Political cover and posturing in the face of a crisis

There are a lot of things going on in the local government and political community that are worth reporting on and analyzing but for at least this week I’m going to offer up for your consideration comments about how some politicians are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

When Donald (“I alone can fix it”) Trump told us recently that he takes no responsibility at all, he wasn’t telling us something new, but at least we now have it on tape. He has fought and belittled people who by training and education are qualified to lead and instead has surrounded himself with bootlickers who have checked their brains and morals at the door for the glory of working in the Trump White House.

Having Mike Pence and Jared Kushner in charge of fighting the pandemic is laughable. Pence only does what Fearless Leader tells him to do.  Kushner is undoubtedly building up his Rolodex with useful business contacts that he can cash in on during his post-White House days.

Last fall there were early warning signs of the growing problem in China with the virus. The Trump administration ignored that stuff.

When the pace of confirmed cases of the virus started to move past China, Trump remained in denial mode. Then Trump switched to his old stand-by, trying to deflect attention.  He blamed Democrats.  He blamed the media.  He paid no attention to whatever the scientific experts told him.  He called it a hoax.  Fox News provided talking points to the base.

After the first cases showed up in the United States his denials expanded. He told us there were only 15 cases and they soon would all be gone.  He told the world about the wonderful job he and his team were doing.

Wall Street investors were selling off quickly and Trump was losing the thing he told America was the real benchmark of his great economic achievements, a rising stock market. He addressed the nation from the Oval Office.  Investors responded with another big selloff.

Trump pressured the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates, which stood to benefit his highly leveraged properties that are likely in financial trouble and could catch a break in interest charges. The Fed has responded by twice cutting their interest rates to near zero while also using their monetary powers to buy up treasuries.  They have used up most of their weapons for fighting a financial meltdown, and investors responded by pulling out even more of their money.

The focus now is on Congress. The first two relief packages were prepared by the House.  Mitch McConnell had to tell his senators to gag but vote for them.  Thank you Nancy Pelosi for showing real leadership.

We will now observe how the Republicans who used to hate deficits will get their arms around a nearly two trillion dollar bailout package.  It also seems that the bailout that Republicans are pushing includes a government ownership stake in some businesses.  That, of course, is the basic definition of socialism.

While all of this has been going on we have come to learn that two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler, were busy acting like Chris Collins. Acting after receiving information they obtained in secret Intelligence Committee meetings, they dumped millions of dollars of stock related to businesses that would likely take a beating when the full dimensions of the pandemic became known.  Like what Collins is going to prison for.  Mitch McConnell and his gang should call for Burr and Loeffler’s resignations.  The same should apply to any other members of Congress or people in the White House who have acted similarly.  Don’t hold your breath waiting for any of this to happen.

Not to be outdone by the Trump team in Washington, local Trumpster/County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw jumped into the show. He suggested by Tweet that the County Legislature could find money to buy needed medical supplies by approving the proposed reorganization of his office.  That’s the plan would allow Mychajliw to raise former Legislator Lynne Dixon’s salary in the Comptroller’s office from about  $50,000 to $90,000.  The county is being provided with whatever medical supplies have become available, and the county’s surplus, which Republican legislators have tried to chip away at, is rock solid. It will be needed as these issues move along.

Finally, a question. Congressional candidate Chris Jacobs has run tons of TV commercials touting his strong support for Donald Trump.  Why is he so silent about the mess Trump has made of things when the nation’s health and safety are concerned?

A personal note

Today is the 5th anniversary of Politics and Other Stuff. This post is number 361.  The posts have contained approximately 394,000 words.

Readership started five years ago with some family members and friends whose email addresses I extracted via LinkedIn connections. Over time people have come to voluntarily subscribe directly, with an accompanying growing number of Twitter followers.  The number of clicks continues to be very good.

Along the way the posts have achieved added circulation through re-publication or links in The Public, Investigative Post, and Buffalo Rising.  I am grateful to the publishers of those websites for their assistance.

I am also very grateful to long-time friend and Politics and Other Stuff Editor Paul Fisk for his valuable insight and guidance in producing the posts.

Writing this blog has been fun, but I hope that in some small way it has helped contribute to public dialogue about a range of issues and public figures. I have offered lots of opinions, but have also provided many, many useful facts.  I am not expecting readers to agree with my opinions all the time, or maybe even some of the time, but I hope that what is offered here stimulates thought and discussion.

Thank you for reading. And please, stay safe.

Confronting the truth is hard for Trump and Sanders; a note about Jack Cookfair

Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are alike in some ways and different in other ways.

Both men are septuagenarians. Both were born in New York City.  Neither has much hair on their head, but at least Bernie is more honest about it.

Both men are totally convinced that their view of the world is the one, true and only way to see things.

Both men love expressing that attitude to very large crowds of adoring fans. Or at least they did until last week, when their styles and personalities came up against the hard truth, which could not be denied, that large crowds are a potential health hazard.  The CDC now recommends no gatherings larger than 50 people. Continue reading

Super Tuesday lived up to its name; New York’s primary will be a real contest

With Super Tuesday now in the rearview mirror, it’s on to … Idaho. And oh yeah, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Washington next Tuesday.  It’s like a mini-Super Tuesday.

Joe Biden’s wins in ten state primaries this week were stunning. The positive energy coming from voters indicates that they want Donald Trump out of office, and they will go with the candidate they view as having the best chance of defeating him. Continue reading

Baseball’s scandal seems like a political scandal

My wife Sophia and I spent a few days in Florida last week – Palm Beach County to be exact. The country’s scandal capital.

I’m not referring to Mar-O-Lago but rather to the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, a few miles west of the Trump Winter White House and hangers-on clubhouse. The Ballpark is the spring training site of the American League Champion Houston Astros.  I’m not sure whether or not I should attach an asterisk to the team name but their claims on league titles seem like they should be a bit shaky at this point in time. Continue reading

On being the most conservative candidate in NY27

It’s interesting to watch all the posturing that is going on in New York’s 27th Congressional District as voters wait to elect a new member of the House of Representatives.  Oh, the excitement!

We are about to watch a congressional doubleheader: a special election and a primary election conducted concurrently for the same congressional seat, left vacant by convicted felon Chris Collins.  The special election will happen sometime in the next few weeks or months while the Republican (and Democratic?) primary will begin with petitioning in February and conclude on June 23rd. Continue reading