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TBR News April 13, 2020

Apr 13 2020

The Voice of the White House Washington, D.C. April 13,, 2020: Working in the White House as a junior staffer is an interesting experience.
When I was younger, I worked as a summer-time job in a clinic for people who had moderate to severe mental problems and the current work closely, at times, echos the earlier one.
I am not an intimate of the President but I have encountered him from time to time and I daily see manifestations of his growing psychological problems.
He insults people, uses foul language, is frantic to see his name mentioned on main-line television and pays absolutely no attention to any advice from his staff that runs counter to his strange ideas.
He lies like a rug to everyone, eats like a hog, makes lewd remarks to female staffers and flies into rages if anyone dares to contradict him.
It is becoming more and more evident to even the least intelligent American voter that Trump is vicious, corrupt and amoral. He has stated often that even if he loses the
election in 2020, he will not leave the White House. I have news for Donald but this is not the place to discuss it.

Trump aches from his head to his toes
His sphincters have gone where who knows
And his love life has ended
By a paunch so distended
That all he can use is his nose.

Comment from April 13, 2020:Anyone with an IQ larger than their hat size who watches current Trump press conferences will immediately come to the not-unreasonable conclusion that the President is incapable of dealing with political problems in a rational manner. He uses the first person singular with great force, makes statement of alleged fact that are not and during a report on the Coronavirus, discussed his superior intellect and his golf games. He wants to open up American businesses on May 1, a date which nearly everyone dealing with the crisis says is totally impossible because the virus will then continue to spread again. Also, Trump has promised huge sums of money to be given away to needy Americans and small businesses. None of things have happened and now Trump, hoping to rig the next presidential elections the way he rigged the last, is trying to shut down the postal system to prevent mail-in election ballots cannot be delivered. If Trump falls from power, as he will, the only person he can blame is the one he sees in the bathroom mirror when he is shaving.”

The Table of Contents
• This Is Trump’s Fault
• Trump Has Emergency Powers We Aren’t Allowed to Know About
• Coronavirus: Does Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO endanger public health?
• The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
• Trump and Russian Political Support: Facts, not Fictions
• Innovation Should Be Made in the U.S.A.
• Encyclopedia of American Loons

This Is Trump’s Fault
The president is failing, and Americans are paying for his failures.
April 7, 2020
by David Frum
The Atlantic
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up.
Trump now fancies himself a “wartime president.” How is his war going? By the end of March, the coronavirus had killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. By the first weekend in April, the virus had killed more Americans than any single battle of the Civil War. By Easter, it may have killed more Americans than the Korean War. On the present trajectory, it will kill, by late April, more Americans than Vietnam. Having earlier promised that casualties could be held near zero, Trump now claims he will have done a “very good job” if the toll is held below 200,000 dead.
The United States is on trajectory to suffer more sickness, more dying, and more economic harm from this virus than any other comparably developed country.
That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not.
The lying about the coronavirus by hosts on Fox News and conservative talk radio is Trump’s fault: They did it to protect him.
The false hope of instant cures and nonexistent vaccines is Trump’s fault, because he told those lies to cover up his failure to act in time.
The severity of the economic crisis is Trump’s fault; things would have been less bad if he had acted faster instead of sending out his chief economic adviser and his son Eric to assure Americans that the first stock-market dips were buying opportunities.
The firing of a Navy captain for speaking truthfully about the virus’s threat to his crew? Trump’s fault.
The fact that so many key government jobs were either empty or filled by mediocrities? Trump’s fault. The insertion of Trump’s arrogant and incompetent son-in-law as commander in chief of the national medical supply chain? Trump’s fault.
For three years, Trump has blathered and bluffed and bullied his way through an office for which he is utterly inadequate. But sooner or later, every president must face a supreme test, a test that cannot be evaded by blather and bluff and bullying. That test has overwhelmed Trump.
Trump failed. He is failing. He will continue to fail. And Americans are paying for his failures.
The coronavirus emerged in China in late December. The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak on January 3. The first confirmed case in the United States was diagnosed in mid-January. Financial markets in the United States suffered the first of a sequence of crashes on February 24. The first person known to have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in the United States died on February 29. The 100th died on March 17. By March 20, New York City alone had confirmed 5,600 cases. Not until March 21—the day the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed its first large-scale order for N95 masks—did the White House begin marshaling a national supply chain to meet the threat in earnest. “What they’ve done over the last 13 days has been really extraordinary,” Jared Kushner said on April 3, implicitly acknowledging the waste of weeks between January 3 and March 21.
At a session with state governors on February 10, Trump predicted that the virus would quickly disappear on its own. “Now, the virus that we’re talking about having to do—you know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat—as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April. We’re in great shape though. We have 12 cases—11 cases, and many of them are in good shape now.” On February 14, Trump repeated his assurance that the virus would disappear by itself. He tweeted again on February 24 that he had the virus “very much under control in the USA.” On February 27, he said that the virus would disappear “like a miracle.”
Those two assumptions led him to conclude that not much else needed to be done. Senator Chris Murphy left a White House briefing on February 5, and tweeted:
Just left the Administration briefing on Coronavirus. Bottom line: they aren’t taking this seriously enough. Notably, no request for ANY emergency funding, which is a big mistake. Local health systems need supplies, training, screening staff etc. And they need it now.
Trump and his supporters now say that he was distracted from responding to the crisis by his impeachment. Even if it were true, pleading that the defense of your past egregious misconduct led to your present gross failures is not much of an excuse.
But if Trump and his senior national-security aides were distracted, impeachment was not the only reason, or even the principal reason. The period when the virus gathered momentum in Hubei province was also the period during which the United States seemed on the brink of war with Iran. Through the fall of 2019, tensions escalated between the two countries. The United States blamed an Iranian-linked militia for a December 27 rocket attack on a U.S. base in Iraq, triggering tit-for-tat retaliation that would lead to the U.S. killing General Qassem Soleimani on January 3, open threats of war by the United States on January 6, and the destruction of a civilian airliner over Tehran on January 8.
The preoccupation with Iran may account for why Trump paid so little attention to the virus, despite the many warnings. On January 18, Trump—on a golf excursion in Palm Beach, Florida—cut off his health secretary’s telephoned warning of gathering danger to launch into a lecture about vaping, The Washington Post reported.
Two days later, the first documented U.S. case was confirmed in Washington State.
Yet even at that late hour, Trump continued to think of the coronavirus as something external to the United States. He tweeted on January 22: “China has been working very hard to contain the Coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well. In particular, on behalf of the American People, I want to thank President Xi!”
Impeachment somehow failed to distract Trump from traveling to Davos, where in a January 22 interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, he promised: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China. We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
Trump would later complain that he had been deceived by the Chinese. “I wish they could have told us earlier about what was going on inside,” he said on March 21. “We didn’t know about it until it started coming out publicly.”
If Trump truly was so trustingly ignorant as late as January 22, the fault was again his own. The Trump administration had cut U.S. public-health staff operating inside China by two-thirds, from 47 in January 2017 to 14 by 2019, an important reason it found itself dependent on less-accurate information from the World Health Organization. In July 2019, the Trump administration defunded the position that embedded an epidemiologist inside China’s own disease-control administration, again obstructing the flow of information to the United States.
Yet even if Trump did not know what was happening, other Americans did. On January 27, former Vice President Joe Biden sounded the alarm about a global pandemic in an op-ed in USA Today. By the end of January, eight cases of the virus had been confirmed in the United States. Hundreds more must have been incubating undetected.
On January 31, the Trump administration at last did something: It announced restrictions on air travel to and from China by non-U.S. persons. This January 31 decision to restrict air travel has become Trump’s most commonly proffered defense of his actions. “We’ve done an incredible job because we closed early,” Trump said on February 27. “We closed those borders very early, against the advice of a lot of professionals, and we turned out to be right. I took a lot of heat for that,” he repeated on March 4. Trump praised himself some more at a Fox News town hall in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the next day. “As soon as I heard that China had a problem, I said, ‘What’s going on with China? How many people are coming in?’ Nobody but me asked that question. And you know better than—again, you know … that I closed the borders very early.”
Because Trump puts so much emphasis on this point, it’s important to stress that none of this is true. Trump did not close the borders early—in fact, he did not truly close them at all.
The World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, but recommended against travel restrictions. On January 31, the same day the United States announced its restrictions, Italy suspended all flights to and from China. But unlike the American restrictions, which did not take effect until February 2, the Italian ban applied immediately. Australia acted on February 1, halting entries from China by foreign nationals, again ahead of Trump.
And Trump’s actions did little to stop the spread of the virus. The ban applied only to foreign nationals who had been in China during the previous 14 days, and included 11 categories of exceptions. Since the restrictions took effect, nearly 40,000 passengers have entered the United States from China, subjected to inconsistent screenings, The New York Times reported.
At a House hearing on February 5, a few days after the restrictions went into effect, Ron Klain—who led the Obama administration’s efforts against the Ebola outbreak—condemned the Trump policy as a “travel Band-Aid, not a travel ban.”
That same afternoon, Trump’s impeachment trial ended with his acquittal in the Senate. The president, though, turned his energy not to combatting the virus, but to the demands of his own ego.
The president’s top priority through February 2020 was to exact retribution from truth-tellers in the impeachment fight. On February 7, Trump removed Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council. On February 12, Trump withdrew his nomination of Jessie Liu as undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, apparently to punish her for her role in the prosecution and conviction of the Trump ally Roger Stone. On March 2, Trump withdrew the nomination of Elaine McCusker to the post of Pentagon comptroller; McCusker’s sin was having raised concerns that suspension of aid to Ukraine had been improper. Late on the evening of April 3, Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the official who had forwarded the Ukraine whistleblower complaint to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, as the law required. As the epigrammist Windsor Mann tweeted that same night: “Trump’s impeachment distracted him from preparing for a pandemic, but the pandemic did not distract him from firing the man he holds responsible for his impeachment.”
Intentionally or not, Trump’s campaign of payback against his perceived enemies in the impeachment battle sent a warning to public-health officials: Keep your mouth shut. If anybody missed the message, the firing of Captain Brett Crozier from the command of an aircraft carrier for speaking honestly about the danger facing his sailors was a reminder. There’s a reason that the surgeon general of the United States seems terrified to answer even the most basic factual questions or that Rear Admiral John Polowczyk sounds like a malfunctioning artificial-intelligence program at press briefings. The president’s lies must not be contradicted. And because the president’s lies change constantly, it’s impossible to predict what might contradict him.
“BEST USA ECONOMY IN HISTORY!” Trump tweeted on February 11. On February 15, Trump shared a video from a Senate GOP account, tweeting: “Our booming economy is drawing Americans off the sidelines and BACK TO WORK at the highest rate in 30 years!”
Denial became the unofficial policy of the administration through the month of February, and as a result, that of the administration’s surrogates and propagandists. “It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump,” Rush Limbaugh said on his radio program February 24. “Now, I want to tell you the truth about the coronavirus … Yeah, I’m dead right on this. The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”
We have contained this,” Trump’s economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC on February 24. “I won’t say airtight, but pretty close to airtight. We have done a good job in the United States.” Kudlow conceded that there might be “some stumbles” in financial markets, but insisted there would be no “economic tragedy.”
On February 28, then–White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference, near Washington, D.C.:
The reason you’re … seeing so much attention to [the virus] today is that [the media] think this is gonna be what brings down this president. This is what this is all about. I got a note from a reporter saying, “What are you gonna do today to calm the markets.” I’m like: Really, what I might do today to calm the markets is tell people to turn their televisions off for 24 hours … This is not Ebola, okay? It’s not SARS, it’s not MERS.
That same day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scolded a House committee for daring to ask him about the coronavirus. “We agreed that I’d come today to talk about Iran, and the first question today is not about Iran.”
Throughout the crisis, the top priority of the president, and of everyone who works for the president, has been the protection of his ego. Americans have become sadly used to Trump’s blustery self-praise and his insatiable appetite for flattery. During the pandemic, this psychological deformity has mutated into a deadly strategic vulnerability for the United States.
“If we were doing a bad job, we should also be criticized. But we have done an incredible job,” Trump said on February 27. “We’re doing a great job with it,” he told Republican senators on March 10. “I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning,” he tweeted on March 18.
For three-quarters of his presidency, Trump has taken credit for the economic expansion that began under President Barack Obama in 2010. That expansion accelerated in 2014, just in time to deliver real prosperity over the past three years. The harm done by Trump’s own initiatives, and especially his trade wars, was masked by that continued growth. The economy Trump inherited became his all-purpose answer to his critics. Did he break laws, corrupt the Treasury, appoint cronies, and tell lies? So what? Unemployment was down, the stock market up.
Suddenly, in 2020, the rooster that had taken credit for the sunrise faced the reality of sunset. He could not bear it.
Underneath all the denial and self-congratulation, Trump seems to have glimpsed the truth. The clearest statement of that knowledge was expressed on February 28. That day, Trump spoke at a rally in South Carolina—his penultimate rally before the pandemic forced him to stop. This was the rally at which Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the coronavirus as “their new hoax.” That line was so shocking, it has crowded out awareness of everything else Trump said that day. Yet those other statements are, if possible, even more relevant to understanding the trouble he brought upon the country.
Trump does not speak clearly. His patterns of speech betray a man with guilty secrets to hide, and a beclouded mind. Yet we can discern, through the mental fog, that Trump had absorbed some crucial facts. By February 28, somebody in his orbit seemed to already be projecting 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Trump remembered the number, but refused to believe it. His remarks are worth revisiting at length:
Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus, you know that, right? Coronavirus, they’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. You say, “How’s President Trump doing?” They go, “Oh, not good, not good.” They have no clue. They don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa. They can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes.
One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was on a perfect conversation. They tried anything. They tried it over and over. They’d been doing it since you got in. It’s all turning. They lost. It’s all turning. Think of it. Think of it. And this is their new hoax.
But we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people [sick] in this massive country, and because of the fact that we went early. We went early; we could have had a lot more than that. We’re doing great. Our country is doing so great. We are so unified. We are so unified. The Republican Party has never ever been unified like it is now. There has never been a movement in the history of our country like we have now. Never been a movement.
So a statistic that we want to talk about—Go ahead: Say USA. It’s okay; USA. So a number that nobody heard of, that I heard of recently and I was shocked to hear it: 35,000 people on average die each year from the flu. Did anyone know that? Thirty-five thousand, that’s a lot of people. It could go to 100,000; it could be 27,000. They say usually a minimum of 27, goes up to 100,000 people a year die.
And so far, we have lost nobody to coronavirus in the United States. Nobody. And it doesn’t mean we won’t and we are totally prepared. It doesn’t mean we won’t, but think of it. You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode.
On February 28, very few Americans had heard of an estimated death toll of 35,000 to 40,000, but Trump had heard it. And his answer to that estimate was: “So far, we have lost nobody.” He conceded, “It doesn’t mean we won’t.” But he returned to his happy talk. “We are totally prepared.” And as always, it was the media’s fault. “You hear 35 and 40,000 people and we’ve lost nobody and you wonder, the press is in hysteria mode.”
By February 28, it was too late to exclude the coronavirus from the United States. It was too late to test and trace, to isolate the first cases and halt their further spread—that opportunity had already been lost. It was too late to refill the stockpiles that the Republican Congresses of the Tea Party years had refused to replenish, despite frantic pleas from the Obama administration. It was too late to produce sufficient ventilators in sufficient time.
But on February 28, it was still not too late to arrange an orderly distribution of medical supplies to the states, not too late to coordinate with U.S. allies, not too late to close the Florida beaches before spring break, not too late to bring passengers home from cruise lines, not too late to ensure that state unemployment-insurance offices were staffed and ready, not too late for local governments to get funds to food banks, not too late to begin social distancing fast and early. Stay-at-home orders could have been put into effect on March 1, not in late March and early April.
So much time had been wasted by the end of February. So many opportunities had been squandered. But even then, the shock could have been limited. Instead, Trump and his inner circle plunged deeper into two weeks of lies and denial, both about the disease and about the economy.
On February 28, Eric Trump urged Americans to go “all in” on the weakening stock market.
Kudlow repeated his advice that it was a good time to buy stocks on CNBC on March 6 after another bad week for the financial markets. As late as March 9, Trump was still arguing that the coronavirus would be no worse than the seasonal flu.
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
But the facade of denial was already cracking.
Through early March, financial markets declined and then crashed. Schools closed, then whole cities, and then whole states. The overwhelmed president responded by doing what comes most naturally to him at moments of trouble: He shifted the blame to others.
The lack of testing equipment? On March 13, Trump passed that buck to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Obama administration.
The White House had dissolved the directorate of the National Security Council responsible for planning for and responding to pandemics? Not me, Trump said on March 13. Maybe somebody else in the administration did it, but “I didn’t do it … I don’t know anything about it. You say we did that. I don’t know anything about it.”
Were ventilators desperately scarce? Obtaining medical equipment was the governors’ job, Trump said on a March 16 conference call.
Did Trump delay action until it was far too late? That was the fault of the Chinese government for withholding information, he complained on March 21.
On March 27, Trump attributed his own broken promises about ventilator production to General Motors, now headed by a woman unworthy of even a last name: “Always a mess with Mary B.”
Masks, gowns, and gloves were running short only because hospital staff were stealing them, Trump suggested on March 29.
Was the national emergency medical stockpile catastrophically depleted? Trump’s campaign creatively tried to pin that on mistakes Joe Biden made back in 2009.
At his press conference on April 2, Trump blamed the shortage of lifesaving equipment, and the ensuing panic-buying, on states’ failure to build their own separate stockpile. “They have to work that out. What they should do is they should’ve—long before this pandemic arrived—they should’ve been on the open market just buying. There was no competition; you could have made a great price. The states have to stock up. It’s like one of those things. They waited. They didn’t want to spend the money, because they thought this would never happen.”
Were New Yorkers dying? On April 2, Trump fired off a peevish letter to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the ‘invisible enemy.’”
Trump’s instinct to dodge and blame had devastating consequences for Americans. Every governor and mayor who needed the federal government to take action, every science and medical adviser who hoped to prevent Trump from doing something stupid or crazy, had to reckon with Trump’s psychic needs as their single biggest problem.
As his medical advisers sought to dissuade Trump from proceeding with his musing about reopening the country by Easter, April 12, Deborah Birx—the White House’s coronavirus-response coordinator—appeared on the evangelical CBN network to deliver this abject flattery: “[Trump is] so attentive to the scientific literature & the details & the data. I think his ability to analyze & integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit.”
Governors got the message too. “If they don’t treat you right, I don’t call,” Trump explained at a White House press briefing on March 27. The federal response has been dogged by suspicions of favoritism for political and personal allies of Trump. The District of Columbia has seen its requests denied, while Florida gets everything it asks for.
The weeks of Trump-administration denial and delay have triggered a desperate scramble among states. The Trump administration is allocating some supplies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but has made the deliberate choice to allow large volumes of crucial supplies to continue to be distributed by commercial firms to their clients. That has left state governments bidding against one another, as if the 1787 Constitution had never been signed, and we have no national government.
In his panic, Trump is sacrificing U.S. alliances abroad, attempting to recoup his own failure by turning predator. German and French officials accuse the Trump administration of diverting supplies they had purchased to the United States. On April 3, the North American company 3M publicly rebuked the Trump administration for its attempt to embargo medical exports to Canada, where 3M has operated seven facilities for 70 years.
Around the world, allies are registering that in an emergency, when it matters most, the United States has utterly failed to lead. Perhaps the only political leader in Canada ever to say a good word about Donald Trump, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, expressed disgust at an April 3 press conference. “I just can’t stress how disappointed I am at President Trump … I’m not going to rely on President Trump,” he said. “I’m not going to rely on any prime minister or president from any country ever again.” Ford argued for a future of Canadian self-sufficiency. Trump’s nationalist selfishness is proving almost as contagious as the virus itself—and could ultimately prove as dangerous, too.
As the pandemic kills, as the economic depression tightens its grip, Donald Trump has consistently put his own needs first. Right now, when his only care should be to beat the pandemic, Trump is renegotiating his debts with his bankers and lease payments with Palm Beach County.
He has never tried to be president of the whole United States, but at most 46 percent of it, to the extent that serving even the 46 percent has been consistent with his supreme concerns: stealing, loafing, and whining. Now he is not even serving the 46 percent. The people most victimized by his lies and fantasies are the people who trusted him, the more conservative Americans who harmed themselves to prove their loyalty to Trump. An Arkansas pastor told The Washington Post of congregants “ready to lick the floor” to support the president’s claim that there is nothing to worry about. On March 15, the Trump-loyal governor of Oklahoma tweeted a since-deleted photo of himself and his children at a crowded restaurant buffet. “Eating with my kids and all my fellow Oklahomans at the @CollectiveOKC. It’s packed tonight!” Those who took their cues from Trump and the media who propagandized for him, and all Americans, will suffer for it.
Governments often fail. From Pearl Harbor to the financial crisis of 2008, you can itemize a long list of missed warnings and overlooked dangers that cost lives and inflicted hardship. But in the past, Americans could at least expect public spirit and civic concern from their presidents.
Trump has mouthed the slogan “America first,” but he has never acted on it. It has always been “Trump first.” His business first. His excuses first. His pathetic vanity first.
Trump has taken millions in payments from the Treasury. He has taken millions in payments from U.S. businesses and foreign governments. He has taken millions in payments from the Republican Party and his own inaugural committee. He has taken so much that does not belong to him, that was unethical and even illegal for him to take. But responsibility? No, he will not take that.
Yet responsibility falls upon Trump, whether he takes it or not. No matter how much he deflects and insults and snivels and whines, this American catastrophe is on his hands and on his head.

Trump Has Emergency Powers We Aren’t Allowed to Know About
Given that they could make their first appearance in the coronavirus crisis, Congress should insist on having full access to them.
April 10, 2020
by Elizabeth Goitein and Andrew Boyle
The New Your Times.
The past few weeks have given Americans a crash course in the powers that federal, state and local governments wield during emergencies. We’ve seen businesses closed down, citizens quarantined and travel restricted. When President Trump declared emergencies on March 13 under both the Stafford Act and the National Emergencies Act, he boasted, “I have the right to do a lot of things that people don’t even know about.”
The president is right. Some of the most potent emergency powers at his disposal are likely ones we can’t know about, because they are not contained in any publicly available laws. Instead, they are set forth in classified documents known as “presidential emergency action documents.”
These documents consist of draft proclamations, executive orders and proposals for legislation that can be quickly deployed to assert broad presidential authority in a range of worst-case scenarios. They are one of the government’s best-kept secrets. No presidential emergency action document has ever been released or even leaked. And it appears that none has ever been invoked.
Given the real possibility that these documents could make their first appearance in the coronavirus crisis, Congress should insist on having full access to them to ensure that they are consistent with the Constitution and basic principles of democracy.
Presidential emergency action documents emerged during the Eisenhower administration as a set of plans to provide for continuity of government after a Soviet nuclear attack. Over time, they were expanded to include proposed responses to other types of emergencies. As described in one declassified government memorandum, they are designed “to implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations.”
Other government documents have revealed some of the actions that older presidential emergency action documents — those issued up through the 1970s — purported to authorize. These include suspension of habeas corpus by the president (not by Congress, as assigned in the Constitution), detention of United States citizens who are suspected of being “subversives,” warrantless searches and seizures and the imposition of martial law.
Some of these actions would seem unconstitutional, at least in the absence of authorization by Congress. Past presidential emergency action documents, however, have tested the line of how far presidents’ constitutional authority may stretch in an emergency.
For example, a Department of Justice memorandum from the Lyndon B. Johnson administration discusses a presidential emergency action document that would impose censorship on news sent abroad. The memo notes that while no “express statutory authority” exists for such a measure, “it can be argued that these actions would be legal in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear attack based on the president’s constitutional powers to preserve the national security.” It then recommends that the president seek ratifying legislation from Congress after issuing the orders.
Much less is known about the contents of more recent presidential emergency action documents — but we do know they exist. They undergo periodic revision to take into account new laws, conditions and concerns. The Department of Justice reviews the proposed changes for legal soundness, the Federal Emergency Management Agency plays a coordinating role and the National Security Council provides policy direction and final approval.
Based on budgetary requests from the Department of Justice to Congress and other documents, it appears that presidential emergency action documents were revised in the late 1980s, in the 2000s and again starting in 2012 and continuing into the Trump administration. The latest numbers available suggest there are between 50 and 60 such documents in existence.
There is no question that presidential emergency action documents could be used in a pandemic like that caused by the coronavirus. A 2006 Nuclear Regulatory Commission memorandum addressed that agency’s plan under President Bush’s 2005 “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.” The concern was how to maintain operations in response to a pandemic that proved to be “persistent, widespread, and prolonged.” The memo’s authors offered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 14 bullet points of actions, including to “review presidential emergency action documents” and “select those most likely to be needed” by the commission.
The most notable aspect of presidential emergency action documents might be their extreme secrecy. It’s not uncommon for the government to classify its plans or activities in the area of national security. However, even the most sensitive military operations or intelligence activities must be reported to at least some members of Congress. By contrast, we know of no evidence that the executive branch has ever consulted with Congress — or even informed any of its members — regarding the contents of presidential emergency action documents.
That is a dangerous state of affairs. The coronavirus pandemic is fast becoming the most serious crisis to face this country since World War II. And it is happening under the watch of a president who has claimed that Article II of the Constitution gives him “the right to do whatever I want.” It is not far-fetched to think that we might see the deployment of these documents for the first time and that they will assert presidential powers beyond those granted by Congress or recognized by the courts as flowing from the Constitution.
Even in the most dire of emergencies, the president of the United States should not be able to operate free from constitutional checks and balances. The coronavirus crisis should serve as a wake-up call. Presidential emergency action documents have managed to escape democratic oversight for nearly 70 years. Congress should move quickly to remedy that omission and assert its authority to review these documents, before we all learn just how far this administration believes the president’s powers reach.
Elizabeth Goitein is a co-director and Andrew Boyle is a lawyer at the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

HERE BELOW IS THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY’S NOVEMBER 2005 “NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR PANDEMIC INFLUENZA”
https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/pdf/pandemic-influenza-strategy-2005.pdf

Coronavirus: Does Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO endanger public health?
Although Taiwan’s public health system has largely contained COVID-19, Beijing keeps the island out of the WHO. Taiwan’s performance in stopping a mass outbreak could draw calls for this to change.
April 10, 2020
by William Yang (Taipei)
DW
Taiwan and the World Health Organization (WHO) have a contentious relationship. Tensions once again simmered to the surface Thursday after WHO Director General Tedro Adhanom Ghebreyesus accused Taiwan’s foreign ministry of targeting him in a “campaign of racism.”
Beijing took advantage of this diplomatic row, and accused Taiwan of “venomous” attacks on the WHO while using the coronavirus pandemic to “seek independence.”
Beijing considers self-governed Taiwan to be part of Chinese territory and excludes Taipei from membership in international organizations like the WHO.
However, Taiwan’s handling of the pandemic has been cited as a success story. Other WHO members may now be more inclined to demand that the international public health body grant Taipei observer status. Taiwan argues that it could provide valuable input on best practices and public health strategies for other countries dealing with their own COVID-19 epidemics.
“To put it simply, the WHO is a UN organization, and the UN treats Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China,” said Chieh-Ting Yeh, vice chairman of Global Taiwan Institute.
“However, Since Beijing doesn’t have any jurisdiction over Taiwan in reality, following through on that position in real life creates absurd situations.”
WHO ‘did not take Taiwan seriously’ on COVID-19?
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Taiwan has tried to position itself as a reliable international partner in the fight against the virus.
According to Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), Taiwan warned the WHO about the possibility of human to human transmission of the coronavirus as early as December 31, 2019.
However, the CECC told DW that upon receiving the information, the WHO merely acknowledged that the information had been transferred to the relevant department.
“The WHO didn’t take the information provided by Taiwan seriously, and we believe that led to the delayed global response to the COVID19 pandemic,” the CECC said in a written statement to DW.
“From our experience dealing with the SARS epidemic in 2003, we learned that viruses like this can be easily transmitted among people, so we decided to inform them. But the WHO let it fall on deaf ears.”
However, Taiwan’s CECC told DW that the statement does not reflect the reality of the WHO’s interaction with Taiwan on the coronavirus pandemic.
The CECC argued that information shared by Taiwan was not shared with other WHO member states, despite communicating with the WHO through an “international health regulations” framework and accessing information from the WHO’s internal event information site.
“Information provided by Taiwan never showed up on WHO’s daily updates, which means other countries were unable to understand both the current situation in Taiwan and the measures that the Taiwanese government has adopted,” Taiwan’s CECC told DW.
The fight against coronavirus is not over yet
Experts point out that while Taiwan has successfully contained the coronavirus outbreak so far, lacking access to the WHO could still pose some risks to its fight against the pandemic.
“Fighting this pandemic will be a marathon, so it would still be helpful to Taiwan if it could be included in this multilateral platform and have timely information exchanges and discussion of solutions,” Yu-Jie Chen, a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong, told DW.
Taiwan has shared its resources and capabilities with the international community over the last few months, however, bilateral cooperation has its limits.
“Taiwan is donating masks, sharing tracing technology, and developing test kits and vaccines,” said Chen. “Being excluded from the WHO will prevent Taiwan from using this multilateral platform to maximize its efforts. A multilateral system would help Taiwan reach out more effectively.”
Chieh from the Global Taiwan Institute said the coronavirus pandemic has sparked a debate about Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO.
As the pandemic continues, Chieh said more governments will realize that Taiwan has done a lot to keep its citizens safe during the outbreak and it also has valuable advice to share with the world.
“I believe that in the long run, there will be more international demand for Taiwan to contribute to global health, despite Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO.”

The missing six weeks: how Trump failed the biggest test of his life
The president was aware of the danger from the coronavirus – but a lack of leadership has created an emergency of epic proportions
March 28, 2020
by Ed Pilkington and Tom McCarthy in New York
The Guardian
When the definitive history of the coronavirus pandemic is written, the date 20 January 2020 is certain to feature prominently. It was on that day that a 35-year-old man in Washington state, recently returned from visiting family in Wuhan in China, became the first person in the US to be diagnosed with the virus.
On the very same day, 5,000 miles away in Asia, the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in South Korea. The confluence was striking, but there the similarities ended.
In the two months since that fateful day, the responses to coronavirus displayed by the US and South Korea have been polar opposites.
One country acted swiftly and aggressively to detect and isolate the virus, and by doing so has largely contained the crisis. The other country dithered and procrastinated, became mired in chaos and confusion, was distracted by the individual whims of its leader, and is now confronted by a health emergency of daunting proportions.
Within a week of its first confirmed case, South Korea’s disease control agency had summoned 20 private companies to the medical equivalent of a war-planning summit and told them to develop a test for the virus at lightning speed. A week after that, the first diagnostic test was approved and went into battle, identifying infected individuals who could then be quarantined to halt the advance of the disease.
Some 357,896 tests later, the country has more or less won the coronavirus war. On Friday only 91 new cases were reported in a country of more than 50 million.
The US response tells a different story. Two days after the first diagnosis in Washington state, Donald Trump went on air on CNBC and bragged: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming from China. It’s going to be just fine.”
‘A fiasco of incredible proportions’
A week after that, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion article by two former top health policy officials within the Trump administration under the headline Act Now to Prevent an American Epidemic. Luciana Borio and Scott Gottlieb laid out a menu of what had to be done instantly to avert a massive health disaster.
Top of their to-do list: work with private industry to develop an “easy-to-use, rapid diagnostic test” – in other words, just what South Korea was doing.
It was not until 29 February, more than a month after the Journal article and almost six weeks after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country that the Trump administration put that advice into practice. Laboratories and hospitals would finally be allowed to conduct their own Covid-19 tests to speed up the process.
Those missing four to six weeks are likely to go down in the definitive history as a cautionary tale of the potentially devastating consequences of failed political leadership. Today, 86,012 cases have been confirmed across the US, pushing the nation to the top of the world’s coronavirus league table – above even China.
More than a quarter of those cases are in New York City, now a global center of the coronavirus pandemic, with New Orleans also raising alarm. Nationally, 1,301 people have died.
Most worryingly, the curve of cases continues to rise precipitously, with no sign of the plateau that has spared South Korea.
“The US response will be studied for generations as a textbook example of a disastrous, failed effort,” Ron Klain, who spearheaded the fight against Ebola in 2014, told a Georgetown university panel recently. “What’s happened in Washington has been a fiasco of incredible proportions.”
Jeremy Konyndyk, who led the US government’s response to international disasters at USAid from 2013 to 2017, frames the past six weeks in strikingly similar terms. He told the Guardian: “We are witnessing in the United States one of the greatest failures of basic governance and basic leadership in modern times.”
In Konyndyk’s analysis, the White House had all the information it needed by the end of January to act decisively. Instead, Trump repeatedly played down the severity of the threat, blaming China for what he called the “Chinese virus” and insisting falsely that his partial travel bans on China and Europe were all it would take to contain the crisis.
‘The CDC was caught flat-footed’
If Trump’s travel ban did nothing else, it staved off to some degree the advent of the virus in the US, buying a little time. Which makes the lack of decisive action all the more curious.
“We didn’t use that time optimally, especially in the case of testing,” said William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University medical center. “We have been playing reluctant catch-up throughout.”
As Schaffner sees it, the stuttering provision of mass testing “put us behind the eight-ball” right at the start. “It did not permit us, and still doesn’t permit us, to define the extent of the virus in this country.”
Though the decision to allow private and state labs to provide testing has increased the flow of test kits, the US remains starkly behind South Korea, which has conducted more than five times as many tests per capita. That makes predicting where the next hotspot will pop up after New York and New Orleans almost impossible.
In the absence of sufficient test kits, the US Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially kept a tight rein on testing, creating a bottleneck. “I believe the CDC was caught flat-footed,” was how the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, put it on 7 March. “They’re slowing down the state.”
The CDC’s botched rollout of testing was the first indication that the Trump administration was faltering as the health emergency gathered pace. Behind the scenes, deep flaws in the way federal agencies had come to operate under Trump were being exposed.
In 2018 the pandemic unit in the national security council – which was tasked to prepare for health emergencies precisely like the current one – was disbanded. “Eliminating the office has contributed to the federal government’s sluggish domestic response,” Beth Cameron, a former senior director of the office, wrote in the Washington Post.
Disbanding the unit exacerbated a trend that was already prevalent after two years of Trump – an exodus of skilled and experienced officials who knew what they were doing. “There’s been an erosion of expertise, of competent leadership, at important levels of government,” a former senior government official told the Guardian.
“Over time there was a lot of paranoia and people left and they had a hard time attracting good replacements,” the official said. “Nobody wanted to work there.”
It was hardly a morale-boosting gesture when Trump proposed a 16% cut in CDC funding on 10 February – 11 days after the World Health Organization had declared a public health emergency over Covid-19.
Schaffner, who describes himself as the “president of the CDC fan club”, said he has been saddened by how sidelined the CDC has become over the past two months. “Here we have the public health issue of our era and one doesn’t hear from the CDC, the premier public health organization in the world,” Schaffner said.
Under Trump, anti-science sweeps through DC
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the diagnostic tests and will control any new treatments for coronavirus, has also shown vulnerabilities. The agency recently indicated that it was looking into the possibility of prescribing the malaria drug chloroquine for coronavirus sufferers, even though there is no evidence it would work and some indication it could have serious side-effects.
The decision dismayed experts, given that Trump has personally pushed the unproven remedy on a whim. It smacked of the wave of anti-science sentiment sweeping federal agencies under this presidency.
As the former senior official put it: “We have the FDA bowing to political pressure and making decisions completely counter to modern science.”
Highly respected career civil servants, with impeccable scientific credentials, have struggled to get out in front of the president. Dr Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert who has become a rare trusted face in the administration amid the coronavirus scourge, has expressed his frustration.
This week Fauci was asked by a Science magazine writer, Jon Cohen, how he could stand beside Trump at daily press briefings and listen to him misleading the American people with comments such as that the China travel ban had been a great success in blocking entry of the virus. Fauci replied: “I know, but what do you want me to do? I mean, seriously Jon, let’s get real, what do you want me to do?”
Trump has designated himself a “wartime president”. But if the title bears any validity, his military tactics have been highly unconventional. He has exacerbated the problems encountered by federal agencies by playing musical chairs at the top of the coronavirus force.
The president began by creating on 29 January a special coronavirus taskforce, then gave Vice-President Mike Pence the job, who promptly appointed Deborah Birx “coronavirus response coordinator”, before the federal emergency agency Fema began taking charge of key areas, with Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, creating a shadow team that increasingly appears to be calling the shots.
“There’s no point of responsibility,” the former senior official told the Guardian. “It keeps shifting. Nobody owns the problem.”
Trump: everything’s going to be great
Amid the confusion, day-to-day management of the crisis has frequently come directly from Trump himself via his Twitter feed. The president, with more than half an eye on the New York stock exchange, has consistently talked down the scale of the crisis.
On 30 January, as the World Health Organization was declaring a global emergency, Trump said: “We only have five people. Hopefully, everything’s going to be great.”
On 24 February, Trump claimed “the coronavirus is very much under control in the USA”. The next day, Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s top official on respiratory diseases, took the radically different approach of telling the truth, warning the American people that “disruption to everyday life might be severe”.
Trump was reportedly so angered by the comment and its impact on share prices that he shouted down the phone at Messonnier’s boss, the secretary of health and human services, Alex Azar.
“Messonnier was 100% right. She gave a totally honest and accurate assessment,” Konyndyk told the Guardian. And for that, Trump angrily rebuked her department. “That sent a very clear message about what is and isn’t permissible to say.”
Konyndyk recalls attending a meeting in mid-February with top Trump administration officials present in which the only topic of conversation was the travel bans. That’s when he began to despair about the federal handling of the crisis.
“I thought, ‘Holy Jesus!’ Where’s the discussion on protecting our hospitals? Where’s the discussion on high-risk populations, on surveillance so we can detect where the virus is. I knew then that the president had set the priority, the bureaucracy was following it, but it was the wrong priority.”
So it has transpired. In the wake of the testing disaster has come the personal protective equipment (PPE) disaster, the hospital bed disaster, and now the ventilator disaster.
Ventilators, literal life preservers, are in dire short supply across the country. When governors begged Trump to unleash the full might of the US government on this critical problem, he gave his answer on 16 March.
In a phrase that will stand beside 20 January 2020 as one of the most revelatory moments of the history of coronavirus, he said: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment – try getting it yourselves.”
To date, the Trump administration has supplied 400 ventilators to New York. By Cuomo’s estimation, 30,000 are needed.
“You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators?” Cuomo scathingly asked on Tuesday. He added: “You pick the 26,000 who are going to die because you only sent 400 ventilators.”
‘A total vacuum of federal leadership’
In the absence of a strong federal response, a patchwork of efforts has sprouted all across the country. State governors are doing their own thing. Cities, even individual hospitals, are coping as best they can.
In an improvised attempt to address such inconsistencies, charitable startups have proliferated on social media. Konyndyk has clubbed together with fellow disaster relief experts to set up Covid Local, an online “quick and dirty” guide to how to fight a pandemic.
“We are seeing the emergence of 50-state anarchy, because of a total vacuum of federal leadership. It’s absurd that thinktanks and Twitter are providing more actionable guidance in the US than the federal government, but that’s where we are.”
Valerie Griffeth is a founding member of another of the new online startups that are trying to fill the Trump void. Set up by emergency department doctors across the country, GetUsPPE.org seeks to counter the top-down chaos that is putting frontline health workers like herself in danger through a dearth of protective gear.
Griffeth is an emergency and critical care physician in Portland, Oregon. She spends most days now in intensive care treating perilously ill patients with coronavirus.
Her hospital is relatively well supplied, she said, but even so protective masks will run out within two weeks. “We are all worried about it, we’re scared for our own health, the health of our families, of our patients.”
Early on in the crisis, Griffeth said, it dawned on her and many of her peers that the federal government to which they would normally look to keep them safe was nowhere to be seen. They resigned themselves to a terrible new reality.
“We said to ourselves we are going to get exposed to the virus. When the federal government isn’t there to provide adequate supplies, it’s just a matter of time.”
But just in the last few days, Griffeth has started to see the emergence of something else. She has witnessed an explosion of Americans doing it for themselves, filling in the holes left by Trump’s failed leadership.
“People are stepping up all around us,” she said. “I’m amazed by what has happened in such short time. It gives me hope.”
• This article was amended on 31 March 2020. An earlier version described Beth Cameron as senior director of the pandemic unit in the national security council at the time it was broken up. She actually left her post in 2017, the year before it was disbanded. This has been corrected.

Trump and Russian Political Support: Facts, not Fictions

• Trump was heavily involved with the Deutsche Bank’s laundering of Russian drug money through various “hotel and real estate” fronts
• Because of this Russian intelligence had a handle on him and has blackmailed him into cooperating with their programs
• President Trump was jobbed into his office with the full cooperation of Russian intelligence.
• They own Wikileaks entirely and released the damning, and authentic, “Podesta papers” concurrent with Hillary Clinton’s campaign. This did damage to her campaign and was a major contributory factor to her narrow defeat and Trump’s election.
• Trump is not an honest man by any stretch of imagination.
• Trump has constantly engaged in bribing and manipulations and does this through second parties such as Cohen his former lawyer or Manafort, his campaign manager during the election.
• Trump and his entourage have made a number of trips to Russia (I have a listing of all of these along with Russian personages he was in contact with), seeking financing and permission to build luxury hotels in that country
• Trump’s actions, as President, are deliberate efforts to alienate both the putative allies of the US such as Germany, France, Canada and, to a lesser degree, Mexico.
• Trump has deliberately launched pointless, and destructive, attacks against blacks, Mexican and Muslim immigrants, as well as Canadian, Chinese and German imports. All this has done is to create a highly negative image of his persona primarily and secondarily, the global image of the United States.
• Trump’s tariffs, and threats of tariffs, have engendered counter-tariffs that will, when implemented, create serious economic problems for American businessmen and, eventually, the public.
• Trump’s foolish support of the Israeli far right has done, and is doing, serious damage to the US image in the Middle East. It should be noted that Russian influence in the Shiite areas of the Middle East, is growing. Also note that Iran, and parts of Iraq, both Shiite, have extensive oil reserves and that Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state, once America’s primary source of badly-need oil, is running dry.
• Ergo, the Middle East areas where Russia is having growing influence have oil and if Russia sets itself up as major oil merchandizing source, this will give them tremendous economic leverage vis a vis the United States which is the world’s largest consumer of oil and its by products.
• By alienating America’s allies and disrupting that country’s social structure, Trump benefits only Russia and its interests.
• The concept of Trump taking bribes from the Russians (or the PRC) is completely understandable if one applies the concept of Occam’s Razor to the tumult and disruption he is deliberately causing both domestically and in foreign areas.
• If he is caught at this, and I understand the FBI was deeply interested in his Russian connections long before he ran for President, either we will have to deal with another Dallas or Trump will suffer a fatal heart attack.Vice-President Pence, a Christian fanatic, would then have to be told to mind his manners or suffer similar terminal problems.
• Trump is aware of the FBI investigation, aware of what they can find, and probably have already uncovered, so he fired the head of the FBI and even now, according to a very reliable source, is determined to replace the FBI with the cooperative CIA (their former head, Pompeo, is now Secretary of State) as the sole foreign and domestic intelligence agency. He, and his handlers, want to nip any FBI revelations in the bud so that Trump can continue on his course of castrating the United States as a global power.
• It is quite evident that Trump is unbalanced to a dangerous degree and that even his senior staff view him as both dangerous and totally unpredictable. The problem that arises from the strong and growing opposition to Trump is the polarization of the voter base in the United States and if it becomes a wide-spread belief that the president of the US is an agent, willing or unwilling of a foreign power, it would be the worst political scandal in American history

Innovation Should Be Made in the U.S.A.
Offshoring by American companies has destroyed our manufacturing base and our capacity to develop new products and processes. It’s time for a national industrial policy.
November 15, 2019
by Sridhar Kota and Tom Mahoney
WSJ
In 1987, as the Reagan administration was nearing its end, the economists Stephen S. Cohen and John Zysman issued a prophetic warning: “If high-tech is to sustain a scale of activity sufficient to matter to the prosperity of our economy…America must control the production of those high-tech products it invents and designs.” Production, they continued, is “where the lion’s share of the value added is realized.”
Amid the offshoring frenzy that began in the late 1980s, this was heterodox thinking. In many quarters, it still is. Even as trade tensions with China have deepened, many U.S. political and economic leaders continue to believe that offshoring is not only profitable but also sound economic strategy. Manufacturing in China is cheaper, quicker and more flexible, they argue.
With China’s networks of suppliers, engineers and production experts growing larger and more sophisticated, many believe that locating production there is a better bet in terms of quality and efficiency. Instead of manufacturing domestically, the thinking goes, U.S. firms should focus on higher-value work:”innovate here, manufacture there.”
Today many Americans are rightly questioning this perspective. From the White House to Congress, from union halls to university laboratories, there is a growing recognition that we can no lnger afford the outsourcing paradigm. Once manufacturing departs from a country’s shores, engineering and production now-how leave as well, and innovation ultimately follows. It’s become increasingly clear that “manufacture there” not means “innovate there.”
What’s the solution? It’s time for the U.S. to adopt an industrial policy for the century ahead- not a throwback to the old ideas of state planning but a program for helping Americans to compete with foreign manufacturers and maintain our ever more precarious edge in innovation.
Consider the results of the original offshoring craze of the 1960’s, which centered on consumer electronics. The development of modern transistors, the establishment of standardized shipping containers and creation of inexpensive assembly lines in East Asia cut costs for consumers and created huge markets for televisions and radios; it also catalyzed the Asian manufacturing miracle. Though American federal research investment in the decades that followed enabled the invention of game-changing technologies such as the magnetic storage drive, the lithium-ion battery and the liquid crystal display, the country had, by then, already let go of consumer electronics manufacturing. Asia dominated.
Since the turn of the millennium, the off-shoring trend has accelerated, thanks to China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and major investments in workforce and production capacity by other Asian nations. U.S.-based companies began to contract out both design and product-development work. A 2015 study by the consulting firms Strategy& and PwC found that U.S. companies across sectors have been moving R&D to China to be closer to production, suppliers and engineering talent- not just to reap lower costs and more dynamic markets. An estimated 50% of overseas-backed R&D centers in China have been established by U.S. companies.
Innovation in manufacturing gravitates to where the factories are. American manufacturers have learned that the applied research and engineering necessary to introduce new products, enhance existing designs and improve production processes are best done near the factories themselves. As more engineering and design work has shifted to China, many U.S. companies have a diminished capability to perform those tasks here.
Manufacturing matters- especially for a high-tech economy. While it’s still possible to argue that the offshoring of parts assembly and final production has worked well for multinational companies focused on quarterly earnings, it is increasingly clear that offshoring has devastated the small and medium-sized manufacturers that make up the nation’s supply chains and geographically diverse industrial clusters. While the share of such companies in the total population of U.S. manufacturers has risen, their absolute numbers have dropped by nearly 100,000 since the 1990’s and by 40,000 just in the last decade. Numbers have fallen in relatively high-technology industries such as computers, electronics, electrical equipment and machinery.
The loss of America’s industrial commons-the ecosystem of engineering skills, production know-how and comprehensive supply chains- has not just devastated industrial areas. It has also underined a core responsibility of government: providing for national defense. Recent Pentagon analyses of the defense industrial base have identified specific risks to weapons production, including fragile domestic suppliers, dependence on imports, counterfeit parts and material shortages. Meanwhile despite tariffs, manufacturing imports continue to set records, especially in advanced technology products. Dependence on imports had virtually eliminated the nation’s ability to manufacture large flat-screen displays, smartphones, many advanced materials and packaged semiconductors. The U.S. now lacks the capacity to manufacture many next-generation and emerging technologies.
This is to say nothing of the human suffering and sociopolitical upheaval that have resulted from the hollowing out of entire regional economies. Once vibrant communities in the so-called Rust Belt have lost population and income as large factories and their many supporting suppliers have closed. The shuttering last March of the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio- resulting in the loss of some 1,400 high-paying manufacturing jobs- is just the latest example. It joins a list that includes most of the long-established furniture industry in North Carolina, large steel mills in places like Bethlehem, Penn., and Weirton, W.Va. and the machine tool industry that once clustered around Cincinnati. Real wages across the country have been stagnant for decades, and though the causes are debatable, he loss of manufacturing jobs and the dramatic decline in manufacturing productivity growth have certainly played major roles.
In terms of long-term competitiveness, the biggest strategic consequence of this profound decline in American manufacturing might be the loss of our ability to innovate- that is, to translate inventions into production. We have lost much of our capacity to physically build what results from out world-leading investments in research and development. A study of 150 production-related hardware startups that emerged from research at MIT found that most of them scaled up production offshore to get access to production capabilities, suppliers and lead customers. As for foreign multinationals, many participate in federally funded university research centers and then use what they learn in their factories abroad. LG, Sharp and Auo, for example, were partners in the flexible display research center at Arizona State University funded by the U.S. Army, but they do not manufacture displays here.
The slow destruction of the U.S. industrial eco-system is a clear case of market failure, and the government has an important role to play in remedying it. Thanks to continued federal funding in the sciences, the U.S. is still the best in the world in groundbreaking scientific discoveries and inventions. But the federal government must do more than invest in basic research; it must also fill the innovation deficit by creating a new infrastructure for R&D in engineering and manufacturing.
The American government invests about $150 billion annually in science and technology, significantly more than other advanced industrial nations. Yet relatively little of this is devoted to the translational R&D in engineering and manufacturing needed to turn basic research results into successful commercial products. Germany, Japan and South Korea spend three to six times as much as the U.S. on industrial and production technologies. These three advanced nations have high wages and strict regulations, and their energy costs and levels of automation are higher that in the U.S.
Historically, American companies have performed this essential translational research, but in the past two decades of cost cutting to maximize quarterly earnings, corporate R&D labs at GE,IBM, Xerox, AT&T and other industrial giants invented new products and production processes, ranging from semiconduictors and lasers to MRI machines and industrial robots. In too many industries, this translational R&D capability has been lost, or at least seriously downsized, and the U.S. has lost its leadership position.
Aerospace is the main counter example, where the U.S. continues to lead in advanced technology. It is the last major industry that has maintained a strong trade surplus. Not surprisingly, it is also more dependent on government customers- mostly the Department of Defense- and the beneficiary of substantial government R&D investments in basic and translational research. Though few would call it such, this amounts to a successful industrial policy to support an industry deemed critical to national defense. It’s an example that needs to be replicated.
Unless something is done, the weak U.S. industrial commons will continue to create incentives for American companies to manufacture offshore, innovate offshore and weaken national competitiveness. A strategic and coordinated national effort is needed that moves beyond tax and trade policy, which, so far at least, has not resulted in an American manufacturing resurgence.
This national effort- call it Industrial Policy 2.0- should focus on ensuring that hardware innovations are manufactured in this country. The idea is not to recover lost industries but to rebuild lost capabilities. The U.S. needs to leverage its dominance in science and technology to create future industries to provide us with first-mover advantages in reclaim American leadership in manufacturing.
The first step would be to create a new federal agency responsible for the health of U.S. manufacturing. A number of agencies currently have manufacturing-related programs, but there is little or no coordination or strategy. Defense alone cannot solve this challenge because defense procurement needs are dwarfed by commercial markets, and defense-specific technologies may have few commercial applications.
A new agency is needed to signal new priorities. This National Manufacturing Foundation, as it could be called, would be a cabinet-level agency focused on rebuilding America’s industrial commons and translating our scientific knowledge into new products and processes. What policies might it promote?
• To maximize the wealth and jobs created from our national R&D investments, the
results must be manufactured in the U.S. Any licensee of federally funded research resuts should be required to manufacture at least 75% of the value added in this country, with no exceptions and no waivers.
• An additional 5% of the federal science and technology budget should be invested in engineering and manufacturing R&D and process technologies. This included creating translational research centers as innovation hubs around the country. Affiliated with major research universities and institutions, these centers would take promising basic research results and perform the translational R&D necessary to demonstrate the viability of large-scale commercial production.
• Developing hardware typically requires more resources and time than developing software. Public-private partnerships could provide the needed patient capital. State-level programs in Massachusetts, Georgia and other states already provide encouraging examples, The South Carolina Research Authority, for example, provides grants, loans and didrect investments to a portfolio of companies, roug.ly 40% of which are manufacturers. Leveraging defense procurement and other federal spending would help too, as would the targeted use of Small Business Administration loans.
• Restoring innovation in domestic manufacturing will require much greater investments in human capital. The country needs significantly more graduate fellowships in engineering for qualified domestic students and many more four-year engineering technology programs that focus on application and implementation rather than concepts and theory. American multinationals need to do their part by revamping internship and apprenticeship probfams to fill the skills gap.
Industrial Policy 2.0 would not be the industrial policy discussed and often criticized in past decades, it would not pick winners and losers but would keep other countries from taking advantage of our winners; it would make sure the U.S., not its economic rivals, benefits from American know-how. The goal would be to maximize innovations in hardware technologies and, in doing so, to create high-value products, well-paying jobs, national wealth and national security.
Such steps are essential to generating a strong return on the U.S. taxpayer’s enormous investments in science and technology. For too long Americans have suffered from the self-inflicted wound of hollowing out our industrial capacity. Other countries have moved quickly to take our place, It’s time for the U.S. to act

Encyclopedia of American Loons
Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor is the fundamentalist leader of “a growing Army of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Priests, Rabbis, committed Intercessors, Deliverance Ministers, and Mighty Prayer Warriors” at something called “Worship Word Warfare”, and an ardent fan of Donald Trump, to the extent that she sometimes seem to have trouble distinguishing Trump from Jesus himself. The goal of her ministry is “to encourage, edify, pray for, and intercede for YOU, as well as setting captives free from demonic possession and demonic oppression,” and they have ostensibly “witnessed many supernatural miracles, healing miracles, and debt cancellation,” not the least of which is the election of Donald Trump. Indeed, Taylor hosts a weekly “TRUMP TUESDAY PRAYER CONFERENCE CALLS,” where she and her followers “unite to intercede for our President, First Lady and First Family, our Vice President and his loved ones, our military, our law enforcement, our leaders and our nation.” One of the things that needs to be prayed away, is apparently a concerted effort by socialists to overthrow the government of the US in the name of “liberalism”.
According to Taylor, “prayers can literally prevent evil attacks” and “GOD ANSWERS EVERY PRAYER”, making prayer a powerful tool in the spiritual warfare people like her are engaged in. And make no mistake: the demons these people are fighting are real – not just metaphors.
She also offers dream interpretations, since dreams may be God “trying to warn you about something,” and she has herself “had many prophetic dreams that have come to pass and the Holy Spirit has explained the meanings to me, preventing calamities” – i.e. she interprets the dreams to signify precisely what she wants them to signify. She also offers prophecies underpinned by numerology (roughly: fortune cookies with accompanying Bible verses), though the prophecies are of course sufficiently vague to accommodate plausible deniability.
Diagnosis: Pretty standard from associates of the New Apostolic Reformation, but “standard” in this context means wild-eyed crazy. At least most of her recommendations and claims remain at the level of vague and wordy, but you should probably not listen to anything she says in any case.

David E. Taylor

David E. Taylor is a faith healer who claims that Jesus himself has appointed him to be America’s Moses, in order to help bring the country “deliverance from murder (abortion), drugs, alcohol, homosexuality, lesbianism, gambling, murder/homicides, corruption, and wicked government.” The appointment was apparently confirmed by God’s appearance in a cloud in Canada; indeed, “there are witnesses who can attest to this Face to Face Appearance of the Lord in Canada.” We are sure there are.
From the cloud, God told Taylor that the US is chosen “to be His representative in the Earth like as was Israel,” and that Taylor was to lead it – the background idea being that “after every 400 years in certain dispensations and generations the Lord God makes a notable appearance by coming down on Earth from Heaven to that nation in that generation for the World” (like Israel ostensibly were in bondage for, well, over 400 years) and “now in your day America has entered her 400th year.” The veracity of the request was apparently proven by the fact that Taylor, at the time (2006), didn’t know that America’s first settlement at Jamestown was established in 1607. “Wow!!”, says Taylor’s promotional materials.
The cloud incident wasn’t Taylor’s first chat with God. Now, a central theme of the New Apostolic Reformation is that God is directly communicating with newly appointed apostles (in which case He seems to be lying to them with startling systematicity), and Taylor’s official biography states that “[s]ince 1989 from the time that he was 17 years old, he has been granted well over 1000 face-to-face visitation appearances from Jesus Christ personally.”
And Taylor is not a nobody on the fanatic fringe of the religious right. In 2011, for instance, he was Lou Engle’s cohost for The Call: Detroit, which was arranged for the purpose of converting Muslims to Christianity and ‘free’ gays from homosexuality. He is currently head of his own multimillion prosperity church Joshua Media Ministries. Here is a video of Taylor receiving a yacht on his “Miracle crusade against cancer” campaign – yes, he claims to be able to cure cancer, but you need faith (and he needs a yacht), so if your cancer isn’t cured your faith was probably not strong enough; apparently Jesus himself told Taylor to “attack cancer and when thousands begin to see cancer fall, faith will arise again, and other sicknesses will fall!” In 2016 he predictable ended up in some trouble for his almost astonishing – even for a prosperity gospel preacher – level of spineless grifting and greed. After the deposition for his handling of the church’s money in 2016, Taylor once again received some attention in 2019 for having turned his ministries into “a slave labor cult”.
Taylor has written a large number of books, a recurring topic being how to recognize prophecies and God’s messages when decoding your dreams.
Diagnosis: Primarily a grifting piece of pond scum, but he does, indeed, seem to be genuinely delusional on top. His whole existence is a sad tragedy for us all.

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