Feb 26 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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Jay Michaelson: Trump Loses DACA Challenge at Supreme Court, Rule of Law Wins

“That’s not how any of this works!”

Remember that line from the popular insurance ad, in which a confused senior citizen made a Facebook “wall” on an actual wall?

Well, the Supreme Court effectively said the same thing Monday, rebuffing the Trump administration’s petition for expedited review of its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

DACA is currently shielding 700,000 “Dreamers” – undocumented people brought to the United States as children – from deportation. (There are estimated to be around 3.6 million Dreamers, but only 800,000 registered with DACA.) The Trump administration has announced plans to end DACA on March 4, but two courts have placed temporary injunctions barring them from doing so.

Following the normal process of judicial review, the Trump administration has appealed each of those decisions to the relevant courts of appeals. But it also asked the Supreme Court to leap-frog over that process and hear the case now.

The Court said no.

Charles M. Blow: America Is the Gun

The current push for stricter gun control is aiming too low.

Sure, passage of new regulations would be a welcome change from our political intransigence and lack of response to our ongoing epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings in this country.

But we often talk about The Fix, as if any half-measure that has any chance at all of making it through this group of cowards in Congress would be a magical, one-step remedy. It won’t.

There are things that we could do right now that could lessen the lethality of the guns currently available and we could ban some guns — neither of which is likely to happen.

I’m convinced that we must think big and systemically. We must treat gun violence in this country as a public health crisis, because it is. [..]

We have venerated the gun and valorized its usage. America is violent and the gun is a preferred instrument of that violence. America, in many ways, is the gun.

Jennifer Rubin: The NRA is losing its grip — on reality and on politicians

National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre and spokeswoman Dana Loesch have in recent days helped pull back the curtain on the mind-set of the NRA. This is not a group that wants responsible gun ownership. (Do responsible people have a weapon of war designed purely to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible?) This is not a group that is focused on making cogent arguments about gun legislation. Instead, like President Trump and Fox News, the NRA now operates in the fever swamp of what used to be a conservative party. Now, it’s a cult based on the preservation of Trump, a cult that requires conspiracies, bizarre rhetoric and out-and-out lies to keep its members in a high-pitch frenzy.

LaPierre ranted at the Conservative Political Action Conference, “If they seize power, if these so-called European socialists take over the House and the Senate, and God forbid they get the White House again, our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever.” If someone were mumbling like that at a bar, the bartender would be obligated to cut off his drinks.

The NRA’s arguments no longer depend on or even include facts; they are tribal calls to signal that it’s time for the faithful to toss away rational debate.

E. J.Dionne Jr.: It’s time to say last rites over American conservatism

It is time to read last rites over the American conservative movement. After years of drifting steadily toward extreme positions, conservatism is dead, replaced by a far right that has the Republican Party under its thumb.

Conservatism is a complex creed, some of it less than appealing and some of it noble. The less-attractive kind involves an ideology whose main purpose is to defend existing distributions of power and wealth, and to resist reforms that might redress the grievances of those facing discrimination and marginalization.

The enticing brand of conservatism is rooted in an affection for a particular place and its way of life. This conservatism is not always opposed to reform because reforms are often required to preserve the arrangements its exponents revere. Conservatism’s positive function is to warn against measures designed to fix things that are wrong, but whose main effects are to undermine institutions that are widely valued. Sometimes, seemingly sensible changes can unintentionally cause new problems.

Obviously, these two forms of conservatism cannot be easily separated. What I have called the attractive kind often serves the needs of dominant groups.

Michael Tomasky: FCC Commissioner: Our Policy Is ‘Custom Built’ for Right-Wing Sinclair Broadcasting

Sometime this spring, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to take a step without precedent in the history of U.S. communications policy. Once upon a time a watchdog agency, the FCC is going to approve a near-$4 billion merger between two companies that will result in the parent company’s programming—and probably not coincidentally, its right-wing politics—being broadcast into 72 percent of American homes.

They teach us in journalism school never to write “is going to,” because, well, there might be an earthquake. OK. There might be an earthquake. But I’m not even sure that would stop Donald Trump’s FCC, and commissioner Ajit Pai, from giving the kiss of approval to this merger that would be horrible for America even if the company were a liberal agitprop machine rather than a conservative one.

The company, as you might have guessed, is Sinclair Broadcasting. It seeks approval to join forces with Tribune Media. The merger would eviscerate the principles the FCC was created to uphold and defend—principles such as diversity of ownership to foster competition, diversity of viewpoints to foster public debate, and localism to foster service to the community. All three have been perched precariously on the sill since the Reagan administration. But once this is approved, out the window and down to the sidewalk they’ll tumble.