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The Golden Age of Impunity

by Ed Raymond | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Gadfly | August 9th, 2020

Will We Ever Recover From The Trump Pandemic Sweeping The Divided States?
Some foreigners are terribly concerned about the future of the Divided States of America. They say we are committing mass suicide. We are in the middle of a number of national pandemics we need to fight. The 400 million firearms flooding the country are now appearing on both sides in our current racial civil war. Protesters supporting Black Lives Matter protests in hundreds of cities have been killed and wounded during marches by firearms made available through a firearms tsunami of the National Rifle Association and the gun culture. We evidently have failed to learn the lessons taught at the OK Corral and all of our mass shootings. We have hundreds of private militias “snoopin’ and poopin’” in the woods preparing to continue the civil war. One of these days we are going to read about a mass killing of protesters and anti-maskers by an exchange of AR-15 bullets. It is inevitable unless conceal and carry laws are changed quickly. Firearms are for hunting, not for settling disputes, establishing policy, or shopping at the mall. Carrying firearms and magazines loaded with bullets is as dumb as spreading COVID-19 droplets by not wearing a mask. There are ways to eliminate both pandemics. Politics at the point of a gun is outrageous. We don’t need a “High Noon” atmosphere to dominate civil rights protests:

“I do not know what fate awaits me, I only know I must be brave
And I must face a man who hates me, or lie a coward
A craven coward, or lie a coward in my grave.”

There is another national pandemic brought on by disaster capitalism, often called “plantation” capitalism by blacks who suffer from it. It’s the overwhelming greed of the drug, insurance, and health care industries that have killed over 70,000 Americans in 2019 and over 230,000 in the last five years. Deadly drug overdoses and addiction by highly addictive opioids have decimated the middle class to the point where our overall life expectancy is declining. All other developed countries are constantly increasing their life expectancy.

And then we have a psychopathic bunco con man who has convinced many “Christians” he is “The Chosen One!” He is a president who is the leader of the Ku Klux Klanners and has psychological flaws too numerous to mention here. Read the criteria for sociopath and psychopath in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disabilities (DSM-5) and see if you find one that does not fit Trump’s character. He is another national pandemic we need to eliminate.

The World Is Worried About The Lack of American Leadership
I was somewhat surprised to see a column entitled “”To America, From A Worried European Friend” in the July 29 issue of the conservative Wall Street Journal written by Daniel Schwammenthal, director of the American Jewish Committee, a global advocacy organization based in Brussels, Belgium. The paper knew a lot about him because he worked for the WSJ seven years as an editorial page writer and op-ed editor in Brussels and Amsterdam before assuming his present position. He was quite eloquent in expressing his concerns about Trump Company: “America today is what it has always been: a flawed society, like all others, but also a unique force for good in the world. No other multiethnic, multi-religious society can credibly claim to be more democratic, more prosperous and more just than the U.S. But America cannot remain the leader of the free world if it is itself no longer free. To be the guarantor of Western security requires military and economic power, but also a sense of mission. And right now Americans are committing mass character suicide…A country convinced that it is irredeemably racist can’t lead the world as the indispensible nation. America s headed for unprecedented polarization and possible civil unrest.” The former WSJ op-ed editor has expressed the thoughts of most of the capitals of Europe.

It has come to pass that the rich since Ronald Reagan are enjoying a Golden Age of impunity. For the last forty years disaster capitalism has screwed the middle class and the colored races, including some whites. In the future we will need an economic system that will work for everyone, not just the top Ten Percent.

We currently have 705 billionaires and 18.6 million millionaires in the Divided States of America. About 60% of their current wealth is inherited. In 2020 Americans will inherit about $765 billion. Many inheritors have never worked a day in their lives. They don’t even stick around when the going gets a little tough. The census takers in New York City are having a devil of a time doing their job because the lowest response rates to the census come from the wealthiest areas of the city. Many official residences of the wealthy are empty because they have escaped the virus by going to their island always-on-vacation homes around the world.

What Are The 500,000 Ultra-Wealthy Doing To Help Eliminate COVID-19?
There are 500,000 people in the world who have fortunes exceeding $30 million. Many keep busy flitting among the estates most of them own. An underwhelming 83 of them have called upon their governments to permanently increase their taxes to help their countries pay for the economic recovery from COVID-19. Some of the rich have empathy: “We are not the ones caring for the sick in intensive care wards. We are not driving the ambulances that will bring the ill to hospitals. We are not stocking grocery store shelves or delivering food door to door. But we do have money, lots of it. Money that is desperately needed now and will continue to be needed in the years ahead, as our world recovers from this crisis.” Bravo! But then we have the others, just like our Great Leader, who love only themselves.

Manuel and Elizabeth Henriquez will each spend six months in jail, will pay a fine of $200,000, and work off 200 hours of community service for spending well over $500,000 to get their two daughters enrolled in elite universities, Such an effort included bribing coaches, preparing fake athletic photos to interest recruiters, fixing scores on entrance exams, and other sins too numerous to mention. They are among the 55 wealthy people charged with fraud and racketeering by the FBI so far.

The statement made by the judge in this case chastises the wealthy for the selfishness demonstrated in all the fraud cases: “You have woefully misused your great wealth, and for the commission of this crime you need to go to jail, not only as punishment but also to deter any like-minded millionaires who might think that just because they are over-the-top wealthy, they aren’t obligated to live by the laws or the moral code applicable to everyone else.” It’s a marvelous message to the 500,000 hiding from the virus in their tax havens--and their responsibilities to the common good of their countries.

I just read an article about Dwight Eisenhower as supreme commander of allied forces on D-Day during World II and his role as our president during the following peace. In both jobs he realized there must be unity of purpose. He was a skillful manager of people while being an unpretentious man. He was buried in an old military uniform with five stars and just one row of ribbons on his chest. His casket was an $81 GI special. There’s a message there.

It Has Taken Just 40 Years For Wealthy Predators To Destroy American Democracy
It’s almost impossible to track the wealth 0f Amazon’s Jeff Bezos over the last six months because in one day he gained $13 billion. His world-leading personal fortune must be over $200 billion by now. Since his divorce settlement his ex-wife is the fourth richest woman in the world at last count. How did he get there? Maybe he is a “stable genius,” but a rotting government has made his climb possible. He still doesn’t pay hundreds of thousands of his workers in hell-hole distribution centers a living wage and fights unions at every level! Meanwhile, Amazon and Walmart became monopolies and have closed millions of small businesses in every state. Small business owners became Walmart greeters.

The agencies responsible for regulating capitalism have been starved over the last four decades. The Internal Revenue Service has been cut 23% just over the last decade. Over 30% of the FBI investigators who normally patrolled the “Greed is Good” boys of Wall Street were reassigned between 2001 and 2008. That’s exactly when Wall Street bankers brought on the Bush Recession by making lousy subprime mortgage loans one day and peddling them out the back door to investment suckers the next. Millions of Americans lost their homes as a result. U.S, banks should keep any mortgage they grant for the life of it. Canadian bankers have to be responsible for the life of mortgages. Canada did not have a housing disaster

In 2010 the Obama administration created “wealth squads” to find tax evaders and avoiders. It takes a lot of investigators to check on millionaires who may have bank accounts in 100 banks recommended by lawyers specializing in financial matters in Panama, Delaware, South Dakota, Monaco, and hundreds of island tax havens. To examine 100 bank accounts an investigator has to get 100 subpoenas. Some billionaire tax returns are 800 pages long. In 2014 The IRS estimated that one hour of investigative time yielded $4,545 in recovered revenue per hour. Because of funding cuts, only 3% of almost 20 million U.S. billionaire and millionaire tax returns are audited, The rest are probably getting away with fraud, abuse, neglect, and outright thievery. “Catch Me If You Can” becomes reality. We now have 14 million households with 40 million people going hungry in the so-called richest country in the world. Of our 700 billionaires only 100 have pledged to give away half of their wealth to charity. They “earn” it so fast it’s hard to spend it. In the last ten years their wealth has increased 95%, from $376 billion to $734 billion. In the last four months the 100 have increased their wealth during the pandemic by $214 billion. That’s why there’s so much money in the Wall Street casino stock market. It’s like Vegas on steroids.

Who Is Regulating Health Insurance and Hospital Charge Lists?
How are billionaires getting more billions? We now have $2.125 million single drug treatments for spinal muscular atrophy and a drug treatment costing $71,306.48 a month for abnormal fat distribution. The drug companies have already killed 230,000 people with prescription drugs. Evidently, now they are creating 230,000 medical bankruptcies through drug bills. Debbie Krebs, an insurance attorney, went to an emergency room in New Jersey for a COVID-19 test because of lung pain and cough. The test was negative but her bill wasn’t. It was $1,980. Hayan Chara camped in a line for about ten hours so his eight-year-old son could have a COVID-19 test. His final bill came to $2,479 although the test cost $175. Welcome to free market health. One western hospital has an interesting range for COVID-19 tests: $199 to $6,408! One Texas lab charges $2,315 for virus tests. A recent COVID-19 victim had to have a double-lung transplant. The primary bill was $1.3 million, but did not include intensive care, hospital room, and “miscellaneous” costs. She’s waiting for the rest of the bills, hoping some are not “out-of-network.”

If you are against a universal healthcare system such as Medicare-For-All you must be a health insurance CEO, a hospital administrator, a cardiologist, a Wall Street investor, a real fan of Joe Biden, or go to Fox News for medical news instead of the New England Journal of Medicine or the Lancet.



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