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Judgment at Washington

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | April 26th, 2020

Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds: “Because We Know Who You Are….
In 1944 as a prisoner of war in a German labor camp M/Sgt Edmonds was the leader of the American prisoners. One morning at roll call the German commander demanded that all the Jews in the formation step forward. Edmonds said: “We are all Jews here.” The German officer pulled his Luger from its holster and put the barrel against Edmonds’s forehead and commanded: “Sergeant, One last chance. You will order the Jews to step forward or I will shoot you right now.” Edmonds: “Major you can shoot me, but you will have to kill all of us—because we know who you are—and you will be tried for war crimes when we win this war. And you will pay.” The German put his Luger back in the holster.

The Germans who did commit major war crimes were found guilty at the Nuremberg trials held after the war in 1945-46. Many perpetrators ended up with long prison sentences and nine were hanged. I thought of this story after listening to Donald the Lyin’ King at one of his political rallies disguised as a Covid-19 press conference. Thousands of Americans have been virus-killed by his incompetence, ignorance, narcissism, stupidity, and mental disorders too numerous to mention. Read the Manuel of Mental Disabilities for sociopath and psychopath. His pleas to “liberate Minnesota, Michigan and Virginia” by asking his zombies to participate in rallies against shelter-in-place sponsored by his rich donors the Kochs and DeVoses is really a war crime because a lot of his zombies will die from the virus—and will kill others exposed by them. Just like after the Holocaust, when this pandemic is over, we must have Washington pandemic trials for negligence and men, women, and children manslaughter.

I Trust George Packer To Tell The Truth—As I Trust Donald The Lyin’ King To Lie
The June Atlantic has a summary written by George Packer of what has happened to us during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the actions of our “wartime president.” He has covered domestic and foreign policy for many years in the New Yorker, Atlantic, and other publications. He has written several books about American history and foreign interventions such as the Iraq War. He won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2013 for his book, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. I read his stuff because he always does his homework—and tells the truth-whether you like it or not. In contrast, I do not listen to or read about Trump’s statements because he always lies—over 18,000 now.

Here is Packer’s opening paragraph of a terrific article everyone should read: “When the virus came here, it found a country with serious underlying conditions, and it exploited them ruthlessly….The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. The United States reacted instead like Pakistan or Belarus—like a country with shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering. The administration squandered two irretrievable months to prepare. From the president came willful blindness, scapegoating, boasts, and lies. From his mouthpieces, conspiracy theories and miracle cures. A few senators and corporate executives acted quickly—not to prevent the coming disaster, but to profit by it. When a government doctor tried to warn the public of the danger, the White House took the mic and politicized the message. Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state.” The Boston Globe newspaper ran 16 pages of obituaries in one day last week. What the hell, shelter-in-place protesters, let’s all get back to work!

Why Is Our Government Paying $7.00 For 75 Cent N95 Masks?
Because it is corrupt to the core. While Attorney General William Barr runs around the country spouting Roman Catholic Opus Dei bullshit about “religious freedom,” abortion, contraceptives, and his allegiance to a nutcase con man, the grifters and thieves are busy fleecing the American taxpayers instead of going to jail for gouging, fraud, swindling, and misrepresentation. What is the Justice Department and FBI doing to put these crooks in jail?

I see Donald the Lyin’ King wants to bail out “our” cruise line corporations. I agree. There is only one cruise ship, the NCL America’s Pride of America, flagged and registered in the United States. Pay them off. There are currently 100 cruise ships out on the oceans someplace with 80,000 workers that can’t seem to dock anyplace. There are four big cruise line companies and dozens of smaller “headquartered” lines in the U.S. Disney ships are registered in the Bahamas. Go to Nassau for your bailout check. Royal Caribbean ships are registered in Liberia. Your bailout check is there. Celebrity ships are registered in Malta. Dock and collect your check. Carnival ships are registered in Panama. You can stop and pick up your bailout check as you go through the canal. For the rest of the cruise lines, go to your countries of registry and blow your whistle. I would imagine they will rush out to the harbor with your bailout checks. You made your decision decades ago when you did not want to follow U.S. labor and safety laws for your 441,000 employees or pay taxes in the country where you made most of your money. Over 75% of cruise passengers are American citizens. Try suing a cruise line. It’s a long trip to Liberia. See ya later.

Dear Congress: Why Are We Bailing Out These Groups?
Harvard University, which has over $40 billion in the bank, applied for and got a “stimulus” check from taxpayers for $8.6 million. It refused ti give it up, claiming they were going to use it to pay the tuition for poor students enrolling at their elite university. If it is so altruistic, why hasn’t it used $8.6 million out of its own endowment of $40 million to do the same thing? Why steal it from a qualifying organization which is broke? Can’t a well-educated Harvard guy figure out when enough is really enough? I guess greed gets you somewhere. Well, Harvard finally was embarrassed enough to send the check back—but only because Stanford and Princeton refused their checks.

Why should we bail out the airlines? They have been very profitable for over five years while turning their coach seats into flying cattle cars to squeeze in the riff-raff. The four top lines—American, Delta, United, and Southwest—spent a combined $39 billion buying stock back so the CEOs and other executives could pay themselves $666 million in compensation. (By the way, the top cruise line executives cut themselves $448 million in compensation with stock buybacks.)

If the four airlines had used profits to reduce liabilities instead of stuffing their pockets they would have been better prepared to handle flying during pandemics. You don’t need bailouts, you need lessons about saving up bucks to cover problems caused by rainy days instead of taking all the profits when the sun shines—and then yelling and whining for help from taxpayers while having full wallets. Take them out and put some of the cash back. And Boeing? You screwed up by killing people because you put passenger jets in the air while building the planes. Your lesson is “free market” greed: go bankrupt and finish them on the ground. Boeing spent $53 billion on stock buybacks in the last five years, enriching executives and shareholders. Don’t try to screw the taxpayers. Empty your full wallets—then head for the breadlines.

Where Is That List Of The Superrich Who Are Taking Care Of Their Employees?
I guess the Disney Corporation doesn’t want to be on the list. While cutting the pay of 100,000 workers, the company provided more than $1.5 billion to protecting executive bonuses and dividends. That amount of cash would keep all of their workers’ salaries paid for three months. Executive chairman Bob Iger did give up $3 million of his salary and ended up with only $47 million in compensation. That’s a real sacrifice. Suspending the pay of half its theme park and hotel employees will save Disney $500 million a month. Those employees will have to depend on the safety nets of several countries to survive.

Abigail Disney, granddaughter of Walt, is a very rich woman because of Disney stock, but she is an Emmy Award-winning film-maker who is completely pissed-off—and ashamed—of how the Disney company is run. She summed it up: “That’d pay for three months’ salary to frontline workers (the $1.5 billion), and it’s going to people who have already been collecting egregious bonuses for years. Dividends aren’t all bad, given the number of fixed-income folks who rely on them. But still 80% of shares are owned by the wealthiest 10%. Pay the people who make the magic happen with respect and dignity they have more than earned from you. This company must do better.” Amen.

Should Atheists Pay Taxes To Support Evangelical Christian Ministers’ Salaries?
A Pepperdine University professor pushed the idea in the Wall Street Journal that places of worship were essential so we should pay minister salaries. In their hour of great need the collection plates were not passed in empty churches. Of course, this is a Trumplican professor from a conservative university trying to pull a flim-flam in a Trumplican newspaper. “Christian” ministers like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Paula White, and Pat Robertson have destroyed Christianity in the U.S. in three short years by helping to elect “The Chosen One.”

Atheists, now at 15% instead of 7%, think religion is a scam and 40% of young Americans now agree with the atheists--and do not affiliate with any church or religion. They do not want to support anti-Christian climate deniers who are anti-gay, pro-AR15, pro-white, anti-abortion, anti-Social Security, anti-Medicare, anti-Medicaid, anti-black-Latino-Jew-Asian-Native American-American Samoan, anti-immigrant, pro-wealth, and vote against the disabled. These “Christians” do not even want to feed the poor or allow them to vote. How can they still use the name and life of Christ? Yes, we do need freedom of religion. But we must also have freedom from religion. Otherwise we might all be wrapping rattlesnakes around our necks while boogying to a hymn.

And what was Congress thinking when they made private think tanks eligible for “stimulus” checks funded by billionaires who want to run the government? It’s beyond comprehension. The plutocrats have already bought Congress. Now they want taxpayer money to run the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, Freedom Works, and other right-wing propaganda mills which have screwed workers, unions, the disabled, and taxpayers for forty years.

Some Trumplicans want to suspend payroll taxes for the rest of the year “to put more money in the hands of workers.” Your payroll taxes go toward Social Security and Medicare. Fight that to the death—because many depend on both for survival. Can you imagine the Trumplicans voting to fund future deficits in both when the rich right-wingers have been trying to eliminate both essential programs for years?

After this pandemic is over we need to convene a court in Washington to determine responsibility—as we did at Nuremberg 75 years ago. Nineteen defendants and three organizations were found guilty of war crimes.

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