Feb 14 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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Greg Sargent: Democrats must be ready to take this drastic step against Trump

If you read through the coverage of the battle over the “dreamers,” you’ll come away with the impression that we are locked in a conventional Washington standoff, in which two opposing sides are each demanding concessions in exchange for making concessions of their own. If a compromise is to be reached, each side hopes to tug it as far in their direction as possible; if not, well, they just couldn’t find a way to meet in the middle, and in true Washington fashion, both sides will then play the “blame game.”

But treating this situation as a normal negotiation fundamentally obscures its profound asymmetry. One side is putting forth genuine good-faith compromise offers that would require concessions by both sides. The other just isn’t doing this at all — instead, they are demanding that they must be given everything they want, while spinning their demands as reasonable in a manner that is absolutely saturated in bad faith from top to bottom. [..]

If Trump and Republicans are going to stick to this position, Democrats really have no choice but to say no. This way of doing business must be flatly repudiated. If Trump and Republicans don’t want to protect the dreamers, then so be it. And by the way, if Dems do walk away, they will have the support of many of the dreamers themselves.

Christian Caryl: Christopher Steele is a hero – and Americans owe him their thanks

Christopher Steele, the former British spy whose claims about Donald Trump’s ties with Russia hold center stage in Washington right now, drives Republicans crazy. They have recommended that the Department of Justice open a criminal investigation into his work. They released a formerly classified memo by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) that vilifies him — and now they are holding back a Democratic brief that tries to correct the record. Their Fox News minions have promised damning new revelations about Steele’s perfidiousness on a near-weekly basis. (Sebastian Gorka called the Nunes memo “one hundred times bigger” than the causes of the American Revolution — hyperbole that seems to have embarrassed even his friends.)

Yet, try as they might, Steele continues to haunt them. You sense it in the tone of frustration and anxiety. “There’s nothing to see here,” they keep insisting. And insisting. And insisting.

What is it about Steele that possesses them so? Could it be that his findings from the summer of 2016 — when the world was still wondering why Trump kept saying such nice things about Russia’s Vladimir Putin — proved so extraordinarily prescient?

Kathleen Parker: Remember those Russian bots from 2016? They’re coming back.

If you want to know whether Democrats will take back the House and/or Senate in November, just ask Russia.

Or rather, ask the Russian trolls who have triumphed in disseminating real “fake news” to influence U.S. elections. They credibly did so in 2016 by creating a more favorable electoral environment for Donald Trump. And, reportedly, they are determined to make trouble again in this year’s midterms.

In the meantime, Russian “bots” — applications that perform an automated task — were helping President Trump once again by creating momentum for the Feb. 2 release of the “Nunes memo,” the four-page brief from Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, alleging surveillance abuses by FBI investigators.

To do this, Russian operatives created a #ReleaseTheMemo campaign on Twitter and other platforms, which quickly went viral and created a sense of urgency and import to the committee’s findings — at least those by Republican members. Trump, who has final authority over such things, refused to approve the release of a Democratic rebuttal. Apparently, the latter was far more detailed than the Republican version and, according to the administration, could be harmful. Perhaps.

Steven W. Thrasher: This Valentine’s day, time to let go of manufactured desire

Perhaps the major lesson of my peripatetic life has been learning to let go of desire –desire for sex, for romance, for a normative family, for economic security, for consistent housing, for what was once called a “job” in the United States, or for any particular outcome in life. Like most of us, I have been taught to long for many things I likely will never have and may not even really want (which can alienate me from the many blessings of my life).

Valentine’s Day is a good occasion to reflect not just on how days like this set us up for disappointment by manufacturing desires for particular outcomes, but also to consider two of the worst effects of desire itself: entitlement and sadness. [..]

The effect is to make us feel longing – longing for people or situations that may not be right for us or may be impossible. And we should be aware of how that desire is manufactured.