The Real Hoax

As the threat of a pandemic increases, so does Trump’s idiocy.

Not only has he told his followers not to worry, because the virus is really just a “Democrat hoax,” he has defended his indefensible cuts to the CDC by reinforcing one of the most persistent actual hoaxes in American politics: the belief that anyone who has succeeded in business has the skills needed to succeed in government.

And yes, I realize that Trump didn’t succeed in business, unless being a pre-eminent con man is a measure of success.

But the fact that this particular Emperor is stark naked doesn’t negate the fact that the belief held by so many Americans– that the skills that enable someone to make a profit in the marketplace are transferable to public service– is unfounded, even pernicious. There certainly may be individuals who have both skill sets, but business and government serve very different functions and require very different approaches and abilities.

Which brings me to the most recent evidence that Donald Trump is–in Rex Tillerson’s memorable phrase– a moron. According to Business Insider,

President Donald Trump defended his huge budget cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a Wednesday press conference on the federal government’s response to the coronavirus.

He said it was easy to bolster the public-health agency and cited his business approach toward running the federal government.

“I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said. “When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

I’m not sure whether this displays greater ignorance of the way science works or the way government operates. It’s pretty embarrassing–and revealing– on both counts.

Evidently, Trump thinks that all medical professionals are on call and fungible–that government can just run an ad for doctors. “Wanted: physicians with broad expertise in pandemic contagions and public health protocols. Must be able to start work immediately. Must relocate to areas where CDC facilities are located.”

The president said some of the experts targeted by the cuts “hadn’t been used for many years” and that additional federal money and new medical staffers could be obtained swiftly since “we know all the good people.”

Um…hate to break it to you, Don, but so far your definition of “good people” has excluded anyone who actually knows anything about the position or agency to which they’ve been assigned. And if you know “all the good people,” why are there literally hundreds of high-level vacancies remaining unfilled three years into your disastrous Presidency?

And about those experts who “hadn’t been used”…see, Don, there’s this thing called scientific research. It’s time-consuming. It can take years to develop vaccines, to test medicines to ensure that they are effective and don’t have dangerous side-effects. It’s called the scientific method; it requires the application of knowledge, the careful testing of hypotheses, the willingness to recognize when you’ve taken a wrong turn…all behaviors with which you are unfamiliar.

You see, those experts weren’t “unused,” Don. They were developing expertise and identifying the interventions that we desperately need right now. Your administration has spent the last two years gutting critically important positions and programs–despite the fact that health experts warned that those cuts would dramatically weaken government’s ability to manage a health crisis.

And by the way, Mr. “Businessman”– maybe there are some non-technical enterprises in which you can “ramp up” employment when more workers are needed, but that is most definitely not the way scientific research or government operates.

Other experts elaborated on the cumbersome process to shore up a government agency that’s been battered by rounds of budget cuts.

Don Moynihan, a public management professor at Georgetown University, said in a tweet that “once you have gutted institutional capacity you cannot, in fact, quickly restore it.”

Appropriating federal money to the CDC would require a bill from Congress that passes both chambers and gets Trump’s signature, said Bobby Kogan, the chief mathematician for the Senate Budget Committee.

“In addition to requiring a new law to be passed to hire people, you have to actually, you know, spend the time to hire people,” Kogan said in a tweet.

Citizens who know anything at all about science or government or public policy have long since concluded that Trump is monumentally ignorant–a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect–but the adoring know-nothings who crowd his rallies probably believe him when he insists that there is no danger.

I wonder how many of them will cram those arenas and catch the “hoax.”

36 thoughts on “The Real Hoax

  1. As with the crisis of global warming, Trump’s ignorant followers and money grubbing supporters will wake up only when it’s too late.

  2. COVID-19 is unchartered territory for which we are unprepared. If significant numbers do not trust leadership on the map, there is no trust to go off the map to navigate uncertainty when no solution is in sight. White water rapids ahead and the experienced guides are gone. The appointed Czar thinks canoes will get us through the mountains. Welcome aboard the Trump & Pence Expedition.

  3. “Citizens who know anything at all about science or government or public policy have long since concluded that Trump is monumentally ignorant–a walking example of the Dunning-Kruger effect–but the adoring know-nothings who crowd his rallies probably believe him when he insists that there is no danger.”

    Do any of those “adoring know-nothings who crowd his rallies” understand that crowded public places is one of the most dangerous breeding grounds for all forms of illness? This new coronavirus has manged to pop up in some of the most unlikely places with no known source of infection…yet. We cannot and MUST NOT consider the numbers we are being given about “known cases” in this country as being the actual total; some medical experts are questioning recent deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu could possibly have been caused by this novel coronavirus. I will continue to ignore Trump while trying to find common sense and informative information for protection with fingers crossed and prayers.

  4. For information for Indiana residents on the blog. Copied and pasted from a February 26th CBS Channel 4 news item:

    “Area hospitals are preparing for the coronavirus by taking stringent measures to monitor and screen patients who might have recently traveled outside of the country and potentially were exposed to the recently discovered virus.

    Infection control teams at Franciscan Health hospitals have implemented procedures with staff and have the necessary equipment to care for any patient with this illness or any other flu strains.

    This includes having protective barriers and isolation areas to protect staff and others from airborne exposure to the coronavirus.

    Carmel Clay Schools said they’re preparing for the use of E-Learning opportunities for students in the event that our schools are closed for an extended period of time.”

  5. Whoa, if this wasn’t so dangerously moronic, it might be a Saturday Night Live skit!

    Why do we have all of these military people were not fighting, on the payroll? We should just drafted them when we need them.

    How about the United States Senate, they have hundreds of bills passed by the house that have not even been considered! They have been on the payroll and not doing anything, we should just call them when we need them.

    What about all those fire departments and police departments loaded with people not actually putting out fires every day or arresting someone every day, we should just call them when we need them.

    What about a POTUS of the United States that sits around watching television most of the day, well, it’s obvious we don’t need this particular POTUS!

    As a matter of fact, why have any employees anywhere in the world, governments and corporations should be able to pick up the phone and bring them in when they are needed, all that standing around, after all, who needs development or research, and better yet, who needs a job at all? When you think about it, food, shelter, recreation, education, healthcare all cost money, the only reason they exist is to have their hand out for a paycheck. Disgusting isn’t it?

    When you’re a very stable genius, you can see past all of the chaff and get right down to the millstone, because that millstone is what makes it all work, well all you have to do is bring in the grain, and the men or mules to turn that stone, and the bag makers to store the milled grain, or the farmers to plant the wheat and corn and let’s not forget those that winnow in the Milhouse and fields separate the grain from the chaff.

    Yep, all of these useless leeches standing around with their hand out for a paycheck, that Wharton school must be a real doozy, LOL!

    Proverbs 10:23 reads; ” Engaging in shameful conduct is like a game to the stupid one, But wisdom is for the man of discernment.”

    Proverbs 15:21 reads; “Foolishness is a joy to one lacking good sense, But the man of discernment walks straight ahead.”

    Proverbs 26:18, 19 reads; ” Like a madman who shoots fiery missiles, arrows, and death 19 Is the man who plays a trick on his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”

    Ecclesiastes 7:4 reads; ” The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of the stupid is in the house of rejoicing.”

    Proverbs 14:7 reads; “Go away from in front of the stupid man, “for you will certainly not take note of the lips of knowledge.”

    Proverbs 13:20 reads; “The one walking with the wise will become wise, But the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly.”

    In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence! https://nypost.com/2010/05/23/why-losers-have-delusions-of-grandeur/

    Yep! A very very very very very stable genius,LOL, ROFL!

  6. Trumpet Jr. (Don Jr.) doubled down on the Hoax Scenario accused Democrats of Politicizing the Corona Virus, and Pastor Pence as the loyal stooge that he is, refused to disavow, these statements, by Mini Don.

    Snippets:
    The president’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., offered the most pointed encapsulation of this view on Friday, when he told Fox News that Democrats “seemingly hope that it comes here, and kills millions of people so that they could end Donald Trump’s streak of winning.”

    Vice President Mike Pence — who is in charge of the White House’s efforts to deal with the outbreak — defended the president’s son’s remarks as “understandable.”

    “This is no time for politics. And frankly, I think that was Don Jr.’s point: that there has been some very strong rhetoric directed at the president by some members of Congress,” Pence told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “But responding to the kind of things that have been hurled is understandable.”
    ========================================================

    Robert Reich has an excellent column including the following:
    Controlling the flow of information within an administration that is not especially renowned for truth-telling doesn’t seem calculated to increase the public’s confidence in what they hear.

    Trump has taken several other steps, all of them backward. He has eliminated a National Security Council position that coordinates responses to pandemics. He has ignored an expert panel’s warning that the US is badly unprepared for global health threats and needs to restore funding to address them, and is requesting that the CDC budget be cut by almost 16%, starting in October, and the Department of Health and Human Services budget by almost 10%.

    Trump is also proposing a $3bn cut to global health programs, including a 53% cut to the World Health Organization and a 75% cut to the Pan American Health Organization.

    The number of Americans without health insurance has risen steadily during Trump’s tenure. A 2018 poll found that 44% – nearly half – didn’t see a doctor because they couldn’t afford it. Another recent survey found that 90% of Americans go to work while they’re sick.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/01/trump-coronavirus-cuts-robert-reich
    ==================================

    So yes, the Corona Virus is political, as the dismantling of the Government and under funding of critical pieces of the Government Health Care System are part of the Reactionary Right Wing Republicanism of “starving the beast” (the beast being the Government) and draining the swamp.

    One other point, with our For Profit Health Care System, how many people will not go to the Doctor because of high deductibles they cannot afford and try to “ride it out”.

  7. I receieved Sen Jeff Merkley,of Oregon, his newsletter Saturday about the virus. news,background,steps,ongoing and what to dos.Thanks, his state has people infected.
    i sent some thanks to all three federal reps NoDak has provided trumps regime..for their concern ,er lack of, to provide such a newsletter,and concern, not even a our thoughts and prayers are with you mono,logs..trumps idea,or is it pence,to provide us with words like if ya,pray ya wouldnt need help.aka, walmart corprate jingle..some how im feeling like our own nation is now a concentration camp,and were all looking out…

  8. Don the Con’s business experience was in a commodity, commercial development, thanks to the company his father gave him. He was a little lucky in his Atlantic City gambling venture. Other than that he failed at everything but celebrity brand management.

    He has recovered the family fortune at our expense as President.

    None of that should surprise anyone.

    If we as a country avoid a hard hit by the virus he will take credit. If we don’t avoid it he will blame the UN and Democrats.

    Nobody should be surprised at that either.

  9. Folks – The Duck is a man of luck, as we have seen. It is more than likely that this will blow over between now and the summer, the market will break new records and….

    Sometimes our times make me think that God is on an extended vacation…

  10. You mean if you need a baby in a hurry you can’t just get nine nine women together and produce it in one month? Who knew?

  11. John S.

    “Yep, all of these useless leeches standing around with their hand out for a paycheck, that Wharton school must be a real doozy, LOL!”

    Watch out Buddy, what you’re saying about the Wharton School. Are you looking for trouble? I’m also a Penn graduate, class of ’59.

  12. John S.

    In Dante’s epic poem “Inferno,” the nine circles of Hell are, from top to bottom, Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud and Treachery. Under Trump, where are we exactly? Please be specific.

  13. “I’m a businessperson. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them,” Trump said. “When we need them, we can get them back very quickly.”

    Yep, I’m sure those knowledgeable experts are just sitting around waiting for a phone call.

  14. Tillerson allegedly called 45 a f…ing moron, not just a plain old moron.

    I couldn’t agree more about your basic premise today. The business of business is to make money. The business of government is to “…establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…” While they are not mutually exclusive, they are definitely not the same and they require completely different skill sets.

  15. Pete: Trump was successful at the business of bankruptcy and getting himself clear of any liability, ensuring HIS cash flow was uninterrupted, while his creditors ate the losses. If COVID-19 infections hit the US hard, I think he will blame the Chinese for withholding information, then the Democrats and Obama’s policies. But that’s old news.

  16. If business acumen is a necessary quality for the Oval Office, then someone tell me how Hoover, Bush, and now Trump did or are doing? From the record, and using “the people” rather than Wall Street as our measure of success (see the increasingly meaningless Dow by such standard), it appears that (irrespective of ad blitzes) Bloomberg’s claims of business knowledge as a plus for governing are suspect. I would prefer a liberal peanut farmer or country lawyer at the helm. Perfect candidates do not exist, of course, but a random selection from the street would be better than our current thief-in-chief.

  17. Gerald – found your comments interesting regarding our (CommonGoodGoverning) work on the US House elections in 2018 (and continuing today). Nearly always, the candidates we vetted and found worthy were atypical from the majority of incumbents (lawyers, big business people); rather, they were nurses, doctors, teachers, small business people, entrepreneurs, etc.

    Servant leaders are hard to find at all levels…

  18. Marv, I will try, LOL! As we all know, my brevity skills are sorely lacking, especially when dictating from the car! But I’m in front of my desktop now. I’ll try not to disappoint.

    Dante really covered everything with his 9 circles, every one of mankind’s evils would be covered by one of those circles, probably even more than one. So, judging by the state of affairs, and bearing witness to this entire FUBAResque Skit we are living in and starring our POTUSesque Esq., LOL, probably around the 11th or 12th circle! That’s gotta be bad!

    Sorry about the dig at Wharton Marv, but hey, Trump claims he was at the top of his class, I’m sure you know plenty of folks there who could reveal some interesting shenanigans, that is, even if he attended at all. Is daddy probably had a well-paid ghost student doing his best interpretation of an entitled simpleton. Like baby POTUS bragged about, his Vietnam was avoiding venereal disease, but I think the syphilis went is brain a long time ago.

  19. The virus and Trump’s “response” are PRECISELY why so many have described Trump as the most dangerous man on Earth. The title of Rick Wilson’s disturbing book becomes more chilling and prescient everyday: “Everything Trump Touches Dies”.

    And the voters in both Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana will vote for Trump anyway. It’s like they don’t care about dying.

  20. A friend who is also a nurse posted this and the article in my humble of opinion working as a nurse for 25 years, working in cardio-thoracic, public health, mental health (child to elderly w/ dementia) I thought it summed up my feelings and the stress the healthcare system has been under and then to add a pandemic–its going to get scary.

    The very large medical system I work for has 40 days worth of masks. They are trying to get more but the majority of those are made in Indonesia and they are not letting go of their masks. They are having trouble getting the IT equipment to prepare because those are made in China and the majority of our medications are made in China. Certain companies no longer make certain medicines and antibiotics because there is no financial advantage for them.

    We saw disruption with Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico caused several drug shortages as well as IV bags since the hurricane destroyed so much of the what big pharma relied on. I had a number of patients who could not get their heart meds.

    If the Coronavirus is as bad as feared we are really going to see how fragile our healthcare system is–think about it there are alot of people who still do not have insurance or have insurance that is still too expensive. I doubt they are going to go to the ER or Urgent care (if there is one near-by) if they have symptoms and could actually have the virus since it initially mimics so many other viruses–those who then become so severly ill and end up in the ICU–how many are going to lose their homes or livilhoods to these medical bills.

  21. We ALL know The Don is a miserable failure. Now, all we have to do is hope that the cult followers will wake up and smell the coffee!!!!!
    Oh wait . . .that’s really the problem, they can’t wake up!!!

  22. As an RN, it has been my observation that our public health infrastructure needs marked improvement. The salaries of public health nurses are much lower than nurses who go into other fields of nursing. Many of them will be “first responders” as the corona virus spreads.

    The current POTUS is very poor at proactive planning. He is simply reactive. He does NOT understand that government does not operate exactly like a business, and he was not a skilled business leader anyway.

    There is no doubt in my mind as an RN, that the inequities in our health care system will be made obvious with the spread of the corona virus. People with little to no insurance coverage may well not seek help until it is way too late. It will very probably spread easily among the homeless ,communities of poverty, and prisons as prior epidemics have done. Elderly residents in nursing homes and those who care for them are at great risk.

    And even though this epidemic will bring into the light the inequities in health care, it probably will NOT influence the Republican agenda in any way, not even if some powerful Republicans are infected.

    God help the immigrants stuck in Mexico or in our detainment facilities because the POTUS won’t.

    I hope, and yes, I pray that all of you stay safe. Regardless of your insurance coverage, go get help if you have any of the symptoms that may indicate you have been infected by COVID-19.

  23. Here’s what I see as the biggest problems caused by Trump ignorance: we don’t know what we don’t know, especially as to all of the ways someone can acquire COVID-19, how long the incubation period is , why children, especially, don’t seem to get it with the same ease as older people or if they do, they don’t get sick enough to see a health care provider, and how many total people have the virus, can pass it to others, but don’t get sick enough to see a health care provider. Are 14 days of quarantine enough? Are any of the anti-viral medications we have now effective? Does spraying down the streets and outsides of buildings where people who are sick live and work help at all? Is there any reason to believe COVID-19 will be seasonal (which is what Trump has the CDC saying, other experts say there’s no proof that support this as of now, and he is just trying to goose the stock market)? How long can this virus live on surfaces like handrails, desks, table tops, light switches, shopping carts, door handles, etc? Who knows for sure what the answers are to any of these questions?

    Those people at the CDC that Trump believed were doing nothing would have been immediately gathering data in China to answer these questions when the outbreak was first manifest. They would be tracking the ages, travel, lifestyle and other habits of victims, exposures to others, course of disease and mortality rates. These data gathering and analytics activities are critical to help us understand what are the best ways to prevent the spread until we know more about effective treatments and prevention. We are at least 3 critical months behind. We’ll know a lot more by June than we do now, but hundreds, maybe thousands, of Americans will get sick and die. Trump will bear some responsibility for this.

    Trump is also responsible for his absolute lack of credibility. He lies so much that no one believes anything he says. Pence also has lied, so no one believes him either, so we have to depend on state and local health officials to tell us the truth. I don’t look for that to happen in Indiana, if admitting there are cases here would hurt Trump’s re-election. That’s what scares me most.

  24. E-mail from my friend in Santa Clara, CA, where the coronavirus is active. Stores there are already out of many basics; I shopped at Kroger and Save-A-Lot here this morning, still well stocked with everything. We need to check on this and keep one another informed when we begin hearing of the virus hitting this state.

    This serious health situation isn’t the only Trump hoax we need to worry about; and the information he is spreading is a hoax, we need to watch his military “peace” pacts. His desertion of the Kurds in Syria by using a United States (Trump) agreement with Turkey but no input from Syria opened their border for Turks and Russians to invade. Now the “peace” pact between the United States (Trump) and the Taliban in Afghanistan with no input from Afghanistan has an immediate glitch. The President of Afghanistan is refusing to trade 5,000 Taliban prisoners for 1,000 Afghanistan prisoners and Trump is moving our troops out of allied territory again to leave them open to invasion. But he has offered Iran our aid with their coronavirus cases. How do we find a way to stop this man and his administration?

  25. Actually, according to the fact checkers, while evryone of Trump’s proposed budgets has included substantial cuts in CDC funding, Congress has never gone along with those poposed cuts and has always increased CDC funding. Trump’s biggest hit on the CDC was not fully staffing the agency.

  26. As a retired RN, I’m promoting preventative health measures with my family. Wash your hands often, especially when coming in from public area. Use the wipes to clean off grocery cart handles. cough into sleeve, and avoid other peoples coughs, don’t worry about being rude just walk away from them. Stay home if you have symptoms. Stay hydrated with h20 & drinks with vit.C. We like emergence-C to build immunity. Fruits & veggies in diet. Get plenty of rest, mild exercise ie. walking. If we get sick we’ll stay home. We would call for supportive care If lungs become infected, and sob. Most people will probably recover if they take care of themselves.

  27. Karl Mack at 8:36 AM: Hope springs eternal! Scrolling is a useful tool! I make use of it often.

  28. Kathy; thank you for your qualified recommendations. My friend in Santa Clara, CA, where coronoavirus is active, learned on her shopping trip for protective products that they have a vast shortage of toilet paper, bottled water, anti-inflamatory meds such as Advil, hand sanitizers, zinc lozenges and cough and cold medications. Compounding the problem is that many of these products are manufactured in China; will they be in short supply, or no supply, throughout this nation as the virus is spreading and reports cannot be considered as accurate regarding numbers and locations. Trump may have been forced to tell his first truth when he said vaccines would probably not be available for a year to a year-and-a-half. This country may soon find itself in the position of not being able to take care of ourselves on the most basic level.

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