Here in Massachusetts, yesterday the number of suspected or confirmed Covid-19 cases grew 30 percent overnight and will probably top 400 today. Most non-critical facilities are now locked down. And so, with a lot of new-found time on their hands more people than ever in my suburban neighborhood are out and about, enjoying the spring weather — biking or walking alone, as couples, with dogs or kids, and actually stopping to talk. Amid all this tsuris, it’s exhilarating to see such stirrings of a community makeover.
The good news doesn’t stop there, so let’s get on with my facile attempt to divert you from your apocalyptic musings. Instead of enduring a pitch for my work this punishing month, find here a public service announcement of sorts.
These are certainly trying times, so how about trying our President and the his enablers in the Senate for treason, starting in the court of public opinion? Specifically, for minimizing the Coronavirus’s threat to the nation at the same time they were minimizing their own financial losses from it.
As derelict in duty to citizens as they are dutiful to self-interest, the Grand Old Party has done it again. You probably have heard that Senator Richard Burr (R, NC) dumped up to $1.7M of his investments on February 13, and a week later told a closed well-heeled Tarheels that the markets were going to be hit hard by disruptions from the coronavirus. But he didn’t warn the public, he said, because he didn’t want to influence the markets. How magnanimous of him.
Burr was not the only fearless leader responding in character to trying times. According to the NYTimes:
- After saying last month that the U.S. was “better prepared than ever before” to confront the virus, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina and chairman of the Intelligence Committee, sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock before the markets plunged. Three other senators — Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma; and Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia — also sold major holdings, according to disclosure records.
The Washington Post adds:
- “Burr chairs the Senate Intel Comm so of course he knew how bad it could get,” Joyce Vance, a University of Alabama law professor and former federal prosecutor, said in a tweet. “The same day Trump said it would go away when the weather warmed up, almost 3 weeks ago, Burr was warning a wealthy slice of constituents, but not the rest of the country.”
The stock market plummeted by 30 percent in the following three weeks. One wonders what the Biden’s brokers did. Or those managing Trump’s wealth as he was minimizing threats to public health.
While the insider transactions that Burr and his cohorts made are just a wart on the ass of a corrupt body politic, they exemplify what motivates many politicians to rise through the ranks. If you don’t think elected officials putting their own interests first is treasonous, will you at least settle for perfidious? And most forms of perfidy (e.g., treachery, duplicity, deceit, deceitfulness, disloyalty, infidelity, faithlessness, unfaithfulness, betrayal, treason, double-dealing, untrustworthiness, breach of trust) involve committing some sort of crime.
Common Cause has filed official complaints with the Senate Ethics Committee, the Department of Justice, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to demand an investigation into Burr — as well as Senators Kelly Loeffler, Jim Inhofe, and Dianne Feinstein. Sign on to their demands here and pass it on. Insider trading is by no means the most heinous thing our political elites have been up to, but it’s an apt occasion to conduct a public shaming.
Just wanted to shift your anxieties for a while. Hope you are surviving well. Love to hear how and what you are doing. Please post your thoughts on the plague by leaving a comment here.
PS: Having gotten this far, you might wanna see some related musings I smuggled into CounterPunch this week that include this fun fact: The US Constitution doesn’t mandate that the Speaker of the House be an elected member of that body. The Speaker comes third in the line of succession. Think of the last-minute possibilities…
This article was a Perfidy Press Pronouncement from March 20, 2020. You can sign up here to receive our mostly monthly newsletter.