Corona Stimulus Dissenters

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S1: Following recording may or may not include instances of words being said that the FCC would find me for if their long arm could ever reach.

S2: It’s Friday, March twenty seventh 2020 from slated to the gist. I’m Mike PESCA. Today, Donald Trump was ventilating about ventilators on Twitter. He was angry at General Motors quote. They said they were going to give us 40000 much needed ventilators, quote, very quickly. Now they are saying it will only be 6000 in late April. And they want top dollar.

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S1: This might actually have been a bank shot. Comment on a New York Times story that the administration, meaning, as usual, Jared Kushner, got cold feet on the purchase of the ventilators headline after considering $1 billion price tag for ventilators. White House has second thoughts. Hmm. The president also tweeted about New York state’s need for ventilators, perhaps being exaggerated, a sentiment he reiterated in today’s press conference.

S3: First can follow up on that. Governor Cuomo said thirty to forty thousand ventilators is what he needs based on that, on the experts that were advising him. What are you basing your assessment that he doesn’t need that?

S4: Well, if you look and I think you can ask that question best of Deborah. But I think their estimates are high. I hope they’re high. They could be extremely high. We’re doing even hospitals based on pretty high estimates. You know, I’m doing them anyway. And as I told John, if we do not need them, they will be wonderful. We can help a lot of great people all over the world. We can help them live. But I think I think his estimates are going to be very high. We’re going to see. Don’t forget, we sent thousands of ventilators to New York and they didn’t know they got him.

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S1: Where does he get this idea? Oh, that’s like asking what text is Jerry Falwell rely on for his notions? There is only one holy book for these particular clerics. And so here was Fox News last night.

S5: I think that New York has become such an epicenter here with 30000 cases that I think that the president, Dr. Marc SIEGEL of NYU Langone, but also quite importantly of Fox News.

S1: When we last checked in on SIEGEL last week, we played a series of statements he made that were, let us say, out of touch with the medical establishment. And there he was last night casting doubt on Governor Cuomo’s need of 30000 or so ventilators. I went back and I checked on Siegel’s recommendations during the last week. Now, it wasn’t the only questionable analysis he offered. For instance, he was the medical expert who was least worried about stopping community spread and most concern with getting the economy going out of all the medical experts I’ve surveyed. He said this, for instance, on Fox.

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S5: I should. I’m glad you gave me a chance to restate that. It’s the hot spots I want focused on more than just New York, New York, L.A., Seattle, San Francisco. But but maybe not Billings, Montana. So we should look at each case differently and that will help our economy.

S1: Well, when he said that Billings, Montana, was reporting eight covered 19 cases that day, they updated to 12 cases. Yesterday, they had 16 and now they have 20. When you hear this again, I am sure it will be more. Luckily, Montana Governor Steve Bullock issued a stay at home order for the entire state, recognizing there will be no economy if there are mass outbreaks which can occur. Yes, even in Montana, it’s good to know that not all of our leaders take their cues from medicine as defined by Fox News on the show today. I shpiel about Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie and the threat one carrier can represent when the affliction is dumbness. But first, I’ve been looking north to see how Canada is doing to check in on them, but also to see what Canada can tell us about how we’re doing.

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S6: Andre Picard, the health reporter for The Globe, and now he’s something of a Canadian health reporting legend. And now edgiest guest.

S7: Canada and the United States, of course, are different countries, but they have a lot in common. They share a border. They’re both democratic, popularly elected governments. They are in the Group of 20 countries as the richest in the world, and they share to a large degree a culture. Therefore, Canada, from a selfish standpoint, is an American sometimes can be an interesting control group for the experiment that’s going on here. I’ve been looking at how Canada has been dealing with the covered 19 crisis, the decisions the government has made, how the disease is progressing in that country. There’s no better person to talk with than Andre Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail and author of Matters of Life and Death. Thanks for joining me, Andre. Hi. Hi. So, as I mentioned, quite selfishly, I am going to mine the data in your country to learn something about my own. But first, because I am a compassionate man, I would like to hear an update on how the fight against Corona is going in Canada right now.

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S8: Well, in Canada, we have about 4000 cases, which is a considerable number. But relative to what’s going on in much of the Western world, we’re doing relatively OK. I think our problem has started a little later. So we had a little bit of luck and a little bit of action that was effective.

S9: Yes. So I believe they’ve been a total of 35 deaths in Canada, whereas the death toll has hit over a thousand in the United States. And it did seem to start a little later, but not that much later. I was looking at certain benchmark dates. And it does seem that the progression of Corona is slower in Canada than it is in the United States. Is that fair?

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S8: It’s a little bit slower, but, you know, it depends who you test. So we don’t have a sense of how we know that in both countries there’s probably five to 10 times the number of actual cases they’ve then compared to what we’ve actually tested. So I think both of us are have underestimates in our country. But I think it’s fair to say Canada’s not as hard hit, at least yet.

S9: OK. This brings me to the first area testing. It has been reported that the United States, the CDC, had an opportunity to take the World Health Organization tests and they did not. But it’s further been reported that this is not an abnormal thing. The CDC usually develops its own test. It just didn’t go well this time. What is the situation with that W.H.O. test and just testing in general in Canada?

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S10: Yeah. So a lot of countries develop their own tests. W.H.O. tests are usually taken by developing countries. So Canada had its own tests. The U.S. had its own tests. The U.S. had problems I think was bad luck. Canada’s went relatively well, but we were slow to ramp up the number of tests. So the problem here was more having swabs available to do the testing. So we were really slow to get going. And in recent days, we’ve really picked up the pace. Canada is one of the countries in the world that’s done the most testing now.

S9: Yes. And so let’s just be clear, and I want to underline that if the complaint is that the Trump administration, they are the administration that oversees the CDC, but somehow bungled the testing by rejecting World Health Organization’s samples, that’s exactly what Canada did. And you just said because of luck, Canada’s testing seems to have gone better. But there is no evidence of malfeasance or nonfeasance on the American side.

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S10: I think there’s a little bit of luck, but there’s also a little bit of politics involved there. The question becomes when the U.S. knew its test wasn’t working. Should they have just immediately gone to a backup? So I think probably in Canada’s case, had we had problems, we would have jumped at another test. I don’t think we have the same aversion to, say, purchasing a test from China as the U.S. would, for example. So I think it’s the politics did come into play, but I don’t know when all is said and done how much of an impact that will have.

S9: Right now, there have been several stories about different agencies that have been reorganized or eliminated and reports that didn’t get to the president’s desk or were ignored by President Donald Trump. Have they done this sort of Fact-Finding in Canada? Were any red warning signs ignored up there?

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S11: I don’t think we have the same level of public political issues. I think here more is the issue is more. Our geography saw a very big, sparsely populated country and some regions were just not as affected as others so much slower to act. So the problem here in Canada has been, I think with a messaging, different messages in different parts of the country, different provinces acting more slowly, a bit like the states in the U.S. Some states have been saying, oh, nothing’s going on here. So slow to react. And we have. Those same issues of geography here.

S9: What’s the situation with federalism in Canada? To what extent can the federal government demand actions from the provinces?

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S11: Well, the federal government is not responsible for health care, so it’s very much a health care delivery is a provincial issue in Canada. And the federal government can provide funding. It can provide guidance. So it’s very much like, you know, always up to the states to do it or not. And the federal government really the only thing they can do is what we’re looking at now is there’s a Federal Emergency Measures Act and that sort of bringing down the hammer. That’s what the federal government can do. But they always hesitate to do that.

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S9: What is the state of general consciousness of the importance of staying home and trying to convince fellow Canadians the necessity of doing this?

S12: Well, I think from our public health officials, our politicians, the message has been quite consistent and quite strong. I think there’s fair to say, unanimity across the political spectrum here, I think, which is very different from the U.S.. There’s none of this. You know, let’s get back to work quickly business in Canada. But I think among the public, again, it depends on the region. In some regions, this is just not visible in any way. So it’s harder to convince people who live in more rural areas to to not go to you know, it’s not like they’re gonna be wandering in cities with thousands of people. So the messages is one that’s difficult to get out to a wide variety of populations and communities.

S7: Is it seen as necessary that the message does get out or if your I don’t know, somewhere 100 hundred miles of Red Deer, it’s actually not so important that you stay home?

S12: Well, I think that it’s seen as important. I think one of the biggest worries in Canada is what happens if the Corona virus gets into some of our more remote communities, especially indigenous communities. When we had the pandemic flu in 2009, our indigenous communities were actually suffered really massive death rates. It was very, very devastating because when you you get an illness like that in a remote community with crowded housing and poverty, no treatment, you know, within hundreds or maybe thousands of miles, then it’s very, very deadly. So is a lot of attention paid to even the remote communities.

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S13: So the national government isn’t in charge of health. Are they in charge of things like stockpiling PPE and coordinating equipment, ventilators and so forth? Yeah, there’s sort of a complex relationship of both the provinces and the federal government have some responsibilities there, depending on what how an emergency is defined. So there is some most the stockpiling happens within the provinces, but there is a federal stockpile as well. Is there?

S9: Some of the provinces be calling on the federal government to help to aid with their them in time of need. I mean, that’s acutely what’s going on in the United States.

S14: Yeah, there’s some of that, too. We don’t have you know, when you invoke an emergency act in the U.S., there’s automatic financial consequences to that. It’s the laws are a little different in Canada. So there’s not this benefit that comes accrues immediately. So it’s a bit different. But I’d say there’s fair bit of cooperation. That’s not not an issue here.

S15: Oh, so every everyone’s cooperating. And most people have gotten the message out. And for all the tension and all the hardships in dealing with the virus, it doesn’t seem like there’s too many intragovernmental tensions.

S14: No, there’s a lot of political even our parliament was brought back to to pass some emergency economic measures. There was no universal agreement between all the parties. They had a minimum number of members of parliament who sat only 20 and they agreed had a little bit of squabbling over some details. But essentially all the parties agreed to this package. So there’s a comforting lack of partisanship in this that that’s helpful.

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S15: That’s unbelievable. Now, other observers in the United States, they sometimes say this almost as a matter of throat clearing, that without national health care, the United States was particularly susceptible or an outbreak in the United States was necessarily going to be more severe. Given our lack of national health care. What’s your assessment of that assertion?

S14: I don’t think it’s that black and white. I think any health care system, when faced with a massive influx of especially seriously ill patients, it’s going to have problems regardless of whether it’s public private mix system. We’re seeing that in Europe. Europe has excellent health care systems. Some of them are being overwhelmed just because of the way the the pandemic is unfolding. So I don’t think it’s so much an issue of the private public system, as do we have the readiness for this in our hospitals. Will people be left behind? So in Canada? The concern is mostly, will we have enough beds? Will we have enough ventilators? It’s not an issue of. Whether people be able to afford it or not. I was just reading a story about a patient in the U.S. who can’t pay their bill. They have covered 19 and they have this huge bill. So there’s none of that in Canada. So that’s kind of taken off the table. But it’s more about resources and resource allocation.

S7: So it seems to me and I from reading your writing, you’re on this point, too, that countries, states, provinces, municipalities have this choice.

S15: You either right now look at a relatively low number, which in some provinces is the case in some rural states is the case. You look at the low number of Corona cases and you either say, OK, we don’t have to worry yet. Right. Or you say this is the exact opportunity where we can fight it before it’s too late. Consistently, there are a couple of examples, maybe South Korea and Singapore, but consistently when given this choice, people are telling themselves it’s not that big an issue yet. What’s the state of play in Canada?

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S16: Well, again, I think it depends on the part of the country. So I think in the in the populous regions. Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, where there is a lot of cases, it’s being taken seriously. People realize we probably should have acted sooner than we did. Provinces. Where do you know there’s one or two cases people are like? Why do we have to be locked down? I think, again, it’s it’s natural. It’s human behavior to say, listen, if I don’t see anything, why should I worry? But again, it’s finding that sweet spot. When when could you act and get people to to buy into this? And how long can you maintain it? So it’s there’s no perfect time to to bring in these lockdowns.

S7: Yes. But that seems to I’m agreeing with you. But at the same things going on in the United States and the governor of Mississippi has essentially contradicted some stay at home orders. And the reactions to people far away from Mississippi is not just like, oh, that’s human nature. And we hope that he chooses differently. It’s more of, oh, my God, this is dire. You’re potentially killing, killing your people up there in Canada. People are more reasonable about unreasonable or unwise decisions on how to fight the virus. Or am I just filtering the reaction through you who seems to be a very reasonable person?

S16: Yeah, I don’t think we should romanticize the reaction in any country. We have a broad variety of views like as in the US as anywhere. Some people think we’re totally overreacting. Some think we’re grossly under reacting. I think it’s all over the map. And I put what I do see differently when I watch the news is I think there’s just more unanimity in the political voice in Canada and the last component.

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S9: Do you see a difference in not how the media covers it, but how media coverage might affect decisions that are actually made?

S16: Yeah, I think the media matters, the social media matters, but I don’t know to which degree. I don’t think there’s the the amount of partisanship again in the media here that there is in the U.S. There’s not a a Fox News in Canada. We have a state broadcaster a little bit different from PBS. But I think it’s sad that the media overall is a little more mellow, if I could put it that way.

S15: Yeah, well, good luck to you. Keep up the good work. And thanks for joining me in this comparison. Andrew Picard is the health columnist at The Globe and Mail in Toronto. Thanks very much. Thank you.

S1: And now the schpiel the Yale professor, the late Juan Linz, persuasively argued that the more veto players a democracy has, the more inefficient it becomes. A veto player is a person or entity that can block a policy decision. The U.S. has more than almost every other true republic and therefore it gets less done. Comedian Dennis Miller put it another way when he said, I don’t trust trains. I remember those old movies where halfway through the journey, someone would reach above the window and yanked down the brake cord. I don’t want to be on any form of mass transit where the general public has access to the brakes. I’d hate to find out that we went off the tracks at 200 miles per hour. Yeah, because gas thought he saw a wood chunk. That would be the Dennis Miller impression. So America’s Gas of the Day are Guss of the day is U.S. Representative Thomas Massie and his woodchuck is the Constitution or possibly government spending or maybe simply the sound of his colleagues voices. Oh, how he longs to hear them. Here was Thomas Massie on the floor of the House of Representatives today demanding that his colleagues gather round and make their voices heard. At stake, the two trillion dollar stimulus package. Basically, the American economy. This was at a time when gatherings would silence us forever. So here was Thomas Massie on the floor of the House of Representatives. As the two trillion dollar stimulus package was being debated, not really debated about to pass, except there was Massy trying to throw cold water on this hot flame of economic recovery. For what purposes, gentlemen, seek recognition.

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S17: Mr. Speaker, I came here to make sure our republic doesn’t die by unanimous consent, an empty chamber and I request a recorded vote.

S1: Representative Massie of Kentucky asserting that during this infectious disease outbreak that the greater danger is too few people in the room. The speaker, pro temp Representative Anthony Brown of Maryland brushed the request aside. Nevertheless, Massey persisted.

S17: I object on the basis that a quorum is not present and make a point of order that a quorum Scott present the chair will count for a quorum.

S1: Before we find out how this actually played out. Let’s back up a little to find out about Thomas Massie and M.I.T. Grad, an inventor. He rode the Tea Party into Washington, D.C. He is the most or one of the most libertarian members of the House of Representatives. He was also on local Cincinnati radio station. Fifty five. Casey RR, that’s 550 on your AM dial to explain why he was going to force a vote and all his colleagues to get together in one place to stand up against the stimulus.

S18: If it were just about helping people get more unemployment to get through this calamity that frankly the governors have brought on the people, then I could be for it.

S1: Host guest host, actually, Kevin Gordon and Massie engaged in a dialogue.

S19: But see again if if the virus itself and of course, we’re not doctors, but fact-check true. You know, you say that, you know, if everybody got tested, you know, if you’re asymptomatic and but you’re shedding the virus to other people. Well, that’s only important or only necessary if it’s somebody who’s has compromised immune systems to begin with, which they should be taking per cent. Now, it’s just fact check.

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S20: Also true, you don’t know. But Congressman Massie thinks he does now. Right now. Well, you’re right. fact-check untrue.

S18: The histograms show is that if you’re under 50 years old, then, in fact, in Italy when they were at six or seven hundred deaths. There were only two under the age of 50 that had done from it. So that informs you of is that you should be protecting the folks who are. And by the way, from 50 to 60 is not a high risk category either. But 60 and over. Take special precautions.

S1: These stats are inaccurate. In New York, we’ve had 16 people die between the ages of 18 and 44, between 45 and 64. It’s 78. So we don’t have exact stats about under 40. But it is quite dangerous hospitalisations in New York. A quarter of them have been of people under 50. So that’s not dying, being hospitalized, but that’s going to the ICU, that scarring on the lungs, that’s gasping for air. It is nothing to be heedless about.

S18: But Massey put his head down and continued there, saying, smash the car flat in the car. Right. It doesn’t. What they need to tell you, they got to level up with you is the number of people who end up getting it. In both scenarios, it’s the same.

S20: Yeah, that is why it’s not shrink the curve or zap the curve or decrease the curve or decrease the number. That’s why the experts are saying flatten the curve. They’re not lying to anyone. They’re trying to clarify what the goal is. No one’s lying. You are lying that someone is lying. It’s hard to instruct the public when it comes to public health curves, logarithmic growth, asymptomatic carriers. This is new information that we’re trying to put in people’s heads to be responsible stewards. When a public official comes along and is either knowingly wrong or wantonly ignorant. That is a threat to public health. Representative Masih is coughing ignorance onto all of us and it is airborne through 5:50 a.m. w KRC host Kevin Gordon then went to break, but first said that he doesn’t know why the Democrats allowed Nancy Pelosi to, quote, ride in on her broom and put green New Deal provisions in the bill. And then after the break, he and Masih got to talking about forcing a roll call vote.

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S21: And the vote is tomorrow. And they’re trying to convince us that should be a voice vote, right? That shouldn’t be recorded. Exactly. And I’m struggling with this.

S18: I’m having a real hard time with this. Because they’re saying, well, it’s hard to travel, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, a pandemic. Well, last night, 96 out of 100 senators voted no.

S20: That’s because they were already in DC. The Senate was in session. The House was in recess. That’s why Nancy had to drive up to go to the House of Representatives. As Nancy Pelosi, she was thinking about bringing the House back in session. That’s when the CDC issued its order against large gatherings. So she couldn’t. Massy knew this. But he pretended on the radio. Moon why the Senate gets to vote. Then floated some ideas about travel during the pandemic.

S18: If congressmen are complaining that it’s hard to travel, well, what about the truckers that I saw on the road when I drove to DC? I’m in DC, by the way. We drove here and. But, you know, hitch a ride with the trucker. Yeah.

S20: Oh, that is some brilliant advice to stop the spread of a virus sharing the cab of a truck with a long haul trucker. I would say short of a specially designed incubation pod, there might not be a more likely setup for transferring the illness from one person to another than sharing a cab with a long haul trucker. That is some bold new thinking about social distancing. Host Kevin Gordon thought so too.

S22: Hey, I’ll tell you what, we can run. I run a car and I’ll, you know, we’ll pick people up along the way if they want.

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S20: Fact check. That is wrong. But in the end, Massey summarized his thinking by deferring to the Constitution, a document written 141 years before the discovery of antibiotics.

S18: By the way, the Constitution, the U. S Constitution says that the Congress must have a quorum in order to conduct business.

S21: Right. So what they’re proposing tomorrow is that maybe we would bend to the constitution.

S20: And so how did that effort go in a partly filled chamber with what was maybe a quorum and maybe really just enough members not to get our federal government infected? Here’s how it went down. There are no edits in the tape you’re about to hear. The chair will count for a quorum.

S23: Counted for a quorum. A quorum is present. The motion is adopted.

S20: Without it, and then the near quorum in the forum lost all decorum. I stole that from an article about the L.A. Lakers once, by the way. I mean, there were representatives spread throughout the chamber. There could have been a quorum. Leadership said there was a quorum. Looked like a quorum to me. Let’s call it the Carone, a quorum. And it’s good enough. So what we have here is one lone voice, one rugged individualist, one shining beacon of principle, ignored, because that voice was also a spout or of misinformation, of foolishness and of a world view that will surely get many, many more people killed than need be. The beacon was leading us into the rocks. We tend to valorize the dissenter in America. Our federal government certainly shows great deference to the individual or a small group of individuals acting in concert who want to slow things down. That’s almost always allowed. And while that’s sometimes warranted, other times it’s not. It’s really not. And after a time of national crisis, you’ll often hear stories of the small voice that went unheard. But sure enough, like that doctor in one hand. But often that voice is wrong. Often that small voice is giving us terrible advice. And if we allow that small voice to be heard, to the extent that he thwarts necessary progress, it can be injurious, fatal. Even lots of fiction rests on the dissenter who turns out to be right. The gadfly who knew the real score, the crackpot who wasn’t so crazy after all. But in real life, the guy laughed off as crazy is often just crazy. The guy they called mad at the university was really mad at the university, and thank God our institutions occasionally can get together and say No, sorry, you can’t be heard on this one, Gus. That wasn’t really a woodchuck. And even if it was, you don’t get to pull the brakes. Representative Massey, I am sorry. Now is not the time to get 435 of your friends inside a room. Maybe one day your colleagues will forgive you, though. I’m going to guess they won’t soon be taking you up on an offer to hug it out. And that’s it for today’s show. Presell a lobby is the just associate producer, she believes we may well need 30000 ventilators in New York, but about 30 or 40 fewer, Duane reads. Daniel Schrader produces the gist. He finds a reasonable Canadian a solve in these troubled times, but perhaps the enemy of podcast fireworks. The gist I should. I’ll give voice to a thought that must be occurring to all the long haul truckers in the audience. I don’t recall actually offering you a ride, Congressman. You were thinking that where you were poor adepero du Brew. And thanks for listening.