Apr 20 2017

Pondering the Pundits

“Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium 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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Gail Collins: Paging the Trump Armada

Let’s consider the case of the wrong-way warships.

Last week, North Korea was planning a big celebration in honor of its founder’s birthday. For North Koreans, holiday fun is short on barbecues and high on weaponry. The big parade in Pyongyang featured monster canisters that theoretically contained intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s possible they were actually empty and that right now, North Korea only has bragging rights in the big-container race.

But its intentions were definitely bad, and the United States was worried there might be a missile launch or an underground nuclear test.

What should Donald Trump do? “We’re sending an armada,” said the president. Possible confrontation? As a concerned citizen, you had to be very worried. North Korea is, in every way, a special and dangerous case. It has a leader who is narcissistic to the point of psychosis, with a celebrity fixation and a very strange haircut.

O.K., maybe not entirely unique.

Charles M. Blow: A Fake and a Fraud

Donald Trump’s mounting reversals, failures and betrayals make it increasingly clear that he is a fake and a fraud.

For many of us, this is affirmative reinforcement; for others, it is devastating revelation.

But it is those who believed — and cast supportive ballots — who should feel most cheated and also most contrite. You placed your faith in a phony. His promises are crashing to earth like a fleet of paper airplanes.

He oversold what he could deliver because he had no idea what would be required to deliver it, nor did he care. He told you what you wanted to hear so that he could get what he wanted to have. He played you for fools.

That wall will not be paid for by Mexico, if in fact it is ever built. If it is built, it will likely look nothing like what Trump said it would look like. His repeal and replace of Obamacare flopped. That failure endangers his ability to deliver on major tax reform and massive infrastructure spending. China is no longer in danger of being labeled a currency manipulator. The administration is now sending signals that ripping up the Iran nuclear deal isn’t a sure bet.

Amanda Marcotte: Meet Jon Ossoff’s Republican opponent: She made her name destroying the reputation of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

All eyes, in the world of American politics anyway, were on the primary election held Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. Democratic favorite Jon Ossoff fell just slightly short, receiving 48 percent of the vote instead of the 50 percent-plus he needed to win the seat left open by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. He will have  another chance on June 20 in a runoff election against Republican Karen Handel, who came in second with 20 percent of the vote.

Handel has a good chance at consolidating the Republican vote, which had been split between multiple contenders in the primary, and winning the traditionally conservative district. But there is one thing that Ossoff has going for him: The last time Handel was in the national spotlight, she was making a fool out of herself and her then-employer, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Heather Digby Parton: Trump’s first war is here at home: A military-style assault on undocumented immigrants

Whenever you get depressed or agitated over the dark turn America has taken, remember that President Donald Trump has a big heart. He told us so over and over again. Sure, he may have denied health care to his infant nephew in order to punish his brother’s family for protesting having been written out of the will, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. As he said at that first wacky solo press conference as president when asked what will happen to the Dreamers and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programhe loves kids: [..]

He told ABC’s David Muir that Dreamers “shouldn’t be very worried” because he was “going to take care of everyone.”

Well, on Tuesday USA Today reported that the administration had deported its first Dreamer, a young man named Juan Manuel Montes, for the crime of not having his wallet on him when he was detained by police. Conservatives were quick to point out that he had a record of shoplifting and driving without a license, and claimed it was perfectly reasonable to hold immigrant kids to a standard of perfection.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: No, Mr. President, you can’t do what you want

Two issues are paramount in American politics. The first is whether President Trump will get away with his arrogant dismissal of the public’s right to a transparent government free of corrupting conflicts of interest. The second is whether those who would hold him to account remain focused, mobilized and determined.

They are related. There are many reasons to stand against Trump, but the one that should take precedence — because it is foundational for decent governance — is his autocratic assumption that he is above the expectations that apply to us normal humans. [..]

If Hillary Clinton had done any one of the things described above, is there any doubt about what Republicans in Congress would be saying and doing? As long as all but a few honorable Republicans remain silent, GOP leaders will be miring their party in the muck of Trump’s norm-breaking. No, they are saying, he can do what he wants.

This is why only pressure from an engaged and resolute citizenry can convince Republican politicians of the costs of being Trump enablers. Jon Ossoff, the Democratic hopeful in Tuesday’s special election in a very Republican Georgia congressional district, managed 48.1 percent of the vote, just missing the majority he needed to avoid a June 20 runoff.

Those who rallied to Ossoff (including Republicans and independents deeply offended by Trump’s ways) must remain committed between now and June to send a clear message to the president that transcends the usual partisanship: No, you can’t just do what you want in crushing transparency and blurring all lines between your own interests and the public’s.