Aug 10 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”.

Robert Creamer: Congress Should Curb Trump’s Ability To Launch A Nuclear First Strike

Donald Trump actually threatened North Korea with a nuclear attack if their egomaniacal leader continued to “threaten” the United States.

The idea that the United States of America would seriously consider launching a nuclear war over a verbal taunt is simply unthinkable.

But remember, this is the same Donald Trump who last year is reported to have asked why, if we have nuclear weapons, we shouldn’t use them.

Last January, Senator Edward Markey and Representative Ted Lieu introduced legislation that would forbid the president to launch a nuclear first strike without a Congressional declaration of war.

It’s time for Congress to enact that legislation.

No one questions that to give deterrence credibility, the president should have authority to retaliate immediately if our country is attacked by nuclear weapons. But a first strike is a different matter altogether.

Jim Hightower: Wall Street Thieves Find New Ways to Steal From Us

In 2007, their stupid schemes and frauds crashed our economy, destroying middle-class jobs, wealth and opportunities. Far from getting punishment, however, these financial scofflaws were bailed out by their Washington enablers — so the moral lesson they learned was clear: Stupid pays!

Sure enough, only a decade later, here they come again! Rather than investing America’s capital in real businesses to generate grassroots jobs and shared prosperity, Wall Street is siphoning billions of investment dollars into speculative nonsense — such as high-profit securities “secured” only by rickety bundles of subprime auto loans.

Robert C. Koehler: Terrorism for Profit

Donald Trump stands cluelessly at the edge of history, exemplifying everything wrong with the past, oh, 10,000 years or so.

The necessity for fundamental change in humanity’s global organization is not only profound, but urgent.

Trump’s latest outburst about North Korea’s nukes — threatening that country “with fire, fury, and frankly power the likes of which the world has never seen before” — creates a comic book Armageddon scenario in the media, except, of course, his power to launch a nuclear war on impulse is real.

What this makes clear to me is that no one should have the authority — the power — to declare any war whatsoever. The fact that this is still possible, so many decades into human awareness of war’s utter insanity, reveals the paradox that civilization remains economically tied to its own destruction.

Amanda Marcotte: Anti-environment right shifts tactics: From climate-change denial to censorship and intimidation

While much of the media obsesses over a pointless debate about whether “free speech” should protect an employee who abuses his co-workers with outrageous claims masquerading as “science” (the answer is no), there’s a serious assault on real science underway. Conservatives, including those in the Trump administration, are now trying to undermine the ability of scientists and activists to communicate ideas to the public. Climate change, unlike the supposed intellectual inferiority of women, is a genuine scientific finding with a strong consensus behind it. That’s likely why the right is increasingly looking to McCarthyite tactics to demonize and suppress information about it.

On Tuesday, Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reported that James O’Keefe, the notorious right-wing hoaxer who tries to pass off his disinformation campaigns as investigative journalism, may have been caught trying to run one of his scams on the League of Conservation Voters. League officials have filed a complaint alleging that O’Keefe’s team at the Veritas Project created an elaborate scheme to ingratiate themselves with the organization, in hopes of baiting someone who works there into saying something that could be taken out of context and used to demonize the group.

Lindy West: We’re Choking on Smoke in Seattle

The weather forecast for Seattle on Wednesday reads “89 degrees, smoke.” We first noticed the smoke, drifting down from wildfires still burning in British Columbia, around Aug. 2, just as a heat wave sent temperatures spiking well into the 90s (the historical average for that week is 77) and the ubiquitous Pacific winds dwindled to a standstill. “Nature’s air-conditioning is broken,” the National Weather Service told the Seattle Times.

The sky turned brown and opaque. The neighboring city of Bellevue, which normally glitters above Lake Washington to the east, disappeared. The mountains disappeared. I haven’t seen a tree move in a week. It’s as though a giant cloche has been placed over the whole region, like God is playing molecular gastronomy and we are her smoked langoustine cotton candy duck balloons. You can feel the air on your skin, powdery and wrong, somehow both sweltering and clammy. Residents have been warned not to exercise; people with asthma are clutching their inhalers, white-knuckled.