Patterico's Pontifications

10/15/2020

What We Were Told, What They Were Told

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:34 am



[guest post by Dana]

In February, here is what President Trump was telling Americans about the coronavirus:

February 2 “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

February 7 “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff” [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public September 9]

February 10 “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

February 10 “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

February 24 “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

February 25 “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

February 25 “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

February 26 “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

February 26 “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

February 26 “Well, we’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem. Very little problem.”

February 26 “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”

February 27 “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

February 28 “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

Interestingly, here is what Trump’s administration was saying behind closed doors:

President Donald Trump’s advisers expressed concern for the U.S. economy in private briefings with major Republican donors while the president was telling the public the new coronavirus was “very much under control,” The New York Times reports. Trump administration officials, including National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow, told board members of the conservative Hoover Foundation, many of them top Republican campaign financiers, that the virus’ upcoming impact on the economy was still unknown in February, according to the notes on the meetings written by William Callanan, a longtime hedge fund consultant. Callanan sent his notes to several clients and associates, and the sobering assessment offered to investors behind closed doors reportedly led many in the investment world to sell off or short stocks. The day before the meeting, Kudlow said in a television appearance that the virus had been contained in the U.S. The move echoes the trades of several senators following closed-door coronavirus briefings.

Wealthy donors benefitted in more ways than one:

Investors…were already selling off stocks at the time. But they understood the significance of administration officials appearing to support their fears: “The president’s aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent,” The Times explained.

–Dana

77 Responses to “What We Were Told, What They Were Told”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (292df6)

  2. Apparently, he also told wealthy donors behind closed doors that he suspended travel from China weeks ago. If only the public had known.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  3. Breaking News- Sun rises in East for several days in a row.

    John B Boddie (d795fd)

  4. Though of course he did not actually suspend all travel from China, and it would be surprising if the only things he discussed in private were things undisclosed to the public. They have to fill the time somehow.

    Victor (00af29)

  5. Investors…were already selling off stocks at the time. But they understood the significance of administration officials appearing to support their fears: “The president’s aides appeared to be giving wealthy party donors an early warning of a potentially impactful contagion at a time when Mr. Trump was publicly insisting that the threat was nonexistent,” The Times explained.

    And? This type of behavior is par for the course; this isn’t something that is unique to Trump. How do you think these professional politicians get rich? It isn’t from saving their spare change in a piggy bank. They have a nice cozy relationship with the big donors. Quid pro quo.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  6. This type of behavior is par for the course; this isn’t something that is unique to Trump.

    Tens of thousands of dead Americans so his friends could get richer is unique to Trump. He is a mass murderer for money.

    A mass murderer!

    For money!

    nk (1d9030)

  7. This type of behavior is par for the course; this isn’t something that is unique to Trump.

    Wasn’t he supposed to drain the swamp?

    (Not That) Bill O'Reilly (6bb12a)

  8. February 2 “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

    It still is pretty amazing that they didn’t realize people could come from Europe who were exposed. That’s what pandemics are all about. They are out of control and spread. Trump’s administration was focused on blaming China after flip flopping from defending China, instead of stepping back and realizing they should just protect the USA from all sources. Their decision has consistently missed the point. Jared hoarding masks when states tried to get ahead of the problem. Trump bashing some ventilator makers, picking winners in the treatment, refusing to let someone else be right about masks. They saw this the wrong way, and they still do.

    It’s like Harris shutting down today. That’s savvy politics too, but it’s savvy because it shows the voter they have the correct goal in mind. It’s not a push to get Harris back to campaigning. Even though that bunch if every bit as cynical, at least they aren’t as stupid.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  9. Trump’s administration was focused on blaming China after flip flopping from defending China, instead of stepping back and realizing they should just protect the USA from all sources.

    Based on the blog posts and comments on this blog in late January, the president needed to be focused on impeachment 24/7.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67)

  10. Too bad we don’t have one of those super genius president who can work on more then 1 thing at time.

    But I appreciate the fact that you put the president and Random Blog Commenters like Me on the same level.

    Time123 (ca85c9)

  11. Why would Trump have needed to devote any attention to impeachment when his sycophantic lackeys in the Senate ensured there were no substantive proceedings?

    (Not That) Bill O'Reilly (6bb12a)

  12. Based on the blog posts and comments on this blog in late January, the president needed to be focused on impeachment 24/7.

    beer ‘n pretzels (042d67) — 10/15/2020 @ 9:16 am

    It is true that corrupt presidents brought to justice are often distracted and unable to do their real job.

    This is an older Trump defense, that he is a victim in yet another twisted way.

    Maybe Trump shouldn’t have asked Ukraine to help him win re-election. Maybe he should have known that would create a lot of chaos and hurt Americans. If you are right, Trump’s crime killed thousands of Americans, and it’s our fault for caring.

    You can also blame Pelosi and pals… they didn’t really take their shot. They needed Trump on the ballot so they just went through the motions. But I mostly blame the GOP. They know this guy is the worst and they protected him, and his poor handling of the pandemic has firmly cemented how awful that decision was.

    But take comfort. Trump’s performance was at its worst at the beginning of the year, that’s when he really sealed out fate, but he hasn’t gotten much better over the year. This defense is definitely a favorite of mine though.

    I hope you guys run with that.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  13. What this is about is fundamental tramsformation, the great reset from the mouth of weo head klaus swab thats why nyc can become a ghost town thanks to cuomo and diblasio and the hospitals are exempt from liability

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  14. This would’ve ended or irreparably damaged any other presidency. Today, it’s just another Wednesday. Sigh.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  15. What this is about is fundamental tramsformation

    I think it’s about stopping trump and putin from ruining literally the whole world. We both sound kinda dramatic, but I happen to be correct.

    Biden is easily worth the price if you consider what Trump really is.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  16. This would’ve ended or irreparably damaged any other presidency.

    I don’t think that’s exactly true. In an earlier era, any President caught up in this scandal wouldn’t stand for re-election (if for no other reason than to avoid the embarrassing defeat), but in our hyper-partisan moment I think any sufficiently-shameless executive could ride it out.

    Obama had a pretty easy time shrugging off legitimate scandals with the assistance of partisan cheerleaders; Trump has simply built upon that precedent.

    (Not That) Bill O'Reilly (6bb12a)

  17. Yesterday – yesterday – Trump claimed his predecessor had an entire team of US commandos murdered as part of some bizarre conspiracy.

    And today – one day later – nobody is even talking about his doing it, because of all the equally batsh*t crazy things he’s said and done in the meantime.

    Destroying our country is not something Trump *might* do. It’s what he does all day, every day. While his adoring fans cheer him on and beg for more.

    Dave (1bb933)

  18. From the opening to Bob Woodward’s excellent book “Rage”:

    During the Top Secret President’s Daily Brief the afternoon of Tuesday, January 28, 2020, discussion in the Oval Office turned to a mysterious pneumonia-like virus outbreak in China. Public health officials and President Trump himself were telling the public the virus was low-risk for the United States.

    “This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, told Trump, expressing a jarring, contrarian view as deliberately and as strongly as possible.

    Trump’s head popped up. He asked the intelligence PDB briefer, Beth Sanner, several questions. She said China was worried, and the intelligence community was monitoring it, but it looked like this would not be anything nearly as serious as the deadly 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

    “This is going to be the roughest thing you face,” persisted O’Brien from his seat around the Resolute Desk, well aware that Trump was only midway through his impeachment trial in the Senate, which had begun twelve days earlier and was consuming his attention. O’Brien believed the national security adviser had to try to see around corners, a duty to warn of an impending disaster. And this problem was urgent, not some geopolitical issue that might happen three years down the road. This virus could develop very quickly in the United States.

    O’Brien, 53, a lawyer, author and former international hostage negotiator, was Trump’s fourth national security adviser. He had been in the key post only four months and did not consider himself a pound-your-fist-on-the-table kind of person, but he felt passionate that the outbreak was a real threat.

    “I agree with that conclusion,” said Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, from a couch further back in the Oval Office. Trump knew Pottinger, 46, who had been with the National Security Council staff for three years since the beginning of the Trump presidency, was uniquely, almost perfectly, qualified to deliver such an assessment.

    His warning was authoritative and carried great weight. Pottinger had lived in China seven years and been a Wall Street Journal reporter there during the SARS outbreak. A China scholar, he spoke fluent Mandarin.

    Affable, profane and a workaholic, Pottinger also was a decorated former Marine intelligence officer, a job that culminated in coauthoring an influential report about the inadequacies of U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Pottinger knew firsthand that the Chinese were masters at concealing trouble and covering it up. He had written over 30 stories about SARS and how the Chinese had intentionally withheld information for months about its seriousness and vastly understated its spread, a mishandling that allowed SARS to move around the globe. The Journal had submitted his work for a Pulitzer Prize.

    “What do you know?” Trump asked Pottinger.

    For the last four days, Pottinger said he had been working the phones calling doctors in China and Hong Kong he had maintained contact with and who understood the science. He’d also been reading Chinese social media.

    “Is this going to be as bad as ’03?” he had asked one of his contacts in China.

    “Don’t think SARS 2003,” the expert replied. “Think influenza pandemic 1918.”

    Pottinger said he had been floored. The so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide with about 675,000 deaths in the United States.

    “Why do you think it will be worse than 2003?” asked the president.

    Pottinger’s contacts told him three factors were dramatically accelerating the transmission of the new disease. Contrary to official hedged reports from the Chinese government, people were getting the disease easily from other people, not just animals; this is called human-to-human spread. He had just learned that morning it was being spread by people who didn’t show any symptoms; this is called asymptomatic spread. His best, most authoritative source said 50 percent were infected but showed no symptoms. This meant a once-in-a-lifetime health emergency, a virus out of control with a vast amount of the spread not immediately detectable. And it had already traveled far from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak apparently began. To Pottinger, these were the three alarms of a three-alarm fire.

    Most troubling, Pottinger said, the Chinese had essentially quarantined Wuhan, a city of 11 million people, larger than any American city. People could not travel within China, say from Wuhan to Beijing. But they had not cut off travel from China to the rest of the world, including the United States. That meant a highly infectious and devastating virus was probably already silently streaming into the U.S.

    “What do we do about it?” the president asked.

    Cut off travel from China to the United States, Pottinger said.

    Pottinger was confident the information from his sources was solid, based on hard data, not speculation. He’d launched an in-depth examination of the new virus. The first case outside China had been reported on January 13 in Thailand. Clearly the virus was spreading human-to-human.

    Top officials at the Centers for Disease Control, the nation’s chief public health agency, had also been reporting with increasing alarm to Pottinger that they had been trying for weeks to send the crack U.S. disease detectives from the Epidemic Intelligence Service to China to see what was going on. The Chinese had stonewalled, refusing to cooperate and share samples of the virus as required by international agreement.

    The head of the Chinese CDC had sounded like a hostage in one phone call, and the Chinese health minister also refused U.S. assistance.

    Pottinger had seen this movie before. He picked up the pace of his calls the weekend of January 24–26. “I came out of that weekend with my hair standing on end,” Pottinger said privately.

    Several Chinese elites well connected with the Communist Party and government signaled that they thought China had a sinister goal: “China’s not going to be the only one to suffer from this.” If China was the only country to have mass infections on the scale of the 1918 pandemic, they would be at a massive economic disadvantage. It was a suspicion, but one held by the people who knew the regime best. A frightening possibility. Pottinger, a China hawk, was not ready to make a judgment on China’s intent one way or the other. Most likely the outbreak was accidental. But he was certain the United States was in for an unparalleled health onslaught. And China’s lack of transparency would only make it worse. With SARS the Chinese had egregiously concealed the outbreak of a dangerous new infectious disease for three months.

    Three days later, on January 31, the president did impose restrictions on travelers from China, a move opposed by a number of his cabinet members. But his public attention was focused on just about everything except the virus: the upcoming Super Bowl, the technological meltdown in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa, his State of the Union address and, most importantly, the impeachment trial in the Senate. When the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, known as Covid-19, did come up in settings where he had an opportunity to reach a large number of Americans, Trump continued to reassure the public they faced little risk.

    “How concerned are you” about coronavirus? Fox’s Sean Hannity asked Trump on February 2 near the end of a pre–Super Bowl game interview focused largely on the unfairness of impeachment and his 2020 Democratic rivals.

    “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China,” Trump said. Something of a pregame presidential tradition, the interview drew the largest ever audience for the controversial and popular talk show host. “We’re offering tremendous help. We have the best in the world for that.… But we can’t have thousands of people coming in who may have this problem, the coronavirus.”

    That morning, even National Security Adviser O’Brien, who had issued the ominous warning just days earlier, had said on CBS’s Face the Nation, “Right now, there’s no reason for Americans to panic. This is something that is a low-risk, we think, in the U.S.”

    https://www.amazon.com/Rage-Bob-Woodward-ebook/dp/B0881XTWZW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=rage+woodward&qid=1602780813&sr=8-1&tag=pattericoblog-20

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  19. I make a “fair use” claim to the above.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  20. And? This type of behavior is par for the course; this isn’t something that is unique to Trump.

    IOW, when Trump said he’s so rich he was self-funding his campaign, and when all his devotees said he’s incorruptible because “he can’t be bought,” it was a lie.

    “He’s not a politician!” has often been a handy line for apologists to deploy in his defense, but when that doesn’t work, they fall back on “All politicians do it! What’s the big deal?”

    Radegunda (bb2719)

  21. Based on the blog posts and comments on this blog in late January, the president needed to be focused on impeachment 24/7.

    “It’s never the lady’s fault.” — Edward Fox, The Go-Between (1971)

    nk (1d9030)

  22. “We caught the shark. It’s OK to go back in the water!”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  23. Dustin (4237e0) — 10/15/2020 @ 9:38 am

    ruining literally the whole world

    Can you elaborate on this? Do you think Putin and Trump are planning to nuke everything and end it all? I’m having trouble fitting that statement into a realistic outcome.

    frosty (f27e97)

  24. So what is the magic solution, masks we were told they were not for our mere mortals

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  25. Faucis published statements and research belied this view, does the god bleed.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  26. Apparently, he also told wealthy donors behind closed doors that he suspended travel from China weeks ago. If only the public had known.

    That’s inaccurate. It wasn’t Trump talking, it was his economic advisors, and the message was more general. In the vein of “we’re worried” when the public message was “we’re not worried.”

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  27. U.S. Virus Cases Climb Toward a Third Peak

    The number of new coronavirus cases in the United States is surging once again after growth slowed in late summer. While the geography of the pandemic is now shifting to the Midwest and to more rural areas, cases are trending upward in most states, many of which are setting weekly records for new cases.
    ……
    “We are headed in the wrong direction, and that’s reflected not only in the number of new cases but also in test positivity and the number of hospitalizations,” said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University. “Together, I think these three indicators give a very clear picture that we are seeing increased transmission in communities across the country.”

    The rise since mid-September has been especially profound in the Midwest and Mountain West, where hospitals are filling up and rural areas are seeing staggering outbreaks. The regions are home to almost all of the metro areas with the country’s worst outbreaks right now.
    ……
    Cases remained high after the July surge, and they continue to rise in parts of the South, including Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. In the Northeast, the number of new cases stayed remarkably flat over the summer. But numbers in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, while still low, have been rising over the past couple weeks.
    ……
    The current resurgence is also particularly rural compared with earlier stages of the outbreak, which hit cities in the Northeast and then the Sun Belt.
    ……
    “I think we are in a dangerous place,” Dr. Rivers said.
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Winning!

    Rip Murdock (d2a2a8)

  28. Do you think Putin and Trump are planning to nuke everything and end it all?

    A bit off-topic: In the final days of the Nixon administration, as the president’s position became untenable, it was announced that the Pentagon had instituted additional protocols regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  29. Destroying our country is not something Trump *might* do. It’s what he does all day, every day. While his adoring fans cheer him on and beg for more.

    Who do you think reads all those post-apocalyptic books?

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  30. This would’ve ended or irreparably damaged any other presidency. Today, it’s just another Wednesday. Sigh.

    We had different expectations of other presidents.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  31. Do you think Putin and Trump are planning to nuke everything and end it all?

    A cute strawman and defense of Putin. But it’s not worth responding to. Anyone who finds themselves defending a guy like that might as well start making excuses for an election loss. America isn’t at her best, but she is about to reject her own destruction in 19 days.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  32. Bill O’Reilly — “drain the swamp” apparently meant “get rid of career civil servants and bureaucrats and run the government as an arm of his personal business”. because, you see, it’s only swampy if someone other than him does it.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  33. As Virus Spread, Reports of Trump Administration’s Private Briefings Fueled Sell-Off (NYT)

    On the afternoon of Feb. 24, President Trump declared on Twitter that the coronavirus was “very much under control” in the United States, one of numerous rosy statements that he and his advisers made at the time about the worsening epidemic. He even added an observation for investors: “Stock market starting to look very good to me!”

    But hours earlier, senior members of the president’s economic team, privately addressing board members of the conservative Hoover Institution, were less confident. Tomas J. Philipson, a senior economic adviser to the president, told the group he could not yet estimate the effects of the virus on the American economy. To some in the group, the implication was that an outbreak could prove worse than Mr. Philipson and other Trump administration advisers were signaling in public at the time.

    The next day, board members — many of them Republican donors — got another taste of government uncertainty from Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council. Hours after he had boasted on CNBC that the virus was contained in the United States and “it’s pretty close to airtight,” Mr. Kudlow delivered a more ambiguous private message. He asserted that the virus was “contained in the U.S., to date, but now we just don’t know,” according to a document describing the sessions obtained by The New York Times.

    The stock market began a steep sell-off on Feb 24th, and did not hit bottom for a month.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  34. As Russian leaders go, Putin is above average in nearly every respect.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  35. We are at a political golf game. Trump hits the ball into the sand trap.

    Trump supporter: “That’s a thing that happens, people hit balls into the sand trap.”
    Everyone else: “I guess that’s true, but I think maybe he’s not good at golf.”
    Trump supporters: “Listen, EVERYONE HITS BALLS INTO THE SAND TRAP! TIGER WOODS HITS BALLS INTO THE SAND TRAP!”

    Trump is still in the sand trap. Now 10 feet below the surface of the sand.

    Trump supporter: “People. Hit balls. Into. The sandtrap.”
    Everyone else: “This might not be normal.”

    Trump never gets back to the surface, carves a tunnel to the hole with his golf swings.

    Trump supporters: “This is a legitimate strategy.”
    Everyone else: “This is not how the game works. Below the hole and into the hole are not the same thing.”
    Trump supporters: “TOTAL WIN! HOLE IN ONE!”
    Everyone else: “We don’t think so?”

    Repeat for 17 holes.
    Hole 18. Trump tunnels into the water feature. Water pours in, Trump’s foot is bitten off by an alligator.

    Trump supporters: “It’s Florida. People get attacked by alligators. It happens.”
    Everyone else: “What is wrong with you?”
    Trump supporters: “And look! It gave him an advantage! He’s closer to the flag now.”
    Everyone else: “It washed him backward. He’s bleeding to death. The ball was eaten by the alligator.”
    Trump supporters: “Course rules. Mulligan if ball eaten by alligators.”
    Everyone else: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

    Behold. A metaphor of the last three years.

    Nic (896fdf)

  36. Nic, that’s hardly chaotic enough to represent the last four-plus years (if you count the primaries).

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  37. The stock market beginning a sell-off on 2-24 is not surprising and not indicative of Trumpian malfeasance. By that point I was already ordering bulk dry goods, gloves, and wipes and sharply curtailing public facing activities.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  38. Trump is closer to the constable Dogberry in “Much Ado About Nothing”

    Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
    moreover, they have spoken untruths;
    secondarily, they are slanders;
    sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
    thirdly, they have verified unjust things;
    and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  39. As Russian leaders go, Putin is above average in nearly every respect.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 10/15/2020 @ 10:44 am

    True, but I’d say that’s a pretty qualified comment. Putin is competent and ruthless, but not an idiot. He wants you to know he kills people. He doesn’t want to act like a scary maniac. He isn’t trolled into making space shuttles and too many nuclear power plants that don’t work.

    It’s an interesting modern fine line, but he is one of them. He’s with Stalin and pals. We need a president with a plan for him.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  40. The stock market beginning a sell-off on 2-24 is not surprising and not indicative of Trumpian malfeasance. By that point I was already ordering bulk dry goods, gloves, and wipes and sharply curtailing public facing activities.

    That was not common. There may have been unease (and indeed I bought some N95 masks about then) but the realization that we were in deep deep trouble didn’t occur until the second week in March.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  41. He is a vor who thinks himself a czar, a peter the great, the thing is he took advantage of this latter ‘time of troubles’

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  42. He wants you to know he kills people.

    But he’s a retail killer. Most Russian rulers were wholesale killers. Stalin killed more people on a given Tuesday afternoon that Putin would even think of killing. It’s like comparing Don Corleone with Mao.

    I believe in judging people based on the society they live in. As such, Putin is better than almost every Russian leader in recorded history. Yeltsin maybe wasn’t a killer, but people died due to neglect and incompetence.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  43. vor

    I get that.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  44. Also, aphrael, large downside gaps don’t happen from mom & pop getting antsy. They happens when large blocks get dumped by the big boys.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  45. Has he ordered people killed, yes notably that dutch airliner over ukraine, and before then the incident at smolensk in 2009.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  46. @38 I would say both are accurate.

    Nic (896fdf)

  47. He’s with Stalin and pals. We need a president with a plan for him.

    Dustin (4237e0) — 10/15/2020 @ 10:57 am

    Stalin also murdered millions of Russians so maybe Putin isn’t on his level just yet. That said, it is amazing how Democrats have gone from “the 1980s want their foreign policy back” to “we need a plan for Putin!!” in a few years.

    Has Russia somehow gotten more dangerous? They can barely project military power outside their border. Their oil-based economy is not doing them any favors. They have serious problems with their populace (lack of education, chronic problems with alcoholism, fewer young people, aging populace).

    Russia is a backwater laughing stock. Putin enjoys meddling and he does have an unfortunate proclivity for poisoning his opponents.

    Meanwhile, China builds concentration camps that hold millions while it works on its plan to exterminate a whole culture of people.

    And yet, that gets a lot less coverage today from the media.

    I wonder why.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  48. But he’s a retail killer. Most Russian rulers were wholesale killers. Stalin killed more people on a given Tuesday afternoon that Putin would even think of killing. It’s like comparing Don Corleone with Mao.

    I guess this must be true, since they killed tens of millions, but Putin’s done some pretty big ones. He killed a couple hundred thousand Americans, if you think about it. His boys shot down a civilian airliner and invaded neighbors (I have no idea how many people died).

    You’re still right. Putin gets more domination done for less blood, because he isn’t a maniac or an idiot. He’s better at being Stalin, better at using America’s sins against herself.

    At the end of the day, he’s hurt us a lot. I don’t think he’s only hurt those doctors that keep falling out of windows.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  49. IOW, what is the plan to deal with China? Haven’t heard much from either party about that.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  50. Meanwhile, China builds concentration camps that hold millions while it works on its plan to exterminate a whole culture of people.

    And yet, that gets a lot less coverage today from the media.

    Do you really care about this?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/17/bolton-says-trump-didnt-just-ignore-human-rights-encouraged-chinas-concentration-camps/

    Dustin (4237e0)

  51. IOW, what is the plan to deal with China? Haven’t heard much from either party about that.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb) — 10/15/2020 @ 11:10 am

    Trump’s plan is to beg them to help him win re-election and promise to help them with those concentration camps you … hopefully really care about.

    The real plan is for Americans to give up cheap goods, made by cheapening human life.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  52. Dustin (4237e0) — 10/15/2020 @ 10:37 am

    A cute strawman and defense of Putin. But it’s not worth responding to.

    Let’s jump in the wayback.

    Can you quote me on that?

    Dustin (4237e0) — 10/13/2020 @ 1:05 pm

    That didn’t take long. This is you not needing a rational basis to oppose Trump.

    Anyone who finds themselves defending a guy like that might as well start making excuses for an election loss. America isn’t at her best, but she is about to reject her own destruction in 19 days.

    Asking you to elaborate on “ruining literally the whole world” is defending “a guy like that”? If it’s a strawman all you need to do is explain what you meant. If this is a rational statement you should be able to explain it because on it’s face it looks like hyperbolic and emotional.

    frosty (f27e97)

  53. He killed a couple hundred thousand Americans

    Well, just think how many Henry Ford killed then.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  54. Delusional we are sanctioning the officials responsible for urumqi who are disney and the nbas partners.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5)

  55. Frosty, you did defend Putin by comparing criticism of his impact on our nation and world with the point he isn’t nuking everyone. And I did quote you.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  56. Well, just think how many Henry Ford killed then.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 10/15/2020 @ 11:13 am

    Trump loves Ford’s great genes.

    USA deaths up 20% overall this year. Putting an incompetent like Trump in charge of America has obviously yielded far more harm to our people than Putin imagined, but he isn’t upset about it.

    Dustin (4237e0)

  57. As Russian leaders go, Putin is above average in nearly every respect.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 10/15/2020 @ 10:44 am

    talk about a back handed compliment….

    Time123 (ca85c9)

  58. Do you really care about this?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/17/bolton-says-trump-didnt-just-ignore-human-rights-encouraged-chinas-concentration-camps/

    Dustin (4237e0) — 10/15/2020 @ 11:11 am

    Actually, I do. Trump has dropped the ball on China, but so has pretty much every president before him. And Biden will do it too.

    Because the Chinese figured out that once we depended on their cheap goods, they had us by the short hairs.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  59. Delusional we are sanctioning the officials responsible for urumqi who are disney and the nbas partners.

    Bolivar di griz (7404b5) — 10/15/2020 @ 11:14 am

    Lol. True. Disney thanked the Chinese officials who are killing the Uighurs for allowing them to film Mulan in their province.

    NBA hasn’t met a civil rights cause it didn’t like until they realized how much money they make in China.

    Let’s see a player wear a “free the Uighurs” on the back of their jersey…

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  60. china committed an act of war against the west, primarily, as mark steyn astutely pointed out, the most effected where the countries that had missions in the manchu dynasty, us uk, france germany, italy, and so on,

    bolivar de gris (7404b5)

  61. Dustin (4237e0) — 10/15/2020 @ 11:18 am

    [f]rosty, you did defend Putin by comparing criticism of his impact on our nation and world with the point he isn’t nuking everyone. And I did quote you.

    This isn’t even remotely close to what I did. I asked you to elaborate on what you meant by “ruining literally the whole world”. Something you are clearly trying to avoid. Can you do that or is it fair to read “ruining literally the whole world” as hyperbole?

    frosty (f27e97)

  62. j.d. durkin
    @jiveDurkey

    NEW — the @JoeBiden campaign responds to the @nypost story and @Twitter fallout on @cheddar:

    “Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and are not true.”
    @JTOBrown

    __ _

    harkin (d8affe)

  63. “Twitter’s response to the actual article itself makes clear that these purported allegations are false and are not true.”
    @JTOBrown

    LOL. It’s hard to believe Twitter’s public policy director just went to work with the Biden transition team. Because this response from the Biden team looks like it was the fruit of a Biden/Twitter Zoom meeting.

    Hoi Polloi (7cefeb)

  64. In February, here is what President Trump was telling Americans about the coronavirus:

    February 2 “We pretty much shut it down coming in from China.”

    February 7 “It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu… This is deadly stuff” [Trump in a private taped interview with Bob Woodward, made public September 9]

    How is that a contradiction?

    Trump was justifying to Bob Woodward his (so far successful he thought) drastic efforts to prevent the virus from coming into the United States. It was no secret how deadly it could be. Everybody who was paying attention knew. Trump was maybe even exaggerating how deadly it was.

    February 10 “I think the virus is going to be—it’s going to be fine.”

    Not the virus. The level of infection in the United States.

    February 10 “Looks like by April, you know in theory when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.”

    He was being deliberately optimistic. It’s not like somebody didn’t tell him that. It was being compared to the flu. Now the thing was Trump was afraid of a recession because “it’s the economy, stupid.”

    February 24 “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA… Stock Market starting to look very good to me!”

    That’s what he was being told by the CDC. Aboutthe virus being under control.

    February 25 “CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus.”

    The CDC said so itself.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-scott-gottlieb-discusses-coronavirus-on-face-the-nation-september-13-2020/

    DR. GOTTLIEB: ….And what CDC officials were relying on and telling the coronavirus task force was that there was no spread of coronavirus in the United States in February, they were telling them that because they were looking at what we call the influenza-like illness surveillance network, basically a surveillance network of who’s presenting to hospitals with flu-like symptoms. And they said that they’re seeing no spike in people presenting with respiratory symptoms, therefore, coronavirus must not be spreading. And they were adamant about that. I was talking to White House officials over this time period. They were adamant about that. [that is, the CDC was adamant -SF]

    And I suspect the president was being told as well that this virus wasn’t spreading in the United States. And that may have impacted what he did and didn’t say and his willingness to, you know, as he said, talk it down a little bit because he was of the perception that this was not spreading here in the United States. That really was the tragic mistake, not just that we didn’t have the information, but we were so confident in drawing conclusions off of what proved to be faulty information and incomplete information.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  65. February 25 “I think that’s a problem that’s going to go away… They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we’re very close to a vaccine.”

    That depends on the meaing of the word “close”

    February 26 “The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.”

    So they thought.

    February 26 “We’re going very substantially down, not up.”

    So they thought.

    It was the “scientists” who said that.

    February 26 “Well, we’re testing everybody that we need to test. And we’re finding very little problem. Very little problem.”

    Well, they limited testing and assumed there was no community spread.

    February 26 “This is a flu. This is like a flu.”

    You could argue that.

    February 27 “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”

    The precedent of the 1918-20 “Spanish” influenza and Farr’s Law of Epidemics.

    Although that’s not usually described as a miracle.

    February 28 “We’re ordering a lot of supplies. We’re ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn’t be ordering unless it was something like this. But we’re ordering a lot of different elements of medical.”

    True.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  66. They were very close to avaccine – many vaccines. Trump didn’t understand the testing, approval and manufacturing process.

    Sammy Finkelman (4eddd7)

  67. and he previously was obama’s transportation department spokesmen,

    bolivar de gris (7404b5)

  68. Kevin M, I wouldn’t say I realized we were in trouble, just that I was anxious that we might be and figured it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared. I’m similarly starting to think now about whether my house needs to stock up on supplies in anticipation of november unrest interfering with supply chains.

    The lockdown here started at the start of the third week of march, but by Mar 2, restaurants and bars were already being deserted in SF.

    aphrael (4c4719)

  69. I actually went to Sweet Tomatoes, a salad and soup buffet in early March. A lot of old farts there, too. Go figure. They were pretty adamant about the sanitizers and using utensils though.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  70. Sweet Tomatoes has been closed now for about 6 months. I don’t see the chain recovering. That hotel breakfast buffet isn’t coming back soon either.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  71. If I had to guess why Trump was so reticent about taking action I’d say it was his personal financial problems, not the political ones.

    His entire empire is based on travel, casinos and resorts and not a one of them has been doing anything but money-bleeding since April. How the Trump Organization avoids bankruptcy is hard to see, and depending on how leveraged he is (and what the IRS does) he may see personal BK this time.

    So, the idea that he’d play it down and “hope it got better” is understandable in a self-centered Trumpian way. Sociopathic, too, but that we knew going in.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  72. I think he just doesn’t know how to do anything except sell snake oil to the gullible.

    So that’s what he did.

    He does not accept the idea that a difficult problem may not have an easy and painless solution, because for him every difficult problem does have an easy and painless solution: lie about it and blame someone else.

    Dave (1bb933)

  73. I dunno, Dave. I generally don’t ascribe actions to the random actions of a madman when simple self-interest will explain it.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  74. If I had to guess why Trump was so reticent about taking action I’d say it was his personal financial problems, not the political ones.

    His entire empire is based on travel, casinos and resorts and not a one of them has been doing anything but money-bleeding since April. How the Trump Organization avoids bankruptcy is hard to see, and depending on how leveraged he is (and what the IRS does) he may see personal BK this time.

    So, the idea that he’d play it down and “hope it got better” is understandable in a self-centered Trumpian way. Sociopathic, too, but that we knew going in.

    Kevin M (ab1c11) — 10/16/2020 @ 12:00 am

    Insightful. I read a story today saying the 400 million in debt is just a part of it, that Trump’s debt is over a billion dollars. By insisting the virus wasn’t a problem, from day one that it was contained, Trump may have just hoped somehow things just get better. I know I personally hoped the warm summer would somehow fix this.

    The irony is that whatever damage happened to Trump’s resorts could have been limited by a nationwide lockdown, early, shutting down travel (not just from CHI-NAH), and a longer period of the distancing and mask stuff.

    America is better than this. I think it’s better than both tickets, but the argument for Trump seems to be ‘maybe Biden is as bad as we are in a few ways, according to this tabloid’. Whether we agree or not, I don’t see how the American people vote for Trump without a positive reason in there somewhere.

    Dustin (4237e0)

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