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Dec 01 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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Charles M. Blow: Donald Trump’s ‘Monster’s Ball’

If you’ve been in a funk over the results of this election: Buck up. It’s over. Dry the tears, push back against the malaise, burn away the fog and stiffen the spine.

There is work to do. Your country needs you, now more than ever. The loyal opposition needs your energy and your moral imagination.

You may be out of power, but you aren’t powerless. Righteousness is a self-propagating energy source. Indeed, there is most likely something to be gained in the midst of your loss. Sometimes, it is while wandering in the wilderness that purpose is perfected and voice is clarified. New champions will rise from these ashes, ones who may not now be apparent, and a new path forward will appear. Such is the way of the world; such is the precedent of history. [..]

Trump rode to victory on a cloud of vapors and vapid promises, and now he is assembling a counsel of acolytes and opportunists. Now each of us must demonstrate our fortitude in vocal, steadfast resistance.

Trump must be made to know, in no uncertain terms, that he was elected president and not anointed emperor.

Not every battle can be won, but every battle must be waged. This is the proving ground. Are you prepared to stand your ground?

Richard Eskow: Who Will Lead the Anti-Trump Resistance

The Donald Trump Administration hasn’t even started, and the President-elect is already unpopular. Only 42 percent of those polled in this “honeymoon” period approve of Trump. Voters were split (46-45 percent) on their approval or disapproval of his transition process.

Contrast that with Barack Obama’s popularity before he took office, when 83 percent of those polled approved of his transition process. (Less than half of voters approve of Trump’s three key picks so far: Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus.)

Trump’s diehard followers will undoubtedly seek out fake news from faux sources, including his own Twitter feed, to cling to the illusion that he’s fighting for them for as long as possible. But even they may be forced to face facts when Congressional Republicans target Medicare and Social Security, while Trump’s billionaire cabinet despoils the environment, attacks public schools, cuts cushy deals for Big Pharma, and gives tax breaks to millionaires and corporations.

Eventually, most Americans will realize that their lives aren’t getting any better – and are, in fact, getting worse. Where will they turn when that happens?

Steven W. Thrasher: Under Donald Trump, the scourge of HIV/Aids is going to get worse

An Aids memorial is being unveiled in New York City today. While it is fitting to have right here in Greenwich Village a grand Jenny Holzer-designed, Walt Whitman-inscribed memorial to the 35 million people who have died from Aids and the 37 million people currently living with HIV, there is little to celebrate locally or globally.

Just across the street, St Vincent’s hospital – an epicenter of the epidemic in its early years – has died, just as so many gay men did within its walls in the 1980s. It is being converted into luxury condos. That a hospital which served the most marginalized would be replaced by real estate for the super wealthy is a fitting metaphor in the age of a real estate developer-turned-president. Indeed, Donald Trump is set to preside over a newly harmful period in HIV history.

HIV/Aids is no scourge of the past in the US. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one in two black men who has sex with men will become HIV positive, despite having “fewer partners and lower rates of recreational drug use than other gay men”. While the drug PrEP (which can greatly reduce the likelihood of becoming HIV positive) is often heralded as some kind of panacea, it cannot address some of the biggest epidemiological factors fanning modern HIV: access to employment, housing and healthcare. Indeed, in cities like Atlanta, half of HIV diagnoses have already progressed to Aids – precisely because people most likely to be exposed to HIV don’t have healthcare.

And this is why my mind drifts uptown to Trump Tower.

Amanda Marcotte: Donald Trump’s poisoned planet: The Bush-era EPA set back climate-change progress by decades — this could be worse

One thing that seems absolutely certain about President-elect Donald Trump is that he is an anti-environmentalist. During the Republican presidential debates, Trump lavishly promised to “get rid” of the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form.”

On the campaign trail, he repeatedly boasted that he would repeal as much environmental regulation as he could get his hands on. Over the weekend Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, assured Fox News viewers that Trump continues to be a climate-change conspiracy theorist, saying, “he has his default position,” which is that most climate science “is a bunch of bunk.”

But getting rid of the EPA and environmental regulation isn’t that simple. For one thing, a lot of it has been established by legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and the president is legally bound, at least in theory, to enforce those laws. As researcher Sarah Anderson at The Conversation explained, getting rid of federal agencies is a lot harder than it looks, and Republicans who promise to do it generally don’t succeed. In addition, there are a number of court decisions, such as Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, that have upheld the constitutional requirement for federal agencies to do the jobs they were established to do.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Trump won’t be able to seriously cripple the EPA’s ability to do its job in regulating pollution. He can’t abolish it or destroy it, but he can appoint an EPA head who uses legal and bureaucratic chicanery that forces the agency to avoid regulating pollution. We know that because it’s exactly what happened to the EPA during George W. Bush’s two terms as president.