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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 9/16/20

How Should America Respond When Its President Commits Negligent Homicide?

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Trump vs Trump on Coronavirus. He said,.It will go away. Stay calm..
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Bob Woodward interviewed Donald Trump back in January and February and now tells us that, way back then, Trump realized that the coronavirus was not only quite deadly and would infect even children, but also was airborne and highly contagious.

Right now it's fashionable to attack Bob Woodward for having sat on all that information, and debate whether he had a "duty to warn."

It's a reasonable discussion, but it misses the larger picture.

If Donald Trump knew how deadly COVID was, Bob Woodward could not have been the only person he told. Everybody in the Cabinet, the Vice President, the Health and Human Services Secretary, and pretty much everybody working around him in the White House had to have known.

He even put Mike Pence in charge of the coronavirus task force back then. They all knew.

So rather than asking why Woodward didn't tell us, shouldn't we be asking why our government officials, who are paid to keep America safe, also didn't tell us or do anything about it?

We talk a lot about the "Trump Crime Family" but his entire Cabinet knew how bad this was last winter, too. Not only are Trump and his kids grifters and liars, but he put together an entire cabinet of grifters and liars.

In fact, it went beyond that. Senators Kelly Loeffler and Richard Burr, both Republicans, dumped stock after getting briefed about this knowledge.

A physician and professor at George Washington University has suggested that Donald Trump is guilty, at the least, of "negligent homicide." And certainly this is criminal political behavior.

Trump didn't just ignore what he knew about this virus, he actively lied about it to the American people. And he continues to lie about it to this day.

Holding giant rallies, as he did over the weekend, will lead to increased infection spreads and more deaths. There will be other Herman Cain's who will die in a few months because of what Trump is doing right now.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)
 

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11 people are discussing this page, with 27 comments  Post Comment


John Jonik

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By "America" Thom probably means just one country....the United States OF America....not all the Americas from the Arctic to Tierra del Fuego.

Why calling the USA "The USA", or at least "The States" or "The United States" is such a problem is so far unexplained.

Other Americans....say in Costa Rico or Peru or Mexico or Canada, etc etc may not care to be dragged into or linked to crimes etc. of the current leadership of United States OF America.

Ah...but "MUSAGA" lettering, instead of "MAGA", may not fit well on baseball hats.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:49:48 AM

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Reply to John Jonik:   New Content

I've given up correcting people on this. It's essentially universal. One announcer on Columbia University's WKCR Bach festival, though, consistently calls musicians native to the U.S. as "United Statesian". A little awkward. I compromise and call my native country "United States" or U.S. or U.S.A and its citizens "Americans". It's not inaccurate, just imprecise.

If Trump were serious about making this nation great--and I know from your previous posts you and I disagree on this--"MUSGA isn't so bad for a baseball cap.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 3:24:49 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to John Jonik:   New Content

I agree 100%. Of course it is awkward placing America in quote marks, or italics or even in lower case...more typing etc. I wish to state without reservation that I agree with your objections even when I fail to reduce the mental propaganda effects of writing America, america, "America", etc.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:59:28 PM

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John Jonik

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Reply to shad williams:   New Content

No need for quotes etc for mis-used, easy-to-sing, patriotic-sounding nickname "America". Easy enough to just say "the US" or "the USA" or "US citizens" etc.

Then there's the matter of colonized Hawaii....which is in Polynesia, of course, far, far from the Americas.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 1:54:14 AM

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Obviously, the only panic Trump wanted to avoid was the stock market. However, had Woodward released these interviews earlier, as some vehemently insist he should have, it probably would have saved just about zero lives. Those of us taking the virus seriously did so back in February, and when it had clearly arrived on our shores, took recommended (though evolving) precautions. Those who believed it to be a "Democratic hoax" would have simply written off Woodward as "fake news". (In fact that's exactly what Trump tweeted when he learned Woodward's book was not flattering to him: "fake").

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 3:32:10 PM

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I think the commenters here are discussing the wrong question of semantics. The IMPORTANT issue here isn't whether we call citizens (or residents) of the U.S.A Americans. The really burning semantic question is whether Trump and his administration are guilty of "negligent homicide" or "negligent genocide." At the price of creating whole new category of crime, I vote for the latter wording.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 4:13:15 PM

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

Please check a dictionary before using genocide for any purpose. Abusing the language favours miscommunication.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 4:41:36 PM

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

If you're so sure of your viewpoint, kindly explain how Mike Lofgren (and I, following his example) have misused the term. Clearly, one essential condition, unnecessary killing in LARGE numbers, is met.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:00:47 PM

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

I don't know who Mike Lofgren is, but Merriam-Webster has the conventional definition:

  • the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group
What group do you see being systematically destroyed?

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 5:14:16 AM

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

FYI: The RWANDA GENOCIDE took place over a hundred day period, between April 7 - July 15 1994

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 11:29:33 AM

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The United Nations defined Genocide in 1948, in the "Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." To constitute Genocide, acts must be carried out with the intent to destroy an ethnic, national, racial or religious group. Such acts include ANY of the following committed in wartime or peacetime.

a. killing members of the group.

b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm.

c. Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction, in whole or in part.

Jared Kushner's aborted national coronavirus testing program was a good faith, science-led, critical first-step strategy, in tracking the presence, prevalence and path of the virus. Needless to say, given the lack of a definitive cure or vaccine, early detection and interdiction, would have saved multitudes upon multitudes of lives. The deep-sixing of this official pandemic response mission; was a betrayal of the government's weighty and sacrosanct duty, to serve and protect its citizens. Kushner determined that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary, and would not make sense politically. This was ultimately the clincher for Trump, who formally withdrew federal government responsibility, in full knowledge of the unnecessary deaths and turmoil that would ensue.

The blue states suffered the initial brunt of the deadly disease, and were deprived of desperately required life-saving testing facilities; leaving them flailing and submerged, in a sea of mounting deaths and misery. The mindless, relentless, tireless and vicious virus was deployed as a stealth weapon, against the denizens of these states, and their leaders. The Machiavellian political ploy led to countless avoidable deaths, annihilated livelihoods, decimated families, damaged communities and prolonged physical and mental agony.

Citizens in Democratic Party "blue states," who align themselves with the Democratic Party, can be said to fall into, or belong to a "national group." There was a deliberate intent to deprive this group of life-saving facilities, with the full knowledge, that death, and serious bodily and mental harm, would ensue to those infected with Covid-19. The group was deliberately targeted and inflicted with conditions calculated to bring about their destruction in part. It was an act of Genocide.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 11:11:15 PM

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Reply to Irene Fowler:   New Content

Irene, Thanks for an enlightening comment, which was along the lines of my own intended answer (you beat me to the punch).

It's amazing how silly commenters on this site can get over semantics, when there are larger things at stake. The key point is that Trump's criminal negligence NEEDLESSLY killed over 100,000 people. We don't simply don't have a term for negligent killing on that scale; when THAT many people die, "negligent homicide" simply doesn't cover the case; "genocide" is the only term I know that fits comparable numbers.

So we're left with quibbles about whether the killing targeted groups; when that many people needlessly died due to Trump's criminal negligence, THAT is the important criminal fact; if groups were targeted, that simply worsens an already HUMONGOUS crime. I think, as you indicate, there's evidence that blue state voters, people of color, and the elderly were targeted as expendable. But targeted or not, genocide or not this negligent mass homicide is already a major crime.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 12:50:16 PM

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K.H. Williams

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What should we do? Register to vote (deadlines are fast approaching), and vote in record numbers. Flood the place with our votes and ballots. Find out the voting deadlines, and allow plenty of time for mail-in ballots. Check your local election office online for complete voting info. in your area, for a sample ballot, for info. about your polling place, and early and absentee-ballot voting. Check the voter's guide published by the non-partisan League of Women Voters (lwv.org). Check your state and local chapters of the LWV for more info. about any referendums or amendments on your ballot, and for online candidate-forums in your area. Pay careful attention to the directions on your absentee ballot and fulfill them exactly as directed without deviation --or your ballot could be thrown out. More than 10% are tossed due to non-compliance. If you are required to sign an absentee ballot, your signature should precisely match your drivers' licence signature or, possibly, your signature as it appears on file on your voter registration papers at the local election office. If you registered decades ago, your signature could have changed. Call your local Supervisor of Elections to confirm these and other details, and maybe go in person to see for yourself the signature that's on file. Remember...Like it or not, politics and "public servants" affect our lives.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:12:43 PM

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shad williams

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Reply to K.H. Williams:   New Content

If the people are going to revolt because they have "lost" the franchise, I suppose the final straw must be implementation of your proposal. On the other hand what is the proof when the two party paradigm is evenly numbered?

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 5:54:32 PM

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Reply to K.H. Williams:   New Content

Just left to itself, I don't find your advice very helpful. I think, for example, it would be MUCH more helpful if everyone planning to vote for Trump stayed home (or perhaps better, caught Covid-19 and died). Do you have any advice on HOW we should vote? Or what we do, once one of our none-too-ideal options wins office.

Of course, I value the RIGHT to vote, but I think, given our brainwashed public and undemocratic institutions like the Electoral College, the results of people voting can be simply abominable. Trump, probably the worst of U.S. presidents, is in office, and that's clearly the result of people voting in our messed-up system.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 8:08:03 PM

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If you go to this page on the Univ of Washington's Covid website, and on the right side change the pull-down selection from "North America" to "World", you can see, in a color coded map, how the US is stacking up against other countries in terms of "total deaths per hundred thousand". Also, there is a slider at the bottom of the page where you can move backward or forward in time up to the site's projections up to January. By hovering your mouse over a place on the map you can read the exact numbers for a country.

I notice that while the US isn't doing too well, it compares with countries like UK, Italy, Belgium, France, Sweden, and Spain, whose leaders are presumably also guilty of negligent homicide. Of course, in the US, with our Federal system, we often leave decisions up to individual state governments, as Trump specifically did in the case of Covid, so there may be other officials we can try for negligent homicide, especially in the cases of New York and New Jersey, where the deaths were so high, apparently higher than anywhere else in the world.

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 7:19:56 PM

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Reply to Fred W:   New Content

Good observations. It's disappointing to see such blind bias instead of the thoughtful commentary I look for from progressive thinkers. Blaming every disturbing thing on Trump betrays shallow thinking -- more Trump-like than the blamer wants to admit, I'm sure.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 2:39:37 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Reply to David Wieland:   New Content

David,

It is also the people he draws to him - the loyalists like Bill Barr, Jared Kushner etc. Like attracts like: this is a whole "criminal family." And how we see , think about and deal with them presents an ethical test for all of us.

click here

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 6:57:17 PM

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Thom Hartmann rarely has a kind word for America's humble, hard(ly) working Republican political action figures. When America was great, parents taught their children manners.

"If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing" is excellent advice. Should Thom Hartman's parents go to heaven or hell for what they did, or failed to do?

Submitted on Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020 at 9:26:02 PM

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Reply to Dink Winkerton:   New Content

Where are these "heaven" or "hell" places?

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 2:15:53 AM

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Reply to John Jonik:   New Content

John,

If you're curious you might want to check out The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rimpoche.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 6:14:05 PM

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Reply to Dink Winkerton:   New Content

Dink,

The necessary beginning of healing traumas is to speak about them.

America was never "great." Powerful, yes. But the country was built on genocide (of indigenous Native Americans) and on the backs of Black slaves.

Saying nothing just keeps the pain and oppression repressed and making room for more of the same in new forms.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 4:53:51 PM

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Reply to Blair Gelbond:   New Content

You're right, Blair, which is EXACTLY why we need to talk about this "shithole election" and the political illegitimacy that will make Biden "President Bastard" (even though we must vote out "President Fascist"). Hope you yourself will consider healing these current traumas by speaking about them.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 5:15:43 PM

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Reply to Patrick Walker:   New Content

Patrick,

As I see it, the main issue -- assuming that the (to use your vernacular) Sick f*ck Trump doesn't manage to hold on to his position -- is whether Biden will be capable of being influenced in a progressive dimension. And secondly, whether the powers-that-be (or his age) allow him to live. I, for one, don't trust Harris, don't like the look on her face, or some of her past initiatives as I understand them.

BTW - Hartmann seems like a good example of being able to tell the truth, without rage-full language. In fact, I understand that he has many people who love what he does - and who pay a lot of attention to what he says. Now, he probably is a genius. Yet, after reading his spiritual autobiography - The Prophets Way - I can see the way his spiritual orientation infuses all of his actions.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 5:58:34 PM

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Blair Gelbond

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Patrick:

Worth checking out?

click here

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 6:49:06 PM

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Patrick Walker

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Reply to Blair Gelbond:   New Content

Blair,

Hartmann is, as I am not, a big supporter of the Democratic Party. He's quite intelligent in shredding Republicans but rarely is nearly as critical of Democrats.

Since Hartmann is not generally calling the whole system and both its parties illegitimate, he doesn't face the task (as I do) of trying to awaken and organize around outrage against a very corrupt system and BOTH parties. I DON'T think it takes a genius to do what Hartmann does; just someone intelligent and well-informed who buys into the Democratic Party. (I find in that a failure of perceptiveness.)

If I succeed in what I'd like to do, I think I would deserve the name of genius--because no one has ever pulled it off. Not that I'm likely to either; my best guess is I'll wind up as a genius manque, an interesting failure. But we've all gotta give things our best shot, according to our lights.

And by the way, I'm only SELECTIVELY vulgar, choosing my vulgarities based on reason. I chose "shithole election" because Trump put "shithole countries" on the map, and by saying we have a "shithole election," I mean to imply that that makes us a "shithole country." And I think we should call Biden "President Bastard," because--besides expressing anger--the term implies political illegitimacy. If he had to awaken people to the illegitimacy of our whole rotten system, I seriously doubt Hartmann could do better.

Submitted on Friday, Sep 18, 2020 at 2:01:23 AM

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William P. Homans

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In my article yesterday (Click Here

I noted that we have a President that does not care, any more than the novel coronavirus does, whether any one of us live or die. I was looking for a way to bring up negligent homicide, without taking up too much space, but luckily you engaged the question succinctly.

Submitted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 at 9:42:50 PM

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