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Disconnection from Reality 6

Still, it was impossible to avoid gloomy forecasts for the next year. The scenario that Mr. Trump has been unrolling at his daily press briefings — that the lockdowns will end soon, that a protective pill is almost at hand, that football stadiums and restaurants will soon be full — is a fantasy, most experts said. ...
Others were harsher, especially about Mr. Trump’s idea of combining a chloroquine with azithromycin.

“It’s total nonsense,” said Dr. Luciana Borio, a former director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council. “I told my family, if I get Covid, do not give me this combo.” ...
A public health crisis of this magnitude requires international cooperation on a scale not seen in decades. Yet Mr. Trump is moving to defund the W.H.O., the only organization capable of coordinating such a response.

And he spent most of this year antagonizing China, which now has the world’s most powerful functioning economy and may become the dominant supplier of drugs and vaccines.
- Donald G. McNeil Jr., The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead, NYT, April 18, 2020


I think by Memorial Day Weekend [May 23-25] we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us.
- Mike Pence, April 23, 2020, on Geraldo Rivera's radio show, reported in Morgan Phillips, Pence says coronavirus could be 'largely' behind us by Memorial Day weekend, Fox News, 4/23/20


Now-declassified Cold War records tell a more complicated story. The C.I.A.’s primary audience was presidents, not the public. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon had rejected the C.I.A.’s pessimistic reporting on Vietnam, telling the American people that victory, or peace with honor, was at hand when it wasn’t. The presidents, their national security advisers and the Pentagon had pressured the C.I.A. to confirm their political preconceptions. Sometimes the agency bent to their will, but not often.
Those records do bear out Mr. McGehee’s critique that the C.I.A. had neglected the gathering and analysis of intelligence, its founding mission, in favor of bold covert operations that changed the world, often for the worse, especially in the years leading up to the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, approved by President John F. Kennedy, in 1961.
- Tim Weiner, Ralph W. McGehee, Agent Who Exposed the C.I.A., Dies at 92, NYT, May 14, 2020


President Trump on Wednesday escalated his assault against mail voting, falsely claiming that Michigan and Nevada were engaged in voter fraud and had acted illegally, and threatening to withhold federal funds to those states if they proceed in expanding vote-by-mail efforts.

The president inaccurately accused Michigan of sending mail ballots to its residents, as his aides later acknowledged, and he offered no basis for his claims of illegal actions by either Michigan or Nevada. The Michigan secretary of state has sent ballot applications — not the ballots themselves — to registered voters, a growing practice among election officials, including in states led by Republicans. In Nevada, where the Republican secretary of state declared the primary a nearly all-mail election, ballots are being sent to registered voters.
- Reid J. Epstein, Nick Corasaniti and Annie Karni, Trump Steps Up Attacks on Mail Vote, Making False Claims About Fraud, NYT, May 20, 2020



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