Mr. C.E. Sum is a little behind. He continues to be amazed at what is possible today. How entire libraries are within reach and can be searched at will. What he does not understand is why it is, precisely when all this becomes possible, that the youth stops reading, so much so that reportedly its ability to understand narrative prose decreases.
Such thoughts are downers. He has worked at universities, not only because he is curious, but also because knowledge was socially respected and had influence. But that picture is changing.
In the Dutch news today he heard on the radio the message that the President of the US has ordered medical care institutions to no longer send their reports to the institutes set up for that purpose, but directly to the federal administration (under the authority of the White House), because in the president’s opinion, the institutions are making a mess of it. C.E. is curious about what will change now and whether that will mean an improvement.
It is important to mention here that C.E. was not yet able to check the message. Just that he finds it plausible enough to think about it is a menacing sign.
C.E. found link to a confirmation in a news service on July 13 (Nu.nl). A quote:
US President Donald Trump has instructed hospitals to no longer transmit current corona figures to the American RIVM, but to a central database of the White House. […] Contrary to the CDC’s database, the American RIVM, that of the ministry cannot be viewed by outsiders. This also applies to researchers, hospitals and local authorities, who use the data.
It is unclear what this means for our ongoing COVID project. What is becoming clear is that Trump is trying to get a grip on the world around him that is akin to the way the communist party operates in the PRC. Trump as a kind of one-man one-party system. He’s sufficiently crazy for it. Scary.
What remains an important question, of course, is whether Trump has the authority to issue and enforce such an order. Probably yes. The state of emergency will have been issued. And then suddenly a lot is allowed. Rightly so. We see multiple emergencies developing in the US by 2020. But the phenomenon that those emergencies are largely the work of who should contain them, so it seems, is insufficiently anticipated in the US constitution so it appears.