Acting Navy secretary apologizes for scathing rebuke of ousted captain – NBC

By Courtney Kube

“Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly on Monday delivered a scathing attack against the captain who sounded the alarm over the spread of the coronavirus on his ship.

Speaking in Guam to the crew members of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, Modly said Capt. Brett Crozier was guilty of a “betrayal of trust” in choosing to express his concerns to a broad audience in an email that ultimately was leaked to the media, according to a recording of the speech obtained by NBC News.

“If he didn’t think, in my opinion, that this information wasn’t going to get out into the public, in this day and information age that we live in, then he was either A, too naive or too stupid to be a commanding officer of a ship like this,” Modly said. “The alternative is that he did this on purpose.” “

Source: Acting Navy secretary apologizes for scathing rebuke of ousted captain

David Lindsay:  I found this article and NBC news clip at the Facebook page of Seth Bates. Donald Trump rumbles he doesn’t like the optics.

Opinion | Will We Flunk Pandemic Economics? – By Paul Krug – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Susan Walsh/Associated Press

“Just a month ago Donald Trump was still insisting that Covid-19 was a trivial issue, comparing it to the “common flu.” And he dismissed economic concerns; after all, during flu season, “nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on.”

But pandemics come at you fast. Since Trump’s blithe dismissal, something like 15 million Americans have lost their jobs — the economic implosion is happening so quickly that official statistics can’t keep up.

In our last economic crisis the economy shrank around 6 percent relative to its long-run trend, and the unemployment rate rose around five percentage points. At a guess, we’re now looking at a slump three to five times that deep.

And this plunge isn’t just quantitatively off the charts; it’s qualitatively different from anything we’ve seen before. Normal recessions happen when people choose to cut spending, with the unintended consequence of destroying jobs. So far this slump mainly reflects the deliberate, necessary shutdown of activities that increase the rate of infection.

As I’ve been saying, it’s the economic equivalent of a medically induced coma, in which some brain functions are temporarily shut down to give the patient a chance to heal.

While a deep slump is unavoidable, however, good policies could do a lot to minimize the amount of hardship Americans experience. The problem is that the U.S. political landscape has long been dominated by an anti-government ideology that left us unprepared, intellectually and institutionally, for this crisis.

What should we be doing? Serious economists have already reached a rough consensus over the appropriate policy response to a pandemic. The bottom line is that this isn’t a conventional recession, which calls for broad-based economic stimulus. The immediate mission, beyond an all-out effort to contain the pandemic itself, should instead be disaster relief: generous aid to those suffering a sudden loss of income as a result of the economy’s lockdown.

It’s true that we could suffer a second round of job losses if the victims of the lockdown slash spending on other goods and services. But adequate disaster relief would address this problem, too, helping to sustain demand.”

Opinion | Captain Crozier Saved His Crew From Coronavirus. He Is a Hero. – The New York Times

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Mr. Roosevelt is a great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and the chairman of the Theodore Roosevelt Institute at Long Island University.

Credit…US Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System/EPA, via Shutterstock

“On Monday, Capt. Brett Crozier, the commander of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, sent a letter to the Navy pleading for permission to unload his crew, including scores of sailors sickened with Covid-19, in Guam, where it was docked. The Pentagon had been dragging its feet, and the situation on the ship was growing dire.

“We are not at war,” he wrote. “Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our sailors.”

After the letter was leaked to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Navy relented. But on Thursday, it relieved Captain Crozier of his command.

Captain Crozier joins a growing list of heroic men and women who have risked their careers over the last few weeks to speak out about life-threatening failures to treat the victims of this terrible pandemic. Many of them are doctors and nurses, and many of them, like Captain Crozier, have been punished. All of them deserve our deepest gratitude.”

The Navy Fired Captain Crozier After His Letter on the Coronavirus. Hear How the Crew Responded. – The New York Times

Please note, this is my second posting of this ariticle, in order to highlight the section below. I read it to Kathleen Schomaker, who replied, this story, and that scene, are going to make a hell of a good movie someday.

“. . . .As part of his extended explanation of why he removed Captain Crozier, Mr. Modly asserted at a news conference Thursday that the release of Captain Crozier’s letter had panicked the crew and family members, and embarrassed the Navy’s leadership.

It undermines our efforts and the chain of command’s efforts to address this problem and creates a panic,” he said. “And creates a perception that the Navy’s not on the job, the government’s not on the job.”

But videos taken by crew members aboard the Roosevelt and posted on social media on Friday seemed to contradict that assessment.

The sailors on the Roosevelt did not look panicked. Since Captain Crozier’s letter first surfaced, the Navy had evacuated hundreds off the ship, with more each day. During Captain Crozier’s final walk off the ship, many sailors could be seen with their bags packed on the floor next to them as they cheered their departing captain.

It was a surreal scene, beginning with Captain Crozier’s solemn walk through the massive ship’s sprawling hangar bay — a snaking procession that wrapped around a pair of dormant F/A-18 fighter jets and into the cool Guam night.

There was the ship’s bell, and then its whistle. The crew, hundreds of them, some in civilian clothes, others in uniform, slowly saluted as Captain Crozier walked past with a black backpack slung over his left shoulder.

“Captain, United States Navy, departing,” a voice piped in over the loudspeaker. As Captain Crozier reached the gangway, the slender ramp that stretched from ship to shore, he turned back toward his ship. His crew cheered.

The nearly half dozen videos posted to social media, all from different angles amid the throng of sailors, include thundering cheers of “Captain Crozier.” One crew member yells, “Hooyah skipper!” In another video, someone says, “Now that’s how you send off one of the greatest captains you ever had … the GOAT,” using the acronym for Greatest Of All Time. “The man for the people.”

How the Theodore Roosevelt’s Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military – The New York Times

“WASHINGTON — President Trump’s acting Navy secretary, in a profanity-laced reprimand delivered Monday, criticized sailors aboard the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their captain, who was removed after he appealed for help as coronavirus spread throughout the warship.

The Navy’s top civilian, Thomas B. Modly, delivered his message over the ship’s loudspeaker system and deepened the raw us-versus-them atmosphere that had already engulfed the carrier. It also exposed the schism between a commander in chief with little regard for the military’s chain of command and the uniformed Navy that is sworn to follow him.

Like much in the Trump administration, what began as a seemingly straightforward challenge — the arrival of coronavirus onboard a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has now engulfed the military, leading to far-reaching questions of undue command influence and the demoralization of young men and women who promise to protect the country. At its heart, the crisis aboard the Theodore Roosevelt has become a window into what matters, and what does not, in an administration where remaining on the right side of a mercurial president is valued above all else.

The crew of the Roosevelt had already registered its discontent with the Trump administration’s decision to remove the commander, by cheering for Capt. Brett E. Crozier as he walked down the gangway last week and left the ship.”

Op-Ed: Coronavirus shows animal and human health are inseparable – By VIVECA MORRIS – Los Angeles Times

“About two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases in humans — including COVID-19, SARS, MERS, Ebola, HIV, Zika, H1N1, cholera and almost all recent epidemics — came from animals. And 70% of those originated in wildlife.

Pathogens have leaped from animals to humans for eons, but the pace of this spillover has increased rapidly over the last century. As 7.8 billion people on this planet radically alter ecosystems and raise, capture and trade animals at an unprecedented scale, “the road from animal microbe to human pathogen” has turned into a “highway,” as the journalist Sonia Shah has written.

The growing body of scientific research is clear: Diseases like COVID-19 are an expected consequence of how we’re choosing to treat animals and their habitats.

By changing the nature and frequency of human-animal interactions, our actions — through the wildlife trade, deforestation, land conversion, industrial animal farming, the burning of fossil fuels, and more — propel the emergence and transmission of novel and known human infectious diseases.”

Source: Op-Ed: Coronavirus shows animal and human health are inseparable – Los Angeles Times

Opinion | The Road to Semi-Normal – by Ross Douthat – The New York Times

 

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Jason Redmond/Reuters

“There will be three stages to the coronavirus era. The stage we’re in now is the period of emergency, when stores are shuttered, church services suspended, even playgrounds closed. The stage we aspire to reach, the stage with reliable treatments and ready vaccination, is the period of normalcy — or the period when we get to discover what normal after the coronavirus means.

But in between is the phase we may inhabit into 2021: The time of semi-normalcy, when strictures are partially lifted, the economy partially reopened, social and cultural life partially resumed. And since it’s the goal of all our efforts now, it’s worth offering some speculation about what that “semi” will entail.

Balkanized normality. In their “Road Map to Reopening,” Scott Gottlieb of the American Enterprise Institute and his co-authors offer several criteria for making the shift out of emergency: A “sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days,” a hospital system capable of treating coronavirus cases “without resorting to crisis standards of care,” and the capacity to test and monitor every suspected viral case.”

Opinion | He Went to Jared – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

“. . . Now we have another pampered scion in the Oval, propped up by his daddy for half his life, accustomed to winging it and swaggering around. And he, too, is utterly unprepared to lead us through the storm. Like W., he is resorting to clinical states’ rights arguments, leaving the states to chaotically compete with one another and the federal government for precious medical equipment.

Donald Trump is trying to build a campaign message around his image as a wartime president. But as a commander in chief, Cadet Bone Spurs is bringing up the rear.

“I would leave it up to the governors,” Trump said Friday, when asked about his government’s sclerotic response. Trouble is, when you leave it to the governors, you have scenes like we did in Florida with the open beaches — not to mention a swath in the middle of the country that, as of Friday night, still had not ordered residents to stay home.

The Los Angeles Times reported that two months before the virus spread through Wuhan, the Trump administration halted a $200 million early-warning program to train scientists in China and elsewhere to deal with a pandemic. The name of the program? “PREDICT.”

It is said that nature abhors a vacuum, but this virus loves it.

At Thursday’s briefing, Rear Adm. John Polowczyk, who barely two weeks ago became the head of the administration’s supply-chain task force, added to the confusion when he defended the government’s decision to send the supplies governors are pleading for to the private sector first.

“I’m not here to disrupt a supply chain,” the admiral said.

Trump was elected to disrupt things. So disrupt.”

Opinion | Brace Yourself for Waves of Coronavirus Infections – by Nicholas Kristof – The New York Times

“In models of the virus that my colleague Stuart A. Thompson and I published, we used a death rate of 1 percent. But if the South Korean death rate by age is applied to the demography of the United States, the American case fatality rate is about 2 percent, according to Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

A great majority of the deaths in the United States will have been avoidable. South Korea and the United States had their first coronavirus cases on the same day, but Seoul did a far better job managing the response. The upshot: It has suffered only 174 coronavirus deaths, equivalent to 1,100 for a population the size of America’s.

That suggests that we may lose 90,000 Americans in this wave of infections because the United States did not manage the crisis as well as South Korea did. As of Friday night, the U.S. had already had more than 7,000 deaths.”

Opinion | The Governor Who Dissed New Yorkers – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times

“When every other Democrat in America was swooning over Andrew Cuomo, Gina Raimondo was sparring with him.

I can’t say I’m surprised.

Raimondo, the second-term governor of Rhode Island, is blunt and sometimes contrarian. That’s what I’ve always liked about her.

I can’t say I like how she singled out New Yorkers, stopping cars with New York license plates at the border and ordering any drivers who planned to remain in Rhode Island for a while to quarantine themselves for 14 days. Cuomo, the New York governor, blew a gasket.

But I understood the epidemiological logic of it. The coronavirus was raging in New York. It wasn’t nearly as prevalent in Raimondo’s state. One strategy to limit a contagion is with checkpoints and barriers. She did on a state level what the United States was already doing with Americans returning from hot spots abroad.

The Daily News called her policy — which also involved having the National Guard visit and talk with people in vacation homes and rental properties where cars with New York plates were spotted — “authoritarian.” An editorial in The Providence Journal said it was “reminiscent of police states.”

There were rumors — false ones — that visitors were being turned back at the border.

And Cuomo threatened to sue.

That was last Saturday. Hours later, Raimondo changed course. But she didn’t let New Yorkers off the hook. She just gave us company there, decreeing that all out-of-state motorists would be treated the way New Yorkers were. That’s where things stand now.

It isn’t pretty. She conceded as much when we talked on the phone on Wednesday night. But it’s necessary, she said, at least if she’s to honor her obligation to save as many Rhode Islanders as possible from death, illness and economic devastation.

“This is a different time,” she told me. “I was asked last week during my daily news conference, ‘Do you worry about the image that you’re creating with National Guardsmen knocking on doors of renters and stopping cars at the border?’ Absolutely! I care about civil liberties. I care about equal protection. I do not like that image.”

“Having said that,” she continued, “the image that I worry a lot more about is hospitals overflowing with people. I’m focused on outcomes, not optics. Regular politics and political considerations are out the window right now. Am I doing things that I would prefer not to and I’m uncomfortable with because we’re in a state of emergency? Absolutely. There’s no doubt about that.”