Saturday, March 14, 2020

Donald Trump on coronavirus

This timeline has been updated with Trump rallies and golf playing since (as of March 31, 2020) he is now trying to create a narrative that claims he was trying hard to address the pandemic early on, but was distracted by his impeachment. He was impeached by the House on December 18, 2019, and his Senate trial ran from January 16, 2020 to his acquittal on February 5, 2020.

January 13, 2017: The joint Obama-Trump transition teams run an exercise for pandemic preparedness. Trump transition team attendees include: Steven Mnuchin, Rep. Mike Pompeo, Wilbur Ross, Betsy DeVos, Dr. Ben Carson, Elaine Chao, Stephen Miller, Marc Short, Reince Priebus (resigned), Rex Tillerson (fired), Gen. James Mattis (fired), Rep. Ryan Zinke (resigned), Sen. Jeff Sessions (resigned), Sen. Dan Coats (fired), Andrew Puzder (not confirmed), Dr. Tom Price (resigned), Gov. Rick Perry (resigned), Dr. David Shulkin (fired), Gen. John Kelly (resigned), Rep. Mick Mulvaney, Linda McMahon (resigned), Sean Spicer (fired), Joe Hagin (resigned), Joshua Pitcock (resigned), Tom Bossert (resigned), KT McFarland (resigned), Gen. Michael Flynn (awaiting criminal sentencing), Gary Cohn (resigned), Katie Walsh (resigned), and Rick Dearborn (resigned). (

January-August 2019: Nineteen agencies of the federal government and twelve states conduct a pandemic functional exercise, "Crimson Contagion." The scenario is a novel influenza virus that arises in China and spreads to the United States, but stockpiles of vaccines are not a match to enable the virus to be contained. ( The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Robert Kadlec, appointed by Donald Trump in 2017 and who played a key decision-making role in this exercise, downplayed the risk of pandemic, cut the budget, and cut the program for stockpiling personal protective equipment (PPE). Instead, he spent money on stockpiles of smallpox vaccine, purchasing $2.8 billion of it from a company that had previously employed him as a consultant. (Smallpox was eradicated in 1980.) (

July 2019: The Trump administration made the decision to eliminate the position of CDC's resident advisor to the U.S. Field Epidemiology Training Program in China, Dr. Linda Quick, in September 2019. She quit her job in July after receiving the news. (

September 2019: The Trump administration ends a $200 million pandemic early warning program, PREDICT, at the U.S. Agency for International Development, started in 2009, aimed at training scientists in China and other countries to detect and respond to new viruses. During its lifetime, the project identified 1,200 viruses with pandemic potential. The PREDICT program involved 60 foreign laboratories, including the Chinese lab in Wuhan which identified SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19. (

January 2-3, 2020: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Robert Redfield has conversations about a virus outbreak in China with his counterpart at China's CDC, Gao Fu, who warns him that it is extremely serious. (

January 8, 2020: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issues its first warning about a novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19.

January 9: Trump holds a campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio.

January 9: Berlin, Germany scientist Olfert Landt's company, TIB Molbiol, develops its first COVID-19 test based on existing SARS tests. (

January 10: The RNA sequence data for COVID-19 was published online:

January 11: Olfert Landt sends a developed COVID-19 test to the Taiwan CDC and Roche in Hong Kong for validation. The test ends up working.

January 14: Trump holds a campaign rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

mid-January: The U.S. begins some screening of passengers from Wuhan, China, at airports in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. Prior to this event, at least 4,000 passengers arrived in the U.S. directly from Wuhan, China without any screening. (

January 16: The U.S. House sends articles of impeachment to the Senate, starting Trump's impeachment trial.

January 17: WHO publishes Olfert Landt's COVID-19 test protocol. TIB Molbiol manufactured four million tests by the end of February, and 1.5 million per week after that.

January 17: CDC announces that it has its own COVID-19 test. (See February 5.)

January 18: Dr. Rick Bright, director of the HHS Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at HHS, sends an email to ASPR Robert Kadlec asking to convene a Disaster Leadership Group (DLG) meeting over COVID-19. Kadlec responds that he doesn't think it is necessary and doesn't see the urgency. (

January 18: Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar phones Trump at Mar-a-Lago to warn him about the risk of coronavirus, but "Even before the heath [sic] secretary could get a word in about the virus, Trump cut him off and began criticizing Azar for his handling of an aborted federal ban on vaping products, a matter that vexed the president." (

January 18: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

January 19: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

January 21: CDC confirms first U.S. case of COVID-19. (

January 22: "We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. It's going to be just fine." ( 314 global cases in 4 countries, 309 China, 4 outside China (Thailand, Japan, South Korea).

January 26: Sen. Schumer calls on the Department of Health and Human Services for coronavirus to be designated a public health emergency. (

January 27: Joe Biden writes an op-ed warning of the U.S.'s lack of preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic. (

January 28: Elizabeth Warren releases a plan for "Preventing, Containing, and Treating Infectious Disease Outbreaks at Home and Abroad."

January 28: Trump holds a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey.

January 30: Trump holds a campaign rally in Des Moines, Iowa.

February 1: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

February 2: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

February 2: Trump's ordered restrictions on travel from China take effect. These restrictions do not apply to Americans returning from China.  279 flights from China occurred after this date, and screening of returning passengers was haphazard and inconsistent. (

February 2: "We pretty much shut it down coming in from China." ( 14,557 global cases in 23 countries, 14,411 China, 146 outside of China (WHO).  CDC starts sending out test kits in first week of February, which turn out to be faulty.

February 5: The U.S. Senate impeachment trial votes to acquit Trump on both articles.

February 5: CDC announces it will begin shipping COVID-19 tests to states. Shortly thereafter, it is determined that the CDC test kits don't work.

February 6: Patricia Dowd of Santa Clara County, California, dies from COVID-19, though this is not determined until late April. (

February 7: Trump to Bob Woodward, in an interview for his new book, Rage: "It’s also more deadly than your -- you know, your -- even your strenuous flus...This is 5%, versus 1% percent and less than 1%." ( 31,481 global cases in 24 countries, 31,211 China, 270 outside of China, 637 deaths in China, 1 death outside of China, U.S. 12 cases (WHO).

February 10: "You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather." Interview with Trish Regan, Fox Business. (  40,554 global cases in 24 countries, 40,235 China, 319 outside China, U.S. 12 cases (WHO).

February 10: Trump holds a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire.

February 15: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

February 19: Trump holds a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.

February 20: Trump holds a campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

February 21: Trump holds a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada.

February 23: Trump and the White House National Security Council is sent a memo from White House economic advisor Peter Navarro warning of coronavirus epidemic in the U.S. which could kill up to two million Americans. (

February 24: "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA... Stock Market starting to look very good to me!" Twitter. (  Dow closes down 227.51 points at 28,992.40. 79,331 global cases in 29 countries, 77,262 China, 2,069 outside China, 35 U.S.  12 labs other than CDC can perform coronavirus testing.

February 25: "CDC and my Administration are doing a GREAT job of handling Coronavirus." ( 80,239 global cases in 33 countries,  77,780 China, 2,459 outside China, 53 U.S.

February 25: "I think that's a problem that's going to go away... They have studied it. They know very much. In fact, we're very close to a vaccine."  In India. ( The vaccine was, in fact, for Ebola, not COVID-19:

February 26: "The 15 (cases in the US) within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero." White House Press Conference. ( 81,109 global cases in 37 countries, 78,191 China, 2,918 outside China, 53 U.S.  First day with more new cases outside China than in China. First two reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. in Seattle, Washington, though there had already been earlier deaths not yet attributed to COVID-19 (see February 6). (

February 26: "So we’re at the low level.  As they get better, we take them off the list, so that we’re going to be pretty soon at only five people. And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time.  So we’ve had very good luck." White House Press Conference (same link as above)

February 26: "We're going very substantially down, not up." White House Press Conference (same link as above)

February 26: "Low Ratings Fake News MSDNC (Comcast) & @CNN are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible. Likewise their incompetent Do Nothing Democrat comrades are all talk, no action. USA in great shape! @CDCgov....." Twitter. (

February 27: "One day it's like a miracle, it will disappear." At White House. ( 82,294 global cases in 46 countries, 78,630 China, 3,664 outside China, 59 U.S.  More new cases in Korea than China.

February 28: "We're ordering a lot of, uh, elements that frankly we wouldn't be ordering unless it was something like this. But we're ordering a lot of different elements of medical." At White House.  ( 83,652 global cases in 51 countries, 78,961 China, 4,691 outside China, 59 U.S.

February 28: Trump holds a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina. At this rally, Trump said: "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that, right? Coronavirus, they're politicizing it. You say, 'How's President Trump doing?' They go, 'Oh, not good, not good.' They have no clue. They don't have any clue. ... 'Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.' That didn't work out too well... Think of it. And this is their new hoax. But we did something that's pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this massive country and because of the fact that we went early. ... So a number that nobody heard of recently, and I was shocked to hear it, 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? 35,000, that's a lot of people. And so far we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn't mean we won't and we are totally prepared. It doesn't mean we won't, but think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we've lost nobody and you wonder the press is in hysteria mode. ... My administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to prevent the spread of this illness in the United States. We are ready. We are ready. Totally ready. ... A virus starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn't spread widely at all in the U.S. because of the early actions that myself and my administration took against a lot of other wishes. ... We had [to] quarantine some people. They weren't happy, they weren't happy about it. I want to tell you there are a lot of people that [were] not so happy, but after two weeks they got happy." Trump's statement that no one in the U.S. had been lost to COVID-19 was false both by not-yet-known deaths (see February 6) and by publicly reported deaths (see February 26), but the first officially confirmed COVID-19 death came on February 29. (

February 29: First confirmed U.S. COVID-19 death, a man in Kirkland, Washington. (

March 2: "You take a solid flu vaccine, you don't think that could have an impact, or much of an impact, on corona?" White House coronavirus task force meeting. ( 88,948 global cases in 64 countries, 80,174 China, 8,774 outside China, 62 U.S.  CDC removes number of tests completed from its website (474 on March 1). (

March 2: "A lot of things are happening, a lot of very exciting things are happening and they're happening very rapidly." White House coronavirus task force meeting, same as previous link.

March 2: Trump holds a campaign rally in Charlotte, North Carolina.

March 4: "If we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work - some of them go to work, but they get better." ( 94,091 global cases in 76 countries, 80,422 China, 12,669 outside China, 108 U.S.

March 5: "I NEVER said people that are feeling sick should go to work." ( 95,324 global cases in 85 countries/territories/areas, 80,565 China, 14,759 outside China, 129 U.S.

March 5: "The United States... has, as of now, only 129 cases... and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!" Twitter. (

March 5: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control planned to post a global travel alert for all countries, but it was delayed by the White House until March 11. (

March 6: "I think we're doing a really good job in this country at keeping it down... a tremendous job at keeping it down." At CDC. ( 98,192 global cases in 88 countries/territories/areas, 80,711 China, 17,481 outside China, 148 U.S.

March 6: "The tests are beautiful.... the tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good." At CDC, same as previous link.

March 6: "I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it... Every one of these doctors said, 'How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president." At CDC, same as previous link.

March 6: "I don't need to have the numbers to double because of one ship that wasn't our fault." At CDC, same as previous link.

March 6: "It’s something that nobody expected." (

March 6: "Everybody who wants a test can get a test." At CDC, same as previous link. In fact, tests are still hard to come by on March 23:

March 7: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

March 8: "We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus." Twitter. ( 105,586 global cases in 101 countries/territories/areas, 80,859 China, 24,727 outside China, 213 U.S.

March 8: Trump plays golf at the Trump International, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Prior to March 9: CDC wanted to recommend people over 60 stay at home, but Trump administration said no. (

March 9: "So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!" Twitter. ( 109,577 global cases in 104 countries/territories/areas, 80,904 China, 28,673 outside China, 213 U.S.

March 9: "And we have a great economy, we have a very strong economy, but this came -- this blindsided the world. And I think we've handled it very, very well. I think they've done a great job." Press conference. (

March 10: "Be calm. It's really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen." Press conference. (

March 11: "Health insurers have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments." Press conference. ( In fact, this only applied to tests, not treatments.

March 11: CDC posts a global travel alert that had been intended for release six days earlier but was delayed by the White House. (

March 12: White House says neither Trump nor Pence will be tested for coronavirus despite contacts with people who have tested positive. (

March 13: Trump repeatedly shakes hands at White House coronavirus press conference, despite knowing that he has recently been exposed to people who have now tested positive for the virus.  ( 132,758 global cases in 122 countries/territories/areas, 80,991 China, 51,767 outside China, 1,264 U.S.  Dow closes the week at 23,185.62.

March 13: "I don't take responsibility at all." White House press conference, in response to question about whether Trump takes any responsibility for the failures in U.S. coronavirus testing. (

March 13: Trump says he likely will be tested for coronavirus.  Same White House press conference. (

March 13 (evening just before midnight): White House doctor Sean Conley issues statement saying that Trump doesn't need to be quarantined or even tested for coronavirus because he is at low risk. (

March 14: "SOCIAL DISTANCING!" Twitter. ( CDC has tested 3,958 specimens (not individuals). 142,539 global cases in 135 countries/territories/areas, 81,021 China, 61,618 outside China, 1,678 U.S.

March 14: "It's something that nobody expected." (

March 14: Trump says he has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting results expected in a day or two. (

March 14: New screening measures are introduced at airports, which lead to delays from processing bottlenecks and large crowds of people. (

March 15: The White House announces Trump has tested negative for coronavirus. ( The Fed announces $700B in quantitative easing as stock market futures hit circuit breakers after a 5% drop.

March 15: "We're learning from watching other countries ... This is a very contagious virus, it's incredible, but it's something that we have tremendous control over." (

March 16: "That's not under control for any place in the world. ... I'm not talking about the virus." Press conference. ( 167,511 global cases in 151 countries/territories/areas, 81,077 China, 86,434 outside China, 1,678 U.S. (CDC count for U.S.: 3,487).

March 16: The Supreme Court announces that it is postponing its next argument sitting, for the first time since it did the same in 1918 due to the deadly global influenza outbreak.

March 16: "Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves." On conference call with U.S. governors. (

March 16: "It’s so contagious. It’s so contagious. It’s like record-setting contagious." White House press conference. (

March 17: "I've always known, this is a real ... this is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic." White House press conference. ( ( 179,112 global cases, 7,426 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,226 cases, 75 deaths (CDC).

March 19: "You're actually sitting too close. You should really -- we should probably get rid of another 75%, 80% of you. I'll have just two or three that I like in this room." White House press conference. (

March 19: "I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!" Twitter ( Trump didn't sign the Defense Production Act, which was signed into law in 1950 by Harry S Truman, who, as Kevin M. Kruse noted in response to this tweet (, famously said "the buck stops here," rather than the "I don't take responsibility at all" of this president. As of March 23, Trump still hasn't invoked the Defense Production Act. 209,839 global cases, 8,778 deaths (WHO), U.S. 10,442 cases, 150 deaths (CDC).

March 19: In an interview with Bob Woodward for his new book, Rage, Trump says of the coronavirus that "I always wanted to play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don't want to create a panic." He admits he knew that it was deadly and worse than the flu. (

March 20: Yamiche Alcindor asks Trump at his press conference: "When will everyone who needs a coronavirus test be able to get a test?" Trump's response: "No-one is talking about this except you, which doesn’t surprise me." Alcindor: "What about people w/ symptoms who cannot get a test?" Trump: "Yeah, well, OK. I’m not— I'm not hearing it." ( 234,073 global cases, 9,840 deaths (WHO), U.S. 15,219 cases, 201 deaths (CDC). Tests done to date:  CDC: 4,524, public health labs: 49,681, commercial labs: 88,000. (

March 20: "We haven't been given the credit we've deserved." White House press conference. (

March 22: "Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST! @fema Go for it auto execs, lets see how good you are? @RepMarkMeadows @GOPLeader @senatemajldr" ( 292,142 global cases, 12,784 deaths, U.S. 15,219 cases, 201 deaths. This tweet apparently a reference to Ford making respirators in partnership with 3M and GE Healthcare:

March 23: 332,930 global cases, 14,510 deaths (WHO), U.S. 33,404 cases, 400 deaths (CDC). Dr. Fauci doesn't appear at Trump's daily press conference.

March 24: "Our people want to return to work. They will practice Social Distancing and all else, and Seniors will be watched over protectively & lovingly. We can do two things together. THE CURE CANNOT BE WORSE (by far) THAN THE PROBLEM! Congress MUST ACT NOW. We will come back strong!" Twitter. ( 372,757 global cases, 16,231 deaths (WHO), U.S. 44,183 cases, 544 deaths (CDC).

March 25: "Just reported that the United States has done far more “testing” than any other nation, by far! In fact, over an eight day span, the United States now does more testing than what South Korea (which has been a very successful tester) does over an eight week span. Great job!" Twitter. ( 414,179 global cases, 18,440 deaths (WHO), U.S. 68,440 cases, 994 deaths (CDC). While the U.S. has done a greater number of tests, it also has a much larger population -- where Korea has tested 1 of every 170 people, the U.S. has tested 1 of every 1,090 people.

March 26: "I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they are going to be. I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators." Press conference. ( 462,684 global cases, 49,219 deaths (WHO), U.S. 68,440 cases, 994 deaths (CDC).

March 27: 509,164 global cases, 23,335 deaths (WHO), U.S. 85,356 cases, 1,246 deaths.

March 28: "You can call it a germ. You can call it a flu. You can call it a virus. You can call it many different names. I'm not sure anyone even knows what it is." Press conference. ( 571,678 global cases, 62,514 deaths (WHO), 103,321 cases, 1,668 deaths (CDC).

March 28: "I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly." Twitter. ( Advance notice of a quarantine order caused many people to leave northern Italy and spread the virus ( The three states here already had shelter-in-place orders from their governors. Trump subsequently retracted his quarantine suggestion in a pair of tweets (

March 29: "We sent thousands of generators to New York ... the people in New York never distributed the generators." Press conference, Trump means ventilators. ( 634,835 global cases, 29,957 deaths (WHO), U.S. 122,653 cases, 2,112 deaths (CDC).

March 29: "You’re talking about 2.2 million deaths ... So if we can hold that down, as we’re saying, to 100,000, it’s a horrible number, maybe even less, but to 100,000, so we have between 100 [thousand] and 200,000, we altogether have done a very good job." (

April 1: "They're doing tests on airlines--very strong tests--for getting on, getting off. They're testing on trains--getting on, getting off." White House briefing. There is no such testing occurring, this is complete fabrication. ( 823,626 global cases, 40,598 deaths (WHO), U.S. 186,101 cases, 3,603 deaths (CDC).

April 1: By this date the U.S. government took delivery of one million test kits, manufactured in China, from Cogna Technology Solutions in the United Arab Emirates, which had been purchased by "WH" (White House) at Jared Kushner's direction. Another 2.5 million test kits were delivered by April 20.  However, these were contracted for illegally, so the U.S. government refused to pay for them, and they were also contaminated and did not work, probably due to improper storage in the UAE after delivery from China. The White House coronavirus task force's national testing program developed in March was never put into effect, because of lack of support from Donald Trump and a political calculation that COVID-19 was largely a blue state problem. (

April 2: "Scarf is generally better than a mask because it's thicker." White House briefing. ( 896,540 global cases, 72,839 deaths (WHO), U.S. 213,144 cases, 4,513 deaths (CDC).

April 3: The U.S. federal government seizes orders of personal protective equipment (PPE) destined for France and Germany at the Port of New York, along with equipment ordered by individual states, most notably Massachusetts. The Governor of Massachusetts makes arrangements via the Chinese ambassador to the UN for one million N95 masks to be put on the New England Patriots' plane as a "private humanitarian effort", which are successfully delivered to Boston.  972,640 global cases, 50,325 deaths (WHO), U.S. 239,279 cases, 5,443 deaths (CDC).

April 3: "In one case, an order of 200,000 masks for Germany made by U.S.-listed multinational 3M Co in China were “confiscated” in Bangkok, Berlin Secretary of Interior Andreas Geisel, said in a statement, calling it an “act of modern piracy.”" ... "At the same time, 3M said Friday that the White House ordered it to stop all shipments to Canada and Latin America of respirators that it manufactures in the United States, despite what 3M called “significant humanitarian implications.”" (

April 7: Trump announces he is "going to put a hold" on funding to the World Health Organization. He later says he had merely promised to consider doing so. ( 1,279,722 global cases, 72,614 deaths (WHO), U.S. 374,329 cases, 12,064 deaths (CDC).

April 7: Trump fires the Inspector General responsible for oversight on distribution of the $2.3 trillion COVID-19 rescue package.

April 10: "The germ has gotten so brilliant that the antibiotic can't keep up with it ... there's a whole genius to it ... not only is it hidden, but it's very smart." White House daily briefing. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, not viruses. ( 1,521,252 global cases, 92,798 deaths (WHO), U.S. 459,165 cases, 16,570 deaths (CDC).

April 10: "The Invisible Enemy will soon be in full retreat!" Trump on Twitter (

April 13: Trump to Bob Woodward, in an interview for his new book, Rage: "This thing is a killer if it gets you. If you're the wrong person, you don't have a chance. ... So this rips you apart. ... It is the plague." ( 1,773,084 global cases, 111,652 deaths (WHO), U.S. 554,849 cases, 21,942 deaths (CDC).

April 14: The Trump administration halts funding of WHO pending review of its handling of COVID-19. 1,844,863 global cases, 117,021 deaths (WHO), U.S. 579,005 cases, 22,252 deaths (CDC).

April 21: 2,397,216 global cases, 162,956 deaths (WHO), U.S. 776,093 cases, 41,758 deaths (CDC).

April 23: "And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out, in a minute. ... Is there a way we can do something like that? By injection, inside, or almost a cleaning, ’cause you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. You’re going to have to use medical doctors, right? But it sounds interesting to me." ( Breitbart's attempt to save this nonsense still seems to leave it as nonsense: 2,544,792 global cases, 175,694 deaths (WHO), U.S. 828,441 cases, 46,379 deaths (CDC).

April 24: Trump's VP Mike Pence says, "I truly do believe that if we all continue to do that kind of social distancing and other guidance broadly from federal and state officials, that we’re going to put this coronavirus in the past ... I believe by early June we’re going to see our nation largely past this epidemic. ... I think honestly, if you look at the trends today, that I think by Memorial Day weekend [May 23-25] we will have this coronavirus epidemic behind us." ( 2,626,321 global cases, 181,938 deaths (WHO), U.S. 86,585 cases, 48,816 deaths (CDC.

April 26: After a series of excuses to explain his April 23 injection comments, including that he was just being sarcastic to see what the press would do with it (which undermined Breitbart and anyone else arguing that it was serious and accurate), Trump took no questions at his April 24 briefing, did not present at all at his April 25 briefing, and canceled his briefing on April 26.  2,804,796 global cases, 193,710 deaths (WHO), U.S. 928,619 cases, 52,459 deaths (CDC).  The Washington Post summed up Trump's daily coronavirus briefings: 28 hours of Trump in 35 briefings since March 16, using 60% of the time.  In the past 21 days, 13 hours of Trump, of which two hours was spent attacking others, 45 minutes praising himself, and 4.5 minutes expressing condolences for coronavirus victims.  In 113 of the 346 questions he has answered, he attacked someone.  In 25 percent of his statements he has made false statements. He played self-praising videos three times. (

April 27: Trump at press conference at the White House rose garden: "So, yeah, we’ve lost a lot of people.  But if you look at what original projections were — 2.2 million — we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000.  It’s far too many.  One person is too many for this." ( 2,878,196 global cases, 198,668 deaths (WHO), U.S. 928,619 cases, 52,459 deaths (CDC). April 29: 3,018,952 global cases, 207,973 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,005,147 cases, 57,505 deaths (CDC).

April 30: The Trump administration killed the CDC's guidance document for how to safely re-open American businesses. ( 3,090,445 global cases, 217,769 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,031,659 cases, 60,057 deaths (CDC).

May 3: "We're going to lose anywhere from 75, 80, to 100,000 people. That's a horrible thing." A moment of honesty from Trump, Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial. ( 3,349,786 global cases, 238,628 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,122,486 cases, 65,735 deaths (CDC).

May 5: "I'm viewing our great citizens of this country to a certain extent and to a large extent as warriors. They're warriors. We can't keep our country closed. We have to open our country ... Will some people be badly affected? Yes." Trump at Honeywell, at a mask factory not wearing a mask, in Phoenix, Arizona. By "be badly affected" he means death and permanent damage to lungs and other organs. ( 3,517,345 global cases, 243,401 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,171,510 cases, 68,279 deaths (CDC). Today the White House National Economic Council projected U.S. deaths to drop to zero by May 16, just a day after a leaked CDC presentation projected 3,000-15,000 deaths per day by June 1.

May 5: The White House coronavirus task force aims to wind down by around Memorial Day, May 25. (

May 6: 3,588,773 global cases, 247,503 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,193,813 cases, 70,802 deaths (CDC).

May 7: "Testing is somewhat overrated." ( 3,672,238 global cases, 254,045 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,219,066 cases, 73,297 deaths (CDC).

May 8: "Katie, she tested very good for a long period of time and then all of a sudden today she tested positive. ... This is why the whole concept of tests aren't necessarily great." Regarding Pence's press secretary and Stephen Miller's wife, Katie Miller, who has tested positive for COVID-19, as did one of Trump's valets. ( 3,759,967 global cases, 259,474 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,248,040 cases, 75,477 deaths (CDC).

May 9: Ivanka Trump's personal assistant tests positive for COVID-19. ( 3,855,788 global cases, 265,862 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,274,036 cases, 75,477 deaths (CDC).

May 14: "Don't forget, we have more cases than anybody in the world, but why? Because we do more testing. When you test, you have a case. When you test, you find something is wrong with people. If we didn't do any testing we would have very few cases. They don't want to write that. It's common sense." ( 4,248,389 global cases, 294,046 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,384,930 cases, 83,947 deaths (CDC).

May 17: 4,525,497 global cases, 307,395 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,467,065 cases, 88,709 deaths (CDC).

May 19: CDC guidance for businesses which was originally intended for release on April 30 is released. The guidance for churches and religious congregations was removed. ( 4,731,458 global cases, 316,169 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,504,830 cases, 90,340 deaths (CDC).

May 23: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 5,103,006 global cases, 333,401 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,595,885 cases, 96,002 deaths (CDC).

May 24: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 5,204,508 global cases, 337,687 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,622,114 cases, 97,049 deaths (CDC).

May 25: 5,304,772 global cases, 342,029 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,637,456 cases, 97,669 deaths (CDC).

May 26: Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have lost 1 1/2 to 2 Million People." ( 5,404,512 global cases, 343,514 deaths (WHO), U.S. 1,662,414 cases, 98,261 deaths (CDC).

June 12: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,410,510 global cases, 418,294 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,016,027 cases, 113,914 deaths (CDC).

June 13: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,553,182 global cases, 423,349 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,038,344 cases, 114,625 deaths (CDC).

June 14: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 7,690,708 global cases, 427,630 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,063,812 cases, 115,271 deaths (CDC).

June 15: Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have lost possibly 2.5, 3 million people."  ( 7,823,289 global cases, 431,541 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,085,769 cases, 115,644 deaths (CDC).

June 20: Trump holds a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Trump says if he hadn't taken swift action in response to COVID-19, "we would have had I would say probably 4 million deaths, 3 million deaths, 2 million deaths."  (

Also at Tulsa rally: "When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people. You're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please." ( 8,525,042 global cases, 456,973 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,215,618 cases, 119,055 deaths (CDC).

June 21: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 8,708,008 global cases, 461,715 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,248,029 cases, 119,615 deaths (CDC).

June 23: Questioned about his claim that he asked for testing to be slowed, which staffers had claimed was a joke, Trump stated that he wasn't joking.  (

On Twitter he repeated his claim that more cases are caused by more testing: "Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases!" (

June 23: At the Students for Trump Rally at the Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona, Trump seemed not to know what the 19 in COVID-19 means: "I could give you 19 or 20 names. ...I said, 'What's the 19?' COVID-19, some people can't explain what the 19, give me, COVID-19, I said, 'That's an odd name.'" (

June 27: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 9,653,048 global cases, 491,128 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,459,472 cases, 124,976 deaths (CDC).

June 28: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 9,843,073 global cases, 495,760 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,504,175 cases, 125,484 deaths (CDC).

July 1: Trump tells Fox Business that he expects the coronavirus will "just sort of disappear," as he claimed back on February 27. ( 10,357,662 global cases, 508,055 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,624,873 cases, 127,299 deaths (CDC).

July 3: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 10,710,005 global cases, 517,877 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,732,531 cases, 128,648 deaths (CDC).

July 5: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 11,125,245 global cases, 528,204 deaths (WHO), U.S. 2,789,678 cases, 129,305 deaths (CDC).

July 9: Trump tweet: "For the 1/100th time, the reason we show so many Cases, compared to other countries that haven't done nearly as well as we have, is that our TESTING is much bigger and better. We have tested 40,000,000 people. If we did 20,000,000 instead, Cases would be half, etc. NOT REPORTED!" Trump shows that he doesn't understand what per-capita means, doesn't know what fractions are, and doesn't know when to capitalize. ( 11,874,226 global cases, 545,481 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,047,671 cases, 132,056 deaths (CDC).

July 10: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Doral, Florida. 12,102,328 global cases, 551,046 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,106,931 cases, 132,855 deaths (CDC).

July 11: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 12,322,395 global cases, 556,335 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,173,212 cases, 132,666 deaths (CDC).

July 12: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 12,552,765 global cases, 561,617 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,236,130 cases, 134,572 deaths (CDC).

July 18: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 13,876,441 global cases, 593,087 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,630,587 cases, 138,782 deaths (CDC).

July 19: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 14,043,176 global cases, 597,583 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,698,161 cases, 139,659 deaths (CDC).

July 21: In an interview with Bob Woodward for his new book, Rage, Trump says "The virus has nothing to do with me. It's not my fault." ( 14,562,550 global cases, 607,781 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,819,139 cases, 140,630 deaths (CDC).

July 22: Trump on Fox News: "It makes us look bad... if instead of 50 million [tests], we did 25 million, we'd have half the number of cases." ( 14,765,256 global cases, 612,054 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,882,167 cases, 141,677 deaths (CDC). U.S. deaths have risen to over 1,000 per day again, last seen on June 26.

July 22: Trump on Fox News: "Watch: On November 4, everything will open up." (

July 22: California passes New York for total COVID-19 cases.

July 23: "The country is in very good shape, other than if you look south and west. That will all work out." Trump press conference announcing the cancellation of the Republican National Convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida. ( 15,012,731 global cases, 619,150 deaths (WHO), U.S. 3,952,273 cases, 142,755 deaths (CDC).

July 25: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. Florida passes New York for total COVID-19 cases. 15,581,009 global cases, 635,173 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,099,310 cases, 145,013 deaths (CDC).

July 26: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 15,785,641 global cases, 640,016 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,163,892 cases, 145,942 deaths (CDC).

July 28: It's publicly announced that Trump has invoked the Defense Production Act to provide a $765 million loan to Kodak to allow it to start manufacturing pharmaceutical precursors, including for hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug touted by the president for COVID-19 treatment but which has been found in randomized controlled trials to be ineffective for that purpose. The primary shareholder of Kodak, Ted Suhl, a Trump supporter, was convicted of bribery charges for a Medicare scam but had his prison sentence commuted by Trump. Kodak executives were awarded stock options the day before the announcement, which caused Kodak's stock price to soar. ( 16,341,920 global cases, 650,805 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,280,135 cases, 147,672 deaths (CDC).

August 1: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 17,396,943 global cases, 675,060 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,542,579 cases, 152,870 deaths (CDC).

August 2: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 17,660,523 global cases, 680,894 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,601,526 cases, 154,002 deaths (CDC).

August 3: Trump interview with Jonathan Swan airs. Trump says the U.S. is doing the best in the world with COVID-19 in "numerous categories."  Swan: "Oh, you're doing death as a proportion of cases. I'm talking about death as a proportion of population. That's where the U.S. is really bad. Much worse than South Korea, Germany, etc." Trump: "You can't do that." Swan: "Why can't I do that?"( 17,918,582 global cases, 686,703 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,649,102 cases, 154,471 deaths (CDC).

August 3: From the same Swan interview: Trump: "Other countries don't test like we do, so they don't show cases." Swan: "We're testing so much because it's spread so far in America." Trump: "...Jonathan, when I took over, we didn't even have a test." Swan: "Why would you have a test? The virus didn't exist?" Full interview:

August 4: Trump, who on July 28 touted his use of the Defense Production Act to lend $765 million to Kodak, now that the SEC is investigating the circumstances around Kodak's announcement of the loan and stock activity, now says "I wasn't involved in the deal." ( 18,142,718 global cases, 691,013 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,698,818 cases, 155,204 deaths (CDC).

August 7: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 18,902,735 global cases, 709,511 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,858,596 cases, 158,887 deaths (CDC).

August 8: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 19,187,943 global cases, 716,075 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,920,369 cases, 160,220 deaths (CDC).

August 9: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 19,462,112 global cases, 722,285 deaths (WHO), U.S. 4,974,959 cases, 161,284 deaths (CDC).

August 10: Trump says that the influenza pandemic of "1917" (it was in 1918, but Trump always incorrectly says 1917) probably ended World War II. ( 19,718,030 global cases, 728,013 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,023,649 cases, 161,842 deaths (CDC).

August 15: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ, as his brother dies at the age of 71. 21,026,758 global cases, 755,786 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,285,546 cases, 167,546 deaths (CDC).

August 16: Trump (possibly) plays golf at the Trump National in Bedminster, NJ. 21,294,845 global cases, 761,779 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,340,232 cases, 166,696 deaths (CDC).

August 22: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 22,812,491 global cases, 795,132 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,598,547 cases, 174,645 deaths (CDC).

August 23: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia, while tweeting "Happy Sunday! We want GOD!" ( 23,057,288 global cases, 800,906 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,643,812 cases, 175,651 deaths (CDC).

August 30: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia with Trey Gowdy and Jason Chaffetz. 24,854,140 global cases, 838,924 deaths (WHO), U.S. 5,934,824 cases, 182,149 deaths (CDC).

September 5: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 26,468,031 global cases, 871,166 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,181,474 cases, 187,159 deaths (CDC).

September 6: Trump plays golf at the Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. 26,763,217 global cases, 876,616 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,226,879 cases, 188,051 deaths (CDC).

September 9: The White House orders an end to airport screenings for travelers entering the United States--no symptom or temperature checks, nothing. ( 27,486,960 global cases, 894,983 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,310,663 cases, 189,147 deaths (CDC).

September 15: Trump says the pandemic will end due to "herd mentality." (  He chides Joe Biden for not implementing a nationwide mask mandate (as a private citizen?). ( 29,155,581 global cases, 926,544 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,537,627 cases, 194,092 deaths (CDC).

September 18: Jon Karl of ABC News: "How is it that you don't trust your own experts? Do you think you know better than they do?" Trump: "Yeah, in many cases I do."  (Narrator: He doesn't.) ( 30,055,710 global cases, 943,433 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,656,799 cases, 197,116 deaths (CDC).

September 21:  "It affects virtually nobody."  ( 30,949,804 global cases, 959,116 deaths (WHO), U.S. 6,786,352 cases, 199,024 deaths (CDC).

September 26: Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination event at the White House Rose Garden, at which Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sat, maskless, a few seats away from president of Notre Dame, Rev. John Jenkins, also maskless. Video from the event shows Sen. Lee hugging people at the event. Both reported that they tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, October 2, as do three other attendees, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, and presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway (after being outed by her daughter on TikTok). ( 32,429,965 global cases, 985,823 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,009,216 cases, 203,180 deaths (CDC).

September 30: Hope Hicks, senior counselor to the president, reports symptoms of COVID-19 while flying on Air Force One to Trump's rally in Minnesota. She tests positive for COVID-19 the morning of October 1, which is publicly reported in the afternoon. Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also tests positive for COVID-19, publicly reported on October 2, after the president's report. 33,502,430 global cases, 1,004,421 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,168,077 cases, 205,372 deaths (CDC).

October 1: Trump attends a fundraiser at his golf club in New Jersey, possibly while knowing he was COVID-19 infected. He said on Fox News on Thursday evening that he was still awaiting test results, but we now know he already had a positive result from a rapid test when he said that. ( 33,842,281 global cases, 1,010,634 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,213,419 cases, 206,402 deaths (CDC).

October 2: President Donald Trump and his wife Melania both report positive test results for COVID-19. Trump's former White House doctor, Ronny Jackson, tweets that Trump is "asymptotic" [sic], but the White House reports that he has mild symptoms including lethargy, but within hours reports more symptoms, and the fact that Trump has been given a maximum dose of an experimental antibody drug treatment from Regeneron (on Thursday evening, Oct 1). Trump goes to Walter Reed Hospital in the afternoon. 34,161,721 global cases, 1,016,918 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,260,465 cases, 207,302 deaths (CDC).

October 3: Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee, reports that he has also tested positive for COVID-19 (but was not in attendance at the Saturday Rose Garden event). White House physician Dr. Sean Conley stated that we are "72 hours" into Trump's diagnosis and "48 hours" into treatment, which implies he knew he was positive on the morning of September 30, not on October 1 or 2. A White House official subsequently "clarified" saying that he meant 3 days (i.e., >48 hours), not 72 hours, and 2 days (i.e., >24 hours), not 48 hours.

October 8: Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo: "Do you feel that you are contagious?" Trump: "I don't think I'm contagious at all." (He is almost certainly still contagious.) ( 35,659,007 global cases, 1,044,269 deaths (WHO), U.S. 7,475,262 cases, 210,232 deaths (CDC).

October 23: "We're rounding the corner beautifully." ( 41,570,883 global cases, 1,134,940 deaths (WHO), U.S. 8,387,047 cases, 222,447 deaths (CDC).

October 24: At rally in Lumberton, NC: "That's all I hear about now. Turn on TV, 'Covid, Covid, Covid Covid Covid.' A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don't talk about it. 'Covid Covid Covid Covid.' By the way, on November 4th, you won't hear about it anymore ... 'please don't go and vote, Covid!'" What Trump describes regarding a plane crash not being reported has never happened, but COVID-19 is killing twice that many people every day in the United States. About 309 people have died in airplane and helicopter crashes globally so far in 2020; the most recent single plane crash with more than 500 fatalities was the worst such crash ever, and it occurred in August 12, 1985, Japan Air Lines Flight 123 from Tokyo to Osaka. ( 41,570,883 global cases, 1,134,940 deaths (WHO), U.S. 8,469,976 cases, 223,393 deaths (CDC).

Also see:



And: Linda Qiu, "Analyzing the Patterns in Trump's Falsehoods About Coronavirus"

And: Ryan Goodman and Danielle Schulkin, Just Security, Timeline of the Coronavirus Pandemic and U.S. Response

And: Eric Lipton, David Sanger, et al., New York Times, "He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus"

And: Garrett Graff, Wired, "An Oral History of the Pandemic Warnings Trump Ignored"

And: Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic, "What's So Hard to Understand About What Trump Has Said? A clarifying look at the president's response to coronavirus, in his own words"
And: Daniel Dale and Christopher Hickey, CNN, "Timeline: Tracking Trump's rising coronavirus death toll estimates"



Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Books read in 2019

Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2019.
  • Graham T. Allison, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
  • Ross Anderson, Security Engineering (3rd edition, draft chapters)
  • Herbert Asbury, The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
  • Heidi Blake, From Russia with Blood: The Kremlin's Ruthless Assassination Program and Vladimir Putin's Secret War on the West
  • Rutger Bregman, Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
  • Oliver Bullough, Moneyland: The Inside Story of the Crooks and Kleptocrats Who Rule the World
  • Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith, Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration
  • C.J. Chivers, The Fighters: Americans in Combat
  • Sefton Delmer, Black Boomerang
  • Nina J. Easton, Gang of Five: Leaders at the Center of the Conservative Crusade (bio of Bill Kristol, Ralph Reed, Clint Bolick, Grover Norquist, and David McIntosh)
  • Ronan Farrow, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
  • Ronan Farrow, War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence
  • Ian Frisch, Magic is Dead: My Journey into the World's Most Secretive Society of Magicians
  • Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World
  • Reba Wells Grandrud, Sunnyslope (Images of America series)
  • Andy Greenberg, Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers
  • Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement
  • Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq
  • Michael Lewis, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
  • Jonathan Lusthaus, Industry of Anonymity: Inside the Business of Cybercrime
  • Ben MacIntyre, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal
  • Joseph Menn, Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World
  • Anna Merlan, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power
  • Jefferson Morley, Our Man in Mexico: Winston Scott and the Hidden History of the CIA
  • Sarah T. Roberts, Behind the Screen: Content Moderation in the Shadows of Social Media
  • Hans Rosling, with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
  • Russell Shorto, Amsterdam: A History of the World's Most Liberal City
  • Alexander Stille, The Sack of Rome: Media + Money + Celebrity = Power = Silvio Berlusconi
  • Jamie Susskind, Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech
  • Erik Van De Sandt, Deviant Security: The Technical Computer Security Practices of Cyber Criminals (Ph.D. thesis)
  • Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff
  • Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads
Top for 2019: Bullough, Farrow (Catch and Kill), Wu, Chivers, Rosling, Greenberg, Blake, Allison, Caplan and Weinersmith, Kinzer, Delmer.

I started the following books I expect to finish in early 2020:

Myke Cole, Legion versus Phalanx: The Epic Struggle for Infantry Supremacy in the Ancient World
Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (2nd edition)
Brad Smith and Carol Anne Browne, Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age
Peter H. Wilson, The Holy Roman Empire: A Thousand Years of Europe's History

Two books I preordered and look forward to reading in 2020:

Anna Wiener, Uncanny Valley: A Memoir (due out January 14)
Thomas Rid, Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare (due out April 21)

(Previously: 20182017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.)

Thursday, December 12, 2019

CIA torture program

It was interesting to go back through the old posts on this blog about the CIA torture program in light of the new film, The Report, which can be seen on Amazon Prime.

One of the early posts on this blog resulted in a debate in the comments about the ethics and efficacy of torture, which the 2014 Senate torture report (PDF link) and the film resolve decisively against torture.  The CIA torture program was ineffective and unethical.

Jeremy Scahill's interview with Daniel Jones about the CIA program and the Senate investigations and report is quite illuminating, and highly recommended listening, as is the podcast associated with the film.

A couple other items of interest:

Jason Leopold's exposure of an accidentally leaked draft letter from John Brennan to Dianne Feinstein apologizing for hacking the Senate investigation.

Senator Mark Udall's questioning of CIA general counsel Caroline Krass during her Senate confirmation hearing.

New York Times book review of Frank Rizzo's memoir, Company Man, which confirms that George W. Bush was not briefed on the torture program but was a "stand-up guy" by lying and claiming that he was.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

The Phoenix Lights, 1945

From John Keeling, by way of the May 2019 Fortean Times (p. 28):
In 1945 a jittery American public was mistaking Venus for Japan’s FU-GO balloon bombs on an alarmingly regular basis. 9,000 of the 30 ft balloons with incendiary bomb payloads had been launched against the US in the hope of causing large-scale forest fires and spreading terror....On June 6th, Phoenix and several other Arizona communities had their first ‘Jap balloon’ panic. Telephone lines to the press, police department, sheriff’s office and weather bureau were reportedly jammed....Luke Field and Williams Field fliers, checking the object from planes, were able to report back definitely that there was no balloon where reported. And Phoenix Junior college’s 5 inch refractor telescope clearly identified the object as Venus. According to the Associated Press, Tucson had the same experience, with Davis-Monthan fliers being ‘sent to cut down the invader.’

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Books read in 2018

Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2018.
  • Charles Arthur, Cyber Wars: Hacks that Shocked the Business World
  • Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington, The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South
  • Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
  • Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, and Hal Roberts, Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics
  • Ronen Bergman, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations
  • Rebecca Burns and David Dayen, Fat Cat: The Steve Mnuchin Story
  • John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
  • Graydon Carter, George Kalogerakis, and Kurt Andersen, Spy: The Funny Years
  • Stephen Ellis, This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organized Crime
  • Jason Fagone, The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America's Enemies
  • Paul French, City of Devils: The Two Men Who Ruled the Underworld of Old Shanghai
  • Diego Gambetta, Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate
  • Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
  • Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
  • David Golumbia, The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism
  • Richards J. Heuer Jr. and Randolph H. Pherson, Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis
  • Michael Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump
  • Sarah Jeong, The Internet of Garbage
  • Steven Johnson, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most
  • Louise M. Kaiser and Randolph H. Pherson, Analytic Writing Guide
  • Chuck Klosterman, But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past
  • Susan Landau, Listening In: Cybersecurity in an Insecure Age
  • Peter T. Leeson, WTF?! An Economic Tour of the Weird
  • Jeffrey Lewis, The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States
  • Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk
  • Liliana Mason, Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity
  • Nick Mason, Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd (new updated 2017 edition)
  • Tim Maurer, Cyber Mercenaries: The State, Hackers, and Power
  • Jefferson Morley, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton
  • Roger Naylor, The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon
  • Helen Nissenbaum, Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life
  • Ellen Pao, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change
  • Dana Richards, editor, Dear Martin/Dear Marcello: Gardner and Truzzi on Skepticism
  • Louis Rossetto, Change Is Good: A Story of the Heroic Era of the Internet (1st edition, #1453, Kickstarter)
  • David E. Sanger, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age
  • Eli Saslow, Rising Out of Hatred: The Awakening of a Former White Nationalist
  • Harold Schechter, The Pirate (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Harold Schechter, Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Harold Schechter, The Brick Slayer (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Harold Schechter, Panic (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Harold Schechter, Rampage (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Harold Schechter, The Pied Piper (Amazon Prime Reading "Bloodlands Collection")
  • Natasha Dow Schüll, Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
  • Kevin Simler and Robin Hanson, The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life
  • P.W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking, LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media
  • Ali Soufan, Anatomy of Terror: From the Death of Bin Laden to the Rise of the Islamic State
  • Robert Timberg, The Nightingale's Song (bio of John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter)
  • Mick West, Escaping the Rabbit Hole: How to Debunk Conspiracy Theories Using Facts, Logic, and Respect
  • Rick Wilson, Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever
  • Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House
  • Bob Woodward, Fear: Trump in the White House
  • Tim Wu, The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age
I made some progress on a few other books:
  • Herbert Asbury, The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld (will probably finish today)
  • Andrew Jaquith, Security Metrics: Replacing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
  • Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking
Top for 2018:  Singer and Brooking, Bergman, Balko and Carrington, Gawande, Carreyrou, Sanger, Simler and Hanson, Soufan, Isikoff and Corn, Fagone, French, Schüll, Michael Lewis, Mason, Benkler et al., West, Wu, Saslow, Naylor. I didn't care for the Klosterman book at all--quick read, but a waste of time.

(Previously: 2017201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.)

Monday, January 01, 2018

Books read in 2017

Not much blogging going on here still, but here's my annual list of books read for 2017. Items with hyperlinks are linked directly to the item online (usually PDF, some of these are reports rather than books, though I've made no attempt to collect all papers, blog posts, and reports I read here), with no paywall or fee.
  • Lilian Ablon, Andy Bogart, Zero Days, Thousands of Nights: The Life and Times of Zero-Day Vulnerabilities and Their Exploits
  • Ben Buchanan, The Cybersecurity Dilemma: Hacking, Trust and Fear Between Nations
  • J.D. Chandler, Hidden History of Portland, Oregon
  • Ted Conover, Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing
  • Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy, Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes
  • Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby, Only Humans Need Apply: Winners & Losers in the Age of Smart Machines
  • Mike Edison, Dirty, Dirty, Dirty: Of Playboys, Pigs, and Penthouse Paupers--An American Tale of Sex and Wonder
  • FINRA, Distributed Ledger Technology: Implications of Blockchain for the Securities Industry
  • Al Franken, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate
  • David Gerard, Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts
  • Joscelyn Godwin, Upstate Cauldron: Eccentric Spiritual Movements in Early New York State
  • Jonathan Goldsmith, Stay Interesting: I Don't Always Tell Stories About My Life, But When I Do They're True and Amazing
  • Heidi Grant Halvorson, No One Understands You: And What To Do About It
  • Jon Lindsay, Tai Ming Cheung, and Derek S. Reveron, editors, China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain
  • William MacAskill, Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and How You Can Make a Difference
  • Jane Mayer, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
  • Nick Middleton, An Atlas of Countries That Don't Exist: A Compendium of Fifty Unrecognized and Largely Unnoticed States
  • Kevin Mitnick, The Art of Invisibility: The World's Most Famous Hacker Teaches You How to Be Safe in the Age of Big Brother and Big Data
  • Andrew Monaghan, "The New Russian Foreign Policy Concept: Evolving Continuity," Chatham House, 2013 (PDF)
  • Milton Mueller, Will the Internet Fragment? Sovereignty, Globalization and Cyberspace
  • Tom Nichols, The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters
  • David Ronfeldt, Beware the Hubris-Nemesis Complex: A Concept for Leadership Analysis
  • Thomas Rid, Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History
  • Gabriel Sherman, The Loudest Voice in the Room: How the Brilliant, Bombastic Roger Ailes Built Fox News--and Divided a Country
  • Doug Stanhope, Digging Up Mother: A Love Story
  • Doug Stanhope, This Is Not Fame: A "From What I Re-Memoir"
  • Charles Stross, Halting State
  • Charles Stross, Rule 34
  • Sarah Vowell, Unfamiliar Fishes
  • Timothy Walton, Challenges in Intelligence Analysis: Lessons from 1300 BCE to the Present
  • Kristan J. Wheaton and Melonie K. Richey, Strawman
  • Ilya Zaslavskiy, How Non-State Actors Export Kleptocratic Norms to the West (PDF)
I may or may not have made progress on a few other books (first four from 2017, next two from 2016, one from 2015,  next three from 2014, next three from 2013, last two still not finished from 2012--I have trouble with e-books, especially very long nonfiction e-books):
  • Helen Nissenbaum, Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life
  • Dana Richards, editor, Dear Martin/Dear Marcello: Gardner and Truzzi on Skepticism
  • Richards J. Heuer, Jr., Structured Analytics Techniques for Intelligence Analysis
  • Louis M. Kaiser, Analytic Writing Guide
  • Andreas Antonopoulos, Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies (now 2nd ed)
  • Robert M. Gates, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War
  • John Searle, Making the Social World
  • Andrew Jaquith, Security Metrics: Replacing Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
  • Massimo Pigliucci and Maarten Boudry, Philosophy of Pseudoscience: Reconsidering the Demarcation Problem
  • Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
  • Richard Bejtlich, The Practice of Network Security Monitoring
  • James Grimmelmann, Internet Law: Cases & Problems (v2; v3 is out now)
  • Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking
  • Mark Dowd, John McDonald, and Justin Schuh, The Art of Software Security Assessment: Identifying and Avoiding Software Vulnerabilities
  • Michal Zalewski, The Tangled Web: A Guide to Securing Modern Web Applications
Top for 2017:  Rid, Buchanan, Sherman, Mayer, Clarke and Eddy, Conover, Middleton.

I completed three Coursera courses in 2017, two of which I recommend:

(Previously: 201620152014201320122011201020092008200720062005.)