Deaths still rising, Trump still nuts!

FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2020

Thoroughly baffled by Krugman:
We're thoroughly baffled by the basic framework of Paul Krugman's new column.

First, though, an apparent mistake. In passing, Krugman says this about the pandemic:

"National death totals are still declining..."

We're afraid that's no longer true. As of this morning, the nationwide 7-day average has bumped up again.

As of this morning, we're averaging 576.7 deaths per day nationwide (July 3-July 9). We'd already dropped below that point as of June 23 (571.9, June 16-June 22).

The number continued to drop after that, inching down below 540. But now it seems to be moving back up again.

It seems clear that the decline has stopped. All that's left may be the size of what now seems to be the rise.

That's a minor if horrible point. We're baffled by Krugman's overall framework. Our bafflement starts with Krugman's headline, then continues with some points after that:
KRUGMAN (7/10/20): The Deadly Delusions of Mad King Donald

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more and more as if we’re all trapped on the Titanic—except that this time around the captain is a madman who insists on steering straight for the iceberg. And his crew is too cowardly to contradict him, let alone mutiny to save the passengers.

As he opens, Krugman refers to Trump as a madman. Also, as a "mad" king driven by "delusions."

Later, he refers to Trump's "pathologically inept response to the coronavirus." He refers to his "delusions" again, and once again calls him "mad."

That said:

Even as this psychological/psychiatric language floats around, Krugman never brooks the possibility that Trump really is delusional, mad or pathological, and not just in the metaphorical sense.

Trump's niece, Mary Trump, is a clinical psychologist. She has written a book in which she discusses Trump and his "high-functioning sociopath" father in psychiatric terms. But even with this new prompting, our journalists refuse to consider the possibility that the president is psychiatrically or psychologically ill in some literal sense.

It may be that this is a stricture imposed on columnists from above. But at some point, the refusal to brook an obvious possibility becomes almost as odd as Trump's relentless lunacy itself.

Is Donald J. Trump psychiatrically ill? The steadfast refusal to conduct that discussion is part of the era's madness.

Deaths are rising again, thanks to Trump. How did we get to this place?


  1. 'Deaths are rising again, thanks to Trump. How did we get to this place?'

    We got to this place because Trumptards like Somerby spend all their time defending the Mad King, defending rapists, pedohiles and killers of AAs, while attacking liberals, concern trolling liberals

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  2. Trump has made a number of poor decisions where the virus is concerned.

    1. I vote for this comment as "Understatement of the Year".

  3. "Even as this psychological/psychiatric language floats around, Krugman never brooks the possibility that Trump really is delusional, mad or pathological, and not just in the metaphorical sense."

    There is nothing to be done differently if Trump is actually mentally ill. That's why no one talks about this.

    Somerby seems to think that there are consequences to finding that Trump is actually delusional or to giving him some type of diagnosis. There aren't.

    In medicine, if you make a diagnosis, it dictates a treatment. In mental health, you can treat some conditions with medicine, but aside from that, treatment consists of helping the person learn to live with his or her disorder, mitigating their behavior. It is entirely likely that people have been trying to mitigate Trump's behavior for his entire lifetime, and attaching a label to him would do nothing to change that. It isn't like Congress is going to order him into sessions with a therapist.

    Somerby talks about Trump's delusions in order to urge us to pity him, to explain away his malfeasance. Somerby has never urged that Article 25 be invoked against Trump. His main message is that journalists should discuss Trump's craziness, not his evilness or incompetence or his moral responsibility or his cheating, lying and stealing. For some unstated reason, Somerby thinks it is better to describe him as mentally ill.

    Many of the people incarcerated for major crimes have a diagnosable mental illness too. It doesn't excuse what they have done. It doesn't excuse Trump either, especially since his efforts to conceal his crimes and evade punishment show clear knowledge of guilt and thus a sense of what is right and wrong. When Democrats tried to impeach and remove Trump, Republicans defended him and refused to support that effort, despite having the an even better understanding of Trump's illness than liberals. Many of those Republicans can be considered as delusional as Trump is.

    What exactly does Somerby think would happen if the press took his suggestion? I think nothing would happen except that the accusation would provide a distraction from real issues and the Republicans could point to the persecution of their candidate by those with fake expertise (e.g., shrinks and mental health experts) which would make conservatives feel vindicated and increase support for Trump's reelection. There is no scenario in which Republicans will wake up and say "what were we thinking" and select a different nominee. None whatsoever.

    1. 'For some unstated reason, Somerby thinks it is better to describe him as mentally ill.'

      The reason is that Somerby knows most journalists wouldn't describe him as such because

      1) It would be offensive to people with genuine mental issues
      2) a clinical psychologist cannot eval him without personal contact (which no one other than Mary has).

      So occasionally commenting about Trump's illness allows TDH to
      1) Attack liberals
      2) Pretend that he is actually anti-Trump, rather than a malevolent Trumptard.

      Win-Win for TDH.

    2. It would be difficult for the country to invoke the 25th amendment on grounds of mental unfitness and not talk about it.

    3. 4:26
      It is the cabinet and congressional GOP who would have to invoke the 25th Amendment against Trump, not “the country.” And they will never do it.

    4. Last I looked, Congress was elected by the people and we have a representative government.

    5. 7:13
      So you’re saying the “people” don’t care about Trump being a nutcase. Because they elected him, after all. (Well, the electoral college did. “The people” chose HRC). And they elected the Congresspeople who support the nutjob. And let’s be clear: the people don’t need psychiatrists in the media to tell them Trump has issues. So it won’t make any difference.

  4. "thanks to Trump", dear Bob?

    And no thanks to the endless week after week dumb mass-riots all over the country? How WHITE SUPREMACY of you, dear Bob.

    In other news: dembot Krug is still a dembot.
    That's good, dear Bob, stability is comforting.

    1. 你舔自己的球

    2. Mao, Как погода в москве?

  5. From Daily Kos:

    "Donald Trump’s reign of error has been remarkable on a historic level in a variety of ways: COVID-19, the destruction of our traditional overseas alliances and open appeasement of Russia, the increasingly open embrace of white nationalism. To that list we must now add something with similarly long-term consequences: the stark surge of domestic terrorism committed by right-wing extremists—many of whom act on the belief they are supporting, defending, and enabling Trump and his agenda.

    Data gathered from 2017 through 2019—and published today—by a team I led at Type Investigations and Reveal News shows that far-right domestic terrorism now dramatically eclipses all other forms of terrorist threat in the United States, both in raw numbers of events and in sheer lethality. It’s as though Trump lifted the lid off the Pandora’s Box of far-right violence and the demons promptly flew out."

  6. Deaths aren't rising because Trump is nuts. They are rising because he isn't doing anything about the pandemic. And neither is anyone in his administration (possible exception of Fauci). It is the behavior of the politicians, not Trump's cognitive abilities, that matters in this situation.

    1. The federal government is doing a lot about the pandemic.
      -- They're providing millions of tests and PPEs to the states and to the hospitals.
      -- They're providing information and analysis on where the cases are.
      -- They're providing extra personnel to hospitals that are short-handed.
      -- They're supporting the development of vaccines and other medicines to treat the disease.
      -- They have set up a system to produce and distribute a vaccine rapidly, one a reliable vaccine is developed and approved.
      --They established a rapid means for approving medicines and vaccines.
      -- They're sending experts out to the states to deal with hot spots.

    2. Sorry -- left out the word "effective" from my commment.

      Trump isn't doing anything effective to stop the pandemic. What he and his crew have been doing is obviously insufficient based on the increasing deaths and cases. Too much suffering, too little response (or the wrong response at the wrong time). The numbers speak for themselves, David. Good intentions (assuming Trump has any) don't get the job done. In politics, as in business, people are evaluated by their results.


    4. 3:11 The Federal government is having to do all those things because of Trump's tottering response in January, February and March. You're describing an "oh-shit" response.

    5. Wow David! None of those things are happening, literally none. That is a no to all seven of your bullet points.

      -No, they are providing far too few tests, we are 25th in the world for testing, and Trump has instructed his people to reduce testing.
      -No, just false
      -No other than a couple of propaganda events that were empty
      -No, not at all
      -No, it already existed
      -Ha no, that one is hilarious

      I am glad you recognize that we need the federal government; however, the current administration is withholding help on ideological grounds.

    6. "possible exception of Fauci"

      His lack of integrity, especially in March, makes him equally complicit in this horrendous debacle.

    7. "lack of integrity, especially in March"

      Lol. Thanks for laughs, dear deabot.

      In March, eh? Why, hormones, perhaps? Come to think of it, that fella does resemble a hare.

    8. Thanks for the word salad, Ivan.

  7. From No More Mister Nice Blog:

    "Your right-wing relatives believe that if we get our way -- and by "we" they mean everyone from the most moderate Democrat to the angriest Autonomous Zone dweller -- we will brutally suppress all speech and thought that doesn't fit into our ever-narrowing definition of the correct and the tolerable. They think this reign of terror will truly begin the night Joe Biden is declared the presidential winner, because he's either a secret radical or a useful idiot of us liberal fascists. Or maybe they think he's terrified of us because of the mercilessness with which we enforce unanimity of thought."

    This is the right wing meme that Somerby is echoing when he talks about the Red Guard and the French Revolution tearing down American culture, unleashed by the left, as he did while quoting Andrew Sullivan.

    Somerby would have us believe that he is just trying to stimulate our habits of thought by quoting things he hears on Fox News and reads from Andrew Sullivan. I think there is a fine line between discussing ideas from the right and spreading their contaminating bullshit beyond their own borders. Somerby is never critical of such ideas -- he spews them like a believer. Just as he has done today with garbage from Fox.

    It is time for Somerby to stop pretending he is liberal and own up to the source of his crap, the right, alt-right, fever-swamp, Q-Anon branch of humanity. This should be what Aristotle despairs and future anthropologists blame for the demise of our species.

    1. It's a decent description, except
      - not "right-wing relatives" but just normal rational people.
      - there's no such thing as "moderate Democrat". You're either for this 'cultural revolution' shit, or you're against it. And
      - no one cares about Rapist Joe. He's a vegetable.

      Also, I really prefer "liberal nazis" to "liberal fascists". Your struggle is a struggle for the "racial justice", isn't it? Fascists are interested in the power of the State, but your current dogma is precisely against the State. Disband the police, all power to militant activists, equivalent of the brown-shirts, correct?

    2. Мао паникует

    3. 毛吃着自己的粪便。

    4. Mao, Democrats are not a one-issue party. Racial justice is part of the struggle, but class justice and an end to income disparities are important too, as are women's health issues, the environment and climate change, and many other things. Thank you for asking.

    5. So, are you saying you're against the 'cultural revolution' that is happening now, dear dembot?

      Are you on the side of WHITE SUPREMACY, then?

      Also, just to clarify: you only care about wimmin's "health issues"? Is that right?

    6. ...and would it be fair to say that your cult, like every other cult, is for everything good and against everything evil?

    7. Not very often that I side with Mao, but when he writes that Trump is no smarter or better than the worst black man, how can I not agree?

    8. Matt Taibbi is a hack, no more than an opportunist that defends Russia and spouts Republican talking points.

  8. Quotes from Mary Trump’s book:

    "For Donald, lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was,”

    “Donald’s pathologies are so complex and his behaviors so often inexplicable that coming up with an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis would require a full battery of psychological and neurophysical tests that he’ll never sit for,” wrote his niece, who began the first part of the book with the heading "The Cruelty is the Point."

    So, she is saying Donald lies, not that he is so addled that he believes his misstatements are true.

    She is also saying that he intends to be cruel, not that he is so insane that he cannot be held accountable (“The Cruelty Is The Point”).

  9. So what if Trump is "psychiatrically ill" according to any particular definition? Discussing this is a waste of time and energy, since he will not be expelled from office on this ground. What is important is what he is actually doing to the country, and how this affects, or should be made to affect, how people vote in November. Voters will be asking questions like "will Trump's policies cause me to get sick and die?" and "have Trump's actions and policies caused me to lose my job or caused me to go out of business?" not "do psychiatrists judge that Trump is "mentally ill?".

    1. There is no evidence voters will be asking those questions (in any significant number). Elections these days are mostly about voter turnout.

  10. Strictly speaking, you wouldn't consider one higher data point to be a trend.

  11. How did we get to this place? If you ever venture off your (plural) sprawling campus on the far side of Neptune, you might learn something by reading this:

    Here's the flex shot: "[Jeff) Jarvis was the editor of Entertainment Weekly thirty years ago, but has long since settled into the thinkfluence game. He is the “Director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism” and the “Leonard Tow Professor of Journalism Innovation” at CUNY’s Newmark Journalism School, and was “named one of the 100 most influential media leaders by the World Economic Forum at Davos,” despite the fact that he appears to only teach one class at CUNY and spends the rest of his time doing utterly useless blogs on a website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since Y2K."

    Sound familiar?

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