Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Why Do Rich White People Get Away with Crime?

 


Why Do Rich White People Get Away with Crime?

 by C.A. Matthews

Editor's note: The pronoun "they" is being used occasionally in this article to keep the gender of the "rich white person" anonymous. 

Why do rich white people get away with crime? Why do they only get a tiny slap on the wrist whenever they get caught in the act of committing a crime? Anyone else—especially the poor and people of color (or POC)--would get the book thrown at them for the same offense. It ruins POC's lives and livelihoods, but rich white people (RWP for short) are able to commit crimes and go back to business as usual. It makes no sense. It keeps me awake at night.

I've had the unfortunate experience to encounter just such a crime. I won't name names or give too many specifics here because I realize that I'm not a rich white person. (I'm far from rich, and I'm partially non-white.) RWP could use the current justice system against me for calling out their despicable behavior. So, instead I will give a general outline of the crime and how it has affected me and others. Then, I will give a call to action so we can all take steps to stop this sort of thing from ever happening again. 

One day a certain rich white person was given the authority to disburse money from several different state Medicaid grant funds in a public institution of higher learning in which they worked. At some point, this person decided to give some of the grant money to a relative's private non-profit without going through proper channels or disclosing their conflict of interest. 

Now, this non-secular non-profit, among other things, runs some social programs to help feed the area poor and help school kids, particularly students of color. One could argue this was a good place to use the grant money for the benefit of the community. There's no disputing that the non-profit's programming was worthy of financial support. However, apparently giving grant money to this non-profit was never okayed by the school. Possibly the grant money wasn't designated for these types of programs, or this decision was not one that should have been made solely by the rich white person.

You might think this is a "slap on the wrist" type of infraction at first, but it gets worse. This "misuse of funds" didn't happen once or in small amounts. The rich white person continued to take more and more money from the institution's Medicaid grant funds and to give it to their relative's non-profit over and over again over a period of several years. It added up—big time. 

 

The institution eventually caught on to what was happening and the state ran an audit. The amount of missing money is… Well, it's more than many of us could ever dream of making in over a decade working full-time at minimum wage or even at $15/hour. And not all of the stolen money went to the relative's non-profit programs—some of it went toward purchasing personal items, such as expensive fashion accessories. 

The rich white person was eventually fired from their lofty position at the school and charged with several felony counts of misappropriation of funds/theft in office. According to state law, each count could have landed this person in jail for many years and restitution more than likely would have been ordered.

To make a long story short, the rich white person went to court but did not go to jail. It's unclear at this time whether any of the grant money taken will be paid back/has been paid back or not. To add icing to the cake of white privilege, the rich white person did not lose their license to practice their esteemed profession in the state where these felonies were committed.

The judge did the defendant a further favor by making it so they won’t even have a criminal record if they promise they won't commit a similar crime again. It's a type of adjudication that's usually reserved for young adults who commit a serious crime but seem to have a promising future. Judges can use their discretion and apply this "diversion program" to help kids out so they can grow up without a permanent black mark on their record. (Suffice it to say, this rich white person is much older than eighteen, and it is rare for this program to be implemented for anyone other than young adults.)

I dare you now to go back and substitute "poor person of color" for "rich white person" in this story and tell me how you think the story would end. You and I both know it would end very differently! A poor person of color would be sentenced to jail time and definitely would have been forced to pay back all the money they'd stolen plus interest. Their criminal record would be made public, not expunged, and it would destroy their chances of finding decent employment ever again.

What really drives a stake into my heart is that this money was not stolen from an obscenely wealthy capitalist. It wasn't stolen from a corporation that treats its workers with contempt by not providing health insurance. No, this money came from We the People, the taxpayers, and it was stolen from a public institution that had been given it through a state Medicaid program. It was the public's money—not a private corporation's or individual's money. There were no "Robin Hood" antics going on here. 

I worked as a Medicaid caseworker, so I know how much Medicaid programs can help struggling families, especially poor families of color. The rich white person decided to steal from us, the taxpayers, via a grant funded by a government program that helps the poor. Stealing from a government program that helps the poor to "help" other poor people doesn't make sense, unless you think of how giving large sums of money to a private non-profit might make it appear "successful" in the eyes of others. A successful non-profit usually has an easier time raising more money from donors than a not-quite-as-successful-looking one.

It seems clear to me: The rich white person who took this grant money wasn't motivated to help poor people in particular. They were more interested in helping their relative's non-profit look successful. They might have even done it to elevate their own status in the larger community, by being seen as "savior" of sorts through their "generous donations." 

Now that the grant money gravy train is gone, will the lack of regular infusions of  stolen money cause the non-profit to eventually close its doors? What will happen to the social programs that the stolen money funded? Will donors who thought the non-profit was successful in its own right quit donating to it? Will these programs disappear? What happens to the people—the poor people, the people of color—who were helped out by those programs? Who knows? 

Will the public institution lose all access to federal and state grant monies in the future because an employee easily helped themselves to it? Will they be penalized by the government because of the theft? Will a lack of government grant monies in the future hurt funding programs to help students at this school? It's possible. 

The rich white person had a great lawyer and got off easy. They got to go back to their existence pretty much as it was before they decided to commit these felonies. Their future looks relatively rosy compared to the poor people who benefited from the non-profit's social programs. The rich white person won't be missing any meals or going without food tonight.

Why do RWP get away with crime? Because they can and they do.

I'm telling this story because I want you to know that this is not an isolated incident. RWP get off easy more often than not in court if and when they're even caught and charged with a crime in the first place. This wasn't a "victimless white-collar crime." Real social programs that helped real people are now at risk and a public higher learning institution has had its reputation tarnished--all because a person of means enjoyed playing around with the public's purse.

The American justice system doesn't need to be reformed--it needs to be totally obliterated. It's corrupt to its core. It's run by RWP for RWP who don't give a shit about the rest of us struggling to survive. It should be completely reworked until it's actually about delivering justice and not about letting rich white people have their way at the expense of others.

You might think I'm being unfair to this particular rich white person, that this person might have some sort of mental illness or an addiction that caused them to steal the grant money. I'm not unkind. I know there are many people who need mental health care and either cannot afford it or are too prideful to seek help. I've worked in drug rehab/psych wards and have encountered these individuals many times before.

But I also know that the law holds addicts and mentally ill persons accountable for their criminal actions—especially poor mentally ill people and addicts of color. If a poor drunk runs over and kills a person, that drunk goes to prison for vehicular manslaughter. The legal definition of sanity only considers if the person was able to understand what they did was wrong according to the law. I truly believe in this case this rich white person knew that taking the grant money was stealing, and that stealing is wrong, but they decided to do it anyway.


This is why we need to tear down and reconstruct our justice system from the ground up. We need to make it clear that no one gets a free "get out of jail card" simply because they belong to a privileged group. Your RWP connections do not grant you special privileges when it comes to crime sentencing, either. You are to be judged for your crimes the same as the poor and POC.

If anything, reparations should be made to the local POC community. For too long, RWP have enjoyed abusing the privileges of their high-status positions. They should pay double the restitution for all the monies and properties they've appropriated for their own use from the powerless. The rich white person in this story should pay double what they stole—once to the school they took the grant money from, and then again to the non-profit (under new management?) so that it can continue helping the poor uninterrupted and without the taint of stolen money.

I'm not the only American tired of rich white people getting away with crimes—just look at the huge outcry and numerous protests in the last year since George Floyd and other African-Americans have been brutally murdered. It's time arrogant rich assholes are forced to pay back what they took from the rest of us. It's time RWP tasted justice the same as the rest of us.

I will be hitting the law books hard this coming term, learning what I can do to help bring justice to asylum-seekers denied due process. Each of us has to get out of our comfort zone and do our part. We need to fight together to defeat the scourge of RWP justice once and for all. RWP justice must die so true justice can be reborn. Only then will freedom  ring for all, not just a few.

***

Families Belong Together (Logo)

I am overjoyed - this week, four families will be reunited years after they were ripped apart by the Trump administration’s cruel and sadistic child separation policy, including a toddler who was just three years old when he was taken away.

This is a historic milestone to unwinding the cruelty, hate and chaos the previous administration left behind, and to know that these parents will be able to hold their kids in their arms again after years of agonizing separation means everything.

These families should NEVER have been separated in the first place. It is our moral obligation to re-unite them, but the political reality is that these reunifications are the result of the tireless work of Immigrant Defenders, Las Americas, Al Otro Lado, CLINIC, and so many other fearless advocates, attorneys, and activists that makeup the Families Belong Together coalition.

The four families reuniting this week is and must only be the beginning. Hundreds of children remain separated. So much work remains to be done, not just for these families, but for the millions of families who live in fear of being separated by our broken immigration system.

Reunification is just the first step, the truth is that healing from this trauma will be a long journey. That's why we're calling on Congress to pass the Families Belong Together Act to make sure these families have the resources they need to heal.

Will you take two minutes to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the Families Belong Together Act?

Our movement has fought so hard to get here, but we won't stop until every child is reunited. We'll continue our work with the Biden administration's Family Reunification Task Force, will keep supporting our partners, and will keep you posted on what I hope will be many more joyous reunifications to come.

With joy, determination and gratitude,

Paola Luisi, Director
Families Belong Together

***

From Roots Action:

The Israeli government is threatening mass evictions of non-Jews and brutalizing protesters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jersusalem.

At least three U.S. senators have spoken out. All 100 U.S. senators should do so immediately.

Click here to quickly email your senators.

Facebook button Donate button Twitter button


Aryeh King, a settler leader and deputy mayor of Jerusalem, said, as reported by the New York Times, that the policy of evicting people from their homes of many years "is the way to secure the future of Jerusalem as a Jewish capital for the Jewish people."

Videos of people losing their homes are fueling protests, and the Israeli militarized police are attacking protesters. On Friday, according to Haaretz, 205 Palestinians and 17 police officers were injured. On Saturday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, 64 Palestinians, including five childen and one infant, were wounded, many by sponge-tipped bullets and stun grenades. They added that Israeli police prevented ambulances from reaching the site.

Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Chris Murphy have called on the Israeli government to cease eviction efforts.

"The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable," Warren tweeted, saying that the Biden administration must make clear to Israel that these evictions are illegal.

"The United States must speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward," Sanders said.

Click here to urge more senators to speak out.

A memo by the National Lawyers Guild this week urged the Biden administration to take steps including:

  • Relocate the U.S. Embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv;
  • Reverse the Trump administration's repudiation of a 1978 State Department legal opinion declaring Israel's settler colonies in the occupied West Bank to be illegal;
  • Rescind the previous administration's rule requiring "Made in Israel" labeling on goods produced in the unlawful settlements, as well as former President Donald Trump's formal recognition of Israel's illegal annexation of Syria's Golan Heights;
  • Reinstate aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency;
  • Call for an immediate end to Israel's 15-year closure and blockade of Gaza;
  • Refrain from further interference in International Criminal Court proceedings and consider ratifying the Rome Statute;
  • Reverse Trump's order falsely conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism; and
  • Affirm that boycotts for human rights such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement "are a form of highly protected speech under the U.S. Constitution."

Senator Warren has proposed putting at least some conditions on the billions of dollars the U.S. Congress gives to the Israeli government for weapons every year.

Click here to take action.

GRAPHIC: Sign here button

After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.

This work is only possible with your financial support. Please chip in $3 now.



-- The RootsAction.org Team

Background:
>> Haaretz: "Democrats Urge U.S. to Act Against Israel's 'Abhorrent' East Jerusalem Evictions"
>> Common Dreams: "National Lawyers Guild Urges Biden to Align US Israel-Palestine Policy With International Law"
>> Al Jazeera: "What Can Stop Palestinians Being Evicted from Sheikh Jarrah?"
>> New York Times: "Evictions in Jerusalem Become Focus of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"
>> The Intercept: "Elizabeth Warren Suggests U.S. Explore Conditional Aid to Israel"

 

 


 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Vaccine Apartheid


Vaccine Apartheid

by C.A. Matthews

Billionaire Bill Gates and his foundations say that no one else is capable of manufacturing Covid-19 vaccines except the current pharmaceutical firms who hold the patents. Other pharmaceutical companies worldwide insist otherwise. The end result? There are no cheap, generic Covid-19 vaccines available currently, and outbreaks in countries like India and Brazil have killed and sickened millions.

Welcome to the world of vaccine apartheid, a new way to keep poorer and developing economies in debt to Western corporations and economies. It may not be considered racism per se, but it sure comes darn close to it. "Elitism" or straight up "disaster capitalism" might be more accurate terms, but does terminology really matter when so many lives are at risk?

It's no accident that, as the majority of the poor and working classes have suffered financially and physically from the pandemic, the billionaires have prospered more than ever. Can't go shopping in your local stores due to a Covid outbreak and lockdown? Shop online via Amazon! Jeff Bezos, the first or second richest individual on the planet, really appreciates your business. Don't forget you'll need the latest in computer software and systems to do your online purchasing and to please your boss (who's making you work twice as hard for half the pay from the comfort of your heavily-mortgaged home) now. "Ka-ching! ka-ching!" go the cash registers at Microsoft.

While you grow poorer, they grow richer. And richer… And richer yet.

The coronavirus pandemic is a windfall for capitalists like Gates and Bezos. Could this simple fact alone explain "vaccine apartheid?" The more people become sick and the longer the Covid-19 pandemic lasts, the more profits they realize? Why would any self-respecting billionaire not want such a scenario to continue until they've milked the last drop of revenue possible out of it?

The more one thinks about it, Bill Gates--who has worked hard to establish his philanthropist status--might actually want to make it difficult to impossible for certain countries (or areas of the US) to obtain and purchase vaccines in order to make them dependent on his benevolence. Perhaps he's buying up all the patents for Covid-19 vaccines even now as you read this post. He stands to make a good profit or great publicity for his "causes" if he does. Either way, Gates and his kind are exercising the ultimate control over life and death for billions.

Control.  Maybe that's what billionaires and potential trillionaires want above all else? After all, they own practically everything else. What's left for ├╝ber-capitalists to compete over except power and control? Why stop at being "King of the World," as journalist Krystal Ball calls Bill Gates, when you can become "King of the Universe"?

I used to wonder why billionaires like Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin) and Elon Musk (Space X) are so eager to get into space exploration. I don't think it's just because they're visionaries who want to see man return to the moon surface or land on Mars in the next decade. Not anymore. I have become somewhat jaded by their recent antics. I no longer trust their motives for spaceflight as I might have in the past.

Their motivations are cloudy, but one thing does stand out. Consider the control these capitalists will enjoy on another planet such as Mars when they land their corporations' spacecrafts on its surface. They won't be landing there for "all mankind" as the Apollo astronauts claimed when they landed on the moon. Space X isn't going to build a United Nations' utopian space colony dedicated to pure science. No, they'll be landing there to make a profit for their businesses--their mining, terraforming, or space tourism businesses.

There won't be any "police" stationed on Mars to tell them what they can or cannot do to the planet itself or with the workers they bring from Earth to their new corporate location. The only policing agencies will be the kind these corporations provide themselves, private agencies akin to the Pinkertons. And it's not like we haven't seen any evidence of wrongdoing by police working for private corporations on Planet Earth already… Remember the cops working for the oil companies at Standing Rock?

Strip mine the Moon or contaminate the atmosphere of Mars with your heavy industry, Mr. Musk? Sure, why not? Refuse to provide a life-saving vaccine for an outbreak of coronavirus to your workers because it'll eat into profits, Mr. Gates? Yeah, that's allowable. Turn off the oxygen to the dome if you decide you can't have your workers form a union on Mars and protest for better wages, Mr. Bezos? Go ahead! Who's there to stop you?

Already we've seen how Covid-19 vaccines are being used as a genocidal weapon against a persecuted minority: Palestinians haven't been vaccinated against the coronavirus at anywhere near the same rates as Israelis. Using health care as a weapon or a threat (as in it can be denied to you by your employer if you don't continue working under unsafe conditions) is nothing new. Throw in some anti-vaxxer conspiracy talk, plenty of state-sponsored propaganda, an authoritarian regime such as the current ones in Brazil or India, and a lack of affordable patent-free Covid-19 vaccines and the death toll will continue to rise. And rise...

Vaccine apartheid. I'm afraid this won't be the last time you'll read these two words together. We have to get out of our comfort zones and make some noise about how worldwide Covid-19 death and hospitalization statistics represent actual human beings... Human beings who aren't things to be used and then discarded by capitalists seeking to make obscene profits. Health care is a human right and that will always mean people over profit. Period.

Links to articles to learn more about Covid-19 vaccine apartheid:

Rally for a People's Vaccine in DC this May 5!  https://freethevaccine.org/2021/04/19/dc-rally-for-a-peoples-vaccine/

Drug Companies Took None of the Risks to Develop a COVID-19 Vaccine, Yet They're Getting All of the Profits https://migrate.readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/69144-focus-drug-companies-took-none-of-the-risks-to-develop-the-covid-19-vaccine-theyre-getting-all-of-the-profits

 "The US public poured billions of dollars into developing a COVID-19 vaccine, yet drug companies are reaping the profits and jealously guarding the intellectual property from poor countries. Let the drug companies cry: we should release the vaccines immediately."

Covid Cases Soar in India: Advocates Urge Biden to End Vaccine Apartheid  https://truthout.org/articles/as-covid-cases-soar-in-india-advocates-urge-biden-to-end-vaccine-apartheid/

"At issue, as the Washington Post reported Friday, is a proposal India and South Africa submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) last October to suspend Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules on Covid-19 vaccines and treatments to boost manufacturing capacity. It’s now cosponsored by 60 nations and backed by over 100 countries as well as hundreds of U.S. and international civil society organizations, former world world leaders and Nobel laureates, and some U.S. lawmakers.

In addition to the U.S., other wealthy nations including the U.K. and Canada are blocking the proposal — which needs consensus to pass."

Brazil Seeks to Hold Bolsonaro Accountable for More than 400,000 Covid-19 Deaths https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/69162-focus-brazil-seeks-to-hold-bolsonaro-accountable-for-more-than-400000-covid-19-deaths 

"Brazil, which is lagging behind in vaccinations, has suffered over 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths, one of the highest tolls in the world, and has become an international pariah, as well as a prime breeding ground for new variants of the disease. The collapse of health care systems and overflowing cemeteries have made global headlines and spread the devastation across South America. Disentangling the whos, whats, and whys will be no easy task, especially as the president’s allies will work to stymie the investigation at every turn.

Of particular interest will be revealing why Brazil ignored or rejected initial offers to procure millions of doses of vaccines on at least 11 separate occasions, as well as how much of Brazil’s failure to combat the disease has been due to deliberate policy or administrative incompetence and ideological delusion."

Covid Vaccine Factory Production https://theintercept.com/2021/04/29/covid-vaccine-factory-production-ip/

"Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist whose foundations help manage the United States and Europe’s primary Covid-19 outreach efforts to the developing world, known as Covax, was even more blunt. “It’s not like there’s some idle vaccine factory, with regulatory approval, that makes magically safe vaccines,” Gates said last weekend by way of explaining to Sky News why he thought the recipe for making coronavirus vaccine should not be shared.

Except it is exactly like that. Factory owners around the globe, from Bangladesh to Canada, have said they stand ready to retrofit facilities and move forward with vaccine production if given the chance.

“We have this production capacity and it’s not being used,” said John Fulton, a spokesperson for Biolyse Pharma, a company based in St. Catharines, Ontario, that produces injectable cancer treatments. Fulton noted that Biolyse has spent years buying equipment to produce biologics and is uniquely prepared to start getting ready to produce vaccines. The company, which Fulton said is best suited for replicating the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, could produce as many as 20 million vaccines per year, he estimated."

 CDC Finds Anxiety Was Cause of Many Adverse Responses to J&J Vaccine https://truthout.org/articles/cdc-finds-anxiety-was-cause-of-many-adverse-responses-to-jj-vaccine/

“It is possible that some persons seeking Janssen COVVID-19 vaccination could be more highly predisposed to anxiety-related events after being vaccinated,” the authors of the study explained. “The stress of an ongoing pandemic might also increase anxiety surrounding COVID-19 vaccination.”

US Weaponizing Medical Technology Against Other Countries (Video) https://youtu.be/rVpKdP_FEQA

Bill Gates Is Lying To You On Vaccine Patent Protection (Video) https://youtu.be/kZ5DavuOkcM

***
From Friends of the Earth:

Breaking news: The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit just found that the EPA illegally kept the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos on the market. The agency did too little to determine the pesticide is safe for children. Take action now.

The court left the door open for continued use of chlorpyrifos. But this pesticide damages children’s developing brains, harms farmworkers and is toxic to bees and other pollinators. There is no safe use of chlorpyrifos.

This is your chance to stop this toxic pesticide from harming people and the planet. Can you help get it out of our food system for good?

Demand the EPA ban chlorpyrifos NOW!

Sign Now

Chlorpyrifos is one of the most dangerous pesticides on the market. But for decades the EPA has allowed it to continue to be used, despite the harm it causes to children’s developing brains. People who are regularly exposed to toxic pesticides -- farmworkers and their families -- have an increased risk of severe neurological conditions.

The EPA’s own scientists have twice recommended this chemical be banned. Several states, including California, New York, Maryland, and Hawaii -- along with the European Union -- have taken steps to eliminate it.

This new court ruling provides an opening to push the EPA ban it once and for all across the U.S.

Use your voice: Tell the EPA that children are more important than pesticide profits.

Sign Now

Bees and pollinators are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat -- but they are dying at an alarming rate, in part thanks to chlorpyrifos. And up to 97% of endangered species are at risk from chlorpyrifos.

The evidence is clear: Chlorpyrifos only benefits the pesticide companies who make it. The risk of allowing its use are far too great.


Standing with you,

Jason Davidson,
Senior food & agriculture campaigner, 
Friends of the Earth

 ***

The Revolution Continues is now in our sixth year taking on the propaganda of the fauxgressives and their friends in the corporate-owned duopoly. We need passionate revolutionaries like you to help us provide progressive insights that are being actively censored elsewhere. If you can donate a little to the cause, please do so at the Paypal.me link below.

http://paypal.me/camatthews

Thanks for all you do in making the world a better place. Power to the people!

 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The Price of Complacency



The Price of Complacency

by Coast Watcher

The British National Health Service (NHS) is rightly regarded as one of the jewels in the crown of public life. British people cherish their NHS service and will go to great lengths to avoid using it "unnecessarily." People have been known to take taxis to hospital when they are perfectly justified in using an ambulance, because they don’t want to "tie up an ambulance when somebody else could use it."

Founded in 1948, the NHS is administered by the government but is owned by the British people. It has provided healthcare for millions—yet its fate now hangs in the balance. The very government which is supposed to look after it on behalf of the nation is busily selling it off by stealth.

Yes. Much like the Republican Party of the United States, the Conservative (Tory) Party of Great Britain has never encountered a public asset it doesn’t want to sell off for private profit.

As someone with experience of healthcare on both sides of the Atlantic I can safely say the NHS is by far and away the better of the two. The first question asked in a British NHS hospital or doctor’s surgery (office) is "Where does it hurt?" and not "How are you paying for this?" There are waiting lists for procedures, but the patients will be treated, unlike the US, where they may be treated—if their insurance company gives the go-ahead.

In Britain ambulance journeys are free. Consultations are free. Decisions as to which treatment should be administered are entirely up to the medical professionals—not a death committee of insurance salespeople. Patients are not charged—let alone astronomical prices—for a single aspirin and boxes of Kleenex. Nobody in the UK goes bankrupt from medical treatment, unlike the US where 60% of all bankruptcies are due to unforeseen healthcare costs.

My elderly parents recently required the NHS to step up for them when my mother became ill with Alzheimer’s Disease. Carers were provided for her three times a day, every day, allowing my father to take a break. A special hospital bed was provided for her comfort and to make helping her easier for my father and the carers. Regular doctor’s visits took place throughout the course of my mother’s illness right to the end. And none of it cost my parents a penny.

Yet all this is slowly, subtly changing as the Tory government poison works its way through the British public healthcare system. There is even a small minority who advocate privatization of the NHS, presumably because they’ve been indoctrinated to think this way or stand to benefit from such an arrangement.

A friend of mine is an anesthetist at a university hospital in Britain. I was aware of his growing frustration at the insidious attack on the service so many Britons hold dear, so I wasn’t surprised when he wrote the following letter after witnessing a BBC attempt to whitewash the growing privatization of the NHS. His letter is as follows:

Dear Nikki Fox (BBC reporter),

I have just watched your feature on the above subject and have to tell you that you failed entirely to focus on the real cause of the massive increase in the NHS waiting times.

The NHS has been systematically underfunded for decades which has left it not only totally unable to deal with a pandemic but in a poor position to give patients the treatment they so desperately need.

While I realise that you have to edit such a feature, to have a Conservative MP say to viewers they have the right to choose their treatment but you did not mention that the voting record of Richard Bacon MP would show you that he has consistently voted against funding the NHS adequately, supported not paying its staff a proper and decent wage for what they do and promoted the government in its privatisation of the NHS.

To have this man, who has voted in such a way, to say it is people's choice in how they get their healthcare is galling considering that it is people like him that has forced members of the public to have to spend their pension and savings to get the treatment that they have already paid their National Insurance and should already expect such treatment.

The lack of funds to the NHS is not only due to inadequate funding but the stealth privatisation of the NHS by successive Conservative Governments has led to private companies making profit from patients suffering and ill health, money which could be better spent on treating patients in the first place.

Consistent poor pay rises, usually under that present rate of inflation, has led to not only some nurses needing to go to food banks, (the growth in the number of and use of food banks is another symptom of consistent Conservative Governments), but nurses and health professionals have left the NHS which has left the health service chronically understaffed and struggling even more to match the demands placed upon it.

The termination of the NHS bursary has also seriously affected recruitment in the NHS and the contract forced on junior doctors just increases the numbers leaving the country to practice in other countries.

Further to this the massive student debt incurred by nurses during their university education leaves them saddled with debt for decades and is not an incentive to enter the profession.

I would like to ask you, Nikki, directly why you do not cover any of these subjects in your features?

I have watched the John Pilger documentary The Dirty War on the NHS Why don't you cover the issues in that?

Simon Stevens, the NHS chief executive has a long history working for massive private healthcare companies, as do many other people in the higher echelons of the NHS. Why do you not voice concerns about this?

NHS GP practices have been quietly sold to a private health care company, 37 NHS GP practices have been sold to a private US health company (Centene) yet little is mentioned of this in the BBC news. Could you report on this please?

I find that the BBC news frequently bashes the NHS but never actually explains the real causes of what is happening in the NHS.

I have not touched on:

The Naylor Report and its effects on the NHS, lack of PPE at the start of the pandemic, the investigation before the pandemic which showed the NHS had inadequate PPE to deal with a pandemic, the many examples of cronyism where the Conservative government gave untendered contracts to individuals and companies which have close contacts with the Conservative party, including having made donations to the party, refusing to increase NHS salaries after real terms pay cuts for a decade, the hypocrisy of clapping for the NHS during the pandemic and refusing proper investment and salary increase, the lack of attendance of the Prime Minister at the initial COBRA meeting, (while he "holidayed" at his residence at Checkers), spending massive amounts of money on an unnecessary refurbishment of the Downing Street press room and 10 Downing Street itself when NHS staff are struggling with debt and visiting food banks, the protection of Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules when the population of this country were suffering the loss of loved ones and abiding by the lockdown rules, ignoring any comparisons to death rates in other countries where despite a denser population their death rates have been far lower than ours, and reporting on the consistent lying of the Prime Minister during his time in Parliament.

I look forward to your reply about these points. The BBC is no longer viewed as impartial in its reporting of the actions of the government, and since the new chief executive of the BBC has close links to the Conservative Party, I do not see it improving.

I do not expect you to read this e mail out in future episodes of Look East however I would appreciate an answer as to why you do not report on such subjects and give them the attention they deserve. After all it is your taxes and the healthcare of you and your relatives that we are talking about. We will all need the help of the NHS during our lives, and this Conservative government is gradually taking it away from us while making profit from its demise for themselves, donors and colleagues.

Yours sincerely,

Stephen T.

"I am tired of the abysmal reporting of the BBC news concerning the NHS and really have had enough of listening to such misleading half truths and right wing bias. I doubt they will even bother to answer." --Stephen

Sobering, even sickening reading. The NHS, a much-loved institution is under direct threat from the very government that is supposed to administer it on behalf of the public.

Healthcare services the world over are under incredible strain due to the Covid-19 pandemic, yet publicly-owned healthcare services have shown time and again they are far superior to private systems such as that of the United States. 

The people of Britain are in imminent danger of losing their precious public asset because of typical Tory greed and insensitivity. After generations of agitating for a National Health Service, the British people got one in 1948. Please, people of Britain, do not let this wonderful service fall to pieces through your complacency. Stand up and demand the Tory government rescind all privatization measures and restore the service to what it should and must be.


BIO: Coast Watcher hasn't forgotten his fellow countrymen in the UK. He can see what the Tories are up to with their privatization schemes, and he knows how Big Pharma and the for-profit Health Insurance Industry works from his time in the US. His advice: Keep your eyes open. If there's some way for a corporation to make a profit at the public's expense, expect shenanigans. Fight complacency.

 

***


A taste of justice. Justice served on Derek Chauvin. Guilty on all three counts. Bail revoked. It was a quick verdict. Yet it is so rare that police officers are convicted -- one in 2,000 over the last 15 years for killings by police. It doesn’t bring George Floyd back. But, hopefully, it will give pause to some police who think they can kill with impunity. Six white jurors, six people of color, united on what they saw in those nine minutes of horrifying video. 
   
 
If it wasn't for the video, made by an outraged bystander, Chauvin would not be behind bars now. But not for Breonna Taylor, not for Tamir Rice, not for Rodney King, and not for the more than 135 unarmed Black people killed at the hands of police — 75 percent of them white — over the past five years.

Days before the verdict came down, police shot Daunte Wright in his car outside of Minneapolis. Hours before the verdict, police shot 16-year old Makiah Bryant in Columbus. Painful reminders that one conviction can never undo systemic racism or transform policing.

  
   
For millions of Americans, this trial put a spotlight on the terror that many people of color feel when a cop car cruises by them while walking. Or when red lights flash behind them while driving.
“Could this be it for me?

We're confronting racist policing, militarized forces in our communities, mass incarceration, and a massive racial wealth divide that has existed since slavery. Both corporate parties are responsible. Biden is arming police with more military weaponry than Trump did. States are passing anti-protest laws and building walls around government buildings. Pelosi responded to the verdict by thanking George Floyd for his sacrifice. He didn't choose to die. He was murdered.
 
 
The close-knit activist community in Minnesota can take pride in putting pressure on public officials to prosecute the case in a visible manner, giving them months to research and build their unequivocal case. 


Chauvin was convicted, but the biggest culprit is the system that produced him. We must demand a complete overhaul of our police departments and the academies that train them. We must divert funds from policing and military hardware toward services rooted in the community, like better schools, mental health, housing for all, and community policing. We must end the militarization of police and mass incarceration. 

A just verdict. But far from justice.


In Solidarity,

Nick Brana
National Coordinator
People's Party

  

***

 

The verdict is in: Derek Chauvin is guilty on all charges. We hold George Floyd’s family in our hearts and minds as they wade through the inescapable and seemingly insurmountable challenges this trial has presented. Although Chauvin has been convicted of murder, nothing will bring back George Floyd.

For weeks, we watched Chauvin’s defense lie, victim-blame, and rely on anti-Black tropes — doing everything possible to blame George Floyd for his own murder. It took over 40 witnesses and two weeks of testimony for a jury to prove what we all saw with our own eyes.

We also know that one conviction doesn't end violent policing or keep Black people safe. That's why Color Of Change immediately demanded a Dept. of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department and other police forces that threaten Black lives. Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the DOJ is opening a sweeping investigation into policing practices in Minneapolis.1

We're encouraged by this action, but we know that Minneapolis is not alone. The state-sanctioned murder of Black people by police must end. This is a national crisis, and we have to keep fighting to dismantle systems of oppression that threaten Black lives.

That’s why we’re demanding more. It’s time for an investigation into police forces that threaten the lives of Black people across the country. Because the issue of police violence is MUCH deeper than Derek Chauvin or one police department — it’s systemic.

The Justice Department has the power to investigate police departments across the country for civil rights violations and to examine their pattern and practice of inappropriate use of force, particularly targeting Black people. This is an important step forward to win structural change and defend Black lives.

The dept. of justice must investigate now

President Biden has already promised to address the “unbearable human costs of systemic racism,” and to rebuild the Department of Justice with a greater emphasis on racial justice and civil rights. Let’s make one thing clear: That vision must include investigations into systemic racism in policing, and court-monitored consent decrees to end anti-Black violence inflicted by local police departments in Minneapolis and across the country.

The fight for accountability starts with dismantling an entire police system that fails to keep Black people safe. We’re not safe to walk down the street, sit at a traffic stop, sleep in our own beds, go for a jog, or even ride a bike without fear that it might lead to a deadly police encounter. Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict will not change these material conditions for Black folks.

Join us as we make sure President Biden keeps his promise to Black voters by using the power of his administration to defend Black lives — in Minneapolis, in Toledo, and across the country.

Add your name now to call on the Biden DOJ to immediately investigate police departments across the country and demand safety for Black people.

We shouldn’t have to wait for the next tragedy for policymakers to enact tangible reforms. Since the Chauvin trial began on March 29, police in the U.S. have killed more than 3 people every single day. Police in Columbus, OH murdered a young Black girl named Ma'Khia Bryant just minutes after the Chauvin verdict was announced.2 That’s unacceptable. We can’t afford to sit silently while people in our communities are dying.

We need your help calling on the Biden administration to act NOW by initiating an investigation into racist police departments across the country.

Add your name: Demand a DOJ investigation of police departments in Columbus, Rochester NY, Louisville, and everywhere Black lives are threatened by militarized police departments.

Until Justice Is Real,

Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Megan, Ernie, Ariel, Madison, Ana, McKayla, Trevor, Palika, and the rest of the Color of Change team


References:

  1. "Justice Department launches investigation into Minneapolis policing practices." NBC News. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/301756?t=7&akid=50586%2E3399430%2EsVXi_l
  2. "Throughout Trial Over George Floyd’s Death, Killings by Police Mount." NY Times. https://act.colorofchange.org/go/301233?t=9&akid=50586%2E3399430%2EsVXi_l

***

From Public Citizen:

I think it’s important to remember the initial statement by Minneapolis police after one of them killed George Floyd on May 25, 2020.

For starters, the statement is titled, absurdly, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.”

Then there’s this line:

“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

The gruesome death of George Floyd — as a police officer murdered him in broad daylight over a span of more than nine minutes — is reduced to “and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”

If not for local residents who bravely stopped and took the cellphone video now seen by the entire world, that official police statement may well have been the final word on the murder of George Floyd by former, and now convicted, police officer Derek Chauvin.

Policing in America is broken — from rampant racial profiling to hyper-militarization to the fact that law enforcement has already killed 319 people this year. (We’re only 111 days into 2021, so that’s almost three police killings a day.)

Tell Congress:

It is long past time for comprehensive, structural changes to the way policing is conceived and carried out in America. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would take significant steps to combat misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in law enforcement. Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Now.

Add your name.

Thanks for taking action.

For justice,

- Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen