Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution, a list of earlier revolutions and the author, Entry #1.

Periodically I write a “sense check” to assess whether in the next few years, a revolution in the US is still possible or whether the entire exercise is based on a statistical aberration — i.e., a roughly 50-year cycle between major upheavals in the US.  Most recent sense check, Entry #365.  

Some of the entries are part of a series.  Several series are available as easy-to-read booklets for download:

Prelude: there is an endless number of inconsistencies in information from the Trump administration about the spread of the coronavirus and/or actions to mitigate the spread. For recent blog entries I’ve selected a few that are representative but not necessarily the most egregious.

ENTRY #376 BEGINS:  When it became clear the coronavirus had turned into a pandemic, the White House dropped claims the virus was a hoax and established a task force to help coordinate something, although no one was quite sure what.  The task force began a daily press conference to provide the public with updates on the spread of the virus, actions being contemplated – emphasis on contemplated – to help mitigate the spread and guidance from CDC doctors about steps to the public could take to avoid getting infected or infecting others.

Once Trump realized the task force’s press conference was being viewed widely, he insisted on VP Pence playing second fiddle and Trump becoming the lead spokesperson. Since joining the daily briefings, frequently Trump has spoken for 45-60 minutes, often rambling incoherently about a wide range of unrelated and irrelevant topics. The rambling regularly includes an incredible number of lies and totally fabricated stories and claims. 

Even in a crisis, Trump cannot tell anything resembling the truth.  Since the beginning of his term, the frequency and magnitude of the lies has increased dramatically, even by Trump standards.  The daily press conferences seem to be two, sometimes three different events. 

  1. Press conference featuring Trump’s incoherent rambling and lies.  The remarks almost always include pointing fingers at someone else, claiming the other person/group is at fault, and not Trump.  An example is Trump claiming the Governor of New York should have known that the Federal government had stored ventilators in New Jersey.  Even though the Federal government didn’t know, Governor Cuomo of NY should have known the ventilators were in New Jersey!  Seems logical to me.
  2. Press conference updating info from the task force.  Lots of claims of progress and projections but very little hard data.  During the press conference the contrast is shocking between statements from Pence, who constantly praises Trump, and live reports from doctors and nurses in hospitals in say Brooklyn or Queens.  While Pence has fewer gross misstatements than Trump, Pence has not been a credible source of information.
  3. Press conference with doctors from CDC, especially Anthony Fauci, a 79-year-old, Brooklyn-born straight shooter with extensive experience in communicable diseases.  Fauci has become a trusted “voice of reason” in this crisis.  Fauci also frequently, but diplomatically, corrects Trump’s claims.  The contrast between Trump and Fauci is striking, both in stature and credibility.  The little guy Fauci is a credible giant.

Unfortunately, for Trump’s hard-core supporters, none of Trump’s behavior seems to matter.  For them Trump can never be wrong, no matter how egregious the claim or no matter how much data support the truth.  Trumpsters have made it a habit of never checking the facts.  Why should they when they have “alternative facts” to support their position?  If one is able to hold something akin to a conversation with a Trumpster, the least bit of a challenge to one of Trump’s claims will result in the Trumpster making irrelevant and usually disproved claims, usually about Obama or Hillary Clinton. 

Trump’s lies, and the refusal within the Trump Administration to address real problems – recall as late as March 3 Trump claimed the coronavirus was a hoax – has made it even more difficult to address the many logistical and medical equipment availability problems associated with the coronavirus.

An example is limited availability of ventilators.  While the percentage is small of people contracting the coronavirus who need a ventilator, the vast number of people who have or will contract the virus results in the need for ventilators far in excess of existing capacity.

Increasing production of ventilators is it good example of how, in the Trump administration, no good deed goes unpunished. When projections indicated that demand for ventilators would far exceed installed capacity, General Motors offered to work with Ventec Life Systems, a ventilator company based in Bothell, WA and help the company increase production.

That proposed relationship was announced March 20, although likely most of the agreement had already been reached. Under the agreement GM was to help the company increase production from about 150 per month to 1,000 per month and then 10,000 per month with total production up to 200,000 ventilators.

Within a few days of the announcement that GM would help, which received decent press coverage, there was another announcement published in the technical press.  That release received very little coverage.  The “technical” press release indicated details about the ventilator design. Knowing the details presented a completely different picture of the problems GM faced in increasing production than the supposed problems claimed by Trump.

If you were not familiar with manufacturing, the details in following paragraphs might not seem to be so important. If you are familiar with manufacturing, your jaw might drop and hit the table.

For reference, think of a ventilator as a somewhat more elaborate HVAC system that’s in your car or truck. Both the ventilator and HVAC have a pump, tubes to push the air, vents that open and close and sensors to monitor air flow and other conditions. The ventilator also includes a facemask to help concentrate the airflow for the user. Otherwise the ventilator and the HVAC system are roughly the same.  Since GM makes millions of cars and trucks every year, all with some form of HVAC, one would think that GM should be able to take the ventilator company’s design and ramp up production within a few days.

Alas, the unforeseen problem. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I’ll bet 90% of the key components are the same for every HVAC system installed in GM cars and trucks. Yes, between body styles the tubes might be a different length and the mounting brackets might be different, and the pump on a big truck will be larger than a small car, but fundamentally the components are all about the same.

Well, manufacturing experts, the ventilator design would not pass DFM 101 (design for manufacturing). The report I saw in the tech press indicated there are 1,400 specific parts. That sounds outrageously high so let’s cut that by 75% and say there are 350 specific parts. The tech press also indicated the parts were sourced in at least 10 different countries.

Thus, what GM encountered was not a manufacturing problem which it could solve simply and quickly, but a supply chain problem, which can take much longer to solve. No one, and I mean no one, who understands one iota about manufacturing would allow such a crazy design to go into production. For GM, the problem then became how to find parts, including parts in a number of countries also inflicted with the coronavirus. Nonetheless, GM apparently found enough parts to be ready to begin ventilator production at a plant in Kokomo, IN that is outfitted for “clean production.”

What did Trump do to help alleviate the ventilator shortage? Trump, who knows absolutely nothing about manufacturing and apparently is either too lazy or too stupid to learn, likely both, blames GM for not meeting a Trump-set production goal, even though GM was ready to begin production and waiting for Federal government approval. In addition, rather than approving the request to begin, Trump said GM should begin production at a Lordstown, OH assembly plant that GM no longer owns.  (Bloomberg article.)

OK Donald, let’s not take responsibility for not preparing the country for a likely pandemic – your administration was informed formally by China January 3 and then later you claimed you always knew it was a pandemic.  No, instead of taking responsibility, let’s blame the Good Samaritan GM for stepping up and trying to help.

In addition to chastising General Motors for not meeting a nearly impossible production schedules, Trump claimed GM was charging too much for the project. Of course, Trump had no data points to support his claim. In a widely-watched interview, Governor Cuomo of New York stated that each ventilator cost the State of New York roughly $25,000.

Trump told GM to build a minimum 40,000 ventilators asap.  Gee, the last I looked 40,000*$25,000 = $1,000,000,000.  Where’s the premium you claim GM is charging?  There appears to be little, if any reimbursement to GM for engineering hours, travel expenses and assembly time.  What’s being charged is the transfer price from the existing company.

There’s an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Well, Trump’s refusal to lead and to take responsibility for delaying any type of Federal action to help thwart the effects of the coronavirus is a perfect example of someone who talks tough but isn’t. 

Ironically, Trump’s lame, narcissistic, stupid behavior may somehow allow the US to avoid a more serious 5th revolution.  The Revenge Revolution will still occur but the outcome, if patterns continue, will be positive.  People are starting to understand and appreciate the importance of sharing and sacrifice, the importance of being honest and helpful, the importance of duty, honor, country.  Trump has none of these characteristics.  In a very obtuse way, his negligence and ineptness has forced the country to reassess its behavior.

I’m optimistic the US will be a better country once we get through this phase of the coronavirus.  It’s truly unfortunate so many people had to die prematurely because of Trump’s behavior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it became clear the coronavirus had turned into a pandemic, the White House dropped claims the virus was a hoax and established a task force to help coordinate something, although no one was quite sure what.  The task force began a daily press conference to provide the public with updates on the spread of the virus, actions being contemplated – emphasis on contemplated – to help mitigate the spread and guidance from CDC doctors about steps to the public could take to avoid getting infected or infecting others.

Once Trump realized the task force’s press conference was being viewed widely, he insisted on VP Pence playing second fiddle and Trump becoming the lead spokesperson. Since joining the daily briefings, frequently Trump has spoken for 45-60 minutes, often rambling incoherently about a wide range of unrelated and irrelevant topics. The rambling regularly includes an incredible number of lies and totally fabricated stories and claims. 

Even in a crisis, Trump cannot tell anything resembling the truth.  Since the beginning of his term, the frequency and magnitude of the lies has increased dramatically, even by Trump standards.  The daily press conferences seem to be two, sometimes three different events.  #1 event is Trump’s incoherent rambling and lies.  The remarks almost always include pointing fingers at someone else, claiming the other person/group is at fault, and not Trump.  An example is Trump claiming the Governor of New York should have known that the Federal government has stored ventilators in New Jersey.  Even though the Federal government didn’t know, Governor Cuomo of NY should have known the ventilators were in New Jersey!  Seems logical to me.

#2 press conference is the task force report.  Lots of claims of progress and projections but very little hard data.  During the press conference the contrast is shocking between statements from Pence, who constantly praises Trump, and live reports from doctors and nurses in hospitals in say Brooklyn or Queens.  While Pence has fewer gross misstatements than Trump, Pence has not been a credible source of information. 

#3 press conference is the doctors from CDC, especially Anthony Fauci, a 79-year-old, Brooklyn-born straight shooter with extensive experience in communicable diseases.  Fauci has become a trusted “voice of reason” in this crisis.  Fauci also frequently, but diplomatically, corrects Trump’s claims.  The contrast between Trump and Fauci is striking, both in stature and credibility.  The little guy Fauci is a credible giant.

Unfortunately, for Trump’s hard-core supporters, none of Trump’s behavior seems to matter.  For them Trump can never be wrong, no matter how egregious the claim or no matter how much data support the truth.  Trumpsters have made it a habit of never checking the facts.  Why should they when they have “alternative facts” to support their position?  If one is able to hold something akin to a conversation with a Trumpster, the least bit of a challenge to one of Trump’s claims will result in the Trumpster making irrelevant and usually disproved claims, usually about Obama or Hillary Clinton. 

Trump’s lies, and the refusal within the Trump Administration to address real problems – recall as late as March 3 Trump claimed the coronavirus was a hoax – has divided the country further and made it even more difficult to address the many logistical and medical equipment availability problems associated with the coronavirus.

An example is limited availability of ventilators.  While the percentage is small of people contracting the coronavirus who need a ventilator, the vast number of people who have or will contract the virus results in the need for ventilators far in excess of existing capacity.

Increasing production of ventilators is it good example of how, in the Trump administration, no good deed goes unpunished. When projections indicated that demand for ventilators would far exceed installed capacity, General Motors offered to work with Ventec Life Systems, a ventilator company based in Bothell, WA and help the company increase production.

That proposed relationship was announced March 20, although likely most of the agreement had already been reached. Under the agreement GM was to help the company increase production from about 150 per month to 1,000 per month and then 10,000 per month up to 200,000 ventilators.

Within a few days of the announcement that GM would help, which received decent press coverage, there was another announcement published in the technical press.  That release received very little coverage.  The “technical” press release indicated details about the ventilator design. Knowing the details presented a completely different picture of the problems GM faced in increasing than the supposed problems claimed by Trump.

If you were not familiar with manufacturing, the details in following paragraphs might not seem to be so important. If you are familiar with manufacturing, your jaw made drop and hit the table.

For reference, think of a ventilator as a somewhat more elaborate HVAC system that’s in your car or truck. Both the ventilator and HVAC have a pump, tubes to push the air, vents that open and close and sensors to monitor air flow and other conditions. The ventilator also includes a facemask to help concentrate the airflow for the user. Otherwise the ventilator and the HVAC system are roughly the same.  Since GM makes millions of cars and trucks every year, all with some form of HVAC, one would think that GM should be able to take the ventilator company’s design and ramp up production within a few days.

Alas, the unforeseen problem. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I’ll bet 90% of the key components are the same for every HVAC system installed in GM cars and trucks. Yes, between body styles the tubes might be a different length and the mounting brackets might be different, and the pump on a big truck will be larger than a small car, but fundamentally the components are all about the same.

Well, manufacturing experts, the ventilator design would not pass DFM 101 (design for manufacturing). The report I saw in the tech press indicated there are 1,400 specific parts. That sounds outrageously high so let’s cut that by 75% and say there are 350 specific parts. The tech press also indicated the parts were sourced in at least 10 different countries.

Thus, what GM encountered was not a manufacturing problem which it could solve quickly, but a supply chain problem, which can take much longer to solve. No one, and I mean no one, who understands one iota about manufacturing would allow such a crazy design to go into production. For GM, the problem then became how to find parts, including parts in a number of countries also inflicted with the coronavirus. Nonetheless, GM apparently found enough parts to be ready to begin production at a plant in Kokomo, IN that is outfitted for “clean production.”

What did Trump do to help alleviate the problem? Trump, who knows absolutely nothing about manufacturing and apparently is either too lazy or too stupid to learn, likely both, blames GM for not meeting a Trump-set production goal, even though GM was ready to begin production and waiting for Federal government approval. In addition, rather than approving the request to begin, Trump said GM should begin production at a Lordstown, OH assembly plant that GM no longer owns.  (Bloomberg article.)

OK Donald, let’s not take responsibility for not preparing the country for a likely pandemic – your administration was informed formally by China January 3 and then later you claimed you always knew it was a pandemic.  No, instead of taking responsibility, let’s blame the Good Samaritan GM for stepping up and trying to help.

In addition to chastising General Motors for not meeting nearly impossible production schedules, Trump claimed GM was charging too much for the project. Of course, Trump had no data points to support his claim. In a widely-watched interview, Governor Cuomo of New York stated that each ventilator cost the State of New York roughly $25,000. Trump told GM to build a minimum 40,000 ventilators asap.  Gee, the last I looked 40,000*$25,000 = $1,000,000,000.  Where’s the premium you claim GM is charging?  There appears to be little, if any reimbursement to GM for engineering hours, travel expenses and assembly time.  What’s being charged is the transfer price from the existing company.

There’s an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  Well, Trump’s refusal to lead and to take responsibility for delaying any type of Federal action to help thwart the effects of the coronavirus is a perfect example of someone who talks tough but isn’t. 

Ironically, Trump’s lame, narcissistic behavior may have actually allowed the US to avoid a more serious 5th revolution.  The Revenge Revolution will occur and the outcome, if patterns continue, will be positive.  People are starting to understand and appreciate the importance of sharing and sacrifice, the importance of being honest and helpful, the importance of duty, honor, country.  Trump has none of those characteristics.  In a very obtuse way, his negligence and ineptness has forced the country to reassess its behavior.

I’m optimistic the US will be a better country once we get through this phase of the coronavirus.  It’s truly unfortunate so many people had to die prematurely because of Trump.