Jan 15 2018

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: Trump Is a Racist. Period.

I find nothing more useless than debating the existence of racism, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence. It feels to me like a way to keep you fighting against the water until you drown.

The debates themselves, I believe, render a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of “racism” frustratingly murky.

So, let’s strip that away here. Let’s be honest and forthright.

Racism is simply the belief that race is an inherent and determining factor in a person’s or a people’s character and capabilities, rendering some inferior and others superior. These beliefs are racial prejudices.

The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.

Understanding this, it is not a stretch to understand that Donald Trump’s words and deeds over the course of his life have demonstrated a pattern of expressing racial prejudices that demean people who are black and brown and that play to the racial hostilities of other white people.

LonnieG. Bunch III: This was Martin Luther King Jr.’s most ambitious dream

I was 14 when my parents took my brother and me to Washington to witness the masses gathering there. It was the spring of 1968, and thousands of African Americans, American Indians, Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Asian Americans and poor whites from across the country had made their way to the Mall to protest the thing they all had in common: poverty.

They came by train, bus and car caravans. Some traveled by mule carts. They came from farm towns, big cities, the Appalachian hills and Native American reservations. It was the start of the Poor People’s Campaign. [..]

And they brought the nation’s attention to the crippling effects of poverty — and issued a demand for jobs, training, health care and affordable housing. This was the mission of Resurrection City — the final vision of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and, perhaps, his most ambitious dream.

Ruth Marcus: What’s even more tragic than Trump’s appalling comments?

The past week of the Trump presidency felt like that point in a video game when you’ve reached a new level and the widgets suddenly start flying at you too fast to dodge. There was an attack on free speech. On an independent judiciary. And with the president’s horrific reference to “shithole countries,” on America’s tradition of offering a welcoming hand to the downtrodden. So much so quickly that it’s difficult to process it all.

But we must. To fail to note these departures from normalcy — from the institutions and values that have actually made America great all along — is to tacitly countenance the outrage and, worse, to risk that we will begin to fail to recognize it as such.

So, fresh from having dispatched his personal lawyers to make the laughable but, coming from a president, nonetheless scary effort to halt publication of a critical book, President Trump renewed his assault on free speech. “Our current libel laws are a sham and a disgrace and do not represent American values or American fairness,” Trump announced during a Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: We could be a much better country. Trump makes it impossible.

Political leaders in democracies have a few core obligations. They are charged with solving today’s problems and preparing their nations for the future. They are responsible for creating some sense of shared purpose and mutual respect among their citizens — above all a common commitment to preserving the very freedoms on which democracy depends.

Within this context, citizens exercise their right to argue about how to define the public interest, how to identify the central problems and how to choose among competing values.

Given my social democratic leanings I would assert, for example, that equal opportunity — including the opportunity to participate fully in self-government — demands a far greater degree of economic security and equality than we currently enjoy. This is particularly true when it comes to access to health care, education, family time away from paid labor, and the chance to accumulate wealth.

Bill de Blasio: This is why New York is suing and divesting from Big Oil

For New Yorkers, late October 2012 was a moment when something fundamental altered. If there were any climate change deniers in the five boroughs before Hurricane Sandy, I don’t think there were too many left afterward. Forty-four lives taken; flood, fire, stretches of our electrical grid blacked out; and around $19 billion in homes, businesses and infrastructure damaged.

New York City stared climate change in the face then. And now, we’re doing something about it. We understand that climate change is an existential threat, but we do not accept that it is inevitable. We know many of our national leaders are in denial, but we will not wait for their help. Together, New Yorkers have a loud voice and deep pockets, and we intend to use them.

America’s largest city, 8.5 million strong, is taking decisive action on two separate fronts. We are demanding compensation from those who profit from climate change. And we plan to withdraw our formidable investment portfolio from an economic system that is harmful to our people, our property and the city we love and invest it in more productive ways.