Worse Than 9/11 and the Great Recession Combined

The greatest crisis the nation has faced in my lifetime.

Like nothing I've ever seen.

As I was rising this morning, my iPhone alerted me to this tweet from Erin Simpson from overnight:

My instant reaction was the same as Robert Farley’s:

The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 people. Thus far, the US toll from COVID-19 is something like 38. But it’ll almost certainly far, far exceed 3,000.

I was teaching at what was then Troy State University with my now-co-blogger Steven Taylor on the morning of 9/11. We suspended classes for the day and spent the next few days talking through the event with our students. But there was no talk of any formal suspension of operations.

I’m at Marine Corps University these days. We haven’t gone to virtual teaching yet but it’s only a matter of time. Fairfax County Public Schools, where my daughters and youngest stepdaughter go, are off Monday while officials figure out what to do. Neighboring Loudoun County schools are already shut down. As is Northern Virginia Community College, where my stepson attends, as of last night. Ditto Temple University, where my oldest stepdaughter goes.

Professional and college sports leagues canceled games after 9/11. But games resumed within two weeks. Meanwhile, the NCAA has banned fans from March Madness, the biggest event on its calendar. And the NBA has abruptly canceled the rest of its regular season.

After 9/11, we grounded all flights indefinitely. But we were back up and running within days. We haven’t gone that far, yet, but the President has just banned travel to Europe and from anyone who has been to Europe lately. And more restrictions are likely coming.

Thus far, it’s too early to predict the economic fallout from this. But we’ve already seen the stock market crash and it’s going to get much worse. We’re essentially shutting down huge sectors of the economy for the indefinite future. The Great Recession didn’t do that.

Now, we’re probably not going to start two wars that go on for decades. So there is that. (Then again . . . .) But the domestic impact of this pandemic is almost surely going to be the most destructive I’ve witnessed. And, while Erin and I are both Gen X, I’m from its oldest cohort and she’s from its youngest.

That we have the most incompetent, least trustworthy governance of my lifetime at the same time only makes it worse.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Economics and Business, Health, History
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kari Q says:

    I have long had an amateur interest in epidemics and societal responses to them. The thing that strikes me is how quickly they are forgotten. The plague killed 25 to 33 percent of the population. Culturally, it left few marks. The Great Influenza was all but forgotten, culturally, within the lifetimes of the people who experienced it. The immediate experience of an epidemic seems to be so intense and shocking that survivors flinch away from it forever after.

    This week, I suddenly realized that I may experience one of those epidemics first hand. I think about the people I know, will she survive? Him? My father? His wife? My neighbor? The nice woman who grooms my dog is over 60. Will she survive? I am not even worried for myself, just those around me.

    It’s still surreal, but I know it’s coming.

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  2. Bill says:

    Just about 20 years ago I began reading about man’s war against the germs. People were writing that due to incorrect or overuse of antibiotics man was fighting a war against germs. Some said man would lose that war. This was either- ignored by the media who thought people needed to know more about the foibles of Michael Jackson or the people issuing the warnings were labeled alarmists.

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  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For most people, it isn’t real yet. It is for me, as is the growing realization that if I get it,* I quite likely will not survive it.

    *and what are the chances that I avoid it?

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the President has just banned travel to Europe and from anyone who has been to Europe lately.

    Unless you were visiting one of his golf clubs in the UK. Because the UK is no longer in Europe. Right? Brexit, right?

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  5. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Unless you were visiting one of his golf clubs in the UK.

    What’s even more bizarre is that, while all of the experts I’ve seen have said the Europe travel ban is useless and unnecessary, the Defense Department had the UK on its very small travel ban list before the speech. (It just updated the list to include the Schengen Zone.)

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  6. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Well, we haven’t yet reached the point at which lots of Trump supporters are willing to rebel against the constant flow of idiotic Tweets from the presidential toilet. There’s still a lot of denial out there. This is exactly the sort of crisis against which the Trump presidential style is worthless. Instead of calm reflection and well-thought-out actions, we get SOS from Agent Orange. Reality bites.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Walls work, James! At this point, sarcasm is all I’ve got.

    Meanwhile, from a real world leader:

    Chancellor Angela Merkel is on her way out and her power is waning, but in her typically low-key, no-nonsense manner, the German leader on Wednesday laid out some cold, hard facts on the coronavirus in a way that few other leaders have.

    Two in three Germans may become infected, Ms. Merkel said at a news conference that reverberated far beyond her country. There is no immunity now against the virus and no vaccine yet. It spreads exponentially, and the world now faces a pandemic.

    The most important thing, the chancellor said, is to slow down the spread of the coronavirus to win time for people to develop immunity, and to prevent the health care system from becoming overwhelmed.

    “We have to understand that many people will be infected,” Ms. Merkel said. “The consensus among experts is that 60 to 70 percent of the population will be infected as long as this remains the situation.”

    Ms. Merkel’s estimates were probably a worst-case scenario, though not wildly out of line with those of experts outside Germany.
    ………………..
    In recent weeks, Mr. Trump has staged photo-ops with scientists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but with this crisis, as with others, he has seemed to pride himself on following his own advice. “I like this stuff, I really get it,” Mr. Trump said at the C.D.C. “People are surprised that I understand it.”

    Ms. Merkel, for her part, spent time studying science before becoming a politician: She is a trained physicist.

    On Wednesday, when she addressed her fellow Germans, flanked by the health minister and the head of the public health institute, she took pains to say that the information she was sharing had come from the experts. And that information, she said, informed the public health decisions being made by the authorities.
    …………………………..
    At the news conference on Wednesday, Ms. Merkel did not make big promises. Her announcement, sober in tone, was more a call to arms. The chancellor urged Germans to observe restrictions and stand in solidarity with one another, for the common good. Soccer games will play to empty stadiums. Big events will be canceled. If need be, Germany will even suspend its cherished balanced budget and borrow more.

    “We must take all necessary measures,” Ms. Merkel. “That is true for the government and everyone in a position of political responsibility. But it is also true for all citizens, the 83 million people who live in our country. It is about protecting older people, those with previous illnesses and vulnerable groups.”

    “This is putting our solidarity, our common sense and our openheartedness for one another to the test,” she said. “I hope that we will pass it.”

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  8. Barry says:

    After 9/11, we found out what putting a failson into our highest office did (unfortunately for us, for the elites it was profitable).

    Now we will find out what putting the failingest of sons will do.

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  9. grumpy realist says:

    I think everyone should take a look at this article from EUreferendum and the linked report. Parts of Italy are already starting to triage by age and chance of surviving the virus. (Heck, given their position, there’s not much else they CAN do.)

    I don’t think that there’s an actual deliberate plan on the part of the Powers-That-Be to let the epidemic rip through the population and kill off older “useless” people , but I think that the bean-counters are going to look back in a few years and make some comments about what a happy side-effect the coronavirus has had on our pension and social security systems.

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  10. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Yes and I do find it ironic that the population most supportive of Trump is the one most likely to listen to idiots like Rush Limbaugh who is still claiming that the epidemic is all FakeNoos…..and the population most likely to die of it.

    At some point one just has to shrug one’s shoulders and say “stupidity should hurt.”

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  11. Scott says:

    It seems to me that the danger doesn’t seem to be the physical danger of the coronavirus (although at 66, I’m in the 3-4% mortality range) but the breakdown of commerce and the velocity of money due to the slowdown and stoppage of basic economic movement. With worldwide supply chains disrupted there will be many shortages, big and small, cropping up all over the place. And human behavior being what it is, there will be a lot of bad behavior generated. I don’t think we seen anything like this short of a world war and don’t know how to deal with it. Seems to me that third world countries in war zones (Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan) will have the skill sets to deal with that kind of world.

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  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    That we have the most incompetent, least trustworthy governance of my lifetime at the same time only makes it worse.

    This x 1,000.
    But it’s not just Trump…although he’s bad enough. That speech last night was something to behold. Since when do we let drug addicts address the nation?
    Make no mistake; this is also decades of small government, trickle-down economics, protect the wealthy donors and fuq everyone else, Republican nonsense that is going to come home to roost.
    Idea – let’s defund the CDC and close down the office that deals with Pandemics…because small government.
    Idea – let’s wage war on the middle class and transfer as much wealth to the wealthy as we can…so that the majority of the country is left just a Convid-19 virus away from bankruptcy.
    Idea – let’s not bother to reform healthcare. We can spend decades convincing the easily convinced that we have the greatest health care system in the world. Strange that when it comes down to a real health care emergency, we can’t even test people for this thing. And when the shit really hits the fan, our hospitals will not be able to accommodate the pressure.
    Yes…Trump, due to his massive incompetence, owns a great deal of what is about to happen to this nation. But he’s just a symptom of the cancer that the Republican Party has been on this country for 35 years.
    BTW – watch the market today…as your 401K is destroyed.

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  13. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: My 401(k) isn’t even half built so I want a cheap market, for the next 20 years if possible. The market being high is only great if you are a retired person with a stock-including retirement account. Most of us are not in that situation.

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  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stock trading suspended. Again.

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  15. @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    BTW – watch the market today…as your 401K is destroyed.

    Come, now, Trump is a business genius! It is so obvious.

    (Indeed, even in the midst of a multi-week collapse of the DJIA, I was told last night by an acquaintance about how the market started climbing the day after Trump was inaugurated and how this was the best economy of all time). Sigh.

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  16. mattbernius says:

    A few weeks ago I made this comment about the COVID19 & the Trump Administration:

    Adding to your list, we are about to see how appointees who were selected for unwavering loyalty and ideological purity will hand a situation that requires listening to experts.

    More on that selection process: https://www.axios.com/trump-memos-deep-state-white-house-ce5be95f-2418-433d-b036-2bf41c9700c3.html

    [source: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/trump-deserves-some-blame/#comment-2497451%5D

    The answer doesn’t look good. BTW, it turns out, unsurprisingly, that Stephen Miller was one of the architects of last night’s speech. Is it any surprise that closing borders (once the virus is already in the county) was part of the response. When all you have is a hammer…

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  17. Teve says:

    As of this morning the DJIA has fallen 25%.

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  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Kari Q:

    I have long had an amateur interest in epidemics and societal responses to them. The thing that strikes me is how quickly they are forgotten. The plague killed 25 to 33 percent of the population. Culturally, it left few marks. The Great Influenza was all but forgotten, culturally, within the lifetimes of the people who experienced it.

    In some ways, yes. But the cultural impact remained in ways that might surprise you.

    I own a house built in 1920. Within the first year I replaced the boiler furnace (I have steam heat). All of the contractors that came in to give estimates commented on it being too large for the building. One of them looked at it and asked “When was the house built?” When I told him 1920… “Oh. That explains it.”

    After the 1918 flu epidemic, new houses were installed with furnaces twice the size they had previously been–because people would open the upstairs windows to “let out the bad air”. In Wisconsin winters.

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  19. Teve says:

    And as soon as the 15 minute break was over, the Dow fell another 300 points.

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  20. An Interested Party says:

    At some point one just has to shrug one’s shoulders and say “stupidity should hurt.”

    It does hurt! Look where the stupidity of the 2016 presidential election has gotten us…

    @OzarkHillbilly: Is it too much to ask if we could have a president like her!?!

    I was told last night by an acquaintance about how the market started climbing the day after Trump was inaugurated and how this was the best economy of all time).

    Wow, it must be difficult, and perhaps even painful, having any kind of political conversation with that person…

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  21. Teve says:

    @NBCnews

    VP Pence says there has been “irresponsible rhetoric” from people who have downplayed the seriousness of the US coronavirus outbreak.

    Lying assholes.

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  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    After the 1918 flu epidemic, new houses were installed with furnaces twice the size they had previously been–because people would open the upstairs windows to “let out the bad air”. In Wisconsin winters.

    Heh. I did a lot of work on older buildings. I love little anecdotes like that.

    @An Interested Party:

    Is it too much to ask if we could have a president like her!?!

    Yes. SATSQ.

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  23. DrDaveT says:

    The 9/11 attacks killed 2,996 people.

    The 9/11 attacks killed our self-image as a people who prefer freedom to security. I think TSA kabuki has been a lot more formative for this generation than anything related to the actual death count.

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  24. Not the IT Dept. says:

    As George Carlin put it so well: “This is as good as it gets, folks. This is the best we can do.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07w9K2XR3f0

    And the big reveal: “Maybe, maybe, maybe it’s not the politicians who suck – maybe it’s the public.” Nailed it perfectly.

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  25. DrDaveT says:

    @Kari Q:

    The plague killed 25 to 33 percent of the population. Culturally, it left few marks.

    A serious case can be made that the Black Death triggered the Renaissance. That’s a pretty big mark.

    (The causal mechanism has to do with a radical redistribution of wealth and property, a spike in the demand for labor leading to vastly higher social and geographic mobility at the low ends of the wealth scale, etc.)

    This present pandemic, horrible as it will be, might (due to its predilection for the elderly) result in a small-scale version of the same thing — transfer of wealth from the unproductive to the productive, reinvigoration of failing pension funds, perhaps a significant shift in voter demographics. Possibly, God willing, the kick in the pants that finally motivates America to adopt first-world healthcare. Those things will also leave a mark, in addition to the scars.

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  26. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    And as soon as the 15 minute break was over, the Dow fell another 300 points.

    I have some money in robot-managed accounts. I will be fascinated to see how they attempt to deal with this situation.

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  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    I get that…but worth noting; the Dow, right now, is right about where it was on the day that Trump was inaugurated.

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  28. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Teve:

    It’s fallen that much from it’s high (which, to be fair, was only a few weeks ago). When someone says “the market has fallen by X%” they usually mean “compared to the closing bell the day before.”

    It’s currently down about 7.5%, but hit 8% earlier. If it falls 20% compared to the day before, trade is suspended for the day.

    European markets are down 9.7% as of this posting, heading for their worst day in history.

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  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I was told last night by an acquaintance about how the market started climbing the day after Trump was inaugurated and how this was the best economy of all time

    I cannot tell you how many people simply do not believe me when I tell them that job growth has actually slowed under Trump.
    The cult is impervious to facts.

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  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    By my calculations Trump will be cancelling the November election any minute now.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    I have some money in robot-managed accounts. I will be fascinated to see how they attempt to deal with this situation.

    I think the classic response is “Does not compute. Does not compute.” Followed by sparks, smoke, and fire.

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  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I was discussing this idea with my ED and some donors last night, wondering just what powers Trump could possibly deploy to ratf*ck the elections. States have powers over their own elections, which is why we don’t have standardized polling times, standardize registration, etc. Trump could make it difficult to vote–declare martial law, restrict movements–but only if states play along. A state could counter by simply making vote-by-mail universal and start mailing out ballots to registered voters. Red/purple states could theoretically play along with Trump’s scheme, but I have to imagine that a place such as Florida, where elections are always decided by a razor’s edge and political power is a tenuous thing, would be playing with fire by doing such a thing.

    So you would have a situation where solidly red states go along and use COVID19 as an excuse to make voting very difficult, while blue and swing states take pains to make voting as easy as possible. That ultimately hurts Trump quite a bit.

    EDIT: ” That ultimately hurts Trump quite a bit.” So, we should expect Trump to try this any day now.

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  33. gVOR08 says:

    Instead of a pointless travel ban on Europe except for Trump golf courses, we should be doing right now what Italy and South Korea are doing. The Philadelphia Inquirer did a story about the sell out crowd at the Flyers game Tuesday.

    The scene, the noise, the whole night felt like an act of defiance from several thousand people who wanted to watch their favorite team in a game that meant something and who didn’t want to be told what to do. Who didn’t want to be told to stay home.
    “It’s Philly, bro,” Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said.
    He said it with a snicker because he knew it was the truth, for the fans and for the players themselves. “I don’t think we really care about coronavirus the way other people do,” Hart said.

    But here’s what happened Tuesday: Representatives from the city’s health department recommended that people avoid public gatherings of 5,000 people or more.

    Everyone who was inside the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night chose to walk through that door and accept that risk. (Did the people three degrees of separation accept the risk?)

    The stupid, it burns.

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  34. mattbernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    It’s fallen that much from it’s high (which, to be fair, was only a few weeks ago). When someone says “the market has fallen by X%” they usually mean “compared to the closing bell the day before.”

    This — context is important.

    All that said, we’re firmly in Bear territory. The only question is how much of this is correction and how much is panic (and is there anything Trump can do about the latter — current signs point to “not much beyond making it worse”).

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  35. Scott says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Neil Hudelson:

    Texas runoff elections are May 26th. I’m sure the discussions have started but I’ll be curious on what COVID-19 accomodations will be made for elections that involve crowds of people and touch screen voting machines.

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  36. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @mattbernius:

    The only question is how much of this is correction and how much is panic

    Traders want certainty. They aren’t getting that from Trump. When you have to make 3 major clarifications after a speech, that does not signify competence, which will not instill confidence.

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  37. gVOR08 says:

    @Barry:

    Now we will find out what putting the failingest of sons will do.

    Kushner may actually be an improvement over Pence as maybe, maybe not, the virus czar. Pence probably thinks this is a punishment for not persecuting the gays. Kushner probably thinks it’s a punishment for letting Mexicans in.

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  38. @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Traders want certainty. They aren’t getting that from Trump

    While I am not surprised we are continuing downward, the Europe thing was guranteed to make it worse.

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  39. Kathy says:

    I’m cursed with optimism, which we all know is just a soft shout away from hubris (well, i know it now). But I don’t think the contagion and epidemic will be that bad.

    Oh, it is going to be bad, possibly worse than the swine flu of 2009, but not near the worst-case scenarios.

    I’m basing this assessment on the fact that people overreact to risk when it affects them. It’s hard to get society to sanction needle exchanges and free condoms, but they will wash their hands, wear masks, and limit travel and socializing and such when there’s a risk they may catch something and die. Once a sizable portion of people do this, things begin to get less bad, and eventually to improve.

    The problem is that the steps necessary to curtail the outbreak are highly damaging to the economy. If people stop going eating out, restaurants fire people or close down for good. Airlines are already set to lose a bundle and lay off people. Boeing, on top of all its other problems, will see orders cancelled and other orders delayed, as will Airbus (on top of their other problems as well). Oil companies are selling less and at a lower price, and this affects oilfield equipment sellers, and other suppliers.

    So it will be very bad. But likely it won’t be the worst case, even with the senile fool in the White House

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  40. Joe says:

    In my day job, I am part of the management of a small business (a law firm). I am daunted by the decisions coming down the road for us. I am otherwise on the board of a local performing arts organization. I am extremely worried that we may have to mothball a season, which would be the day before we are forced to shut down the company altogether. I don’t think the federal government is going to bail that out.

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    Credit where due. I glance at The American Conservative now and again, and generally ignore Dreher, because he mostly writes passionately about stuff I regard as trivial nonsense. But his rapid response to Trump’s speech last night is clear sighted. After a one item list of the “good part”, a more serious tone, and a long list of the “bad parts”, starting with “he looked and sounded unwell”. Dreher concludes,

    Real leadership in this crisis is going to have to come from governors, from public health officials, and from institutional leaders. We saw tonight that even when Trump is trying to be on his best behavior, he just doesn’t have much of a clue about the nature of the crisis, or how it can best be fought.

    Followed by

    UPDATE: You have GOT to be kidding me?! … The President of the United States, on live television, reading prepared remarks, told the world that the US was cutting off all trade with Europe for thirty days. But it wasn’t true.
    Completely freaking incompetent. No excuse at all. We are in such trouble…

    Followed by updates 2 and 3 as even further corrections came in. Anybody actually know what the new, pointless, travel ban actually is?

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  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:
    Hey Drew…why doesn’t your Orange Hero simply offer the Convid-19 Virus $130,000 to keep quiet???

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  43. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Guarneri:

    It’s nice to that at least one person here is sane.

    Dude…you gladly offer your unwavering fealty to a guy that went on National TV last night and announced that we are ceasing all trade with Europe for 30 days…which was not in the least bit true.
    And you are opining on anyone else’s sanity?
    STFU you ass-hat.

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  44. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve asked for some time if we can talk about Trump’s mental state. From the transcript:

    To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.

    There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.

    Aside from:
    – What is this supposed to accomplish?
    – The UK is exempted?
    – We aren’t really cutting trade.
    He said we’re cutting travel, we’re stopping trade AND cargoes, and “various other things”. Once we’ve halted people and goods, what other things? Data? Does he think the internet carries viruses? Biological viruses?

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  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I tried to follow your link to Guarn’s comment. Didn’t work. His comment has disappeared.

    James, if you did that, I can easily understand why. However, I found Guarn useful. It’s hard for most of us to understand how anyone could back Trump, and Guarn helped, unintentionally, explain how. And I have come to accept the psych professions view that conservatism is a personality disposition, not a political position. He was interesting data.

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  46. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR08: It had just gotten to the point where every thread he appeared on got hijacked by people piling on telling him what a dumbass he was. And his responses weren’t based in facts, nor did he respond meaningfully to fact-based arguments.

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  47. Barry says:

    @Kathy: “I’m cursed with optimism, which we all know is just a soft shout away from hubris (well, i know it now). But I don’t think the contagion and epidemic will be that bad.

    Oh, it is going to be bad, possibly worse than the swine flu of 2009, but not near the worst-case scenarios.”

    Kathy, how is Italy doing right now? When was the last time they were hit that hard by an epidemic?

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  48. Barry says:

    @Kari Q: “I have long had an amateur interest in epidemics and societal responses to them. The thing that strikes me is how quickly they are forgotten. The plague killed 25 to 33 percent of the population. Culturally, it left few marks. ”

    According to Wikipedia:

    “The Black Death had a profound effect on art and literature. After 1350, European culture in general turned very morbid. The general mood was one of pessimism, and contemporary art turned dark with representations of death. The widespread image of the “dance of death” showed death (a skeleton) choosing victims at random.”

    “Architecture
    The Black Death also inspired European architecture to move in two different directions: (1) a revival of Greco-Roman styles, and (2) a further elaboration of the Gothic style.[49] Late medieval churches had impressive structures centred on verticality, where one’s eye is drawn up towards the high ceiling. The basic Gothic style was revamped with elaborate decoration in the late medieval period. Sculptors in Italian city-states emulated the work of their Roman forefathers while sculptors in northern Europe, no doubt inspired by the devastation they had witnessed, gave way to a heightened expression of emotion and an emphasis on individual differences.[50] A tough realism came forth in architecture as in literature. Images of intense sorrow, decaying corpses, and individuals with faults as well as virtues emerged. North of the Alps, painting reached a pinnacle of precise realism with Early Dutch painting by artists such as Jan van Eyck (c. 1390–by 1441). The natural world was reproduced in these works with meticulous detail whose realism was not unlike photography.[51] “

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  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    …conservatism is a personality disposition, not a political position.

    We need to differentiate between Republicanism, and Conservatism.
    They are not at all the same thing.
    Conservatism has much to offer. Republicanism, next to nothing.

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  50. Gustopher says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I was discussing this idea with my ED and some donors last night,

    The only meaning to that acronym that I know is “erectile dysfunction” — thank you for a much needed laugh.

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  51. Scott says:

    @gVOR08: I saw his comment and it wasn’t offensive in the least; just a passive aggressive swipe at the snarling dogs. I was going to reply something to the effect: Don’t be so sure! (WRT to being sane)

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  52. Kari Q says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Oh the demographic changes that resulted from the plague had far ranging effects. I was referring to immediate, directly traceable cultural change. I started out assuming that there was no way a culture could go through something like that without major changes. I’ve since realized that was completely wrong.

    @Mu Yixiao:

    If they were still making furnaces that way and people were still opening windows midwinter, that would be a lasting impact. The fact that only experts really know about that (and those who, like you and now us, hear it from the experts) suggest even that was a slight and fleeting change, quickly reversed.

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  53. Kari Q says:

    @Barry:

    It’s a subject of some controversy, but the most recent scholarship I’ve seen says that the beginnings of those changes actually preceded the plague.

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  54. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Good news…the Senate is going on recess before taking any action on Convid-19.

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  55. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: Maybe we’ll also return to an appreciation of the scientific method, truth, and how Mama Nature isn’t going to let you propagandize risks away?

    There’s a reason part of the Urals went radioactive…..and why the Soviets suddenly decided to stop using “Revealed Truth” in certain areas of science and engineering.

    What I want on my tombstone: The Universe Does Not Care

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  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    @Gustopher:
    I didn’t want to go there…

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  57. grumpy realist says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: god I feel so smug….I was insisting several years ago that my portfolio handlers take the money off the table and re-balance everything. (I was thinking Brexit was going to provide the impetus, but nebbermind….)

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  58. grumpy realist says:

    @Barry: Actually, the plague killed on average 40%-60% across Europe. Italy and the southern countries got hit with up to 80% death rates; England and the northern countries managed to survive with 20%-30% death rates.

    I was surprised as well exactly how devastating it was.

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  59. Kari Q says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Heh. I went with the lower figures because if I say 50 percent, someone always wants to argue with me that it wasn’t that high. I should have remembered my audience and given the current estimate.

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  60. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Gustopher:

    It was an awkward conversation, to be sure. The donors looked VERY confused.

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  61. gVOR08 says:

    @Scott: Yeah, I had skimmed Guarn’s comment before it went away. He endorsed an opinion that the economic crisis would be worse than the health care crisis. Not sure he meant to.

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  62. just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Q: What’s the reason for the travel ban?
    A(?): Do something, anything, even if it’s wrong.
    Just a guess, you understand. Personally, I’d advise another of Iacoca’s axioms for Trump to consider:

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

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  63. Teve says:

    DJIA down 9% at the moment.

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  64. Teve says:

    @James Joyner: yep. In the history of the Internet, the advice to not feed the troll has never, ever, even once, worked.

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  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Barry: Hieronymus Bosch 1450-1560.

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  66. gVOR08 says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    We need to differentiate between Republicanism, and Conservatism.
    They are not at all the same thing.
    Conservatism has much to offer. Republicanism, next to nothing.

    We need to distinguish between the vernacular use of conservatism and the political use. When Burke urged caution and incremental change, that’s vernacular conservatism, and something many liberals would agree with. He was being politically conservative when he expressed distain for allowing, IIRC, hairdressers and candlemakers equal political power with himself.

    I found Corey Robin’s “The Reactionary Mind” very helpful in trying to understand conservatism. The title is a play on Russell Kirk’s “The Conservative Mind”, which also explains conservatism, although not in any way Kirk intended.

    For better or worse, Republicanism is the only political conservatism we’ve got.

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  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    This is not the Black Death. For one thing, we actually know the cause and it’s not the Jews for once, it’s. . . the Chinese? The Europeans? Just foreigners in general?

    Sorry, of course I mean, a virus. And we know what viruses are. So we’re probably going to want to do a pogrom or two, maybe burn a few witches, but then we should look at the science and the odds.

    I’m in the 3-4% death group, which is not great, on the other hand if someone told me I had a cancer with a 4% death rate, I’d laugh. This is less about anyone’s individual chances, and more about the possibility that the death toll could top a million. And in the meantime destroy the economy.

    And of course scare shit out of everyone because every time our ‘president’ opens his stupid mouth, people are more afraid. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will remember that however desperate I am to pwn the libtards who won’t let me say f–got or n–ger, I will not elect fucking morons.

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  68. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For which see..

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  69. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

    Not exactly germane to this specific conversation but these times always brings this quote to mind:

    When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.

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  70. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yes. Likely like around 5% for my age and condition, which is pretty good. And I think that’s if I contract it, which is likely < 50%. At my age I had something like a 5% chance of kicking from something this year anyway, so it’s not all that much of a change. And being retired, social distancing is fairly easy. I’m debating staying out of the gym.

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  71. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

    And fear tends to boost political conservatism. I think Trumpsky’s blatant incompetence will overwhelm this effect, but it worries me. People don’t want to change horses in midstream, even if the first horse is sinking.

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  72. mattbernius says:

    @James Joyner:

    And his responses weren’t based in facts, nor did he respond meaningfully to fact-based arguments.

    Because he didn’t have any facts that worked. Honestly he was self immolating.

    I honestly don’t expect we’ll see much of the routine Trump supporters here for a while. They’re in the process of reaping a whirlwind and watching their simplistic world models crumble around them.

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  73. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @gVOR08:

    Republicanism is the only political conservatism we’ve got.

    Respectfully disagree…Obama was far more conservative than any of these Republicans.

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  74. Kari Q says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Of course this will not be anything like the Black Death. I didn’t mean to imply it would and I hope my comment didn’t sound as I thought it would be. I just meant that it will have less long-term impact than we might think.

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  75. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08:

    And fear tends to boost political conservatism.

    Fear for one’s self, maybe. Fear for one’s community is more of what I have right now, and I am not feeling conservative in the slightest.

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  76. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    @An Interested Party: You came close :P. As a German I can safely say that Warren essentially was Merkel, just from the center-left instead the center-right. That she didn’t gain any traction still deeply annoys me. Given the challenges ahead, I had really hoped for a stable hand on the US tiller.

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  77. grumpy realist says:

    @Kari Q: I can’t help but wonder if a lot of the panic is due to the fact that a heckova lot of our rulers are, erm, in the higher-risk populations.

    “Nothing concentrates a man’s attention more than the news that he will be hanged in the morning.”

    On the other hand, the lack of thought in the U.S. response (cutting off people from the EU for 30 days?) is sheer Trumpism. I can’t figure out whether he actually thinks that this is a policy that will work, or he’s desperately looking for distractors and “feel-good” actions that he can wrap his standard braggadacio around in front of his adoring audiences.

    And, come to think of it….even if it does work and Trump does manage to get re-elected…..doesn’t this mean that he’s STILL in the hot seat with whatever shards exist of the U.S. economy collapsing around him and the possibility of COVID-19 Round II?

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  78. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: 100% in favor of this. You did a good thing.

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  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Figures I’m not the only one whose mind he popped into.

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