Oct 02 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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Mike Weisser: There’s Only One Thing That Connects All Mass Shooters

If you thought for one second that the testing of a ballistic missile or the civil war in Syria or even the neo-Nazi march at Charlottesville were the biggest problems facing Donald Trump, you’d be wrong. The biggest problem he has to deal with is what to say and do about the shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas, which set an all-time record for the number of people killed and wounded by a mass shooter in the United States.

Trump already began sliding past this event by offering condolences to the “victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting,” but for a guy who opened his yap last year, insisting that an “armed citizen” could have stopped the shooting attacks in Orlando and Paris among other places, all of a sudden he’s not saying anything about guns. The fact that the Las Vegas shooter was evidently using a full-auto machine gun (at least this is what the gun sounded like in the video I watched, but this has not yet been officially confirmed) will make it easier for the President to align himself with ‘responsible’ gun owners, if only because even the NRA has yet to endorse the idea of legalizing the ownership of full-auto guns.

Except machine guns are legal, as long as you pay a $200 tax for each one you own, submit to a background check by the ATF and get a state license for owning automatic weapons if you happen to live in a state which requires such a license, which many states do not. The ATF says that as of February 2015, there were more than 500,000 machine guns registered in the United States, of which nearly 9,000 can be found in Nevada alone. [..]

Sheriff Joe Lombardo of Clark County says the investigation into Paddock’s background will be very “tedious” and will take time. I don’t want to sound arrogant but the only thing we ever learned from the detailed investigations after Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Aurora and Columbine was that the shooters were all able to get their hands on guns. They couldn’t have committed those extreme acts of violence any other way.

Les Carpenter: After Trump’s distractions, NFL players must drag the conversation back to race

The point of Colin Kaepernick’s protest was to get the nation talking about race – something the US has rarely done with much civility. The uncomfortable conversation, he said last year, would be a start toward positive change.

For a few days, this past week, it seemed he had succeeded. When Donald Trump unleashed his fury on NFL players who followed Kaepernick’s lead in taking a knee during the national anthem to highlight racial inequality, the ensuing reaction launched such talk. If half your favorite football team is on their knees, linking arms with the team owner, the chances are you will at least ask the question: Why are they doing this?

And that leads to a talk.

But as the days have gone on and Trump has continued to smell political capital from the players’ newly discovered social justice voice, the tone of the national dialogue has changed. It has gone from being discourse on a racial inequity to a loyalty test of patriotism. Rather than an opening for people to see the world through others’ eyes the player protests are becoming a red-white-and-blue talking point across cable news America.

Charles M. Blow: Divert, Divide, Destroy

In one week’s time, President Trump has again demonstrated that his sympathies stretch no further than his personal fortunes and personal favors.

He is using the power of the presidency and the might of the federal government in his own petty game of sticks and carrots. His responses depend solely on whether he, as a person, and his family empire, are being complimented or criticized.

Last week, Trump diverted attention from his dying health reform plan and failing Republican senatorial choice in Alabama by denigrating N.F.L. players protesting for racial justice and equality. That got people talking, and arguing. It was all over TV, Trump’s gauge of all things good.

Furthermore, Trump saw the issue as a winning one for him. Indeed, a CNN/SSRS poll released Friday found that about half of respondents overall and nearly nine in 10 Republicans believed that “protesting players are doing the wrong thing to express their political opinion when they kneel during the National Anthem.”

But I would argue that first, if a majority agreed with a protest it would partially negate the need to protest, and second, majorities are not the measure of what is moral.

Lucia Graves: The Democratic party needs fresh faces

It’s telling how regularly it happens that most prominent politician taking on Donald Trump is not some fiery Democratic upstart but Hillary Clinton, the Democrat he already beat. Nine months into Trump’s administration, it’s as if the campaign never ended.

And Clinton, though she’s typically the only one accused of overstaying her political welcome, is but one character in the Democratic party’s extended walk down memory lane.

This week Barack Obama, who had until recently stayed out of the national spotlight, put his charisma to work for the Democratic National Committee, his first fundraiser for the party since leaving office; Joe Biden unveiled his new daily podcast; and Bernie Sanders positioned himself front and center in the country’s big healthcare debate.

Meet the new Democratic stars, same as the old ones. It isn’t what the resistance envisioned, but the party appears to be stuck with familiar faces thanks to never building a Democratic bench and putting all their hopes into a 2016 basket that fell spectacularly apart.

Deborah Campbell: Who is hurt by Trump’s new refugee quota? People like Roqayah Mohammed

When President Trump announced that he was slashing refugee admissions to the United States to 45,000 – the lowest in decades – the first person I thought about was 18-year-old Roqayah Mohammed.

I met Roqayah in 2007 when Syria wasn’t the war-torn place we know today. It was a haven for more than a million Iraqi refugees, largely the professional class, who had fled the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq.

That was the war that gave the world Isis (whose leadership met in the mid-2000s in a American-run prison in Iraq called Camp Bucca, the only place on the planet where Islamic radicals could spend limitless time conspiring with secular ex-Baathists), and destabilized the entire region in ways that are far from over.

Back then Roqayah was a precocious green-eyed nine-year-old living with her parents and older brother in Damascus. Her mother, Ahlam, a “fixer” for foreign correspondents, was my translator and friend.