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July 20, 2020


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Jon, my knees wouldn't let me ride it any more. I gave it away. I almost teared at the photo. And of course its parked outside Historian and Phoenix sheriff's deputy David Mapstone's office.

Still dont know who stole the brass doorknobs?
Keep scribbling.
You had 700 comments on your last Seattle Times article?

I have said before and I now say it again. We need to build the walls on Arizona's eastern, northern, and western borders. Should have done it 1955.

I thought that was cal's bike-mobile. He had shared a photo in years past. Ramjet, some of my ancestors considered building a southern wall back in 1500, but thought heck, who in their right mind would cross that desert?

Jon, regardless which side of the fence your Seattle Times commenters are on, they are form the most part sane.

Kunstler has accumulated the largest collection of whackadoodles on his column, probably in the history of whackadoodle collections.

Yes. You do stay within the guardrails of topics you dominate, and well done. Let’s talk more about the way social media and pack TV journalism has put a damper on free exchange, though. All media has begun to feel like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

I miss the days of the hard deadlines. One for the morning edition newspaper, one for the evening edition. One for the evening national news, one for the nighttime local news.

Before the deadline, much work was done to verify the news to be reported was correct. And the was hell to pay if it was not correct.

Now, they want to be the first with the story within seconds of it happening. Accurate, who cares!!!!!

First counts for 99 percent of the credit. 1 percent for accuracy.

One fence to stop the Spanish invasion. Fail.
One fence to stop the Mormon invasion. Fail.
One fence to stop the Midwest invasion. Fail.
One fence to stop the Californian invasion. Fail.

We don't do fences too good.

Come November my Canadian neighbors will float in. Maybe?

I canceled my New York subscription after Andrew Sullivan's departure. Fortunately, I caught this brilliant political analysis by another victim of the cancel culture, David Shor:


Out of curiosity, where are the "leafier parts of the city?"

Such truth is hard to find. I couldn’t agree more that people do things here they wouldn’t have dared in their Midwest home states. And many hide out in senior areas where kids are not allowed and schools don’t exist.

"Parachute journalism" has also declared Arizona, spiritual home of Goldwater, a swing state.

The chain migration to Arizona from reactionary midwestern strongholds continues unabated.

The parachute journalists who propose that Californian transplants will somehow move the electorate left haven't talked much with the Californians who have relocated to North Scottsdale, Paradise Valley or Yavapai County. Those Californian transplants using public transport in metro Phoenix would probably vote Democrat but getting to work and making rent are much higher priorities than actually voting.

So it comes down once again to whether the Hispanic voting bloc is going to vote in numbers significant enough to move Arizona out of its deep red zone.

Arizona is stil Trump country until Hispanics decide otherwise.

Soleri: Thanks for picking this issue up. I'm part-way through the David Schor piece. It's a long one and a struggle for my brain. One immediate reaction, though, is maybe we should take a cue from Dr. Fauci and let data driven science help us figure out how to parse the political divides that media has helped exacerbate. I highly recommend this article and plan to see where I can continue following journalists like Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan.Consider me "unwoke."

The most important line in soleri's article,

"Swing voters don't trust either party."

We are still screwed until we start looking at other countries regardless of their politics and do what they do. Trump will never let us follow anyone so the media must Doit. It. looks to me that follow up phone calls are the answer,but that takes money.

To which I would append, most voters don't trust either party.

Struggling here gang and not the first time. Let me amplify: "Interloper-a person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong."

When we moved here, i didn't feel like an interloper; I felt like a newly minted Arizonian whose primary focus was the incredible community of Sun City AZ.

Like so many who came here before me, we give back millions of hours per year to forge a sense of community unlike anywhere else i had lived. It was and still is unique.

We are in the middle of restructuring the Del Webb Museum with the focus on "The Community That Changed The Nation." Some of you may not like the concept, but the simple reality is age restricted communities have provided millions of seniors with awesome lifestyles...and it all started here in AZ.

Liked most of the article Jon, but the shots at those of us coming in from the Midwest and choosing a better way of life were kind of cheap.

In a community, parents and grandparents support the children, the next generation.

Children and parents support the the grandparents.

Team effort, all involved.

You Sun city folks don't want to be part of the community. You are an island. You left the community you cared about back home.

This isn't your home. This is your waystation to the grave. You shouldn't be able to vote. You are not a part of the community.

Way Station is a 1963 novel by Clifford Simak who also wrote City around 1946. Simak got a Hugo for Way Station. The plot is basically a human on earth that cares for a “Way Station” to accommodate interstellar travelers, Aliens. Ruben also known as AZREBEL has pointed out that many of us got to this Great Sonoran Desert Way Station after knocking off a bunch of his tribe. I can’t recall who scalped who back in Rubens history but here we are today continuing to scalp the desert terrain so more Aliens can come and hang out here for a few months. Just across the road they are throwing down another rock and sand trailer park for hundreds more. Gated retirement communities keep popping up and now the community of Queen Creek, South West of Phoenix and Chandler wants to buy water from La Paz County on the Western border of Arizona and Nevada. As you all know I thought Arizona should have been designated a Roadless Wilderness. Not going to happen and likely that the Roadless Wildernesses will keep shrinking for at least the next 100 years when the experts seem to think “manunkind” will start shrinking. Given the current plague guys my age are dying off rapidly but the Sun Cities will keep filling up until the youngsters decide Soylent Green might be beneficial.

So even though I got here (forcibly) 70 years ago, and I love the desert.
I understand Ruben’s statements.

“This isn't your home. This is your way station to the grave. You shouldn't be able to vote. You are not a part of the community.”

He is right
It’s a Way Station for Aliens.

Of course I have heard this story about how European Aliens managed to knock off 50 million give or take a few, Indigenous folks. The beat goes on
Manifest Destiny and a White god gave us Sun Cities.

Not sure why anyone would want to "follow" Andrew Sullivan.

He first came to my attention as a cheerleader for Bush the Lesser's Iraq war.

Later, of course, when things didn't quite work out, he admitted he was wrong. Uh huh.

Most recently I saw him on Bill Maher's yackapalooza where he seemed to be trying to explain to a black man that Black Lives Matter was a dangerous organization, not worthy of support, and that racism in America wasn't really that bad, and if "liberals" didn't lighten up they would run off any Trump voters who might be thinking of abandoning that sinking ship.

Honestly, what is there worth following?

Andrew Sullivan is a classical liberal and excellent writer, which means he's more apt to argue than concede points to the reigning group-think. Because I live in Portland, I'm confronted with this problem daily where earnest and well-meaning citizens devise increasingly bizarre codes that justify violence but condemn free speech. Whether Sullivan persuades you or not is less the issue than maintaining a public square where we can actually think out loud. Kudos to Sullivan - and Maher, too - for keeping discourse vital in our otherwise anodyne safe spaces.

As a native Zonie, I will defend Bill Pearson from the nativists telling him to go home. Americans are all from someplace else and creating community is a haphazard effort for nearly everyone. There's not much civic tradition surviving in our lonely country so any evidence of its vitality should be applauded. I tend to disdain suburbs and I usually think of Sun City as one of the worst. But if people are doing more than crashing golf carts and watching Fox News, kudos to them.

Interesting feedback gang.

In 2008 Andrew Blechman wrote the book Leisureville. They touted it in the AZ Republic and especially a chapter on Sun City. I took exception in that it was clear he had never come here, simply used it in part to drag down the concept of age restricted communities.

We got into a heated back and forth on the AZ website and then emails. After several exchanges where i used facts and figures to rebut his claims he finally just said; "buddy, i am just trying to sell a book."

Point being, way too many folks have an opinion based on little or nothing but perception. I didn't leave the kids to lavish in a lifestyle of hedonism. We had no kids and i came to help my folks as they aged and be there for them when they died.

Along the way, i found a sense of community unmatched. It wasn't the golf or the gyms or the clubs or the pools. It was the idea we were self governed and we took ownership of the process.

It didn't matter if you were left or right, it mattered if you were willing to give back. Like all of society we've drifted from much of that. My goal is to help us get back there by using the history of the community and Webb et al to help people get their head around it.

This country has become a mess. There's a million reasons for it, but putting a bumper sticker on your car crying for world peace does nothing. I can't fix what goes on outside the walls, but inside them i learned i can make a difference in the community where i live.

Seems to me the only way to eat an apple is one bite at a time. Simple analogy, but if each of us does what we can where we live, there's a way better opportunity to try and stop our plunge into furthering the totally crappy place we are at.

Or, i guess i could just go golf, lay by the pool and ignore all of it. BTW, already submitted my early ballot so for now i can still vote.

Bill, I have been to Sun City numerous times since it was built, and gave speeches before groups there in the 2000s. It has many fine people and takes pride in its volunteering.

That said, Sun City was for decades a millstone around the necks of children in the Dysart Unified School District, repeatedly voting down bonds. Even this past year, after most of Sun City had de-annexed itself from the district, the bonds desperately needed by this poor school system were among the few to lose at the ballot box. Dysart retains a sliver of Sun City and all of Sun City Grand.

To those who come to Arizona, I ask that they make it their home, learn its history, respect it, take care of its environment. Alas, too often that doesn't happen.

Actually i believe it was the Peoria school district RC. I have the complete history here and we were invited to leave because they couldn't pass school bonds. Dysart was applicable in Sun City West.

There's no question it was contentious with ugly infighting within the community. It was either 73 or 74 when it was finally resolved. There is fair criticism over the entire issue.

Unfortunately people paint the picture using that as the sole backdrop. There's so much more to the story regarding the community and the company behind it.

The early Webb Corporation and especially Del Webb left the bulk of his fortune to his foundation. They've given millions to hospitals and research and will for years to come.

Our goals of teaching the history of the community are part and parcel of trying to get people to understand the importance of becoming involved and taking ownership. We have a long way to go, but we are in the middle of moving forward.

Enough on Sun City. The article soleri posted was exceptional. Hopefully we can explore that and the more frightening aspects of the future for those of us on the left.

With any luck at all, the dems will win the house, senate and presidency this fall. Then the youngsters like Schor can maybe get them to open their eyes and come to understand just how bleak it can become if they don't shift their thinking.

Cal-Why is it as we get older, we are able to think in terms of 100 years. I am 73 and came here in 66 ,and just now realize how short 100 years are. I have two sons who are too busy making a living and raising families too think about it.As you say ,the beat goes on.

I advise everyone take soleri's advice and read the Schor report he has linked.

For me, it validates my reasoning on why Democratic elites give away the elections, but you can make up your own mind.

Instead of reading anything Sullivan writes, I suggest diving into any collection of Gore Vidal's political essays.

Vidal was truly a "classical liberal".

Sullivan seems to me to be liberal only in support of gay rights. Most everything else skews to the traditional English conservative point of view.

Of course, in these times, since American conservatives have gone completely nuts, traditional English conservatives can seem liberal to our ears.

Regarding Sun City residents, they've helped keep first Trent Franks and now Debbie Lesko in the U.S. Congress.

Res ipsa loquitur.

B. Franklin, I've read most of Vidal's work, which was a pleasure given his great store of caustic irony. That said, he became increasingly estranged from real-world politics as he grew older. He endorsed non-serious candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Ralph Nader. He also sympathized with Timothy McVeigh, which might give you an idea how radical and ineffectual he became. He entertained conspiracy theories and derided virtually every mainstream Democrat who ever ran for high office.

In contrast, Andrew Sullivan appears, well, sane. He made a huge mistake supporting George W Bush and the Iraq invasion, but he acknowledged it and moved on. Most importantly, he opposes the kind of identity politics that has made liberalism seem illiberal and authoritarian. He was an early and effective critic against Trump and right-wing populism, and warmly praised Barack Obama.

Going forward, the Democratic Party/liberalism faces a crisis. The more it emphasizes purity politics at the expense of pragmatism, the more elections it will lose. The Bernie Sanders hysteria may be over for now but the hard left will try again in 2024 to divide the party and possibly succeed. Right now we have one overarching responsibility, which is to preserve democracy. Sullivan gets that better than most.

The Great Sonoran Desert is having a great gorgeous day. The billowy clouds are forming up in the North and East and storms south of the border are building towards the Monsoon season. The deserts fifth season. Tons of birds and other animals straddling up to my waterhole.

With an IQ of 99 on a good day and fighting towards 100 years at 80 percent I am overwhelmed by the intellectual posts that dominate aqui. But I’ll give it a go.
The Nomads fatal mistake was the decision to squat down in a permanent place and live in their own shit. There are few Nomads today. Even the roaming Brit Richard Grant has got himself a place in the desert of Tucson, Arizona. I believe that if you spend five years in a desert you will come to believe that Brown is beautiful. And if you stand quietly still in the summer night and let a gentle breeze guide your spirit and keep your feet from getting damp you will come to love this place.

I got in a place today I could see for miles. No obstructions. Just the desert going south. No borders. Just desert and mountains and great Sajuaros.

The developers will continue to build Sun Cities in places where resources will likely give out. And what’s with, it’s ok to build as long as the water will last a 100 years. I’ll leave that question to this sites experts but sounds suspicious to me. Is there probable cause to make an arrest or just call bullshit? And Sun City is 60 years old. There are ground cave-ins of many feet in the Valley of the Sun with more to come as we suck out the ground water. The CAP is another temporary measure as the fights between the states ramps up.
The farmers are on to cities stealing their water.
It may quit coming at night, Mr. Gittes!

The Arizona Republic on 02/04/2020 indicated there were 12 pieces of pending legislation for protecting agriculture water rights.
So that’s all for now as my hands need to dig into the soil and toss down a couple of natural desert plants. Food for the birds and other critters. Fat rabbits for the Coyote.

I never acquired a taste for Martinis or Wagner. I prefer water and silence.
Silence that roars.

Soleri, you don’t have to live in Oregon. Your old house in the Slope is for sale.

“Oregon is a white state by design.”


I always read Soleri and Talton(as I always read everything posted here). Soleri and I exchange emails on various topics. It’s how I keep up at 80. It’s called READING.
No TV now for 37 months. That coat hanger for an antenna doesn’t work for something called netfix. But I do toss in an old VHS tape or a DVD now and then. But it’s got so the movies have to have Captions. Tonight its The Physician, The story of Rob Cole.

I have a question for youall.
Will they count your vote?
Hasta luego

Used to red Sullivan and never interested in Weiss after her fail on Rogan and in the NYT. Bill, you are most welcome here and hope to see to over coffee when the COVID cools.

Where will everyone go?
Sun City?

Soleri, I suggest you re-read what Vidal wrote about McVeigh in Vanity Fair.

There is nothing particularly "sympathetic", at least to my eyes. Unless you consider saying "I understand why someone might become so disaffected and angry that they would turn violent" to be sympathy.

There is, rather, a quest to find out the "why' behind McVeigh's actions and an examination of the evidence regarding whether or not he had multiple as yet unnamed accomplices.

I suppose that passes for a "conspiracy theory."

Vidal was sympathetic enough to the notorious bomber that he was the only person McVeigh invited to witness his execution. I admit it's a bit captious to suggest Vidal may as well have been a terrorist sympathizer but I marveled at his ability to argue bitterly with virtually any accomplished luminary while taking great pains to understand a psychopath

For the conspiracy theories, he was a big 9/11 Truther.


How well is Arizona water planing coming along?
Check out Rogues Phoenix and Arizona Section on AMA groundwater

I have been thinking lately about Rogue and whether he would be weighing in on the national unrest. I suspected he would not be able to to any extent. From what I know of him from reading his writings here for several years, I am quite confident that while he supports the general cause of racial justice and some extent of police reform, he also takes issue with aspects of the demonstrations and the movement(s) behind them, as well as with the "cancelling" phenomena.

What I appreciate about Jon is that he has been a fearless writer and an independent thinker. While I may disagree with him on many issues, I really respect him for writing what he sees fit and not being afraid to buck liberal orthodoxy where he disagrees with it. I am saddened and scared for where we are as a country that even he, on an independent blog under a pseudonym, doesn't feel free to opine because now the keepers of that orthodoxy may demand his (unrelated) job for it. Few organizational leaders are willing to stand up to that mob and defend their people.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I'll try to keep it simple. These cancelers are the product of our modern higher education system and the future, or perhaps the present, of the political Left. They have no use for classical liberalism, it is all about power. I have to ask, who are the real Fascists today?

On the post's last point about mask wearing in AZ, I just returned from a visit to the state in Mesa/Tempe and Tucson areas. Perhaps those of you who live there have observed differently, but I didn't see any real mask scofflawery. Virtually everyone wore their masks indoors everywhere I went. Not at the tables of restaurants, but certainly entering and leaving. If there is a significant contingent of mask outlaws, I didn't see it. I have observed the same thing over the last month in Texas where I live. Behaviors have changed since the early months of the crisis.

I've said it before, but there is nothing simple about this situation and anyone who pretends it is is being superficial. What is the right balance between virus precautions and economic destruction? Could you say that if we stayed locked down March/April-style for a whole year that the virus wouldn't make a comeback when we eventually reopened? Nobody can answer that question because this is a new virus that we have approached differently from any previous pandemic. IMO, the states that have opened up the most are doing it right, and how we probably should have done it from the beginning or at least very early. Take society-wide precautions, protect the most vulnerable populations, surge healthcare capabilities, but let businesses stay open wherever possible so they have a fighting chance. The economic and societal costs of killing masses of small, medium and even large businesses and organizations are, and will increasingly be, huge. Arguably bigger than the costs of the virus itself.

I want to meet Jon 1790 halfway here. On the one hand, I agree that the atmosphere of anti-intellectualism coming from the left is offensive. I'm not steeped in academic disciplines like critical theory or deconstructionism, but the chill coming from the left's zealots reminds me of a new religion whose precepts cannot be argued with lest the freethinkers be deemed heretics by the new witch burners.

On the other, epidemiology is still a science and if there is one really dirty word on the right, it would be that along with expertise. It helps explain why Arizona, a state noted for its know-nothingism led the nation the past two weeks in new cases (adjusted for population). The Ice Cream Man wisely reversed course and the the new lockdown is already "flattening the curve". Guess what? Anthony Fauci is still infinitely smarter than the Orange Ignoramus.

Europe, the socialist hellhole in the feverish imagination of the American right, shows that science remains a much better guide to reality than political dogma. The pandemic has mostly subsided thanks to discipline and a well-funded public health sector. The only anomaly is Sweden, whose much higher-than-expected mortality rate mirrors its decision to do exactly what Jon1790 suggested. America, sadly, shows how incompetent leadership in combination with a contempt for expertise can open the door prematurely and prolong our collective pain.

I grant that we don't know all the answers and that the economic repercussions of a catastrophe-in-progress cannot be fully understood in real time. That said, the instincts of most citizens to prioritize human life over small businesses is probably wise. Our erstwhile pro-lifers might scoff but letting Granny die so Trump can run for reelection as an economic genius may be too brazenly cynical for even the most jaded of partisans.

Nicely said soleri. However, it wasn't just "granny" that would have died in an effort to build a herd mentality. We now know the virus is dangerous enough to take people at any age.

The last thing i read before slipping off to sleep last night was Jon's comments. I too found some legitimacy in what he wrote...and then he closed with "Arguably bigger than the costs of the virus itself."

Those words were ringing in my ears and rattling around in my head. All of which begged the question: How many deaths would Jon have accepted as reasonable to keep the economy pumping and trump's hope for re-election alive?

I know Jon likes the back and forth so it's a simple question: 500,000? A million? 5 million? Is there a point where the costs in human lives becomes more important than saving the economy?

And Science had not yet established that Covid 19 has a HERD possibility.

Some folks believe the current plague is working well.
Statistically removing
'Limpeza social"

When I say cost, I'm not referring just to dollar cost. With a major economic downturn, there is a "despair" cost which is measured in lives as well as social pathologies. Drug overdoses, suicides, alcoholism, domestic abuse and so on. OD's have already spiked this year, I have read. Between all the above and more, they could definitely rival the COVID death numbers. There is also the number of people who have bad outcomes including death from delayed healthcare from routine healthcare being unavailable or resistance to going to virus-loaded hospitals.  But it is arguable, as I said. 

It is also arguable that the lockdowns are an indirect factor in the civil unrest we've seen. Obviously the Floyd killing would have sparked a big reaction regardless, but how much worse were the fires, looting, person-on-person violence, etc made by it coming after a couple of months of society-wide social isolation and frustration? 

We should not forget the cost on our children. Months (or longer) of substandard education, lack of activities and social isolation will have an unspecified but certainly substantial effect on them. Any of you with young kids around should be able to testify how crazy-making this has been on them. They are surely suffering, despite being extremely lightly hit by the virus.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the lockdowns. After the virus completely runs it's course, the spread, lethality and actions taken by every country and state will have to be analysed by epidemiologists. How much did lockdowns do vs. other measures in effecting the spread? Take New York and New Jersey(168 and 177 deaths/100k as of 7/24). They haven't lacked for lockdowns, but their population density, public transportation and questionable nursing home policies certainly were major factors in their deaths going through the roof. Other states like South Dakota (14 deaths/100k) had the least amount of restrictions but haven't been severely hit. Eventually, the total number of deaths for all causes will have to be looked at for the multiple year period that we'll be dealing with the economic consequences, then correlated by county, state and country. 

Our system of federalism and the world's lack of global governance are beneficial here, as each locality and country is a laboratory, and hopefully a retrospective analysis will yield some clear best practices for dealing  this type of virus in the future. 

I figured some people may take my reference to cost as dollars only. I should have elaborated, but as you see I need to try to limit my seemingly endless comments.  Lives are much more important than money, but the dollar cost is significant enough it should not be poopoo'd. Figure the direct losses as well as the billions, scratch that, trillions we are spending on relief packages, which of course we don't have and will just get added onto the already dangerously large debt, exacerbated also by the decreased tax revenue from the recession/depression. 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

I approve of your choice of phones.

Why the regular intense disdain for Palo Verde trees ?

Cal, yes my phone is proud of itself! I forgot to delete its bragging.


First, palo verdes provide little or no shade.

Second, they are ahistorical for the old part of the city.

We need real shade trees again.

Interesting comment yet again Jon7190. "the jury is still out on the lock down." Amazing, truly amazing in that it worked everywhere but in the USA. Please don't tell me about Brazil; they have Bolsonaro and he might just be worse than trump.

Had we listened to the experts and had any real leadership, we could/would be where other countries are. We couldn't wait; we couldn't follow the CDC guidelines on gradual phase-ins. Trump demanded we reopen and too many governor's followed his lead (if you can call it that).

There is no reason i know of for the USA to have 25% of the deaths with 4% of the worlds population. You are articulate enough Jon to help me get my head around that i hope.

Sadly, i see one reason and one reason only...trump is in so far over his head we are all screwed till he leaves. It cannot come soon enough. He's perfect if you wanted ratings and a reality television show, horrible if you wanted leadership in a crisis.

Jon1790, I understand and even concur with some of your speculations. So far, most advanced nations have coped reasonably well the social and economic stresses arising from the pandemic. We can't see around every corner, needless to say, but we can look toward other nations for clues how to proceed. One glaring deficiency in the American model has been our lack of leadership, which is mostly a matter of Donald Trump being both too ignorant and too narcissistic to put the interests our nation ahead of his political calculations. The surge in new cases is entirely attributable to his inability both to marshal new information and take any responsibility as president.

It was always going to be difficult to manage this crisis with a nation as polarized and fragmented as ours. Federalism is a nice theory but ill-suited for the momentous challenge before us. We're increasingly interdependent as Americans and there are sound reasons we need to be a first-world nation with a decent public health infrastructure. Given our pathetic pandemic outcomes we should be chastened that we are no longer a global leader in this area but a severely dysfunctional polity with an ill-equipped citizenry marooned in a policy debate its own leaders cannot adequately explain to them.

At any rate, the lessons we will learn will be difficult, painful, and necessary. No one sees it whole, but the hive mind may eventually evolve its own sense of what is both real and ideal. By this time next year, we will likely have a great deal more clarity than we do today. Until then, we should take care not to exacerbate America's fragile social matrix with divisive politics. This means Republicans and Democrats cooperating with one another instead of feeding insane battles over masks, contact tracing, and tests. This is hostile territory for you so I thank you for showing up and being thoughtful about these issues.

Bill, I think the best way to compare countries and states is not by absolute numbers but numbers per population. Yes, we have a disproportionate number of cases and deaths worldwide, but our numbers per population are in line with many other European countries. Better than some, worse than others. Personally, I don't pay much attention to numbers of cases because it is so much a function of testing. Deaths and hospitalizations are a much more reliable metric. 

For example, our deaths/population are lower than Spain, UK, Italy, France, Sweden, and Belgium. We're higher than Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, and Netherlands. Some of those countries have quite well developed national healthcare systems, and the timing and degree of restrictions varied quite a bit among both the higher and lower countries, as well as their amount of reopening.  I think when we look at Europe, the movement of people across borders will be a major factor in how hard hit each country was and those that generally had more people coming into the country (particularly, of course, from China in the early stages but also other early hot spots like Italy and Spain) will show to be the harder hit ones.

The U.S. is always a destination for people all over the world to visit, so it would make sense that we were among the harder hit countries. New York being far and away our biggest and earliest hot spot fits with that theory since it is such a hub for world travellers.

Soleri, what are you basing the statement that we have had pathetic pandemic outcomes on? The number of deaths per hospitalized patients has been dropping significantly and the only place and time hospitals have been even close to being overrun was parts of New York for a brief period early on. However, much of the surged capacity in beds and equipment that was sent there was not even needed as it turned out. The U.S. has a very good health infrastructure, we just have a very spotty health insurance/coverage system. But, I have not heard of any COVID patients being denied hospital care for lack of insurance. 

I hesitate to wade into the whole Trump issue. I'll just say this: as I was saying above, the costs of lockdowns are very real and go far beyond just financial. I would not want a President who was not concerned about balancing the risks/benefits of lockdowns and other restrictions. It is a shame that this had to happen during an election year, because it just amplifies all the political aspects of this. Of course the President has political motives, but so do his detractors. So do Republican and Democratic politicians and officials. The whole thing is way too political for my tastes, but I suppose it's unavoidable.

Thanks for the kind words Solari.

Just to underline what I was saying about the jury being out, Thursday saw the release of a study in The Lancet (English medical journal) showing, among other things, that lockdowns were not associated with decreased COVID deaths. Again, nothing about this virus is simple.


Original study link here:


Worth noting: I could not find any articles on this study in non-conservative U.S. mainstream media outlets. Interpret that as you will.

Jon7190, I will have to assume from the links you posted that you are a Covid Truther. The Mirror is not a legitimate newspaper. It's a sensationalistic British tabloid that shades legitimate journalism for its own purposes. Moreover, the Lancet link in no way buttresses their disinformation. It merely states the obvious that preexisting conditions like obesity are factors in the deaths of those suffering from the disease.

You also wrote this interesting deflection: The number of deaths per hospitalized patients has been dropping significantly and the only place and time hospitals have been even close to being overrun was parts of New York for a brief period early on. This is true but it's irrelevant to this discussion since it reflects much better medical protocols than during the earlier course of the pandemic. We have learned, in other words, what are more effective treatments and what to avoid prescribing. In no way does this diminish the huge spike in caseloads since the middle of June. The number of new cases is presently close to its all-time high in April and deaths have averaged more than a thousand each of the last four days, the highest since May. Compare and contrast to any first-world nation not afflicted with Republican governors and the worst president in American history.

I had written above that American public-health infrastructure is woefully inadequate. I didn't state that hospitals were substandard. Rather it's the health departments, which do the necessary grunt work such as case investigation, contact tracing, quarantining, and referrals to proper medical professionals. This is key to understanding our current debacle since there weren't adequate public resources in place to manage this crisis from the beginning. We're seeing in real time what can go wrong when right-wing nihilists substitute Ayn Rand's political philosophy for a government capable of performing the most basic functions in a highly complex society.

Jon, I wrote above that this catastrophe must be laid at the feet of Donald Trump. At this late date, if you are not chastened by your support for this fraud and ignoramus, you are either being deliberately obtuse or, more likely, doing yeoman's work on behalf of your cult. Politics that becomes a vehicle for a toxic ideology like white nationalism is worse than merely wrong. It's evil. I hope you find your way out of this cesspool because Trump is worse than anything this nation has ever confronted in its history.

Consider this possible scenario.
Mid October:
Trump declares a national emergency and imposes martial law and suspends the election he remains in office and the country proceeds on down "The Highway to Hell"

Soleri, this response is extra long, be forewarned. I never read the Mirror or know anything about it, just searching for an explanatory article on the study. Their interpretation is similar to other articles I found. As I mentioned, no mainstream U.S. outlet (besides Fox) wanted to write about this, which is perplexing because the study appears legit and is of interest because we need data on the effectiveness of lockdowns, border closures and every other mitigation strategy. 

I don't know what a COVID truther is. I
 suspect this study is ignored because it doesnt fit the media-approved narrative, but like I said, you can interpret that how you want. It is certainly true that google, facebook, and media have suppressed medical doctors and researchers (actual experts) and others who have expressed contrary opinions. There is so much unknown about this crisis, we should be letting all voices with something constructive to say be heard. It seems the virus has sparked an atmosphere of fear not just of the virus but of too much information, like if people hear something besides the official WHO/CDC message, bad things will happen. The free speech concerns Rogue intimated at and I started my first comment with apply with the virus, too. I don't think there has ever been a worse time for free speech in our country.

Business closures and lockdowns are something that seem intuitively that they should work. Science may start on intuition, but it is built on proof. We have never done lockdowns on anything like this scale. It was instituted as a hypothesis, but we need actual proof. Real studies, and lots of them. There have been other preliminary studies, but they need to be ongoing and thorough and hopefully there will eventually be a consensus. We don't yet know what all those studies will prove out, but if data shows that lockdowns weren't as effective as we thought they would be, we can't be afraid of that. Real science follows the data no matter who's toes it steps on.

 As far as lockdowns go, analysis will need to involve more than pure epidemiology. If lockdowns are shown effective to a certain extent in suppressing virus spread, but they are countered by other causes of death and general misery that they create, that will need to be weighed in the overall analysis. This virus seems to be showing signs that it can wait out lockdowns. Other countries that have eased restrictions are also seeing numbers go up. How long will the virus wait? Can society bear extended lockdowns? We are basically conducting a massive experiment, results to be determined. And just for fun, it's an election year!

That we are developing better treatment protocols and learning medically as we go is exactly my point. I would consider that part of the pandemic outcomes and it doesnt really fit with your comment that our outcomes are pathetic. 

Good point about public health infrastructure, I misunderstood what you meant. I agree it does seem that both CDC and WHO were not up to the task as much as we would have liked, especially initially. That, of course, is a good reason for other voices to be heard, even if they go against those organizations. They are obviously not infallible. 

Any administration naturally bears responsibility for what happens under its watch. This one could probably be fairly accused of not strengthening the CDC or doing more to prepare for a viral outbreak. But the CDC is not a directly political organization. Its practices are ongoing and if there are institutional problems there or insufficient resources, they have been going on for many years and probably decades. Properly preparing for an outbreak like this would require a lot more than three years of work. As far as state health departments go, who can doubt that many (probably all, regardless of party) states have underfunded them to varying degrees? That is a weakness of the system that I'm not sure how to fix. These needs are the sort of thing people don't think they need until they need them. Tailor made for political can kicking! Hopefully this experience will change politicians' attitudes about that.

Intellectually trying to rationalize why our outcomes don't suck ignore the reality of where we are Jon. Sorry, but the simple truth is no other nation is caught in the shit pile we are (except Brazil and we've already gone there).

I never use the number of actual cases (nor the ones we don't know about) when having these types of discourse. The most significant metric is deaths. You continue to use percentages per population and maybe 3 or 4 months ago, it was a legitimate argument.

Today, in real time, we are so far removed from any other country's outcomes it is terrifying. We've gone backwards, everyone else has gone forward. Others are enjoying modified openings and coming back to life.

It all comes down to leadership and in our case a lack thereof. The CDC had guidelines for phased reopening and as they were rolled out trump was tweeting for protesters to "LIBERATE" (all caps none the less).

The missteps by both him and his administration are almost beyond comprehension. I could start cutting and pasting his stupid statements and tweets but it would go on forever.

I don't care if you love trump and would follow him to hell and back. Failing to acknowledge his lack of leadership is pathetic. It's not only he didn't lead, he took us off course and added to the miseries with an incredible amount of ignorant and abhorrent behavior.

He owns this mess...it will be his legacy as president.

A. Lockdowns have brought the numbers down significantly here and around the world. No exceptions. You can see it in Arizona when Ducey finally smelled the coffee and decided to allow Phoenix and Tucson to impose restrictions. Shortly afterward new cases began to fall.

B. Context is important, so it's useful to look at the studies not as proof of your political arguments, but as qualifying information about what we do know. There was no conspiracy by journalists to suppress the reports you're citing without benefit of any personal expertise. I recall reading about them several months ago. Yes, these are valid studies but they don't prove your point so much as prove how complex the problems are. Context, context, context.

C. Epidemiology is extremely complex, which is why we should trust actual epidemiologists and not Trump, Tucker Carlson, The WSJ editorial page, or loons like Rand Paul to interpret science for us. Freelancing your opinions as "informed" is how we got into this catastrophe in the first place. Political partisans are utterly unqualified to dispute scientists.

D. You are right that we don't know exactly how all of this will unfold or whether the social and economic costs will ultimately be worth it. I agree that it's both nebulous and even debatable. But guess what? Consensus opinion is that we must try, that letting millions of people die is unacceptable. I assume that as a pro-lifer you are marginally sympathetic to that idea.

E. America is now seen as a pitiful helpless giant around the world. While virtually every other first-world nation with the exception of Sweden is managing the crisis well enough to modify their lockdowns, the US is caught in the trap of having to reimpose ours. This is the fruit of the right's anti-science ideology. Remember how sure your tribe was that all of this was just hysteria? Instead of whining about how you're being censored by a dark conspiracy of actual journalists, you might start reading real newspapers. I'll have to assume being right for you is much more important than being informed.

Republicans remain far less likely than Democrats to view COVID-19 as a major threat to public health.


Has anyone stopped bashing Trump’s lack of leadership long enough to consider how a change in party and leadership will necessarily put the US in a better position vis a vis the pandemic and the economy? We are still dominated by a capitalist/ military mentality vis a vis the world and there’s enough mismanagement throughout our public institutions no matter which party is in charge.

Fair question SO. i've been a fan of something "better" than what we have been suffering under/with for years. Gridlock is real in DC and unfortunately it may well be for years to come.

That said, the last four years have made me long/yearn for the bad old days. Trump had the opportunity to come in and make changes but he squandered it on placating his base.

Think about his appointments to the various agencies and positions in his cabinet. He went out of his way to appoint people who were opposed to the positions they filled.

When he did hire qualified people, they left within the first year. He was left with a bunch of slugs who couldn't get senate confirmation because even the republicans didn't see them as qualified. Hence all of the "acting" directors and the slew of unfilled positions.

None of that answers your questions. Here's my hope to get through the nightmare we are caught up in. Biden wins and comes to understand both parties need work together. There has been and will be lots of support for him from middle of the road republicans.

Better yet, there will be so many vacancies to fill he will have the opportunity to go beyond the usual party partisanship. Even if the left wins the presidency, senate and house they won't be able to solve anything alone.

This country desperately needs to get back on track. We have fallen so far, become so divided and caustic, smart people will understand the same old same old won't work.

Since trump was elected i have read dozens of stories about how trump has governed will come back to bite the republicans in the ass. I hate seeing it. We cannot afford to try and get even, we have to get better.

I am old enough to remember when we had statesmen. When the good of the country was more important than the good of the party. Am i convinced that will be the case. Nope...but i know with 100% certainty we can't afford 4 more years of the reality tv host and conman.

The answer
Keep hoping

The Wind blows
The gun knows
The devil shows
I dream the lows
As the drink slows
The souls howl
Across the barren flats
Bending the mesquite
Unto the shifting sands
Of deaths jaws
Where the bones bleach
And the coyotes howl
And the vultures screech
As they clean the bones
of “manunkind”

cal lash 1981

Sorry for the delayed response.

Bill, I'm not sure I understand your point about percentages. The figures I cited were deaths per 1 million population (I accidentally said 100k before). Those numbers are updated daily and are a pretty reliable metric, as far as I can tell. My favorite sites are http://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.
and Bing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic trends.

On your separate response to Stephanie's question, I admire your optimism. If I thought there was even a 1% chance of it going as you describe, I might be tempted.

Solari, here's my thoughts on your well-organized response:

A. See C

B. It sounds like we agree here mostly. I sighted the new study not as definitive proof that lockdowns didn't work, but to drive home the point that this is a complex issue that is not as simple as many would like to make it out to be. Remember my mantra: nothing about this virus crisis is simple. BTW, that study is not one of the ones you read months ago, it just came out Thursday (based on data through some time in May). It was the specific lack of reporting on this new study this week that I am pointing out. Conspiracy? I don't know, that makes it sound really wingnut, but if you don't know that media shape their stories and decide what not to cover based on their ideololgy, then I don't know what to say. I hope you know, too, that media companies have ideologies. Either left or right, I can't off the top of my head think of one that plays it right down the center, though there certainly are a few. I like RealClearPolitics. Their news stories play it pretty straight and they try to aggregate a fair sampling of articles on different sides of issues. I further hope you are aware that internet platforms (Google, YouTube, Facebook most notoriously, but also others) undeniably promote their point of view and demote others. Lefties don't often have to worry about that, but Righties are always aware of it.

C. Epidemiology is really complex. Yes! Then you consider that this situation also involves medicine, economics, sociology and more. All really complex fields. That has been my point all along. Are you saying that no one, if not an epidemiologist, should have an opinion on this? I am not one, and I'm assuming you aren't either. Yet we seem to both have some pretty strong opinions. I submit your A point.

D. You mentioned (and I think you have before) that "pro-life" people should think a certain way about this. Having concerns about lockdowns does not mean you don't care about people dying, or also tragically getting really sick and not dying. I would hope all the points I've made on this topic this whole string would have shown that is entirely too simplistic. Is it more "pro-life" to have no concern for the suffering and deaths caused by lockdowns? That seems even more callous to me.

E. I say cut through all the politics and spin and look at the numbers. Our death rates are still much better than several other hard-hit countries and have quite a ways to go to catch up to some. And the U.S. is not monolithic, as far as lockdowns go, every state has approached them differently. Whatever the President has advocated, he doesn't control lockdowns. It is every state's own decision, and they all correspondingly have had different outcomes and not necessarily exactly corresponding to their degree and timing of lockdowns (it's complicted, remember). I don't see how it helps (other than politically) to harp on how bad the U.S. is doing compared to other hard-hit countries. Keep an eye on Europe, some of their numbers are creeping up too during the summer as many are opening up some. Sadly, of course, numbers out of China are not reliable.

I will admit that I was optimistic around May that the worst was behind us. That could still be true, actually, but clearly this bastard is not done with us. The numbers supported that view at the time, and viruses generally do worse in warm weather, the virologists told us. We are constantly learning. This one seems to love the hot weather, looking at where it's worst right now.

Here's my current opinion, as a reasonably engaged lay observer (actually participant, because we all are). It's a devilish little bugger that we need to take seriously, but not live in fear. Fearfulness and panic help no one, awareness and conscientiousness help everyone. Long term complete lockdowns are not sustainable. Humans have to do human activity. I still believe that we are better off being open to the extent we can while taking every reasonable precaution. Those in high risk groups should live as if still in lockdown. For the population at large: Large gatherings, no; beaches and parks, yes; store and restaurants (with precautions), yes; all medical care (with precautions), yes; education through middle school (with precautions), absolutely; high school and college, maybe but extremely carefully. Youth sports, probably not yet; professional sports, yes without live audiences and with frequent testing; In person elections to the extent they can be done with early voting, distancing, wiping down, etc, definitely. Mail in ballots available, definitely if every precaution against fraud can be taken.

Jon7190, we're going in circles here, so I'll try to keep this as short as possible. What your conspiracy-mongering reminds me of here is the right's response to climate change. That is, take a little bit of information and whip it into a soufflé of breathless innuendo and political certitude. When I say we trust the epidemiologists, it's not that I dispute your concerns about the longterm and unintended consequences. I share them. It's the debasement of expertise to subvert our political will to bolster a narrative that favors special interests over the public interest.

This is, in brief, the recent history of the Republican Party where serious matters are burlesqued for political advantage and private gain. Donald Trump's reelection campaign perfectly illustrates this tendency. Instead of marshaling public resources in February and March to meet a grave public health problem, he used his presidency to minimize, distort, and lie about it. He did this because your party's white nationalist base tribalizes around its Fox News alternative reality. We're always right and you're always wrong! And when it turns out that you, Fox News, Trump, and the heavy breathers on the right were wrong, simply wave your hands and scream about media conspiracies.

There's a reason we trust people like journalists over propagandists like Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. Journalists fact check each other compulsively. By contrast, you have never fact checked the most mendacious man in American history - Trump - because you're not interested in the truth. You're interested in being right. This means you will necessarily be compromised by Trump's lies, ignorance, and blame-shifting. The entire Republican Party is compromised, because the pressure to maintain tribal unity overwhelms its basic integrity.

I illustrate this phenomenon with one current story. Liz Cheney, who most of us on the left abhor, recently backed up an actual expert, Anthony Fauci. What was the reaction from your tribe? A loud and angry call for her resignation from House GOP leadership. All personality cults are toxic, but the GOP's utter and complete collapse into mindless mob for Dear Leader is chilling. Bully worship has no pride, apparently, and it really shows among the lickspittles who pretend be intellectuals and truthtellers. Mitt Romney's modest effort to distance himself from this toxic cult was greeted with the kind of scorn usually reserved for a corrupt man abusing the public trust. Except in this case, that man's abuse is celebrated because your party's moral standards have been completely inverted.

I appreciate your calm and decent arguments. Sadly, I can't reconcile your person with the horrifying cause you would advance. At some point, you need to reach deeper than political utility and speak truth to power. The right's power is fundamentally anti-American. It is certainly anti-democratic, as evidenced by your ongoing efforts to subvert voting to favor your side. All the crocodile tears your team of cynics cry about voting by mail is wasted on a party that cheats compulsively and lies profligately. Sorry, but I had to get that off my chest.

No need to apologize Soleri.
The thing called the GOP for the last 30 years and The Donald Trumps of the planet are much more deadly than Covid 19.

Soleri, I'm glad you could get that off your chest! I know you are in your comfort zone lambasting Republicans. If you find my approach inconsistant with your expectation of conservatives, perhaps they are not all the irrational boogeymen you imagine. I know and know of plenty of folks like me, and if you go deeper than Fox News and the most popular radio programs, you'll find plenty of sober, thoughtful conservative commentators out there. 

I am working on a few thoughts on more of your comment, but I'm working today and may not finish it tonight. 

Jon7190, there are conservatives I profoundly respect. None of them support a sleazy con artist utterly unqualified by experience or temperament to be president.
Nor do they confuse right-wing populism with names like Burke, Kirk, Mencken, and Buckley.

Jon7190 — Please provide a list of the "sober, thoughtful conservative commentators out there," a list of the commentators you like.

Chris Wallace, Brett Bair. That's it.

Sober, thoughtful liberal commentators, there is only one, Fareed Zakaria.

Pretty slim pickings all around.

Contemporary conservative commentators worth your time: Andrew Sullivan, Jennifer Rubin, David Frum, and sometimes Bill Kristol.

edf_IA, Rogue's list is good, but they are all certainly anti-Trump. My favorite anti-Trump conservative commentator is Kevin Williamson. The following are some writers and/or podcast/radio hosts that I like who are not anti-Trump (though not to say they never criticize him).

It's not at all exhaustive, but it's a start of those I would classify "sober and thoughtful conservative commentators". Well, most of them are sober. That is not to say that they are non-partisan, but I would call them serious people, not bomb-throwers or pot-stirrers like you might call certain Fox News opinion hosts, popular radio hosts or Donald Trump himself.

David Goldman
J.R. (or Jeff) Nyquist
Robert Spencer (not to be confused with Richard)
Gordon Chang
David Wheaton
Jim Garaghty
Guy Benson
Heather MacDonald
David Harsanyi
Eric Metaxis
Andrew McCarthy
Frank Turek
Star Parker
Michael Brown
J. Christian Adams
Kevin Freeman
Hans von Spakovsky
Abraham Hamilton
Salena Zito
William Jacobson

and just for fun: definitely NOT sober and thoughtful, but freaking hilarious, the Hodge Twins. They're on YouTube.

My favorite conservative journalist is
Jon Talton.

And I like Pepe Escobar.

And for good old guys


I try and red all that serious stuff you all have posted above but to get away

A funny guy
“I know that it’s existentially terrifying that the guy with said nuclear launch code spent half an hour on prime-time television patting himself on the back (with his freakishly small hands) for properly ID’ing an elephant. But after a certain point, we have to laugh at the absurdity. We need the release.” Greg Olear

A fantastically crazy but serious Aussie (yea I know Soleri not your kinda writer.)

“The leader of the most powerful country on earth speaks in a way that has no real relationship with facts or reality in any way, and people have just learned to roll with it.” Caitlin Johnston

Jon7190 are you a Human?

The deadliest virus

Clarity at 80? Maybe!
I became a republican at 10
as my dad a Roosevelt Democrat
kept yelling that Republicans
had all the money.
At 18 I liked Ike.
At 21 I registered with the GOP
I stayed with the GOP while in the Air Force and then I became a cop. Then my views started to modify until I was a social worker carrying a gun. Today Its hard for me to identify with any party but I just MAILED in my GOP nominating ballot.
I'm keeping my passport up to date just in case.
The desert had a really good rain a couple of days ago.

Ha! Caitlin again!
"Hi I'm Yankee McYeehaw. My government assistance during the pandemic consists of $1200 and a dick pic while congress passes a $740 annual billion military budget and trillions are funneled to giant corporations, so obviously I'm very very angry at Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping."

WEB Sites
"flourishing ecosystems for alternate realities."
Frank Bruni

Jon7190 — I checked out several of the names you posted. I'm not impressed, and will leave that at that.

I would like to go back to your post a couple days ago where you cited a study published in The Lancet and then wondered why no one other than Fox picked it up. I am surprised Fox even reported on it. The abstract concludes with "Interpretation — In this exploratory analysis, low levels of national preparedness, scale of testing and population characteristics were associated with increased national case load and overall mortality." Could it be that MSM read the paper and decided "nothing new here"? I think so.

A third person shooter?

edf_IA, I have to confess I did not do more than glance at the actual study before, but dang it now you went and made me read the whole thing! There is a lot of info in there, it's very sciency and academicy and I try to avoid these studies as much as I can, (even though, or maybe because, I am actually employed in a medical research study!). It's not the headline, but it is in there. I pulled out the relevant sections below.
You may remember what I was saying about the ideology of journalists. It cuts both ways. Conservative or any other entity that is interested in reporting about the possibility of lockdowns not working will pick up on what they want to see. More mainstream entities who are not interested in reporting that info will not read that deeply into it. Either way, it is hardly conclusive proof of anything, but it is intriguing and goes against the dominant narrative. I doubt the scientists were looking to make big controversial conclusions, so that information is only including in amongst the other less controversial stuff.

-Abstract this is the entire abstract. I include just to establish this study is exactly the topic I was talking about, i.e. the type of info scientists will have to analyze to learn from this pandemic
A country level exploratory analysis was conducted to assess the impact of timing and type of national health policy/actions undertaken towards COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes.
-Findings section, last two sentences:
Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and wide-spread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people. However, full lockdowns (RR=2.47: 95%CI: 1.08–5.64) and reduced country vulnerability to biological threats (i.e. high scores on the global health security scale for risk environment) (RR=1.55; 95%CI: 1.13–2.12) were significantly associated with increased patient recovery rates.

-Factors affecting COVID-19 critical cases rates and mortality section,
Last sentence of section:

Lastly, government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns, and a high rate of COVID-19 testing were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.

-Discussion section, end of 4th paragraph:
"...more restrictive public health measures (such as a full lockdown compared to partial or curfew only measures) were associated with an increase in the number of recovered cases per million population. These findings suggest that more restrictive public health practices may indeed be associated with less transmission and better outcomes. However, in our analysis, full lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality."

edf_IA, I appreciate you being open enough to look at some of those. Like I said, they are not nonpartisan. I'm not surprised you wouldn't be impressed, if you are not used to reading/listening to that sort of thing. It's a different worldview (I'm assuming you aren't conservative, sorry if I am wrong), but I stand by my assertion that these are all examples of serious people with thoughtful ideas that fit into a coherent overall worldview. Ok, all serious except for the Hodge Twins:)

Soleri, I'll plan on this being the last of our exchanges on this topic. You can have the final response if you want and we can put a wrap on this very good discussion.

I can find plenty of things to criticize in the President's handling of the coronavirus, mostly things rhetorical. His statements and feuds get all the attention (by his design, I think) but as usual, under the radar there's a fair amount of marshaling public resources. The administration put a lot into acquiring and promoting production of PPE, ongoing substantial efforts towards vaccine research and production and a really good job with distributing ventilators. Testing efforts have been a mixed bag, with lots of increased numbers of tests but a lot of unfulfilled promises. Anecdotally in my experience it often takes way too long to get test results. 

In my view, this crisis started with some potential for national unity around a common adversity. The President started trying to be as unifying as he is capable of (I know, I know, that's not a lot). Trump's many, many critics are constitutionally incapable of giving him credit for anything , and I would put much of the media in that category, and the whole thing quickly got way too political. Political fights are Trump's oxygen, so he became, or more importantly was seen by the public to become, more focused on that than the actual crisis. Of course a few little other events have been distracting as well. He seems to be showing signs over the last couple weeks of refocusing on the virus and considering that it has been hurting him politically. 

I don't see a lot of contrition on either side of the aisle when it comes to being wrong about something. Are the heavy breathers on the Left any better at admitting when they were wrong? That is anathema in today's political environment. 

I haven't paid too much attention to the little dramas around criticizing Dr. Fauci. I like him personally and am content to accept him as an authority on the epidemiology aspects of all this (but not an authority on pitching, God love him!). I would only note that he did lose some credibility when he early on said masks were not needed for regular citizens then later said he had been intentionally misleading then to prevent a run on masks.

You decry taking "a little bit of information and whip[ing] it into a soufflé of breathless innuendo and political certitude."  Be careful you're not doing the same thing, such as with this Liz Cheney story. I would add a bit of context. This is apparently accurate reporting on a closed-door GOP house conference, not public statements or a public event. It's insider baseball type stuff that reveals some contention in the ranks. Liz Cheney, who generally supports the President and most of his policies, is pretty fearless in saying what she thinks, even if it goes against what the President is saying. She is third in House R leadership. A few members criticized her for a number of things, including supporting the primary challenger of a house member, clashing publicly with the President to include as you mentioned praising Dr. Fauci. They didn't think a leader in the House should be clashing publicly with the President on those things. Only Matt Gaetz has actually called for her removal from leadership (and did it publicly), which is interesting since he recently had his own high-profile departure from the President. She pushed back just as hard and Leader McCarthy supported her. Note she has not in fact been removed from anything. (Just for reference: https://www.politico.com/news/2020/07/21/house-cheney-gop-conference-375812 )

This episode doesn't reflect fantastically on the GOP, but it's not all bad. That such a high profile House member can go her own way and defy criticism makes the party look not-so-tribal. Mitt Romney, as you mentioned, has parted much more affirmatively with Trump (he voted to convict!), in fact it seems like something of a feud. He catches a lot of flack from some members of the party, but he was comfortably elected and remains popular in a very conservative state that voted for Trump. That indicates to me that there is at least a bit of ideological elbow room in the party. And if you want to talk tribalism, nobody does it better than the Democratic Party. I would say they hold together as a caucus tighter and tolerate a lot less dissension than the Republicans do.

"Journalists fact check each other compulsively." That is probably true most of the time, but there is an unhealthy trend in modern political journalism that the most important thing is to be first with a story, mostly a product of our cable news and internet era. The pressure to get the story out and the cuts in reporting staff in many organizations have made for some spectacular fails (a good example is the Coventry kids at the Lincoln Memorial). Not to beat your dead horse, but the ideology I was talking about comes into play, too. The errors somehow tend to go against the President and his supporters and never in their favor

Jon1790, Let me note with pleasure your sharp perception that Donald Trump is not really a unifying president. To clarify further, Trump is probably the most divisive president in our nation's history. This is a problem because the president has one overarching duty, which is to embody with an adult's dignity the unity of the American people. No, it's not to enrich himself on the public dime or use government resources to smear a political opponent. In fact, those actions are impeachable. Only the moral squalor of the GOP saved him from the consequences of those brazen corruptions.

Trump, when he's not playing golf or watching Fox & Friends, does his best work when he's tweeting out his insecurities to the world. He requires constant infusions of adulation at his hillbilly hate rallies. He threatens to primary Republicans who refuse to goose-step in his direction. His sole efforts at unification, sadly, seem to be on behalf of the Old Confederacy. That said, we shouldn't forget the deft use of photo-ops where Bibles are fondled and flags are humped. Otherwise his record of "accomplishments" is paper thin. He got a much needed tax cut for billionaires passed and started a trade war with China that consumers pay for. And for some inexplicable reason he's advancing Vladimir Putin's agenda by undercutting the Atlantic Alliance. "Inexplicable" was a joke. We know why Trump is fighting like a wolverine to keep his tax returns hidden from public view.

Trump's grotesque personality traits are fungible. That is, the GOP is now adopting as it own principles Trump's bully-boy antics. There's chronic lying, self-pity, and conspiracy-mongering. More telling, there's the plain-view erosion of public accountability from the CDC to the firing of department inspector generals, to the right's organized hate campaign against experts like Anthony Fauci and patriots like Alexander Vindman. Fascism can be funny if you're Mel Brooks, but is not so funny when our very own president is doing it in Portland.

The GOP is forever and indelibly stamped with the mark of this beast. The excuses you make for him you make for yourself. Your party no longer takes governance seriously because you don't believe government is legitimate except as a means of enriching major donors and privatizing the public good. The gutting of experts from agencies threatens our very ability to mount effective defenses against pandemics and climate change. Once Washington becomes a circus of malicious clowns like Paul Manafort, Roger Stones, and Michael Flynn, the abyss opens. Trump is your angel of death, a one-man wrecking crew for the world's oldest democracy.

Cal, this is totally off topic but I thought of something you might have some good insight on when you mentioned that as a cop you functioned more as a social worker.

What do you think of this idea going around that we could cut police forces substantially by having social workers respond to many incidents rather than cops? Is that feasible given the unpredictible nature of many police calls for service?

I don't want to debate, just interested in your perspective given your background.

7190 google CAHOOTS
And you can find an article in Rogue Archives i wrote may years ago called Gunslingers.
Keep in mind I'm a reader and not a writer. Except to post my insanity aqui.

7190. Reference Liz Cheney. Like Meghan McCain its in their DNA. Dick Cheney was once president.

Oops looks like the Gunslingers article dosent come up in the Archives.

I found it with a DuckDuckGo search!

Looks to me like you can write, good article.

Given another 80 yesrs i might be able to intelligently respond to you and Soleri.

Here is the guest column Cal referenced:


Clarification 2
I may be a Republican but,
Debating Donald trump is a waste of time. In 2015 I thought he was insane. Today there is no doubt. His administration is inept. Pence is a much a Theocrat as any devout Wahabi. And Barr and Pompeo are radical cradle Catholics intent on king making. And wtf is Stephen Miller?

This mess now includes Sleepy Joe that owes his political career to Jimmy Hoffa and the Bufalino Crime family.
But we have to consider that Talton and Soleri think Joe is a winner and Bernie was a loser.
If its Conservative writers you like and can handle their religiosity, I suggest (Catholic) Ray McGovern.

Lest we not forget the esteemed professor, economist and great journalist, Jon Talton is a Catholic and once upon a time a Republican. So what is Mapstone?

Note: 911 was a monumental failure of politics and intelligence agencies and law enforcement agency infighting and a great lack of communication therein. However I thought and still think the formation of Homeland Security was a mistake. Its culmination has resulted in a force that provides for dictatorship. And Trump and troops are using it to keep power. Trump and Barr call the shots for HLS, particularly the Border patrol and for major city police unions.

In 84 I fought to have my SAU (think SWAT) team negotiator trained. I had the best negotiators. But eventually the boys that wanted bigger guns to kill with won. Evident in today’s photos of Star Wars and Robocops advancement upon demonstrators.

In 77 my uniform Walking Beat Squad walked and talked the minority (black and Hispanic) occupied projects. Without dogs and shotguns.
Besides good people, there were bad people including occasional Black panthers in town. We encountered few big problems and little violence. I’m somewhat infamous for when a black man under arrest said to me Sgt. Lash” I’ll get in the police car if you will just quit talking.” There is nothing wrong trying to first be a social worker as with the badge and the gun and police radio you can quickly become the baddest asshole on the street.

Social worker with a retired badge.

In the early 90's I was consulting for construction companies and their communication with non English speaking laborers.

Accidentally I ran into Big John (a Black man) who had owned the Social club on West
Buckeye road. He was now blind and dying and couldn't locate his son. Big John had ran a small card game in the back room of his Social Club and because he would let me know when some bad folks were around, we paid no attention to a small backroom card game. I found his son. We got Big Johns house sold and sent Big John to die with his family. I like Big John. He was a good person.

As was the six foot 300 pound lady with a big ruby in her nose that was the bouncer at Tops ball rooom. She always made sure I could walk in alone and not be fearful of the drinking occupants. We had no problems with Tops, now a Soul Brothers Motorcycle Club. Although I do recall some folks tried to blow it up. But they were white guys with some republican affiliations and as I recall may have been involved with John Harvey Adamson. But I'll have to check with my sources. OK time to water the birds and cactus.

Good stuff, cal dear.

I wrote a poem for you.

As the pentagon budget grows,

As the earth continues to warm,

As mama natures virus rages,

The partisans bicker about their hurt feelings.

Poor babies.

Thanks Helen
What a Taffy pull, eh!
you prefer white, brown or multicolored?

If you are still unsure about Trumps sanity.
Meet his witch doctor.

Cal, if the Democrats had picked Bernie, Trump would be sailing to reelection. Biden is instinctively a centrist, which means he doesn't test the patience of middle Americans with Marxism and maximalism. Bernie, by contrast, has always been a bomb thrower and would be a sitting duck for every incendiary charge the right would be throwing at him. It's good to know that blacks rescued the Democratic Party from certain defeat back in February. I think there's a lesson here: don't expect to stage a revolution when half the country is freaked out by the other half. You need someone who can straddle as much of the body politic as possible. That's Biden and definitely not Trump - or Bernie.

Thanks Soleri.

Cal, reminds me of a friend who is a state trooper in upstate NY describing his job as "AAA with a gun."

Is an automobile insurance company.
I take it your friend works "The Road"
Interesting about those that work the road and accident investigation (AI). A number I knew are excellent artists.Very detail oriented and exacting. Skills that can also make you a good Homicide investigator. IMHO
There was a time when state troopers had to be at least 5 foot ten and in some cases 6 foot. Hmmmmmmmmm?
I worked AI with Billy Cheatham back in the day. I liked Billy. He was a real gunslinger. I cared not for Accident Investigation. The ROAD for me is spiritual as I hear the rubber singing. Only in America?
Good to hear you have a friend DOG.
It's a little unfriendly out thar.

Yes, Triple A, the towing, new battery, roadside assistance outfit.

7190 and those interested in alternatives to police, here is a old but interesting piece.
It has a good ending.
The brutal and corrupt cops went to prison.

I just quit trying to have a discussion with Jon. He makes valid points at times, but you always have to come back to the bottom line...trump.

The man is dangerous to the country on so many levels. Soleri has articulated many, but as each day passes he continues to share with us his daily droppings of crap and then proudly stomps up and down in it.

How about the witch doctor/preacher he showcased? Care to have a sane discussion on that tidbit? Or maybe his whining how Fauci is popular but he's not?

Then there's those legislators who hang with him; Louie Gohmert getting COVD19 from wearing a mask? Herman Cain going to the rally in Tulsa and then contracting it and being dead weeks later. How about that bigly convention?

Now we see his tweet to delay the election. More horse crap for the never-ending pile. Hold on to your seats the rest of the flight to November is going to be one bumpy ride.

I started talking about the machinations that would go on prior to the elections 2 years ago. The talking heads are late to the party

Police Militarization

I'll take up the challenge to have a sane conversation about the Voodoo doctor. Since you mention it, I can't resist making a couple points that bear on my previous comments (even though it's late and there is a new article on the site).

As I said to Soleri, I have no problem criticizing Trump on any number of things. A big one is his Tweet First-Think Later approach to public relations. This is a good example, as the good doctor should probably have been vetted just a bit before being promoted! The story about her really buries the lede, though. She was one of approximately 10 medical doctors (most apparently actual clinicians) who organized to put on a press conference and seminar on their views on COVID 19, much of which goes against the approved CDC/WHO information. That these doctors did this, bravely in my view, is news. The even bigger story is that video of the presser quickly went viral and within 24 hours was blocked by Facebook, You Tube and Twitter. To Google's credit, a variety of articles that contain the video still come up on the first page of results (as of today), though I notice the direct video link has dropped off.

Not only is this suppression contrary to the principles of free speech that are foundational to our country, but I can't imagine a more Anti-Science approach. Science is based on a free, open exchange of ideas. Science is about experiments, research, data and experience that hopefully will eventually create a consensus (but always subject to change should new data emerge). It is not about suppression of ideas or groupthink.

I'm not sure yet what I think about Hydroxychloroiquine (HCQ). It's clear to me, though, that it hardly falls under the heading "settled science". We are told by authorities that it's not effective. These doctors felt strongly enough otherwise to speak out publicly (though HCQ is not the only thing they discussed). Regardless, I believe people should be free to see public information and to judge for themselves.

Here is a website that evaluates all the available studies on HCQ. Studies are classified as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), Early treatment, and Late treatment and lists them as overall positive, negative or other, with summaries of each study and links to the original studies. Judge for yourself. https://c19study.com/

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