Brent E. Zepke
“The federal government requires that you wear a mask when on this airplane,” the inflight cabin attendant announced.
Her adding that the “have mask, will travel” (my words) policy was scheduled to end on April 18 stimulated my thoughts of when the department head of the management department at the University of Tennessee, where I was an instructor, asked this law student to write his presentation on the case that held that airlines must permit male “stewardess” (hence the name change to “inflight cabin attendants”). To distract my mind from my reduced lung capacity, making breathing more difficult (airplanes simulate an altitude of 10,000 feet) I asked myself: Why April 18?
Is there anything special about April 18 as opposed to April 17 or 19, or the infamous tax day of April 15, or April 1, aka April Fool’s Day? Why the 18th? It is not a holiday although it is Easter Monday, the third day of Passover and the 17th day of Ramadan. It is a Monday and timeshare weeks are counted by the number of weeks preceding it in a year which makes this not a logical number, such as the 10th or 15th, but the 16th week.
But, of course, this is not a timeshare. Why the 18th? Not the moon cycles as the first full moon in April will be on the 16th and on the 18th, the moon will be in the Waning Gibbous Phase. It is the cusp of the Zodiac sign Aries. Why the 18th?
My analysis had exhausted the various circles in my mind’s Venn diagram, which is how I visualize math problems, and shifted to the way I begin to prepare for trials, which is to search for the motives, or in shorthand to “follow-the-money-train” that experience taught me includes for politicians and bureaucrats the “staying-in-office-train.”
I noticed that the inflight cabin attendant carefully did not say it was a law (passed by Congress) but a requirement (issued by a bureaucrat) that travelers must wear masks on airplanes, at airports, on trains and buses. It is unclear the applicability to international flights. The Transportation Security Administration, created after 9/11, issued the rule.
TSA’s head is David Peter Pekoske, a Coast Guard admiral with an engineering degree from the Coast Guard Academy, and management degrees from Columbia University and MIT. The 60,000 TSA employees are the ones who are so helpful at airports in assisting travelers to remember those pesky corkscrews and nail clippers we often forget are in our luggage, or the keys in our pockets or the metal reinforcers in our hats or bras. But there have been no more 9/11’s.
However, based on the “consideration” shown other Trump appointees by this “inclusive” administration, my best guess is until his appointment expires this August, Adm. Pekoske will be disempowered by his reporting to the Department of Homeland Security while having to take recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
DHS’s head, Alejandro Mayorkas, was introduced by President Joe Biden as “the first Latino to hold the position of head of DHS.” Under President Barack Obama, he demonstrated his philosophy toward illegal migrants by increasing the number of DACAs and has continued it by increasing the numbers of unvaccinated, unvetted, unmasked, border crossers over our southern borders to 7,000 a day. Amazingly, he is announcing he is “studying” the causes for people preferring the U.S. over their own countries. Why not ask his parents why they brought him from Cuba to the US?
President Biden’s head of the CDC is Dr. Rochelle Walensky, a physician-scientist-professor with an expertise in HIV/AIDS. Early-on she demonstrated her political motives by her next day reversal of her decision on masks to match the president’s unscientific views. This showed a choice to not only ignore President Biden’s Executive Order 13994 that required a “data-driven responses to COVID,” but recently the New York Times reported that CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordland said she actively hid the data for ages 18-49 for the political reason that it might cause the public to lose confidence in the vaccines.
Where was the “committee” authorized by this EO?
Instead, the CDC is still relying on data from dissimilar populations of Israel and India. Recently the CDC “warned” that an end to the pandemic would cause the agency to lose the additional power received under the public health emergency, which includes its current powers to “tap financial reserves and to avoid normal accounting requirements under the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act.” Can you imagine a bureaucrat voluntarily ending their fantasy of spending someone else’s money without even accounting for it? The tracks for the money train next station led to the source of the HIPPA money.
HIPPA money originates in a division of the Labor Department. President Biden’s head of the Labor Department is Marty Walsh, the longtime president of Laborers Local Union 223, a position he maintained even while mayor of Boston. Undoubtedly, he was influenced by the president of the flight attendants’ union CWA of the AFL-CIO, Mary Schlangenstein, when she expressed her opposition to the scheduled date to end the mandate of March 19 even though 525 of the 814 unruly passengers her members encountered involved face masks. Will she also oppose April 18?
No discussion of any aspect of the pandemic would be complete without including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who despite being disproven on his opinions on contacting surfaces, shaking hands, distancing, vaccines, and masks (my article — “Masks: Scientific of Political” News Press, Feb. 20 — proved the reasons are political), and his former emails contradicting his congressional testimony (for Republicans this is called perjury), still spouts opinions on CNN from his seat in the White House. Will derailing the money-staying-in-office train on April 18 protect his base?
The train for canceling the regulation on April 18 runs through stations controlled by the TSA, the CDC, the DHS, the Labor Department, with a substation controlled by Dr. Fauci, to the White House, with any station having the opportunity to derail it in favor of the money-staying-in office-train.
Rather than ask why April 18, ask why not.
Brent E. Zepke is an attorney, arbitrator and author who lives in Santa Barbara. Formerly he taught at six universities and numerous professional conferences. He is the author of six books: “One Heart-Two Lives,” “Legal Guide to Human Resources,” “Business Statistics,” “Labor Law,” “Products and the Consumer” and “Law for Non-Lawyers.”