The United States reached a grim milestone over the weekend, passing five million confirmed cases of Covid.  The overall rate of spread seemed to be slowing due to the recent lockdowns of several states experiencing outbreaks, but the daily death toll remained high, with well over a thousand Americans dying each day.  Trump spent the weekend golfing and holding inane “press conferences” that were de facto campaign rallies on the public dime.

Covid has also been causing havoc to re-opening school systems.  A Georgia school had to close down one day after opening because of infected students, and another Georgia school that suspended a student for taking photos of crowded hallways reported nine students with coronavirus.  According to the New York Times, the American Academy of Pediatrics is reporting that nearly 100,000 students tested positive for Covid in the last two weeks of July, indicating that the virus was widespread and uncontrolled.

To try to curb his failing campaign and dismal poll numbers, and to get around the impasse between the House and Senate, Trump signed several executive orders over the weekend that are almost certainly invalid and/or unenforceable–and will be met by strong legal challenges–but will give him a few new talking points for campaign commercials.  One EO tries to extend financial relief for the jobless, even though the taxing and spending authority lies squarely with Congress. Here’s coverage in the NY Times. Note that their headline is pitifully inadequate, and should have read something more like “Trump’s latest unconstitutional power grab helps nobody.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/us/politics/trump-stimulus-bill-coronavirus.html

Trump’s failed and desperate executive order ploy would be unnecessary if Senate Republicans weren’t so catastrophically disorganized and split amongst themselves on whether or not to provide additional help to struggling businesses and the unemployed.  Democrats, meanwhile, appear to be the only party in touch with the vast pain and anxiety tens of millions of citizens are feeling.

A high-profile billionaire in Hong Kong who owned one of the most prominent and outspoken news organizations was arrested yesterday, along with his sons and others, for violating Hong Kong’s new foreign interference laws.  Hong Kong used to have a free press and a relatively free society, but no longer. Mainland China has Hong Kong firmly under its dictatorial thumb and this latest arrest will surely stifle dissent, as intended. This is exactly the kind of authority that Trump dreams of, which is chilling.  Every time he accuses the press of being an “enemy of the state” he inches us closer to this kind of tyrannical result.

We have to keep pushing back against Trump’s desperate excesses and blatant, ham-handed efforts to lie about the state of the nation and suddenly try to give away taxpayer money to buy votes.

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

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