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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Trump is still trying to steal the election — but Republicans are acting as if they never enabled this criminal
Throughout this post-election period, the reaction from congressional Republicans has been entirely predictable. Mostly they’ve remained mum about the demented behavior of their president during the last month as he has continued his precipitous dive into a rabbit hole filled with conspiracy theories so delusional that it calls for medical intervention. A few have stepped up to say publicly that Trump has a “right” to pursue legal remedies in court, while privately assuring reporters that the president just needs to act out a little bit before he finally can emotionally accept what’s happened to him. [..]
This isn’t the first time a demagogue and conspiracy-monger has captured the Republican Party. CNN’s Ron Brownstein has pointed out the unpleasant parallels between the way the GOP establishment kowtowed to Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare of the ’40s and ’50s and their servile acquiescence to Trump’s malignant narcissism. In fact, this seems to be a permanent strain in American conservatism
Trump is still pretending he’ll be president next year, but McConnell has moved on to his plot to ruin Biden
Donald Trump is still pretending he’ll be able to successfully steal himself a second term as president, probably because it’s such a lucrative lie. Mitch McConnell, however, appears to be moving on to his next mission: kneecapping Joe Biden.
The Senate majority leader is doing what everyone who actually learns from history predicted he would, and deliberately sabotaging the American economy, in a belief that voters will blame the incoming Democratic president for the disaster and not the Republican senators who are actually responsible.
On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of congressional leaders proposed a compromise coronavirus relief bill, worth about $900 billion. The bill is meant to rescue the economy from what is likely to be a disastrous winter, as lockdowns tighten and people stay home in the face of rising cases of COVID-19. It falls far short of the $3 trillion relief package that the Democratic-controlled House passed in May — a bill that was ignored by the Senate — but is substantially better than anything McConnell has proposed. It’s also better than nothing, which is what McConnell’s actions so far have amounted to.
Unsurprisingly, however, McConnell’s reaction to this carefully drafted and dramatically announced bill was to blow a big, fat raspberry, refusing to even look at it. [..]
McConnell is as shameless a liar as Trump, even if he’s less theatrical about it. He is clearly in no hurry to pass a stimulus bill and, frankly, is behaving like a man who hopes no bill gets passed at all. That’s because McConnell does not care one whit about how many people die, lose their jobs, lose their homes or otherwise fall into ruin. All he cares about is power — and he likely believes, with good reason, that tanking the economy is the best bet for getting more power.
The toxic politics of conspiracies and lies did not start four years ago and will live on beyond Trump. But we can protect ourselves and reward the truth
Normal presidents start to think about their legacy long before the final weeks of their time inside the West Wing. But if there’s anything we have learned from the lab rat experiment of the last four years, it’s that Donald Trump is entirely abnormal.
Whether he knows it or not – and all the evidence suggests he knows nothing worth knowing – Trump’s legacy is the toxic politics of lies: a permanent campaign of fabrications and falsehoods. [..]
The good news is that we already have a vaccine. It’s the best way to protect yourself from demagogues, deception and delusions. It separates fact from fiction. It recalls recent history to place the present in some kind of meaningful context.
It’s called the news media, and you can help. You can be an informed citizen by reading established news media first, not your social feed or email. You can share stories from the truth-tellers who have no problem calling out the liars.
Tom Udall and Charles Grassley: End the Taxpayer Giveaway to Big Oil and Gas
Congress should raise the royalty rates on federal lands.
One hundred years ago, Congress passed the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, setting up a system in which companies lease public lands to wrest valuable oil and gas from the ground. In the century since, the royalties and rent that those corporations pay to the American people for access have remained essentially unchanged even as the scale of development and profits has grown hugely.
As senators from different parties, we have our share of policy differences. But we both believe in sticking up for the public interest and the taxpayer. In this case, we agree that oil and gas companies should pay fair market value for the public resources they extract and sell. They aren’t doing that now — not even close — and the American public is the big loser.
That’s why we introduced the Fair Returns for Public Lands Act this year to reform the antiquated law that governs royalties and the leasing of public land.