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Historical Impeachments

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historically speaking

Watching the Senate hearings over the past weeks I am happy to see historical arguments being made by both sides. As I have said, the Constitution is purposely vague, and it is no different when it comes to impeachment. There are three sections in the Constitution that discuss impeachment, but even with those sections there are still many questions. As with most Constitutional issues, the rest has been filled in with laws, the courts, and especially precedent. Several times both sides have referenced both the Andrew Johnson and William Clinton impeachment trials. In this vein, I think it is worth examining the lesser known of the two, the Johnson case, to see what we can learn from history and if there are similarities between the two.

There is a great deal of detail to explain Johnson’s election as V.P. Suffice to say, the Republicans in 1864 were concerned about Lincoln’s chances in the upcoming election. That may sound crazy, but he was not yet the super popular president that he would become. Johnson was a pro-war Democrat and Lincoln hoped that by bringing him on the ticket he could attract other pro-war Democrats. What made Johnson an even more interesting choice was that he was a pro-slave, state’s rights Democrat from Tennessee. Johnson was brought in for votes only. Once in office, Lincoln did not use him and he by no means was meant to ever be president.

The issue with Johnson’s impeachment revolves around Reconstruction. Even before the end of the War, Lincoln was already discussing his plans for how to treat the South. He basically wanted to make it easy for the southern states to return, including keeping their existing governments. His biggest opposition to Reconstruction was the radical wing of his own party. The so-called Radical Republicans wanted to punish the South and make it difficult for their return. They wanted to remove all past leaders and guarantee certain rights for the new freedman population

The Radicals were originally excited about Johnson as president. He said and did all the right things. However, when Congress left for recess, he put in his own plans for Reconstruction that were just as lenient as Lincoln’s, maybe even more so. When Congress returned, they attempted to retake the power. They tried to pass laws to help the ex-slaves but were blocked by Johnson’s vetoes. The Radicals did have enough support to overturn Johnson’s veto on the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave freedmen citizenship, but they faced an uphill battle. It was at this point they began looking for reasons to impeach the president. They tried twice unsuccessfully before they found a reason that stuck.

In 1867 Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which basically said that the president could not fire any member of his own cabinet without congressional approval. This was done for two reasons. First, Congress was afraid that Johnson would start replacing Lincoln’s Republican Cabinet with a Democratic one. Secondly, they hoped this would trip up Johnson and give them a reason to impeach. The plan worked. Johnson, who had been fighting with his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton over keeping troops in the South, finally grew frustrated and fired him. Johnson did not think the Tenure of Office Act would hold up in court. He was right. But before the courts examined the case, the House acted first and charged Johnson with eleven counts of impeachment.

The eleven articles are incredibly repetitive. They all boil down to Johnson having broken his oath of office by firing Stanton and by hiring Lorenzo Thomas without consent of Congress. They basically said it in different ways, like he violated Stanton’s rights in one and conspired with Thomas against Stanton in another. In Article 10 Congress went as far as including that he criticized congress “with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues.”

The trial lasted for three months. The defense argued that Johnson had done nothing wrong. They claimed he was challenging an unconstitutional law and basically his act did not meet the demands of a High Crime. What seemed like a slam dunk win at first fell apart by the end. From the beginning of the trial, Johnson worked with moderate Republicans to save his position by promising not to interfere any more with Reconstruction. Also, the managers had a week case. It became apparent the entire reason for the law was to remove the President. His only real crime was disagreeing with Congress.

In the end, seven Republicans voted to acquit. For some congressmen they were more concerned with the man who would replace Johnson, whom they saw as even more difficult. For others, when it really came down to it, they did not want to remove the President based on a power struggle. It would create a dangerous precedent that they did not want and could hurt the balance of power. When they received their assurances from Johnson, the Republicans were more than happy to leave him in office until the next year when they could replace him through voting. One senator said after, “I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution for the sake of getting rid of an Unacceptable President.”

What is interesting about today’s impeachment is many will see similarities with Johnson’s trial and many will not. Supporters of Trump will see two presidents who disagreed with a hostile Congress which simply wanted the president removed for political reasons. Others will disagree with any similarities. More like the Nixon scandal, they see a president who clearly overstepped his authority and then tried to cover it up. The problem is this split happens to be along party lines, which is very much like the Johnson impeachment. With Johnson, Republicans had to cross the party line to clear him, whereas with Trump they had to cross party lines to convict. But either way the vast majority of the Senate in all three presidential impeachments trials voted along party lines instead of voting their consciences. So, what we can learn from studying Johnson is that in the end what we see is that impeachments are political above everything else.

For my Texas readers, if any of you are interested I will be speaking at the Weatherford College Interdisciplinary Academic Conference on Feb 27 at 5 PM. The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, you can call 817-598-6326. If you attend, make sure you come by and say hello.


Dr. James Finck is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Chair of the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium. Follow Historically Speaking at www.Historicallyspeaking.blog or Facebook at @jamesWfinck.

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Coronavirus: Case for Eradication of Stupidity, Not Case for War

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Suppose I told you our current coronavirus pandemic can be traced to Wuhan, China. “Old news,” you might say.

Suppose I added that four published academic journals dating from 2007 reveal research on this virus. “So what?” you might say.

Suppose I added that ten staff members of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have contributed to the coronavirus research. “Sounds reasonable,” you add.

Suppose I added that working with the University of North Carolina staff members was Zhengli-Li Shi of the Laboratory of Special Pathogens and Biosafety, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Will you still say, “Sounds reasonable”?

And if you are ready now to question what sounds reasonable, let’s add one more tidbit. Suppose I added that this same Zhengli-Li Shi of China secured a Chinese grant to jointly fund this research and at least one other such study mentioned in this article.

A Chinese grant?

Now is a good time to introduce ourselves to Professor Francis Boyle.

“What might Boyle contribute to the discussion?” you might ask.

Quite a bit, actually. Boyle knows all that’s worth knowing about biological warfare. He is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He drafted the U.S. implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.

And what does he say about today’s coronavirus?

He says China “bought” our science (remember the grant?) and took it back to China.

Boyle calls what China bought “a turbo-charged biological weapon.” Science calls it a “gain of function.” In brief, add genetic engineering to SARS and HIV to make a more potent biological weapon.

We should recall before proceeding further that biological warfare is nothing new. And because some nations pursue such weapons, others must devise defensive measures. In this article, I am not proposing that the United States has been attacked. Yet.

More likely, given where and when this coronavirus originated, I believe it to be more likely that a mishap in Wuhan might account for our present pandemic. What nation would test its biological weapon on its own citizens before deploying it as a weapon?

But Professor Boyle, in his video update on coronavirus bioweapon video, does reveal his concerns over more lethal, more infectious (gain of function) weapons being “studied.”

I will later offer relevant quotations from some of those studies. We will see the why of Boyle’s concerns.

But for now, let’s go back to September 11, 2001. There is a troublesome similarity between that attack and our current “coronavirus” pandemic. It is clear that we have not learned the lessons of that horrific attack.

The similarity? In the 9/11 attack, our enemy used us to attack us. Terrorists had used our country – lived among us. They used our flight training schools. They used our own aircraft as weapons.

From the standpoint of post-attack analysis, we are forced to credit our 9/11 enemy with excellent planning, excellent preparation, excellent mission accomplishment.

So, why do we now fail to detect that our enemy “uses us” in preparation to attack us?

Sure, we can argue that we all benefit from shared research and that our research is dedicated to finding and preventing yet more lethal virus variations.

But now, keep an eye out for how many times the name Zhengli-Li Shi of China is associated with biological research within the United States. Notice the grants from China. Notice shared information. Ask yourself, have we failed to learn the lessons of 9/11?

I’ll conclude with selected quotations from the four published studies I’ve consulted. I encourage you to seek out those studies, or others, with an eye to the thin line between biological research and biological warfare.

Some revealing quotations:

“Since furin is highly expressed in the lungs, and enveloped virus that infects the respiratory tract may successfully exploit this.” (2)

“ …may provide a gain-of-function to the 2019-nCoV for efficient spreading in the human population.” (2)

“…plasmids encoding bat and human ACE2s were infected with pseudovirus HIV/BJ01-S. Infectivity was determined by measuring the activity of reporter luciferase as described…” (3)

“…these viruses may become infectious to humans if they undergo N-terminal sequence variation, for example, through recombination with other CoVs, which in turn might lead to a productive interaction with ACE2 or other surface proteins on human cells. (4)

“Using this approach, we characterized CoV infection mediated by the SHC014 spike protein in primary human airway cells….” (5)

“To extend these findings, primary human airway epithelial (HAE) cultures were infected and showed robust replication of both viruses (Fig. 1d). Together, the data confirm the ability of viruses with the SHC014 spike to infect human airway cells and underscore the potential threat of cross-species transmission of SHC014-CoV.” (5)

Even at a glance, with these quotations we can see – if not completely understand the science – why it is we need to be applying the lessons we ought to have learned from the 9/11 attack.

We are sharing, giving away, and selling (via grants) that allow others to “use us to defeat us.”

Sources:
1. Prof. Francis Boyle Update on Coronavirus Bioweapon
From <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DAI3c9wE0Q>

Francis Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He drafted the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.

2. The spike glycoprotein of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade.

3. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) proteins of different bat species confer variable susceptibility to SARS-CoV entry.

4. The difference in Receptor Usage between Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) Coronavirus and SARS-Like Coronavirus of Bat Origin
American Society for Microbiology, Journal of Virology, 12 December 2007 Vol 82-4.

5. An sARS-like cluster of circulating bat coronavirus pose a threat for human emergence
The National Library of Medicine National Medical 2016, April 22.

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A response to “Better Safe than Sorry”

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I’m confused by the letter to Editor from Mr. Bianchini titled ‘Better Safe than Sorry? ‘ because many know that he is a Reporter/Editor FOR the Royal Examiner. Actually, I thought that the opinions of Editors were Editorials and represented the definitive point of view of a paper. However, I know that the ‘Better Safe…..” letter wasn’t an Editorial because the Editor in Chief of the Examiner had clearly indicated that his opinion virtually mirrored the sentiments I expressed in my ‘COVID-19, Gov’t Help or Hinderance’ letter. I recommend not spending much time trying to make sense of an Editor penning a letter to himself though or you’ll end up needing a couple of aspirins or a stiff drink. I think if the truth was known, there may be an underlying issue of philosophical difference here between a more progressive individual and one with a more conservative-leaning.

With that said, the Better Safe… letter alleges that my comments are based on partisan ideology rather than objective analysis. Plus, that indictment is used to suggest that many other observations I made in my March 20 letter should be summarily discredited as a result. Since I always attempt to be objective and pragmatic and being concerned that his statements damaged my credibility as a community advocate, I felt the need to pen this response.

Mr. Bianchini states that my criticism of the Governor’s order limiting public access to restaurants and gyms was evidence of my partisan bias. However, I never mentioned the political persuasion of the Governor and would have made the same criticism if a Republican had acted the same way. The fact that his order was consistent with actions by other state governors and supported by respected scientists in the health field was not a basis for justifying the Governor’s order, in my opinion, because I felt the officials were solely focused on health issues with no consideration of economic issues. In all of the media presentations I watched on the pandemic, and there were many, not once did I hear a health official comment on any economic impact associated with the virus mitigations they recommended. Plus, each state has had varying experiences with the virus so I expected our Governor to be an independent thinker and make decisions based on circumstances that existed solely within our boundaries. When the Governor issued his restrictions there was minimal virus impact in Virginia. Additionally, I opined that social distancing occurred in both the placement of restaurant tables and gym equipment under normal conditions and thus the Governor’s 10 patron limit accomplished virtually nothing except causing many of those businesses to close and jobs to be lost.

Mr. Bianchini said that I defended President Trump when Democrats called him out on saying the virus was a hoax. Clearly, anyone paying attention to media reports would have heard the term was used to describe the Democrat and media response to the President’s actions and statements on the crisis rather than him suggesting the virus itself was a hoax. My defense was also supposed to relate to the President restricting European flights except for two countries where the President owns golf courses. That theory is ridiculous on its face. After entering office, the President gave up management of all of his companies, donated his full salary to the country and has more money than he could spend in several lifetimes. Additionally, wouldn’t it make better sense that the travel exemptions could have been based on the fact that those affected countries (England and Ireland I believe) were geographically separated from other European countries and did not have the volume of virus cases other European countries had? No evidence was included in the ‘Better Safe….” letter that golf courses had any influence on the President’s decision. Strangely enough though, very shortly after those countries were exempted from the travel restriction, they themselves were included in the ban because their virus experience increased significantly.

My claim that ‘the cure was more damaging than the disease’ was based on facts about other serious diseases where government actions were NOT taken that caused a negative impact on our economy. It is estimated that the typical flu will kill 50,000 Americans this year alone and society seems to take that death rate in stride without alarm or precautions which cause a great disruption to our economy. In 2009, the swine flu killed more than 10,000 Americans and a national emergency wasn’t even declared by the President then until 1,000 deaths had occurred. As of the morning of March 23, approximately 42,000 Americans had tested positive for Coronavirus and slightly more than 500 had died but the mitigation recommendations from health scientists have contributed to the virtual economic collapse that affects everyone.

Mr. Bianchini’s March 20, letter to himself asserted that time was needed to determine the impacts on the economy and small businesses. However, there is already overwhelming evidence that the economy is in free-fall with no end in sight. Fact, the stock market has lost over 35% of its value in just several weeks from an all-time high of over 29,000 and trillions of dollars have been lost in Americans’ 401Ks. Fact, the Federal Reserve reduced the interest rate by 100 basis points to .25 percent several days ago in an unprecedented action. The FED has taken other unusual quantitative easing steps to ensure liquidity as well. Fact, our Treasury Secretary projected the unemployment rate could jump above 20% when a couple of weeks ago it was the lowest (3.5) in over 50 years. Fact, a multitude of respected financial institutions have predicted the US Gross Domestic Product will decline by more than 20% in the second quarter of this year. Fact, small businesses have been closing, employees have been furloughed or fired and respected economists have predicted over 2 million jobs could be lost. Considering the above, only an individual with their head in the sand would question whether our economy is in severe distress yet!

The information presented above provides a basis for increasing the validity of other comments I made in the March 20 letter rather than reducing their credibility.

  • Students and parents are being terribly affected by school closings.
  • The oil supply conflict between Russia and the Saudi’s is exacerbating an already bad situation and the President should use sanctions if necessary to convince them to behave differently.
  • Stimulus payments should be targeted to individuals that lost jobs and income rather than broad-based.
  • Bail-outs to big corporations should come with limitations on stock buy-backs and executive bonuses.
  • A balance needs to be struck between protecting the health of a limited at-risk population and maintaining economic prosperity.
  • Critical products such as pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, electronics, etc. should be manufactured in the US vs China who is an adversary and is using trade imbalance profits to build a military that we may one day have to address with force.
  • Congress possibly approving a stimulus package of an obscene amount (trillions! )and increasing our national debt is not fiscally responsible behavior. How selfish is it that we want future citizens to pay for debt we create to address today’s problems?

In conclusion, my presentation here should dispel any claims made in the ‘Better Safe….’ letter that my opinions were based on partisan ideology rather than objective analysis, critical thinking and common sense. The truth is that I have substantial criticisms of the President’s behavior and character shortcomings while still being grateful for his Administration’s accomplishments that have benefited virtually all levels of the American public. Plus, the basis for my March 20 letter to the Editor is that I disagreed with the government’s actions because I felt they caused more damage than the virus had. Finally, I am not a member of either major political party and consider myself a Libertarian. Thus, if there is any partisan ideology or bias being represented in recent letters to the Editor, I leave it to you to judge whose it is.

Gary Kushner
Front Royal, Virginia

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If your party loyalty is greater than your commitment to all the citizens, please resign

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The first premise for Town Council to consider: if your party loyalty is greater than your commitment to all the citizens, please resign. Then, the question. “What does the Town Council seem to be and/or actually do?”

The answer is that our governance unit has members who are offenders by a legal definition of an offense, some are opossums for playing dead to the Interim Town Manager and the offenders; one active person, and one too new perhaps to help. What have they allowed for the past few months?

They have ignored dealing with offenders who were part of firing people who advanced the economic well being of our town. Those who do nothing about the offenders and the offenders themselves go to fire the best help—people who did not make mistakes fired by people who do. Does that suggest party loyalty over nonpartisan commitment which is the standard in our Town Charter?

The gauntlet has been thrown down: if a person will not act on wrongdoing, then that person is condoning or complicit in the wrongful act. There are personnel complaints. The Town Council is not known to have dealt with any of the complaints. Act to discipline or get out of governance.

What does the Town Council plan to do? Who knows?

In the meantime, thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for taking up the cause of the Visitor Center to ensure accurate information about it is reported.

Linda Allen
Front Royal, Virginia

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Are we thinking long term?

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The time is now for our County Board of Supervisors and our Interim Town Manager/Town Council, to think about the long term effects of this pandemic.

Our economy will continue downward. Job loss will continue to grow. The inability of so many to pay their bills will continue. The town income is uncertain for this year and next year’s budget. The loss of meal tax and lodging tax alone are only two of the huge losses the Town and County will face.

Mr. Tederick and the Town Council’s tax rate reduction from the rate of $13.5 to $.13 cents per hundred, which was an obvious political move by Mr. Tederick and his Republican Party for votes in the upcoming election, will certainly come back to haunt them. I believe the following are only a few items that could be considered at this time.

  1. County and Town Tax bills to be deferred for several months or until the end of the year. This I believe can be a request to the state government.
  2. County and Town budgets should be deferred until all citizens can safely attend the meetings and have their input. I’m sure we can get an extension on the deadline from our state government.
  3. All large items cut from the upcoming budget: town infrastructure loan – what is one or two more years of kicking the can down the road, assistant town manager, redundant water line to the corridor – which the town citizens should not be paying for anyway. This was a request from Dominion Power. It is not mandatory for the town to do this project. , town road paving project – which should be done over a couple of years instead of one year.

These large ticket budget items, except for the I & I upgrade, which is mandated by the DEQ should be put on the back burner until we know exactly where the finances of the town will actually be for the rest of this year and next year. To do these items now would be ludicrous and not in the best interest of the town citizens and the small businesses located in the town.

If Mr. Tederick and the Town Council care like they say they do, I encourage each of them to lay down their political views and do what is in the best interest of the citizens, business owners and the Town of Front Royal.

Paul Gabbert
Front Royal, Virginia

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Better safe than sorry?

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Everybody has an opinion – time will tell who is right about the level of response and its impacts on the economy and small business versus the actual health threat the COVID-19 Coronavirus presents to nations and the world as a whole.

However, when one lets partisan ideology interfere with one’s thought process, you tend to stray from objective, analysis-based opinion, into partisan justification and vilification, as Mr. Kushner appears to here. He criticizes Democratic Governor Northam for instituting front-end, proactive measures suggested by the scientific community, as other governors around the nation also are; while defending Republican President Trump for his 180-degree waffling, again blaming Democrats, and one guesses their “allies” in the scientific community, for actions including the president’s one-day flip from calling the COVID-19 Coronavirus “a Democratic hoax” on the campaign stump, to freezing all flights to, from Europe, initially save the two countries where he has golf courses.

If you let partisanship and political ideology prevent objective analysis of portions of your opinion, how measured should we take the rest of one’s analysis to be?

While I have initially tended to agree that much of the COVID-19 response has been over-cautious and perhaps not justified by the national or even international numbers, a medical-scientific-grounded friend has pointed out to me that the potential for viral mutations could suddenly expand the problem on a variety of levels, including numbers.

Doing little or nothing and see how things go without the means to adequately test for the disease to allow for accurate numbers to be calculated and targeted quarantines to be imposed, due to an early federal administrative lapse in response – seems a potentially dangerous course.

The experience of Vo, the small town in Italy where that nation’s first death was reported, points to the importance of being able to calculate ACCURATE numbers, rather than estimates, on how many and who is infected. That town of 3,300 tested every citizen, identifying both symptomatic and non-symptomatic infected people. They were able to isolate and treat all infected while letting the rest of their population function on a more normal level. And it is reported they have stopped the disease in the town.

In the absence of that ability to test all, treat and quarantine based on the result of comprehensive, accurate testing, I find myself drifting in the direction of perhaps “better safe than sorry” – without the mass hysteria hoarding of TP or forced small business closings – is the way to go.

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COVID-19 – Governments help or hindrance?

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While I am reasonably concerned about having a new virus that affects global health, I am even more troubled by our governments’ overreaction.  I’m taking a moment to vent in an effort to limit my frustration.

As with the government overreaction to 9/11 that gave us the Patriot Act and the TSA, which increased government intrusion in our lives and reduced personal liberty, the state and federal proposals to address COVID-19 are equally troubling.  Wide-ranging economic and societal damage will result from their mitigation plans.  Their social separation and business closing recommendations and spending proposals will cause much more difficulty than the disease itself!  As of March 18, there were only approximately 8,000 test positive and only 118 deaths in a population of approximately 330 million.  That demonstrates that the health effect of this disease is EXTREMELY low, and not even comparable to the flu that has become an accepted part of our daily lives (12,000-62,000 deaths/yr), even though the new virus may have a higher contagion rate.  Government reaction to the 2009 swine flu (10,000+ deaths) was extremely minimal compared to what’s happening today, and the public should be educated on how we were able to take that new health risk in stride without up-ending the social and economic apple cart.

While having any additional health risk to seniors is unfortunate, especially those with underlying medical issues, that circumstance is much less damaging to society than the economic and quality of life results being caused by government reaction.  Disrupting an economy that was functioning at the top of its game, and was the envy of the world, is nothing short of calamitous.  Adding more debt without any plan to return to fiscal sanity is lunacy on steroids.  How can we justify ‘kicking the can down the road’ regarding the responsibility of addressing our country’s debt problem?  We keep putting the same self-absorbed lame-brains in office that refuse to be fiscally responsible, so it’s on us, not them!!!

Virginia’s Governor has brilliantly (NOT) ordered restaurants and work-out facilities to limit itself to 10 patrons at a time.  This all but closes those establishments and puts people out of work because it’s not profitable to stay open for such a low amount of business.  Exercise machines and restaurant tables were basically 6 feet apart anyways so the separation was occurring under normal conditions without the Governor’s short-sighted restrictions.  With masses of people in grocery stores and other retail establishments, the comparative effect of this order was like a drop of water in a 5-gallon bucket. How about we continue business as usual, except that some will get sick but most will survive, and we’ll produce helpful antibodies and give science time to create reasonable therapies.

Closing the schools, with its effects on parents needing child care, is a disastrous disruption.  Kids receive scant beneficial education from our low achieving system anyways (teaching to the test rather than giving critical thinking skills), and having them out of school just exacerbates this problem.

The proposed Federal actions are even more alarming and will cause much more difficulty.  Everyone staying home will damage small businesses, kill jobs, increase the unemployment rate, interrupt the supply chain and ultimately increase crime.  Let the capitalist system of open market resolve this.  The strong will ultimately thrive, and the weak will be consumed by the strong, and we’ll be better off in the end.  While providing cash stimulus to the public may be beneficial, since our economy is based on public spending, it should be explicitly limited to the lower level earners who are most affected.  Targeting a cash grant to low-income earners based on last year’s IRS tax filing would be a good starting place. With so many companies closed, and many were put out of business, there will not be as many places to even spend the stimulus.  Plus, now that the government has got the public in a panic, many will probably just save it for another rainy day anyways.

Since our economy depends on the success of small businesses, some financial assistance to them would be helpful as in grants or loan guarantees.  The FED institution is already ensuring financial market liquidity and has lowered interest rates to about zero, more efforts there are probably ill-advised.  Bailouts to airlines, who recently elected to buy back stock versus saving for a rainy day, should not be part of the plan. Having the public cover losses to other affected industries is contrary to the open market system and should not be supported.  Any action in that area should involve the public getting part of the business as an offset so when they recover under normal economic conditions the citizens share in that benefit.  Additionally, I think its a better idea to let the airlines, hospitality and cruise-line businesses survive via bankruptcy rather than the public footing that bill.

The source of our problem is not the addition of another disease affecting our health but the adversarial relationship in our two-party system.  President Trump tried initially to be pragmatic by not over-hyping the effect of the new virus, but the Democrats and their co-conspirator media, in their consistent effort to damage our President, pitched such a fit that he was forced politically to bend to the single focus health officials and go overboard with reactions.  Politicians are rushing to throw OUR money at the problem rather than responsibly accepting a greater demise rate in our seniors with certain underlying medical issues as compared to the economic and societal damage government mitigation would cause to the majority of our population.  Being in my 69th year and having an 89-year-old mother and an 80-year-old uncle, my position cannot be alleged to be one that affects others but not me.

Also, the oil supply war happening between Russia and the Saudis is harming our oil industry and should not be tolerated.  Put tariffs and other economic sanctions on both to urge them to find other ways to solve their differences.  While I enjoy low gas prices, it’s better for all to have energy independence as a country and that can’t continue if our fracking industry is destroyed.

The one silver lining in his whole debacle is that I believe there’s been a realization that we need more domestic manufacturing of ‘critical products’, such as pharmaceuticals, health products, and electronic components, etc.  China is an adversary, not an ally, and being reliant on them for anything critical is a bad idea.  For too long we’ve been buying their cheap crap and funding the growth of their military that we may have to challenge in the future.  Let’s produce more in the USA and have more jobs even if we need to pay a bit more for a few things.

Bottom line is that we need to contact our elected leaders and slap them across the face (like Loretta did in Moonstruck) and say SNAP OUT OF IT.  Stop with the overreaction, the panic, job-killing proposals, the irresponsible spending, debt creation, and socialist initiatives.  Life continues to involve risk, so pull up your big boy and girl pants and accept that new health problems will come with globalization and world population growth.  Yes, certain high-risk populations will be affected more than others but that’s the real world we live in.  Come on America, we’re tougher than anyone else on the planet!

Enough with the political games!  It’s time to start doing something to help America, not continue to damage it!  Oh, and don’t forget to cough into your elbow and wash your hands!

Gary Kushner
Front Royal, Virginia

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