Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/20: I See Terrible People.

Good morning…

1. Asshole move. Joe Biden says he is going to start a broadcast from his bunker essentially second-guessing everything President Trump does. That’s  despicable conduct generally, and wildly unethical conduct in a national crisis.

If anyone can come up with a more civil but equally accurate word for this kind of unprecedented effort to undermine Presidential leadership, please let me know.

2. Meanwhile, apparently terrified that the public isn’t properly blaming Trump for the pandemic, the Washington Post has an entirely anonymously sourced story this morning about how the White House did not take early reports about the virus’s spread in that country that had nothing to do with the pandemic s seriously enough. In “U.S. intelligence reports from January and February warned about a likely pandemic,” we are told, “The intelligence reports didn’t predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take…. But they did track the spread of the virus in China, and later in other countries, and warned that Chinese officials appeared to be minimizing the severity of the outbreak…. But despite that constant flow of reporting, Trump continued publicly and privately to play down the threat the virus posed to Americans. Lawmakers, too, did not grapple with the virus in earnest until this month….”

Mark Tapscott notes that on the same op-ed page, nine former intelligence chiefs” warn that: “We cannot let the covid-19 pandemic be a cover for the deeply destructive path being pursued by the Trump administration. The most recent illustration of this unprecedented attack is the continuing dismissal of career intelligence professionals — officers who have ably served both Republican and Democratic administrations regardless of their personal political stripe.” He wonders where those “unsourced” sources for the White House briefings came from, and suggests that “Trump is remaking the leadership of the intelligence community, displacing the entrenched bureaucrats – careerists and career political operators – who tried to sell us the Russia hoax, the Mueller probe and the quid pro quo. So in response, they are weaponizing the coronavirus.” When officials make accusations and won’t go on the record, their motives are suspect, and deserve to be. This is why, once upon a time, the Post and other news organizations were wary of anonymous sources.

3. Kudos to Ann Althouse who mentions, though the Post somehow let this slip its mind, that during this period President Trump was the defendant in an impeachment trial, meeting regularly with his lawyers and Senate members, and was not acquitted until February 5th. The illicit impeachment was designed to cripple the Presidency, and now the Post is accusing the President of not being sufficiently attentive to a Chinese virus outbreak about which these unnamed intelligence officers would not  “predict when the virus might land on U.S. shores or recommend particular steps that public health officials should take.”

Ann gets double kudos for noting:

“And here’s a WaPo article from January 21st, 11 days before the aquittal: “Trump administration announces mandatory quarantines in response to coronavirus.”

The White House declared a “public health emergency” and — beginning on Sunday at 5 p.m. — will bar non-U.S. citizens who recently visited China from entering the United States, subject to a few exemptions…. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar also said the Trump administration would quarantine any Americans who had visited China’s Hubei province, where the disease originated, within the past 14 days….

President Trump so far has remained uncharacteristically muted on the coronavirus and praised China’s extraordinary response to the growing outbreak. On Wednesday, he tweeted photos of his Situation Room briefing and said his administration was working closely with China to contain the outbreak….

“That happened at a time when the World Health Organization was recommending that there be no travel restrictions”

4.  I don’t even know how to title this. Over on The View, even without the participation of the biggest fool in the room, Joy Behar, the ladies treated its audiences to this;

  • Whoopie Goldberg, the smartest one on the panel, God help us, said, “The interesting thing about all of this is whatever channel you’re watching, you’re still watching from home. You’re watching from inside your house. Because a pandemic has happened, and you are stuck, and whatever side you’re on, you understand that when you have leadership you would not be — you would not be stuck in your house.”

That’s right. Every nation is working to keep its citizens from spreading the virus, but if it wasn’t for the President’s mishandling of the crisis, Americans would be going about life as usual.

  • Then Sunny Hostin, who might beat Joy in a Scrabble game, but not by much, again flogged the false narrative that Trump called the virus a hoax.  It has been debunked and debunked, yet ABC had nobody available, certainly not on the biased and information-challenged panel, to correct this lie. Here, one again, is what the President actually said :

Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No they can’t. They can’t count their votes.

One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax….

The hoax was and is that the  Democrats, “resistance” and news media—and Whoopie,—are claiming that Trump is at fault for the pandemic. I wouldn’t call that a “hoax”—it’s just a lie, just like saying that  he ever called the disease itself, or the threat it posed, a hoax.

These are all terrible people, and I can only hope that they get what they deserve.

21 thoughts on “Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/21/20: I See Terrible People.

  1. 1. Seditious creepy criminal bastard seems too long. But there it is.
    2. Deep staters protecting their internal sources while conjuring up the next impeachment parade.
    3. Propagandists spouting what other propagandists tell them to spout or report in every spiraling toilet bowl in reverse shite upward fashion.

    Very unfortunately, this will likely end the way I predicted months ago, right after the election.

  2. 1. It may be an asshole move, but it could be a winning move. The president actually has to deal with this crisis, which has already done a lot of damage. Biden only has to sit on the sidelines and say how he would have done it better. There are a huge number of people out there who would agree if he said he could make this crisis better by waving both hands and singing, just like Obama said that the day he was elected would be remembered as the day the oceans ceased to rise and our planet began to heal. He also only has to give a relatively few voters in a few battleground states enough hope to change their vote to win. Even two decades ago the opposition might have said (as they did in the wake of 9/11, but not for very long) that we need to rally around the current leadership, we can deal with the politics after this problem is dealt with. Now, like Howard Dean when he was chair of the DNC, their attitude is that as the opposition they don’t have to do anything but snipe at the other side and oppose everything the other side tries to do.

    2. This comes as no surprise. For the past five days the Washington Post has done nothing but lead with articles that second-guess the President and purport to “expose” serious shortcomings in how this was handled from the beginning. The aim is to make this into Trump’s Katrina, which, no matter how well he handles it, will irreparably damage him and, hopefully, destroy him as a viable candidate for a second term. There’s already a political cartoon out there showing a Grim Reaper facing a terrified Trump and saying “I come not for you, but for your second term.” The left smells blood, and they’re going to dump as much chum into the water as they can.

    3. Ann Althouse is right on, but I am not sure it matters. The media finally has a story that’s impossible to ignore and a situation that touches everyone’s life, and that everyone is NOT happy about. It’s easy to laugh off the Russia accusations as conspiracy theory nonsense and sore loserism, sneer at the Mueller report as the Democrats’ Benghazi, and shrug at the impeachment as a political ploy that was never going to go anywhere from the get-go. All any of these things ever produced was headlines, which you could throw away with the daily paper or turn off your computer and ignore. This has caused the stock market to tank, all entertainment to be shut down, and thrown a lot of people out of work. Worse yet, there’s no end in sight. I can’t go out to dinner with my lady friend. I can’t go to a movie. I can’t walk around the mall. I can’t go to church (this is important to a lot of people). I can’t even go over my brother’s house. I don’t dare go out to my dad’s house in PA because the healthcare network there is sparser and could be more easily overwhelmed than the one in NJ. My lady friend’s stuck at home with 2 kids, 9 and 6, whose schoolwork she now needs to oversee and who are getting on each others’ last nerve as well as her last nerve. She can’t get her hair or nails done. Then there’s they now perennial problem of toilet paper and other household necessities, which you suddenly just can’t get. Even amazon.com is sold out of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and a lot of prepared foods, and they won’t be back in stock for more than a week. I can’t speak to the availability of baby necessities, which is probably freaking a lot of young parents out.

    Oh, and those fun events we all like to go to, like plays, concerts, ball games, parades, fairs, hobby shows, air shows? Canceled, every last one of them. Some of them may be rescheduled, some that are annual in nature are giving you the opportunity to swap out tickets for next year’s event without banging you for an administrative charge, but a good number of them, probably more than half, are just going to have to be CANCELLED entirely, never to be rescheduled. A lot of people in a lot of cities lost a lot of money on cancelled St. Patrick’s Day events. Yes, New York says they’re going to reschedule, but who are they kidding? What do you think the odds of reassembling all those marchers are? Easter is right around the corner, and most likely that’s going to be squelched too. Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day? Dream on. There’s a very good chance that even the Fourth of July will be cancelled. This year’s beach season is dead in the water. Heck, in NJ now you can’t even celebrate a birthday or a wedding.

    This, to put it bluntly, sucks. Worst of all, there’s no end in sight or even some idea as to when an end might come into view. The uncertainty is the real problem.

    The fact that there was an impeachment going on just doesn’t cut it. This happened on the president’s watch, and he is responsible. He needs to get the nation back on course, and pronto. Those who lose their livelihoods, lose family members, lose their financial well-being, lose their hope, are going to want to blame someone. Guess who will be the primary target?

    4. Of course they’re politicizing this. Never let a good crisis go to waste, right? What I can’t believe is that Governor Cuomo dares to ask the President for cash assistance, after he has done nothing but try to undercut him and any legal protections he may have. The president would be well within his rights to tell him, “No Andrew, go to hell. I’m not authorizing one red cent in assistance. I might have looked at this a little differently if you hadn’t kept chasing my tax returns and trying to find some way to point the finger at me as a criminal, but, as it is, your state’s business is your state’s alone, the blood of everyone who dies from this pandemic in your state is on YOUR hands, and I will make damn sure everyone knows it!”

      • It will with some. With others it will feed their derangement. The question is how dependent are the fence-sitter votes on a strong economy now in, at least, temporary disarray.

        • A new Axios-Harris poll, released Friday, showed the president with an 53 percent overall approval among U.S. adults surveyed March 17 and 18, compared to 49 percent among those polled March 14 and 15.

          Fifty-six percent of respondents in the latest poll said they approved of the president’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, an increase from 51 percent last week. And 60 percent of Americans this week said they approved of the president’s handling of the economy, a slight increase from 59 percent last week.

          It takes everything I can muster to not post this on Facebook followed by “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
          That would be unethical.
          FUN!.
          But unethical.
          Deserved!
          But unethical.

            • I hope those numbers hold. Recently I have witnessed large corporations trying to leverage this situation into a method of forcing the renegotiating of salary contracts. (Assholes.) It is behavior like that, if on a broad scale, that could change the calculus of this in the wrong way for President Trump. Let’s see and hope for the best.

              Most reasonable economists expect this to be a swift fall and a quick rise as American fundamentals are still strong. It is clear in the longer term we must divorce ourselves from long, vulnerable supply chain links upon which we have become dependent chasing cheap labor, primarily in China. Developing less vulnerable and a wider set of alternative supply chain links closer to home would make the American economy stronger, though prices will likely rise. As has been written and posted here, we can no longer have an economy substantially connected to communist China and expect different results in the future from what we are currently experiencing.

              The outcome of all this could change attitudes enough to further strengthen the US and western economies.

              • The trade war so many lamented months ago and blamed Trump for rising prices from the punitive tariffs he leveled forces American businesses to do exactly that – diversify theie supply chain. Nonetheless, we should never rely on single source suppliers for critical items.

                • Agreed, at least it was intended to do that. Have not seen reports on the effect in crucial technology and pharmaceuticals. The Purchasing Managers Index overall has, with a short exceptional stretch, looked positive. And the PMI does not measure components being made in less vulnerable non-command economies.

  3. We actually have a pandemic that Biden’s actions can be measured against. The 2009 breakout of the pH1N1 flu.

    “Final estimates were published in 2011. These final estimates were that from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010 approximately 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (8868-18,306) occurred in the United States due to pH1N1.”
    https://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/estimates_2009_h1n1.htm

    These numbers reflect the results of governmental intervention under the Obama-Biden administration for a virus that had spread globally but was also a variant of a known flu strain. We can also evaluate the demographic differences in mortality if any exist. For example: if the mortality stats for the novel corona virus d19 show higher rates of mortality among the elderly with underlying health conditions while the pH1N1 flu killed the young and healthy as well as the old, weak, and frail that will tell us if actions taken then were more or less effective than actions taken now.

    Much has been made of the dissolution of the pandemic group at the NSC. Let me ask, given that they had from 2010 to 2016 to work on pandemic response why do we not have all those respirators, ventilators, gloves, PPE they speak of safely stored away for just such an occurrence?

    This particular pandemic is somewhat different. To use a sports analogy Trump is teeing off from the men’s tee while the Obama and Biden teed off from the lady’s tee. The current virus apparently is not a variant of a known flu bug as was pH1N1 was that means Trump is playing with a handicap because, let’s face it, no biotech firm can develop a vaccine against a virus until it is isolated and understood how it affects the host. This virus was virtually unknown to U.S. scientist until we got our first case that allowed us to see the actual virus.

    We know that Obama did not declare a national emergency until over 1000 people died. Compare that to dead in the U.S. from the of the Fu Man Choo Flu, or covid19 ( I am using all the variants of the names to show how inclusive I am)

    Biden is only qualified to play arm chair quarterback because his ideas on what should be done now in dealing with Kung Flu cannot be tested. The only way to evaluate Biden’s leadership is to evaluate him on what he actually did in 2009 through 2010 and what the White House pandemic response team did from 2010 to 2016.

    It seems to me that it stands to reason we can evaluate any number of prescriptive actions taken then against what we are taking now against the Chinese corona virus. However, no analysis can be done until after the pandemic is over. You don’t do a post mortem on something still moving.

    • And you can bet that, should WuHan virus come up in a Trump-Biden debate, the President will be armed with salient information regarding H1N1. The Obama administration largely did nothing until 1000 people died, then the President told people to wash their hands…probably as he was teeing up…

      I feel like I’m getting more cyncial…

    • Thanks for the clear summary and comparison of the two virus outbreaks, Chris. You just did the teaching job the 11 U.S. Health departments, federal, state and local (plus W.H.O., C.D.C.) should have been supplying to the media all along . . . or the media to the public. Or perhaps there’s been a blockage of information somewhere along the line.
      .

  4. Sunny Hostin. Ugh. A Notre Dame Law School grad. Guess I’d better turn my ND Law diploma against the wall. Wait, where is that thing? Oh yeah, it’s hanging on a nail in the store room on the other side of the carport we hardly ever go in other than to reboot the wi-fi.

  5. This corona virus thing is a total panic induced fuck up. Read this article:

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/21/us/west-virginia-coronavirus-patient-one-test/index.html

    Patient Number One. Sounds like something from a James Bond or Dr. Strangelove. Breathless reporting about how long it took for West Virginia to test this guy. It took a long time. But you know what, the guy, who has “a compromised lung from his asthma” is recovering, as is his wife, neither of whom had to be hospitalized. Is that in the headline? Does the headline read “Two corona virus sufferers recovering well at home.” No.

    Read this article:

    https://www.amgreatness.com/2020/03/19/dangerous-curves/

    The people running the country have panicked and conned by the media, the are DOING SOMETHING! But they’re doing something stupid. They’re shutting down the entire country because of a flu bug. Over sixteen thousand Americans have died because of the flu this season. Seven thousand five hundred Americans die every day. Some two hundred plus people have died from this bug in the last what, twenty days? Everyone to your rooms!

    It’s fucking nuts.

  6. (1) Well, hopefully, this goes off as well as his ‘Virtual Town Hall Meeting’. The Democratic Party has shown they can’t even find someone who can do a webcast, how are they going to run the country?

    You forgot the biggest Terrible People of all! Softbank (the Chinese company) bought Theranos’ ‘intellectual’ property. Based on that, they are suing the manufacturer of Covid-19 tests for patent infringement. Yes, they bought patents to technology that doesn’t work and are using it to patent troll the only maker of Chinese Coronavirus tests! This is because some moron at the Patent Office gave Theranos a patent for ‘putting blood in a container, sending it to a lab, and having a machine do tests and report the findings’. Yes, China is trying to shut down our Chinese Coronavirus testing and can do it because of incompetent patent agents gave tech-darling Elizabeth Holmes a patent on the concept of medical testing.
    https://www.theverge.com/2020/3/18/21185006/softbank-theranos-coronavirus-covid-lawsuit-patent-testing

  7. Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, ‘How’s President Trump doing?’ They go, ‘Oh, not good, not good.’ They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No they can’t. They can’t count their votes.

    One of my people came up to me and said, ‘Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia. That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over, they’ve been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning, they lost, it’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax….

    Amazing that your Facerbooks friends still repeat this lie.

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