For the first time, a non-partisan report has cataloged, all in one place, the federal government’s weak, disjointed, leaderless defense against the coronavirus.
The 282-page study by the independent non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Urgent Actions Needed to Better Ensure an Effective Response to the pandemic, could best be listed as a catalog of capital crimes, carried out against you, me, and the rest of us.
The details are public, at https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-21-191.
The scope of the disaster ranges from no personal protective equipment for frontline workers to underpaying jobless people who don’t qualify for state unemployment benefits to not even reporting the prevalence of the coronavirus at state-run veterans hospitals.
There’s more, much more, and it’s all horrifying.
The GAO recommended a series of agency actions to clean up the mess since it’s especially obvious the pandemic, which has taken almost 300,000 lives already, will continue into next year and possibly beyond, even if anti-viral vaccines become widely available.
After all, how do you inoculate 330 million people and counting?
The one thing the GAO auditors and investigators did not do, because they’re non-partisan, is to lay blame for this horrifying disaster, which has sickened 14 million people and thrown approximately 20 million—the exact number is now up in the air, the report says, due to missing data—out of their jobs due to pandemic-forced business closures.
The auditors do, however, criticize two GOP Trump regime agencies, the Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration, for not tracking where federal corporate subsidy dollars went, to deserving recipients or not, and whether those firms spent them to keep workers on the job, the key condition for getting the cash.
GAO can’t lay the blame because they’re non-partisan. We can because we’re not.
Let us not forget on whose watch this disaster and fiasco occurred: Republican Oval Office occupant Donald Trump.
Let us also not forget how Trump stifled science, refused responsibility, lied to us about early forecasts from his own staff of the pending pandemic, peddled quack cures, left everything to governors—while robbing them of money and people to battle the virus and the joblessness—and strong-armed “red states” into reopening too soon and too fast.
And Trump’s Republican Party devotees refused to rise up and oppose him, on behalf of even their own voters. Instead, they repeated his lies and pushed his reopening schemes, disastrously. It’s no coincidence GOP-ruled and gerrymandered “red states” led by Texas and Florida, the second-and third-most-populous states, have become huge viral hotspots.
This is a capital crime against you and me and anyone who wants to beat the virus, stay alive, or both. Also complicit are Trumpites who yell, brandish guns, don’t protect themselves or others, and threaten people, in office and out, who take anti-viral measures seriously.
In the U.S. Constitution, impeachable offenses are “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors.” Doing nothing and letting 300,000 of your citizens die qualifies to us as a “high crime.” We’d call it aiding and abetting mass murder.
Too bad we can’t impeach and convict Trump, his staffers, and his congressional sycophants for that crime. At least a majority of we the voters threw him out of office.
We should have ejected his allies, too. Let’s remedy that error in future elections.
Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People’s World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.