Remember when shit like this was everywhere? Thank God Trump brought back civility.

Donald Trump just announced that the coronavirus pandemic is a national EMERGY, a declaration that will allow the government to take quicker action to direct resources where they're needed, like raiding the Pentagon budget to build WALL around sick people. Apparently his son-in-law gave Trump the OK to make the declaration after Jared got the information he needed from Facebook. NBC News 'splainers how the emergency order works:

Under the Stafford Act, an "infectious disease emergency declaration" by the president would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments, as well as federal assistance to support the coronavirus response. The law allows the agency to circumvent legal barriers to more quickly distribute such aid.

Mind you, there may have been another factor rattling around Trump's roomy, sparsely furnished brain case as he made the decision: A popular rightwing myth claiming Barack Obama botched how he handled the 2009-2010 H1N1 "Swine Flu" pandemic. So now Trump can start proclaiming he acted more quickly than Obama, just as long as you ignore how Trump's actions have made the current crisis worse.

As ever, we're going to seal the rightwing bullshit inside a "truth sandwich" to make clear you have the real facts before we look at the lies.


Briefly, the Swine Flu pandemic was a nasty outbreak that hit during Obama's first year in office. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a handy timeline on how the virus spread, and what the CDC and other agencies did to address the epidemic. The first US case of H1N1 was detected in California on April 15, 2009, and a week later, on the 22nd, the CDC opened its "Emergency Operations Center (EOC)" to deal with the outbreak. By April 26, Obama declared a public health emergency and the CDC began coordinating the response to the virus. At the time, the virus had been detected in just three states, with about 20 confirmed cases. The first H1N1 death in the US was recorded a few days later, April 29, when a Mexican toddler who'd come for treatment in the US died at a hospital in Houston. Around the same time, the CDC rolled out a test kit to detect the virus. (In his presser today, Trump lied and said that the H1N1 testing was "a disaster." Nope. He's just plain lying)

The swine flu peaked in May and June, and declined as the weather got hotter, as seasonal flu usually does. Researchers worked on vaccines, which were approved in mid-September, although manufacturing delays kept it from becoming widely available right away. All that was done under the original "public health emergency" declaration, which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius renewed twice.

In October, cases of swine flu spiked, and the number of deaths doubled, to over 1000. To address the more serious conditions, Obama on October 24 declared a "national emergency" to free up resources and streamline the emergency response. Here, have a CDC chart from an NPR story the day before that declaration.

That's the same kind of declaration Trump made today. Notice the "national" part there: It matters because in both cases, the emergency powers are supposed to be used for a crisis that's hitting most or all of the nation. In 2009, the vaccinations helped, but ultimately, because flu is often deadly to the elderly and those in poor health, approximately 12,000 Americans died from H1N1 by the time the pandemic was over in mid-2010.

So now it's time for the lies! A whole bunch of rightwing outlets are pretending that Barack Obama literally did nothing at all about H1N1 between the first cases in April 2009 and the national emergency declaration in October. That was distilled into an error-filled "fact check" published in late February at wingnut website PJ Media, which suggests Obama sat on his hands until millions were sick and over a thousand people had died.

This, once again, is a lie:

In April of 2009, the H1N1 became a pandemic.

But it wasn't until six months later, October, that then-President Obama declared a public health emergency on what was already a pandemic. By that time, the disease had infected millions of Americans and more than 1,000 people had died in the U.S.

As factcheck site Snopes points out, there's a lot wrong there. The first cases in the US were detected in April; the World Health Organization didn't declare H1N1 a pandemic until June. And most importantly, there's no mention of the April 22 public health emergency declaration, just the claim that he did nothing for six months, which has quickly become an article of faith on the Right.

Remember, this is all a deliberate pretense that the April 2009 public health emergency declaration doesn't count somehow, and that the only important step Obama took was the later national emergency declaration. They're both significant steps; see this 'splainer on the two, in the context of the opioid crisis, which so far Trump has declared a public health emergency, not a national health emergency.

Rudy Giuliani tweeted a version of it after Charlie Kirk did. Kirk has literally been repeating the lie daily even though the replies are full of people calling him on the bullshit. Charlie Kirk is required by law to be wrong about everything, we think.

Yesterday, the Gateway Pundit, the Stupidest Website on the Internet, repeated the iie too, because Barack Obama had the temerity to suggest that responsible public health measures are a good way to reduce hospitalizations during a pandemic. Here's the freedom-hating Obama tweet that sparked the outrage. He linked to an article at Vox, which is probably an act of treason, too.

The nerve of that man! Flower-head lady Christina Laila explained Obama clearly favors MASS HYSTERIA:

"Pops Off" -- like an incompetent Muslim usurper black person might, we suppose!

Laila went on to explain that Obama "praised the cancellations of large gatherings and American sporting events," because he hates the American people. No, she doesn't mention that countries around the world are taking similar measures, because they aren't American, now are they?

Then, ignoring the medical facts -- truth sandwich: the US's top infectious disease guy, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says COVID-19 is ten times more lethal than the flu -- the article goes on to lie about H1N1 again and again:

Obama praised the cancellations although there were no such measures taken when Swine Flu was sweeping the nation in 2009 [...]

Barack Obama is in no position to lecture Americans on pandemics.

In October 2009 Barack Obama declared the H1N1 a national emergency.

But this was not before millions of Americans were infected and 1,000 Americans were dead from the viral infection.

Obama waited MONTHS before declaring the H1N1 a national emergency.

And despite the fact that the virus was coming into the US from Mexico President Obama NEVER shut down the border with Mexico.

Over 60 million Americans were infected with Swine Flu and over 12,000 Americans died.

Why wasn't there mass hysteria and cancellations of large gathering due to Swine Flu when Obama was President?

Second slice of truth: remember, Obama declared an emergency from the get-go, and when the emergency got worse, ramped up the level of the response. He didn't "wait" to do a damn thing -- as journalist Kurt Eichenwald noted on Twitter, Obama couldn't have declared a "national" emergency at the outset, because the outbreak was at first confined to three states. (For that matter, Trump couldn't have declared a national emergency when COVID-19 was only in Washington and California.) And while the numbers of people infected were high, the H1N1 virus was far less deadly than COVID-19. And let's not forget those totals covered roughly a year and a half. And they're lower than the annual deaths from seasonal flu Trump loves to cite.

Fortunately, a lot of the readers knew exactly what to say about the interference in today's crisis by that fake Kenyan president. Caution: they're a tiny bit racist. (Screenshot of selected worst comments; not in order)

We should also note that when it comes to mass hysteria, the Gateway Pundit is no slouch. During the 2014 Ebola outbreak, which barely touched the US (11 total cases, two deaths, seven patients who had been evacuated from West Africa to the USA), Jim Hoft's House of Panic turned the hysteria up to 11, freaking out over African health officials coming to the US with their dirty pickups and blackness:

When a Liberian man was hospitalized in Dallas after returning to the US (he later died, after infecting two people who treated him; they recovered), Hoft and crew also had a world-class panic attack about EBOLA VOMIT.

So they know panic, for sure. Fortunately, for this crisis, the only thing for people to worry about is Obama popping off, not anything the Great Leader is doing, because the Great Leader is the BEST.

The article is only slightly about the coronavirus, which is barely a thing. No, Trump saved our lives with WALL, even though it isn't built yet, and by being tough on China, which is why all the jobs are back.

Now, that "Obama did nothing" lie has also shown up in the twitter feed of the Great Leader himself, just yesterday. Fortunately, people notice he's lying.

This morning, Trump continued to blame Obama for the current coronavirus testing delays. It was bullshit when he said it last week, and remains bullshit today.

In conclusion, all hail the Great Leader, who declared a national emergy today, much faster than Obama, who hates you and won't even let you watch sportsball.

Now enjoy your social distancing in this OPEN THREAD, but please, keep your comments two meters apart.

[CDC timeline / Reuters / Penn Live / Snopes / Vox / WaPo / PJ Media (archived) / Gateway Pundit (archived) / NPR]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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