The American economy plunged deeper into crisis last month, losing 20.5 million jobs as the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent, the worst devastation since the Great Depression.
The Labor Department’s monthly report on Friday provided the clearest picture yet of the breadth and depth of the economic damage — and how swiftly it spread — as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country.
Job losses have encompassed the entire economy, affecting every major industry. Areas like leisure and hospitality had the biggest losses in April, but even health care shed more than a million jobs. Low-wage workers, including many women and members of racial and ethnic minorities, have been hit especially hard.
“It’s literally off the charts,” said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America. “What would typically take months or quarters to play out in a recession happened in a matter of weeks this time.”Of course, this is not all Trump's fault. He didn't create the corona virus. But he certainly hasn't helped the situation:
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, new details continue to emerge about the way President Donald Trump mishandled the United States’ response.
An investigation by the New York Times has revealed that experts and administration officials tried to warn Trump of the serious nature of the coronavirus pandemic early on. Alerts from high-ranking government experts began as far back as January, six weeks before his administration finally sprang into action on March 16, when he issued concrete guidelines for the public.
The report exhaustively outlines numerous ways in which Trump avoided listening to government authorities as they proposed strategies for dealing with the pandemic. It also details an administration mired in political bickering, which hamstrung officials at every phase of their response. The report prompted epidemiologist Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to respond that “obviously” lives could have been saved if the government had taken the warnings seriously.In fact, Trump seems to be actively trying to make things worse:
President Trump said Wednesday he will continue trying to toss out all of the Affordable Care Act, even as some in his administration, including Attorney General William P. Barr, have privately argued parts of the law should be preserved amid a pandemic.That's definitely what you want during a pandemic: to terminate health care.
“We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law...
(On a related note, can we finally dispense with this idea that the Republican party is pro-life? They say they are pro-life, but as a wise man once said, by their fruits ye shall know them. The Republican's fruits have dollar signs on them. They're not pro-life, they're pro-money and pro-enforced-birth.)
Sometimes I really have to wonder what it will take -- how much hypocrisy, how many lies, how big of an economic catastrophe, how much pain, how much death, -- before Trump supporters start to consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, Donald Trump is not the savior that he presented himself as. And of course it's not just Trump, it's the whole festering boil that is today's Republican party, because Trump could not remain in power without their unified sniveling support. How anyone who is paying attention could continue to support any Republican (with the possible exception of, God help me, Mitt Romney) is just beyond me.
Maybe no one is paying attention? On that off chance, and because I have this pile of links laying around with still no idea of how to weave them into a coherent narrative, I'm just going to throw them all into this post, partly to vent, and partly in the hopes that someone will see them and go, "Hm, I didn't know about that. Maybe I need to rethink my support of Republicans."
Let's start with this blatant example of corruption from the William Barr's "justice" department:
The Justice Department’s decision to drop the criminal case against Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, even though he had twice pleaded guilty to lying to investigators, was extraordinary and had no obvious precedent, a range of criminal law specialists said on Thursday.
“I’ve been practicing for more time than I care to admit and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Julie O’Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches criminal law at Georgetown University.I was wondering how the Flynn case was going to play out. I was expecting Trump to pardon Flynn the day after the November election (because doing so earlier might have been a bridge too far even for the bootlicking brown-nosers that are the current crop of Republican senators) but why bother spending political capital on a pardon when you can just get your attorney general to do your dirty work for you?
The message could not be clearer: cover up for the president and you will be rewarded. Say anything against the president, and you will be punished:
A senior US government doctor who worked on the search for a coronavirus vaccine has claimed he was fired after resisting Donald Trump’s push to use the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.Likewise if your job entails making sure that federal money doesn't go to line the Trump family coffers:
Rick Bright was this week ousted as director of the US health department’s Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or Barda, and as the deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
In a stunningly candid statement, Bright highlighted his refusal to embrace hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug relentlessly promoted by the president and Fox News despite a lack of scientific studies.
“Specifically, and contrary to misguided directives, I limited the broad use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, promoted by the administration as a panacea, but which clearly lack scientific merit,” Bright said.
President Trump has removed the chairman of the federal panel Congress created to oversee his administration’s management of the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package — the latest action by the president to undermine the system of independent oversight of the executive established after Watergate.Lest you think that I'm being hyperbolic here, read this:
In just the past four days, Trump has ousted two inspectors general and expressed displeasure with a third, a pattern that critics say is a direct assault on one of the pillars of good governance.
When Congress enacted an emergency plan to send $1,200 checks to every American adult, Republicans joked that President Trump would want to sign his name on the checks. A few weeks later, after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was exploring this outlandish desire, a reporter asked, “Is that right? Do you want to sign those checks?” Trump denied it: “No. Me sign? No.”
Last night, the Washington Post reported that Trump’s name will be displayed on every check. A measure passed by both parties to alleviate an economic emergency has been expropriated by his reelection campaign. Trump’s presidency has largely consisted of outrageously corrupt notions proceeding from fearful accusation to accepted reality. Within a few days, this one will also probably be forgotten.
Trump has never respected any meaningful distinction between the federal government and the Trump Organization. He expects every federal employee, especially its law-enforcement agents, to advance his personal political agenda. He has functionally mixed its budget with his own by having the government pour money into his properties, and he has treated its official powers as if they are his own personal chits. The authority he has gained through the emergency response to the coronavirus has vastly expanded the potential for corruption, and every sign indicates that Trump is already engaging in systemic abuse.
Some of the corruption is lingering just below the surface. Trump is speaking constantly with corporate leaders, who can position themselves at the front of the line for federal contracts or relief payments. He supports bailouts for industries with a shaky claim to the public purse, like cruise lines, and has staunchly opposed any rescue for the United States Postal Service, which handles essential government communication. Trump of course has been trying to force the post office to raise rates on Amazon, in retaliation for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post. The economic crisis has put the post office on life support, giving Trump the leverage he wants to make it punish a detested rival.And, as I noted earlier, it's not just Trump, it really is the whole Republican party. Consider this from today's news, which would normally be a major scandal, but which no one has even heard of because it's buried under a torrent of even more scandalous that nowadays flows day-in and day-out:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who is also the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, was captured ordering a local party official to report false election results in a primary race for a state Senate seat in a leaked audio recording released earlier this week.
Eli Bremer, the Republican chairman for state Senate District 10, alleged to The Denver Post that Buck had tried to "bully" him into violating the law.
"You've got a sitting congressman — a sitting state party chair — who is trying to bully a volunteer — I'm a volunteer; I don't get paid for this — into committing a crime," he said. "To say it's damning is an understatement."None of these things are anomalies. Republican administrations have been massively more corrupt than Democratic ones going back decades (remember Richard Nixon?):
Republican administrations have vastly more corruption than Democratic administrations. We provide new research on the numbers to make the case.
We compared 28 years each of Democratic and Republican administrations, 1961-2016, five Presidents from each party. During that period Republicans scored eighteen times more individuals and entities indicted, thirty-eight times more convictions, and thirty-nine times more individuals who had prison time.I take some comfort by indulging in a bit of schadenfreude: Trump seems to be unhappy about the fact that he is not constantly being praised from all corners for the fantastic job he is doing:
President Trump arrives in the Oval Office these days as late as noon, when he is usually in a sour mood after his morning marathon of television.
He has been up in the White House master bedroom as early as 5 a.m. watching Fox News, then CNN, with a dollop of MSNBC thrown in for rage viewing. He makes calls with the TV on in the background, his routine since he first arrived at the White House.
But now there are differences.
The president sees few allies no matter which channel he clicks. He is angry even with Fox, an old security blanket, for not portraying him as he would like to be seen. And he makes time to watch Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s briefings from New York, closely monitoring for a sporadic compliment or snipe.
Confined to the White House, the president is isolated from the supporters, visitors, travel and golf that once entertained him, according to more than a dozen administration officials and close advisers who spoke about Mr. Trump’s strange new life.But history will not just judge Trump, it will also judge those who enabled him. It will judge the Republican senators who passed on the opportunity to remove him from office when they had the chance. It will judge the voters who voted for Trump and for those senators. It will judge the state party officials who imposed minority rule on the nation through massive voter suppression in the name of eliminating voter fraud (which is nearly non-existent, except, of course, when perpetrated by Republicans).
[T]he president’s primary focus, advisers said, is assessing how his performance on the virus is measured in the news media, and the extent to which history will blame him.
And if you vote for a Republican this November -- any Republican -- it will judge you.