Writer: Virus response botched

Well, another week, another hoax in Trump world. Now it’s the coronavirus. Just a hoax to make him look bad. Ignore those who are sick and dying, this is just a plot by the socialists and the fake news. Because, as always, for our chief executive, everything is really just about him.

And we will respond to the virus by appointing Vice President Mike Pence, that stalwart of science, as the leader of our reaction and preparations. That will work about as well as it did for the state of Indiana while Pence was governor and there was an HIV crisis.

As of now, it appears the vice president’s main job is to ensure that any qualified spokesmen are silenced so the “hoax” can’t be spread any further.

Speaking of being silenced, President Trump’s response to his intelligence director’s warning regarding Russian interference in this year’s election was to, once again, call it a hoax and fire the person who had the nerve/gumption to speak the truth. That public servant is now being replaced by another Trumper toady.

Do you ever wonder if Trump would, at some point, run out of toadies or if there is just an infinite supply? I’ll be looking for the time when he just plucks someone from out of the stands at one of his rallies.

Most of us have some kind of moral code or set of values that we live by. We learn them from our parents, churches and groups that we join. One I learned when I joined the Boy Scouts lists the following as valuable traits for Scouts/citizens: A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. Now, codes of values are meant to be aspirational, and to the best of my ability I have tried to live up to this one. I haven’t always succeeded, but I try.

What code or set of values do you think our president lives up to? What does it seem like he has taught his own children? Look at the list above. As far as I can see, Donald J. Trump bats “0 for 12.” So what is it people see in him?

PETE AAGAARD

Nellysford

No confidence in White House

First, President Trump should recognize that no matter where he tries to throw the responsibility, he is in charge and the buck stops with him. A scientifically illiterate person like Vice President Mike Pence might not be the best choice for heading the effort to minimize the chaos the coronavirus will unleash in this country. The vice president would have been a great choice to head the prayer effort for the “miracle” we’ll need to keep from being affected.

As I write there are likely cases of community-spread (unknown transfer agent) virus on the West Coast. I suspect that if these are actually coronavirus cases, we have a disease agent that now has the ability to live and travel for considerable distance outside of its living carrier.

The president still seems unable to recognize the BS must stop on serious subjects, and this virus is rated dead serious (pun intended). I wrote several weeks ago that this administration will get its first non-self-inflicted challenge with the coronavirus and that is proving true. Presently, we can charitably rate their response as “severely lacking.” The government must realize its responsibility in having enough testing materials and procedures in place to identify the virus so the person infected can be isolated from the general population. The president is also the one demanding that all health department statements go through prior political review. The public doesn’t care about the political ramifications of the virus; they want information that affects their ability to stay healthy. Health scientists must have the free and unfettered ability to advise the public. Otherwise, we can expect ignorant or malicious commenters to use fear and blame to further their agendas. These kinds of comments are akin to those of a movie-goer who callously hollers “Fire!” in the theater just to get himself a better seat.

Needless to say, the financial markets were not placated by the president’s choice or by his words. The hard-nosed traders and investors had the appropriate response to his BS and sold the market into one of its worst weeks ever. One must recognize that the coronavirus chaos won’t be placated by a pile of cheap money from the Federal Reserve. That will take honesty and leadership.

I would like to call on all social media to better monitor their platforms while at the same time reiterating that I consider getting your actionable information from social media is like getting your food from a dumpster or landfill. Just last week, it was reported that a bored high school student created a fake candidate for public office and got him registered with a Twitter account. The imaginary candidate already had a few followers when the student let Twitter know what he had done and they closed the account. One wonders if a bored high school student could do this in a weekend, what could a bunch of Russian, Chinese, Iranian or you name it professional computer hackers could do. The real “fake news” is what you’re very likely to get from a social media platform. Avoid them if at all possible.

Super Tuesday’s voting will have happened before you read this. We will now know if Bernie Sanders has the appeal to win enough moderates to win the presidency in the fall. Doing better might just go through electing him.

MIKE TABONY

Gladstone

‘Enumerated Powers,’ anyone?

It is not often that one of those confirmed for office place on national display the intended consequence of a politically engineered constitutional amendment.

A Democratic appointee to the Supreme Court is complaining that Republican justices are silencing Democratic voices. It is the 17th Amendment that causes this outspoken truth. Before this 1913 amendment, senators were elected to office by their states’ legislative bodies and could be removed by that same body. Senators today are not representing their states. Senators are representing the political party that got them elected, thus the complaint.

A republic is a nation governed by its people. Federalism is a nation with more than one governing body. The United States is a political entity created by the joining of several sovereign states needing a common political body to administer common defense, international relations and interstate matters. The governing authority on all other matters was reserved to the respective states.

We have allowed the concept of sovereign states to be destroyed and thus the destruction of the republic. We no longer have a federal government and sovereign states, we have a government of the United States.

Once we had a Congress with a House of Representatives to respond to “Enumerated Powers” issues and the apportionment of legislation costs based upon House representation. The Senate, the representative of the states, was to constrain the expansion of the power of the federal government, confirm presidential nominees and approve proposed international actions of the president.

As long as the federal government was accomplishing its “Enumerated Powers” role all was fine. That changed in 1937 with the Supreme Court’s Social Security opinion.

We all know Benjamin Franklin’s famous 1787 response to Elizabeth Willing Powel, “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” What must we do today to restore it?

BOB DEWEY

Wintergreen

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