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May 12 2021

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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Olivia Troye: Republicans are counting on lies and brute force to win elections. Just like in 2020.

We’re holding them accountable for their words and votes on the election, the Capitol attack and Trump’s second impeachment. We won’t forget the truth.

The path from Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally to the Capitol was paved with lies about the 2020 election. Now, lies about what happened on Jan. 6 are becoming the Republican Party’s only strategy to regain power – and it’s working.

The Republican Party doesn’t have a governing agenda. It’s a pathetic predicament but obvious to anyone who stepped foot in Trump’s White House. One reason congressional Republicans are focused on cultural issues – Dr. Seuss, fake red meat regulations and a handful of transgender high school athletes around the country – might be to avoid judgment on how they used power: no health care reform, no infrastructure package, heading toward 600,000 dead from the pandemic, and the attack on the Capitol.

The strategy is simple: Obfuscate, lie, change the subject and hope voters hold the other party to a higher standard. It’s cynical, un-American and, as exasperating as it may be, effective. [..]

Overturning elections means denying stubborn facts like vote totals. The first step to getting away with such uninhibited a-reality is to get people to believe lies. By repeating them over and over, you don’t convince people of the lie, you persuade them to forget what’s true. Forgetting the truth is the top agenda item for Republicans, but we have to make sure we’re always there to remind them of how low they’ve fallen.

Paul Krugman: Republicans Are Still Waging War on Workers

Times are good? Punish the unemployed. Times are bad? Punish the unemployed.

Has the Republican Party, which has championed the interests of big business and sought to keep wages low since the late 19th century, suddenly become populist? Some of its rising stars would have you believe so. For example, after the 2020 election Senator Josh Hawley declared that “we must be a working-class party, not a Wall Street party.”

But while Republicans have lately attacked selected businesses, their beef with big companies seems to be over noneconomic issues. It bothers them a lot that some of corporate America has taken a mild stand in favor of social equality and against voter suppression.

What doesn’t bother them is the fact that many corporations pay little or nothing in taxes and pay their workers poorly. On such matters the G.O.P. is the same as it ever was: It’s for tax cuts that favor corporations and the wealthy, against anything that might improve the lives of ordinary workers.

Eugene Robinson: The biggest threat to America is the Republican break with reality

If Democrats want to tackle big issues, we must root for a GOP return to sanity.

The greatest threat to our nation’s future is not covid-19 or the rise of China or even the existential challenge of climate change. It is the Republican Party’s attempt to seize and hold power by offering voters the seductive choice of rejecting inconvenient facts and basic logic.

For the American experiment and people to survive, much less prosper, this iteration of the GOP must fail.

The blind-loyalty-even-to-dishonest-insanity Republican litmus test that is about to cost Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) her leadership job is only the most acute manifestation of the party’s decline into utter irresponsibility. It’s bad enough that those who want to remain in good standing must embrace the “big lie” about purported fraud in the 2020 election. But the requirement doesn’t stop there. On issue after issue, Republicans are cynically adopting a kind of pre-Enlightenment insistence on the primacy of belief over evidence.

If some voters want to believe that covid-19 is somehow being overblown by the world’s leading experts in infectious disease, then it becomes mandatory for GOP governors — ambitious ones, at least — to reopen their state economies, no matter the cost in needless illness and death. If some voters want to believe that systemic racism does not exist, then it becomes mandatory for Republicans to declare, as Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) did, that “America is not a racist country.” If some voters want to believe that poverty is a choice made by lazy people, then it becomes mandatory for GOP to try to force the poor back to work by slashing unemployment benefits.

There is, of course, often a huge difference between what one might want to believe and what is actually true. Genuine leadership sometimes requires telling people what they don’t want to hear. But the Republican Party no longer even pretends to want to lead. What it wants instead is to obtain power.

Bernie Sanders and Pramila Jayapal: We must fix the gaping holes in Medicare

Bernie Sanders, an independent, represents Vermont in the U.S. Senate. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, represents Washington’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House.

More than 55 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare — one of the most popular and successful government programs in our nation’s history — into law. Before the enactment of Medicare, about half of our senior citizens were uninsured and roughly 35 percent lived in poverty. Today, everyone in America aged 65 or older is guaranteed health-care benefits through Medicare regardless of income or medical condition, while the official poverty rate for seniors is now less than 9 percent.

That is the good news. The bad news is that, since its inception in 1965, Medicare has not covered such basic health-care needs as hearing, dental care and vision. The result: Millions of senior citizens have teeth rotting in their mouths, are unable to hear what their children and grandchildren say or can’t read a newspaper because of failing eyesight. It is a cruel irony that older Americans do not have coverage for these benefits at the time when they need it the most. [..]

And yet, in the richest country in the world, the outrageous reality is that 75 percent of senior citizens who suffer from hearing loss do not have a hearing aid because of the prohibitive cost. Sixty-five percent of senior citizens have no dental insurance and no idea how they will be able to afford to go to a dentist. More than a quarter of senior citizens in this country are missing all of their natural teeth, with many unable to properly digest the food that they eat. Over 70 percent of Americans 65 and older have untreated gum disease. We simply cannot tolerate this any longer.

Amanda Marcotte: Canceling the anti-insurrectionists in the GOP proves Republicans never cared about “free speech”

Kevin McCarthy claims Republicans “embrace free thought” but, in reality, all they want is total cultural dominance

Despite all the preening about “free speech” on the right, the truth is complaints about “cancel culture” have always been code for “conservatives can say whatever terrible things they want, and liberals can shut up about it.” And while play-acting as the victims of censorship because liberals mock or criticize them, Republicans have been busy actually silencing free speech: from demanding that athletes be fired for kneeling during the national anthem to, memorably, Donald Trump ordering the tear-gassing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park. While conservatives whine about oppression because people call them “racist” on Twitter, they are actually using complaints about “wokeness” as an excuse for the literal government censorship of discourse that acknowledges the reality of racism, as Michelle Goldberg of the New York Times chronicled.

That’s conservatism, of course: Always projecting their own sins onto their liberal opponents.

But the Republican enthusiasm for censorship has become even more pronounced in the past few weeks, as they’ve escalated the purge of any party members who refuse to sign onto the Big Lie that Joe Biden “stole” the election and that the Capitol insurrection was no big deal.

On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. — following in the footsteps of that other, more infamous McCarthy — escalated the blacklisting of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for admitting that the insurrection was a real thing that really happened because Donald Trump was really trying to steal an election that Joe Biden really won. McCarthy sent a letter to the Republican caucus declaring his intention to lead the effort to remove Cheney from her leadership position for said thought crimes and included a real howler of a closing paragraph.

“We are a big tent party,” McCarthy insisted, as they purge anyone who refuses to sign off the Big Lie. “And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.”

Of course, not if you think thoughts about admitting reality or debate those who insist on fealty to a lie.