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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Robert Reich: Beware going ‘back to normal’ thoughts – normal gave us Trump

Fatigued by the coronavirus and Trump, the idea of going back to normal is seductive – we must guard against it

“Life is going to return to normal,” Joe Biden promised on Thursday in a Thanksgiving address to the nation. He was talking about life after Covid-19, but you could be forgiven if you thought he was also making a promise about life after Trump. [..]

Given the road we were on, Trump and Covid were not aberrations. They were inevitabilities. The moment we are now in – with Trump virtually gone, Biden assembling his cabinet, and most of the nation starting to feel a bit of relief – is a temporary reprieve.

If the underlying trends don’t change, after Biden we could have Trumps as far as the eye can see. And health and environmental crises that make the coronavirus another step toward Armageddon.

Hence the paradox. America wants to return to a reassuring normal, but Biden can’t allow it. Complacency would be deadly. He has to both calm the waters and stir the pot.

It’s a mistake to see this challenge as placating the progressive wing of the Democratic party. It’s about dealing with problems that have worsened for decades and if left unattended much longer will be enormously destructive.

So the question is: in an exhausted and divided America that desperately wants a return to normal, where will Biden find the energy and political will for bold changes that are imperative?

Amanda Marcotte: Forget about “moving on” from Trump — the nation can’t heal without accountability

Forgiveness and unity? There can be no forgiveness without apology, and no unity without genuine accountability

Donald Trump’s coup was still ongoing when the takes preaching the value of forgiveness and letting bygones be bygones started to come out.

“We would remain bitterly divided,” law professor Randall Eliason wrote in a Washington Post op-ed arguing against prosecuting Trump for his many likely crimes. “[C]riminal prosecutions can’t bind up this country’s deep political and social wounds.” [..]

Unfortunately, Biden is living up to every stereotype of the quisling Democrat and taking this advice seriously. Reports suggest that in the interest of national “unity,” Biden is discouraging the idea of prosecuting Trump.

This is a serious mistake. Words like “unity” and “forgiveness” sound great in the abstract, but are utterly meaningless in the current political context for one reason: The sole responsibility for all this healing is being foisted, once again, on the backs of liberals. Conservatives can’t be bothered. They’re too busy working on their next moves to undermine democracy, sow division and create chaos.

This pattern — Republicans screw everything up and are allowed to get away with it in the name of “unity,” and take that as permission to go even further the next time — has been playing out since Richard Nixon first snagged his post-Watergate pardon.

Arwa Mahdawi: Systemic racism cost 14-year-old Honestie Hodges her life

Honestie, who was handcuffed at age 11, died from Covid. Her story isn’t an aberration – it’s part of a tragic trend

Handcuffed at gunpoint by the police when she was 11. Dead from Covid-19 complications when she was 14. Honestie Hodges, a young black girl from Michigan, tested positive for Covid-19 on her birthday and died on Sunday. She wasn’t so much the victim of a virus as she was the victim of systemic racism. Her death isn’t an aberration – it’s part of a tragic trend. [..]

Ethnic minorities aren’t dying from the coronavirus at greater rates than white people because the virus is racist, but because of institutional racism. Black and Hispanic people in the US are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and more likely to develop asthma. They’re more likely to live in food deserts, without easy access to fresh produce. Black people are systemically undertreated for pain because of racial biases in healthcare. Race affects everything from the air we breathe to the food we eat. This has always been the case but the pandemic has made it impossible to ignore. [..]

Honestie was robbed of her childhood and then robbed of her life. She was born in the richest country in the world and died with a GoFundMe for her medical expenses. Her death is more than a tragedy, it’s an indictment of America.

Simon Tisdall: Was scientist’s killing the opening shot of a Trump-led war on Iran?

The assassination of the country’s top nuclear expert raises fears that the outgoing US president is determined to take further action

The assassination on Friday of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist has heightened suspicions that Donald Trump, in cahoots with hardline Israeli and Saudi allies, may be trying to lure the Tehran regime into an all-out confrontation in the dying days of his presidency. Trump’s four-year-long Iranian vendetta is approaching a climax – and he still has the power and the means to inflict lasting damage.

Speculation that Trump might soon initiate or support some kind of attack on Iran, overt or covert, kinetic or cyber, had swirled across the Middle East in the wake of last weekend’s unprecedented meeting in Saudi Arabia between Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

What the three men discussed remains a closely guarded secret, a fact that has only served to encourage conspiracy claims. In the absence of an official statement, it’s suggested they may have agreed to intensify efforts to provoke and weaken the Tehran regime. Any ensuing retaliation by Iran might then potentially be used to justify an attack on its nuclear facilities before Trump leaves office on 20 January.