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homersapien

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homersapien last won the day on August 21 2016

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  1. Totally shooting ourselves in the foot. And why???? It's cruel, venal and just flat out stupid. Another way Trump is undermining US influence in the world. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-unwise-disruptive-policy-of-shutting-out-international-students
  2. By Philip Bump July 10, 2020 at 9:46 a.m. EDT President Trump has consistently argued that the reason the number of coronavirus cases is again rising is that the number of tests being conducted has increased. That isn’t why cases are increasing, but it’s easy to see why he claims it: It turns an obvious negative into a positive, given that the country is finally conducting widespread testing. In a conversation with his friend Sean Hannity that aired Thursday night on Fox News, though, the president went further. The subtext became overt. “We do testing like nobody's ever done testing,” Trump said. “And when we test, the more you test, the more cases you find.” “What we’ve done,” he added later, “is we’ve created tremendous number of cases.” And all that testing, he continued, is “the greatest thing that ever happened for the opposite party.” This was one of three occasions the same day on which Trump overlapped his coronavirus response with partisan politics. At a White House event on Thursday afternoon, he demanded that schools reopen, describing opposition to doing so as “political nonsense.” “It’s only political nonsense,” he added. “It’s politics. They don’t want to open because they think it will help them on Nov. 3.” In an interview with conservative radio host Howie Carr, Trump sympathized with complaints about efforts to contain the virus, such as mandated use of masks in states like New Jersey and Maine. “You have a governor in Maine that won’t let people even look at each other,” Trump said. “I’ve never seen anything like what’s going on with these — it’s really the blue governors, and they haven’t done very well.” A lot of this is simply finger-pointing. Carr is complaining about masks, so Trump says it’s the fault of Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D). Trump knows that people want schools open, so he blames Democrats for keeping them closed. But that comment to Hannity is something else. It’s Trump recognizing that the pandemic is a political liability for him, something reinforced in new ABC News-Ipsos polling. Two-thirds of the country think he’s handling the coronavirus poorly, including more than a fifth of Republicans. Tests lead to cases, which leads to criticism, Trump seems to believe, so he’s mad at the tests. The tests, like so many other things, are just the universe arraying against Donald J. Trump. The staggering shortsightedness of this! Consider Trump's complaint to Hannity alone. We cut out a lot of it (it went on for about 40 seconds), but the upshot was that the case totals are amplified by how many tests the United States conducts, catching people who maybe have mild or no symptoms. Other countries, he said, only tested patients at hospitals or when someone has strong symptoms. We have cases all over the place,” he said. “Most of those cases immediately get better. They get, you know, people, they’re young people, they have sniffles and two days later, they’re fine and they’re not sick, just sort of — they’re asymptomatic.” “Everybody else — can you imagine if China tested like we test? They don’t,” he added later. “Can you imagine if other big countries, the bigger countries tested like we — or Germany! We’ve tested many, many, many times, even proportionately the number of people that other countries have tested.” What’s interesting about this articulation is that it gives us a better sense of what Trump’s actually annoyed about. He’s annoyed, in short, that asymptomatic cases are being detected and counted in the totals. That’s why he keeps saying (falsely) that the negative effects of the virus are felt only by a tiny percentage of those who contract it: He’s trying to reinforce that most of the cases the United States is reporting are — reading between the lines — not “real” cases, not dangerous ones. He’s long been more worried about the reported number of cases than the actual patients those numbers represent. In March, he explicitly said that he preferred not to bring passengers onshore from a cruise ship docked off California because it would increase the number of cases the United States was reporting. But he’s oblivious to the fact that broad testing that identifies asymptomatic cases actually helps him over the long term. As does taking a cautious approach to reopening schools. As does having people wear masks. These are the sorts of things that will slowly mitigate the pandemic, by, in order, allowing for those exposed to the virus to be quarantined, by ensuring that schools don’t serve as super-spreading environments and by preventing common person-to-person transmission. These are, really, minimal efforts that should be implemented to alleviate the pandemic. Pushing infections downward will help push Trump’s approval numbers upward. The problem is that this takes a while, and it necessitates telling people things they don’t want to hear. It means Trump having to tell people to wait. It means Trump himself being patient and not gauging his success on Tucker Carlson’s nightly monologues. It means Trump having to encourage people to respond to contact tracers and to accept limited school schedules and to have to wear masks or social distance. Trump knows that people won’t like these things and, more importantly to him, that his base may not. An Economist-YouGov poll conducted earlier this week found that 7 in 10 Americans support a mandatory mask policy. That includes a majority of Republicans — but only 4 in 10 of those who support Trump in the November election. For a president focused obsessively and repeatedly on ensuring that his base turns out to vote for him, that number is a cautionary one. Trump’s articulation of how other countries are testing is wrong, by the way. Countries such as South Korea aren’t testing as much because they don’t need to. They tested a lot early, traced contacts of infected individuals and contained the spread of the virus. The government has deployed a robust system for containing outbreaks, and the country has moved toward normalcy. In fact, it did so months ago. That Trump somehow can’t see this, can’t see that asymptomatic people need to be identified and can’t see that wearing masks is essential and can’t see that opening schools is more fraught than simply declaring them to be open — a lesson he should have learned when he pushed for the economy to reopen — is nothing short of baffling. All of this is predictable. All of the experts have outlined different paths to different outcomes, and Trump keeps marching down riskier ones while complaining about how China is making him do it. return to this chart, which I made yesterday and which, I think, summarizes Trump's approach to the virus very neatly. The Republican Party announced in 2018 that it would hold its convention in Charlotte. This spring, though, Trump learned that the city was insisting on maintaining mask and social distancing rules, things that Trump saw as opposed to the aesthetic he wanted as he accepted his second nomination: a big, cheering crowd. The city of Jacksonville has no similar containment standards, so Trump eagerly transitioned his speech to Florida. Now, even if you don't know what happened, you know what happened. Charlotte's efforts to contain the virus meant a smaller surge in new cases. Jacksonville's failure to do so had the opposite effect, like so. So now Jacksonville is more likely to have precisely the sort of rules that Trump was hoping to avoid in the first place. This, Trump would likely say, is all someone else’s fault. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/10/trumps-ongoing-shortsightedness-about-pandemic-may-be-sealing-his-fate/
  3. From your link: The Supreme Court will rule this morning on whether Trump’s tax documents must be turned over to criminal and congressional investigators who have lawfully subpoenaed them. Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to block his taxes from being released, making legally dubious arguments that lower courts have repeatedly ruled against. Trump believes he is above the law, cannot be criminally prosecuted, and should be able to hide his taxes from the American people. So what is Trump so desperate to hide? Likely a decades-long scheme of stealing from American taxpayers. Reporting has already revealed Trump’s long history of tax fraud, dubiously avoiding taxes, and potentially paying bribes to lower his tax bill. To cover up his years of tax fraud, Trump has lied about his taxes, broken with decades of precedent and refused to release his returns after pledging to do so, and gone to extraordinary lengths to block his taxes from being released. The American people deserve to know the depth of Trump’s corruption. Trump broke with decades of precedent and refused to release his tax returns after saying for years that he would if he ran, and suggesting that candidates are hiding something if they don’t. Every major presidential candidate since 1976 had released at least one full tax return. 2012 — TRUMP: “If you didn’t see the tax returns you would think there is almost like something wrong. What’s wrong?” 2014 — TRUMP: “If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely.” 2016 — TRUMP: “Well, we’re working on that now. I have very big returns, as you know, and I have everything all approved and very beautiful and we’ll be working that over in the next period of time, Chuck. Absolutely.” 2016 — DICKERSON: Your tax returns, when are we going to see them? TRUMP: “I would say, over the next three, four months. We’re working on them very hard.” Trump repeatedly lied to Americans about his taxes and falsely claimed his returns wouldn’t provide any new information. Washington Post: “Trump falsely claims that voters would learn nothing from his tax returns. To the contrary, voters would learn a lot of information that Trump has long tried to hide from the public. … Four Pinocchios.” PolitiFact: “Trump said that he has ‘released the most extensive financial review of anybody in the history of politics. … You don’t learn much in a tax return.’ … However, experts consider that a red herring. Unlike all presidential nominees since 1980, Trump has not released his tax returns, which experts say would offer valuable details on his effective tax rate, the types of taxes he paid, and how much he gave to charity, as well as a more detailed picture of his income-producing assets. Trump’s statement is inaccurate. We rate it False.” Trump broke his promises and repeatedly sued to block his taxes from being released to criminal and congressional investigators. Washington Post: “Trump sued his own accounting firm and the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight Committee at the same time Monday — trying an unusual tactic to stop the firm from giving the committee details about Trump’s past financial dealings.” New York Times: “Trump, his three eldest children and his private company filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in a bid to prevent the banks from responding to congressional subpoenas.” CNBC: “Trump on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and his longtime accounting firm, days after news broke that the prosecutor had subpoenaed years of Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns.” Trump’s arguments against the subpoenas are legally dubious and have been repeatedly dismissed by courts. Part of Trump’s argument is based on an 1880 Supreme Court decision that had already been overturned for nearly a century. Trump also argued he could never be criminally prosecuted — an untested and legally dubious argument. Trump and Barr once again politicized the Department of Justice to aid Trump’s defense against subpoenas for his financial records. Courts again and again sided against Trump and upheld congressional and criminal subpoenas for his financial records. What we do know: Trump paid close to nothing in taxes for at least five years. Politico: “Trump appears to have paid no taxes for two years in early 1990s” Washington Post: “The last time Donald Trump’s income-tax returns were made public, the bottom line was striking: He had paid the federal government $0 in income taxes.” New York Times: “In 1978 and 1979, the report said, Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes.” New York Times: “Tax court records indicate that Mr. Trump also avoided paying any federal income taxes in 1984.” New York Times: “Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.” Trump has repeatedly bragged about avoiding paying taxes. TRUMP: “Of course” I avoided paying federal income taxes using a loss from 1995. TRUMP: “She said maybe you didn’t pay taxes and I said well, that would make me smart because tax is a big payment.” CNBC: “Trump brags about not paying taxes: ‘That makes me smart’” Trump stole from the American people by participating in tax fraud to build his fortune. Trump participated in “dubious tax schemes” and “outright fraud” to avoid taxes on the current equivalent of at least $413 million given to him by his father. Trump’s family even used shell companies to siphon off millions of dollars by marking up purchases they had already made. The Trumps’ scheme for tax dodging also enabled them to fraudulently increase rent on thousands of tenants in rent-controlled apartments. New York Times: “Tax experts briefed on The Times’s findings said the Trumps appeared to have done more than exploit legal loopholes. They said the conduct described here represented a pattern of deception and obfuscation.” Trump has a long and fraudulent history of avoiding state and local taxes — even potentially paying bribes to get out of paying his fair share. ProPublica: “Trump’s Company Paid Bribes to Reduce Property Taxes, Assessors Say” When Trump was sworn into office, he was fighting at least a half dozen tax bills from local and state governments across the country — creating conflicts of interest. Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to lower his state and local tax bills — suing Palm Beach County five years in a row, filing six lawsuits in New York City, and lobbying for a tax break for his golf course.
  4. A republic is a type of democracy. Ours is clearly outmoded and organized to be anti-democratic as the past few years have proven. It needs to be changed. I would love for the entire nation to be more like California and New York in terms of diversity and progressive thinking. You sound like some sort of backwoods elitist - "mob" rule.
  5. For the same reasons most elite, white collar criminals get away with it.
  6. Very interesting analysis, but I don't think for a second that Trump has personally thought any of this through - or that he is even capable of doing so. Greg Sargent Columnist July 9, 2020 at 10:49 a.m. EDT In a famous 2016 interview, Stephen K. Bannon declared that incoming President Trump would build an “entirely new” movement for the “American working class” built on a “populist” agenda of massive spending to rebuild the U.S. manufacturing base. “It will be as exciting as the 1930s,” Trump’s former adviser said, suggesting this “economic nationalism” would rival the New Deal’s transformation of government’s role in the economy and its realignment of the two parties’ relationship to the working class. Joe Biden is set to introduce a new economic plan on Thursday that may end up flipping this script entirely. The new plan draws a stark contrast with Trump on two fronts — his failure to mobilize a robust federal response to the coronavirus pandemic, and his full-on embrace of GOP plutocracy, which sold out the Bannon promise. The core of the Biden plan is a pledge to “use the full power of the federal government” to “rebuild U.S. domestic manufacturing capacity” and fortify “supply chains” to ensure availability of “critical supplies” in “future crises.” It envisions $700 billion in new spending to stimulate demand for U.S.-manufactured products and on research into clean energy and digital technologies. The Post summarizes: The plan would tighten rules to ensure products purchased by the federal government are comprehensively made in the United States. The review would determine supply chain “vulnerabilities” to reduce dependence on China for — among other things — medical supplies, and create a more robust domestic “stockpile” and “manufacturing capacity” in crisis conditions. All this highlights Trump’s refusal to marshal federal power behind a testing-and-tracing regimen and the private-sector manufacturing of supplies. Shortages are again causing medical professionals to scramble amid new spikes in cases, and are still impairing capacity to do the testing needed to reopen safely. Industrial policy Biden is proposing what’s known as “industrial policy.” This employs government intervention to “reindustrialize” the United States in specific sectors to achieve deliberate national goals, such as supply preparedness for pandemics or greater manufacturing capacity to reduce dependence on imperiled global supply chains. Samuel Hammond, the director of welfare policy at the Niskanen Center, points out that Biden is filling the hole left by Trump’s abandonment of economic populism and his failures in areas where he has lurched in that direction, such as his ill-fated trade wars. “The Trumpian approach is purely negative: Throw tariffs up and hope manufacturing jobs will miraculously return,” Hammond told me. “Biden’s approach is to level up American workers and make our supply chains more resilient. Trump just wants to turn back the clock on globalization.” The Trumpist mythology In the mythological view of Trump’s 2016 victory, the Biden plan is just the sort of thing Trump would do. As Bannon suggested, Trump would break with the reigning GOP orthodoxy of Koch brothers-style libertarianism and “free” market fundamentalism. Trump would use government power to rebuild U.S. manufacturing jobs that “globalists” drained from the “forgotten” industrial heartland, and to protect the welfare state (particularly social insurance for the elderly) that Paul Ryan-type Republicans wanted to gut. The pandemic offered an opening to marshal federal power. But Trump punted on deploying the Defense Production Act: His main mobilization was to marshal his magical lying powers to make coronavirus disappear. More broadly, as president, Trump fully embraced GOP plutocracy with a massive corporate tax giveaway and an effort to gut health coverage for millions, which continues even amid pandemic conditions. “Democrats like Biden will always have the upper hand in economic policy, because they actually believe in the power of government,” Hammond told me. Of course, this also represents a new direction for Biden, who is associated with the more neoliberal and trade-friendly instincts of centrist Democrats. This plan makes real concessions to progressives who have long criticized those priorities. Indeed, a source tells me Biden advisers consulted with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and her team — who have their own “economic patriotism” blueprint — and deliberately incorporated their contributions. Yet the very fact that Biden is now moving to fill this space itself flips the script on Trump. It also should force a reckoning among those working to create an intellectual “conservative populist” underpinning for Trumpism. A reckoning for ‘conservative populism’ The basic take of those intellectuals is that working people are gravitating toward conservative populism because “liberal elites” (and some conservative ones) are all-in with globalization, neoliberal financialization of the economy and identity politics, and working people place higher value on “goods” like stability and community. Those elites supposedly disdain such values, and have abandoned class politics while ministering only to their new base of “knowledge” workers (the suburban, educated whites who are moving toward Democrats) who are plugged into the globalizing, digitalizing economy. As Jamelle Bouie notes, this narrative defines “working class” as “white working class.” It airbrushes away nonwhite working-class people who see battles for racial justice as central to the struggle for economic justice — who see racial and class struggle as linked. But in addition to that, these conservative populists should explain why neoliberal elitist Biden and many “identity politics” progressives embrace a far more robust agenda than Trump in using government power to rebuild the economic foundation of the industrial heartland that liberal elites have supposedly forsaken. As Hammond notes, some populist conservatives genuinely want government to invest in the working class, but a big chunk of the Trumpian right “sees populist rhetoric as a cover for a fundamentally plutocratic agenda of tax cuts and deregulation.” Meanwhile, how is it that Biden and many progressives are able to speak both to racial justice issues and to the need for rebuilding manufacturing capacity, if the former is supposed to represent a selling-out of working-class interests? Trump is supposed to be the ultimate paragon of conservative populism. Yet Biden is filling the vacuum left behind by the fraudulence at the core of that Trumpist vision. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/09/joe-biden-flips-script-trump/
  7. Well, it was a black man being slowly murdered by a white cop (who has a record of misbehavior). I am not saying it was all due to race, but there is a definite pattern in our society of unarmed black people being killed by the police. To say it is "far more likely that race had nothing to do with it at all" simply because they knew each other, seems like bias to me - in other words, you are actively looking for confirmation this wasn't about race. Don't over-react to the word "bias". We all have bias. And all I said in my original response was that it was a "stretch" to make the statement you did based on what we now know.
  8. To refresh the history: ----------------- "It’s worth remembering that Trump repeatedly assured the public that he would release his tax returns if elected. Those assurances predated his actual 2016 candidacy by years. When he explored a possible 2012 run, for example, he assured CNN’s John King that he would “be doing my tax returns at the appropriate time.” Later in that same cycle, he tried to use his tax returns as leverage, offering to release them if President Barack Obama released his college transcripts. As his formal announcement neared in early 2015, he insisted he'd release his taxes. “I have no objection to certainly showing tax returns,” he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that February. A year later, the same message. Asked when he would release his returns during an interview on the “Today” show, he estimated that it would be “probably over the next few months." “It's very complicated stuff,” Trump said, “but we'll be releasing that." It didn't take long for that to change. Before the end of February 2016, Trump had a new excuse, offered during a presidential primary debate. “I want to release my tax returns but I can’t release it while I’m under an audit,” he said. “We’re under a routine audit. I’ve had it for years, I get audited. And obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return.” This became his line, over and over again. Experts noted that there was no legal proscription against releasing returns under audit and that every presidential candidate back to Richard Nixon had released that documentation. (Nixon, in fact, released returns that were under audit.) “When the audit's finished,” he said in March 2016, “I'll release my tax returns." Given Trump's track record of honesty, questions arose about whether his returns actually were being audited. In response, he released a statement from his accounting firm saying that recent years, in fact, were. When it was noted that this admission meant that past years, no longer under audit, could be released, Trump still demurred. After he won the election, the excuse offered by Trump and his defenders changed: Voters had decided he should be president without seeing the records, and the insistence that he should release the information was either sour grapes, a foolish consistency or both." https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/09/long-political-fight-over-trumps-tax-returns-is-likely-over-trump-may-have-won/ ----------------- This is a political win for the lying bastard since it's virtually certain his taxes won't be made public before the election. But he'll be fighting this in the courts from now on. Sooner of later, it will emerge. The criminal investigation won't just go away. His history of tax fraud goes back to and includes his father. But hey, drain the swamp and protect the downtrodden from all those elites, right?
  9. Well at least you're unabashedly supportive over your patently unfair and anti-democratic position. I am not surprised.
  10. What makes you assume that any antipathy Chauvin had toward Floyd was not - at least in part - based on Floyd's race? It's a stretch because you don't know, so it reflects a bias to say race played no part "at all".
  11. Trump is shouting for schools to reopen. He needs an actual strategy. Opinion by Editorial Board July 8, 2020 at 6:53 p.m. EDT PRESIDENT TRUMP has seized upon a new campaign battle cry to reopen the schools this fall, not with distance learning but in person. Mr. Trump’s call reflects a genuine need, felt by parents, teachers and students, to get back to the classroom. In any calculus of recovery, schools must be a priority. But it is important that reopening be done smartly, avoiding Mr. Trump’s previous bungling and leadership bankruptcy. All over the country this week, teachers, parents, students and administrators are wrestling with the methods of how to accomplish this, knowing the stakes are high. Students have already lost months of work; many parents need to return to jobs; a host of knock-on effects flow from canceled classes, including mental health troubles. “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” Mr. Trump declared on Twitter. But simply shouting the slogan is not a strategy. Schools must avoid hasty miscalculations such as those evident in Mr. Trump’s thoughtless drive in May to reopen states, which badly backfired and led to the present pandemic surge. The current wildfire of infection must be extinguished as a prerequisite to going back to classrooms. If Americans can’t wear masks and stay out of bars and restaurants, they won’t get the school bells ringing soon. Reopening will also require major new resources that states and localities do not have. Ninety percent of school funding is local, and the governments are struggling under crushing pandemic burdens and tax revenue falloff. Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. estimated on Wednesday that the city would need $60 million to $80 million more just to meet the requirements of physical distancing, face masks, additional staff to clean and sanitize schools, and proper ventilation in old buildings. Some other estimates are that schools nationwide will need an additional $200 billion to safely reopen. Where is this coming from? A fresh economic stimulus package does not seem imminent from Washington. Some schools are trying to cope with it all by creating hybrid plans, sharing in-classroom time with online instruction, to which Mr. Trump sniffs, “I think it’s an easy way out.” To make matters worse, Mr. Trump on Wednesday threatened schools in a tweet, “May cut off funding if not open!” How is that going to help? Mr. Trump also ominously insisted he would press the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the public health experts — to loosen guidance for school reopenings. He knows better? Another huge issue that must be faced is the vulnerability of adults. As the group Resolve to Save Lives pointed out, younger people are less prone to get seriously ill, and may not transmit the virus as much as adults. But the viral load in infected children has been shown to be similar to adults. Schoolchildren do not exist in a vacuum, but rather in a web of adult contacts, from parents to teachers, who may be more prone to infection and illness. Nearly a third of public school teachers are 50 or older. It is not a simple matter to just wave a magic wand and declare schools must open. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-shouting-for-schools-to-reopen-he-needs-an-actual-strategy/2020/07/08/89e4f084-c150-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  12. I knew about it. I read they worked at the same night club together before you posted it. But it's a stretch to postulate his murder had nothing to do with race, "at all". But, I agree it certainly doesn't help Chauvin, at all.
  13. Opinion by Leana S. Wen Contributing columnist July 8, 2020 Vice President Pence says it is “absolutely essential that we get our kids in the classroom for in-person learning.” His remarks Wednesday followed President Trump’s announcement that “we’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools” — and a follow-up tweet threatening to cut off funding if schools remain closed. Pence and Trump are right about the importance of in-person instruction. But the Trump administration can’t just set a timeline without committing to the necessary work to ensure the health and safety of students, teachers and their families. The single most important requirement for resuming in-person instruction is suppressing the level of covid-19 infections in the community. Imagine if schools tried to open now in areas undergoing massive surges, including Houston, Miami and Phoenix. Groups of children gathering indoors would add fuel to the flame and worsen the crisis. This is why the White House’s own guidelines prohibit schools from reopening until the community has reached Phase 2 — defined, at minimum, as recording a consistent decline in new infections. Right now, more than 40 states have increasing cases. To reverse this trend, governors will need to reimpose restrictions and make difficult tradeoffs. Some businesses, such as bars and nightclubs, may need to stay closed for the summer to keep virus levels low enough for schools to be open in the fall. The Trump administration needs to support these actions rather than cast doubt on the severity of the current surge. Another urgent and long overdue step: The administration needs to implement a national testing strategy and substantially ramp up testing capacity. Some schools in Germany require students and staff to pass self-administered covid-19 tests every four days. This would be an option that many U.S. parents and teachers will want, and some proposals, such as pooled testing, may offer a path to do so. Given the current shortage of tests and the lack of agreement on who would pay for testing, that seems unlikely to happen by the fall. At the very least, there must be sufficient tests that all those who have symptoms or exposure could be tested immediately, with results available the same day. In addition, the community needs to have the capability to conduct contact tracing and regular surveillance. If there is a cluster of infections linked to a particular school, prompt action needs to be taken, including quarantining close contacts and even temporary school closure. This is another reason to suppress the level of virus in the community now: Constant outbreaks will quickly overwhelm the public health infrastructure. During Wednesday’s news conference, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasized that his agency’s guidelines are just recommendations — they are not mandatory. Why not? There should be a checklist of, say, 20 things that must be done to ensure safety in schools. The language must be unambiguous. No more nebulous messages such as desks should be spaced apart “when feasible” and communal spaces closed “if possible.” Firm rules don’t limit local autonomy; they provide a clear road map for superintendents, while reassuring parents and teachers. All these new measures would require enormous amounts of planning. To space students out, there would likely be different configurations of classes, at different hours, that require more buses and additional teachers. New hand-washing and sanitizing stations would need to be installed and new cleaning protocols implemented. Nurse aides might be hired to conduct symptom screenings. Students and staff will need masks and other personal protective equipment. Congress has already allocated $13 billion, but the cost will be much more. Instead of making a commitment for this needed funding, the Trump administration is attacking local officials who are trying to balance complex competing priorities. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized one of the largest school districts in the country, Virginia’s Fairfax County, for its plan to offer part-time in-person instruction. “A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” she said. Actually, a hybrid of remote and in-person teaching may well be the best option. There will be some children who cannot return due to their own health conditions. There will be older teachers with multiple risk factors who can only safely work remotely. The Trump administration needs to support the enormous efforts undertaken by school districts to accommodate vulnerable students and teachers, not to shame and threaten them. We have already seen what happens when reopening occurs too soon and without the proper safeguards. If getting schools back is the top priority that the Trump administration says it is, it needs to do the hard work and provide the necessary funding to get there. Arbitrary timelines and empty rhetoric will only harm students, parents and teachers. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/08/if-trump-wants-reopen-schools-heres-what-his-administration-needs-do/