Weekend takeaways:

Trump’s rally in Tulsa was a disaster.  The arena was only 1/3 full.  Trump & his team lied and blamed the bad turnout on violent protesters blocking the entrances, and the lie was easily debunked by pictures of a small number of peaceful protesters kept far from the arena.  Perhaps more embarrassing, Trump & team boasted about issuing a million tickets to the event and even had a huge outdoor overflow area to accommodate a huge turnout, only to discover that hundreds of thousands of young people around the world reserved tickets with no intention of attending.  The youth were motivated, in part, by a video on social media that urged them to punk Trump’s rally, which seemed to work.  Beyond the dismal crowd, Trump’s “performance” was pathetic.  His energy was low and he spent almost the entire evening airing grievances in a whining tone that often bordered on a wail.  Some were calling the rally “the emptysburg address” but I think “the pettysburg address” captures Trump’s message.  He said nothing about George Floyd, and little about the coronavirus, avoiding mention of the 120,000 dead and their grieving families.  He even suggested that states should test less to keep the numbers down so he can look better.  Trump and his team couldn’t have engineered a worse start to their campaign if they had tried.

The coronavirus continues to hammer more than a dozen states, and twelve of them have recorded record high case numbers since Friday.  Florida continues set daily records and the governor is finally admitting that increased testing doesn’t account for the spike.  Duh.  Some virologists are saying that Covid can no longer contained and has become endemic, especially in the face of an uneven and splintered fifty-state response that has no federal leadership nor coordination.  The virus will continue to circulate widely and infect Americans until we develop a treatment or vaccine, not letting up into the foreseeable future.

The World Bank issued a forecast over the weekend predicting that the global recession from the pandemic will be twice as bad as the 2009 financial crisis and the worst since WWII.  They expect “the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870.”  The stock market obviously doesn’t believe that blue-chip equities will be that badly affected, but demand for stocks won’t last forever if consumer demand for products remains historically low.

Perhaps the most horrifying news from the weekend concerned the weather in Siberia.  A Siberian town just inside the Arctic Circle experienced a high temperature of 100-degrees F, shattering the previous high in an area where the average June HIGH temperature is 68 F.  The day before, the reading was 95 F so this was not an anomaly but part of a large and unprecedented weather system.  Scientists studying global warming predicted a change like this to occur around the year 2100, so this development is happening 80 years earlier than predicted, and scientists are not sure what to make of it, other than it is very bad.  Scientist Bill McKibben said that, “Arctic systems are so crucial–as they shift, the feedback loops are potentially enormous.”  And he went on to say, “this scares me.”

It seems like there’s a new corruption scandal every day under the Trump regime.  In the latest, AG Bill Barr announced on Friday night that the US Attorney overseeing the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman, was stepping down.  Later that night, Berman said that, in fact, he had no intention of stepping down, and that Barr could not fire him, only the president could.  So later, Barr said that Berman was being fired by Trump. But later, Trump as asked about the firing by a reporter and Trump replied, “I’m not involved.”  So clearly, Barr lied and then in the end Trump lied.  The bad news is, Berman is out.  The good news is, his deputy is in charge at least until a new head can be confirmed by the Senate, which could take a while. The firing was likely an effort to obstruct justice in the cases SDNY was pursuing against Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others connected to Trump or friends of Trump.  Barr’s actions have again sparked outrage among former DOJ officials and Democratic lawmakers, with new calls for his resignation or impeachment coming from a wide swath of experts.  It will be interesting to see how this develops.  Will the House subpoena Barr?

Happy Monday.  Keep resisting Trump and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

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