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May 25 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Robert Reich: No, Donald Trump, Americans are not dying to work – work may cause them to die

The president, the Republican party and their Fox News cheerleaders care only for corporate profit

Most of Europe and all 50 US states are in various stages of “reopening”. But why, exactly?

The pandemic is still with us. After the first tentative steps to ease the lockdown in Germany – the most successful large European country in halting the spread of the virus, thanks to massive testing – the disease has shown signs of spreading faster.

At least Germany is opening slowly and carefully, as is the rest of the EU.

By contrast, the US – with the highest number of deaths and most haphazard response to Covid-19 of any advanced nation – is opening chaotically, each state on its own. Some are lifting restrictions overnight.

Researchers expect the reopenings to cause thousands of additional deaths. [..]

In truth, there is no good reason to reopen when the pandemic is still raging: not getting the economy moving again, or workers clamoring to return to work, or the cost of extended income support, or because workers should be “free” to endanger themselves.

Let’s be clear. The pressure to reopen the economy is coming from businesses that want to return to profitability, and from Trump, who wants to run for re-election in an economy that appears to be recovering.

Muchael H. Fuchs: Mike Pompeo is the number one evangelist of Trumpism in the world

When it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo’s penchant for undermining America’s credibility is top-notch

Donald Trump’s disdain for the people, country and values his office is supposed to represent is unmatched in recent memory. And he has found in the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, a kindred spirit who has embraced his role as Trumpism’s number one proselytizer to the world.

Pompeo doesn’t wield nearly as much power or have the jurisdiction to inflict damage on as wide a range of issues as the president. He’s not as crass or erratic as Trump, and his Twitter feed seems dedicated more to childish mockery than outright attacks. But when it comes to foreign policy, Pompeo’s penchant for undermining America’s credibility is top-notch. [..]

The fish, they say, rots from the head. And Pompeo, like his boss, is actively undermining the values embodied by the state department, its professionals and the Americans they represent.

Paul Waldman: Can we stop pretending Trump is fit to be president?

At various times over the past three and a half years, many of us have asked what would happen if President Trump truly went over the edge or if his behavior became so frightening that his unfitness for the most powerful position on Earth could no longer be denied.

But the human capacity for denial is apparently almost infinite. [..]

The truth is that Trump is not much more despicable of a human being than he has always been; it’s just that standard Trumpian behavior becomes more horrifying when it occurs during an ongoing national crisis. It is reality that changed around him, and he was incapable of responding to it.

We all know this. In public, Republicans may say that the real villain in the pandemic is China, or that all those deaths — and the tens of thousands yet to come — were inevitable, or that it is essential to get the economy moving. But they know as well as the rest of us do what a catastrophic failure Trump has been.

They must own the moral choice they now make. In 2016, they said Trump would grow serious and sober once he was faced with the awesome responsibilities of the office. There was little reason at the time to think it would happen, but it was at least possible.

No one can say that now. Not only do we know who Trump is, we know who he will always be. And we know that reelecting him will be disastrous in a hundred ways.

Donna F. Edwards: Americans want to vote, and they want to be able to do it by mail

Today I did something that I haven’t done in 20 years — I voted by mail.

I did not request the ballot. It was sent to me courtesy of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who decided after postponing the primary election because of the pandemic that every registered voter would receive a ballot in the mail. Filling in the ballot was quick and easy, the instructions were clear and I did it in my pajamas over a cup of coffee. When I finished, I sealed the postage-paid envelope and signed a statement saying I understood that if I violated the state elections law, I would face a $1,000 fine, two years in prison or both.

So, what is all the fuss? President Trump is making outrageous and unfounded claims of “tremendous” voter fraud with vote by mail, while some Republicans and the conservative media are parroting the same. Trump’s recent threats to withhold federal funding from Michigan in light of its secretary of state’s move to expand vote by mail comes as Texas Republicans make a hard charge in federal court to stop efforts there.

Here’s a fact for the president: More than one-quarter of voters cast their ballots by mail in the 2018 election, and that number is likely to increase in the novel coronavirus era. As evidence, the April primary in Wisconsin, in the midst of the pandemic, saw the voter turnout among the highest in 40 years, with more than 70 percent of votes coming from absentee ballots. Another fact: A recent survey by Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of Americans believe that anyone who wants to vote by mail should be allowed to do so.

Richard Wolffe: Trump’s hydroxychloroquine habit is the triumph of rightwing quackery

The president’s anti-science cult represents the nadir of a long tradition of conspiracy-loving wingnuts from the fringes of American conservatism

What kind of buffoon brags about taking a drug that could kill him?

Among the many ailments Donald Trump has inflicted on his own country – not to mention the rest of the world – there may be something even worse than hydroxycholoroquine.

Yes, it’s bad that he claims to be taking an anti-malarial that his own Food and Drug Administration says is unsafe and ineffective to treat Covid-19.

Yes, it’s astonishing that Trump’s tools forced out of office an actual vaccine expert because he dared to question the president’s love of an unproven drug.

But it’s even worse that he is a one-man delivery vehicle for a dunce cult that denies science.

We’re not just talking about the presidential brainwaves that bounced around the world, hitting bodies with very powerful light or bleaching patients “by injection inside or almost a cleaning”.

Trump’s anti-science cult does not begin with quack remedies for a pandemic, and it does not even begin with him.