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Samizdata quote of the day

“President Trump can’t do right by some critics no matter what he does. For three years he’s been denounced as a reckless authoritarian, and now he’s attacked for not being authoritarian enough by refusing to commandeer American industry. The truth is that private industry is responding to the coronavirus without command and control by the federal government.”

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board. Unfortunately, no-one is likely to find a cure for Trump Derangement Syndrome this side of the heat death of the universe.

I have taken the liberty of adding this excellent comment by Ross Clark, in the Daily Telegraph today. He seems to be one of the saner voices out there:

The year 2020 has already brought many firsts: never before has the British population been confined to home, nor has a UK government previously offered to pay the wages of private sector staff. But here is another: it is the first time that Donald Trump has stood out as a rare voice of reason amid a cacophony of panic.

At any other time, and coming from anyone else’s mouth, the statement “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” would hardly raise an eyebrow. It is surely a principle which ought to be baked into all government policy. But, no, it aroused instant condemnation from the President’s critics.

As for his hope that he could get the economy roaring again by Easter, it led to an eruption from senators who appear to be enjoying the global emergency, are who have no doubt sensed that coronavirus could be the black swan event that succeeds where impeachment failed.

Sure enough, Trump has not bathed himself in glory over coronavirus, foolishly calling it a ‘hoax’ at one point. But he is right to recognise that there is a balance to be struck between fighting the disease and maintaining a functioning economy. So far, much of the developed world has embarked on a course which pursues the former to the total exclusion of the latter.

Last week, our own government published a dossier of the modelling which has informed its policy on coronavirus. There was plenty of epidemiological evidence in there, yet not a single paper modelling the economic effects of a lockdown. It is merely assumed that what will almost certainly be a steeper decline in economic output than either the 2008/09 crisis or the Great Depression can be put right by oodles of public money, much of it printed by central banks.

I am sceptical: what is this crisis going to do to the entrepreneurial spirit of millions who invested time and their life savings to set up businesses only to find them forcibly closed by the government? It is going to take a long time to recover that.

The most foolish remark you hear made in these situations is “lives are too important for money”. As Trump quite rightly points out, unemployment will itself cost lives. So, too, will social isolation. There are 7.7 million Britons who live alone, many of them elderly. There will be a serious cost to life now that enforced confinement will reduce them to the point of invisibility.

In any other situation, the Left would be jumping up every five minutes to claim that poverty costs lives. How often have we heard this fanciful figure that Tory ‘austerity’ has cost 130,000 lives over the past decade? That is nothing compared with the toll we face from mass unemployment.

Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management at Bristol University, calculates – in a study which has yet to be peer-reviewed – that if a lockdown causes the economy to shrink by more than 6.4 percent then the recession will have cost more lives than coronavirus itself. I would say a 6.4 percent shrinkage in GDP is on the seriously optimistic side.

We don’t normally seem to have a problem balancing the needs of medicine with those of the economy. We could save lives by going into lockdown every winter – the US Centers for Disease Control estimates that seasonal flu kills between 300,000 and 650,000 people annually.

But we don’t because we know the economic havoc would be even worse. Covid-19 is a serious disease, and one to which we began this year with no resistance. But its most damaging effect has been to destroy our ability to make a trade-off between medicine and the economy.

69 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • staghounds

    Having the same answer for every question is simple and saves thinking.

  • bob sykes

    The cure will be a Democrat President. And that President will be Andrew Cuomo, the only Democrat who can (and will) beat Trump.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Cuomo certainly seems keen on massive nationalisation, which goes down well it appears with a thicker sort of Blue State voter at the moment, and there are a lot of them. Whether he does beat Trump is up for debate.

    What is certainly true and welcome to see is that Di Blasio, the NYC mayor, is every bit as terrible as London’s Khan.

  • john in cheshire

    Josh Bernstein has the measure of Mr Cuomo:

    https://youtu.be/2iQBJmjyFbs

    As he says in his intro: President Trump could cure cancer tomorrow and rescue kittens from a burning building and the left would still call him a piece of shit.

  • John B

    The Donald’s crime: governing whilst being Trump.

  • Snorri Godhi

    No, TDS will be cured when the next Republican President is elected and Trump will be compared favorably to him or her.

  • Agammamon

    Cuomo isn’t an option. He’s not running.

  • Mr Ecks

    And Fredo wouldn’t win if he did.

    The arrogant bastard WOULD be a big hit in a worldwide “Win the opportunity to punch this cunt in the Face” contest however.

  • bobby b

    TDS will be cured on the same day envy no longer drives politics.

    Never.

  • Tim the Coder

    How do you bribe a president richer than any of the supplicants?
    He refuses to be a puppet. Intolerable!

  • Snorri Godhi

    And Fredo wouldn’t win if he did.

    No, they’re not talking about Fredo but about Sonny.
    Santino to you.

  • DOuglas2/Unknown

    The Ross Clark piece excerpted above says

    Sure enough, Trump has not bathed himself in glory over coronavirus, foolishly calling it a ‘hoax’ at one point.

    Even the website Snopes agrees that the above is a false accusation:

    Despite creating some confusion with his remarks, Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.

    It’s somewhat amazing to me that one can hit the trifecta of Snopes, Factcheck, and Politifact debunking a calumny, and yet the lie remains in the background knowledge of even friendly media to re-appear in odd places like the article we’re discussing.

  • DOuglas2/Unknown (March 25, 2020 at 8:51 pm) anticipated me by 24 minutes. The claim that Trump called the virus a hoax is just another crude media lie. It is very revealing that an otherwise sensible and right-leaning UK commenter, writing in a right-leaning paper, nevertheless fell for it. It’s not the first time I’ve noticed that UK people who are sensible enough on UK politics, but are media dwellers rather than blogosphere dwellers, can be rather easily taken by the US left on points of detail, even as they see through its philosophy.

    Have any US commenters noticed the same thing in reverse?

  • Fraser Orr

    This whole idea that “lives are more important than money or convenience” is plainly wrong. Nobody actually believes this, though it is very satisfying and virtue signalling to say. We could save tens of thousands of lives if we build cars like tanks, and put speed restrictions into them so that they couldn’t go over five mph. That would save the 40,000 road deaths we have in the USA each year. We could also ban cigarettes and unhealthy foods. We could make everyone walk around in a hazmat suit so that they don’t spread germs.

    All of these things would save lives, but everyone recognizes, even if they don’t admit it, is that these things are always a trade off. Everything has two sides to it and being excessively risk averse is just as dangerous as being cavalier. The FDA is the poster child for this. Their choice to deny access to drugs that were widely used elsewhere because it didn’t meet their gold standard of “safe and effective” meant that people died because they weren’t allowed to take the risk. Somewhere I while ago I did some research on this and documented about three million people who died in the US due to lack of access to drugs widely prescribed elsewhere in the past fifty years.

    One example is a drug called tPA with is used to treat acute patients of ischemic stroke — one of the most common causes of death. I don’t remember the exact numbers but the FDA did not approve this drug for nearly a decade during which it was available in Europe and Japan, and during that time the lack of this drug has been calculated to have caused something like million deaths, plus enumerable others who suffered devastating morbidity as a result of the lack of access to this drug.

    And it is instructive to understand how we got here. Really the foundation of the FDAs power lies in the matter of a drug called thalidomide. This anti nausea drug was widely approved but due to its usual bureaucratic bungling, the approval was delayed by the FDA. Unfortunately, in the meantime it quickly became apparent that it caused birth defects when taken during pregnancy (by an unfortunate coincidence of events, pregnant women often suffer from nausea, and so took it in disproportionate numbers.) The problem was actually discovered by the private medical sector and soon locked down, but not before tens of thousands of babies were born with horrible defects.

    The FDA, who weren’t smart, just slow and ineffective, polished their halo in a “a stopped clock is right twice a day” kind of a way, and found they got a lot more praise for preventing disaster by banning rather than approving, opportunity cost is not something the FDA considers. And so we have now, the FDA, the hardest place to get a drug approved, and we are all dying because of it. That Trump managed to push the FDA to get trials of Covid related stuff going quickly is a testimony to his remarkable effectiveness. One could almost hear the disgruntled groan from the FDA officials as he pushed past their super glued level of inertia.

    BTW, thalidomide is still widely prescribed as an anti-emetic and a few other uses, though not, generally speaking, to fecund females.

  • Ferox

    It’s somewhat amazing to me that one can hit the trifecta of Snopes, Factcheck, and Politifact debunking a calumny, and yet the lie remains in the background knowledge of even friendly media to re-appear in odd places like the article we’re discussing.

    This amazes me too. Also, Trump didn’t claim that white supremacists were good people, and he didn’t say that he liked to grab women by the pussy. He didn’t even tell anyone to take fish tank cleaner to cure their coronavirus.

    But all of those things and more are still routinely repeated as established, indisputable fact in most of our media organs every day.

  • bobby b

    “Bush lied.”

    This remains the benchmark. Repeat a lie enough times, and it survives conclusive proof widely shared.

    Show the proof to a committed partisan, watch them back away from the lie, and shortly thereafter they’ll look you in the face and repeat “Bush lied.” Show them videos of B Clinton, H Clinton, every other big dem pol saying the exact same things Bush said, they’ll back away from the lie, and shortly thereafter they’ll look you in the face and repeat “Bush lied.”

    They’ll say it so many times it becomes like a muscle memory to even the non-partisan people, who will then parrot it as if it were truth.

  • Fraser Orr

    Although I broadly agree with Ferox and Bobby, let’s not paint a hagiography. Trump really does say a lot of dumb shit, and a lot of hyperbolic nonsense. The press definitely puts the worst possible spin on everything he does. The supposed mocking of a disabled reporter is a prefect example of this. There were several ways to interpret what he did, and, to me it seems he was using a hand gesture he often uses, not mocking him specifically. In fact my opinion is that Trump is probably pretty kind and supportive to disabled people. He fights with people who challenge him, he doesn’t beat up the weak kid. But, if your perspective is “Trump is a monster” I can see how you might in a worst case analysis think that is what he was doing.

    But the specific example of the Billy Bush tape you mentioned: sure he did not say that he liked to grab women by the pussy, but what he did say was not something you’d want your mother to hear you saying. According to Wikipedia:

    I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful—I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

    Of course for those who are so scandalized by him, I really wonder how they would feel if the dumbest, most tasteless thing they ever said was broadcast 24/7.

    However, my point is: yes the media massively misrepresents him, and always gives the worst possible interpretation. But he gives them the material. He can be crass, trolling, extremely hyperbolic and tends to throw out really dumb off hand remarks (“windmill noise causes cancer anyone”?)

    But, if you don’t have a broomstick of indignation rammed up your ass, he is certainly the most entertaining President we have had in a while.

  • bobby b

    “But, if you don’t have a broomstick of indignation rammed up your ass, he is certainly the most entertaining President we have had in a while.”

    😀

  • Ferox

    He pokes his thumb into the eyes of the professionally offended.

    I used to think Trump’s willingness to fight was a trade-off for his coarseness; now I think they are part of the same thing. In other words, if you want someone as polite and elegant as Mittens, then you end up with someone as milquetoast and as accommodating to the goblins as Mittens.

    I have to admit, though, that I occasionally wish some daring aide would change Trump’s Twitter password and then refuse to tell him what it was.

  • Fred the Fourth

    Fraser,
    Regarding thalidomide I would guess that the FDA would not have required testing on pregnant women, even if they had not delayed for other reasons.
    Even today I believe there is controversy surrounding testing on on genetic minorities, children, fertile women, and probably others.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Ferox
    I have to admit, though, that I occasionally wish some daring aide would change Trump’s Twitter password and then refuse to tell him what it was.

    Or at the very least beg him to let a secretary check the spelling before he hits send….

  • Barry Sheridan

    The constant abuse of President Trump, led by a warped legacy media and its celebrity obsessed culture has become the most destructive behaviour of the last century. There never has been sufficient justification for these outlandish attacks on Donald Trump, aspects of which have sought to find anything that would stick in an effort to damage the man and his administration. What this reveals more than anything is how rational debate has been replaced by a constant barrage of one sided hatreds, any who resist the corrupting appeal of this so called virtuous stance find themselves mercilessly and unfairly condemned. If this is to continue we are lost!

  • Rob Fisher

    The economy is important. Look at the model presented here: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56

    The idea is that the more total the shutdown, the shorter it can be, and the sooner we can get to a phase where there are few enough cases that life can go almost back to normal and the disease can be managed with contact tracing and isolation. (Personally I think it will also help that people’s hygiene practices will be permanently improved now.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Although I broadly agree with Ferox and Bobby, let’s not paint a hagiography. Trump really does say a lot of dumb shit, and a lot of hyperbolic nonsense.”

    It wass one of my thoughts early on during his presidency that he might actually be doing it deliberately to raise the ‘noise floor’ on the risk of gaffes and mistakes. Any signal detection problem has to detect the signal in the face of background noise. The signal-to-noise ratio defines how easy that is to do. The same applies to career-ending gaffes. A mistake has to stand out from the background level of ‘normal’ behaviour to be noticed. Most politicians have gone to great lengths to reduce the signal, and in the process they have also reduced the noise. Poker-faced politicians are polished and perfect when in the public eye – so much so that it starts to look fake and dishonest.

    But an alternative approach to making a signal hard to detect is to raise the level of background noise. Make lots of small mistakes. Throw out lots of random ‘tells’. Nothing serious enough that they can actually nail you for it, but often enough that the frequent false alarms get everyone to turn down the sensitivity. Then you’re much more likely to survive when you make a bigger mistake.

    In addition, that social disapproval of mistakes is one of the ways the elites steer you. Politicians become afraid of doing anything that will attract criticism, thus those who lead the criticism gain control over the politicians. The answer to that, of course, is to show that you don’t care about their opinion. However, if you try to do that with a bigger controversy, that can make the damage worse. So you do it with small mistakes. You make lots of mistakes, get criticised for them, and then demonstrate clearly that you don’t care. You don’t moderate your behaviour, you don’t go out of your way to avoid the criticism, you make it clear that you don’t steer. And having established the principle and gotten a reputation for it, that makes it a lot easier and safer to do on the bigger issues.

    “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” as Nietzche put it. If you’re going to be criticised constantly, make sure it is for lots of minor stuff that can’t hurt you. It eats up the opponent’s resources, and stops most of them digging for anything worse.

    Obama apparently used a similar technique. When something was about to come out that was potentially damaging, he would stand up and propose something controversial, that would get the opposition riled up for several days in an explosion of noisy opposition, and suck all the energy and oxygen out of whatever the other thing was. As with any illusionist, it’s all about distraction and misdirection, to get the opposition looking where you want them to look, and not at what you don’t want them to see.

    Or maybe that’s just how he is, and it happens to be successful. If you judge by results, it doesn’t look nearly so dumb.

  • Although I broadly agree with Ferox and Bobby, let’s not paint a hagiography. Trump really does say a lot of dumb shit, and a lot of hyperbolic nonsense. (Fraser Orr, March 26, 2020 at 2:34 am)

    Equally, let’s not let our desire to hold a balanced view, lead us into what Conquest called, “a vulgar compromise between right and wrong.” Your point

    The press definitely puts the worst possible spin on everything he does.

    is true of some cases, while others reflect their being too far inside their bubble even merely to understand what he and others on the right say, and thus being actually incapable of remembering and reporting it correctly, rather than intentionally consciously lying about it. However neither of these are even possible interpretations of the example you immediately moved to:

    The supposed mocking of a disabled reporter is a perfect example of this. There were several ways to interpret what he did, (Fraser Orr, March 26, 2020 at 2:34 am)

    This is, on the contrary, a perfect example of the fact that the media will also consciously and calculatedly frame lies about him. The media (specifically the WaPo) were very egregiously caught out when their ‘fact checker’ stated emphatically, in hostage-to-fortune-specific terms, that there was no evidence whatsoever for single instance of a Trump claim, and was immediately reminded of an 11/11/2001 story in the WaPo itself that very obviously supported it. They both hated Trump’s mocking them about it and intensely desired to reframe the humiliating story as soon as possible.

    A survey of the facts about the reporter, his condition, the 23 years that at a minimum had elapsed since Trump might have met him (but the reporter conceded he could not name any date on which he did), the impossibility of Trump’s audience knowing or ‘getting’ any such joke if implied, the ease with which Trump’s identical ‘flustered-because-caught-out’ mocking gestures of three people (the other two fully abled) in that speech could be shown without the sound and the viewer asked to guess which one was about someone disabled (then take one of the two unchosen examples away and ask, would you like to change your guess?), the ruthless shutting down of comments on the story almost immediately it appeared, etc., etc. all demonstrate conscious prior intent.

    If anything could be more beyond-reasonable-doubt proof when all is highly indicative, I would point to the still photograph of Trump momentarily holding his left hand in the downward-pointing position that the reporter’s arthrogryposis (IIRC) obliges him to hold it still for much/all of the time. In video, the moment flashes past and is gone, so some frame-by-frame searching was needed to spot the moment of maximum similarity and extract it as the still picture which the media alone showed (alongside a picture of the reporter in his typical posture). The idea that Trump could have intended that here-and-gone moment to communicate to his audience (who, of course, knew nothing of the private circumstances of the formerly-WaPo, now-NYT reporter) a resemblance to a reporter whose condition makes him simply incapable of emulating Trump’s rapid movements is clearly not one the people who carefully extracted that moment could have entertained.

    (Having said this, I will note in passing that one other point – the needlessness of Trump’s mocking the reporter’s disability when he had so totally got him and the MSM in general dead-to-rights on the (non)fact-check – may, by contrast, be a counter-argument that was not consciously rejected but simply too intolerable for their minds to entertain.)

    So while the combination of Trump’s in-their-face remarks and the media’s hearing only what they can understand (something I’ve noticed in many a non-Trump context too) makes for many a misrepresentation that is not a conscious pre-planned lie, it is wise to remember that there are also conscious pre-planned lies. Let Ross Clark’s being taken by a left-wing media he knows he distrusts be a lesson to Fraser but also to the rest of us. We see through some media lies – yet forget there are others we have not yet seen through.

    Fraser’s summary of the Access Hollywood tape later in his comment is fair enough but omits one highly important point. The vulgar locker-room talk was not a lie. Years before that ‘October surprise’ tape – and so an additional year before Harvey Weinstein became news for a reason he did not like – I ‘knew’ (more accurately, I was strongly of the opinion that) Hollywood’s feminism and similar PC attitudes were the insolent cover for an abusive and complicit culture.

    @FeroxI have to admit, though, that I occasionally wish some daring aide would change Trump’s Twitter password and then refuse to tell him what it was.

    Or at the very least beg him to let a secretary check the spelling before he hits send…. (Fraser Orr, March 26, 2020 at 4:22 am)

    Fraser, I had to change ‘prefect’ to ‘perfect’ in my third-from-top quote of you above. We all make spelling mistakes.

    More generally, the media hate Trump’s ability to tweet – to get his message out directly, without their filtering – so of course spread every mocking form of hostility to it that they can think of. Don’t fall for it.

  • Patrick Crozier

    ‘At any other time, and coming from anyone else’s mouth, the statement “We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself,” would hardly raise an eyebrow. It is surely a principle which ought to be baked into all government policy. ‘

    Amen to that. A useful rejoinder to “If it only saves one life, it’s worth it.”

  • Chris in texas

    Niall,

    Well said. Very well said.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    Equally, let’s not let our desire to hold a balanced view, lead us into what Conquest called, “a vulgar compromise between right and wrong.”

    I don’t entirely understand this point. People are not “angel” or “devil” much as our media, and unfortunately our psyche, would have us believe. Sensible people must recognize the gray. Let’s not be that same silly echo chamber where either “everything Trump does is good, and even the dumb stuff is some genius scheme beyond the comprehension of mere mortals” or “everything Trump does is pure evil, and anything good that happens is either a left over from Obama or just plain dumb luck.”

    is true of some cases, while others reflect their being too far inside their bubble even merely to understand

    That is true.

    This is, on the contrary, a perfect example of the fact that the media will also consciously and calculatedly frame lies about him.

    You might be right, but I wasn’t actually thinking of the media here, I was thinking that there is a general meme out there that “Trump mocked a disabled reporter”. Given the right mindset one can be convinced that the video snippet confirms this, even though, as I said and your analysis demonstrates, that that is not true.

    Fraser’s summary of the Access Hollywood tape later in his comment is fair enough but omits one highly important point. The vulgar locker-room talk was not a lie.

    I don’t agree. I think there are some women who are willing to be grabbed by men for their advancement, there are some women who want to be grabbed by famous people because it excites them, but the idea that one should assume grabbing is acceptable based on one’s fame is certainly a lie, or at least an error. I’m certainly sure that you don’t believe that to be the case. But this is classic Trump. He speaks in hyperbole a lot. There is a reason why “yuuge” and “bigly” are words strongly associated with him. (Yeah I know that he didn’t actually say “bigly”, but the point stands.)

    Fraser, I had to change ‘prefect’ to ‘perfect’ in my third-from-top quote of you above. We all make spelling mistakes.

    Well sure, but I am just some asshole posting my mostly pointless thoughts on a message board. I don’t actually have a secretary. He is the president of the United States, one would have thought that correct spelling would be the absolute minimum baseline. I certainly appreciate the concept of the bare metal direct access to the people, and I even appreciate the fact that he is surrounded by traitors out to do everything to prevent his program and so he minimizes the insulation as much as possible, but couldn’t Melania (or come to that Barron) just run spell check first? I mean there is a little red wavy line and everything.

  • Paul Marks

    President Trump did not call the virus a hoax – why does this Daily Telegraph writer not know that? Why does he not bother to do five minutes research before writing an article?

    It was the effort by the media to blame him for the situation that the President, quite correctly, called a hoax – he should have used rather stronger language than that.

    It is true that President Trump should have got rid of the regulations quicker so that the government bureaucracy and courts would stop preventing private testing for the virus, and allowing medical equipment to be used. But he did get rid of the regulations.

    It is also true that President Trump should have done far more to get America away from dependence on foreign sources of strategic (vital) goods – especially away from the People’s Republic of China Communist Dictatorship.

    But the President did what he could – and in the teeth of the opposition of the establishment elite, including the “free market” wing of the pro Communist Party Dictatorship wing of the establishment elite (all those editorials condemning “Trump’s trade wars”).

    And it is true that President Trump should have closed the borders of the United States quicker than he did.

    However, when did the British government close the borders (to people – not goods) of the United Kingdom?

  • Paul Marks

    Can someone just please send Ross Clark a note telling him not to trust the “mainstream media” for his information.

    If he checked himself then he would not write such things as “Trump called the virus a hoax”.

    Mr Clark is clearly an honest man – but he has allowed himself to be misinformed (and I doubt this is the only example of it).

    Basically one should always assume that CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post (and so on) are lying. They may not be lying – but one should never RELY on the “mainstream media” for information.

    It is like relying on schools and universities for modern history or economics – what they teach is false.

  • staghounds

    “a mediocre compromise between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong” i the Conquest quote.

  • Fraser Orr

    Paul Marks
    It is also true that President Trump should have done far more to get America away from dependence on foreign sources of strategic (vital) goods – especially away from the People’s Republic of China Communist Dictatorship.

    I think this is one of the most shocking revelations of this whole thing — the DoD buys most of their medications from China. China, of all countries, is the one we are most likely to fight a big war with, most likely by proxy. Just imagine the significance of these two facts. Our enemy controls the drugs for our military, meaning that with the stroke of a pen they can deny access to amoxicilin so that a soldier might die from a simple scratch, or deny access to propofol so that a marine’s best option for anesthetic during amputation is a bottle of whiskey, or a sailor might die of appendicitis because of a lack of suture material, or a bomber pilot might fall asleep because of a lack of amphetamines. It is an outrage, and potentially one of the most serious strategic failures of the DoD. I hope a whole bunch of people lose their jobs over this dreadful error, but I suspect nobody will.

    However, I am confident that, should he be re-elected, that this is one thing the President will fix. Given that Joe’s family seem to be in bed with the Chinese, I am not at all sure that Biden would.

  • Paul Marks

    Fraser Orr.

    The madness “must” stop – but will it?

    The establishment elite sold out to the People’s Republic of China Communist Party Dictatorship long ago.

    All they have to do is defeat President Trump in November – or deny him a majority in the Senate and the House.

    As for Britain – I am now told (in a telephone conversation only a few minutes ago – from someone who has talked to the government ministers directly) that we are in the “Phony War” period and things are about to get a lot worse.

    In short, as someone with compromised lungs, I can expect to die soon (“if you touch something” – well as I do not live in a bubble…..).

    I already expected that – and my will is on the table in the hall, it is the first thing someone sees on entering the house.

    What I would like to know before I die (but most likely will not know) is the following…..

    Were the borders of the United Kingdom left open to the virus, for MONTHS, because of incompetence – or was it done ON PURPOSE.

    Never underestimate what a “cock up” can do – this is after all the country of Suvla Bay (and all the other utterly botched operations of what should have the relatively straightforward Gallipoli Campaign), of the Somme of July 1st 1916, of the Passchendaele Campaign of 1917, of the collapse in France in 1940, of the almost insane collapse in Singapore and the Far East in late 1941 and early 1942 – and on and on. If there is a way to mess something up – we can find that way. Just as, on the other hand, we have also done some remarkable good things – often against desperate odds.

    Sir Charles Trevelyan (as I have often pointed out) thought that a sensible way to respond to the economic collapse in Ireland in the 1840s was a massive INCREASE in taxation (under the slogan “Irish Property Must Pay For Irish Poverty” – as if he did not understand that all taxes are PASSED ON and hit EVERYONE) – thus making the problem vastly worse, and spreading it from the potato dependent areas of Ireland to all the “island of Ireland”.

    For one and half centuries a massive increase in taxation (and endless other government interventions (in the early 19th century) such as the National Schools and the “roads to nowhere”) has been called “laissez faire”. Which shows that British text books, like the British administrative class, are clueless.

    So it is quite possible that the disease that is likely to kill me has been spread by sheer incompetence – leaving the nation’s borders open, for months, with no ill intent at all.

    I am not sure which is worse – being killed by a vile conspiracy (say under the Green slogan “Humans are the disease, the virus is the cure!” – yes that is the motto on posters put up by a charming group that all mainstream political parties have been working with, passing “Climate Change Emergency” resolutions and so on) or being killed by accident.

    Most likely, this being the United Kingdom, it is accident – sheer “Cock Up” rather than conspiracy.

  • Mr Ed

    As for Britain – I am now told (in a telephone conversation only a few minutes ago – from someone who has talked to the government ministers directly) that we are in the “Phony War” period and things are about to get a lot worse.

    In Portugal, some predict 700 deaths in all, per Correio da Manhã today, so not unlike ‘flu. Scratch a public health expert and you’ll find it’s (often sophisticated) guesswork not science, and statism. The bureaucrats here have turned Johnson into Corbyn, and ruined the country, ready for Sir Keir to sweep in and finish the job. You could tell Johnson was a fool by the press conferences where he meekly bowed to the media’s insolence and alarmism.

    Mrs May is looking a better leader every day.

  • Gary

    “Er…piffle paffle wiffle waffle, the dog ate my homework” – Spaffer

    British government didn’t bother to order ventilators and PPE equipment:

    https://thenantwichnews.co.uk/2020/03/24/nantwich-firm-blasts-government-over-delay-after-offering-5000-ventilators/

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/no-10-boris-johnson-accused-of-putting-brexit-over-breathing-in-covid-19-ventilator-row

    https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/927344

    THEY HAD THREE MONTHS TO PREPARE.

    NO EXCUSES. “Uh we lost the email” FFS.

    The incompetence is absolutely jaw-dropping. Bungle and Hat Mancock are a disgrace.

    As for Trump, his first job is to protect the people, he is failing at that miserably, his administration couldn’t even get test kits out, yet he eagerly handed out huge welfare to Wall Street, most notably his 1.5 trillion socialist hand out to the bankers that vanished in an hour.
    He does nothing for the American people yet coddled the likes of Boeing.

    Covid-19 is likely to permanently embed in the US, because it has no mechanism with which to fight it.

    The model to follow is clearly the methods used by South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Italian town of Vo, which proved conclusively that the Asian approach is correct.

    The East Asian countries have clearly shown themselves more competent than the West.

  • bobby b

    “The East Asian countries have clearly shown themselves more competent than the West.”

    Not going to bother with the bulk of your comment. I’ll just say that there’s more to life than trains running on time.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    As a Singaporean, I do feel quite smug about my well-run country.

    But this covid-19 situation is really straining our resources.

  • Fraser Orr

    I already expected that – and my will is on the table in the hall, it is the first thing someone sees on entering the house.

    @Paul Marks, I for one would advocate that you take extremely good care of yourself. This place would not be the same without you. So please, stay healthy.

  • Markus

    “The East Asian countries have clearly shown themselves more competent than the West.”

    South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are the only three countries who have the unique combination of:
    – Being Democracies
    – Not being more worried about Xenophobia, than Pandemics

  • Itellyounothing

    The Professor who cried wolf?

    The economic damage the all the countries suffer will not be forgotten.

    When this ends up less serious than an ordinary flu season, who will believe any credentialed guesstimator?

  • Fraser Orr

    I was thinking about alternative approaches to solving this virus problem, particularly ones that don’t destroy the economy.

    One thing I though about is this: issuing a public safety order that says if you are outside you must be wearing personal protective equipment. It would be perfectly possible for everyone to wear that gear, and if they did that would greatly reduce transmission. There is no reason why people couldn’t go to work, drive, go on the subway, go to school (even grade school) run their stores etc. Eating in restaurants would require some thought.

    How could you make sufficient equipment? It isn’t like it is complex. It doesn’t need to be a full blown thing with fans and filters. All you need is a covering, gloves and a clear helmet. American industry could crank out masses of this easily, and no doubt before too long Channel would have elegant PPE evening wear, and the Gap would be selling edgy version with Che Guvera on the outside. My daughter, who is ten, could have a PPE that made it look like she is dressed up as a unicorn, her favorite animal. People who are particularly vulnerable could get upgrade equipment that are somewhat better sealed that have air filtration (that you can recharge over USB from a cell phone charger.)

    The equipment doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact, if it leaked a little that would be good, because the ultimate public health goal is to let people get infected at a lower rate so as not to overwhelm the hospitals.

    People could stay home until they have the equipment, but once they have it resume their normal(ish) lives. It is a massively less imposition on people, is probably more effective than “social distancing” and is implementable without really much impostion on people’s rights.

    But the cost you say!!! You must be kidding. The US Government just borrowed quarter of a million dollars per american family to help deal with this. Almost any solution is massively less expensive than that.

    Interested in your opinions on this.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “One thing I though about is this: issuing a public safety order that says if you are outside you must be wearing personal protective equipment.”

    Later on, yes, possibly. It’s the approach they’re currently using inside the hospitals, after all.

    Issues to think about:

    1. The hospitals are currently struggling to supply PPE even to their own staff, and have been reporting all sorts of logistics jams and shortages. In the long run, I’m sure they’ll get it sorted out. But you’re not going to be able to upscale that to the nation in the next two weeks. Even American industry requires a little time.

    2. Using PPE in hospitals safely takes training and practice. Routine activities become awkward, and people forget, or do stupid things, like absent-mindedly shifting their mask to scratch their nose. It’s hard enough to get everyone to wash their hands – can you imagine getting the untrained and ignorant public (including kids, teenagers, etc.) to remember and follow the correct procedure for eating, going to the loo, strictly separating clean and contaminated surfaces, etc.? And get it perfect, every time? Yes, maybe in the long run, but not in the next two weeks.

    3. PPE can be hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable if worn for long periods, especially in hot climates, or as we approach summer.

    It’s not the only idea, of course. There’s also no doubt going to be a surge in teleworking technology as a result of this. Meetings and computery stuff they can already do. But how about tele-operated robots and other machinery? With the roads currently empty of human drivers, there’s an opportunity for more driverless vehicles. Home delivery is getting a big boost – I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people don’t bother to go back, afterwards.

    Shortages raise the prices which both creates an incentive and funds development of innovative solutions. That costs, of course, but a technological leap usually pays off in the long run.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Another thing to think about would be anti-virus coatings and surfaces. Currently, hard surfaces can carry viable viruses for hours to days. Suppose you develop coatings and packaging materials that kill any viruses off in minutes? I imagine there’d be a market for something like that.

    UV light can also destroy viruses. So can detergents. Materials that slowly ooze detergents might have some benefits in shortening the lifetime of viruses in the environment.

    I’m sure there are a lot of engineers sat at home busily cooking up new ideas. I’d not expect anyone to have anything into production in an instant, but I foresee a lot of new ideas coming over the next few months.

  • Fraser Orr

    @NIV regarding your points, as I mentioned these are a different category of PPE. We don’t need to seal people in air tight, in fact the opposite is true — the public health gurus don’t want to prevent infection but slow it down. So less than perfect enforcement is actually a feature not a bug.

    As to production — again we don’t need to manufacture to A++ certification standard. All we need is a coverall that is reasonably tight weave with elasticated wrist and ankle holes, latex gloves which people would have to replace (but these are made by the gazillion, I have a box on my refrig) and a clear soft plastic bowl with a skirt for over the head. You could do fancier, but there are many tiny manufacturers both here an in south east asia who can easily produce these by the gazillion.

    No doubt there would be a diversity in the market, some people would by simple things, some people would buy ones with little cooling systems and filters, some would buy pretty ones, some would buy tougher one etc. That is the beauty of the market place.

    It also fits quite perfectly with a general philosophy of freedom. If you go outside in a national health care emergency it becomes effectively a minor assault to get close to anyone if you are not wearing PPE.

    We don’t need 300 million suits right now, what we say is “if you have one you can leave your house, if you don’t you can’t”, so over time people would get them and more and more the businesses would open up. As you say the economic incentives to fulfill the demand would be huge. Businesses would buy them for their employees just to get the business going again.

    Another big thing with this is that when this whole mess is over, people can pack up their PPEs, but it in a closet and pull it out next time there is one of these virus panics.

    BTW, I did my math wrong, I think the government “Only” borrowed $25,000 per family, not $250,000 as I initially said.

  • Snorri Godhi

    All what we need to do is stay at home as much as possible until an antiviral is proven to be effective and becomes widely available.

    (It doesn’t have to be 100% effective.)

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    All what we need to do is stay at home as much as possible until an antiviral is proven to be effective and becomes widely available.

    But you are only measuring half the risk. There is a huge risk to “stay at home” too. Namely the collapse of the economy and the personal financial destruction of millions of people. Certainly bankruptcy is better than death, but it still sucks. So keeping the economy alive is just as important as washing your hands.

    That is why we need innovative solutions like the one I just proposed.

  • “a mediocre compromise between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong” is the Conquest quote. (staghounds, March 26, 2020 at 7:00 pm)

    Many thanks for the correction. As spelling mistakes are occasionally made by Fraser Orr and President Trump and (but only once in a blue moon, surely 🙂 ) myself (and also by you in the above – I corrected the Shakespearean-sounding ‘i the quote’ to ‘is the quote’ 🙂 ), so also I sometimes quote from memory, not from certainty, and (worse) in this case forgot to add a ‘quoted from memory’ qualifier. (I usually only bother so to mark blockquoted quotes; readers should probably assume that almost any inline quote may be quoted from memory.)

    Fraser, I had to change ‘prefect’ to ‘perfect’ in my third-from-top quote of you above. We all make spelling mistakes.

    Well sure, but I am just some asshole posting my mostly pointless thoughts on a message board. I don’t actually have a secretary. He is the president of the United States (Fraser Orr, March 26, 2020 at 3:02 pm)

    That cuts both ways. It has been said of Bill Gates that if he drops a ten-thousand-dollar bill it is not a good use of his time to stoop and pick it up – whereas you, I am guessing, would not “chuse never to stoop” 🙂 – nor I. Similarly, the time that you and I have enough of to write these comments is a rarer, more valuable commodity for a president. And for some tweets, not just the time spent writing them but the timeliness of tweeting them may have value.

    couldn’t Melania (or come to that Barron) just run spell check first

    So the tweet waits till Barron gets back from school?

    (If it were Obama of course, the MSM would remind us of the line at the end of “The King’s Speech” where George VI jokingly excuses the few pauses and near-stammers that were still in his radio address by saying, “I left those in so they would know it was me.” The MSM would be awed by the ‘authenticity’ of each misspelled tweet if it were Obama’s. Of course this would not actually be a good argument in either case.)

    A better point is the question: has any trustworthy person actually scrawled through a statistically significant collection of Trump’s tweets and actually observed an unusual volume of typos in them relative to the tweets of his critics, or even just of those critics who spread the idea he misspells a lot? I would not be astonished (nor that interested either way) if the tweet’s averages of spelling and grammar seemed compatible with a “do it now, think and promptly speak” nature, but I am aware I have not done that check myself, have never read anyone I trust presenting the conclusion of such a check, and owe strictly to the MSM (and to such Ross Clark types as carelessly echo them in details even while exposing their phoniness) the idea there is anything statistically significant to see here.

    one would have thought that correct spelling would be the absolute minimum

    It is certainly the absolute minimum for me in my posts – which is why, linking to an old post of mine in a new comment the other day, I took the time to login and correct a typo that I had never before noticed. But I am locked down in the UK and time-rich; the US president is not.

  • Mr Ed

    Who cares about President Trump’s spelling? Color me stupid if you wish, but we all kniow American spelling is wrong.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I think a big problem is that some Asian nations have developed robust approaches to viruses out of necessity and because China regularly inflicts them on them. So they stock up on masks and have plans in place. It’s like how people who live in the Alps or North Dakota pay taxes to support snow clearance machines, buy snow tyres and keep emergency generators, etc. In thr UK, with our generally mild winters, this is harder to justify. I suspect this is going to change a bit.

    I’d also be careful about putting East Asia on a pedestal. That part of the world seems to have a food hygiene problem, at least to some to extent.

  • Snorri Godhi

    It has been suggested that the spelling mistakes in Trump’s tweets are put in deliberately. I can see two reasons for that: to make his critics focus on the spelling while his supporters focus on the substance, and to make it look like he did not think before tweeting.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fraser: you are talking about what governments can do. I am talking about what we can do. I for one am not going out just to sustain the economy.

    I much prefer staying home for a few months to even a very small risk of being ventilated for a few weeks, in a room full of people who might die at any moment. But if protective equipment becomes available, then i’d go out more often, or at least i’d stay out for longer, thank you for this initiative 😉
    I suspect, however, that PPE production has already been ramped up.

    And btw last time i checked, we are free to go out any time we want, over here (except for places that have been closed by the government of course) as long as we keep at a safe distance from other people. We are allowed to meet one other person (at a time), and parents can go out with their children. That’s because the doubling time is 10 days, due more to people doing as i do than to government action (as i estimate from the date when doubling time went up to 10 days).

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    It has been suggested that the spelling mistakes in Trump’s tweets are put in deliberately. I can see two reasons for that: to make his critics focus on the spelling while his supporters focus on the substance, and to make it look like he did not think before tweeting.

    To me this, and other comments are really part of the problem. If we can’t even criticize the President for something is indisputably wrong as a spelling mistake then we have decided that we can’t criticize him at all. And if we take up the view that his plainly obvious mistakes are part of some brilliant Machiavellian, that he is in fact a “Genius” not just “Sloppy” is the sort of ridiculous hero worship that you’d expect from the left wing media when talking about Obama.

    To treat him with such uncritical adulation where nothing he can do is wrong is the flip side, and equally ridiculous, to the media’s view that nothing he can do is right.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    Fraser: you are talking about what governments can do. I am talking about what we can do. I for one am not going out just to sustain the economy.

    You might have a different view if you couldn’t work from home, and were living paycheck to paycheck, I suspect.

    I much prefer staying home for a few months to even a very small risk of being ventilated for a few weeks

    You do know that that is true every single day regardless of Covid19. Every day you are at risk of some accident to some level of probability that might end up with you on a ventilator. So, it is a matter of measuring and managing the network of risks we face. Staying home reduces one risk and increases another, however, if we could all go out with PPE we really greatly eliminate both risks.

    And btw last time i checked, we are free to go out any time we want, over here

    Not where I live, and not, from what I understand, in the UK. There are places where they are talking about putting the military on the street to enforce it, like some banana republic. The risk is “can I go to my job and earn a living?”. And the answer in many places is no.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “If we can’t even criticize the President for something is indisputably wrong as a spelling mistake then we have decided that we can’t criticize him at all.”

    Sure we can. There are a fair number of things I disagree with Trump on, and he’s as fallible as anyone. But he’s also an acomplished businessman and politician, and when somebody who is *clearly* not stupid makes such trivial, obvious, easily-fixed mistakes, and when his political schtick is populist contact with the ordinary working Joe (a pretty neat trick for a billionaire, you must admit), you’ve got to be suspicious.

    Boris was the same – always acting the buffoon. He’d have a mad hairstyle – which more than one person has said they’d seen him mess up deliberately – and clown around, saying and doing dumb stuff that would get in the papers. Pulling stunts, fluffing his lines, getting stuck on zip wires, appearing on comedy quiz shows. And yet, he is at the same time an extremely intelligent and capable operator when he wants to be. Last year, during the run-up to the election and Brexit, he demonstrated a brilliant long range strategy in the face of the entire British Establishment, and won! Trump similarly went from an outsider almost ‘joke’ candidate to win the election, and then survived four years with the Deep State doing everything they could to destroy him (And the FBI/CIA are no joke when they get after you!), and came out of it stronger than he went in. They can both run rings around their oppositions, even hugely outnumbered. They’re not stupid. Anyone who thinks they are is fooling themselves.

    It doesn’t mean they don’t make actual mistakes. It just means that it is very hard to spot them among all the ‘deliberate’ mistakes – which I think is entirely the point. It makes them popular, gives them an emotional bridge to the common man, and at the same time makes them much harder for the opposition to attack. And once you recognise the possibility, it doesn’t take all that much cleverness then to carry out. In a sense, the whole point of doing it is precisely to make it impossible to criticise them.

    Trump could easily get someone to spell-check his Tweets if he wanted to. He doesn’t.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fraser:

    If we can’t even criticize the President for something is indisputably wrong as a spelling mistake then we have decided that we can’t criticize him at all.

    There is absolutely nothing in my comment that suggests that you cannot criticize the President. It’s all in your morbid imagination 🙂

    I just reported on a theory that seems compatible with the facts, that Trump is remarkably adept at getting things done while apparently inept at spelling. It seems likely to me that the ineptness is only apparent.

    But who cares? if you don’t like his tweets, don’t read them. I don’t.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Every day you are at risk of some accident to some level of probability that might end up with you on a ventilator.

    http://www.biotecnologi.org/anbi/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-ENG-1024×771.png

    http://www.biotecnologi.org/is-coronavirus-just-like-a-flu/

    Nullius also posted a link to stats showing that a large number of young people with symptoms end up needing ventilators to survive. Today i saw a BBC article about a 38yo fitness trainer who needed a ventilator for a week.

  • Snorri Godhi

    And btw last time i checked, we are free to go out any time we want, over here

    Not where I live, and not, from what I understand, in the UK. There are places where they are talking about putting the military on the street to enforce it, like some banana republic. The risk is “can I go to my job and earn a living?”. And the answer in many places is no.

    But i told you, albeit implicitly: the fault is of the people of Illinois, who acted irresponsibly and did not self-isolate. THAT is the reason why the State has intervened to make you do what you should have done weeks ago of your own initiative. The people can and should act before the State.

    Mind you, a large part of the problem is national and State debt. if it were under 10% of GDP, as it is here, then the US and the States could borrow like there is no tomorrow, to support people in this crisis.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Snorri Godhi
    Nullius also posted a link to stats showing that a large number of young people with symptoms end up needing ventilators to survive.

    I suggest you read what I wrote again. The point is that every time you walk out the front door you take a risk. The risk is at different levels right now. The risk of serious illness is definitely higher but so is the risk of total economic collapse. For some reason you seem to ignore the second risk. We should be looking for ways to reduce both, and everyone walking around in space suits seems a pretty effective solution.

    But i told you, albeit implicitly: the fault is of the people of Illinois, who acted irresponsibly and did not self-isolate.

    I’m sorry but you don’t know what you are talking about. My experience is that when the federal health authorities called for self isolation that is what nearly everyone did. It is just our ridiculous governor decided to jump on his coat tails. You seem perfectly calm with the idea of a military enforcing a quarantine. Honestly, if that doesn’t scare you, then YOU scare me almost as much as the guys with guns.

    Mind you, a large part of the problem is national and State debt. if it were under 10% of GDP, as it is here, then the US and the States could borrow like there is no tomorrow, to support people in this crisis.

    Well on that we can agree. But I don’t know where you live. I assumed the UK where the debt/GDP ratio is 85%, which is better than the USA, but not that much better. But just for your reference, the states and the government do borrow money like there is no tomorrow, and have been doing so for decades, and now they just borrowed even more money like there is no tomorrow. The problem is, of course, is that there actually is a tomorrow.

    You can get a lot of space suits made very quickly for two trillion dollars.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Fraser:

    The risk of serious illness is definitely higher but so is the risk of total economic collapse. For some reason you seem to ignore the second risk.

    You are still delusional about this. For Illinois, it is no longer a risk but a certainty. The only issue is, do you prefer to collapse by way of tens if not hundreds of thousands people dying and the rest staying indoors out of fear, and then suing their employers (or their dead relatives’ employers) for having forced them to go to work; or do you prefer a few thousand deaths and the rest staying indoors?

    I’m sorry but you don’t know what you are talking about. My experience is that when the federal health authorities called for self isolation that is what nearly everyone did.

    I don’t remember when the feds called for self-isolation, but by my estimates the doubling time in Illinois is now about 3.3 days. It is increasing, luckily for you; but keep in mind that in parts of Europe (including the South of Italy after lockdown), and no doubt parts of the US, the doubling time seems to be 2 or 3 times longer. Relatively and collectively speaking, you have been irresponsible.

    Mind you, almost all the cases in Illinois have been in Chicago and what i now know as the collar counties. It is more than a little likely that the rest of the State has been more responsible. The Governor should put the Chicago metropolitan area under quarantine, yesterday!

    You seem perfectly calm with the idea of a military enforcing a quarantine.

    Duh! I watched Outbreak. I watched Contagion. I watched Cordon in Dutch, and then the American remake, Containment. I have maybe a month’s supply of food at the moment. I am still somewhat irresponsible in that i trust that water and electricity will remain available.

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, here is the free market at work. Dyson designs a new ventilator in ten days and produces 15,000. So much for that vent manufacturer who told us it would take three to five years. Of course if you expect big manufacturers like Ford and GM to do it, it’ll take forever. Small businesses are the dynamic lifeblood of an economy.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/26/tech/dyson-ventilators-coronavirus/index.html

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Fraser, exactly. What we are witnessing is capitalism at its best.

  • Nico

    Cuomo isn’t an option. He’s not running.

    Well, Biden sure won’t be the nominee, you can bet on that. They’ll find a reason. They’ll make him quit. They’ll arkancide him if need be. He won’t be the nominee. Neither will Sanders. Perhaps whoever Biden selects as the VP nominee would take his place — perhaps that someone would be Cuomo. Perhaps Biden won’t get that far before withdrawing. No, I think they’re grooming Cuomo to be the nominee. And if not in 2020, then in 2024, but I think this year.

    What’s funny is that Cuomo is doing a bunch of risky things, like one day complaining about the ventilator shortage, and the next admitting there are ventilators in storage. If he’s to win, he needs to be a bit more careful. He’s got to let others play the gotcha game with Trump.

    My money is on Cuomo being the dem nominee, and Trump beating him.

  • Nico

    No, TDS will be cured when the next Republican President is elected and Trump will be compared favorably to him or her.

    Same as with Reagan Derangement Syndrome. And like clockwork, we could expect a New Democrat in 2028.

  • Nico

    The claim that Trump called the virus a hoax is just another crude media lie.

    It’s all lies, all the time. Like Trump telling the governors that they’re on their own — a chopped up quote. Or like Trump demanding appreciation for himself — another chopped up quote. It’s all a shell game. It’s all “heads I win, tails you lose”. It’s been now, and for almost four years as to Trump. Of course, it’s nothing new, as they do this… every time there’s a Republican President, but the lying has been getting worse and worse.

    I don’t think it will work. In fact, it wasn’t working, which is why now the media is no longer airing the President’s press conferences: anytime he speaks directly to the people, the people get to see the truth for themselves, but if they don’t let him, then they can edit him to suit the get-Trump agenda. It won’t work though. It’s all Wile E. Coyote, all the time — I’ve seen all the episodes, and -spoiler alert- Wile E. Coyote never wins.

    Everything is a McGuffin with the Left. What they really want is naked power — everything else they say they want is just an object to convince the uninformed to given them that power.

  • Nico

    I used to think Trump’s willingness to fight was a trade-off for his coarseness; now I think they are part of the same thing. In other words, if you want someone as polite and elegant as Mittens, then you end up with someone as milquetoast and as accommodating to the goblins as Mittens.

    I nominate the above quote of Ferox for QotD.

  • Nico

    Trump really does say a lot of dumb shit, and a lot of hyperbolic nonsense.

    Meh. He exaggerates, yes. He showers praise on people as if he believes that will get them to play nice with him, and time and time again that fails and he continues doing it. It’s OK. It’s his style. It’s quaint. It’s endearing. If that’s all there was to Trump, he’d be a nobody. But it’s not, is it.

    The man has truly shocked me: he has done just about everything right writ large. During the Russia nonsense he never took any of the bait that would have gotten the Republicans to abandon him. He never fell into any of the traps the Dems tended for him. To my knowledge the only unconstitutional action he has taken was extending Obama’s unconstitutional DACA in order to let Congress propose a fix. He went for tax cuts first (to goose up the economy, which it did), then tariffs (to balance trade), then budget cuts (which would be needed if trade were balanced, and which sadly now will be on pause for a while). He did all the regulation killing and all the bad treaty killing that he could. He’s not foisted on us any new entitlements like Bush Jr. did. Policy-wise, he’s a dream come true. But he typos!1!!1!

    The things he has accomplished all by himself, with Whitehouse staff, the Republican Party establishment, many Republican congresscritters, and the entire Democratic Party and media against him… It’s unbelievable. I think you have to go back to Abe Lincoln to find a President who was so alone and did so much through sheer willpower and just plain being right about things. I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Lincoln, but the comparison does seem apt to me.

    So he speaks funny, he praises people who probably won’t deserve it, he exaggerates, he typos, he hasn’t figured out a way to make the media respect him. Ask me how much I care. Or read the above and see for yourselves.

  • Nico

    If we can’t even criticize the President for something is indisputably wrong as a spelling mistake then we have decided that we can’t criticize him at all.

    Spelling mistakes?! Seriously? Do you have something more substantive? If so, use that. If not, well, go on, amuse us.

  • Nico

    Who cares about President Trump’s spelling? Color me stupid if you wish, but we all kniow American spelling is wrong.

    Oh, I see what you did there 😆

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