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Archives

Weekly Lists

Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things
subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.
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April 11, 2020

Week 178

This week, nearly 12,000 Americans died of the coronavirus. The U.S. became not only the country with the most cases by a factor of three, but also the country with the most deaths in the world. As American bodies piled up, Trump was obstinate and refused to change his approach, instead continuing to tweet grievances and holding daily campaign rallies masquerading as task force briefings, some lasting hours long.

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April 04, 2020

Week 177

This week coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. spiked, adding close to 200,000 reported cases, and by midweek, more than a thousand Americans were dying each day. Trump pivoted from denying the crisis and wanting to reopen the country, to suddenly acknowledging the gravity and claiming if 100,000 to 200,000 Americans die, he will have done a “very good job” — a remarkable claim! Only two times in American history, the Civil War and World War II, did more Americans die.

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March 28, 2020

Week 176

This week the U.S. continued exponential growth of coronavirus cases, finding itself with the most cases in the world on Thursday — surpassing Italy and China. The number of deaths likewise continued to grow exponentially. New York was hardest hit, accounting for roughly half the cases, but was also ahead of the rest of the country in aggressively testing and quarantining.

An impetuous Trump, eager to put this all behind him, and concerned about the stock market and his re-election, continued to minimize the pandemic, saying Monday he wanted to reopen the economy at the end of a 15-day period, meaning next Monday. On Tuesday, he tweaked that slightly to say he wanted to have the churches full by Easter Sunday, saying it would be “beautiful.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who seemed to be the sole voice of reason in the task force, pushed Trump to be flexible and watch the virus. This week, the daily coronavirus task force briefing devolved into Trump campaign rallies, filled with lies and disinformation — causing one death in Arizona where a man and his wife ingested Trump’s supposed coronavirus cure.

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March 21, 2020

Week 175

This week the United States had the highest spread rate of the coronavirus of countries reporting, starting the week with roughly 2,500 cases, and ending the week fourth in the world with more than 22,000. Countries that had early testing available like South Korea saw their daily adds ebb to below 100, while daily growth in U.S. cases was close to 50%. Despite Trump’s promises last Friday for 1.4 million tests this week, a new Google testing website and drive-thru testing at retailers — none of it happened. Trump continued this week to hold daily press briefings in which he lied, spread disinformation, and attacked the media, while self-aggrandizing — resembling and replacing Trump’s campaign rallies.

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March 14, 2020

Week 174

This week Trump finally was no longer able to sustain a narrative minimizing the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. The week started with 387 cases in 28 states, and ended with more than 2,500 cases in 49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, with 51 Americans dead. Trump continued to blame everyone but himself: the Obama administration for lack of testing, the Federal Reserve for stock market volatility, the media for creating panic and holding him to account. On Friday, he called a national emergency as the country was gripped with fear and uncertainty.

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March 07, 2020

Week 173

This week the coronavirus spread in the U.S. from 15 to 387 cases in 28 states, with at least 19 people dead. The number of cases is likely well under-reported due to the lack of available testing kits — one of many signs that the Trump regime is ill-equipped to tackle what is likely to become a global pandemic. The lack of verified information, combined with the constant disinformation put forward by Trump and his regime, led to a general sense of panic, as travel, conferences, and other events were canceled.

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February 29, 2020

Week 172

This week the coronavirus consumed the country and the world, as it spread from continent to continent. Trump’s strategy in recent weeks of ignoring and minimizing the virus’ import became untenable as his precious stock market plummeted, and country by country news spread of deaths and disruptions. The global stock markets have lost $6 trillion in value from the outbreak, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 12% and 11% this week alone, the worst fall since the recession of 2008.

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February 22, 2020

Week 171

This week the country strayed further from democracy, as Trump purged the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The firings started when Trump learned a senior official at ODNI had briefed House lawmakers on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 election, with the intent to help Trump. Trump fired his acting director, installing a loyalist with no intelligence experience, who then started the process of cleaning house of those not loyal to Trump. Admiral William McRaven, who oversaw the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, noted in an op-ed, “We should be deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security, there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.”

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February 15, 2020

Week 170

This week, unchecked by checks and balances, Trump continued his retaliation tour, unabashedly showcasing his will to control the Justice Department. After career prosecutors made recommendations for sentencing for his longtime associate Roger Stone, which were overridden by the DOJ, a mass exodus ensued, nicknamed the ‘Tuesday massacre’ — a nomenclature now familiar in the era of Trump. Feeling unshackled, Trump publicly criticized prosecutors, judges, and even jurors, seeming to openly seize the DOJ as a department under his control, without a hint of independence.

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February 08, 2020

Week 169

This was one of the most frightening weeks, as Trump seized on his impeachment acquittal to retaliate against his perceived enemies. Within 48 hours, Trump’s Department of Homeland Security suspended the Global Entry program for New York residents, Trump’s Treasury Department turned over confidential records on Hunter Biden to Senate Republicans opening investigations at his behest, and Trump ousted Alexander Vindman and his twin brother from the National Security Council and recalled Gordon Sondland from his post as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

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