Dec 09 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.

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Paul Krugman: Trump and Pruitt Will Make America Gasp Again

Many people voted for Donald Trump because they believed his promises that he would restore what they imagine were the good old days — the days when America had lots of traditional jobs mining coal and producing manufactured goods. They’re going to be deeply disappointed: The shift away from blue-collar work is mainly about technological change, not globalization, and no amount of tweets and tax breaks will bring those jobs back.

But in other ways Mr. Trump can indeed restore the world of the 1970s. He can, for example, bring us back to the days when, all too often, the air wasn’t safe to breathe. And he’s made a good start by selecting Scott Pruitt, a harsh foe of pollution regulation, to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Make America gasp again!

Much of the commentary on the Pruitt appointment has focused on his denial of climate science and on the high likelihood that the incoming administration will undo the substantial progress President Obama was beginning to make against climate change. And that is, in the long run, the big story.

Eugene Robinson: What does it take to get a police officer punished for killing an unarmed black man?

Watch the video. Walter Scott, unarmed and slow of foot, tries to run away. Police officer Michael Slager calmly fires five rounds into Scott’s back. Later, Slager approaches Scott’s body, not to give first aid but apparently to plant evidence of a struggle that never took place.

Now tell me: How cheap is black life in these United States of America?

A jury in North Charleston, S.C., could not agree that Slager committed a crime, forcing the judge in the case to declare a mistrial. Prosecutors quickly announced they will try Slager again. In the optimistic view, this week’s stunning result, or non-result, means justice deferred rather than justice denied. I’m trying to be an optimist, but at the moment it’s not easy.

Tell me: What does it take to get a police officer punished for killing an unarmed black man in cold blood?

Teresa C. Younger: Congress, administration must protect water in Flint, Standing Rock

Political obstruction is literally poisoning us.

This week, Congress is poised to leave Washington, D.C. until the new year and has not yet approved funding to address the water crisis in Flint, Mich. – despite their promise to do so. Meanwhile, one thousand miles from Flint, water protectors at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota are celebrating the temporary halting of construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. As the president-elect supports completion of the pipeline, the threat to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s access to clean water remains.

Congress’ failure to send aid to Flint and President-elect Trump’s threat to overturn hard-won protections has led to the poisoning of the most basic of human needs – water. Ironically, but not surprisingly, those obstructing access to clean water will never have to experience a life without potable water as communities in Flint are now, for the second holiday season in a row. They do not have to fight for their land. Instead, they approve lucrative business deals to build through sacred ground.

Larry Cohen: Donald Trump is bullying unions. He picked the wrong fight

It is repulsive but not shocking that Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman and president-elect, feels free to target Chuck Jones, the United Steelworkers local president, who is nothing short of a working-class hero. In a tweet, Trump wrote Chuck Jones “has done a terrible job representing workers”. This was after the union leader criticized the Carrier job deal. But Chuck has a slingshot, namely thousands of members in Indianapolis and a resistance movement that is stirring across our nation.

As Trump was insulting Jones he was also nominating Andrew Puzder to be labor secretary. Puzder is an even clearer reminder of Trump’s direction and true colors. Puzder is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and his career is all about extracting profits from fast-food workers wrapped in the ideological cloak of deregulation.

The movement against Trump’s bullying is larger than United Steelworkers, and larger than labor. A national network based on mutual aid is growing and includes Muslims, immigrants, environmentalists, faith-based groups and people who expect fairness and are willing to stand up to bullies, no matter how rich or powerful.

Jessica Valenti: Calls for American unity are misplaced. We must fight on for justice

As the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Donald Trump come to terms with having elected a shameless bigot and liar as our next president, there’s been quite a bit of pontificating about how best to make progress under his administration. Do we pay attention to tweets or cabinet appointments? Focus on making sure the white supremacists celebrating Trump’s win aren’t normalized in the media? Take on fake news?

Unfortunately, progressives and those who care about our country’s future will have to do it all. But what we don’t need to – and shouldn’t – do is heed the wide calls for everyone to embrace “unity” moving forward. Trump’s campaign was built on a foundation of racism and misogyny; to ask marginalized people to woo those who think we’re worthless is a waste of precious time better spent on more urgent issues. Especially now that so many Americans’ rights are at risk.

As Kara Brown at Jezebel smartly wrote, the love and kindness tactic “suggests blindness, endless patience and a great deal of emotional labor on the part of people who are already exhausted”.

Instead, let’s do something both effective and enjoyable: become big, sharp, nasty thorns in Trump’s side. Get under his skin and reside there for four years.