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Feb 27 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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Paul Krugman: The Force of Decency Awakens

A funny thing is happening on the American scene: a powerful upwelling of decency. Suddenly, it seems as if the worst lack all conviction, while the best are filled with a passionate intensity. We don’t yet know whether this will translate into political change. But we may be in the midst of a transformative moment.

You can see the abrupt turn toward decency in the rise of the #MeToo movement; in a matter of months ground that had seemed immovable shifted, and powerful sexual predators started facing career-ending consequences.

You can see it in the reactions to the Parkland school massacre. For now, at least, the usual reaction to mass killings — a day or two of headlines, then a sort of collective shrug by the political class and a return to its normal obeisance to the gun lobby — isn’t playing out. Instead, the story is staying at the top of the news, and associating with the N.R.A. is starting to look like the political and business poison it should have been all along.

And I’d argue that you can see it at the ballot box, where hard-right politicians in usually reliable Republican districts keep being defeated thanks to surging activism by ordinary citizens.

This isn’t what anyone, certainly not the political commentariat, expected.

Eugene Robinson: Don’t let the absurd ploy to arm teachers distract you

The deliberately outrageous idea of arming classroom teachers is nothing more than a distraction, a ploy by the gun lobby to buy time for passions to cool. Don’t get sidetracked. Keep the focus where it belongs — on keeping military-style assault rifles out of civilian hands.

The National Rifle Association and its vassals in the Republican Party would like you to exhaust your outrage on a possibility that is, from the start, impossible. Picture one of your grade school or high school classrooms. Ima­gine a loaded gun in there somewhere. Even on an average day, without an active shooter stalking the halls, the question is not what could go wrong. It is how many dead or wounded. [..]

All this squealing can mean only that the NRA and Republicans think they’re in trouble. The usual playbook for dodging an actual debate about gun control isn’t working.

Jennifer Rubin: President Trump, again, overcompensates for cowardice

President Trump is not known for personal courage. He used “bone spurs” to get out of military service in Vietnam. (He apparently is not scared of stairs, but is petrified of sharks and, by his own account, is revolted by the sight of blood. He’s also a germaphobe.) He’ll fire people, but not if he has to confront the person directly. (He sent an aide to fire FBI director James B. Comey; gave up trying to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — when White House counsel Don McGahn wouldn’t do it; and backed off trying to remove deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe when FBI director Christopher A. Wray threatened to quit.) When caught saying or doing something he shouldn’t (e.g., mocking a reporter with a disability, calling African countries “shitholes,” calling Democrats “un-American” and “treasonous,” etc.), he figuratively flees the scene by either denying what he said, or pretending it was a joke. And, for whatever reason, he will bend over backwards to avoid offending Russian President Vladimir Putin.

So when he declared on Monday that, had he been at the site of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, “I really believe I’d run in there even if I didn’t have a weapon,” he was widely derided on social media. Obviously, few human beings, even brave ones, would race into a building to confront an active shooter with no weapon. In fact, it would be idiotic to do so. The fact that Trump felt compelled to brag about superhuman physical bravery (and further demean the school resource officer who failed to) is telling.

Tom Steyer: America’s unions could be dismantled. Progressives must unite now

During the March on Washington in 1963, Dr Martin Luther King Jr spoke about “the fierce urgency of now”, underscoring the immediate and pressing need to take strong and immediate action to advance civil rights. It couldn’t wait. Today, communities across the country find themselves in a similar moment, fighting politicians who are hellbent on enacting Donald Trump’s noxious agenda of inequality and injustice.

The most recent incarnation: a supreme court case, Janus v AFSCME Council 31, intent on stripping away the rights of working people to join together in their unions, an attack on a basic American right.

The same politicians who have made health care less accessible, rolled back voting rights, defunded our schools, and polluted our air and water have brought this attack to our nation’s highest court to try and dismantle the organizing power of working people in unions.

Steven W. Thrasher: When injustice leads to death, protest is an appropriate way to mourn

The powerful should never tell relatively powerless people who are protesting for their very lives how they should be behaving.

That’s what was happening when a conservative pundit criticized Parkland students for organizing the March for Our Lives. It was, she said, “quite interesting that the children survivors haven’t even buried their friends, grieve, get over shock but have had the time to plan for a march, come up with a creative hashtag, get their story to all media outlets all in such a short amount time”.

But memorializing the dead through protest doesn’t mean denigrating them – it means honoring their lives by making a better future. Mourning through militant protest has a long and noble history in the United States.