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Jun 15 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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Charles M. Blow: Rhetoric and Bullets

In 2011, after Representative Gabby Giffords of Arizona was gravely injured and six others were killed by a shooter in Tucson, I was moved to commit an entire column to condemning the left for linking the shooting so closely to political rhetoric.

Yes, Republican personalities and officials in the wake of Barack Obama’s election had spoken openly about “Second Amendment remedies” and being “armed and dangerous” and “revolution,” but it was not possible to connect the dots between that irresponsible talk and the Tucson shooter.

Now, here I am again, only this time extending the same condemnation to the right for doing the same after four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, were shot at an Alexandria, Va., baseball field where Republican members of Congress were practicing in advance of a charity game.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: The Koch Brothers & Trump: The Men Who Sold The World

When he withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, Donald Trump gave a speech so filled with falsehoods that it triggered detailed rebuttals by publications ranging from Politifact to Scientific American.

The Washington Post‘s “Fact Checker” column, which hands out “Pinocchios” for false or misleading statements, was forced to note that “we do not award Pinocchios in roundups of speeches.” But by then Trump probably had more Pinocchios than the Disneyland gift shop.

But Trump is not the only truth-denier in the Republican Party. In a front-page story by Coral Davenport and Eric Lipton, the New York Times documented the GOP’s transformation from a party with leaders like John McCain and Newt Gingrich, who accepted the scientific consensus on the climate, to one whose leader believes it is a hoax perpetrated by China.
When Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris agreement, “the Senate majority leader, the speaker of the House and every member of the elected Republican leadership were united in their praise.”

And the Times laid this transformation squarely at the feet of the Koch Brothers:

Amanda Marcotte: Lessons of the “baseball shooting”: Gun violence feeds on itself — and even now Republicans won’t listen

Wednesday’s terrifying assault on a group of Republican congressmen at baseball practice demonstrated that no one is protected from the violence that plagues a country where gun industry profits and culture-war politics have turned guns into fetish objects and have made reasonable gun-safety policies nearly impossible to enact. No one is spared, not even those who have done so much to make it easy for any madman with a vendetta to get the weaponry he needs to rain the sort of havoc that was visited on a bucolic park in Alexandria, Virginia, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. [..]

The left-wing views of the alleged shooter might be surprising to some, but they shouldn’t be. The gun industry and the National Rifle Association market guns with promises that owning guns will make a customer feel manly and powerful, and that fantasy has a power that can transcend political boundaries. And no one knows better than gun industry leaders how feelings of political frustration caused by seeing your preferred candidate lose an election can be channeled into a pitch to buy more guns.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: The GOP’s fantastically anti-democratic quest to kill health care in the dark

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell once had passionate views about how carefully Congress should consider sweeping changes to the health-care system.

“Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people,” McConnell said in 2009, referring to the two big issues of the moment. Democrats using such means, he added, “would make it absolutely clear they intend to carry out their plans on a purely partisan basis.”

Republican hypocrisy is now so rampant that it’s typically ignored or, worse, granted the political class’s all-purpose form of absolution: “Everybody does it.”

Laurent Fabius: The Spirit Of Paris Must Prevail

There are several criteria that could be used to evaluate President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, but all lead to the same conclusion: This decision constitutes a serious offense against our planet and against humanity.

The first criterion for judgement is the concrete impact on the fight against global warming. Some say that Trump may have involuntarily and ironically given this fight a boost. But irony does not always lead to the truth. The United States is the world’s first leading economic power and the second biggest polluter. The U.S. had committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025, as compared to 2005. They were to contribute financially to scientific research and to national and international actions against global warming. Turning their back on this commitment and creating the risk of a domino effect is and will remain a grave error.

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