Trump Stops Masks from Going to Canada

In The Defense Production Act I argued that the DPA was neither especially useful or necessary and would probably be misused. In Sicken Thy Neighbor Trade Policy I argued that exports bans were a bad idea. So, of course, Donald Trump has used the DPA to ban 3M from exporting masks to Canada. “We hit 3M hard today” tweeted Trump, as if 3M were a foreign terrorist camp.

Since January (well before the government began to act), 3M has been ramping up mask production. Their response to the DPA order is on point:

Over the last several weeks and months, 3M and its employees have gone above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the U.S. market. Yesterday, the Administration formally invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to require 3M to prioritize orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for our N95 respirators.

…There are, however, significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators. In addition, ceasing all export of respirators produced in the United States would likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same, as some have already done. If that were to occur, the net number of respirators being made available to the United States would actually decrease. That is the opposite of what we and the Administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek.

I am against export bans in general but placing an ethically charged export ban on one of our largest trading partners and allies is especially shortsighted. For example, guess where one of the world’s largest producers of a key input for making surgical masks (FYI, these are different than N95s) is located? Canada.

…the Harmac mill [on Vancouver Island] is the world’s only producer of the particular grade of paper pulp used in the manufacture of surgical masks and gowns…

“K10S is the pulp that we’re producing for these medical supplies. We’re the only one that produces it,” he said. “Different pulp mills run different grades of pulp – almost kind of like recipes.”

K10S pulp is made from western red cedar that produces a soft fibre that makes it suitable for the final products made from it.

“It’s been tweaked over the years to come up with the right formula that allows it to go into the medical supplies,” Sampson said.

…the U.S. customer that produces [the surgical masks[ has doubled its order for the K10S pulp.

More generally, in the aftermath of the crisis, supply lines will tighten. I don’t favor this for the reasons given in my TED talk but it will probably happen. It’s not going to happen universally, however. China is going to be hit especially hard as they rely on the world trade system much more than does the United States. Canada and especially Mexico will gain, however, as supply lines move closer to home. In the post-Covid world, manufacturing will rationalize on North American grounds so we may as well start planning for that future by treating Canada and Mexico like a part of the US family.


These export bans cause short term problems but companies will adjust. K10S pulp can be made in more than one country. We must do all we can to break transnational supply chains. These are weaknesses that can’t be counted on in a crisis. They bring a false sense of security.

The only problem with this supply chain I see is the idiot who is interfering with it.

Look harder. Who fills the breach and builds respirators in a pinch? Ford, GM, Tesla etc. Since there is such a deficit of them and the need is immediate they are claimed by the home country or even the home state. Export bans don’t even factor into it. The world needs more local manufacturing. Trump was right on this point years before others.

Yeah, my comment was too strong. Canada was vulnerable to US interference because of an international supply chain.

However, imagine a world in which every country mandated that masks be produced domestically. Masks would be more expensive all the time, due to reduced competition and economies of scale. There still would be enough production to meet a sudden global increase in demand, though perhaps shortages would be "fairer", since they would be distributed more equally. And the system would be much less effective at handling shortages in one area.

Mandating local production really is not a good solution. If there is a foreseen possible need for a product, stockpiling it makes far more sense.

Yes I do like the stockpile idea. It seems like each country should have a national ventilator reserve and a national mask and gown reserve.

Of course they should. That could not be more obvious.

The only goal here is to whine about Trump. Keep that in mind.

Why don't you accuse them of TDS? It's the cool thing edgy teenagers do.

Don't mean to alarm the rah rah US folks here, but as of today, there is a Made in Canada (Ontario actually) N96 mask (yes 96 not 95; it has slight improvement in particle blocking ability over the 95 ) currently in the hands of the Canadian federal government for verification and certification.

Once approved, mass production could start within a week. Can you guess where all that Canadian K10S will be rerouted to?

3M knew this and tried to warn Trump, but like with many things, he refused to listen to his experts.

Let's see how many masks 3M in Minnesota and North Dakota make when their raw materials start to run dry due to them staying at home.

You are suggesting that an improved version (N96) is in the works. Despite the obvious issue of WHEN it will receive approval and release for public use, you are suggesting that it will render the N95 obsolete.


If there IS, in fact such a mask, your'e in good your own admission Canada is about to have a far superior mask so why the whining (other than the obvious TDS that so many Canadians suffer from).

The idea that Canada has a monopoly on Pulp is hilarious.

The U.S. is the largest exporter of pulp and interestingly Canada is one of their biggest buyers...So there's that.

Harmac (Vancouver Island) has tweaked the pulp "recipe" and presently produces "K10S" which appears to work best in N95 applications. It's not a "secret" formula, it's not proprietary and U.S. pulp plants can easily retool "within days" (as Ford and GM are now to make respirators)...U.S. would then produce more K10S than ever required. At that point the U.S. would realize they no longer NEED Canadian K10S (purchased from Canada only due to at a 30% discount/foreign exchange advantage) and that, of course, would eliminate a billion dollar CDN export and hundreds of Canadian be careful what u wish for.

Lastly, as discussed previously, "the critical component in these masks is non-woven polypropylene of which NONE whatsoever is made in Canada".

So u keep your pulp, we'll cut off polypropylene...see who has masks 30 days from now...Then we'll shut off Netflix, HBO and Amazon Prime and you can go binge watch CBC and 24/7 re runs of Molly's Reach.

Just sayin...🤣

K10s is produced only in one spot on the entire world, yet isn't proprietary? Seems unlikely. Have a source?

"Harmac Pacific, whose facility is located in Nanaimo, B.C., produces a type of pulp that is used by U.S. manufacturers to make products that include paper gowns, surgical masks and caps. The B.C. facility does not supply 3M or any other company with materials used to make N95 respirator masks. Other pulp mills around the world have their own blends that can be used for the same purpose".
Toronto Globe & Mail

There seems to be some misunderstanding between respirators and ventilators. Respirators are the masks, ventilators are the breathing machines - that is what Ford, GM and Tesla are building.

A national mask and gown reserve has a Masonic temple vibe that I appreciate, and I think we all thought that a huge number of masks might plausibly be stored in a cool cave somewhere; but someone on here the other day argued quite persuasively that due to expiry and the sheer numbers that must be gone through everyday since disposibility is the norm - with the news that South Korea is producing 10 million masks a day, and China 116 million a day, that a national stockpile was no substitute for a domestic flow of masks.

Hmm. Well if you think this pulp could be made elsewhere, tell me about the grand reserves of western red cedar anywhere in the world outside Canada. Oh of course, the Olympic Peninsula has some.. yeah raze that and then fine tune an industrial pulp process for a few months to do something that is essentially already perfect..

Do you think they waited until it was perfect before they sold it? No they sold it anyway because it worked well enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect

As I said before, we shouldn't fault the light bulb because when we turn the switch it goes out.

Our globalized system of production is robust. Until we turn it off.

"I am against export bans in general but placing an ethically charged export ban on one of our largest trading partners and allies is especially shortsighted."


By the way, Josh Marshall thinks there's more going on:

"There are just too many stories of PPE supplies being shipped into hot spot states and being conficated by US customs when they arrive through an airport or US port. I’m not talking abt big amazon orders. This is states, massive hospital systems."

"2/ If the US federal govt had made itself the sole purchaser for the country this might make sense. But it hasn’t. So where are these supplies going? On what basis are they being seized?"

"3/ I suspect others working in state procurement or major hospital systems have stories to tell. Hit us at talk at TalkingPointsMemo dot com. We’re eager to learn more. Confidentiality assured."

It is a pretty crazy story. could they possibly be seizing things in route to a hospital?

It's the new normal. Drumpf is now massively jeopardizing anything that remains of trust in the US with every trading partner, including its closest allies.

Prioritizing the preservation of International trust in America isn't going to save the dying American COVID patients including Drs and Nurses with a lack of PPE as we reach the peak of deaths over the next month or two. Pick one: Save grandma and Dr. or preserve international trust. The US has third world levels of PPE. People don't get that - with regards to this issue we are the ones in need - not a superpower but a third world country - we have 25% of world COVID cases for only 4% of the world population.

You’re dropping conspiracy theories via tweet again.

This is Alex Jones shit, come on dude. Stop spreading misinformation

If you think Josh Marshal equals Alex Jones, aren't you the one with the actual problem?

"These export bans cause short term problems but companies will adjust"

Ohhh short term problems only. Ok then. Good to know.

Ohhh wait, our problem is the short term. Just like almost every American has a smart phone made in China, in the long term we could easily all have a 100 N95 masks in our house at any point in time and an ample stockpile.

It's the short term we are dead. Now is not the time to try to 'rewire' supply lines to comply with some fuzzy neo-mercantilist theory.

In the short term - the next 4-8 weeks: vast amounts of americans will die and our Drs and nurses will have no PPE because it is profitable for companies like 3M to export it.

We have a worldwide manufacturing system with a country at the center that is prone to epidemics and has imposed export bans even in safe times to further national goals (see Japan and rare earth minerals). Globalization was a trap and most of the world fell for it.

Japan? Really?

Yeah China stopped selling some rare earth minerals to Japan.

There was a nation that stopped selling steel and oil to Japan too.

Causing the Japanese to take robust actions to secure the necessary resources, without needing to rely on countries which could deny vital materials if those countries did not approve of a Japan First policy.

Prior thinks Japan will invade China again over masks?

@Wait - Also I read once in the Nixon era the US cut off rice exports to Japan, which started the JP rice subsidy program.

"We have a worldwide manufacturing system with a country at the center that is prone to epidemics"

I mean yeah COVID-19 is shaping up to be an epic disaster for the US but I thought the country handled the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the 2017-2018 influenza season okay.

We have been "expecting" a pandemic for a hundred years.

If we're going to try to stop one by closing off dangerous countries, (1) we wouldn't start with trade, (2) we would have to seal ourselves from all primary and secondary travel.

So basically it's a bad idea to blame globalization. You'd be a little more grounded to blame skiers.

All that going to Italy and such.

Yes, exactly. The "pandemic exposes the failures of globalization" narrative is purely what Tyler likes to call mood affiliation.

Here comes a bad thing that is spreading internationally, and now everyone who was already anti-globalization is latching onto it, even though it has little to do with any of their arguments.

Except for those people pointing out that maximum efficiency in one sense means minimal resiliency in another.

Or putting all your eggs in one basket is still stupid, regardless of where that basket might be.

(Admittedly, those people may not be the anti-globalists you are talking about.)

That is a different argument.

Sole sourcing is a risk, but it has nothing to do with borders.

Globalization means many countries are manufacturing products? I don’t see that. I see it as one country, China, produces a lot. Plus I see fragile supply chains that are unreliable in a crisis.

Do you know that one of Mao's better, if controversial, lines was "every mouth has two hands to feed itself?"

China has a very big population. Each pair of hands wants to stay busy, to feed that mouth. And so a lot of manufacturing is going to happen there, whether we tap it or not.

But no, they are not the only ones manufacturing:

"According to data published by the United Nations Statistics Division, China accounted for 28 percent of global manufacturing output in 2018."

Pretty impressive, but remember:

"China population is equivalent to 18.47% of the total world population."

So they outperform, by 50%?

Right, and China only accounts for 13 percent of merchandise exports, which is less than its share of population: China has less manufacturing per capita than the US and Europe.

I am not faulting China. I am suggesting the other countries have a duty to make sure they have the capability to manufacture important things especially if during a crisis.

I'll amend that. Sole sourcing is dangerous, but globalization can help alleviate it.

How can we still have orange juice after a big freeze in Florida?

Mexico. As well as California.

Yeah but what if Mexico decides these are too important to sell to us? This is the true analogy in a pandemic.

Then we should talk to them about preserving the extremely positive and productive international order.

And remind them that if one closes borders, others will, in a cascade which harms all.

Which is pretty much Alex's point.

How about every decade?

9/11 was globalization. The perversity of the muslim world being a 12 hour flight away from everywhere. We know what that looked like.

2008. How quickly we forget. The worldwide financial system fell apart. No one was hung from a lamp post. Massive amounts of cash was conjured to get it back to what it was before.

2020. Here we go again. An extraordinarily complicated system with extraordinary numbers of single points of failure. The slightest perturbation and the thing collapses. Just like the twin towers and the exquisitely designed financial instruments.

And we have blitheringly stupid people defending a mutually assure destruction strategy for the economy.

Not really. China accounts for only 13% of global merchandise exports, less than its share of global population: And the fact that you have to reach back to 2010 to find an example of China making an export ban shows that China is actually a much safer partner than the US which currently has sanctions (which are basically more damaging export bans) on many countries, and has even used secondary sanctions to force other countries to join US export bans, which I have never heard of China doing.

The middle ages was the perfect time for the anti-globalization mindset. Just about everything was produced locally. Want to travel thousands of miles? Forget about planes, plan on spending a good year or two doing it and good chance you'll die before getting there or getting back. Those were tariffs beyond what any protectionist today could imagine ever getting put into place.

And yet plague spread everywhere.

in a viral pandemic an export ban on masks is justifiable
the president is trying to get masks to the viral hotspots especially
new York city (despite uncle paulies desire to let the American midwest collapse in favor of china) this makes a lotta sense.
detroit Chicago new orleans currently all in a lotta worse shape than canada

Ban the export of N95 masks to Canada? Interesting thought. Now here is a thought, Canada bans the export of the raw material, the only source in North America, for making the N95 mask. Another thought, Canada prevents the 1600 nurses that live in Windsor Ontario, Canada, who work in Detroit, from crossing the border to work in Michigan. How is that going to help the health system in the USA?

in a viral pandemic
one does not inevitably lead to the other.
there are a lotta canadians working and living and getting medical care in the u.s.
you send most of firetrucks to the biggest fires
its called triage

Hmmm sounds like a free market then. Canada and the US are developed nations both with money. The masks will go where they are needed most between the two nations as the 'wave' moves around.

Screwing up supply chains does not seem like a good policy now, esp. one that could leave the US with a shortage of surgical masks while Canada has a surplus.

-hmmm triage in the context of a viral pandemic is the opposite of a free market
-those 1600 Canadian nurses who work in detroit need the masks in detroit
-knowing what we know about the virus and asymptomatic spread
and how easily some of 1600 nurses can get the virus ,traveling between toronto and Detroit may not be a good idea. they should probably put the canadian nurses up in the 4 star shinola detroit hotel with free room service for about 3 weeks to limit the spread back
into ontario

Those 1600 nurses are needed in Canada. Ontario is on the same trajectory as New York.

So there is one source of the vital component that is needed in every single medical procedure. One source.

I thought that maybe after 2008 the CFO's who all had all their payroll money in the money market would have been fired for their blithering stupidity. But no.

The blithering stupidity runs extremely deep. The best and the brightest, most highly educated people were finding ways to make money lending $750000 to a fruit picker in California. The best and brightest, most highly educated have constructed a system where a critical component is manufactured in one place, Vancouver Island. Which by the way every 250 years has an earthquake. The last one tilted the island 18 feet. About 300 years ago iirc.

My dad worked at that plant for a very short time years ago. He couldn't stand it. He was chewed out for finding a broom to clean up the sawdust mess he made. He quit the next day. Stupidity is endemic, the only solution is failure.

This is what failure looks like.

"These export bans cause short term problems but companies will adjust. K10S pulp can be made in more than one country"

Only if you support IP theft!

“It’s been tweaked over the years to come up with the right formula that allows it to go into the medical supplies,” Sampson said.

That's what "trade secrets" are all about.

The people working in the factories and with customers figured out how to improve a product with little written down about the basis for changes, what worked, what didn't, with no one person remaining who knows how they got there. The process, chemicals are tuned to the local tree/timber supply. Copying it blindly will create an inferior product, but hiring the key workers is called IP theft.

Of course, Wall Street MBAs will blindly copy such things in Mexico and then Asia, annd then when workers form companies to optimize the process and improve it for China, that's called IP theft by the evil Chinese government.

China seems to be at the Korea/Taiwan 70s/80s stage where "cheap" is the priority, but China is moving to match Japan/Korea/Taiwan/Germany on quality, which only a few corporations in the US achieve or aspire to.

Wall Street MBAs will never fund replicating the production in other nations because it requires paying to many workers which costs too much and destroys wealth which kills jobs.

For example, the Japanese subsidiary designing and setting up to manufacture cheap ventilators for a US stockpile and then selling them globally was bought by an existing ventilator maker to prevent competition by US Wall Street MBAs, the same type who got GM to kill and take back and crush GM's electric car. Imagine if GM sold the design and agreed to produce for five years at cost for the buyer the buyer's improved designs. They would have created a Rivian back in 2001.

We are in the Friedman economy which keeps capital as scarce as possible to inflate capital prices by rent extraction and monopoly profits.

Setting up a capability to produce that Canadian raw material will suffer the same fate of the money wasted restarting US rare earth production. Just as startup was about to begin, China flooded the market with rare earth at cost plus maybe 3% return on depreciated invested capital, which set the price of US rare earth capital below labor costs at 10% return on capital, or requires the return to be zero, ie, pricing the capital at scrape metal prices.

Only a few people in the US are willing to pay workers to build lots more capi

We seem to be forgetting the lessons of the post-WWII world. Many countries (including Germany and Japan) cannot sustain a modern standard of living with the natural resources they have within their borders. Transnational supply chains are a basic feature of the modern world that will never go away for this simple reason.

By the way, much of the world's fertilizer depends on phosphate that is mined in only a few places in the world. How do you propose countries that don't have phosphate deposits reduce dependency on international supply chains? Masks are just a tiny tip of the iceberg.

Germany claims that America is committing "modern day piracy" by seizing shipments of masks destined for Berlin. France is also airing complaints about US behavior. The world's richest nations in the West are reduced to literally fighting over $1 masks, pointing fingers at each other like children at a kindergarten sandbox. Move manufacturing back home! This is the end of unconsidered globalization.

Even China was importing masks at the beginning of this. There is no way moving manufacturing back home would make any difference (and manufacturing toilet paper at home hasn't prevented a shortage of toilet paper). The way to solve this is to ramp up overall global production as quickly as possible, and that means specialization is more needed, not less (like a lot of the ventilators needed are made in Germany--it makes much more sense for Germany to use its resources to manufacture ventilators rather than masks and trade for the masks it needs with countries like China that can ramp up mask production quickly).

Yeah but ramping up global manufacturing in a globalized system requires supply chains that are pristine. Any interruption like a country on lockdown stops whole classes of products from being made. How can you look around you at what is happening and conclude we need more of the system that is causing the problem?

What is strategic in this crisis won't be in the next. I doubt the government will have much success determining and building out our 'strategic' manufacturing. Planned economies are spectacular failures.

Nothing wrong with a “planned economy” for some things. Try asking: is it not risky that a large percentage of the standard antibiotics we use cannot be sourced here?

Terrific comment.

Maintaining a stockpile has a cost.

Manufacturing locally has a cost . To be adequate in a crisis it might need to be manufacturing capacity at the crisis level. In other words, the requirement is installed and maintained excess capacity to manufacture and much of it kept idle in normal times. Without trade that excess capacity would be present in every country. In other words globally there would be excess upon excess.

Stockpiling is a solution. Excess capacity is a solution.

A hybrid solution is each country stockpiling but no excess capacity in each country but each country experiencing higher costs because there is no trade.

The best solution has to do with how frequent crises are and the cost to maintain excess capacity in multiple counties or the excess cost to manufacture without trade.

What's causing the problem are trade restrictions, such as the export bans discussed in the original post. I am totally against such trade restrictions.

“The world's richest nations in the West are reduced to literally fighting over $1 masks, pointing fingers at each other like children at a kindergarten sandbox. “

+1 lol

Yes, the West is currently an embarrassment of civilization.

With enough immigration and deregulation we could achieve wage parity with the developing world and move masks back to the US for $1/hr labor.

Or have a stockpile like we did in 2006-2009. Either / both would be fine with me.

You need both stock and flow. Stockpile and production. There's no getting around that. Having only a stockpile is like living off your life savings. It's nerve wracking.

You can just have enough stock to get you through until the flow is restored. I have a stock of dried food at home, and no capacity to produce a flow of it, but the stock is enough because this isn't going to last forever.

"I argued that the DPA was neither especially useful or necessary and would probably be misused."


DPA is also stunningly non-constitutional.

But the Constitution has infrequently been a serious obstacle to any President, Congress, or SCOTUS.

No follow-up on Elon Musk's ventilators? Tabarrok said in a post a few days ago that the U.S. should just buy ventilators from China, as Musk had done. Of course, he failed to mention Musk said a week before that he would "build ventilators if they are needed." His small purchase seems pretty much for show. Now he is being criticized for delivering lower-end ventilators. In Musk's defense, these are the kind of ventilators being built by Ford and GM. But Musk didn't specify that when he announced the purchase. And Tabarrok couldn't be bothered to learn the difference in his original post. He said, "maybe these ventilators would be simpler or less fancy." Why didn't he just do a simple Google search to find out if this was the case? He took the time to find eight links that supported his argument.

@Ted Craig - a poor troll post. Here's how you troll : "Isn't Alex a Canuck? Nuke Canada! MAGA!!" Simple, stupid, hits center mass, not the obtuse crap you wrote.

Ah, childless mockery. Great response. About what I've come to expect from Mr. Bonus Trivia.
Of course, that doesn't change the fact that earlier, Alex committed at the very least a sin of omission when he wrote about the DPA. If he is going to support his current posts with prior posts, it's fair game to point out the flaws in those prior posts. That's not trolling.

Sorry TC but nobody reads you. Your above post was so obscure that probably only you understood it, and it's factually wrong: ventilators are being made in both simple and complex designs, e.g. Ford makes them from truck turbos. And never look a .gif horse in the mouth.

Actually, everything I said was factually accurate. I did state that there were different kinds of ventilators. In fact, I called out Tabarrok for not looking that up for himself. Here, let me repeat myself and maybe, just maybe, you'll comprehend it this time: " Now he is being criticized for delivering lower-end ventilators. In Musk's defense, these are the kind of ventilators being built by Ford and GM. But Musk didn't specify that when he announced the purchase. And Tabarrok couldn't be bothered to learn the difference in his original post. "
What is factually wrong is your statement: "Sorry TC but nobody reads you." Someone obviously does, that someone being you. Even if no one else does, I don't care. I don't make comments in order to shore up my fragile ego, unlike some people.

There are no paper products an 3M N95 masks. From the MSDS:

Ingredient C.A.S. No. % by Wt
Polypropylene None 40 - 70 Trade Secret *
Polyester None 10 - 30 Trade Secret *
Thermoplastic Elastomer None 10 - 30 Trade Secret *
Aluminum None 7 - 13 Trade Secret *
Adhesive Film None 0.5 - 1.5 Trade Secret *
Polyurethane Foam None 0.5 - 1.5 Trade Secret *

Surgical masks not N95s.

Surgical masks are not what is needed.

No, that formula tells you exactly NOTHING !
Most product is patent protected so you have zero idea what goes into it.
If you don’t want the pulp, no problem , Canada will
Keep it for their own suppliers.
Sometimes people are usually very shocked when they find out whet goes into products, especially medical equipment.
Best of luck with using that RED CEDAR pulp from the States. Actually the formula is also protected and while given time , you may be able to copy it, do you have time ?
Canada is a supplier of many items to the States with trade agreements, in order to protect North America with safe supply lines
No need to say it, but that will change drastically after this because Canada cannot count on the States to follow trade agreements.

Good, I hope it does change. We shouldn’t be so dependent on one another. It brings resentment. That won’t be good for either of us in the long run.

Just how valiantly some brave slaveowners resisted not only the Mexicans but also fought valiantly in the War of Northern Aggression, so that they wouldn't be dependent on their fellow Americans, which clearly brings resentment. For generations, it seems.

> Most product is patent protected so you have zero idea what goes into it.

A patent is required to show someone "skilled in the art" how to replicate the invention. And all patents are public. There are no hidden patents.

If the N95 mask is patented, there's very likely enough information there to re-create the processes needed to make the patented aspects of the mask. The non-patented pieces are either 1) obvious or 2) trade secrets. Trade secrets don't have to be explained, but they can be reverse engineered.

"There are no hidden patents."

There most certainly are. Here is a comprehensive overview from wikipedia covering the past century.

The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 (Pub.L. 82–256, 66 Stat. 3, enacted February 1, 1952, codified at 35 U.S.C. ch. 17) is a body of United States federal law designed to prevent disclosure of new inventions and technologies that, in the opinion of selected federal agencies, present a possible threat to the national security of the United States.

The U.S. government has long sought to control the release of new technologies that might threaten the national defense and economic stability of the country. During World War I, Congress authorized the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to classify certain defense-related patents. This initial effort lasted only for the duration of that war but was reimposed in October 1941 in anticipation of the U.S. entry into World War II. Patent secrecy orders were initially intended to remain effective for two years, beginning on July 1, 1940, but were later extended for the duration of the war.

The Invention Secrecy Act of 1951 made such patent secrecy permanent, though the order to suppress any invention must be renewed each year (except during periods of declared war or national emergency). Under this Act, defense agencies provide the PTO with a classified list of sensitive technologies in the form of the "Patent Security Category Review List" (PSCRL). The decision to classify new inventions under this act is made by "defense agencies" as defined by the President. Generally, these agencies include the Army, Navy, Air Force, National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Energy, and NASA, but even the Justice Department has played this role.

A secrecy order bars the award of a patent, orders that the invention be kept secret, restricts the filing of foreign patents, and specifies procedures to prevent disclosure of ideas contained in the application. The only way an inventor can avoid the risk of such imposed secrecy is to forgo patent protection.

Well I stand corrected. Looks like fewer than 100 out of 500,000 patents (0.02%) each year are marked as secret and remain as such until the powers-that-be determine otherwise.

That's right, most of these secret parents are in the nuclear weapons field.

It's not a formula. It's a list of components. And that list of components does not include or require wood-based inputs.

And Brazil. America convinced Red China to not sell medical equipment to Brazil.

Ha! China doesn’t listen to us. Look, you have plenty of smart people in Brazil. Build stuff yourselves. You should be angry at your fellow Brazilians if you don’t have local manufacturing.

I am an American from Spokane. America paid premium made China disregard signed contracts and sell to America. America's regime is murdering Brazilians!!!! No country will created a respiratory medical equipment base in a few months. Brazil has lots of manufacturing and local plants are being reconverted. But it will take time to compensate what our regime stole from Brazil. And time costs lives!!!!!

Yeah you actually can switch to making ventilators in a couple of weeks. Many factories around the world are doing it. Countries need local manufacturing.

Brazilians do not have weeks. A plague is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery; it cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A plague is a an epidemic disease causing a high rate of mortality.

If it is so easy to make medical equipment (it is not!), maybe we should make ours instead of stealing Brazil's!!

According to the Berlin mayor's story, the US passed laws prohibiting US companies from shipping products made in China to non-US customers. So I would say "coerced" rather than "convinced," but the gist is right.

America sent cargo planes to China to steal Brazilian stuff. We are being ruled by conscienceless monsters. At this point, that is little moral difference between America and Nazi Germany.

This sounds like America First bashing after getting a severe case of TDS.

Or is this motivated by having grown up in Canada, and only now discovering what a minority of American voters wished of their president - America First. Shame you couldn't be bothered to steadfastly oppose Trump at any point before he started endangering Canadian lives too.

And no one is this unaware of what changed in 2016 - " treating Canada and Mexico like a part of the US family." Americans have enough problems treating Americans as part of the US family these days - just ask an American from Puerto Rico.

The Puerto Ricans only want to seem to be part of the American family where they have the opportunity to receive federal funds. On the other hand, there are more living in the states than in Puerto Rico itself, so it seems at least they like the US family better than the PR family.

Props to you, however, for being one of the few members of the left to understand what "America First" means. Hilldawg, our chattering media class, and the rest of the traitors certainly do not.

Did you know that a lot of Americans do not live where they were born? Like in Washington DC, which is another place that only becomes a part of the American family when Congress agrees.

Tell you what: we'll admit Puerto Rico in exchange for expelling DC forever.

They would likely appreciate getting their property back, the same way Virginia did in the 1840s. And who knows, even the residents of DC might also appreciate voting for representative and senators, instead of always being jerked around by people who actually are what you call occupiers, as no citizen of DC is allowed to be elected to Congress.

Funny that the only true example of an 'occupier' government exists in the place you would like to expel.

My plan was to kick Maryland out too. Virginia as well, especially NOVA, that's the heart of the rot that extends outwards from DC (who, in spite of your and their objections, is never in want of fat from the federal pig).

3M, among other global conglomerates, aren't foreign terrorists, of course. Foreign terrorists don't extract American natural resources and sell them to the highest bidder abroad for personal profit, leaving behind Superfund sites on American soil. Foreign terrorists don't flood American markets with cheap, poorly-made foreign products while eroding the American manufacturing base. And foreign terrorists usually don't get to bail themselves out using the resources of the American government. All foreign terrorists do is try to kill us! If only everything were that easy to deal with.

No sympathy for 3M. They don't seem to have any problem taking advantage of the stability of being based in this country, their access to this country's government, our purchasing power and our human capital, while they profit around the globe. The least they can do in a crisis is look after their own home.

No sympathy for the Canadians either (with their beady eyes and flappy jaws). They're going to learn the same lessons as we will, may as well help that along.

The difference between a Democrat and a Trump supporter is razor thin on so many things.

Not Democrats, my friend. They're as in favor of big-business globalism as any hardcore Republican.

Protip: if it seems like two people who ought to be fundamentally at odds agree on something, you're measuring along the wrong alignment.

Global companies "take advantage" of the stability of every country where they operate. They pay for this stability through paying taxes, employing people, generating business, etc. in every country where they operate, which 3M by every indication does. By doing so, they encourage countries to become more stable to attract investment.

I thought corporations didn't pay taxes? That's what we hear from the left all the time (although, like other parasites, they are only interested in getting someone else to pay for their benefits).

In any case, I'm not interested in collecting rent from mercenaries. It works the same way with immigration. We need people (and companies) who are invested in America and the American people, not ones who just want to profit off the prosperity others created.

Don't worry, sparky. Someday we'll reach an abundant paradise in which nobody engages in any economic activity outside of their neighborhood. That'll be sure to increase total prosperity.

Let us find out by using the president's hand picked attorney, Rudy Guilani. It is appropriately grotesque for the reality TV world of the Trump administration, and who knows? It might even distract from a pandemic, which is being handled perfectly, read the transcript.

This is assuming that anyone (except American voters) can make him accountable for his and his administration's actions.

You referring to this?: "Mueller’s hidden evidence: Translator exonerated Don Jr. in Trump Tower meeting
Infamous meeting did not focus on Clinton dirt but on Magnitsky Act, newly released FBI memos show."

Nope, I was referring to the Thursday press conference, followed by scrubbing web pages on Friday that directly contradicted what he said about the federal stockpiles.

Would it be ok if Trump sent all the masks to a guy in Tennessee so he could inflate the price beyond what Canada is willing to pay? Perhaps Canada could respond by having all wood pulp orders filled through a garage in Vancouver. In a video put out by Reason yesterday and a blog post last week by Mr Taborrak, I was told markets work best when confined by black market bottlenecks. The more middlemen constricting the market, the more efficient it becomes. You see Mr Trump is just responding to incentives and raising the market price. This sort of action should be cheered on an economics blog. After all, it’s just like ticket scalping. And nobody is harmed by that.

>So, of course, Donald Trump has ....

Well, in fairness: when was the last time you were right about literally anything?

Is this an economics blog? All of a sudden, we are questioning whether free trade is good or not? If we follow the logic of insisting on domestic production, we will be shutting down the engine for raising a record number of people out of poverty, as well as turning our back on the most basic of economic principles: gains from trade. Yes, there is a crisis - and the government can play a necessary role of preparing us for uncertain (and hopefully rare) events like this. But we simply need to have the government purchase supplies at above market prices to whatever extent we feel stockpiling is necessary. The market for producing these items can (and should) still work. Abandoning the market now is setting a terrible precedent and one that may not easily be reversed. Just look at how many comments are prepared to favor domestic production (rather than domestic consumption).

> how many comments are prepared to favor domestic production

I think the issue is more the realization that there are areas where, if the shit hits the fan, the US is woefully underprepared.

That we have a major political person in this country--Cuomo--begging for ventilators and masks and asking "Why is this so hard?" underscores the problem: Those that make the important decisions are clueless what needs to be done. And yes, making moderately complex things quickly is hard if you've told your manufacturing base to go away.

Consider, 50 years ago, every power plant in the country kept 90 days of energy in piles in the yard next to the power plant.

Now, we have entrire metropolitan areas whose electricity generation is served by a single gas line that is filled with minutes of natural gas. Instead of a pandemic, imagine a nationwide shortage of natural gas caused by an natural event that destroys a 12" gas line leading to Atlanta. Stuck in houses for 60-90 days with no electricity.

I'll take the pandemic any day of the week. fighting over when you get your 2 hours of electricity each day. And yet, our leaders are happy to mandate more and more energy generation that cannot be stored (solar, wind) economically.

It is the the long-time leaders of this country whose decision-making is 100% responsible for the fix we are in. And they have made the same bad decisions around all critical infrastructure--energy, medicine production, meteor impact, solar storms, etc.

We're so worried about a marginal event in 2100 (1.5C increase in temps) that we've completely ruined our ability to cope with major events here and now.

Imagine if we demanded the people fighting the flu pandemic in 1918 conserve massive amounts of energy so that our temps today would be 1C cooler. How stupid does that sound? But that is precisely what our leaders are doing.

"All of a sudden, we are questioning whether free trade is good or not? " Not all of a sudden for some of us. The economist's perspective has dominated for too long at the expense of others. Now we are, predictably, seeing that ignoring the security perspective was not such a good idea. Economic interests have to be balanced by security issues such as supply chain security, medical security, financial security, food security, etc.--you know, all those kinda important strategic things that should fall under national security planning.

By the way, speaking of food security, if instead of covid we were now facing a disease that annihilated our corn crops, I imagine we would be hearing the exact same kinds of complaints. "Why didn't Trump stockpile wheat?" "Why are you criticizing our agricultural system when it worked so well before the great corn blight?" Companies would be getting busted for selling corn overseas. And there would be a chorus saying "How could we let this happen?"

Heckuva job, Trump.

For what it's worth, I'm still down on the guy, but most days I think what's the point?

The right time to warn you was when I did.

Now we're in it, and Pence ain't president.

The SOB was not removed.

Clearly you haven’t been reading the ideas of Clinton/Warren/Sanders supporters. They too have been advocating for the Federal Government to quash evil corporations who dare to profit during a pandemic. Trump is simply being lead around because he has no ideology. Hang out over at DailyKos some time. The bad ideas being implemented by Trump were being demanded over there two weeks ago.

Do you know how many times we have seen this dance?

The president of the United States fucks up and somebody says yeah but look at those commenters..

You keep pretending that a Clinton/Warren presidency wouldn’t have scolded 3M for not providing enough supply. Why do you refuse to accept that reality? Bernie Sanders would have attempted to nationalize industries right now. Nancy Pelosi attempted to enact most of Elizabeth Warrens terrible economic ideas in the last stimulus package. And she has already stated she will try again on the next bill. Trump will gladly sign whatever bill Pelosi wants him to if he thinks he can keep his seat of power. All he will ask in return is to be allowed to take credit. You wanted a Warren presidency. It’s going to brought to you by Donald J Trump.

I guess that's Trumpian game plan B.

If shouting "Evergreen!!!" doesn't work, put up your fantasy of the worst possible liberal response, and compare Trump to that.

Rather than the concrete comparison:

"A new machine designed to churn out millions of masks at high speed during a pandemic was green-lit by the Obama administration. In 2018 the Trump administration received a detailed plan on the initiative. It went nowhere."

And be cognizant of the time-line. Literally as folks in this blog made 1001 comments about Evergreen, and the great "danger" of Political Correctness, the Trump administration was busy "deregulating and downsizing" and not buying masks.

@Slappy - OT, in broad brush strokes how did that SBA loan review go? Still a fiasco after the govt raised the interest rate to 1%?

Also earlier this week you were defending FDA regulations regarding PPE. These regulations were keeping Chinese manufactured masks out of the US. Trump has relaxed those standards and now allows those masks. Do you want your daughter now using that PPE since Trumps FDA allows it? Please feel free to link to a Warren/Clinton/Obama statement that disagrees with allowing these PPE in. Perhaps you could prop up Joe Biden and ask him what year it is and get his thoughts on the matter.

I made a clear distinction between status quo prior, and the emergency.

My main point was that in normal times you do have the time and should have the priority to ensure that PPE is indeed safe, and not just cheap.

In an emergency, when everyone is rationing or even worse going DIY, things are different.

If I had any N95, I would certainly donate it to health care workers.

I did have a few (3!) no-name nail salon masks that I gave to my aged mother.

I'm going with a blue shop towel taped inside a bandanna.

Needs as needs must, but that certainly does not say that hospitals should have used any crap mask all along.

Speaking of good guys, <Harbor Freight has protective gear coming through their supply lines, and is donating in no small numbers:

"Over the next several days, we will be shipping more than 44 million pairs of nitrile gloves and hundreds of thousands of masks and face shields to hospitals in over 1,000 communities that our stores serve."

I'm sure it's not all normal PPE quality, but in terms of needs as needs must ..

"A new machine designed to churn out millions of masks at high speed during a pandemic was green-lit by the Obama administration. In 2018 the Trump administration received a detailed plan on the initiative. It went nowhere."

But, but, Evergreen!!!

It isn't just a machine that is needed. It is all the raw materials too. You know, the Obama administration could have re-filled the strategic reserve and kept it topped off. That would have been a good first step. Instead of saying "We're not going to refill the reserve for $3B. We're going to pay someone $5M to create plans for a machine that will fill the reserve if needed"

Not responsible governing.

Plus, the world has been facing a shortage of masks since 2010. If these machine was going to work so well, why didn't the company just build it and make up the world-wide deficit?

Okay, so you look directly at a story about a green-lit plan, and you tell me that they had no plan?

Back to blaming the light bulb that doesn't glow, because it was turned off.

You know Trump is working a machine to reverse the deficit AND to heal anyone sick with covid, right? He has plans back in his office!

My point is: If the previous admin were really worried about a pandemic, they'd have stocked up on masks from 2010 through 2016. That's the easy thing. Claiming you had instead been working on a machine....What if one hit in 2016? We'd have been equally screwed.

George W Bush and Obama both tapped into the mask supply multiple times for multiple disasters. It's not just pandemics. They get used in fires, and tornadoes, and floods, and hurricanes as well.

Maybe that's what *taught* them that they needed the machine.

Reading through the entire article, it seems the story is a little more complicated than Orange Man Bad. The machine's designer was purchased by another company during he process. It seems design was the only contractual obligation. This is the second time this has been an issue in one of these stories. Based on stories of defense procurement, the government isn't great at buying stuff, especially when it comes to writing binding contracts. Also, Halyard was the subject of a lawsuit claiming quality issues with its surgical gowns, filed by Michael Avenatti of all people. I don't know how legitimate the claims were.

This definitely comes against a backdrop of a lot of budget process dysfunction.

How many here were fans of sequestration? As I said then, the problem with sequestration is that it doesn't give you a lot of flexibility on priorities.

I have no idea where you’re going with this. We let the stockpile run out 11 years ago in 2009.

The government needs a plan for a machine? What the f are you talking about.

How hard is it to say:

"It would be nice to have that machine right now?"

The machine is irrelevant, the V2 rocket of Corona-chan. It doesn’t even take into account the raw inputs.

The stockpile has been out for 11 years. No one in Washington apparently thought they should :

A) restock the stockpile
B) rent excess PPE capacity

Magic machine blueprints in 2018 are the least of Trump’s failures on this. We don’t need to decide which machines to buy. That’s insane.

We needed to pay 3M to
be able to supply X masks per day domestically. We didn’t.

Well, there goes any shred of reputation you might have had as a rational, pragmatic, centrist.

Any of those could have easily said "It would be nice to have that machine right now."

Where do you live that a company needs a green light from the administration to produce something as benign as a mask?

I think you missed something.

Many commercial companies were indeed producing masks for the previous status quo.

This is not status quo prior. And the machine was specifically meant as a preparatory investment for national emergency.

So Canada will refuse to export the necessary inputs, Trump will give in and complain about being extorted and he scores nationalist points will retaining the status quo. Just politics.

What did you expect to happen?

We do not face a choice between an idealized world of free trade and one of comical autarky. We face a choice between unilateral disarmament (e.g. when huge stockpiles of masks were shipped out of the US because we have more checks on public procurement) and playing at least so sort of tit-for-tat on restrictions.

People are not idiots. They know that China is a bad actor and having critical supplies manufactured there is risky as all hell. I mean China only offloaded massive amounts of defective goods on Europe and likely killed a few hundred to a few thousand people by doing so. Nor is it likely that people will follow our lead if we go full free trade; Australia imposed export controls in previous epidemics.

The current situation is with a long and difficult path for restoring free trade. Our lack of export controls last month did precisely nothing to stop major distortions in global supply chains by other governments in ways that directly hurt us. Game theory calls for credible deterrents when others are defecting (something we see in experiments that even toddlers grasp). If nobody else has a credible path to look out for the populace and punish others who are beggaring their neighbor then we should expect a clumsy response by whoever can.

You want to actually make a difference? Draw up an international compact that rewards cooperation and punishes defectors. Do not just keep playing cooperate when China and sadly even our allies have been playing defect.

Certainly, I would give preference to Canada, but calling for continued BOHICA is going to be far worse than some sort of measured response to others bad actions.

"What did you expect to happen?"

I think it's actual American tradition to have a "Czar" in this situation.

The 1980s Packard Commission "made several recommendations: (1) defense appropriations should be passed by the United States Congress in two-year budgets, rather than annual appropriations bills; (2) the creation of a "procurement czar," to be known as the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and the creation of a clear hierarchy of acquisition executives and managers in each of the services; (3) the theater commanders should report directly to the United States Secretary of Defense through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and (4) the powers of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should be strengthened."

That’s for ... defense...

We could have just restocked the know.... stockpile in any year from 2009 through 2019. That was apparently completely unachievable in Washington, every year for 11 years.

That and renting domestic excess capacity for pandemics would have solved the PPE problem.

But that’s all irrelevant now.

At least do the minimum of work.

List of U.S. executive branch czars

Note that the Obama Administration had both an AIDS czar and an Ebola czar.

Obama expanded the czar system, Trump invented the Kushner system.

Canadians look like dorks already: they don't need masks.

They have hockey masks.

I'm reading a lot of comments about nationalizing production. The problem is the US has a large population but lacks raw materials to manufacture goods. For instance, the Kos1 pulp produced for surgical masks - yes, the US could produce it but you don't have the trees to get the pulp from. There are other factors too like electricity production. Our grids are intertwined and both countries trade north south across the border as this is cheaper and easier. The US does not produce enough electricity to meet its needs and needs to buy from Canada. Canada overproduces, particularly in Ontario. Destroying our relationship could lead to extreme price increases and rolling blackouts as the norm for US customers. Read about the auto industry and how the US has the means of production but not raw materials. And the list goes on...

But I think the point is we need to decide what is important, and for those important things, they need to be done here. For example, should the US have the ability to make antibiotics of all flavors completely within its borders?

I think that answer is an overwhelming yes.

Now, it gets a bit sticky with things like respirators, because those have motors and motors depend on rare-earth magnets and copper. But the raw materials for those things are easy to stockpile--they don't have to be made here.

The U.S. also lacks nurses, and more than 1,500 Canadian nurses cross over the bridge at Windsor every day to work in Detroit hospitals. PM Trudeau has already threatened to cut off the flow of nurses to the U.S. should the U.S. bar exports of medical equipment to Canada. This may just cost Trump Michigan's critical electoral votes in November.

We have western red cedar trees

Good comments about breakdown of supply chains. CNTRL + F + "inflation" gives no hits. I've emailed TC to apply the "full coin of his mind"--a chess passage from Ian Flemming's From Russia With Love-- to address this issue. Expect something spectacular soon.

This country is being run by a moron whose only 'trick' is enacting protectionist sounding policies. These masks are dirt cheap to produce and it would have been easy to have secured flush stockpiles. The best thing right now is free trade in PPE so that countries that have less problems can export to countries that have more problems.

So countryA that has 4x the deaths/million exports masks to countryB. Hope to crap your has nothing to do with numbers or logic.

Hey look the Orange Buffoon is responsible IMO already for. say 80% of all deaths in the US over 25,000 due to his bungling already. I suppose, though, you think he can just rewire supply chains over the next 3-5 days to make everything turn out ok. I would normally say 'good luck with that' but I would rather not be an involuntary member of your death cult.

3M is not distributing some to Canada because they are super rich compared to the US and the last thing we need is additional shortages of surgical masks now that this administration is 'contemplating' advising everyone to wear masks in public going forward.

“ Hey look the Orange Buffoon is responsible IMO already for. say 80% of all deaths in the US over 25,000 due to his bungling already.”

This is the worst comment I have seen today. Thinking through the level of ignorance and and arrogance that is required to make the comment makes me worry for humankind.

Ahhh yes, the key to producing better results is to avoid holding anyone accountable. Well except Navy Captains I suppose.

I notice you glided over:

"I suppose, though, you think he can just rewire supply chains over the next 3-5 days to make everything turn out ok."

Let's look at that. Do you think he can, like Data fast typing on a terminal onboard the Enterprise, rewire supply chains to make things better almost instantly? Does his previous actions telling people this was nothing to worry about, dragging feet on economic shutdown, hyping preliminary evidence on experimental drugs as miracle cures inspire your faith in him as the Uber-Central Planner?

Or just maybe this is at best a bunch of showy stunts that will accomplish nothing or worse screwing up our supply lines of cheap masks just when they are finally admitting everyone should probably be wearing masks in public after telling us they 'do nothing unless you're a doctor'.

And what would Biden or Pelosi have done differently? Both saw the travel ban as unneeded. There's not a chance in hell either would have declared a health emergency when Trump did.

The golden-boy of the dems, Cuomo, had no clue it would take this long to build ventilators. He also was late to close schools.

Trump's words attempted to yield calm, but his actions were one of a man panicked. Every other dem leader's words were of calm, and their actions were that of calm too.

Do you think Bernie would have pulled in the private sector when Trump did? Do you think Biden would have?

No, they would not.

Do you think Obama would have sorted out the mask problem in 2018? No he would not.

What, specifically, do you think Pelosi or Biden would have done differently that would have changed outcomes?

On Jan 16, our lawmakers had two choices to make:

1) Aim to disappear for 3 weeks and indict the president for obstruction of congress and abuse of power (very things all past presidents have done and not even illegal)


2) Focus on pandemic.

They picked 1), even while they knew, with 100% certainty, it would not yield the result they wanted.

Let that soak in.

And what would Biden or Pelosi have done differently?

Beats me, if there was a one way quantum portal that could send you to an alternative universe where Biden or Pelosi were in charge I'd be happy to push you in.

I've been a grownup for quite a while now. I've had a lot of performance reviews at work. I don't recall any time the answer to failures being "well just imagine what X would have done"

There's only one case where that makes sense. Where X is a correct decision given limited information that turns out to be wrong when all the information is given. You watch two people eat the potato salad and get sick. You conclude the salad is bad and throw it away. Turns out the salad was good and those two people happened to have just gotten sick at the same time for other reasons. Ultimately wrong call but your decision making method is still correct and you should defend it.

Holding a cruise ship off the coast because you're trying to hold down the number of cases counted inside the US? Hawking an experimental drug as a miracle cure? Calling it a hoax, even letting your followers play that card as late as this week?

Unless you're going to tell me there's some deep 3-D chess game afoot that makes all those things better calls than they seem (go ahead try it), time for you to grow up and get real.

> I don't recall any time the answer to failures being "well just imagine what X would have done"

But that is you toiling away in obscurity at work. With presidents and superbowl coaches you are performing in front of crowds and everyone can see if the move was important or not.

Trump shut the gates to regions of China. Democrats and 99% of the world said it wasn't needed. But later, they also shut their gates. Therefore, the move was smart and brave. If we had 10 people in the country infected when Trump closed the gates, and his move prevented 40 more people from arriving, then that move bought us nearly 2 weeks (two doublings). That is huge.

We know that as of Mid March, Biden wouldn't have closed any gates. Not with Europe, not with China.

Can you at least admit that if Biden were running the show we'd be in a lot worse shape? Hundres of infected woudl have been admitted. Instead of what NYC is goign through now, they'd have started the crush a month ago long before we were ready.

Also, can you admit Pelosi wouldn't have acted as urgently as Trump? She thought his border closign moves were un needed AND she felt the health emergency declaration was way too pre-amture. Remember, she was encouraging her people in San Fran to all mingle together well after Trump had slammed gates.

> Holding a cruise ship off the coast because you're trying to hold down the number of cases counted inside the US?

Not the reason. The reason was a plan was needed. This is not a small endeavor to find quarantine space without shared ventilation for 3500.

> Hawking an experimental drug as a miracle cure?

He didn't say that. He said that people were seeing encouraging results and that he wanted everyone to move faster on it. Idiot govs then made the treatment illegal in knee-jerk response to TDS, only to have to rescind the law when it appears to show increasingly great numbers.

> Calling it a hoax, even letting your followers play that card as late as this week?

He called the dem response a hoax. That's been fact checked many times.

You have some seriously bad news sources. Remember it was Vox and all the other left-wing news sources that said there was nothing here and Trump was over reacting. They were wrong. At least admit that.

Trump has moved far faster than any of them would have.

Just look how unprepared NYC was in all this. But hey, you can bet on your coronavirus admitting form there was a spot to indicate your pronoun. Because NYC has time to learn your pronoun, they just don't have time to accumulate any $0.70 masks.


Trump shut the gates to regions of China.

Yes the one trick Trump knows how to do. Showy shutdowns of trade and travel. A trick, though, that doesn't do anything unless at the same time you deploy a massive shutdown or massive test and track regime. Many Asian countries, with memories of SARS in their minds did that. If, instead you don't act, you might as well have done nothing. Of course worse than nothing would be encouraging your death cult to believe it's all a hoax to tank the stock market for the upcoming election.

Times up for you, I don't blame you for clinging to what little you got. Keep it up, you're going to need it.

> Yes the one trick Trump knows how to do....A trick, though, that doesn't do anything unless at the same time you deploy a massive shutdown

Not true. The math is very clear, if you start with half as many "seed" cases, then you buy yourself a week more time to get to the same place. If you start with 1/4 as many seed cases, you buy yourself two weeks. And so on.

Looked at another way, if the gates had never been closed we'd have hit peek 2 weeks ago and it'd been much higher and much more awful if Biden was in charge and never shut the gates. And remember, as of mid-March, Biden was still bragging there was no need to shut down.

The federal gov doesn't really have a lot of lattitude to quarantine. They can block off a state by blocking trade with that state. But it's really the job of govs to do the state-wide orders.

Finally, regarding took Obama 16 days after first death to hit 5000 tests. It took Trump 14 days to hit 6500 tests. Even with CDC screw up.

It took Obama 125 days from first death to hit 1M tests. Trump just hit 1M tests in 30 days. Thanks to bringing in the private sector. Another move most dems wouldn't have done.

You've stated zero numbers. You just started with an unfounded assertion and then got annoyed when asked to justify it.

You must admit, at least versus H1N1, Trump numbers are much better than Obama's.

Biden, Pelosi, Sanders, etc were much more interested in "dunking" against Trump than they were solving the problem. So much so that they actively backed away from sane measures. That is the very definition of TDS: When you reject the sane just because Trump likes it.

If you shut down ALL air travel, studies estimate you would buy yourself maybe two weeks. "Seed cases" come not just from China but from anywhere. Italy, Iran are not 'obvious' destinations of people from China yet they felt the wave first. Targeted air travel restrictions probably give you a day or two delay. This might be helpful if you were doing a shutdown as the 'seeds' you have would be limited in their spreading but it you're not then you've accomplished nothing.

Cling hard to your China travel shutdown.

> studies estimate you would buy yourself maybe two weeks.

The math is too easy here. If instead of 1 patient zero you had 8 patient zeros that arrived over 5 days, and with a 6 day doubling, you are looking at log2(8) = 3 doubling periods, or 18 days.

If instead of 1 patient zero you had 32 patient zeros, all people that stepped off a plane from China over a 3-4 week period, you'd be log2(32)= 5 * 6 = 1 month.

Do you really think NYC would do better if what they were facing today was instead here 3 weeks ago?

Hah. Laughable.

We commend comrade Tabarrok’s stalwart and resolute maintenance of Party teaching: In all things, the USA is wrong, and must be criticized. The Party salutes comrade Alex.

The US = Trump? Hmmmm.

“ Medicom, a Canadian manufacturer, has three factories in China, but the Chinese government has requisitioned all production and nothing is being exported, according to the company's COO, Guillaume Laverdure. Factories in France and Taiwan are subject to official export bans.”

- CNN Business, March 6, 2020

Does your employer give you 5 rubles for every whataboutism you generate?

At least forty countries had medical supply export bans in place before Trump acted. The Party approves of Canadian comrade Tabarrok' s "Canada First" efforts to put Canadian lives before American lives.

Comrade Tabarrok was blatantly criticizing Trump, and by implication, the minority of Americans that voted him into office. For this, he deserves expulsion from the CCP, as Trump and his supporters remains a lynchpin to the Party's long term plans to install a fifth column that resolutely denies that what it does is to the Party's benefit.

Comrade, Party policy recognizes that encouraging Canada, with few cases and little need, to hoard masks, we promote high-estrogen political leadership in the West. High
-estrogen candidate Biden is ideal prospect for advancing Party goals.

Honestly, not feeling like we want to be a part of the "US family."

You won't ever let that 1812 thing just be water under the bridge, will you?

God bless America!

I'm curious - in what sense is the Canada-US border currently open?

Kar le madarchod, ventilator gand me laga ke

Why does my country have so little cases?

April 4, 2020 at 12:33 PM EDT
Berlin backtracks after accusing U.S. of ‘piracy’ when 200,000 masks went missing

BERLIN — A Berlin official, who accused the U.S. administration of “piracy” after 200,000 masks for the city police went missing, backtracked Saturday and said the masks were ordered from a German firm.

In a statement distributed by the city mayor’s office and senate a day earlier, Andreas Geisel, Berlin’s senator for the interior, was quoted as saying a delivery of FFP2 masks only made it as far as Bangkok before it was “confiscated.”

He had said the consignment was ordered from a U.S. firm and “we are currently assuming that this is related to the U.S. government’s ban on mask exports.” Berlin Mayor Michael Muller also weighed in Friday to call President Trump’s alleged actions “inhumane and unacceptable.”

But Geisel wrote on Twitter on Saturday that he had clarified that the order was placed with a German firm and that supply chain issues were being “reviewed.”

In a statement earlier Saturday, 3M had denied German news reports that it was the supplier in question.

By invoking the Defense Production Act last week, the Trump administration has compelled U.S. companies to prioritize orders from the United States. It comes as counties scramble for masks to protect their health-care workers and other essential workers from the coronavirus.

Interestingly, the Harmac mill that produces the crucial K10S pulp has been worker owned since 2008:

There are exceptions to free trade, such as war. There are exceptions during a national crisis, as well. You need to address your own country's needs, and then reach out to other countries for mutually beneficial trade or even aid. It's hard to get right in the real world, but I don't think the principles involved are that complex.

reach out to other countries for mutually beneficial trade

All trade is mutually beneficial or it wouldn't take place.

it is still a value judgement, not known a priori. Also, businesses can collude rendering the trade one-sided. You need to look. But you did state the theory.

People made money exporting food from Ireland to the Great Britain during the Irish Potato famine. That was mutually beneficial to both parties - the food seller and the high bidding buyer in Great Britain. The Irishman that died for lack of food because Britain controlled Ireland and didn't make the decision to halt food exports during a famine- would you say that is just a third party that had no right to the food? The same goes for US Nurses and Drs that suffer getting COVID and die due to lack of masks because 3M makes more money selling abroad and wants to keep up its long-term good-will around the world. Are they just an unfortunate third party that shouldn't impede on a mutually beneficial international trade relationship.

The US isn't a powerful hegemon with respects to masks/PPE - we are starving Irish peasants. We have 25% of world cases and 3rd world levels of PPE. Long-term goodwill and keeping the precedent of free-trade strong is fine and dandy - but it won't resurrect dead Americans.

Do people even realize how many deaths are coming to the US soon? Why in the world would anyone care about long-term health of international trade norms right now...

I think an export ban may make sense for a small country with limited resources. The question is does this amount to yet another Trump PR stunt or an actual policy that increases the number of masks available in the US. What is clearly needed here is a dynamic flow where material moves to where it is needed regardless of borders. Letting outbreaks linger in Canada or S. America will just bring the virus back for another around to the US or require the US to remain shutdown for months rather than weeks.

The companies are selling PPE to China for cash. Get real.

We have two choices: Avoiding nebulous reputational blowback by continuing mass exports or saving more American lives today - the worst 6-8 weeks of deaths are coming. Pick which is most important.

Also, Peter Thiels point that people that are true free trade believers are the worst trade negotiators applies - Other developed nations have had PPE export restrictions. How can we dissuade them by rolling over and letting it happen without turnabout? We should have reciprocity. The free market failed America's nurses and doctors. We can't just do nothing and stick to unilateral free trade in PPE. This mask war has been going on for months - France, Germany, Taiwan, SK, China, etc. all banned export long ago. Now the US is belatedly joined the war instead of losing by default.

Canada should be treated better - and humanitarian excepts should be made - only as exceptions. But that is the point - since the US has third world levels of PPE and 25% of world COVID cases - all exports at this point should have to be approved, instead of free exports. Flip the burden over - default is they go to America unless a case is made for otherwise.

Hospital Facility Manager here... just to correct a few misconceptions I've seen in the comments:
1. Surgical and procedure masks are on severe shortage too and are just as needed as N95's.
2. N95's don't do well in stockpiles. You don't use them much during normal hospital operations, they are a specialty item used during airborne generating procedures and airborne viruses. Certainly they happen, but nowhere close to the scale of a droplet generating patient. Stockpiles are out and become past due long before you use them.
3. Socialist healthcare systems become dominated by bureaucrats and administrators, unlike for-profit systems that tend to eliminate the useless paper shufflers. The inability of these type of institutions to react quickly to crisis are the reason Canadian healthcare is in a mess. We have sent repeated requests for permission to reuse, sterilize, hack PPE and other medical equipment to deal with shortages and they have all been unanswered. As of today, my hospital has 9 days of masks left.
4. Ventilator procurement should be secondary to PPE procurement. You could have 10 vents per patient but it wouldn't mean a damn thing when all your staff are off sick from exposure.
5. Many good ideas here but I fear - at least in Canada - that we will return to normal when this ends. Canadians have bought the lie of globalism. Our manufacturing base is dead, moved overseas decades ago under the Free Trade Act. Right now out govt fights to renew ties with China even though Canadian citizens rot in their jails. No, the next pandemic we'll be singing the same sad song.

Good Article with useful content . Thanks

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