«

»

Jun 12 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Robert Reich: Scam alert: Trump’s $1tn ‘infrastructure plan’ is a giveaway to the rich

At a roundtable discussion with state transportation officials on Friday, Donald Trump said America’s ageing roads, bridges, railways, and water systems were being “scoffed at and laughed” at. He pledged that they “will once again be the envy of the world”.

This seems to be a core theme for Trump: America’s greatness depends on others envying us rather than scoffing and laughing at us.

He said much the same thing last week when he announced his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. “At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us, as a country? We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more. And they won’t be. They won’t be.”

To be sure, America is in dire need of vast investments in infrastructure. The country suffers from overflowing sewage drains, crumbling bridges, rusting railroad tracks, outworn roads, and public transportation systems rivaling those of third-world nations. [..]

But what Donald Trump is proposing won’t help. It’s nothing but a huge and unnecessary tax giveaway to the rich.

Charles M. Blow: The Resistance: Impeachment Anxiety

Last week, in highly anticipated Senate testimony, fired F.B.I. Director James Comey delivered a stinging rebuke and strong indictment of Donald Trump as an abuser of power, twister of arms and, above all, a spewer of lies.

No fewer than five times did Comey accuse Trump of lying.

The White House’s response as issued from the mouth of spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “I can definitely say the president is not a liar, and I think it’s, frankly, insulting that question would be asked.”

No, you saying he’s not a liar is a lie, and it is the American people who are insulted. [..]

If America is confronted with a he-said, he-said standoff between Trump and Comey, the former having a documented history as a pathological liar and the latter not, who one grants the benefit of the doubt to is easily answered: Comey.

And yet, there was something many seemed to find unsatisfying about Comey’s testimony: There was no knockout blow. It wasn’t the penultimate moment that guaranteed impeachment, but rather just another moment in what will likely be a plodding inquiry.

This becomes the critical and increasingly urgent question for many: Will Trump be impeached — or indicted — and when? The anticipation has produced a throbbing anxiety. There is so much emotional investment in Trump’s removal that I fear that it blinds people to the fact that it is a long shot and, in any case, a long way off.

E. J. Dionne: How the British right went so very wrong

Britain’s election was a catastrophe for Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May and a personal vindication for Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s left-wing leader.

It was also the revenge of the young, whose voices go unheard because their turnout is usually low. Britain’s new generation taught a lesson to their counterparts around the world: Voting confers power.

But the unexpected outcome could produce new forms of conventional wisdom as misleading as the flawed punditry that enticed May to call the election in the first place.

It didn’t need to happen, because May had three years left in her term. Voters clearly resented being called to the polls for opportunistic reasons. May thought that because Corbyn was so unpopular and seemingly out of the mainstream, she could turn a relatively small Conservative Party majority into an overwhelming advantage in Parliament. She also thought she could marshal the nationalism reflected in Britain’s vote to leave the European Union by adding the far-right votes of the UK Independence Party to Conservative totals.

Steven W. Thrasher: We need to get corporate America and police units out of Pride marches

Even the worst corporations and institutions want to label themselves as LGBT allies these days. Why? Corporate America thinks its good for PR and the bottom line. This weekend they were told loud and clear: you have no place in our community.

At the Capital Pride Parade in Washington DC over the weekend, radical queer people from No Justice No Pride repeatedly interrupted the corporate sponsored march on several occasions to protest the participation of police contingents and certain anti-LGBT corporations in the parade.

Mark Weisbrot: The Resurrection Of Jeremy Corbyn: Truth As An Effective Political Weapon

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, has made a remarkable comeback after his political obituary had been written and widely accepted as recently as seven weeks ago. Although the Tories, led by Theresa May, will still have the largest number of seats, they have lost their majority, after calling the election in the belief that they would increase it. Labour has picked up at least 29 seats. The result is a hung parliament, and it is not yet clear whether a coalition government will be formed or new elections will have to be held.

Observers have pointed to various historical causes that have brought Corbyn to his leadership position and kept him there, such as the failure of the centrist, neoliberal project of “New Labour” to provide economic security or even much of a future for the party’s working class base; or Tony Blair’s deeply unpopular foreign policy, including the Iraq War and the lies on which it was sold.

Many have made the comparison to Bernie Sanders, who despite losing his primary bid last year is currently the most popular active politician in the US, and is especially well-liked among younger people. The appeal of these two senior citizens to youth is striking, and it bodes well for the future.

But one of the most important lessons of the Corbyn comeback is that the truth, so often dismissed as the first casualty of politics, can be an effective weapon.