We like Wikipedia, and regularly donate to the Wikimedia Foundation in gratitude. But recently spotted its (our crowdsourced) error on the derivation of a “blowback” – assigning that to the CIA, when in fact the agency’s 20th Century spies got it from their boilers, that often exploded, spewing gas, liquid and particulate when fuel dangerously accumulated inside a furnace.
Andrew Cuomo double handedly made James the New York Attorney General. He tried to bully the state legislature into “electing” her to fill the unexpired term of Eric Schneiderman, after his resignation in a sex and abuse scandal in the Spring of 2018. That interim appointment would have completely locked up the ensuing primary for James, instead of forcing her to actively campaign – as she did and won – against far better qualified but underfunded opponents like Congressman Sean Maloney and Zephyr Teachout. Cuomo’s foiled powerplay caused a bunch of other far better qualified lawyers like Liz Holtzman and yours-HL-truly to offer their credentials to the legislature as a protest against Cuomo’s powerplay and in support of appointing Solicitor General Barbara Underwood to serve out the term – as she did.
Andrew tried to effectively avoid the electorate but failing to do that still made Tish A.G. with his big and very conspicuous political and financial support. Why? Because he did not want her to be elected New York City’s Mayor in 2021. He did not want her as his adversary in the incessant hand to hand combat that occurs between New York’s executives – state and city. Curious, since Andrew knows the governor almost always has the upper hand, but that the A.G. possesses real weapons of investigation and prosecution that can badly wound a governor – as Cuomo had with two governors when he was A.G.
Tish James wants Andrew’s job, and her nursing home blowback report is the clearest and most conspicuous sign of that desire. Her nursing home report charges Cuomo with intentionally under-reporting nursing home Covid deaths. She alleges that by not classifying as “nursing home deaths” those who died in hospitals after being transferred from nursing homes, the governor did something truly harmful and reprehensible to the deceased and their loved ones.
We are missing something. Each and every such death was counted in the death statistics that are reported and updated daily. The deceased were transferred to hospitals in efforts to treat them and save their lives. Their loved ones were never deceived and in every case knew that the patient had been in a nursing home, was transferred and died in a hospital. How the classification of such deaths as “nursing home” or “hospital” hurt the survivors is both not apparent and non-existent.
There is a separate serious dispute over whether the state’s Spring 2020 policies about admitting or readmitting Covid patients into nursing homes was a terrible mistake. It may be that this rescinded policy substantially increased infections and deaths, but it may instead be found that the overwhelming cause of resident infection in nursing homes was through contact with infected but asymptomatic nursing home staff. (As we write it is distressing to learn that the CDC reported that 68% of nursing home staff initially refused Covid vaccine that was offered to them as a prioritized population).
That’s not the point of the James expose – it’s just that inane deceptive classification issue, seemingly devoid of real harm to anyone. I can see a counter-report claiming deception and false exoneration of hospitals had those deaths been categorized as nursing home deaths. Some states report this type of death as a nursing home death and others report them as hospital deaths.
Another famous and cinematically chronicled blowback occurred when elements of the Afghan Mujahideen championed by deceased Congressman Charlie Wilson used the training and weapons provided by the United States to attack us during the 9/11 era. Representative Wilson explained his support for Afghan rebels seeking to oust Soviet invaders as motivated by “the experience that will always be seared in my memory. . . children with their hands blown off from the mines that the Soviets were dropping from their helicopters.”
Whether additional mines will be lobbed on Cuomo from James’ helicopter is not clear but may be unnecessary. This scandal, devoid of substance, may be enough to embolden Letitia to primary the governor next year.
We personally don’t like Cuomo, but think he has done a spectacular job dealing with the pandemic. Gratitude is due every day for the enlightened, forceful and steadfast leadership he has provided. He’s also a skillful and Machiavellian politician but badly miscalculated that he’d rather have A.G. James than Tish the Mayor.