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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Stop Spinning Doomsday Scenarios For Election Night

All this agonizing over what may happen if President Donald Trump tries to steal the election is highly annoying. It normalizes the idea that pure aggression can so easily steamroll the democratic process.

Here are healthier assumptions for those who value a fair election:

If Trump loses, he leaves the White House on Jan. 20, 2021. If, heaven forfend, he wins, then he stays.

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New Trump Adviser Likes Sweden’s Deadly Virus Plan

Many of us lit candles and prayed that Sweden's approach to the coronavirus would succeed. As the rest of Europe locked down, Sweden stayed mostly open. Its plan was to keep vulnerable people separate while letting the virus infect the others, thus creating herd immunity — a large proportion of people no longer able to spread the disease. Meanwhile, everyone would go about their business, and the economy wouldn't suffer.

The Swedish example could have offered deliverance from mask wearing, closed gyms, and fights over when to open schools. But it didn't work.

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The Real America Isn’t On Fire — It’s Sick (With Coronavirus)

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, police department immediately took the officer who shot Jacob Blake seven times off the streets, as city, state and federal officials investigate what happened. They also made a speedy arrest of the 17-year-old who is charged with shooting two demonstrators dead.

Wedged between an incident of possible brutality against a black man and the need to curb right-wing violence, the police did their best. The last thing they needed was President Donald Trump fanning the anger of both unruly protesters and white supremacists clashing with them.

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For Once, The Identity Politics Orgy Ended Well

With Americans pained by both civic violence and cases of police brutality, the times call for leaders who support law and order and justice. Joe Biden has found such a person in choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate.

But getting there was not half the fun. It was not fun at all. As often happens in Democratic campaigning, the process deteriorated into a self-harming orgy of identity politics.

For starters, Biden should not have vowed early on to pick a woman. Then black activists — backstopped by the woke white left — demanded that the woman be "of color." Both groups framed such a decision as a "reward" for black women who, they say, are the "backbone" of the Democratic Party.

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No Payroll Tax, No Social Security -- And That's The GOP Scheme

By the time you read this, President Donald Trump's latest economic stimulus plan may be largely forgotten. But it has revived an unpleasant idea that the right fringe has been peddling for years: killing Social Security and Medicare.

We speak of an executive order that would cut payroll taxes. Payroll taxes fund virtually all of Social Security and much of Medicare. Without this money, Americans would have neither.

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Why America’s Pandemic Performance Is So Inferior

Europe took dramatic steps to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Its shutdowns were so tight that the eurozone economy has fallen into a recession even deeper than ours.

But guess what. Despite occasional spikes, Europe has beaten the virus down to size. With a public reassured that it could return to the beaches, bars and restaurants in relative safety, it reopened. That's why Europe "is having a much bigger snapback" than the U.S., Berenberg Bank economist Holger Schmieding told The Wall Street Journal, "and there are some indicators that it may be getting ahead."

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How ‘Woke’ Whites Appropriate Other People’s Sensibilities

So Trader Joe's won't cave into a 17-year-old's demand that it scrub its shelves of products named in such a way as to suggest cultural origins outside the 50 U.S. states. Briones Bedell, a white high schooler from the San Francisco Bay area, gave it a try. She ran a petition to, in her mind, protect Asians, Latinos and Arabs from such product labels as "Trader Joe San," "Trader Jose" and "Arabian Joe."

Now, as far as we know, members of these groups had not organized objections to these alleged racial or ethnic insults. And the reason may be that they didn't feel insulted. But Bedell decided they should be.

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Big Cities Can Build Back Smaller — And Better

It was a bittersweet evening in Manhattan. Parisian-level charm had descended on what used to be traffic-snarled streets of the fancy Upper East Side. Planters holding dramatic greenery set off outdoor dining areas spilling into former parking spaces. Waiters happily greeted the sort of stylish patron no one had seen for a while.

Sadly, though, the surrounding streets ached at the sight of so many blank storefronts. Some had signs promising to be back. The heartbreakers posted notices saying "Goodbye, and thank you for our 30 years in business." Even the restaurants with full tables were hurting because they still aren't allowed to serve indoors.

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Those Who Want Coronavirus Vaccine Should Get It First

Will there be a vaccine against coronavirus? Eventually, we pray. But in this age of unreason, undue attention is already being paid to those who may refuse protection against this often-fatal disease.

We hear paranoid talk of shadowy government figures coming to your home to "force-vax you." Never mind that. When a credible vaccine finally comes out, the crush for it will be immense. The anti-vaxxers could helpfully shorten the lines by getting out of the way of those who want it.

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Is Remote Work A Path To Downward Mobility?

When I was a wee business reporter, I covered manufacturing in southern New England. Costume jewelry, a major industry then, has largely decamped to cheap-labor countries.

But I recall the vast differences in the quality of these mostly low-skilled jobs. At the top were great employers, offering decent wages and clean working spaces. From there, one descended to the sweatshops, some with puddles of nasty electroplating chemicals on the floor. At or near the bottom dwelled the home workers, people who would glue the backs of earrings to the fronts, often in their unventilated basements. They were paid by piecework, which meant by the number of earrings assembled, not hours worked.

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Why The Lincoln Project Strikes Terror In Trump

Dear never-Trump Republicans: Would you adopt me? I'm a centrist with left-leaning tendencies. I get along with cats, dogs and most libertarians. But I'm best off in a political home without small children.

Most of all, I dearly want President Donald Trump gone. You — knowing how he got elected in the first place — are best equipped to defeat him. Democrats seem to have had the good sense to make Joe Biden their candidate. Now you have to get him elected.

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Choosing Economy Over Health And Safety Is Futile

Florida, Arizona, Texas and California are among the states that thought they could reopen early. They also got sloppy with requirements for wearing masks and social distancing. Now their ICUs are stretched to breaking with coronavirus patients.

And guess what. For all that putting the public's health in jeopardy to help their economies, their economies are sick as well.

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For Democratic Society, Some Monumentally Hard Decisions Ahead

One of the recently vandalized monuments is a statue of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Someone smeared "BLM" and "(expletive) Slave Owners" on the seated figure prominently displayed in the city named after him, Whittier, California.

It happens that Whittier was a fiery abolitionist from Massachusetts. In a famous 1833 pamphlet, he called slavery "the master-evil before which all others dwindle into insignificance."

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In Reopening Casinos, The Virus Is The Dealer

Those who wagered on a visit to Las Vegas confronted mixed messages on mask wearing, to say the least.

Casino guests had to wear face coverings at tables and card games if there were no shields between dealers and each player. Other gamblers were encouraged to wear masks but didn't have to. Casino employees were ordered to wear masks, however.

Caesars Entertainment was paying guests at its five Vegas casinos $20 to wear masks — if they were Caesars Rewards members. You've gotta salute a customer loyalty program that turns protecting your life into another perk.

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Tulsa Showed Us The Best Path Toward November

What didn't happen in Tulsa last weekend was gratifying and a relief. The protests against racism were overwhelmingly orderly. President Donald Trump's rally also proceeded without serious incident and, notably, without much of an audience.

And this didn't happen for lack of provocation. Trying to whip up excitement for his revived rally schedule, Trump started the weekend with a bloodcurdling threat against protesters should they step out of line. Oklahomans, he opined, would not treat protestors in Tulsa with the same delicacy allegedly afforded those in liberal New York, Seattle and Minneapolis. The tweet doubled the offense by lumping protesters with "anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes."

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Only Trump's Removal Can Relieve Our Deep National Grief

COVID-19 is not at all over and shows every sign of staging a return. We've been through a lot of fear, depression, and losses of income and loved ones. Much can't be changed, but the leadership can, from sloppy governors to President Donald Trump at the top of the heap. Trump seems not just incapable of forming a rational response to a virus but also uninterested in doing so — and the public seems to know it.

He's thrust a broken-country model on America whereby the ruling family directs the country's resources to its close relatives and assorted hangers-on. Protective barriers to corruption have been junked. It's been astounding to see the president remove five inspectors general including the top Pentagon watchdog assigned to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee — assigned to oversee the $2 trillion in taxpayer money set aside to revive the economy.

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The Pandemic Is Already Cooling The Planet — Will It Do More?

Some say the pandemic has become a permanent ally in the fight against climate catastrophe. It has jump-started a drop in the burning of fossil fuels, and that will continue. Others say this is short-term thinking: The public may abandon its concerns over global warming as it tries to climb out of the economic hole left by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Let's accentuate the positive.

First off, the government-mandated social distancing and its freezing of much industrial activity has already cut greenhouse gas emissions, certainly for the time being. The International Energy Agency predicts that global carbon emissions will have fallen about eight percent this year from 2019's level. That would be the biggest annual decline ever.

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