In the last few days, the coronavirus (and the disease it causes, Covid-19) has exploded into the public consciousness and something bordering on a panic is happening. I certainly believe concern is warranted and the danger from the virus is real—but there are things we can do to minimize our exposure. If you’re in the vulnerable group, meaning older citizens, or particularly vulnerable citizens with lung or other medical disorders, you should probably try and stay home or at least limit your outside contacts. No one really knows the fatality rate because no one knows how many people may already have the virus or may be getting it in the near future. Isolation seems to be the safest course for now, which means avoiding crowds or large groups. 

We at The Malibu Times and the Malibu Dolphin Charitable Foundation reluctantly cancelled the Malibu Dolphin Citizens of the Year Awards Ceremony that was set for early this Sunday at the Malibu West Swim Club. The Malibu Film Society’s annual awards ceremony celebrating their Filmmaker of the Year, which was set for this Sunday evening at the Malibu Screening Room at MJCS, has also been cancelled. I must say that having to admit to myself that I qualify as a vulnerable older citizen was bit hard to swallow but Covid-19 kind of forces you to face reality. I’m hoping our governments—federal, state and local—are facing up to the threat and starting a massive program to address the threat, even if it means providing medical vans on the street where you can walk in and get tested on the spot. 

We are also taking a massive economic hit for a while, probably countrywide, as the stock market has already shown. I can’t remember the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 2,000 in a single day or Brent Crude going to $30 per barrel. Everything is going to bounce around for a while, which is going to make us all a bit crazy. Still, the probability of any of us getting a fatal dose of the virus is very small. We all drive PCH and I’m guessing that the probability of getting killed on PCH is considerably higher than the probability of a fatality from the virus. So, all I can say is, stay sane, don’t panic, and keep washing your hands.

•••

Today is the day that there are Democratic primaries in six states and it’s looking like a last stand for Bernie Sanders. If he doesn’t take Michigan and a few other states, it’s probably game over for him. The question for Democrats is, if Biden wins and Bernie loses, can they keep Bernie’s supporters in the tent or will they walk? I’m guessing at this point it will be Biden who wins the nomination, but Bernie has pulled off upsets before. Whatever the primary results, you can rest assured this is going to be a very nasty presidential matchup. Trump is going to go after Biden, if it is Biden, by going after the Biden sons to the extent that you might think they’re the ones running for president. The Dems, in turn, are going to go after Trump’s family—Trump Jr., Ivanka and Jared Kushner. The attacks, going both ways, are going to strike hard because there really is an element of truth to all of the coming attacks. 

Washington, D.C. is filled with the children and grandchildren of present presidents and former presidents, cabinet officials, senators, congressman, lobbyists and officials at every level of government. They all go into the family business, which is politics. Some of those children and grandchildren are actually very competent. Many of them couldn’t find the White House with both hands and a roadmap. We like to delude ourselves into believing that we are a meritocracy—and we are, in part. You’re expected to have graduated from college and perhaps a law school or graduate school to get your basic political union card. Beyond that, it’s who you know, or more accurately, whom your parents know, where you went to school, money, the kind of circles you move in—and it can even help if you’re a hard worker. But rest assured that Hunter Biden didn’t get that well-paid seat on the board of a Ukrainian utility because of his extensive knowledge of the subject. You could also speculate that Ivanka Trump’s fashion line in China or wherever had little to do with superior design. You could probably also speculate that Jared Kushner’s real estate bailout by Deutsche Bank was more than a simple everyday business transaction. I will admit that Trump has raised nepotism to an art form. And that, in the realm of political combat, he is really quite talented, much more so, I suspect, then Biden. So, whereas Trump can easily provide the nasty attacks himself, Biden is going to need some help in the form of a couple of pit bulls to bite into Trump and hang on. For VP, Biden’s going to need one tough lady who has the capacity to get under Trump’s skin, and there are several good candidates for him to choose from. We are in for a very interesting seven-plus-months ride, and all that hangs in the balance is the future of the USA.

•••

P.S. Rumors keep persisting of Harry and Meghan having been around town and looking at some local real estate. It would certainly liven this town up a bit and it would be fun to have them here, so let’s hope. 

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