• This NYT editorial lays it all out – “End Our National Crisis – The Case Against Donald Trump“; as they opine, “This is the moment when Americans must recover that sense of outrage” and act to remove “the worst American president in modern history” from office. Vote.
This is a thoughtful essay in the NYT by John Barry, writing on the numerous flaws implicit in the arguments advocating population immunity as the solution (e.g. the “Great Barrington Declaration”) to the pandemic: “Herd Immunity? Or ‘Mass Murder?’”
We don’t need to add more than a million additional deaths to the toll in order to get through this (not to mention the destructive effects on overburdened health care workers and systems, long term ill effects on survivors, and inequitable effects on less fortunate societies whose populations do not have access to advanced health care measures).
• NY Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie talks about long lines at the polls in low-income areas acting as the equivalent of poll taxes – one of the many ways voter suppression continues to manifest itself. From Bouie’s lates newsletter: “Voters in affluent precincts don’t face long lines. White voters don’t tend to face long lines. Long lines for voting are most common in areas where Black Americans and Hispanics make up a majority of voters, and they are generated by concrete policy decisions: cuts to voting resources in the form of fewer polling stations, poll workers and voting machines.
The culprits, as has often been the case in decisions that limit access to the ballot, are Republican lawmakers and officials who have made the reduction of voting resources a deliberate strategy for shrinking the size of the electorate. In Georgia, for example, the Republican former secretary of state (and current governor) Brian Kemp closed 214 polling stations between 2012 and 2018, often in rural, high-poverty areas with significant Black populations. In Texas, as well, Republicans have fought to reduce options for early voting, contributing to long waits this past week.
When you see long lines for voting, Americans devoting entire days to exercising their right to suffrage, you should remember that these lines are a choice meant to burden our ability to choose our leaders. You should be angry.”
And then there’s Paul Krugman’s How the G.O.P. Can Still Wreck America column. Sigh. Please make sure you vote.
From the NYT: “The Trump administration has rejected California’s request for disaster relief aid for six major wildfires that scorched more than 1.8 million acres in land, destroyed thousands of structures and caused at least three deaths last month.” The depths of Trump’s petty vindictiveness are breathtaking.
While republicans try to push a distracting and distorting hypothetical about supreme court packing, it’s worth looking at the real facts. Heather Cox Richardson mentions this in her October 11 Letters from an American: “What makes this so especially bizarre is that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who have made the courts the centerpiece of their agenda and have packed them with judges who adhere to an extremist ideology. Since the Nixon administration began in 1969, Democrats have appointed just 4 Supreme Court justices, while Republicans have appointed 15.“
Released by the CDC on October 6, more evidence that mitigation measures DO work:
From the report: “The number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona stabilized and then decreased after sustained implementation and enforcement of statewide and locally enhanced mitigation measures, beginning approximately 2 weeks after implementation and enforcement of mask mandates and enhanced sanitations practices began on June 17; further decreases were observed during July 13–August 7, after statewide limitations and closures of certain services and businesses.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Widespread implementation and enforcement of sustained community mitigation measures, including mask wearing, informed by state and local officials’ continual data monitoring and collaboration can help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and decrease the numbers of COVID-19 cases.”
The US is averaging nearly 1,000 Covid-19 deaths per day. That equals:
– 250 Benghazis per day
– A 9-11 every three days
– An Omaha Beach every two days
– A Pearl Harbor every 2 ½ days
And yet: “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said in an interview with Bob Woodward, the audio recording of which was made public in September. “I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”
I wonder when, if ever, we’ll hear any explanation for or apology because he has needlessly (his own best interest excepted) put secret service personnel, first responders, White House staffers and even his own supporters at risk of illness by campaigning and fund raising (without masks or social distancing), perfectly exemplified by his attending a fund raiser in New Jersey after his known exposure last Thursday, and then taking a joy ride for political theater the day before his release. His irrational behavior was then compounded further by his maskless reentry into the White House after discharge. Public health advocates are driven to despair…
“…Trump’s super-spreading of disinformation has already changed America. Just a few days ago, Cornell University published a study showing that 38 percent of media stories containing misinformation about the virus refer to the president: Trump is literally, not metaphorically, the single most important reason so many Americans distrust information they receive about the disease. He is literally, not metaphorically, the reason so many Americans distrust our electoral system too. He is literally, not metaphorically, the reason so many Americans distrust one another…And we are all … unsurprised. This kind of obfuscation, this level of confusion, is exactly what we have come to expect from our national leader. Trump has destroyed our trust with wanton abandon—trust in our political system, trust in our institutions, trust in science, trust in America itself—simply because it benefits him, personally, to do so. Whatever happens to Trump over the next few weeks, that is the legacy that will outlast his presidency. It has already distorted and changed and altered the country just as profoundly as the coronavirus itself.”
• Barton Gellman, writing in the Atlantic, lays out ways in which DJT could hijack the election. Don’t read it before bedtime, the nightmares could be horrific. This story, appearing in conjunction with the orange one’s response to questions about a peaceful White House transition should he lose the election, are most alarming. “We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told reporter Brian Karem during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”, “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” The potential ways things could go sideways are terrifying.