Patterico's Pontifications


States Take The Lead: Partnering Up To Decide How To Get Back To Business As Usual (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

What?? Governors think they know what will best fit their states’ needs?!

This morning, President Trump again asserted that it’s his decision to reopen the country, not the state governors:

In spite of Trump’s claims, state governors are collectively going about the business of opening up their states in a framework that best fits their region’s specific needs:

From the West coast:

Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future…

…In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.

We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.

While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework: Our residents’ health comes first…Health outcomes and science – not politics – will guide these decisions…Our states will only be effective by working together.

From the East coast:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, along with the northeastern governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Delaware, on Monday announced a regional effort to eventually reopen the economy in a “coordinated way” amid the coronavirus crisis…

During their news conference, Cuomo announced that states will begin to coordinate efforts to reopen society. As for the timeframe of reopening, Cuomo said: “It has to be weeks.”

“We should start looking forward to ‘reopening’, but reopening with a plan and a smart plan because if you do it wrong, it can backfire,” Cuomo said during the event. “What the art form is going to be here is doing that smartly and doing that productively and doing that in a coordinated way — in coordination with other states in the area and doing it as a cooperative effort where we learn from each other where we share information, share resources, where we share intelligence.”

He added: “No one has done this before—it’s one step forward after research and consultation with experts–I’m not a public health expert but this has to be informed by experts.”

Cuomo said that each state will name an economic developer and a health official that will be led by each governor’s chief of staff to “form a working group that will start work immediately on designing a reopening plan,” while taking into consideration “the public health concerns and issues and the economic reactivation issues and concerns.”

Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island pointed out that “The reality is this virus doesn’t care about state borders, and our response shouldn’t either.”

Peter Navarro, the White House trade adviser argued that a continuing shutdown could be more harmful to the U.S. than the virus itself:

“It’s disappointing that so many of the medical experts and pundits pontificating in the press appear tone deaf to the very significant losses of life and blows to American families that may result from an extended economic shutdown,” Mr. Navarro said in an interview.

“Instead, they piously preen on their soap boxes speaking only half of the medical truth without reference or regard for the other half of the equation,” he said, “which is the very real mortal dangers associated with the closure of the economy for an extended period.”

As to the president’s powers, this was Trump on April 10, discussing pesky things like “federalist” (Can we can assume he was referring to Federalism?) and “the Constitution,” and his belief that he can overrule governors who defy him:

I like to allow governors to make decisions without overruling them, because from a constitutional standpoint, that’s the way it should be done. If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I’d rather have them — you can call it “federalist,” you can call it “the Constitution,” but I call it “the Constitution.” I would rather have them make their decisions.

It’s exhausting to have to closely scrutinize whatever Trump says, but in this case, it seems pretty obvious – especially the part about it not mattering to him whether something is Constituionally correct or not, because that would be consistent with the Trump we know:

Make no mistake: this tweet [Trump’s at top of post] isn’t “ignorant.” It sets up the premise to blame governors who “disobey” Trump’s call to reopen the country when he does it. It sows confusion and stokes anger at people other than himself. Doesn’t matter if it’s constitutionally correct.

As to whether Trump has the authority to override state and local orders:

No. Under our constitutional system, states have the power and responsibility for maintaining public order and safety. As we’ve seen since the outbreak began, decisions about limiting social interactions by ordering people to shelter in place, closing businesses and shutting schools are being made by governors and local officials. Those same officials will make the call about when to ease up. Trump’s comments “are just advisory.

At today’s press conference, Trump was asked, “What provision in the Constitution gives the President the power to open or close state economies?” Trump replied that there were “numerous provisions” that did so. He also stated that, when states closed their businesses and restaurants, he “let that happen…”

UPDATE: Here is a clip of President Trump from today’s press conference, claiming that a president’s “authority is total”:

Jonah Goldberg is absolutely right:

So. Trump said “When somebody is the president of the United States, the authority is total.”

This is antithetical to everything conservatives have argued for 50 years.

POTUS cannot take away your free speech or your 2nd amendment rights. He doesn’t have the authority to tell you to stay home or leave home. He doesn’t have authority to tell states to tell you to either — and if he managed it, it would require Congressional authorization.

The Trump praetorians will circle around to the fact that Trump ultimately said something about a “situation like this.” Okay. The president still doesn’t have the authority to close restaurants, schools or Churches OR OPEN THEM. He doesn’t have those police powers.

And if any conservative — including Mike Pence who’s dancing as I type this — says POTUS has anything like those powers they are violating vast swaths of what conservatives claimed to believe before Trump became president.

This is what the “conservatism” under Trump looks like. Will any conservatives in Congress push back on this nonsense? Or should we expect to hear the familar, empty sound of…crickets?


About Those 39 Million Masks Located By The SEIU-UHW…

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:31 am

[guest post by Dana]

I knew there was something fishy about the story…at the time, I said:

I have questions: Who’s the distributor and why have they been sitting on theses masks until the union called? This especially as they knew that that medical professionals have been in dire need of them? And why did it take a call from the SEIU to get a manufacturer to say that they can provide 20 millions masks a week? Didn’t they know that there was already a dire need for the product – a need which they could apparently go a long way to filling? Were requests by other entities unanswered or denied? Also, what is the pre-coronavirus cost for an individual mask? And how was it that SEIU-UHW was able to locate them, and no one else was? Was no one else looking? Why didn’t this distributor and manufacturer come forward on their own? While I’m thrilled that the much needed masks are now available (and going to be made available in large quantities), something seems a bit curious about this, no?

[Ed. Now I’m annoyed with myself that I changed “there’s something fishy” to the milder “something seems a bit curious” to appease a concerned commenter…]

Anyway, here we are:

A powerful California union that claimed to have discovered 39 million masks for healthcare workers fighting the novel coronavirus was duped in an elaborate scam uncovered by FBI investigators, the U.S. attorney’s office said Friday.

U.S. Atty. Scott Brady of the Western District of Pennsylvania said FBI agents and prosecutors stumbled onto the arrangement while looking into whether they could intercept the masks for the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Defense Production Act.

It seems that when the Feds were trying to snatch the masks, they couldn’t locate them. And for good reason:

Brady said investigators tracked the tip back to a Pittsburgh businessman, who said he had been working with the union to secure millions of masks, some of which were purported to be sitting in a Georgia warehouse. Brady said the businessman had been using WhatsApp to connect with a broker in Australia and a supplier in Kuwait, who are both now the target of a federal investigation.

Brady said the union and the Pittsburgh businessman, whom he declined to identify, appear to be among a string of middlemen who were fooled. The union and the Pittsburgh businessman are not under investigation, Brady said.

The scam quickly unfolded when buyers didn’t receive their order:

In the days after the SEIU deal was announced, Kaiser employees began expressing frustration that they hadn’t received any masks. On April 3, a spokesman for Kaiser Permanente told The Times that the seller had “repeatedly failed to provide reliable information about where we could verify and inspect the shipment,” prompting Kaiser to withdraw. The spokesman said Kaiser has been cooperating in the federal investigation.

Not only did I have my suspicions about the discovery of 39 million masks, so too did the Feds:

Brady said federal investigators had reason to suspect the arrangement. The 39 million masks were advertised as N95 masks from 3M, the largest U.S.-based manufacturer. But 3M told federal investigators it manufactured only 20 million such masks last year, making that large of a stockpile unlikely unless the product was counterfeit.

“We believe we disrupted fraud,” Brady said. “We are seeing [personal protective equipment] fraud in every variation, but mostly in respect to N95 masks. We have an anxious public, and resources are strained.”

The SEIU-UHW apparently acted in good faith, believing that they truly had located 39 million masks. Steve Trossman, spokesman for SEIU-UHW, said:

“As far as we knew, he had legitimate masks,” Trossman said of the supplier, “and the people who were going to purchase those masks were going to fully vet it and check it out and do their due diligence.”

Trossman said the union “was trying to save the lives of healthcare workers and patients,” and its officials “were proud of having made that attempt.”

Too many people with good intentions, from the SEIU-UHW to the medical facilities and health care centers that placed orders, forgot the old, cautionary adage that says: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is [too good to be true]. Perhaps even more so during a pandemic. And how sad is that…


Trump Retweets Ignorant Tweet Bearing Hashtag #FireFauci

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:08 am

Even he couldn’t be dumb enough to fire Fauci. Right?

According to the Daily Beast, when Trump wasn’t busy ragetweeting at Mike Wallace, he spent a good chunk of the weekend staying on top of plans for massive antibody testing throughout America calling friends to ask what they think of Fauci:

“What do you think of Fauci?” the president repeatedly worked into his phone conversations over the past few days, the three sources said, as he pulsed his broader network of informal advisers, industry allies, and current staff on their opinions on the news of the day. At one point this weekend, Trump remarked that he’s made Fauci a “star” and that barely anybody would have known who the doctor was were it not for the president putting him front and center in the administration’s coronavirus response, televised press briefings, and media strategy.

“He did not sound bitter about it, I wouldn’t say that,” one of the people familiar with the comments said. “It just sounded like he thought it was worth a reminder.”

On Sunday morning, Fauci appeared on CNN host Jake Tapper’s show and seemed to confirm aspects of a Saturday New York Times story (one that had apparently upset the president) that he and other officials had advocated imposing restrictions and social-distancing guidelines in February, but the Trump administration did not act on their advice until nearly a month later.

“We make a recommendation. Often the recommendation is taken. Sometimes it’s not. But it is what it is. We are where we are right now,” Fauci told the State of the Union anchor. When asked by Tapper whether lives could have been saved if Trump and other top officials had taken and announced those recommendations in February, the doctor responded, “It’s very difficult to go back and say that. I mean, obviously you could logically say that if you had a process that was ongoing and you started mitigation earlier, you could have saved lives. Obviously no one is going to deny that.”

Fauci’s comments did not go over well with certain officials working in the White House or on the president’s campaign, according to multiple aides, or with Trump supporters who are publicly protective of the president and his image. “Dr. Fauci needs to be more careful choosing his words on #Coronavirus, & if he’s going to be critical, make clear what he personally could’ve done better,” Jason Miller, a former senior Trump adviser, posted to Twitter on Sunday.

Jason Miller is a very careful guy — except perhaps around certain establishments in Orlando, according to court documents — and it is very important that Fauci listen to Miller’s advice rather than tell the truth the way he keeps doing.

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.0641 secs.