New Media Gaslighting Update, And An Insufficiently Inflammatory Rant

As the majority of Americans gradually come around to appreciating the President’s efforts and leadership in the uncharted metaphorical waters of a strange and still infuriatingly under-understood pandemic, the Get Trump media has shifted into pure propaganda and fiction to claim otherwise. Here’s David Leonhardt, arguably the most rabid and untrustworthy of all the op-ed writers in the Times “resistance” stable, claiming, Trump Is Hurting His Own Re-election Chances: Don’t be fooled by snapshot polls.” That should be, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” Even worse is The Atlantic, which is literally a full time Trump Derangement publication now. Peter Wehner is the prime balladeer of the magazines fantastic songs: two weeks ago, he wrote, “The Trump Presidency Is Over: It has taken a good deal longer than it should have, but Americans have now seen the con man behind the curtain.”

This kind of hysteria-mongering is even worse: “How Donald Trump Could Steal the Election.” The First Amendment allows publications to publish such vomit, but that doesn’t mean its ethical for them to do it. Like earlier article about how the President might just refuse to leave office if defeated, or use the epidemic to declare himself dictator, such fever-dreams are based on nothing but clinical obsession and hate. The author The Atlantic dredged up is a professor of political science at the University of Maryland named Jeffrey Davis. He, his university, and The Atlantic should all be discredited in the future, as their judgment is stunningly awful and their trustworthiness is non-existent.

Then there’s this: In an open letter to Vice-President Pence, British journalist Mehdi Hasan writes in The Intercept that he must  invoke 25th Amendment and have the President removed as “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” Yes, it’s good old Resistance Plan E (on the list that goes up to S.) And what triggered the resort to this oldie but goodie? The President was mean to a reporter, Hasan is a journalist, so that settles it! Cementing the total lack of seriousness in his article, Hasan cited Bandy Lee as authority—you know, the discredited Yale psychiatrist who has breached her profession’s ethical standards by diagnosing the President from afar, and who is thus the go-to guest any time CNN or MSNBC has another “How do we get rid of this guy without beating him in an election?” panel. (She also exposed her integrity and motives recently by refusing to diagnose Joe Biden’s cognitive problems.) It’s another embarrassing article. Why would anyone publish such garbage?

They continue to publish such things because there are people, like a large proportion of my Facebook friends, who spend an absurd amount of time every single day seraching for the most anti-Trump article or op-ed they can find, or a report of a statement or action that they can attack.  Then the duly post these on social media, and they glean waves of “likes” and “angry faces.” Almost never do the posters add anything substantive to their entries except the usual insults. This is because they can’t. They are not informed, they do not check multiple sources, they do not gave adequate knowledge of history, the Constitution, our government, or the issues involved, and neither do 99% of their friends and followers. If you point out why their borrowed screed from Paul Krugman or The Atlantic or Michelle Goldberg is biased and uses cherry picked facts and fake news, they have no response except invoking Fox News or calling you the kind of Trump supporter who would care if he killed someone at high noon in Times Square. And this happens literally every day. Every day! For three years, these sad, furious people, inflamed and misled by the kinds of articals I highlighted above,  make it their mission in life to spread hate and division based on nothing but their own ignorance and willing to believe anything, as long as it denigrates our President.

A recent ridiculous example was  the reaction to Trump’s statement that he hoped to be able to ease restriction on public  gatherings by Easter. It would be obvious to anyone not completely blinded by bias and hatred what the President was doing, as I explained here. He was not saying that he would lift restrictions, and virtually nobody thought that he would. Nevertheless, when the announcement came, ABC’s report said that he “walked back” his “promise” to lift restrictions by Easter—he made no such promise—and my deranged Facebook friends mocked the news as an example of the President having to reverse himself. I’m sure this will soon be entered in one of the Trump “lie” databases.

The people—here I mean the social media hate addicts, not journalists—who constantly post this stuff are—here’s that word again–assholes. They are making Facebook, which is supposed to be recreation and a positive force in society, unpleasant and nasty because they enjoy spewing hate and spreading propaganda during a national crisis for the mindless approval it attracts from those similarly deranged.

I cannot even accord them the respect of having the courage to air their own opinions, because they have neither the skill nor the courage to do that, and are incapable–as I can easily demonstrate when I stoop to engage them—of making the case themselves that they blindly endorse by posting a pundit’s essay solely because it attacks President Trump.

They are doing great, even irreversible  damage to our nation and the bonds among us that we need to nurture, and I am at a loss as to how to stop them.  I don’t hate them, but I do hate what they are are doing, and that distinction becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. I have thus far hesitated to let loose with both metaphorical barrels, and to tell old friends exactly how wrong, obnoxious and destructive they are, but so far, at least, I have managed restraint.

Yet this clip, an Ethics Alarms regular, continues to beckon:

37 thoughts on “New Media Gaslighting Update, And An Insufficiently Inflammatory Rant

  1. They aren’t ‘assholes’. They are enemies of the United States, democracy, and the people who live here. They are intentionally undermining the government during a crisis with propaganda so laughable that Pravda wouldn’t have considered it too unbelievable to publish. Joe Biden talked about how you can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater (he forgot the part that there has to be NO FIRE). They are getting very close to interfering with the government’s ability to handle an emergency.

    Is it OK for the media to falsely tell the public that the police officers in your city are imposters and the public shouldn’t pull over for them and should treat them as carjackers? They have been telling the public that the government is illegitimate and you shouldn’t listen to them in a time of crisis. We are getting pretty close.

    • Just to be clear, this sentence “The people who constantly post this stuff are—here’s that word again–assholes” is referring to people on social media, the targets of the “rant” section of my post. The journalists are enemies of the United States, democracy, and the people who live here who are intentionally undermining the government during a crisis with propaganda so laughable that Pravda wouldn’t have considered it too unbelievable to publish.

      Since I managed not to communicate the distinction clearly enough, I’m going to highlight this…

      • I may not have caught it. I am pretty frazzled trying to deal with the aftermath of the emergency decisions. I try to read this blog occasionally as a break. This might be my fault, not yours.

      • I caught the distinction; however, I am not sure that Michael R is incorrect. Follow these fools on Facebook and you will learn that their brains ceased functioning on November 9, 2016. They parrot the media’s hatred for Donald Trump with no thought, like trained seals applauding at every stupid thing Bill Maher or Stephen Colbert say (sorry for mixing metaphors). And, when you point out that, yes, in fact, the impeachment process was a debacle and motivated by politics (as if any impeachment process is not political), was doomed to fail in the Senate because there was no way to get the required votes the response is obnoxious invective declaring you are a Trump loyalist, without any sense of irony whatsoever.

        Similarly, when Trump comments that he wants to reopen the economy on Easter, that statement is treated as Gospel Truth from the Liar in Chief and derided as irresponsible and incompetent. Anderson Cooper rent his garments on Saturday, probably before Don Lemon could beat him to it. Then, he says it was aspirational, as if anyone with a working IQ above room temperature didn’t know that, he is rebuked as breaking a promise and destroying people’s hopes, dreams, and aspirations to live in a COVI-19-free world. Oh, and when some idiot decides that he and his equally idiotic wife should drink fish cleaning liquids because they contain chloroquine (sp?) Trump is accused of orchestrating the murder of two admirable citizens.* But, when you point out the reality, you are immediately obliterated as a knuckdragger.

        i had the crazy idea to watch Brian Stelter last night, who had a few media persons on his show. Oh, man. I thought my eyes were going to bleed. Maggie Haberman propounded pearls of wisdom, and the other two guests did something but I can’t remember – somehow, listening to Haberman caused me to develop an amazingly painful and ever-consuming crick in my neck that carried on through the night into this morning. I have repeatedly wept at my desk today, suffering insurmountable and soul-crushing pain, that radiates from the base of my skull all the way down to my neck (a distance of 3 millimeters, easily). Oh, the humanity!! The Humanity!

        jvb

        *Ed. Note: It seems to me that if you are dumb enough to drink a delicious cocktail of refreshing fish tank cleaner, then maybe your loss to society as a productive member thereof has been overly exaggerated, and you may have done the world a small favor. The only hope is that you haven’t diluted the gene pool by procreating. Darwin would approve.

  2. It’s not just the media that have gone bad. I was finally pushed over the edge by coronavirus related Trump mocking memes in emails on last Friday morning, one sent by a very good friend (a woman), the other sent by a stranger in a mass email of mostly strangers. I blew a gasket and told each of them, respectively, to “Fuck off.” (I did not copy the mass email list in the second case.)

    We have four plus years more of this to look forward to, folks.

        • On further reflection, I think I didn’t want to step on the second part of your post because I thought you were talking about the assholery of people using bad media articles as rational commentary or responses. I’m talking about a sub-species of assholery different from using bad authorities and the earlier discussion you had about NYT editors being assholes. I’m talking about people just being jerks by posting really offensive and inane memes in a time of stress.

          Pace, pace.

  3. We may be closer than even you think, Michael. The mood in this little city I’m living in is incendiary. Our Mayor is trying to rule by edict and that is not sitting well with many of the residents.

  4. Yes, Facebook mob mentality strikes again!

    I read this one a few days ago that had a long but relatively interesting comment thread that followed.

    “While [the Coronavirus] wasn’t completely Trump’s fault, his inability to speak truthfully has caused irreparable harm to many.”

    Part of my response was to share this photo…

    Or how about this one over on Quora when someone asked “Do you think president Trump is doing enough to curb the cronavirous?” a couple of weeks ago, one of the answers was this…

    “His non response has been a monumental failure. This crisis has made it clear what should have been obvious to everyone that trump is a stupid, evil, weak, incompetent, lying, loser.”

    Part of my reply, as of that date, was…

    COVID-19: U.S. at a Glance*
    • Total cases: 7,038
    • Total deaths: 97
    • Jurisdictions reporting cases: 54 (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands)
    ——————————————————————
    The population of the United States right now is estimated at 331,002,651 people. That 7,038 total cases is 0.002127% of the population. Those 97 deaths is 0.000029% of the population. There are far more people infected and die with the annual flu than this.

    Are these people misled by a hateful media or are they intentionally disconnecting themselves from reality just so they can continue to feed their hate? I think the answer to that question is yes and yes. LEt me give you an example; in recent years I have developed a real hate for winter/snow and I intentionally no longer participate in outdoor winter activities that I used to enjoy so I can continue to hate winter/snow. I’ve jokingly stated dozens of times “let me enjoy my hate of winter”, it’s really not much of a joke, I really hate winter and I want to enjoy that hate. Are Trump haters actually “enjoying” their hate of Trump in a way that is similar to how I “enjoy” hating winter?

    Jack wrote, “Like earlier article about how the President might just refuse to leave office if defeated, or use the epidemic to declare himself dictator, such fever-dreams are based on nothing but clinical obsession and hate. “, “I have thus far hesitated to let loose with both metaphorical barrels, and to tell old friends exactly how wrong, obnoxious and destructive they are, but so far, at least, I have managed restraint.”

    But Jack, sometimes you’ve just got to “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war!”

    Here’s a relatively recent story where someone exercised “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war!”. An acquaintance of mine was at a gathering and there was a hateful anti-Trump social justice warrior there that went on a short rant about the Coronavirus, how everyone is going to be locked down for 6 to 12 months or more until they come up with a vaccine, poor students won’t be getting fed because schools are getting shut down, and the arts are going to go out of business, small businesses are going to go out of business, etc, etc, and then this idiot started blaming everything related to the Coronavirus in the United States on that “Orange Man in the White House” and said Trump is trying to use this pandemic to become a dictator – he actually called Trump a traitor; I guess you could visibly see the HATE on his face. When this Trump hater got to that point someone got up, got in this Trump hater’s face and really went the off on him, that mouthy Trump hater literally shrunk in his chair, pissed his pants, and then left.

    • Can you explain to me the relevance of comparing the ever changing and ever increasing coronavirus numbers to the flu? I keep seeing this & I don’t understand it, particularly when we know that this is far more communicable and far more deadly. The numbers have increased ~20/30 fold respectively since they were accurate about 2 weeks ago – so what point are you trying to make exactly?

      • What point are you making, JS? There are many varieties of the flu. It is also communicable, sometimes very much so. It’s a virus, like the flu. Past flus have caused pandemics. Measures to protect against the flu are indistinguishable from measures to protect against the Wuhan virus. The elderly and those with compromised immunity systems are at special risk with both. Both mutate. Both require a vaccine to solve.

        So it isn’t the flu. So what? There are a lot more useful analogies than differences.

      • joeystigz wrote, “Can you explain to me the relevance of comparing the ever changing and ever increasing coronavirus numbers to the flu?”

        Sure.

        First for context, these were written back on the morning of March 19th. The core of the argument presented was that the “response has been a monumental failure” and the failure proves that “trump is a stupid, evil, weak, incompetent, lying, loser”. The core argument was false and did not support the secondary smears. The COVID-19 numbers I presented were straight from the CDC’s website and I used the CDC’s numbers and the current estimated population of the United States to show that the response was not a monumental failure. The reference to the flu virus was a simple point of reference comparison to a very familiar virus that acts in a similar manner, as Jack explained, but had more deaths in the USA at that point in time. Overall joeystigz, it was all simply to respond to the false notion on March 19th that the response to COVID-19 had been a “monumental failure”.

        • So we know that with something like a disease, what we do today will have implications on what happens in the future. What we did yesterday has implications on what we’re experiencing today. So if someone is saying that they think Trump’s response is a failure on March 19th, the implication would be that the actions he had taken up to that point were either inadequate or not timely enough and as a result there will eventually be more infected and more dead than if he had acted more swiftly and aggressively. I get that most of us understand infectious disease at a very basic level – but can we agree that it’s valid to ask the questions “Did the government appropriately and responsibly respond to the situation in a timely manner, given the information available at the time? Did they have the staff, resources, and expertise in place to mount such a response? Was there more that could have been done to prepare, and was not? If so why wasn’t it done? Are we doing everything we can/should be doing today to further mitigate the issue?”

          Saying a response has been a monumental failure certainly oversimplifies this situation, and framing the discussion using some of the questions above would be more helpful – but this country doesn’t go for nuance much these days. A response to something like this is fluid, and we don’t always know how today’s action or inaction will impact us a week, a month or even a year from now. It’s a hard job, and I don’t envy the people in charge of doing it. But that doesn’t make any of the questions above invalid, nor does it mean that someone coming to the conclusion that in their opinion, up to a given point in time, they feel that no, enough has not been done or is currently being done to mitigate the disaster, means they are an idiot or brainwashed by the media. I think there’s plenty of evidence to support that the administration did not take this seriously enough in in January & February. I’m glad they are taking it seriously now and seem more willing to defer to the experts. I worry that the president will continue to be more of a hindrance to his administration than an asset.

          What I don’t get is using numbers, especially comparing numbers to the flu, to try and support the position that this response can already be deemed successful. We will have had to bring the economy to a complete grinding halt, spent unknown borrowed trillions, and financially devastated millions of people in order to keep the number of dead anywhere close to a typical flu season (which we still may not be able to do). So again, how are flu numbers a relevant point of comparison to this? First there seemed to be an implication (from several others I’ve seen citing flu stats, not you specifically) that this whole thing was being blown out of proportion because we were nowhere near the deaths from the seasonal flu. Now there seems to be this implication that the Trump administration has been “successful” because we are nowhere near the deaths from the seasonal flu. But the numbers keep climbing, and as I’ve said they are still climbing despite unprecedented personal and national sacrifice. So when the numbers pass the number of dead from the typical seasonal flu, which they are predicted to do, what will that mean to you?

          • joeystigz,
            Your logic is in error. While stating that something is a success certainly states that that something is not a monumental failure; but, stating that something is not a monumental failure is not stating that that something is a success.

            I never said or implied in any way that what the President did was a success. Judging success for something like this will be quite subjective and likely based on perceived possible outcomes if nothing had been done.

            • You said this: ” I used the CDC’s numbers and the current estimated population of the United States to show that the response was not a monumental failure”

              So you were citing early numbers as proof that his response was not a failure. While I will grant you that it’s not quite the same thing as saying it was a success, I did take that as the implication giving the citation of the low numbers as compared to the flu. So again, why cite those numbers and how does it show that the response has not been a failure?

          • joeystigz,
            Here’s a link to the specific thread where you can read my entire comment and my follow up comments.

            I lay the blame of COVID-19 spreading across the USA squarely upon the people of the USA where it truly belongs. This is a free country, we have rights; the people of the USA had the information about COVID-19 and were told about how infectious it was and the people made their choices, those choices have consequences.

            • Thanks. Ted Brewster in that thread is a good example of what I was talking about.

              I won’t argue that a big part of the problem we have in this country is a unique blend of our freedom, culture, and stupidity. But would you agree that choices are in a large part based on the quality of information you receive and whether you have an inherent trust or distrust of those sources? That’s how this ties back to the federal response. What the president says gets absorbed and disseminated by his supporters and Trump-friendly media. That messaging has had an impact on how seriously this is being taken by certain segments of the population, including state leadership. And now that we’re seeing the results. I’m glad that more & more people seem to be taking this seriously, but there still seems to be a large contingent of people that grasped hold of the early rhetoric that severely downplayed this risk, and have yet to let go.

              • joeystigz wrote, “But would you agree that choices are in a large part based on the quality of information you receive and whether you have an inherent trust or distrust of those sources? That’s how this ties back to the federal response.”

                The perception of the information does not change the information.

                The perception is NOT the concern of the Trump administration, getting accurate information out is the concern of the Trump administration and this stuff is changing daily and hourly. Perception is where an honest and ethical media would come into play, but we don’t have an honest ethical media. The perception of anything coming from President Trump has been intentionally twisted by an unethical media into propaganda specifically for political purposes and now we are reaping the consequences of three years of the partisan bull shit propaganda that the left has been plastering the airways and internet with.

                • So you’re saying that the spread of the disease in this country is because the left-wing media down played the seriousness of the situation while the Trump administration was accurately conveying it? Lots of people seem to have been late to the party on this one, but the Trump administration was always privy to more information than the media and should have been the ones setting the tone from the jump. The administration, and administration-friendly media were down playing the risk long after other media outlets were sounding alarm bells. So if you want to blame the rapid spread on the stupidity of people for not interpreting the warning signs correctly, and if you are intent on blaming media for not disseminating the correct information, then you might want to direct your ire towards the correct people in media and consider why they reported the way they did.

                  Consider that on Feb 5 Chris Murphy said this:
                  “Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.”

                  And as late as Feb 26th, more than 3 weeks later, the president was still saying things like this:
                  “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.”

                  Which of those quotes do you think accurately reflects the reality of the situation today, and which do you think best conveyed the need to take this threat seriously?

                  • I grow weary of this continued deflection and your tactics.

                    joeystigz wrote, “So you’re saying that the spread of the disease in this country is because the left-wing media down played the seriousness of the situation while the Trump administration was accurately conveying it?”

                    Stop it joeystigz.

                    No I’m not saying that “the spread of the disease in this country is because the left-wing media”; I was quite clear as to what I was saying which is that the media has a HUGE part to play in the perception of the information that is being presented by the Trump administration and they have been intentionally twisting the perception of the public for over three years for political purposes and that twisted perception can, and probably does, have direct and indirect affects on what people do because of how they perceive the information. The choices are still in the hands of the people, and make no mistake about it, the people are the cause of the spread.

                    “Consider that on Feb 5 Chris Murphy said this: ‘Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.’ “

                    Gotta love cherry picking opinionated information to press a narrative.

                    Here are some fats: according to the CDC (link) there were exactly 11 cases of COVID-10 on February 5, 2020 and at that point in time the United States Government, through the CDC, had already put out multiple travel warnings and Trump has already put in place travel bans into the USA for non-US citizens from infected areas.

                    What Chris Murphy wrote that “they aren’t taking this seriously enough” was an opinion that was not shared by everyone at that time when the threat level was extremely low in the USA.

                    joeystigz wrote, “And as late as Feb 26th, more than 3 weeks later, the president was still saying things like this: ‘Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.’ “

                    Nice cherry picking of 44 words out of 1576 word “speech” by President Trump.

                    How about you look at the entire speech…

                    “Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much.

                    Before I begin, I’d like to extend my deepest condolences to the victims and families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Earlier today, a wicked murderer opened fire at a Molson Coors Brewing Company plant, taking the lives of five people. A number of people were wounded, some badly wounded.

                    Our hearts break for them and their loved ones. We send our condolences. We’ll be with them. And it’s a terrible thing. A terrible thing. So our hearts go out to the people of Wisconsin and to the families. Thank you very much.

                    I have just received another briefing from a great group of talented people on the virus that is going around to various parts of the world. We have, through some very good early decisions — decisions that were actually ridiculed at the beginning — we closed up our borders to flights coming in from certain areas, areas that were hit by the coronavirus and hit pretty hard. And we did it very early. A lot of people thought we shouldn’t have done it that early, and we did, and it turned out to be a very good thing.

                    And the number one priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the American people. And that’s the way I viewed it when I made that decision. Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. We have the greatest experts in the world — really, in the world, right here — people that are called upon by other countries when things like this happen.

                    We — we’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads. As most of you know, the — the level that we’ve had in our country is very low, and those people are getting better, or we think that in almost all cases they’re better, or getting. We have a total of 15. We took in some from Japan — you heard about that — because they’re American citizens, and they’re in quarantine. And they’re getting better too.

                    But we felt we had an obligation to do that. It could have been as many as 42. And we found that we were — it was just an obligation we felt that we had. We could have left them, and that would have been very bad — very bad, I think — of American people. And they’re recovering.

                    Of the 15 people — the “original 15,” as I call them — 8 of them have returned to their homes, to stay in their homes until fully recovered. One is in the hospital and five have fully recovered. And one is, we think, in pretty good shape and it’s in between hospital and going home.

                    So we have a total of — but we have a total of 15 people, and they’re in a process of recovering, with some already having fully recovered.

                    We started out by looking at certain things. We’ve been working with the Hill very, very carefully, very strongly. And I think we have very good bipartisan spirit for money. We were asking for two and a half billion, and we think that’s a lot, but the Democrats, and, I guess, Senator Schumer wants us to have much more than that. And normally, in life, I’d say, “We’ll take it. We’ll take it.”

                    If they want to give more, we’ll do more. We’re going to spend whatever is appropriate. Hopefully, we’re not going to have to spend so much because we really think we’ve done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum. And again, we’ve had tremendous success — tremendous success — beyond what people would have thought.

                    Now, at the same time, you do have some outbreaks in some countries. Italy and various countries are having some difficulty. China, you know about it, where it started.

                    I spoke with President Xi. We had a great talk. He’s working very hard, I have to say. He’s working very, very hard. And if you can count on the reports coming out of China, that spread has gone down quite a bit. The infection seems to have gone down over the last two days. As opposed to getting larger, it’s actually gotten smaller. In one instance where we think we can be — it’s somewhat reliable, it seems to have gotten quite a bit smaller.

                    With respect to the money that’s being negotiated, they can do whatever they want. I mean, again, we’ll do the two and a half. We’re requesting two and a half. Some Republicans would like us to get four, and some Democrats would like us to get eight and a half. And we’ll be satisfied whatever — whatever it is.

                    We’re bringing in a specialist — a very highly regarded specialist — tomorrow, who works, actually, at the State Department. Very, very tremendously talented in doing this.

                    I want you to understand something that shocked me when I saw it that — and I spoke with Dr. Fauci on this, and I was really amazed, and I think most people are amazed to hear it: The flu, in our country, kills from 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me.

                    And, so far, if you look at what we have with the 15 people and their recovery, one is — one is pretty sick but hopefully will recover, but the others are in great shape. But think of that: 25,000 to 69,000.

                    Over the last 10 years, we’ve lost 360,000. These are people that have died from the flu — from what we call the flu. “Hey, did you get your flu shot?” And that’s something.

                    Now, what we’ve done is we’ve stopped non-U.S. citizens from coming into America from China. That was done very early on. We’re screening people, and we have been, at a very high level — screening people coming into the country from infected areas.

                    We have in quarantine those infected and those at risk. We have a lot of great quarantine facilities. We’re rapidly developing a vaccine, and they can speak to you — the professionals can speak to you about that. The vaccine is coming along well. And in speaking to the doctors, we think this is something that we can develop fairly rapidly, a vaccine for the future, and coordinate with the support of our partners. We have great relationships with all of the countries that we’re talking about. Some fairly large number of countries. Some it’s one person, and many countries have no problem whatsoever. And we’ll see what happens.

                    But we’re very, very ready for this, for anything — whether it’s going to be a breakout of larger proportions or whether or not we’re — you know, we’re at that very low level, and we want to keep it that way.

                    So we’re at the low level. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.

                    The Johns Hopkins, I guess — is a highly respected, great place — they did a study, comprehensive: “The Countries Best and Worst Prepared for an Epidemic.” And the United States is now — we’re rated number one. We’re rated number one for being prepared. This is a list of different countries.

                    I don’t want to get in your way, especially since you do such a good job.

                    This is a list of the different countries. The United States is rated number one most prepared. United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Thailand, Sweden, Denmark, South Korea, Finland. These — this is a list of the best-rated countries in the world by Johns Hopkins.

                    We’re doing something else that’s important to me, because he’s been terrific in many ways, but he’s also very good on healthcare. And we really followed him very closely — a lot of states do — when Mike was governor — Mike Pence — of Indiana. They’ve established great healthcare. They have a great system there. It’s a system that a lot of — a lot of the other states have really looked to and changed their systems. They wanted to base it on the Indiana system. It’s very good. And I think — and he’s, really, very expert at the field.

                    And what I’ve done is I’m going to be announcing, exactly right now, that I’m going to be putting our Vice President, Mike Pence, in charge. And Mike will be working with the professionals, doctors, and everybody else that’s working. The team is brilliant. I spent a lot of time with the team over the last couple of weeks, but they’re totally brilliant, and we’re doing really well. And Mike is going to be in charge, and Mike will report back to me. But he’s got a certain talent for this.

                    And I’m going to ask Mike Pence to say a few words. Please. Thank you. Mike?”

                    There is plenty more in that briefing including the fact that Secretary Azar stated that “as of today [February 26, 2020], we have 15 cases of COVID-19 that have been detected in the United States, with only one new case detected in the last two weeks.” and the information from the CDC (link above) confirms that number. Also; Secretary Azar specifically said…

                    “CDC has recommended that the American public, and especially state and local governments, businesses, and other organizations should refresh themselves on how they would respond in the event that the situation worsens.

                    We’re encouraging Americans to learn what future steps might be necessary to keep themselves and their communities safe. Knowing these potential steps now can help keep the risk to you and your community low.

                    Americans can find useful information at CDC.gov/COVID19. And we’re working closely with government and private sector partners to educate them about preparedness.”

                    There was plenty of information that the Trump administration has been giving the public but yet people focus on cherry picked opinions things like “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low. … When you have 15 people, and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” to build a narrative in an effort to undermine and attack President Trump.

                    • What exactly have I deflected? I’ve been trying to get inside the mind of someone who seems to think people trying to hold the president to account for his words and actions are idiots by asking you questions about your reasoning. And yes, I’ve struggled to understand the places that your reasoning takes you because there have been a lot of twists & turns.

                      I asked you why you thought citing early infected/death numbers and comparing them to the flu was relevant in proving that Trump’s response was not a failure. I don’t think you really answered that – you instead said that you blame the spread of the virus on dumb Americans for not making good choices with the information they had. I asked if you thought accurate information is critical for making good decisions, pointing out that until relatively recently there was an active effort to downplay the risks. You responded by saying something about bullshit partisan media propaganda that ,frankly, didn’t make much sense in the context of the question. I responded by asking for clarification – asking if you meant that you thought that the people making dumb decisions (who are the ones to blame according to you) were doing so because the left-wing media was downplaying risk, and whether you thought Trump was accurately conveying the risk – which it seems he had been informed about as early as January. Then I gave you two diametrically opposed quotes – one from early Feb & one from late Feb. Then you accused me of cherry picking. Have I got all that right? Wouldn’t want to be accused of “deflecting” again.

                      You said this:

                      “What Chris Murphy wrote that “they aren’t taking this seriously enough” was an opinion that was not shared by everyone at that time when the threat level was extremely low in the USA.”

                      And then you inexplicably cited the numbers at the time (again) as, I don’t know, proof? Of something? You do know how infectious disease works right? The numbers today are not indicative of the future threat. And yes, people were taking this very seriously then. It seems that some people in the administration were taking it seriously because these comments came after a briefing by the administration. There’s reporting that corroborates this. But if the leader of the administration is not interested in acting on the threat, whatever his motivations, it doesn’t really matter does it?

                      And posting all of Trump’s speech…ok. What do you think is in there that disproves my point that he was downplaying the risk and the seriousness of the situation? That they were doing some stuff?

                      “Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.” This wasn’t true then, and it wasn’t true a month before he said it. We know this. And again – this was only a month ago! Even if he truly believed this how could you classify him as anything other than incompetent?

                      ” We — we’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads.” Well, they weren’t – as evidenced by the fact that we still can’t adequately test and there are mass shortages of the necessary medical supplies throughout the country. Again note that we are now almost 2 months out from when Chris Murphy said we should be immediately prioritizing those things.

                      “We’re going to spend whatever is appropriate. Hopefully, we’re not going to have to spend so much because we really think we’ve done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum. And again, we’ve had tremendous success — tremendous success — beyond what people would have thought.” I mean….you purposely included this text? This was a month ago – you read this and think “yes, these guys were on top of the situation”?

                      “And, so far, if you look at what we have with the 15 people and their recovery, one is — one is pretty sick but hopefully will recover, but the others are in great shape. But think of that: 25,000 to 69,000.” Look here – it’s our old friend citing early low numbers and comparing them to flu numbers. So I’ll ask again – what’s the purpose of this exercise? Because it sure sounds like he’s saying nothing to see here folks, this isn’t anywhere even close to flu numbers so what’s the big fuss? Am I wrong? Tell me why.

                      “Now, what we’ve done is we’ve stopped non-U.S. citizens from coming into America from China. That was done very early on. We’re screening people, and we have been, at a very high level — screening people coming into the country from infected areas.” Y’all sure like to reference this. Tell me – did it work? Did it accomplish anything? Because the experts I’ve read said that at most it bought us time, and I don’t see how that time was used productively (see again: lack of testing, lack of supplies, lack of coordination, lack of clear, consistent and appropriate messaging).

                      “So we’re at the low level. As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.” And now we’ve come full circle.

                      So I’ve extrapolated on my original point. I can give you more examples of Trump downplaying the risk if you want – there are an awful lot of them. And today I saw that there’s good evidence now showing that how seriously people take social distancing has a strong partisan component. Guess which side of the aisle is not taking it as seriously? Do you have your own theories as to why these people, who are the ones to blame for the spread of coronavirus, are cultivating these attitudes? I’ve already given Trump credit for changing his narrative, but it came very late in the game.

                    • The point that matters is that taking shots at a leader’s handling of this level of crisis mid crisis is unprecedented in the US, and anywhere else sane. It’s a mania, essentially, and a deadly one. Given how the Democrats/”resistance”/mainstream media have uniformly spun everything, virtually without exception, that the President has done, even to the extent of siding with a brutal regime like China and mourning Iran’s head terrorist. So its reasonable to assume that whatever Trump did in this case, he would be vilified.

                      Fauci has said that the only way to assess the response to an unprecedented crisis is after all the results are known. Of course, but this is an election year, the news media is desperate to find a way to defeat Trump, so they won’t wait, even though there is no possible good result that can come from undermining leadership.

                      That ultra partisan hack, Jim Acosta, tried to get the doctors to pile on, asking “This may be an uncomfortable question, what would the models have looked like, that Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci showed us, if we had started the social distancing guidelines sooner in February, or January, when China and South Korea were doing those sorts of things.”

                      It’s a bullshit question, of course, because the models are all based on inadequate data. After Dr. Deborah Birx explained that there was a lack of information before the pandemic took off in the United States, Fauci said,

                      “Just to underscore what Dr. Birx was saying, if there was no virus in the background, there was nothing to mitigate.If there was virus there that we didn’t know about, then the answer to your question is probably yes. Now the only trouble with that is whenever you come out and say something like that, it always becomes almost a sound bite that gets taken out of context. But I think that is very important what Dr. Birx has said, if there was covert infections here that we didn’t know about, and we mitigate them, then that would have made a difference. If there was nothing there then there’s nothing to mitigate, and I don’t know the answer to your question…In a perfect world, it would have been nice to know what was going on there, we didn’t, but I believe, Jim, that we acted very very early in that.”

                      But all CNN and Jim really care about is blaming Trump.

                    • Couldn’t fit this in, but those claims of partisan differences in taking precautions are so dubious as to be unworthy of repeating. The Spring Breakers can be counted upon to be mostly from Blue mindsets. The major centers of the breakouts—Washington State, New York, California and New Orleans, are all Democratic hives. Sound like junk science with an agenda to me.

                    • Pointing out that a president has actively lied, and continued to actively lie and mislead until presumably very recently, is necessary in a time of crisis. That’s the media’s job. If you want to contend that he didn’t lie, or should have been allowed to lie and mislead because we were/are in the midst of a crisis – by all means. In addition to the ample evidence we have now that he lied and misled, there will be more that comes out when this is behind us. I don’t think it will help your case when it does.

                      And no, the question you cited is not a bullshit question. Tens of thousands of people are going to die. Is not legitimate to ask, in an election year, if fewer people may have died if the administration had taken more aggressive measures? If they had not downplayed the risk? You don’t want to know that? In what world is that not relevant information? When you vote in November you won’t want the details on how the administration responded to the biggest public health crisis in our lifetime, and wheter that response was sufficient?

                      And if you listen to Fauci and Birx’s responses, and do just a tiny bit of reading between the lines, you’ll see that what they are saying is that with no testing they couldn’t know the scope of the problem, and without knowing the scope they couldn’t effectively mitigate it. That was the reality they had to deal with, but it is not an acceptable outcome. In the absence of adequate testing (which in and of itself is a mitigation failure), instead of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, the administration hoped for the best and seemingly prepared for very little. Saying that models are based on inadequate data is not enough. Why was the data inadequate? If adequate data requires adequate levels of testing, why weren’t there adequate levels of testing? When did they know that there would be inadequate levels of testing? What did they do when they found out? In the absence of inadequate data, what additional mitigation strategies were considered? If they weren’t adopted, then why? I certainly want to know all of this, as do millions of others. And I want to know it now, not when it’s convenient.

                    • 1. “The President lies” is obviously your go-to deflection whenever an unjustified accusation of yours is flagged. Go ahead. list your “lies,” which will have to be, I remind you deliberately dishonest statements designed to deceive. No, an expression of hope that the nation can start going back to work by Easter is not a lie. No, his touting of a promising chemical as treatment is not a lie. No, saying that the US has tested more people than any other country is not a lie. No, saying that the Democrats have politicized the virus is not a lie—but saying he called the virus a hoax is.

                      2.”Is not legitimate to ask, in an election year, if fewer people may have died if the administration had taken more aggressive measures?” Of course it isn’t. How can you argue otherwise? The question calls for pure speculation: there will not be a single death that that can be plausibly or conclusively traced to the President’s actions or lack of them. It is an incompetent question, and a Big Lie-style question. You can’t prove a negative.

                      3. Fauci knows, and you should know, that the President had no involvement in the breakdown of the manufacture of the testing kits. Yes, as head of the executive branch, he is technically responsible, and it was wrong—but not a lie—for Trump to say he was not responsible. Nonetheless, he does not oversee the FDA, nor does he micromanage health supplies manufacture. Your argument really floats in the air on nothing but distrust.

                    • joeystigz,
                      Do you know what the word obtuse and the word sealioning mean; if not do us all a big favor and look them up and learn.

                      I’ll go no further down your chosen rhetorical path; our conversation is now complete. You sir, have the last word.

                    • when someone presents an idea or an opinion, and someone else asks for clarification and justification while pointing out the flaws in your logic and thinking by presenting an alternative opinion with supporting evidence, that’s an exchange of ideas. If you didn’t like the manner in which I pressed on your opinions, feel free to not engage with me in the future. Maybe I should just start calling everyone I disagree with an asshole or an idiot or obtuse?

                    • 1.Jack – are you using George Costanza’s “It’s not a lie if you believe it” defense for Trump? You’re saying that if I can’t prove that he intends to deliberately deceive people when he speaks, then it must be the truth or is not inherently misleading? I’ll look forward to you applying that same burden of proof to everyone else you accuse of lying and misleading moving forward.

                      2. By your logic, no one should ever be allowed to ask “If we had done things differently, might things have gone better?” That calls for pure speculation. Again, I look forward to you applying that same criteria in the future. It might shut down your blog, because effectively that means we can’t question or criticize anyone’s actions – because we have no way of knowing what the outcome would be if a different action had been taken. Who’s to say that wasn’t the best possible outcome? No one, because to say otherwise would require proving a negative. Please.

                      3. When it comes to leadership and responsibility, and whether an administration’s action or inaction could potentially prove “fatal”, I’ll leave you with your own words from a much simpler time, when second guessing the decisions made by an administration were still permissible:

                      “Here is what a competent national leader would have done, long before this point. He would have called in the Secretary of Homeland Security, HHS, and the Director of the CDC. He would have asked for a detailed plan from each of them, thoroughly coordinated, specifying how they were going to keep the nation safe from the contagion. He would tell them that he was going to be watching and assessing regularly—that he would even cancel some fundraising appearances. And he would tell them that each failure attributable to a poor plan or poor execution of it would mean their jobs, a threat they would believe because a competent leader would have a well-established record of holding subordinates accountable for failure.

                      The fact is that in a government culture where accountability has been discarded, where the leadership’s priorities have been politics, optics, ducking responsibility and blame-shifting, where there is no leadership skill at the top and thus no projection of competent leadership thorough the chain of command, public trust in government competence is irrational, and trust based on wishful partisan denial is unforgivable, and perhaps fatal.”

                    • I’m using the definition of lie, from the standpoint of a professional who has to measure such things. Being wrong isn’t a lie. Rackless assertions are not lies. Spontaneous inaccurate utterances not designed to deceive are not lies. Statements that are false that the speaker doesn’t or didn’t know are false aren’t lies. Ambiguous statements aren’t lies. Exaggerations done for effect or emphasis aren’t lies. Stating hopes, beliefs or feelings from subjective standpoint are not lies, and opinions aren’t lies. I’m sorry the definition isn’t helpful to the “Trump lies all the time” narrative, but teh definition isn’t up for debate. It is a lie to falsely call that which isn’t one a lie.

                      Trump is unreliable because he engages in all of the above. That’s bad enough.

  5. This was, is and likely will continue to be an exhortation to the kool-aid left to arms against the evil they’ve been indoctrinated to believe the reasonable and practical are.

    They’d better not come to my door; however, considering my “Only morons, dickheads and traitors support Trump” neighbors, they are likely to bring it to my door sooner rather than later, totally unprovoked.

    To quote my Navy SF son, I’m “waiting for the fireworks.” Hoping against hope the show never starts.

  6. I’m truly glad that I never set up a Facebook account. Rational arguments never work with these fools anymore than they would work with a mad dog. I would be sorely tempted to go into to full John Wayne mode.

  7. So I see where the Virginia governor has issued a stay-at-home order for the next 10+ weeks. Sheesh, must be something in the air in Richmond, he just can’t help going overboard. How long do you think it’s going to take before people decide they’ve had about enough of that?

    At least here, our governor only issued a 30 day order — bad enough (and I was disappointed that he did so), but short enough people can see the end of it.

  8. Just last week I was trying to help a FB friend understand the magnitude of enforcing virus-related restrictions in New York City. I explained that the population of NYC proper is near 19 million, more than twice the population of my entire state. The area of NYC is just over 300 square miles, smaller than the area of my county (one of 95 in our state). NYC has a population density of over 27,000 people per square mile. One of the Trump Deranged declared that I was just trying to deflect responsibility from President Trump! Asshole!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.