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Trump’s Egotism and Johnson’s Incompetence Over Covid-19 Is Shameful
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The US and UK are the nation states that have performed worst in the world in coping with the coronavirus pandemic. Americans and Britons make up more than a third of the 300,000 people worldwide who have died from Covid-19. They have paid the ultimate price for their governments’ slow and incompetent response to the spread of the disease.

Both countries have obvious points in common that explain their excess fatalities: Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are nativist demagogues skilled in winning elections, but not in coping with real crises as opposed to the ones they invent or exaggerate. Their critics had long predicted disaster if either man became national leader and this has finally happened.

I had thought that Trump and later Johnson were safer than they looked so long as they avoided real crises. I was thinking primarily of wars, probably in the Middle East, in the case of Trump. But for all his verbal belligerence towards Iran, he has stopped just short of a full-scale military conflict over the last three years.

In the case of Johnson, I believed that he would muddle through and, if there was a true crisis it would be to do with a no-deal Brexit. This seemed unlikely because he has a track record of carrying out U-turns and retreats while announcing famous victories: this week the government quietly admitted that there would indeed be border checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, though Johnson had repeatedly denied conceding this as the price of last October’s withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

It was the pandemic that turned Trump’s and Johnson’s character and behavioural flaws into lethal failings that have since killed many people. Both had risen to power by skilfully exploiting nativist fears and ambitions and scapegoating foreigners at home and abroad. They had become like a pair of conmen who have been successfully peddling lies and fantasies, but who must suddenly grapple with a highly-dangerous reality.

In Graham Greene’s novel Our Man in Havana, an amiable British businessman selling vacuum cleaners in pre-Castro Cuba bamboozles MI6 by inventing a string of well-paid secret agents. He passes off his scaled-up drawing of a vacuum cleaner as a mysterious weapon of mass destruction. As an accidental conman, he believes that he is safe from trouble because neither his agents nor the secret they have discovered actually exist, but because there are those who believe his imaginings, he unexpectedly has to deal with a dangerous reality in which real people begin to die.

Trump and Johnson are both like Greene’s conman in that they suddenly had to deal with a real crisis instead of a fictional one. Unsurprisingly, they have been manifestly incompetent in doing so with the result that their highly-developed countries lead the world in the number of deaths. In dealing with the all-too-real lethal coronavirus, they have not only done worse than powerful well-resourced states like Germany and South Korea, but also worse than poor and weak ones like Slovakia in Europe and Kerala in India.

Neither leader has risen to the challenge. Instead, it is the most negative and damaging aspects of their personalities that have become more pronounced under pressure. Trump was always self-obsessed, mendacious and authoritarian, but he has visibly turned into a ranting megalomaniac in the last five months.

Johnson, for his part, was always a shambolic opportunist, at one moment aping Shakespeare’s Falstaff and, at another, Winston Churchill in 1940, but it is the present catastrophe that made his poor judgement and contempt for facts such a lethal combination.

Trump’s performance is the more extraordinary: for long he denied the seriousness of the outbreak, refused to coordinate measures against it, publicised crackpot ideas on how to cure it, ignored or dismissed experts trying fight the virus. The government scientist, Rick Bright, once in charge of the critical task of developing a vaccine against coronavirus, testified this week before congress about how he was sacked because, among other reasons, he refused to endorse an anti-malaria drug favoured as an antidote for Covid-19 by Trump without any scientific evidence.

The main US public health institution, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once played a crucial role in combating malaria and polio. But today it is led by Robert Redfield, a Trump appointee, who once controversially headed the Pentagon’s response to HIV-Aids in the 1980s. When Trump horrified doctors in April by suggesting that coronavirus victims inject themselves with disinfectant, the CDC showed the degree to which it had been cowed into submission by contenting itself with reasserting that consumers should read the instructions that come with the medicine.

Because half of Americans – and a higher proportion in the rest of the world – have always thought of Trump as a crackpot, the moment that this transformed into dangerous mania has not had the impact it might have had otherwise. Even so, it is extraordinary to watch Trump – like that Roman Emperor who claimed to have conquered the sea – boast of great American victories over the virus.

Johnson’s political approach has always been a muted and cosier version of Trumpism, adapted to British political conditions. Both men are political campaigners of proven effectiveness. plugging into nativist fears and ambitions. In contrast to Trump’s divisiveness, Johnson specialises in appeals to national unity and support for the NHS, yet the consequence of having these two leaders in office during the pandemic has in both cases been a great number of people dying.

ORDER IT NOW

What Trump’s terrifying megalomania has achieved in the US is being replicated in the UK by the drip-drip of government incompetence and poor decision-making: the slow response to the onset of the epidemic, the lack of equipment, the famously inadequate number of tests. Daily press conferences were at first seen as a sign of government openness, but it has since become apparent that the confident-looking ministers and health officials did not know how many people were infected or had died.

Foolish decisions led to the shifting of 15,000 untested elderly patients from hospital to care homes where they inevitably infected others. Heroic but untested carers and nurses became the unwitting carriers of the disease to patients and each other. Much of this was obvious to anybody with common sense which was why so many seriously ill people decided not to go near a hospital and have died at home.

In the first half of March government policy was based on establishing herd immunity on the assumption that 60 per cent of the population would be infected. That assumption has proved to be wrong – even now, as we pass what is believed to be the peak of the current epidemic, research by a team of British academics lead by Manchester University say 29 per of the UK population, or 19 million people, is “likely” to have been infected with the coronavirus.

Trump’s lust for power has inflicted a far worse epidemic on Americans than would have happened otherwise; the incompetence of Johnson’s Brexiteer administration has done much the same in Britain.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. jsinton says:

    Easy to throw mud at Trump and Johnson. It’s fun. Everybody is doing it. Trump is just a bumbling nincompoop who thinks the stock market is the economy. But the truth is closer to everybody got caught as a bumbler and nincompoop over the planned-demic. Only the Swedes, or maybe Hungary, or certainly Antarctica seems to know what they are doing. But the big story, the one that will really change history, is the economic implosion caused by the Karen nation. Virus is bad, no doubt about it. But nobody seems to get how fragile the world economy is, or how overstretched the globalist vision became. People in 1918 just bit the bullet, sucked it up, and continued on. There was no “bailouts”. Now everybody has their handout because “they’re entitled”. I’m just glad I don’t have any debt, or need to go out and work like everybody else, because everybody else is in a world of bovine excrement up to their sphincter, and I fear we’ll see more poverty, strife, disease, mayhem, revolutions, bankruptcies, and general implosion of the human race than anyone thought possible. Good luck, ya all. Save the last bullet for yourself.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
  2. conatus says:

    I kind of think Trump has done a decent job. he acts positive “We will have the greatest , most bigly economy in the world”
    What is he supposed to do?… say”We are screwed, get your bag of lentils and lay low.”

    I really like the way he makes a statement and then says, “We will see what happens’ In my view THAT IS HONESTY. Not exhibiting false bravado or undue certainty.

    I think this Ahmaud brew-ha-ha is a replay of Travon Martin/Zimmerman hoax(Joel Gilbert). The idea is to communicate in as many ways as you can “Watch out Blacks, Whites are hunting you. Vote 99% Democratic to save yourselves”.
    I think this is a lie a hoax and a manipulation of reflective conformist sheep.

    Personally I think Trump is the best President in my life time. He does not go along with the globalist Elite crowd and that is why they hate hate hate him. He is disobedient to the Elite.

    • Agree: bigduke6, Unit472, eggplant, UK
  3. Sean says:

    As reported in the Chinese media but not the British, during a phone call very early on in the COVID-19 epidemic, Boris told XI “I love China”. Mr Cockburn clearly thinks China told Trump and Johnson what they needed to know in a timely fashion. Let us review the record.

    Dr Fauci is an American immunologist who has headed National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades. On January 26th Fauci said of the virus: “it’s a very, very low risk to the United States”. The day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Redfield had stated “the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low” and he told senators that the CDC had all of the funds it needed.

    It was not only on 27th of January that Fauci began publicly complaining about a lack of transparency by China. Having been duped by the Chinese into dispensing ‘ no immediate action needed’ pablum that cost many lives, perhaps it would have been better if Trump had acted on his putative nativism overruled his experts’ trust in Chinese misleaders.

    The fact that Johnson benefited from anti EU freedom of movement immigration sentiment during the Brexit campaign is hardly evidence that he opposes immigration. Johnson is a City man who likes the Poles and nonEuropeans who keep wages down in the service and construction jobs so abundant in the South East. Johnson said he wanted London to become Singapore-on-Thames.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @UncommonGround
  4. Michelle says:

    Could this high death rate in the US have anything to do with the high rates of immigration, multicultural societies, etc.. etc..? Most likely. Uneducated immigrants from third world countries, could perhaps, be a health hazard. Poor, uneducated people living in multigenerational households, wherein, the mid aged family members work jobs that are paid, “Pay check to Pay check”, might have something to do with the high level of infection amongst “People of Color” in the US. I have not much knowledge of the habits of immigrants of color in the UK.

    • Replies: @jsinton
  5. jsinton says:
    @Michelle

    The high death rate in the US correlates with the fact that De Blasio and Cuomo failed to shut down the primary transmitter of the virus, namely the subway, tram, and train system of NYC metropolis. NY, Conn, NJ are the epicenters. Places where people routinely ride the train to work. While people were forbidden from going outside in the sunshine and fresh air, the politicians allowed people to cram into dark, damp, cold subways. A perfect environment to transmit. Same with Chicago, the trams continued to run. That’s why you don’t see the huge number of cases in California. Everybody drives in CA, and it’s warmer and sunny. That’s why you don’t see huge numbers in Florida with all the old people. That’s why you saw huge (unofficial) numbers in Wuhan. Everybody rides the bus in Wuhan, and lives in high rise buildings where everyone rides the same elevator. The politicians were either dupes or intentionally infected the population.

    • Agree: Thomasina
    • Replies: @Michelle
  6. Anonymous[146] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    On January 26th Fauci said of the virus: “it’s a very, very low risk to the United States”. The day before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Redfield had stated “the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low” and he told senators that the CDC had all of the funds it needed.

    China’s health minister reported on January 26th that the virus was much more contagious than previously believed, leading a longtime US infectious disease expert and advisor to the CDC, Dr. William Schaffner, to say that the US needed a new strategy because the virus was a greater risk:

    https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/coronavirus-outbreak-hnk-intl-01-26-20/h_2a84ba79568235481f2a32f98865aef7

    “China’s health minister Ma Xiaowei had some very bad news Sunday about the Wuhan coronavirus: He said people can spread it before they have symptoms.

    A veteran adviser for a US health agency called the news a “game changer.”

    “When I heard this, I thought, ‘oh dear, this is worse than we anticipated.’ It means the infection is much more contagious than we originally thought,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a longtime adviser to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Schaffner added that this new piece of information called into question the current US practices for containing the virus so it doesn’t spread beyond the three cases that have already appeared in Washington state, California, and Illinois.

    Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said that if Ma is correct, “we’re going to have to re-evaluate our strategy, that’s for sure.””

    • Replies: @Sean
  7. Cockburn is correct in his evaluation of Trump & Johnson. On top of their own personal failings they are (as often noted) symptoms of a wider social malaise.
    Both US & the UK are the foremost embracers of neoliberalism & it’s (deliberate) Darwinian social affects. It’s difficult to make critical social policy for a pandemic when you either don’t value or believe the
    social” exists.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  8. @Sean

    In other places epiedemologists and governments also thought initially that the danger was low. But they reacted faster and more efficiently even if not perfectly. So, in the US one or two immunologists decide the whole policy? Meanwhile I have heard of dozens of specialists talking on tv in Germany and giving their opinions (I had never thought that there are so many people in this area). There are a few different institutes which have influence. It’s not what Dr Fauci says that decides everything, like in a dictatorship (see post n. 6, have read it now). Do you mean that a telephone talk with China was decisive for US policy? Did they at least ask for a written document signed from someone in China?

    You can only think that Trump is a good president if you think that the world finishes at the end of your nose. It’s difficult to think of someone who could have been a worse president than him – but easy to think of lots of people who could have been as bad and some who could be much better presidents.

    • Replies: @Fuerchtegott
    , @Realist
  9. Sean says:
    @Anonymous

    On January 20th, China confirmed human to human transmission, but it had never ever denied that there was some human to human transmission, it had said it was not the primary vector.

    China had, wittingly or otherwise, duped the world into thinking that there was apparently no sustained human to human transmission (ie wildfire pandemic) for three weeks prior to January 20th and it was almost February before America woke up to the fact that they had been kidded.

    On January 22nd, XI ordered the Wuhan close down, Five days Fauci later and with unmistakable signs of an incipient pandemic around the world, Fuaci started to publicly complain that the Chinese obviously knew more than they were letting on about sustained human to human transmission.

    As far as I can see China never told the world that there was was sustained human to human transmission of Covid-19. American experts surmised that there was, no thanks to China.

    As Professor Ian Lipkin a world authority who went to Wuhan and knows the Chinese in the field well said, we will never know what the Chinese knew and when.

    • Disagree: GazaPlanet
    • Replies: @Anonymous
  10. TG says:

    OK I am not a super Trump fan, but, he’s not the problem – he’s just a symptom of a deeper rot.

    The American elites have become totally corrupt, incompetent, and uncaring of the national welfare. That didn’t start with Trump.

    Obama opened the doors of this country to fun new diseases like Chagas and Dengue Fever and the D68 enterovirus etc., and did nothing to track or try to control them – indeed, research into such new American diseases has if anything been suppressed because it might make the elites look bad. Obama got away with it because these new diseases spread in a relatively unspectacular manner, and of course any criticism of him is racist.

    The lack of a national health service, where even people who pay a fortune for “good” insurance are afraid to go to the hospital because of “surprise medical billing,” the lack of masks and sanitizer and tests etc. because all the production facilities have been outsourced to China, the lack of paid sick leave forcing sick people to go to work, the lack of real unemployment insurance causing the absolute bottom to fall out of the labor market, I could go on, but this is not Trump’s doing. This is a bipartisan achievement.

    And the spectacle of the “rescue” bills, doling out whopping big tax cuts to the super rich, and allowing the wholesale looting of the national treasury by big finance: the government now buys worthless junk bonds for cash full face value, if you are politically connected enough to feed at that trough. Meanwhile the pathetic stimulus checks to little people are somehow not making it to their intended recipients, and nobody cares. Think of the money in bailouts and subsidies, companies that have loaded up on debt by buying back their own stocks to boost executive pay, and they get government money which they use to continue doing the same things… That is a priority over the general national interest. And in this 100% of our elites are in total agreement.

    Trump is not the problem. You really think that Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi etc. would have done better? Perhaps more importantly, do you really think that they would have cared? Do they show anything more than crocodile tears now?

  11. A123 says:

    Trump & the GOP are basing their approach on medical science and current conditions. For example:

    — Promoting the safe, effective, and affordable CQ/AZ/ZN combo treatment. (1)
    — Encouraging re-opening while minimizing risks. Florida and Georgia have decreasing case counts & improving economies.
    ______

    The DNC & Fauci are intentionally ignoring science and common sense. For example:

    — Cuomo killed over 5,000 senior citizens by forcing nursing homes to accept the infected. (2)
    — Exploiting WUHAN-19 for personal and political advantage.
    — Fauci is pushing the very expensive BigPharma product Remdesivir, which is very dangerous: (3)

    … 25% of patients receiving it have severe side effects, including multiple-organ dysfunction syndrome, septic shock, acute kidney injury and low blood pressure. Another 23% demonstrated evidence of liver damage on lab tests.

    Be honest. The Democrats have rabid Trump Derangement Syndrome and the resulting incompetence looks like this:
    ..
    PEACE 😷
    _______

    (1) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8266737/doctors-group-claims-hydroxychloroquine-helps-91-coronavirus-patients.html

    (2) http://ace.mu.nu/archives/387299.php

    (3) https://www.biospace.com/article/data-from-gilead-s-compassionate-use-of-remdesivir-for-covid-19-looks-promising/ — Hat Tip: Ilya

  12. Anonymous[394] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean

    As Professor Ian Lipkin a world authority who went to Wuhan and knows the Chinese in the field well said, we will never know what the Chinese knew and when.

    Those who insist it was a US bioweapon attack also claim that we will never know what the US knew and when, and intimate that the US knew a lot more, a lot sooner.

    Just like those who insist it was a US bioweapon attack, there’s nothing that will convince you otherwise. You originally suggested that China revealed no information in January. You were shown to be wrong about this, so now you’ve resorted to moving the goal posts, sophistry, and demanding metaphysical certitude.

  13. Unit472 says:

    NYC and London are major crossroads of business travel. We are probably lucky the Wuhan flu broke out in January and not during peak tourist season. While Bojo May have dawdled (missing all those Cobra meetings sure looks bad) Trump, as a germaphobe, instinctively reacted but, as usual had to rely on and then overcome the incompetence of the DC bureaucracy to act. Meanwhile the mayor of New York and that city’s public health commissioner allowed a Chinese New Years Parade on February 9th almost two weeks AFTER Trump stopped commercial flights out of China! Cuomo dumping discharged Covid patients into nursing homes didn’t help either.

    That Trump had to fight such monumental stupidity in New York as well as deal with the shortage of PPE while being impeached on fake charges shows him to be almost Superhuman!

    • Replies: @jsinton
  14. @UncommonGround

    Hillary.
    Would very likely have been worse.

  15. Ko says:

    Trumps lust for power? You’re so obviously a truth denier suffering from a case of TDS. Has Trump assassinated Americans? Has Trump imprisoned whistle-blowers? Has not stood before the deep state media day after day and faced them eye-to-eye and answered their abusive and mostly hypocritical accusations? You’re hero Obama, Hussein, Barack, is a traitor, committed so many crimes, and you’ve not even tried to expose him.

    You were once a great writer, reporter. What happened to you?

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
  16. More nonsense from Cockburn. He would have us all locked up for life for our own safety.

  17. jsinton says:
    @Unit472

    Wuhan epidemic was released during “peak tourist season”. It couldn’t have been timed worse. It occurred during the height Spring Festival season, the time when all Chinese want to travel to the home town and visit the graves of the ancestors. In addition, it was estimated 800,000 people flew from China to the US, 500,000 of them Chinese. It couldn’t have been timed better, or worse as I said.

  18. Sorry, once you said ‘the temporary leader is at fault for the failure of a whole system’, I got bored.

    Pandmics are exponential events, and need to be planned for. This means acting in advance. You can blame Trump and BoJo too for not doing so, but this is decades of indifference by government, and it dooms all recent leaders in those, and many other nations too.

    It doesn’t matter how wise a leader is during a pandemic, if there has not been a plan in advance. Sure the Brits dithered, and failed to even get British industry that wanted to help, to manufacture masks and so on, and there has been a lot of failure. But unless there is a warehouse with megatonnes of PPE carefully vacuum packed for the eventuality, then however good a plan when the pandemic hits, it won’t be enough.

    The failure is with government as a whole.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  19. @A123

    You know I think Trump is being much more honest than the Dems (who seem to be playing this like they always do – from some kinda dark side), but he is well out of his depth, and he does not have the courage to admit it, and for a non-expert who must rely on whom he manages, he has a mental team. It’s amazing really that the Presidency is so limited in power in the US.

    He is right on CQ/AZ/ZN, but he does come out with some real mental ones. I didn’t see the sarcasm in the disinfectant comment for example. He seems to just throw out a lot of info, and some of it sticks. Although, as always I am critical of his style – what he throws out is at least not all of the herd.

    He did well to keep the power over lockdowns to the individual states, and surely were any other member of the system in charge, they would have grabbed that power for the federal government without even a thought!

    The blame for the failure rests on a lack of planning, and Trump is in no way the primary reason for that. 3 years being battered by treasonous wretches – why would he concern himself with forward planning for events very unlikely to hit during his presidency?!

  20. Wielgus says:
    @animalogic

    Indeed, although they cannot openly admit this as they rely on votes – ironically a lot of the cullable elderly in Britain voted for Johnson.

  21. Thomasina says:

    Spygate (Obamagate), leaking, Russiagate, Ukrainegate, impeachment….and now the virus. I’m amazed that Trump can still stand as they have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at him.

    Trump’s instincts are correct (Hydroxychloroquine), and he should fire Fauci. That’s hard to do, though, as the guy has been a fixture for about 40 years. Why is that? Who stays in one position for 40 years unless you are beholden to the pharmaceutical companies? Fauci was probably carefully chosen for that position years ago.

    All presidents are narcissists. Trump is and so is Obama, but Obama is a sneaky bastard and extremely arrogant. Look at him flying out of the woodwork now that Obamagate is being revealed. Bush Jr. feels guilt for the soldiers whose limbs were blown off (evidenced by the paintings he draws and by the fact that he spends time with these soldiers). At least he has a conscience. Clinton (Lolita Express) likes to see fear in little girls’ eyes. That is actually psychopathic.

    Out of them all, I would choose Trump. The others would have folded long ago.

  22. Realist says:
    @UncommonGround

    It’s difficult to think of someone who could have been a worse president than him – but easy to think of lots of people who could have been as bad and some who could be much better presidents.

    Anyone who becomes President will be under the same constraints our Presidents have been under for decades. The Deep State doesn’t care about the unimportant internecine squabbles of the ‘two parties’ as long as their important issues are advanced (wealth and power). As a matter of fact it strengthens the false perception that there is a choice when voting.

    Let’s see your list of better Presidential prospects?

  23. Realist says:
    @TG

    Trump is a minion of those in control. Unless there is a radical change we will continue to have Presidents under control of the elite/Deep State.

  24. One man is responsible for the health of 330 million Americans? This isn’t remotely possible. The whole idea of it is actually insane. The CDC presented no clearly articulated plan or road map for US governors and the president to follow. They still haven’t. In a sane world the upper management would all be fired. What is the endgame? I honestly have no idea. For Sweden it is herd immunity. They stated it as such. In the US it is what? I don’t know. I guess everybody hide in the basement and pray they make a vaccine that works (unlike the annual flue one) before we all starve or die of boredom? Cuomo who the media has lavished praise on kicked covid positive seniors out of the hospital and sent them back to their nursing homes!!!! He should probably be put on trial for involuntary manslaughter. The USA is just not capable of planning, preparing, and acting. There is no self reflection. There is no improvement process. The Swedes stated their plan and examined the effectiveness of it. They learned they failed to properly isolate the medical cases and properly quarantine the nursing homes. That the disease got in the nursing homes and spread. They had a lot more deaths than they thought they would. They are reviewing their procedures and making changes in an attempt to do a better job next time. I have to applaud them for that. They are actually behaving like adults. Americans are a fing joke.

    • Replies: @Thomasina
  25. Thomasina says:
    @goldhoarder

    “The CDC presented no clearly articulated plan or road map for US governors and the president to follow. They still haven’t.”

    I agree. Why is that? It almost seems intentional, doesn’t it? The U.S. has some of the best experts in the world, so surely it can’t be put down to stupidity. Could there actually be motive/intent here?

    “In a sane world the upper management would all be fired.”

    I’m sure Trump would fire them all in a minute, if he could; he’s already been advised what works. But as Realist says above, he’s not really in charge. The Deep State is, and the Deep State has other plans.

    A Canadian woman has put out several videos trying to connect the dots between the CDC, WHO, NIH, Dr. Fauci, Imperial College, Gates Foundation, big pharma, NGO’s, foundations, etc. If a quarter of what she’s uncovering turns out to be true, there is a reason for the current incompetence. It’s called money and power.

    Sounds like they want a vaccine that has embedded in it RFID (radio frequency ID) technology so we can be tracked.

    I don’t believe the high deaths and lack of planning can be put down to incompetence. There’s something else going on here.

  26. @A123

    There’s absolutely no doubt that the (D) side of US politics thinks that they can get some electoral advantage from the economic devastation that is unfolding (and will be nowhere near finished by November), so they’re keen to attach the economic scorecard to the Trump administration.

    That said: nobody should pretend that the (R) side would react differently if a (D) was the Big Chief Kaiwaka (as we used to say when I was a kid).

    Politics is a grubby game populated from top to bottom with grasping, venal, parasitic, megalomaniacal sociopaths – literally the scum of the human herd. By the time any individual gets within rifle-scope distance of a position of political power, they are owned by someone – and it ain’t the voters.

    In such an environment, choosing a side is like choosing between equally-lethal forms of haemorrhagic fever: the only thing that makes people stick with a choice is ‘anchoring’.

    As a class, Western politicians caused a quarter-billion deaths during the 20th century (because the 1918 flu can be laid at their feet, in addition to the death tolls from all wars).

    So if unnecessary death (particularly of non-combatants) and wide-scale environmental and capital destruction are things to be prevented, the solution is obvious to anyone who’s not anchoring themselves to a bad choice.

    If there was ever a group of humans whose extirpation would be social-welfare enhancing, it’s the political class; their Janissaries and apparatchiki should be treated likewise unless they abandon their posts (the smartest tweet ever tweeted went something like “Anyone who wears an official insignia is an enemy of humanity“… I think her account was banhammered in about 2013).

  27. I agree. If Hillary was President none of this would have happened. Nobody would be sick or dead or unemployed because Hillary is a selfless servant of the people.

  28. vox4non says:

    This statement could not be more relevant or true today:
    “Toute nation a le gouvernement qu’elle mérite. (Frenceh = Every nation gets the government it deserves.)” ~ Joseph D Maistre

  29. @jsinton

    Only the Swedes

    The Swedes don’t know what they’re doing. But because the population is fairly stoic about these things (i.e. nothing like Cockburn’s hair-on-fire hysteria, which also mirrors that of most of the West), the pols were able to take the politically-risky step of leaving the economy open. Damn the torpedoes has resulted in a Swedish death rate only slightly higher than the US number, but without most of the economic carnage. That rate is also half of most of the major European economies, so they hit the jackpot. But since no one *knew* in advance what the outcome of this policy would be, the Swedes basically got lucky.

    Cockburn’s bomb-throwing ways are typical of much of left’s ouevre. There ought to be a solution, and you’re incompetent if you don’t come up with it. For pretty much the entire Cold War, his solution to inequality was a Soviet-style economy. Every time some new problem comes up, the right is incompetent because it can’t solve a problem nobody has been able to solve yet. I like him. He writes well. However, it’s the same old wine in new bottles.

    • Agree: Tsar Nicholas
  30. @Johann Ricke

    That rate is also half of most of the major European economies, so they hit the jackpot. 

    Seems Sweden is doing a lot worse than Germay or Austria, death-wise.

    However, what with killing off a lot of elderly people in care homes, they will save a lot on pensions in the future.

    And what’s not to like about triage where people over eighty are just ignored?

    That too saves oodles of money.

    Economic jackpot indeed.

  31. @Thomasina

    Sounds like they want a vaccine that has embedded in it RFID (radio frequency ID) technology so we can be tracked.

    Sounds like overkill in the age of voluntary smartphone use.

    In Germany, a bunch of islamists got caught because authorities noticed they were not using mobile phones and therefore directed some special attention their way.

  32. Modern Dimockracy requires dimagogs

    The main scream media leftist press forced the western leaders to “do something ”

    which included putting the aging victims of the vaping virus on to life support ventilators which had the opposite effect to that hoped for [perhaps]

    creating a cytokine storm that killed so many of them

    The two trick ponys that run western health needed the photo ops of defibrulaters and ventilalaters the keys to eternal life

    We are supposed to be living in a democracy

    surely the old should have been consulted

    “would you support kick starting the economy with shovel ready jobs”

    The duopoly wont be able to count on their support again unless they find a way to moor them up in refrigerated trucks and not register their deaths till after the next postal ballot

    Call me a conspiracy thawist but the price of used refrigerated trusks has doubled on Ebay

  33. eggplant says:

    Quite why UNZ employs this left-wing faux-Irish clown is anyone’s guess.

    • Replies: @Wielgus
  34. Michelle says:
    @jsinton

    Guess what? I live in California, don’t drive and have been riding buses all my life. I am still riding them. Also, Northern California is not often warm or sunny. But there are cases of multiple members of single families, who are immigrants, dying of the virus.

  35. @Thomasina

    I don’t believe the high deaths and lack of planning can be put down to incompetence.

    I love conspiracy theories, but I have yet to see a conspiracy theory on the CV that passed the smell test.

    One clue we were dealing with total incompetence was the initial reaction of the US Congress.

    Did they have a contingency plan in place–a bunker like they used to have in West Virginia during the Cold War?

    Apparently not.

    They just waited until several members tested positive–and then the name calling and finger pointing started.

    There was no plan–just incredibly stupid people who didn’t think they would ever need a plan.

  36. @Ilya G Poimandres

    “Pandmics are exponential events, and need to be planned for. This means acting in advance. You can blame Trump and BoJo too for not doing so…”

    On Dec 29, when first reports of a strange new disease were coming from Wuhan, Johnson had been PM for just over two weeks – and there’d been Christmas in between.

    (Britain had labs that could have quickly developed a test, but they are owned by private equity (KKR). Germany had a lab owned by the scientist who started it, and they produced a CV19 test on Jan 10. What happens when scientists own the company rather than spreadsheet jockeys.)

    eggplant – the trouble with Cockburn is that you know what he’s going to say on any subject without waiting for him to write it. Distil the Guardian/BBC view, et voila!

  37. Wielgus says:
    @eggplant

    Since some writers and more commentators on this website are very right-wing indeed (Holocaust denial, obsessed with race, IQ-ist), Cockburn introduces a certain balance.

  38. Apeon says:

    This article is a WASTE of CyberSpace.
    False statenebts
    False conclusions

    But then Cockburn thinks he is so Smart, it is a wonder he is not running the world.

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