Aphorisms for the Pandemic

“The less people know, the more stubbornly they know it.” Osho

“When one does not know how to convince, one oppresses.” Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baroness de Staël-Holstein 

“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence.” —Elbert Hubbard

“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.” —Edward R. Murrow, of Senator Joseph McCarthy

“Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.” Robert Orben

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”  George Orwell

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”  Anne Lamott, 

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”  Voltaire

“The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” H.L Mencken

“God is not a cosmic bellboy for whom we can press a button to get things done.” Harry Emerson Fosdick

Observations on a Hot, Steamy Sunday

My fear is that the next presidential election will not be determined by ballots but by bullets; not at the polls but on the streets.

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Axios: “80% of Americans say we are headed in the wrong direction.” I say that we have already arrived.

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The United States has rested on its laurels since 1945. Other than the moon landings, what have we done in terms of significant accomplishment, national pride and purpose? How did we earn our sense of exceptionalism?

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The coronavirus is the King Kong of our time. Scientists can’t stop it. Governments are powerless. It rumbles through with little resistance. Kong and the coronavirus did meet their match in New York City. Let’s call it a draw for now…

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I don’t write for an audience of today. I write for a reader or student 20-50 years in the future so they may understand our current times, tone and culture. My sense is that they will be in disbelief in how poorly we conducted our politics, economy and health.

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On Sundays, people used to buy the paper to read the “funnies.” Here’s what I read from the NewYork Times and Washington Post on Sunday and they are not funny.

America 2-27-20

 

Ruminations from a “Hot Zone”

As I write, 1,228,214 have been infected and 73,418 are dead in the United States from the coronavirus.

I ran some numbers last night based on available statistics. 

5-6-20

  • Less than .4% of the U.S. population has been reported as being infected. This number is probably low as there has not been sufficient testing. Less than .02% of the U.S. population has died from the disease. This number may be higher as there may have been deaths that were not attributed to Covid 19 that could go back into 2019.
  • New York and New Jersey have been the two states hit hardest with the Covid 19 infection. Governor Murphy extended restrictions in NJ until June 7. While the infection rate has decreased slightly, there is a fear of resurgence if NJ opens up businesses and the beaches.
  • Pennsauken has about a 1% infection rate (360 infections from a 36,000 population.) Moorestown has suffered a rise both in infections and deaths. Just about all the deaths were people over 65.

Some ruminations:

Crises bring out the best and the worst in people. Listed are my grades and a one sentence summary of their performance, actions and results:

Trump: F Acted too slow. Preened and whined too much. Responsible for a lot of deaths and destruction of the economy.

Andrew Cuomo: A Demonstrated and communicated leadership, good judgment and compassion.

Governor Murphy: A Not as telegenic as Cuomo but has done a very good job.

Congress: C- Not acting with the necessary urgency that this pandemic requires.

Media: C Uneven reporting. Fox News deserves an F. Coverage of the President’s Task Force was largely a mistake. Too much panic spun at times from various reports and cable shows.

Dr Fauci: B+ I would have given him an A or A+ but for his glowing recommendation of remdesivir whose performance is slightly more effective than a placebo.

Nurses A++ So many heroic stories about their care and bravery.

Really irritated about insurance companies bragging about refunds to auto insurance policies. Liberty Mutual is giving me 15% off of a 2 month premium which probably comes to $30 or less. I like many others are probably driving 60-70% less during these times. 60 to 70% is the range they should have used for the refund.

I have noticed a number of both public and social media comments about letting elderly people die as a sacrifice to the economy. If we ever get to the other side of this crisis, there will be political and economic pain for those who were willing to toss 65+ year old people overboard off the life boats.

Ruminations in Social Isolation

Just about every idea, plan, opinion, prediction, projection, analysis, budget, wish, timeline, piece of advice and future consideration that was made a month ago (or even yesterday) is no longer relevant.

For years anti-terrorist experts were concerned about the destruction and deaths associated with a dirty bomb being exploded in a major city like New York. Not sure anyone envisioned how much more destructive and deadly the coronavirus is compared to a dirty bomb.

The fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941 was more prepared than we are today. At least the country had FDR in 1941 for leadership, today we have Trump. For point of comparison, listen to FDR’s speech to Congress declaring war on Japan and Trump’s feeble speech from the Oval Office on the coronavirus outbreak.

How useless is money when there is nowhere to spend it and with the exceptions of food and other household necessities, no compelling rationale to buy anything?

The wise are focused on their health, families and friends. Fools are worried about their portfolios.

Does anyone else other than me find it macabre that Wall St analysts and other investors rejoice when the Dow swings upward at the same time deaths climb exponentially?

Doctors, nurses, grocery clerks, truckers, assembly workers, mail carriers and others have been drafted into a war they did not seek. Facing an invisible enemy in a front line of a battle, they are susceptible to experiencing the most casualties.

When will we start seeing ads on TV from lawyers soliciting lawsuits for coronavirus treatments and testing?

I can appreciate the prayers of the faithful asking God to help the sick recover from coronavirus and to protect doctors and nurses. But if God is all Good and Loving, shouldn’t He/She have spared tens of millions from infection and millions from death and destitution?

Six Quick Observations from the 2-19-20 Democratic Presidential Debate

For full disclosure, I have watched all the Democratic Presidential debates. This debate was the most meaningful and all the knives came out tonight that were held in all the candidates’ scabbards prior to tonight.

  1. With each Democratic debate, the better the chance that Donald Trump will be re-elected. The longer the nomination process goes undecided, again, the better the chance that Trump will be re-elected. The debates and some of the inane questions presented by the debate moderators only hurt the Democratic candidates. Some of the questions were just meant to rile up the candidates. Case in point, questions to Amy Klobuchar for not knowing the name of the President of Mexico. Really?
  2. Elizabeth Warren should be the Democratic nominee. She’s smart, articulate, energetic and her verbal takedown of Mike Bloomberg was the template on how a candidate should confront and challenge Donald Trump in a debate and during the election cycle. She had the best debate performance tonight by far.
  3. Mike Bloomberg was very unimpressive. He badly fumbled responding to issues about “stop and frisk,” his support of Obamacare, non-disclosure agreement releases from his employees and failure to release his tax returns. The Democrats badly need his money—-just not Mike.
  4. Prior to this debate, I viewed Amy Klobuchar as the best candidate for VP. The ticket will need a strong woman with legislative experience and from a Midwest state. She exhibited some thin skin and loss of poise when pressed by Pete Buttigieg on her voting record. She does have a reputation for having a bad temper and it flared onstage. I noticed she stalked off the stage when the debate was over, not stopping to shake anyone’s hands. Maybe Pete is angling for the VP nomination over Amy.
  5. I sense 1972 again. The Democrats nominate a candidate who has a huge appeal to young people but who will frighten off more moderate and older voters. Say what you want about Bernie Sanders, he does exhibit a lot more energy and acuity than septuagenarians Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg and Donald Trump. However, he’ll get crucified with the socialist label by the GOP and Fox. I think Trump will, in boxing terms, be able to “rope a dope” his way past Bernie in a debate. Warren won’t let Trump out of the corner.
  6. Joe Biden looks old. He had a decent debate. He attacked Mike Bloomberg effectively. But I can’t see him having the energy to run hard for the election. Good man. But time has passed him by.