The Imperial Presidency and covid-19

The gang who couldn”t shoot straight took dead aim at the coronavirus pandemic and tried to reverse course on the pathway of stupidity and lies that characterized their public health behavior over the last three years and in particular the last six months.They fired with son in law Kushner priming the musket and MOM aka POTUS pulling the trigger.Moscow Mitch shut down the senate on a crucial weekend thereby applying his Kentucky windage in the galestorm of the pandemic.They were months behind the coronavirus but did sink the Dow Jones Index and unmistakably heralded in a bear market and economic recession.

Truth tellers must concede that the OBAMA bull market was coming to an end anyway after 11 years and this administration’s identification with the surge was spurious to begin with.Ultra truth seekers will testify to the inapplicability of the stock market indices to the lives of the hoi polio and to the ruthlessness of this administration’s pursuit of a 15 per cent return to the rich by destroying the Affordable Care Act,cutting Medicare ,applying a means test and a workability index to MEDICAID mostly eliminating it.Taking 700,000 people off food stamp eligibility was slated for April first but the epidemic and NANCY Pelosi with republican cooperation blocked it.

With the exception of those still being lied to on FOX news(LESS DISASTROUSLY NOW) the public now has access to the danger to which it is exposed by the covid-19 pandemic and the meaning of the declaration of a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY.

For those who might like more of my views on infectious illness and public health concerns go to findatopdoc.com

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15 Comments

  1. Readers may have noticed some exchanges that are more emotional than rational. It is time for a big picture look at things. The following observation about ideas and our “taking them to heart” explains almost every social conflict imaginable (past, present and future). It doesn’t present a perfect cure, but it does suggest a base of belief with which we can do a lot better for our collective future. I would be delighted to have your views on this issue.

    If I insult ideas that you hold, I am not insulting you when I insult the idea. That is, unless you have identified so closely with the idea that to some degree in your mind it has become you, or you have become it. Look back through the years and you will recognize how this tendency to deeply identify with ideas explains all levels of social conflict (and sometimes harmony). The Japanese fought to the death those who challenged their view of their Emperor. All religious wars have this basis for conflict. Nationalism clarifies for good and bad the meaning of prideful. A culture is recognized only because it differs from others regarding ideas collectively deemed important.

    Worth thinking about:

    This identification with ideas is in conflict with the objectivity of the scientific method. This objective method may be one of the ideas you would want to prevail in our society, and in your life. The idea of Science focuses on skepticism. Beliefs are to remain “out there” so that they can be analyzed, tested and corrected. If you become so emotionally dependent on one belief/idea such that any criticism of it is felt to be an insult, you have shunted yourself away from the discovery and growth benefits of science.

    Also, worth considering: Which is most likely to start a war, one who with skepticism believes his ideas should be tested and might be wrong, or one who believes his ideas are certainly true?

    As you think about this you will see that science too is an idea that might be worth fighting and dying for. It differs from others in a most significant way. How likely is it that it would become a motive for stifling debate or instigating a war?

  2. I enjoy Fareed Zacharia’s Sunday show because he is smart and tends to call in experts from around the world. I know his bias to the left and take that into account. If you read this OPINION piece, you will discover that the early on, and few, references to Trump are typical leftist distortions. For instance, much is made of the fact that early tests were too few and many defective. Completely left out of the article is notice that Trump closed travel to and from China far sooner than many complaining Democrats would have liked – at that time. In fact, that one act probably bought life-saving time to deal with the main gist of this article. That has to do with the U.S. not being so great, and our not being prepared – the reasons for which go back many generations. But even this criticism is opinion given that preparations could have been much worse, resources devoted instead to such preparations may have been used for good, even better causes, and current actions amid unknowns are well within the range of meeting the most likely challenge. Bottom line: This is an opinion piece presented by a mind oriented to Democrat leftist values.

    I would have liked seeing recommendations for balancing the deaths expected from this virus and the deaths expected because our economy has been smothered. Admitted Opinion – The ramifications of economic deprivation are quite likely going to be more devastating than will be the actual deaths resulting from COVID19.

    1. DS: “That has to do with the U.S. not being so great, and our not being prepared – the reasons for which go back many generations. “

      Sir, let’s stick to the facts … not present administration responsibility avoidance … lies = propaganda.
      
      ” In a tabletop exercise days before an untested new president took power, officials briefed the incoming administration on a scenario remarkably like the one he faces now.”
      https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/16/trump-inauguration-warning-scenario-pandemic-132797

      “Seven days before Donald Trump took office, his aides faced a major test: the rapid, global spread of a dangerous virus in cities like London and Seoul, one serious enough that some countries were imposing travel bans.

      The briefing was intended to hammer home a new, terrifying reality facing the Trump administration, and the incoming president’s responsibility to protect Americans amid a crisis. But unlike the coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the globe, this 2017 crisis didn’t really happen — it was among a handful of scenarios presented to Trump’s top aides as part of a legally required transition exercise with members of the outgoing administration of Barack Obama.”

      DS: “ Completely left out of the article is notice that Trump closed travel to and from China far sooner than many complaining Democrats would have liked – at that time.”

      Really? Again, the “empirical” facts, sir.

      https://www.factcheck.org/2020/03/the-facts-on-trumps-travel-restrictions/

      https://apnews.com/e5544a45250434154d01cd54183a55a3
      “ In the weeks before President Donald Trump spoke from the Oval Office to announce restrictions on travelers from more than two dozen countries in Europe, thousands of people from the region already had stepped off planes at U.S. airports, and an untold number of them carried the coronavirus.
      The same can be said of flights from China in the weeks before the U.S. clamped down on those. Thousands who visited the country where the illness began had entered the United States without any kind of health review.

      Such sobering realities highlight just one element of the federal government’s shortcomings in getting ahead of the virus and halting its spread from overseas travelers.”

      DS: “I would have liked seeing recommendations for balancing the deaths expected from this virus and the deaths expected because our economy has been smothered. “

      In response:
      https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/americas/2020-03-30/us-economy-uniquely-vulnerable-coronavirus?utm_medium=newsletters&utm_source=fatoday&utm_content=20200330&utm_campaign=FA_TODAY_033020%20The%20Vulnerability%20of%20the%20U.S.%20Economy%2C%20Policing%20Coronavirus%20Misinformation%2C%20China%20Policy%20Strains%20U.S.%20Alliances&utm_term=FA%20Today%20-%20112017

      DS: “My focus is on the scientific disciplines that clarify the objective truth, while understanding that part of this truth involves the fact that we humans have the complicating imagination to believe anything that is subjectively comfortable to believe.”

      Sir, you are hilarious! You’re so right. Enjoy your comfort zone. Stay safe.

      P.S. oh, those “liberal” values! Can you define them for the followers of this blog?

      1. My references were to the Zakaria article. To criticize my comments, SB has introduced from other sources a slew of criticisms about the Trump organization and expects us to embrace them as if there were no reason to expect bias on their part. Remember, bias often shows itself when data other than what is presented is ignored. Also, it is revealed when the likely consequences of an action are ignored because the wording used to describe that action was not precise or literally true. For example, SB’s presentation of “Fact Check” tells us that Trump did not actually block ALL travel from china when he put restrictions on China. Americans and some others were allowed to be exceptions to the rule. Because Trump talks about “blocking” travel, he is faulted, and the good caused by such action ignored and/or belittled. Because the fact checker tells us that only a few Democrats with power actually criticized its timing, Trump’s alluding to such criticism as representing the general Democrat judgment is labeled an untruth. Because it is uncertain as to how many lives may have been saved, we are to believe that this action had no, or insignificant value, thus any possibility that Trump actually displayed a moment of good judgment can be ignored.

        We live in an age flooded with opinions and “facts”, facts that are selectively sorted to suit what is comfortable for various mindsets to believe. I try to avoid the “weeds” of opinions and attempt to isolate the most essential of facts – Essential to life that is. For instance, it is a fact that every life, in order to survive, requires resources. Species thrive where resources are plentiful. The greater/larger the resource habitat, the more can live. A social system that produces more resources expands that habitat where more can live. A system that is less productive does less well for survival – people die who would otherwise live. Thus, if a mind truly wants to be compassionate, thereby helping the greatest number, it would strive to promote that system that is most productive. Capitalism is a proven system. Marxist leaning moralities have a bad record as regards producing habitat-expanding resources. The Republicans under Trump have with their three years of sound economic methods greatly benefitted humanity in this fundamental way. Crises are a threat to this growth. After yielding the free market to central authorities for specific allocation of resources to conquer this threat, those who truly want their fellow man to thrive will return to Republican economic policies.

  3. In response to SB statement of 27 March 2020, 5:29PM:

    SB is correct in understanding that we all face the danger of “leaping to unjustified certitudes”. Such leaps often bring immediate emotional pleasures while avoiding the otherwise required, and time-consuming, disciplines of self-questioning and self-testing.

    Precisely to avoid succumbing to the emotional attractions of excessive certitudes, if you read my past contributions to this blog, you will find that I give both empirical and logical foundations for my beliefs and the positions based on those beliefs. So, “my way” in essence describes the scientific method.

    SB claims that “facts are the basis” of her opinions, “not cult-control mendacity”. Given that I provide facts and logic it would seem that her criticisms of my ideas should be aimed at their errors (if any) and not just an attempt to shunt my ideas into the realm of cult like deceit and fabrication.

    I suspect that instead of “boring”, for her it is threatening that “meaningful” beliefs are being challenged by arguments that are structured with accurate logic and measurable data.

    As for SB’s “To each his own”, I operate with the assumption that there is an objective truth “out there” no matter people’s tendencies to employ faith, that is, excessive certitudes, and thereby embracing subjective interpretations of it. My focus is on the scientific disciplines that clarify the objective truth, while understanding that part of this truth involves the fact that we humans have the complicating imagination to believe anything that is subjectively comfortable to believe.

  4. How comfortable it must be to assume that those with whom you identify are all good, and those who differ are “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight”. But then, perhaps “comfort” comes is many forms. Comfort relative to one’s emotional ego is likely very different from being comfortable with rational analysis. Emotional egos are served by leaping to imagined certitudes that feel good. Being at ease with rational debate is served by acknowledging rational unknowns and feeling at ease with probabilities, not irrational certitudes. This virus challenge involves data points, which because of unknowns vary in degrees of clarity. As decisions must be made, they are necessarily based on best guesses. Any mind that assumes more certitude than the available evidence actually supports is demonstrating that it has an agenda other than that of promoting the honest truth.

    No matter differing conclusions, we can more easily define and understand rational process. The Trump “gang” is demonstrating that it knows this best-we-can-do process. It has and continues to make well educated, most probable, life-saving guesses.

    1. DS: “ The Trump ‘gang’ is demonstrating that it knows this best-we-can-do process. It has and continues to make well educated, most probable, life-saving guesses.”

      Wow, DS! It turns you DO have a sense of humor … perhaps, a bit dark … but, good try. Unfortunately, in this case, it would be funny if it weren’t sooooo deadly and dishonest.

      Stray … I mean, stay safely. Sharing: my sons ordered me to not stray out for the next 30 – 60 days. I trust their guesses more than the “gang” in charge.

      P. S. Oh, DS, just went back to your opening statement … “ Comfort relative to one’s emotional ego is likely very different from being comfortable with rational analysis. Emotional egos are served by leaping to imagined certitudes that feel good. ” Dear me, turnaround fair play? Still, take care … we need you to keep us alert.

      1. Well said Susanna.The proof of the pudding is in the eating.When the president declares the crisis over and the entire medical infrastructure disagrees who will the faithful follow? Firing Fauci is in the offing.But MOM can’t fire most of the Doctors and Nurses delivering care.

        1. What is seen in both SB’s and daedal2207’s opinions are judgments that assume more certitudes about their conclusions than all the known unknowns would justify. So, why do otherwise smart minds do this sort of thing? One likely possibility: For some mindsets a leaping to rationally unjustified certitudes feels good. If one’s ego is built upon the idea that your self-identified “tribe”, or “belief” is superior, it is satisfying to exaggerate any belief that describes other tribes as inferior.

          In their mind Trump’s approach to this Covid19 challenge is CERTAINLY and obviously well out of the range of possibly working. Of course, by misstating what Trump actually has said, Daedal 2207 can set up strawmen arguments that are easily and justly scorned.

          “We shall see”, thereby acknowledging unknowns that may alter policy toward an early or later shift to economic activity is a statement by Trump that is ignored. Also, apparently not of interest to those wishing to demean our President, is the fact that many lives are lost precisely because of the economy having been stopped in its tracks. To not consider this balancing fact (virus kills, and a bad economy kills) would be derelict of one’s duty – that is, if one is truly interested in saving the greatest possible number of lives.

        2. ??????????????????????????????

          DS: “ For some mindsets a leaping to rationally unjustified certitudes feels good. If one’s ego is built upon the idea that your self-identified “tribe”, or “belief” is superior, it is satisfying to exaggerate any belief that describes other tribes as inferior.”

          No truer words describe your own mindset towards people who do not see or appraise it your way. Facts are the basis of my opinions, not cult-control mendacity. To each his own.

          Now, it’s boring.

        3. If possible, I’d like to post the imagery below to the blog as a reply to DS.

          Thank you,

          Susanna Belk

          > >  > > “That’s close enough.”

          Sent from my iPad

          >

        4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-is-still-exceptional–but-now-for-its-incompetence/2020/03/26/4d6d1ade-6f9b-11ea-a3ec-70d7479d83f0_story.html

          Opinions
          Add to list
          The U.S. is still exceptional — but now for its incompetence

          By
          Fareed Zakaria
          Columnist
          March 26, 2020 at 6:14 p.m. EDT
          When a crisis hits the United States, the country’s general instinct is to rally around the flag and wish the best for its leaders. That’s probably why President Trump has seen his approval ratings rise, even though he has had a delayed and fitful approach to this pandemic. But at some point, we Americans must look at the facts and recognize an uncomfortable reality. The United States is on track to have the worst outbreak of coronavirus among wealthy countries, largely because of the ineffectiveness of its government. This is the new face of American exceptionalism.
          The United States now has the highest number of cases of covid-19 in the world, outstripping both China and Italy. The first line of defense against the disease is testing. On this key metric, the U.S. experience has been a fiasco: We started late, using a faulty test, and never quite recovered.
          Trump’s claim that “anybody that wants a test can get a test” is a cruel hoax. Access to tests remains much worse than in most advanced countries. His assertion that the United States has tested more people than South Korea is nonsense because it doesn’t take into account that South Korea has less than one-sixth America’s population. Per capita, South Korea has done five times more testing than the United States, as of Wednesday. But forget about South Korea. Italy, a country not known for the smooth workings of its government, has tested four times as many per capita as the United States.
          The United States has shortages of everything — ventilators, masks, gloves, gowns — and no national emergency system to provide new supplies fast. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) says his state will need 40,000 beds for critical care. It has only 3,000. That means many patients will die simply because they lack access to care that is available under normal circumstances. Not even three weeks into this pandemic, health-care workers are reusing masks, sewing their own and pleading for donations. In a searing essay in the Atlantic, Ed Yong writes, “Rudderless, blindsided, lethargic, and uncoordinated, America has mishandled the COVID-19 crisis to a substantially worse degree than what every health expert I’ve spoken with had feared.”
          Why did this happen? It’s easy to blame Trump, and the president has been inept from the start. But there is a much larger story behind this fiasco. The United States is paying the price today for decades of defunding government, politicizing independent agencies, fetishizing local control, and demeaning and disparaging government workers and bureaucrats.
          This was not always how it was. America has historically prized limited but effective government. In Federalist 70, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “A government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the modern federal bureaucracy, which was strikingly lean and efficient. In recent decades, as the scope of government has increased, the bureaucracy has been starved and made increasingly dysfunctional. In the 1950s, the percentage of federal civilian employees compared with total employment was above 5 percent. It has dropped to under 2 percent today, despite a population that is twice as large and a gross domestic product that is seven times higher (adjusting for inflation).

          Federal agencies are understaffed but overburdened with mountains of regulations and politicized mandates and rules, giving officials little power and discretion. The Food and Drug Administration’s cumbersome rules and bureaucracy — which have proved a huge problem in this case — are just one example among hundreds. The scholar who has long studied this topic, Paul Light, notes that under President John F. Kennedy, the Cabinet departments had 17 “layers” of hierarchy. By the time Trump took office, there were a staggering 71 layers. Both political parties have contributed to the problem, making the federal government a caricature of bureaucratic inefficiency.
          Most of these dysfunctions are replicated at the state and local levels with their own smaller agencies. The challenge of creating a national strategy is complicated by the reality that the true power in public health lies with 2,684 state, local and tribal systems, each jealously guarding its independence. We like to celebrate American federalism as the flourishing of local democracy. But this crazy patchwork quilt of authority is proving a nightmare when tackling an epidemic that knows no borders, and where any locality with a weak response will allow the infection to keep spreading elsewhere. What happens on Florida’s beaches doesn’t stay on Florida’s beaches.
          The Opinions section is looking for stories of how the coronavirus has affected people of all walks of life. Write to us.

          It’s an easy cop-out to say the United States can’t mirror China’s dictatorship. The governments that are handling this pandemic effectively include democracies such as South Korea, Taiwan and Germany. Many of the best practices employed in places such as Singapore and Hong Kong are not tyrannical but smart — testing, contact tracing and isolation. But all these places have governments that are well-funded, efficient and responsive. In today’s world, with problems that spill across borders at lightning speed, “well executed government” is what makes a country truly exceptional.

        5. FACTS:

          https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/opinion/cuomo-new-york-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=moreIn&pgtype=Article&region=Footer&action=click&module=MoreInSection&pgtype=Article&region=Footer&contentCollection=Bret%20Stephens

          “ The Trump family is a model of bad nepotism — noblesse oblige in reverse. Such is their reputation as scammers that congressional Democrats felt the need to put a provision in the coronavirus rescue bill to try to prevent Trump-and-Kushner Inc. from carving out a treat of their own.”

          “ Cuomo-style nepotism at least has better values. Donald Trump got his start with his father discriminating against black tenants in their housing complexes; Andrew Cuomo left his job as a political enforcer for his father, Mario Cuomo, also a three-term governor of New York, and created a national program to provide housing for the homeless.”

          “It is jarring to watch officials like Governor Cuomo and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who have worked their way up through the system, gaining valuable wisdom, have to delicately deal with Donald Trump, the barbarian who crashed through the gates and who is ignorant about — and disdains — the bureaucracy he leads.”

          Analyzing the Patterns in Trump’s Falsehoods About Coronavirus

          For months, the president has downplayed the severity of the pandemic, overstated the impact of his policies and potential treatments, blamed others and tried to rewrite the history of his response.

          Playing down the severity of the pandemic …
          Overstating potential treatments and policies …
          Blaming others …
          Rewriting history …

        6. daedal2207, the below is pertinent to the question you posit and is in response to DS last post:

          DS: “ Of course, by misstating what Trump actually has said, Daedal 2207 can set up strawmen arguments that are easily and justly scorned.”

          REALLY?!?!?!?

          Medical Expert Who Corrects Trump Is Now a Target of the Far Right
          Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s most outspoken advocate of emergency virus measures, faces a torrent of false claims that he is mobilizing to undermine the president.

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