Coronavirus

America First

Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government is a risky business, and we are paying the price for it now.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

We are now three months in.  The CDC is recommending "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission."

They're not talking about the "N-95" or surgical masks; those are in "short supply," and "must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responsers." Just the ordinary, non-surgical, cloth (or heavy paper) masks covering mouth and nose, the ones that cost maybe $0.25 each at wholesale.

As it happens, these are also in short supply.  So the CDC has described how we all can make our masks at home.

That's helpful—I've made some for myself, following their instructions—but really: We're three months in. Where the hell are the masks?  Why aren't they being handed out on street-corners to anyone who wants one? Fifty or 100 million dollars—chump change—would have gotten us all the masks we need.

We don't have them because the federal government placed its order for 50 million masks—on March 12th.

It's not just masks, or ventilators, or the other PPE that are in critically short supply. There is, as far as I have been able to determine, not a single bottle of ordinary hand santizer, or alcohol-based disinfectant wipes, available for sale within the Washington DC metropolitan area, where I live.  Not one. The (many) online retailers I have checked are promising delivery by the middle of May.

I know, I know—many people are hoarding, and others are price-gouging. Well, who could have imagined that?!  Hoarding and price-gouging during a national emergency! I'll tell you who could have imagined that:  people whose job it is to imagine that (and things like it), and who are competent at their job, and are given appropriate direction and resources to do their job.

If you are not outraged by the incompetence displayed here you have either lost your sense of outrage completely, or you don't have a friend or loved one who is a healthcare provider or first responder.

The failure is so deep that we don't even really know how deep it is. Our testing capability, as is well known, is woefully inadequate for the task, so we really haven't the faintest idea how many people are carrying the virus. Who's got ventilators?  How many? Where are they stored? Who is in charge of the decisions about where they get deployed? Is the federal government seizing ventilators and ordering them to be sent somewhere, or not? If so, who's in charge of that?  Spend an hour or two trying to figure that out, and you'll get a glimpse of the dismal state of information-gathering and information dissemination that is plaguing this effort.

In the face of this appalling breach of their duty to defend us from attack, one response has been: we don't, actually, have the duty to defend you from attack. "We're not a shipping clerk," the president famously declared; "the Federal government is not supposed to be out there buying vast amounts of items and then shipping." And in what is surely both the ugliest, and the most ignorant, comment from a public official in recent memory, Jared Kushner observed that "the notion of the federal stockpile was it's supposed to be our stockpile; it's not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."

This is not just nonsense; it is pernicious and harmful nonsense that is likely, in fact, to cause people—real people—to die. Louisiana was supposed to have its own stockpile of PPE to prepare for an epidemic?  Thanks for telling us now.  "We" all thought, up to now, that "you" were with "us." Thanks for setting us straight on that.

Now, you may say: "Well, it's not like it's easy to get 50 million masks—let alone a million ventilators—manufactured and distributed to the people who need them."  That is precisely my point.  It's not easy. It takes people who know what they're doing—people with the technical expertise to figure out what's needed, and how much of it is needed, and where it is needed, and by when, and where and how can it be procured, and the administrative and managerial expertise to understand the production and procurement systems and the rules under which they operate, and enough to know how and when to bend the rules when necessary, and how to manage large groups of people doing different tasks—to get it done.

Remember that good old American can-do spirit—the one that says "we can do anything we put our minds to"? Or perhaps you are too young to remember—it's been a while. There was always some bullshit in it—but it wasn't just bullshit; we did get things done. But now, it appears that only the bullshit is left, with none of the substance to back it up.

Some people attribute our (former) ability to actually get big things done to unbridled capitalism, and there is surely a large measure of truth in that. But sometimes our government also knew how to get big things done, things that the capitalists, on their own, can't accomplish.

Like many of you, I have more time on my hands than I would like, and I've been doing some reading about the US's response, in terms of industrial production, to the attack on Pearl Harbor.**  The response was staggering, the numbers mind-blowing; by the end of the first year after the attack, airplane production had roughly tripled, ship production quadrupled, and munitions production had gone up by a factor of five. Less than five months after the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. Army Air Force launched B-25 bombers from the deck of the USS Hornet—a feat which had previously been deemed impossible—and bombed Tokyo. Eleven months after the attack, Eisenhower led an entire invasion force—tanks, howitzers, jeeps, food, ordnance, medicine, water, road-building equipment, etc. and 65,000 GIs—into North Africa. Within two years after Pearl Harbor, American factories were turning out a Jeep every 70 seconds, and a tank and an airplane every hour or so, 24 hours a day. Etc.

**There's a prodigious literature on this question. I found this article ("The War of Production 1920-1942"), by naval historian Thomas Hone of the Defense Systems Management College at Fort Belvoir, particularly helpful, along with Thomas Morgan's "The Industrial Mobilization of World War II" (available on JSTOR here).

This didn't happen because the States somehow figured out how to band together to undertake the common defense; most people in 1941 understood that we had already done that, back in 1789. Nor did it happen because FDR banged his fist on the table and said "We're going to become the Arsenal of Democracy!"  He did bang his fist on the table and say that, over and over again—but he also actually took the steps necessary to get it done.

It was a prodigiously complicated task:

It was not clear, for example, just how to make the agencies of war production both effective and representative. To be effective, war production agencies at the federal level had to (1) have data on what U.S. industry and agriculture could do, (2) be able to anticipate the right kinds and numbers of items needed by the fighting forces, (3) have control over civilian manpower, (4) have a means to control scarce resources, (5) maintain a stable currency by monitoring and controlling prices, wages and savings, and (6.) work closely with the agencies implementing foreign and fiscal policy. To do these things, the leaders of war production-would need public support, the support of the President, the cooperation of the armed services, and the knowledge necessary to make workable policies. Yet it was not really clear to Roosevelt and his advisors how to create a hierarchy of politically legitimate institutions which had the capabilities required to perform the tasks necessary to effective mobilization. [Hone—see note ** above]

Nothing like it had ever been done before, and there were lots of starts and stops and trials and errors; the War Resources Board was changed to the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense and then to the office of Production Management before it became the War Production Board in 1942. By the end of January, 1942—two months after the attack—Roosevelt had created, in addition to the WPB, the Office of Price Administration, the National War Labor Board, and the War Manpower Commission, each with its own set of (sometimes overlapping) duties and powers. Roosevelt then had to keep moving personnel around until he found the right people for the right jobs.

No other country on earth did it, and no other country on earth could have done it, and we were, justifiably, proud of that. So we did it again—building the world's greatest highway network—and again—sending astronauts to the moon (in 9 years!). Etc.

So if someone can actually make America great again, I'm all in on that.  In the meantime, I can only read about Taiwan's response, or Singapore's response, to the virus (0.2 deaths and 1.1 deaths per 1 million residents, respectively) and sigh, and wonder about how we (29 deaths per 1 million residents—and rising) have descended to the second rate.

I understand—it's not an apples-to-apples comparison.  But it is hard for me to imagine a sadder illustration of American decline than the move from "a jeep every 70 seconds" to "no available twenty-five-cent masks."

NOTE TO COMMENTERS: If you have any thoughts about the point I'm trying to make—that the US government has failed, miserably and shamefully, in its duty to protect us from an attack it knew, months ago, was coming, and that its failure will cost American lives—I'd love to hear them, whether you agree or (especially) if you disagree. But I would ask you to refrain from discussing extraneous, off-topic points (about the general political situation, the upcoming election, the performance of this Administration in regard to other matters, etc.).

NEXT: Candidate for Wisconsin S. Ct. (Judge Jill Karofsky) Seeks Preliminary Injunction Against Allegedly Libelous Campaign Ads

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  1. Finally. I didn’t think it would be Post, but someone needed to say it.

    The Leader of the Free World, isn’t. And I fear his followers have convinced themselves he’s the best available.

    It will take a lot more than eight years to undo this damage.

    1. That’s some pasty partisan answer that Post explicitly asked commentators to avoid, but I will respond with one point….who is more available and preferable to Trump that the other party is offering? I would love a resurrected Abe Lincoln, or Cincinnatus, or Churchill, etc., but these folks aren’t running for office. Who is available, that like republican Rome, we can make a temporary dictator?

      Hillary…that’s water under the bridge, and she showed no particular level of get-er-done ability more than Trump had. Do you think Biden would be doing a better job than Trump? If so, how and why?

      1. “Hillary…that’s water under the bridge ….”

        Woah. I was going to fomr in (FIRST!!11!!!) just to make a snarky, “But HILLARY!” joke ….

        Poe’s law, and all that. Congratulations?

      2. Hillary was competent, hardworking, extraordinarily well prepared, and had a long line of legitimate achievements. That means nothing to you.

        Also meaningless to you are the many achievements of the last two Democratic Presidents, who came from humble beginnings (unlike our last three Republicans) and (as is relevant to this blog) taught the most prestigious law school course, Con Law, in the most prestigious law schools in their respective home states.

        1. “Hillary was competent, hardworking, extraordinarily well prepared, and had a long line of legitimate achievements.”

          Yup. There’s only one thing she failed to achieve…

          1. “Yup. There’s only one thing she failed to achieve…”

            Yep.

            She didn’t have a Pianist, so people like you would vote for her.

            Too bad. Especially given that she was so often accused of it.

            1. “She didn’t have a Pianist, so people like you would vote for her.”

              I guess we know where the buck stops.

              1. Where does the buck stop? During the Trump administration?

                There’s a compilation of his statements — in an advertisement so effective Trump’s lawyers have tried lamely to censor it — that answers that question.

            2. Hillary campaigned in 2008 as the one who would be there to answer the phone at 3:00AM. When she got the call from Chris Stevens, she did not send him the protection he needed and he died. She had no further plan for Libya other than killing a dictator who had given up his nukes and was working with the USA, and now Libya is a failed state. She came across as competent on the campaign trail but she also lied, obstructed justice and spent more time with her Hampton buddies than the union workers in Wisconsin. She deserves the obscurity that is rapidly enveloping her.

          2. ““Hillary was competent, hardworking, extraordinarily well prepared, and had a long line of legitimate achievements.”

            legitimate achievements? Name one, let alone a long line.

            Getting elected to a safe senate seat on your spouses’ coattails isn’t much unless you think every US senator is “competent, hardworking, extraordinarily well prepared”. We certainly know that is not the case, its far less than half, from both parties.

            She failed in the only policy thing her husband gave her to do, the 1994 health care task force.

            She blew a lay up race in 2008 and lost a race in 2016 where she was given a 10 foot ladder to stand on and still blew the dunk.

            As secretary of state her big thing was giving a “reset” button to Russia with a misspelled word.

            Hillary is the biggest failure in Us politics since William Jennings Bryan.

            1. Bob, google “Hillary Clinton’s legislative accomplishments”. You’ll find there’s more there than you think.

              1. Really?

                “Of the bills Clinton sponsored, only three actually became law. One established a historic site in New York, one renamed a post office and one named a highway.”

                So, she wasn’t the leader on even one even moderately significant piece of successful legislation in her entire tenure in the Senate. Nor did she have any position of legislative leadership, like being a deputy whip or a committee chair. Given that, exactly what standard for “achievement” do you mean? Put her co-sponorship on a bunch of other people’s bills, like every other Senator does routinely?

        2. Presumes winning popularity contests are legitimate achievements.

          1. Kevin Drum just said this, and it’s worth quoting in full :

            I don’t suppose anyone is in the mood to hear this, but have you noticed that Donald Trump hasn’t seized more power during the coronavirus emergency even though it gives him a perfect excuse to do so? In fact, if anything, he’s been eager to push authority down onto the states and away from the federal government.

            This shouldn’t surprise anyone. It’s an odd thing, but Trump has never been hungry for power. On the contrary, he’s afraid of power because he’s afraid of being truly responsible for anything. He much prefers to delegate and blame.

            If not power, what then? Trump is driven by a desire for attention and praise—and its flip side, revenge against those who malign him. He doesn’t care one way or another who’s in charge of things. He just wants all the credit. This is why, in the end, he’s neither an autocrat nor an authoritarian. He’s just a sad little man who craves approval but has never gotten it.

        3. I get your Hillary fandom (rah rah!), but what experience did she have that makes you think that she would be able to handle a global pandemic better than Trump? It’s kinda outside everyone’s wheelhouse, if you know what I mean.

          1. Google “Hillary Clinton legislative accomplishments”. You’ll find there’s considerably more there than you think.

            As for her being more competent to handle a pandemic, well, there’s the minor point that she listens to experts. That’s something.

            1. “she listens to experts”

              Faluci and Birx are the experts Trump listens to. Good chance they would be for Clinton too.

              “Hillary Clinton legislative accomplishments”

              Ok, I did. First was something called The Balance. It lists 4 {“Urged”, “Introduced”, “Worked with”, “Worked with”] Not too impressive

              Next is Politico article
              https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/09/carly-fiorina-debate-hillary-clintons-greatest-accomplishment-213157
              All fluff.

              Wapo column “During her eight years in the Senate, Hillary Clinton sponsored 10 bills that passed the chamber. The mean senator passes 1.4 bills a year, so Clinton’s 1.25 bills per year is approximately in line with the chamber average.” In line, meaning in the bottom half.

              Sorry, She was a backbencher with a famous name.

              1. Faluci and Birx are the experts Trump listens to. Good chance they would be for Clinton too.

                If he listens to Fauci, why does Fauci have to contradict him all the time?

            2. Legislative accomplishments? Responding to a pandemic is an executive problem. Legislative accomplishments are passing laws, and getting post offices renamed.

              Did the IT experts help her run a secure email server too, or how to depose a middle-eastern dictator and destabilize a country WITHOUT creating a power vacuum for terrorists to fill? She couldn’t even win a very win-able election against Trump, who ran a dumpster fire of a campaign. Again, what evidence is there that she would be better at dealing with a pandemic than Trump? Tell me XYZ happened that is similar or some such. Can you do that?

            3. m_k,

              You are, IMO, more competent to handle the pandemic than Trump. This is a guy who, a month ago, didn’t think it was going to affect the economy, and couldn’t understand why the stock market was tanking. He claims some wonderful understanding of science, a word he probably can’t spell.

              1. Well, I appreciate the complement. But can we get away form the Trump is stupid trope. Nobody, not Bush, not Obama, not whomever…nobody who manages to make it to the presidency is stupid.

            4. Hillary Clinton listens to experts?

              So, say, when it came to Russia, she’d follow the lead of an actual academic expert on Russia and foreign relations, who personally studied in Moscow, who also gained practical experience dealing with Russia and foreign relations from a government career that included being 1) the expert on Russia for the National Security Council, 2) National Security Advisor, and 3) Secretary of State?

              Or would she decide to “reset” our relationship with Russia, on the grounds that the only problems we had with them were because the expert was a fool locked into Cold War patterns?

        4. “Hillary was competent, hardworking, extraordinarily well prepared, and had a long line of legitimate achievements.”

          I am from the same side of the political spectrum as Hillary, and this is not really true. She definitely worked hard and tried to prepare, but she basically had no demonstrated competence and no line of legitimate achievements.

          Her health care plan was a disaster, her decision to stonewall the Starr investigation resulted in Clinton’s impeachment, her vote for the Iraq War was awful, and her actions in Libya as Secretary of State were inexcusable and got people killed.

          She was elevated for one reason and one reason only- she was married to Bill Clinton.

        5. Not competent enough to setup a campaign appearance in Wisconsin.

      3. As to Lincoln, Ex parte Merryman? Ex parte Milligan?

        Say what you want about Trump, he is neither throwing people in jail nor sentencing them to summary execution.

        1. I have never understood the angry libertarian hate thrown at Lincoln for some of the acts he took in the middle of a Civil War that nobody expects he would have done had the South not succeeded.

          Anyway, while some folks deserve helicopter rides, I’m glad he’s not doing that, because if the left gets power, they would love to recreate the gulags.

          1. “I have never understood the angry libertarian hate thrown at Lincoln for some of the acts he took in the middle of a Civil War that nobody expects he would have done had the South not succeeded.”

            FDR wouldn’t have interned Japanese but for Pearl Harbor. That’s not really an excuse for acting like a dictator.

            1. Fair point I suppose.

              1. You suppose?

                1. Well, a Civil War creates some difficulties that, say, WWII didn’t. Constitution is not a suicide pact, etc. etc., but the point still stands on principle. So, yea, “I suppose.”

                  C’mon, how often over the internet do people admit that they were wrong? You should mark this day on the calendar that it happened.

          2. Merryman maybe, Milligan I have real problems with. Execution?!?

      4. I loaded thousands of N95 masks into trailers, some expired in 2009, to be hauled from an old warehous to various sites in NH. All purchased, boxes at a times, over more than a decade, by local tax dollars. And thousands of gowns, face shields, gloves, alcohol wipes, etc. The grasshopper has not yet laid claim to our ant’s supply of PPE. Nor have we seen “our share” of the Strategic Strategic Stockpile arrive. But we’ll get by.

    2. Pence 2024, Pence 2028 — It’ll take all 16 years to clean up Obama’s mess.

      And if Brennan gets indicted for domestic abuses with the CIA and the FISA Court, when it comes out who the people on the FISA warrants were (the judge is demanding to know their names), those who still have a scintilla of respect for due process or civil rights will have to admit Orangeman Right….

      1. Mr. Ed, the Talking Horse’s Ass: If you look at the condition the country was in when Obama took office, and the condition it was in when he left office, you’ll find that he spent most of it cleaning up somebody else’s mess, and did a pretty decent job of it. Especially given that he had a Congress that opposed him at every turn.

        1. Dr. Ed just can’t stand all of this damned progress, in part because it gets in the way of the great old-timey religious revival he craves (and says he expects) for America.

          Plus, there’s the whole ‘black guy’ thing . . .

          1. OK.

            His DNA is half White. He was raised by his White mother and her White parents. His Black father abandoned the family when he was something like 18 months old — way too young to even remember the man.

            Why is he considered “Black”?!?

            Seriously, why isn’t he considered “White”?

            1. What would Jewish law say?

              Just askin…

              1. That he is not Jewish = What would Jewish law say?

            2. First, I don’t think that all of the hostility toward Obama was motivated by racism, but a good bit of it was. That said, if you’re a racist, any black blood at all makes you black.

        2. Upon reflection, Mr. Ed the Talking Horse’s Ass was beneath me. Apologies.

    3. The first sentence of this article is somewhere between dishonest and an outright lie. “We are now three months in.” What is the start date, and what does it refer to?

      If it is to the first human to human transmission of the Covid 19, then we are likely actually about 5 or 6 months in. But of course no one–literally–recognized its existence for the first couple of months.

      If it is to the first recognized case in the United States, then we are closer to two months than three months.

      If it is to the point where there was widespread agreement that action needed to be taken in the United States in response to the presence of coronavirus here, then–depending on exactly when you set that date–we are maybe 4 to 6 weeks in.

      But of course, being specific and factual about the major premise would destroy the author’s ability to make political points.

  2. You might think, Prof Post, there there was a national spirit of unity (like 9/11) after Pearl Harbor that existed then and doesn’t exist today for us to do all these things against a d*mn virus that nobody agrees on how dangerous it really is.

    Oh, and those countries with well coordinated pandemic responses…they had SARS and other things to deal with before, so they are more experienced at it. Moreover, Singapore is wonderful at controlling rates of transmission due to no privacy concerns due to apps on their phones that indicate to the gov’t if they have been near a person who was confirmed infected.

    1. “that nobody agrees on how dangerous it really is.”

      Not true. Not at least if you listen to knowledgeable professionals in this field. But to you, competence and training mean nothing.

      1. Still with the false consensus claims. Danger, in this case, is measured in expected deaths. The fact that the predictions by “knowledgeable professionals in this field” still disagree not by a factor of 2 or 3 but by two or three orders of magnitude is evidence that there is not consensus yet.

        And, yes, competence and training mean little when the underlying problem is a near-complete absence of data.

        1. You must always go with the more dire assessments when dealing with a public health emergency. Don’t you understand that?

          1. You don’t make policy on the most dire assessment or your more likely to kill more people with your policy than you have prevented from dying.

          2. Good god, no. Making decisions based the improbably dire end of the spectrum of assessments is a guarantee that you will be making wrong decisions and suffering unintended consequences that outweigh the putative benefits. It’s the Precautionary Principle Fallacy writ large.

        2. No, there is a consensus on all but the marginalia. There are also people saying the experts are wrong.

          I’m pretty sure I’m not seeing differences by more than one order of magnitude.

          1. So your definition of the marginalia includes how many zeros there will be in the count of total dead?

            I can cite credible estimates by qualified experts in the field everywhere from 50,000 to 2.2 million.

            1. The 2.2 million was an estimate in the absence of any preventive measures.

              Any projection of deaths can turn out wrong – way wrong, orders of magnitude wrong – if the policy response is different than what the projection assumes.

              They are not really “projections” in the sense that you project how many games the Yankees are going to win next year. They are more like scenarios with lots of contingencies.

              1. They are models with inputs bernard11, and nothing more than that. The models are only as good as the assumptions built into them. It is not the policy as much as it is the execution of the policy. Meaning, we have the 30-days to slow the spread guidelines. If we rigorously apply these guidelines, the projected number of deaths will decrease over time. That is in fact, what the IHME model has shown. Projected deaths fell from the 120K-ish level in mid-March to the mid 80K level today.

                The IHME model shows this decline. I looked at their data because I was more than a little curious. The model is heavily weighted to new cases and mortality, which makes the beds/ICU beds/ventilators needed metrics more than a little suspect, in my mind. Case in point, Governor Cuomo loudly proclaimed they needed 40K ventilators. The reality? Probably less than 15K will be needed? Was he wrong for repeatedly stating that 40K number…or just being protective of his constituents?

                Heck bernard11, the updates page of IHME model describes in some detail how the model has evolved (meaning, the model was wrong about something, and they changed it) over time.

                So what did the IHME model tell me? Well for starters, the 30-days to slow the spread guidelines really matter. And POTUS Trump hawks pushes those guidelines every day. So does VP Pence and the experts. The projected number of deaths do go down. Whether that translates to reality remains to be seen. Why? A model is only as good as the assumptions that underlie it.

                We are in the middle of a national emergency. Personally, I think there is plenty of time to rip apart people afterwards for mistakes they may have made. Right now, the bitter dissention I see here daily is just not helpful.

                We are all in this together, whether we like it or not. I hope and pray this passes soon.

          2. Sarcasto, you neither know (a) how many people are infected but NOT presenting at hospitals, nor (b) how many have recovered and have immunity.

            If you have a scintilla of knowledge about statistics, you will understand why not knowing that data precludes ANY accurate estimate of morbidity and mortality.

            1. No one has complete date, not a complete model – and they say that.

              But people like you are replacing the reasoning of experienced experts with your own thoughts. And that your own thoughts align with your political tendencies, which makes them additionally questionable.

      2. Even the experts can be wrong — and I believe ARE here.

        1. This is a pathetic and way too frequent excuse for claiming that you are right.

          “I think X, with no basis whatsoever, and the experts think Y. Therefore, since experts are sometimes wrong, X must be correct.”

          Standard anti-intellectual nonsense from people who don’t like what they hear.

          1. Any calculation based on X/Y can not be done if Y is unknown.

            That’s taught in Middle School math….

            1. Can you read?

      3. Regardless of the consensus, or lack thereof, over the danger of the virus…it’s a marked difference between fighting a virus and another nation one can find on a map. Easier to unite people against a bunch of Nipponese or Germans (who we just fought 20 years before) than against a virus, is it not?

        1. Yes, it is.

  3. An ATTACK? Really? Are you trying to argue that this was an overt act of war? Kind of a stretch. Especially hard to believe that given people like Fauchi (the EXPERT) originally claimed it was no big deal.

    However, main failing is that the federal stockpiles had not been replenished over time as they should have been. This is the fault of FEMA, dating back to the G.W. Bush administration. That stockpile is supposedly for the Federal first responders (FEMA and the like); if they just hand it out to the states, then there wouldn’t be enough for the people who were supposed to use it.

    So, yeah, they were not for general handouts.

    1. But Fauchi (sic).
      But G.W.
      But Kushner really is right, it’s the website that was wrong. Any day now, ol’ Kushie is gonna fix this, just like he did the Middle East.

      1. Not shifting blame. Stating FACTS. GWB drew down the stockpile; Obama drained it. Anyone who has to deal with inventory knows that you need to replace it. The money was allocated, but not spent on replacing what had been used.

        The EXPERTS in the government argued against the travel restrictions, and also said it was no big deal. And so did the press. But instead, the press focused on what we called it, as if we had never named diseases based on where they originated. Go ahead, look it up. I’ll wait.

        I am amused at how you conveniently ignore the argument the calling this an attack is just a bridge too far. And that the stockpile was for Federal first responders. But both of those are inconvenient details you would rather ignore than address.

        Focus on the substance. If you can.

        1. “Focus on the substance. If you can.”

          Hahahahahahahahaha!

          What, your substance? I’m sorry, maybe you want to put up a few more squirrels for people to chase.

          The sun will rise, the sun will set, and I’ll have lunch. The only small satisfaction I could possible get out of this is that Fox News provides information that kills their core demographic.

          Really, it’s not the Coronavirus. It’s the #okboomer

          …seriously though, please, please, please continue to blame other people. You’re like the old quote, “If you sit down at a poker table, and you don’t know the mark, you’re it.”

          I would offer to banter with you some more, but I’ve learned that the True Believers can’t be reasoned with.

          1. No, it’s the druggie eliminator.

            I’m hearing that quietly, and there are a lot of people living with significant underlying medical conditions because of their libertine lifestyles and past drug and/or sexual practices. Lots of Hepatitis, lots of HIV, etc.

            1. Or the Leftist Proggie eliminator. Given the choice between the Leftist Progs, or druggies; I’d save the druggies. They at least have the capacity to change, and have gratitude. Leftist Progs have neither.

              1. Hey now. 😛

    2. But if you’re on top of things, on January 15th you say: the country IS going to need more, not just for FEMA personnel, because if this comes here we won’t have NEARLY enough FEMA personnel to handle the job.

      1. I guess you don’t know how FEMA works. FEMA has a network of non-government people they call up to assist in emergency response.

        As stated elsewhere in the comments, Obama (and GWB before him) had essentially depleted the supply back in 2009. Of the 11 intervening years, Obama replaced precisely ZERO. Granted Trump also did nothing to replenish, but Obama did not even try.

        But you still believe this was an overt act of war? You need to get a grip.

        1. Not a responsive (or a responsible or a knowledgeable) comment.

        2. Trump didn’t get a chance to appoint the people at the level that made these decisions.

      2. I presume Dr Fauchi is one of the experts that you feel that Trump should have listened to, but didn’t.
        Fauchi is on record at least as late as January 24th (if not later) stating that the United States had nothing to worry about with respect to the coronavirus emanating from Wuhan
        And of course, the World Health Organization (another group of experts whom you no doubt honor) stated in mid January that there was no evidence of human-to-human transmission of the virus; and later, in early February, that there was no global pandemic in the offing.
        So you’re sort of stuck with your three months claim. Clearly there is some date that in hindsight we should have acted; actions however effective after that date were perforce “delayed”. But that date is certainly not three months and may not even be two months. What happened is Italy.
        My own view is that a “perfect Trump” would have swung into action maybe two or even three weeks prior to when he did. Since he did, I think he’s done a really good job. I try (and not just in this debate) not to make the perfect an enemy of the good.
        What I suspected before this all happened, and what I now know for certain, is that when we are in a battle such as this we don’t need people like you.
        As an aside: one of my sons is a senior ER doc in a major California hospital. They have and have had all the PPE and equipment that they have needed. Their testing turnaround has gone from 48 hours to one hour What they don’t have, for the critically ill, are therapies…and they are improvising their hearts out.

  4. I fundamentally disagree with this. When did it become the feds’ job to stockpile and then distribute emergency PPE to the entire country? Where is that written in the constitution? In my view, this is firmly within the purview of the states. Even if the feds controlled all the PPE and PPE manufacturers in the country, there would still be a shortage, and they’d still have to ration those supplies. I see state governors doing anything they can to pin this on somebody else, but I, for one, have never perceived the feds to be the almighty savior in these circumstances. As much as I don’t like Kushner, I can also see the PPE being needed for the federal military/bureacracy and not specifically there for states. It seems there’s some wisdom to that approach.

    1. Article 1 Section 8

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States

      unless you think “general welfare” doesn’t include surviving a pandemic.

      1. So when does the government give us all guns?

        Asking for a friend.

        1. Oh, that’s easy. The govt will do that task when…
          a. We are invaded, which would create a nationwide threat, and
          b. It is obvious to all that the threat cannot be handled by individual states.

          Now, my guess is that A LOT of states ***do*** have the ability to distribute guns to all citizens to use in our nation’s defense. But many states do not have enough dealerships, supply, etc.. And yes, the govt should and would get guns to the unarmed (and ammo to us as well–guns would be worthless if there were no bullets).

          But absent a comparable threat…it’s would be idiotic for the fed govt to do this. (Just like, 1 year ago, it would have been idiotic to ask the Trump administration to suddenly focus most of its attention on making and handing out unneeded masks.) It’s almost like we should have a federal govt that can be at least marginally competent when dealing with an unexpected crisis.

          1. “Oh, that’s easy. The govt will do that task when…
            a. We are invaded, which would create a nationwide threat, and”

            By then it will be just like N95 masks. The government realizes we have no stocks to fall back on, and it is past Too Late.

            Oh, that’s easy.

            1. Whew. Thanks, Aubrey, for the best laugh I’ve had since the Trump pandemic started. I am afraid of many things: Of the virus impacting my elderly mother. Me or my friends catching it. Surviving another 4 years of Trump, if he is reelected. Will or will not Biden stay alive *and* coherent for 4 years, if he were to be elected? Will Mookie end up playing a single game for the Dodgers? All of those are my worries. The one thing–the ONE thing–I am definitely not worried about is the United States running out of guns. I feel like you have not lived in America before, yes? Run out of guns . . . God, I almost wet myself, I laughed so hard. Man, don’t lose that sense of humor. Priceless.

        2. The government willgive you a gun when you are drafted into, or volunteer to serve in, the armed forces that defend the country.

      2. OK, Trump nationalizes each state’s Department of Public Health, tells each Governor to go pound sand, and dictates from DC stuff ranging from medical licenses (a STATE authority) to hospital needs assessment (IBID).

        Sorry, DC, you are going to have to close your hospital because we think it would be better to have it in Virginia. I’m sure that’d go over well. And I doubt SCOTUS would approve it.

        1. Nice excluded middle there.

          1. A “hospital needs assessment” is the authorization to a hospital to either expand (more beds) or to purchase expensive equipment (e.g. MRI machine).

            States can (and routinely do) prohibit hospitals from doing stuff like this because the needs assessment (as determined by the *state*) do not justify it.

            Perhaps you thought that “needs assessment” meant something else???

            1. If only there were some other actions government could take to give hospitals additional resources other than nationalizing them!

      3. Certainly the fed has that power. So does every state. I don’t read that to create any affirmative duty in the fed.

    2. ” When did it become the feds’ job to stockpile and then distribute emergency PPE to the entire country? Where is that written in the constitution?”

      Laws aren’t written in the Constitution. But you’re looking for 42 US sec. 247d-6.

      You’re welcome.

      1. Are you saying this was a bioterrorist attack?

        1. His cite was a bit off.

          42 U.S. Code § 247d. Public health emergencies

          (a)Emergencies
          If the Secretary determines, after consultation with such public health officials as may be necessary, that—
          (1)a disease or disorder presents a public health emergency; or
          (2)a public health emergency, including significant outbreaks of infectious diseases or bioterrorist attacks, otherwise exists,
          the Secretary may take such action as may be appropriate to respond to the public health emergency, including making grants, providing awards for expenses, and entering into contracts and conducting and supporting investigations into the cause, treatment, or prevention of a disease or disorder as described in paragraphs (1) and (2). Any such determination of a public health emergency terminates upon the Secretary declaring that the emergency no longer exists, or upon the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which the determination is made by the Secretary, whichever occurs first. Determinations that terminate under the preceding sentence may be renewed by the Secretary (on the basis of the same or additional facts), and the preceding sentence applies to each such renewal. Not later than 48 hours after making a determination under this subsection of a public health emergency (including a renewal), the Secretary shall submit to the Congress written notification of the determination.

          (b)Public Health Emergency Fund….

          You get the idea.

          1. Gotcha. Well his cite was at least about preparedness for contingencies. Your cite is about responding to emergencies that already exist, so it’s really not responsive.

            It doesn’t really matter, because I agree with the general principle that the government should act with a view toward such contingencies. The problem is you can’t just have perfect contingencies in place for all conceivable and inconceivable emergencies. That’s why they’re emergencies. And of course it’s impossible to gauge the relative likelihood of various disasters. But there are surely some important principles in this regard. For example, the basic principle of “America First,” which is that each government is responsible for prioritizing the needs of its own citizens above other interests. And the importance of having domestic industry and manufacturing capacity, rather than allowing globalist ideology to leave us unprepared and over-reliant on Chinese supply chains.

          2. “may take such action” — never read that to create an affirmative duty. Every state has similar legislation.

          3. MAY TAKE….

            Not “should”, not “will”, but “may.”

          4. Just because it’s not a federal mandate doesn’t mean it’s not the responsibility of the federal government to deal with a national health emergency.

            Come on!

  5. Professor Post….let me help you (seriously) with one immediate problem. You stated, There is, as far as I have been able to determine, not a single bottle of ordinary hand santizer, or alcohol-based disinfectant wipes, available for sale within the Washington DC metropolitan area, where I live.

    To make an emergency batch of hand sanitizer.

    Bottle of Everclear
    Aloe Vera gel (wal-mart has a ton of it and cheap)
    lavender, mint or other fragrance drops (also readily available, optional)

    Directions: You will have a 2:1 ratio of Everclear:Aloe Vera
    In a stainless steel bowl, whisk together
    2 cups Everclear
    1 cup Aloe Vera
    10 drops fragrance
    Put into an empty Purell container.

    This will work in an emergency. Hand washing is a better alternative.

    1. Just a hypothesis – perhaps if everything is designated as an emergency, then it’s hard to focus on the *real* emergencies.

      A quick search found this at the CDC Web site:

      “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Monday, September 16, 2019, to enhance the inter-agency response to the current investigation into cases of lung injury associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. CDC’s activation of the EOC allows the agency to provide increased operational support for the response to meet the outbreak’s evolving challenges.”

      https://emergency.cdc.gov/recentincidents/index.asp?cid=EPR-homepage

      That’s just under the paragraph about the COVID-19 emergency.

    2. I would suggest that you jut go with the cheapest bottle of vodka you can find and the aloe vera

      1. Just in case that isn’t a sarcastic joke, the consensus seems to be that effective disinfection requires alcohol solutions in the range of 70 to 90% or so … 80 proof vodka is 40% ethanol. You need something over 140 proof – and higher if you dilute it with anything.

        1. Yeah, I don’t agree with Professor Post about much of anything. But damn it, he is an American. Hope the emergency recipe helps him.

    3. Commenter_XY
      Thanks … though the alcohol, sadly, is out of stock at both Walmart and Amazon.

      1. I don’t think Amazon ever sold Everclear … it’s more of a liquor store thing.

      2. Professor Post: If you are in the DC metro area, you might want to try Wegman’s for the Everclear. That is where I snag it.

  6. Well, I’d agree that the federal government has done the sort of mediocre to poor job……that governments always tend to do. The professional bureaucracy bits seem to have screwed up pretty badly, the political bits – ie Trump – seem to have been slow to catch on, and have done some sensibe things and some less sensible things.

    But Post’s argument that the failures have something to do with electing folk who distrust the government seems well up to his usual daftness. The federal government’s performance seems no worse that than of most foreign governments and most state governments.
    Those who think the government tends to do things poorly have not had their faith shaken by this episode.

    Those who suffer from TDS less severely than Post will recognise that most of the federal government’s failings in this affair seem to be firmly rooted in the permanent bureaucracy, which Trump has never laid a finger on. If it’s taken him three years to not quite get a grip on the DoJ, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would think he’d have had time to get round to the CDC.

    And the few exceptions from general federal incompetence – eg the ban on flights from China – seem to have been taken against advice from the bureaucracy.

    As for masks, as Post says, there has never been a need to rely on Big Brother for them, nor any reason to believe the drool that the bureaucracy has been spouting about them. DIY works fine.

    Put not your trust in princes. Nor in the federal government, whoever is running it.

    1. I should add that I think Trump’s failure even now to wear a mask himself is definitely blameworthy. Set an example.

      I hope someone can explain it to him in terms he can understand. Everyone who wears a mask slows the spread to some extent. And the more the spread is slowed, the quicker people can get back to work.

      Wear a mask you chubby dummy and you could shorten the shutdown by a fortnight.

      1. Even without a pandemic, these Washington folks (of either party) should be wearing masks to indicate their profession – robbers.

    2. New bumper sticker:
      “Trump 2020: I totally suck as president and my administration sucks even more. But no worse than lots of other foreign governments and lots of state governments.”

      Fills my heart with pride.
      ——————
      More seriously…
      I absolutely reject your premise that the real problem here lies in the permanent bureaucracy. I believe that if Trump has listened to the dire warnings in early January–usually coming from HIS OWN PEOPLE, but also from our intelligence agencies–and had had the competence and characters to demand a difficult national response, then we’d be looking more like Austria or Singapore, and less like, well, America. Trump’s aversion to (politically) difficult facts and antipathy to science and (again!) facts really has hurt him re his woeful response . . . and has hurt me and you . . . and 320,000,000 other people as well, alas.

      1. 1. I’m not writing bumper stickers. I’m explaining that government usually sucks. Not everything is always about the next election.

        2. Among other things that suck, is your characterisation of the “dire warnings” given to Trump by the permanent bureaucracy in “early January”. Here’s Fauci on 21 January :

        https://twitter.com/brithume/status/1246156119938080776

        1. I should have been more specific. I was things of Azar, the head of HHS, who tried to warn Trump in early Jan, was rebuffed for about 2 weeks, grew increasingly desperate to speak to Trump about the virus, finally got to meet with him in mid-Jan, and was rebuffed and mocked as “alarmist.” Plus, the other January warnings from his own intelligence community. Plenty of warnings sufficient to put a president on notice.

          Remember that Trump has repeatedly said, “I knew it was a pandemic before anyone else.” Surely you are not saying that he was and is lying about this. Obviously, when someone says, “I knew about this before anyone else.”, its real meaning is, “I knew about this before almost anyone else.” . . . any president would have been briefed by other people (and they, obviously, would have had prior knowledge). So, this is absolutely not a lie…it’s the way people speak.

          But Trump has emphasized that he had early knowledge. And he’s done this repeatedly. Which makes his subsequent inaction far worse to me. But not to you, I guess.

        2. ” I’m explaining that government usually sucks. ”

          Government has made my life better.

          What sucks is the average selfish, anti-social, on-the-spectrum, anti-government crank.

          1. “Government has made my life better.”

            OK, maybe you really are a lawyer.

            1. heh

      2. “I believe that if Trump had listened . . . ”

        You believe based on nothing. Just ignorant.

        Dr. Fauci January 26, 2020:

        “It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously, But it isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.”

        Dr. Fauci April 2, 2020:

        NYT: At what point did you realize that the coronavirus was going to be of an entirely different speed and scale than AIDS, Ebola, SARS, H1N1 or swine flu?

        Fauci: It became clear to me that we could potentially be dealing with a global catastrophe somewhere in the middle of January, when it was clear that China was seeing not only extremely efficient transmissibility, but also a disturbing degree of morbidity and mortality.

    3. Lee Moore believes the buck stops well before Trump.

      Good lord that’s lame. Almost as lame as Trump’s “I take no responsibility.”

  7. Why assume that the reason that we don’t have enough masks is because the government didn’t order them? Last time I looked, we had a free economy and anybody at any time can look for someone to sell or make them an ordinary mask like millions of Asians now routinely wear. Perhaps more people didn’t do that earlier because they relied on the so-called experts in the government, academia, and the press, who all said they were worthless. The problem with experts everywhere is that 90 percent of them can’t see the forest for the trees.

  8. Mr. Post.

    Here’s what you don’t seem to understand or write about at all in your diatribe. We HAD a national stockpile of over 100 Million N95 masks. EXACTLY the type of stockpile that we needed for this pandemic. What happened?

    Obama and the Obama administration USED the stockpile in the 2009 Swine Flu epidemic, used more than 90% of the stockpile of 100 million N95 masks, then…didn’t replace it. The funds were allocated, and they were spent on different things. The Obama administration assumed that they could just buy the masks whenever they needed. 100 million N95 masks in the national stockpile. Used and not replaced.

    If you want to assess blame here, then you need to SLAM is down on the Obama administration. They had the stockpile of masks. They used the stockpile of masks. Then they didn’t replace the stockpile of masks, spending the money on other things. This was malfeasance of the highest priority.

    1. Even if that’s true, Trump had three years to replenish it.

      1. Obama had seven years to replace what he used. Kicked the can down the road for the next guy to handle.

        1. ? The emergency began in January 2020. Trump was slow to react and even now is putting response in the hands of unqualified/ incompetent people.

          1. I’m not sure how that’s any different than any other administration. Remember the Obamacare website rollout? When has government ever done anything competently? $500 hammers and $5000 toilets are commonplace in jokes about federal incompetence for a reason.

            1. In any other administration was the President firing people who brought him bad news, contradicting knowledgeable professionals who were trying to give the public dire warnings as soon as the words were out of their mouths, putting unqualified people in charge?

              1. So how would you rate the qualifications of the people put in charge of the obamacare website rollout?

                How about the FEMA head at the time of Katrina?

                The only quality appointment I can think of during my lifetime is Greenspan as Fed chair. And I’m pretty sure that only happened (from administrations of both parties) because Greenspan commanded more respect than any president he served for.

            2. Notice that any time people point out the Trump is fucking up yet again, people whine about people who have had no power for at least several years. “The last guy messed it up” doesn’t work when you’re pretty much the last guy.

              I’m sad to say I’m coming around to the view that some of these commentators actually deserve to be ruled by that pathetic lump.

              1. Would you like me to point out examples of incompetence under Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, etc…? My point was all administrations are incompetent. It’s the defining characteristic of bureaucracy.

      2. You don’t get it. If you use resources during a crisis, you’re supposed to REPLACE them.

        You don’t kick it down the road, and expect the next guy to replace what he doesn’t even know was used.

        1. Poor little trump, no agency at all. The black guy was supposed to set things up for him, after all, so you can’t expect him to do it.

          Where does the buck stop, again?

          1. With what allocated funds?

            Here’s a hint. If you’re allocated funds to replace items that are used, you should use those funds to REPLACE THE ITEMS.

            Obama was allocated the funds to replace the N95 masks and DIDN’T DO IT. Trump was never allocated any funds to do that.

            1. 1. You know who asks Congress to allocate funds? The President, in the President’s Budget Request. You know, the one where Trump asked to kill the CDC’s international epidemics program.

              2. Funds allocated by Congress may be reprogramed in the case of an emergency. Remember the President’s BS wall emergency?

              3. Stop blaming Obama, it’s just making you look lame as hell at this point.

              1. “Stop blaming Obama”

                It’s his damn fault, and his administration’s fault.

                Bush builds up a nice stockpile of N95 masks for the good of the United States. Obama runs down the entire stockpile, doesn’t replace it, then leaves Trump holding the bag, when an emergency comes a calling.

                Thanks Obama!

              2. Sarcastr0, to be fair, we heard that line “I inherited it…I didn’t know about it” from POTUS Obama serially for eight years. I thought it was lame. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it is lame now.

                We need to pull together, bear down and focus on solving the problem.

                1. I think the President’s ability to deal with the economy is pretty limited, so I don’t care as much about that, but I agree that didn’t make Obama look great. Maybe had some currency for the first year, after that…lame.

                  I do think we’re pulling together – and finding time to assign blame. We’re pretty good at that kind of multitasking these days. We shall see if the denial/quick cure folks end up representing a large proportion of America, or only a loud one.

                  But good lord, the people holding Trump blameless here by pointing at Dems really show how broken the politics are. It’s all whattaboutism all the time.
                  The left doesn’t do this as much, though that doesn’t make them much better – blaming the current admin aligns with their interests already, but from what I can tell they’re too busy fighting their own purity civil war and arguing about whether Biden is identical to Trump.

                  1. LOL = multi-tasking comment; I had not thought of it that way but you’re right.

                    Agree with your assessment…after a year, you can’t really play the ‘inherited’ card. Also agree POTUS Trump is not blameless. He owns the slow-ass roll-out of mass testing. That is happening on his watch. I know the ‘Team Federal’ behind him is working hard, but they need to do more, and just do it better. Because when it comes to mass testing, Team Federal is coming up woefully short. SantaMonica811 is totally correct in that critique.

                    1. I’ll add to the love fest – Trump isn’t the only one to blame in the Admin.
                      I still don’t know what happened between CDC, FDA, and big-HHS, but some kind of massive failure occurred and I very much hope they’re doing root cause analysis on it.

                      We’re the greatest country in the world, and we’re woefully caught short by this. Plenty of blame to go around, both within the US and outside of it.

    2. But Obama.

      I know that Trump is the anti-Truman (the buck never stops here).

      Out of curiosity, though, I have to ask … it’s been three years, right? Three … very …. long … years. Trump years are like dog years in that way.

      At some point, is it even remotely conceivable that something that happens … that is bad … during his time in office might be because … he is in office?

      Just remotely possible?

      Even assuming this malfeasance is true (and, as you know, it’s because the budget at the time was used on drugs, since masks were plentiful), then at any point IN THE LAST THREE YEARS, OR WHEN HE WAS GETTING REGULAR BRIEFINGS ON THIS SINCE DECEMBER OF LAST YEAR, Trump could have done something, right?

      Maybe? Is that too complicated a thought for you to comprehend?

      Okay, how about this:

      Trump had three years to replace the masks, and didn’t even when he knew there was a virus a comin’. SAD!

      1. In order for the buck to stop here, the desk where the buck stops has to be in control. You want “The buck stops here” to mean something again?

        Then let Presidents fire bureaucrats. So that the bureaucrats actually have to jump when told to.

        1. “In order for the buck to stop here, the desk where the buck stops has to be in control. You want “The buck stops here” to mean something again?”

          I remember that you’re really slow on the uptake, but I’ll type slowly so you can try and keep up.
          The whole point of the maxim used by Truman was pretty simple- it wasn’t about control, it was about accountability.

          The point of a leader is to take accountability, so that they fix things.

          The points of a quisling and a sycophant is to look for someone else to blame.

          I apologize for having to explain that; I always assumed it was self-evident.

          1. Truman was not dealing with UNIONIZED Bureaucrats….

            Facts matter — you can’t have accountability without authority.

            1. Wow! Please tell us, Doc. Exactly which public sector union is responsible for thwarting Trump from responding to the coronavirus threat? Maybe the National Air Traffic Controllers Association?

        2. Many believe a good chunk of the problem in the Trump Administration is that too many career employees have been replaced by political appointments. I can respect the argument that conservative politics produces better results than liberal without agreeing with it but I don’t understand the desire of conservatives to condone incompetence in order to own the libs. The response to the current threat would be hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic.

      2. “At some point, is it even remotely conceivable that something that happens … that is bad … during his time in office might be because … he is in office?”

        You’re blaming the Wuhan virus on Trump?
        Or the failure to replace what some other administration used?

        1. This crisis began in January.

          1. And that means what exactly?

            Trump should’ve personally put in an order for N-95 masks on January 1st, based on not a single US case?

            1. It’d have been yet another article of Impeachment if he had, as Congress hadn’t appropriated money for this…

            2. My me. Armchair lawyer doesn’t understand time, does he?

              Let’s break this down, then.

              As you know, since you are so fond of reiterating it, the Obama Administration (along with the GW Administation) used up a large number of N95 masks for, inter alia, the H1N1 epidemic and various other natural disasters. Funding that could have been used for those masks was used for other purposes, such as as medications, given the relative needs.

              Both the Obama AND the Trump administration did not heed advice to acquire more masks, given the possibility of dramatic shortages.

              So, from a basic “Time, how does it work” standpoint, this would have a lot mopre credibility if this had happened in 2017 … instead of 2020. You get that, right? Because Trump has had time for …. oh, lots of Golf. Some Mar-a-Lago. “Unscheduled Time.” All that. But we are in the last year of his Presidency, so it’s getting kinda hard to blame the last two administrations for a problem he was told about and could have rectified for more than three years running.

              PLUS, we also know that Trump commented about Covid-19 on January 22 (“totally under control”). We know that he “shut down” travel from China (aka, foreign national restrictions) that very week. He was briefed in December.

              …and they ordered masks on March 12th.

              So, yeah. In addition to generally ignoring the problem, he specifically ignored the problem.

              Not good, Bob.

              1. “My me. Armchair lawyer doesn’t understand time, does he?”

                Try replying in the proper chain order.

              2. Why wasn’t the order for masks in the Fy2016 budget to be administered by the next president? Checking for spars, replacements, stockpiles is seldom the first thing done after a change of management.

                As for Post’s thousand of lives rant, if you count from the time of first cluster of cases, the US, Italy and Germany live on the same quasi-exponential growth curve of infections. The US was about 17 days behind Italy and Germany is about 10 days behind Italy.
                The one thing Germany did well is stand up a very large number of triage and low level of care centers outside hospitals.

            3. Why wouldn’t I expect him to do that? Unless you believed, on January 1, that the virus was not going to find its way here – and no sensible person could have thought that, travel bans or no – why shouldn’t he have ordered a million masks?
              Look, Trump’s first instinct – to order the travel ban to/from China – was a decent one; but only because it bought some time to do the things necessary to prepare for the inevitable. But that time was completely squandered.
              And you say we had no cases on January 1. Of course, we couldn’t possibly have known that, because there was no available test and no testing.

              1. So the New York Times was being unreasonable when it attacked Trump for cutting off travel from Asia in January?

                1. Yes. What does that have to do with anything he wrote?

                  1. It makes little sense to solely attack Trump, when all his political opponents were viciously attacking him for the things he did do. Trump doesn’t have a crystal ball either. If it was so obvious covid-19 was a problem, where were the public voices _then_ demanding actions? What actions were they demanding?

                    1. Trump’s opponents will certainly attack him no matter what he does. But pointing that out isn’t a defense of the specific things he’s done or hasn’t done in this situation.

                      I’m not attacking or defending President Trump’s actions. But it’s his responsibility to detect potential threats to our country and do what he can to prevent them. Regardless of what “public voices” are saying. I just think his actions or inactions can only be measured by their effectiveness. That’s a valid discussion.

              2. 1. Because a million isn’t anywhere near enough. The stockpile, depleted as it was, still held more than 10 million masks.

                2. Because no one (in the US at least) really knew how serious this was on January 1st. The Chinese were still saying there was no person to person transmission. What justification would Trump have to emergency order a million masks (really a hundred million) based on a disease that had no reported person to person transmission?

                3. OK. Not a single REPORTED US case on January 1st. We’ve got to go by what is reported.

              3. And no existent test for a virus of unknown configuration.

            4. Perhaps they could have started to restock after the Obama administration presented the possible threat posed by pandemics during the transition. Or perhaps when reports in January suggested that this might be a serious issue. Or maybe on the day that travel to America was restricted, somebody could have entered an order for some PPE. Just in case.

    3. Can you point me to a source for this? That seems, on its face, unlikely; 100 million masks is a lot of masks, and I lived through the swine flu epidemic and I don’t remember 100 million masks (one for every two adults) in use in those numbers. But maybe you’re right and I’m wrong – I’d be curious to learn more.

        1. But see https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/trump-falsely-claims-he-inherited-empty-stockpile/

          It’s true, but there’s in context not quite so damning a story as y’all are trying to paint.

          1. “It’s true.”

            End. stop.

          2. It’s true but Obama gets the benefit of every doubt, gets graded on a curve, has an excuse, and well … just lay off Obama.

            Which is cool if Trump gets judged by exactly the same standard.

            1. Double standard accusations don’t absolve Trump of anything.

      1. David: Doctors and nurses were supposed to change them after each patient, as there is an even greater fear of cross-contamination. Hence a new one each room you go into — see how they can get used up really fast?

    4. A bit more to it than that.

      And even if it was a total Obama blunder, Trump has had 3+ years to fix it, and did nothing, but all we hear from you is excuses.

  9. This post should be framed somewhere, in an honorable location.

    1. The inside of a toilet.

    2. Framed by a toilet seat, like my grandmother framed the picture of FDR.

      1. Your grandmother sounds like a culture war casualty . . . a loser.

  10. The premise of your article is that “Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government is a risky business” but all your examples of the current failures are failures of government decision-making. Perhaps more importantly, they are failures that occurred (or at least, started) long before the election of the current government-skeptical administration.

    Yes, responding to WW2 was “prodigiously complicated”. So complicated, in fact, that no central planner did all the things you described. Anticipating the kinds and numbers of things needed, controlling and allocating scarce resources, managing manpower are all things the market did. Yes, there are some things that only the War Department could do. But for the most part, the massive response of the US economy was possible because the government was not in the way. Wartime price controls are a notable example of government interventions which not only did not improve our response, they made it worse.

    It’s also worth noting that your examples of WW2 and NASA had response timetables measured in single-digit years but you’re complaining that the current response in single-digit weeks hasn’t been fast enough.

    1. “they are failures that occurred (or at least, started) long before the election of the current government-skeptical administration.”

      Not true.

      The emergency here started three months ago. You can’t blame this on Obama (who left office three years ago). Nor can you put it on Hillary (left office five years ago) or Bill Clinton (19 years) or Jimmy Carter (39 years ago) or FDR (died 75 years ago).

      1. Did anyone from the Obama administration bother to inform the Trump administration that the Obama administration had depleted the medical stockpiles and never bothered to replenish them?

        The current situation developed during the Trump administration, but federal planning for such events happens over longer timescales than administrations.

        Nor is it really possible to blame the president for the bureaucratic culture of the CDC and the FDA, both of which were significant obstacles in responding to covid-19.

        1. One reason the stockpile wasn’t replenished was that the maniac Republican budget-cutters put all kinds of constraints on spending, threatened to send the country into default, etc.

          1. There were plenty of funds allocated to replace the stockpile.

            Obama just didn’t spend it on the masks.

            1. Which prioritization…isn’t really damning, now is it?

              1. It is really damning now. Right now. Yes, it is quite damning.

                Funny thing, you would think that if you were using all those masks in past epidemics, you might need them again. But no, meh, let’s spend the money on something else instead.

                Obama prioritized “incorrectly”. And should be blamed for it.

                1. NO, dude, damning in hindsight years later isn’t damming.

                  1. “Hindsight…” sure. Who could have possibly imagined that the US would need a large stockpile of N95 masks?

                    Oh yeah. The Bush Administration. Who built up a massive stockpile of N95 masks. Which Obama used.

                    How could Obama have POSSIBLY imagined the US might need a large stockpile of N95 masks? It’s not like Obama was using them at a massive rate. Oh…yes, he was.

                    The future need for masks was ENTIRELY foreseeable, especially based on past rates of use. Obama’s failure to replace what was used is massive malfeasance. And is entirely damning.

                    1. AL, I agree that it’s fair to blame Obama for running down the stockpile. And it’s fair to blame Trump for not refilling it. And congress, for not bothering to force funding for it. And hospital administrators for not having enough for their own facilities, and governors for not having a state stockpile.

                      What politician or administrator don’t I blame? Any of them who were on record advocating building/refilling a stockpile prior to 1Jan20.

                      As ?Pogo? said, ‘we have met the enemy, and he is us’. We live in earthquake country, and tried to do low key advocacy with our neighbors so they would put by a little food and water, so they wouldn’t be dependent on us if the Big One happened. Most weren’t interested at all; that’s just a fact of human nature.

                    2. From what I read, Absaroka, it looks like Obama did refill some of the stockpile, but given the money appropriated he had to prioritize. I don’t know if his budget requests tracked full replenishment.

                      I do know AL’s fulminating that this was foreseeable is unconvincing. Not all pandemics require masks. His evidence is that Obama used masks. He used other stuff as well, and had to prioritize.

                    3. The story I heard was that the stockpile was something like 112 million masks in 2008, 100 million got used in 2009 (in one of the regularly scheduled flu epidemics) and not replaced.

                      And given that you had just used 89.2% of your masks for one of those every decade or so flu epidemics, saying ‘hey, the next epidemic might be cholera, so we’ll skip replenishing the masks’ seems pretty hard to justify as sensible.

                      I really don’t know what Obama knew and when he knew it. Maybe issuing the masks never made it to his daily brief. Maybe they day it was on the brief he was distracted by something else and didn’t think to say ‘Hey, someone make sure we restock those’. Ditto for Trump – maybe the subject of restocking never came up. Maybe it did and he said ‘Screw that, I’d rather spend money on the wall’.

                      But the partisan ‘It’s Trump’s fault! No it’s Obama’s fault!’. For God’s sake, if you partisans could stop bickering about every little thing maybe we could have a government that had time to think about things like this. It’s not like pandemics are unforeseeable – Bill Gates has been giving Ted talks for years. The danger is obvious to anyone who has had Bio 101.

                    4. Without knowing what was replenished, this judgment is just special pleading.

                      Trump saw and was briefed on the actual demand signal. Making the case he had an excuse is a lot harder.

                      (Noted elsewhere, the parallel to Obama blaming Bush on the economy for years is a good one.)

                      Your point about the bickering is a good one – the action itself is a natural urge, and not itself interfering with our response. But it is a symptom of political disconnect that prevents our government from working together, even in extremis like this.

      2. The emergency started three months ago. The bureaucratic failures that are crippling our response to it, however, began years and decades ago.

        1. Bureaucratic failures? Sure. But here’s what Trump has done.

          “We don’t need no steenking scientists!”

    2. “Yes, responding to WW2 was “prodigiously complicated”. So complicated, in fact, that no central planner did all the things you described. Anticipating the kinds and numbers of things needed, controlling and allocating scarce resources, managing manpower are all things the market did. ”

      That was more War Production Board than free market.

  11. It is the current crisis due in particular to Trump’s incompetence or to run-of the mill bureaucratic bumbling? I don’t know, but everybody seems to think the crisis confirms their priors.

    1. Trump has overruled (or gotten in the way of) every competent bureaucrat who has tried to respond to this situation.

      1. So when the incompetent bureaucrats at the CDC forbade private development of covid-19 tests, and then rolled out a faulty test of their own, that was on Trump somehow? And when the FDA interferes with companies wanting to produce N95 masks because it requires a 6 month certification process, and tells universities and companies it won’t approve them for developing tests or treatments, that’s also on Trump somehow?

        I’m not a fan of Trump, but the most significant failures here don’t seem to have anything to do with Trump. If the government had just gotten out of the way of private initiatives and done nothing, we’d be in a better place today.

      2. “Trump has overruled (or gotten in the way of) every competent bureaucrat who has tried to respond to this situation.”

        Not remotely true.

        He has gone along with everything Faluci and Birx have suggested.

        1. Fauci has been trying to tell people that hydroxychloriquine is untested, and that this crisis is on us for some time. Trump has always been contradicting him.

          1. Trump disagreeing with an advisor but still following his lead isn’t “overruling”.

            1. How do you know whether Trump is following Fauci’s lead. Trump refused to let Fauci answer a question about that medication, for example.

              Other than that — great comment, clinger.

          2. A lot of docs are using the treatment. They’re not using it ’cause Trump talks about it on TV

          3. A lot of docs are using the treatment nationwide, indeed worldwide. And not ’cause Trump talked about it on TV

    2. I think it’s because of a virus. And the virus is because of nature.

      Guessing the future is notoriously difficult. Critics of failure to guess the future may be asked to submit proof that they guessed it correctly themselves.

  12. As an article on Reason today pointed out, Trump did a few things early on (declared a medical emergency at the end of January, cut off travel from Asia, then later cut off travel from europe). I’m not saying it was enough, but it was something, and the usual media suspects faulting Trump for not doing enough then today were, at the time back then, complaining that Trump was doing those things and downplaying the virus. How is any president supposed to respond to situations in a meaningful way when any activity is met by a barrage of criticism by his political opponents – our extreme partisanship has exacerbated bureaucratic inertia by creating strong incentives for political inertia.

    But I think you’re also exaggerating the threat posed by the coronavirus. If there’s to be a federal effort, it should probably be focused on creating and mass-implementing a serological test (for antibodies) so we can determine just how widespread this virus is. Because all the evidence suggests there’s a ton of undiagnosed infections which are mild or asymptomatic. We don’t even know what the proper response is right now, because we have no idea who’s already immune. The apparent danger is inflated by only knowing about people with symptoms serious enough they seek medical care.

    (And in the case of shortages, federal actions to stop ‘price gouging’ actually encourage those shortages, by stopping economic signals from incentivizing private actors to increase production. It’s not like Kimberly Clark or Georgia Pacific has a ton of extra production capacity for toilet paper they weren’t using – they’re generally operating at around 90+% of production capacity, with the remaining capacity being expensive to utilize – if the price of toilet paper doesn’t go up, they have no reason to engage in expensive marginal production, much less build new factories).

    You’re also making a significant timeframe error by comparing responses to pearl harbor over a year against responses to a disease epidemics over weeks. Factories had to be retooled. They weren’t producing a tank a day and a jeep every 70s in january or february. In the case of an epidemic, by the time any federal repurposing of industry to facilitate production is accomplished, the epidemic will basically be over. These things don’t generally go on for years like world wars do.

    1. Probably also worth noting that the bureaucracies responsible for handling epidemics and disease/drug actions: the CDC and the FDA, were significant roadblocks to private initiatives and innovation in ways that had nothing to do with Trump.

    2. There’s price gouging, then there’s PRICE GOUGING.

      A moderate increase in price (~20%-50%) to encourage production should be allowed.

      A massive increase in price (~100% and more) which encourages mass hoarding and stockpiling for reselling at obscene profits, without increasing the supply (and actually decreasing the supply) shouldn’t be allowed.

  13. “Louisiana was supposed to have its own stockpile of PPE to prepare for an epidemic? Thanks for telling us now. ”

    Why the HELL would Louisiana need someone to tell them this? Does the federal government have magical future need anticipating powers the states lack? If it’s reasonable to expect the federal government to anticipate a need, it’s equally reasonable to expect the states to anticipate it.

    “Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government is a risky business, and we are paying the price for it now. ”

    Good God, are you actually under the impression that any significant portion of the federal government is, in any meaningful sense, under the control of people who dislike and distrust the government? It was the bureaucracy that screwed the pooch here. The only way the administration screwed up was in assuming that the bureaucracy were actually doing their jobs.

    The bureaucracy are still on the job making things worse. Obstructing the efforts of distilleries to switch over to hand sanitizer production. Slow walking approval of a proven process for sanitizing masks for reuse. Prioritizing their own bureaucratic prerogatives over saving lives.

    The President is personally having to fight their efforts to discourage wearing masks, to discourage doctors from trying a drug combination that has proven effective in clinical trials.

    As other commenters have said, Obama ran down the mask stockpile, and then didn’t refill it. Spent the money allocated for refilling it on other things. Sure, it would have been nice if Trump had fixed Obama’s mistake.

    He can’t do everything at once, while fighting off efforts to remove him from office.

    1. The CDC busy was fighting — Gun Ownership….

    2. Brett,
      Don’t infantilize the President. You seem to be saying, “He’s fucking incompetent and don’t hold him to any standard of ability.”

      Me, as Trump: [Day I get the report that our emergency stockpiles are woefully low…a few years ago.]: “Jerad. This report shows that we have a real problem. Obama drained the supplies to deal with emergencies, but never replenished the stockpile afterwards. We need more masks, syringes, [reading from the report, goes on to list the items]….” We need to address this right now. You’re in charge. I want you to report back to me next week, telling me what needs to be done, and who you are selected to handle this!”

      There. That took 35 seconds. Add on another 5 minutes next week to listen to his son-in-law’s report, and another minute to chime in, if necessary. Another 5 minutes the following month, for a follow-up brief….Etc. THAT is what a president does. He identifies areas of concern, picks a person or group of people to address it, and tells them what level of urgency to apply. A president cannot put out 150 fires himself in a single day. But he can order people to go out and start dousing those fires in a single day.

      In fact, if a major percentage of his time was not going around firing his Chiefs of Staff, a ton of problems might not even need to get to the president’s desk…probably the vast majority of issue are handled by the Chief of Staff doing the delegating..

      1. He has had the same number of Chiefs of Staff as Obama did.

        1. Emanuel left to run for mayor. Rouse was a caretaker from the Obama bench who stayed as a White House adviser long after Daley arrived. I never learned or at least do not recall why Daley left early (everyone knew he wouldn’t stay past the election, but he left before that) but Daley remained close with Obama afterward. Lew became Secretary of the Treasury, then Denis McDonough stayed for four years. There was continuity, smooth transition, professionalism.

          There’s nothing similar with Trump. He lurches from one to the next, firing them for some perceived slight or over some childish rift, treating them poorly, badmouthing them. Not surprisingly, they leave quickly and stay away. No continuity, no smooth transitions, no professionalism. More chaos and amateurishness.

          Other than that, though, great comment!

      2. Obama also drained the military. Trump thought that more urgent.

  14. Take care of me daddy federal government!

    Seems to be plenty of hand sanitizer around me. But when one of the reporters started shrieking about this a while back, I believe it was Dr. Fauci that said warm water and soap is all you need.

    I still got my red bandana from when I was a kid. But here’s a dozen for 10.99.

    https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00D7VIRE0/reasonmagazinea-20/

    1. Take care of me daddy federal government!
      Really dude? Pandemics would seem one of the main things a government would help with.

      Soap and water is better than hand sanitizer, but can’t be everywhere.

      Nice for those of us who have 11 bucks and amazon access.

      1. “Nice for those of us who have 11 bucks and amazon access.”

        The Dollar Store has ’em cheaper.

        Didn’t the Surgeon General’s example use an old T shirt? You’re pretty poor if you can’t scrounge an old T shirt.

      2. Pandemics are a good thing for government to be concerned with.

        David Post is sitting around whining about pieces of cloth and unnecessary hand sanitizer.

        1. I’m not very big into hand sanitizer either, but if your response to the massive bureaucratic failure is that we’re too reliant on daddy government, you’re not for real.

          1. No – that was my response to David Post. You can read plenty of my responses to the bureaucratic failure in this thread and going back several years.

  15. George Romero knew everything, apparently.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE4Wg-XV9VE&t=3m30s

  16. Let’s add on a few more points about industrial production.

    1. The US wasn’t the “only” country that had a massive industrial production during WWII. The USSR was certainly no slouch, producing over 119,000 tanks and 500,000 pieces of artillery in WWII, compared to the US at 108,000 and 257,000 respectively. Was the US impressive? Sure. Was it the only one? No.

    2. You don’t convert factories over to making a different product instantaneously. It takes time. Even during WWII, retooling civilian plants for military production took time. Months. Willow Run took nearly a year to put in place. Once it was done, and it got efficient, it was putting our a B-24 bomber every hour. But it took almost a year to get the plant built, and another couple years of refinement and optimization until it was up to that rate.

    You’ll get your ventilators and masks. But it’s going to take time for factories to convert over, and then crank up to speed. At least a month or two. And already Cuomo is complaining that in a month or two, NYC will be past its peak, and won’t need them.

    So, as a factory owner, do you shut down your current production line, retool to something new, then start producing the new item, in the knowledge that by the time you start producing the new item (~2 months) people are saying they won’t need it anymore?

    1. He’s just like all those fools who scream Defense Production Act! and expect ventilators to emerge the next day. Magical thinking about pieces of paper.

      1. I think the DPA may help from a legal perspective. It likely allows some companies to break delivery contracts they have, without legal penalties because “DPA”.

        1. “I think the DPA may help from a legal perspective.”

          Yes, help. Its a tool, not magic.

          1. It’s a tool, and will help to an extent.

      2. Statists think like Pharaoh: “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

        They think passing a law solves every problem. Doesn’t matter how poorly the law was written. Writing something down in a law is like Harry Potter waving a wand without having to even know the right movements or words. Just wave it!

        1. My favorite line from that same movie: Farewell, my one-time brother

    2. Back in 2008, one mask maker in Texas put on a second shift and made a lot of $10 masks. As soon as the crisis was over, he was stuck with bleeploads of unsold $10 masks because people went back to buying $2 ones from Wuhan.

      This time, he’s keeping just one shift going….

    3. New York is getting to its peak fastest because it had the most irresponsible policy in NYC. (Thanks to DeBlasio who could have order a lockdown 3 to 4 weeks ago)
      The infection growth rate in NYC was faster than anything in Italy, Spain or Germany. The result in an SEIR model is a larger peak, and earlier peak and a greater number of cases under the curve.

      1. DeBlasio and Cuomo have a massive blame here. NYC only shut down their playgrounds on April 1st. April 1st….after tens of thousands of cases were in NYC.

  17. There’s plenty about the government to criticize of course. Mostly their MO going back decades.

    It’s Time to Track the FDA’s Death Toll

    https://mises.org/wire/its-time-track-fdas-death-toll

    1. OP says stay on topic, chief.

      1. How could this possibly be more on topic?

        “NOTE TO COMMENTERS: If you have any thoughts about the point I’m trying to make—that the US government has failed, miserably and shamefully, in its duty to protect us from an attack it knew, months ago, was coming, and that its failure will cost American lives—I’d love to hear them”

        Couldn’t be any more on topic.

        1. This is a dumb thing to lie about.

          “…But I would ask you to refrain from discussing extraneous, off-topic points (about the general political situation, the upcoming election, the performance of this Administration in regard to other matters, etc.).”

          This is other matters.

          1. Are you lying about this or just unable to read? The point I raised, from the article I linked, is: “The Food and Drug Administration helped turn the coronavirus from a deadly peril into a national catastrophe. Long after foreign nations had been ravaged and many cases had been detected in America, the FDA continued blocking private testing. The FDA continued forcing the nation’s most innovative firms to submit to its command-and-control approach notwithstanding the pandemic. South Korean is in a far better situation dealing with coronavirus, because its government did not preemptively cripple private testing.”

  18. Not to confuse anyone with facts, but:

    ATF Bureaucrats (union protected) are why there is no hand sanitizer — they are insisting that the alcohol be denatured, for tax reasons, and that will DESTROY the distiller’s bottling equipment. Hence they have to make it by hand, in very small amounts.

    That’s not Trump.

    I’m no fan of the son-in-law, but he is right — the national stockpile was the national DEFENSE stockpile, for CBW attacks — it started with a stockpile of chemical warfare antidotes. It was NOT intended to be free stuff for the states.

    Three, we are a FEDERAL REPUBLIC — the STATES are responsible for health and safety in their states. Not the Feds — or every “Medical” Marijuana “Patient” would be doing hard time.

    Fourth, I’m damn glad that people exercising emergency powers do not do so with excess. I’d never thought I’d have to explain that to someone who worked for the Cato Institute, though.

    And Fifth, I STILL think we are overreacting. The data we have so far is garbage, and it’s all hysteria. Sorry — people die, we all will someday. And a lot of people dying of the flu are being comingled in this hysteria.

    And we have destroyed our economy — for what????

    1. Denatured alcohol works fine as hand sanitizer. Just don’t drink it.

      1. It is hell on distillery equipment, and that’s the problem. The OP even mentioned that.

        1. That’s why you add it after the distillation.

          1. There is no good reason to require that distilleries temporarily making hand sanitizer include a denaturant.

            Denatured alcohol isn’t a a better hand sanitizer because its denatured.
            Its just regular alcohol that has intentionally had some toxic and/or foul tasting ingredient added to discourage ingestion.

            1. Well, if you don’t want people drinking the hand sanitizer…that strikes me as a good reason.

              1. I said good reason, not legal reason.

                We have two choices here.

                Proceed with the current regulations which are based solely on governments taxing desires and have virtually no additional sanitizer produced to fill the current shortage. Keep in mind that the toxins are themselves limited in supply. Run out of toxins, you can’t make more sanitizer.

                Or, we eliminate regulations that have no medical necessity so that distillers can rapidly fill a glaring need. And if 5 or 10% of it goes to get people drunk who the hell cares.

          2. And you do that without using their equipment …. how, exactly, Mr Mechanical Process Engineer, sir?

            1. Ideally, the ethanol should be distilled first, then the denaturing liquid added.

              Now, the bottling equipment is a different story. But as I mention below, I find it hard to understand how methanol and isopropanol will “destroy” bottling equipment, where as ethanol will not.

              1. Change your handle to Armchair Process Engineer. Then you will be automatically enlightened. It is written!

                1. I’m an Armchair lawyer.

                  My real job, well…

          3. And it destroys your bottling equipment — which costs lots of money.

            1. Bottling equipment, perhaps. Not distillation equipment. Although I find it hard to understand how a little isopropyl alcohol and a little methyl alcohol will destroy bottling equipment that is bring used for ethanol.

              1. Spoken like a true statist. “I don’t know what I am talking about, but I will tell you what to do anyway.”

                1. See the post below. I do know what I’m talking about.

        2. Let’s add on a few points here for clarity.

          1. If you want hand sanitizer than is just ethanol, buy some Everclear from your local liquor store and use it. You may need to dilute it a little.

          2. People are stupid. If you make hand sanitizer than is just ethanol, people will drink it. It’ll become the “in” thing to do. If you sell it openly, kids will buy it and drink it. Or they will take it, drink it, and replace it with water. Or they will then get confused which hand sanitizer is the drinkable one, and get themselves sick. Or some other kids in the future will remember “drinkable” hand sanitizer, and try it again. It’s a bad idea to make drinkable hand sanitizer.

          3. Denatured alcohol fixes this. It makes it so people don’t want to drink it, for various reasons. Denaturants are added AFTER distilling, but before bottling. Denaturants include.
          a. Methanol (wood alcohol)
          b. Isopropanol (rubbing alcohol)
          c. Pyridine
          d. Methyl ethyl ketone
          e. Denatonium benzoate (Icky taste chemical).

          There is some concern that these will foul the bottling equipment. Of these, pyridine, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and Denatonium benzoate may be problematic, for various reasons. Methanol and Isopronol generally shouldn’t be problematic from a chemical perspective. Both are readily soluble in water, are similar in chemical properties to ethanol, and should easily be flushed from the bottling lines with water and heat. Any reasonable facility should be able to remove all traces of methanol and isopropanol from their bottling lines would an issue. If they can’t…I don’t trust the facility.

          Pyridine is annoying to deal with (and smells like bad fish). It also may react poorly with some plastics. MEK is water soluble, but may react poorly with some plastics. Denatonium benzoate is likely the largest problem, given it’s extraordinary bitter taste at low concentrations, and its high molecular weight, and failure to completely remove it may make future runs of the desired beverage…unpalatable. That’s the largest issue.

          Given all this, I can’t recommend at LEAST denaturing with methanol/isopropanol. This won’t have the “bad taste” effect needed, but will at least dissuade people from thinking it’s the drinkable hand sanitizer.

          1. Yeah, except… If all of the ingredients are non-toxic, (For certain values of “non”, there’s a reason they call it “intoxication”.) what’s the big freaking deal if some of the hand sanitizer out there is theoretically drinkable? Just direct that lot of hand sanitizer someplace it’s unlikely to get drank.

            See, you’re demonstrating the precise problem at hand: A determination to prioritize secondary matters in an emergency. The distillery is offering to take their production of paying product, (That goes at a lot more per liter than any hand sanitizer!) offline to produce a needed good in an emergency. You’re not content with their willingly operating at a loss, you want them to jump through all sorts of extraneous hoops that have nothing to do with the emergency at hand.

            The bureaucracy are placing a priority on their own normal goals, in an emergency, instead of acting on an emergency basis. That’s what is impeding response to the emergency.

            1. “Just direct that lot of hand sanitizer someplace it’s unlikely to get drank.”

              Which is where exactly? The stores that it’s sold out in?

              “That goes a lot more per liter”
              EverClear goes for $20 a liter, and would then be diluted by about 25%. So~$15-16 a liter for hand sanitizer levels. An 8 ounce bottle of Purell goes for $2.99 normally. Or about $13 a liter.

              “The bureaucracy” are trying to avoid a different crisis of kids in the ER because they ingested “drinkable” hand sanitizer. If people want to make and use their own hand sanitizer from EverClear, they can.

          2. And distillery owners say they can’t add denaturing without messing up their production lines.

            Why should I believe you over them?

            1. Because of all the other distillaries who seem to be able to do it just fine.

              https://www.inquirer.com/news/free-hand-sanitizer-distilleries-philadelphia-new-jersey-pittsburgh-20200406.html

              1. In that whole article not one mention of denaturants being added.

                Just hydrogen peroxide, glycerin (thickener), and of course ethanol. Hydrogen peroxide decomposes very easily so its not a problem in the bottling system.
                Glycerin is a thickener and sweetener and something they might already use in producing their existing products.
                A quick flush with water and they could probably pick up producing high quality spirits.

                Seems like they are just small enough that they pay the introductory $5.40 per gallon of pure alcohol rate that they can at least break even without needing to add a denaturant that allows them to claim an exemption to the FET tax.

                The big distillers on the other hand who pay full freight $27 a gallon for pure alcohol (and who have the capacity to meet current demand) can’t add the denaturant without fouling a very expensive bottling plant.

                1. The largest distillaries are also making hand sanitizer. Like Busch…

                  https://nypost.com/2020/03/22/anheuser-busch-and-artisanal-new-york-distilleries-making-hand-sanitizer-during-coronavirus-crisis/

                  Isopropyl alcohol is being used as the denaturing ingredient. And it doesn’t foul lines.

  19. “there were lots of starts and stops and trials and errors”

    Yet you expect a perfect response in a couple of months here? Foolishness from an apparent fool.

    Worst Post Ever.

    1. No need to lie. Post did not expect a perfect response. That would have been crazy. But he did expect a competent response. And “competent” means, “We know you will make some mistakes. That is natural…esp for a crisis that is unlike anything we’ve faced in our lifetimes. But you have to do a good job addressing the crisis.”

      Trump has failed miserably in this aspect. He had advance notice starting in early January. And from multiple sources. Including from his own people. But he did not tell us the truth. Lying intentionally? Incompetence? I’m not sure. But as a result of treating this as not a big deal for several months, he made the situation much much much much much much much worse. We were promised, by Trump, for a million tests a week. Where are they?

      Trump cut off travel from China fairly early on. That was an objectively good decision. But he implemented it poorly (about 400,000 visitors/returnees PER DAY were allowed after the ban)…and that was an objectively bad decision. He has brought floating hospitals to NYC and LA. That was an objectively good decision. He has failed to listen to his own medical experts. That is, to me, a subjectively horrible decision.

      I have the integrity to applaud Trump for his good moves. Why do so many pro-Trump TDS sufferers lack the integrity to criticize him for his bad moves? (Lot’s do, which is heartening; but it astonishes me that so many people here are posting moronic comments along the lines of, “Obama bad…and my Trump has done nothing wrong.”)

      1. We agree on very little politically, I suspect.

        Strongly Agree = We were promised, by Trump, for a million tests a week. Where are they? This is a fair critique; I share it.

  20. I design furniture, fixtures and equipment (FFE) for mobile field hospitals and command posts. I was working on a FEMA project when I took a break and read this post. I say this to show that I have expertise in this field.

    I cannot read minds. However, I’m fairly sure that the author has never spent one day in manufacturing. There are a thousand reasons why we in the industry cannot surge production. I’m pretty sure that we did not somehow become stupider or lazier than our predecessors. Like them, we did not have a crystal ball.

    I would be happy to provide the author real world examples of the constraints that we face and that are impossible to simply overcome through willpower. He can contact me and I will provide documentation on this. We are doing the best we can with what is available. And the results are very very good.

    1. Thanks for your expert comment.

      For background, this author’s Trump-related commentary is always impressively hysterical and unhinged.

      1. “this author’s Trump-related commentary is always impressively hysterical and unhinged”

        Especially from the perspective of the Conspiracy’s carefully cultivated commentary class, which finds a vainglorious, reckless, ignorant, incurious, vulgar, incompetent, lying boor to be just dreamy . . .

    2. And ten months after hospitals (e.g. Mass General) literally ran out of drugs (e.g. Heparin), you’d have thought that THEY would have thought about having THEIR OWN stockpiles of basic stuff they would need in an emergency.

      You’d have thought….

      1. Ed,
        Are you saying that Mass Gen did not create a ‘normal’ stockpile after the event you referenced? That there was not a stockpile in place to deal with, say, a 3-day blizzard? If so, then indeed that is an indictment of that hospital’s administration, and would be appalling.

    3. March9999, perhaps I missed it. Where in the original post was it suggested that it would be simple or even possible for the manufacturing sector to “surge production?” Where is there even a criticism of the manufacturers of these needed products? I’m not really sure what part of the OP you are responding to.

      1. The entire OP is griping about shortages in medical supplies and equipment, and claiming that the President hasn’t done enough to effectively ramp up production of those items, like he imagines the tyrant FDR did.

        1. My point is that Prof. Post never calls for any production to be “ramped up.” As usual, a straw man is being created and argued against, instead of what the OP actually said. I think the reflex for people here to do it is so strong, they don’t even recognize they are doing it.

          1. Huh? It may be that your reflex to dismiss a valid point is so strong that you don’t even recognize it. Prof. Post literally writes that we need to ramp up production of these supplies. He says, “It’s not easy. It takes people who know what they’re doing . . . to get it done.

            Remember that good old American can-do spirit—the one that says “we can do anything we put our minds to”? . .

            Some people attribute our (former) ability to actually get big things done to unbridled capitalism, and there is surely a large measure of truth in that. But sometimes our government also knew how to get big things done, things that the capitalists, on their own, can’t accomplish. . .”

            He then goes on to imagine that FDR, one of the worst presidents in American history, was more capable in causing the ramp-up military industrial production that occurred in the U.S. and that this is what we are missing now.

  21. Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government is a risky business, and we are paying the price for it now.

    It’s better to have people in charge who like and trust government?!? Like, well, just no; but trust, hell no! Government has shown its incompetence and untrustworthy nature since time immemorial.

    Good grief.

  22. Note the many commenters defending the Trump administration’s incompetence, either by misstating the facts, or via irrelevant deflections. Indeed, they do not value competence and knowledge, even when it means saving lives.

    1. Note the commenter wrongly blaming Trump for what bureaucrats did wrong.

      1. Another verse of “Trump Can do No Wrong.”

        Of course when something goes right the singers will be full-voiced in praise of Trump the Master.

        1. Pointing out Trump did not do this wrong is not an indication that Trump did or does no wrong.

          TDS again.

          1. Linguistically, you’re correct, of course.
            But people are informed by history. So, after Trump and his cohorts tried to collude with Russia to win an election, and flat-out lied about it to the media on that infamous plane ride, people here said, “Trump did nothing wrong.” When Trump tried to extort a different country to dig up dirt on a political foe; the same chant of, “Nothing to see; Trump did nothing wrong.”
            So, while it is obviously true that some Trump supporters do criticize our president sometimes, there is an almost infinite supply of pro-Trump supporters with TDS who simply don’t have the integrity to admit even the obvious ones. Absolute lies are excused by “Don’t pay attention to what the president says/tweets; pay attention to what he does.” Or, “It’s unfair to take the president literally. He’s not a politician, so he hasn’t yet learned that some people will believe–and rely upon–the words coming out of him mouth.”
            Please excuse the rest of us if we get the impression that pro-Trump means a total loss of ethics and/or critical reasoning skills. Not always true. But true a frighteningly-large amount of the time.

          2. First, Trump did a lot wrong, and his lies about the seriousness of the matter may well have caused others to treat it less seriously than they should have.

            Second, plenty here routinely defend anything Trump does or ever has done. Fats don’t matter. They pick up a BS excuse somewhere, or ignore what Trump did and point something some Democrat somewhere did as a whataboutism.

  23. Yep, the federal government has been so incompetent.

    If only there had been a politician to come along and warn about the dangers of relying on China for our medical supply chain. And to emphasize the importance of domestic manufacturing capacity and industry in critical sectors.

    Consider the Possibility That Trump Is Right About China

    Critics are letting their disdain for the president blind them to geopolitical realities.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/consider-possibility-trump-right-china/609493/

    The coronavirus experience demonstrates that economic interaction does not occur in a vacuum of geopolitical competition. Dependence on China for crucial medical equipment throughout the pandemic has illuminated the dangers of a hyper-globalized economy. Experts had warned of American dependence on key drug ingredients from China. The Wall Street Journal has reported that China is the only maker of key ingredients for certain classes of drugs, including established antibiotics that treat a range of bacterial infections such as pneumonia. American reliance on Chinese suppliers for other pharmaceuticals and medical supplies is also worrisome. Americans should not depend on an authoritarian rival state for its citizens’ health—any more than the United States and other free and open societies should give Chinese companies, and by extension the Chinese Communist Party, control over communications infrastructure and sensitive personal data. . .

    That Trump might be introducing needed correctives to the hyper-globalization pursued by earlier administrations is generating serious cognitive dissonance in some quarters.

    1. China has not been the cause of the backups we’re talking about here, though.

      1. Yes, they have.

        1. No, it’s that, as the OP notes, the Feds didn’t start making orders until mid March.

  24. Also, as to the thesis in the OP-

    “Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government is a risky business, and we are paying the price for it now.”

    That’s not correct, at all. Trump and his cohorts do not dislike or distrust the government.

    That would be attributing a … Reagan-like system of coherent beliefs to Trump.

    No, what we have now is simply a kleptocracy; a government of, by, and for the grifters. It is not “E Pluribus Unum” so much as “What’s in it for me?”

    Look, the idea that any President would see fit to surround himself solely with synchphants and hangers-on, to benefit his businesses, and to crow about this ratings (??) during a pandemic could hardly be dreamed of. That the President would put his know-nothing son-in-law in charge of the effort (despite the fact that said son-in-law can’t get a legitimate security clearance and has no experience with any of this) is risible.

    But this is the government that we have. It’s not a question of ideologies, it’s … well, some people just need to get it good and hard.

    Again, there will be such wonderful level of irony as they cheer on their man “Owning the libtards” as they choke down their colloidal silver.

    1. “know-nothing son-in-law in charge of the effort ”

      He’s not “in charge”. He is involved.

      Pence is the political executive lead, Faluci and Birx the science advisors and Admiral John Polowczyk is the logistics lead.

      1. “He’s not “in charge”. He is involved.”

        AWESOME!

        So, Bob, explain to me like I was either a very dumb golden retriever, or a Trump supporter (but I repeat myself), the following:

        1. What is Jared’s qualifications, either elected, appointed, or medical that allow him to be involved?

        2. He is the head of, what, a “team” that is distributing emergency supplies, in addition to being involved in everything else, right? And he has a job/role/something in FEMA? What does he do, and why does he get to decide who does and doesn’t get supplies again?

        3. Finally, this is the same Jared Kushner who, inter alia, has failed at every task he has had in government and previously was saying that the Coronavirus wasn’t dangerous …. right?

        Not great, Bob. Not great. On the plus side, you are the target demographic. Good thing your governor is one of the sane Republicans, right?

        1. “Jared’s qualifications”

          The President trusts him. If someone asks him to get something, he can get his calls returned.

          Aides assist. That is all he is doing.

        2. Umm, what were Bobby Kennedy’s qualifications for the role he had in his brother’s administration?

          1. Better, what were Hillary Clinton’s qualifications???
            She’d been FIRED from the Watergate Commission….

            Michelle Obama’s???

          2. Wow. A “But Bobby” comment?

            You are old. Hope you are social distancing. Actually, I hope every single avocado-toast eating millennial in the neighborhood is visiting you.

            But, for your information, while I am not a fan of nepotism (or examples from 50+ years ago to justify something today), RFK was a skilled advocate and politician in his own right (as well as attorney) and had achieved a fair amount of renown for his campaigns against organized labor and Hoffa prior to his brother becoming President.

            You probably remember that from your 20s, right?

            1. I’m a little surprised he didn’t ask what Albert Gallatin’s qualifications were when Jefferson made him Treasury Secretary.

            2. “You probably remember that from your 20s, right?”

              Np, history class…

              1. Woah.

                Your history class was as bad as your completely believable anecdotes*, Dr. Ed.

                So you learned, in a history class, that RFK had no qualifications to be attorney general? Really? What was the name of this history class?

                Was it … Stupid Youtube Videos 101?

                *Sorry, since people don’t seem to understand sarcasm…. your personal anecdotes that are always so convenient have absolutely 0 credibility and are the subject of constant mirth.

        3. Kushner also was a flop in real estate. Check out his 666 Fifth Ave deal.

          And cue the excuses.

  25. It isn’t the federal government’s job to protect you or your family. That is your job. So much for the libertarian nature of this blog. If you weren’t prepared that is because you failed, not government.

    Also, I am getting tired of reading lazy libertarians who are complaining about “the government not being prepared…” Had this been H1N1 or SARS all over again and it didn’t go full pandemic there would be no ink lost from the Libertarian crowd about how much money the government wasted and how stupid our bureaucrats are for stockpiling for a pandemic that never came.

    1. It isn’t the federal government’s job to protect you or your family. That is your job. So much for the libertarian nature of this blog. If you weren’t prepared that is because you failed, not government.

      What does providing for the common defense mean to you? What does general welfare mean to you?

      I also note you don’t much care about the poor or otherwise unable to prepare for this. You and I, we’re lucky. Doesn’t mean we get to be dicks about it.

      1. “…Doesn’t mean we get to be dicks about it.”

        Have you never met Trump supporters?

    2. What? So in your mind, the people who have died in this pandemic are at fault because they weren’t individually prepared? Seriously, what the hell are you talking about?

  26. Well, so far there has been no declaration of war.
    Congress padded a couple billion dollars of pork into what would be equivalent the the funding for the WWII effort.
    The feds have not drafted damn near every young man in the country and told them what to do to take care of the ‘problem’
    The feds have not told every woman without young children to get to work in a factory.
    It is much more difficult to convert a factory that builds cars from metal and plastic into a factory that produces fabric masks than to convert it into a factory that makes tanks from metal.
    Instead of rounding up all the Japanese and sending them to camps over the mountain, we just rounded up all the Americans and made them provide their own mini-camps.
    Instead of asking for prayers, we outlawed church services.
    Other than that, yeah, this is a lot like WWII.

    1. Congress padded a couple billion dollars of pork into what would be equivalent the the funding for the WWII effort.

      Inflation is a thing, dude. Lat I heard, 4.1 trillion for WW2. Though a better metric might be percentage of GDP.

      As noted above, the ramping up of production had a lot to do with things that weren’t the draft. And there are plenty of factories that build things other than cars. Heck, 3-D printers are a thing!

  27. Well, one thing is clear. Those who hate Trump (for other reasons) think he’s doing terrible. Those who like Trump, or at least tolerate him, think he’s doing okay, all things considered.

    What also clear, is that Post’s post did not have its intended effect.

    1. All fair points.

  28. There’s plenty of discussion about what the US did after Pearl Harbor, but what about Pearl Harbor itself? If we dismiss the conspiracy theories, we can say it was a case of the US failing to prepare for a disaster. Comparable, perhaps, to the US failing to anticipate the virus hitting?

    So the comparison is how the US recovered from the initial mistake of being caught with pants down at Pearl Harbor, vs. how we’re going to recover after the initial mistake of not being prepared for this virus’s arrival.

    1. That’s a good point. FDR should have gotten his ass raked over the coals for that failure too, but that didn’t happen.

      1. It was a multi pronged attack. The attack was not just on Pearl Harbor. Other American bases were atracked too.

        They assumed the Japanese would attack British or Dutch bases in the East Indies. To their surprise the Japanese were stupid enough to bring the United States into the war.

        1. Good point. And up on reflection, I think Congress investigated too, which is why we know so much about how the whole thing was a failure to spot or prepare for the attack.

  29. While Trump was taking severe, drastic action to protect American lives by stopping travel from China, Democrats and the media were focusing everything on a total farce sham impeachment trial.

    This was after they diverted maximum attention and resources to a baseless conspiracy theory for three years to dishonestly smear Trump, illegally spy on his campaign, and hamper his presidency with a special counsel investigation.

    But hey why didn’t Trump build more ventilators and also what has he done to prepare for an asteroid?

  30. If you have any thoughts about the point I’m trying to make—that the US government has failed, miserably and shamefully, in its duty to protect us from an attack it knew, months ago, was coming, and that its failure will cost American lives—I’d love to hear them, whether you agree or (especially) if you disagree

    I’m so weary of the flippant pass/fail grading. Lots of specific criticisms about lots of particular actions/inactions are warranted– and you pointed out some; good for you. But the garbage I quoted above is just clickbait. Please stop it.

  31. If people would’ve listened to President Trump three years ago with his Economic Security is National Security platform we wouldn’t be in this bind.

    But you traitors said that was racist and xenophobic. Just like you say it is now to put America First, while ever other country on the planet is putting their citizens first, you traitors and assholes are saying we shouldn’t do that with outs because that wouldn’t be politically correct.

    I hope this is the moment that breaks this country up, I can’t stand you people and the harm you are causing.

    1. “I hope this is the moment that breaks this country up, I can’t stand you people and the harm you are causing.”

      And I hope you and all the old, tired, clingers like you die gasping for air. Because I am so tired of your sorry “Wah wah wah I am so pathetic if I don’t get my way ima whine about the Second Amendment and civil war and wah wah wah.”

      Just. Die. Already.

      We good?

      Awesome.

      1. Fortunately for me, I’m youngish and I do not live in a Blue State Shithole where the pandemic is running rampant due to Democrat incompetence.

        So I’m probably safe.

        1. “I’m youngish” =

          My grandkids haven’t visited me since I refused to shut off the Hannity.

          Nice try.

      2. “I hope you and all . . like you die gasping for air.”

        Congrats on being more hateful than everyone else.

        1. Hateful?

          You know, maybe some of us are just a little bit tired of hearing this constant refrain of civil war this and we’ve got guns that.

          What? It’s fun if gramps over there wants to shoot everyone, but it’s harsh for me to wish him dead.

          I must have missed the memo. I was told that grumpy old white guys like you and Sam were LINING UP TO SACRIFICE YOURSELF FOR THE ECONOMY.

          Put ur life where your mouth is, buddy.

          1. “I hope this is the moment that breaks this country up”

            lmao wow u seem hella triggered rn, r u ok?

            1. I’m great!

              Just being honest. I love karma.

              You just rarely get to see it. Consider this gloating.

              1. What are you gloating about? Democrat failures murdering citizens under their governance?

                1. Naw.

                  That people like you will keep beating about “Democrat [sic] failures” and threatening civil war on the internet while you die alone, unloved and stupid.

                  I mean, you have a chance with the Boomer flu, but you can’t cure stupid.

                  1. “I hope this is the moment that breaks this country up”

                    CTRL+F “civil war”

                    0 results.

                    https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article210428149.html

                    Read a book.

                    1. Read a book?

                      What, you do t like the truth?

                      I don’t like you.

                      A lot of people don’t like you.

                      Don’t worry about the future- you won’t be around for it.

                      We got this.

              2. Can they sacrifice you for the economy? Wickerman style? No Coachella this year, plus fire is hella sterile, so that’ll be a cool livestream (maybe an inset FLIR showing you roast in false color).

                Pain? Why should anyone consider your pain? I’m sure there will be sadists in the audience who will be all sorts of amped by the screams and such, much as you seem to anticipate to pain of others, scumbag.

                1. Aw …. you totes missed on the “Avocado toast!”

                  Nice try, Gramps. C’mon …. we all heard it. Sacrifice yourself. You are blocking the ECONOMY. That’s what matters.

                  1. Don’t cry.

                    1. Don’t worry, buddy.

                      I’ll be just like everyone else at your funeral; not a wet eye in the house.

                      HA! Just kidding. No one would come to your funeral.

                    2. Is it a withdrawal symptom?

                    3. “Is it a withdrawal symptom?”

                      Withdrawal? You mean what your dad promised your mom would work for birth control?

                      But then decided that hey, “I’m going out to grab some coffee” is a great exit line, too.

                    4. Try less methanol, Clem.

          2. “grumpy old white guys like you”

            It wouldn’t have been complete without the racial animus, so thanks for that.

            I’m a millennial, so not exactly old, though we are getting older pretty fast.

            The rest of your comment is as nonsensical as it is hateful.

            Probably not worth making a real comment here but I was reminded of something interesting. People some times dismiss those who embrace a Jeffersonian worldview of limited, decentralized self-government as living in the past. But the reality is the opposite, and the Jeffersonian view is the youngest and newest form of government in human history. While the more “modern” view of centralized government, the administrative state, nanny regulation of everything, and the imperial military state, is nothing but a reinstatement of the same archaic, ancient forms of oppression and tyranny that have been around for millennia.

            1. What a fool!

              No, you total moron. I have nothing but respect for someone with principles (and there are a few here) with notions of limited government. And, quite frankly, the very few (such as DMN) who managed to maintain those principles despite the current abhorrence in the modern GOP for such things as principles and facts should be lauded.

              I have nothing but scorn for people like you who have sold our country out to a self-promoting crook. Or, to put it in terms you might understand, sold out your party.

              But sure, tell yourself whatever you need to sleep through the night. When you breathe those principles in, make sure you … breathe deeply.

              So very deeply. Preferably with many of your friends.

              1. Oh I see, so this is all about Trump derangement for you. Ok. I have no use for “the GOP.” I generally find the ignorance of history and disregard for principles among Republican politicians and voters to be astounding, even more so than any other party except one. I disagree with about every other thing that Trump has done, policy-wise. As far as being a crook, I’ve remained open to evidence of that for 4 years now, but the lunatic conspiracy theorists keep disappointing.

                1. “I’ve remained open to evidence of that for 4 years now, but the lunatic conspiracy theorists keep disappointing.”

                  Yeah, I’ve seen your posts. You haven’t been.

                  Oh, wait, you said … Trump derangement! You so smart. You’re the informed one. Other people, they are the idiots.

                  You… you’re smart and stuff. I am so impressed with your reasoning. I am quite convinced that you have been open-minded. I mean, you said it!

                  In fact, you have been so open-minded I can hear the wind whistling from one ear to the other.

                  1. You don’t make any sense or say anything substantive because you are blinded with partisan rage.

                    1. No, it’s not partisan rage.

                      It’s a desire not to waste time engaging in substantive conversations with mouth breathers.

                      Mostly because the mouth breathers are more likely to catch the virus, and given the odds … why bother wasting my time?

              2. Thanks for keeping with the spirit of the OP. You light the world with your smile.

      3. Loki13 ought to use more water and less raw hand sanitizer in the old nightcap before bedtime; posting under the influence reveals way too much about what an asshole he is. #Lightweightfuckface.

        1. Aw, projecting again?

          You might want to get some hashtag tips from your great grand children.

          Make sure they get really, really close when they are explaining them to you.

          1. Weird projection. AA/NA might be just your ticket.

            1. Huh?

              Oh, wow. You seem to know all about (googling) …. twelve step programs.

              I’m guessing you’ve driven a LOT of people to them.

              What? A few kids killed themselves? Can’t say I blame them.

              1. Just be honest about your disease, Clem.

  32. Hey Eugene, could you please not let boot-licking rat-fuckers like David Post write articles on your blog anymore; it’s damaging your brand.

    The federal government, including the CDC and FDA, have been obstacles during COVID-19. They’ve restricted the production of tests, masks, sanitizer, and other important items by private parties. Trump’s big failure here has been not to lean on such agencies to get them out of the way.

    So, yes, David, you authoritarian sack of shit, putting people skeptical of government in power is exactly the right move.

    1. We’ll see who gets booted first, Prof. Post or you. He seems to be able to make an argument without gratuitous and infantile name-calling.

  33. Your panic and hysteria are unseemly and unnecessary. The Chinese Coronavirus is not a threat to the vast majority of Americans. We don’t all need to be parading around in masks. The chances that you will contract this virus—or any virus—by casually passing by another person in the grocery or on the sidewalk are so small they aren’t worth worrying about.

    And your assumption that those of us NOT losing our minds over this must not have any family or friends who are in the medical field is the dictionary definition of what happens when you assume. I have a BIL who is a pulmonologist/critical care/hospitalist. He has a dozen patients on the ward and in the ICU. He is frustrated with the unseemly emotional response to this virus. He isn’t wearing a mask outside of the unit; his kids and wife (my sister) aren’t wearing masks.

    The point of the above is that reasonable people—intelligent, competent, thoughtful people—think the hysteria over this is uncalled for and harmful.

    That, along with the fact that all of the so-called experts were down-playing the need to take the Chinese virus seriously up until mid-February hardly supports your attempts to paint the president as uniquely incompetent.

    I think the most bizarre thing about all of this how people who cannot think clearly about President Trump are using their out-of-control emotions to stoke their own fear and panic to the point of seeming unable to function.

    1. The chances that you will contract this virus—or any virus—by casually passing by another person in the grocery or on the sidewalk are so small they aren’t worth worrying about.

      Theo, with sufficiently numerous trials, long odds become near-certainties. In a crowd, you can pass a lot of people in a short time. Increased deaths of patients unprecedented in the careers of medical staff on the front lines have become the norm where the virus is concentrated. New virus concentrations continue to appear throughout the nation.

      Your apology for Trump’s conduct is long out of date. Most Trump loyalists moved on days ago. You should join them, stop your minimizing, and try to find someone else to blame for this mismanaged catastrophe. Minimizing has become unsupportable. Deflection is the new defense.

      1. Can you please just identify specifically what it is you think Trump should have done better on coronavirus?

        Hand sanitizer and bandanas are not compelling.

        Dr. Fauci said “no big deal” on January 26, and the FDA blocked testing. So, please tell me which of these is true (A) Trump did not listen to his experts and failed to heed their warnings, or (B) Trump did listen to his experts, and that’s just the problem, he is responsible for their failures and Doctor Trump should have overriden his agencies and experts.

        I have no interest in defending “Trump’s conduct” generally speaking, but this new attack on his coronavirus response really just feels like nothing but Hoax 4.0, a totally contrived and purely politically motivated attack.

        1. Read the OP. Listen to the months of minimization. The lack of work getting tests for months.
          Look at the lack of any federal direction. Look at the chaotic and confusing federal response now of confiscating masks without citing any legal authority and sending them…where? FEMA? Maybe – would be nice if the authorities and plan were transparent. Assuming they have either.

          What about the hawking unproven and risky cures. That along is impeachable.

          1. Be much more specific. Are you saying that Trump should have forced the FDA to allow more testing? Which testing procedures do you think the FDA should have approved? Or do you think Trump should have reformed the FDA more broadly so that more new devices and procedures are approved by default?

            The FDA approved hydroxychloroquine for emergency use in treating COVID-19. Do you disagree with the FDA’s decision on this? Do you disagree with the decision of countless doctors on this? Describe your evaluation of the drug as “risky.”

            1. There are lots of ways to get more testing. Work with the international community, give grants to private business, provide a presidential directive memorandum to the FDA allowing them to fund more production. We have a market, he could have used it rather than talking about how everything is good, and now’s a good time to buy.

              The testing bottleneck wasn’t FDA approval, chief.

              The FDA has not approved anything, dude – do your homework. They reiterated that because it’s approved for other uses, doctors may legally prescribe hydroxychloroquine for off-label uses even if unproven. That’s not a policy change.
              Maybe it’ll turn out to work. But you need to find that out first. Otherwise, Trump’s selling snake oil from the bully pulpit. Snake oil that causes irregular heart problems.

              1. So weak dude. You’re just continually wrong about everything. The FDA approved it for emergency use. It’s called an emergency use authorization.

                https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization

                  1. “Do some research, ML. You’re an attorney, act like one.”

                    …..*boggle*……

                    Really? Oh man.

                    God, attorneys suck.

                  2. You guys are incredibly dense or incredibly dishonest.

                    Did you even read my link — which was to, you know, the actual FDA?

                    The FDA issued what they call an “Emergency Use Authorization.” In layman’s terms, they approved hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID-19 on an emergency basis.

                    I assume you guys were just uninformed of this fact, perhaps because whatever media you consume didn’t draw attention to it.

                    To be fair, I don’t know the timeline but possibly Trump jumped the gun on this and made statements that were inaccurate because the FDA’s decision had not been formally issued yet. If there’s a valid criticism there, fine. But now that you are aware of the FDA’s EUA, do you have a problem with it?

                    1. What reg do you think the story I linked was talking about? Did you even read it?

                      If when you are asked to read a regulation, you care about the broader regulatory context, you’re a pretty bad lawyer.

                    2. The FDA approved the drug for emergency use pursuant to an “Emergency Use Authorization.” Do you finally acknowledge this now?

  34. I don’t have time to look at all of the comments, so maybe someone else has already made this point — I don’t think any of this would have been any different if anyone else had been in charge. Bureaucratic inertia is a constant. It’s why libertarians generally don’t trust the government, no matter who’s in charge…

    1. Agreed, unless the Executive had run on, then administered his Branch with, an emphasis on individual and self-reliance, and ordered his administration in accord with that emphasis.

      Not saying DJT did that here, but was closer to it than any administration in my memory.

  35. “Putting people who dislike and distrust the government in charge of the government”

    I don’t agree that this is what happened here. In fact, I think quite the opposite happened. People who work in government and don’t necessarily find that its purpose is to plan, prepare, and act on behalf of the people governed, and assess their plans, preparations and actions to adjust them for the next iteration: they gave us this mess. If anything, those people delight in the power that government presents to them, to use it for purposes never intended (at least in *our* Constitution).
    People who distrust government have in mind its prior failures and are determined to not repeat them; they have good cause to do so. Such would have been invaluable to us now.
    CDC had only one job: disease control. Are their recommended control measures effective? Does FDA operate to evaluate effectiveness of drugs for off-label uses or rapidly approve diagnostic tests for a virus never before seen, or are they merely an impediment to them? How cooperative is ATF, or any other agency, in allowing distilleries to produce the hand sanitizer? Was Federalism to blame for any of it?
    Distrust in government comes from lack of or inadequate plans, fumbling preparations (where were these masks to have been cached, and by whom?), indecisive action, and opaque assessments. People who bloody well adore government are the folks who will fail to plan, freeze or disobey when told to implement another’s plans, hesitate to implement them, and lie about their effectiveness.

    Had you formulated your subhed as, “Trusting people in government who dislike and distrust the current Executive to carry out the administration’s policies” then you’d be on to something.

    “the US government has failed, miserably and shamefully, in its duty to protect us from an attack it knew, months ago, was coming”: It need not have known this specific attack was coming. It needed only to know that such a contagion was possible, and to formulate plans to respond to them.

  36. “In the meantime, I can only read about Taiwan’s response, or Singapore’s response, to the virus (0.2 deaths and 1.1 deaths per 1 million residents, respectively) and sigh, and wonder about how we (29 deaths per 1 million residents—and rising) have descended to the second rate.”

    Taiwan probably knew full well what sort of contagions can originate from mainland China. Not the wet markets per se, but from a country and a political order such as Communist China’s. They had plans ready to go, having used them recently and having refined them. Surely the Chinese Communist Party is staffed with people who like and trust their government, and neighboring Taiwan is sanguine about that like and trust.

    1. Small, self-contained islands = Taiwan, Singapore. Easier to contain outbreaks in that environment.

      1. how many seats on daily international flights per capita into these small, self-contained islands?

  37. Now perhaps our original poster will discuss the dismal state of US preparations for an EMP attack. We know that is possible too, and with far more dire consequences than this contagion. No bending that curve.

    1. It’s not a matter of preparation. It’s taking the attack seriously once it happens. Which is not what happened here.

      1. It certainly is a matter of preparation. Taiwan did, like their nation depended on it. The US did, half-heartedly.

        “taking the attack seriously . . not what happened here” In some theaters, I agree. After stopping flights and cruise ships debarking in the US without quarantine, we should have shut down domestic flights once we determined that cases were already in the US. Three weeks perhaps, then loosen those flights among parts of the US where the outbreak had not taken hold. How better to hold localities accountable after the Federal government has exercised its border enforcement power? Or do you not favor an enforceable border . . .

        Compared to, say, the Speaker of the House inviting people to a Chinese New Year celebration. That, I agree, was unserious. Buffoonery, in fact. Then there’s the funding for the Kennedy Center and study of greenhouse gases from the airlines, in a so-called must-pass bill.

        So you’ve a point.

    2. Understanding something like that is hard. Criticizing others, after the fact, for not understanding it and for not being perfectly prepared for it is more the Post style.

      As soon as he learns what EMP stands for, we can expect his critique of everyone’s unpreparedness and slothful response planning for the EMP.

  38. “people who dislike and distrust the government” tend to allocate resources to survive hard times, and encourage others to do so, both vertically and laterally. People who love and trust government tend to depend on it to get them through life’s little speed bumps, and get terribly upset when they find that bigger speed bumps deplete the government’s capacity to support even the most devoted dependents. That $1200 check will chase scarce goods, if it ever shows up at all.

    FEMA’s usual disclaimer that ‘you’ll be on your own for at least 72 hours before we show up with checkbooks and tents’ is well founded but often ignored.

  39. Times like these reveal who people are really are. Post is revealed as a petty monday morning quarterback who uses tragedy to try to make a dumb political point.

    Yeah, government people were imperfectly prepared for a once-in-100-years pandemic event. Would a reasonable person expect them to be perfectly prepared? Is it a good use of resources to maintain preparation for once-in-100-years events during the 99 years when those resources will sit idle?

    Who was prepared? Not hand-sanitizer-lacking Post.

    Reasonable or petty? You picked petty. Sad.

    1. “Times like these reveal who people are really are.”

      Agreed. Prof. Post is making the terrible mistake of thinking that there are some people amenable to reason or persuasion.

      Instead, I suggest he ignore them and protect himself and his family. On a weekly basis, we can hand out new Darwin Awards, renamed the Sehlke Awards, to those individuals who suffered the greatest in a Red State for their ignorance.

      Bonus points if you spent a lot of time saying it was a hoax. Super bonus points if you helped prop up Trump’s cronies’ investments by buying up chloroquine.

      1. You don’t have to believe in dumb conspiracy theories.

        You can just decide not to — decide to be a regular guy, the kind of guy people actually like. No more suspicion, no more boring and irritating everyone around you, no more pretending to know things when you actually just made them up. Try it. It’ll be better.

        1. Aw. You’re so cute! You’re gonna wait for me!

          You’re so trusting, so gullible. I would sell you some colloidal silver but I’m sure you’ve already bought it.

          Hey- how about you take some of that and go carousing? Make sure you hang out with your like-minded friends.

          Thanks in advance. ????

          1. Keep trying. You can find a way to be less objectionable to everyone. This isn’t it.

            1. You’re funny.

              It’s so cute when they’re stupid.

              Protip- I’m not trying to be less objectionable to everyone. I’m trying to tell you, very clearly, that I think you should hang out with your like-minded friends and breathe deeply.

              I hope that wasn’t too subtle for you. .

              1. Drink less.

                1. I don’t think I could possibly drink enough to understand you.

                  1. Drink nothing.

                    1. Woah. You’re like….. clever! I mean, did you think of that all day, or did you brainstorm that with your great-grandkid in kindergarten?

                    2. loki13 has a rage problem, wishes death on those who oppose his politics. Memorable assholery.

                    3. “loki13 has a rage problem, wishes death on those who oppose his politics.”

                      Aw, so sweet, yet so very stupid.

                      Here, let me type this slowly so you might understand it, Gramps.

                      I don’t wish death on people that oppose my politics. That’s something that you and your ilk do.

                      Instead, I sincerely hope that this problem is visited primarily upon those most responsible for it, such as you. We are going to lose a lot of very good people that are out there trying to save lives, so it isn’t too much to ask that that we also lose some of the bad ones as well.

                    4. Don’t cry.

              2. I look forward to your next foot-stomping tantrum, followed by a dramatic exit vowing never to return. We should be so lucky. Judging by these um.. restrained comments I’d say we are a week, maybe two, away from lokexit. But maybe you’ll locate the meds you lost and we’ll be treated to a month or two of your carefully crafted observations.

                1. What are you talking about? Are you daft, or just stupid?

                  1. Maybe both but at least I can remember back as far as eighteen months ago. Of course you could be Hihn and have taken loki13’s screen name. I’ll wait for the caps and bolding to decide. It’s hard to tell from the comments alone.

                    1. So, stupid. Got it.

                    2. So Hihn. Got it. Next see if you can steal Colossal Douchebag’s screen name. He obviously isn’t worthy of it.

                    3. “Next see if you can steal Colossal Douchebag’s screen name.”

                      But you already took it, right?

                      I mean, it must be hard, being you. I have never seen anyone use so many words, with so little effect.

                      Let me help you out! You need a little “MEDIA derp DNC derp BUT OBAMA !!!!!”

                      There you go. I wouldn’t want you to be deprived. No, why don’t you go socially isolate yourself in traffic like a good little moron.

                    4. Not Hahn, it’s another lefty eliminationist with lots of hate. Probably raped by its parents or grandparents; with that much hate, Uncles Bub, Pooter and Jed probably pulled trains on the ugly little thing twice a week..

      2. in case you haven’t noticed, the Red States aren’t suffering nearly as much as the Blue States.
        What we do suffer, other than the smug condescension of cosmo elites (perpetual), is the imposition of infection control measures that are appropriate only for urban centers with mass transit and international airports.
        I hope your electrical power does not go out.
        Sincerely, I do.

  40. Even for Post, this is over the top. What a jerk.

  41. Would be interested in taking this discussion in more of a lawprof direction. As in:

    Liability: can the Executive issue an order that precludes lawsuits against so-called essential retail employers for failing to take *every* *damned* *possible* precaution to protect their employees from exposure to SARS-CoV2? How about pizza delivery?

    Can the Executive issue standards that an employer would have to meet for protective measures for their employees, that would then immunize employers from such lawsuits?

    1. “Liability: can the Executive issue an order that precludes lawsuits against so-called essential retail employers for failing to take *every* *damned* *possible* precaution to protect their employees from exposure to SARS-CoV2? How about pizza delivery?”

      You have to be more specific. Assume you mean the President (Executive branch, Federal Government). Normally, you look at the Youngstown case (and progeny) to determine the lawfulness of the Executive’s order.

      In this particular example, I would have to say that an Executive Order that precludes any and all state-court liability and preempts all state law … would not be well-taken.

      “Can the Executive issue standards that an employer would have to meet for protective measures for their employees, that would then immunize employers from such lawsuits?”

      Not to immunize, no. But certainly relevant agencies (OSHA, for example, in conjunction with other agencies) could issue guidelines that employers could file that would provide a defense to lawsuits.

      Again, remember that these will be in state court. Employees are largely barred from suing their employers for workplace injuries (worker’s compensation usually provides the sole remedy for employees “injured” on the job, although I am sure that this will prove yet another source of …. issues). Third parties would likely have other issues, including simple ones like being able to trace their own infection to a particular cause.

  42. Apparently no killer asteroid is needed. You can put libertarianism to the test of a mundane pandemic, and watch it fail.

    Could it be more evident that if you had put Dr. Fauci in charge of pandemic response, thousands of lives would have been saved? Libertarians, if that is not evident to you, look at today’s NYT maps of county-by-county case trends in NY state. Note what has happened in the worst-affected counties during the last 3 days. The social isolation policies Fauci advocated—at first in vain—were finally implemented, and now the beneficial results are plainly evident, even in the worst-affected areas in the nation.

    That could have happened at least 10 days earlier, if not weeks earlier, all over the U.S. The result would have been far fewer deaths, and a crisis aftermath much easier to manage while development of a vaccine proceeds.

    Libertarians got a government hands-off policy from Trump—which lasted until it was no longer supportable, even by small-government fantasists. Epidemics are powerful social disorganizers. Libertarianism’s vaporous anarchic tendencies will always turn toxic when reinforced by anarchic reality.

    Please libertarians, re-think your ideological axioms—or better yet, abandon libertarianism’s crumbling, stressed-out rationalism. Libertarianism has had its ultimate test, and the result proved deadly. Only people insanely oblivious to evidence can look at what is happening now, and continue to assert empty rationalisms in defiance of experience.

    1. “Libertarianism’s vaporous anarchic tendencies will always turn toxic when reinforced by anarchic reality. ”

      There are anarcholibertarians, and then there are others.

      When nation-states are outlawed, only outlaws will have nation-states.

    2. Dr. Fauci January 26, 2020:

      “It’s a very, very low risk to the United States, something that we as public health officials need to take very seriously, But it isn’t something the American public needs to worry about or be frightened about. Because we have ways of preparing and screening of people coming in [from China]. And we have ways of responding – like we did with this one case in Seattle, Washington, who had traveled to China and brought back the infection.”

      1. “Obviously you need to take it seriously and do the kinds of things that the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security are doing. But this is not a major threat to the people in the United States, and this is not something that the citizens of the United States right now should be worried about.”

        Dr. Fauci, Jan. 21. Let’s see-
        “Obviously you need to take it seriously …”
        “this is not not something (you)….. RIGHT NOW should be worried about.”

        That’s January. Notice both the imperative (take it seriously) and the caveat (that you, personally, don’t have to be worried about it RIGHT NOW).

        Do you want to do a comparison with Trump (and Trump surrogates) in …. MARCH?

        Would that be fun?

        Wait. Why bother? You’re not the type of person that is worth engaging in a substantive conversation. Because, hey, look, A SQUIRREL!

        1. What actions do you think Dr. Fauci would have taken or not taken differently than Trump, that would have made all the difference in this epidemic?

  43. So, having skimmed through most of the comments, I have a question, not for the sake of trying to further roil the waters but because it could help us – at least, me – understand what’s going on here.
    A fair number of you, obviously, disagree with the point I was making; you don’t think that the dire shortage of masks, ventilators etc. is a shameful and unforgiveable breach of the government’s duty to protect us. Reasons vary; it’s Obama’s fault for depleting and not replenishing the stockpile in 2012; or, the government’s doing about as well as could be expected; or, the threat wasn’t clear back in January or earlier, so the Administration was acting reasonably; or some combination.
    Here’s my question: Do any of you who argue so vigorously in this direction have loved ones going into the front lines without adequate protection? I admit that my anger and outrage is due, perhaps in large part, to the fact that I do – one of my kids is a primary care physician in the Boston area, and the situation there with respect to (a) the availability of tests, and (b) PPE is nothing short of terrifying. It is almost impossible for me to believe that anyone who is similarly situated, as we say in the law, could possibly accept the status quo here without rage and anger and demand some accountability for this developing catastrophe.
    And if you do not have a loved one on the front lines, I’d urge you to use a little empathy, and to imagine yourselves in the place of those like me who do. If our Commander-in-Chief – of whatever political party – sent forces to Afghanistan without helmets, or without rifles, or without gasoline for their vehicles, we would all, surely, hold that to be an outrageous breach of his/her duties, and we would all have no problem empathizing with the anger and outrage of the parents, spouses, children, nieces and nephews of the soldiers who had to live with the consequences of the government’s failure.

    1. “I’d urge you to use a little empathy, and to imagine yourselves in the place of those like me who do.”

      Empathy fails me.

      A few days ago, a relative (and avowed Trump supporter) who had just come back from a tour of the WEST COAST and was refusing to socially isolate (because it’s all a hoax, or something?) decided to mouth off about how New York was getting hit hardest because of all the Chinese.

      I mean, yeah. The fish rots from the head, Prof. Post. To date, we have been relatively lucky and disaster free.

      I guess four years of luck was too much to ask.

    2. Yeah, my 70-year-old Mom is in the East Village.

      If this level of deadly crisis doesn’t shake anyone loose…

      1. But it won’t. Look here. Look anywhere.

        There’s a clip, supposedly humorous, on youtube, by Jordan Klepper (Daily Show- google it). It’s a compilation of youtube interviews with Trump Supporters at one of his rallies. Anyway, the one recurring bit that stuck with me is the sheer number of people who, defending Trump (this was in the whole impeachment time) kept saying, “LOOK AT THE TRANSCRIPT! READ THE TRANSCRIPT!”

        And, of course, when they were asked if they had read the transcript, they hadn’t.

        And the reason that this resonated with me is that it finally encapsulated what I had been seeing now, for years. It’s not the sea-lioning that bothered me, it wasn’t even the “look a squirrel” (aka, BUT HILLARY or BUT OBAMA). It was the constant destruction of truth as a value that even mattered. That’s the key to the transcript issue, and everything else we see.

        When someone like us hears Trump talk about the transcript, we know that he is lying, because we look. When we hear him talk about the size of his crowds, or what he did to respond to the coronavirus, or market conditions, or even the height of his building on 9/11 (!?!), we know that he lying. And that matters to us.

        But for others …. well, I’ll let someone who has a better tongue than I explain it:

        In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and nothing was true. … [L]eaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.

        And that’s it! Sure, you can substitute in “owning the libtards” for “superior tactical cleverness,” but you get the idea.

        I think it was 13 years ago, or so, I identified Bob from Ohio as having a coherent philosophy that, at least, he was honest about. Partisanship above all! Principles don’t matter, but partisanship wins out!

        I didn’t like it, but I was on the record as saying that unlike so many he wasn’t trying to hide it. It’s funny, because it doesn’t seem like Bob is having the fun I thought he would. He won! He should be having fun.

        It’s fun, right? This is supposed to be fun. Admittedly, it is less fun when there are consequences you can’t PR away; when people you know and care about are dying and they don’t need to. And there are still people who are like, “Yep, my granddaughter might die. But that buffoon we elected, who no one ever took seriously because we all knew he was a mobbed-up real estate developer who would call up journalists and fake being someone else in order to lie about sleeping with women because he has a hole in his soul that will never be filled, that’s my guy. He’s got this.”

        1. Yeah, I see what you see.

          I’m an optimist, but I dunno how we get anywhere from this partisanship over reality thing going on.

          1. I’m not an optimist. I used to believe in the maxim that you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

            The thing is, though, some people want to be fooled. You see it in scams and cons all the time; once a person is invested in the scam (con, cult, whatever), they become its biggest defenders and proponents.

            Heck, is there anything sadder than seeing the last remaining defenders of a Ponzi scheme? “But … I’m sure we will get paid out eventually, right?”

          2. Loki13 wants your mom dead.

      2. Loki13 wants your mother dead. Or, at least anyone in a certain age tranche it deems counter to its politics.

        You are civil to someone who wants your mother dead. Why is this?

        1. “Loki13 wants your mother dead.”

          Awwww…. what is this? Did poor little JSinAZ dish it out but can’t take it?

          Go yap about death panels with like minded people ….. in close proximity. You know, replay your greatest hits from the prior administration, tool-boy.

          1. You are the one who wishes painful death on others, Clem.
            Blackout again? Drink less.

    3. I share your outrage, completely. The federal government has completely botched our preparedness for this event in many ways, and they have blood on their hands. For example, by allowing us to become dependent on Chinese supply chains for critical things like PPE. For example see NYT, “The World Needs Masks. China Makes Them, but Has Been Hoarding Them.” March 13, 2020. “SHANGHAI — As hospitals and governments hunt desperately for respirators and surgical masks to protect doctors and nurses from the coronavirus pandemic, they face a difficult reality: The world depends on China to make them. . .”

      Our pharma supply chain, and the rest of the medical supply chain is dependent on China. “In an article in Xinhua, one of the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpieces, Beijing threatened that it can impose pharmaceutical export controls after which America will be “plunged into the mighty sea of coronavirus.” Unfortunately, Beijing isn’t bluffing about this capability.”

      Our bureaucrats have failed in many other ways by preventing markets and private actors from bringing tests to market. I do think it’s time to track the FDA’s death toll: https://mises.org/wire/its-time-track-fdas-death-toll

      1. Don’t pretend you share his outrage completely.

        You’re curating where the buck stops so hard you don’t seem to actually care about anything else.

        1. Trump campaigned on drawing down foreign wars, and what he’s done is increase our total troop presence in the Middle East. Very disappointing.

          This is just one of many areas where I criticize Trump for his policies and failures. When it comes to coronavirus, I disagree with Trump’s passing of a 2.2 trillion dollar pork bill, adding to my grandkids’ debt to prop up boomers’ retirement funds.

          But when it comes to bandanas and hand sanitizer? Or the FDA’s 50-year history of blocking things like coronavirus testing? I’m straining to see the attack on Trump here. It’s coming off as another hoax type of deal.

          1. The stimulus wasn’t really to help the Dow Jones – it didn’t really bail out big business. Also not a lot of pork – no particular corps were earmarked.

            Your willingness to blame Obama, China, the US government in all ways and shapes, and everyone but Trump is pretty telling of the tribal and outcome-oriented place you’re coming from.

            You’re straining because you are willingly blind.

            1. You obviously have a very limited understanding of the “stimulus.” I’m willing to blame Trump for all sorts of things, as I mentioned. I’m looking for things that Trump should have done differently on the coronavirus response. I’m sure there are plenty of things with the benefit of hindsight, but what is there that You, or any of the partisan critics like David Post or the media, or any experts, were saying with foresight?

              1. You’re willing to blame Trump for standard conservative nonesense that no one continued to hew to when the chips were down…Except for you. Congrats. We’re all Keynsians now, except for the one guy in the corner yelling about debt.

                I’m unimpressed as you continue to work very hard on shielding Trump from blame by pointing everywhere else. There’s blame to go around, and yet somehow for you none lands on Trump. Huh. Funny that.
                I don’t care that you ding him by tilting at windmills, you’re still acting like an unthinking tribalist.

                1. Oh, and I saw on that other thread you’re buying into the secret bioweapon from China bit as well.

                  Awesome jerb.

                  1. Are you ever not wrong?

                    1. Dude, why would you lie when you know there are receipts?

                      https://reason.com/2020/04/04/liberty-of-movement-and-assembly/#comment-8197666

                      The sub-lede of the article you linked: ‘There’s no proof the coronavirus accidentally escaped from a laboratory, but we can’t take the Chinese government’s denials at face value.’
                      What follows is the weakest of circumstantial cases. Like, Internet gumshoe Obama’s birth certificate level.
                      it is a remarkable coincidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was researching Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses in bats before the pandemic outbreak, and that in the month when Wuhan doctors were treating the first patients of COVID-19, the institute announced in a hiring notice that “a large number of new bat and rodent new viruses have been discovered and identified.”

                      So maybe stop lying.

                    2. Why do you either lie, or continually comment on things you’re not capable of understanding?

                      At no time, ever, have I said that there is any evidence that COVID-19 is a bioweapon. Do you understand the distinction between a bioweapon and a virus that is merely being studied?

                      Or do you think the known fact that the Wuhan lab (and many other labs) are conducting extensive studies on coronaviruses, means that those labs are developing bioweapons?

                      It’s utterly implausible that China deliberately caused the COVID-19 outbreak as some kind of bioweapon attack. China has nothing to gain from this pandemic and everything to lose. Moreover, the geopolitical consequences of the pandemic are so uncertain, I think, that no state actor could reasonably conclude that it would lead to any specific favorable geopolitical outcome. Theoretically, this would not stop a terrorist-type actor, though.

                      But none of that has anything to do with the scenario of accidental release of a virus that is being studied. There is evidence weighing against certain aspects of that scenario, here: http://virological.org/t/the-proximal-origin-of-sars-cov-2/398 I discussed that on an older thread. That link also states “There are also documented instances of the laboratory acquisition of SARS-CoV-1 by laboratory personnel working under BSL-2 containment.” By acquisition they mean accidental infection/release. But the National Review article I linked at your link is very good reporting on the state of certain information surrounding this.

                2. make that 2 guys in the corner yelling about debt,

                  thank you very much.

              2. That’s not really hard, at all. What would a real President (aka, a “normal” Democratic or Republican President) do differently? In no particular order:
                1. Not have daily press conferences. The President is needed to do things; there are ample surrogates to hold press conferences. Holding daily press conferences with the President makes the impact of any given statement seem de minimis (in other words, how do you know that some issue is really important?) and makes it appear that the President is spending time courting media availability, not working on the issues.

                2. Not disseminate false or misleading information. This should be a bare minimum; look, is it remotely possible that hydroxycloroquine (“hxcq”) helps? Sure. Is it possible that hxcq has benefits greater than its ample and demonstrated side effects? Maybe … possibly. But if you’ve traveled to malaria-infected areas of the world, then you known that these medicines can have very severe side effects. So why is the President using his bully pulpit to tell people that it works and its safe, when neither of those is remotely close to being true? This is just one of a number of …. lies … that are being told. If you wanted to defend the action (since you hate the FDA), then he could have delegated the emergency-use to the FDA, and the information would have disseminated to those who want to believe anyway. Again, I am usually in favor of people being able to determine their own risks, but there is a difference between people making their own determinations about certain medications (which is a great policy argument to have in a less heated time) and the President effectively promoting snake oil.

                1. So if Trump had less press conferences, then less people would be dying of coronavirus? This seems like more political angst.

                  I don’t watch these press conferences but I did see Trump stating repeatedly that the drug might not work, but that he was hopeful.

                  1. Yeah, ML – a good President would be having coordination meetings. You know, doing the job of an executive.

                    Trump, on the other hand, is chortling about his ratings.

                  2. “I don’t watch these press conferences but I did see Trump stating repeatedly that the drug might not work, but that he was hopeful.”

                    Trump has falsely claimed that the drugs are approved to treat coronavirus.

                    Trump has made false claims about the efficacy of the drugs (not that they might not work … really?).

                    Trump has said that the drugs are completely safe.

                    If you kissed posterior any more, your face might get irretrievably lodged in Trump’s colon.

                    That might not be a scientific fact, but it’s good enough for a Trump press conference. So, good enough for you, right?

              3. Cont. Timing. So, let’s talk about timing. You like to bring up January comments that are closely caveated by Fauci.

                Here’s the thing. We now know that Trump was briefed on the danger, no later than February, and continued to downplay it well into March. Whether you want to attribute it to lying, or to willful ignorance, or to simply deciding that his electoral chances depend on the stock market is up to you … but the evidence is pretty clear.

              4. Contd. and masks?

                So people keep saying that what Obama did, by only partly replenishing the masks, and instead spending money on medicine for the supply, was terrible.

                ….and yet, it has been more than three years. Trump has done nothing. Which, you know, whatever. But then he knew about it, and he still waited until well into MARCH to try and rectify the mask situation. Which could have been correct so much more easily had be taken action even a few week earlier.

                Or we could talk about the states. Or, for that matter, why he insists on putting his son-in-law in positions of responsibility. Or why he was listening to Jared Kushner to begin with and accepting that advice over that of the trained medical professionals. Or why the ranks of people in the “deep state” (aka, the people we have trained for this) have been hollowed out.

                Or just basic things; like, you know, why he ordered the Navy to terminate Captain Cozier’s command; talk to anyone in the Navy and you will quickly learn that Cozier is one of the most competent and decent people in the Navy, and BUT FOR the fact that Trump was embarrassed, he would be fine.

                That’s another thing- commit war crimes, and Trump will make sure you are okay. Protect your troops from a disease (but make Trump look possibly bad?) and you better watch out. Because that’s the type of CIC we have now.

                Oh man, it just keeps going. BUT WHY DO I BOTHER? You’ve shown a complete and total inability to engage in any substantive thought or rational conversation.

                OH LOOK! A SQUIRREL!

                1. Missed you, Loki!

                  Though I’m working to comment less, lest I become as pessimistic as you. (Plus it seems like many forget past discussions whenever the sun rises, and repeat the same canned response over and over again)

                  1. How sweet. xxxx

                  2. Canned responses to the effect of “I hope you and anyone like you catches a deadly disease”? That kind canned response? Loki13 wants your mother dead, if she thinks the wrong way.

                    What a great friend to have.

                    1. “Loki13 wants your mother dead”

                      No, I don’t want your mother dead.

                      I mean, if she knew how you turned out, she’s already dead from the shame. No assistance required.

                      After all, you are the poster child for the 204th trimester abortion, right?

                    2. Drink less, Clem. You will remember more – or perhaps that would be counter to purpose? You do have obvious and ugly character flaws; does the massive day drinking help with all the accumulated regret?

                2. I don’t like Kushner either. Fire Kushner.

                  You are definitely going off on some “look, a squirrel!” tangents here.

                  But maybe there’s an issue with the masks. You are saying the federal government placed an order in March for masks, when the federal government should have placed an order sooner. Seems plausible. If this can be substantiated I’ll criticize Trump for not ordering masks sooner. Obviously the President is not primarily or secondarily responsible for the supply of masks around the country. It appears every health care provider, every hospital system, every governor and state agency, and so on, all failed to prepare for this contingency. But I agree with the idea that there should be some reasonable federal stockpile, and maybe Trump dropped the ball there. I wonder if the “experts” and bureaucrats and agencies also failed on this, or if they had recommended the right thing and Trump didn’t follow it.

                  Of course the background issue, as noted in the NYT article, is that medical supply chains around the world are dependent on China for masks.

                  1. “I don’t like Kushner either. Fire Kushner.

                    You are definitely going off on some “look, a squirrel!” tangents here.”

                    You ASKED WHAT HE SHOULD BE DOING DIFFERENTLY??!!!??!!!

                    And when people tell you things that even YOU AGREE WITH (like not putting his idiot son-in-law in charge of anything), you claim that it’s a distraction.

                    Literally, something that:
                    1) Only Trump would do (since no one else is Jared’s father in law); and …
                    2) Any other President would do differently; and …
                    3) Something you requested a substantive answer to ….; YET …

                    You think it’s a distraction because it plainly shows total incompetence?

                    Woah. The cognitive dissonance in strong in you. I mean, how do you even tie your shoes in the morning?

                    1. Ah I missed those exclams, with question marks no less. C’mon dude give us some bold along with the caps.

                    2. You know what I missed?

                      The content-free heavy breathing of donojack.

                      Dude, it’s okay. We all know about your predilections. It’s fine, there’s no judging. Not like when you were growing up in the 30s.

                    3. Actually I was referring more to your other statements, something about people committing “war crimes” and a guy name Captain Cozier. I have no idea who or what that story is, or how it relates to less people dying from coronavirus.

                      But yeah, Kushner too. How has Trump’s employment of Kushner led to more coronavirus deaths than otherwise would have happened?

                      Maybe Kushner is soft on Trump’s nationalist-oriented agenda items, therefore contributing to the over-reliance on Chinese supply chains?

                  2. “every health care provider, every hospital system, every governor and state agency, and so on, all failed to prepare for this contingency.” …and ordinary blokes on the ground noticed, and strove to prepare themselves.
                    I was receiving inquires in late Feb from health care providers—not purchasing agents of health care practices or firms, but from individual practitioners—for N95 masks, sanitizing chemicals, disposable overgarments. The masks were already gone, I could help them with everything else.
                    Anecdotal, I admit. I drew my own conclusions, you may draw yours.

    4. On the one hand, I think the media and the health establishment is grossly overstating the risk. In 1968 a flu pandemic killed 100k americans while the USFG intentionally did nothing and let it run its course. Accounting for population growth, that feels like an equivalent disease threat to covid-19 according to the worst reasonable scenarios, and deserved a similar government response. (People who lived through the 1968 pandemic barely remember it – my mother-in-law doesn’t feel like people even talked about the flu as a public health risk until after ~2000. It’s our response to covid-19 which is making it a big deal, not covid-19 itself).

      On the other hand, jumping to blame Trump for everything is also an overreaction. Primary blame here falls squarely on the CDC and the FDA, which bungled the testing rollout and even continue to get in the way of valuable private initiatives. If the bureaucracy had just gotten out of the way of private action, we’d have been in a much better position.

      It’s not like we didn’t know that bureaucracy is incompetent. It lacks the information necessary to make good decisions (see Hayek), the willingness to take risks which could leave it accountable (see the FDA’s slowing the approval of new drugs since ~1990 and interfering with off-label uses), and the nimbleness to react rapidly in a crisis (see comments by the then FEMA director about Katrina response in the aftermath). Government bureaucracy is always by the book, which was written in response to the last crisis, and when the current crisis is different (as it always is), bureaucracy fails badly because it refuses to adapt. (If it goes by the book, it can claim it was doing what it was supposed to be doing, even as that costs lives. Bureaucrats are risk averse – when those risks are to themselves – so doing something not by the book opens them up to criticism. They don’t actually care if excess people died so long as they responded as their manuals said they were supposed to, even if doing so was actively harmful).

      It really doesn’t matter who the president is. The president has virtually no practical control over either the FDA or CDC. He certainly can’t change bureaucratic culture by executive fiat. Obama, Bush (either), Clinton, or Reagan, or even Eisenhower or FDR, would have been just as hamstrung by the bureaucracy in crafting a response.

      That said, I certainly fault Trump for making promises that obviously couldn’t be kept, such as on testing. I’ve stopped listening to what he says because he’s not a source of information at all.

      1. So it’s not a big deal, and also Trump is not to blame if it is.

        Remarkable.

        The president has virtually no practical control over either the FDA or CDC
        This is quite ignorant of how the federal government works.

        1. So you’re saying presidents routinely micromanage the FDA and CDC? That FDA decisions are made by the president as a routine matter, and the FDA is just a presidential mouthpiece? That the president creates the bureaucratic cultures of these agencies, and that it changes from president to president.

          … Do you know anything about how the FDA (or any bureaucracy) operates at all?

      2. Squirreloid. You write: On the one hand, I think the media and the health establishment is grossly overstating the risk. In 1968 a flu pandemic killed 100k americans while the USFG intentionally did nothing and let it run its course. Accounting for population growth, that feels like an equivalent disease threat to covid-19 according to the worst reasonable scenarios, and deserved a similar government response. (People who lived through the 1968 pandemic barely remember it … It’s our response to covid-19 which is making it a big deal, not covid-19 itself).
        I think you’re wrong about this. Imagine two hurricanes blowing through two identical towns, X and Y. Town X does nothing to prepare for the hurricane; 10 people die, and there is $10 million in damage. Town Y does a great deal to prepare (boarding up shops, setting up evacuation zones and emergency underground shelters, etc.); here, again, 10 people die and there is $10 million in damage.
        We might – if we’re very fortunate – end up with no more death and destruction than the 1968 flu caused. That would NOT MEAN that these are “equivalent diseases,” just as one should not conclude from the above that the two hurricanes were “equivalent” – Y’s hurricane looks like it was a lot worse.
        You’re right that nobody took special cautions about the 1968 epidemic, and around 100K people died. That does not mean if we take no precautions this time, 100K people will die. This coronavirus – at least from the incomplete and possibly inaccurate data we have from around the globe – looks like it has a transmission rate much higher than flu, and a mortality rate much higher than the flu. In places that were badly hit, the number of cases and number of deaths was doubling every 3 to 5 days. It took a month for the US to reach 500 deaths; 5 days to go from 500 to 1000. It got to 2000 in 3 days, and to 4000 3 days after that, and to 8000 4 days after that. THE FLU – EVEN THE STRAINS THAT HAVE CAUSED VERY SERIOUS EPIDEMICS – DOESN’T BEHAVE LIKE THAT. So there was reason to be concerned – if it were to continue, it reaches over a million deaths within a month.

        1. Who is responsible for maintaining the supplies necessary to board up the shops and houses?

          1. Why are you boarding up houses? Just don’t like the people who live there?

        2. First of all, the US population is significantly larger today than it was in 1968. The ‘worst case’ scenarios which assumed no action was taken were predicting 220k deaths a couple weeks ago – that’s in the same ballpark as the 1968 flu adjusted for population, especially since the 220k prediction is probably overstated (because we’re systematically overestimating how lethal it is since we don’t have any good population sampling). That’s my basis for saying it’s about as bad.

          Second, it took more than a month for the US to reach 500 deaths. The first confirmed case was January 22nd (with estimated date of illness onset January 14th). There weren’t even 500 confirmed cases until March 9th, much less 500 deaths.

          You also don’t seem to know what you’re talking about when it comes to flu pandemics. They peak faster than that. In fact, you seem to have done nothing to educate yourself about earlier flu pandemics, despite it being materially relevant not only to your post, but to interpreting our response to covid-19.

          The 1889 flu epidemic took 5 weeks to peak after first appearing in an area. (It killed 1 million people worldwide in *1889*).

          The 1968 flu pandemic reached maximum intensity in Hong Kong (where it started) in 2 weeks. It was also highly contagious, but it did take longer to reach the US because travel wasn’t as easy (ultimately being brought back to the US by GIs returning from Vietnam – it then spread throughout the US and to europe within a few months). As it was closely related to the 1957 pandemic flu, there was already some partial immunity present in the population. Despite that, it’s fatality rate is estimated at 0.5%, solidly in the middle of Fauci’s 0.2-1% true fatality rate. It’s considered only a class 2 pandemic.

          The 1957 flu pandemic killed 116k americans. In Britain, it took about 4 months to peak, and was unusual in targeting children and younger adults, and spiking during the late summer and early autumn. Britain left the response to local Medical Officers of Health. (Summarized from Encyclopedia Britannica, hence the focus on Britain) On the US response, the NIH notes that this was the first viral pandemic for which vaccine response in an unprimed population could be observed, and while the vaccine was available relatively quickly, was ineffective early on, but became more effective in later years as the population built up antibodies from contact with the virus. Besides this medical response, there doesn’t seem to have been any other US government-backed response to the pandemic.

          Writing in City Journal, someone who does actually remember the 1957 flu pandemic says “In fact, even at my advanced 80-something age, I find the whole Covid-19 panic to be strange and troubling. I’ve lived through epidemics before, but they didn’t crash the stock market, wreck a booming economy, and shut down international travel. They didn’t stop the St. Patrick’s Day parade or the NCAA basketball tournament, and they didn’t drop the curtain on Broadway shows.” https://www.city-journal.org/1957-asian-flu-pandemic

          My best guess is that any honest assessment after the fact will determine that (1) responses were too slow to do much to halt the spread of Covid-19, because of its long incubation period and high frequency of asymptomatic carriers, (2) we were pretty much locked into the course of the epidemic by the end of february, (3) Voluntary social distancing, which started weeks before any government action, had significantly more effect than government lockdowns, (4) virtually the only impact of the lockdowns was tanking the economy – we shot ourselves in the foot for nothing, (5) fearmongering about the danger of covid-19 vastly overstated the actual danger. Real fatality rates will converge somewhere below 0.5% (about the same as the 1968 pandemic flu).

          1. Ultimately, COVID-19 kills a lot of people who’ve been kept alive by medical science. Which means it’ll have a higher rate than previous pandemics as it empties the old-folks’-homes. It’s going to kill more Republican voters than Democratic.

        3. One of the reasons Coronavirus kills at a higher rate than influenza pandemics of the past is that we have saved up a higher number of vulnerable people. We have more people alive with chronic heart ailments than we did in the past, which is just padding the COVID-19 stats.

    5. “you don’t think that the dire shortage of masks, ventilators etc. is a shameful and unforgiveable breach of the government’s duty to protect us.”

      You’ve missed it completely. It is shameful and unforgiveable.

      It’s just not attributable (only or principally) to DJT. It’s inherent to the nation-state. It can’t be laid exclusively or even principally at DJT’s feet, nor only at GOP feet. It’s baked into the nation-state.

      For a poster at even a ‘sometimes libertarian blawg’ I expect you to understand that.

      1. “You’ve missed it completely. It is shameful and unforgiveable.
        It’s just not attributable (only or principally) to DJT.”

        In your formulation, where does the buck stop if not at the chief executive? He says he has “the best people” so he’s getting good advice.

  44. I am not quite certain that the federal government failed to fulfill any duty to protect beginning three months ago, so if that causes me to be banned from commentary, so be it.

    I am persuaded that political intervention to ostensibly address a crisis in contagious disease devolved in the blink of an eye into a coup from out of the blue (or was it?) in which the nation’s economy, healthy for the first time in memory, was shuttered overnight, people were driven in fear and intimidation into isolation in their homes, and encouraged to suspect others but not the government. Religious services were banned at the time of significant, if not most important, holy days in the Judeo-Christian traditions. Individuals have been encouraged to hide their faces not just with masks but in toto as they go about, if they dare to go about, for obtaining food supplies is now discouraged. Distrust of others, the view of others as a source of disease or contamination, is the order of the day.
    It is foolish to think that there will ever be a return to “normal.” The beneficiaries of newly-minted money (that is, governments) want this to continue as long as is possible.

    “The failure is so deep that we don’t even really know how deep it is.” — Unfathomable, in a word.

    1. Letters2Mary: Just a response to your notion that your post might cause you to be banished from commentary. I don’t speak for the others on this blog who have the ability to moderate comments or ban commenters, but I, for one, don’t delete or ban or suppress comments that are civil (as yours is). You’re entitled to your views, whatever they may be. The only comments I get rid of – and there were two, on this thread – do nothing more than say the equivalent of “You are an asshole. Fuck you.” Those are not civil, and I don’t think we need to subject ourselves to that kind of stuff.

      1. Please permit my input regarding moderation. I suggest that not all cases of “you are an asshole, fuck off” are equal. Some are responses to people who are not assholes and some are. The ones where the accuracy of the statement is not in doubt should be allowed to stand.

  45. I do have a granddaughter who works as an ER nurse in an under-equipped hospital in Mississippi. I am terrified for her on a daily basis. But unlike you, I don’t blame DJT for her problems. I blame the CDC, FDA, ATF, and practically every other federal bureaucracy — the usual suspects — for her current and continuing danger.

    Your contention that putting people who love big government in charge of agencies (they already are there) or that somehow manufacturers can retool factories in a week’s time (a moronic dream) are not worthy of response. As far as I’m concerned the only undeniably good decision to come from this crap so far was Trump’s closing our borders to Asian travel, an act he took in the face of a shitstorm of criticism from people just like you.

    1. If you blame every agency, but not the President…you’re not taking a reasonable position.

      Criticism of closing travel from China that I saw was that it was too little too late.

      1. The criticism was the it was racist and xenophobic. All the Dems were saying it. They only said it was too little too late when it became obvious even to them that it was a good decision. You know that too but you shamelessly parrot the bullshit from the DNC and the media.

        1. I’m sure some people said that. And they would be silly. I’d also wager they were not the epidemiological experts.

          Saying Trump shouldn’t listen to those chuckleheads is well and good. Saying Trump should instead listen to his own chuckleheads is dumb and bad.

          ‘All the Dems were saying it.’ Is a telling statement. Not Pelosi and Schumer, not the DNC, but all Dems. That’s definitely not true, but you feel like it. So you say it like it’s a fact.

          1. You left out the best part!

            You’re shamelessly parroting … the DNC … AND THE MEDIA!

            Because as we all know, the DNC and the media, they are the same thing. And the DNC, just like the RNC, is uh …. totally representative of the party, and the people, and the candidates.

            But seriously, keep remembering, the media, the stuff other people tell you. LIES. The only thing you can trust is what you already know to be true, or you need to be true.

            Or something. The truth is out there … well, so long as it doesn’t conflict with what you want.

            1. Ugh. I’d missed that. Man, wow.

              1. You miss a lot but keep trying and I don’t have to remind you to keep lying.

                1. Full of content. Great comment.

                  1. I probably wouldn’t have done that but when you refer to someone as a solipsistic yahoo then you get some blowback. Normally we have remained civil with each other and I apologize for that.

                    1. Thanks for the apology. Accepted. But might you engage with my comment?

                      Are you perhaps mixing up Trump trying to make the Chinese Coronavirus a thing?
                      Because yeah, people called that racist. On accounta having no other reason than to distract people from his own failings via racist nationalism.

                    2. Sarcastro,

                      No I am referring to the China travel ban and later the Europe ban. Biden, among others, called the China ban xenophobic. Other Dems did as well including Pelosi.

                      Going along with that there has been a re-writing of recent history. Throughout January there was little concern in the US about the coronavirus becoming a problem here and certainly no sense that it would become a pandemic. Now people are saying that they were deeply concerned about it during that time but when you review what they were talking about and writing about coronavirus doesn’t come up until well into February.

                    3. Alas, you appear to be incorrect.

                      https://www.factcheck.org/2020/04/trump-biden-spin-china-travel-restrictions/

                      Trump has repeatedly claimed that his decision to impose the travel restrictions on China “had Biden calling me xenophobic” and “racist.”

                      On the day the White House announced the travel restrictions, Biden did say at a campaign event in Iowa that as the pandemic unfolds, Americans “need to have a president who they can trust what he says about it, that he is going to act rationally about it.” He added, “This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia – hysterical xenophobia – and fearmongering to lead the way instead of science.”

                      The Biden campaign says Biden’s “reference to xenophobia was about Trump’s long record of scapegoating others at a time when the virus was emerging from China,” and that he was not talking about the travel ban.

                    4. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/politics/us-intelligence-reports-trump-coronavirus/index.html

                      Trump was being briefed about the threat in January. He just ignored it.
                      Certainly NPR was reporting that this was a new disease with risks to the US in January.

                    5. “Trump was being briefed about the threat in January. He just ignored it.
                      Certainly NPR was reporting that this was a new disease with risks to the US in January.”

                      In mid-January, I got insurance (in order to cancel if necessary) a long-planned trip to Europe this summer with my family due to concerns about the novel coronavirus which had been featuring prominently in the news since December.

                      I may not be the brightest bulb, but I managed to save five figures. And I don’t think I’d make a good President. But at least I know my limitations.

                    6. Sarcastro @ 3:25pm
                      I understand that the Biden campaign would try to spin it that way but the remark was in direct response to questions about the China travel ban. This wasn’t just some general slam against Trump.

                      As to how focused everyone was on the threat here’s Pelosi on February 24:
                      “It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time, to be able to be unified with our community,” Pelosi said on Feb. 24. “We want to be vigilant about what is out there in other places. We want to be careful about how we deal with it, but we do want to say to people ‘Come to Chinatown, here we are — we’re, again, careful, safe — and come join us.’” Notice that she is calling the threat in “other places.”

                      I went to southern California on Feb. 19. The plane was full and as far as I could tell no one including me was worrying about coronavirus. As it turns out about ten days later I discovered that I was infected and my wife got it from me. Oh well Santa Barbara is beautiful and it was a nice trip. Sort of.

                    7. Read the Biden quote. By it’s text, it’s not how you and Trump interpret it.

                      A lot of the public wasn’t worried in Feb, because Trump wasn’t worried!

                      I don’t see the Pelosi quote as saying there’s nothing to worry about. Unlike Trump’s saying we got 15 cases, and the number is going down, and it’s a great time to invest.

                    8. ” Biden, among others, called the China ban xenophobic. Other Dems did as well including Pelosi.

                      Going along with that there has been a re-writing of recent history.”
                      Yes, such as I just quoted from you.

                2. You must be popular at parties, Donojack!

                  Oh, wait, I forgot how stupid you are. And you don’t get sarcasm. So, let’s try this again.

                  You are very unpopular and no one likes you. I pity your sad and lonely existence. When you are gone, you will not be mourned.

                  Much better!

            2. Ok we have the caps, now how about some bolding and exclams for effect. Give it up Hihn. You took that poor schlub loki13’s name after his meltdown. Have you no shame?

              1. Do you know how you know that donojack is lying?

                You see a post of his, of course.

                Look, I don’t mean to pick on the mentally deficient; that guy couldn’t spell SAD if you spot him the S and the A, but at a certain point you have to hope that he stops with the one-hand posting* long enough to look up and see the world around him.

                HA! Of course he won’t. Hopefully, he dies miserable and alone, you know, like he has lived.

                *Yeah, we all know what the other hand is up to. C’mon, most people are hoarding toilet paper for sanitary reasons, not because they are busy fapping to MEDIA LIES.

                1. I give you a week, tops. By the way did Kavanaugh ever beg you to call him Justice Kavanaugh? After all for a distinguished Harvard Law professor to snub him like that, gotta hurt right?

                  1. Yeah, you totally missed so much on that, didn’t you? So let me explain this again, just so you understand (since you are clearly too dumb to figure this out, even though I went over this before):
                    1. I have said that I will never use the honorific for Kavanaugh. I won’t.

                    2. I have said that no group I am associated with will invite him in any capacity to speak (and I am associated with groups that have previously brought in Roberts, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Scalia, and, yes, even Thomas to speak ….*). That has held, and will continue to hold.

                    3. I have said that I am ashamed of the coverage that this website gave the proceedings, especially when the disclaimer that was provided noted that there was a shared clerkship without making further reference to the judge (Kozinski).

                    4. Further, the two worst things that ever happened on this website that I am aware of, IMO, are pretty easy for me to trace:
                    a. The issue of the leaks regarding the PPACA and the failure of the individuals here posting about it to divulge that they were receiving these leaks and knew about them; and
                    b. The posts regarding Judge Kozinski and the “sex server” which weren’t great then, but certainly haven’t aged well. The complete lack of followup is … a choice. At a minimum, you would expect a shred on introspection on the topic.

                    Now, all that said, nothing “hurts” other than your stupidity, which I find deeply painful. But it wasn’t your stupidity specifically that keeps me (and others) from posting here, it’s the fact that while this was once a good law blog, it is now a place where people like you post. And you are basically MICK1!!11!!!!!

                    And it’s funny to me that you probably don’t get that.

                    *The best was Roberts, followed closely by Ginsburg.

  46. My view is that the original post is somewhat hysterical and based in ignorance. I understand the hysteria, having learned Prof. Post has a child at risk, in my area, it turns out; thank you for his service. Be that as it may, I think the Trump administration’s response has been fast, comprehensive, and I think we shall see, effective. There is a great deal more sophistication and expertise in the response than is represented in anything posted here, and apparently much of it is beyond the imagining of the original poster and the majority of the commenters. Trump acted when, and in a way that was unpopular and contrary to the common perceptions and even the guidance of the CDC and other agencies, on Jan. 31, 11 days after the very first case was identified in the U.S. At the same time he convened a task force made up of the leading experts in their disciplines: epidemiology, respiratory therapy, immunology, vaccine research, logistics, and so on. Despite what people here assume, it is not the role of the Strategic National Stockpile to be the primary supplier of material to states and cities and hospital, but to supplement the state stockpiles and response plans. In addition, Trump has encouraged companies to produce PPE and ventilators before he even exercised the DPA, and they are on track to supply our needs. One need only watch the daily briefings to have learned all of this. It is clear most here don’t know.

    1. Well stated.

      I do wish the spending spree and power grabs would stop.

      1. “I do wish the spending spree and power grabs would stop.”

        Because the power is being grabbed by the wrong people?

  47. “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Government is incapable of granting rights or protecting people, their livelihoods or property.

    Government’s purpose is to secure the individual rights belonging to us by virtue of our humanity to defend our own selves, livelihoods and property per our founding document.

    FEMA fails because it is outside the scope of legitimate government. FEMA does not have the right to respond to a domestic crisis.

    Preparing and taking action such as collaborating or stock piling for a crisis is an individual’s duty and an individual’s right.

    Per our founding document we created government to secure these rights for each of us and from authoritarian groups such as FEMA.

    FEMA can only exist because it takes away our ability to protect ourselves and provide for our families via taxation.

    Mr Post, we are not paying for not having ‘the right’ people at FEMA.

    We are paying for permitting FEMA to exist at all.

  48. The President claimed his business experience would be an asset, and look how well the business community has handled the pandemic. They’re in near-total collapse, and later this year they get the chance to fire the Chief Executive who got them that way.

    1. That’s absolutely false. Can you provide any substantiation for that statement?

      We are NOT in near-total collapse.

      Ridiculous.

      1. You’r of the opinion that the American people cannot fire their President this November? He hasn’ t even TRIED to call off the elections yet.

        1. Nice, take my reply with the wrong context. I said it’s absolutely false that the business community is in near total collapse.

          1. ” I said it’s absolutely false that the business community is in near total collapse.”

            You’re wrong about that, too.

  49. Apologize if I missed something obvious/remarked on already.
    I remember some years back a commenter named Loki something.
    Since made himself scarce. This isn’t…(doesn’t seem to me at all the same guy/gal)?
    Back to regular progamming …

  50. The post errs because it lacks perspective and is working too hard to support the author’s prior: Trump is bad, so bad things happening are because of Trump. If the problem faced by the US was unique, you could say, yeah Trump’s management style is to blame. But Trump did not cause Italy, Spain, the U.K., France or other Western countries to fall short in containing the virus. Mr. Post laments about why we failed to match the current success of South Korea or Singapore’s response, thus accepting—wrongly—they are the norm, and we are the outlier. But that’s wrong: those countries are exceptions to the general pattern. There are leadership decisions Trump got wrong, which consist mainly of his style of trying to build put on a positive face, rather than give a more honest assessment of the situation.

    But the truth is, the US and the west is faced with an unprecedented situation that, at least as far back as February, most nations thought could be contained to China. The biggest misstep was not a thing Trump or his “anti-government” ideologues did, but the reliance on a faulty testing strategy developed by professionals and non-ideological appointees at the CDC and FDA. That defect has been subsequently remedied, but it took time. But again, it’s not a uniquely American problem: testing shortages are happening in many countries. And it seems scaling up to

    It was only after Italy was hit, and hit badly, did the severity become crystal clear.

    1. “Trump is bad, so bad things happening are because of Trump. If the problem faced by the US was unique, you could say, yeah Trump’s management style is to blame. But Trump did not cause Italy, Spain, the U.K., France or other Western countries to fall short in containing the virus”

      Aproximately 0 people are blaming Mr. Trump for the COVID situation in the UK, France, Spain or Italy. It isn’t his job to direct the governments of those nations to protect their citizens. It is, however, his job to direct the government of the United States, a job he declines to take seriously. Faulting him for that failure is “unfair” to him the way blaming a plumber for failing to maintain the plumbing during a time when the sewage is ankle-deep. He didn’t create the sewage, but it was his job to make sure that nobody else got any on their shoes.

    2. “It was only after Italy was hit, and hit badly, did the severity become crystal clear.”

      That’s in the past, and His Royal Orangeness still doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

  51. Sorry, my prior post went our unfinished. From the top:

    The post errs because it lacks perspective and is working too hard to support the author’s prior: Trump is bad, so bad things happening are because of Trump. If the problem faced by the US was unique, you could say, yeah Trump’s management style is to blame. But Trump did not cause Italy, Spain, the U.K., France or other Western countries to fall short in containing the virus. Mr. Post laments about why we failed to match the current success of South Korea or Singapore’s response, thus accepting—wrongly—they are the norm, and we are the outlier. But that’s wrong: those countries are exceptions to the general pattern. There are leadership decisions Trump got wrong, which consist mainly of his style of trying to build put on a positive face, rather than give a more honest assessment of the situation.

    But the truth is, the US and the west is faced with an unprecedented situation that, at least as far back as February, most nations thought could be contained to China and would not require the draconian responses or marshaling of resources we now see. The biggest misstep was not a thing Trump or his “anti-government” ideologues did, but the reliance on a faulty testing strategy developed by professionals and non-ideological appointees at the CDC and FDA. That defect has been subsequently remedied, but it took time. Again, it’s not a uniquely American problem: testing shortages are happening in many countries. And it seems although we have made a lot of progress anddwarfing the whole number of tests of other nations, scaling up to a nation of 320 million people isn’t easily done. It’s unlikely that, even if Trump developed the scientific acumen required to overrule his own scientific advisors pursuing the CDC testing model in February, that the nation would have been able to put in place anything on the scale we ultimately needed in time.

    Likewise with the medical supplies. Putting aside the dispute over the prior administration depleting the reserves and not restocking it (despite having 8 years to do so), it’s not clear the size of the national stockpile is the driving force behind shortages on the front lines. We are talking about a simultaneous global rush on the exact same materials, which has clearly put pressure on the lines of distribution. At any given moment in a time of high demand, especially with hoarding, you will find some consumers running low or short on supplies. There are at least tens of thousands, of healthcare consumers of PPE in the United States. When the president says the federal government is not a shipping clerk, it’s not far off from the truth. The federal government can never act as a substitute or to fill in for the private market’s complex network of distribution networks to meet every consumers’ need. Expecting it do so so through sheer force of government fiat (e.g., by using the DPA) on short notice is simply a task too far for the most disciplined governments, let alone ours. So even when the stockpile was shipping out what supplies it had, the federal government was generally limited to handing it to the states or local authorities to help distribute it.

    I want to pick up on the question of Obama’s role in the dwindling size of the stockpile. Not because I want to turn this into a “but Obama” post, but because it goes to the heart of Mr. Post’s thesis, namely, that it is something ideologically specific about Trump that had led us to be unprepared. Yes, Trump did not restock the supplies for three years. But Covid-19 could just has easily been Covid-16. If the virus came to America in January 2017, in which case, that falls entirely upon Obama, rather than 7/10th on Obama. The timing is pure happenstance. And it’s not just Obama: state authorities, liberal and conservative alike, have time and time again put off investment in healthcare preparation for other priorities. It’s not an ideological or personal failing of this administration.

    Now, could the administration have taken different steps to get ahead of the virus sooner? Yes, but hindsight is 20/20. That’s not simply a cliche. There’s a great deal of revisionist history that is placing the warning signs further and further back in time. Let’s not forget that until Italy was hit by the virus, the West really did not have a complete picture of the severity of this virus or our lack of preparedness for it. Even today, most of our models are based upon data from Italy because it’s the best and most accurate picture we’ve got. So again, I grant you that there are things Trump could have done sooner, but we are really only talking about pushing *some* back some of the dates one or two weeks. And that’s a best case scenario situation, and even then I find it would be unlikely to have change the overall course of the pandemic. Trump didn’t dictate how other nation’s responded to the virus, yet many of us are all in the same boat.

    And I think that brings me back to my initial point: the American response to the crisis is not really an outlier. To the extent that it differs from other nations, it does so in ways both good and bad. But the national effort to respond by both the federal government and the states has been, on balance, impressive. In some ways, we are in a better place than other nations to bear the brunt of the virus. We won’t know for sure until the pandemic reaches its end how our country will stack up. Have we been perfect? No. But no nation is perfect, and no administration would respond to this perfectly. Lamenting about its shortcoming, whitewashing its successes, and taking a myopic view of the worldwide effect to compare our efforts *only* to exceptional countries and not to many others more similarly situated to us is not fact-based or persuasive.

    1. Excellent post, and I agree with everything you have said. I think we will see that the U.S.’s response is exceptional. Name another Western country that is even trying to build ventilators on short notice, let alone in the quantities we are, for example. What other nation has the logistical capabilities of the U.S., and has overlaid a command and control system on top of the commercial supply chain systems of 6 or 7 major health care products distributors? Ramped up the volume of testing platforms and distributed them throughout the country? And so on.

      1. “Name another Western country that is even trying to build ventilators on short notice…”

        A moments googling found projects in the UK, South Africa, and Spain. I didn’t look further.

        1. I should have said “at scale.” Not printing some 3D plastic parts for existing manufacturers’ existing plants, but building new plants; Ford to produce 50,000 by July, GM to produce 30,000 within 5 months. Maybe I missed it, but please let me know what other countries’ industry is responding like that.

          1. One example involving Ferrari, Fiat Chrysler, Nissan, McLaren, et al.

            1. That’s encouraging. I wonder why all except Nissan are developing new. Let’s see what kind of volumes they can produce. Trump mentioned yesterday “The UK called today and they wanted to know, would it be possible to get 200. And we’re going to work it out. We got to work it out. They’ve been great partners, the United Kingdom. And we’re going to work it out for them. So they wanted 200. They needed them desperately.”

              1. Too bad Mr. Trump doesn’t get along with the governor of New York as well as the British, or New York would have enough ventilators, too.

          2. In 5 months the disease will have long-since peaked and we won’t need them. Heck, covid may have already peaked in late march. (We’ll have a better feel for it in about a week).

            Pandemics happen too fast to retool manufacturing after-the-fact. It’s simply unreasonable to expect government to magic materials out of thin air or stockpile sufficient numbers ahead of time. (This stuff doesn’t just magically stay perfectly viable while it sits in a warehouse – materials degrade, and the expense of keeping 100ks of ventilators and millions of masks in functional order that aren’t needed 99.9% of the time is hard to justify).

            1. Squirrelloid, we do need them, in the short term for the reemergence of the virus in the Fall, which many experts predict,
              and for the long term, to restock the national stockpile and state and hospital stockpiles. I can imagine this being subsidized by the feds.

              In your second paragraph you seem to be saying there’s nothing that can be done – pandemics are so fast that you can’t respond by making more, quickly, and you can’t save up supplies for when a pandemic happens. Neither of these are true. The federal government has already, and continues to distribute ventilators from the SNS, and manufacturers are responding with dramatic increases in production: “The U.S. government under the Defense Production Act is paying Philips $646.7 million to deliver 2,500 ventilators to the Strategic National Stockpile by the end of May 2020, with a total 43,000 ventilators delivered by the end of the year, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services news release.”
              (I removed three links from this reply, as I think that’s why the previous version is “awaiting moderation.”

              1. As i understand it, the condition of the ventilators in the National Stockpile wasn’t great, because they weren’t routinely maintained. (I seem to recall reading some of the masks weren’t in great shape either).

                Also, it’s not just material supplies like ventilators. You need trained medical personnel to use them, and you can’t stock those in a warehouse, nor will an economy voluntarily employ (and keep medical skills in practice) large numbers of excess medical professionals who aren’t needed.

                How many masks and ventilators do you think should be stored? Even assuming you’ve acquired this stockpile, what’s the annual maintenance and replacement cost for materials that go bad in storage? How vigilant do you expect the government to be at inspecting the stockpile for such defects, and what’s the cost of that? How long do you expect the waiting time to be for the next pandemic where these things are needed? What’s the probability you stocked too much or too little? Let’s put some numbers on these things and see if it’s at all reasonable?

            2. ” the expense of keeping 100ks of ventilators and millions of masks in functional order that aren’t needed 99.9% of the time is hard to justify”

              All you have to do is see some of the things that the military stockpiled in case they needed it after a nuclear war. Not just the military, but the Congressional retreat. Hint: We have a strategic helium reserve.

              1. Sure, but those stockpiles aren’t for the whole population, they’re for the political class and military command.

                1. And that makes them magically work despite poor or no maintenance (as you complained of above)? And, although he Navy does use Helium to pressurize submarines, it’s nice that we have a strategic supply of it, so that the elites can have balloons at their victory parties after the war.

      2. “Excellent post, and I agree with everything you have said. I think we will see that the U.S.’s response is exceptional. ”

        Sure, it’ll go away by itself when the weather gets warmer. Exceptional.

        1. You obviously have no idea of the depth and breadth of the response. So, you make snide shallow remarks of zero substance. You would do better for yourself to become informed.

          1. You obviously have a vastly inflated sense of your own understanding of the depth and breadth of the response. So, you make critical comments about other people based on your own lack of information despite the fact that your opinion is of no value whatsoever.
            And that’s why I don’t care what you think and will proceed directly to suggesting you go fuck yourself with the most painful object in your vicinity.

            1. “Editor’s Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. “

              1. You can use that, if you can make it fit.

      3. ” it’s not a uniquely American problem: testing shortages are happening in many countries”

        The fact that our government is being run by an incompetent does not imply that all the other governments aren’t. Nor does the fact that some of the other governments are run by incompetents imply that ours isn’t. Our guy screwed up, and so did some of their guys.

    2. spot on!

    3. Very well said.

    4. “Putting aside the dispute over the prior administration depleting the reserves and not restocking it (despite having 8 years to do so)”

      The do-all excuse of Trump apologists… it’s really Obama’s fault. Trump set out to reverse every single Obama decision starting on day one. But these were decisions that were allowed to wait. Nice try.

      1. So, 3/11ths Trump’s fault and 8/11ths Obama’s fault? Is that fair?

        1. The buck stops where?

          1. Seriously, if’s funny how you want to deflect any criticism of Trump from people who unfairly blame Trump for things by blaming Obama for it, instead. It’s true that both have unreasonable critics and got blamed for things unfairly, but at some point being the top guy means taking the blame for something.
            To hear Donnie say it, he’s never, ever made a mistake. But he wants credit for anything that turns out OK, whether he had anything to do with it or not.

  52. Prof. Post,

    This is too long.

    First, your child — like so many others in the front line and those suffering from this disease and it’s direct and collateral effects — are in our prayers.

    Second, understanding your heightened personal concern, we’d all be better off tamping down the rhetoric while this is playing out here and on the world stage. We can hand out blame and credit like candy when this is all over and the picture is clearer.

    What is pretty clear right now is that the administration — especially the health agencies — have been running from the “influenza pandemic” playbook after initial containment efforts — both state and federal — Failed because that’s what they had prepared going into this. You can find the plans online, including the “death counts” associated with each level of pandemic.

    Those plans don’t provide for containment or testing aimed at that. For example, in 2009 the CDC rolled out an initial 200 testing kits to great fanfare just like the CDC this time, but back then it bragged of the million tests conducted over significantly longer timeframe than we’ve had here. Keep in mind, the H1n1 that year infected something like 60 million people and that the individual responsible for creating the 2009 test for the CDC did the work on this year’s too.

    South Korea ran into similar problems ramping up in 2015 with MERs and implemented the reforms that have been so effective this time. That includes quickly decentralizing testing, but also extensive use of formal quarantine including applying it to new arrivals as well as aggressive contact tracing . The number I saw reported was over 200,000 individuals quarantined at a time when they had around 9,000 cases.

    It seems Singapore and Taiwan have taken similar approaches (as well as a recent history of widespread mask use) that simply wasn’t in the US playbook from 2005 on, which focused on more diffuse methods like social distancing to spread out — but not really reduce — the overall tolls.

    Here, however, our initial approach — and optimism — were more in line with our previous SARS and MERS experience, where initial cases were quickly caught and spread prevented. But that didn’t work for many reasons.

    The EU will provide a good current measuring stick as to how we end up doing as a nation (comparable population size, heavy international travel and internal movement between “states”).

    The Hong Kong flu, however, is a good historical measuring stick. It took a while for the flu to hit the U.S., during which time a vaccine was created and widely used. It still took 4 months for the vaccine to be created, I believe. While something like 7 million people died worldwide, “only” 70,000 in a smaller population U.S. did so. (Compared to I think appx. 675,000 for the Spanish Flu and AIDS).

    The US had it’s a** handed to it in the first few months of World War II, with a federal government that simply accepted it wasn’t going to send relief to the troops fighting in the Philippines ,for instance, and with the Nazis having a field day sinking ships within sight of the American coast. But we worked through it — still making tragic mistakes like the many deaths PRACTICING for D-Day — and did, as you noted, pretty well in the end. Hopefully, we’ll be able to say the same this time around.

    As for Trump, the administration has done some good things to break bureaucratic inertia and has some other positive things on the ledger. In the long-run, the discouragement of public mask wearing will likely be one of the bigger negatives.

    But the time for all levels of the public and private sectors (Including the feds) to think about their PPE and other supply chains was well before China, Italy or any other part of the world ramped up their demands. But I’ve also seen officials who spanned multiple administrations say they thought money for masks, etc. was better spent on annual flu vaccines.

    All that said, I’ve also been in and am aware of hospitals that were forbidding — in mid- to late-March — the wearing of masks by hospital staff because they didn’t want to “panic” patients.

    The whole situation is fluid, chaotic and extremely challenging. Hopefully, we will collectively make far more good than bad decisions as this runs its course.

    Perspective is hard to maintain in the middle of any problem. But we have to try. Each saved life is a huge victory and every lost one a tragedy. If we learn quickly from mistakes and quickly adapt to find better paths, that’s a very good thing, especially if it leads to many more saved lives.

    1. Your facts for the Hong Kong flu (the ’68 pandemic flu) are off. The US was hit harder than europe, suffering ~100k deaths out of ~1 million worldwide. And there was no government-led effort at all in ’68 – the government intentionally chose to let the virus run its course. No lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, or shelter in place orders. And while it may have taken only 4 months to develop a vaccine, they didn’t even start working on it until after the virus hit US soil in September, despite The Times warning about pandemic flu in late July. (The vaccine wasn’t available until a month after the virus peaked in the US, which was late December, so if it took 4 months they didn’t start working on it until October).

      It’s also worth pointing out that while the ’68 pandemic flu killed 100k americans, the statistically excess deaths were only 40k, meaning over half the people who died from it were likely to have died from *something* in the same period anyway.

      Not that I disagree with your general thesis that the ’68 flu pandemic will be a good benchmark for covid-19. But it’s an argument for not locking down the economy.

    2. Good post, thank you.

      1. I’ve got to concede error — I’m pretty sure I mislabeled stats I’d seen from the ‘57 (Asian flu) pandemic as the later one. The CDC used both (and the Spanish flu) in its influenza pandemic plan. I think both are fair measuring sticks for the current response.

        That said, God forbid if deaths could legitimately shoot up two magnitudes (or more), a few weeks of economic damage. FWIW, I would have preferred extensive individualized quarantining coupled with fed/state curtailing of interstate and intrastate travel to hot spots. And overly widespread testing when ready.

        Quash the hell out of local flare-ups while concentrating heavy resources on the main. Given the asymptomatic carriers, no guarantee of success there either. Sometimes there’s just no good alternatives.

        Stay safe…

        1. Meant “a few weeks of economic damage would be a fair trade-off, I strongly suspect”

    3. “The whole situation is fluid, chaotic and extremely challenging”

      which means we can wish we’d given the job of dealing with it to somebody who saw the job as more than an opportunity to make sure he was served one more scoop of ice cream than everyone else. Obama was in way over his head, too, but at least he took the job seriously.

  53. Has anyone else every gotten “Your comment is awaiting moderation?”

  54. “So if someone can actually make America great again, I’m all in on that. In the meantime, I can only read about Taiwan’s response, or Singapore’s response, ” and, I suppose, marvel that the American response has (at this point) been provably better? I look forward to an update which once again uses metrics to compare the American response to the responses by other state aggregates (the EU, for example) and which once again uses metrics to compare the response by the Trump Administration to responses by the other American administrations cited in this post.

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