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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Eugene Robinson: Our justice system values wallboards over Black lives

If we can’t have a murder trial, at least Breonna Taylor’s death shows us where to target our anger.

There was no justice for Breonna Taylor, so there was no peace Wednesday night on the streets of Louisville.

It is no surprise that the Louisville police officers who burst into Taylor’s apartment in the middle of the night and shot her dead escaped murder charges.

But the one indictment that was handed down by the grand jury actually makes the outcome feel worse. One officer was charged with “wanton endangerment,” a minor felony ranked alongside shoplifting, for stray shots he fired that entered an adjacent apartment but didn’t hit anyone. No one was charged with anything, not even a misdemeanor, for firing the bullets that ended Taylor’s life. There will be literally zero accountability for Taylor’s killing: The other two officers involved weren’t even fired.

How can that be? Do we have a justice system that values wallboard over human flesh? Or is this true only when the flesh in question belonged to a 26-year-old Black woman whose death can be written off as collateral damage? [..]

Why is Breonna Taylor dead? At every step of the way, the legal system treated her as if she didn’t matter.

The city of Louisville has agreed to pay Taylor’s family a reported $12 million in compensation for her death. The Civil War was supposed to have ended the time in America when Black bodies had only monetary value. At least the price has gone up.

Leana S. Wen: We’ve reached 200,000 deaths. Our response has gotten even worse than it was at 100,000.

As covid-19 has claimed another 100,000 lives, daily infections have risen, we have gotten worse at using the mitigation tools we have and the CDC’s credibility has eroded.

The United States has reached the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from covid-19. We are in a much worse place than we were when we crossed the 100,000-death threshold in May.

Why? Start with the numbers. In late May, we had about 20,000 new infections per day. Now we are at double that, with around 40,000 new daily infections. This is a high baseline to have entering the fall and winter, when the combination of quarantine fatigue and cold weather could drive people to congregate indoors and substantially increase transmission.

In addition, restrictions keep getting lifted, even in states with surging infections. The nearly 2 million students returning for in-person instruction will surely lead to more outbreaks, as some college towns are already emerging as new coronavirus hot spots. In 27 states, the number of infections this week is higher than it was last week. In 14, the test positivity rate is in the double digits, which means the true infection rate is much higher.

Max Boot: Trump is the worst threat to our democracy since the 1930s

Trump just made clear he will hold on to power by any means necessary.

It is not simply the casting of ballots that makes a democracy. Many dictatorships have faux elections that change nothing. The real test of a nation’s political system is whether politicians respect the will of the voters — and in particular whether the most powerful leader, the one in control of the armed forces, willingly gives up power after losing an election. This is a test that countries such as Belarus and Zimbabwe have failed, and that the United States has passed, in good times and bad, for more than two centuries. Indeed, few presidents are even asked about their willingness to give up power because the answer is so obvious.

That is no longer the case. Asked on Wednesday whether he would commit to a “peaceful transfer of power,” President Trump did not say yes. He said: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.” He then said we should “get rid of the ballots” — presumably he meant mail-in ballots, but it wasn’t clear — and then ended with these chilling words: “There won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.” [..]

No U.S. president has said anything like this before. Ever. This by itself should be disqualifying. Even if Trump had been the best president in our history — rather than the worst — this refusal to play by the democratic rules should, all by itself, guarantee his electoral defeat.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump just can’t keep a secret — especially when it comes to his plans to stage a coup

President Stable Genius tells lots of lies — but keeps telling us the truth about his evil election schemes

Donald Trump is escalating. Wednesday afternoon, under questioning by Brian Karem of Playboy, Trump offered what the mainstream news outlets are calling a “failure to commit” to a “peaceful transfer of power.” One might also call it “threatening a coup”.

The first time Karem asked Trump whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election, Trump pulled his usual move, pretending that the fate of our democracy is like a reality-show cliffhanger: “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.”

But Karem was dogged and asked him again: “Do you commit to making sure that there’s a peaceful transferral of power?”

That’s when Trump let the cat out of the bag: “Get rid of the ballots, and you’ll have a very — we’ll have a very peaceful, there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

“The ballots are out of control,” Trump continued, making crystal clear that he resents those gosh-darn ballots and the way they allow American citizens the (theoretical) right to choose their own leaders. [..]

Trump is going to attempt to stage a coup if he loses. (And right now, FiveThirtyEight gives him a 77% chance of losing a fair election.) There is no use dancing around this or using euphemisms.