#FEMA

Nikki Haley’s perspective

Former US Ambassador to the UN gave her 10c worth on coronavirus from the perspective of having been a governor herself. What she says is not dissimilar to that of Australia and the federal-state relationship.

Overheated critics of President Trump accuse him of being an authoritarian. Of not caring about checks and balances, civil rights, and constitutional limits on executive power. And yet, today, many of these same critics demand that he nationalize supply chains, deploy the military on our shores and shut down every town in America. It’s a curious thing.

The coronavirus presents enormous national challenges that call for a strong federal response. But we should not lose sight of the essential role that states and governors must play. America is better served when presidents respect the diversity of states instead of dictating uniform solutions.

As a governor, when you take the oath of office to serve your state, you don’t know what will come your way. During my six years as governor of South Carolina, I dealt with a thousand-year flood, damaging hurricanes, a racially driven church shooting, a white police officer who killed an innocent black victim, and a school shooting.

When times were calm, we would try to get ahead of the curve, holding regular meetings with my emergency team to make sure we were up-to-date on supplies, procedures, logistics and technology. We learned the importance of planning and to control what we could.

I was a Republican governor with a Democrat in the White House. We disagreed on most policy matters, but we put those differences aside to serve the immediate needs of our joint constituents. You don’t serve your people if you let politics get in the way.

If you know a crisis is coming, one of the first things a governor will do is reach out to the White House to coordinate F.E.M.A. relief before it hits. Then, when the trouble arrives, everyone is on the same page.

F.E.M.A. typically sends a liaison who coordinates efforts and assesses vulnerabilities. It’s technical stuff. It requires knowing your own state and building a relationship with those on the federal level who apportion resources. It takes time, effort and foresight.

Once a crisis hits, state responsibility is primary. The federal government can provide crucial resources, but the burden is on the governor and her team to distribute them. No two states are alike, and blanket approaches won’t work.

In today’s crisis, governors from both parties have exemplified strong leadership. They know their residents and their state’s needs better than anyone in the federal government. In the state-federal partnership, governors are in the best position to control what happens on the ground, better than any president could be.

Governors know their state’s mayors and local officials who facilitate aid distribution. They know their local national guard leadership, which in many cases provides essential logistical support. They know their business leaders, who are being called on to uproot their production and services while keeping as many people employed as possible. They know their hospital administrators, who have eyes on the front-line heroes in this war. And they know the leaders of their faith communities, who often spearhead life-saving humanitarian projects.

As our highest nationally elected leader, of course President Trump has enormous responsibility in this unprecedented crisis, and he is marshaling the federal response on a massive scale. But in implementing plans to save people’s lives and keep our economy afloat, look no further than the governors.

They have complicated and difficult jobs. In this crisis, as in any, some are showing their competence and leadership, while others are revealing their shortcomings. It’s true that states shouldn’t have to compete, to bid against each other for supplies at inflated prices. And party politics shouldn’t factor in disbursing federal resources to states. But, most often, this is not the case. Governors who complain about the Trump administration are, in some cases, attempting to distract from their own failures to plan and execute.

Governors are the most successful when they are given the flexibility to lead. The federal government can provide the resources, but it should not take away too much flexibility. New York is not New Mexico. South Dakota is not South Carolina.

Our Constitution has it right: Keep control and decision making close to the people. We are seeing that play out in every state today. We face a painful challenge, but we will get through it. When we do, we will look back and see that governors rose to meet the challenge, and they did it best when Washington did not impose too much on them.”

Trump Derangement Syndrome heading to The Hague for crimes against humanity?

Hague

You have to hand it to Democratic lawmakers who get triggered over anything. When collusion and impeachment failed domestically, why not call upon The Hague for charges of crimes against humanity? Hmmm.

Never mind that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was encouraging San Franciscans to “come to Chinatown and join” crowds at a parade in late February. Forget the Democratic NYC Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot downplaying the health warnings by telling the residents to immerse themselves in Lunar New Year festivities because stigmatization is a far bigger threat to people than a pesky virus.

Guess who is now telling people to stay at home? Yep, you guessed it – Oxiris Barbot. Even though she retweeted someone’s praise of her status as the first Latino female to occupy the post after it had all gone pear-shaped! If only one’s abilities were seen as more important than their identity…NYers would have been happier with an old white guy provided his medical advice kept the city from holding the highest infection rates.

Never mind that The Hill had criticized Trump’s travel ban on Feb 7th as unnecessary, parroting none other WHO, to then write on April 5th that he hadn’t done enough to block travel into the US. Which is it? The NY Times was happy to run a story on Feb 24th saying Trump’s travel ban was more an “emotional or political reaction.

Do Democratic House representatives hold such little faith in the domestic judiciary that Trump needs to be tried in an international court over supposed domestic crimes against innocent civilians? It won’t be long before Nancy Pelosi launches another impeachment trial over coronavirus. We encourage her to do it for the sake of revealing just whether she has any ties to America.

Rep Tavia Galonski’s tweet came shortly after Trump’s media briefing in which he once again spoke of hydroxychloroquine sulfate, a drug which he has previously reported has shown promise as a means of treating COVID-19.

How is it that the mainstream media outlets backflipped on their initial criticism on hydroxychloroquine to acknowledging its potential as reported by the medical profession to flip back to “irresponsibility” again. No country has a silver bullet and in such circumstances

Rep Galonski may have a case if the state was force-feeding strapped down patients against their will. The FDA says otherwise.

On March 28, 2020, the FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to allow hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products donated to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to be distributed and used for certain hospitalized patients with COVID-19. These drugs will be distributed from the SNS to states for doctors to prescribe to adolescent and adult patients hospitalized with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible. The EUA requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using chloroquine phosphate and hydroxychloroquine sulfate in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including the known risks and drug interactions. The SNS, managed by ASPR, will work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ship donated doses to states.

The FDA’s latest fact sheet on hydroxychloroquine is here.

To be honest, who needs the FDA when we can rely on the tweets from a NY Times best-selling author with a law degree, Kurt Eichmann, who proposed 11 questions the White House press corps should ask of Trump with respect to hydroxychloroquine.

1. What dosage should people take?
2. How long should people take it?
3. What studies are you relying on for dosage and time?
3. Are you saying this is prophylactic or post-diagnosis?…(while he won’t know what the last question means if he says anything close to prophylactic)
5. How does hydroxychloroquine prevent viral infection?
6. Since hydroxychloroquine is an immunosuppressant, how isn’t there a risk that it will *increase* the risk of infection?
7. What studies have you reviewed showing it has a preventative effect because I can’t find any. (they don’t exist.)
(If he says for treatment…)
8. At what stage of infection should people take the medicine?
9. What should people with lupus and other autoimmune diseases do to find their medication, since your recommendations have led to a national shortage of hydroxychloroquine?
10. Will the government subsidize lupus & rheumatoid arthritis patients, given the price-gouging happening with these drugs?
11. Are you concerned about lupus and autoimmune patients who can’t find their medication refusing to vote for you because they’re now in pain?

As with any drug, a doctor prescribes medication based on the severity of illness and a whole range of other factors – size, age, gender. Trying to get Trump to answer a series of “gotcha” questions in the hope he bungles some of them just smacks of how little integrity there is in journalism. If Trump told journalists that drinking Drano was great for fixing stomach ulcers, would they believe him? Wouldn’t readers prefer medical opinion?

Let’s deal with the facts.

Hydroxychloroquine sulphate is an FDA approved drug dating back to April 1955. It is best known under the brand name of Plaquenil. There are generic manufacturers such as Teva and Mylan are already making the drug. In the US, it is strictly prescription-only medication. It has been approved to treat malaria

The 65-year-old Plaquenil and its 25-yo generic brothers haven’t been approved for the application of COVID19, which, as we know, in and of itself is a brand new strain of pathogen. So the “drug” has been approved but the application has not.

It is worth noting that it takes on average 12 years and over US$350 million to get a new drug from the laboratory onto the pharmacy shelf. At the company level, it undergoes around three and a half years of laboratory testing, before an application is made to the U.S. FDA to begin the testing on humans. Only 1 in 1000 compounds that enter lab testing will ever make it to the human testing stage.

Which is exactly why the FDA stated in its release late last month that there isn’t enough hard data due to a lack of clinical trials. Stands to reason that a drug we’re trying to find a cure for hasn’t a cure.

The FDA Accelerated Approval pathway was introduced in 1992 so that drugs to treat life-threatening diseases could be brought to market to make a significant impact on the course of diseases. For example, many antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS entered the market via accelerated approval, and subsequently altered the treatment paradigm.

Clearly, there has been no chance to conduct clinical trials on Plaquenil on COVID19 to get official FDA approval. The side effects of Plaquenil, when taken for malaria, are well known with 65 years of data. It is a question of whether the impact of the drug causes other side effects when used to treat COVID19. Hence why the FDA is trying to ensure that people are aware of the risks if they elect to take it.

Yes, the president has a habit of saying unnecessary things. He can be unpresidential at times. We have never hidden that.

However, at what point is Trump deserved of standing trial in The Hague given the timeline of events and an insane liberal media? Perhaps President Xi of China would be a more worthy respondent in the International Criminal Court for the cover-up which led to the outbreak in the first place.

What happens if Yellowstone erupts?

Image result for usgs st helens map

In 2012, CM, in a former guise, wrote a piece on what might happen if Mt Fuji erupted. Over the past couple of years, scientists have been postulating whether Yellowstone might blow her top. In 2019 the stories are front page news again. The last time she blew was 631,000 years ago. So the consensus is not if, but when. The last time she blew, 240 cubic miles of volcanic ash spewed into the atmosphere. When Mt St Helens erupted as a VEI5 (paroxysmal), 0.29 cubic miles of ash and volcanic rock was sent into the atmosphere. The 2010 Icelandic Eyjafjnallajokull volcano was a VEI4 (cataclysmic).

The doomsayers suggest if the Wyoming based volcano goes off, 87,000 will be killed immediately and 2/3rds of the US will become inhabitable. The ash would block out sunlight leading to cooling by up to 5 degrees. The sulphur aerosol spewed out of volcanoes reflects sunlight meaning the world could be thrown into a nuclear winter. A volcano erupting has zero to do with global warming but it would change climactic conditions.

The damage caused in each zone can be seen here. FEMA believe a $3 trillion minimum economic impact would occur. That seems light if the Mega-colossal (VEI8) event occurs. St. Helens was around $3 billion in damages.

Zone 1

A major problem faced after an eruption is the electricity grid. Dry volcanic ash in and of itself is not conductive enough to cause insulator flashovers but it is highly soluble and if it is mainly composed of aerosols it can cause the grid to be shutdown. The insulators require de-ionised water to clean at low pressure to prevent damage to the surfaces of the conductors. Trying to rectify the problem by using backup diesel generators would be met by ultra fine volcanic ash particles gumming up injectors and the engine filters. So power shortages would be long lasting. Solar would also require cleaning and wind power gears would also become fouled up by the ash. So if you own a Tesla you’ll be in trouble. Gasoline powered cars would eventually stop working if filters weren’t replaced frequently.

Water reservoirs would also end up making it unsuitable for drinking in the short term. Depending on the level of turbidity of the water supply, several weeks may be required to restore it to normal.

Airlines would be grounded. Volcanic ash is terminal for jet engines. In 2010, the Icelandic volcano cost airlines over $1.5 billion in revenue over the 6 weeks or so of disruption. The Eurostar was not impacted by the volcano and saw a large uptick in business. Ferries also experienced a 4x boost in traffic.

If the eruption was as huge as forecast, filter companies would stand to benefit greatly. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters would see high replacement demand. Japanese company Daikin (6367) has a subsidiary Nippon Muki which makes HEPA filters. Japan Vilene (3514) is also a maker for automotive related filters. Dow Chemical has HEPA filters although a tiny part of the total business.

Shipping companies would benefit, especially transport substitution of air cargo players where fleets would not be able to be deployed.

Insurance companies would likely escape a lot of financial damage as their policies are unlikely to cover ‘acts of god’ such as volcanic eruptions.

EPCO losses would be immense. The amount of repair work to entire grids and a halt to power supplies would hit revenue and ramp cost.

While it is still only hypothetical, the tragedy of a mega colossal eruption would be catastrophic in terms of loss of life and economic impact. The US is 25% of world GDP. Such a VEI8 eruption would have severe global economic implications. So if it comes, batten down the hatches.