Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Right's COVID Science Deniers, Hacks, Cranks & Quacks Don't Get To Wrap Themselves In Galileo!

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How Judy Mikovits and fellow Covid quacks are portraying themselves.  Nobody with a grain of sense should bite.

"We're living in a moment when the U.S. is a laughingstock or a subject of pity around the world.  Look at the chart of nations and all who've gotten their cases down, some at or near zero. Then look at the graph going straight up. That is us, our cases are skyrocketing.  We are living in this tragedy, this national humiliation for all to see."  - Chris Hayes, on 'All In', July 2nd

The Right's clowns and cranks as well as quacks, now appear to have gotten inside the head of Ari Schulman, author of an article entitled: 'The Counter Scientific Revolution - Coronavirus And The Galilean Right' (New Republic, July-August, p. 22)   See e.g.


First, there is no "scientific counter revolution" marshaled by the likes of the crackpot Judy Mikovits (featured in the mockumentary 'Plandemic'), or the Stanford "meta research" quack John Ioannidis - who claimed the lockdowns were implemented without adequate evidence  - and who I skewered in a previous post, i.e.

WHO Are These Anti-Lockdown Medical Quacks That Ke...

Wherein I pointed out critics' objections to a paper by Ioannidis, e.g.

"These critics have pointed out - the study was "not random in selection"  and "disproportionately weighted toward white women under 64".  


"He leaves out the demographics most susceptible to the virus (African Americans and the elderly) then has the nerve to trot out this B.S.  that the fatality rate is comparable to seasonal flu?   I call quackery! "

Second, Schulman's complaint appears to be mostly with the legit scientific establishment, though he does concede the experts' initial "dilatory announcements" (such as "fudging the question of whether masks were needed") contributed to an opening for Trump to exploit to his own ends with his anti-mask, anti-science tribe.   As Schulman puts it:

"As President Trump has shown, where trust declines, debunkers abound. Though the dysfunctional politics of expert-administered modern science claims a distinctly left-leaning valence and genealogy, it has lately found the American right to be an obliging host organism. "

 But this exploitation by Trump and the Right's diehard science deniers or skeptic quacks does not endow their position with any genuine "counter science"  based on evidence.  Nor does it confer on them the mantle of Galieo Galilei which they are now attempting to grab. (I.e. to show they are victims of an orthodox establishment like Galileo was of the Inquisition, when he proposed his heliocentric theory to counter the geocentric  - Ptolemaic - one embraced by the Roman Catholic Church)

This is false analogy because Galileo was the ultimate empirical scientist who came to his theory by patient observations, such as studying the motions of the moons of Jupiter, as well as conducting other experiments (e.g. inclined plane) in which he also tested for errors and faulty assumptions. Something the Trumpkins never do.  Nor do they grasp that science is a process of self-correction in the context of successive approximations.  If the Trumpkin "counter revolutionaries",  cranks and quacks grasped that they'd know that initial errors or wrong assumptions (or prescriptions for behavior)  are nothing new as a novel phenomenon is confronted. 

Ok, Schulman does acknowledge this up to a point but then insists his real issue is with the media and other public institutions just imbibing the experts' pronouncements, as if they can't be challenged. As he writes:

"The problem is not merely the experts were wrong - that is to be expected. It is, rather, that our lead institutions and public information outlets continually teated the assurances of experts as neutral interpretations of settled science when they  plainly were not.  And these expert recommendations were translated into the dominant political discourse not mainly as a difficult judgment about to how to act against a novel, poorly understood threat - but as a pretext to police the boundaries of public opinion, to sneer at its dissenters."

But cripes, what would one expect in the middle of a pandemic the likes of which no one has seen before? Do we really want every Tom, Dick and Suzy sounding off and the media judging their opinions with equal weight  to experts?  And look, by mid -April it was pretty damned clear what needed to be done, i.e. masks were needed like in Asian nations, and  extended lockdowns were the primary key to snuffing the virus' spread early on.   This was not rocket science, or as ambiguous an aspect as Schulman makes it out to be.  In particular, flattening the curve was a genuine observable effect of necessary behaviors in those nations that took Covid-19 seriously.   By which I mean had a nationally coordinated response, as opposed to a piecemeal 'do as you please" one like for the U.S.  We also have more than enough evidence from sundry nations'  curves that both masks and lockdowns prevented exponential increases. These exponential increases in case loads now happen to be overwhelming our U.S. hospitals. 

I suspect, because no national mask mandate was ordered,  which yes - needed some serious "sneering at dissenters" like these knuckledragging fools:

But what interested me is the genesis of the Right's connection to Galileo or these crackpots being referred to   (by Schulman) as "the Trumpian, Galilean Right".  Evidently it began with Judy Mikovits whose grievances against her original academic (virology) community led her to deliberately make insipid comparisons with Galileo. As Schulman describes it:

"Mikovits is the most telling of the Covid skeptics. Plandemic depicts her as a persecuted truth-teller daring to speak out against a corrupt scientific orthodoxy. (Anthony Fauci features as a key villain in the film and in Mikovits’s counter-theories about the virus.) Her book Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science, published in April, offers as an epigraph Galileo’s reply, according to lore, to his Vatican inquisitors after being condemned as a heretic—“Eppur si muove” (And yet it moves). In anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s foreword to the book, he expands on the alleged Galileo parallel, and describes Mikovits as a “revolutionary” offering “censored and ‘dangerous’ science,” who suffered a “lynching” at the hands of the establishment. Coronavirus skeptics on the right have eagerly embraced this image of counter-experts as martyrsheroes standing up to the Inquisition—and the counter-experts themselves have largely embraced the role."

Well, you can't make this crap up, folks. There it is.   But don't be fooled!  Mokovits is no latter day Galileo, far from it. And the Right's anti-maskers and anti-lcockdown twits are not "martyrs" nor are the quacks and cranks they depend  upon.   As if to try to justify this, Schulman writes at one point:

"The product of these dynamics has not been, as we are often told, a Republican rejection of science itself—of its methodologies, its hunger for knowledge of the world, its desire for mastery over nature, its admiration for the excellence on display in rational inquiry. Rather, it has been the adoption of an outsider’s stance to the current scientific establishment—to its particular institutions, and to the pronouncements of its expert class."

"Outsider's stance", bollocks!  All of this followed endless debates  "over embryonic stem cell research, abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and cloning—in which liberal partisans claimed the mantle of science for their side."   But truth be told, serious science backed up most of the practical positions, such as for stem cell research and abortion.  (Cloning has since been determined not all it was originally cracked up to be, and again I emphasize the word "originally" before the actual experiments were conducted in detail.)

Then, fortunately,  Schulman -   perhaps realizing he got carried away with what might be construed as too much sympathy for the Trumpie quacks, cranks and zombies -    writes: 

"the Trump era has given all but free rein to the right’s adoption of the Galilean stance. Perhaps this was inevitable: It is the clearest model available in our culture’s scientific mythology, however tenuous a relationship it may bear to history, of a figure dissenting from mainstream scientific views, one who sees himself as persecuted by a corrupt orthodoxy to which he is the rightful heir. The Galileo myth is also continuous with a long history of scientific gadflies who see themselves carrying forward the legacy of the Enlightenment model of skeptical inquiry: the radical individual freed from the oppression of institutions, in something of a funhouse-mirror image of the real work of science. The problem we’re now seeing, however, is that the Galileo model now often eventuates not only in counterinstitutional inquiry, but also in bad science. Though the Galileo posture is a response to a genuine alienation—and some real persecution—it is also an all too convenient pose."

And it’s crucial to recognize how the debunking style of the latter-day Galilean pose departs from the earlier modes of opposition to the scientific establishment. Whereas those were attempts—sometimes robust, sometimes cynical—to establish a set of countervailing scientific institutions, the Galilean mode is a free-floating anti-institutionalism. It is, to cite an old saw, the dilemma of the dog chasing a car: It wouldn’t know what to do if it caught it.

President Trump’s relationship to science during the pandemic offers a sobering instance of just how badly things can go once the dog catches the car. Even now that they hold the reins of power over crucial elements of the scientific establishment, he and his defenders have evinced an inability to understand how to relate to the scientific discourse in anything other than an aggrieved outsider’s role."

Well, at least he comes to that sound judgment near the end.  Better than not at all, so I could at least recognize some content as from The New Republic and not The National Review!

See Also:


Monday, July 13, 2020

Ludwig Wittgenstein's 'Tractatus': Philosophy In The Service Of Logic & Practical Reason

Ludwig Wittgenstein

In Ludwig Wittgenstein's  masterpiece, 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus'  one beholds a unique work, written as   pure philosophy. But which over time has also provided a formidable tool in the service of practical logic and reason.  This has made it possible  to confront the whole domain of irrational folly and illogical bunkum emerging on different fronts.  In this post, I introduce readers to some of his gems and show applications.

First things first. Below I list (as subsets)  some of the key principles from the Tractatus which I  discuss in turn and which we can then examine in conjunction with the others:

1) The substance of the world can only determine a form and not any material properties. 

2) For these are first presented by the propositions—first formed by the configuration of the objects. Roughly speaking: objects are colourless.

The  two principles above, in many ways, underscore the thinking of Wittgenstein, and hence need to be thoroughly grasped before one can proceed to examine his other points.   The key thing to note is that the "substance" defined in (1) is not a material entity.  In this way, Wittgenstein is approaching his arguments from the viewpoint of idealism.  As defined by Euan Squires  ('Conscious Mind and the Physical World', p. 74):

"Idealism is. the simple observation that all knowledge comes from sensations in the conscious mind. Thus, since everything I know, I know through my mind, it follows that in some way my mind is the only certain reality."

Given this definition then it follows (from (2)) that objects lack color, given color is a physical property.    What Wittgenstein is saying then is that the abstract (mental) form of a thing (its "configuration")  comes first in formulating a proposition. Its later elaboration, say in terms of elucidating physical properties, comes later.  

We consider now the next sequence of three principles:

 3) Two objects of the same logical form are apart from their external propertiesonly differentiated from one another in that they are different.

 4) Either a thing has properties which no other has, and then one can distinguish it straight away from the others by a description and refer to it; or, on the other hand, there are several things which have the totality of their properties in common, and then it is quite impossible to point to any one of them. 

5) For if a thing is not distinguished by anything, I cannot distinguish it—for otherwise it would be distinguished

We see here Wittgenstein is affirming that 2 things of the same logical form ("configuration") can only be differentiated one from another if the configuration (apart from external, i.e. physical, properties), is different.  So consider 2 circles, A and B, which share the same configuration: circle.  But how would one discern A is different from B if other external (physical)  properties are disallowed? Well, one might draw the circle A (locus of  dimensionless points satisfying: x 2   +    y 2  =   r 2 )  inside the circle B (locus of dimensionless points satisfying:  x 2    +    y 2  =      r'  2 where r' > r).   Then one can see the difference on inspection without even the need for measuring.  In this case one can "straight away" refer- say to circle A- by description (i.e. A is smaller than B since it is inside B).  But if  I have several circles, A, B and C, which share all the same properties (e.g. diameter) then it becomes impossible to point out any one of them as distinct from the others. Or, more importantly, to point to the property (diameter) as distinct from the others.  

In effect, if two or even three 'things' (circles, say) cannot be distinguished by any property, then they cannot be distinguished, period.  For if such a property did exist that enabled distinction,  the object(s) would be distinguished.

6)The configuration of the objects forms the atomic fact. In the atomic fact objects hang one in another, like the links of a chain.

 7)In the atomic fact the objects are combined in a definite way.

8) The way in which objects hang together in the atomic fact is the structure of the atomic fact. The form is the possibility of the structure.

9)The structure of the fact consists of the structures of the atomic facts.  

10)The totality of existent atomic facts is the world.

11) The totality of existent atomic facts also determines which atomic facts do not exist.

Here, "atomic facts" is a concept going back to Bertrand Russel, and basically meaning a fact that cannot be broken down any further.  Hence, the general term "logical atomism"to refer to such facts.  Let us note here this is harking back to an antiquated notion of atoms, such as proposed by Democritos, the Greek atomist.  He intuited that matter is composed of  atoms as hard, irreducible entities that can't be further broken down. Of course, with modern quantum theory we know this isn't true and atoms can be resolved further into electrons, neutrons, protons and even quarks etc.  Further, the wave (probabilistic  model of atoms further renders the Greek notion redundant.

In terms of logical atomism, one Stanford website on Russell notes:

"According to logical atomism, all truths are ultimately dependent upon a layer of atomic facts, which consist either of a simple particular exhibiting a quality, or multiple simple particulars standing in a relation."


"Logical atomism can be seen as endorsement of analysis, understood as a two-step process in which one attempts to identify, for a given domain of inquiry, set of beliefs or scientific theory, the minimum and most basic concepts and vocabulary in which the other concepts and vocabulary of that domain can be defined or recast, and the most general and basic principles from which the remainder of the truths of the domain can be derived or reconstructed.

Metaphysically, logical atomism is the view that the world consists in a plurality of independent and discrete entities, which by coming together form facts. According to Russell, a fact is a kind of complex, and depends for its existence on the simpler entities making it up. The simplest sort of complex, an atomic fact, was thought to consist either of a single individual exhibiting a simple quality, or of multiple individuals standing in a simple relation. "

Basically, Wittgenstein (like Bertrand Russell) held that all meaningful expressions are analyzable into "atomic elements" which refer directly to atomic elements in the real world. For example, "Saturn has rings" is an atomic fact  and also one from which more complex facts (and propositions) can be constructed, i.e. "Saturn's rings are composed of tiny bits of ice, rocks and dust".   The most important of the atomic fact principles is (11)  where we note:  "The totality of existent atomic facts also determines which atomic facts do not exist".  For example, if:

p =  "Fire burns most material things." 

Is an atomic fact, then it must negate the proposition (alternative atomic 'fact'):  

q =  "Fires can burn non-material things (e.g. souls)."

Thus, the totality of related atomic facts (to p) determines that those related to q cannot exist. Hence, the concept of "Hell" is based on atomic facts which do not exist because it requires elements (facts) of the category q, or the ability to "burn nonmaterial souls"  and do so "forever". 

Following this process, one can eliminate all supernaturally based "atomic facts" (or presumed atomic facts) from consideration or any relevance to human concerns and lives.

We go on to the next set of principles of interest:

12) The existence and non-existence of atomic facts is the reality. (The existence of atomic facts we also call a positive fact, their non-existence a negative fact.)

 13) Atomic facts are independent of one another.

14) From the existence or non-existence of an atomic fact we cannot infer the existence or non-existence of another.

15) The total reality is the world. We make to ourselves pictures of facts.  The picture presents the facts in logical space, the existence and non-existence of atomic facts. The picture is a model of reality. 

16) The totality of true thoughts is a picture of the world.  The thought contains the possibility of the state of affairs which it thinks. What is thinkable is also possible. We cannot think anything unlogical, for otherwise we should have to think unlogically.

Following the preceding set, we can say the existence of fire (in terms of burning material things)  is a positive fact, while "supernatural fire" (i.e. which burns non-material things) is a negative fact.  By principle (15) it is clear that any "model of reality" will, of course, encompass both the existence and non-existence of atomic facts in its logical space or discourse.  In  a rational system of thought the true atomic facts are accepted as such while the false atomic facts ("negative"facts) are not - though their existence is acknowledged.

For example, in the model of reality one accepts as a rationalist there is acknowledged a constellation of atomic facts, e.g. "Saturn has rings", "Fire burns most material things",  "Spain is a country" etc. And at the same time we (grudgingly) reckon in a lesser constellation of non-existent atomic facts, e.g. "supernatural fire burns souls", "demons stoke supernatural fires",  "angels dance on the heads of pins." etc. etc.  In effect, this rationalist model of reality accepts the first but not the second, though it acknowledges the presence of the latter.  Well, because so many people in the world are gullible enough to accept them - and we have to deal with these folks.

All models of reality then will ab initio reference all those facts they accept, and all those (negative) facts they do not.  (Evangelical Christians, for example, will include all facts pertaining to Darwinian evolution in their negative fact category. )

Now, the former constellation of  rationalist  positive facts is essentially what Wittgenstein would refer to as "the totality of true thoughts"  and this yields (for us rationalists) a picture of the world.  We also assert that "picture of the world" is faithful to reality for which the other other negative facts are not. 

When in principle (16) Wittgenstein writes "what is thinkable is possible" he means with the proviso that the thinkable is logical, meaning based on the reality of  true thoughts - not false ones.   On the other hand,  that segment of humans who think in terms of supernatural fires and demons stoking them, are thinking "unlogically" - in Wittgenstein's parlance.   (I prefer the term illogically, though Wittgenstein is clearly attaching a specific meaning to his use of his term with 'un-').

Now we regard the final two principles of interest:

17) No proposition can say anything about itself, because the propositional sign cannot be contained in itself (that is the “whole theory of types”).

18)  It used to be said that God could create everything, except what was contrary to the laws of logic. The truth is, we could not say of an “unlogical” world how it would look. To present in language anything which contradicts logic is as impossible as in geometry to present by its co-ordinates a figure which contradicts the laws of space; or to give the co-ordinates of a point which does not exist

That no proposition can say anything about itself ought to be self evident. For example:

p=  "The circumference of a circle is greater than its radius"

Says nothing about itself.  What it says concerns the relation (R) between the circumference (C) and the radius (r) such that:  R: C > r

Principle (18) is perhaps one of the most important articulated in the Tractatus, and it bears more generally on deeper issues and questions, such as: Can science and religion have anything to say to each other, or any relationship, period?  One of the most quoted illustrations of the first sentence in (18) revolves around some variation of the question: Could God create a rock that he can't lift?  On the one hand we are informed (by the religious) that God is "omnipotent" so he can do anything, so that creating such a rock ought to be possible. But on the other hand, if it is claimed "too heavy" to lift it contradicts the laws of logic.  In this case, such a world is deemed "unlogical".  In like manner, the very rendering of such an example is preposterous or better, meaningless.

Natural science, empirical science would flat assert there can be no existent (or entity)  which creates or exists outside the laws of logic.  And here I am including the laws of quantum logic as well as classical,  e.g.


 A majority of religions claim, for example, that a supernatural domain exists and is populated by supernatural entities. However, as we've seen, the constellation of supernatural entities (demons, Satan, souls etc.) are based on entities which contradict the settled atomic (positive) facts that comprise an actual model of reality.   The existence of such elements or entities is therefore  as impossible  as presenting a figure in geometry which contradicts the laws of space, or to "give coordinates to a point that does not exist."

The same can be said for any proposition that claims a "miracle", e.g.

"In the miracle of Fatima the Sun was displaced and whirled around."    

The devotees of the Fatima miracle assert the Sun actually gyrated and moved back and forth before 70,000 devout observers.  But, alas, no telescopes or astrometric instruments anywhere on Earth recorded such a phenomenon. The only conclusion?  It did not occur, did not exist as a positive fact, in this case an observational "atomic" fact. Hence, had to be a mass hallucination.

From a strictly rationalist viewpoint any actual motion of the Sun that day would have to be deemed more miraculous than a mass hallucination.  Hence, it meets David Hume's test for any potential real miracle, i.e.

"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish."

This leads us to another (related) proposition in the Tractatus (p. 67):

"If God creates a world in which certain propositions are true, he thereby also creates a world in which all propositions consequent on them are true. And similarly, he could not create a world in which the proposition 'p' is true without creating all its objects"

For example, if the proposition:

p=  "The Sun exhibits no motion specific to one location."

Is true, then it means all propositions attendant on it are also true.  I.e.  all  solar behavior is uniformly visible to all observers at the same time, with observational access to the Sun.   Thus, if the Sun were to suddenly  slow in its rate of rotation, this has to be visible to all solar observers wherever they may be, assuming they have daytime access.  If this proposition be true then no world can be created by a hypothetical deity such that any ancillary aspects of the proposition aren't also true. At the same time, this means by extension that   any claimed unusual motion of the Sun - say gyrations - specified only visible from one special location (e.g. Fatima) must be false.   

Wittgenstein, as can be seen from the examples illustrated, has provided us with a logical scaffolding of immense power which can be used to advance the cause of logic and of  reason employed  in specific  arguments.  

See Also:

Is the Religious Brain Capable of Reason?

Friday, July 10, 2020

Trump Derangement Syndrome "The Next Pandemic"? Don't Make Me Laugh!

"Da Donald can do no wrong! He da man! It da left dat derange!"

One of the tropes still circulating amongst the Trumpkins is that the Left is hysterical and over-reacting to their beloved, brain dead buffoon - manifesting in TDS or "Trump Derangement Syndrome".  In the fantasies of these Right wing pundit knuckle draggers, most of the Left  as well as Democrats are in the throes of TDS and now even going through "five stages".  So writes the latest imp to make such a claim, Joseph Epstein (WSJ, July 10, p. A17,  'The Next Pandemic: Trump Derangement Syndrome' )

  This balmy bozo-  because that's precisely what Epstein is-   given  his reputation for sloppy thinking and misleading  journalism precedes him, e.g.


Trots out this latest codswallop as all Trump's poll  numbers are sinking, even eroding among his  base.  This has incited them to flail and render any kind of crappola to try to convince us it's all the Dems' fault,  or else that this animated pustule isn't as degenerate as we know he is.  Anyway in his WSJ op-ed  Epstein confabulates five "stages" as integral to the TDS   onset  and I cite these below:

Stage (1) The "afflicted decides before 2016 that Trump has serious, even strenuous character flaws that disqualified him from the presidency or any other public office".

Well, let's see. How about advocating pussy grabbing (in that 2005 'Access Hollywood' tape with Billy Bush)  as well as assaults on various women including at Miss Universe pageants?  One of the women  (Summer Vernos)  even brought a lawsuit after Trump "thrust his genitals at her."  Sounds disqualifying enough to me and I will take Summer at her word 1 million times before the lying Trump.  (Who's now amassed over 16,000 lies according to the running WaPo tally over the last 3 1/2 years.)

Stage (2) "One dwells upon Donald Trump's looks", the hairdo and golf apparel.

Actually, I could care less about this bloated buffoon's looks.. But I do castigate the orange imp for how he's consistently disparaged the appearance of women,   e.g.


whether calling 2016 Reep candidate Carly Fiorina and  the adult-film actress Stormy Daniels "Horseface,"  or calling other women "sluts", "dogs" or worse.  All of these examples say more about this reprobate's basic character than anything any critic could say about his appearance.   Knowing that, it's incredible to me Epstein would even go there.

Stage (3)  "One is ready to believe anything- pernicious or salacious- about Mr. Trump - and to reject anything that might be good for the country."

Oh, oh, you mean like Stormy Daniels taking  the Donald across her knee and spanking him with a copy of FORBES?   E.g.


Image result for brane space, stormy daniels
Wherein we learn:

The spanking was revealed in a string of emails.  Subsequently,  Mother Jones basically confirmed all the sordid details that Daniels described from her 2006 encounters  For reference, see:


"According  to a trove of  2009 emails exchanged between political operatives (advising Daniels at the time on a possible political campaign), the adult film actress claimed that her affair with Trump included spanking him with a copy of Forbes.  By one account,  a political consultant to Andrea DubĂ© related in an email that:

"He made her sit with him for three hours watching Shark Week. Another time he had her spank him with a Forbes magazine,

The magazine used evidently had Dotard's  face on the cover which no doubt provides endless material for any Freudian school psychiatrists and psychologists. "

Stormy having sex with this turd then whacking his fat ass?  Sounds pretty perverse - and convincing to me. Not to mention allowing Russian prostitutes to urinate all over him in a Moscow hotel while the Miss Universe pageant was held in Moscow in 2013.  All integrated into the dossier prepared by Christopher Steele - which the Right's  nitwits now try to disparage.

According to an earlier (2017)  AP report in the Denver Post ( 'Ex Spy Regarded as Dependable') :

"Three British intelligence agents interviewed by the Associated Press described Steele as well regarded in the intelligence community, with excellent Russian skills and high level sources."

According to one Financial Times account, Steele was the "UK intelligence expert on Russia".

James Nixey, the head of Chatham House's Russia and Eurasia program, informed the AP that sections of the dossier document created by Steele
"read exactly as reports from the secret services"

In other words, professional through and through, no exaggerations and no fillers that hadn't been  sourced.  So the Trumpkins and their hacks like Epstein,  Dan Henninger,  Holman Jenkins Jr. or Kim Strassel can squawk all they want about the "corrupt Steele dossier"  but I will make a Vegas bet on its veracity any day before anything coming out of Trump's piehole. Or that of his enablers and acolytes.

Epstein then inserts the example of TDS "afflicted" going so low and over the edge as to aver "he secretly admires King Jong Un's wardrobe"".   Actually, I  was more concerned with how he's openly professed love for the North Korean tyrant, i.e after saying numerous times he's "in love" with Kim.  And Kim sent him a "love letter."  These are all well documented, not fantasies or ideations.

Stage (4) "One imputes evil to Mr. Trump."

Actually, as an atheist I am averse to appending the term "evil" to anyone.  Having said that,  I do maintain a human can over time reach such a level of moral turpitude and character degradation he can at least asymptotically approach evil.  That is Trump, as when he had  migrant children locked up in cages, separated them from their parents.  Also, when he equated Charlottesville (2017) protesters with the Nazis and white nationalist scum who attacked them, including killing one woman (Heather Heyer).  Trump  claiming there were "some very fine people" on both sides. No, only on one!  As Nicole Wallace put it at the time:

"There are not two sides to this. There are hideous, hateful enemies of America, enemies of freedom, and there were people truly exercising their free speech."

Stage (5)  "One is weighted down with all the symptoms of the first four stages but brings to them an added choleric intensity of anger."

If Eppie means anger at the way Dotard has totally fucked up the response to the coronavirus so that over 130,000 if our fellow citizens are now dead- he has it right!  Or how Trump has not  only botched the initial U.S. response but is now actively inciting an even larger death toll by pushing for a premature opening of schools.  As Michelle Goldberg wrote(NY Times, 'Trump Threatens To Turn Pandemic Schooling Into Culture War'):

"Donald Trump has approached the extraordinarily complex challenge of educating children during a pandemic just as he’s approached most other matters of governing: with bullying, bluster and propaganda."

Reinforcing what Chris Hayes' timely take two nights ago:

"Also today he said he disagreed with the CDC guidelines for opening the schools. So he's now pushing the CDC to override their own guidelines.

So if I've got that right, we don't want the guidance of the nation's top health agency on how to stay safe in a pandemic to be the reason why we don't send our kids to school,  while we're suffering from the worst outbreak in the world.  So the president will tell them to change the guidance.  And it's not the first time he's done that.  He did it back in April and May when he didn't like the CDC reopening guidance for business.  He even pressured governors to ignore that guidance, just like he pushed the CDC to change their guidance for reopening churches. And now he's not happy with the CDC guidance on schools.

So what do you think is going to happen? Look, the last person in the world you can trust right now with the safety of your kids is Donald Trump."

 Epstein ends by saying those he fancies suffering from TDS can end the malady and "they don't even have to put on a mask" only "turn off the television set."  

Yeah, but see, Eppie, Trump will find a way to get back into our attention by again insinuating himself in some other outrageous way, whether via a new, demented executive order - maybe trying to fire Anthony Fauci, or threatening to send active military against Black Lives Matter protesters.

Methinks Eppie has got the wrong derangement syndrome and the wrong cast of victims who are afflicted.  

The great Dem Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once described ever lowered thresholds for accepting deviant and disreputable behavior in terms of "defining deviancy down."  With Epstein's article on a "TDS pandemic"  we now see just how low Trump's meda apparatchiks are prepared to go to allow for his deviancy.

Update:  We can now add WSJ columnist Barton Swaim to the stable of Trump defenders and  acolytes determined to 'define deviancy down' for their master.  This after his op-ed piece today ('Will Democrats Accept A Trump Victory', p. A13), writing:

"The president now seems likely to lose. But if he wins may I suggest an alternative theory (to stealing the election)?   A Trump victory in November will have nothing to do with the Russians, the Chinese,  the coronavirus or 'voter suppression'.

It will have everything to do with Democrats' foul behavior over the previous four years."

Democrats' foul behavior?  Is Swaim living on an alternate Earth, or simply blind and fucking nuts?  Did Dems lock migrant kids - often as young as two or three- in cages and separate them from their parents:? Did Dems side with marching Nazis and KKK'ers in Charlottesville?  Did Dems appoint a toady to foul any concept of justice and turn the DOJ into Trump's personal protectors?  Did Dems seek help from a foreign nation (Ukraine)  to take out his political opponent? Thereby violating his oath of office by using it for personal gain?  Did the Dems call the pandemic a 'hoax' for two weeks, wasting valuable time to control the virus, then upend CDC guidelines while also failing to organize a national response? Instead letting states compete with  each other for personal protective gear as is happening again now? Did Dems embrace the notion that masks are for 'elites'  - thereby setting the unmasked against the masked and enabling the virus to spread?

The answer to all the above is 'NO!' - leaving Trump as the only foul entity to be singled out.  As well as now Swaim in his perverse effort to defend him. And no, there is no way in hell we will accept a Trump election win, after the way this demented orange maggot has sought to undermine mail ballots-- which  elimination even he admitted would be the "only way to win".  

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"Think about all that has happened since April 5. That was before security forces attacked peaceful protesters  in Lafayette Square so that Trump could stage a bizarre photo-op. 

Before he pushed to send the armed forces into the streets. Before he embraced white  power and called Black Lives Matter a  symbol of hate.  Before he vowed to veto the defense authorization bill to prevent the renaming of military bases named after Confederate generals. Before he used the novel coronavirus as an excuse to  shut down immigration and threatened to revoke  the visas of college students unable to attend classes in the fall. 

Before he ignored reports that a Russian intelligence unit had placed a bounty  on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Before he moved to pull out of the World Health Organization."