Two Milestones: 100,000 dead, 40 million unemployed

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On Wednesday, the United States reached the milestone of 100,000 confirmed dead from the coronavirus pandemic. Vice President Joe Biden delivered a video eulogy for the dead.

President Donald Trump spent the day slandering former congressman and now MSNBC host Joe Scarborough with a false accusation of murder, and threatening social media, his precious Twitter, with retribution for attaching a “fact check” bug to his false accusations of voter fraud with absentee ballots. (Twitter nevertheless failed to remove Trump’s slanderous posts about Scarborough, ad failed to remove Trump’s false posts about absentee ballots).

Trump continued his assault on Americans’ sensibilities Wednesday night by tweeting a note of thanks in response to a video of a supporter of his exclaiming, “The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat.” Trump Says ‘Thank You’ To Video Declaring ‘The Only Good Democrat Is A Dead Democrat’. Trump thanked the group and said that he’d see them in New Mexico.

It took until Thursday morning before Trump grudgingly acknowledged the milestone he claimed America would never reach back in February and March. After Silence, Trump Marks 100,000 Virus Deaths In US:

President Donald Trump on Thursday marked the “sad milestone” of 100,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States, after his earlier silence prompted criticism that he was failing in his duty to console victims and their loved ones.

“We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000,” Trump posted on Twitter, about 16 hours after the death toll passed the threshold according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.

“To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!”

The US death toll, from 1.7 million confirmed infections, is by far the highest of any nation, and critics have accused the president of an inadequate early response to the pandemic.

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Trump has also been criticized for repeatedly offering unduly optimistic predictions about the final death count, only to be quickly contradicted each time by the relentlessly rising toll.

On Wednesday, as many American politicians including the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden were sharing their condolences and grief over the grim milestone, Trump was tweeting repeatedly about other issues.

He posted more than 40 times on social media — on a variety of subjects but not about COVID-19 victims — between Wednesday evening and his Thursday morning tweet that acknowledged the 100,000 dead.

Democrats savaged the president for appearing insensitive to the magnitude of the moment.

“The day the United States hit 100,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic Trump shares a message calling himself ‘the greatest President in our history.’ His vanity is nauseating,” congressman Don Beyer tweeted.

On Thursday, the Department of Labor released new data showing another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force, 1 in 4 U.S. workers. 40.8 Million Out Of Work In The Past 10 Weeks — 26% Of Labor Force:

Employment dropped steeply in most areas of the country in recent weeks, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. A Fed survey found that “employment continued to fall sharply in retail and in leisure and hospitality sectors.”

“Contacts cited challenges in bringing employees back to work, including workers’ health concerns, limited access to childcare, and generous unemployment insurance benefits,” the Fed said in its Beige Book survey.

Signs of an ailing job market are everywhere:

      • Boeing is cutting more than 12,000 jobs after the sudden drop in air travel hit the airplane manufacturing giant hard.
      • A number of major retailers, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and J. Crew, have filed for bankruptcy.
      • With tax revenues dwindling, cities large and small are facing deep budget deficits, forcing them to furlough municipal workers. Nearly 1 million government workers were laid off in April alone.

Note: These are just the workers who were able to successfully navigate the byzantine unemployment insurance systems of their states. There are many workers who have still not yet received unemployment benefits, or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for the self-employed or otherwise not eligible for regular unemployment insurance benefits. The number of unemployed is likely significantly undercounted.

The enhanced unemployment benefits of $600 per week is set to expire July 31, unless extended by Congress.

The AP adds: The national jobless rate was 14.7% in April, the highest since the Great Depression, and many economists expect it will near 20% in May. The economy is thought to be shrinking in the April-June quarter at an annual rate approaching 40%. That would be, by far, the worst quarterly contraction on record.

It is inconceivable that at any other time in American history a president with this horrific record and even more horrific despicable personal behavior while in office would not have already been removed from office by impeachment for the sake of the nation. No political party would have stood by such a miserable wretch or made him the standard-bearer of their party as its nominee. It would have been considered political suicide.

And yet, here we are. This is only possible because of the Epistemic closure and the ‘conservative misinformation feedback loop’ media bubble, and the GOP tribalism that it has fostered. Far more dangerous and consequential is its elevation of a conspiracy mongering demagogue into the personality cult of Donald Trump. Cultists are impervious to facts, or reason, or morality. They are a danger to themselves and to society.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah put together this mashup video of Fox News aka Trump TV propagandists declaring all of the above horrible news “a great success.” This is what the cultists are being told by “state TV” and, frighteningly, it is what they believe. God save us from such consummate evil.