Quickie Post — Why Trump Doesn't Invoke the Defense Production Act as of Sunday AM

One of my favorite signs – Yangshuo, CN — no cobras, dynamite, or sulfuric acid on the bus!

As I’ve covered in my past posts on COVID-19, the main thing governing cumulative mortality at the current time is lack of ventilator (and to a lesser extent, bed) capacity IF you get admitted to the hospital. We don’t have a vaccine, we have no (as of today) effective treatments, though news reports are now coming in of anti-viral medications that might work. So ventilator capacity, and not having hospitals overwhelmed, is how we have to manage this pandemic.

America does have a tool to rapidly gear up production of equipment in the case of a national emergency — it’s called the Defense Production Act. It was passed during the Korean War, and gives the President a broad array of powers to require manufacturers to pivot to supplying critical materiel in the interest of national security. It does what you’d think it does — makes it so people can’t hoard critical materials, and allows the government to direct companies to make stuff.

Yet as of this date and time, while Trump has talked about this, he hasn’t invoked it. This is mystifying a lot of people on social media (Twitter and Facebook) — why wouldn’t he do that?

As a narcissistic psychopath/collapsed egocentric, Trump lives in his own fuzzy bubble, where his belief system defines reality. To the extent that reality interferes in his belief system, what I call validity grounding, which is the thing that inevitably gets all Authoritarians, Trump operates inside his own mind — because his pathologies don’t allow distinct boundaries between his own mind and the outside world. It’s all about him, after all. Others only exist in a magical framework.

Trump, instead, has asked various companies to pivot and step up with supplies – and insists that they are. As of this date and time, I have heard that various companies are going to start making ventilator parts, and some people have started 3D printing parts. In Italy, Ferrari and Fiat have said they will start making parts. But making ventilators, or even gowns is not simple on such a short timescale. And a lack of directed efforts wastes time.

But nothing matters to Trump, until some critical mass of an ever-shrinking pool of influencers manage to ground him. And if he did implement the act proactively, it would be a damning condemnation to his inner ethos. He simply can’t — it’s a law, after all, and Trump has been insisting that laws are the problem. It’s only when his own survival is threaten that he will borrow from that higher v-Meme/value set to accomplish his ends.

The problem with all of this is that Trump’s mind exists largely in a time-invariant world. Nothing changes in the external world until his mind changes. And that is always a jump, followed by an erasure of history of the other mindset.

But this challenge is inherently dependent on varying timescales. Notions like Flattening the Curve require the population to, at least a little, comprehend temporal variation. Yes, there is a part of the population that requires do/do not mandates — but others can start the process of comprehension of the mechanism for these edicts.

The upshot? Trump will change his mind — when his own survival is threatened. Days will be lost in the process, and it will affect the outcomes in hospitals if the pandemic doesn’t slow down. But don’t hold your breath. Wait for an event.

3 thoughts on “Quickie Post — Why Trump Doesn't Invoke the Defense Production Act as of Sunday AM

  1. Everything has been waiting for an event. Trump himself has been an ongoing event, as is covid-19. But 2008 was an event and so was 9/11. The modern era has been filled with endless events. But the narcissists, sociopaths, authoritarians, and social dominators in power are hard to budge from their insular machinations and agendas. Maybe this time will be different, after everything is beyond the point of no return, when the powerful feel public outrage breathing down their necks, after even the plutocrats begin dying. We’ll see.

    It reminds me of Nick Hanauer who, in an interview, said that Jeff Bezos would do the right thing when someone pointed a gun at his head. That always stood out to me because Hanauer is also a rich white male Democrat who worked with Bezos in Amazon. He knows Bezos personally and professionally. Fear is the great motivator. The ruling elite are used to making decisions that harm others but never themselves. This time might be different. How long will it take them to realize this? Trump is but one man. Trump will act when there is enough pressure from other plutocrats that forces him to act.

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  2. I’m viewed as a narcissist , psychopath and person with a machivellian personality. i ‘m also viewed as a member of the ruling elite because i have what is called ‘white skin priviledge’ (when there is a shooting around here the police dont even mess with me) and i dont shoplift or sell drugs on the street.

    i used to get beat up on the school playground because i was viewed as ‘the ruling elite’. my parents actually were partly responsible for keeping some of the affordible hsouing the people my age lived in who beat me up. they were partly community activists. i sort of droped ou of school because i didnt like getting beat up and worse–i’m not against consensual sex, but in my case some of this went too far so i retaliated –nobody could touch me. ( i had many supporters but there were a very few peop,e who were in my view not nice—so i didnt play by the rules—i carried a half of a brick in my pocket and i’f give them that as a present –2 to ya head –if they went out of line). i was open to ”we can work it out’ beatles)but i dont want to be thrown in a ditch. thats what happens to some people i’m aware of. you’ll be found in a ditch 5 years later. i had to change my walking routes to school and since i often slept outside had to change where i slept. all the good places were taken and too hazardous so i got the cliffs. .

    this is because when i go to visit people, such as friends (or maybe ‘frenemies’ ( see the classic songg by whodini on youtube) or relatives, i refuse to eat all the pork, sweets and other stuff they always hand out.

    (they know i don’t eat meat or processed sugar , and other people i know also know i don’t do crack, pcp, synthetic opiates or k2 but they keep offering them to me.)

    k2 is the name of a mountain and one time i was in that region. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanskar this is a nice little area in the himalayas and walkable. k2 isnt. i got there via hitchiking (some truck driver gave me a ride —he was a little bit angry when we got to leh, ladack, because i had told him i had no money, but they saw me go to a store when checking out the town and bought a few sweets–i actually had about a dollar.

    i managed to get a ticket to india after many issues (i actually took a hike when i had this day job in greece on crete–i was getting 5$/day loading trucks but i took a hike up the mountains–they have 7000 feet tall mountains on crete— and found a wallet with no id in it and alot of money so i quit my job and went to india. arrived with my round trip ticket (i actualy had a 1 way ticket but i knew i could call someone who might give me a ticket home which they did–i called them up from us embassy after 5 months–had my math books which i carried through zankar so custums didnt check me.
    i told customs and police i was on a ‘spiritual journey’. (how many windows, moving trucks and trains, cop cars, did i have to jump out of? i can remember maybe 10). most people are nice but 1% are not, and 5% are also not good and 10% look the other way.

    i had 2$ for my budget for my 3 month trip. i had to sell my camera and everything else. i became a businessmman—set up my shop on the street next to all the other shops. ‘wanna buy a camera? a backpack? a sleeping bag?’ i sort of regretted selling my sleeping bag—i figured i wouldn’t need it. (i made the same mistake in mexico—if you go up in the mountains , which is where i go—-water flows uphill— while you dont want to carry a heavy sleeping bag sometimes you wish you had. one can always find a place under a cliff or under a pile of leaves to stay relartively warm. )
    i was planning to go to tibet but chinese militarry stopped me. also i didnt have shoes on and was walking thriough the snow. i figured we have ‘american exceptionalism’ so if tibetans can walk over to tibet through the snow with no shoes on, i could as well. military told me to turn around at about 13000-14000 feet.

    i’m going outside before i lose it.
    i actually think we may be past or near the peak of this coronavirus. but i know a little bit from climbing mountains that often you think you are at the top but you still have more to go. (some people i’ve hike with viewas unreliable becaue while i actually have done the trails many times i tend to say we are almost there when we still have a ways to go.)

    l.

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  3. https://ssnl.stanford.edu/people this was on radio yesterday— j zaki runs that lab and is promoting his book ‘the war for kindness: building empathy in a fractured world’.

    (i can’t really reccomend it but there is a famous hiphop song called ‘survival of the fittest’ by mobb deep on youtube (there’s a war going on outside, .. 100 dollars billers, … illers we got that right here tho its mostly calm and nice and spring time. skunk cabbages, cherry blossoms, some flowers …. even a butterfly and bee).

    its diffucult to go to some chruch or family event and be greeted with hugs—i’d prefer that people not touch me or offer me junk food or drugs. i also dont want any criticism—i can do that myself and i can kick it back. i’m supposed to be friendly, smile, and empathetic, and the minute i get out of there i’m supposed to do the same thing even when someone is hitting me over the head with a gun or httting me with a fist in my face –i give back my empathy with the same thing—its interesting how i can scare people off. i’ve known this since i was 5— if you bite someone who is messing with you and latch on they shake you off an run away. i learned this tequnique from wild animals–they also prefer to be left alone. .

    i have been at stanford—met 2 professors—one in mathematical logic who told me ‘we don’t do it that way’ and i didn’t know what i was talking about, and one in psychology who had many current journals in his office and i said i could run his computer for him (i had been told to get a MS degree in CS at Stanford by my boss at UCSF but i was tired of programming —i had already shown him the problem in ‘RNA to protein folding ‘ was unsolvable via a form of godel’s proof (this is not my work but is on the same trajectory https://arxiv.org/abs/1909.13574 –i was viewed as lazy and maybe insane and a social problem.) i went back to street music. I also had 1 job going door to door in palo alto–a very upscale neighbrohood–selling subscriptions for an environmtnal organization. i was so terrified of going to these houses i got confused and lost my id and quit. hike back over the santa cruz mountains to an area i knew.

    i think COVID is in full effect here —we had 0 cases 2 days ago, but yesterday there are 137 confirmed cases and 2 deaths. (i almost certainly have it so i’m self-quarantinng though i can go outside away from people). my mom is basically not allowed out of her apartment. she does have a balcony so she can go out there and tend her plants—she a sort of gardening person. i mostly let the plants take care of themselves so i have an outdoor garden. (i’ve sort of annexed the adjacent property so it went from 8 acres to about 6 million acres). https://fs.usda.gov/gwf/home

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