Covid-19: Three Non-medical Problems to Solve


We Have The Tools. Two Problems Could Be Solved Easily. The Last One – Not So Much

The  COVID-19 national crisis is one bad news story after another, as we all recognize. But the situation contains two problems that could be easily solved. We need only the will to do so.

Corruption Writ Large

The first of these is illustrated by the financial scandal around Senator Richard Burr and others. They apparently used insider information from official briefings for personal gain. They sold massive amounts of stock. At the same time, they were a parroting the White House line that this virus would not be a problem. One Democrat is implicated (SEN Dianne Feinstein), but she says all her assets are in a blind trust. Easy enough to verify.  

Charges like this are heinous in times of national crisis. Martha Stewart went to jail for less. Anyone found guilty of this should be out of Congress in a heartbeat and looking to do time for insider trading. Such conduct further erodes public confidence just when it is most needed. So far, Burr’s defense sounds nonexistent.

Nevertheless, how likely is action for the Republican controlled Senate and Justice Department? One more nail in the coffin of democracy if this stands unpunished.

The fix could be so easy. Some have suggested Congress and other key personnel should have no investments. That strikes me as unrealistic, and unfair actually.

But there is zero reason not to require a completely obscured blind trust. One that liquidates everything held when the trust was begun. Assets are replaced with other assets unknown to the beneficiary. This could be accomplished by legislation in a day. Not all that long ago, Congress voted to limit itself  a little in these areas of conflicts of interest. Burr voted against the legislation. Perhaps he had a premonition. He sure seems to have intention.

Shall We Vote?

The second easy to fix problem is that of voting during times of medical outbreaks. Something I almost never do is refer to my own blog. But if I do say so, my posting last Summer on how Oregon, Washington, and Colorado have implemented a near perfect system rings truer than ever.

This would solve so many voting problems, including interference and fraud. Plus, it dramatically boosts voting rates. It saves a ton of money. Now is the time for national legislation to make this happen. Take a look: . In the words of Captain Picard, “Make it so.”

While we are at it, get a remote meeting and voting system in place for Congress NOW. We were warned about the need for this during 9/11. Zero action since then. Unacceptable. We may shortly find that dozens of members of Congress are out of circulation. There is no reason for this to be a problem in the 21st Century.

That Third Problem

The third problem noted in the title is the one that cannot be fixed – at least until January 20, 2021. I have never seen failure of planning and leadership so deep as in the Trump administration today. The essence of leadership is to hope for the best while looking for and planning for the worst. That was my mantra as an Army officer for 30 years, and it never failed to be the right approach.

A leader who surrounds himself with lackeys and who disdains expertise and experience is a natural looser. One who will not hear bad news is a disaster waiting to happen. Someone would have to be unburdened by adult thought not to see how bad this is. But for those who are still in that fan group, stand by. The next month will bring the lessons home ferociously. What little progress we see comes from a few excellent governors (of both parties), local leaders, and medical communities stepping up. They are now joined by a few private companies stepping into the void.

If the Trump Administration had taken note in DEC – JAN, (even as late as FEB) we would be in far better shape. Fewer people would be likely to die. This is criminal negligence on a grand scale.

Next Year?

One can hope for a new Administration and a Congress ready to do the work next year. High on the task list should be a thorough investigation of what went wrong and why. That to be followed with legislation to minimize the risk of such failure again.

Say safe everyone. Go wash your hands – again – and yell at anyone who comes within 6 feet of you, anywhere/anytime. We can beat this thing, but only if you and I do our part for a while longer.

               Bill Clontz

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