Eric Cortellessa at Yes! magazine writes about "How to Save Elections from a Pandemic," by describing how voting-by-mail goosed up turnout rates in Salt Lake County, Utah. The sanitary effects of voting-by-mail are obvious, but it hadn't occurred to me before that transferring completely to voting-by-mail would not only eliminate the long lines at (certain!) polling places, but it would also create a paper trail that a voting machine couldn't easily obscure. Your state government could still use a voting machine to (mis)count the votes, but stealing an election would be harder -- at least in the long run, as corrupt state governments will no doubt entrust the transition to utter incompetents and hacks in the short run.
Our Justice Department indicts Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for drug trafficking. Well, if you can't squeeze him out of office by taking a dump on his nation's economy, and you can't pretend a "movement" will topple him even with our "liberal" media's collaboration, I guess you could always indict him! Naturally "(t)he evidence they point to against Maduro is thin," in one observer's words, and six times as much cocaine flows through Guatemala as does Venezuela, but Guatemala's President is a right-wing prick just like ours, so he's not getting indicted! Maybe our President will invade Venezuela to arrest Mr. Maduro, as Bush the Better did to get rid of Gen. Noriega back in the day; admittedly, our President has had a very hard time getting Americans very emotionally-invested in his relentless anti-Maduro saucepan-banging, but then, that's always been a double-edged sword.
With a long line of right-wing blowhards suggesting that we should be forcing retired seniors to go back to work to help us out during the pandemic, Hamilton Nolan at In These Times has a simple suggestion: "Back to Work? You First." Then he imagines a litany of unpopular-and-deservedly-so characters waiting tables, bagging groceries, and running cash registers; not that these are bad jobs, per se, but it would surely humiliate folks like Arthur Laffer and Lloyd Blankfein to have to work them! So zing, as they say. As an aside, it has occurred to me that wishing people would die so the economy could get moving again isn't just cruel and heartless, it's bad economic theory. After all, people can't spend money when they're dead!
Our President's handling-the-pandemic numbers are -- surprise, surprise! -- going down again, and I'd like to think it's because of all his recent bad behavior! Saying our media want to "keep our country closed as long as possible in the hope that it will be detrimental to my election success" reminds you that, like everything else, he thinks this pandemic is all about him. And when you come to grips with the fact that he only started making noise about ending physical distancing after six of his own properties got closed down, you are further reminded that he thinks everything is all about him. And here you thought America was all about us!
In a peripherally-related note, our President all but admits that he's going out of his way to make life harder for good Americans in certain states merely because their Governors have "not (been) appreciative to me." What a big baby! Our President isn't the first to play these games, of course, but that doesn't make it right, and hanging such corruption out for all to see will not only make it easier for the next President to act like a petulant brat, it'll make it easier for all of us to do such things in our lives. He's a role model, whether he likes it or not. And as a role model, well, he's falling short.
Finally, because we need some good news: a federal District Court judge tosses all of the permits our Administration issued for the Dakota Access pipeline, citing all the public comments our Administration ignored in the permitting process. You know, like that "the pipeline’s leak-detection system was unlikely to work, that it was not designed to catch slow spills, that the operator’s serious history of incidents had not been taken into account, and that the worst-case scenario used by the Corps was potentially only a fraction of what a realistic figure would be." See, if you're going to issue permits for a project like this, you actually have to address these things, because it's the law. The ruling doesn't stop the pipeline (which had at least five spills in the first six months of its operation) from operating, but that might be coming. In the meantime, go treat yourself; some restaurants are still open for pick-ups and deliveries, after all.