Hometown Connection

The word is that you can never go home again. I was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in an adjacent suburb. I have no desire to return to Western New York (other than perhaps a visit – it’s a great place to eat). Having lived there for the first 47 years of my life it will always be a part of me. If I notice someone is from there I tend to pay just a little bit more attention especially if we share an alma mater. That can be both good and bad. New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg is a fellow Western New York native and SUNY-Buffalo alum. I follow her work and suggest you do also. Michael Caputo was born in Buffalo, off and on lived in Western New York and attended SUNY-Buffalo. The three of us are certainly not alike. Let’s explore.

In April Donald Trump named Caputo to the post of Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) for Public Affairs; in other words he is the department’s spokesperson. His main qualification for the office is that, like his boss HHS Secretary Alex Azar, he is a Trump sycophant. Caputo has no medical or scientific background yet he has become the gatekeeper and editor of CDC reports about the coronavirus pandemic in America. What happened to, “Only the best”?

Caputo’s first government experience was working for Oliver North during the Reagan administration. (Is it just me or does much of the bad in American government trace back to Reagan?)

Along the way Caputo picked up a mentor. His name may be familiar to you. It is Roger Stone. Yes, that Roger Stone.

Caputo has made a career mostly of being a political consultant. He has lived many places including Russia and Ukraine. Over time his clients have included Carl Paladino, Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin. It appears his relationship with Trump began in 2014 when he aided the ill-fated and subject of scandal Trump bid to buy the Buffalo Bills. It continued in 2016 when Caputo joined the Trump campaign.

Caputo’s concern is making Trump look good, not the accuracy of information. In the process American lives are endangered. Of late the official daily numbers show deaths holding relatively steady while the number of cases appear to be abating. Unless we are at the end of the pandemic (and we are not!) the only explanations are an anomaly or manipulation of the data. I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

There is a saying that information is power. This is a case where accurate information is a matter of life and death. I have frequently criticized the behavior of some. That irresponsible behavior is in part motivated by disinformation. Many Americans are now at the point where they seriously question, if not outright disbelieve, the information coming from previously unimpeachable government sources that dealt in the truth with no regard for its political or stock market impact.

While the greater Buffalo area may not be in the top tier of American cities, it is large and has room for more than one “flock”. It seems that birds of a feather do flock together. Please compare me with Michelle not Michael!

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