Why Competence Matters….

I’m so tired of writing about the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’m sure most of you are equally sick of reading about it–or receiving updates to the monumentally-long list of ways the Trump administration continues to commit malpractice–or worse.

But the hits keep coming…

You know we are in uncharted territory when a Republican governor admits that he is hiding protective gear and testing supplies from the federal government.

Not only is the administration not helping states navigate this pandemic, it is appropriating critically needed supplies and according to multiple reports, doling them out in ways that favor political allies and punish states seen as insufficiently enamored of “dear leader.”

Now, a report from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has again highlighted the multiple failures of the administration. (There’s a reason Trump is constantly firing or otherwise neutering Inspectors General…) Update: Yesterday, Trump–reportedly furious– fired the IG who submitted this report.

NBC News reports that the HHS IG found that hospitals across the United States are lacking supplies as basic as thermometers, even as they’re being undercut by their own federal government in trying to acquire new supplies.

 “Vendors have told us that they need to send whatever they have to the national stockpile,” said Ruthanne Sudderth, senior vice president for the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Additionally, the report found that supplies delivered to states by the federal government were either inadequate or defective.

“One hospital received two shipments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with protective gear that had expired in 2010,” NBC News writes. “Another hospital system received 1,000 masks from federal and state governments, even though it expected a much larger delivery, and ‘500 of the masks were for children and therefore unusable for adult staff,’ the report said.”

Professionals have characterized these and other failures listed in the report as “unprecedented.” (One hospital administrator reported sending his staff to auto part shops,  home supply stores, beauty salons and art supply stores in an effort to find gloves and masks.)

Hospital administrators around the country also complain that conflicting guidance from federal, state and local governments is causing confusion.

A report on the situation from NBC News  met with a response directly out of that “alternate reality” Trump inhabits.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said hospital administrators speaking to his administration were “thrilled” about their situation.

“Many hospital administrators that we’ve been in touch with, even in the really hotspots — you know what they are — are communicating directly with us that their level of supplies are meeting essential needs. And at the current time, they’re really thrilled to be where they are,” Trump told reporters.

All of the other failures reported pale in comparison to the shortage of testing supplies. The inability to test sufficient numbers of people and to get the results of those tests promptly delays the day the nation can reopen, and further strains an already inadequate system.

Diagnostic testing kits to identify patients or staff members with the virus were also in short supply, according to the inspector general. Hospitals said they were struggling with “a severe shortage of test kits,” limiting their ability to monitor the health of patients and staff members, the report said. There were also problems with incomplete testing kits missing nasal swabs or reagents to detect the virus.

“Across the industry millions are needed and we only have hundreds,” a hospital administrator was quoted as saying.

The shortage of testing kits was aggravated by delays in testing results, straining hospital resources and bed capacity as doctors waited for the results, the report said. One hospital reported test results’ taking as long as eight days, it said.

Hospitals said that presumptive patients waiting for test results took up bed capacity needed for other patients, according to the report, and that staff members were forced to use personal protective equipment, or PPE, as a precaution because of the slow pace of test results, wasting precious resources.

The armed idiots storming state capitols to demand an end to measures that are saving lives should be storming the White House and demanding competent governance.

But of course, that would require another possession that is apparently in short supply, at least in their ranks: cognitive capacity.


  1. It is so incomprehensible that the people storming Michigan’s Capitol were not arrested. When did that become ok?

  2. “Tell the truth and shame the Devil.” “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.”

    The truth is that this country is under siege by our own government and it is using the coronavirus as a weapon of mass destruction at this time.

    “I’m so tired of writing about the Coronavirus pandemic, and I’m sure most of you are equally sick of reading about it–or receiving updates to the monumentally-long list of ways the Trump administration continues to commit malpractice–or worse.

    But the hits keep coming…”

    However tired we all may be of this situation; we must “gird our loins”, “damn the torpedoes, straight ahead”, we must not lay down our weapons but must fight on against those increasing hits. Trump began his term in office as merely a “blot on our escutcheon” but, with McConnell’s powerful assistance and the backing of our own Senate he is now our deadliest enemy. And I am all out of platitudes; which I summoned up rather than use some colorful profanities which better fit this situation in which “Why Competence Matters” only has meaning to we the victims of the current administration in our White House.


    VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO! I mailed my Absentee Ballot yesterday; after Googling a few unfamiliar names before making my decision.

  3. Part of the reason for the chaotic situation is that the coronavirus task force consists of Jared, Ivanka, and several other flacks who know nothing about virology, or about anything else related to science.

  4. Anybody seen Tony Fauci in the last few days? No, of course not. How dare he tell the truth when the orange menace is telling it like it isn’t!

    Cynthia, do you wonder, like I do, what would have happened if those uncovered faces in Michigan had been black?

  5. Good comment by a now Ex-Amazon Employee:

    Tim Bray, a top engineer and vice-president at Amazon, announced on Monday he is resigning “in dismay” over the company’s firing of employee activists who criticized working conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a blogpost explaining his resignation, Bray called the firings of organizers at the company “chickenshit”, and said they were “designed to create a climate of fear”. In resigning, Bray has become the highest-ranking corporate employee at Amazon to publicly speak out about worker conditions.

    “Remaining an Amazon VP would have meant, in effect, signing off on actions I despised,” Bray, who had worked at the company for nearly six years, said.

    “At the end of the day, the big problem isn’t the specifics of Covid-19 response,” Bray said. “It’s that Amazon treats the humans in the warehouses as fungible units of pick-and-pack potential. Only that’s not just Amazon, it’s how 21st-century capitalism is done.”
    You might think OSHA or the various state type OSHA’s would have a say in worker’s safety. Apparently not as from what I have read. I gather Corporate Profit supersedes Worker Safety.

    Did this story get any play on the Cable News networks???? Just asking for a friend HA, HA.

  6. And Honest Abe’s likeness has tears running down his marble cheeks…This was worse than “killing someone in the middle of 5th Avenue”. We are a banana (sorry, nice fruit) republic. Where is the outrage; is nothing sacred?

  7. Peggy and Cynthia – if the police had learned of brown and black armed protestors coming to the capitols, there would have been barricades in the streets, fire hoses, tear gas, etc.

    One only has to remember how our Native American water protestors were handled, and that was under Obama. Remember the Bundy’s armed capture of government property at the same time?

    The hypocrisy in our nation has been shining for quite some time. Truth tellers are expendable and castigated immediately in a society where lying and propaganda are the norms.

    Look at what Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning have had to endure for exposing American war crimes while GWB continues to live in the lap of luxury.

    Sadly, this pandemic has exposed many weaknesses in our systems and structure as a country. The game Pompeo is playing with China is hazardous, but not at all surprising. And once again, our media has no problem playing along.

    Trump has never been accused of being a leader…he’s all about being the center of attention and our compliant media has served him well over the years, instead of exposing him as a fraud, misogynist, and racist conman. It’s all about ratings tied to profits. “Trump delivers.”

    “Trump may not be good for America, but he’s damn good for CBS.” ~ Les Moonves, former CEO of CBS, 2016

    btw: What has old Les been doing since his ouster by the #MeToo movement? 😉

  8. Todd,

    So, in your utopian media world, what should they have been doing all these years? Slanting the truth the other way? Only reporting what’s convenient for a different set of true believers? The Trump story sold papers and air time. THAT is what got his sorry ass elected. Capitalism at its finest hour…. Today, many responsible journalists rue the system and are more than a little disturbed at having to cover this unfolding crime story, aka the Trump administration.

    Yes, the racism is still with us in great profusion. A cynical friend once gave me a recommendation for getting gun controls in place: “Give every black man in America an AR-15, and the white president will sign legislation before the ink is dry.”

    The confiscation of PPE and other supplies for political leverage is what gangsters do. It’s what mob bosses do. William Barr is to Trump what Tom Hagen was to Vito Corleone….except this isn’t fiction, and the Justice Department is led by yet another criminal mind.

    Revolutions are very, very messy.

  9. what did we expect. after the past three years of watching a horror show,where dr trump puppets the great monster wall street to take over.. seems those numbers of whos affected,effected,and infected by the virus must remain silent..in a world where every tradgy has a price tag sewn neatly into the evening news. Robert Reich has been in overdrive,do you read his critique of the present events?(theguardian) seems like myself,ive already read about the items hes mentioning and hes setting a voice for the little people,one that i find securing, and numbers we need to take in account,because our admin,congress and such has no spine to mention. recent guestapo like rules being passed by state legislatures like oklahoma,have demannded we return to work and risk our lives in a state broken by oil and gas revenues to go back to work on demand, or,lose your unemployment benifits. exec order,by ok.gov. and dr trump wont pass another relief package to this mess,for,the bottom half who didnt get any relief,because big money demanded theirs first, unless social security and medicare is hacked out of its taxes..seems the little people dont have a voice left, its mired in wall strees denial of the spread of this virus,because,they dont have the numbers. so we are demanded again to wait for the cattle cars to take us to work…this is authoritarianism at work.. bold,without compassion,withoit empathy with out democracy. this is what we get for allowing the wall street supported media to profess and get.
    dr trump,according to forbes,lost a cool billion in march because of our need to survive. its the little peoples fault, and heres april,did he lose another cool billion? thats all hes worth folks..his hospitality locals have been shuttered,by us..seems we can tell wall street what to do..but the backbone lacks. we have zombies raiding the steps of capitals because they need to be proded by propaganda to act stupid. thats not a reaction,its a sad case of seeing the people be conned into thinking like trump.. our democracy is being tested,and unless we at least,go back to the prior and regroup,we will loose this precious way of governing. we have allowed the monied class to rule us now, plain and simple, while we see, their inept way to deal with reality and what ifs,if the working class gets sick..(whipem til they rise to work again) wall street wont tolerate the actual numbers because we are in a war zone they created. those tax cuts a few years back,cleaned out the needs for the little people,while padding the comforts of the monied classes ass.. we again bailout those who are suppose to be vigilant in money and losses. nope, they are vigilant in making sure our goverment fails and they get to be the leader when it does,by design. ill call it out,,,, wall,streets greed is now a goverment,of the people.. because we allowed it..
    best wishes,washdapaws..

  10. Cynthia,

    “It is so incomprehensible that the people storming Michigan’s Capitol were not arrested. When did that become ok?”

    When we elected a neo-Fascist as President. He isn’t called “President Death” for no reason at all.

  11. Todd,
    seems we missed the smithfield,sioux falls,s.d.quota numbers if they produce 5% of the nations pork, how much gets sent to china? if pompeo wants to say what he wants, he wont touch the export market. hes running for ks.senate if trump bellies up. i hope ks plows him under.

    besides, supply and demand,if the farmers are plowing under fields that have veggies ready to pick, the obviously,theres too much meat also.you know,,the over priced stuff you think second before buying when outta work..

  12. jack,

    “….but the backbone lacks. we have zombies raiding the steps of capitals because they need to be proded by propaganda to act stupid. thats not a reaction,its a sad case of seeing the people be conned into thinking like trump.. our democracy is being tested,and unless we at least,go back to the prior and regroup,we will loose this precious way of governing.”

    Right. And are you waiting for Joe Biden and the Democratic Party to lead the way? With all due respect to the Democratic Party, I’m afraid that’s going to be a long, long, wait, maybe when “hell freezes over.”

  13. At an appointment with a physician’s assistant that was not virtual, they said they thought they’d had COVID-19. Made sure they were a symptomatic for 8 or more days before agreeing to the appointment. Their specialty doctor employer group insisted they continue to work, albeit doing virtual appointments from the office. ( Had a virtual one last week. ) They were refused virus testing because of their young age and the symptoms were “nor serious enough”. The employers do not care about the employee or their patients apparently. This from a medical practitioner, who worked from the office (assumably with others) and now seeing patients. They probably won’t be there for the next scheduled appointment in August. This action was by medical professionals locally. What is wrong with these people? [Full disclosure: patient was my spouse. Also, purposely used incorrect pronoun in comments above, so as not to identify gender of the medical professional involved. Did not identify town or specialty group, also for privacy reasons.]

  14. Correction to above: should read symptoms were “not serious enough”.

  15. There are many definitions to go along with the political spectrum that we define as right and left. I personally prefer to change even right and left to authoritarian vs liberal, or competitive to collaborative and the positions on the spectrum measured by the span of a circle of responsibility regarding both groups of people and time scale. In other words an extreme authoritarian/competitive would act with responsibility for only themselves right now and an extreme liberal/collaborative would act with responsibility for virtually all life, certainly all humans, forever. Both extremes are emotionally (culturally) based and problematic.

    Based on all of that our current problems are due to having an extreme authoritarian/competitive leader without any visible competence in anything worthwhile. We knew that long ago when he emerged into the world. Liberals ran as far as possible away while authoritarians put him on their shoulders.

    In November those who live that long will have a definitive measure of who learned over the previous four years. As a leading indicator I have many rightish friends who no longer even try to defend him.

  16. A. J.,

    Things are becoming very similar to the Jonestown Massacre back in 1978. Many in the U.S. have been gulping down Trump’s “Kool Aid” like it is going out of style. Is the figure just 100 million or is much more?

  17. I think Trump’s plan to gather all the masks and other goodies and ration them out to red rather than blue states will be counter productive. I’m thinking that the Republicans in blue states know they are being punished and that such blue states will be bluer than ever.

    On the other hand and looking at the current scene in the macro, Trump has succeeded in general in dragging us into his world, a world so evil that we have become so inured to his everyday insults and shenanigans with nepotism and a wall and his impeachment – a status Nixon preferred to avoid with his resignation but one Trump wears as a badge of honor in his twist psyche. Our task, among others with this godfather, is to crawl back from his world into one we used to have where truth and ethics (or at least a pretense for them) reign.

    Trump is not the first in the Oval Office to use lies and coverup (see Harding, Nixon et al.), but he is by far the most successful of all presidents to openly lie and suffer minimal consequences as a result, a result that is our fault and, more specifically, that of a Republican Senate that had him in its gunsight but refused to fire, a monumental failure I propose to remedy this fall by removal of its ringleader, Moscow Mitch, along with dear leader – as we bid adieu to Trump’s Otherworld of deceit, threat and bluster.

  18. Gerald,

    “Our task, among others with this godfather, is to crawl back from his world into one we used to have where truth and ethics (or at least a pretense for them) reign.”

    That world no longer exists, we’re going to have to re-build from scratch. The sooner we realize that, the better the chance we will have for pulling off a miracle.

  19. Jack,

    I’ve read that roughly 30% of all pork processed in the USA is sent to China which is why the Chinese Communist Party bought Smithfield.

    Vernon asks, “So, in your utopian media world, what should they have been doing all these years? Slanting the truth the other way? Only reporting what’s convenient for a different set of true believers?”

    I must have missed the memo about our 4th Estate being subservient to shareholders instead of holding the government accountable. Had the media been doing their job in the past 40 years, a buffoon like Trump would have never had access to the White House.

    As you said, the media exploited Trump for profits/ratings. And according to Wikileaks, that was also the plan of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta to help Trump blast through the GOP field of presidential candidates because they thought they could easily handle Trump. Hubris at its finest. “Pride cometh before the fall.”

  20. Marv – True, though the world changes every day. Perhaps I should have written that we crawl back into a redone world where truth and ethics matter and leave “still” and “one we used to have” out of the wording.

  21. Gerald,

    I think that the “twisted psyche” you have mentioned may be defined as psychopathy. The man is dangerous, evil, corrupt and completely self-absorbed. Why is he still there?

  22. Trump’s rhetoric and the reckless behaviors of his demonstrators (including some Governors and pastors) seem designed to infect and kill-off his own people. They’ll infect many others along the way. When his rallies begin again, he won’t wear a face mask and most of his crowd won’t either. All the better to consume that Kool-ade for all.

  23. JoAnn, I also will vote Blue, no matter who, but 3 weeks after receiving my absentee primary ballot (Indiana) and finding it incomplete (missing the piece the ballot goes in before inserting in envelope) and contacting the Election Board twice, I still do not have the missing piece. Person on the phone told me just to wrap a plain piece of white paper around it, but I insisted, and they promised they were sending the needed piece the next day. Mail might be slow, but i could have walked to their office in this time . Still trying to get the missing piece, and not successful I will submit my ballot with the white piece of paper, but since this is a primary, and it’s a Democrat ballot, I feel pretty sure it won’t be counted. Heightened fear that my ballot for November won’t be complete either, but I will vote!

  24. Vernon,

    “Why is he still there?”

    He is still there because we are not, sufficiently, organized to develop, and present a winning case against him. I’ve continued to warn about this problem ever since I joined this blog over five years ago. Unfortunately, we’re now headed for an UNAVOIDABLE DISASTER.

    A similar scenario was responsible for the German tragedy in W.W. II. They were also warned by, Lt. Colonel Hans Oster, the second in command of German military INTELLIGENCE, as early as 1938, but they failed to heed the warning, and look what happened to them.

    See: “The Oster Conspiracy of 1938” by Terry Parssinen (Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2003).

    You must have access to all the right books. I do. However, a few of them have been removed from circulation over the years. Still, 99% of them are in the Walch-Wheeler Library which I’ve been building up in Jacksonville, since returning from Dallas in 1991.

    See: “Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe” by Kathy Peiss (Oxford University Press) reviewed in “The Pennsylvania Gazette” May/June 2020 by Julia M. Klein.

  25. Marv, I’m sure that virtually all extreme authoritarian/competition voters will vote for Trump again because lying even to them just proves he’s a win at all costs no matter the impact kind of person as are they. I don’t know what % of those who will vote they are.

    Somewhere way right of center there will be a transition part of the spectrum the will go from mostly Trump voters to mostly Biden voters.

    Extreme liberal/collaboration people who do vote will vote for Biden but some will not vote at all because he’s too centrist for them.

    My guess is that Trump’s fate has been sealed now by the pandemic and the economic devastation that it brought both of which required skills that Trump nor Pence nor McConnell nor any of the present cabinet were up to.

    At this point I just hope that the damages that the massive incompetence and corruption of this administration bring on are limited to economic and public health.

  26. To address the excellent points made above, there is one Democrat who has earned and could manage the presidency. His name is Andrew Cuomo, he is not senescent, and he is free of lingering charges of sexual harassment. Biden is slightly younger than I, but more more in need of retirement. And I don’t doubt his ability to lose the election. We must keep the nominating process going long enough to avoid handing Trump another victory. It’s not clear we could survive four more years of criminal ineptness.

  27. Pete,

    “At this point I just hope that the damages that the massive incompetence and corruption of this administration bring on are limited to economic and public health.”

    I agree with most of your analysis, but I believe the damages are more than just economic and public health. The democratic system has been severely damaged to the extent that your continued optimism over the November election, might be moot by November. And not examining that possibility to the fullest extent will be a grave mistake, although well-intended.

  28. Gail Smith; I am sitting here looking at my yellow instruction sheet which came with my Absentee Ballot and see nothing about anything to put the ballot in before putting it in the envelope to mail. I reread my instructions after reading your comments to be sure I had not missed a step; I also reread The Absentee Voter Bill Of Rights which came with my Absentee Ballot, the return envelope and the instruction sheet. Maybe Sheila can tell you who else to contact at a higher level in the state. Why tell you to “wrap it in plain white paper” if they were going to mail you something to put the ballot in before putting it in the envelope? This is my 3rd time to vote Absentee Ballot and have never had anything but ballot and return envelope to return.

    If you are on Facebook; post this on the top of your page “What’s on your mind…”, I have done that with complaints about inability to contact companies to file complaints and they have quickly responded on the FB Messenger.

  29. Some of you may have run across the inspirational pandemic video yesterday made President Bush.

    I’m very glad he made it no matter the motivation but wondered if it is the beginning of a fissure in the GOP between centrists and Trumpublicans.

  30. We are watching a mental breakdown as sure as God made little yellow ducks. The breakdown has cost us over 70,000 lives and it won’t take long to hit 100,000. His mental breakdown is causing our beautiful country to come apart at the seams. We have to hold it together by whatever means available, starting in our neighborhoods and leading toward the ballot box.

  31. Terry Munson: Your idea is plainly obvious. He is so good at what he is doing, and the guy at the ‘resolute desk’ was wrong from day one.

    Marv Kramer: you are right, too. If we are not beyond retrieval and repair, we are mighty close! You have been warning us now for almost four years.

  32. The person to contact about absentee ballot issues is your County Clerk.

    The Michigan crazies are both scary and sad, but as the Tali-Trump-i-ban act out their GI Joe fantasies, the approval ratings for Michigan’s governor soars.

    But fear not, everyone – according to schedule, everything will be over by July 4 – Indiana’s governor has decreed this. Right

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