What Have We Learned From The Pandemic: Not Enough!

On the heels of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s retirement announcement, it’s worthwhile to look back and consider what we learned from the Covid experience and how are lives changed.

First and foremost, we now know that viruses are extremely dangerous to humans and can pose an existential threat to mankind. This means that a mega-virus heretofore only seen in fantasy movies is a real possibility.

Given the severity of this issue, do we need to assess whether enough research money is allocated to fighting viruses? Annually, billions are expended on various types of cancers and other diseases. Since a virus has the potential to end mankind, and these other maladies do not pack the same deadly punch, should money be re-distribute to focus on more dangerous threats?

It may be unfair to say, but I believe the medical community let us down during Covid. I’m referring to those health professionals that study viruses and tell us what to do and how to fight them, not the incredible scientists that created a vaccine so quickly and the health practitioners that cared for so many sick people.

One hundred years ago, mankind faced a similar threat. During the last century, why weren’t more experts worrying about a recurrence? We should have concluded from the last major pandemic that we are extremely vulnerable.

The people responsible for our safety did not receive effective direction from health professionals or government officials. We were told to wear masks, and many said we should not. We were told to take vaccines, and some said they were dangerous and/or ineffective. Fauci himself changed his mind numerous times on a plethora of issues. The public is entitled to receive current information from doctors and leaders. The federal government should be the most important player because we are all equally vulnerable to the virus.

Information flow about the long-term effects of the disease has been totally unacceptable. If one contracts Covid, can you contract it again, and again? What effect do the vaccines have on the virus? Do vaccines prevent another bout with Covid? Does the vaccine decrease the effects of another bout of the disease?

One important observation is that, medically, we are connected to every other country in the world. The virus can easily travel from Australia to the United States on a plane ride. We can no longer ignore what happens in other places. As a corollary, it behooves medical innovators to share information. Actions by China, allegedly hiding the fact that the virus was spreading out of control, eventually were responsible for many thousands of deaths worldwide. Biotech companies should share important facts about infectious diseases without regard to profits or reputation.

The Covid pandemic has had a tremendous impact on how we work, worldwide. It opened Pandora’s Box. Workers are now demanding that employers allow them to work from home. It will be many years before this is sorted out. Unfortunately, every company is unique. Some employees can do their work from home and others must be at the office or factory.

Some families benefited from spending much more time together in their homes during the pandemic. Family relationships strengthened for many. For others, not so much. The latter phenomenon was predictable because humans are social animals. Having relationships at work are important to many of us. In the worst cases, mental health issues arose from “cabin fever” situations.

Digital influence on our country and economy increased. For instance, much more banking was being done at home. The growth of digital has been a great boom to some industries, and the demise of others.

It’s worth trying to find some benefits from the pandemic experience. Although, this will never justify the deaths of so many people.

President Felon

Every day the accusations and subpoenas increase from battling political parties. The possibility that former president Donald Trump committed all sorts of criminal acts seems indisputable, hence I have renamed him “President Felony.”

How long will Americans continue to protect this one-man perpetrator of crimes and chaos. If he is reelected president, we will spend four more years investigating and impeaching him and other government officials. Isn’t it time to move on, even if the 2020 election did not end to your liking?

Trump is a misbehaving child in a 70-year-old empty suit. Why would any American put up with his shenanigans for one second longer. It’s time that Americans work to replace this madman with a politician who operates within legal boundaries and does not think he is above the law. Trump is constantly looking to start a confrontation or say something so stupid (or inflammatory) that voters should demand he retire to his palace in Florida and get out of our faces.

Why would Trump knowingly abscond top secret documents from the White House? Did he plan to use them in a new book or discuss their contents with business associates and friends? Why would he intentionally break the rules and create a legitimate national security crisis? What’s the upside of his actions? Did Trump expect that adversaries would ignore such imbecilic behavior?

After the election results were in, did Trump, the megalomaniac, expect Congress to disavow a fair contest? And why would a sitting president ever covertly or overtly encourage sedition and violence. America is not a third world country ruled by authoritarians. A coup d’état is not an option in the Constitution.

Even if there were sporadic illegal actions during the last election, Trump supporters must give up the cause. If not, there will be an unfortunate result in 2024, another free spending, woke Democrat in the White House. What could be worse? Actually, Trump in the White House would be a worse eventuality.

Republicans and Democrats are equally guilty of wasting resources, overspending, resisting compromise and putting elections above all else. They are not living up to the ideals that our founding fathers proclaimed in the 1700s. Power, greed and a closed minds dominate most people in Washington DC and the country.

It’s time to change the job description of the president, not to the leader of one party, but leader of all Americans. The new president should be a real patriot, willing to use all his and her efforts to make America a better place for every Republican and Democrat. The new president should be younger, more vibrant and tolerant.

Our government operates better when political parties find the middle ground. Social issues have dogged us for generations. We need to build compromise to finally put to rest gun control and the woman’s right to choose, and refocus on climate change, recession, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and human rights.

The next president must be strong in mind and determination. He or she must be willing to come to the rescue of Americans and people around the world. And most importantly, the US must lead the world militarily and economically.

With a more expansive mindset, the next president will find there is room for compromise and a desire to temper the bad blood in our government.

Do we really want a felon in the White House? I think not. It’s time that both parties find great men and women to govern and lead our country.

A Cow Pod Or A Chocolate Cookie?

I knew it was an anomaly when I agreed with Times columnist Charles M. Blow. [See my last blog post.] The uber-liberal returned to the Op-ed arena today to encourage Joe Biden to “boast” about his “remarkable summer.” Blow’s attempts to have us believe Biden’s cow pod administration is a chocolate chip cookie failed miserably.

He starts out by claiming “the truth is that news narratives and polls are symbiotic.” It’s a vicious cycle. I guess I can agree with this statement at least, but nothing else in the Op-ed.

It’s staggering that Biden is being portrayed as a politician caught up in the news cycle and not his own bumbling actions and missteps. Republicans had to repel the ultra-liberal press every day for misrepresentations of the truth during the previous administration, even if they were right about the former president’s character.

Now, Democrats are saying the news is unfair to their leader. Even hardcore Democrats have been saying that Biden can’t legislate and govern worth a damn. It’s been rewarding to see the media accuse Biden for what he really is, a lousy president. This doesn’t pertain to Mr. Blow, however.

Blow goes on to quote Lou Holtz, the legendary football coach who said, “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” [As an aside, I resent Blow quoting the beloved Holtz. I’m a Notre Dame alum.] Joe Biden is so bad, he set records for low polling ratings of his leadership skills. He’s the worst of the worst.

Sure, it’s true gas prices have fallen 86 cents since the high point. What did Joe do to encourage lower prices? He begged Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela to increase production, rather than inspiring American companies to do so. Biden doesn’t get it, neither do Democrats, the world is not ready to substitute fossil fuel for climate friendly energy like electric cars and windmills. The technologies are not ready for prime time.

Blow mentions the 9.1% increase in inflation by saying that it is offset by improved employment numbers. Tell this to Americans who can’t afford to feed their families and fill their cars with the same paycheck.

OK, the gun legislation was a positive step in the right direction. But it was a weak response. There are still too many ways unbalanced individuals and criminals can acquire guns, including assault rifles. The law is a “very small step for mankind.”

Biden was embarrassed that his multi-trillion-dollar spending spree was waylaid by Sen. Joe Manchin. The president settled for a smaller package that will have practically no impact on global warming and inflation, despite claims of the opposite. [Bernie Sanders chimed in and said the new bill would not have a serious impact on inflation.]

Biden’s foreign policies are in shambles. Russia is still invading Ukraine. China is shooting missiles over Taiwan. Iran can build a nuclear bomb. Britney Grimes is still in a Russian jail.

And Biden will never truly support abortion. He’s a Catholic. He’s always danced around the issue and never accomplished anything in the area of a woman’s right to choose.

Blow says Biden needs to be more boastful. About what? Our nation is falling behind the other superpowers because Biden is timid. Blow even says Biden should be more like Trump. For what, bragging about things that haven’t actually happened.

Charles, you took one step forward and three steps backwards. Biden is an empty suit, and Republicans are going to do a number on Democrats in the upcoming elections no matter how much Biden boasts.

US and PRC Dig In (High*) Heals About Taiwan

*Refers to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The convoluted US policies towards Taiwan are creating serious angst in diplomatic circles. The PRC even hinted that it would shoot down the plane that carried Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan. Few thought that it was a credible threat, but to her credit, the Speaker defied China.

The US position on Taiwan is reflected in “six assurances to Taiwan.” The Six Assurances include:

  • The US has not agreed to set a date for ending arms sales to Taiwan.
  • The US has not agreed to hold prior consultations with the Chinese on arms sales to Taiwan.
  • The US will not play a mediation role between Taiwan and China.
  • The US has not agreed to reverse the Taiwan Relations Act.
  • The US will not alter its policies regarding Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.
  • The US will not exert pressure on Taiwan to negotiate with the Chinese.

The position of the US has offended the Chinese continuously ever since 1949, when Chiang Kai Shek’s troops decamped to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war. In 1978, the US announced it would break relations with Taiwan and formally recognize the PRC as the sole and legal government of China.

Over the years, though, American presidents have reconsidered these policies, much to the chagrin of the PRC. For instance, on several occasions, the US stated or implied it would come to the rescue of Taiwan if it were attacked by the PRC.

How does all this affect the current US/PRC relations? Frankly, the PRC resents the wishy-washy position of the United States and the latter’s interference into internal affairs of the PRC. The visit by Speaker Pelosi has riled PRC leadership greatly, and that is resulting in aggressive and undiplomatic actions by the PRC, including a show of force in the area around Taiwan that included live fire combat exercises.

Would the PRC go to war to protect its claims on Taiwan? It’s doubtful that it would initiate a shooting conflict with the US, but it might take other kinds of actions that are deemed to be provocative, such as claiming more islands in the South China Sea and militarizing islands located near the PRC. There is a growing concern that a misstep by either the US or the PRC could accidentally lead to direct conflict.

Seems to me that the current policies of the US are the major issue. Our government has been dancing around its position relating to Taiwan for many years. Direct and frank negotiations with the PRC are an obvious alternative to military confrontation.

These solutions would be complicated and likely fraught with economic sanctions by both sides, something the world economy does not need at this time. I am absolutely dedicated to affirming the rights of US, but we need to be clearer, as it was with Hong Kong. Perhaps a date to reunite the two Chinas in the distant future would be a reasonable idea to discuss. The 100-year deal between the PRC and Hong Kong ultimately worked out without serious violence.

In the meantime, the US should retain all of its rights to have a relationship with Taiwan that includes among other things arming the island. Another Russia/Ukraine situation is not a preferred course. If the PRC wants to annex Taiwan, it should do it peacefully. So long as this happens there will be no need for either the PRC or the US to show their muscles.