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Apr 14 2016

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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Alex Gourevitch: From Fight for $15 to the Verizon strike: we must protect workers’ right to walk out

Given the new politics of inequality, there is every reason to think that strikes will become more common. So long as the economy is as radically unequal and oppressive as it is, workers have a right to go on strike. This is an uncomfortable thing to say because of what it means to defend that right.

The 40,000-person, Verizon strike on Wednesday and the Fight for $15 strikes on Thursday are just the latest examples of worker walkouts. The Verizon strikers are protesting about a host of issues, including the company’s demand for reduced compensation, loss of job security, work relocations and schedules that would require workers to spend months at a time away from their families. [..]

Strikes can be legally threatening and socially disruptive. But in the absence of any serious, social efforts to change the economy, it is perfectly reasonable for workers to defend their interests. So long as the economy is as radically unequal and oppressive as it is, workers have a right to strike. They have that right just the way anyone facing oppression has a right to resist it.

If anything, we should hope that the incipient, broad-based organizing that we have begun to see inspires others to join. What has been missing in the past few years is not clever solutions to economic problems, but the organization and will to change things. As one Verizon steward from New York said to me: “There is just no substitute for a militant membership.”

E. J. Dionne, Jr,: In the GOP race, there’s no room for nice

On the day that Paul Ryan said he really, truly, honestly did not want to be the Republicans’ presidential savior, John Kasich did his best to channel the House speaker. Both undertakings underscored how much trouble the old pro-business, pro-tax-cut conservatism faces.

A cynic might theorize that because absence makes the heart grow fonder, Ryan’s reticence would only make his party hope and pray harder that he would deliver it from catastrophe. But the 46-year-old speaker knows that the 2016 GOP is unlikely to be the vehicle for the neo-Reaganite revival he seeks. He’s much better off waiting until 2020.

Kasich, in the meantime, did what he should have done long ago, casting Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (without naming them) as taking the party down the “path to darkness.”

If you like what Sarah Palin once mocked as “that hopey-changey stuff” (and I do), the Ohio governor’s New York speech was a magnificent relief from the horror movie motifs and exclusionary rhetoric that have become the staples of this year’s Republican contest.

Jessica Valenti: Insults and rape threats. Writers shouldn’t have to deal with this

When you find out that you’re the best at something, normally it makes sense to feel happy. I’m not sure that reaction applies, though, when what you’re top at is being hated.

When the Guardian examined the 1.4 million comments that have been blocked by moderators since 1999, they found that eight of the 10 writers receiving the most blocked comments were women, and topping the list was … well, me. Sure, there’s a small part of me that’s proud – I’m No 1! – but the bigger truth is that I’m mostly just exhausted.

I’m tired of laughing it off and rolling my eyes. Because while misspelled threats or entreaties for me to get back in the kitchen are certainly easy to mock, the disdain with which they’re employed is not very funny.

For all the progress women have made, there’s always an online comment section or forum somewhere to remind us that, when given anonymity and a keyboard, some men will use the opportunity to harass and threaten.

Amanda Marcotte: Perverted, right-wing hypocrites: Dennis Hastert’s alleged sexual abuse reminds us to check the closets of those who demonize consensual sex

So much of the politics of 2016 is rehashing the ’90s, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the nation got an ugly reminder, with Dennis Hastert being in the news again, of one of the most iconic incidents of the era, the Great Hypocrite Purge of 1998.

For those who are fuzzy on the details of that embarrassing period of American history, Hastert only rose to prominence as the Speaker of the House because of the long-standing problem of conservative moralizers invariably having skeletons in their own closet. It was the height of Republican hysteria over the fact that Bill Clinton just kept being president despite their belief that Democrats are always illegitimate. Desperate to find some pretext to impeach the man who thought he got to be president just because he won the election, Republicans subjected Clinton to endless open-ended investigations for years on end, finally lucking out and trapping him into evading admission of an affair he had with a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.

Even though it was thin gruel, Republicans were so confident that the nation would be so appalled to hear about this new “oral sex” thing they seemed to think Clinton invented that they went ahead and impeached him anyway. Which, if you will recall, did not work out well for them. Clinton survived the impeachment, but many Republicans did not.

One reason, of course, is the Great Hypocrite Purge, where Republicans learned that turnabout is fair play and if they were going to expose the president this way, they better understand their own adulteries were to become the public’s business.

Keith Olbermann: Derek Jeter and I know how it feels to incur Landlord Trump’s wrath

For a guy who wants to throw 11 million people out of his country, Donald Trump sure gets testy when one person moves out of one of his apartment buildings.

I’ve previously written that I just couldn’t take living under the same roof with Donnie’s ego and was moving out of my “Trump Palace” apartment and putting it up for sale. The Wall Street Journal has written up the story and Trump has deigned to comment. [..]

There’s a lot more in Trump’s statement that deserves parsing, but first, a more macro viewpoint: I’m hardly the first new ex-resident of Fortress Trump to incur the wrath of a man who sounds less like a Real Estate Super Genius and more like a jilted lover.

Early on the morning of Oct. 14, 2012, star shortstop Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees ranged to his left in pursuit of a ground ball, only to crumple to the ground. He had broken his ankle.

The next day, Trump tweeted: “Derek Jeter had a great career until 3 days ago when he sold his apartment at Trump World Tower — I told him not to sell — karma?”