DIY Government in the Age of Trump

Some day researchers will probably try to determine how many unnecessary deaths happened because of the black hole in the White House. For now, the remarkable thing is the degree to which U.S. institutions are self-organizing to make up for, well, Trump.

In Chaotic search for coronavirus treatments undermines efforts, experts say, Carolyn Y. Johnson of the Washington Post writes that the state of medical research into covid-19 is an uncoordinated mess.

In a desperate bid to find treatments for people sickened by the coronavirus, doctors and drug companies have launched more than 100 human experiments in the United States, investigating experimental drugs, a decades-old malaria medicine and cutting-edge therapies that have worked for other conditions such as HIV and rheumatoid arthritis.

Development of effective treatments for covid-19, the disease the virus causes, would be one of the most significant milestones in returning the United States to normalcy. But the massive effort is disorganized and scattershot, harming its prospects for success, according to multiple researchers and health experts. Researchers working around-the-clock describe a lack of a centralized national strategy, overlapping efforts, an array of small-scale trials that will not lead to definitive answers and no standards for how to prioritize efforts, what data to collect or how to share it to get to answers faster.

“It’s a cacophony — it’s not an orchestra. There’s no conductor,” said Derek Angus, chair of the department of critical care medicine at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who is leading a covid-19 trial that will test multiple therapies. “My heart aches over the complete chaos in the response.”

I don’t have extensive knowledge of how research was conducted in past health emergencies. I’m not sure we’ve had a past health emergency that compares to what we’re facing now. Our current pandemic most closely resembles the great “Spanish flu” pandemic of 1918, but in those days medical science had no clue what to do about virus infections. That pandemic only ended after enough humans on the planet had been exposed and had either died or developed immunity. 675,000 Americans died in that pandemic, it says here.

However, it’s obvious the world is crying out for leadership. In administrations past, probably our CDC would have coordinated with WHO and some other large institutions to set priorities and establish standards, but with Mr. Temper “I take no responsibility” Tantrum in the way, that can’t happen on a national or global level. Or else the world will have to get along without us. As the article says, “the lack of coordination puts the world at risk of ending up with a raft of inconclusive and conflicting studies and little idea of what interventions work for the next wave of illness.”

All manner of trials and “studies” are being intiated in the U.S., but they’re being conducted so randomly and so often outside of established protocols that most are unlikely to produce usable information. For example, most institutions giving their patients remdesivir or hydroxychloroquine aren’t using a control group, so they can’t say whether outcomes are any different from those of patients not receiving the drugs.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest biomedical research agency, acknowledged researchers’ frustrations but said in an interview Wednesday he has been working behind the scenes to launch an unprecedented public-private partnership to address the problems. He said the framework involves top pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, domestic and international government agencies including the European Medicines Agency, and academic research centers. …

… Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in an email Tuesday that the partnership led by Collins is the “functional equivalent of a National Strategy.”

Did the White House even know this was happening? I’m guessing not, or Trump would have taken credit for it already.

Meanwhile, some states are figuring out work-arounds to make up for the lack of a functioning federal government.  For example, we now have three partnership groups of states that plan to work together on re-opening their economies. One is made up of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware. Another is California, Oregon, and Washington. Now we have a third partnership group, made up of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Kentucky. This is what states have to do to make up for a complete lack of leadership from Trump.

Also today, Illinois announced that its Department of Public Health labs are producing enough tests so that everyone in the state with symptoms can be tested.  Before this, people with mild symptoms were just told to stay home and try not to infect anyone else. But now people with symptoms can even be tested without a doctor’s order.

Yet the screwups continue. See A ‘War’ For Medical Supplies: States Say FEMA Wins By Poaching Orders at NPR.

Stuff to Read:

An Open Letter to the New New Left From the Old New Left by “Former leaders of the Students for a Democratic Society” in The Nation. A bunch of people signed this. Good stuff.

Greg Sargent, Pathetic displays like these are all Trump has left

Dana Milbank, Captain Trump Hits the Rocks

Eugene Robinson, Trump refuses to lead a country in crisis

U.S. President Donald Trump announces an agreement with Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RC1D94FA7CB0

8 thoughts on “DIY Government in the Age of Trump

  1. The old Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbet's Field had " The Dodgers Sym-PHONY Band," a rag-tag group of people who couldn't carry a tune (they couldn't carry a piano either, but that's not my point – just an old joke I repeated).

    They played something that sounded vaguely like  "Three Blind Mice" when the Ump's made a call that went against their beloved Bums!  They were intentionally awful!

    The current disorganized medical orchestration of our efforts to cure, or at least stem the tide of the tRUMP Plague, makes the Sym-PHONY sound like The NY Philaharmonic!

    In tRUMP, too many (stupid) people, trusted.  And as a result, we are totally screwed.

    There's no end, not even any relief, in sight!

    And Capt. tRUMPleTHINSKIN Bligh might as well have abandoned ship, for all the leadership he's exhibited! 

    This is a classic case, one never seen before in America, of the worst person possible meeting up with a killer pandemic.  It's as if n WW II, the America POTUS was…  Was…  I actually can't come up with a person less qualified, or even equally unqualified as tRUMP to take on the Axis Powers, and fight wars on multiple fronts.  Anyone help me?

    If all that results in, here in America, is a medium-sized depression, and less than 200,000 deaths, we should count ourselves lucky.  

    Try to stay safe, all!

  2. Why write when you can stand on shoulder's like these giant commenters. Commenting on Trump's Flounder Period in the NYT today.

    Jon Creamer

    Our President likes to take credit for fixing things, ummm, that he first worked hard to turn into problems that weren't really problematic, for instance trade deals. Or there are those things already broken he talks about fixing, like infrastructure, that he will never get around to fixing. Or there are those things he destroys and has no intention of fixing: healthcare and environmental regulations. I guess what I'm getting at is our President has made our country less great, primarily because he doesn't know how to fix anything. That he thinks these 200 "leaders" are the solution is insulting to those governors who are actually taking the lead on lessening the damage this pandemic is causing, a pandemic that Trump called a "hoax".


    @Jon Creamer This has been the Republican M.O. for years. Throw a jar of mustard at the wall then complain that there is mustard all over the wall and glass on the floor and the Democrats are responsible because they aren't cleaning it fast enough.

  3. I'm coming around to thinking that maybe God really did choose Trump to be president. It's like God is giving us a smack in the head and telling us to wise up and pay attention to what we're doing as a nation.

     I just can't understand how this circus has gone on for as long as it has. Like there is no end to it. I keep thinking back to Adam Schiff's admonishment to the GOP during his closing statement of the impeachment trial where he warns them that Trump's antics aren't going to stop unless they find the courage to pull the plug on him. Now it seems they are at a point of no return where they'll be saddled with Trump heading into the November election with a battered economy, unemployment numbers rivaling the great depression, a deficit close to 4 trillion dollars more than when Trump first came into office. Definitely not a good show. Add to that the fact that Trump can't string a sentence together without a boast or a lie being somewhere within it. And any pretense of competent leadership from Trump is out the window.

     Although the constant barrage of egregious behavior from Trump renders outrage ephemeral, one would suspect that behind the scenes there has been such an erosion of Trump's prospects at reelection that the GOP would actively be seeking to dump him in hopes of saving themselves.

     He's a bag of shit and he's a Jonah. I wish misery on him.. just a fraction of the misery he's heaped on countless individuals

    • "God choosing Trump to be president".  I would put it a different way.  Because it is said humans have free will, God has allowed us to choose Trump for president.  Now we must reap what we have sown.  To help us in our ignorance, God has sent the virus.  I am coming around to see the virus as a blessing.  Bear with me as I get metaphysical.  Viruses are simply DNA/RNA wrapped in a protein coat.  They manage to multiply by using the DNA of the host to replicate.  Although they are not considered alive, it does seem ingenious to multiply this way.  It is a mystery to me that they can be carried by an animal and not make the animal sick.  It seems  their target is actually human DNA.  I know this sounds very much like science fiction but that does not necessarily make it invalid.  I am of the opinion that everything on earth has a purpose (even a cockroach).  As the highest form of life on this planet, we have been given the responsibility of taking care of God's creation and we have not done a very good job.  So, now we are being taught a lesson.  If we cannot do God's work on this planet, nature will do what is necessary to heal the planet.  As the planet heals, so will all life on the planet.

      I feel like I am rambling so will cut this short.  Perhaps the virus is God's way of changing the DNA in humans so that the species is able to make the transition to the 4th dimension which is the next step in evolution.  In my thinking, it is not  necessary for everyone to actually get the virus but only for the consciousness of mankind to reach a certain point that it automatically makes the changes.  Something to think about while we are staying home.

  4. For example, we now have three partnership groups of states that plan to work together on re-opening their economies.

    That's so cool, seeing a bunch of States coming together to form a United group. I wonder what we should call it. 

  5. Politico broke the story today that Florida has processed less than 5% of the unemployment claims from the last month – 33,000 new claims paid out of 600-something new claims. (My wife and I among them) 

    The guv, who is a Trump Mini-me, claims to have shifted hundreds of people from other agencies and hired hundreds more. Nobody can get through on the phones – it took days (literally) to complete two applications with the system crashing. The solution to the 'Re-employment' system Rick Scott built a few years ago for 77 million is that we can now print at home PAPER UNEMPLOYMENT FORMS! And mail them in. I used to be a computer programmer and the scope of the proposal is staggering. The system doesn't work, can't be fixed any time soon, so a half-million people are going to mail in forms??? Then what? Who enters the information from a half-million applications into the computer system that still doesn't work?

    The stimulus check came through so I'm OK this month. At this point, unemployment may come through before the second coming of Christ. But don't bet on it.

    • Have you considered the possibility that your stimulus money will be considered income and delay your ability to initiate a claim for benefits. I'm not saying that's how they are going to handle that, but they seem pretty intent on making sure your hurting for money before they pay out.

      My feeling is that the state wants the federal government to pick up as much of the tab as they can before the state has to honor its commitment to its citizens.  Even with the State of Florida paying its portion with a $275.00 weekly benefit, it is going to put a strain  on the system that it won't be able to sustain considering the high number of applicants. I don't think it going to go off like clock work.

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