On the Consequences of Inflammatory Language Use on Social Media

Remember assertions that the use of the term “China Virus” in the stead of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 was not only appropriate, but desirable? From Time:

Since the start of the pandemic last spring, Asian Americans have faced racist violence at a much higher rate than previous years. The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900% in New York City in 2020. Stop AAPI Hate, a reporting database created at the beginning of the pandemic as a response to the increase in racial  violence, received 2,808 reports of anti-Asian discrimination between March 19 and  December 31, 2020. The violence has continued into 2021, and President Joe Biden signed an  executive order denouncing anti-Asian discrimination shortly after taking office in January. While anti-Asian violence has taken place nationwide and particularly in major cities, the uptick in attacks in 2021 has been particularly focused in the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco and Oakland’s Chinatowns.

Well, Steven Kopits, the Asian-American community of America thanks you.

See also WaPo.

151 thoughts on “On the Consequences of Inflammatory Language Use on Social Media

  1. Moses Herzog

    I don’t interact with said commenter other than to insult both him and his statements. I don’t know why people argue with him on policy on this blog, that includes 2slugbaits but also a separate group of others I’m not wasting time interacting with here anymore. When you argue with him on policy you’re giving him a level of respect he doesn’t deserve. Calling someone out, and debating with someone like they are “equals” is two different things. I don’t mince words with that group. To me it’s like talking about the weather with someone wearing confederacy army garb and waving a dixie flag. I’m telling them what I think of them, then that’s the end of it, I don’t need to discuss if they like autumn weather or what their favorite color is. They are shit to me. I don’t converse with shit.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Moses Herzog If this were the year 421 B.C. do you think Socrates would refuse to engage with Steven Kopits?

      1. Moses Herzog

        I’m not educated enough on the classical Greeks to give a qualified answer. Maybe not absolutely refuse to engage with Kopits, but maybe, something tells me if Socrates saw Kopits walking towards him in a long hallway, and Kopits was waving his arm around in the air to talk with him, Socrates would try to find a way to extricate himself from the situation. Maybe a quick dodge to the side-corridor leading to the nearest authentic Asian cuisine restaurant.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Moses Herzog Well, Socrates had no problem engaging in dialogues with the likes of Alcibiades (a famous traitor) and Critias (one of the bloody Thirty Tyrants set up by Sparta to rule Athens).

          1. Moses Herzog

            I’m all for “engagement”. I’ve even occasionally thought about writing to guys in federal prison whose stories sparked my interest, like the guy who wrote “Cherry” who I believe is in a federal prison (or was, he may be out now) somewhere in Kentucky. But there are certain people beyond engagement. For me, I perceive Kopits to be in this group. A guy who says he was a TA for a stats class that can’t define what a confidence interval is?? How are you supposed to talk to a guy like that?? Or can’t understand that there’s a lag between people dying in a very chaotic situation and the time those deaths are officially certified?? You really think you’re going to talk to someone like that and some ligtbulb is going to pop up above his head after you had a dialogue with him, for say two hours?? I’m very tolerant and when I was teaching would personally reach out to the students in the back of the class, but even I have my limits. Kopits is probably at least in his early 60s age wise, you’re not going to be able to take away that xenophobia, at this point, from a person who has had multiple entreaties.

      2. Macroduck

        In 421 B.C., engaging with an unenlightened individual allowed unenlightened thought limited attention. In 2021, engaging the world in dispute with unenlightened thought can be a powerful channels for the spread of unenlightened thought. Technical advance has implications good and bad.

  2. pgl

    Maybe Princeton Stevie did not notice but Peak Trader recently made a couple of comments which were actually halfway intelligent. Oh wait Princeton Stevie does not understand intelligent comments. Never mind.

    And yea – NYC is unfortunately seeing hate crimes go up.

  3. ltr


    February 18, 2021

    Anti-Asian Racism Isn’t New
    A frightening wave of attacks has Asian communities on edge. But I experienced street harassment long before the pandemic.
    By Qian Julie Wang

    One of the first English words I learned was an ethnic slur I heard whenever my parents and I walked around the city. I was 7 years old and had just moved to Brooklyn from China. One day, eager to show off, I turned to my father and declared, “We are chinks now!” in English. My father looked as if I had stabbed him. In a grave, low voice he told me to never utter that word again.

    That slur has haunted me throughout my life, cutting like a knife when I least expect it. A boy on a bike once screamed it so deep into my ear that it rang for hours afterward. The ringing eventually subsided, but the street harassment became a regular fixture in my life.

    Before the pandemic, the simple act of walking to the courthouse where I work demanded exhaustive control of my body. For a while I tried very hard to make myself look less feminine and more white. I’d pretend to be deaf when strangers addressed me with their eyes pulled back into a slant while taunting “Me love you long time” or loudly said they had “yellow fever.”

    As the coronavirus spread, I began to dread my commute to work. People made a show of keeping away from me even in crowded subway train cars. Other times, the harassment was more overt — strangers bumped their shoulders into me; someone jabbed me with the pointy metal end of a long umbrella while shouting, “Go back to China.” My parents wore hats, sunglasses and double masks whenever they left the house.

    The last time I took the train to work, in March, a man put his face inches away from mine and shouted “chink” while looking me dead in the eyes. Not one person came to my defense. The slur rang through my ears, transporting me back to my childhood. I haven’t set foot on a train or a bus since.

    I’m far from alone. The United States has had a surge in violence against Asian-Americans during the pandemic. Between March and December 2020, Stop AAPI Hate, an initiative that tracks and responds to reported incidents of violence and discrimination directed at Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, received more than 2,800 reports of incidents against Asian-Americans. Stop AAPI Hate also found that women are twice as likely as men to report coronavirus-related harassment.

    Though Anti-Asian sentiment has increased during the pandemic, it is woven into the very fabric of this country. The Page Act of 1875 effectively barred Chinese women, who were believed to spread sexual disease and to pose a threat to white values, lives and futures, from entering the country. The Chinese Exclusion Act, which was signed into law in 1882, was the first and only enacted legislation to prohibit immigration of all individuals of a particular national origin. The exclusion laws weren’t repealed until 1943, when Congress established an immigration quota for China of about 105 visas per year.

    The country’s legal framework dehumanized Asian immigrants, and in turn emboldened Americans to brutalize us. In the Chinese Massacre of 1871, a white mob hanged nearly 20 Chinese immigrants in makeshift gallows in Los Angeles….

    1. Willie

      It is painful history and utterly shameful and unacceptable that it still happens. That is all there is to say about it.

      We all have to look inside to make sure the prejudices we all carry are neutralized. It is nice to think each of us would stand up for a person being attacked. But would we? I do not know what I would do. It is a sobering thought.

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Willie
        I had a journalist acquaintance who wrote an editorial where he kind of “told on himself”. He remembered being a young adult just starting out in the job market, and working in a restaurant, and hearing a colleague use the N-word semi-regular and never objecting or doing anything about it, and then feeling a lot of guilt at the time and carry-over guilt. I actually had a great deal of respect for this guy, because I suspect 90%+ of people out there have had a very similar type of experience where they should have done something, but didn’t because the complications or “hassles” there involved. But only maybe 1 in 10,000 (or less) would ever confess to it later. I think if people could open up in this way when we have discussions and dialogue about race, it would help progress the issue.

  4. Dr. Dysmalist

    As I stated in one of the threads, I don’t recall which, when or after PT proved himself a poor excuse for a human being, Trump clearly meant and used the phrase as a racial slur. He was unambiguous about it, and it was unmistakable.

    As far as I’m concerned, anyone else using the phrase certainly knows this by now, and they’re also unambiguously using it the same way Trump did. Regardless of which specious argument(s) is(are) used to try to justify it (and at this point, they’re all specious), there are zero reasons for its use except being a racist troll.

    Use of the term is despicable. No excuses accepted, no quarter given.

  5. Bruce Hall

    A lot of outrage was sparked by the recent killing of Vicha Ratanapakdee, an 84-year old Thai immigrant.

    Many have pointed out that racial violence against Asian Americans often goes overlooked because of persistent stereotypes about the community. “There is a stereotype and an assumption that Asian Americans have class privilege, that they have high socioeconomic status and education, and that any discrimination doesn’t really happen or feel legitimate,” says Bianca Mabute-Louie, a racial justice educator. “There are these assumptions about ways that Asian Americans have ‘succeeded’ in this country.” https://time.com/5938482/asian-american-attacks/

    Another very recent series of attacks: https://people.com/crime/man-charged-attacks-elderly-oakland-chinatown/

    There is this automatic assumption that the attacks are being perpetrated by white supremacists and the media seem intent on pushing that narrative. Details are so annoying.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Bruce Hall: Well, gee, I didn’t assume. Just like overwhelmingly most of the mob assaulting the Capitol was white, there are always going to be some outliers (or do you deny that?), similarly there are going to be a few minority crazies. (At least I didn’t see any minority individuals carrying at Confederate battle flag.)

      1. pgl

        Do you remember the late Cleavon Little? Drop dead funny black actor who once was spotted wearing KKK ropes. I’m talking of course about that scene in Blazer Saddles where he was exposed by a couple of racists and replied “where are the white women”? I could not stop laughing!

          1. pgl

            Did Josh Marshall steal your girl friend or what? I guess accurate reporting is not good enough for now – you demand it also be original reporting. Got it!

      2. Moses Herzog

        @ Menzie
        I’m guessing you might possibly think I have a “hidden agenda” asking this, but any thoughts on the number of women at the 1/6 Capitol insurrection (including the Air Force veteran who forced the hand of Capitol police to shoot her) ?? I think it’s safe to say there were more women than Blacks at the Capitol protest. Whatever you may think my personal biases are, I am nearly literally floored every time I look out into the crowd at a MAGA rally and count the ratio of women to men. Often times to MY eyes (and you can lay that at some kind of bias if you like) it does not seem to be terribly far from 50/50 on the gender score (at MAGA rallies, not 1/6, but still surprisingly high even at the 1/6 attack). To my eyes it is often (not always obviously) pretty close to 60% men/ 40% women. I find it fascinating based on the orange abomination’s treatment of women. Almost what I would term a “phenomena”.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Just as a special note, when I’m referring to 1/6 insurrection, you will see many more women who were outside the Capitol who did not go inside, I think obviously because they sensed the chances for violence would increase upon entering the Capitol. But there was a “contingent” of women at 1/6.

          1. pgl

            Do you realize that you are giving Bruce Hall an opening? Yes some of Trump’s terrorists happen to be white racist women. That in no way changes a damn thing.

          2. Moses Herzog

            One some levels and in some facets, I would agree it “doesn’t mean a damn thing”. But it might mean something if we looked at a Venn diagram and had the following 3 groups charted in the Venn diagram: Disenfranchised, non-college rural white females, Women who showed up to donald trump rallies, Women who were ASSUMED by the Democrat party would vote for Hillary in 2016. Now, do you think if you charted that Venn Diagram of the 3 groups above, it might just almost look like a single circle outlined on itself 3 times?? And do you think we might want to ask how we could get those same voters to transfer over to another party or a different kind of vote, or shall we just throw up our hands?? Personally I think throwing up one’s hands in the air, shrugging your shoulders, and or saying “It doesn’t change a damn thing” will get you a repeat of 2016—2020. Now if you are “cool with that” (a repeat of 2016–2020), don’t let me interrupt your little slice of Heaven.

            Why are large amounts of “Karens” voting for a man who insults and demeans them 24/7?? Is this just a dumb question or something it might be useful to know the answer to??

      3. Bruce Hall

        Well, I’m glad you didn’t assume…. There are “outliers” in all groups. There were “outliers” who tried to burn down the Portland police station with the doors barricaded and the police inside. But the general “tone” of the Remember assertions that the use of the term “China Virus” in the stead of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 was not only appropriate, but desirable? message is a direct connection between that and crime against Asian Americans or Asians in America. Implied, not too subtlely is that only “Trump’s white racists” are to blame.

        Now one question is: is there a specific group targeting Asian Americans or Asians in America and are they really responding to a “dog whistle”? Or is this a longer standing issue among some minorities?
        • From Asian Dawn: https://www.asian-dawn.com/2020/05/18/black-on-asian-crime-statistics-by-justice-department/
        • From San Francisco: https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Black-attacks-on-Asians-racism-or-opportunity-3265893.php
        • From NBC: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/covid-19-era-s-anti-asian-racism-isn-t-new-ncna1258184

        Perhaps high profile cases during the epidemic have raised awareness. But crime in general has risen during the epidemic in some places like San Francisco. Possibly from economic frustration; possibly from too much time and not enough work; possibly from workers believing their jobs have been taken by Asian immigrants; possibly from people believing they can get away with it.
        Domestic violence rises in Bay Area during coronavirus shutdown, victim advocates say
        A violent year: Bay Area killings spiked 35% in 2020

        Early 2021 Minneapolis Crime Stats Show 250% Increase In Gunshot Victims
        After 3 years of progress, Chicago’s murder tally skyrockets in 2020

        So, the larger question is: are violent crimes against Asian Americans rising faster than crime in general or is there just that perception… and is the perception that it has been caused by the phrase “China Virus” or “Wuhan Virus” an accurate assessment?

        It may be too early to blame Steven Kopits.

          1. Bruce Hall

            There was anti-Asian sentiment pre-Covid-19? Color me surprised! (or not)

            I’m guessing that you did not get down to the concluding question:
            So, the larger question is: are violent crimes against Asian Americans rising faster than crime in general or is there just that perception… and is the perception that it has been caused by the phrase “China Virus” or “Wuhan Virus” an accurate assessment?

          2. pgl

            Bruce Hall
            February 20, 2021 at 2:08 pm

            The upshot of this pathetic comment goes like this. If Central Park Karen ends up having some teenage boy stealing her wallet, the deaths of Asian Americans by Trump’s thugs needs to be applauded. No Bruce may not like this summary so he will probably pollute this comment section with more garbage that would make Hitler proud.

          3. 2slugbaits

            Bruce Hall So, the larger question is: are violent crimes against Asian Americans rising faster than crime in general or is there just that perception

            What part of Menzie’s quote from Time did you not understand: Since the start of the pandemic last spring, Asian Americans have faced racist violence at a much higher rate than previous years. The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900% in New York City in 2020

          4. Moses Herzog

            Which nation/ethnic group did Bruce baby and “Princeton”Kopits want to blame this one on??

            The “America Measles”?? Notice similar problem~~~White trash illiterates not wanting to take Health 101 precautions like getting vaccinated. Who in Wuhan did Bruce and “ConfidenceInterval”Kopits want to blame this on??

          5. Bruce Hall


            Why would NYC attack on Asian Americans be up 1,900%? NYC is one of the most liberal cities in the U.S. It loves de Blasio. It hates police. https://nypost.com/2019/11/03/aoc-tweets-her-support-for-anti-police-protests-rocking-brooklyn/

            I read the:
            Crime and Enforcement Activity
            in New York City
            (Jan 1 – Dec 31, 2020)

            It may well be if you dig into the raw numbers, that the 1900% can be calculated, but because the Asian American population of NYC is a relatively small percentage of the total, it wouldn’t take much to get a huge jump.

            According to the report, the preponderance of felonies were committed by blacks and Hispanics, so I’m surprised you would ascribe the increase of crime against Asian Americans to whites being lead by Trump’s “China virus” phrase. Also, according to the report, virtually none of the victims of murder were Asian Americans while they had a disproportionate share of robbery victims and blacks were disproportionately the suspects.

            But, then, details are such a nuisance.

          6. Bruce Hall

            Menzie, I didn’t say being assaulted was “fine”.
            Bruce Hall: Gee, I’m glad so few of the murders were of Asian-Americans. Being assaulted, just fine.

            I merely pointed out that a gross percentage without detail is hardly the way to connect crimes against Asian Americans to the phrase “China virus”. The response was specifically to 2slugbait’s reference to 1,900% increase in crimes against Asian Americans in NYC. The NYC report… https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nypd/downloads/pdf/analysis_and_planning/year-end-2020-enforcement-report.pdf… provided such detail. I merely pointed out that the types of crimes did not appear to be 1) racially motivated and 2) not generally done by whites.

            According to the report, Asian Americans accounted for about 14% of NYC’s population. For the various types of crimes against the Asian American population, it does appear that there may be an economic factor involved.

            Murder and Non-Negligent Manslaughter
            Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity
            Victim Suspect Arrestee
            AMER IND 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
            ASIAN/PAC.ISL 0.0% 0.0% 4.1% Odd that there were some Asian Americans arrested in this category but none shown as victims.
            BLACK 65.0% 63.4% 60.2%
            WHITE 6.1% 6.3% 3.6%
            HISPANIC 26.4% 26.8% 32.1%
            Total Victims/Suspects/Arrests 445 318 364
            Known Race Ethnicity 443 317 364
            % of Incidents With Race/Eth. Known 99.6% 99.7% 100.0%

            Another very personal crime and Asian Americans victims at about 1/2 their portion of the population percentage
            Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity
            Victim Suspect Arrestee
            AMER IND 0.1% 0.7% 0.9%
            ASIAN/PAC.ISL 7.6% 6.7% 7.6% Asian on Asian crime?
            BLACK 40.2% 49.4% 44.5%
            WHITE 17.2% 10.1% 6.7%
            HISPANIC 34.9% 33.1% 40.3%
            Total Victims/Suspects/Arrests 1068 1099 568
            Known Race Ethnicity 1028 899 568
            % of Incidents With Race/Eth. Known 96.3% 81.8% 100.0%

            Now when we move on to economic crime, there is a different picture
            Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity
            Victim Suspect Arrestee
            AMER IND 0.3% 0.1% 0.2%
            ASIAN/PAC.ISL 15.6% 2.3% 3.3% Is this because Asian American small businesses are being targeted. And who is doing the targeting?
            BLACK 29.5% 65.9% 59.1%
            WHITE 12.8% 4.1% 5.3%
            HISPANIC 41.8% 27.6% 32.0%
            Total Victims/Suspects/Arrests 14380 21804 7948
            Known Race Ethnicity 11960 17271 7932
            % of Incidents With Race/Eth. Known 83.2% 79.2% 99.8%

            Now back to violent crimes, but not as violent as murder or rape
            Felonious Assault
            Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity
            Victim Suspect Arrestee
            AMER IND 0.2% 0.1% 0.3%
            ASIAN/PAC.ISL 7.7% 5.7% 6.2% Still proportionally less than population share and another example of Asian on Asian crime?
            BLACK 46.1% 53.1% 51.4%
            WHITE 11.9% 7.9% 8.3% Not a lot of likelihood that “white supremacists” triggered by “China virus” are behind assaults on Asian Americans,
            HISPANIC 34.2% 33.2% 33.6%
            Total Victims/Suspects/Arrests 20763 21431 14300
            Known Race Ethnicity 19358 16755 14246
            % of Incidents With Race/Eth. Known 93.2% 78.2% 99.6%

            Grand larceny?
            Victim, Suspect, Arrestee Race/Ethnicity
            Victim Suspect Arrestee
            AMER IND 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
            ASIAN/PAC.ISL 15.5% 3.0% 4.0%
            BLACK 26.2% 60.7% 52.8%
            WHITE 31.2% 12.9% 14.0%
            HISPANIC 26.9% 23.3% 28.9%
            Total Victims/Suspects/Arrests 35027 23387 6542
            Known Race Ethnicity 27606 10291 6528
            % of Incidents With Race/Eth. Known 78.8% 44.0% 99.8%

            I won’t bother going into the misdemeanor crimes. I think the pattern is pretty clear that there is no correlation between crimes against Asian Americans, white supremacists, and the phrase “China Virus”.

            That was the point of my comment to 2slugbaits, not that assault on Asian Americans was “fine”.

          7. 2slugbaits

            Bruce Hall You could have saved yourself a lot of work if you had simply followed the link in Menzie’s post. You would have found the data for that 1900% increase. Oh…that 1900% figure only reflects NYC police data through September 2020.

            You also seem to be under the impression that only white supremacists are capable of committing ethnic hate crimes. If only human history were that simple.

          8. Bruce Hall


            You also seem to be under the impression that only white supremacists are capable of committing ethnic hate crimes. If only human history were that simple.

            Forgive me if the many posts and comments about Trump and “white supremacists” have planted the notion that anything posted here as relating to Trump will automatically imply “white supremacists”.

            The purpose of spelling out the data was to show that, at least in the case of “China virus”, the connection between crimes (hate being an interpretation) and race of the perpetrator was more likely to implicate blacks than whites. This is true of what has happened recently in San Francisco (to which I also provided links).

            Now I accept and endorse your observation If only human history were that simple.

            If, as pgl indicated, you want to include “racial slurs” as “hate crimes“, then I will take umbrage with anyone who uses the phrases “white supremacist” or “whiteness”, since I consider those to be racial slurs.

          9. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: I have investigated. There is only one Econbrowser post with the term “white supremacist”, and that is in a quotation from a newspaper, regarding Charlottesville. If you have information that white supremacists were not at all involved in the Charlottesville protest, please provide, and I will delete the post. I will also delete the offending post if you can provide documentation that “you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

            Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

          10. baffling

            ” then I will take umbrage with anyone who uses the phrases “white supremacist” or “whiteness”, since I consider those to be racial slurs.”
            i would be hard pressed to find any reasonable individual accepts that the phrase “white supremacist” is a racial slur. you can take umbrage, but i would certainly not associate with the cast of characters who may agree with you.

            and bruce, your reference the the “c…. virus” is intentionally provocative, especially in light of the recent warnings by menzie on acceptable commentary used in this blog. it has no place on this blog.

        1. pgl

          “Even if the Trump administration does not impose official sanctions on Asian American citizens, I worry about the rhetoric (including trade war talk focused on Huawei — although strangely not ZTE) impelling individuals to take action on their own.”

          You write so much garbage to defend Herr Trump’s racism I’m just going to skip your usual both sidism crap. But there is no denying Trump inflamed racism and you applauded him for doing so. Simply because there are other racists out there is no excuse for your disgusting garbage.

        2. SecondLook

          who tried to burn down the Portland police station with the doors barricaded and the police inside.

          You really shouldn’t listen to Jason Rantz, he’s a bit of a professional hysteric when he isn’t outright lying.

          You know you are too bright to fall for that nonsense.

          1. pgl

            “You know you are too bright to fall for that nonsense.”

            Given that Bruce Hall falls for this nonsense 24/7 – don’t assume he is that bright. He isn’t.

          2. Bruce Hall

            Newly appointed Police Chief Chuck Lovell, who is Black, also criticized protesters’ tactics in a tweet Friday. He said earlier this week that demonstrations have cost the city $6.2 million so far and that cost does not include straight-time pay for officers pulled from other jobs to work at protests.

            “Last night’s violence — barricading doors of a building with people inside and then lighting it on fire — is reprehensible & immoral,” Lovell tweeted. “The destruction in & around North Precinct and the Justice Center are senseless criminal acts & costing money that could go to restorative programs.”

            Who is Jason Rantz?

    2. pgl

      When did anyone say only white supremists commit crime? I can only assume you have never been to San Fran. Did you not notice the neighborhood? Anza Vista is not exactly Nob Hill or Pacific Heights. Yes crime is committed by all types and sometimes criminals do not like getting caught.

      If you think this someone is justification for Trump’s terrorists, then you are even more racist than they are.

      Hey Bruce – if you ever go to my favorite city, hang out in the Tenderloins. They will certainly treat you “right”. Maybe one of the male prostitutes who dress up as women will give you a freebie.

      1. Bruce Hall

        I go to SF often (except for last year) to visit my son’s family. As a midwesterner, I view SF as a weird city culturally, but not a bad one like Chicago (where they lived before). They lived for several years in the Mission District on Folsom and finally felt compelled to move when the homeless encampments took over their street and they felt their children were no longer safe. But like other cities, there are residential areas that are safe and clean.

        Thanks for the insight about where you like to hang out there.

        1. pgl

          “I view SF as a weird city culturally”

          Oh because we were not all racists like you are. BTW – I had a place on Nob Hill over looking Coit Tower. Now you probably struggled to pay for anything at the Mission District.

  6. Steven Kopits

    I have not called for or instigated violence against any ethnicity, and specifically not against Asian Americans, and any insinuation or declaration to that effect is categorically false and libelous.

    If you believe I have instigated violence against anyone, then I strongly request that you either quote me or retract the statement.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Steven Kopits: No, you merely aided and abetted the use of a term that spurs violence. Sort of like repeating “Stop the steal”.

      Words have consequences.

      1. Steven Kopits

        I categorically deny that I aided or abetted anything.

        Are you suggesting that US states, towns, universities, and people should be denied legal recourse for economic damages, harm to health and death? Are you saying the thousands of citizens of Wisconsin whose relatives died of the virus should be denied their day in court and subsequent claims for damages? Are you suggesting that the Chinese government be given a pass with a stern warning ‘never to do that again’?

        1. Ivan

          You are peddling the falsehood that the Chinese somehow has “done” something and, therefore, they are responsible for Covid-19. That is a racist narrative that has no connection to the reality of this pandemic. Sure in hindsight there may have been things that the Chinese government could have handled better (just like there are a lot of things Trump could have done much better to stop Covid-19 disaster in the US). However, you could say the same thing about the 1918 flu pandemic which originated in the US and could have been stopped cold in its track if we had been more competent.

          1. Steven Kopits

            Yes, Ivan, that is exactly what I am saying regarding the origins of the virus.

            There are two narratives at present.

            Natural Origin
            This goes as follows. A bat coronavirus somehow mutated in a cave and was transmitted to a second species that somehow got it to the vicinity of the Wuhan market. As The Intelligencer speculates: “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft…” It learned how to infect people in a mineshaft? Hmm. Not only that, it learned how to infect an intermediate species, too, except none of this narrative is supported with actual evidence. It’s all speculation.

            Lab Origin and Escape
            The lab origin narrative goes as follows. There is a lab in Wuhan which houses perhaps the largest collection of bat coronaviruses in the world. It is led by a woman know in the trade as the ‘bat woman’, due to her expertise in the field. This lab was involved in gain of function research, which involves making influenza type viruses more transmissible and more potent. This was not new. In 2012, a team led by a researcher named Ron Fouchier took a non-transmissible influenza virus, infected a ferret with it, let it grow, then took it from that ferret to a second ferret, and repeated until it mutated and became contagious. That is, they demonstrated that they could take a non-transmissible virus and make it transmissible. Did the Wuhan lab do the same with a bat coronavirus? They were certainly working on such gain of function research there.

            The narrative then follows that the virus escaped the lab. This is far from unprecedented. The SARS virus has escaped twice from a lab in Beijing. International experts as early as 2017 had worried about the Wuhan facility, which was completed only in 2015.

            Nor were such escapes unique to China. In the US, the CDC received 1,059 release reports between 2005 and 2012. Indeed, the Obama administration banned gain of function research in the US “following recent biosafety incidents at federal research facilities.” Thus, the US establishment considered gain of function research to be too dangerous to be allowed in the US.

            In this context, Wuhan was an accident waiting to happen.

            In late 2019, the Chinese government at various levels became aware of the outbreak. There appears to have been some sort of effort at containment or isolation around the Wuhan facility in October 2019. When this failed, the Chinese government began to try to cover up the evidence of the origin, including suppressing their own health authorities and denying information both domestically and abroad. For example, the WHO was not even allowed in the Wuhan lab for a year and to this day has withheld the data on the first hundred or so patients. As a former Biden official named Jamie Metzl said, “If there had been an outbreak in Congo or some country in Africa and that country, in the earliest days of the pandemic, prevented World Health Organization investigators from going onto the scene of the outbreak, for nearly a month, the world would have gone berserk.”

            The combination of the placement of the Wuhan lab in the middle of a city the size of New York, the lack of an appropriate lab culture, the over-confidence in handling highly contagious viruses that not even the US — with a seventy year history of this kind of advanced research –would touch, and then the bungled attempt to suppress knowledge of the origin of the virus insured its infecting the entire planet.

            That’s the lab origin narrative.

            Which do you find more compelling and plausible?

            I do not know which is true, but the behavior of the Chinese government makes it amply clearly that they believe the origin was the lab. Otherwise why try to suppress the knowledge of the outbreak and deny access to the WHO and the medical records of the early patients?

            I believe that the matter should be tried in civil court. Those who have suffered losses should be entitled to sue, and the Chinese government should be entitled to present its defense. Let’s get it all out there and let the chips fall where they will.


          2. Ivan

            “The Intelligencer speculates: “SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, began its existence inside a bat, then it learned how to infect people in a claustrophobic mine shaft”

            So “The intelligencer” is your source of scientific information??? The blabber you spew out about the natural origin has nothing to do with what is being discussed and clearly supported by viral sequence information in the scientific literature.

            The virus “learned how to infect people in a mineshaft”. Where did you get that, from “Journal of Lamarkian Blabber” ?

            Even for a Fox contributor your ignorance is astounding.

          3. baffling

            steven, let me elaborate on your lab and gain of function theory. the gain of function you describe would require that the wuhan lab infect a PERSON, take the resulting virus and infect another PERSON, and so on until you finally got a virus that replicated and naturally transmitted to other people. are you seriously saying that the wuhan lab was conducting human experiments that got away? on the other hand, if you believe that the transmission was created by using a study animal, such as a mouse or ferret, then you have the same constriction that your “natural origin” theory has, namely that somehow that modified virus learned how to jump species. you seem to think this is unlikely in one case, but very likely in another case. that is a contradiction on your part. i would say a bias on your part.

            on the other hand, we know a very similar variant to the virus already existed in a bat cave, and it was shown that the virus could infect humans. this variant already existed in nature. i don’t think it is much of a stretch that a virus which was already shown to infect humans would evolve to become more easily transmittable in humans. that is one of the evolutionary pathways expected of a virus-they naturally evolve to become more easily transmissible. that is the evolutionary equivalent of survival.

            as i have said in the past, i am still open to the true cause. but if you want to blame a nation for the creation and spread of this virus, you need to have much more evidence than conspiracy theories. george bush put us into a decade long war because his intuition said iraq had weapons of mass destruction. he was wrong.

            what penalty should george, or steven, accept for being wrong?

          4. baffling

            steven, you did not address any of the important issues in my response. you addressed an irrelevant technicality.

        2. pgl

          Ah yes – you are hoping to make money being the ambulance chaser for the world. Sorry dude buy Cellino and Barnes are way ahead of you. But they like you have no case for this pathetic parade. 800-888-8888!

      2. Moses Herzog

        Actions also. How many people have already forgotten this?? And people were dumb enough to think they would get 17 Senators on board??

        See if you notice anyone familiar here:

        Now she’s a “hero”?? because…… ?? She’s a hero because she’s being consumed by the fires she threw diesel fluid on?? That’s what constitutes a hero to dumb Democrats??

    2. pgl

      LOL! If you ever got out of your Ivory Tower across town from Princeton Steve, I doubt you would make it two minutes before screaming help, help – that black dude is looking at me funny. After all you are a lot like Central Park Karen.

    3. Ivan

      Sure and Trump was shocked that his words at the 1/6 insurrection rally lead to the storming of our Capitol.

      Don’t tell me you are too stupid to understand that your false anti-Chinese postulates will whip up anger against people who look like they are from China! What do you expect when you are telling someone that their dad/mom/spouse died because China let out a deadly virus? Before you let out mindless blabber maybe you should make sure it is based in scientific facts – and consider the full consequences when it reaches the mindless right wing masses.

      1. SecondLook

        I lean towards Yeats for political philosophy…

        Turning and turning in the widening gyre
        The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
        Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
        Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
        The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
        The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
        The best lack all conviction, while the worst
        Are full of passionate intensity.

        1. baffling

          that may be true. but it does not mean you are right steven. if you are wrong, what penalty should be applied to you? or are you permitted to make unsupported accusations against an entire nation with no ramifications if incorrect? for instance, are you willing to sacrifice your oldest child’s eyesight if you are wrong? when people have skin in the game, the accusations tend to be more restrained and truthful. you are making these accusations about china because it is a very asymmetric risk/reward scenario for you.

          bush, cheney and rumsfeld were able to make unsupported accusations against iraq because they had few ramifications for being wrong. and the penalty was paid by over 4,000 dead soldiers and 30,000 wounded. they paid a significant price while the trio was unharmed other than some public shaming that they denied anyways.

          1. Steven Kopits

            What penalty should be applied to me for calling for civil suits to determine the culpability of the lab and the Chinese government in a pandemic that killed more Americans than WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War combined, to use Biden’s words? Let it go to court, and then we’ll have a decent chance of learning the truth.

          2. baffling

            “What penalty should be applied to me for calling for civil suits”
            you are not simply calling for civil suits. you are making significant accusations regarding the actions of china. bar fights resulting in stabbings stem from far more benign accusations than you are making, steven.

            “Let it go to court, and then we’ll have a decent chance of learning the truth.”
            you are not interested in truth. you are interested in retribution.

  7. Steven Kopits

    As for the ‘China virus’, I believe the preponderance of evidence points to the Wuhan lab and its owner, the Chinese government. I have made the case quite explicitly here (http://www.prienga.com/blog/2021/2/3/will-pandemic-victims-have-legal-recourse) and the Chinese government’s subsequent refusal to hand over the early patient data is only one more data point implicating the government there. I have little doubt that any jury anywhere in the world would not treat this as willful misconduct in a civil court.

    1. pgl

      Memo to everyone else – do not click on Stevie’s link. He is promoting his worthless blog again. And I bet clicking it will give your computer a virus. A virus made in Russia.

    2. 2slugbaits

      Steven Kopits Then why didn’t you call it the “Chinese government lab virus” instead of the “China virus”? Context is important. There are a lot of culturally sensitive ways to refer to the virus. Most people just call it “COVID” and everyone knows what they mean. The term “China virus” was advanced by Trump and his minions as a deliberate attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s own inaction and to dump the blame onto an innocent ethnic group. Trump knew perfectly well that his base is plenty stupid and would take the bait. That’s why “China virus” is unacceptable. But notice that “UK variant” or “South African variant” are not taken as terms of abuse or ethnic insensitivity. You might ask yourself why that’s the case. The answer is that everyone understands that those two terms are not referring to ethnic groups but to where specific mutations of the virus were initially found. It’s clear that “UK variant” and “South African variant” are not references to actual humans whereas the term “China virus” was deliberately aimed at stigmatizing a specific ethnic group.

      1. pgl

        Well Geraldo wanted to name the vaccine after Trump – like he had a damn thing to do with the scientific research. I wonder if Stevie knows that a lot of those working on this research are Asian.

      2. Bruce Hall


        I tend to agree that “China Virus” and “Wuhan Virus” are meant to “stigmatize”, but the target has always been the CCP, not the people subjugated by that.

        China Still Not Sharing Coronavirus Information, Experts Say (Feb)
        • China withheld data on coronavirus from WHO, recordings reveal (Jun)
        China Is Suppressing Research on COVID Origins on Xi Jinping’s Orders, Documents Show (Dec)

        Was it “racist” to use the word “China” in those headlines? No. Otherwise, what should we rename the “Spanish Flu”?

        1. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall You’re being willfully disingenuous. Trump deliberately deployed the term “China virus” in order to deflect attention away from his own inaction and to redirect the anger of his base towards a specific ethnic group. Trump wanted to create a visceral reaction not only against the CCP (from whom he was purchasing most of his re-election campaign materials!!!) but also to reify that hatred against real people with real faces. If Trump’s only issue was with Xi or the CCP, then why didn’t he call it the “Xi virus” or the “CCP virus”? As to the failures of the Chinese government to share vital information, no one (except perhaps ltr) is defending that. President Xi and the Chinese government certainly deserve a lot of blame, but that doesn’t excuse Trump’s reasons for using what he knew was a racially charged invective. And Trump has a rather long and sordid history of doing that sort of thing, so this was hardly a “one off” thing.

          You asked about the “Spanish flu.” You need to read a little history. The Spanish flu isn’t called that because of any attempt to disparage Spaniards as an ethnic group. The Spanish flu got is called that because Spain did not enter the Great War and the Entente, the AEF, and to some extent the Central Powers did not want their soldiers deserting and heading to neutral Spain. The Entente tried to blame Spain for the virus rather than their own trench lines. And before you ask about the “German measles”, the adjective “German” was intended to honor the three German doctors who first diagnosed and described the symptoms of the disease. Again, the term is not an ethnic slur.

        2. pgl

          “Bruce Hall
          February 20, 2021 at 1:12 pm

          I tend to agree that “China Virus” and “Wuhan Virus” are meant to “stigmatize”, but the target has always been the CCP, not the people subjugated by that.”

          So when your buddies beat the crap out of some Asian in Michigan you guys know he works for the Chinese government. I do not have to watch Fox News to get really stupid defenses of racism as I can always read your nonsense.

        3. Dr. Dysmalist

          Bruce: ” the target has always been the CCP”

          If so, why are you using a phrase that targets all Chinese people and those of Chinese descent? You know that Trump already pi**ed in that well, yet you insist on not only drinking from it but offering it to us.

          If you read the OP, the excerpt from Time referred to “2,808 reports,” with no mention of the race of the perpetrators, yet your own initial comment in this thread tried to deny involvement of white supremacists that had not been stated. Guilty conscience? Also, the very phrase “white supremacists” means that they are racists, and you’re trying to defend them? Really??? And your defense consists of a maximum of 5 cases (compared to 2808) in which the alleged perpetrator is African-American? Again, really??? The point isn’t the race of the attackers but the racism inherent in such a huge increase in attacks on Asian-Americans. Apologists for these racist attacks, such as you, provide crucial cover for the racists committing these crimes.

          Anyone who tries to defend these attacks is just as racist as those committing them. Up till now, I’ve intentionally kept alive the thought that perhaps you weren’t a racist, but no longer. Your repeated use of a racist phrase and your repeated attempts to justify the unjustifiable, namely racist attacks, have convinced me. You are, without a doubt, a stone-cold racist.

          Do us all a favor and take your comments to someplace like 4chan, 8kun, or Parler, assuming it finds another home. I’m sure your blatant racism will be most welcome there, unlike here.

      3. Steven Kopits

        Slugs –

        I normally refer to the virus as the coronavirus or covid and Covid-19. That’s how I refer to it in the analysis I wrote which pgl and Dismal won’t read.

        I refer to it above as the ‘China virus’ in quotes because it is this attribution to China which lies at the heart of Menzie’s post.

        I personally don’t care what we call it, but I care a lot about accountability.

        I think there is a case to be made to call it the China Virus, without quotes. First, we routinely call viruses by their place of origin, so the South African or UK variant, and no one is harping on the sensitivities of the British.

        It could be called the Wuhan virus. The case for calling it the China Virus is that this pandemic is about much, much more than just the place of origin. If you read my narrative comment above, I think the most plausible explanation for the virus is a series of grossly negligent steps by the Chinese government and its organs. This includes the placement of the Wuhan facility, permission to pursue gain of function research deemed too risky in the US, and lack of proper lab procedures, complacency about the quite possible release of the virus notwithstanding, and then a complete botch job by the Chinese authorities in trying to cover up the origins of the virus. Covid-19 as such is thus not an unfortunate accident of nature, but rather a man-made horror inflicted on the globe through a combination of hubris, politics, possibly corruption, incompetence, bad luck and malice related to the cover-up. This virus can be blamed firmly on Chinese leadership in Beijing, not only local management at the Wuhan lab. It is, in unique ways, a China virus.

        People seem offended that Donald Trump used this term. I was offended by most everything Trump did, but that does not mean he was wrong all the time.

        So, call it what you like. I think we need transparency and accountability, and I believe that will only happen if civil lawsuits against the Chinese government are allowed to proceed.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Steven Kopits People seem offended that Donald Trump used this term.

          The problem is that not enough people were offended by Donald Trump’s use of the term. His knuckle dragger base loved it. People who were offended by it are not the problem. They’re not the ones attacking Asian-Americans.

          1. Steven Kopits

            This is a big deal, Slugs. As a practical matter, the Wuhan virus, or whatever you want to call, is in effect a WMD. It may not have been intended that way or deployed that way, but that’s what it is as a practical matter. It is two orders of magnitude worse than the previous record WMD, that is, the two nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Whether this was a man-made device or one occurring naturally matters not at all. We need to have full transparency and accountability. and I believe civil lawsuits are an essential component of that process.

          2. 2slugbaits

            Steven Kopits We need to have full transparency and accountability.

            Other than perhaps ltr, is anyone saying otherwise? I have no idea whether the virus occurred in nature (if you can call a wet market “nature”) or if it was the inadvertent result of the Chinese military working with animals, or if the gods simply don’t like hubris. China has been less than fully helpful and appears to have something to hide, but I don’t know what that something is. That’s way above my paygrade, so I’ll just reserve judgment until the experts are able to make a call. But Menzie’s post was not about the sins of the CCP or President Xi. Menzie’s post was about the way an unprincipled American politician manipulated language in order to deflect blame from his own policy failures and in so doing jeopardized the lives of innocent Asian-Americans.

      1. Moses Herzog

        NO SARCASM HERE It appears our good man Menzie is an optimist about mankind. I don’t know whether to get a warm fuzzy or puke?? Halfway joking. No, no hope on this one Menzie, but I like you’re holding out hope. It’s a good quality and I’m amazed you haven’t lost it

    3. pgl

      “I believe the preponderance of evidence points to the Wuhan lab and its owner”

      Preponderance of evidence? WTF? Are you working for Cellini and Barnes now. Please do not pretend you are a lawyer. We have too many of these clowns in the first place and you would certainly be the most incompetent of the incompetents!

    4. Ivan

      There is no scientific evidence of the virus being anything but a natural strain. Very similar strains have been found in wild bat populations in Vietnam and Thailand. No credible scientist would ever claim that the virus found in the early cases of the disease in US/Europe had any evidence of genetic manipulation – because they don’t. How this specific bat derived virus strain made it into humans is not clear. However, what is totally clear is that the transfer to humans is much much more likely to come from human interactions with wildlife than from any other imaginable transfer. Whereas, the accidental release of a virus even from SP3 facilities are possible, they are extremely rare. The “spacesuit” extreme precautions taken at such facilities makes the workers thousands of times less likely to become infected than the guys in a meat market handling wildlife with his bare hands. The Wuhan lab story is just a xenophobe fever fantasy peddled by Trump for his own political cover and gain – sad how quick the racists of this country are to pick it up.

    5. Dr. Dysmalist

      Kopits: “I believe … ”

      Your long record of nontruths, half-truths, wild-a$$ guesses, and blatant BS belched forth to promote ideological conclusions unsupported by evidence, all clothed in pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook, mean that when you write “I believe …” it’s of positive utility to me but negative utility to you.

      In other words, when you write “I believe” I know that what follows is highly likely to be unmitigated garbage. In this case, it’s yet another in a seemingly endless series of attempts to rationalize your repeated use of a racist phrase. We’ve made it clear to you and others that it’s a racist phrase regardless of any other facts or assumed “facts” that you surround it with.

      And no, I will not visit your blog even if you provide a link. Given your distinguished (in a negative sense) comment history here, I do not need to get out of the boat to know that I will find only tigers, not mangoes.

      If you won’t stop being racist, just go away. Forever.

        1. pgl

          You are having a good time when someone points out what a liar you are? OK!

          BTW – nice try at getting people to read your worthless blog. Guess what troll? NO ONE is.

  8. ltr

    The problem is beyond personal abuse, though the abuse of prejudice is fearsome.  The problem is that American policy is to ruin a nation of what is now 1.4 billion.  Ruining China has meant vilifying the Chinese, and if other peoples of Asia are mistaken for being Chinese then that is the price of policy.  There is scarcely a day when the New York Times misses vilifying China, and that means millions of readers in a matter of days come across prejudicial articles.  The former president and administration repeatedly attacked China, and that makes a difference to an audience.  The president attacked China savagely in a United Nations address in the Fall, so the vilifying of China is expressly meant for an international audience.

    Why then should we be surprised when professors at Duke University formally complain about a few Chinese graduate students speaking in Chinese at a table in a Duke lunchroom?  A trivial but telling matter.  During the Obama years, China was forbidden participation in programs on the “International” Space Station.  During the Trump years, Chinese cultural centers through the country were closed.

    1. 2slugbaits

      ltr Your apparent inability to distinguish between people of Chinese ethnicity and the Chinese government is not helpful. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are unwittingly helping white supremacists target innocent ethnic Chinese. By tying the sins of the Chinese government to all Chinese people you are creating a kind of collective guilt by association. Just because someone is Chinese or of Chinese ethnicity does not mean that person should also condone some of the horrific policies of the Chinese government.

    2. Willie

      There are plenty of Americans of various Asian ethnicities who are as American as any other American. Behavior of a foreign government affects Americans in similar ways across the board regardless of ethnic origin.

      China’s government causes problems for Americans. Just like Russia’s. So what is the point? Not acknowledging facts and evidence?

  9. ltr


    September 22, 2020

    Remarks by President Trump to the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

    The White House

    PRESIDENT TRUMP: It is my profound honor to address the United Nations General Assembly.

    Seventy-five years after the end of World War II and the founding of the United Nations, we are once again engaged in a great global struggle. We have waged a fierce battle against the invisible enemy — the China virus — which has claimed countless lives in 188 countries.

    In the United States, we launched the most aggressive mobilization since the Second World War. We rapidly produced a record supply of ventilators, creating a surplus that allowed us to share them with friends and partners all around the globe. We pioneered life-saving treatments, reducing our fatality rate 85 percent since April.

    Thanks to our efforts, three vaccines are in the final stage of clinical trials. We are mass-producing them in advance so they can be delivered immediately upon arrival.

    We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic, and we will enter a new era of unprecedented prosperity, cooperation, and peace.

    As we pursue this bright future, we must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world: China.

    In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China and infect the world. China condemned my travel ban on their country, even as they cancelled domestic flights and locked citizens in their homes.

    The Chinese government and the World Health Organization — which is virtually controlled by China — falsely declared that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission. Later, they falsely said people without symptoms would not spread the disease.

    The United Nations must hold China accountable for their actions….

    [ A speech of untruths.  I have for instance repeatedly shown China testing for and reporting on asymptomatic cases each day as those cases are isolated and monitored for 14 to 21 days. ]

    1. Willie

      Trump is a liar and a hyena. He is gone now. We screwed up when we elected him and corrected that error. His racism and xenophobia are boundless.

  10. Steven Kopits

    I have repeatedly stated that the Chinese government in its current form represents a systemic risk, not only to the global community, but to China and its citizens as well. I have emphatically stated that China needs to become a democracy to align its governance structure with its economic, technological and military capability.

    I have further stated that this change of governance form is necessary to protect Chinese nationals abroad and Chinese-Americans in the United States, not to mention Chinese citizens in China itself. It is for this reason that I pressed you to call for democracy in China, which you did half-heartedly.

    I believed the mismatch between China’s capability and its governance is responsible for all of 1) the creation of the coronavirus through gain of function research, 2) the escape of the virus through inadequate security measures, and 3) the failure to contain the escape and the subsequent propagation of the virus through the gross negligence and willful misconduct of the Chinese government and its agencies.

    This same governance mismatch is evident in China’s management of the South China Sea issue and its aggressive actions towards Taiwan. Senator Tom Cotton has called for the US to extend explicitly security guarantees to Taiwan. How moronic can Beijing be to put the US into this kind of situation? What kind of disaster might such hubris produce?

    I have stated that the situation of Chinese nationals and many Chinese-Americans in the US would become all but untenable were a war to break out between the US and China, for example, were a US carrier to finds its grave in the Taiwan Strait.

    I did not anticipate violence at this time against those of Chinese decent or nationality due to the virus. However, the balance of evidence points to the Chinese government’s culpability, and it is fair to say the virus has trashed the US economy and killed half a million of our citizens. Accountability is clearly emerging as an issue. I do not know whether allowing civil proceedings against the Chinese government would help or hurt the situation, but I think the political climate is making the need for lawsuits look increasingly inevitable.

    As I stated earlier, I believe it is in the interest of the Chinese American community and Chinese nationals in the US to vocally and decisively call for democracy in China and to back calls for legal redress for damages to the US public and economy as a result of the actions of the Chinese government.

    1. Baffling

      Steve, Your continued ignorance and denial of how the term “china virus” is used out of context is rather shameful. You are doubling down on a wrong you are aware of because you cant admit you were wrong. This is trumpian behavior. And as i said before, if you want to go down the lab rabbit hole, you better be prepared to accept the consequences of us involvement, capability and training of the chinese lab. I dont think you fully understand the ramifications of your assertions, which so far are not supported by the scientific community investigating the event. But i am sure you are more knowledgeable than they are, with evidence they have not seen? Or is their guilt found through your intuition?

      1. pgl

        All true but you are forgetting Princeton Steve’s prime directive. All this self absorbed clown wants is another invite to Fox and Friends where they can all yuk it up with their racist garbage.

      2. pgl

        “I have further stated that this change of governance form is necessary to protect Chinese nationals abroad and Chinese-Americans in the United States, not to mention Chinese citizens in China itself.”

        Change of governance? You should like Pompeo advocating for a war. Yea you later state a war would be very costly. I guess you are really so stupid to realize that your overheated rhetoric is advocating for a war.

        And we though 1/6 was a mistake. Just wow!

      3. Ivan

        I think it may be even worse than that. He seems unaware of even the most basic concepts of scientific inquiry and how to reach a fact based opinion. He begins with the conclusion (China is bad) – then he goes out in the world to find evidence in support of it (no matter how weak and crazy), discarding anything that speaks against it (no matter how strong and compelling) – and as icing on the cake ignores both internal and external inconsistencies and failures of logic. Those who have worked productively in an academic setting know that the first step after you have formulated an idea/hypothesis is to look for things to disprove it – because you don’t want to waste your time on weak sh*t. But Steve has no clue and he ends up with what he considers a strong case, and people with scientific training consider a textbook case of what not to do. However, he will get a membership card to the Fox blabbering club because he can spout his nonsense from an Ivy League tower (something Fox appreciate if it spew out the right wing conclusions).

        1. pgl

          Lawsuits? Listen dude – we get you make money lying for personal injury lawyers but your ‘case’ against the Chinese on this is more laughable than Trump’s lawyers trying to litigate the overthrow of the Nov. elections.

        2. Baffling

          Steven, I assume you are also in favor of civil lawsuits against the usa and donald trump to determine their guilt in knowingly permitting the virus to spread throughout the usa while denying action to remediate the situation? What type of remuneration do you expect from those lawsuits?

    2. pgl

      “I have repeatedly stated that the Chinese government in its current form represents a systemic risk, not only to the global community, but to China and its citizens as well.”

      THIS from someone who bragged about going on Fox and Friends where Trump is seen as some sort of hero? It was clear for the beginning that Trump represented a severe risk to America as well as the global community. And you did not cry foul to that so guess what clown? No one cares what you think about the Chinese government.

    3. Ivan

      “I believed the mismatch between China’s capability and its governance is responsible for all of 1) the creation of the coronavirus through gain of function research, 2) the escape of the virus through inadequate security measures, and 3) the failure to contain the escape and the subsequent propagation of the virus through the gross negligence and willful misconduct of the Chinese government and its agencies.”

      And all of these postulates are spewed out of your mouth (I hope) not just without scientific evidence, but in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary. The gross negligence and willful misconduct of the Trump administration regarding containment of the virus propagation is what has cost half a million American lives (so far). Are you calling for holding him responsible for the economic loss?

      1. Ivan

        For those without scientific background let me expand
        1) When you do “gain of function” research you do not simply wait for natural mutations to occur, you enhance the rate of mutations. The genetic fingerprints of natural (slow) mutations and those created by enhancement techniques are different – so you would almost certainly find the fingerprints of that process in SARS-CoV-2 if its mutations from precursor strains were not natural.
        2) The Wuhan facility meets and in many ways exceeds the US standards for this type of research facility. This has been verified by the many US and other foreign scientists who have visited or worked there.
        3) When you compare the failure to contain the propagation of the virus in US and in China our absurdly high number of cases, deaths and the fact that we didn’t get rid of this in 3 months would suggest that our failures are orders of magnitude higher than their failures. The willful misconduct of Trump trying to contain political damage by denying the severity of the situation would make a Wuhan health official blush in shame.

        1. Steven Kopits

          Ivan –

          If this is all true, it will come out in a court of law. Let’s let the lawsuits proceed, and the Chinese government will have every opportunity to defend itself.

          1. pgl

            ‘it will come out in a court of law”. No dumbass – any real judge would toss out your phony lawsuit and have your attorneys disbarred. Yea – I read your blog post and I fell on the floor laughing how pathetically weak your case really was.

          2. Ivan

            Wasting the courts time with these postulates that have no scientific basis or connection to verifiable facts, would be worse than entertaining any of the over 60 election fraud postulates that were thrown out of court. There is a minimum standard required before the courts should waste its time trying to make incompetent lawyers the next Fox “News” heroes. I think this is just another case of fantastical claims without any actual evidence. Anybody can come up with a wild-eyed crazy story, but unless there is actual evidence the courts should not waste its time (and the defendants money) on allowing a case to go forward.

          3. Ivan

            “OK, Ivan. Let’s see who you work for. Do you think China should be a democracy”

            OK Steven. Let’s see where in Princeton you are located – do yo see soft surfaces, a sandbox and some swings that are really high and hard to get up on???

        2. ltr

          When you do “gain of function” research you do not simply wait for natural mutations …

          [ Perfectly clear and helpful. I am grateful. ]

      2. pgl

        Princeton Steve is warming up to sue the Chinese government. His case will be so weak it will make Trump’s election lawyers look smart.

          1. pgl

            I trust you know what ambulance chasers mean. After all – this is the garbage you are spewing with your phony legal ‘case’ against the CCP. Good luck when a judge tosses you in jail for contempt of court.

          2. Ivan

            Then sue Trump. He was the one who failed to make the cases go from 15 to zero back when that was possible.

          3. Ivan

            I see no evidence that you have concern for those families. You know perfectly well that the case is so weak it has no chance of ever succeeding in court. You are building up these peoples hope that there will be some kind of meaning or justice to lessen their loss. But in the end all they will get is a bitter feeling that somehow justice was taken away from them. You on the other hand will come out with serious street cred in the right wing media universe. We all know how this pathetic show end – so spare us the fake compassion for these families.

          4. Willie

            Recourse against the Chinese government? The virus did not come from a lab, no matter how much you wish it did. The Chinese government botched the initial response but seems to have done ok if the numbers are reliable. I have my doubts, but the real botch job was the response in this country, not in China.

            So, I assume you will be suing Donald Trump.

          5. Steven Kopits

            I have no problem suing Donald Trump or anyone else with responsibility. The usual standard is gross negligence and willful misconduct. Trump might qualify on that basis, the Chinese government certainly does.

  11. ltr

    So that we know, data on the earliest pneumonia-coronavirus patients, including viral DNA samples collected from the patients, was made available to researchers in China and internationally, in a matter of days after the pneumonia cases were reported from hospital to Chinese health authorities in the final days of December 2019. DNA samples of the coronavirus were internationally available from January 10, 2020. The New England Journal of Medicine was given data on the early coronavirus cases by the end of January 2020.



    Peter Daszak @PeterDaszak

    This was NOT my experience on @WHO mission. As lead of animal/environment working group I found trust & openness w/ my China counterparts. We DID get access to critical new data throughout. We DID increase our understanding of likely spillover pathways.


    On W.H.O. Trip, China Refused to Hand Over Important Data
    The information could be key to determining how and when the outbreak started, and to learning how to prevent future pandemics.

    6:27 AM · Feb 13, 2021

    New data included env. & animal carcass testing, names of suppliers to Huanan Market, analyses of excess mortality in Hubei, range of covid-like symptoms for months prior, sequence data linked to early cases & site visits w/ unvetted live Q&A etc. All in report coming soon!

  12. ltr

    China had isolated coronavirus DNA strains by January 7, 2020, the CDC was informed on January 8, and by January 10 the strains were internationally available:


    January 29, 2020

    Early Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China, of Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia
    By Qun Li, Xuhua Guan, Peng Wu, Xiaoye Wang, Lei Zhou, Yeqing Tong, Ruiqi Ren, Kathy S.M. Leung, Eric H.Y. Lau, Jessica Y. Wong, Xuesen Xing, Nijuan Xiang, et al.



    The initial cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and January 2020. We analyzed data on the first 425 confirmed cases in Wuhan to determine the epidemiologic characteristics of NCIP.

  13. ltr

    When a person instructs me what to think and how to act because I am Catholic or Jewish or Latino or Anglo or African-American or Asian-American, I become afraid of that person.  There we find definitive prejudice.  European Jews were so instructed for so long, fiercely so in times of social disquiet, but no more. As for the Chinese people, I have complete respect and admiration for the accomplishments of the Chinese people from ending severe poverty through the vast country, to supplying vaccines as a public good to what is now almost every country in Latin America, to exploring the far side of the moon these last 2 years, to greening the country, and on and on and on. I am not about to be instructed to think pejoratively about China.

    1. 2slugbaits

      ltr No one is instructing you to think pejoratively about China. You are being asked to start thinking critically and objectively. See the difference? If you want any credibility on this blog, then you need to demonstrate that you’re not just a paid mouthpiece for the CCP. And if you’re not interested in having credibility, then why go to the effort of posting stuff that no one will bother taking seriously?

      1. pgl

        Look if Princeton Steve can pretend he is Cellino and Barnes, ltr has the right to be the defense attorney for the CCP. I agree Anne (ltr) has become a boring waste of time but unless you are willing to call out Princeton Steve, please leave her alone as he is much worse.

        Then again I’m be known to trash slime ball attorneys regardless of who they lie for. Shakespeare got this right “first we kill the lawyers”.

    1. Bruce Hall

      An interesting article, but does it consider the effect of another $2 trillion for Biden’s infrastructure plan?
      Although Biden’s campaign contemplated a $2 trillion infrastructure package, senior Democratic officials have discussed allocating as much as $3 trillion, three anonymous sources told The Washington Post.

      There is speculation? hope? some confidence? that there will be both a short-term and long-term payback, but if it’s like the California bullet train debacle, it will simply feed the coffers of some close friends.

      But hey, we can speculate, hope, and have some confidence that this time things will be different.

  14. dilbert dogbert

    Early days of this blog the poster’s handle was at the end of the post. I might have been one of the first to request the poster’s name be appended to the top of the post. This improved scanning quickly by.

  15. Barkley Rosser

    Oh, I should probably not add to this now already overly long thread. My position is very close to that of 2slugbaits, but I shall add a few comments that I am not sure have been made or got lost. For starters, I completely agree with Menzie that use of this phrase really should be avoided by all since DJT used it in such an awful way, and that using it simply abets more of the large increase in anti-AAPL harassment that has been reported. I note that on an earlier thread I advised Steven Kopits that he should avoid using it for this reason, and he was kind of vague in his response to that. He sort of tried to defend it earlier in this thread, but maybe he has gotten the message by now.

    On the matter of the origin ofCovid-19, I agree with 2slugbaits that we do not know, and I have said here numerous times that we shall almost certainly not ever know due to so much crucial information having disappeared for good, with the role of the Chinese government in bringing this about not making them look good, even if the most innocent zoonotic explanation is what happened.

    As it is, I see people on both sides of this exaggerating how strong their cases are. Steven Kopits has made much of supposed “gain of function” research going on at the Wuhan VIR, but there is not much evidence that this was happening, even if there is reason to believe we do not know fully about what went on there. I also previously suggested that calling for democracy in the PRC is not going to lead to anything useful, even if it is at some level a good thing. I also find his call for people to get legal recourse simply ridiculous. The PRC government is going to reply to subpoenas coming out of some US court? No. And if that court makes a judgment against the PRC, will all those people getting recourse get any compensation? Again and even more so, no. I do not know if Steven is pushing this to get himself on Fox News again, but that may be the explanation for pushing so patently silly.

    On the other side, there is a long list of people I shall mostly not name who keep insisting on something like “it is scientifically impossible for there to have been a lab leak,” or some more moderate version of this. There are wholes in the argument for a lab leak, but claiming it has been shown to be (almost) impossible is also reidiculous. I will pick on “Ivan” for going the most pompously farthest with this, claiming lab leaks “are very rare” and because the VIR is so new it is “state of the art” and no such thing could happen. Well, in fact there have been lots of lab leaks, including here in the US as well as in China. And while the VIR is new, there were delays in getting it goiing due to a shortage of properly trained staff. There are holes in the stories about sequencing and so on, but this claim that it was somehow nearly impossible is clearly just driven by pure politics.

    On the other side, those pushing the zoonotic story have some problems, starting with the whole thing being speculative, not a shred of actual evidence, although not out of the question. To note the most likely scenario from the standpoint of the genetical sequencing data, the most plausible scenario involves the virus coming about from interaction between what was in bats with another virus in another species. The other species with a virus most likely to bring this about seems to be those notorious pangolins. However, a problem is that apparently pangolins were not sold at the notorious Wuhan market, although possibly some other species that was sold there got it from a pangolin.

    Bottom line is that neither story has a clearly solid lead over the other, although if you choose to only take seriously one group of “experts” over another, you can convince yourself that one is.

    I shall also say something that I have said before that others do not like, but will double down and put them both out there. I think that both Steven Kopits and ltr are pretty smart people who know quite a lot and are much of the time open to alternative views factually presented to them. I think Steven is especially knowledgeable about the energy industry, the main business of his consulting firm, and what he initially commented on mostly here back when this place was run only by fellow energy econ expert, Jim Hamilton. But he gets a lot weaker on some other subjects, and I do think he reallhy got hmiself into trouble with this topic.

    As for ltr, I have said the main positive, but I agree with 2slug that a) she posts way too much in general and off-topic stuff, although “anne” of Economists View did so as well in much the same way, although Mark T. did not complain about it, and b) if she is not being paid by the CCP she is certainly doing a good imitation of someonw who is, pretty much always pretty closely in line with its line for her posts on the PRC.

  16. ltr

    Interesting, the need of selected readers I never ever mention to stalk and bully me. I am always polite, and never refer critically to other readers though I asked indirectly that there be an end to the use of pornographic imagery to frighten and intimidate me. I really would also prefer not to be attacked in the manner Joseph McCarthy attacked say a John Kenneth Galbraith, but that may be too much to expect or hope for. So stalk and bully and however frightened I will go on.

    I know I am too little educated and slow in thinking, but I work awfully hard and still believing I am not “disgusting” or “worthless,” as I have been told I am, I try and will try as best I can to be useful.

    Actually, for all my weaknesses I even imagine that by working hard I come to know stuff which is important for those I am responsible for.

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Hopefully you have seen that I have defended you from various criticisms made by various people. I also recognize that you comment reasonably intelligently and with data on topics that are not particularly of interest to the CCP, although some of these are also not of much interest to Menzie Chinn.

      But I would suggest that you would do yourself a favor with many observers here if you could point to any post you have made here ever that clearly disagrees(d) with official positions of the CCP. I do not recall seeing any frankly. Doing so would help establish that you are indeed an independent commentator here on all topics.

  17. ltr

    Though obviously there has long been a strain of prejudice, I am continually startled that the former president and administration could foster such disdain for and antipathy against the Chinese people (not against the government, but the entire people). I think the antipathy and disdain are unjustified, undeserved and harmful, and especially important to respond to and counter.

  18. ltr

    As for history, over hundreds of years there were episodes of illness in Europe. Those episodes were focused on in important European literature and what I understood in reading was the repeated harm that was brought to certain European communities in the course of outbreaks. The former president and administration members reacted against China in a manner that beset communities in Europe had experienced. Knowing the social psychological however does not make the experience less disturbing or dangerous.

  19. Bill

    TO: James Hamilton
    FROM: Bill
    DATE: 23 February 2021


    As you know, I am a great fan of you and your father. Years ago, I was an active participant on your economic blog. There are times that I miss participating in the discussions. But your blog has changed. I have monitored your blog for weeks recently. Many of your older participants lack civility. And that missing element has been roundly replaced by hate. Political hate, personal hate, and hate just for the sake of immature and sickening hate.

    My question: What are the Consequences of Inflammatory Language on Econbrowser?

    I have noted no consequences for any of the absurd conduct on your blog.

    It is my hope and desire that you rein in the haters for they are destroying a once fine and well respected economic blog. If you have to kick the thugs off of your blog, so be it.

    Frankly, James, you need to regain control of Econbrowser in my judgment. Moreover, it is my recommendation that you undertake a serious marketing campaign to attract much younger participants. And not all of such participants need to be economic students or economists. The goal, in my view, would be to attract a broad spectrum of individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds. Everyone can learn something from one another.

    Presently, your blog in many respects is little more than a closed econ blog ruled by some thugs and others who give the appearance of being hotspots including Chinn on occasion who pretend that they know everything. And that is not the case. At least not in the real business world.

    I wish you the best in cleaning up what I see as a serious shortcoming in the operation and conduct of your economic blog.

    All the best,


    *You have my email address if you care to discuss this matter further.

    1. baffling

      please provide a document from geneticists studying the issue. this document is from a condensed matter physicist.

      1. ltr

        …there are experts in genetic engineering, who are certain…

        [ The comment strikes me as wrong, but carefully intended to harm another people. ]

      2. Ivan

        It is sad how many people define the term “credible expert” as someone who say the things I want to hear.

  20. Bill Sumption

    TO: James Hamilton
    FROM: Bill
    DATE: 23 February 2021


    As you know, I am a great fan of you and your father. Years ago, I was an active participant on your economics blog. There are times that I miss participating in the discussions. But your blog has changed. I have monitored your blog for weeks recently. Many of your older participants lack civility. And that missing element has been roundly replaced by hate. Political hate, personal hate, and hate just for the sake of immature and sickening hate.

    My question: What are the Consequences of Inflammatory Language on Econbrowser?

    I have noted no consequences for any of the absurd conduct on your blog.

    It is my hope and desire that you rein in the haters for they are destroying a once fine and well respected economics blog. If you have to kick the thugs off of your blog, so be it.

    Frankly, James, you need to regain control of Econbrowser in my judgment. Moreover, it is my recommendation that you undertake a serious marketing campaign to attract much younger participants. And not all of such participants need to be economics students or economists. The goal, in my view, would be to attract a broad spectrum of individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds. Everyone can learn something from one another.

    Presently, your blog in many respects is little more than a closed econ blog ruled by some thugs and others who give the appearance of being hotshots including Chinn on occasion who pretend that they know everything. And that is not the case. At least not in the real business world.

    I wish you the best in cleaning up what I see as a serious shortcoming in the operation and conduct of your economic blog.

    All the best,


    *You have my email address if you care to discuss this matter further.”

    I prefer that this update be posted instead of the original post which contained a spelling error.

    1. Johannes

      Dear Bill,

      thanks a lot for your noble suggestion. And I very much hope that Jim reads it, and follows accordingly.

      The hate against Trump and Steven Kopits and everybody “not-left-wing” is ugly at econbrowser,
      I truly hope very much that basic features like “the right to speak against the narrative” improve.

      Cuurently it’s not an econblog anymore … so sorry, 15 years ago econbrowser was great.

      So sorry, Johannes

      1. Barkley Rosser


        As with Bill Sumption, I frankly do not remember ever seeing you here before either. Have you been posting here under another name? If not, you are like the obnoxious “econned” now making pompous comments on another thread, whom I also do not ever remember seeing here before.

        What is it with you people who appear to have never posted here suddenly jumping in to make all sorts of self-righteous and highly ideological comments? Yes, there are lots of people denouncing Trump and Steven Kopits, but there are also people defending them, as well as some others who take more nuanced positions, such as defending Steven on some matters but not others while avoiding making ad hominem attacks against him. Have read enough here to be aware of such matters?

    2. baffling

      bill, i would modestly advise that you simply confine yourself to the main blog post and avoid reading any commentary. this will permit you to be educated by the experts hosting the blog without interacting with the “thugs” lurking in the comments section. seems to be a win-win proposition.

    3. Barkley Rosser


      So, you have known Jim H. so long you also know(knew?) his old man? I never knew the latter, but I have known Jim since well before he started this blog and I am someone who commented on it regularly back before Menzie came on, as well as being one of those here actually posting under his real name. As it is, maybe you did comment here back then, but I frankly do not remember you.

      That said, I think that if you know Jim so well you should realize that he may not have even seen this message you have sent to him. He is a very busy guy, and I suspect he does not bother reading every comment on posts he did not put here, especially threads where the comments go beyond 100 as this one has by the time you posted this. You should have posted this on the last thread he put up, where he did indeed weigh in to poke at two regulars here who frequently post on off-topics after they both proceeded to do so on that thread. Anyway, if you had posted this there he would definitely have seen it.

      As it is, even though you have poked at him, it would seem that Menzie has responded to this message of yours by his latest post, which lays out the rules for this place. We shall see if he is able to get some of the more poorly behaved commenters to clean up their acts.

  21. Bruce Hall


    I applaud your good fortune. I presume you achieved it through hard work and intelligent investing. Your assumption that I must be “racist” is, however, quite a leap on your part. Is it because I find the culture of San Francisco “weird”. I would presume you say the same thing about a place like Toledo or Milwaukee or Cleveland. To me, it is weird in the sense that SF’s culture of “tolerance” has allowed large sections to become third world havens of homeless and drug users. It is weird because people there seem to subscribe to the notion of “equity” and yet the income disparities are as great as any place I’ve visited. It is weird because there is the remnants of the 1960s in so many places. It is weird because its demographics are dissimilar to most large cities in the U.S.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the occasional visit there and a walk along the Embarcadero or a drop in to Ghirardelli’s for a little treat (no, I don’t look for your associates for a different sort of treat).

    You really ought to control your impulses.

  22. ltr

    Presently, your blog in many respects is little more than a closed econ blog ruled by some thugs and others who give the appearance of being hotshots including —- on occasion who pretend that they know everything. And that is not the case. At least not in the real business world….

    [ This comment strikes me as disrespectful, generally insulting and incorrect. The comment strikes me as meant to be intimidating, and that is unfortunate. ]

    1. baffling

      i agree. i did not see the same level of disdain targeted towards prof hamilton, the less active of the blog hosts. perhaps the comment was not meant to have an element of condescension, but the element was there nonetheless.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Bill S.’s post should have been put on one of Jim’s threads. Putting it here was arrogant and inappropriate. He brags about knowing Jim and even Jim’s father, but he does not know Menzie and inappropriately criticicizes him.

        I have known Jim since not only before this blog was created but from before there were any blogs. Ulike this Billl S., I also know Menzie Chinn, and both hosts are worthy and serious people, as well as being widely respected economists. I confess I googled this Bill S.’s name, which may be a real name, but all that came up were Facebook entries and the like. Maybe he is a smart guy, but if he is an economist of some sort, he has never done anything that shows up on goolge search.,

        Obvously Menzie has attempted to respond to his points with his latest posts, but this Bill S. has really behaved poorly and impolitiely, especially given his arrogant tone. If Jim H. has seen his screed, I am sure he is embarrassed that somebody claiming to know him and his father has put something like this on a thread of Menzie’s.

Comments are closed.