News — At The Edge — 4/11

Doc Huston
7 min readApr 11, 2020

The actions of certain politicians during this crisis constitute negligent homicide — delays ordering medical equipment — and are actively undermining elections — creating false choices — to retain power and avoid accountability.


Report: The Trump administration didn’t order ventilators or masks until mid-March —

“[Trump] failed to place bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment…until mid-March, according to federal purchasing contracts…[despite] first briefing about the outbreak [January 3]….

[The] first bulk order…for $4.8 million worth of N95 masks. Nine days later…a larger second order for $173 million…to begin delivering the masks…[at] end of April….

[March 31st] 11.6 million masks were [distributed]…representing about 90 percent of the stockpile…[but] congressional testimony in March…[said] US would need about 3.5 billion masks to get through the pandemic….

[U.S.] stockpile had 16,660 ventilators, some…20 years old, with 2,425 out for maintenance [by March 31st]….

[The] failure to order equipment until it was far too late to mitigate much of the damage is consistent with the denial and dysfunction that has plagued the administration’s response. And it has left other leaders scrambling to fill gaps, rather than coordinating to get aid to the parts of the country that need it the most….

March 27, Trump pledged…100,000 ventilators…‘within 100 days’…[or] late June, when…virus will be past its peak…[and] created dire situations.”


Trump says to governors, ‘I’d like you to do us a favor, though’ —

“Law professor Pamela Karlan tried to explain the gravity of…Trump’s Ukraine quid pro quo…asked, if their governor requested a meeting with the president to talk about disaster assistance, and he replied, ‘I would like you to do us a favor’?….

[Trump’s] strongly suggested that if governors speak candidly about his monumental incompetence, he’ll penalize them and their states…using his control of vital aid to extort assistance with his reelection….

[Trump] instructed [Pence]…’not to call the governors…of Washington…[or] woman in Michigan…if they don’t treat you right…[because] we don’t like to see the complaints….

[However] Republican Trump sycophant Ron DeSantis, has had its requests for equipment from…emergency stockpile entirely fulfilled, while other states are receiving only a fraction of what they ask for….

’Several governors made clear they fear inadvertently harming their own citizens if they are too strident in demands for desperately needed medical supplies, or if they clash too publicly with Trump….

Due in part to Trump’s failures…[U.S] has the world’s worst [outbreak]…[yet] to secure lifesaving assistance, our leaders have to grovel to the man who…helped create our tragedy….’Surprised, probably not.’”


This is just the first in a series of cascading crises —

“[W]e will not be able to get back to…normal life unless the major powers can find some way to cooperate and manage these problems together.

  • The first phase has been the health-care crisis in the world’s major economies.
  • The next phase is the economic paralysis….
  • [Then] danger of countries defaulting…[and] economies…[that] provide the money and guarantees for bailouts and support…are themselves underwater….
  • Next come the explosions in the developing world…[who] are cash-strapped…[loosing] tax revenue…[and] need for large new subsidies, could easily tip them into…Depression….
  • [Next] oil states…[since] demand has collapsed and will not soon recover….

Expect political turmoil, refugees, even revolutions, on a scale we have not seen for decades….The world has entered this pandemic with two challenges.

  1. It is awash in debt — government and private. With a total global gross domestic product of $90 trillion, public and private debt add up to $260 trillion…[and] U.S. and China…debt-to-GDP ratios of 210 percent and 310 percent, respectively….
  2. [Now] global cooperation has collapsed and the traditional leader…the U.S., has abandoned that role….[Absent] coordinated effort, countries such as Iraq and Nigeria will explode, which will likely mean the spread of refugees, disease and terrorism…

If the richest countries pool funds and share information, that will speed up the arrival of treatments and vaccines. And when the time comes to reopen economies, coordinated action — on trade and travel for instance — would give us all the biggest bang for our buck.

The problem we face is broad and global but, unfortunately, the responses are increasingly narrow and parochial.”


Moderate social distancing yields $8 trillion in economic benefits, study finds —

“[75%] of Americans say it is more important to save lives, even if the economy suffers…[but] the either-or choice is a false one….

’[In] comparison going between money and something else, money almost always wins in our political debate….

Converting lives to dollars puts those lives on equal footing and helps ‘focus the mind’….

[T]he value of a statistical life (VSL)…[captures] how much people value living’…[and] worth a lot more than the sum of their lifetime wages…[for] set an average VSL of $11.5 million…[same] the number used by the federal government to assess clean air regulations….

[Thus] about $60,000 per American household…[over] the next six months….

$8 trillion is over one-third of US GDP and larger than the entire annual federal budget….

[It’s] difficult to think of any intervention with such large potential benefits to [citizens]….

$8 trillion represents what we stand to lose by ignoring the public health guidelines for mitigating the virus….[So] moving away from social distancing has…substantial health costs, but also economic costs.”


On pandemics as idiot plots

“[So-called] ‘good vs evil’ stories are intrinsically conservative…[with] a good world being upturned by evil, then returned to goodness…[unlike] progressive…[with] world being changed, not restored….

[But] no one wants a return to the old status quo….

Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and its disaster capitalism perfectly predict the worst changes we see happening…unlimited corporate welfare and profiteering, authoritarianism and surveillance….

[All] see how student debt, weak labor laws, and incompetent demagogues worked…[and] now we see how they fail….

’What we’re living through is only partly a disaster…mostly — a grotesque political satire.’”


Rulings on Wisconsin Election Raise Questions About Judicial Partisanship —

“In a pair of extraordinary rulings on Monday, the highest courts in Wisconsin and the nation split along ideological lines to reject Democratic efforts to defer voting in Tuesday’s elections in the state given the coronavirus pandemic…,

[This] not bode well for faith in the rule of law and American democracy…[because] threatens the legitimacy of both the election and the courts….

Chief Justice John G. Roberts…[and] fellow Republican appointees have frequently voted to restrict voting rights…that have primarily helped Republicans…[as in] 2013 voting rights decision that effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act…[enabling] states controlled by Republicans…[to] impose an array of restrictions on voting, including voter ID laws, cutbacks on early voting and purges of voter registration rolls….

Wisconsin Supreme Court’s ruling, striking down an executive order…that would have delayed Tuesday’s elections, said it was adhering to…legal principles….

[Dissent] said that reasoning ignored reality….[This] gives Wisconsinites an untenable choice: Endanger your…life by voting or give up your right to vote….

‘These orders are but another example of this court’s unmitigated support of efforts to disenfranchise voters….

[US Supreme] court’s decision is an ominous harbinger for…November in the general election’…[with] nightmare scenario…litigation over recounts in the wake of a close election marred by irregularities….

’Is the nation really ready…for President Trump’s re-election bid to turn on a 5–4 ruling from a Supreme Court whose composition is questioned…because Trump, rather than…Obama, appointed Justice Scalia’s successor after the Senate left that seat vacant for so long?”

Georgia’s GOP House Speaker says vote-by-mail system would be ‘devastating to Republicans’ —

“[An] effort taken by Georgia Secretary of State…[mailed] absentee ballot…[to] ‘7 million voters…to vote without leaving their homes’…a week after the state postponed its presidential primary….

[Speaker says] it jeopardize Republican control…in the state…[and] other races…in 2020’…[but] local Democrats have called on the government to cover the cost for postage….

[Speaker] ‘the president said it best, this will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives…[because] drives up turnout.’”


Trump, Dems clash on boosting mail-in voting during pandemic —

“[Pandemic] threatens to extend into the fall [election]…[needing] an option that would allow people to vote without the concern over the safety of polling places….

Democrats nationwide have argued the country must prepare for voting largely by mail, Republicans have objected to or blocked expansions of such voting in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania….

[Yet] virus prompting more than a dozen states to delay their presidential primaries.

Health officials are warning that the virus has the potential to return with a second wave during the next flu season, putting voters and poll workers…where fulfilling a civic duty means putting their health at greater risk.

Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington already provide…mail for all their elections…California and Utah…give counties the option of mail-in voting.

Proponents say it…makes us more democratic…giving more people the opportunity to vote’….

Trump contends fraud would increase….

Evidence shows it is Republicans…who are most likely to vote by mail….

$2.2 trillion rescue package that Congress passed included $400 million for states to…expand early voting, move to mail-in voting, or increase safety…at polling sites…compared with the $2 billion…Brennan Center for Justice…said is needed to ensure the pandemic does not jeopardize a free and fair election.”


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May you live long and prosper!
Doc Huston



Doc Huston

Consultant & Speaker on future nexus of technology-economics-politics, PhD Nested System Evolution, MA Alternative Futures, Patent Holder —