In the News: Week of July 5th

What happened in the world from July 5th to 11th

In the news this week

Coronavirus cases continue to grow in many states across the country, especially in the south and west. On Friday, the country recorded more than 68,000 cases, making that seven out of the last 11 days in which a new daily case record has been set. The governor of Texas admitted they may have to lock down again to slow the spread, and Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, announced that a convention center in Atlanta would be again transformed into a makeshift hospital. Currently state leaders seem to be taking a “let’s see just how bad this can get” approach before implementing policies that could actually make a difference.

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the Creek reservation continued to exist after Oklahoma became a state, which means about half of the land in Oklahoma is within a Native American reservation. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation was happy with the ruling, issuing a statement saying, “The Supreme Court today kept the United States’ sacred promise to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of a protected reservation. Today’s decision will allow the Nation to honor our ancestors by maintaining our established sovereignty and territorial boundaries.” Certain major crimes committed on Muscogee land must now be prosecuted in federal court rather than state court, and less serious crimes involving Native Americans will be handled in tribal courts.

Employers will be able to limit women’s access to birth control, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday. A Trump administration regulation allowed employers with religious or moral objections to birth control to opt out of providing coverage for it, and the court ruled 7 to 2 to allow employers to deny contraceptive coverage to employees. Two liberal justices voted with the majority, Elena Kagan, appointed by Barack Obama, and Stephen Breyer, appointed by Bill Clinton.

In a major blow to President Trump, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Trump cannot block the release of financial records. The court decided that Congress may not see the records, but ruled that prosecutors in New York can. Trump’s own appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, sided against Trump in the 7 to 2 decision. The Supreme Court decided to uphold the principle that no citizen, not even the president, is “above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.”

The Trump administration is looking to strip foreign college students of visas if they take online-only classes in the fall. Harvard and MIT are suing the current administration over the directive. It’s really an unfortunate situation for colleges to be in; either open up in the fall, and risk the lives of students, faculty, and everyone else in the community, or move to online-only instruction and risk the deportation of international students. Only the Trump administration would see the pandemic as an opportunity to deport even more people from different countries. If Trump actually wanted to make America a better place, he wouldn’t work so hard to get rid of some of our brightest and most talented students.

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil tested positive for coronavirus this past week. He may have been infected at a mask-free 4th of July luncheon. Bolsonaro, who has unfortunately decided that Brazil is going to give America a run for its money, has consistently downplayed the threat of the virus and even used homophobic slurs to mock masks. Brazil currently has over 1.8 million infections and 70,000 deaths, second to only the United States. Although in an age bracket that experiences an elevated risk of death, Bolsonaro is confident he’ll recover.

The Dakota Access Pipeline must be shut down, ruled a district court Monday. Native Americans and environmental groups have long protested the pipeline, a fight which dates back to the Obama administration. The company that owns the pipeline said it will pursue all legal options available to ensure the pipeline does not get shut down. Oil has been flowing through the pipeline since June 2017 after Trump signed an executive memo expediting its approval.

Roger Stone, convicted felon and former Trump campaign advisor, had his sentence commuted by Trump on Friday. The White House statement did not claim Stone was innocent, but said he was treated “very unfairly” and “suffered greatly.” Trump has demonstrated time and time again that as long as he is in office, himself and any of his associates are above the law. The good news is we have an election coming up in a few months.

Headline of the Week: ‘STOP GETTING TESTED’ For Coronavirus, Ohio Politician Tells Constituents

If you never get tested for coronavirus, did you ever really have it? One Ohio representative is trying to find out. Echoing statements made by President Trump, who has said on numerous occasions that less testing would lead to less cases, Nino Vitale is begging constituents not to get tested for the virus. Apparently the problem is not people refusing to wear masks or going to crowded bars, the real problem is the amount of people getting tested for the virus.

While some may thing Mr. Vitale is an idiot, I think he might be onto something. If doctors never screened or tested for cancer, the rate of cancer diagnoses in this country would plummet. Hell, why don’t we just abolish the healthcare system entirely? We would suddenly become the healthiest country in the world; nobody would ever be diagnosed with any ailment or disease. Our mortality rate may mysteriously skyrocket, but what we don’t know can’t hurt us, right?

Recommended Reading: We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn’t We?

Those who complain about unemployed Americans receiving government assistance don’t really seem to mind when the money is flowing to the wealthy, which it does more often than not. However, when money is going to poor Americans, it’s a travesty. Getting paid for not working, what kind of lesson is that teaching them? They’re making more money not working than they were employed! Surely that means government assistance is too generous rather than wages being too low.

For some reason, accusations of irresponsibility never seem to be directed at big businesses that deserve it the most. The airline industry, one of the most affected by the pandemic, received a $25 billion bailout, yet they refused to buy pandemic insurance just a few short years ago. The airline industry was warned that “these outbreaks have had widespread impact on personal and business travel” in a letter from an insurance company urging them to consider purchasing pandemic insurance. They, along with almost every other business that was offered the insurance, refused to buy the policy.

Time and time again, our government has shown it will go to extreme lengths to bail out large businesses that get themselves into trouble. Why would you pay to transfer risk to an insurance company when you can simply transfer it to the government and taxpayers free of charge? I must ask, what lesson are we teaching our big businesses? Don’t worry about running your business in a responsible manner, we’ll be there to bail you out when you inevitably take on too much risk and fail. 

If only working class Americans, who obviously don’t have the same financial resources as big businesses, were afforded the same protections. Although it would still be unjust for giant corporations to receive the same taxpayer-funded bailouts as the taxpayers themselves, at least it would sting a little less. 

As it is now, we, the taxpayers, subsidize the irresponsible behavior of wealthy business executives and big companies. This behavior has been enabled by Democrats and Republicans alike, and is going to continue until regulations on companies are tightened. If the government required companies that can afford it to carry pandemic insurance, for example, the burden put on taxpayers this time around would have been significantly less. It’s clear by now that companies won’t behave in a financially responsible manner if left to their own devices. We can choose to either let these irresponsible companies fail, like they should have long ago, or force them to act responsibly by further regulating their behavior. Neither change will be good for Wall Street, though, which is why we are all still waiting on changes to be made.

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