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The IMI Journal—July 2020 Edition: Trump’s Pandemic Disappearing Act

July 28, 2020

We are all trying to make sense of this bizarre moment, where the sitting president was forced to cancel his own national political convention as a result of a pandemic that could have been prevented had he not dismissed it.

America’s rightward march culminating in Trump’s presidency has brought us to this moment where we are dying from a virus that other nations have managed to control.

And now we are watching a calculated effort by the Trump administration to dismantle the government’s capacity to collect and share information about the spread of COVID-19. How can we know how bad the pandemic is without this data? It’s an audacious act, and IMI contributor Sonali Kolhatkar goes right to it:

“Trump has repeatedly told Americans that the virus would simply go away—like magic. Now, he has even taken steps to control hospital data on the virus, just like the sleight of hand that a magician requires in order to perform an illusion. The trick is to manage the illusion until the November election.”

The illusion can only be shattered by a vigilant media that reports in the public interest. Journalism that fights for the facts that actually matter is what keeps our society going. The reporting and impact by IMI and its contributors are produced with that vision.

IMI continues to expand the roster of publications that we work with—now reaching South Africa through the Mail & Guardian, and the New School’s Public Seminar. Please check out the important recent work from our fellows and contributors.

Steven Rosenfeld’s widely read report for Voting Booth makes the case that Trump’s efforts to thwart an accurate 2020 election are best defended by citizens volunteering for training to work as poll workers.

Earth | Food | Life’s Nina Jackel reminds us that the next pandemic is always around the corner, and the disastrous methods of the coffee industry could provoke the next outbreak.

Our Schools’ Jeff Bryant covers Trump’s perplexing effort to expose public school teachers to higher COVID-19 infection rates.

The writers of Globetrotter have produced important work on key pressure points in Africa: Vijay Prashad surveys the clash of regional powers and global players that is tearing Libya apart. Danny Sjursen covers the diplomatic crisis between Ethiopia and Egypt over the former’s damming up the Nile. Prabir Purkayastha calls on societies to prevent Western pharma monopolies from controlling the distribution of medicines to fight COVID-19.

Economy for All’s Richard D. Wolff explains how in a rigged economy, government helps the people who need it least. Marshall Auerback covers the breakdown of EU-U.S. talks over the establishment of a multinational tax system.

Would Trump resist leaving office quietly? Bill Blum explores the possibility and the constitutional challenges that he might face. Thom Hartmann wonders if Libertarianism can survive now that the public has seen what happens when government doesn’t step in to fight a crisis.

We can’t produce this work, and get it read by decision makers and wide audiences, without a group of loyal donors who understand our mission and the work we are producing—please join us!

Thanks from Jan Ritch-Frel and the team at the Independent Media Institute

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