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.

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Eliza Orlins: I’m a public defender in Manhattan. The Central Park video is all too familiar.

Eliza Orlins is a public defender and Democratic candidate for Manhattan district attorney.

That viral video circulating of a white woman calling the police on a black man in New York’s Central Park on Monday was sadly all too familiar. The privilege that the woman in the video sought to weaponize with her 911 call is real — and the system that enables it is overdue for reform. [..]

Some might say the Central Park video is evidence of a criminal legal system that’s “broken.” But after years spent representing thousands of New Yorkers in court, I can attest that the reality is worse: The system is working the way it was designed to work — protecting the wealthy, connected, powerful and white, while disenfranchising already-marginalized communities of color.

What can be done? Certainly, end cash bail. We cannot allow people to sit in jail for months on end on the basis of an accusation — not when we can see with our own eyes how easy it is for this to happen.

But that only deals with one consequence of privilege. The privilege itself will be far harder to address.

Amanda Marcotte: With 100,000 dead and 39 million out of work, Trump trolls the libs — and his fanboys love it

The nation is in crisis. Our president is busy calling women “skanks” and floating false murder theories

Memorial Day weekend will likely be remembered by history as one marked by unimaginable tragedy. The official count of people dead from COVID-19 approached 100,000 — a milestone that will surely be passd on Tuesday or Wednesday — and the actual death toll is likely much higher. The weekend kicked off with new reports of soaring unemployment, putting the number of Americans who have filed benefit claims at 38.6 million, nearly one of every four workers in the United States.

Donald Trump, who currently occupies the White House despite losing the 2016 popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million, could not care less about all this suffering among the people he is purportedly there to serve. We know this, because he spent his weekend ranting on Twitter about pretty much anything — including obviously false conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough — except the crisis he prefers to pretend isn’t happening at all. [..]

None of this appears to matter. All that matters to Trump voters is he triggers the liberals and upholds the racist values of their tribe. As long as he keeps that up, they will happily walk off a cliff with him. The rest of us aren’t numb. We’re just in a hellish holding pattern, waiting until November to see if our democracy is too broken to prevent this 41 to 43% of Americans from holding the rest of the country hostage to their evil man-child cult leader.

We’re a country that has cancer, and we’re just waiting to see if the chemo is going to work. It isn’t numbness. It’s depression.

Arwa Mahdawi: A US passport used to be an asset. Under Trump it has become a liability

The president has stopped pretending to do anything about coronavirus. Travellers from the US are about to become the pariahs of the world

Donald Trump’s favourite hobbies seem to consist of golf, Twitter and banning people from the US. Alas, he may no longer have the opportunity to do as much of the latter, because who would now want to come to the US anyway? The country is doing such a bad job of containing coronavirus that you are better off almost anywhere else. Indeed, last month, a number of American citizens in Lebanon declined a repatriation offer, saying they were safer in Beirut.

It’s not just a trip to the US that looks unappealing right now; it seems many countries aren’t exactly salivating at the prospect of hosting American visitors in the near future. The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, for example, called the border with the US a clear “vulnerability” for Canada in terms of infections; the US-Canada border has been closed since March, and will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least 21 June. [..]

An American passport used to be an asset, now it’s looking rather more like a liability. “Italy plans to reopen to travellers on June 3 –but not to Americans” ran a recent headline in the travel magazine Afar. This is somewhat misleading: Italy is opening its borders and removing quarantine restrictions only for people from other countries in Europe, it is not singling out Americans. However, Americans aren’t used to being told they can’t do things and a screenshot of the article quickly went viral.

Elizabeth Warren and Deb Haaland : The federal government fiddles as covid-19 ravages Native Americans

Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat, represents Massachusetts in the Senate. Deb Haaland, a Democrat, represents New Mexico’s 1st District in the House.

For generations, the federal government has failed to honor its promises to Native American people. Now, covid-19 is ravaging Native communities, killing young people and elders alike, and devastating tribal economies. We are fighting in Congress to ensure that sovereign Native nations have the resources needed to protect the health and well-being of their citizens during this pandemic. The novel coronavirus’s terrible impact in Indian Country underscores that the federal government must live up to its unique legal and moral obligations to Native nations and act as a partner to help build security and resiliency for the future.

The coronavirus has taken a tragic toll on Indian Country. The Navajo Nation had infection rates higher than any state as of last week. In New Mexico, Native Americans make up just 11 percent of the population, but account for more than half of the covid-19 cases. Native nations’ economies have been devastated. And American Indians and Alaska Natives also disproportionately suffer from health conditions that make them especially susceptible to complications from covid-19, in part because of environmental injustices that have left their communities grappling with the health impacts of poisoned water and air. [..]

The federal response to covid-19 in Indian Country is unacceptable — and the American people strongly agree. New surveys from Data for Progress found a bipartisan majority of Americans support increasing funding for the Indian Health Service, holding the federal government legally responsible for upholding its treaty obligations, including health care, and allowing Native nations to interact directly with the federal government to receive aid instead of going through states. The same goes for prioritizing federal aid for hospitals and other essential services needed by communities of color and Native communities that are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and covid-19. There’s also broad support for letting tribes directly obtain resources from the Strategic National Stockpile without jumping through hoops at the state level — a proposal for which we introduced federal legislation.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Lessons from Nebraska that show how progressive candidates can win

Two years ago I wrote about what Kara Eastman’s victory in the Democratic primary for Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District meant for the party. Eastman’s narrow win, without the support of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), was “stunning,” I said. “If there is to be a Democratic wave, it is outside insurgents such as Eastman who will drive it.”

This month, Eastman took 62 percent of the primary vote, about double the share of her next-closest competitor. Her landslide victory is a story of persistence. Eastman lost in the 2018 general election, but she rebounded from that and her DCCC snub. This time, with the help of the DCCC and the backing of Emily’s List and other groups, she has a real shot at winning in November — despite the pandemic, the economic crisis and the fact that Nebraska remains a deeply red state.

Progressives like Eastman are the future of the Democratic Party. Progressives like Eastman are teaching other candidates, up and down the ballot, how to win — no matter the geography or the catastrophe.

Here’s the first lesson: Don’t shy away from progressivism. Embrace it.