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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Alexander Vindman: Coming forward ended my career. I still believe doing what’s right matters.

After 21 years, six months and 10 days of active military service, I am now a civilian. I made the difficult decision to retire because a campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation by President Trump and his allies forever limited the progression of my military career.

This experience has been painful, but I am not alone in this ignominious fate. The circumstances of my departure might have been more public, yet they are little different from those of dozens of other lifelong public servants who have left this administration with their integrity intact but their careers irreparably harmed.

A year ago, having served the nation in uniform in positions of critical importance, I was on the cusp of a career-topping promotion to colonel. A year ago, unknown to me, my concerns over the president’s conduct and the president’s efforts to undermine the very foundations of our democracy were precipitating tremors that would ultimately shake loose the facade of good governance and publicly expose the corruption of the Trump administration.

Eric Boehlert: Hillary Clinton Was Right About The Deplorables: Pandemic Edition

The press crucified her, but she was right, as usual.

Looking back, “Clinton’s comments about Trump’s human deplorables were overly generous,” Salon’s Chauncey DeVega noted in January. “Trump’s reign has encouraged a wave of lethal hate crimes and other violence against nonwhites, Muslims, Jews, gays and lesbians. Trump’s foot soldiers have engaged in acts of political violence and terrorism against Democrats and others deemed to be the “enemy.””

And then came the pandemic.

With the GOP’s Southern strategy of aggressively reopening red states now proving to be public disaster as daily confirmed Covid-19 cases skyrocket into the tens of thousands in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona, Trump supporters have shifted from gloating about beating the virus, to refusing to help combat it. Staging public tempter tantrums over wearing masks, Trump’s deplorables are keeping America down and wrecking the economy in the process.“ [..]

The American right wing has created the most politicized and partisan pandemic the world has ever seen. And that’s deplorable.

Paul Rosenberg: On the de-Trumpification of America: It definitely won’t be easy, but it must be done

Defeating Donald Trump might be the easy part. Uprooting the toxic movement he represents could take decades

Despite the deep hole he’s in, Donald Trump could still win re-election, as we are constantly reminded. If he loses, some observers warn, there could be considerable trouble, even violent resistance. But perhaps the biggest problem facing us in the medium-to-long term is what happens if Trump loses. In particular, what do we do to undo Trumpism? Not just to counter the destruction Trump has wrought, but the decades-long preconditions that made his election possible, if not almost inevitable.

This question was raised recently by Foreign Policy in Focus editor John Feffer, whose 2017 book, “Aftershock: A Journey Into Eastern Europe’s Broken Dreams” I reviewed here. That book was deeply steeped in the difficult challenges of rebuilding democratic culture and, unsurprisingly, Feffer’s recent column cited several historical signposts to illuminate the challenge we face — the end of the Confederacy, Nazi Germany and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. All those efforts to rebuild were “flawed in various ways” he wrote — the first and last most dramatically. But learning from them “might help us avoid repeating the mistakes of history.”

Robert Reich: The painful truth about Covid and the economy – Trump is to blame

Lies about the economy are as dangerous as lies about the virus. Thanks to the Republicans, millions are about to be hurt

“The recovery has been very strong,” Donald Trump said on Monday. Then the commerce department reported the US economy contracted between April and June at the fastest pace in nearly three-quarters of a century, which is as long as economists have been keeping track. The drop wiped out five years of economic growth.

But pesky facts have never stopped Trump. Having lied for five months about the coronavirus, he’s now filling social media and the airwaves with untruths about the economy so he can dupe his way to election day.

The comeback “won’t take very long”, he reassured Americans on Thursday. But every indicator shows that after a small uptick in June, the US economy is tanking again. Restaurant reservations are down, traffic at retail stores is dwindling, more small businesses are closing, the small rebound in air travel is reversing.

What’s Trump’s plan to revive the economy? The same one he’s been pushing for months: just “reopen” it. [..]

Lies about the economy are harder to spot than lies about the coronavirus because the virus’s grim death count is painfully apparent while the economy is complicated. But Trump’s economic lies are no less egregious, and they’re about to cause a great deal of unnecessary suffering.

Trump and Senate Republicans may not like it, but that’s the painful truth.

Bryce Covert: Biden’s Quietly Radical Care Plan

The candidate is talking about child care and elder care in the same breath, and making them part of his economic package. Both changes are long overdue.

Joe Biden’s recent policy proposal to address the country’s crisis of care didn’t garner major headlines. There were no haphazardly capitalized Trump tweets in response, nor congressional Republicans denouncing it as socialism. But make no mistake: His plan is quietly radical in both its comprehensiveness and its framing.

Mr. Biden’s plan incorporates a lot of ideas that are not his own. His pledge to give all 3- and 4-year-olds access to preschool? President Barack Obama initiated an effort to ensure universal preschool in 2013. His promise to help parents afford child care? It piggybacks on Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott’s Child Care for Working Families Act. His argument that caregivers deserve better pay and more rights? To get there, he says he’d sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights bill put forward by Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Pramila Jayapal in 2018.

But by bringing all of these pieces together in one place and by talking about them in the same breath with his other economic policies, he is pushing this conversation into new territory. No longer is the struggle to care for our families while earning a living something relegated to kitchen tables and curtained-off hospital beds. These challenges affect all of us, rippling throughout the entire economy. And Mr. Biden is the first presidential candidate to drag them out of the shadows and into the public conversation in such a sweeping way.

Reverend William Barber and Bernice King: Removing monuments is the easy part. We must make America a real democracy

Flags and statues may fall, but the real struggle is for genuine voting rights, equal healthcare and truly integrated schools

One hundred and fifty-five years after Confederate troops surrendered at Appomattox and Bennett Place, their battle flag has finally come down in Mississippi and their statues are retreating from courthouse squares and university quads. As the children of generations of Black southerners who fought against the lies of the Lost Cause, we celebrate this most recent surrender and look forward to walking down streets that are not shadowed by monuments to men who claimed to own our ancestors. But we cannot understand why these monuments lasted so long without challenging the inequities they were erected to justify. In fact, many who support flags and statues coming down today also advocate voter suppression, attack healthcare and re-segregate our schools. We must attend to both the systems of injustice and the monuments that have justified them if we are to realize “liberty and justice for all”. [..]

In this moment when millions of Americans are suffering from a triple crisis of poverty, Covid-19 and police brutality, we need more than a conversation about monuments. We need concrete action to address the incredible disparities in death rates among Black, brown and poor people. This pivotal moment for our nation and our world is beckoning us to dismantle injustice and rebuild with love as the foundation. We can build a more just, humane, equitable and peaceful world. But, as King so prophetically admonished us: “The hour is late. And the clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now before it is too late.” We must act now, America.