May 30 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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Katrina vanden Huevel: No, the ‘resistance’ isn’t failing at the voting booth. Here’s where it’s winning.

Elections produce winners and losers. There are no bonus points for participation. Democrats have been frustrated by losses in high-profile congressional races — Rob Quist bested by Greg Gianforte in Montana and James Thompson falling short to Ron Estes in deep-red Kansas. In both elections, the Democratic nominees outperformed previous Democratic showings but came up short. In the nationally publicized special election in Georgia to fill the seat of Republican Tom Price, the Democratic candidate, Jon Ossoff, is still locked in a dead heat. This leads pundits and many Democrats to wonder: Is the “resistance” to President Trump a dud at the polling booth?

Before the garment-rending and hand-wringing go too far, Democrats and pundits would do well to focus their eyes a little lower on the ballot. In special elections for state and local offices, progressive insurgents aren’t just coming close — they are winning and sending a message to the establishment of both parties.

Eugene Robinson: Keeping Kushner would make Trump’s Russia nightmare permanent

It’s hard to write about Jared Kushner without going straight to the Icarus cliche — hubris, flying too close to the sun, falling into the sea. I once wrote that he was the only one of President Trump’s close advisers who couldn’t be fired, but Kushner’s father-in-law would be smart to prove me wrong.

It is possible, of course, that Kushner was acting on Trump’s orders when he allegedly suggested setting up a secret communications channel with Moscow using Russia’s secure equipment. In that case, Trump’s reluctance to cut him loose would be understandable — and the Russia scandal would lead directly to the president himself. If not, are family ties keeping Kushner employed at the White House? Or is it Trump’s mounting sense of persecution and his reluctance to let an aggressive media push him around?

Whatever his motivation, Trump is allowing the Russia scandal to become not an extended nightmare but a permanent one. And all the Twitter tantrums in the world won’t make it go away.

Melissa Harris Perry: How to Save the N.A.A.C.P. From Irrelevance

The N.A.A.C.P. announced two weeks ago that it will replace its current president as part of the latest effort to revitalize itself. That won’t solve the problem. Instead, it shows that its bloated 64-member board of directors has little understanding of why the N.A.A.C.P. has become marginal.

A brief history lesson on the 108-year-old civil rights institution offers a striking contrast.

One night in June 1940, police in Brownsville, Tenn., dragged Elbert Williams from his bed, beat him, shot him in the chest and dumped him in the Hatchie River for the transgressions of helping to form a chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and trying to register voters. On Christmas Day 1951, a Ku Klux Klan bomb ripped through the bedroom of Harry Moore, the director of the Florida N.A.A.C.P., killing him and his wife, Harriette. In June 1963, the white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith murdered Medgar Evers, a field secretary for the group, in the driveway of his home, in Jackson, Miss.

Those were the bloody years.

Southern states outlawed the organization by decree. White Citizens’ Councils enforced unofficial bans by lynch mob. To attend a meeting or sign a membership list required unusual courage. But ordinary black folk chose to do so because the group worked in solidarity with the most vulnerable people in the struggle against white supremacy.

Today, it is safe to be a member of the N.A.A.C.P. It is also inconsequential.

David Leonhardt: Princeton — Yes, Princeton — Takes On the Class Divide

Few American institutions have a history of exclusion quite like Princeton University’s.

Its president in the late 19th century, Francis Landey Patton, called it “the finest country club in America.” F . Scott Fitzgerald made the line more literary and more famous: “the pleasantest country club in America.” Woodrow Wilson, another Princeton president, became a national figure during his effort to break open the college’s elite eating clubs. He failed.

And the muckraking journalist Upton Sinclair described Princeton as “the most perfect school of snobbery in America” with “few Jews” and “no Negroes.” Into the 1950s, some entering classes included not a single African-American.

This history (from Jerome Karabel’s book, “The Chosen”) makes the recent developments here all the more remarkable. It also makes them a lesson for how other American institutions can respond to a central challenge of our time: the hardening of class divisions and a widespread stagnation in living standards.

Moustafa Bayoumi: Donald Trump is not blameless when white supremacists slaughter people

Jeremy Christian, an avowed white supremacist with a violent past, is the alleged killer of Rick Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, but Donald Trump is not blameless for their deaths. The murder of these two heroic men and the near death of a third, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, happened last Friday in Portland, Oregon, when, according to numerous reports, Christian boarded an afternoon commuter train and began hurling anti-Muslim insults at two teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

A witness, Rachel Macy, told the Oregonian what happened next. She reported that the three men were attempting to form a barrier between Christian and the girls to protect the teenagers from Christian’s threats when Christian suddenly brandished a knife and slashed all three men in their necks. Blood was immediately everywhere. “It was just a swift, hard hit,” Macy said. “It was a nightmare.” [..]

But if Christian’s act is a nightmare, Trump’s presidency is the daymare, a horror show made all the worse as it’s experienced while being wide awake. Under increasing pressure to issue a condemnation of the act, Trump finally tweeted a message concerning this heinous crime. “The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable,” the tweet read. “The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”