We are apparently not yet at a New York City in March level of crisis

Updates

  1. Originally published, 11:25 am.
  2. July 9, 10:39 pm:
    • The Wall Street Journal article on eastern Oklahoma being American Indian land has been updated[1] and the Washington Post also has an account account than the one I saw earlier.[2] The reservation land apparently does not include Tulsa after all, but adjoins it and the ruling applies only to the treaty with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, although treaties with other tribes are similar; these claims could amount to nearly half the land in Oklahoma (figure 3). Also, I had the part about which courts should have had jurisdiction wrong: These proceedings should have occurred in federal courts.[3]
    • The Washington Post story on the Supreme Court’s ruling on financial records has also been updated. It seems the Manhattan prosecutor will not obtain immediate access to Donald Trump’s financial records. A battle in the lower courts likely lies ahead.[4]
    • Matt Ford dismisses fears[5] that Donald Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses the election.[6] Ford relies on state governors and secretaries of state certifying election results[7] where others understand state legislatures as appointing or failing to appoint electoral college delegates.[8] I see a difference here but honestly don’t know how realistic it is or how much it amounts to.
  3. July 9, 11:09 pm:
    • I almost forgot. . . . You remember that sign I described on the outskirts of Duquesne? For the last couple or so weeks, it’s had a new message (figure 1):
      IMG_20200709_185558
      Fig. 1. Photograph by author, July 9, 2020.

      The Republic of China is Taiwan so I think s/he means the People’s Republic of China, that is, mainland China, which has been a state capitalist regime for decades now. Welcome to southwestern Pennsylvania, where batshit crazy is, I guess, the thing to be.

  4. July 10, 5:56 am:
    • Something I apparently missed from the day before (July 8) is that Allegheny County has issued new rules[9] that replace the old rules[10] forbidding indoor service at bars and restaurants. The new rules will be in effect for two weeks and allow outside service at these establishments.[11] A lot of people, myself included, have thought we’re inevitably heading back to Governor Tom Wolf’s yellow phase, but the Allegheny County orders are likely meant to forestall that. The question is whether the case counts will drop. So far, we really can’t say with any conviction that they have (figure 2).[12]

Pandemic

FireShot Capture 206 - Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizatio_ - triblive.com
Fig. 2. Screenshot taken July 10, 2020 by author of Allegheny County COVID-19 daily case count chart from the Tribune-Review, July 9.[13]

In places where COVID-19 cases are spiking around the U.S., we are apparently not yet[14] at a New York City in March level of crisis.[15] But it’s bad[16] and yet the Trump administration is pressing to fully reopen schools both at the K-12 level[17] and the post-secondary level[18] even as psychopaths already congregate to spread the disease.[19]

1. I try not to be a downer but it’s difficult to view what is happening in the United States as anything other than a massive and unnecessary disaster. The pandemic is spinning out of control as in no other nation on earth & Trump opposes any serious solution.

2. First and foremost there will be a massive human cost of the dead and also (never forget) those scarred for life with chronic conditions. Beyond that, there is no path to real economic recovery unless pandemic brought under control.

3. There’s a global impact as well. Even assuming most other nations get this under control, the fact is the American consumer is the engine that pulls the global economy. There will be no full recovery without USA, meaning a poorer world for years to come.

4. Even if Biden wins in November, he doesn’t assume presidency until January 21, 2021. Will it even be possible to bring things under control by then? And he’ll preside over country with 30-40% population Trumpized, wary of masks, conspiratorial.

5. Maybe someone can talk me out of this but I really don’t see anything but a very rocky road for USA for the foreseeable future.[20]

So, gee, I wonder why this is already not ending well.

While we’re on the topic of things that don’t end well, remember that rally in Tulsa? The one that Donald Trump scheduled despite medical advice to the contrary and that attendees were supposed to sign a waiver against liability for COVID-19 for?[21] The one that filled the arena to less than one-third capacity,[22] a showing that Trump blamed protesters for[23] and social media users claimed credit for[24] but can likely be attributed to Trump’s white supremacist idiocy?[25] Yeah, that one. Well, it “‘likely contributed’ to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday [July 8].”[26]

Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html

Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html

Sean Murphy, “Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge,” Associated Press, July 8, 2020, copy in possession of author

WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080

Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/


Oklahoma

FireShot Capture 203 - Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rule_ - www.wsj.com
Fig. 3. Screenshot by author of Wall Street Journal map, July 9, 2020, showing Five Nations claims.[27]

Speaking of Tulsa, the Supreme Court upheld Muscogee (Creek) Nation claims to some of the eastern half of Oklahoma, including territory adjoining Tulsa. It only applies to the treaty with the Mucogee, but treaties with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes are similar. The immediate practical effect is to call into question an awful lot of court proceedings that apparently should have occurred in federal courts.[28] But of course the implications go far beyond that and it’s going to be awfully interesting to see how this plays.

Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003

Ann E. Marimow, “American Indian Lands Include Eastern Oklahoma, Supreme Court Rules,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003


Donald Trump

A Manhattan prosecutor has the right to seek Donald Trump’s financial records for a grand jury investigation and Trump has no right to “presidential immunity” in these cases. Which means they’ll probably be under wraps until after November. But the Supreme Court sent the separation of powers question over congressional subpoenas for the same or similar information back to the lower courts.[29] It’s a defeat for Trump, but a defeat neatly deferred until after the election, and which some will therefore call a victory.

I guess we can look forward to Joe Biden pardoning Trump if indeed Biden wins this November. Because as Barack Obama demonstrated,[30] that’s just how the Democrats roll.[31]

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html


  1. [1]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  2. [2]Ann E. Marimow, “American Indian Lands Include Eastern Oklahoma, Supreme Court Rules,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  3. [3]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  4. [4]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html
  5. [5]Matt Ford, “Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration,” New Republic, July 9, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/158415/trump-refuses-to-step-down
  6. [6]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]Matt Ford, “Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration,” New Republic, July 9, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/158415/trump-refuses-to-step-down
  8. [8]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  9. [9]WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  10. [10]Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/
  11. [11]WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  12. [12]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/
  13. [13]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/
  14. [14]Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html
  15. [15]Ariana Eunjung Cha et al., “Faced with a crush of patients, besieged NYC hospitals struggle with life-or-death decisions,” Washington Post, March 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/31/new-york-city-hospitals-coronavirus/
  16. [16]Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html
  17. [17]Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  18. [18]Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines; Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  19. [19]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  20. [20]Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html
  21. [21]Oliver Milman, “Trump campaign asks supporters to sign coronavirus waiver ahead of rally,” Guardian, June 12, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/12/trump-rally-supporters-sign-coronavirus-waiver
  22. [22]Andrew Solender, “Turnout At Trump’s Tulsa Rally Was Just Under 6,200–A Fraction Of The Venue’s 19,200 Capacity,” Forbes, June 21, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/06/21/turnout-at-trumps-tulsa-rally-was-just-under-6200a-fraction-of-the-venues-19200-capacity/
  23. [23]Eugene Daniels, “Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa rally,” Politico, June 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/20/trump-rally-tulsa-coronavirus-reset-2020-campaign-330248
  24. [24]Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning, and Sheera Frenkel, “TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally,” New York Times, June 21, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/style/tiktok-trump-rally-tulsa.html; Donie O’Sullivan, “TikTok users are trying to troll Trump’s campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they’ll never use,” CNN, June 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/politics/tiktok-trump-tulsa-rally-trnd/index.html
  25. [25]Yashar Ali, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, June 21, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/1274547228619636738.html; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s humiliation: A million expected for a 19,000-seat venue; less than 6,200 show up,” Not Housebroken, June 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/21/donald-trumps-humiliation-a-million-expected-for-a-19000-seat-venue-less-than-6200-show-up/
  26. [26]Sean Murphy, “Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge,” Associated Press, July 8, 2020, copy in possession of author
  27. [27]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  28. [28]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  29. [29]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html
  30. [30]Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s justice department grants final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers,” Guardian, August 31, 2012, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/31/obama-justice-department-immunity-bush-cia-torturer; David Johnston and Charlie Savage, “Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs,” New York Times, January 11, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html; Elizabeth Holtzman, “Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes,” Nation, March 20, 2013, https://www.thenation.com/article/statutes-limitations-are-expiring-some-bush-crimes/
  31. [31]David Benfell, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who,’” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/06/bipartisan-meritocracy-and-vote-blue-no-matter-who/

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