Deaths keep dropping as cases rise!

MONDAY, JUNE 22, 2020

Also, that Tulsa attire:
How politicized has mainstream press reporting become? Consider the front page of the Style section in today's Washington Post.

There sat a piece by Robin Givhan, the paper's long-standing "Fashion Critic." But her piece had little to do with fashion. It was just the standard, cookie-cutter account of Trump's rally in Tulsa.

Along the way, the fashion critic blabbed such standard fare as this:
GIVHAN (6/22/20): The crowd didn’t fill the 19,000 seats of the BOK Center. The upper tiers of the arena were mostly empty. There were no people to overflow into the outdoor, overflow festival space where the president and Vice President Pence were supposed to speak. And so that stage was dismantled. But there were still plenty of people who sat through the president’s nearly two hour campaign speech—no small portion of which was taken up by an elaborate narration and pantomime explaining why he’d had so much trouble walking down a ramp after a speech to West Point graduates earlier this month and why he needed two hands to drink from a glass of water.

It was a long, rambling performance with the president lamenting that he surely must have saluted some 600 times and by God, it was so hot that day and the ramp was like an ice-skating rink and he was wearing leather sole shoes.
As far as he was concerned, he really should have been cheered for making it down that ramp unscathed instead of being mocked in the media. So perhaps it made him feel better when the Tulsa crowd—his crowd—applauded after he theatrically drank a glass of water onstage with only one hand and didn’t dribble any of it on his tie.

It was Trump’s crowd. Everything is his. Everything is because of him. “We—I—have done a phenomenal job,” he said about the federal government’s response to the pandemic. “I saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”
So the "fashion critic" wrote, plus blah blah blah blah blah. Everyone says the same things now, even the "fashion critics."

Meanwhile, on the front age of the New York Times, political reporter Astead Herndon had cast himself in the role of fashion critic! Herndon started his Political Memo like this:
HERNDON (6/22/20): The difference between a rally for Joseph R. Biden Jr. and one for President Trump starts with the attire.

There is no official uniform for either event, but while those who come out for Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, show little pattern in their dress, there’s a unity to Mr. Trump’s biggest fans. A red hat is an obvious rally must. Without the cap, American flag colors will do, or a T-shirt that insults one of the president’s political archenemies—Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or a mainstream media outlet, for starters.

Packing recently for his first Trump rally, Donald Fanning of Wichita, Kan., made sure to dress the part.
On Saturday night in Tulsa, he wore an American-flag T-shirt along with American-flag suspenders that were hitched to American-flag swimming trunks.
Also, blah blah blah blah blah. This is front-page reporting.

Herndon went on to say the exact same things that Givhan did. By now, the blah-blah, if not the bafflegab, largely assembles itself.

During his Tulsa performance, Trump spent an astonishing fourteen minutes (14!) discussing his walk down the ramp at West Point and his attempt to drink that glass of water. Reporters aren't allowed to ask the obvious question—is something wrong with this man's mental health and/or his cognition?—so they agree to be "shocked, shocked" by each new day's new lunacy instead.

On the brighter side, a strikingly low number of people turned up for the usual bilge. Our guess? This suggests that even the harder core of Trump supporters have enough sense to be concerned by the prospect of spending several hours inside a jam-packed indoor venue as certain well-known virus flies around.

Everyone is in love with Juneteenth, and also shocked at Trump's ignorance of the event. This includes includes the ten million cable stars who had never mentioned Juneteenth in their whole freaking lives before.

Some see their new excitement as a sign of progress, and it can be seen that way. It can also be seen as a sign of the power of the faux and the pose—the force which has driven our political reporting for at least three decades by now.

Finally, might we post one more update on our American carnage? On a nationwide basis, the rolling seven-day average of daily deaths continues to drop. We're working from the Washington Post's daily numbers:
Seven-day average, daily deaths from coronavirus, nationwide
June 1-7: 803.4
June 8-14: 710.9
June 15-22: 585.9
That doesn't mean that the daily number of deaths won't go up again. After all, cases are rising, or at least that's so in the states you'll be hearing about.

The daily deaths may rise again, but as of now they continue to drop. We decided to post these numbers again after we read the gloomy report by the highly capable David Wallace-Wells for the new edition of New York magazine, a report which included this statement:
WALLACE-WELLS (6/20/20): The cost of all this failure is becoming terrifyingly clear, even as the country has begun a rapid and humiliating project of normalization. Over the last few weeks, as the deaths of almost a thousand Americans a day has retreated into a sort of cultural background noise, with the protests taking its place on the country’s front pages, the total death toll has passed a series of grim milestones: more Americans dead than in all the wars the country has fought since World War II, more than died in the 1957 flu, more dead than soldiers lost in World War I...
Almost 600 deaths per day is a lot of deaths. But, over the past few weeks, was "fewer than 700 and dropping" the same thing as "almost a thousand?" When everything is propaganda, we're going to say that it was.

Most things today are propaganda. It's embellishment in almost all things, plus bafflegab with a strong dose of blahblah as a chaser.


  1. "When everything is propaganda, we're going to say that it was."

    Why, yes, dear Bob: geobbelsian propaganda, lies and fear-mongering.

    That's what your liberal cult is reduced to these days. It's been four years, and you're just noticing now, really?

    "Reporters aren't allowed to ask the obvious question—is something wrong with this man's mental health and/or his cognition?"

    Well, indeed he doesn't sound like a robotic focus-group-tested liberal, if that's what you mean.

  2. Somerby is clearly bored with politics, blah blah blah blah he says. That doesn't mean the rest of us are. Liberals know that it is important to maintain enthusiasm through the stretch in order to get out the vote, so they are not going to follow Somerby's lead and fall asleep because of the sameness of Trump's antics (dare we call them symptoms Somerby asks).

    Conservatives would love it if Democrats got bored and stayed home, like some admit doing in 2016, because Hillary just didn't turn their crank. Somerby encourages this with his own ennui and tone of "been there, done that."

    Once again, Somerby pretends to be chastising the press (who seem to be doing an OK job of covering this stuff) while he instead encourages liberals to fall asleep at the wheel, because it is all so blah blah blah.

    Again, Somerby behaving like a conservative. What a surprise, but blah blah blah blah, he ain't no liberal.

  3. Trump spent an astonishing fourteen minutes (14!) discussing his walk down the ramp at West Point and his attempt to drink that glass of something wrong with this man's mental health and/or his cognition?

    Good grief. Trump made the point that the media are biased. They wrongly presented the ramp walk and water glass as if they were evidence of mental and/or physical deterioration. Trump's 14 minutes proved how unfair and inaccurate the media were. And, it was highly entertaining.

    1. Some reporters are saying that he spent a total of 20 minutes talking about the ramp and his other difficulties. Trump misreported too. He tweeted that he sprinted down the last 10-15 ft (when videos showed otherwise).

      Trump is an old man who is out of shape, overweight, and has a stair phobia. Why are you pretending otherwise, David? Trump's need to be seen as something he is not is the funny part.

      Of course he is showing physical deterioration! He is 74 years old. None of us would run down that ramp, but you do have to admit that Obama was in better shape during his presidency. Trump doesn't work out. He takes a golf cart onto the green. The media wasn't unfair. There is no collusion with a delusion -- they were telling the truth and Trump didn't like to hear it. That's why he was fixated on it, to the point of 14-20 minutes in the middle of a freaking campaign speech.

    2. David, do you know what the definition of "bias" is? For example, if a fucking lying sack of shit horse's ass snake oil salesman continually LIED to your face for 4 years straight and called the "enemy of the people" - borrowing a phrase from Stalin - would you consider yourself "biased" if you didn't trust a fucking goddam thing that asshole said to you?
      Jackass, you were entertained, eh?

    3. Trump thinks the press is biased whenever they report something he doesn't like to hear said about himself (truth doesn't figure into it). That's toddler reasoning. And he walks like a toddler too.

    4. @6:00 -- the mainstream media are focusing on things that purportedly show Trump suffering from mental problems. OTOH they're substantially ignoring a great many things that show Biden is slowing down mentally. That's an example of their bias.

      P.S. Trump is good at two things that Bob Somerby is good at: humor and media criticism. Maybe that's why I admire both of them.

    5. People start slowing down the minute they are out of their early 20s. Judgement is not a matter of "slowing down". Trump has horrible judgment and Biden has good judgment, by any objective measure. Biden lives in reality and Trump lives in fantasy, using his wealth to shield himself from reality. That's what his lies are about. No one could be a worse president than Trump has been.

      Trump has no sense of humor whatsoever and he rarely smiles. It is hard to know what you are admiring, but it isn't humor. Calling everything you don't want to hear "fake news" isn't media criticism. What Somerby does isn't media criticism either. I suspect what you are admiring there is the hostility.

    6. @6:57 I suspect that you haven't watched the entirety Trump's rally speeches. Maybe you only see the parts picked out by the media. Trump is a pretty good comedian. He had the crowd in Tulsa in stitches when he was imitating his own cautious walk down the ramp at West Point and also imitating the General who walked down the ramp with him.

    7. Somerby is just awful.

      Deaths lag new cases by around two weeks, new cases are spiking now (Republicans refuse to follow distancing recommendations, refuse to wear masks). Hospitalizations are spiking. Covid deaths are under reported as seen when comparing deaths year over year.

      Trump has always suffered from weak cognition paired with a nasty inclination to con:

      Trump Struggled to Discuss Books in This 1987 Interview

      Now Trump also suffers from a physical ailment, a stroke most likely (this is probably why he was quietly rushed to the hospital recently).

      The Tulsa rally was hugely embarrassing, Trump's disapproval is at a near all time high. Trump is the least popular president in modern history. Trump is losing to Biden nationally, and in all the swing states, even Florida and Ohio - it is almost a dead heat in Texas!

      Trump's humor is limited to mocking others or smirking about his own narcissism, there is nothing amusing about that.

      Trump's corona virus response has been a disaster, and he clearly does not give a shit about Americans, much like Somerby. He did nothing during the time that we managed to flatten the curve, oh well, that's over now. 123k+ deaths, sure let's just shrug our shoulders. Republicans are repugnant (so is Somerby).

    8. "I told my people: Slow the testing down please"

      the Republican crowd roars

      Hahahahaahahaha so funny

      $14B sitting unspent meant for virus prevention

      A truly disgusting group of people, Republicans

    9. He told his people to slow down the testing so the numbers don't make him look so goddam incompetent and he's throwing a fog of unknowability around Americans dying in obscurity. That way he keeps his numbers down!
      Come on, that's hilarious, don't you get it.

      David, explain to everyone your theory of how Trump will use his talent for evil in service of America again. That was a real ball buster.

    10. D & C - I recall all the claims about Clinton's alleged dire health situation during the 2016 campaign that came from your side. Perhaps you've forgotten. If that was ok then, why do you have a problem with this now? Admittedly, Trump is the healthiest person who ever was elected president, in the words of Trump's own doctor's letter, that Trump himself dictated.

    11. It may have come from 'his side', but it sure wasn't trumpeted and regurgitated endlessly by the establishment media.

      Quite the contrary, as I remember, it was immediately declared a despicable conspiracy theory.

      Which is the whole point, really.

    12. I well remember Clinton fainting at a 9/11 Memorial while going with a slight case of walking pneumonia and the cable news networks were hysterical for 3 days straight. It was the only thing they could talk about. MSNBC actually put together a Zapruda film with second by second analysis of her morning. Vast narratives and armchair diagnosis were offered hour after hour, day after day. I work with people who argued to me that she only had 6 months to live.

      To this day we have never seen a full medical exam report of the Acting President, Donald J Chickenshit.

    13. When you actually did faint, dear Hillary, yes, it would be difficult to dismiss it as a conspiracy theory. So, yes, on that occasion your goebbelsian friends had to employ different means of damage control.

    14. Re: Trump's sense of humor

      "President Donald Trump is admitting he was not joking when he told supporters in Tulsa on Saturday, “I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please.'”

      CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang on Tuesday asked Trump if he was kidding when he made those remarks. Trump replied: “I don’t kid.”

    15. AC/MA - For me, the most important thing about Trump's speech at the rally is that he still can make an effective, compelling speech, without notes. I don't think Biden could come close to doing that. Democrats are free to try to paint Trump as suffering from a stroke, but I think it's not a good strategy for them. Trump's actual behavior, observable by all, belies the accusation.

      P.S. I do think his speech at Tulsa was not as strong as speeches at his rallies 4 years ago. He may have slowed down.

    16. Trump has never made a "strong" or "effective" speech, and "without notes" is a joke, his speeches are planned and prepared by others, Trump's schtick is to merely add what he thinks is colorful flavor, while perfunctorily covering the provided talking points he mimics the mannerisms of a stereotype of a Jew or Italian. When asked later about his speeches he clearly can not recall what the talking points were.

      There is nothing inherently wrong with having a stroke.

      Biden does not need to make a compelling speech as voters find the fact that he is not Trump compelling enough.

      Trump is demonstrably suffering from a physical ailment on top of his mental issues, no one needs to worry about "good startegy" as Trump's approval is low, the lowest in history.

      Trump is cutting testing for Covid (we are already 26th in the world) while at the same time considering testing nuclear weapons. Nice.

    17. In David's defense, it's hard to decipher what is mental decline and what is repeating right-wing talking points.

    18. 2 hours of self obsessed demented whining of his petty personal grievances and non stop bullshitting David found "compelling".

      And David even managed to forget the fucking world record dumpster fire trump made of his first 3 1/2 years and how he killed 120000 Americans and counting.

  4. "Everyone is in love with Juneteenth"

    Actually everyone is happy to have a way to show their support for African Americans in the BLM protests.

    Would Somerby dare to suggest that those Trump supporters never wore American flag suspenders before Trump came along? But now they are all happy about the flag in a new way? Is that hypocrisy too (Somerby insinuates that white liberals are being insincere since they were neither black nor taught about Juneteenth in their schoolrooms.

    I can hear him talking about MLK in similar tones: "Did anyone care about some random Southern preacher before all this civil rights hoopla? Why all the fuss now? Nobel Peace Prize indeed!"

    Who mocks the celebration of Juneteenth, implying that it is a new bit of liberal hypocrisy? Not liberals. Conservatives do that. Trump supporters do it big time, in their cute little suspenders and swim trunks.

  5. [deaths] "continue to drop" Somerby says.

    That doesn't mean no one is dying. Even with a lower total, people are still dying. When you treat these numbers as statistics without thinking about what the number represents, it is easy to forget that each 1 is a person, loved and now mourned by friends and family, someone who didn't have to die if Trump had handled this crisis better, someone who will be missed.

    Somerby tosses these rolling averages off so cavalierly, to make trivial points, that it isn't clear he thinks about those people at all. If there are 300 tomorrow, that is a lot less than today's number, but it is still 300 dead people. Not a statistical anomaly or anything to cheer about.

    1. "each 1 is a person, loved and now mourned by friends and family, someone who didn't have to die if Trump had handled this crisis better"

      Please rest assured, dear dembot, that by the end of His second term Our Beloved Commander will defeat Death.

      ...if not in the second term, in the middle of His third term for sure.

    2. Trump's terms/ sentences will be "consecutive", Mao.

  6. Who benefits if Somerby manages to convince us that rounding off to a particular number is propaganda?

    Conservatives benefit when people think that 765 is not the same as 1000 so everything must be OK, because all of those numbers are propaganda. And what do you do with propaganda? You ignore it. And who benefits if the voters are convinced not to think about the numbers Trump's policy has produced, because propaganda? Conservatives benefit.

    So teaching people not to care about the deaths is a conservative game. Compared to those who would have died anyway, a few people in nursing homes is a small price to pay, and the fake news isn't printing the right rolling averages anyway, because it is all propaganda. Why is Somerby playing this conservative game?

    1. "Conservatives benefit when people think that 765 is not the same as 1000"

      You zombies have got no shame whatsoever, eh?

      But I like it when you openly declare it.

  7. ‘Reporters aren't allowed to ask the obvious question—is something wrong with this man's mental health and/or his cognition?—so they agree to be "shocked, shocked" by each new day's new lunacy instead.’

    Somerby is reading Givhan’s mind here.

    Nowhere does she say she is shocked. As a matter of fact, she presents Trump’s performance as utterly unsurprising.

    By simply describing what Trump said and did, her essay seemed to be a rather accurate description of Trump’s mental health and/or cognition. She doesn’t need to offer her opinions about Trump’s mental state. She is, after all, not a mental health professional.

    One of the more disconcerting things she noted was the support this supposedly mentally ill man got, from Pence on the podium, and from the seats:

    “And his crowd, his America, roared.”

  8. "Over the last few weeks, as the deaths of almost a thousand Americans a day has retreated into a sort of cultural background noise, "

    Somerby complains because "fewer than 700 and dropping" is being reported as "almost a thousand" but Somerby ignores the beginning of this sentence, the part that says "over the past few weeks". Further, the quoted sentence is already two days old. When you have a dropping average, the correctness of the number of deaths depends on which point in time you are talking about.

    According to Kevin Drum's graphs of rolling averages, US deaths have decreased in two weeks by about 20%. That is enough to account for the discrepancy between today's number and the number two weeks ago (a not very generous interpretation of the phrase "over the past several weeks").

    But this is all a straw man created by Somerby to make it look like the liberal press has been inflating death numbers. Who argues that the press does that? Conservatives do. Liberals read multiple sources and try to work their way through the figures (see Kevin Drum for an example). Conservatives throw their hands in the air and complain "they're all trying to deceive us!!!"

  9. Wallace-Wells says this:

    Over the last few weeks, as the deaths of almost a thousand Americans a day has retreated into a sort of cultural background noise”

    As a matter of fact, the number of deaths in one day was over a thousand as recently as May 28-29, and very close to it more recently. That was in the last few weeks.

    His point is to describe the complacency that has developed, not to propagandize by inflating the death count.

    In his “gloomy” report, he shows another unpleasant statistic: the rolling 3-day average number of daily confirmed cases, which for the US is at least 4 times the number for the EU. After a similar peak, their numbers have been consistently dropping. Ours have not.

    1. Complacency?

      Have some of your zombie comrades been neglecting to perform the Orange Man Bad two-minute-hate ritual 5 times a day, as required of them?

      Yeah, that's unfortunate.

    2. Speaking of comrades:

    3. Yes Mao you nailed it as usual.
      And David as well. Trump is fantastic and he's doing everything right. Silly mask wearing sissies are wrong.

    4. Why, thank you, my dear.

      Your opinion of mask wearing is noted, but surely there's no 'right' and 'wrong' here, my dear. You're free to wear full MOPP gear, 24x7, for all I care.

    5.'s your best friend Mario's Son Andrew doing, by the way? Is his cover-up/damage-control op working?

    6. ma0 ma0 * ,!, ,!,

  10. Business Insider: "Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, voted by mail in Indiana’s June GOP primary. Color me not-at-all-surprised! Even better, according to Business Insider, the Pences “used their old address in the Indiana governor's mansion, which they moved out of in December 2016 as they started the transition to their new home in Washington D.C."

    Voter Fraud! Someone notify Karen.


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  12. This is what real media criticism looks like:


    And this:


    These are examples of what liberal media criticism is like. Note the word liberal.


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