JohnRoberts

covid politics
« on: March 29, 2020, 02:07:07 PM »
These days it seems all but impossible to ignore politics, and with a presidential election roughly a half year away, we are already in the silly season.

I absolutely do not want to make this more political, as if that was possible, but perhaps we can keep these political veers compartmentalized.  Of course I will have my right/libertarian biases in place.

#1 Health advice... POTUS is taking full advantage of the gift of daily press conferences to look presidential. Keeping spaced 5 feet apart makes a much less effective photo op... so some political handler's fingerprints are showing with them standing shoulder to shoulder against their own advice. They probably shouldn't even be in the same room.  (I made up a new drinking game, as if I needed an excuse... every time I see a health official or politician on TV touch their face I take a drink... I manage to keep my whistle pretty wet these days.)

#2 the social distancing and assembly rules will hurt political campaigns that depend on large gatherings, and face to face campaigning (not too many babies will get kissed this time around). It appears to have helped lock in the lead position for Joe Biden, while he does not come across strong from his bunker (opinion).  While not being openly discussed (yet) Gov Cuomo (NY ) is gaining political credibility ironically by not being blatantly political (like the NYC mayor), but fighting for his citizens and showing leadership. If he can get this health crisis satisfactorily into the rear view mirror I could imagine him being considered for drafting at the Dem convention, but of course I cannot predict the future.

#3  This crisis will (should) cause many of us to rethink the role of government, and how much are they actually capable of.  The small ball political response is to assign blame to those we don't like, often lacking basis, making it harder to see the real mistakes that surely exist.

#4 If politicians could fix this simply they would just pass laws outlawing COVID19 illegal and declare the problem is solved. They can't so we all need to figure this out together. 
===

Let's try to be respectful as usual... this could be the thread about politics but let's try to keep it somewhat objective and not just partisan venting.

JR

PS: I may regret this, but here goes.
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


Script

Re: covid politics
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2020, 03:14:01 PM »
I think some politicians might want to simply pass laws outlawing threads like this ;)

hodad

Re: covid politics
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2020, 03:15:37 PM »
As to #3, it's an opportunity to look at how a wide variety of governments deal with the situation--whether it be China or South Korea, Germany or the UK, the US or Iran.  Many, many things to look at, and certainly a lot to consider. 

In the US:  when you have one party that for decades has professed to want a federal govt. small enough to drown in a bathtub, you've got to wonder how much  that party actually wants the govt. to be successful.  That is certainly in evidence when times are good, and now that there's a crisis that would benefit from leadership at the top, these folks seem to be scrambling to figure out what to do. 

Does govt. need to do everything?  No.  I was reading today that S. Korea gathered industry leaders pretty much as soon as they had their first case and set them to work on developing and producing tests for the virus.   Basically  that's the equivalent of the "public-private partnership" that Trump was touting in the US--a month or so later. 

Leadership, vision, coordination, communication--good things to see from your central govt. in a time of crisis.    Wishful thinking, denial, delay, contradiction, and obfuscation--not so good. 

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2020, 03:44:57 PM »
I think some politicians might want to simply pass laws outlawing threads like this ;)
That's why we value the first amendment... and why it was the first....

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2020, 03:58:17 PM »
As to #3, it's an opportunity to look at how a wide variety of governments deal with the situation--whether it be China or South Korea, Germany or the UK, the US or Iran.  Many, many things to look at, and certainly a lot to consider. 

In the US:  when you have one party that for decades has professed to want a federal govt. small enough to drown in a bathtub, you've got to wonder how much  that party actually wants the govt. to be successful.  That is certainly in evidence when times are good, and now that there's a crisis that would benefit from leadership at the top, these folks seem to be scrambling to figure out what to do. 

Does govt. need to do everything?  No.  I was reading today that S. Korea gathered industry leaders pretty much as soon as they had their first case and set them to work on developing and producing tests for the virus.   Basically  that's the equivalent of the "public-private partnership" that Trump was touting in the US--a month or so later. 

Leadership, vision, coordination, communication--good things to see from your central govt. in a time of crisis.    Wishful thinking, denial, delay, contradiction, and obfuscation--not so good.
yup...  at least in part.

I just finished reading a book this morning (I've been reading more books since pausing my newspaper). This book written by a conservative author with a decades long career in public/government service, articulated that one reasons for disfunction from government is due to size resulting in multi layer bureaucracies where upper levels take credit for success but kick the blame down the hierarchy. Additionally too many different agencies with similar missions diffuse responsibility so nobody is completely in charge or responsible.

An old lesson I learned in business if you tell more than one person to do something, they will each ASSume the other is responsible or actually doing it and nobody does it... (one of several lessons learned the hard way... there's more).  8)

I am encouraged to see the different responsible government agencies all in the same room appearing to work together (but maybe they could video conference in or stand further apart to set a better example). Appearance is better than nothing but the proof is yet to come.

JR 
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Scodiddly

Re: covid politics
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2020, 04:33:32 PM »
This really an odd thing to see happening here from the perspective of national security.  In general the conservatives have always pushed for a bigger military, the one part of a federal government they don't want to shrink.  So in that regard they seem to expect that it'll be the job of the feds to protect the population.  But now we have something that can't be fought with tanks or aircraft carriers and there's a great deal of confusion in the leadership. 

gyraf

Re: covid politics
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2020, 06:27:59 AM »
OT:

Quote
(I made up a new drinking game, as if I needed an excuse... every time I see a health official or politician on TV touch their face I take a drink... I manage to keep my whistle pretty wet these days.)

Thanks. This was my first coffee-through-the-nose laugh for a long time, appreciate it..  ;D
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

living sounds

Re: covid politics
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2020, 09:25:24 AM »
I think there's a good chance that the Coronavirus will be the final nail in the coffin of neoliberal economics. Rightwing authoritarians and con men are unmasked and a massive shift takes place. It happened after the great depression and WW2 and even before the virus the time had been ripe for it.

Yesterday Boris Johnson wrote "there's such a thing as society". Wow.

hodad

Re: covid politics
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2020, 11:46:53 AM »
It's bothersome that Trump still feels the need to score political points by doing things like calling it the "Chinese virus," or by continuing to crap on Iran when they're clearly in the middle of a grave humanitarian crisis--and when their crisis affects many, many other nations as well.  And of course, his daily campaign appearances include a generous helping of Trump fluffing--sometimes by the folks around him, and sometimes he just fluffs himself.  This is not leadership.  This is self-serving and venal. 

If a leader does a good job of shepherding a nation in a time of crisis, usually good things come to him or her.  The praise doesn't have to be self-generated or part of the job descriptions of those around you--praise comes from doing your freaking job.  Doing a good job does not seem to come naturally to Trump--it would appear that it took the full force of the advisors around him to get him to come off the New York quarantine and the Easter Kill-a-Thon he had planned.  (He also managed to accuse medical workers of stealing masks, which is par for the course with Trump.)

Trump is the epitome of what JR described above:  a leader who takes praise for all successes and puts blame for all failures on those below him.  Sadly, he also struggles mightily with information that goes counter to what he wants to believe (eg, Trump refused not to believe the WTO usually rules against the US, even when presented with the fact that it usually rules in favor of the US), and he seems to be happier making stuff up than actually finding out why something might be the way it is (do you think he ever thought to ask why hospitals would run through so many more masks during a COVID epidemic?) 

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2020, 12:23:10 PM »
It's bothersome that Trump still feels the need to score political points by doing things like calling it the "Chinese virus," or by continuing to crap on Iran when they're clearly in the middle of a grave humanitarian crisis--and when their crisis affects many, many other nations as well.  And of course, his daily campaign appearances include a generous helping of Trump fluffing--sometimes by the folks around him, and sometimes he just fluffs himself.  This is not leadership.  This is self-serving and venal. 
This is no secret, President Trump was a blowhard reality TV star, and real estate promotor before entering politics. You can be critical of his persona (I am), but he managed to get elected despite that. That may say more about how weak his opponent was.
Quote
If a leader does a good job of shepherding a nation in a time of crisis, usually good things come to him or her.  The praise doesn't have to be self-generated or part of the job descriptions of those around you--praise comes from doing your freaking job.  Doing a good job does not seem to come naturally to Trump--it would appear that it took the full force of the advisors around him to get him to come off the New York quarantine and the Easter Kill-a-Thon he had planned.  (He also managed to accuse medical workers of stealing masks, which is par for the course with Trump.)
As I tried to explain at the time President Trump's easter target was just a directional marker for the beginning of a negotiation. Before he changed the topic, everybody was estimating how long it would take for us all to get infected and die. Of course his initial target was optimistic, that is what he does, at least we are now working toward that more productive goal than the 24x7 doom and gloom pity party. We are now at least thinking about reopening the economy, moving in the right direction. Actual timing is to be determined by the facts on the ground as expected. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, so it is possible to both fight the virus, and work toward preventing a deep economic depression and saving jobs.

An honest inspection of his first term in office shows good results in many areas (not widely reported by an unfavorable media). Up until the Covid19 viral outbreak hit our economy was doing very well. Trying to blame him for the corona virus is par for the course. I recall much criticism when he first shut down travel coming from china. In hindsight that may have saved a lot of lives. There is plenty to be critical of about the government response, but they seem to be better focussed now, and private industry seems to be stepping up.
Quote
Trump is the epitome of what JR described above:  a leader who takes praise for all successes and puts blame for all failures on those below him.  Sadly, he also struggles mightily with information that goes counter to what he wants to believe (eg, Trump refused not to believe the WTO usually rules against the US, even when presented with the fact that it usually rules in favor of the US), and he seems to be happier making stuff up than actually finding out why something might be the way it is (do you think he ever thought to ask why hospitals would run through so many more masks during a COVID epidemic?)
Opinions vary, but since you seem to know exactly what he is thinking, what's next?

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


hodad

Re: covid politics
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2020, 01:49:47 PM »
Opinions vary, but since you seem to know exactly what he is thinking, what's next?

JR

I wish I knew.  I'm sure you think that's a swat at me--and it is. But with a response so unpredictable and inconsistent, shouldn't we all be trying to figure out what Trump might be thinking, or how he might be going about his decision making process? 
I think it's fair to say the man thinks rather highly of himself, and he needs praise from those around him.  Does he need that praise to feel validated, or to reassure him that those around him are loyal to him?   Some other reason?  He's also (by his own admission) unwilling and/or uninterested in ever apologizing or accepting blame, and he is (obviously) eager to give himself credit for anything positive. 

There's ample evidence that he struggles to focus on complex or lengthy discussions or explanations.  There's quite a bit of evidence that he is largely unwelcoming of opinions that contradict his own.  He seems rather incurious.  As much as he seems to like being a leader, he lacks many of the traits that make a great one.

Of course, you yourself spent a paragraph acting as if you know what Trump is thinking.  I dare say you're straining awfully hard to give him more credit than he deserves.  People did that in 2016.  People were wrong. 


JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2020, 02:52:45 PM »
I wish I knew.  I'm sure you think that's a swat at me--and it is. But with a response so unpredictable and inconsistent, shouldn't we all be trying to figure out what Trump might be thinking, or how he might be going about his decision making process? 
I think it's fair to say the man thinks rather highly of himself, and he needs praise from those around him.  Does he need that praise to feel validated, or to reassure him that those around him are loyal to him?   Some other reason?  He's also (by his own admission) unwilling and/or uninterested in ever apologizing or accepting blame, and he is (obviously) eager to give himself credit for anything positive. 
Being self-deprecatory is rarely a successful strategy in political campaigns, and he never stopped campaigning.

There are years of concrete evidence of his decision making while in office, do not confuse his hyperbolic public bloviating with actual decision making.
Quote
There's ample evidence that he struggles to focus on complex or lengthy discussions or explanations.  There's quite a bit of evidence that he is largely unwelcoming of opinions that contradict his own.  He seems rather incurious.  As much as he seems to like being a leader, he lacks many of the traits that make a great one.
ample evidence?
Quote
Of course, you yourself spent a paragraph acting as if you know what Trump is thinking.  I dare say you're straining awfully hard to give him more credit than he deserves.  People did that in 2016.  People were wrong.
He actually wrote a book back in 1987 (co-authored with Tony Schwartz) "the art of the deal"  that reportedly describes his business methods/philosophy (I didn't read it, and don't plan to). By 2016 Schwartz and many of his industry peers went hard core anti-Trump so won't say anything remotely positive. 

"Win Bigly" a book written by Scott Adams that I did read offers some insight into how President Trump operates. Of course Scott Adams has been demonized by the left as an evil apologist for President Trump. I could lend you my copy to read but I gave it to a neighbor to read, and he may have passed it along already.

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

living sounds

Re: covid politics
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2020, 04:32:19 PM »
Being self-deprecatory is rarely a successful strategy in political campaigns, and he never stopped campaigning.


Obama did very well very far with self-deprecatory humor. But he's pretty much in a class of his own. I'm getting nostalgic just by writing this... :-\

hodad

Re: covid politics
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2020, 04:51:58 PM »
I could lend you my copy to read but I gave it to a neighbor to read, and he may have passed it along already.

JR

I've put up links to all sorts of things you've never bothered to read.  I'll return the favor & say don't bother.

iturnknobs

Re: covid politics
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2020, 05:38:18 PM »
No Easter 2020. Health care professionals/infrastructure need(s) this break. Waiting on some other governors to fall in line. Trump's butt kisser, Birx, has now admitted publicly that the best we'll probably do in 200,000 deaths if "handled perfectly". Someone in the COVID-19 thread posted a link showing the US is the country best prepared for a pandemic. I would venture to say we are proudly proving that study wrong. If you happen to live in a state where your governor isn't that smart, contact them and voice your concerns. I predict social distancing will last through mid-late May, given the projected completion dates of field hospitals around the country. The earlier we stop the spread, the earlier we can get on with our lives. Let's get it together. I'd like to get back to normal life. I'm sure others feel the same.  #coronavirushoax
Election 2020.  For the people, not the money.

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2020, 05:56:11 PM »
I've put up links to all sorts of things you've never bothered to read.  I'll return the favor & say don't bother.
That's fair... I don't think you would appreciate it anyhow...

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

hodad

Re: covid politics
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2020, 07:31:47 PM »
That's fair... I don't think you would appreciate it anyhow...

JR
I've read some of his stuff before--wasn't that impressed.  And I do read a fair bit of conservative-leaning stuff fairly regularly (I don't consume it the way I once did though.)  The Michael Lewis article--I'm sure you're capable of seeing past any bias there might be (I don't consider Lewis all that liberal a writer anyway)--it's an eye-opening read, even if a bit dated by now.

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2020, 09:00:35 PM »
I forget if it was in this thread but another data point about the problems with too large to be effective government bureaucracies, it was mentioned in today's press conference that a small OH company had invented a device to disinfect M95 masks so they could be reused up to 20 times... Of course this is not ideal but we desperately need PPE for health care workers.

Approval for that decontamination device was stalled unapproved by the FDA hierarchy... A phone call from the governor of OH to POTUS got this approval shaken loose.

Common sense is not that common within large bureaucracies.

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.

Script

Re: covid politics
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2020, 01:22:26 AM »
Quote
The earlier we stop the spread, the earlier we can get on with our lives. Let's get it together.

Well, stopping it effectively means having a vaccine. That's at least 12 months, if not more, down the road.  But it is important to gain time to test existing medication in the hope that they help reduce infections or/and letality.

Governments are worried about the economic loss when shutting things down. Well, dragging it out indefinitely until it's too late and then suddenly being forced to shut things down might even be worse, I think. All country's economies will take a hit anyway -- whether locked down or not -- also because supply chains are interrupted.

But maybe I just don't understand economics in the first place ;)

JohnRoberts

Re: covid politics
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2020, 11:10:29 AM »
Well, stopping it effectively means having a vaccine. That's at least 12 months, if not more, down the road. 
J&J reportedly identified a vaccine candidate for COVID19 but still need efficacy and human safety testing. They are hoping for wider trials as soon as early 2021... FDA is apparently fast tracking these programs (more than just J&J in this race to market with vaccines). 
Quote
But it is important to gain time to test existing medication in the hope that they help reduce infections or/and letality.
Indeed multiple clinical trials and mass government purchases of those anti-malarial drugs, causing shortages for the existing users  (like Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc). 
Quote
Governments are worried about the economic loss when shutting things down.
Hard part is putting humpty back together after complete shut downs. You can't just flip the switch on again, it takes time and effort to get supply chains working effectively. The longer they are shut down, the harder to restart.
Quote
Well, dragging it out indefinitely until it's too late and then suddenly being forced to shut things down might even be worse, I think. All country's economies will take a hit anyway -- whether locked down or not -- also because supply chains are interrupted.
We were experiencing a soft global economy before this sh__ storm struck. There will be mostly losers, but cheap oil will help oil consuming nations, until OPEC stops this leaning out the window contest (trying to crush US frackers). The current oil price is not sustainable for anybody including the Saudis and Russia, but small companies in the US oil patch have a lot of debt and some will go belly up from the combination of soft demand and OPEC price pressure. I expect some (many?) will get purchased by larger companies and this production capacity will rise from ashes after this OPEC squeeze ends. This makes me question the wisdom of this OPEC policy long term, while they can cause plenty of short term pain.  The US has talked about filling the oil reserve with this cheap oil, but they are already spending helicopter money, so may blink about spending even more.   (There is already some talk about yet another stimulus bill, they love to spend OPM in the swamp.)
Quote
But maybe I just don't understand economics in the first place ;)
Economics is not a hard science, that is why electronics is much more satisfying.

JR
Don't only half-ass tune your drums. Visit https://circularscience.com to hear what properly "cleared" drums sound like.


 

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