Operation Warp Speed (OWS) was a national policy issue developed early on in 2020 that many people will tell you was a very successful effort to get Covid-19 vaccines developed quickly in order to mitigate the pandemic. The truth seems to be that the effort not only inhibited innovations, but also worked against the development of real therapeutics, led to an ever-growing number of vaccine-induced deaths, and wasted billions of dollars in the process. Let's look at the genesis of the program, the fatal flaw inherent within it, how to keep it from happening in the future, and lastly, why it is a meaningful lesson for those in Ludington and other cities.
What Operation Warp Speed was
An article in Science from May 12, 2020 describes OWS at its infancy:
Conventional wisdom is that a vaccine for COVID-19 is at least 1 year away, but the organizers of a U.S. government push called Operation Warp Speed have little use for conventional wisdom. The project, vaguely described to date but likely to be formally announced by the White House in the coming days, will pick a diverse set of vaccine candidates and pour essentially limitless resources into unprecedented comparative studies in animals, fast-tracked human trials, and manufacturing. It hopes to have 300 million doses by January 2021 of a proven product, reserved for Americans.
...An extraordinary 110 COVID-19 vaccines are in development, and eight candidates—four from Chinese companies—have entered small trials in people, according to an 11 May update from the World Health Organization (WHO). But there's less than meets the eye in many of the efforts, says a vaccine veteran who asked not to be named. "Half of them are companies that have three guys, an administrative assistant, and a dog."
"Looking around, it became clear that without a really heroic effort, none of the existing efforts to produce vaccine was going to lead us to have vaccine to prevent what looks increasingly like a second wave that could sweep come October, November," he says. Warp Speed will have three separate "virtual teams" to address development, supply and manufacturing, and distribution, led by a "core team" of a few dozen experts from government, industry, and academia.
Organizers were concerned that other government vaccine investment has been "heavily weighted" toward just two candidates: one made with messenger RNA encoding the coronavirus surface "spike" protein and the other using a cold-causing adenovirus to deliver the same protein's gene. Neither technology, the official notes, has yet led to approved vaccines for any disease...
The OWS program was mostly successful in reaching its deadlines, vaccines being available in November 2020 and widely used in the USA and elsewhere over the next few months. The three winning 'vaccines' developed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson used the two types of new technologies that had not developed an approved vaccine in the past. These well-heeled pharmaceutical companies made billions and received tons of free publicity for their humanitarian efforts in producing these emergency-use only products.
The Fatal Flaw of Operation Warp Speed
The Science article above presages why OWS killed innovation in the battle against Covid-19. In May 2020, over 90% of those 110 vaccines in development effectively were chosen to lose by the federal government, many because they were little more than 'three guys, an administrative assistant, and a dog'. This was analogous to the many state governments that shuttered main street businesses while leaving Walmart and other big businesses open during the months of shutdowns.
In the end you had three winners, each sporting an untried mechanism for combatting a virus, likely leaving many better vaccine candidates on the cutting room floor simply because they could not get mostly unlimited resources from the taxpayers. Back in the 1980s a similar federal solution was considered for combatting AIDS but those in control realized that such an approach would not help, as it would limit the pursuit of a cure solely to traditional government-selected players.
A better approach would be to encourage all manner of innovative, and frequently “crazy” minds crafting all sorts of alternative methods of solving the problem, what has traditionally allowed America to exceed in innovations over the years. Yet, the ones vocally backing OWS were the same people who rally against cronyism and public-private partnerships, which this policy effectively was: President Trump and conservatives.
Regardless of how leaky and ineffective these vaccines seem to be (which seems high as many countries report significantly greater virus spread among the vaccinated), the method to get safe/effective products quickly out was flawed. The government set the standard, set the experts, and actively ridiculed those who didn't fall in line with their findings. A truly enlightened government would have gotten out of the way and allow for innovations rather than stunt that process irreparably. instead they outlawed and laughed at legitimate therapies with proven results, while approving untried gene therapies from a couple corporate players.
Government is supposed to work for the public good, it can’t be an effective investor given the basic truth that investment is all about winning and losing. Likewise, a corporation cannot make decisions without showing a responsibility to the bottom line and the shareholders. Any public/private partnership is inequitable to the public at large even when they pursue public-oriented goals.
Lesson: Government Entities Picking Winners Lessens Growth and Production
When state governments go against one another and offer massive incentives for corporations to locate in their state, their decisions as public entities are compromised-- yet this has become an established and expected process for most states. Within a state, counties, cities and towns do the same thing to increase their tax base and/or offer employment opportunities.
The state has its own mechanism for spreading public money to stimulate private investments in the MIchigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). This agency has a proven record of failure but it still holds on because cronyism survives if it can be used for "economic development". Corporations should compete on the same playing field. State subsidy programs instead favor some businesses at taxpayer expense.
If the federal government can dole out billions to selected pharmaceutical companies to stifle the widespread production of innovative ways to combat a virus, then the state government can dole out millions to polish up a street right of way and discourage private investment in other areas of the downtown. If you're not upset with either, you will just get more of the same.
Politicization of OWS was bound to happen since President Trump was such a vocal cheerleader for it, as evidenced by the left's inevitable erasure of the title and reversing their fear of quickly developed 'vaccines' into mandates for those 'vaccines' after Trump left office.
People may misunderstand my piece as saying Trump made a big mistake by trying to get safe vaccines quickly out, but what his mistake was (and one must understand all of the medical experts around him urged the adoption of OWS) that he used the wrong mechanism. Let me use an analogy to set up the reason why I believe that.
An autistic child in a rural community wanders away and people talking on social media decide to organize a search. In that process, the sheriff notices the posts and explains that such a search will not be necessary and will disrupt his department's search, saying he will devote a lot of trained manpower and other resources. The sheriff's efforts, however, may allow only limited man-hours in searching by deputies who may have no idea where to search for the child. By quelling the community's involvement, the sheriff throws away the motivated manpower of searchers many of who may be familiar with the child's habits and psychology.
OWS effectively shut down the "community's search" for cures and treatments for Covid-19. You had at least 110 entities looking for cures, but then you effectively deputized only eight of them. Any therapy/cure information coming from outside of those eight, especially those outside of the three pharmaceuticals eventually picked, were deemed unhelpful. Pharmaceuticals doing this to increase their profits would be like deputies in our analogy wanting to pick up easy overtime pay for their half-hearted efforts, overtime which would be lost if they actually found the child.
Central planning does not lead to innovation by a society, over 100 years of communism being practiced should teach us that. This is why I almost-artificially introduce the local Legacy Park in the article: a lot of resources ($2.4 million plus) were used, but no jobs were permanently created, the space is now less adaptable for events, and there really is no improvement to the community if you don't count the new firepit being attractive to our growing homeless community. The biggest loss occurs among the downtown business owners and the community at-large when one considers their motivation for later, more-needed improvements when they come up.
"We can't do this project without a multimillion dollar grant."
You bring up a lot of good points X. The problem is that this is the way Government does business, from Ludington all the way to Washington. This is the environment Trump had to work in. Everything he tried to do was met with resistance and deceitful behavior if not down right treasonous behavior by entrenched leftist bureaucrats. Trump's intentions were honorable and if there were any attempts to sabotage or propagandize the vaccine development in any way it definitely was not Trump. I agree with FS. How can any reasonable assertion be made if the facts and figures cannot be believed or trusted. I know there are claims that the vaccine has been harmful and has not worked as promised but who really knows. What information is out there that will persuade folks that this is true. My understanding is that at a minimum, 140 million US citizens have been vaccinated [who really knows] and there have been negative reactions to it. Medically speaking any vaccine has risk involved with it's consumption. If that is more true with covid then where are the stats? As stated before, we really don't know how many people have died from Covid. I have lost confidence in the medical field, especially the CDC and hospitals who have benefited enormously from each positive Covid case they provided care for. And the lies about masks, especially for children has forever tainted any warnings that may be forth coming about future medical emergencies or pandemics. The lying Left, the lying press, the lying politicians, the lying CDC and all the other pathological liars have done a really good job of destroying America's Medical industry's credibility.
Love those cartoons X.
After reading the Ludington Snooze this morning , I was more disgusted than ever.
Apparently , the City Attorney and Councilor Les Johnson do not give a rat's ass about property rights and deeds. Read the article about the disputed Cartier lots carefully.
The Cartier Family built this city and their descendants are on the brink of being forced into a law suit with the city over two lots they gave to them for a 1 dollar each in 1966 for a playground. Now the greedy councilors want to sell the property for 100,000 for house lots. Deed be damned according to Hammersley.
The City government's distain for her citizens and their land rights is getting more and more heartless and embarrassing.
They have no issue with giving school buildings and city land away to their friends before any zoning changes. but are willing to ignore a gift and deed in order to "build more affordable housing"
See how this grift of selling city land to make private citizens rich is happening folks?
I hope Mary Cartier stays strong and that we have some city councilors that will stand up and support her and the city's rich history of honoring the Cartiers.
I find it ironic that at the same time we are building this great Ludington History Museum almost directly across the street from the Cartier mansion , we are trashing their legacy in City Hall and the newspapers. Perhaps the museum should have a display depicting the court case when all is said and done. NOT a good look Ludington.
Shame on you Les Johnson.
I read that article, and I think you misinterpret Councilor Johnson's position. If you look closely at what happened at the last meeting, he was questioning getting into a battle over the lots.
If I misinterpreted Les Johnsons position then I will offer an apology when I am proven to be in the wrong.
The article described at length the legal action that could be taken. The words, "sparse" and vague were used to describe the deed restrictions, and Mary Cartier has had to retain a lawyer. What I would have loved to have seen in the article and the City Manager and the Mayor in the wings say was... " Hell no, why would we ever sue the the Cartier family over a GIFT they gave to the city that is not being used for it's intended and promised purpose?
Since I did not read those quotes, I will stick with my original opinion in regard to this matter. If the city gives the property back to Mary Cartier so SHE can sell it for a profit , then , yes, I would have been very wrong in my assumptions.
Here's the e-article, Lake Lady, and for the record, I agree with your sentiments about the property. I trust it is not just a coincidence that the city manager recently bought a house less than a block away from these lots that made this an issue at this point in time.
Two parcels of land in the Forest Hills subdivision have brought the City of Ludington to an impasse with a descendant of one of its major families, the Cartiers, that could result in legal action.
Nobody’s headed to the courthouse over it yet, but the situation touches on the city’s relationship with a family whose name looms large in its history and adorns some of its key attractions.
The property in question is west of Monona Drive at its intersection with Seminole Drive, north of a small brick structure. That patch of grass, dotted with trees and nestled next to a forest, contains two lots. Both could have houses built on them if not for a deed restriction saying they can only be used for a playground.
There’s no need for a playground there now, with two already at nearby schools, said City Manager Mitch Foster. And a recent survey of city staff yielded no other uses for the land than selling it for development.
There’s some wiggle room in the deed that could free the lots up for that, according to City Attorney Ross Hammersley. But pursuing that could trigger a legal spat with Mary Cartier, the next of kin in a family line that once owned all of the land surrounding the lots.
If the city pressed the issue, it could hope to sell the land for about $100,000 and add two housing units into a tight market, Foster said. But the legal fees involved in doing so could dampen that financial gain, and at least one city councilor wasn’t eager for a fight with a Cartier when the situation was discussed in February.
“For as much as the Cartier family has done for this community, the last thing that I would like to see is having to go to court over a couple of lots,” City Councilor Les Johnson said.
From the city’s earliest days, the Cartiers held political offices, ran major businesses and owned swaths of land that ultimately became the park and campground bearing their name, as well as other tracts like the Forest Hills subdivision.
“The Cartier family in general has had a huge impact on the City of Ludington over the years,” Foster said. “That’s why I think you saw (the city council) want to take a very sensitive and understanding approach to this issue.”
A WAY OUT?
Hammersley said the city had a possible case because the deed restriction is “very sparse” and unusually vague.
For example, it doesn’t say what happens if the restriction is broken, lacking an “enforcement mechanism” ordinarily found in deed restrictions, he said. It reads simply that the lots are “to be used only for playground purposes for children.”
What if the city builds something other than a playground? What if it builds a playground and something else, too? Does the land go back to the Cartiers? These are unanswered questions, he said.
The city came up empty-handed looking for anything that could clarify the intent behind the restriction, and Cartier could not produce documents from that time to shed some light.
“Bottom line was: we’re pretty much assured there are no documents we can readily find that would illuminate this circumstance any more,” Hammersley said.
One person who’s not confused is Mary Cartier, who believes the land should revert to her if the restriction is broken, according to her attorney, Thomas Kuiper.
Kuiper also said he doesn’t think Hammersley’s argument holds much water. It’s helpful when deeds are specific, but they don’t have to be, he said.
“The law is still clear that if the condition fails, then the deed reverts to the grantor,” meaning the person who granted the land, he said. Since both of Cartier’s parents and her older sister are dead, she is the grantor by default, he said.
Hammersley said a probable legal route would be a quiet title action, where the city would argue before a judge that the restriction is ambiguous and unenforceable. The judge would then give one party or the other a clear claim to the title.
The Ludington City Council talked about the situation at its Feb. 14 meeting, but didn’t offer Foster and Hammersley much in the way of guidance at that time. Kuiper said Tuesday “the proverbial ball is in (the city’s) court.”
HOW DID THE RESTRICTION GET THERE?
Mary Cartier’s father, Morgan Cartier Jr., sold the lots to the city for $1 in 1966, along with the rest of what became the Forest Hills subdivision. Then 17 years later, a restriction was added to the deed saying two lots, 91 and 92, were to be used for playgrounds.
The restriction was added in 1983 following a vote of the city’s board of commissioners, now the city council.
A list of surplus city property was being put together at that time, and a commissioner said those lots had to be removed from that list because they’d been deeded over for playground use. Commissioners then voted to add the apparently neglected deed restriction.
But the meeting minutes don’t explain how the commissioner, Ted Weinert, knew about any forgotten restriction on the lots, and Weinert did not respond to a request for comment.
“We assume it was through discussion with the Cartiers,” Foster said.
It's to bad the LDN cannot be relied on to print the entire truth about what goes on in Ludington. So we are commenting on what I consider questionable information. But if the information is true then there is only one outcome for this situation and that is, if the City is not going to build a playground on those lots then the property must be returned to the Cartier family. Any thing less would be an act of corruption and deceit but that's nothing new for Ludington politicians. Just the fact of involving the City Attorney and a mention of a potential court case is evidence that those in charge cannot be trusted.
I noticed on Google map that the house north of 1111 Monona has been blurred out. Anyone know why?
I don't know what the legal wording was in the deeding of the land but in a similar gifting of privet land to be used for public use you can Google Jones family dependents tracking library controversy . The gift of the property would revert back to the family if it wasn't to be used for the purpose intended . Long story short. The city gifted the property to the county, the county decided to develop it into condos. Sound familiar? Family descendants got involved , The building has been returned to the city and was renovated for public use again.