Sunday, March 29, 2020

Day 17 of Nat’l Emergency: Dispelling Wild Musings on Cuomo, de Blasio, Mt. Sinai, China


The coronavirus is not only spreading fear, illness and death throughout the land but it also is fostering some wild musings. 

Take, for example, the idea that with his daily press briefings New York governor Andrew Cuomo has become the darling of Democratic hopes and should supplant Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders as the presumptive party nominee for president. To take the whimsy to an even higher level, it is being suggested that Cuomo try to unite the country through a fusion ticket by selecting Nikki Haley, Trump’s former United Nations ambassador and former Republican governor of South Carolina, as his running mate.

There is no denying Cuomo has become a media star for those seeking straightforward talk about the pandemic. He can be funny, empathetic, angry, resolved, informed, attuned to science ... all that and more compared to science-denier-Trump. Cuomo reminds us of New York mayor Rudy Giuliani after 9/11. 

Trouble is, Cuomo also has lots of negatives too numerous to list here. Foremost is his belief that only he knows best and, like Trump, he is willing to pick fights with those he disagrees with. All politicians fight, but Cuomo, like Trump, is another in-your-face type of guy and we already have seen enough of that type of leadership. Plus, we’ve also seen how Giuliani worked out. 

As for Haley being part of a fusion ticket, this is not Israel or any other parliamentary government where a no confidence vote can force an election. Haley might be liked for standing up to foreign governments and the Palestinians but she is as right wing as they come when considering domestic issues. She would not be a logical choice for any Democrat as a vice president fusion nominee. 

John McCain might have won the presidency had he chosen Joe Lieberman instead of Sarah Palin as his running mate. The former Democratic senator from Connecticut was less liberal than most Democrats. As much as Republicans and Conservatives would have been angry at his selection they would still have voted for McCain over Obama while independents put off by Palin’s lack of experience and intellect would have been okay with Joe.

Right now there is no Republican who is pro choice that the Democratic Party would accept.

So dream away those seeking a national unity ticket. We will wake you up after November so you can see the carnage Trump will inflict on the country whether he wins or especially if he loses.

First Amendment Cries: Social distancing vs. religious rights. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio ran afoul of the religious police by suggesting that churches and synagogues that don’t adhere to the coronavirus lockdown guidelines could face “permanent” closure of their buildings (https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-n-y-c-mayor-synagogues-that-don-t-comply-with-coronavirus-rules-may-be-shut-down-1.8717453).

Temporary, I can understand and agree with. Permanent? Not so fast. Let’s give Mayor Bill the benefit of the doubt, that in the passion of the moment he exaggerated a trifle. He’s not being anti-religion, nor is he giving Islam a pass, as some of his detractors have suggested by his referring only to churches and synagogues and not including mosques. 

All that said, there have been repeated violations of the social distancing rules by too many faith leaders and their adherents. For God’s sake, don’t these people know plagues have no religious affiliation? In that sense plagues, along with other natural disasters, are truly the most ecumenical misfortune.


Where Are They?: Two top officers of Mount Sinai hospital system in New York City are sequestered in Florida while their staff of thousands battle the pandemic in the Big Apple (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8164043/Mount-Sinai-execs-safely-tucked-away-FLORIDA-vacation-homes.html). Does it matter?

For sure it is bad optics, but shelter-in-place does not preclude staying in luxury quarters. Unless they are directly involved in treating patients there is absolutely no need for them to be on site. Anyone who is not directly involved in patient care or in facilities management to keep the hospital clean and open should not be required to be on site. 

I wonder, before the article on their whereabouts appeared, how many Sinai employees had any idea where their “leaders” were riding out the pandemic storm. Let’s hold them accountable for how the hospital is supplied and functions during the crisis, not from where they are issuing their executive orders. 

For perspective on how other company CEOs are working from home, link to https://nyti.ms/3bmVQeS


The Blame Game: When the pandemic is over, and it will end, sometime, we no doubt will collectively turn to placing blame on those responsible for its spread. Many already are agreeing with Trump that COVID-19 should be called the China Virus. You decide what you will call it. 

On a more serious note, there seems little disagreement that the virus began its devastating journey in China and that the Chinese authorities mishandled its spread and the flow of information that would have aided other countries. 

Some voices are calling for some form of censure of China, perhaps from the United Nations or other world bodies, even as China denies its guilt and is embarked on a campaign to help other populations, particularly in Third World nations, combat the epidemic while continuing to finance infrastructure projects in those countries. 

It appears we have learned nothing from history, past and present, that liars who repeatedly and loudly proclaim their lies as truth are able to convince a large segment of the populace that their lies are truth and that truth is fake news. 

I would venture to say that the vast majority of people in downtown Nairobi or Khartoum or Munich or Rio de Janeiro do not pay much attention to the rhetoric of the UN Security Council but do start believing messages that are bombarded to them by media influenced or controlled by despots and would-be despots. 

The U.S. might claim it has one of the most educated populations but the fealty almost half of our people display toward an incessant, unrepentant liar proves my point that Goebbals, the Nazi propaganda chieftain, knew of which he was talking and acting. 

Perhaps our only hope for the future is to mandate the departure of any American company deemed strategic from China. Yes, it goes against laissez-faire capitalism but our national security is at stake if China is our major supplier of technical, electronic and healthcare equipment and supplies. 

Concurrent with that action must be a concerted effort to educate Americans that their strategic safety is more important than saving a few pennies, even dollars, by buying from the Chinese and instead they should pay more for made-in-America goods. Growing American manufacturing capacity will grow the middle class and, guess what, we will return to the America of the 1950s that Trump trumpets his love for. 

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