Monday, March 16, 2020

The current hysteria will hurt the Dems

The coronavirus scare looks bad for Trump right now because he really has mishandled things. But things will turn around for him. Maybe not next week, but soon enough. Perhaps two weeks from now. Perhaps two months.

The important thing to understand is this: Most people are not rational. They use their powers of ratiocination to justify narratives to which they feel emotionally wedded.

When the layoffs mount up and the eviction notices decorate doors, the public will turn against all the well-meaning liberals who argued in favor of destroying the economy in order to combat a not-so-terrifying virus.

At this writing, the coronavirus has taken fewer than 75 lives in the United States and roughly seven thousand lives worldwide. Not so bad, as pandemics go. Yet everyone has gone mad.

Compare the current numbers to the Hong Kong flu pandemic of 1968-89: That outbreak took 100,000 victims in the United States. At the time -- and I can attest to this personally -- few people talked about the disease. They discussed the war, the hippies, the protest marches, the presidential race, but they didn't talk about the Hong Kong flu, at least not often.

I was in grade school then. Any mention of the words "Hong Kong flu" caused kids on the playground to break into an imitation of Bruce Lee as Kato. (Frankly, the attempts at humor were even more racist than that.) Nobody seriously considered shutting down movie theaters or sports arenas or restaurants. By the end of 1969, most people had forgotten all about the flu. At least, such was the case in our household, even though we were acquainted with an old vaudevillian who had been good friends with Tallulah Bankhead, the most famous victim of that flu.

By the way: If there was a shortage of hospital beds in 1968-69, nobody mentioned that fact on the news. Nobody was talking triage. Again: 100,000 deaths.

When I think back to the way our society reacted then, the current situation seems utterly ridiculous.

I think that many people are overreacting to the current problem because we've all seen too many horror/disaster/science fiction movies, and we secretly want to live in one. We are addicted to melodrama.

But when this hysteria exacts a terrible economic toll, the disaster will become real. At that time, attitudes will change. The public will direct their rage and fury against those who told everyone to stay indoors.

Will Trump benefit from that? Of course.

He's a master of populist rhetoric and conspiracy theories. Eventually, he and his far-right confreres will find the right verbal formulation to blame liberalism (and perhaps democracy itself?) for our economic woes. Through trial and error, they will find the correct admixture of fact and falsity to make a "Blame the Dems" narrative seem plausible to millions.

That prediction may seem outlandish right now, because the administration is flailing.

Stop thinking like a chess player who can't see beyond the next move. You have to think at least five moves ahead.

Within hours, the state of Maryland will shut down all restaurants. For a couple of days, the fast food joints have been pushing out all the old farts who like to sit and read while sipping coffee -- as if that policy will have any impact on the coronavirus statistics. As if the stats justified extreme measures.

Will your local Mickey D's continue to issue paychecks to all of their current employees? I don't see how.

Extreme economic times always benefit the political extremes -- usually the extreme right. 

History offers no clearer lesson.

Biden is riding high now, but that situation won't last. A politician of his sort -- rational, decent, middle-of-the-road -- cannot appeal to a fearful citizenry facing privation and loss. Mad times elevate mad leaders.

That's why I believe that Trump -- or perhaps someone even worse than Trump? -- will benefit from the coronavirus scare. The current critiques of his administration will fade from memory when the job losses mount. The public will turn.
Comments:
With the understand that this blog is dedicated to predicting the worst possible outcome in whatever the topic of discussion might be, my observations has been that the American people tend to punish whichever party who is in power at the time of a crises or disaster by voting for the other party in presidential elections. This reaction is not always rational or logical or fair, but emotional as discussed. This pattern has as much chance of holding as not, no matter how good Trump is at pandering and lying and cheating.

 
I mean if you are going to put on your conspiracy cap, THIS IS THE REICHSTAG FIRE!!!! Not the nuke strike on an American city (Iirc Detroit) to declare martial law you wrote about 3 years ago.

Trump used the numbers he was seeing from the CDC and Dr. Fauci to his own advantage. Used the time he could have had an effective response and allowed the Petri dish of America’s many local and state jurisdictions to spread the virus. It spreads to blue states mostly due to asymmetric urbanization and population. He can make hay out of how “poorly” they (Coumo, Gavin, and Inslee) are handling it compared to the nation as a whole. Deaths everywhere, we have to shut down the census. Virginia’s retaking the state legislatures last year are no problem. They won’t be able to do the redistricting in 2021. November elections this year are called off. Bill Maher’s Trump for life is put in place. That is why the Republicans have been so sure they will not pay a political price the past 15 months.

-C’est moi
 
I just can't believe the outrageous overreaction. Now you have the mayor of San Francisco telling people they HAVE to remain in their homes for three weeks except to go to the doctor or to the grocery store. There is a tiny number of people in this country--71--at last count who have died of this, and most of those deaths are in the nursing home in Washington where this coronavirus first got publicized in the U.S. The mayor should be sued for this outrageous overreach. Where is the ACLU over this? They are too busy working to trash women's rights in sports and in sex-segregated spaces to care.

Yes, it could backfire on the Democrats very easily, especially if this thing turns out to be the massive overreaction it is likely to be in the United States. As I have said, the U.S. isn't Italy or China. It isn't densely populated nationwide like those countries, plus there are far fewer smokers percentagewise in this country compared to Italy and China. Smoking is a MAJOR factor in the deaths, especially for men.

I hate to say this, but I predict this is going to be a massive flop and there could be repercussions politically.
 
Here in SoCal getting word from friends that layoffs and reduced hours are starting. Healthy people being sent home from work on the off chance they might spread virus to less healthy people who may get sick. Less healthy people should be targeted to take time off right? No. Let's SEND EVERYONE HOME, CLOSE DOWN ALL BUSINESS, wreck peoples lives, their jobs, the economy because 6000 people over the last few months died although 10s of thousands died during the very same time frame from normal flu. Stupidist fucking thing I have seen in my whole life and no on has the balls to tell people to shut the fuck up, chillout and sit down. Our leaders instead are fanning the flames of panic so every one who has the slightest cough or sneeze now needs to freak the fuck out they may infect someone so they all need to go home and self quarantine. If you are a foreign enemy that wanted yo know how to wreck the U.S. economy. NOW YOU KNOW.
 
"The impact of this disparity is quickly shown in the analysis of coronavirus deaths in each county. In Italy, 90% of the more than 1,000 deaths occur in those 70 or older."
https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/16/opinions/south-korea-italy-coronavirus-survivability-sepkowitz/index.html

The overwhelming majority of all those deaths in Italy is with people over 70... Almost exactly as with the standard flu. Thats where the focus needs to be.
 
I’m with Margie on this, mostly. But the alternative fake knowings promulgated on Fox, etc, will take a real toll on our collective rationality.

Remember the Y2K fiasco? Got talked up, nothing happened. But a lot happened. Programmers went to work, engineers got to work. A few things slipped through but very few problems were caused. Because people did their jobs.

New virus, less time to act than Y2K, and in the US, Trump has fiddled away a lot of valuable time.

I’m surprised at the argument here that sound public health measures are dangerous. Recall, or look up, the draconian steps taken to prevent the spread of polio in the 1950’s.

Now, to lessen the pandemic, it’s up to people to do their jobs. And that means ordinary folks staying home.

Also needed to do an important job is Democrats to keep talking about this, urging clam and pointing out faults of Trump. If the Dems take a leadership role, they can then take credit, rather than get stuck with the now usual Trumpian garbage flinging.

Tom

 
Case fatality rate for Hong Kong flu was 0.5%.
 
BD, a hundred thousand deaths matters more than a ratio.

 
Actually, Y2K would have been a disaster if people hadn't spend thousands of hours working on it. And all the preparation worked, there was no problem, everybody laughed and moved on.

As for COVID 19:
1. This is a new virus. No one in the world is immune.
2. It spreads easily and quickly, to everyone. No one can predict who will get it next. Millions could get it.
3. For many, it is mild. But some get deathly ill, with severe pneumonia. For one in a hundred, it is deadly.
4. If millions get it, then hundreds of thousands will get deathly ill, all at once. Hospitals will collapse and tens of thousands will die, including a lot of doctors and nurses.
5. Until a vaccine is developed, the only thing we can do to save people and not overtax the health care system is to try to slow down the spread, by imposing as much of a quarantine as people will tolerate.

Governments are not over-reacting. Oh, how I wish they were.

 
There are some counter arguments here and here.
 
cathie, fred -- the mindless repetition of conventional wisdom is not a scientific argument.

All this talk about an unbearable strain on the health care system refuses to confront the historical parallel I've drawn repeatedly. '68-'69: ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND flu deaths. Many more people were sick. No triage, no overcrowded hospitals, no massive amounts of fatalities among doctors and nurses.

And Cronkite barely talked about it. Restaurants, movies, Disneyland -- all went on as before.

WHY DO YOU STUBBORNLY REFUSE TO TALK ABOUT THAT?

Don't you understand that homelessness is a far greater health risk? You really think that you have more to fear from the coronavirus (whose body count still hasn't cracked triple digits) than from living in a tent? What about the damage to our society, our psyches, our family life if a million people lose their paychecks? What about the damage to our democracy?

I speak as someone who is in a coronavirus high risk group: It would be much safer -- healthier -- to let the coronoavirus run rampant than to destroy our economy in an effort to combat it.

You've all been programmed. For chrissakes, try to think independently.

Y'know what this situation reminds me of? The hysterical reaction to the AIDS crises. The mindless groupthink that took hold in the 1980s persists to this day. People still react in a very predictable fashion whenever I point out a few facts which, though socially unpopular, are nevertheless facts.

Such as: Lesbians don't get AIDS. Lesbians therefore they do NOT need to be in a committed relationship. They can party like it's 1979, if they so choose.

(Yes, I know all about that one -- ONE -- alleged case, completely anonymous and therefore unverifiable. We have far better evidence for the existence of Bigfoot.)

For decades, people have screamed at me whenever I've pointed out that you're much more likely to get struck by lightning than to get AIDS from oral sex. But statistics back me up: Six thousand lightning deaths per year, versus decades of controversy as to whether even ONE human being has actually gotten AIDS from getting or receiving a blowjob. It's safer to drink any random guy's cum than to drink soda from a dispensary at Mickey D's. (Literally: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/01/study-finds-bacteria-in-soda-machines/)

Yes, yes, YES: I know what you're now desperate to tell me. Believe it or not, I HAVE heard the AIDS safety lecture that you want to deliver. I know every word of it before you say it, so there's no need for you to say those very predictable words here and now. (And I will not print you if you try).

The people who have delivered that tiresome lecture for the past 30-odd years have been PROGRAMMED by appeals to sex-fear. Starting in the mid-1980s, the custodians of morality have used pseudoscience to enforce monogamy.

That AIDS lecture which you really, really want to give me right now is really just the product of mindless groupthink.

And it's happening again. Same shit, different virus.
 
“Added note: I was mistaken about the Hong Kong flu number. The CDC says that 100,000 people died in the US.
In one year. Compared to 50,000 deaths or thereabouts for all the years of Vietnam.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1968-pandemic.html” - Joseph 3/14/20

“All this talk about an unbearable strain on the health care system refuses to confront the historical parallel I've drawn repeatedly. '68-'69: ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND flu deaths. Many more people were sick. No triage, no overcrowded hospitals, no massive amounts of fatalities among doctors and nurses.’ -Joseph 3/17/20

From the CDC link Joseph posted:

“It was first noted in the United States in September 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States.”

“The same virus returned the following years: a year later, in late 1969 and early 1970, and in 1972. The CDC currently estimates that, in TOTAL, the virus killed 1 million people worldwide and around 100,000 people in the U.S.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_flu_pandemic

It was over at least 3 flu seasons, and my reading is that 1 million and 100,000 total is counting people that are still dying now from the strain. So no, it was not 100k in 1968-69. My best guess from what I have read is that first flu “season” resulted in around 30-40k deaths in the US, and I am not exactly sure if that figure is through the Summer of 1969, December of 1969, or the Summer of 1970.

-C’est moi



 
Speaking of AIDS... A little background on Trump's CDC pick who had controversial ties to Evangelical groups pushing AIDS panic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/03/trumps-pick-for-cdc-director-is-experienced-but-controversial/556202/

I know of only one person who has died of AIDS back in the late 80s and that person definitely had a compromised immune system I assume from drug abuse. So I have to wonder if it was actually the drug abuse that actually led to the death.
 
So, Joe, you're in the Rappoport camp?


 
https://www.businessinsider.com/doj-moves-to-drop-charges-ira-russians-indicted-mueller-2020-3

Epstein connected and compromised Attorney General Barr looks like he is going to let the Russians go who attacked the USA. Wimp.
 
As of this morning, there are 5,261 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with the vast majority of them considered mild, and with 94 deaths.

You can keep current track of the cases and deaths here: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us


Yes, it is being overblown, and I fully expect there to be major pushback from this. It didn't have to be this way.

It could have been a disaster, a major disaster, if China hadn't taken the extreme measures it did with the initial outbreak. We are relatively lucky in this country, so far.
 
Say mwah: I don't see how anything you've cited invalidates my larger point.

Anon: Are you referring to Jon Rappoport? You know, he used to a pretty good reporter for the alternative press in L.A., back in the '80s. Then he got weird. Haven't followed anything he has said for the past 25 years or so, but I'm guessing that it is some sort of conspiracy theory.

I'm not promulgating a conspiracy theory. I'm saying that what's going on now is a kind of hysteria, similar to the ones chronicled in Mackay's "Extraordinary Popular Delusions."

Look, I really am facing homelessness. So are a surprising number of people within just a couple of blocks of where I live. All sorts of jobs are shutting down, even jobs you would not expect to be hit. For example, the guy across the street works for a company that replaced auto glass. Normally they service 80 customers a day; yesterday, they did six. Lots of layoffs are in the near future.

I don't care if the death toll is 94 victims or 940 or even 9,400. Or even 94,000!! We need a functioning economy. Homelessness is a far worse threat to public health.

I THINK people are finally starting to get that.

The Chicken Littles out there are going to regret their fear-mongering.
 
Mr. Cannon, has it ever occurred to you that if the CV turns out not to kill a huge number of people, that might be precisely because we "panicked" and took serious, normality-disrupting counter-measures--and they worked?

Economic deprivation is no problem to the dead, sir.
 
Has it ever occurred to YOU that a massive increase in homelessness will inevitably become a health issue?

The thousands of people living in tents in L.A.'s Koreatown. How healthy are THEY? How protected are THEY from coronavirus, or any other virus?
 
Then the government needs to make sure people have decent and safe places to live, and the Sacred Free Market be damned.

As for your political concerns, this time Benedict Donald won't have the luxury of running against a victim of the most lavishly-funded, well-organized, and long-running smear campaign since Goebbels & Company went after (((That Certain Ethno-Religious Minority))).

Also, he'll have to run on his miserable record--and a large portion of his voters last time, and the voluntary non-voters as well, were "gullibles" rather than "deplorables".

"WTF, how bad could he be?"

Now they know.
 
Re impending homelessness: (1) I'm sorry. That's gotta be an awful feelng, and I hope it doesn't actually come to pass. (2) If we're really heading into a dustbowl/Depression-era scenario, we might wind up with another FDR, not Republican hegemony. Or we'll get Hitler or Mussolini; remains to be seen. Whee!

Re the 0.5% vs 2+% CFR: yeah, it's "just a ratio", but it predicts MILLIONS of deaths, not 100,000. There's also the R value (contagious-ness) for CVD, which is at least a bit higher. Smart, non-political (presumably) people are advocating aggressive measures now.

Even conservatives are starting to say "let the old folks die". How's THAT gonna play?

You might be right: the economic damage might have more impact than the deaths of millions might. And Dems might suffer backlash. Or not. I have a feeling that when hospitals fill up with cases and overflow into tents outside, people will remember the Trump administration's early behavior instead of "over-reaction".

I'd love to know what long-term effect the 1918 flu had on people's mentality.
 
"Re the 0.5% vs 2+% CFR: yeah, it's "just a ratio", but it predicts MILLIONS of deaths, not 100,000."

Remember the millions of deaths predicted when AIDS moved into the mainstream community? Didn't happen. Kids are "hooking up" right and left these days, and they're not rubberizing. (I honestly think that the "zipless fuck," as Erica Jong called it, is more common now than it was in the 1970s, though young people no longer use that term.) AIDS remains a disease which afflicts heteros a lot less than it afflicts gays. It is particularly rare in couples who -- there's no way to say this except to say it -- don't do anal bareback and don't have sex with drug users.

The predicted big "jump" to the hetero community didn't happen. We were fed scare stories by moralists promoting monogamy.

So you have to look at these predictions with a certain degree of skepticism.

"Smart, non-political (presumably) people are advocating aggressive measures now"

These "smart" people aren't very smart if they aren't taking into consideration the dangers of joblessness, homelessness, and social upheaval. You also have to take into consideration the psychological health of people who have to sell everything they have while looking forward to a future of sleeping in their cars.

There was and is a sensible middle path: Focus extreme measures on the "over 60" segment of the population. Lock THEM up (in their homes). Let everyone else go out to dinner and catch a flick. If we had followed that course of action, I doubt that the infection rate would be much different.
 
A LOT of us over 60 HAVE to work. We can't be "locked in our homes." I will be damned if I will be locked in. I have no underlying medical issues of consequence.

Looks like Trump is pushing the Andrew Yang solution, at least on a temporary basis. This would be helpful, but it is clearly politically calculated. Democrats would be wise not to make this a partisan issue.
 
For a fact-based look delivered with humor:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hks6Nq7g6P4&feature=youtu.be
 
It seems to me that sending a one-time check to every adult is meaningless. Unnecessary if your job and benefits remain intact, and not enough if you have lost your job or hours. It would be better to raise unemployment benefits and eligibility.
 
The YouTube video above.. Juice Media... Australian. Taking a look around the media landscape, blog comments,Disqus, etc... There are a lot of Brits, Australians, and even a "Austrian-Hungarian" guy I saw who also had blogged all over Disqus about his support for a "United Empire of the Middle East", they are all so dedicated to keeping Americans indoors and not patronizing virus filled restaurants. Thanks for your concern guys!

If you were going to create a "United Empire of the Middle East" what would you have to do to get the people to allow you to pull that off?
 
The question is what are the rulers doing. They are not responding to the popular mood; they created and are stoking the popular mood.

1) But first, some observations from Britain...

a) The authorities are discouraging people from visiting hospital in-patients, even family members who are dying.

b) They are introducing emergency legislation to allow a medic's attestation that a person died with coronavirus to be sufficient for a body to be burnt without the death being referred to a coroner. The same legislation will allow local authorities to order parties to provide transport for bodies, blah, "death management", blah blah, basically meaning mass cremations, no questions asked.

c) Medical bulletins announcing coronavirus deaths are often saying that the person was an elderly man who suffered from both chronic and acute illness and who also had the coronavirus, without saying he died BECAUSE OF the coronavirus. Typical would be a patient who had chronic cardiovascular or respiratory illness and who recently caught influenza, went to hospital for treatment, and then developed pneumonia. That is a very common way for a person to die in this society. Oh, and the poor guy also caught the coronavirus.

d) Very few coronavirus victims are being NAMED. This is really peculiar. Sometimes newspapers are referring to statements that bereaved family members posted on Facebook, being careful to name only the family member, not the deceased. There must be something similar to a D Notice out. Why? The whole current approach is similar to war.

2) Regarding the US, it has long been clear from a strategic consideration, one that takes on board the relationship between the country's government and people, the regime's ideology and its internal perception, and the culture, that a MAJOR WEAKPOINT was HEALTH. For 200 years the US has never been hit hard internally by a foreign enemy. It is unique among the world's great powers in that respect. Another way it is unique is that it has no proper universal state health system, and many who become ill find themselves in financial ruin and often on a downward slope of social mobility, homelessness being an example. That is all coming "home" now. This is the end of the US as the leading superpower. It could be the end of the US as a country.

3) I asked what the rulers are doing. It's possible the purpose of the virus is to pave the way for a vaccine which could be far worse. It will be imposed compulsorily. In this scenario, the next victims won't be mainly elderly people; nor will the mortality rate be as low as 4%. Mainly children and young people, and 40% or 70%, would be more likely.

4) Lying and secrecy are at a much higher level for biological weapons than for nuclear weapons. With NW there are

* detailed public treaties both multilateral and bilateral
* doctrines that are publicly stated and academically discussed
* lists of major nuclear powers (even if Israel is usually omitted),
* lists of what types of NW the powers have - warheads, delivery systems, stockpiles, silos, shelters
* lists of how many weapons of each type they have

With BW there is none of this. There is one vague treaty, that's all. A treaty which everyone knows isn't kept to.

I've been telling people for years that WW3 will have BW as a major feature.
 
https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/17/health/coronavirus-united-states-deaths/index.html

Media is finally getting around to printing the FACTS about coronavirus.

ALL of the U.S. deaths so far were of people over the age of 50. Most of them over 60. Many of them had underlying illness. Maybe now they can start working on a solution to help keep older people safe and healthy and stop spreading total hysteria and panic which will eventually lead to millions jobless and homeless.
 
Some medics think they're great mathematicians and communicators, especially when they're in the presence of those who don't know much maths and who look up to them because they're medics. How can the total number of cases "peak"?

As often as not, those who stand above the listener in the opinion chain are just spewing out reasons for whatever they unthinkingly accepted from those who stand above THEM. I always recommend people to read Edward Bernays's book "Propaganda" when they don't understand that fact but seem capable of learning it.
 
This is not a conspiracy of "biological weapons," FFS. The ONLY reason this is being hyped up the way it has is because it is the WEALTHY, including celebrities, who brought this virus into the United States by air travel or cruise ships in the first place. It is the WEALTHY, through international travel, who spread this disease in Europe. Note to date very, very, very few third world countries have been affected to any great degree, with the sole exception of Iran. It is industrialized, rich countries that have been afflicted. The poor did not spread this pandemic at all in the beginning. They couldn't afford to.

And because it is our so-called betters, the rich and celebrities, who have been disproportionately affected, the media start to care and go into panic mode. Politicians have gone way overboard to further the panic mode. If I were really conspiratorially minded, I would say this is as good an avenue as any to further peddle "shock doctrine" ideas ala Naomi Klein's "Shock Doctrine." That would only be if the policies lasted for months on end. They probably won't.

It is kind of the same thing with AIDS back in the 1980s. Nobody in power truly cared about the gay men, the Haitians, the drug users sharing needles, and the people needing blood transfusions until celebrities like Rock Hudson and Liberace got sick and died. Then all of a sudden, tons of money started flowing in for research, and eventually treatments came about to successfully hold HIV at bay. You have people like Magic Johnson who announced he had HIV nearly THIRTY years ago still alive thanks to these discoveries and treatments. These days, we don't hear much about AIDS at all; in fact, it isn't called AIDS anymore but HIV.

It's all about the rich and their interests. The rest of us can go hang.

 
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