Trumpian True Believers

A reader defends the Trump administration’s implementation of public health policies in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic:

Trump never dismissed the pandemic, if you look at his full quotes rather than dishonest snippets. He has always followed the advice of his senior health policy officials. And Trump did a tremendous amount to manage the pandemic. Unfortunately, he gets little credit for that, since the media has actively suppressed the Administration’s accomplishments.

One of the more risible ironies we saw was that progressives have been predicting for years that Trump is a dictator-in-waiting, looking for his opportunity to seize power. Well, the pandemic was a perfect opportunity. But in America, unlike other countries, the legal authority to implement shutdowns rests with the governors. Trump respects the law and allowed the governors to take the lead. Now progressives are criticizing Trump for not assuming dictatorial powers and managing the shutdowns from Washington!

No, Trump is not a dictator. But his Administration performed very impressively in helping the governors to manage the covid crisis. I can’t imagine any other president doing a better job than Trump did under the circumstances–not Clinton nor Obama, not either Bush, and certainly not Biden.

I daresay this view is not a rare one, which is why I quote it. Here is a graphic depiction of the extent of this commentator’s delusion.

Source: Invictus (7/9/2020).

For good measure, consider the gradient for US fatalities in this graph.

The vertical axis is in logs … so SCARY.

116 thoughts on “Trumpian True Believers

  1. Vasyl

    It appeared that there had even been demonstrations to thank Big Brother for raising the chocolate ration to twenty grams a week.(c) you know the source

  2. Moses Herzog

    “I daresay this view is not a rare one”

    I keep wondering what are these people doing to their grandparents?? An old neighbor they interact with? The older person they walk by in a narrow grocery isle?? When you take a coffee from a person working a drive-thru, do you know if they have a weak immune system or not?? How many times have you been at McDonald’s or a Whataburger restaurant and thought to yourself “This person is way too F’ing old to be doing a minimum wage job” ?? These kids they want to go back to school, how many of them are from broken homes where the grandparent ends up being caretaker because their parents can’t keep their sh*t together?? They going to give their kids a sack lunch with a 32″ grabber reacher?? People are dying in the 50–65 age range, not just over 65. Does this not register with any Republican as being extremely sad?? Have you completely abandoned caring for anyone but yourself?!?!?!?!

    Here is the deal, you can walk around and flap your jaws “I am a Christian”. “I am a conservative”. But someday, if you believe in Christian religion, and you think you’re going to meet St. Peter or whoever the F—, you’re going to have to answer for your actions in life. It’s not going to be enough to flap your lips and say “I’m a Christian conservative”. That’s not gonna cut it anymore. WTF are you gonna say when he tells you 3 people died because you couldn’t put a F’ing mask on?? What are you gonna say?!?!?!? If you believe in religion, you better F’ing think about what your answer is gonna be when that day arrives.

    1. pgl

      “Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale is urging his constituents not to get tested for the coronavirus, flouting advice from health officials — and from another Republican lawmaker, Gov. Mike DeWine.

      “This is what happens when people go crazy and get tested,” Vitale wrote on Facebook this week. “STOP GETTING TESTED!”

      Vitale was evidently incensed by an order from DeWine and state health officials that people in seven Ohio counties with severe outbreaks must wear face coverings when out in public. That order took effect Wednesday.”

      So we actually have a Republican governor doing the right thing and Trump can’t have any of this. WTF is this kid from the sandbox – Vitale? I guess Trump is having to reach deeper and deeper in the bottom of the barrel to find sycophants like this.

      1. baffling

        apparently in trump world, 130,000 lives would not have been lost if we simply did not test for the virus. tests killed 130,000 and counting. rick stryker is an deceitful creep.

    2. B.A.Badger

      Moses, I am a lawyer, so my day to day work is the pathology of relationships. The selfish meanness you describe is not limited to Christians or conservatives. Nasty people come from all walks of life. I see family members try to put their parent(s) into conservatorships for the purpose of getting Mom or Dad’s money–not to benefit the parent. People put their loved ones into the cheapest residential care facilities so that they can inherit more money. Spouses in divorce lie about and steal from the people they once vowed to love “for as long as we both shall live.” Spouses attempt to hire hitmen to end the relationship because divorce proceedings are expensive. People kill their elderly parents to get the money. People kill their spouses and children because they want to control them, but cannot. People lie, cheat, steal, and kill everyday. Selfish meanness has been rampant from the beginning of human history. The selfishness you chronicle is unfortunate. But, it is negligence (carelessness) –rather than an intent to harm others. The religions, the moralists, the philosophers throughout history have encouraged people to care for one another. It hasn’t worked. But, we can keep trying.

  3. pgl

    As soon as I saw the quote I had to wonder “is this THE RICK”? And of course it was. Twisted logic is his forte.

    1. noneconomist

      And that it would disappear with the heat.In April!
      Which makes it difficult to understand why Arizona is now under siege. Temp in Phoenix tomorrow will be close to 120. Bye bye covid? Not!

  4. Abe

    ” Well, the pandemic was a perfect opportunity. But in America, unlike other countries, the legal authority to implement shutdowns rests with the governors. Trump respects the law and allowed the governors to take the lead..”

    Yep, Federalism at its best. Just like in Education. Oh wait, Trump is threatening to withhold funding for those states, localities, etc. who don’t follow his ‘advice’ on opening schools in the fall.

  5. 2slugbaits

    I wouldn’t characterize Rick Stryker as a “true believer.” He’s far too smart and far too cynical to actually believe that Trump is anything more than a useful buffoon acting for the interests of plutocrats. It’s just that Rick Stryker also supports policies that advance the interests of plutocrats, so a Trump presidency is fine with him. But unlike much of Trump’s MAGA hat wearing base, I don’t think Rick Stryker is a “true believer.” In fact, I seriously doubt that Rick Stryker is a true believer in anything that doesn’t advance his own narrow interests.

    As to the merits of Stryker’s argument that Trump is not a dictator, his case is pretty weak. The examples Stryker cites mainly show that the political system has been somewhat successful in thwarting Trump’s authoritarian tendencies, but only somewhat.

    But in America, unlike other countries, the legal authority to implement shutdowns rests with the governors.

    This is a bizarre comment given that Trump’s efforts have not been to implement shutdown orders, but to do his best to override those orders with calls to “Liberate Michigan” and hold political rallies against the advice of health experts. Trump has been trying to undo those shutdown orders, and with significant success. He brought in a lot of GOP governors to the WH for one-on-one brow beatings to get them to accelerate the reopening of state economies. He is trying to find ways to pressure states to open up all schools this fall regardless of the conditions on the ground. Is there any doubt that if Trump had the legal authority to override governors that he wouldn’t use it to further his own narrow political and financial interests? The question answers itself.

    Rick Stryker also doesn’t seem to understand that calls by Democrats for a national strategy is not the same thing as a dictatorship. In what universe is a bicameral Congress and an independent Executive a “dictatorship”? This is a national and international problem that is simply way too big for states to handle on their own. There are tasks that only the federal government can do, such as print money. Lots of money.

    But his Administration performed very impressively in helping the governors to manage the covid crisis.

    That was somewhat true for about one week in late March/early April. Then Trump got bored. One minute Trump was in charge, and then when things started to go south he dumped it all on the states and said that he wasn’t elected to become the nation’s chief supply clerk. Trump fumbled the handling of the PPE shortage and pitted state and local governments against each other. Trump showed that he didn’t have the faintest idea how to effectively managed a supply chain. Jared Kushner’s air express fiasco was uncovered as shot through with personal corruption. And it was ineffective since it didn’t increase supplies but only redistributed them from high priority to lower priority clients. All of Trump’s intuitions were wrong. As to the results, all we have to do is compare the performance of the EU with ours. The EU and the US were initially on the same trajectory, but while the EU has largely gotten their problem well under control, we’re losing ground.

    Rick Stryker usually puts up a better show than he did with that post. But then again, you have to consider the material that he’s working with. There’s only so much lipstick you can put on a pig.

    1. baffling

      rick stryker is a prime example of the problems we have in america today. a selfish, greedy thorn who cares nothing about the damage he brings to others, as long as he can get his way. think trump, McConnell and other say bags. it is why dick sits alone at home each evening, with no family or friends. at least it keeps him safe from the virus. but it certainly is a pathetic life he leads. his greatest joy is bringing suffering to others.

    2. Willie

      There are two reasons Trump will not become a dictator, even though he kinda wants to be one:

      1. He’s way too lazy.

      2. He’s way too incompetent.

      You could potentially add a third one and that’s his abject cowardice, but that’s just an underlying reason he’s the swaggering bully he is.

    1. pgl

      “Draw your own conclusions from the demographics.”

      Of course we all know that Kelly Anne Conways draws Bruce Hall’s “conclusions” on these matters. But at least you finally figured out how to link to the CDC. It’s about time. Now do not let me interrupt as I’m sure Kelly Anne has emailed you your new marcher orders.

      1. Bruce Hall

        2slug, I could quote Joe Biden and you would come up with a snide remark. Data is available; use it. You are obviously a great analytical mind so tell us what the data say in your own words.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          The obvious conclusions are that 1) US new cases continue to rise to new all time levels, and 2) deaths have stopped declining and are now rising also, although much lower than previously as many more of the new cases are among younger people who have a lower fatality rate.

          Except for Brazil and a handful of other mostly poorer nations, all other nations are not experiencing any of this. Their new cases and their deaths are way down from where they were several months ago, and they are staying down. Even Sweden, th eUS-imitation outlier of the EU is seeing declining new cases and deaths now, if still sticking out in the EU with not such a good performance.

          So, is this all due to badly behaved Dem governors and local officials, and we would look like most EU nations if only they would all obey Trump?

          1. TS

            Unlike Trump, Bolso, BoJo, and the rest, the swedes actually had a plan, and they stuck to it.

            If you look at it the “tightening” the swedes implemented on april 1st, appears to have had the same effect as the curfew that BoJo imposed on march 23rd.

            But unlike the UK, the swedes are about to achieve some kind of meaningful herd immunity in the most densely populated areas.

            I’m not saying the swedes have done it correct. But they certainly did a lot better than many others, achieving similar results in terms if deaths, with far milder measures. And with the added achievement of at least some meaningful herd immunity in certain places.

            The rest of us are vulnerable to a second wave come flue season – the swedes are not. I think we need to re-assess by next summer, in order to judge who did best.

            But it wont be neither the Trump, the Bolso nor the BoJo, that’s for sure.

          2. Ivan

            Sorry TS but the Swedes are not even close to some kind of meaningful herd immunity in the most densely populated areas. They have reached antibody positivity frequencies about half of what it would take (in a small fraction of their total population) after 6 months. Most natural Coronavirus immunity doesn’t last more than 6 months (and may not have protective value for that full period).
            The only place I heard about that may hit close to heard immunity is a small area in Queens NY where antibody positive rates appear to be about 70%. However, we still don’t know whether those antibody positive individuals are protected, or for how long. Furthermore, the constant exchanges with surrounding communities would suggest that they may have to get higher before the remaining (10%) people would be protected by “heard immunity”. I am not sure what the value of heard immunity is if 90% have to get sick in order to protect 10%.

        2. pgl

          ‘Data is available; use it.’ Or in your case cherry pick and misrepresent.

          Come on Bruce – we are all waiting for your expert analysis that blames getting this virus on the victims. What’s the matter Bruce – did your dog take away your lap top? I don’t blame Fido as you have already embarrassed the household enough.

        3. Baffling

          Bruce, you claim to be the analyst here. Please tell us about this data. Astound me with your intellect and insights. Dont be shy now. Speak up and demonstrate your brilliance.

  6. James Edwards

    What the commentator left out is that many of the localities and states were competing for the supplies which President Trump let it happened rather than take the lead to get the supplies out. Instead revert to the blame game to deflect. Not surprised.

    1. pgl

      Trump keeps changing the goal posts. Obama did a terrible job as two Americans died during that pandemic. Of course Trump promised us only one American would die from COVID. Oh wait – make that only 50 thousand. No – make that 130 thousand. Now that we are at 130 thousand and counting our way up to 250 thousand – that shows Trump did a great job as the deaths will not reach 3 million. MAGA!

  7. pgl

    What’s this – the Republican governor of Texas is contradicting Team Trump?

    Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued a grim warning on Thursday night as COVID-19 caseload continue to skyrocket in his state. “I gotta tell you, I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week,” Abbott said during an interview on local Fox News affiliate FOX 26. “And we need to make sure that there’s going to be plenty of hospital beds available in the Houston area. ”The governor also stressed the importance of wearing facial coverings, though he himself had long refused to enact any kind of statewide mask requirement and even banned local Texas governments from fining those who eschewed the mask requirements in those areas.

    Now most of us would applaud Abbott for his integrity and his decision to finally lead. But this is heresy to Team Trump. They need to get Bruce Hall busy finding all sorts of spin to throw at the governor.

    1. baffling

      better late than never. but abbott was aware a month ago of these problems, and chose to ignore them. he deserves no leadership credit. texas would have been ok if abbott had not rushed off and reopened to please confederate president trump. abbott has simply come to terms, at least publicly, that he is an extremely vulnerable individual. the world he was creating was going to kill him, so eventually he changed his course. he is changing course for very selfish reasons. this virus will kill him if he gets infected-and he knows that. but he as a lunatic lt. governor to deal with.

      1. Willie

        So far, Governor Inslee here in Washington has followed a reasonable path. His response has its flaws, but so far, I don’t know of other states that have managed things much better. It’s bad enough here, but it sure could have been worse with the wrong person in the governor’s mansion.

      1. pgl

        Are you too incompetent to even note you are referring to the Henry Ford Medical Center? I posted a link to this story – something you could not be bothered with. Why not Brucie? Oh yea because the actual story showed how the alleged reduction in deaths could have been attributed to other factors.

        Of course by now two things are clear. #1 – you suck at biopharma research. And #2 – you are a serial liar.

        Let me add #3 – a complete incompetent at sourcing anything including your own incessant stupid spin.

        1. Ivan

          Hydroxychloroquine deserved a clinical trial, not a Presidential pardon from proving itself – before it got loaded into national stockpiles and peddled by our President (so his family and friends could harvest huge personal profits).

  8. gino napoli

    Oh yea he’s not a dictator, but Trump has fever dreams. How many inspector general’s have gotten fired? How many phone calls has he had with his buddy Putin since January?

    And how about sending federal troops to gas-flash the crowd at Lafayette Square so he could create a campaign video standing with an upside-down Bible acting like he’s saving religion from the leftist hordes.

    The Trumpista’s seek confirmation bias and they are spoon-fed denial by their chosen media outlets’. They imbibe fake news constructing excuses and pointing their ire at the lower orders who are responsible for the degradation of “culture”. It’s not a dysfunctional national economy pilaged by the plutocracy and mangled by the short-sided actions of equity firms (unless you think it’s “efficient” to destroy viable companies by loading them down with useless debt.) It’s not corporate finance outsourcing and consolidation ownership into holding companies, it’s brown people fleeing police states in Central America and the “leftist” agenda.

    1. pgl

      Trump wants all power but no responsibilities as leader. I guess the right analogy is Emperor Nero who fiddled while Rome burned.

    2. 2slugbaits

      the “leftist” agenda

      Trump and his base’s muddled grasp of political theory is almost comical. One moment Trump is screaming about “Antifa” leftists and the next minute he’s yelling about “far-left fascists”. What next? “Big Brother anarchists”? So apparently there’s such a thing as a “far-left fascist antifa” political ideology. And the really sad part is that I doubt if very many of his MAGA hat supporters would even understand the intellectual confusion in any of that.

      1. gino napoli

        I know. I laughed when Jonah Goldberg’s 2008 classic “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning” hit the book sales. Apparently Hitler was a hippie in disguise.

    1. pgl

      “I found it to be reasonably well-balanced and focused on the statistics of the disease rather than the politics and policies associated with the disease.”

      I will read this in a moment but if your description is valid, then it just the precise opposite of the incessant crap you put up here.

    2. pgl

      Wow once again Bruce Hall cannot even read the 1st sentence:

      “The novel coronavirus is clearly deadlier than the seasonal flu, despite President Trump’s ongoing efforts to downplay its risks.”

      Yea there are different ratios out there. That was Kevin Quinn’s point. Now there are some liars like you that abuse the different ratios to shrill for Trump. But then there are smart people you use statistics to inform not mislead. If you actually understood what your own link said, you might have figured this out by now. But reading and thinking is something you will never grasp.

      1. Bruce Hall


        Good try. I said it was balanced; so does that indicate to you it was partisan?

        You really have to lose the agenda and narrative.

  9. pgl

    Kevin Quinn makes a point about the BS abuse of numbers from Trump and his Minnie me Bruce all:

    “The President’s keeps saying that the US has the lowest Corona-virus fatality rate in the world. And he keeps talking about how we have a high number of cases because we test more. The game he is playing is evident, but I keep waiting for the talking heads to point it out and being disappointed. He is referring to the US case-fatality rate, not the per-capita fatality rate. More testing lowers the case-fatality rate (deaths/case), simply by increasing the denominator. But it simultaneously raises the infection rate (cases/population) by the same proportion, leaving what we are really concerned about, the per-capita mortality rate (deaths/population =(deaths/cases) * (cases/ population)) unaffected.”

    I have been saying this over and over and yet the moron (or liar your choice) Bruce Hall never gets it. Kevin puts it so clearly that even a village idiot like Bruce Hall has to understand the simple point by now. But is that going to stop his incessant spin? Of course not.

    1. Bruce Hall

      I will continue to provide the weekly change in the weekly death counts as long as this subject keeps appearing here. Then we’ll see if the dynamics have changed or remain constant. Will nursing homes deaths continue to comprise 43% of the future deaths as they did in April? Or have state governors like Whitmer and Cuomo realized that forcing nursing homes to accept Covid-19 infected patients might be a bad idea for that demographic? Inquiring minds want to know.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Oh thank you than you thank you, Bruce!!! If it were not for you, there is no way any of us would have even the remotest idea of what is going on with this!!!

        1. Bruce Hall


          If you can show me a CDC report that shows how their data has changed over time (not just the latest data updates), I’ll be glad to quit showing the data. Meanwhile, do you have an objection to showing that 52% of the “new deaths” were actually changes from the 6/30 report to the 7/14 for the period 2/1-6/6?

          People tend to focus on totals; if the total goes from 111,760 on 6/30 to 120,675 on 7/14, the presumption is that these are current period deaths. The actuality is that more than half are adjustments to much older data. I’m sorry that you find this useless information.

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Apparently the CDC will no longer have any data, or will get it censored and very late. It is going now into a site at HHS, whiere it is not coming out, or at least not all of it, and where the Trump admin can control what is allowed to come out. States and local govts no longer get the data and have to wait for this HHS entity to provide it. We may also yet have the National Guard going to hospitals to make sure they send it to the right place where it can be manipulated it not buried.

      2. pgl

        Maybe you flunked dropbox too (dropbox over the CDC or John Hopkins – Bruce Hall’s research skills SUCK) but it seems deaths per week spiked in late June.

        Come on Bruce – it is bad enough that you lie for Trump 24/7 but could you review your own links before embarrassing yourself this badly?

      3. 2slugbaits

        Bruce Hall Your analytical skills are pretty weak. In another post you (apparently) tried to point out that most COVID deaths are in older age groups. And here you’re noting that many of the deaths in April were in nursing homes. Old and weak people live in nursing homes, a lot of old and weak people died of COVID, therefore nursing homes caused those deaths!!! QED. If that’s your idea of “analysis” then I hope your old employer never relied upon you to do any kind of quantitative analysis. That’s not even high school level material. Did you control for the outcomes of old and weak folks who did not go to nursing homes? Would the results have been any different if they had stayed at home surrounded by COVID infected family members? Are we still seeing unusually high rates of nursing home deaths from COVID?

        You asked what conclusions I would draw from your demographic data from CDC. Bottom line: nothing. If you want to do a worthwhile analysis, then you need to associate deaths with more factors than simply age and sex. A lot more. So many more that many of those variables are likely to be highly correlated with one another. To fix that you would want to adopt a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) approach that would reduce many highly correlated variables and factors into just a few synthetic components that capture most of the variability in the data. After doing all that you might be able to make some intelligent conclusions about what the data says. That’s the difference between analysis and just mindlessly posting links to untethered data.

        As to your dropbox spreadsheet, that’s another waste of time. For one thing, it fails to capture the dynamics of COVID. Do you understand how to evaluate the three coupled differential equations that are used to graphically display the baseline SIR model? Do you know how to set parameters that dynamically change the infectivity rate in response to policy changes?

        1. Bruce Hall


          Old and weak people live in nursing homes, a lot of old and weak people died of COVID, therefore nursing homes caused those deaths!!! QED.

          Oh, come on. You are conflating two issues: the susceptibility of older people to succumb to the effects of the virus and the policies that forced nursing homes to re-admit infected patients leading to the spread of the virus in those nursing homes. The nursing homes didn’t “cause” the deaths; the deaths were as a result of bring the virus into an environment with frail people.

          Minus 10 points on your credibility index.

        1. Bruce Hall


          I’d appreciate the link to the official CDC 7-day moving average Covid-19 death counts. I’ll check back later for your response.

          1. baffling

            bruce hall, do you disagree that the 7 day moving average for deaths in the usa is increasing. yes or no. simple question. irrelevant from any cdc link.

      4. Willie

        No, nursing homes will not continue to account for 43% of fatalities. Younger people and more active people will be dying in this next round of deaths. Go get a job in a meat packing plant.

        1. Ulenspiegel

          “No, nursing homes will not continue to account for 43% of fatalities. Younger people and more active people will be dying in this next round of deaths. Go get a job in a meat packing plant.”

          That is very likely nonsense. If you check share of nursing home deaths in countries with low cov-10 deats numbers you find that still 40% of the deaths happen in nursing homes.

          Better thesis: Higher number of infected young people simply mean that more nursing homes are hit, the share of older people will stay constant.

          1. Ivan

            Your “better thesis” is in conflict with the data. The share of older people getting COVID-19 in the US has been dropping. Probably because we have become much more aware of how important it is to isolate the old from infections – and better at doing it. At the same time attitudes and behavior of young people during the summer months seem to have “slipped”. That is why the data show that the average age of diagnosed COVID-19 patients has been reduced drastically. Presuming that death rates for different age groups remain the same, we will expect that the younger groups will find their share of the total deaths to increase.

      5. Baffling

        So bruce has moved on to denying deaths after spending weeks arguing that infections were not rising. Becomes difficult to argue with data, doesnt it bruce? Loser.

        1. Bruce Hall


          I don’t recall saying that there were no more cases; I did say, however, that the basis for counting cases has been altered by a dramatic increasing in the testing which any reasonable person would expect to result in an increase in the number of “cases”.

          Here is Florida:
          Here is New York:

          What I pointed out previously was that New York’s daily “record” of cases on April 4 was based on somewhere in the neighborhood of 20K tests while Florida’s was based on around 60K tests. If you normalize the data for number of tests performed, then New York’s cases would have been much higher than Florida’s.

          As to “denying deaths”, since I am using CDC’s data, I guess they must be “denying deaths” as well.

          1. Bruce Hall

            One correction: Florida’s “new daily record” (15.3K) was based on 98,708 tests according to Johns Hopkins. That’s considerably more opportunity to find a “case” than New York’s effort on April 4.

    2. Alan Goldhammer

      I have also been saying this as well. I posted the other day that one can do simple extrapolations based on a 60% herd immunity rate. If the true CRF ends up at 0.5% this results in 990,000 deaths. You can adjust this down to 0.3% which I think is the lowest it will be and equivalent to the 1958-59 epidemic, 594,000 deaths result.

      Is this acceptable? It also ignores any long term health effects of COVID-19 that we don’t understand right now.

  10. Alan Goldhammer

    The irony of the ‘we test too much, let’s stop’ is self-defeating. In the absence of adequate documentation or the number of infections, the Case Report Fatality (CRF) rate remains abnormally high. It is remarkably easy to measure death. CRF is math at it’s simplest (great for those of us whose last differential calculus course was over 50 years ago): deaths/# of infected individuals. I post daily statistics in my newsletter and today it remains at 4.2%. Most of us who have been studying the disease trajectory, believe it will ultimately come down to 0.3-0.6% which is higher than seasonal flu and slightly higher than the 1958-59 epidemic. If you stop testing guess what happens to the CRF? It has to go up because people are still dying of COVID-19. If our President and Republican officials want to reassure the public they would spend huge $$$s on testing so we would really know how lethal this is. Yes, it may be that 99% of the people don’t die but you cannot base this on current numbers.

    Mr. Stryker’s post ignores all of the missteps made by countless members of this administration. I’ve been documenting all of this on a daily basis since mid-March ( ) and Mr. Stryker is welcome to read my free newsletters at the link or even subscribe. Had things been handled differently we wouldn’t be in spot we are today.

    1. pgl

      Nice mask on your link. We’ll check out what you post as I’m sure it is more informative than the parade of lies we get from Bruce Hall!

      1. Bruce Hall

        pgl, I provide data or relevant statements with supporting links; you provide “entertainment”.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: You provide links, often completely misinterpreting completely, or links with critical caveats omitted. On the other hand, most of pgl‘s comments on economics have been verifiable.

          1. Bruce Hall


            The latest objection seems to be with the graphic that summarizes changes in the CDC’s weekly reporting of deaths. The caveats are front and center. I don’t make up the data or use unverified estimates.

            If someone feels that the data are misrepresented, then simply provide an alternative, not a snarky response. Most of pgl’s comments are ad hominem attacks.

            • do you disagree with my position that simply publishing new death totals without showing how historical data has been adjusted is misleading?
            • do you disagree that policy decisions by state governors that required nursing homes to re-admit infected patients was a major blunder?
            • do you disagree that comparing “cases” based on testing volume in April to “cases” based on testing volume in July is misleading?
            • do you disagree that Covid-19 deaths as reported by the CDC are primarily age related? (as baffling seems to reject by demanding a plethora of additional “variables”)
            • do you disagree that treatment approaches have been improved and that early treatment with the drug hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin and zinc is effective (Henry Ford Health Systems)? … or that there has also been success with Remdesivir and desoximetasone in early treatment? … thus changing the cases/deaths equation?
            • do you disagree non-CDC sources of deaths are unverified estimates?

            I appreciate your bias toward complex analysis; that’s to be expected in academia and especially in economics which relies on interpretation as much as data. But what is your objection to a straightforward summation of government data?

            I don’t discount the impact that Covid-19 has had, but I do question some of the policy decisions that have been made based on incomplete data and hyperbole. I’m sorry if you or some of your blog’s readers find opposing or challenging views uncomfortable, but I don’t find juvenile responses very valuable.

          2. Barkley Rosser


            The only one of your statements here that you have substantial ground to stand on is the one about state govs sending people to nursing homes being a bad idea, although that was something the Trump admin was also supporting at one point.

            The rest of this is either dead wrong or a more complicated situation than you let on, making your statements not fully correct as put.

          3. Bruce Hall

            Barkley Rosser, you are welcome to back up your negative statements with actual data. I prefer official government data, not the Washington Post.

            I’ve laid out my points and you are welcome to present your case why you believe them to be incorrect, incomplete, or false. I can deal with data; I have no patience with unsubstantiated personal attacks. As I provide links and supporting data, I’d appreciate you do the same. This offers a basis for discussion. Statements such as “The rest of this is either dead wrong or a more complicated situation than you let on, making your statements not fully correct as put” are pretty much meaningless and useless.

            The Washington Post ran an article: Cases are rising and deaths are not far behind. But how far?

            My comment was:
            When it comes to comparing cases and deaths, we have an apples/oranges situation. Deaths are tallied based on on death certificates; some of those assigned Covid-19 as the cause based on “probable” cases, not verified.

            But the real issue is that the level of testing has skyrocketed. Back in April when New York had the highest daily case record of 12,400, it was based on 20,000-25,000 daily tests. Florida recently eclipsed that record by recording 15,300 cases in one day earlier in July. That new record, however, was based on nearly 100,000 tests according to Johns Hopkins which attempts to track all of these data.

            Many of the positive test results in Florida were for asymptomatic or almost no symptom persons who would not have been included in the New York tally. If we take the 4:1 test volume of Florida versus New York, then the actual cases in New York may have been closer to 50,000 versus Florida’s 15,300.

            It is the identification of these asymptomatic/very mildly symptomatic cases that may well cause a divergence in cases versus deaths. Also, treatment protocols are improving and far fewer people are going on ventilators as doctors have realized that early intervention does save lives. Waiting until someone is on a ventilator to administer medications is a useless endeavor. Secondly, states were embarrassed into reversing their requirements for nursing homes to accept infected patients which then spread the disease among the most vulnerable of our population. The New York Times reported in an article updated July 7 that 43% of the national deaths were in nursing homes and that number did not always include nursing home patients who went to hospitals and died there.

            The CDC reports deaths nationally and by state and data is updated to reflect new death certificates processed. Comparing the death count reported on June 30 with the one on July 14, there is an increase of almost 8,900 deaths. But 52% of those were adjustments to weeks prior to June 7.

          4. baffling

            “But the real issue is that the level of testing has skyrocketed. Back in April when New York had the highest daily case record of 12,400, it was based on 20,000-25,000 daily tests. Florida recently eclipsed that record by recording 15,300 cases in one day earlier in July. ”
            bruce, let me comment here on why barkley discounts your comments as useless. i will simply say you are stoopid. you have been perpetually undermining the severity of the pandemic by arguing that cases are rising much faster than deaths, so things are not so bad-testing is making cases appear worse. as we all know, deaths lag a few weeks from case increases. and it is true that treatment has improved. that does not make the virus any less dangerous. but in more real time (compared to deaths), hospitalization usage and icu usage has increased dramatically. these metrics are really irrelevant of testing volume. the virus is spreading, and rapidly, in some of our highest population states. why you continue to deny the severity of the pandemic is quite baffling to me.

  11. sammy

    President Trump is an optimist. All good leaders are. No one is going to follow someone to doom. Of all people, you economists know the importance of morale.

    So is it a surprise that our leader presents the best possible scenarios? What leader wouldn’t? As far as his performance goes, I see very little that he could have done differently that would have made a difference.

      1. sammy


        Trump is the opposite of Mao. Mao, like all Communist and Socialists, is all about the power of the State. We can see the results of that.

        Listen to every speech. Look at every policy. Trump is about the power of the individual, and collectively the people.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          sammy: But in his denial of reality, and willingness to lie and deceive, and sacrifice the lives of innocent people, he is *exactly* like Mao. Only more demented (if that is possible).

          1. Moses Herzog

            There are some similarities there, that I must confess I hadn’t thought of before. It’s not a stretch to say this qualifies as a “mass deaths” “on his own populace” type situation. So I would say the congruencies there are disturbingly similar. Probably some other things I’m failing to notice. Would sending ICE goons out to round up women and children and non-criminals somewhat parallel Mao’s sending urban children out to the country side for “re-education” ?? Maybe not an exact analogy there but I smell some similarities. How about forcing many farmers into bankruptcy because of bad agricultural trade policy?? Increased agriculture subsidies. It forces farmers to change how they use their land and the mixture of crops they produce to minimize financial losses. Those decisions are being made not because of markets but because of donald trump’s agriculture policy.

            donald trump’s out in the open hate speech against journalists mirrors Mao’s 1966 propaganda to have school teachers murdered. Encouraging his rally crowds to physically attack or kill journalists that document his rally behavior and if attendees are taking CDC guidelines related to COVID-19 to heart.

            Tying in his own persona and his own personal whims with “patriotism”—that’s a very Maoist trait.

        2. 2slugbaits

          sammy Trump is very much like Mao. It’s all about a cult of personality. And what could be any more Maoist than believing in a doctrine of a unified Executive with unlimited powers and answerable to no one, which is exactly what Trump’s lawyers tried to argue before the SCOTUS.

          Trump is about the power of the individual

          Only his own individual power. His view is that the Executive Department is there only to serve his personal and political interests. What you don’t understand is that the “Deep State” is the only thing that prevents Trump from becoming the authoritarian dictator that he so admires in other countries. You may not know it, but the “Deep State” is your best friend.

          the power of the individual, and collectively the people.

          Ponder that statement and ask yourself if it makes any sense. It’s strange that you deny Trump is a Maoist and then in the very next line you talk about “collectively the people.” Have you ever read any political theory?

          1. sammy


            “Only his own individual power. His view is that the Executive Department is there only to serve his personal and political interests.”

            Before I agree to your point, what evidence do you have of this?

          2. 2slugbaits

            sammy One example is the way he understands the role of the Attorney General. He complained that Jeff Sessions didn’t understand that the job of the Attorney General was to protect the President. Trump doesn’t understand the difference between the AG and his own personal attorney. Trump misunderstands the role of the Executive Department as an institution whose sole mission is to execute the will of the President. That’s wrong. The Executive Departments are supposed to follow laws and established regulations. Trump found that out the other day when he lost a DACA battle because the Executive did not follow its own rules and regulations. Trump keeps losing battles over the misappropriation of funds. Trump seems to think that a budget is just a pile of money that he can spend however he wants. Apparently Trump doesn’t understand the legal and fiscal differences between appropriated funds and non-appropriated funds. Trump believes that his role as commander-in-chief means the military must execute every one of his orders. That’s wrong. In fact, the military is obligated to disobey any illegal order coming from the President. Trump views government as a private fiefdom.

          3. pgl

            ‘“Only his own individual power. His view is that the Executive Department is there only to serve his personal and political interests.”

            Before I agree to your point, what evidence do you have of this?’

            Oh let me as this one is easy. Every damn thing Trump has done over the past 3.5 years.

          4. 2slugbaits

            Before I agree to your point, what evidence do you have of this?

            sammy Less than 12 hours since you asked that question Chairman Trump provided us with two more examples of the way he abuses political power for his own personal interests. Yesterday evening he commuted the sentence of Chairman Trump’s good buddy Roger Stone, and Stone’s conviction was related to his lying about his efforts to help Trump in the 2016 election. And then a couple hours later we learn that Trump fired yet another district attorney that was investigating some of Trump’s shady business dealings. For those keeping count at home, that’s the third district attorney who has been fired for investigating Trump and replaced with a Trump lackey. If Obama or Clinton did that kind of stuff your hair would be on fire.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Another model is Winston Churchill after Dunkerque. He was inspiring, but he was not handing out pollyanna bs. Trump likes to think he is some kind of Churchill, but what Lloyd Bentsen said about Dan Quayle and JF Kennedy holds even more strongly in comparing Trump to Churchill.

    2. pgl

      Hope for the best and plan for the worst might be a good idea. But Trump gets this exactly backwards. He assumed there would be no problem and his total lack of leadership let what could have been a mild issue turn into an utter disaster. Look Rick – you cannot be THIS stupid. Or can you?

    3. baffling

      “President Trump is an optimist. All good leaders are. ”
      sammy, you need to understand, being an optimist does not man you abdicate your responsibility to protect the nation. trump was a terrible leader at the outset of the virus, and continues to lead poorly to this day. he has had half a year to prepare schools for safe reopening. what has he done? nothing. there is still no testing, tracing or support for school safety measures. nothing. when a state tries to protect its citizens with masks, trump disputes. why? masks are known to provide safety. why would the president be against safety precautions. he is trying to dismantle the legitimacy of the cdc and nih, in an attempt to cover up and redirect his own failings. optimism is important, i will grant you. but you need to back it up with good decision making. otherwise, unnecessary deaths occur.

    4. Wally

      I think of optimists as happy, good-natured persons who look on the bright side of things rather than as whiny, vindictive, abusive, destructive, name calling narcissists. Funny how so many other countries found a way to act differently and make a difference but we failed spectacularly.
      In the end, the leader bears responsibility. Those who aren’t willing to shoulder that risk and handle it like an adult that should not offer themselves for the job.

    5. Ivan

      A good leader would acknowledge the severity of the situation and come up with a fact-based plan to fight the pandemic. A good leader would have used emergency powers to take over (or dictate) production and distribution of all material needed to fight this pandemic. A good leader would not waste his/her credibility by pie-in-the-sky predictions that crashed within days or weeks – leaving the people feeling that their nation had no competent leadership in a serious crisis. A good leader would have ensured bipartisanship support to fight the crisis by inviting all political fractions to participate in planning the fight. A good political leader would have been at the forefront of agitating for science-based changes in personal behaviors (such as wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing), and also fully supportive of science-based criteria for collective government actions/rules to slow the pandemic. Yes a good leader should also have a “yes we can” attitude as he/she ask for the whole nation to make sacrifices to win this WWIII – but that is quite different from a cheer leading fact-denying “we won” chant when the team is down by 56 with 5 min to go. All of those other western countries who have done much better than US had leaders who recognized the severity of the situation, then lead by example and without denying reality. We are such a large and rich country we could have done better than EU, if only we had a president who was a good leader.

  12. Moses Herzog

    I hope someone spits in his face and escorts him and the wife he doesn’t care for off the property next time he’s at a Native American casino or is on Native American tribal land:

    I guess it figures out, when you consider donald trump insulted Cruz’s wife multiple times and now he shines donald trump’s shoes. Apparently filthy dogs like to rub dirt off on each other. Or maybe Cruz and donald trump are what the Navajo call chąąʼ

  13. Moses Herzog

    A man of honor, a man who thinks treaties should be broken with Native American tribes and for the 10,001th time we should steal land from the people we promised it to:

    Now we know what Republicans mean by “family values”. It means your wife smiles dutifully while her husband treats her face as a doormat.

  14. Moses Herzog

    FT is currently doing a series called “Free to Read”. It’s in the guise of offering free articles with no paywall, to educate people on COVID-19. But some of them have a lot of good economics and finance info, and are pretty loosely tied in with the virus. So you’re getting a lot of finance/economics education, that might be normally hidden behind a very expensive and strict paywall. There’s over 100 articles. If you want good sourcing of your reading materials but are like me and try to weasel your way around paywalls, I suggest you get to it:

  15. joseph

    There’s nothing new here. Megapixel Stryker demonstrated the sort of person he was on the very first day of the Trump administration when he leaped to the defense of Trump in his lie about his inauguration crowd size, with megapixel pictures, no less. Stryker literally demanded that you deny the reality you could see with your own two eyes.

    That’s what a true loyalist is, a person who is willing to debase themselves in defense of his Dear Leader. The more outrageous the lie, the more his debasement proves his loyalty. It is common test by cult leaders and Stryker passes with flying colors.

    1. 2slugbaits

      joseph It’s worse than that. Before Rick Stryker was jumping to Trump’s defense, he was a staunch Never Trumper in late 2015/early 2016 before it looked like Trump would win the nomination. Some of his comments were so harsh on Trump that I could have written them. But like a good soldier without any firm convictions, only financial interests, Stryker quickly got in line with the Trump cult of personality.

  16. sammy


    On the subject of masks and the CDC, they published this study on 5/20/2020:

    “Disposable medical masks (also known as surgical masks) are loose-fitting devices that were designed to be worn by medical personnel to protect accidental contamination of patient wounds, and to protect the wearer against splashes or sprays of bodily fluids (36). There is limited evidence for their effectiveness in preventing influenza virus transmission either when worn by the infected person for source control or when worn by uninfected persons to reduce exposure. Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.”

    At first this does not make intuitive sense, but when you realize that probably 90% of the air you expel bypasses the filter and blows out the side, it does.

      1. pgl

        One of the authors is identified as

        Ms. Xiao is a postgraduate student at the School of Public Health, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. Her primary research interests are influenza epidemiology and the dynamics of person-to-person transmission.

        Sammy is giving credence to a researcher in China? Well that is a step forward for him.

      2. sammy


        It’s actually older than that, May 2019. And it is an analysis of past flu pandemics, so there is no new data. That is the beauty of it – it’s not politicized.

          1. pgl

            “That is the beauty of it – it’s not politicized.”

            As you note – it is not relevant to the current debate. Come on Sammy – you are losing it.

    1. Wally

      Osterholm has been critical of the mask recommendations, pointing out that there are masks and there are masks. A blanket statement of effectiveness without a precise descriptions of what type of mask is being talked about is of little value and may, in fact, be harmful because it can lead people to believe they are getting protection that is not there. In spite of a barrage of articles stating that masks are ‘proven effective’, they have not been. The conclusions have generally been narratives (it should work because….) and are not evidence-based.
      I wear one in public around other persons… but I put my faith in distancing and in avoiding closed rooms or spaces, not in that mask.

      1. Moses Herzog

        I will say there are a lot of people who seem to think masks are placed under the chin (as in the entire mask put under the chin), or also don’t realize you need a tight fit over the nose. I’m betting, if Menzie didn’t figure it out on his own (I wager he did) his medically trained relatives told him, if you wear the standard hospital mask (not N-95 but the more common one), there’s like a bendable metal inside that cloth a lot of people miss, that part goes on the upper part of the mask and you pinch it down over the natural form of your nose to get a tight fit. If you don’t have that tight fit the mask becomes near useless. So that metal part is important, if you’re not crimping that metal part inside the mask to the natural shape of your nose about 2/3rds up, you’re really almost wasting your time.

        I’ve had a relative who was an RN for a long time, and I never knew that until probably early March of this year, so feel free to give me the dum-dum award on that one.

        1. sammy


          Masks have become a talisman. They also represent obedience and social conformity.

          In Oregon, the governor has carved out an exception that you don’t have to wear a mask if you are engaged in strenuous exercise (but you do have to where one for the 10 feet between the door and the check in desk, go figure). At this gym about 50% wear masks. The fit people tend not to wear them, why? because they are the ones working out hard enough to need oxygen. The mask wearers struggle to work out as they are suffocating, like some version of Middle Age flagellates. Unless they wear some mask, like a handkerchief draped over their nose, that is so loose that it doesn’t filter any air. So the masked people just sit on the machines and glower at the non mask wearers.

          Many people are wearing masks outside. At least one governor has mandated it. I worry about the compromise of their immune system, which is kind of important. It is unbelievable to me that we’ve reached a point where the government can dictate your ability to breathe.

          1. 2slugbaits

            sammy You seem a little confused about the primary purpose of wearing a mask. The reason people should wear masks is not to protect themselves; it’s to protect others. Other than N95 masks, ordinary cloth masks provide very limited protection for the wearer. The main benefit of my wearing a mask is to protect you from droplets and sprays that I might emit. Masks are pretty good at catching those droplets. People who exercise very strenuously are making themselves fitter but at the expense of making others less healthy because people who exercise hard also exhale more virus loaded droplets. The reason mask wearers “glower at non mask wearers” is because not wearing a mask is communicating that you don’t give a damn about anyone else’s health as long as you can do whatever you want. People who refuse to wear masks in public are selfish public menaces who deserve shaming. People who wear masks are saying that they care enough about the welfare of others that they are willing to endure discomfort to ensure the safety of others. People who don’t wear masks are telling the world that they don’t give a damn about anyone else. That’s why you see so many immature teenagers and twentysomethings not wearing masks. They haven’t yet developed a social conscience.

          2. pgl

            “The fit people tend not to wear them, why? because they are the ones working out hard enough to need oxygen.”

            This is from someone who has never worked a day in his life. I’ve run every morning since this began and I find a way to being responsible. Your version of working out is to bloviate Trumpian BS like this

            “Masks have become a talisman. They also represent obedience and social conformity.”

            Seriously? You are the obedient one – obedient to King Donald I.

            But could you try harder as this latest bloviation of yours is really lame. Like your workouts!

          3. pgl

            I had to find a definition of Sammy’s new pet term:

            A talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties that provide particular power, energy, and specific benefits to the possessor.

            I guess this is object is the bleach Trump wants us to take. Magical properties to ward off the virus. Or was that wearing those magical MAGA hats.

            And let’s not forget Sammy’s close:

            “I worry about the compromise of their immune system, which is kind of important. It is unbelievable to me that we’ve reached a point where the government can dictate your ability to breathe.:

            My Lord – the dumbest comment ever. Wearing a mask does not compromise the immune system. But I guess Sammy wearing that magical MAGA hat of his has compromised his brain.

          4. Moses Herzog

            @ 2slugbaits and pgl
            No, No, I’m afraid Sammy’s got you this time. Masks are very closely tied into social conformity and following whatever the authority figures tell us :




            Obviously conformists and lapdogs are attracted to masks. This is a non-starter as a blog debate. Sammy has slam-dunked you, again

    2. pgl

      “It’s actually older than that, May 2019.”
      That is when the paper was published Sammy. I guess you forgot to check the footnotes of their table 1.
      Page created: April 16, 2020
      Page updated: April 16, 2020
      Page reviewed: April 16, 2020

      And this page was a summary of some pretty old studies which had nothing to do with COVID-19. But thanks for bringing a recent publication summarizes some really old studies. And you thought it was the latest in research!

  17. pgl

    Trump was asked about how the virus is spreading. He declared this was only happening in a “few places” like Arizona and Florida and that these hot spots would have this under control “very quickly”. Of course he was lying but it seems he knows sycophants like Sammy, THE RICK, and Bruce Hall will search and search and search for “evidence” that supports Trump’s assertions. Someone get this crew a fiddle so they can make like Nero when Rome burned.

    1. noneconomist

      Hey, Arizona and Florida are home home to only 28 million people. Add in Texas and California and you’re only up to about 98 million. Problem?

  18. Moses Herzog

    “Better late than never”

    Maybe China thinks they can thumb their nose at the world and get away with it?? The quality of their goods doesn’t even match Japan’s of the late 1980s. They better quite screwing over every tech and industrial manufacturing outfit that enters their country, or they’re going to find India, Vietnam etc eating their lunch, breakfast, AND dinner. Beijing’s citizens have to lick Beijing’s orifice, foreign businesses that have 10+ locations to select from for cheap labor do not.

  19. Baffling

    Texas lt gov outraged that houston cancelled republican convention next week. Personally, i would have let the old scum get together and kill one another off. The mayor saved their lives. But to top it off, lt gov is outraged that he cannot give his speech live through the safety of zoom! Sure enough, lt gov (and gov abbott) were not going to attend the conference live anyways. They were too concerned about the virus, and planned to attend virtually. You cant make this stuff up! Confederate hypocrites. Rick stryker would be proud. Losers.

  20. Baffling

    Post 4th of july blowout sale at the white house. Buy your trump get out of jail cards while they last. For a limited time only. Sale ends on next election.

  21. joseph

    Well, this should interest Kopits. Trump’s former Homeland Security secretary says that after Maria hit Puerto Rico, Trump suggested “divesting or selling” the island. This might explain his complete lack of interest in the lives of the people there. It fits Trump’s business pattern. Whenever he has a failure, he turns his back and tries to dump his losses on someone else. Five bankruptcies.

    3.2 million American citizens and Trump was trying to sell them out — literally selling out the country. There’s probably a word for that.

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