Now We Know What “Ours” Meant

I noted in the last post that the U.S. federal stockpile of medical protective gear is almost empty as coronavirus spreads. And everybody is screaming for ventilators. But Trump seems to have his own private stash.

Josh Marshall:

As we work to find out the scope and goals of the White House’s seizure of medical goods across the United States, a simpler pattern is coming into view: the White House seizes goods from public officials and hospitals across the country while doling them out as favors to political allies and favorites, often to great fanfare to boost the popularity of those allies. The Denver Post today editorialized about one of the most egregious examples. Last week, as we reported, a shipment of 500 ventilators to the state of Colorado was intercepted and rerouted by the federal government. Gov. Jared Polis (D) sent a letter pleading for the return of the equipment. Then yesterday President Trump went on Twitter to announce that he was awarding 100 ventilators to Colorado at the behest of Republican Senator Cory Gardner, one of the most endangered Republicans on the ballot this year. As the Post put it, “President Donald Trump is treating life-saving medical equipment as emoluments he can dole out as favors to loyalists. It’s the worst imaginable form of corruption — playing political games with lives.”

We don’t know if the ventilators sent by Trump were part of the shipment that was seized. But there have been reports from several sources of the federal government seizing shipments of medical equipment, and nobody knows what’s happening to it. I mentioned this in a post a couple of days ago. And see Are the Trumps Engaged in Profiteering?

Back to Josh Marshall:

For all the confusion, what is clear is that the federal government is demanding that states, localities and hospital systems find their own supplies while systematically interdicting those they do purchase and rerouting them in other directions while providing no explanation of what standards are being used to distribute them. At the same time, Republican officeholders keep turning up announcing windfalls of medical supplies courtesy of the President. In many cases, like Gardner, they’re Republicans within blue or purple states.

Josh Marshall again, from another post today:

This morning I heard from a board member of a regional private hospital system who said these seizures aren’t just happening. They’re commonplace. Seemingly bordering on routine. To paraphrase this person’s account it’s searching high and low everywhere to find supplies and on those rare occasions when you strike gold the feds are likely to jump in and grab your stuff anyway. Hearing this my sense – not the source’s words – is that it’s almost like FEMA and whatever other agencies are doing this are using these desperate buyers as their involuntary lead generators. Let them find the stuff and when you see a shipping order surface, grab it.

What’s going on? We can only speculate.

What seems just as likely, or perhaps a minimum version of the story is that the White House has created a highly chaotic and disorganized process and then Trump and Jared Kushner have layered over that a thin blanket of their own corruption, the commerce in favors and mutual back scratching and paydays that are the mother’s milk of Trumpism. Down at the level of FEMA and Customs we heard of one story that seemed highly suspicious at first but when we dug into it was more a story of chaos and craziness but where all the key players were acting reasonably enough in a situation that was highly unreasonable.

But again and again we hear of friends reaching out to Jared or Trump and suddenly getting a shipment. It’s worth noting that one of these cases was some unnamed friend of Trump reaching out about a shortage in the public hospital system in New York City. Trump gave it to Jared and suddenly a shipment was on the way. They talked up this story in that press briefing where Jared was the special guest.

It stinks out loud, in other words.

7 thoughts on “Now We Know What “Ours” Meant

  1. In a post from a day or two ago, with Sanders’ exit, you expounded on your opinion of a Biden victory in November. I clutched my keyboard in silence, thinking that so much can happen between now and November that any prognostication at this point is going to be nearly meaningless. I disagreed with your opinion that Biden would likely be victorious over Trump, in my bones I have very little faith this will happen. 

    In John Roberts’s Wisconsin Shame, Frank Rich talks about what people had to go through in Milwaukee to vote yesterday – only 5 polling stations were open in Milwaukee out of a normal total of 180. This is Republican voter suppression amped up to the max, taking advantage of the pandemic. Wisconsin is a hugely strategic state electorally

    This is the US Supreme Court endorsed template for how bad things will get come November. It makes no difference how unpopular Trump is or will become, they’re not leaving peacefully. Brazenly awarding medical equipment to loyalists is becoming normal, in the sense that there is nobody to stop them.

  2. "Stinks!"

    The reeks more that the Staten Island garbage-landfill on a hot summer day, after a long, long heat wave!

    Hey moonbat,

    I completely concur!

    Wisconsin was the test case for November.

    By late October/early November, I look for tRUMP to (somehow or other, and by any and all means possible)  let the coronavirus (tRUMP Plague, as I call it) run wild, so that the GOP can win not just the presidential race, but also ones for Congress.

    The SCOTUS signalled, in its WI decision, that it will, if not directly, then indirectly help the Republicans win.

    If we're not one already, we'll soon be an Authoritarian Fascist dictatorship.  The world's best-armed Banana Republic.  All thanks to Cristo-Fascist banana's Republicans.

    Hopefully, I'm wrong.  Very wrong.

  3.  It's important to try to document what's being seized for future investigation. Trump has been able to stonewall the House, but some FOI demands have revealed what the House could not unearth. How can the inventory of FEMA be classified or redacted in a Freedom of Information inquiry? 

    "Secrecy begets tyranny." Robert A. Heinlein. That needs to be the lead in an 30-second ad which questions the seizure and unknown routing and profiteering by Trump allies. Either the administration can be completely open about what they grabbed and where it went OR pound them for exploiting the pandemic for profit.

  4. In Wisconsin we no longer have even the pretense of a democratic election.  We rolled the boulder up the mountain to elect a Democratic Gov in 2018, only to have him cut off at the knees before he even took office. Our republican legislature voted themselves an open check book to spend unlimited taxpayer funds to hire private law firms to do state business, as they are unwilling to work with our State Atty General. 

    Even pre-corona virus it was not at all unusual for people in Milwaukee to be in line to vote for hours.  It will be interesting to see how many absentee ballots will be invalidated.

    Late ballots, ballots that never went out in the mail to the voter in the first place, ballots stuck in a basket at the post office and not delivered to the county clerks office in time, any ballot with out a witness signature, any ballot arriving without a postmark, all will be invalid. Oddly, these problems seemed to be a problem primarily in Milwaukee.  

    • Sherryll, thank you. I think you might like this comment to Krugman's opinion piece in the NYT today. Credit for this comment is to NM.

      And the Wisconsin State Supreme Court’s unthinkable maneuvering was okayed by the conservative members of the United States Supreme Court, who seemed utterly indifferent to the fact that we are not in ordinary times. Do those five Justices have any idea what life is like for the rest of us? That we are losing innocent lives and petrified for our own? That we cannot even console our friends with a hug or a hand held? That going to work or to school are memories for most of us? That getting groceries is a major undertaking and a haircut is out of reach? But voting circumstances can’t be made to accommodate this pandemic? How can anyone with such poor judgement be called a judge? This disturbing reality reads like farce, yet it is the final verdict of our highest court. And now we see how diabolical Republicans’ agenda is. They will do anything to put their judges in every court they can. Their political agenda will be enacted from every bench they can get.


      • The Senate can't confirm Federalist judges now without meeting. Will this provide some kind of a break?

  5. State officials need armed guards ready to deal with anyone who even tries to confiscate supplies.

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