Much of the cruelty and corruption, not to mention sheer ineptitude, of the current administration flies under the radar. This next story would have gone that way too, but for the fact that plague, like pestilence, war and famine, rears its ugly head with regularity and COVID-19 is the 100-year-cycle deadly virus. It was anticipated that something like it would come along in the fullness of time. Much was learned from the last pandemic in 1918 and from other, more recent outbreaks of lethal viruses, notably SARS and Ebola. Therefore, the United States, under Barack Obama, had prudently planned for just such an event as we are experiencing now — and Donald Trump’s administration shortstopped and botched those plans, resulting in costly and deadly results. New Civil Rights Movement: A new report from the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform found that the Trump Administration repeatedly delayed an Obama-era order from the health-technology company Philips for 10,000 ventilators, wasting half-a-billion dollars for machines that won’t even arrive until September 2022. According to the report, in 2014, the Obama Administration signed a contract with Philips to add 10,000 ventilators to the nation’s stockpile by June 2019. Though Philips delayed the fulfillment until November 2019, had they been held to that deadline, the nation would have had plenty of ventilators for when the coronavirus epidemic started in March 2020. [emphasis added] However, the Trump Administration granted Philips three extensions. “On January 21, 2020, when the first coronavirus case was reported in the United States,” the report states, “Philips approached the Trump Administration about accelerating the delivery of ventilators under its existing contract. The Trump Administration ignored this opportunity, and for six weeks, it did not respond to Philips’ offer.” When Peter Navarro — Assistant to the President, Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy — and other senior officials in the White House negotiated a new contract with Philips, they ended up scrapping the Obama-era terms and agreed to pay almost five-times the price set under those terms. Now that is not only the synopsis of yet another example of how coronavirus has been frightfully bungled under Trump, it is the template for the gross incompetence that is the norm in this administration. Peter Navarro is no kind of an economist or administrator. The man does not belong in government. He is the punch line of jokes that real economists and financial people make. If you have not yet hit the link to the press release issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform do so now. It is subtitled, “Staff Report Details Inept Negotiations Led by White House Official Peter Navarro” and dated July 31. Read how, “While the Trump Administration paid $15,000 per ventilator, some small purchasers, buying as few as one unit, were able to negotiate prices as low as $9,327 per unit.” Now read between the lines here. In January, Philips approached the administration about accelerating delivery of ventilators — and they were ignored. This was most probably due to the fact that in January, Trump’s “policy” with respect to COVID-19 was to characterize it as a hoax. Or, alternatively, hoax or no hoax, it was believed that it would only affect blue states, and that was just fine, as we learned from the Vanity Fair bombshell yesterday. In all events, nothing was done until March, when, incredibly, the Trump administration screwed things […]
Peter Navarro, for reasons known only to Peter Navarro and apparently not even to Donald Trump, went on Fox News Monday and announced that the China trade deal had finally collapsed. That sent U.S. stock-index futures reeling by more than 400 points, before Trump got on Twitter and said the China trade deal was just fine, and then Navarro said that he had been quoted “wildly out of context.” Here’s the video of what he said. You decide. Peter Navarro says the China Trade Deal is over? pic.twitter.com/HR3PCfFBkJ — Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) June 22, 2020 On Thursday Trump said that there could be a “complete decoupling from China” according to Market Watch. In all events, two very alarming signs coming out of Trump world. 1. the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, if Trump has to get on Twitter and say the dead opposite of what his economic adviser says on Fox News, and 2. the conspiracy theory that Navarro was pushing was over the top. “They came here on January 15, to sign that trade deal and that was a full two months after they knew that virus was out and about…it was at a time when they had sent hundreds of thousands of people to this country to spread that virus, it was just minutes after wheels up and that plane took off that we began to hear about that pandemic.” Navarro is lying through his teeth. He personally was sending memos to Trump about the pandemic in January. Plus, the Trump administration knew about the pandemic in November. They told Israel and NATO and did nothing else about it. That story broke in April and I was amazed then and am amazed now that it wasn’t a bigger story. Evidently the decision was made by the White House to lie that nothing was known about the pandemic until mid-January. Trump has repeatedly denied getting memos in January or February from Navarro about the pandemic killing half a million Americans and costing as much as $6Trillion. The takeaway here is that if somebody in this administration thinks they can sell a bold faced lie, they’ll give it a shot. Kayleigh McEnany lied through her teeth today, saying that Trump never used the phrase, “Kung flu.” Yes he did. He said it on live television in Tulsa and millions of us heard it. So now, back to it all being China’s fault, as you hear, from both Trump and Navarro, China deliberately set out to get the United States and sent “thousands of people…to spread the virus” and apparently this is the strongman Trump talking point that they’re hoping to sell in November. Something got botched tonight, that much is clear. But like everything else in Trump world, it will take a little time to track down and sort out. What a crew of incompetents on a ship of fools, with a “stunningly uninformed,” to quote John Bolton, idiot at the helm.
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