What do Terre Haute Prisoners, Tuskeegee Sharecroppers, and Guatemalans Have in Common?

It started in Tuskegee, Alabama. The US Public Health Service (PHS) began a study on 600 black sharecroppers in which they were offered free medical treatment. Many of the men had never been to the doctor. Of the men, 399 already had latent syphilis and the control group of 201 men was syphilis free. They all were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a name given for a variety of ailments at the time. While most of the men already had the disease, some of their spouses and unborn children had not yet contracted it and the government effectively gave it to them.

Part of the purpose of the study was to track the full progression of syphilis and the men were given only placebos or aspirin while the disease took its course, ravaging their bodies. By 1947, penicillin had been proven an effective treatment for syphilis but the men were not offered treatment, only watched as they went blind, insane, and many eventually died.

In the mid-1960s, PHS investigator Peter Buxton voiced his concerns that the study was unethical. A committee was formed to review the program but the Public Health Service elected to see the study through its completion until all the men were dead. Years later, Buxton leaked the story to a reporter who told Associated Press reporter Jean Heller who broke the news nationwide. The public outcry forced the study to shut down. At that time, 28 patients had died from syphilis, 100 more from related complications, 40 spouses had contracted the disease and 19 infants got syphilis at birth.

In 1973, Congress authorized a $10 million settlement for the remaining participants and heirs. New laws were established as to what could happen in US Government-funded research. Many people are generally aware of the Tuskegee Experiments but far fewer know of two other government-backed studies on captive populations, involving some of the same doctors who should have known better.

In 1943, at the Federal Correctional Institute in Terre Haute, Indiana, the government injected 241 men with gonorrhea so that treatments could be studied as to their effectiveness. The men were offered $100, a certificate of merit, and a letter in their file for their parole board hearings. After several months, the study was concluded in 1944 because injecting men in their penises proved an unreliable method of passing along the disease. There is no information available as to the racial make-up of the Indiana subjects as opposed to the black ones in Tuskegee and the brown ones in Guatemala. One can’t help but wonder?

In September 2011, a report titled, “ETHICALLY IMPOSSIBLE” STD Research in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948, was released. The following is from the preface:

On October 1, 2010, President Barack Obama telephoned President Álvaro Colom of Guatemala to extend an apology to the people of Guatemala for medical research supported by the United States and conducted in Guatemala between 1946 and 1948. Some of the research involved deliberate infection of people with sexually transmitted diseases (“STDs”)1 without their consent. Subjects were exposed to syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid, and included prisoners, soldiers from several parts of the army, patients in a state-run psychiatric hospital, and commercial sex workers. Serology experiments that did not involve intentional exposure to infection, which continued through 1953, also were performed in these groups, as well as with children from state-run schools, an orphanage, and several rural towns. President Obama expressed “deep regret” for the research and affirmed the U.S. government’s “unwavering commitment to ensure that all human medical studies conducted today meet exacting” standards for the protection of human subjects.

While the United States expressed “deep regret,” it later declared itself not liable for these tests conducted outside the United States. Guatemalans were not entitled to the $10 million the remaining participants and heirs of the Tuskegee Experiment got. They didn’t get the $100 the Terre Haute prisoners got. The United States of America said Guatemalans were entitled to nothing at all. Judge Reggie Walton said he was following Federal law but was deeply troubled by the study. He urged the government to provide assistance to the affected.

“This lawsuit is simply not the appropriate vehicle for remedying those wrongs.”

Lawyers representing the Guatemalans are now seeking redress against private companies involved and in January 2019, a Federal Court declared that the Rockefeller Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Hospital and related entities, and Bristol-Myers who they describe as, “the driving force” behind the study. Several of the doctors worked for Johns Hopkins and received support from the Rockefeller Foundation. Bristol-Myers provided drugs to the small percentage that received treatment. In response to the $1 billion lawsuit lawyers for Johns Hopkins said,

“Johns Hopkins expresses profound sympathy for individuals and families impacted by the deplorable 1940s syphilis study funded and conducted by the U.S. government in Guatemala. We respect the legal process, and we will continue to vigorously defend the lawsuit.”

A spokesman for the Rockefeller Foundation said the lawsuit has no merit and they had no role in the funding, management, or design of the study. Bristol-Myer had no comment at the time.

The US Military had an interest in finding a treatment for syphilis which had no cure when the Tuskegee Experiment began. They estimated that as many as 350,000 soldiers might contract syphilis while fighting overseas wars and at home. Someone in the government thought it was just fine to infect targeted populations of prisoners (race undetermined), poor black people, and brown people of Guatemala. The government was shamed into a settlement with the Tuskegee survivors. They had no concern for the Guatemalans they infected with most receiving no treatment. The trial against the private companies is in discovery and we don’t know what information will be revealed. Here’s hoping that $1 billion is the floor and not the ceiling for compensation.

How “Shithole Countries” Organized A Trade War And Brought Trump To His Knees

Their covert communications were never intercepted because the CIA, FBI, NSA et. al., were never looking in their direction. The target date was September 1st, late enough in the United States growing season that they’d have no chance to respond. They gave no notice, sending out a tweet on August 31st announcing their 100% export tariffs/duties on all goods from their countries going to the US. Half of America was confused, not recognizing that America even bought goods from those countries, some the same names as those whose children we were separating children from their parents at the border. Guatemala and Honduras were on the list. Peru, Chile, and Mexico participating as well. Costa Rica had joined in along with several African countries. Trump immediately responded with a tweet, “Shithole countrees think they can mess with the US? We don’t need their goods or there people! MAGA!” The countries raised the export taxes to 200%… it was on.

August 31st was a Friday and the announcement came after most in the White House has gone home. Chief of Staff John Kelly was still there, working on the same plan he’d been refining for a year. How to quit and retain his honor if Trump did just “one more thing.” The problem was his honor was lost long ago. He still dreamed though. An aide showed him the tweet and he ignored it to go home for the weekend. He told the aide, “Let someone else worry about it.”

Grocery stores were the first to understand the significance of the export taxes. They were at the end of the US growing season. Much of their fruits and produce was already coming from those countries; cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelons, bananas, grapes, peppers, and more. Jewelers recognized how much of their diamond and gold supply came from Africa. Egyptian Cotton had long been branded as the world’s best, now all these things had tripled in price. The stores all raised their prices at least double while simutaneously cutting their profit margins. They called their trade groups, Congressmen and lobbyists. They demanded action, this cannot stand!

No one in the Administration even knew who to talk to on the other side? Most of their embassies were unstaffed. John Bolton wanted to bomb someone and Mike Pompeo had no contacts. The countries hadn’t even issued any demands or contact information. Their only line of communication was through Twitter where any negotiations would have to be conducted in public. Finally, they picked Jared Kushner to respond with a reply, “What do you want?”

The response came a few hours later, “What is your plan to reunite the families you separated?” This set off some scrambling in the White House and three hours later a meeting with Trump in the Oval Office was held. Trump asked, “So what is our plan?” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “Don’t you think it’s a little late to be asking that? This was your idea. You’ve had me saying for three months we know where every child and parent is, do we?” Trump looked at Jeff Sessions, “Do we?” Sessions said, “I think HHS has control of the lists?”  Trump asked, “Where’s Alex Azar?” John Kelly said, “He quit twenty minutes ago, matter of fact, I’m out the door too. I can’t think of a better time.” Kelly turned and left the room, slamming the door behind. Sarah Sanders said, “How am I supposed to explain this to the press?” Trump said, “Just make something up… you always do.”

Across America, grocery prices had gone up an average of 30%, stores which operated on thin margins anyway were now losing money because of their increased shrinkage from throwing away out of date product they miscalculated people would buy at higher prices. Mexican Restaurants were shutting down which got the attention of Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen and Sr. Advisor Stephen Miller who frequently dined at Mexican restraunts on days they’d been especially cruel to Mexicans and those who looked like them. Unexpectedly, the NRA was hearing from its members that gun sales were way down. It seems even the drug cartels and gangs south of the border had stopped buying guns at gun shows, utilizing the loopholes Congress would never close. Even the drug lords were upset at the way the children were treated at the border and agreed to stop their purchased until this matter was concluded.

The NRA applied pressure to all the members of Congress they owned which was basically all of them, they demanded an immediate end to the export taxes, but no one knew what the countries wanted yet? Mid-terms were approaching and all the backlash was accruing to the Republicans who supported Trump or said nothing when the children started being taken away. The menu at Mar-a-Lago had been decimated, most of the fruit and vegetable dishes were no longer offered along with the some of the steaks. Trophy wives were upset about the lack of diamonds and gold suddenly, they didn’t sign on to be team players, their expectation was they’d get paid, so they cut off their husbands, adding more pressure to the situation.

Trump’s approval rating was down to 18% among all Americans yet surprisingly still hovering at 77% among Republicans. That figure was misleading because over half the party had now left and become Independents or Democrats but the remaining ones were still loyal. Trump himself finally tweeted, “What du you want?” The reply came immediately, “1. Reunification of all the children taken from their parents 2. Removal of any tariffs introduced since you’ve been President 3. Fire Stephen Miller 4. Resign or be Impeached?

All of Congress had read the exchange and internal huddling indicated Impeachment would be no problem, the NRA had given them the green light. Mitch McConnell made the trip to the Oval Office to tell Trump he couldn’t survive an Impeachment vote. Trump… broken and bowed, acknowledged he had no choice and agreed to all the demands. He fired Miller first whom he blamed for all his racist policies, although he’d harbored them himself all his life. The tariffs were renounced by tweet, the process of reuniting children began although the ultimate success was unclear as they had no idea how to connect several of the families. Further negotiations indicated the demand would be considered met after 90% of the families were reunited with clearly outlined plans to keep working on the rest. Talks almost broke down when Trump admitted “a few children had died while in custody.” An agreement was made that no pardons would be issued for the rest of Trump’s term and no future President could pardon Trump or his staff or the export taxes would resume. Also, because Trump often lied, Impeachment proceedings began in the House of Representatives, giving Trump some impetus so he could quit rather than be dragged out.

A month later, people were eating their fruit salads, bananas and the East Coast had pineapple again. Mar-a-Lago was closed and up for sale. It seems for the first time in a while, no Russians were lining up to buy a Trump property. The entire Cabinet resigned along with Trump, Gary Pruitt, and Wilbur Ross were both arrested on the White House steps on a variety of charges. Indictments came down for Erik Prince, Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions and since he was no longer President, Donald Trump as well. Contracts were signed with Court TV and The Comedy Channel to televise all the trials. Most of the families were reunited and the US had agreed to provide counseling as needed which was in every case. Because the countries south of the border had learned to utilize each other’s goods and services and not depend on the United States, their economies improved and the US started experiencing negative immigration as people returned to their countries. The cartels and gangs had engaged in discussions with their countries leaders and stopped persecuting the people The cartels went into agribusiness of legal crops. The gangs became the primary work force and took up agriculture somewhat grudgingly. The pay was much less but they had a higher life expectancy so there’s that.

As for Trump himself, he was convicted of multiple financial crimes including money laundering, fraud, insider trading, and FEC violations. Charges were still pending related to Conspiracy but the list of people that have flipped on him included his sons (including Barron), Melania (who revealed her marriage to Trump was fake because she was already married at the time). After Melania testified, she told reporters, “I told you I reaqlly dont care!”  Ivanka and Jared testified against Trump for reduced sentences, it seems she was complicit in everything after all. Trump was sent to a Federal Prison in New Jersey which had a golf course, but part of his sentence was that he not be allowed to play. Mike Pence was also found guilty of gross negligence and conspiracy and forced to resign. Republicans lost both the House and Senate in the mid-terms. Democrats promised to keep a strict rein on new President Mike Pompeo who was a lame duck from the beginning having promised not to run. Paul Ryan had declined to accept the Presidency as he was next in line after Pence, probably because he knew of pending charges against himself. A final tweet was issued from the Twitter account registered to the shithole countries, “Don’t start none won’t be none!”