollution was. They modelled a crash date of 2055. The climate crisis is quickening.

The elite case for lowering life expectancy has been established:

: Tobacco Giant's Analysis Says Premature Deaths Cut Costs in Pensions and Health Care : Critics Assail Philip Morris Report on Smoking
[nytimes.com/2001/07/18/news/tobacco-giants-analysis-says-premature-deaths-cut-costs-in-pensions-and.html]

Note that COVID-19 targets the same demographic that the Philip Morris report does. Targeting high-energy_usage high-capital_liability individuals give good ROI both in climate and financial terms. This brings in

II. The Middle Shark

Actions speak louder than words. Those with access to elite information behaved differently within the US. Feb 28 the President used the word Hoax, four days later the Fed put the crisis on the same level as 9/11 and the Lehmann fall.

Rule #1: Because markets.

Suppressing the response, both in public perception and in ER's, gave time for the decisionmakers behind the politicians to array their responses. The selfless perspective is this is a geostrategic eruption that must be tended. The venal symptom is elites had time to dump their stocks.

III. The Immediate Threat

A nanoscopic enemy, less than half the size an N95 shield targets. Asymptomatic invisibility, the false negative/positive problems of tests (if you can get them), the horrors of the ventilated. A real threat.

I had previously said that, with the obfuscation and miscategorization systematically skewing downward the perceived incidence of an already blurred enemy, we would have to look at all-cause deaths to really understand the proximate and ultimate mortality. I did not see falling death rates coming. In a complex world there are paradoxical effects. So any evil geniuses are gonna get really frustrated when their plans go awry.

We can already see the opportunistic authoritarians hard at work. I'll close with a couple paragraphs of Boyd, but first a reminder. This comment is a perspective on why some countries had a less-lethal response to this virus than others. In a complex world, simple explanations are incomplete. Boyd:

Remember what I said, without a crisis, they don't have an operation. They've got to have that crisis. Remember what I said last night? Without anomalies, no mismatch. No mismatch, no
crisis. Without a crisis, no change.

Remember I said that crisis is important to them because then they can insert, work the propaganda, tear apart, generate these many non-cooperative centers of gravity.

flora , April 6, 2020 at 11:14 am

What was it Buttegig was saying on the campaign trail? "Chaos is a ladder"? Whose ladder, to what goal?

NoPlaceToHide , April 6, 2020 at 11:04 am

Yves, you say leaders are showing their incompetence managing two jobs, their medical response to Coronavirus and their management of countries' economies. I suggest that perspective can be gained by stepping back further and looking at a bigger job than those two tasks. How well are humans managing the planet's response to the threat of potential human extinction caused by extreme planetary warming (too quickly returning to PET-M).

Where I'm headed: collectivism vs. individualism.
It appears to me that an adequate planetary response (If it isn't already too late. That's a separate discussion.) to the threat of potential human extinction would require a giant collectivist response. Almost all countries would need to be collectively acting together. E.g., efforts would fail if a major economy like China or the U.S. continued its polluting ways.

However, it appears most of our leaders are not collectivists. They appear, instead, to be individualists who have fought their way to the top by competing against other highly competitive individualists. Is it in the nature of individualist leaders to seek and join collectivist activities? Are our leaders actively seeking to join an adequate (rather than symbolic) collectivist planetary effort to reverse climate change?

Instead, it appears our leaders aim to be among the "winners" who will win by being among the survivors in their bunkers in the Hamptons or New Zealand.

I'm wondering about how much the culture of collectivist action, collectivist values, in various countries' medical systems has played in managing their response to Coronavirus. How much has (predatory) individualism contributed to the incompetent management of economies?

We humans have it in our nature to seek narratives, stories, that "explain" what we are witnessing. Stories simplify explanations. Stories give comfort to our minds. We crave that comfort. The two heroes in your two stories are 1.) losing sight of risk and 2.) using symbols to separate leaders/actors from reality. IMHO those are excellent heroes.

Is it reasonable to expect successive generations of individualist humans/leaders to maintain a focus on risk after previous generations appear to have insulated them from previously known risks? I suggest that a collectivist culture would be much more vigilant about identifying risk and preparing for it. For example, the collectivist U.S. military has done considerable work recognizing and preparing for the risks of climate change.

Is it reasonable to expect individualist (predatory) leaders to competently manage the economy of a country when they're so busy preying on their respective parts of the economy? Individualists have found a giant tool, symbols substituted for reality, to exploit/prey on the economies they live in. Is it reasonable to expect those individualists to give up their competitive predatory tools to embrace collectivist ways to manage economies for the benefit of all people in their respective economies?

flora , April 6, 2020 at 11:12 am

Thanks for this great post, Yves. Managers, CEOS, and politicians losing any sense of risk or real dangers sounds right. Promoting people incompetent or unfit for task isn't a problem if there is no risk or danger. They've become the managerial/political equivalent of the anti-vaxers: they believe no danger can touch them because no danger ever has (so far).

BoulderMike , April 6, 2020 at 11:27 am

As a young person starting out in the work world, I was as said above, given the opportunity to do "grunt" work. Put another way, like the old world apprentice system, I was given the opportunity to understand the mechanics of work before moving on to such things as planning and strategizing.
Early in my education I had troubles with math. Someone told me to think of numbers as things, or put another way, every number stood for something in the "real world". Once I understood this, every math problem could be visualized as a real world thing/concept. After learning this I learned to love math, and to apply it well. Word problems referred to real things. Logic and problem solving, thru math, was real. Moving forward to the work world, and with the move from mainframe computers (which I worked with), to PC's, I became proficient in very complex spreadsheets, creating them, maintining them, and undertaking complex analysis with them. But, and someone above hit on this well, unlike today where the numbers are the thing, or end product, I always envisoned them and understood them, each and every one of them, as just being a representation of a real thing in the real world. This I think sets my work generation apart from how things are done today. The loss of connection between numbers and real things is I think what Yves is referring to as how people have become distanced from risk and by default, it almost becomes "not risk".
Lastly, when I was younger I always had a need to understand the real world aspects of anything I did. I had a job in analytics/logistics at an Oil & Gas company, one aspect was gasoline blending. It wasn't good enough to get reports from the field for me, I had to go out to the field and see, touch and discuss the actual work. I loved going to manufacturing plants (refineries), and to the oil rigs. I had to understand everything because how else can you do the "administrative/planning" side of things if you don't have an intimate relationship with the actual thing?
Anyway, great post. It isn't the USA, it isn't capitalism, it is a deeper change in society that knows no boundary or ideology.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 1:27 pm

kinda like there should only be one number, lets call it 3, and the size of it tells us everything about the world we live in – so a big 3 is extremely important and requires mobilization in some way, whereas a little 3 can be dealt with on a smaller scale ;-)

HotFlash , April 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm

An old (both ways) friend took up CNC work at a local maker space a while back. After a year or so he is good enough at it to be able to take orders for custom parts, but is now getting to the 'real world' of numbers. He is, to his indignation, awe, and utter delight, grappling with calculating the rate of taper he needs for some part, "Cotan, sine, tan -- it's trigonometry !"

Dang Me , April 6, 2020 at 12:04 pm

There is simply no risk in the game for elites. Trump was slow to act because his risk was that the stock market would be hurt by his action. He was free to wait because the stock market would get a bailout in the end. The lives of the public were less important and still are. The opinion polls of the voting class are all that matter.

The elites have very successfully bought off the voting class by making them small and insignificant players in the game via the 401(k). They readily take the risk off of elites because they are taking it off of themselves. They identify with elites and see them as their protectors.

Ignacio , April 6, 2020 at 12:24 pm

I think that the dereliction of duty by state actors is a something to be examined in depth. Unfortunately, I am not today in the mood for doing the thinking effort this post merits. I would have wanted to think on one of the symptoms of failure (widespread denialism) and contrast it with the many good observations made in the post. The quarantine and some personal stress has lately been a shock for me. Unfortunately some of my worst worries have come true. I was writing something that could be interesting on the conditions that favoured this outbreak but now I am not sure I can finish it.

Please take care. I am pretty sure I will still need this site to check for some common sense, good, sensible and critical thinking plus relief from the too abundant disingenuous widespread disinformation. So I insist, you gals and guys take a lot of care for yourselves.

Susan the other , April 6, 2020 at 1:32 pm

you too Ignacio; I agree with your "dereliction of duty" – what else could we possibly call it?

Steve H. , April 6, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Thank you, Ignacio. Know that your writing has been a great help to my understanding.

Anarcissie , April 6, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Widespread denialism is not hard to figure. Contemporary ruling classes and attached elites have no regard for honesty and truth, so they lie to the people as default practice. The people for whom they have so much contempt are smart enough to figure out that they are being lied to. Given that the authorities cannot be trusted, one might as well believe anything one wants.

Rtah100 , April 6, 2020 at 1:40 pm

Take care yourself, Ignacio. Check back in with us tomorrow, please. ¡Vaya con dios!

nn , April 6, 2020 at 12:38 pm

Why the Czech Republic isn't bottom of the barrel, I certainly wouldn't hold us up as exemplary case either. There are problems with protective equipment as everywhere else, the testing regime is grossly lagging, contract tracing is nonexistent and just today the leading epidemiologist and sort of top state science guy for this whole thing floated the idea we should let 70 % population who are low-risk contract the virus without explaining how he thinks this could be done without everyone else catching it too.

LAS , April 6, 2020 at 12:52 pm

I would not depict you as exaggerating about the change in posture toward risks. This was a very good essay. The change in posture about risks was enabled because typically big political donars (smallish minority) get bailed out of their troubles while those with lessor political influence (the working poor and middle class) get crushed.

BTW, seduction is the one thing Pres. Trump is really good at. Every news conference of his I happen to catch (not my objective), it is marvelous, fascinating to watch how he operates to seduce. It is what he does, even more fundamental than lying.

The lack of investment in public health has been so long standing that it is not the least surprising to me that the USA has done poorly in pandemic preparation. I knew we had deeply compromised capacity to respond. I am rather surprised by all the valient fighting for lives now going on by many health care workers and a few politicians. To me, I feel there is a mustard seed of humanism and hope in this world because we've purposely crashed our economies to try and slow transmission, save lives and health care from imploding totally. It is not a uniform sentiment, but it exists. It surprises me and am glad for it. Still, the disadvantaged are going to fare worse, suffer worse on account of the risks that others neglected.

Musicismath , April 6, 2020 at 1:04 pm

we've had a Minsky-like process operating on a society-wide basis: as daily risks have declined, most people have blinded themselves to what risk amounts to and where it might surface in particularly nasty forms. And the more affluent and educated classes, who disproportionately constitute our decision-makers, have generally been the most removed.

I see something very similar happening in academia. We align our identities with our institutions and think in very a short-term, metric-based fashion, seeing "success" (for instance) in terms of student recruitment (tuition fees paid in). Moreover, we're encouraged above all to be global in outlook: we look forward to our perennially "busy" international conference seasons and we emphasise the global and the transnational over the merely local or national (denigrated as narrow, provincial, and ideologically suspect). We like to see ourselves as mobile subjects, bodies in constant motion, our minds Romantically untethered from the confines of any one nation state.

So our identities as academics are unavoidably embedded in a form of neoliberal hyperglobalisation. We rely on unrestricted flows of (wealthy) bodies across borders. Our institutions (or many of them) have become dependent on international students and their superior fee-paying ability compared with merely "domestic students." We might agree in principle with ideas of a GND, say, or take an ecocritical approach to a novel or a play, but we're certainly not going to cut back on the number of international conferences we attend. Indeed, many of us go further. We see this form of globalisation, and the benefits that accrue to us and our institutions from it, as a form of moral necessity : something it isn't possible even to argue against in good faith. Hence our loud assent to principles like open borders and always-on mass migration. We have to keep those lucrative international students flooding in, after all. (Not that we'd ever put it in terms as crassly material as that; after all, we don't work in university administration .)

Our commitment to the global as a form of moral mission has left us completely unprepared for what's currently unfolding. We are utterly unused to considering the material constraints of the economy our livelihoods depend on; that globalisation might come back to bite us; that the very aircraft that carry us across the world to conference destinations and field work sites would one day turn off the spigot of endlessly mobile bodies our careers and identities depend on. Hence the reason why a lot of my colleagues are so lost right now. They're so used to living on a purely symbolic (or moral-symbolic) level that the materiality of this virus and its consequences seems like a crude insult. Many stubbornly hold on to their old commitments, unwilling to admit that the world might have changed. In this respect, I think of this post over at Crooked Timber, where John Quiggin (an economist I have a great deal of respect for) simply cannot bring himself to confront the possibility that the open borders dream might be dead.

Where we go from here, I have no idea. But the fact that international and Erasmus students might be gone for the foreseeable future, and the major implications this will have for the financial viability or our universities, seems to be slowly sinking in. But the fact that the "export education" model was a disastrous wrong turn will take much longer to be accepted, I think, because of the widespread commitment I've been talking about here to the principle of the global as a form of moral necessity.

Chauncey Gardiner , April 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm

Intriguing question and hypothesis regarding the reasons behind the variability in coronavirus infection and mortality rates among nations.

Variable coronavirus outcomes by nation could suggest a combination of elite incompetence, poor individual judgment, a lack of appreciation of risk in all its Rumsfeldian forms, corruption, a desire by oligarchs for autocratic control and being insulated and divorced from actual operations; or underlying cultural and economic factors.

It could also suggest that other factors either singularly or in combination played a role, including intentionality based on misjudgment of the agnostic nature of the virus regardless of demographics, economics and social class; or simply denial of an emerging public health threat by political leadership that reflected their own psychological characteristics and cognitive biases that led to a two month delay in implementing containment and control policy measures.

While they played a role, don't know that blaming the variability among nations entirely on a narrow set of insular public and private sector leaders who relied on computer spreadsheets to assess ROI, NPV of alternatives, payback periods, cost vs. benefit analysis, JIT inventory management of PPE; and the guidance of financial markets is an all-encompassing answer. Why exactly did they rely on those spreadsheets?

My own view is that we can trace the root cause of policy failure back to the dominant values of leadership and the values of the society/culture which spawned them regarding the relative importance of money in determining policy choices regarding public health and safety.

Unfortunately I expect the social and economic effects of this pandemic and the policy choices that increased its severity are going to be with us for some time.

[Apr 06, 2020] U.S. was not adequately prepared for pandemic, says J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon

Apr 06, 2020 | www.marketwatch.com

The U.S. was not adequately prepared for the current coronavirus pandemic and needs to address the lack of planning to better prepare for future crises, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said Monday.

In his annual letter to shareholders, Dimon said he hoped America will "roll up its sleeves" and start to attack its problems, including a costly health-care system, unequal access to education, a litigation and regulatory system that burdens small business, failed immigration policies, and ineffective infrastructure, among shortcomings. The share of wages for the bottom 30% of Americans has been falling, he said, a problem that needs to be acknowledged if it is to be fixed

"There should have been a pandemic playbook," he wrote. Likewise, he added, every problem he noted "should have detailed and nonpartisan solutions."

" 'While conditions may sometimes be unusual and difficult, we are functioning smoothly. In fact, over the last month in certain parts of our company, we've had the highest volume and transaction totals we have ever seen.'

[Apr 06, 2020] Reports about failures of the US government in handing the coronavirus epidemics are now a genre

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... I've seen this posted everywhere; article after article in the mainstream media telling us to stop worrying about the coronavirus. ..."
"... Washington's reputation for expertise has been one of the greatest sources of its power. The coronavirus pandemic may end it for good. ..."
"... Orinoco Tribune ..."
"... Yale News ..."
"... How to set up an ICU - LBR ..."
Apr 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Prof K , Apr 5 2020 21:06 utc | 60

Failure of government reports are now a genre:

The long delay in the U.S. reaction has led to a urgent need for personal protection equipment. The result is a new 'wild west' where stealing and cheating to get PPE is the new norm:

The neoliberal transformation of the state is also on display with regards to the distribution of medical supplies. The USG is distributing much needed supplies to private commercial entities, which then play off various states, municipalities and hospitals against each other in bidding wars. This is what "public-private partnerships" and "new public management" have led to: a thorough abdication of institutional responsibility and capacity-building by the state, which itself has been devoured internally by market principles.

Without an analysis of capitalism as the central issue in the American crisis we can't understand how things are playing out.

Stephen Walt gets many things right but he has no sense of the political economy of the American crisis.

Why? Because his realist theory is bereft of any sociology and political economy.

Prof K , Apr 5 2020 21:58 utc | 68

@james

The thing with the billionaires is that they have demanded and benefitted from the hollowing out of the state in the neoliberal period, and then they exploit moments of state crisis to reassert their "importance" (and our dependence on them).

It's a vicious circle, and it's quasi feudal.

[Apr 06, 2020] Captain Crozier Was Right, And His Sailors Knew It

Apr 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

So he sounded the alarm, sending a letter to 19 senior military officials. The gist of that letter was a recommendation to disembark and isolate the Roosevelt's crew, treating those infected and subjecting the entire ship to a thorough cleaning to eliminate the virus. "We are not at war," Crozier wrote. "Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset -- our Sailors." While the ship's operational readiness would momentarily suffer, Crozier was intent on ensuring that none of the men and women under his command would "perish as a result of this pandemic unnecessarily."

Today, of course, many Americans are dying unnecessarily through the negligence of leaders at all levels. In the weeks to come, negligence will claim the lives of many more. Crozier stands out as one leader who was quick to assess the danger at hand and to recommend prompt and decisive action.

For this he was fired. Needless to say, his letter leaked. Navy officials were thereby embarrassed. While eventually taking the actions not unlike those that Crozier had recommended, they gave him the axe. According to acting Navy secretary Thomas B. Modly, himself a Naval Academy graduate, Crozier lost his job because the Coronavirus outbreak "overwhelmed his ability to act professionally."

That's one opinion. Mine differs. Faced with a perplexing leadership challenge, Crozier made a very tough call: This was one instance, he concluded, where Men should come before Mission, while he unhesitatingly placed his own career interests last. His superiors, up to and including Acting Secretary Modly, ought to have applauded his actions. That they did not calls into question their own good judgment.

... ... ...

Of course, my own opinion matters not at all. On the other hand, my guess is that for Crozier the opinion of his sailors matters quite a lot. As he left his ship for the last time, in a moving display of support for their former skipper, they gathered spontaneously to give him a rousing sendoff. Crozier left with their cheers ringing in their ears. The men and women assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt know professionalism when they see it.


kouroi 15 hours ago

Another point of discussion here is The Mission. Me thinks the mission of TR was to show force, intimidate and cower the Chinese. A very worthwhile job in the time of pandemic. While the good captain said that the US is not at war, maybe the higher ups know better and the US is indeed at war with a handful of countries in that area... and in that case The Mission must take precedence, eh?!
KevinS 14 hours ago
BUT if he had killed civilians, taken pictures with their dead bodies, had every member of his unit testify against him and been found guilty of war crimes, Trump would have his back!
daveclay 14 hours ago
He didn't even inform his immediate superior, who lived feet away. He communicated outside his chain-of-command classified information (yes, mission-readiness is classified.) He absolutely should have been fired, and also brought up on charges. I expect this guy got his foot in the door to command via his fealty to Obama, instead of his actual suitability for command.
FL Transplant an hour ago
Crozier graduated from the Naval Academy in 1992. In his 28 years of military service he's been a rotary wing pilot (SH-60s), a fixed wing pilot (F-18s), been the exec (second in command) of a Nimitz-class carrier USS Ronald Reagan), and the the captain of a major ship (USS Blue Ridge) (Command of a CVN requires both aviation and ship command; his career path is typical of those groomed for command of a CVN). He's a graduate of the Naval War College.

I'll go out on a limb here, but considering his background I'm comfortable thinking that CAPT Crozier understands the chain of command, OPSEC, formal vs informal means of communication, who to address a message or email to, what items should be and shouldn't be in an unclassified email, realized the Carrier Battle Group's commander was embarked along with him and he could walk down the hall to discuss concerns with him, and all the other items people are raising.

The question should be why did someone with his background and experience consider it necessary in a peacetime deployment to act as he did to protect his crew, taking actions he had to have known would result in his being relieved of command and sacrificing his career. If those above him considered the sickness and death of a number of his crew, along with reducing the ship and its embarked air wing to an ineffective token, to be an unavoidable but necessary price to pay for the boat to continue on its deployment without alteration they need to come forward and say so. I have yet to read any rationale from the navy's civilian leadership (or military, for that matter; the CNO's office has been silent) where they have done anything other than note how bad he made them look.

John S. 40 minutes ago
I believe that Colonel Bacevich is right on point with one small error. That is that Captain Crozier's action wasn't necessarily placing mission behind the men. The Navy will keep it secret, of course, but a carrier underway with a large fraction of its crew sick, to some degree, is just as non-mission capable as one sitting in port.

[Apr 06, 2020] Notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, Crozier was correct

Captain Crozier was in an untenable catch-22 situation. Would the USS Roosevelt have suffered a similar casualty if it's skipper stayed within his chain of command in attempting to address the burgeoning virus aboard that very well may have impacted it's crews ability to operate safely? Capt Crozier's naval career was damned if he did and damned if he didn't (ie catch-22). Capt Crozier made the right decision in putting the health/lives of sailors aboard the Roosevelt ahead of 7th Fleets need to check boxes.
Notable quotes:
"... I am circling around to the view that Crozier's actions were correct, honorable, and laudable, and that they also created a situation that made it impossible for the Navy, notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, to keep him in his position. ..."
"... The difference between a competent administration and the one we have is that Crozier would not have felt compelled to go outside the chain of command, the SecNav would not be "acting," and the Acting SecNav would not have been so terrified of his own President that he would have acted precipitously against the captain. ..."
"... There is a disheartening present trend on who is promoted (and what comprises their value set) within organizations in America at present. ..."
Apr 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Portland Sooner4 hours ago

Robert Farley at LGM has an interesting post on Crozier,
I am circling around to the view that Crozier's actions were correct, honorable, and laudable, and that they also created a situation that made it impossible for the Navy, notwithstanding the current occupant of the White House, to keep him in his position.

The difference between a competent administration and the one we have is that Crozier would not have felt compelled to go outside the chain of command, the SecNav would not be "acting," and the Acting SecNav would not have been so terrified of his own President that he would have acted precipitously against the captain.

But decisions with strategic consequences should lie firmly with the very senior leadership of the armed forces, and the civilians that the leadership serves.

https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/04/crozier-considerations

Tom Sadlowski Portland Sooneran hour ago
Thank you for that link. I agree with that assessment, and I would extend that circumstance to other departments within our government, and into other sectors like business, education, and non-profits. There is a disheartening present trend on who is promoted (and what comprises their value set) within organizations in America at present.

[Apr 05, 2020] More like intel agency ass covering or gross incompetancy of Trump administration?

Apr 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Apr 2 2020 16:32 utc | 8

Philip Giraldi knows who to blame:
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/04/02/another-expensive-war-another-intelligence-failure/

"...the intelligence agencies were warning about information derived from medical sources in China that suggested viruses were developing that might become a pandemic, but the politicians, most particularly those in the White House, chose to take no action. He writes that " the Trump administration has cumulatively failed, both in taking seriously the specific, repeated intelligence community warnings about a coronavirus outbreak and in vigorously pursuing the nationwide response initiatives commensurate with the predicted threat. The federal government alone has the resources and authorities to lead the relevant public and private stakeholders to confront the foreseeable harms posed by the virus. Unfortunately, Trump officials made a series of judgments (minimizing the hazards of COVID-19) and decisions (refusing to act with the urgency required) that have needlessly made Americans far less safe."


"The article cites evidence that the intelligence community was collecting disturbing information on possibly developing pathogens in China and was, as early as January, preparing analytical reports that detailed just what was happening while also providing insights into how devastating the global proliferation of a highly contagious and potential lethal virus might be. One might say that the intel guys called it right, but were ignored by the White House, which, per Zenko, acted with "unprecedented indifference, even willful negligence...."

c1ue , Apr 2 2020 18:32 utc | 36

@bevin #8
In January? Really? Seems like the highly paid and budgeted intelligence agencies should be able to do a better job of predicting the nCOV threat before China instituted a shutdown on January 23 due to its view that nCOV was a problem.

Frankly, seems more like intel agency ass covering than anything else.

[Apr 05, 2020] The KN95 mask is a Chinese alternative to the scarce N95 mask, but the FDA refuses to allow it into the country

Apr 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

JC , Apr 2 2020 20:17 utc | 65

The KN95 mask is a Chinese alternative to the scarce N95 mask, but the FDA refuses to allow it into the country.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/kenbensinger/coronavirus-kn95-masks-us-wont-import-china

Anyone know why KN95 banned?


A.L. , Apr 2 2020 20:49 utc | 78

Additional comments regarding Chinese KN95 and why it's banned in 'murica

Getting type approval means paying for certification so a lot of domestic chinese brands won't bother going for EN or NIOSH as those markets are stitched up by big names like 3M.

Some lesser brands or importers OEM them from China but will pay for certification for US NIOSH for example, they would have their branding on it and probably contractual limitation on market exclusivity, even though they're probably pumped off the same production line.

and because they're made by suppliers serving the domestic market in China, they're about 30% - 40% cheaper than N95

so it begs the question, in times like these why wouldn't you allow a temporary standards equivalency recognition?

The only motivation I can see beyond red tape is the KN95 masks generally will have Chinese printing on them (brand, model, certification etc) and how would the US narrative go when everyone is wearing Chinese masks on the streets?

A.L. , Apr 2 2020 20:30 utc | 73
@JC 65

becoz 'MURICA

mask standards comparison

they're pretty much the same.

William Gruff , Apr 2 2020 21:07 utc | 82
You can still order KN95 masks from AliExpress .

[Mar 30, 2020] Apparently a low cost ventilator was constructed years ago by direction of the Federal government. The company was bought out by another company that produced higher costs ventilators and the project died.

Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

dltravers , Mar 29 2020 20:02 utc | 45

The U.S. Tried to Build a New Fleet of Ventilators. The Mission Failed.

Apparently a low cost ventilator was constructed years ago by direction of the Federal government. The company was bought out by another company that produced higher costs ventilators and the project died.

[Mar 30, 2020] Dr. Francis Collins director of the US National Institute of Health is no longer AVOL

Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 29 2020 20:25 utc | 51

Looks to me like Dr Francis Collins, director of the US National Institute of Health

He is no longer AWOL? You have seen or read a recent interview? For at least a month or two, it has been Fauci, Fauci, Fauci, and not a hint of his boss Collins. Perhaps Collins has been too busy handing out guitar picks.


NIH Record
At the outset of his... presentation..., NIH director Dr. Francis Collins described new guitar pick-shaped lapel pins ... popping up around NIH and even on Capitol Hill that tout "Hope at NIH." These arose not only out of Collins' reputation as a musician, but also as "insignia that we believe in what we are doing," said Collins. "You want to pick NIH and you want to pick hope," he said, inviting the group to wear the symbols with pride.

Who needs research or effective planning when we've got "Hope at NIH"?

In 2017 he was been busy promoting Mind/Music/Magic pseudo-science. Maybe he got lost backstage.


"Music and the Mind," on the intersection of music and science. There will be performances, presentations, and discussions by Dr. Collins, Ms. Fleming, the National Symphony Orchestra, neuroscientists, music therapists, and others. Some events are free, open to the public, and will be streamed online

Too bad he is too busy to run his $35 billion agency. Good thing he has Fauci to do it for him.

[Mar 29, 2020] 2020 election are the ultimate US Presidential election: the election in which people really have no one to vote for. Not even for fake choice like Trump and Hillary like in 2016. Absolutely none. It is "Perfect Election"

Mar 29, 2020 | www.unz.com

aandrews , says: Show Comment March 29, 2020 at 4:58 pm GMT

" I always considered him a fraud for this (and many other) reasons. Now Tulsi Gabbard is doing the same thing ."

There's really no one to vote for. I don't intend to bother. And they love it when people don't vote.

[Mar 29, 2020] The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths

Mar 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Timothy Hagios , Mar 28 2020 18:14 utc | 44

The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths who make him legitimately look good by comparison. This is why he's constantly overruling their worst plans. But once every so often, his incompetent underlings convince him to do something exceptionally stupid. This is because occasionally going along with them allows him to feel like a wise, discerning ruler who occasionally follows his advisors' guidance and occasionally overrules them.

[Mar 28, 2020] Critique of Dr. Fauci. How should America respond to the Coronavirus crisis? With therapeutic drugs? Or with a vaccine?

Mar 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 8:31 pm GMT

Mar 27, 2020 Dr. Fauci and COVID-19 Priorities: Therapeutics Now or Vaccines Later?

There is a raging debate in our government. How should America respond to the Coronavirus crisis? With therapeutic drugs? Or with a vaccine?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/xCnOqwvPivE

[Mar 28, 2020] The shortage of chloroquin might also be a matter of the medical bureaucracy at play.

Mar 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

Turk 152 , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT

The shortage could also be a matter of the medical bureaucracy at play. A primary driver in physicians actions is whether or not they will be sued. If they prescribe malaria medication for covid-19, a use that has not gone through clinical trials and FDA approval, could they be sued if someone dies? They may expect it to work, which is why they are hoarding for themselves and their family. But, if someone dies while being treated by ventilator, they have no exposure because it is currently within medical guidelines.

In contrast, Chinese doctors can and are solving the problem through trial and error. One doctor tries a medication on a patient and if the patient recovers he can communicate to other doctors to try the medication. They dont have a system in which an attorney looking for cash shows up if an already dying patient dies anyway.

This is a big problem for the US that is going to lead to many unnecessary deaths.

[Mar 27, 2020] USG is squabbling with the private sector to purchase ventilators more cheaply

Mar 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Mar 27 2020 14:24 utc | 199

USG is squabbling with the private sector to purchase ventilators more cheaply:

After Considering $1 Billion Price Tag for Ventilators, White House Has Second Thoughts

[Mar 27, 2020] Trump's about as innocent in the coronavirus fiasco as jack the ripper

Mar 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Miss Lacy , Mar 26 2020 20:32 utc | 35

PS to vk # 1. Please think again. Trump has been in a trade war with China for what? a couple of years? AND, he specifically banned imports of medical supplies from China. Other posters wave supplied links for this idiocy.

Trump's about as innocent as jack the ripper. You may just be seeing things relatively, as ghouls like Elliot Abrahms and disgusting Pomposity make Trump seen like an amateur.

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 24, 2020] When shown to be incompetent, US leadership lies.

Mar 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Mar 24 2020 3:51 utc | 160

Posted by: occupatio | Mar 23 2020 18:33 utc | 12
"No, China didn't cover up the Covid-19 outbreak: An analysis"

Thanks. I've saved the article for when it is memory-holed.

Crisis reveals character... the nature of people.

When shown to be incompetent, US leadership lies.

Russia says the US leadership is not "agreement-capable".

Less politely, I say they are dishonourable, shameless, ghouls who have lost their souls.

What does it profit a leader when the world's TV cameras shine on you, but you have lost your soul?


SharonM , Mar 24 2020 1:41 utc | 129

@97 Richard Steven Hack

"The number of idiots everywhere on the Internet proclaiming the following:
1) The virus won't prove to be any more dangerous than ordinary flu..."

Yeah sure, we should have just shut up and believed...

Russia interfered in the election
Russia invaded Crimea
Russia invaded Georgia
Iran is making nuclear bombs
The Skripals were poisoned by Russian agents
Assad is using chemical weapons
Saddam has weapons of mass destruction

"etc, etc., ad nauseum.
I could go on and on. The number of people who just *have to have an opinion* is staggering. And they'll argue that they're right until the cows come home."

@99 Michael Weddington

"The virus deniers here remind me of the global warming deniers."

Why not holocaust deniers? In fact, since you didn't say holocaust deniers you must be an antisemite holocaust denier nazi, right? It's not like you two are at CNN's website, you're in the alternative media, where we actually questions things instead of just having blind faith.

ted01 , Mar 24 2020 3:41 utc | 159
SharonM @129

Nailed it Sharon.

Suddenly the corporate mainstream media have become the epitome of truth, honesty and integrity.

kiwiklown , Mar 24 2020 4:21 utc | 164
jackrabbit @33 -- "Coronavirus Drives the U.S. and China Deeper Into Global Power Struggle"

I would rephrase that to "US uses coronavirus to deepen global power struggle against China"

NYT -- "These officials warn that a fast-growing China, under Mr. Xi's increasingly authoritarian rule, seeks military, economic and technological domination over the United States and its allies."

What weasel-speak! Repeating a big enough lie often enough, and you get distracted citizens to fall in line behind you for when you launch a sneak attack on China. This is nothing but a case of projection by parties who are themselves seeking to dominate the world, the better to eat other people's lunches.

[Mar 24, 2020] The Coronavirus's Spread is the Federal Bureaucracy's Failure by Matt Purple

Mar 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
| The truth is always less glamorous than the perception. And the truth about 9/11 is that it was first and foremost a failure of bureaucracy.

As early as spring 2000, the CIA had learned that two of the future hijackers had traveled to Malaysia for an al-Qaeda summit. Both men had U.S. visas yet the information was never acted on. In California, the pair roomed with an undercover FBI agent. In Oklahoma, one of them was pulled over for speeding . Mere days before the attacks, they were hunkered down in Laurel, Maryland, not far from the National Security Agency's headquarters.

They were never stopped, nor were several of the other soon-to-be hijackers who were cited for traffic violations and raised eyebrows at flight schools, more Rocky and Mugsy than SPECTRE. After 9/11, a congressional investigation found that the attacks could have been prevented were it not for FBI and CIA ineptitude. According to that and subsequent reports, the agencies had failed to share information with each other, gotten bogged down in turf wars, and lacked outside-the-box thinking.

They did this because this is how bureaucracies work. The state isn't some enchanted repository of our national priorities; it's a sprawling network of individuals, who, like the rest of us, tend to place their own interests before the common good, show reluctance in the face of innovation, cling to rote procedure even under extraordinary circumstances, abuse their power. And just as the predictable failures of the security bureaucracy allowed 9/11 to happen, so too are the predictable failures of the medical bureaucracy enabling the coronavirus to spread.

Start with the feds' delayed reaction to the virus's outbreak in Washington State. There, the first case of COVID-19 in America was confirmed all the way back in January, and an infectious disease expert in Seattle, Dr. Helen Chu, had an idea. According to the New York Times , her lab had been using nasal swabs to research the flu; were they to repurpose the tests, they could check for the coronavirus. The team quickly sought the approval of the CDC, which kicked them over to the FDA. The FDA then denied their request, citing both privacy concerns over the swab results and the fact that the labs were not certified for clinical purposes. After weeks of the agency refusing to budge, the team decided to do that most American of things: ignore the government. They tested for coronavirus and found a positive. The bureaucrats promptly told the team to stop; they later relented but only in part.

Those FDA rules may be in place for good reason -- patient privacy must be protected, labs must be classified correctly -- but such rationales should quickly fall to the floor when an epidemic is raging. Because they didn't, Chu's team was forced to waste valuable time. And even those laboratories approved for clinical work were having a tough go of it. They still had to apply with the feds for emergency approval to develop their own tests, and were being stymied. "This virus is faster than the FDA," grumbled one researcher to the Times . So are turtles with polio. It's worth pointing out that all this transpired well after the government had declared the coronavirus a public health emergency.

The root of the problem seems to be that the bureaucracy underestimated just how widely the coronavirus would spread. Initial tests were limited to those who had just returned from China. Warnings from local officials that the virus was proliferating were ignored. The CDC, meanwhile, developed its own test, but the kits were quickly determined to be faulty and retracted. Precious weeks slipped by. Had measures been implemented, had people started social distancing earlier and the infected been identified and quarantined faster, the coronavirus could have been better contained. Instead the FDA tried to control the process, only to find that it couldn't. Private labs were brought in too late and struggled to meet demand, forcing them to ration tests. It wasn't until last week that the FDA started permitting companies to market tests without federal blessing, though they still must get the agency's approval within two weeks.

The process remains hamstrung by that most bureaucratic of problems: lack of coordination. Only whereas prior to 9/11 it was agencies failing to coordinate with each other, now it's the government failing to coordinate the supply chain. The labs, the medical providers, the supply manufacturers -- all need to be in harmony in order to develop tests and distribute badly needed equipment. Instead hospitals warn of ventilator shortages . Masks are running dangerously low, with Vice President Mike Pence announcing only last weekend that the government had at last placed an order for hundreds of millions more. A run on supplies following the FDA's belated easing of restrictions on private labs caused shortages, according to the Wall Street Journal . Tom Rogan at the Washington Examiner reports that pallets of medical equipment are sitting unused in warehouses because the FDA hasn't loosened its inspection protocols .

Contrast all this with South Korea, which streamlined its medical bureaucracy following the MERS outbreak in 2015. There, officials sounded the alarm in January and one week later a private lab had developed a test. Today, about 10,000 South Koreans are tested daily , many of them at drive-through diagnosis centers, compared to just a small fraction of that number in the United States.

Yes, the fish rots from the head down. Donald Trump's complacent reaction to the virus set a terrible example. His pronouncement that the outbreak was "like a miracle, it will disappear" now sounds insane. Yet the president can also only reach so far down into the bureaucracy; some of those gears need to align on their own. And they clearly failed to do so. This also can't be blamed on a lack of funding, given that Trump's supposed cuts to the medical bureaucracy never actually happened . Amid a massive federal budget and trillion-dollar deficits, we're paying more than enough to expect the government to do better than this.

I know we've convinced ourselves that the country would run better if only the damned libertarians would get out of the way, but it may be that the real problems are less trite than that. And one of them is clearly that the government has mummified itself in its own red tape. This happened despite the bright minds running its departments, human genome pioneer Francis Collins at the NIH and the oncologist Stephen Hahn at the FDA. So now the bureaucracy is taking a more deregulatory approach, lifting roadblocks to private labs, easing restrictions on trucking, lifting barriers to telehealth. They're about two months too late. Those early weeks were critical and the feds spent them methodically tripping over their own banana peels.

After 9/11, the nation consoled itself by establishing a new government agency with a fancy name, the Department of Homeland Security. Anyone who's ever talked to a DHS employee knows the confusion and bureaucratic jostling that reigned there for years. Instead of doing the same, once the coronavirus has passed, Congress should take a cue from another post-September 11 authority: the 9/11 Commission. Establish a body to investigate the government's blunders. Mimic South Korea and clear away the clutter. Because this time the costs of bureaucracy aren't just abstract notions of productivity and GDP; they're human lives. about the author Matt Purple is the managing editor of The American Conservative . email leave a comment

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[Mar 24, 2020] Trump owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. that might explain his position on the virus and initial downplaying of the danger

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tor597 , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT

Actually, Trump was downplaying Corona Virus as late as March 9th.

https://mobile.twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1237027356314869761

One thing I think played a role that is not mentioned is Trumps business that he owns. He owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. Trump wont rule out government assistance for himself.

For Trump to shut down the economy and produce an effective containment, he would have had to do this knowing that his own business would be devastated.

https://mol.im/a/8138335

[Mar 23, 2020] How the US is using "Chinese Virus" as a distraction from their own incompetence Asia Review

Mar 23, 2020 | asia-review.com

On the morning of March 11, US author Kurt Eichenwald tweeted

As I said, @ GOPLeader – and other GOPrs – were told in a political consultants memo to start using name "Chinese Virus" as part of some stupid political strategy.

Everyone: Go to McCarthy's twitter feed and ask "How can we trust GOP when you dont even know the disease's name?

-- Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 11, 2020

And just as expected, over the next few days government officials and politicians, including the respected President of the United States, started using the term "Chinese Virus".

This usage is against the new naming convention released by the WHO in 2015.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General for Health Security at WHO said in 2015 regarding the new naming convention, "We've seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger needless slaughtering of food animals. This can have serious consequences for peoples' lives and livelihoods."

Unfortunately, the political strategy has succeeded. Instead of talking about how absolutely incompetent the US response has been, the talking point has been shifted to Americans fighting over whether its right to call it Chinese Virus, with one side saying it stigmatises innocent Asians and instigates hate crime, and the other claiming its a liberal PC agenda.

This, coupled with the spread of fake news regarding how China "covered it up for weeks", (which I wrote about here ) has successfully diverted anger away from the US government and shifted the blame to China.

For good measure, a short recap of the US's incompetence:

Censorship and misinformation (which Americans claim China is doing)

Trump calling it a hoax https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/29/joe-biden-trump-coronavirus-hoax-claim

News station host calling it a hoax https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1240640020714848257

The Trump administration barred a top US disease expert from speaking freely to the public
https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-anthony-fauci-trump-admin-stops-discussion-2020-2

Lawmaker Condemns 'Unacceptable' CDC Decision to Stop Disclosing Number of Coronavirus Tests
https://www.thedailybeast.com/cdc-decision-to-stop-disclosing-coronavirus-test-total-condemned-by-lawmaker

Official: White House didn't want to tell seniors not to fly
https://apnews.com/921ad7f1f08d7634bf681ba785faf269

Trump tried to stall intelligence report by DNI, cut funding for pandemic preparedness, CDC
https://time.com/5799765/intelligence-report-pandemic-dangers/

Seattle lab uncovered Washington's coronavirus outbreak only after defying federal regulators
https://theweek.com/speedreads/901405/seattle-lab-uncovered-washingtons-coronavirus-outbreak-only-after-defying-federal-regulators

Coronavirus: Sheriff Chitwood reveals 20 potential Volusia cases
https://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20200314/coronavirus-sheriff-chitwood-reveals-20-potential-volusia-cases

CDC wanted to recommend all over 60 to remain inside their homes, but was instructed not to by government officials https://twitter.com/LACaldwellDC/status/1238870221672386563

Downplaying the virus all the way from the start until March 16 https://twitter.com/therecount/status/1240043597434687489?s=20

Incompetence in testing

Manufacturing defects leading to days of delays https://www.wsj.com/articles/manufacturing-defect-in-some-early-cdc-test-kits-being-probed-11583119414

Testing 400 people in 40 days while the world has tests hundreds of thousands https://fortune.com/2020/03/03/coronavirus-us-test/

A Pennsylvania state laboratory is now able to handle about six tests per day
https://www.wtae.com/article/pennsylvania-begins-coronavirus-testing-at-state-owned-lab/31212554

As of March 3rd, New York City has only tested 17 people for coronavirus
https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/health-topics/coronavirus.page

CDC Tested Just 77 People For Coronavirus This Week (article dated 13 Mar) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/coronavirus-cdc-tested-77-people-this-week_n_5e6b06c1c5b6dda30fc6424d?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004

Sick People Across the U.S. Say They Are Being Denied the Coronavirus Test https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/us/coronavirus-testing-challenges.html

The entire state of Indiana has 100 tests https://www.southbendtribune.com/news/local/coronavirus-testing-picks-up-pace-in-south-bend-region-and/article_52bdcb0e-63e9-11ea-a23f-736dca0c8273.html

Sheer incompetence

Oklahoma governor urges residents to join him at crowded food hall https://www.readfrontier.org/stories/despite-coronavirus-spread-governor-visits-packed-food-hall-urges-oklahomans-to-join-him/

Florida governor refuses to shut down beaches amid spread of coronavirus https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-governor-refuses-shut-down-beaches-amid-spread-coronavirus-n1162226

[Mar 22, 2020] Best Coronavirus Trump Statements Timeline Synopsis Ever Put Together

1 minute 22 second video with Trump statements in chonological order @ https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/1240985096838053889
There is a saying the you fight the war with the army you have, not with the army you want.
Notable quotes:
"... Ok. Let me start by stating that I am not a "staunch" Trump supporter. However, I just really despise the constant visceral negative, hatred towards our Country's President. ..."
"... As I am sure you are aware, it is a tremendously difficult job, especially in today's crisis. I would think it would be better serve of your time and efforts to be constructive and optimistic, and hopeful. Rather than pinpointed every single steps and missteps he makes. He is certainly no perfect - but his goal is the same as all of ours: to defeat this virus in the best manner possible with the resources available. ..."
"... For the entire Trump Presidency it was all about the stock market. So, here we are. ..."
Mar 22, 2020 | moneymaven.io

Please play this.

Anthony Scaramucci @Scaramucci

I hope this is played everyday everywhere until Nov 8. Unless ⁦ @ realDonaldTrump ⁩ resigns as he should immediately.

https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/1240985096838053889

35.6K 8:54 AM - Mar 20, 2020 Twitter Ads info and privacy

23.6K people are talking about this

Mish

20 hours ago Here is a 1 minute 22 second video timeline of Trump's amazing handling of the coronavirus.

Please play this.

It will take less than two minutes of your time.

One missing key quote is a statement Trump made bragging about having natural talent coupled with a proclamation that he could have been a scientist instead of president.

More Questions:

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

njbr 20 hrs

The dumb-asses in DC still don't get it. "Top" leaders crowding around a single microphone in a stage no larger than a public restroom. Working toward a 1 time $1200 check that probably wont be issued/delivered for another couple weeks. What about the weeks after that--are they going to spend the next couple weeks going around about the next check?? Has the production of ventilators actually been accelerated-who could tell from what has been said? Why are nurses and doctors in my area asking the public for donations of PPE at the very beginning of the serious phase? What happens when the doctors and nurses start tipping over? Two partially ready hospital ships may help in one spot each on the coast, but what about everywhere else? Has anyone even checked on the production capacity for the maybe helpful malaria medicine--has anyone been directed to begin proactive super-production of this product? On and on.

DeeDee3 20 hrs

hard to prove deliberate neglect when you eliminate all of the evidence. No testing means "no virus" and sadly supported the hoax theory.

Another doc died in the city today. ER's are unprotected. what conclusion can we draw from all of this?

Zardoz 20 hrs

Thousands will die because of his incompetence... and his followers will blame the Chinese

egilkinc 20 hrs

There should be a tracker of the number of cases [among medical personnle] in the US along with this

Sechel 20 hrs

Oh my g-d. This is excellent! I think Trump has learned some bad lessons from Goebbels. Repeat the lie and repeat it often and people will take your version of events. This really serves to correct the record! Good work!

PecuniaNonOlet 20 hrs

And yet there will be an avalanche of Trump supporters defending the idiot. It is truly beyond me.

michiganmoon 20 hrs

Actually, Trump should resign and give the GOP a chance this November.

Had Trump not downplayed this and had tests ready, he could have played on a loop Biden on January 31st saying travel restrictions from Wuhan were racist and xenophobic.

thesaint0013 20 hrs

Ok. Let me start by stating that I am not a "staunch" Trump supporter. However, I just really despise the constant visceral negative, hatred towards our Country's President.

As I am sure you are aware, it is a tremendously difficult job, especially in today's crisis. I would think it would be better serve of your time and efforts to be constructive and optimistic, and hopeful. Rather than pinpointed every single steps and missteps he makes. He is certainly no perfect - but his goal is the same as all of ours: to defeat this virus in the best manner possible with the resources available.

To criticize previous tweets, interviews, and depict his flaws and errors does not help the common goal. The nature of some of the questions posed to him during the press conferences should be a bit more respectful and again, it doesn't serve any positive outcome to try and "catch" him in a lie, and how he may have said something that was not factual or false.

Again, he's not perfect and neither are anyone of us. However he is our President and we should support his and all of our common goal to defeat this virus.

Russell J 20 hrs

Not making excuses for Trump at all but he/we have people who are specialists and are responsible for being ready at all times for something like this and are responsible for being on the look out for this. Somebody should have came forward, even as a whistleblower. I've been aware for about 2 months now.

Thank you WWW.PEAKPROSPERITY.COM, MISH and WWW.ZEROHEDGE.COM

This was an epic failure of Trump, his administration and America in general.

ghoffa 20 hrs

Hi,
@MishTalk @Mish
I wanted to sincerely thank you MISH from my whole extended family. I have been reading you since 2007 when Ron Paul removed the scales from my eyes on the Fed and govt., Jekyll Island book, the "financial markets" (all modern day money changers). Every picture I see of Fed chairpersons, their eyes look dead black sharks eyes (to quote a famous book which I subscribe, the eyes are the windows to the soul).

In addition our mob style duolopoly govt and for the most part complicit MSM (all with significant influencing billionaire ownership to control the news - easily searched). I've learned so much from this blog and the many commentors in this space ( a personal fav is @Stuki ) . Nothing short of brilliant and reminds me of my fav news source Zerohedge and it's articles and commentors.

A special thanks for pointing us to Chris Martenson (peakprosperity.com) as my wife and I have watched every day his free daily videos since JAN @24th and our extended family is as prepared as we can be. God help us all with what's coming.

For those who haven't watched it, Dr. Martenson has a great 3 min video on exponential growth on YTube. Search his name and exponential. It will help you prepare for what our govt knows is coming in enourmous exponential growth in fatalities. Even knowing, it will be an emotional thing to prepare for. Prepping home supplies is one thing, prepping emotionally is also important per Dr. Martenson. HCWs be damned.

As this impacts people personally, I expect insider leaks to come from many fronts. We're working with neighbors to get prepared as we're all on our own now as the money changers (evil) bail out the money changers (evil) amidst a system that is so debt leveraged it can't likely be bailed out. "everything's a nail and the Fed has a hammer".

Lastly this brings a famous quote to mind as the people rise up against corrupt govt, corp bailouts after stock buy backs, etc. Let alone the monsters upon monsters creating lab viruses (regardless of the source of this virus), and unregulated GMOs changing the fabric of life.....

"All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing". Margaret Mead
G

QE2Infinity 20 hrs

Come on! First off, anyone can be made to look bad by taking snippets out of context and stringing them together. That said, Trump does tend towards braggadocio. If that is off putting to you, he can be annoying. I much prefer a transparent fool to the more sly variety that plays the part well while sticking a knife in your back.

But let's be honest here. The president can do very little. The bureaucracy of the government is a jobs program for the less ambitious and politically inclined. It's staffed with incompetent bureaucrats that show up, surf the web and may get around to an hour or two of honest work. Public unions guarantee they can't be fired.

Obama converted the CDC into a PC jobs program for lefties, just like he converted NASA into a Muslim outreach program.

May one ask: why is a self proclaimed libertarian screaming for more government action? Wouldn't it be great if one of the outcomes of this crisis is that local communities became more self reliant and more self sufficient!

Sechel 20 hrs

that's from a website called therecount.com looks interesting.

Greggg 20 hrs

For the entire Trump Presidency it was all about the stock market. So, here we are.

numike 20 hrs

while we all point fingers lets look at a useful guide regarding the mess we are ALL in now https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/03/food-safety-and-coronavirus-a-comprehensive-guide.html

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide Questions about COVID-19 and food safety, answered. www.seriouseats.com

Tengen 20 hrs

The graphic at the end of the video already looks out of date and shows how rapid the spread has been. For March 2020 it shows 5,002 cases in the US (and counting) but right now I'm seeing 24,137 cases.

So much for "in a couple of days the 15 is going to be down close to zero".

njbr 20 hrs

What can the President do?

Force and organize the production of necessary goods.

Mish Editor 19 hrs

May one ask: why is a self proclaimed libertarian screaming for more government action? Wouldn't it be great if one of the outcomes of this crisis is that local communities became more self reliant and more self sufficient!

Mish Editor 19 hrs

Trump did not Drain the Swamp. He IS the swamp

Mish Editor 19 hrs

Anyone who still supports this President's actions is a TDS-inflicted fool.

Jim Bob 19 hrs

I've followed Mish for ~ 12 years online and on the radio for brilliant economic analysis. Lately his work has been undermined by irrational political opinion. Mish has turned into Krugman. I won't be back.

abend237-04 19 hrs

The Donald is obviously afflicted with the same narcissistic megalomania prerequisite for a successful run at any elective office above County Coroner, anywhere in this country.

That said, he can apparently read a graph, and he's right: The two drug combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin are working to treat this damn thing, BUT:

It is, indeed, not a Covid-19 preventative.

If you get it, and you dink around at home too long waiting for improvement, arriving at ICU needing ventilation leaves you with roughly the odds of Russian roulette of surviving, especially if you're older.

Lacking testing, the only remaining means available to knock the transmission rate down quickly is social distancing/lockdown. But, enough of that prevention can leave us wishing we were dead anyway.

Unfortunately, all the college kids jamming the bars and beaches is setting the stage for continued exponential growth by hordes of asymptomatic spreaders.

The march of folly continues.

I like what I'm seeing of Cuomo. He'd be a good guy to have in the room in a serious fight; This qualifies.

DBG8489 19 hrs

As someone who hates all politicians, there is zero love lost between Trump and myself. I had hopes when he was elected that he would make a difference but it was clear based on how he looked after his private meeting with Obama on inauguration day that he was in over his head.

Having said that, I will say this:

From at least the "major" state level up, it would appear that not one single elected official or the top advisors and bureaucrats who work for them have shown anything but complete and utter failure in their handling of this emergency.

You have senators selling off piles of stock while either saying nothing or telling the rest of us that it was bullshit. And trust me - they were not the only ones. If anyone cares to investigate, they will likely find this problem rampant. Elected officials should not even be allowed to trade stocks when they control the entire economy - not even through alleged "blind trusts" - it's bullshit. But that's a conversation for another time.

You have congressional reps and senators blaming each other and/or the other party and passing laws and bailouts without even reading the bills they are passing.

You have the Treasury and the Fed printing money and throwing it at every hole that opens up without the slightest regard for what the unintended consequences of those actions may entail.

You have governments of the "major" states (CA, NY, NJ...etc) who know they can't simply print money being exposed using any extra money they had (along with taxes based on tourism that have now disappeared) to fund God knows what now demanding that everyone else pony up to pay for their failure to plan...

The lack of leadership in the major states and at the Federal level is abysmal ACROSS THE BOARD.

And that includes members of BOTH parties and nearly every single bureaucratic agency involved.

You can single Trump out if you want, but he's not alone. He's just an easy target because 49% of the population hated him before this started.

njbr 18 hrs

....Top health officials first learned of the virus's spread in China on January 3, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday. Throughout January and February, intelligence officials' warnings became more and more urgent, according to the Post -- and by early February, much of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA's intelligence reports were dedicated to warnings about Covid-19.

All the while, Trump downplayed the virus publicly, telling the public the coronavirus "is very well under control in our country," and suggesting warm weather would neutralize the threat the virus poses....

...The administration did begin taking some limited action about a month after Azar says the administration first began receiving warnings, blocking non-citizens who had been to China in the last two weeks from entering the country on February 3 -- a move public experts have argued at best bought the US time to ramp up its testing capabilities, which it did not use, and at worst had no beneficial effects at all.

Trump finally assembled a task force to address the virus, putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the effort on February 26, and declared a national emergency on March 13. And, just this week -- nearly three months after first receiving warnings from his intelligence officials -- the president's public tone about the crisis shifted: "I've always known this is a real -- this is a pandemic," he said Tuesday as he admitted, "[the virus is] not under control for any place in the world."....

Realist 18 hrs

I have been watching political leaders in my own country get on television daily. They have all done a great job of informing the public about the dangers of this virus. They have all relied on the experts to relay information to the public about what the government is doing, and what individuals should be doing. This is true at the national, regional, and local levels.

In addition businesses have been sending out emails, radio announcements and tv messages explaining what they are doing in regard to this pandemic.

In fact, I am amazed at what a good job everyone is doing.

I am also watching what is happening in the US. Every US state governor and city mayor I have seen on tv has done a wonderful job of presenting the facts to the public and provided instructions as to what they are doing and what the public should be doing.

Then there is the gong show that is Trump. I could not imagine that anyone could be as bad as he is; months of lies, denials, suppression of the truth, and a complete and utter lack of preparation for something he was warned about many times. Denying one day that the virus was a pandemic; only to claim the very next day that he had known it was a pandemic for months; and then the very next day say that no one could have seen this coming; and finally saying that his response to the virus rates a 10 out of 10.

Worst President ever. Sadly, many, many Americans are going to suffer and die because America had this moron in charge.

Mish keeps referring to worldometer to get stats from. Their numbers seem to match up with numbers I see in my own country and in the US.

Disturbingly, today, the mortality rate for closed cases ticked up 1% to 12%. 12978 deaths and 94674 recovered. That is not the direction I expected it to go.

daveyp 17 hrs

You get what you vote for. To have such a malignant narcissist of such profoundly limited intellectual honesty and capacity "leading" your nation through this is truly tragic for your country. Even the hideously vile ultimate Washington insider Hilary would have done a better job.

truthseeker 17 hrs

Mish I agree with much of the criticism of Trump, yet had he done everything you and others suggest, there is this implied assumption that everything would have worked out perfectly. You know I am impressed the way the country seems to be uniting to such a great degree, that I think there is at least some hope for our country's future though there are huge challenges that lay ahead absolutely!

abend237-04 17 hrs

I will now proceed, once again, to bitch about the root cause of our current pandemic, which is causing many to experience cosmic scale frustration with The Donald, which I share:

Civilization has now been hit squarely in the head with three killer coronavirus outbreaks in 18 years, yet still has no unified global new viral antigen detection system. We could have if our world "leaders" would make it happen.

Local supercomputers, however massive, will never crack this nut, but the billions of powerful, web-accessible smartphones could if linked and used by a parallelized, intelligent scheduler to raise the alarm when a new antibody/pathogen is discovered in human blood anywhere.

Such a system could have lifted the burden from a lonely doctor struggling to raise the alarm in Wuhan, before Covid-19 killed him, and placed it squarely in front of disease control experts, worldwide. It can be done; We must do it.

Sars cov-3/4/5/6/7/8/9/n could kill us all if we don't.

[Mar 22, 2020] Opinion - A Tale of Two Foreign Policies The Train-Wreck Abroad Is Bipartisan by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... It is widely believed that the abrupt withdrawal of candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg on the eve of Super Tuesday that targeted Sanders was arranged through an intervention by ex-President Barack Obama who made a plea in support of "party unity," offering the two a significant quid pro quo down the road if they were willing to leave the race and throw their support to Biden, which they dutifully did ..."
"... Trump might be described as both paranoid and narcissistic, meaning that he sees himself as surrounded by enemies and that the enemies are out to get him personally. When he is criticized, he either ridicules the source or does something impulsive to deflect what is being said. He attacked Syria twice based on false claims about the use of chemical weapons when a consensus developed in the media and in congress that he was being "weak" in the Middle East. Those attacks were war crimes as Syria was not threatening the United States. ..."
"... Biden is on a different track in that he is an establishment hawk. As head of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee back in 2002-2003 he green lighted George W. Bush's plan to attack Iraq. Beyond that, he cheer-leaded the effort from the Democratic Party benches, helping to create a consensus both in Washington and in the media that Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be dealt with. He should have known better as he was privy to intelligence that was suggesting that the Iraqis were no threat at all. He did not moderate his tune on Iraq until after 2005, when the expected slam-dunk quick victory got very messy. ..."
"... Biden was also certainly privy to the decision making by President Barack Obama, which include the destruction of Libya and the killing of American citizens by drone. Whether he actively supported those policies is unknown, but he has never been challenged on them. What is clear is that he did not object to them, another sign of his willingness to go along with the establishment, a tendency which will undoubtedly continue if he is elected president. ..."
Mar 22, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Now that the Democratic Party has apparently succeeded in getting rid of the only two voices among its presidential candidates that actually deviated from the establishment consensus, it appears that Joe Biden will be running against Donald Trump in November. To be sure, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard are still hanging on, but the fix was in and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) made sure that Sanders would be given the death blow on Super Tuesday while Gabbard would be blocked from participating in any of the late term debates.

It is widely believed that the abrupt withdrawal of candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg on the eve of Super Tuesday that targeted Sanders was arranged through an intervention by ex-President Barack Obama who made a plea in support of "party unity," offering the two a significant quid pro quo down the road if they were willing to leave the race and throw their support to Biden, which they dutifully did. Rumor has it that Klobuchar might well wind up as Biden's vice president. An alternative tale is that it was a much more threatening "offer that couldn't be refused" coming from the Clintons.

... ... ...

Both Trump and Biden might reasonably described as Zionists, Trump by virtue of the made-in-Israel foreign policy positions he has delivered on since his election, and Biden by word and deed during his entire time in politics. When Biden encountered Sarah Palin in 2008 in the vice-presidential debate, he and Palin sought to outdo each other in enthusing over how much they love the Jewish state. Biden has said that "I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist" and also, ridiculously, "Were there not an Israel, the U.S. would have to invent one. We will never abandon Israel -- out of our own self-interest. [It] is the best $3 billion investment we make." Biden has been a regular feature speaker at the annual AIPAC summit in Washington.

Trump might be described as both paranoid and narcissistic, meaning that he sees himself as surrounded by enemies and that the enemies are out to get him personally. When he is criticized, he either ridicules the source or does something impulsive to deflect what is being said. He attacked Syria twice based on false claims about the use of chemical weapons when a consensus developed in the media and in congress that he was being "weak" in the Middle East. Those attacks were war crimes as Syria was not threatening the United States.

Trump similarly reversed himself on withdrawing from Syria when he ran into criticism of the move and his plan to extricate the United States from Afghanistan, if it develops at all, could easily be subjected to similar revision. Trump is not really the man who as a candidate indicated that he was seriously looking for a way out of America's endless and pointless wars, no matter what his supporters continue to assert.

Biden is on a different track in that he is an establishment hawk. As head of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee back in 2002-2003 he green lighted George W. Bush's plan to attack Iraq. Beyond that, he cheer-leaded the effort from the Democratic Party benches, helping to create a consensus both in Washington and in the media that Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be dealt with. He should have known better as he was privy to intelligence that was suggesting that the Iraqis were no threat at all. He did not moderate his tune on Iraq until after 2005, when the expected slam-dunk quick victory got very messy.

Biden was also certainly privy to the decision making by President Barack Obama, which include the destruction of Libya and the killing of American citizens by drone. Whether he actively supported those policies is unknown, but he has never been challenged on them. What is clear is that he did not object to them, another sign of his willingness to go along with the establishment, a tendency which will undoubtedly continue if he is elected president.

And Biden's foreign policy reminiscences are is subject to what appear to be memory losses or inability to articulate, illustrated by a whole series of faux pas during the campaign. He has a number of times told a tale of his heroism in Afghanistan that is complete fiction , similar to Hillary Clinton's lying claims of courage under fire in Bosnia.

So, we have a president in place who takes foreign policy personally in that his first thoughts are "how does it make me look?" and a prospective challenger who appears to be suffering from initial stages of dementia and who has always been relied upon to support the establishment line, whatever it might be. Though Trump is the more dangerous of the two as he is both unpredictable and irrational, the likelihood is that Biden will be guided by the Clintons and Obamas. To put it another way, no matter who is president the likelihood that the United States will change direction to get away from its interventionism and bullying on a global scale is virtually nonexistent. At least until the money runs out. Or to express it as a friend of mine does, "No matter who is elected we Americans wind up getting John McCain." Goodnight America!

Philip Giraldi Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. A former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. " Source "

[Mar 22, 2020] Liberal NPCs Hate Russia, Conservative NPCs Hate China

Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Mar 21 2020 23:10 utc | 54

Caitlin Johnstone also sees the response being manipulated to focus hate on China: Liberal NPCs Hate Russia, Conservative NPCs Hate China

But she sees this China-bashing as mostly a political reaction:

In reality these people are rallying behind the campaign to blame China for the health crisis they're now facing because they understand that otherwise the blame will land squarely on the shoulders of their president, who's running for re-election this year.
instead of a deliberate Deep-State strategy (which is my view).

We can argue who created the virus (I'm still looking for any rebuttal to the Chinese claim that USA must be the source because it has all five strains of the virus), but the Empire's gaming of the virus outbreak seems very clear to me.

!!

[Mar 21, 2020] To be fair to Trump

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@Snode

"The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to prepare for future pandemics like covid-19. Donald Trump eliminated it -- and now we're paying the price."

-- Former vice president Joe Biden, in a tweet, March 19

BUT!!! OBAMA DID, TOO!!! (As did Dubya)

After Barack Obama became president in 2009, he eliminated the White House Health and Security Office, which worked on international health issues. But after grappling with the 2014 Ebola epidemic, Obama in 2016 established a Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the NSC. A directorate has its own staff, and it is headed by someone who generally reports to the national security adviser.

One can see the dueling narratives here, neither entirely incorrect. The office -- as set up by Obama in 2016 -- was folded into another office. Thus, one could claim the office was eliminated. But the staff slots did not disappear and at least initially the key mission of team remained a priority. So one can also claim nothing changed and thus Biden's criticism is overstated.

Source: Washington Post -- Was the White House office for global pandemics eliminated?


Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 4:35pm

What did the GWB and Obama Administrations

@edg
have against the large and presumably highly skilled public health agencies under HHS? If they had flubbed, then they should have been ordered to fix the problem; reorganize and/or replace the incompetents so that such flubs don't happen again. The Asst Secretary for Public Health, a physician, oversees those agencies and reports to the HHS Secretary who in turn reports to the POTUS.

Why set up a WH office overseen by a person with no public health expertise or experience to report to the NSC director?

Steven D on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 8:50am
Yes

One big clusterfuck isn't it.

leveymg on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 8:56am
"Nobody could foresee airliners used as missiles." But, who

remembers that, too?

Bush got away with that excuse. He even got several glorious wars out of it. Why shouldn't Trump?

[Mar 20, 2020] This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:25 utc | 225

A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States' crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare -- in addition to being cruel in itself -- is "feeding the coronavirus epidemic" by hampering nations' capacity to respond.

"This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible," Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement just hours after the Trump administration intensified sanctions against Iran, which has been devastated by COVID-19.

https://truthout.org/articles/economists-demand-trump-immediately-lift-iran-cuba-venezuela-sanctions/

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:37 utc | 229

Promising to "smash" Venezuela's government during a "maximum pressure March," Trump has imposed crushing sanctions that force Venezuela to spend three times as much as non-sanctioned countries on coronavirus testing kits.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/17/us-sanctions-venezuelas-health-sector-coronavirus/

[Mar 19, 2020] Comedian Lee Camp: "America's two-party oligarchy can't relate to those in need"

Mar 19, 2020 | www.rt.com

As the US teeters on the edge of abyss amid a Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis has revealed systemic flaws brought by years of two-party plutocracy that go far beyond a single president, says Lee Camp, host of RT's Redacted Tonight. While President Donald Trump bears a good portion of the blame for the sluggish US response to Covid-19, he is only one piece of a larger puzzle. America's structural defects long predate Trump's time in office, the comedian argued.

"The fact that so many millions of Americans don't have paid sick leave, or hardly make minimum wage and therefore can't afford an emergency – that kind of system was set up under a two-party apparatus that basically agreed: 'Let's create an America where people are completely exploited,'" Camp said.

[Mar 19, 2020] Trump has reached peak incompetence with this one. All the gains of his 'legacy' have been wiped out, but he always has his (((trusted advisers))) ready to steer him into the rocks.

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sick of Orcs , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 9:17 pm GMT

@Poco Globalism is not harmed at all. The machine didn't blow up, it simply shut off. Unfortunately, it supplies life-giving goods and services to billions, regardless of Globohomo using it to spread FOURTH-worlders everywhere in the West (US Southern order remains wide open.)

Trump has reached peak incompetence with this one. All the gains of his 'legacy' have been wiped out, but he always has his (((trusted advisers))) ready to steer him into the rocks. Time to reminisce about record low black unemployment numbers.

[Mar 19, 2020] Trump administration pandemic priorities

Mar 19, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

Pandemic priorities:

Priority #1 – Make sure everyone is aware that this virus indisputably originated in China. China, China, China. Call it the China virus or the Wuhan virus so everyone knows. China is very, very bad and we must say so over and over and over again.

Priority #2 – Deal with virus if we have time.

[Mar 19, 2020] Here s a link to a video of the President saying he is not responsible for the closing of the pandemic office

Mar 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

gnt sglovera day ago

You should know by now that repeating the actual words of administration officials, including the President, is clear evidence of irrational partisan bias. The surgeon general chided the press on Saturday for writing stories about the past.

Here's a link to a video of the President saying he is not responsible for the closing of the pandemic office, linked to a video of the press conference in which he explained why he closed the pandemic office:

Play Hide
engineerscotty gnta day ago
Obviously a deep fake. Dear Leader would never say such a thing, and even if he did, if he says he didn't, he didn't. If you bout this, please report to Room 101.
TISO_AX2 gnt14 hours ago • edited
No, the White House Didn't 'Dissolve' Its Pandemic Response Office
gnt TISO_AX29 hours ago
As near as I can interpret the article you reference, the leading experts on global pandemics were fired. The remaining staff responsible for building the response to global pandemics were assigned new duties. The function of dealing with global pandemics was assigned to an existing department that was also assigned other new responsibilities at the same time. In that sense, there is still an office that is responsible for dealing with global pandemics. But that office no longer has the same resources for doing that, and has many other responsibilities.
TISO_AX2 gnt6 hours ago
When I joined the National Security Council staff in 2018, I inherited a
strong and skilled staff in the counterproliferation and biodefense
directorate. This team of national experts together drafted the National Biodefense Strategy of 2018 and an accompanying national security presidential memorandum to implement it; an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines; and coordinated the United States' response to the Ebola epidemic in Congo, which was ultimately defeated in 2020.

Seems pretty open to obvious interpretation. This was post the so-called firing that is being blamed on the president. And if you have evidence that the administration medical team is not today staffed at a level even higher than before 2017, let's see it.

gnt TISO_AX22 hours ago
So the bureaucrat who picked up the extra responsibilities writes an editorial saying that he had the whole thing handled all along. He doesn't have much credibility; he's got no future as a Republican apparatchik if he doesn't say something here. He ran the office with the responsibility, but there's still no evidence of having kept anyone with expertise in pandemics. Expertise still matters.
TISO_AX2 sglover15 hours ago
No, one wouldn't. But public hypocritical comments (like here) is not the remedy. It's just hypocrisy.
sglover TISO_AX211 hours ago
OK, I'm guessing everybody can use a giggle. So please tell me what "the remedy" is. This should be good.
TISO_AX2 sglover11 hours ago • edited
You could start by not trafficking in falsehoods such as your "pandemic team" claim. And then you should stop whining about division while sowing division.
sglover TISO_AX211 hours ago
I don't understand what "claim" you're referring to. Have you got your lines crossed, managing all the Trump apologetics? I know it's a full-time job.

But actually, Trump, via his surrogate Bolton (you know, the guy Trump appointed as part of "draining the swamp") *did* gut that office. Senior staff left, other staff got reassigned, and the whole shop was reduced to something like two people.

See? I knew you'd be good for a laugh!

TISO_AX2 sglover11 hours ago
Asked and answered. You should read the thread..all of it.
sglover TISO_AX210 hours ago
You are objecting to a video in which Trump admits to the very thing that you claim didn't happen. Truly you're living up to your messiah's words: I take no responsibility .

Aren't you embarrassed? Even a little?

TISO_AX2 sglover10 hours ago
Are you embarrassed to contradict yourself? What are you trying to say...did the President admit to the very thing ...or take no responsibility ?
gnt TISO_AX28 hours ago
The problem is that the President tries to have it both ways. When he thought he was just getting rid of excess staff, he was proud to take responsibility for his choice. When it later became clear that there were bad consequences for that same choice, the President denied responsibility for that specific action.

Trump routinely makes statements that contradict each other, leaving it to his supporters to decide which ones they want to hear. Maybe you're comfortable with the changes in direction, but many of us have memories that go back more than a few hours.

TISO_AX2 gnt7 hours ago • edited
Whatever happened at the NSC was planned long ago. Even Obama knew that it was an overbloated bureaucracy. And your assertion that the reorganization resulted in "bad consequences is just that..a claim. You have not established it as a fact or common knowledge. Based on those conclusions your narrative is uncompelling.

https://www.realclearpoliti...

sglover TISO_AX28 hours ago
My God you are beyond parody. Your big score, the point that you believe is going to show me what's what, is -- My Messiah walked back one of his lies, and you don't want to give him credit . Most people hold toddlers to a higher standard -- do you understand that?
TISO_AX2 sglover7 hours ago
If he's anyone's messiah it's yours. You expect him to walk on water, or save you from coronavirus. I don't expect that of him at all. There's your parody.

[Mar 14, 2020] Trump rightly announced a national emergency, marking a sharp shift in his approach to the greatest crisis of his presidency. by Jacob Heilbrunn

Mar 13, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

It was a somber Donald Trump who spoke at the White House today to declare a "national emergency" and that "we're doing a great job." Gone was his language about exaggerated fears and a "hoax" surrounding the coronavirus. His own daughter, Ivanka, stayed home rather than visit the White House because of her exposure to an Australian official who has the coronavirus.

Not only was the shift in tone marked, but Trump also referred constantly to the numerous public health experts and corporate CEOs flanking him as he faced the biggest crisis of his presidency. Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated that the coronavirus may remain virulent for another eight to nine weeks: "I can't give you a number. It depends how successful we are." Trump himself sought to convey confidence by emphasizing that his administration had moved quickly to impede the spread of the coronavirus, including quickly ordering travel bans. How effective will his emergency declaration prove?

The most important thing that the administration can do is work to remove the uncertainty surrounding the extent of the spread of the virus. Until there is more clarity, economic activity will be hobbled as investors and businesses retreat from incurring any additional risk. In this regard, Trump's decision to announce an emergency was a case of better late than never. Failure is not an option. Left unchecked, the worst-case estimates are that the coronavirus could kill up to 1.5 million people and turn America into Italy writ large. Writing in the Washington Post today, the Italian journalist Monica Maggioni underscores just how grim that prospect would be: "I find myself confined in a place where time is suspended. All the shops are closed, except for groceries and pharmacies. All the bars and restaurants are shuttered. Every tiny sign of life has disappeared. The streets are totally empty; it is forbidden even to take a walk unless you carry a document that explains to authorities why you have left your house. The lockdown that began here in Lombardy now extends to the entire country."

Some of the most important pledges Trump made were that he would offer up to $50 billion in federal funding to states to battle the coronavirus. He indicated that hospitals can now "do as they want. They could do as they have to." He added, "I'm urging every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately." He indicated, in response to a question after his opening statement, that he himself would undergo a coronavirus test, something that he had previously resisted. Trump also said that up to five million tests would be available by the end of the month-a lofty goal. The danger for Trump is that, as is his wont, he is overpromising. Still, the move to establish drive-thru testing at places like Walgreens and Walmart parking lots makes good sense. Trump's weakest moment by far came when he responded to a question about the lack of testing that until now has badly hampered efforts to stop the virus-"No, I don't take responsibility at all."

To help prop up the economy, he indicated that government purchases for the strategic reserve would be increased. Wall Street responded positively to Trump's remarks as the stock market rose, ending up almost two thousand points on Friday. But Trump also pooh-poohed a multi-billion dollar bill backed by House Democrats to address the coronavirus crisis, remarking that they "are not doing what's right for the country." Among other things, it does not include the payroll tax relief that Trump is supporting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is vowing to vote on the bill.

For now, the measures that Trump announced today will mark a significant shift in his administration's approach to the pandemic. Former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb tweeted, "Actions by White House today to sharply increase testing capacity and access, declare a national emergency, implement new steps to protect vulnerable Americans, support assistance for those hardest hit by mitigation steps, all very important. Will meaningfully improve readiness."

[Mar 13, 2020] Trump's Coronavirus Address, Blooper Reel Included The Daily Show - YouTube

Mar 13, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/BWO6i8cH8SA


Dan L , 4 hours ago (edited)

"As calming as a firecracker dropped into a bag of cocaine" lmao I lost it there.. Hilariously accurate.

berlineczka , 4 hours ago

Fun fact: the European Union actually has no authority over health issues whatsoever. This is a strict Member State prerogative. The countries can coordinate voluntarily (which is what is currently arranged by the European Commission, but since there is no precedence it takes time) - but there was no way to make any decision about that in Brussels.

KingM , 5 hours ago (edited)

Greetings from Europe. In these hard times I'd like to thank Trump for providing such gold comedy material from just being a moron and reminding us all that it could always be worse.

[Mar 13, 2020] Some freedom with facts: pease note that the current COVID-18 coronavirus was discovered in January 2020 and compare this fact with the White House statement

That might be a different coronavirus ;-)
Mar 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Doug Chance engineerscotty 8 hours ago

Oh, they have. This is from the email I got from the White House listserv:

"Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November," according to officials. These apprehensions underscore the need for border security and proper vetting. Read more from Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner.

[Mar 13, 2020] Bureaucracy, equipment shortages, an unwillingness to share, and failed leadership doomed the American response to COVID-19

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tom_LX , Mar 13 2020 20:10 utc | 104

Here come the excuses,

Health

The 4 Key Reasons the U.S. Is So Behind on Coronavirus Testing

Bureaucracy, equipment shortages, an unwillingness to share, and failed leadership doomed the American response to COVID-19.

Excuses via ATLANTIC

[Mar 13, 2020] In 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team.

Notable quotes:
"... The New New Deal ..."
Mar 13, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

deplorado , March 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm

From Twitter:

Judd Legum @JuddLegum

WORTH REPEATING: In 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team.
These were the experts with decades of experience dealing with precisely the kind of situation we are in today.

Trump did not replace them.

He eliminated the positions.

https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1238108656950001666?s=20

allan , March 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Another fun fact from Twitter:

Michael Grunwald @MikeGrunwald
I had forgotten my own reporting that @SenatorCollins
stripped $870M for pandemic preparations out of the 2009 stimulus.

[page image from Grunwald's book, The New New Deal ]

11:30 AM · Mar 12, 2020· Twitter for iPhone

There was some discussion here the other day about who's responsible for the sorry state of the CDC
and pandemic preparation in particular. Now, the Dems controlled all the WH, Senate and House in 2009,
so obviously they share some of the blame, but if Collins hadn't demanded this,
it probably wouldn't have happened.

I'm very disappointed with Susan Collins.

Louis Fyne , March 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Typical modern, bipartisan American short-termism.

In my opinion, things would not have been not better under a Hillary admin. -- -but at least we'd have a no-fly zone in Syria. USA!

ambrit , March 12, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Now we have a no fly zone in Continental Europe!

[Mar 13, 2020] Mounting backlush against Trump admnistration handling of the coronavirus epidemic will affect elections

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , Mar 13 2020 14:11 utc | 2

Curious to read your thoughts about the impact.

Considering how pretty much all Western governments fucked up big time, I expect a backlash against current governing parties, if not a serious questioning of the ways current "liberal" democracies are working. And they won't be able to blame it on Putin's or Xi's troll army; everyone can see they brought this upon themselves.

This is the time where the Four Stages system from Yes Minister - which is blatantly used by our political leaders - is out in the open, because the consequences won't appear decades in the future but will be obvious before this year is over.

Of couse, globalization of trade, free-trade, free movement of people will have to be reconsidered. And last but not least, if people have to live for months under lockdown or quarantine, it might have an impact on the economic and productive system -- and also on the environment --, because our societies will have to focus on what's truly needed for them to survive as societies, and not on the fanciful bullshit like marketing, spin doctors, traders and countless bureaucratic jobs.

[Mar 13, 2020] In Ancient Greek Thought, Plagues Follow on Bad Leadership

Notable quotes:
"... Myths help their audiences understand the causes of things. As narrative theorists like Mark Turner and specialists in memory like Charles Fernyhough emphasize, people learn how to behave from stories and concepts of cause and effect in childhood. The linear sequence of before, now and after communicates the relationships between things and how we, as human beings, understand our own responsibility in the world. ..."
Mar 13, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Zeus, the head Greek god, who lamented humans' tendency to bring suffering upon themselves. (Carole Raddato/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
Zeus, the head Greek god, who lamented humans' tendency to bring suffering upon themselves. (Carole Raddato/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins " Oedipus Tyrannos " with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It's his own bad leadership.)

As someone who writes about early Greek poetry, I spend a lot of time thinking about why its performance was so crucial to ancient life. One answer is that epic and tragedy helped ancient storytellers and audiences try to make sense of human suffering.

From this perspective, plagues functioned as a setup for an even more crucial theme in ancient myth: a leader's intelligence. At the beginning of the "Iliad," for instance, the prophet Calchas – who knows the cause of a nine-day plague – is praised as someone " who knows what is, what will be and what happened before ."

This language anticipates a chief criticism of Homer's legendary King Agamemnon: He does not know " the before and the after ."

The epics remind their audiences that leaders need to be able to plan for the future based on what has happened in the past. They need to understand cause and effect. What caused the plague? Could it have been prevented?

People's recklessness

Myths help their audiences understand the causes of things. As narrative theorists like Mark Turner and specialists in memory like Charles Fernyhough emphasize, people learn how to behave from stories and concepts of cause and effect in childhood. The linear sequence of before, now and after communicates the relationships between things and how we, as human beings, understand our own responsibility in the world.

Plague stories provide settings where fate pushes human organization to the limit. Human leaders are almost always crucial to the causal sequence, as Zeus observes in Homer's "Odyssey," saying, as I've translated it, "Humans are always blaming the gods for their suffering / but they experience pain beyond their fate because of their own recklessness."

The problems humans create go beyond just plagues: The poet Hesiod writes that the top Greek god, Zeus, showed his disapproval for bad leaders by burdening them with military failures as well as pandemics . The consequences of human failings are a refrain in the ancient critique of leaders, with or without plagues: The "Iliad," for instance, describes rulers who " ruin their people through recklessness ." The "Odyssey" phrases it as " bad shepherds ruin their flocks ."

Devastating illness

Plagues were common in the ancient world, but not all of them were blamed on leaders. Like other natural disasters, they were frequently blamed on the gods.

But historians, like Polybius in the second century B.C. and Livy in the first century B.C., also frequently recount epidemics striking armies and people in swamps or cities with poor sanitation. Philosophers and physicians also searched for rational approaches – blaming the climate , or pollution .

When the historian Thucydides recounts how a plague with alleged origins in Ethiopia hit Athens in 430 B.C., he vividly describes patients suffering a sudden high fever , shortness of breath and an array of sickly discharges. Those who survived the sickness had endured such delirious fevers that they might have no memory of it all.

Athens as a state was unprepared to meet the challenge of that plague. Thucydides describes the futility of any human response: Appeals to the gods and the work of doctors – who died in droves – were equally useless . The disease wreaked havoc because the Athenians were massed within the city walls to wait out the Spartan armies during the Peloponnesian War.

Yet despite the plague's terrible nature, Thucydides insists that the worst part was the despair people felt from fear and the " horror of human beings dying like sheep ."

Sick people died of neglect, of the lack of proper shelter and of disease spreading from improper burials in an unprepared and overcrowded city, followed by looting and lawlessness.

Athens, set up as a fortress against its enemies, brought ruin upon itself.

Making sense out of human flaws

Left out of plague accounts are the names of the multitudes who died in them. Homer, Sophocles and Thucydides tell us that masses died. But plagues in ancient narratives are usually the beginning, not the end of the story. A plague didn't stop the Trojan War, prevent Oedipus' sons from waging civil war or give the Athenians enough reasons to make peace.

For years after the ravages of the plague, Athens still suffered from in-fighting, toxic politics and selfish leaders. Popular politics led to the disastrous Sicilian Expedition of 415 B.C., killing thousands of Athenians – but still Athens survived.

A decade later, the Athenians again broke into civil factions and eventually prosecuted their own generals after a naval victory in 406 B.C. at Arginusae . In 404 B.C., after a siege, Sparta defeated Athens. But, as we learn from Greek myth, it was – again – really Athens' leaders and people who defeated themselves.

Joel Christensen , Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Brandeis University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

[Mar 12, 2020] Trump's Botched Coronavirus Speech

If comments reflect sentiments of moderate Republicans, Trump has no chances in November.
Notable quotes:
"... What over the last three years - and specifically in the last three weeks made you think Trump was going to come out of this on top? That would require him to actually be on top of things, which he never has been. Ever. And you thinking he's just doing 'poorly' just highlights your delusion that he is capable of being even mildly competent. ..."
"... Trump spent the first years of his presidency doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of focusing on the America First promises that got him elected. The trillions he wasted on advancing foreign interests was badly needed to rebuild American infrastructure, including America's disease testing capacity. ..."
"... Fair enough, we Americans may be stumbling along somewhat unsteadily into unchartered territory, but the important thing is we're now stumbling in the right general direction. We'll make it through this, people - most of us at least. All we can do as we enter into this miasma is our level best as responsible, compassionate humans, keeping a stiff upper lip and a stoic constitution. Amor fati : as precious as life is, death is always and evermore its close companion. ..."
"... All the hallmarks of a Trump operation, offensive, ineffective, poorly thought out and will be retracted in the end. The travel ban against China, did help when China was the only source of the disease, so kudos to Trump. However now the monster is in the castle so pulling up the drawbridge won't help anymore. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

engineerscotty 11 hours ago

Before the speech, I opined on Dreher's blog that Trump still had a chance of coming out of this crisis on top politically--that he might demonstrably use the bully pulpit of his office in a constructive manner, and be able to claim credit for a successful outcome.

After the speech... well, it was widely panned in the more liberal sectors of the media, and FOX News has this bit of tripe as its current headline: https://www.foxnews.com/us/... The speech is mentioned in a sidebar, without commentary. When the friendly media outlets ignore you, it's a good sign you've done poorly.

Matthew Kuhl engineerscotty 10 hours ago
What over the last three years - and specifically in the last three weeks made you think Trump was going to come out of this on top? That would require him to actually be on top of things, which he never has been. Ever. And you thinking he's just doing 'poorly' just highlights your delusion that he is capable of being even mildly competent.
marku52 Matthew Kuhl 10 hours ago
When you base your team selection on political loyalty, you get fawning toadies. Mr Redfield (CDC), a homophobe associated with a group that regards HIV as God's judgement on gay people, was never going to be competent at epidemic control. He doesn't even believe in it.
engineerscotty Matthew Kuhl 9 hours ago
Note, I said "still had a chance". Such an observation should not be interpreted as any sort of praise for Trump, but as an observation that should he manage to string a couple coherent sentences together on the teevee, more than a few talking heads in the newsmejia will offer unto him hosannas about being "presidential".

Lots of people, still, grade him on the curve. And that's including a fair number that aren't die-hard partisans... but would rather have an exciting horse race to write about this November.

But other than that, I agree with you. He's an imbecile, and isn't going to stop being an imbecile over this. But lots of people will offer up the tiniest shreds to argue otherwise.

IanDakar engineerscotty 6 hours ago
Don't feel bad. That's where I was when he declared we were leaving Syria the first time (when nothing happened). I thought "Well if he carries this out he has a chance of doing something good."

By the other time he said we were leaving Syria (when we did....not and decided to let a wast start and steal oil fields) I was done. Now I don't even trust the afgan deal to work out.

The raw mess up speech is a new low. He's normally good at reading a script.

Feral Finster 10 hours ago
Correct me if I am wrong, but we can still travel to South Korea, etc. all we want?

Also, I know that Trump owns numerous properties in the UK, but how does that stack up to Ireland (also, IIRC, not subject to the ban) and the rest of Europe? Does that explain anything, or is it just a way of supporting his fellow imbecile BoJo?

Good thing that the UK doesn't get any foreign travelers.

engineerscotty Feral Finster 10 hours ago
Boris Johnson's government, to his credit, appears to be handling the crisis well, or at least competently. While there is much that BoJo and Trump have in common, there is also much they do not.
KevinS engineerscotty 10 hours ago
Boris can be a bit clownish at times....but he is not a stupid person, unlike you know who....
HenionJD KevinS 8 hours ago
Neither leader is stupid. One is simply unprincipled and the other suffers from a profound personality disorder. One can rise to the crisis when it's in his interest to do so and the other thinks the crisis is a plot to make him look bad.
Per engineerscotty 7 hours ago
i think you should recheck your sources on that topic and widen the search to other sources too. The brit bobs i have spoken with say the response there is a joke.. I will not bet my life on this tho, bc i am in Norway..

The response here have been slow but it seems to get better, no mass testing yet so we dont know the real number of sick at all yet..

JonF311 engineerscotty 6 hours ago
Johnson may be a bombastic boob at times, but he's been in government for a while and knows his way around the place.
Rkramden66 Feral Finster 9 hours ago
No kidding. 1M foreign visitors on any given day in London, I seem to remember. Makes no sense at all, except in crude political terms.
failure 10 hours ago
"The U.S. has the lowest per capita testing of any country."

Trump spent the first years of his presidency doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of focusing on the America First promises that got him elected. The trillions he wasted on advancing foreign interests was badly needed to rebuild American infrastructure, including America's disease testing capacity.

Brasidas 10 hours ago
This is the problem and it has always been the problem with an uncurious President who doesn't read and who works off hunches and believes he's a "stable genius". He can't even be bothered to understand the contours of his own policies. After all, it's just a game show.
Nomuka Brasidas 8 hours ago
In a few short lines, you've captured the situation perfectly. Our president is worse than ineffectual....
John Achterhof 10 hours ago
Fair enough, we Americans may be stumbling along somewhat unsteadily into unchartered territory, but the important thing is we're now stumbling in the right general direction. We'll make it through this, people - most of us at least. All we can do as we enter into this miasma is our level best as responsible, compassionate humans, keeping a stiff upper lip and a stoic constitution. Amor fati : as precious as life is, death is always and evermore its close companion.
IanDakar John Achterhof 7 hours ago • edited
A travel ban when the disease is here [makes no sense]. When infected citizens can travel from and TO infected areas:

Where some countires are exempt so infected foreigners can just go to one of those countries then come here:

Is not the right direction. It would be a half step forward in January. Now it's [like] installing a faulty smoke detector in the middle of a roaring fire. We screwed up. We are still screwing up. Acting like It's ok and we will be fine is not helping.

We don't need motivation posters. We don't need panic. We need the public to realize this is NOT ok and to get these people at the top to realize this is Not Ok behavior.

THEN, we can buckle down and hope for the best with that poster

I Am Sorry 10 hours ago
I voted for him. I still don't know whether HRC would have been worse, but this is really, really bad.
john 9 hours ago
All the hallmarks of a Trump operation, offensive, ineffective, poorly thought out and will be retracted in the end. The travel ban against China, did help when China was the only source of the disease, so kudos to Trump. However now the monster is in the castle so pulling up the drawbridge won't help anymore.
engineerscotty john 9 hours ago
I'm surprised Mexicans haven't been blamed for this yet.
Doug Chance engineerscotty 8 hours ago
Oh, they have. This is from the email I got from the White House listserv:

"Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November," according to officials. These apprehensions underscore the need for border security and proper vetting. Read more from Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner.

engineerscotty Doug Chance 7 hours ago
It's one of those carefully-constructed sentences that can be ambiguously parsed.

If you read it as "Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from (72 nations with cases of the coronavirus) have been apprehended", it's likely true but unremarkable. Many nations now have coronovirus cases.

If you read it as "Some 150,000 (illegal immigrants from 72 nations) with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended", it would be remarkable if true, but is absolutely false based on what we currently know.

And the November reference is particularly cheeky.

FL Transplant john 7 hours ago
But the travel ban wasn't against China--meaning anyone there who could have been exposed--it was against Chinese from anywhere in the country. Americans and others potentially infected were free to enter the US from impacted areas with no restrictions--quarantines, etc.

Just like the current ban against Europe. US citizens/permanent residents are free to travel to/from without restriction. We're only banning nationals from European countries. And there's going to be a massive influx of those eligible returning from Europe in the next couple of days--do you think any of them might, just might, be bring Covid 19 back along with themselves?

Name 9 hours ago
When is the next MAGA Rally?
Chris Chuba Name 7 hours ago
Don't worry, just keep watching FOX and you'll see it broadcasted on prime time.
Old Man Shadow 8 hours ago
Before I watched his speech, I thought that this was a serious situation, but we should avoid panic.

After I watched his speech, my impulse was to run out, start hording, and lock myself and my family in our home for the next six months.

This was not a good speech is what I'm saying.

Donna Saggia 7 hours ago
Health care under uber-capitalism. We seem to have all the money in the world to throw at military toys, but very little for the health of the nation. If Americans keep voting for these priorities, the inevitable consequences will prevail. The US may be just a bad social experiment.
Chris Chuba 7 hours ago
As others have stated, no mention of paid sick leave which would go a long way towards encouraging infected people to self-quarantine rather than go to work and keep spreading the virus.

On an even more dire topic, a U.S. General is blaming Iran for a rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. serviceman. This is Trump's 'red line', if everyone does what they have publicly stated then Trump just gave ISIS the golden key to force us into a war with Iran.

IanDakar Chris Chuba 7 hours ago
The US House has a bill to offer paid leave among other measures. Republicans have said it goes beyond the scope of what's needed. The Senate has said that they aren't reviewing anything until after the week long break they are about to have.

So yeah.

Ken T Feral Finster 2 hours ago
True market insiders easily make just as much money in a downward