Welcome to Mother's Day 2020 and what a different holiday we're all experiencing. Good wishes for those of you who have been blessed to be Moms. It's a big job...way bigger than just a day set aside. This is Sunday Morning Coffee a look at some of the political and religious stories you've seen, or missed, all laced with my commentary. My name is Michael Libbie and it's what I get to do. Let's go!
There Is No "Rule of Law"
The United States has always seemed to flirt with being lawless. While we say we respect the "rule of law" we often use the law to benefit one group over another be they Native Americans, African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, or people of a faith group we don't recognize as being equal. We use the law to destroy working families, unions, women...the list gets pretty long.
However this past week we saw how lawless the Department of Justice really is as Attorney General William Barr has decided to drop the case against self-confessed criminal Michael Flynn. Flynn admitted lying to the FBI, which used to be a federal crime. But, it seems no longer. Brace yourselves...there is more to come. In a related development Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) has demanded that Barr step down. We'll see how that goes.
While states across the nation have relaxed or are getting ready to open their economies nobody seems to be paying attention to the "Second Wave" of COVID19 cases that have sprung up in Seoul, South Korea. Today President Moon Jae-in warned the pandemic is “not over until it’s over,” as the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) confirmed 34 new cases, the greatest number since April 9, in a nightlife district. Officials responded to the outbreaks by temporarily closing all nightclubs in the Seoul area.
What is stunning is that of the new cases 24 of them have been traced back to one individual. Think about that as you head out to the mall to shop. Lowering our guard on this enemy is not the responsible thing to do and those political leaders who are clamoring to "open up" are simply reckless and irresponsible. Make no mistake it's all about politics and November. (Image - Politico)
What a perfect segue into the failure that is Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA) and her mishandling of COVID19 in Iowa. On the very day she was playing "lap-dog" to "45" Iowa was seeing a spike in new cases and more deaths. Every day she struts to the podium and fails to address things like our meat processing infections, state OSHA guidelines and tells Iowans it's OK to piss in the pool. I did an interview with the Des Moines Register on Friday and did not hold back when asked about my rating of this governor and her leadership. "On a scale of one to ten I would rate Reynolds a minus on this issue..." That's how I see it and if you really want to know what she SHOULD have done. I'll be happy to help you out. The Register said the three things I outlined might not make the editorial cut. (Photo - Des Moines Register)
No Mask For Me
The Vice President of the United States came to Iowa to fawn over our governor and the "fantastic job" she has done. He also came to underscore his deep and abiding love for his fellow Christians while refusing to "mask up". I do know there was at least one religious leader who addressed the Vice President while wearing a mask. Rabbi David Kaufman entered the Urbandale Presbyterian Church to explain to Mr. Pence the reason why his congregation is not "opening up". I'm sure it was impactful. (Photo - C-SPAN)
At Least We're Not South Dakota
On Friday the feckless governor of South Dakota Kristi Noem (R-SD) told Native American tribes to take down their coronavirus checkpoints along state and U.S. highways within 48 hours or face legal action. The Oglala Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have put up traffic checkpoints to monitor highway traffic and contain the spread of COVID-19. The tribes closed their borders as soon as they detected their first case. Leaders of both tribes told South Dakota Public Radio they do not plan to comply with the governor’s orders and said her requests lack legal merit.
As of Saturday afternoon, the South Dakota Department of Health has reported 1,234 cases of COVID-19 and 34 deaths.
You're not going to like this but here goes: Americans are fond of warehousing our elderly. As the former CEO of the state's largest long-term care retirement community I can tell you it's true. Oh sure there are pangs of pain and some families do show up to visit their loved ones but...many don't. It's a cultural issue. This young nation simply does not value the elderly. Here, unlike Japan, China and other Asian cultures where families care for their aged family members we prefer to "send them off". Where we "send them" depends on the financial ability of the resident. Those that can afford the luxury of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC's) do so. Others must "spend down" so they can reside in facilities that grant Medicaid payments.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the cruelty of our system. Nursing homes are "hot-spots" of the virus where the illness sweeps through the population and the overwhelmed and, often under paid, caregivers must deal with it.
The reality now is that some nursing home owners are seeking protection from being sued. Ya can't make stuff like this up.
So, what should we have done...years ago? If we really, really care about our aged Americans we should immediately increase the Medicaid reimbursement level so that nursing homes can pay a livable wage to those front-line workers. We should professionalize their work. Think of this: To become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) you are required to go to school, to take a test, to show that you are competent. Once you do that you "get to" sign on for a career as a low-wage worker that is denied the professional distinction that say...your barber has. How wrong is that? Weary.....
I've been an orphan for six years. My Mother, of blessed memory, died on the 20th day of March in 2014. I think of her daily. Often, as my Facebook Friends can assert, I get regular "Memories" that I share. "Mom and Me Photos"....at the grocery store, the hair salon, the doctors office, her apartment, the rehab facility and her home here with us. It seems like I built up a pretty good running photo journal of our times together. In this photo she is experiencing pesto for the very first time during one of our trips to HyVee.
I often wonder how I did it while operating a business, doing the daily business news broadcast, running others for political office, keeping my Bride and other family members engaged... I'm not bragging but I am grateful for those memories and for being the last person Mom saw as she died. I'm not trying to be maudlin it's just this is "top of mind" as we mark Mother's Day.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Sunday.