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[flagged] Jared Kushner’s Testing Plan “Went Poof into Thin Air” (vanityfair.com)
42 points by jmount 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments

> Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

How is this different from murder?

When you say murder perhaps more specifically you mean depraved indifference: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depraved-heart_murder

To establish depraved indifference you would have differentiate malice apart from incompetence which likely comes down to whether the individual should have known better for the position they are paid according to a common person standard.

I can see arguments either way. The team represents federal executive police and so clearly they should have known better and the statement forms malicious intent. On the other hand Covid is so contagious that in practice such utterances are irrespective to reality as the gross incompetence formed from the decision is not provably different than the reality had the utterance never occurred.

I, personally, wouldn’t want to be in a position where your best defense is an argument of incompetence, but I’m also not a politician.

Qualified immunity

It's conjecture from an anonymous source. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

Not sure if you know how journalism works but almost everything is based on anonymous sources since they fear reprisal.

Most journalistic entities will corroborate sources before publishing.

It's actually a recent phenomenon to rely on anonymous sources as a matter of course, and the stories end up being wrong all the time. E.g. NYT reporting on WMDs leading up to Iraq war, the Guardian's report that Manafort visited Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy (and a gazillion other Russiagate non-stories)...


So your claim is that up until 2003 journalists were routinely revealing the sources they base stories on ?

That's so patently ridiculous so some evidence on your part would be useful. Because we know that many of the biggest stories of all time e.g. Watergate (1972) relied on anonymous whistleblowers.

No, that's not my claim.

The bar is so far lower these days and decisions are made to keep legacy media companies afloat. Nobody really seems to care if anonymous sources are real or not anymore.

Condé Nast apparently hemorrhages money regularly. Journalistic integrity is probably second to profitability.

I really don’t have a stance on this particular claim one way or another, it’s just how it seems on the surface to me.

What piece of evidence would make me doubt the validity of the claims in this article? It lines up quite well with previous public statements by the administration: for example, the president made derogatory statements about cities with Democrat mayors, claiming they were unsafe places. He quite obviously, publicly, and directly demonizes Democrats as lesser citizens, constantly.

Discrediting the media as a whole, taking any media story to be untruthful by default is the wrong approach. Without independent media, the only mouthpiece is the state.

Instead, we should compare stories from multiple sources and fact check where we can, and use our critical thinking to evaluate the motivations behind the actors in a story.

I am making the claim that corporations when facing extinction will choose money over some intangible concept like journalistic integrity.

I meant I was not taking a position on anything particular in this Vanity Fair article. You are correct though that there is a pattern. We can agree there.

At the end of the day, I just don’t trust corporations to be fair arbiters of objective truth. Not because it’s inherently impossible but because nobody seems to care about it these days. They’re just giving the market what they demonstrably want.

Note: I am not posting anonymously. My username is my real name.

...That fits facts we already know and is of-a-piece with the rest of their behaviors over the last 3.5 years, so it is quite believable.

But that's fine - I agree there needs to be deep investigation in to what exactly happened. This is just a handy lead for investigators.

ye but its also such destructive information that its plausibility overlaps with propaganda. We have the same sort of thing in the UK, reports that Labour encouraged immigration to "rub diversity in the faces of the right" or reports that the Conservatives don't build social housing "because people that live in them won't vote for us".

Those statements are such political dynamite and evoke such an emotional response from the public that they become suspicious merely due to their political effectiveness. It doesn't mean they're not true, just much less likely to be true so we should be careful in treating them as fact.

The same way that poor responses to the opioid crisis aren't murder. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to make excuses for Kushner or the administration, but it's very dangerous for people to start getting in a mindset where stupid, destructive policy decisions are literal murder.

There's a difference between an error of judgement and an informed decision to cause (or fail to prevent) harm.

Dangerous how?

Pandemics exacerbate instability, and there's already more than a few people who believe the administration is illegitimate for one reason or another. Inflammatory language like this pushes us towards a tipping point where some state says "because the federal government murdered our coronavirus victims they're no longer welcome here".

I don't think that's a likely outcome, yet, but the basic presumption that your political opponents aren't out to murder you is a fundamental pillar of democratic norms.

"While it’s unclear whether Kushner himself played a role in the acquisition, improper procurement of supplies “is a serious deal,” said a former White House staffer. “That is appropriations 101. That would be not good.”"

Government acquisition is an enormously complicated process, and that statement is completely true. "Not good" is an understatement; this kind of thing can get government employees fired and cost contractors millions of dollars.

"But the million tests, some of which were distributed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to several states, were of no help. According to documents obtained by Vanity Fair, they were examined in two separate government laboratories and found to be “contaminated and unusable.”"

And that would be why. Procurement fraud is an enormous problem that gets people killed. (The corruption of the system even with current procurement controls is bad enough, but do remember the Civil War vendors selling rotten meat to the Army.)

As for the rest of the allegations in the article, if any of it is true then this is likely to be the worst scandal in the history of the United States.

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