Coronavirus Lawsuit Brief

Whereas the greatly red state of Mississippi has established precedent in filing suit against China for damages arising from mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak;

Whereas the Executive Branch headed by Donald Trump has engaged in similar mishandling for political purposes, including:

  • Lying regarding the likelihood and potential severity of the epidemic,
  • Use of federal resources to promote and execute policies for Donald Trump’s personal financial and political benefit, and
  • Malignantly removing personnel essential to control of the pandemic when their honest counsel exposes Presidential incompetence and self-serving;

Whereas the Senate Republican majority did empower these acts in condoning similar conduct by President Trump as regards attempts to suborn US policy to coerce Ukraine to create a false narrative to damage a political rival;

Whereas the States run by Democratic Administrations have, through malfeasance and incompetence in the Federal Executive, suffered ten times the loss of life and economic activity than would have been endured had the Executive acted according to policies established by the prior Democratic Administration;

Therefore do these states file suit to act as follows pending control of the epidemic throughout these United States:

  1. Sequester all Federal Tax revenues;
  2. Establish Reserve Banks to ensure sufficient liquidity to allow their citizens to purchase essentials of life; and
  3. Confiscate goods, revenues, and assets in their States held by private companies chartered in States that both voted for Candidate Trump in 2016 and that failed to sanction the aforementioned conduct during the Ukraine impeachment.

Vitamin D and Immune Response

This post is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult with your provider if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Vitamin D has long been recognized as critical to bone health. This is the primary focus of a recent double blind study called VALID. It is also why Vitamin D supplementation is restricted in medical warnings: too much Vitamin D can result in a condition called hypercalcemia.

A clinical nutritionist in my BNI (Business Networking International) team touts the use of Vitamin D for immune efficacy against influenza and viral infections. Noticing that immune efficacy wasn’t part of the VALID study, I did some research on the biochemistry of Vitamin D.

There has been some direct study of the role of Vitamin D in viral infections, but the rate of infection was only marginally lower. Still, we know of winter as “cold and flu season.” There’s no good reason why that should be: unlike bacteria, viruses don’t care about the weather. So there must be some weather-related effect, and a significant one is that we spend more time during Spring and Summer outside in the sun. That promotes production of Vitamin D.

Some researchers have looked for Vitamin D receptors on immune cells, and have linked them to two systems. The first promotes antimicrobial response (the body’s ability to kill BACTERIA, which doesn’t help in viral infections). The second – AND THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT – suppresses cytokine production that causes inflammation in association with an immune response.

So Vitamin D doesn’t help prevent infection but seems to suppress inflammation. This explains why we have “cold and flu” season during winter. The lack of sun suppresses natural production of Vitamin D, so we have strong inflammation when we get sick. This causes us to feel achy. The body is trying to keep us from going out into the cold. We still get the virus in other times of the year – it’s just that we don’t feel so miserable.

Preventing inflammation is critical in fighting pneumonia. It is the swelling that causes lungs to fill with fluid and reduces oxygen intake.

Recognizing this, the Chinese developed an aggressive protocol that suppresses the immune system to reduce inflammation when the patient is close to death from COVID-19.

Apparently the same might be possible with Vitamin D supplementation.

Note that at may elder care facilities, residents are less likely to spent time outdoors. This will cause Vitamin D deficiency and thus inflammation. Caregivers in those facilities might beneficially administer Vitamin D supplements to their residents.

Indentured to Incompetence

When the Clinton Administration briefed the incoming Bush team, they emphasized the importance of sending a clear response to the bombing of the USS Cole. The Bush foreign policy team sneered, proclaiming the Cole a “Clinton failure,” and went merrily about strong-arming Russia and China to modify nuclear weapons treaties to allow the design, test, and deployment of a nuclear missile shield. Remembering the inanity of the designs promoted during the Reagan and Bush era, I shook my head. Some in positions of influence tried to trumpet warnings: Tom Daschle, Democratic head of the Senate majority, stood on the Capital steps late in the summer of 2001 to voice his concern that the Bush team was baiting the wrong bear.

Daschle’s priority was international Islamic terrorism. It took only a month for his fears to be realized, horrifically, with the event known now simply as “9/11.”

The cost multiplier for inaction was astonishing, and certainly enormously satisfying to bin Ladin and those inspired by his an example. A meaningful response to the Cole would have cost perhaps $10 million. The response to the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Congress – involving two wars, time-consuming and costly restrictions on travel, and interruption of international commerce – mounted into the trillions of dollars. For every dollar not spent on prudent prevention, we spent nearly a million dollars.

Swallowing their criticism, the rational party accepted the outcome of the Bush Administrations incompetence as “the new normal.”

Today, with the nation’s economy smothered by pandemic, the apologists for the Trump Administration insist that this is “the new normal.” But step back into the last Democratic executive, a man excoriated by Trump’s “Birther” movement, and we see that this is nothing normal at all. The Zika and H1N1 threats were effectively neutered by the Obama Administration. The total number of lives lost was in the low thousands, with no significant impact on the economy.

The lessons learned from those efforts were institutionalized in protocols for international cooperation led by a team directly in the White House itself.

While I respect the Office of the Presidency, my scorn for Trump is complete due to his utter contempt for the office itself. The Presidency is not a man, it is an institutional process for coordinated decision-making and action. Information is fed into the White House and plans flow out. Trump has not only besmirched the office, he has decimated the processes built over two hundred years to empower presidents to accomplish the nation’s goals. The motivation for those willful acts is Trump’s record of corrupt business dealings, evidenced even during his campaign as he attempted to wield his political prominence to influence civil cases already in progress. Once in office, he systematically bent the powers of his office toward destruction of the institutions assigned to prosecute his corruption.

While the politicization of the security and foreign policy services may be the longest-lasting of those institutional rapes, in real time we are finding ourselves again indentured to incompetence in the Executive Branch. Elimination of Obama’s pandemic action team left the world without a leader in the reaction to COVID-19. The early response to the disease has already cost trillions of dollars, and we can expect the death toll to rise toward 100,000 American lives. Millions of jobs have been lost under the weight of business failures. The obligations of missed payments and unfulfilled contracts will take years to unravel in the court system.

And Trump’s supporters shrug their shoulders and mourn “This is the new normal.” No it’s not. It’s the old abnormal. Wake up, and if you’re unwilling to vote for a Democrat, at least stay home until your party can prop up a candidate with at least minimal competence. I, for one, am tired of being indentured to your blind loyalty.

Pandemic and Prosocial Strategies

The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley published an interview with Paul Atkins on principles of prosocial action that will help us to maintain community during the pandemic. The principles and prescriptions are sound. I had a few points to make regarding historical interpretation.


Adam Smith wrote on the tragedy of the commons in “The Wealth of Nations.” His prescription was that government must ensure the well-being of specialized workers made unnecessary by changes in technology. This is an aspect of his humane judgment omitted by the neo-conservative economists that coined the phrase “greed is good” in the ’80s. As Smith was the authority they cited, I think that it is important to honor his opinions.

What is cited as Asian “collectivism” is typical of all agricultural societies. It is evaporating under the opportunities for rapacity allowed by rapid industrialization and centralized political control.

Both phenomena are supported by the original form of “social distancing”: the creation of gated communes for the wealthy that enable them to avoid confrontation with those suffering the consequences of their narcissism. The COVID-19 pandemic is a great leveler of those privileges, as will be the consequences of global climate change. Their preserves, often sited in the most desirable of environments, will suffer the greatest disruption.

“We Will Get Through This”

No we won’t, Donald. Hundreds of thousands of us will get sick, perhaps 100,000 will be unable to resume their previous life because of lung damage, tens of thousands will die.

All because you did not act when the Democratic caucus advised you on February 5th that you needed funding to plan for the outbreak. All because you downplayed the danger and allowed people to continue to congregate. All because you did not act to ensure supplies and equipment were in place.

You can “play by instinct” and do your word salad and monitor your Tweet likes to find out what plays well with your base. You may escape blame. But the hospitals and governors will assemble the numbers and you will be called to account in the next election.

You said we’d “win so much you’ll get tired of winning.” Well we’re dying instead, and even Twitter won’t save you from that contrast when November comes around.