I didn't want to throw this story in with the previous blog. It deserves its own article.
There are news reports that Governor Cuomo of NY has ordered, or is planning to order, the National Guard to seize up to 20% of the ventilators from upstate NY.
In New York, the city dominates the state government, which is heavily liberal/democrat. Upstate NY is the rest of the state which is mostly republican and rural or smaller cities. Governor Cuomo and his democratic legislature have pretty much been killing the economy of upstate. As an example, banning fracking. Nearby Pennsylvania is prospering from fracking. Upstate New York is dying.
Now what law do you think allows a Governor to seize critical medical equipment from your local hospital during a medical crisis? The Constitution pretty much bans the taking of private property without due process and without reimbursement. So, Governor Cuomo's order is illegal and unconstitutional on its face.
A proper approach would have been to negotiate with local hospitals to share and shift any excess capacity as needed throughout the state. Though I don't think upstaters would have trusted him to live up to any agreement.
But there is a second problem. The National Guard has two functions. When Governors call them up for local disasters, the state pays most of the cost, and they are working for the Governors. But the President can also call up the National Guard for war or national emergencies. When he calls up the Guard the nation pays and the President is their commander. The Governors are not in the chain of command.
I suspect we have a weird situation here. It's my understanding the President called up the Guard and nationalized them to take the financial pressure off the states. He's in command. But I also think he's allowing the Governors to use the Guard pretty much as they see fit.
So here we have the NY Governor reportedly ordering the National Guard to take unconstitutional actions and seize private property.
Having retired from the US Air Force, I'm aware that any member of the armed forces is not supposed to obey an illegal order. Most people think of the Mai Lai massacres in Vietnam or the Nazi attempted genocide of Jews. But a member of the armed forces can be prosecuted for violating any law or treaty, and being given an order to do so by a superior is not a defense. You may not know it, but the military has LOTS of lawyers, and the commanders use them routinely.
So the National Guard commander that receives the Governor's order to seize ventilators from hospitals needs to think carefully before executing the order. I'm sure the National Guard commander and senior officers are all political appointees. You probably need to get down to colonels and below to get non-political officers. So I would suspect the state National Guard commander will try to execute.
The news articles suggest the seizure will occur using Black Hawks at night. If that is the process, it probably won't be local guard members seizing ventilators from their own community's hospitals. If the Black Hawk report is false news, it would normally be local guard members executing. Would they take ventilators knowing it would put their friends and families at risk?
Would the local guard units allow the seizures with the same concerns? Or would there be conflict?
Governor Cuomo would also have the state police as an option to the National Guard. But state police might end up confronting local police and sheriff deputies (and being outnumbered) if they tried to do the seizures.
To me, this is just plain stupid. Way too much chance of open conflict between local police and guard forces and state directed forces. Then too, there are the local civilians who might show up with their own firearms to defend their communities.
If Governor Cuomo actually executes, his best bet, if he can, is to use the Black Hawks in the dead of night.
As the title states, this is idiocy!