Crisis Management

Alan Zendell, March 14, 2020

In recent years, whenever our leaders debated foreign policy, borders, women’s rights, climate change mitigation, the nation cringed watching partisanship, special interest money, and individual self-interest derail attempts at reasonable resolution. We got angry, we poked fun at them, we argued among ourselves about what to do about it. Very little got done, but for most people life went on as long as there was food on the table, our families were healthy, and we could divert ourselves with what was really important: football playoffs, March Madness, taking the kids to Disneyland.

We watched our government fail to act or to act wrongheadedly time and again, but the consequences always seemed far down the road. When we were assured that it was all part of a grand plan to make America great again, the majority of Americans called Bullshit, but as long as money was pouring into their investment accounts, our Congress and our Executive Branch were content with stalemate. If America was losing greatness, it was because we were too busy enjoying life or struggling to survive; we opted out of our responsibilities and lost sight of the world we were leaving our children.

Early in the Trump administration it was clear that he disdained science and preferred his own uninformed opinions to those of experts. He knew what was best. He didn’t need advice from generals or diplomats. His advisors were unqualified family members and extremists bent on preserving their wealth and retaining the white majority on which their power depended. We limped along, losing allies, diminishing our influence on world events, sensing that democracy was being attacked, but disaster wasn’t imminent, so with the exception of a reversal in the 2018 election, we let it all happen.

When the president decided that pandemic preparedness wasn’t a strategic need, and he removed that function from our national security apparatus and slashed its budget, most Americans ignored the warning cries from medical professionals who said we wouldn’t be able to react in time to protect our population if another disease took hold. It wasn’t as if the probability of that happening was low – unlike the one in a billion chance of an extinction event caused by an asteroid collision, we face potential pandemic threats every few years – but we let that happen too, and we’ll pay a heavy for our malfeasance.

Faced with a crisis, some leaders drop the ball, some act in good faith but fail anyway, and some act effectively through preparedness and focusing on the right priorities to avert disaster. The Trump administration, which has pushed an isolationist, go-it-alone philosophy from the start, had it wrong from the beginning. It’s been ten weeks since the world media first reported on the COVID-19 virus, but desperate to prevent anything that hurt his re-election chances, Trump resorted to restricting travel from China as if that could protect us.

Our disease prevention experts knew it wouldn’t. They knew that in today’s world, a disease that is highly contagious that can go undetected for weeks is unstoppable. When Dr. Anthony Fauci explained, last week, that our best defense against the COVID-19 virus is flattening the curve of the rate of infection, he made it clear that we can’t prevent it from spreading. The best we can do is slow the spread so our medical resources aren’t overwhelmed.

Fauci admitted that our national approach to this pandemic was a failure, but in the interest of making the best of a horrifying situation, he left out the rest of the truth. We lost ten weeks of preparation that might have spared the nation much of the suffering it’s about to experience. The need for preparedness to slow the spread of the virus feels new to most of us, but it was common knowledge to the professionals tasked with protecting us. They knew we were unprepared in January.  They watched in frustration as China, South Korea, and Japan ramped up emergency actions, knowing we needed to do the same things.

Yesterday, Donald Trump refused to accept responsibility for the present crisis, when in fact, his calculated refusal to act will result in pain, suffering, financial ruin, and death for countless Americans that could have been avoided. Compare South Korea, which was able to keep its own COVID-19 fatality rate under one percent, with Italy, where an inability to identify the spread of the virus in time resulted in a reported fatality rate of fourteen percent.

Trump could have declared a national emergency in January and suspended all regulations that slowed down our preparedness by executive order. He could have freed states, university researchers, and the private sector to develop their own resources so we could take preventive measures when they mattered most. But he didn’t, because he knew the financial markets would crash as they did over the past two weeks, and that would threaten his re-election.

Pandering to racists, caving in to the NRA, attacking our courts and vilifying the press were bad enough. But now, Trump is going to have blood on his hands. He could have protected Americans the way South Korea protected its citizens with a few strokes of his pen, but he chose not to until it was too late.

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Leadership, Trump Style

Alan Zendell, March 12, 2020

Donald Trump’s leadership style has always been to bully people into getting what he wants. That often works in business when you’re bigger than your adversary and you can afford to outspend him in litigation. And when it fails, you pay a fine and move on. But that style has shown itself to be a dismal failure since Trump has been president. Not only has his leadership been lacking here at home, the notion that the United States was the leader of the free world is now only a distant memory.

Trump’s North Korea policy has been a total failure. He got nothing from his summit meetings with Kim Jong Un, except to damage our relationship with South Korea. And North Korea continues to test missiles and work toward having an arsenal of nuclear warheads with impunity.

Withdrawing from the Paris Accords on Climate Control and the Iran Nuclear Deal have also achieved nothing positive for our country. Our allies refused to support either action, and the result is that we are diplomatically isolated and Iran, like North Korea, is working rapidly toward developing nuclear weapons. 

The promised Middle East deal, which Trump delegated to his son-in-law Jared Kushner, eschewing the advice of professional diplomats with decades of relevant knowledge and expertise, has been a total failure. And his Stephen Miller-inspired immigration policy has achieved only confusion and suffering for thousands of people. We are no closer to a comprehensive immigration policy that can pass the test of constitutionality than we were when Trump took office. Throughout the thirty-eight months of his presidency the only thing he accomplished was signing a tax law that rewarded the wealthiest Americans while saddling everyone else with a skyrocketing national debt.

Trump faced serious challenges, and in every case he has either made the situation worse or kicked the can down the road for the next generation to deal with. All that was unfortunate, but none of it represented an imminent catastrophe – until now. Nothing calls out for leadership and re-assurance like a pandemic, and to date, Trump has failed to provide either.

When he slashed the budget for the division of the Centers for Disease Control responsible for containment and prevention of diseases like the COVID-19 virus, he justified the action by claiming they spent huge amounts of money planning for things that were never going to happen. Medical professionals warned that that was a very dangerous decision, but the then Republican-controlled Congress went along with it.

As a result we now have an emergency prevention system at the federal level that Dr. Anthony Fauci described today as a failure. Fauci noted that European and Asian countries have been able to mobilize plans of action to test for and control the virus because their public health systems were designed to enable central administration and distribution of needed medical supplies and personnel. In a word, he said, ours is not, and as a result we have squandered valuable time that might have allowed us to at least partially contain the epidemic.

It is clear from the draconian actions of the Chinese government in locking down millions of people, that they understood the nature of the COVID-19 virus immediately. They may not have been truthful in the statistics they released, but we know from their actions that they were terrified of a pandemic that would engulf the world. If they understood it, so did all of the medical professionals responsible for protecting Americans from disease. But our president, who has always shown his disdain for science and acted as if he knew better than doctors, clinicians, generals, and diplomats chose to ignore them.

The COVID-19 virus is going to infect virtually every part of the United States. The fourteen day asymptomatic incubation period made it impossible to fully contain, but the debacle of not having either adequate testing or a viable plan to combat the virus has assured that we will be facing the worst case scenario instead of a partially contained epidemic. That is unconscionable, a complete failure of leadership.

How did we get here? It’s simple. Trump gambled on minimizing the outbreak because he feared a collapse in the financial markets. The eleven-year-old bull market was the only thing his re-election campaign could hang its hat on, and winning re-election was his only priority. It will become clear in the coming months that while countries like China and South Korea were able to limit the spread, the delay in our government’s response will have worsened the impact of the virus here.

The world has known about the Wuhan virus for more than three months. But Trump’s wrong-headed priorities and lack of leadership prevented our medical establishment from mobilizing in time to do anything but treat people who become seriously ill and hope they can prevent millions from dying once they’ve been infected. Last week, when he threw a tantrum and tried to bully the researchers he pointedly ignored until now to come up with “something big” long after the cow was out of the barn, he merely underlined his failure as a manager.

It’s too late to change that, but not to assure that he never gets to do it again.

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The Biden-Sanders Debate

Alan Zendell, March 11, 2020

If you believe in things like trends and momentum, it’s easy to conclude that Joe Biden’s campaign is on an unstoppable run, similar the wholly illogical, self-sustaining tsunamis of mass sentiment that cause bull markets to rise and fall. Ask any gambler who has had an unlikely winning streak at the craps table, or any Washington Nationals fan who believed the team would come back from the dead to win the World Series last year.

The media express Biden’s wave in terms of numbers. So far, Bernie Sanders has received 42% of the primary and caucus votes. To overcome Biden’s delegate lead, he would have to win the remaining primaries with an average of 55% of the vote in states where he was never expected to do well. The pundits (those people who were so wrong about everything in 2016) say Sanders has only miniscule chance of pulling that off.

The issue, then, is at what point Sanders jumps on the Biden bandwagon. It’s clear from the recent primaries, that Sanders’ base isn’t as solid as it was when he was competing with Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the reasons for that are easy to discern. First, his base of largely young voters was angry last time, because they believed the establishment was rigging the primaries for Clinton. This time around, DNC chairman Tom Perez has bent over backwards to avoid the appearance that the DNC’s fingers were tipping the scale.

Some of Sanders’ supporters still believe the Democratic Party establishment is pulling out the stops to derail his campaign. But it’s pretty clear that the primary rivals who’ve suspended their own campaigns and endorsed Biden made up their own minds based on one simple conclusion. Democratic voters have been crystal clear that they care more about defeating Donald Trump than whether the party’s platform matches their personal agendas. Biden is simply riding a wave of confidence on the part of most Democrats that he is best positioned to oust Trump.

Many progressive voters are also coming to believe that the price tag for Sanders’ Medicare For All program could wreck our economy, and they’re starting to realize that the word “Revolution” shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’re not fighting to escape the despotic yoke of King George. The Progressive Movement is just trying to provide decent affordable health care for all Americans and level the playing field so wealth doesn’t dominate every aspect of American life.

Biden wants the same things, but he wants to achieve them without blowing up the system. He knows better than anyone that Obamacare was hamstrung from the start because Mitch McConnell was able to kill the government payer option when the Affordable Car Act was passed. That was why the highly unpopular and largely unsuccessful Individual Mandate provision didn’t work out. With a workable Congress willing to find a bipartisan solution, Biden would restore that option, which would make premiums more competitive and enable millions more Americans to be covered.

It’s not Medicare For All, but it would achieve a large percentage of what Sanders is after, and it would do so without breaking the bank, which is even more now, critical given the likely economic cost of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, gradually lowering the eligibility age for Medicare would bring the goal of universal health care closer without causing a financial catastrophe. The point is that despite the rhetoric, Biden and Sanders aren’t that far apart in their vision for America, and they both know it. They’ve said their primary goal is defeating Trump and each has said repeatedly that if the other won the nomination he would support him.

If all that is true, they can demonstrate it in Sunday’s upcoming debate in Arizona. (If it’s going to be held without an audience, why are they flying to Arizona, anyway?) Instead of attacking each other’s perceived vulnerabilities and risking unhealable divisions in the Party, they could turn the debate into a brainstorming session, moderating their positions and emphasizing common ground. In a perfect world, given the odds against Bernie in the remaining primaries and the disaster of 2016 when many of his angry supporters sat out the election, the debate would end on a note of unity.

As career politicians go, Biden and Sanders are both honorable men who in the end should be willing to place country above personal ambition. Call me a dreamer, But I’d love to see the debate end  (after thorough sanitization) with the two men in a heartfelt hug pledging to work together to end the Trump nightmare.

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Coronavirus Fact and Fiction

Alan Zendell, March 8, 2020

If you read only one paragraph, it should be this one. The only place to find accurate information about the novel coronavirus COVID-19 is

Amid all the information and misinformation in the media, there are only two important questions for the average person: how contagious is COVID-19 and how likely is it to kill me if I catch it? It goes without saying that those questions should be answered only by competent scientists and medical professionals, but we live in Trump’s America.

We know COVID-19 is highly contagious based from physical contact. We also know that infected persons can be asymptomatic for up to fourteen days. The Chinese government understood that almost immediately, which explains the draconian measures they enacted to attempt to contain it. But anyone with a rudimentary sense of statistics knew instantly that containment was a fantasy.

Can you list all the people you touched, kissed, hugged, or were intimate with in the last fourteen days? An infected person who traveled by plane, train, bus, or ship would have touched seats, tables, restroom surfaces, trays, doors, and perhaps any number of other passengers. What if you were relaxing in a spa next to an infected person on your luxury cruise? If that went on for fourteen days before it occurred to anyone that all those surfaces needed to be sterilized and the infected people quarantined, the transmission vectors would have multiplied geometrically. For the lay person, that means growing faster than anyone could track until it was far too late.

It’s clear now that unless you live in a bubble, you’re likely to come in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Which means there’s a fair chance you’ll catch it. What you really care about is how sick you might get and how likely you are to recover. No one knows, but based on reported data, the older you are and the more compromised your body is by other health problems, the more likely you are to become very sick and/or die. Ignore that at your peril.

Data reported by the Chinese government suggest that on average, COVID-19 kills about two percent (one in fifty) of the people it infects, but it’s worth repeating that the younger and healthier you are, the less likely you are to be in that two percent.

Let’s talk about that two percent estimate. It’s a very simple number to compute – just divide the number of reported deaths by the number of reported infected people. But the result has been problematic from the start for several reasons.

Since Beijing is notorious for misreporting unfavorable data, we don’t really know if what they reported was accurate. Early on, there were questions about whether China was cooking the data to make the fatality rate look low to avoid repercussions from other nations and the World Health Organization.

As of today, there have been 3,500 reported deaths among the 105,000 reported COVID-19 cases, worldwide. You can plug those results into your calculator. The result is a fatality rate of 3.33 percent, or one in thirty. That’s scary, but it’s probably not correct either.

It’s absolutely irresponsible for our president to tell people to disregard either number because he has a hunch that the fatality rate is really only a fraction of one percent. On the other hand, it’s easy to make a rational argument that he might be right. We can probably count the number of COVID-19 deaths accurately. But how accurate is our count of the number of people infected? If it turns out that the great majority of those people develop only minor symptoms and fully recover, there could be thousands, even millions of people who were infected who were neither reported nor tested. The more of those people that exist, the more we over-estimate the fatality rate.

The only way to know for sure is to test everyone. Since the CDC protocol requires at least three negative tests over a two-week period to confirm that someone is virus-free, that would require over one billion test kits just to evaluate Americans. As we’ve seen, our leaders can’t even tell us when a million test kits will be available. If you don’t remember your high school math, a billion is a thousand millions.

What Americans, what everyone in every country needs right now is effective leadership and transparent information from reliable sources. We have not gotten that. Both our president and vice president have to be contradicted and corrected every time they address the subject. Neither of them is qualified to speak unless he is reading a press release from CDC Director Robert Redfield or Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Let’s all be smart and stay safe.

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Super Tuesday Voters Got It Right

Alan Zendell, March 4, 2020

Donald Trump is terrified of Joe Biden. That’s why he tried to undermine his candidacy from the start. Trump believes Bernie Sanders would be easy pickings in the General Election. If Sanders were the candidate we’d be hearing Socialism and Communism until they were coming out of our ears. Utter nonsense, of course, but when did that ever stop Trump from speaking?

On the other hand, Sanders has gone out of his way to set himself up for those attacks. He revels in the self-proclaimed label of Democratic Socialist. He speaks loudly about the semantic difference, but the truth is that Sanders is a lifetime true-believer in his revolution. He’s so caught up in it that winning isn’t enough for him. He needs to rub Capitalism’s face in it. He wants to bring down what he calls the billionaire class and then dance on its corpse.

Sanders’ revolution requires a massive transfer of wealth from the one percent at the top to everyone else, and that’s quite different from proposing Medicare for All as a philosophy. Most Americans believe health care is an inalienable right. I certainly do. But Elizabeth Warren, who also believes that, isn’t willing to blow up our economy to achieve it. She calls herself a socially responsible capitalist. If Bernie were serious about social justice without having to vent his decades-long anger on the one percent, he’d call himself that too.

Bernie’s been practicing for his revolution for more than fifty years, and he’s become quite adept at arousing his base. He shares that skill with Trump, which is why many observers noted the similarities in their campaign styles in 2016. It’s also why many Democrats thought he had a better chance of defeating Trump than Hillary Clinton did. Much of their bases overlapped – the underemployed, people who felt victimized by banks and large corporations, and those who thought (incorrectly) that immigrants, legal or illegal, threatened their livelihood.

Trump won by expanding his base to include every hate-monger and racist he could pander to, with lies and outrageous hyperbole, and by slandering everyone who disagreed with him. He knows that won’t work this time, though. The 2018 Congressional election and yesterday’s primaries showed that Trump’s and Sanders’ bases have both shrunk since 2016. Trump’s ego may not let him see it clearly, but his advisers and strategists understand that many people who voted for him in 2016 or simply stayed home on Election Day are disgusted by his tweets, his lack of moral character, and by his general demeanor. They won’t make that mistake again.

Contrast that with Joe Biden, about whom Trump lapdog Lindsey Graham once said, “No finer human being was ever born.” We love to poke fun at Biden’s gaffes and call him on twenty- or thirty-year-old mistakes, but underneath, we know what’s in Joe’s heart. We also know that there’s no one better equipped to heal this country after the damage Trump has done.

Biden is respected by our allies and adversaries alike. They know they can’t bully him or manipulate him with visions of billion dollar sugar plums and they can’t bribe him with prostitutes. Perhaps more important, no one is better equipped than Joe Biden to erase the putrid stench that Trump has brought to governing. Just as Gerald Ford was the antidote to Richard Nixon in 1974, Biden is the perfect remedy for Trump.

Trump tramples the English language every time he opens his mouth. He’s more inarticulate than any president in our history, often misspeaking and having to walk statements back, especially his comments about Vladimir Putin. It’s embarrassing to most of us, and we’ve seen foreign leaders repeatedly mock him.

Biden stumbles over an occasional word when he speaks too fast and sometimes (like everyone else his age) misremembers details from decades-old events. But everyone knows he’s about love, equality and inclusion, an example of the best aspects of his Catholic upbringing. America may not have been ready for him when he ran for president in the past, but politics is as much about timing as anything else. We’re not only ready for him now, we desperately need him.

Sanders’ weakness as a candidate and his shrunken base were surprisingly exposed on Super Tuesday. At the same time, Biden became larger than himself as his former rivals coalesced around him proclaiming him the best person to end Trumpism and restore decency and respect for American values. With Michael Bloomberg funding his campaign, and the best strategists and organizers the Democrats can hire managing it, I believe there’s no stopping him. I haven’t breathed this easy since November of 2016.

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Alan Zendell, March 3, 2020

It was only eight days ago that Thomas Friedman published an op-ed in the New York Times that outlined a strategy to assure a Democratic landslide in November. Friedman suggested that whoever the presumptive Democratic nominee for president was after Super Tuesday should immediately announce who he or she would invite to join his administration.

Friedman proposed a collection of former rivals and centrists who could break the partisan logjam that has the country so polarized: Elizabeth Warren as Health and Human Services Secretary, Kamala Harris as Attorney General, Mayor Pete as Homeland Security Secretary, Cory Booker as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Mitt Romney for Secretary of Commerce…you get the idea. Very clever, except that a mere eight days ago, Friedman reasonably assumed the presumptive nominee would be either Bernie Sanders or Mike Bloomberg.

With Joe Biden back in contention, the idea still holds, and we can plug in a few other pieces. Amy Klobuchar as his running mate would bring the ticket I preferred from the start to fruition. How about Mike Bloomberg for Treasury? And if I were Joe, I’d recommend to my new Attorney General that her first act be to hire Andrew McCabe as FBI Director as both a just response to Trump’s shameful treatment of him and a symbol of how things will be after Trump.

I believe Super Tuesday is a day we’ll look back on as a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. It’s clear that the National Democratic Party believes Sanders can’t beat Trump, and they want to assure that he doesn’t lock up the nomination today. I agree with them, but I have to remind myself that they did the same thing in 2016, and look how that turned out.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 was a perfect storm of bad luck, missteps, and unforeseen events, all of which combined to defeat her. But one thing that could not have been foreseen was Sanders’ refusal to live up to his promise to do everything in his power to support her after the convention, and that could be a problem this year, too. Sanders is lauded for having consistent values and principles, as he should be. But when consistency became stubborn inflexibility, he came off looking like a bitter old man.  Had he stumped for Hillary the way Elizabeth Warren did and convinced his supporters to get out and vote for her, it’s difficult to see how Hillary would have lost.

Mike Bloomberg is a major wild card, but today is all about Joe Biden. Today is also about a rapidly growing pandemic that threatens the health and lives of Americans, and the structure of the world’s economy. It’s a day when people are asking themselves who they wish was sitting in the White House right now. Who is most likely to guide us through a crisis with no agenda other than putting what’s best for the country first, and above all, who has demonstrated that he can be effective on Inauguration Day?

I’m sure Mike Bloomberg could handle the task, but Biden would step in immediately with a talented group of people who were old hands at how the government works and eager to support and work with him. Until we see the results of today’s primaries, our future is on Biden’s shoulders. And for that, we must applaud Mayor Pete, Senator Klobuchar, and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. Trump won the nomination in 2016 because the other Republicans in the race were too involved with their own egos. They all knew Trump would destroy their Party, but they never tried to unify to stop him.

I’m thankful that the Democrats learned from that, and that three former candidates had the class to fall on their swords for the greater good. It only remains to see whether they acted in time to save their Party from Sanders. I wish I knew Barrack Obama’s thoughts today.

Today is also my birthday, and I’m both pleased and dismayed to think that turning 77, I am younger than the three people most likely to be running against Trump in November. Ever optimistic, I wish to thank the people of South Carolina, as well as Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke for a wonderful birthday gift. Imagine – an entire day of optimism and hope that this will all turn out well. Will they survive into March 4th and beyond? I don’t know, but today, we opened our checkbook for Joe. The Force seems to be with us.

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The War on Science and Reason

Alan Zendell, February 28, 2020

Mother Nature has a way of punishing hubris. It’s happened many times throughout history, and it may happen again if we keep ignoring the advice of scientists and medical professionals.

When I lived in the Northwest I was awed by Mount Rainier and its sister volcanos. But I didn’t fully appreciate why the native Americans who lived there before Peter Puget discovered the Sound built a religion around them until I saw Mount Saint Helens explode. The Indians understood that those hypnotically beautiful mountains had the power to disrupt their lives and completely alter their landscape.

Our current leaders understand it too. It’s naïve to assume they don’t. The problem we face as a nation and an international community is that personal greed and political ambition too often come ahead of the common good. Regardless of what they say to appeal to their ignorant base, our leaders know the threat climate change poses. They know South Florida and the Mississippi basin in Louisiana will be underwater in our lifetimes, and coastal cities like Houston, New York and Boston will look like Venice later this century – but the social and economic consequences will neither occur on their watch nor affect their personal fortunes.

Thus, we have this Orwellian war against science and reason. Windmills are bad and coal is good. Immigrants are bad but Neo-Nazis are fine people. Melting polar ice caps threaten the flow of the Gulf Stream, while melting permafrost releases methane and God-knows-what-else into the atmosphere. Rising temperatures and sea levels are hoaxes. Tax cuts are good, but providing health care for Americans at a reasonable cost is bad. And while we’re at it why do we spend a fortune on the NIH and CDC, who waste tax dollars preventing things that will never happen here? We’re not one of those shithole countries. We’re building walls and withdrawing from the world community.

What could possibly stop this juggernaut of ignorance and stupidity? Maybe a microscopic, dumb little virus. Maybe it was a mistake to tell our allies to fend for themselves. Maybe it wasn’t smart to show the rest of the world they couldn’t count on us anymore. It’s possible that without America’s ability to mobilize vast amounts of resources quickly and provide the kind of international leadership no other country can, that we’ve condemned the world to a pandemic that we’ll be paying for in lives and lost prosperity for decades.

There’s no worse scenario for the outbreak of the novel coronavirus than for it to have occurred in a city of eleven million people in China. The Chinese government always suppresses information about anything that might make it look weak. Chinese physicians who understood what they were treating tried to speak out and were arrested. Thus, a dangerous virus with a fourteen day asymptomatic incubation period is spreading. Epidemiologists say it will be impossible to contain.

When only the health of average citizens was at stake, our leaders didn’t care enough to act. Responsible people at the CDC and WHO insisted that we needed qualified feet on the ground at the source of the infection if there was any hope of slowing it down. But Rush Limbaugh declared that the new coronavirus was just a bad cold, and our president couldn’t tolerate a situation that might interfere with his re-election. But he and his advisors failed to anticipate that fear of the virus might cost him his strongest asset, our booming economy.

World markets including our own crashed this week. The Dow Jones average fell by more than eleven percent, taking all those vaunted 401K’s with it. Trump must have soiled his pants, but even then he couldn’t display real leadership. Today, while he stood before television cameras pretending this would all be over soon, and people like Anthony Fauci spoke the truth into the same microphones, our stock market suffered the worst point drop in its history.

As the truth emerged that the CDC was hamstrung by its gutted budget, and we learned that only 200 coronavirus test kits had been allocated to California, where one County alone needs 8,400, Donald Trump finally acted. He put VP Mike Pence in charge of containing the outbreak in the United States. That’s the same Mike Pence who, as Governor of Indiana, when told by the CDC that the state had to begin a needle exchange program to combat the worst HIV epidemic in the country, responded, “I’ll pray on it.” Then Trump took a page from Xi Jinping’s book, announcing that all statements by qualified medical researchers would have to get Pence’s approval before they could be released to the public.

Mother nature works in mysterious ways, but she always wins in the end.

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