Mar 05 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: King of Chaos


That seemed to be the descriptor most tossed around last week to capture the circus around Donald Trump.

But I think chaos is the fruit of this poison tree, not the root of it. That is to say that I don’t believe that Trump desires chaos because he feels most at peace when the world around him is experiencing pandemonium.

Rather, I believe that this chaos is the perpetual result of the absolute incompetence and idiocy of a preening philistine who has faked his way through life pretending that he knows more than he does and is tougher than he is.

He has two diametrically opposed impulses.

On the one hand, he latches on to outlandish ideas, or simple, emotional aspects of complicated issues, or conspiratorial drivel, and he vests the whole of his emotional energy into proving their veracity, often against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. President Obama wasn’t born in America. Obama used the F.B.I. to spy on him. There were good people on both sides in Charlottesville. The “fake news media” is the enemy of the American people. The whole Russia investigation is a hoax. He’s doing a good job as president.

On the other hand, and with other issues, his convictions are not fixed at all, but ephemeral and fleeting, changing from moment to moment, like the pattern of fog on a glass.

Betty Lyons: Dreamers must be protected – as Indigenous Peoples were not

As we approach the 5 March date for expiration of the legal immigration status of so-called Dreamers – those who came to the US as children and now fall under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, or Daca – we as citizens of the original Indigenous Nations of this continent have been watching closely.

We have dealt with these issues ever since the first Europeans crossed the Atlantic and “discovered” lands you call the Americas, known to us for millennia as the Great Turtle Island or Abya Yala. Since the United States was founded on our lands in 1776, these policies and practices have had a devastating impact on the territories and rights of the Original Nations and our relatives from both north and the south of US borders.

For us, Daca is not an immigration crisis. It is a human rights crisis. And human rights cannot be deferred. Every day approximately 122 people lose Daca protection. This cruel policy immorally punishes and traumatizes innocent young people and their families.

Joy Ann Reid: The Right Can’t Fight the Future

It seems axiomatic that the past and the future cannot exist at the same time. Thanks to the space-time continuum, people from different centuries cannot live simultaneously. The same goes for a nation, which cannot survive pulling toward the future and toward the past at once.

The United States is at a fulcrum. We are two countries—one lurching for the future, one yearning for the past—that cannot live together, because we can’t be both things. Donald Trump may have brought on the breaking point, but he didn’t create the schism. It was already there for him to exploit. It was there during enslavement, when President Lincoln declared that the country could not survive half slave, half free, and it took a civil war to force these two nations: one brutal but pastoral, the other urban and focused on finance and technological innovation, often with its own kind of cruelty, to remain under one roof.

Today, Trump is speeding us toward decline—the very decline his supporters so feared. His imperious leadership; his family’s grubby pretense at royalty and the apparent mad dash among members of his cabinet and White House team to hawk their positions for cash and luxuries have the feel of a decrepit regime looting the palace in its final days; stuffing the silver in their coats as they flee into exile.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: The cost of our war on public life

We didn’t fully realize just how hard it is to be president until we had one with no idea of what it takes to do the job.

We didn’t appreciate having a government that was relatively honest and free of venality until we had one riddled with corruption.

And we didn’t know how wildly irresponsible Republican criticisms of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were until the GOP fell silent in the face of abuse after abuse from President Trump. Obama was “not presidential” for wearing a tan suit? Benghazi? Really?

Let’s start there. When the current administration finally reaches the end of the line, we will need some serious rethinking about how to grapple with the asymmetry in the behavior of our two parties. Republicans — and particularly the party’s dominant right wing in the House of Representatives — have kicked away a lot of credibility in a very short time.

Yascha Mounk: How populist uprisings could bring down liberal democracy

There are long decades in which history seems to slow to a crawl. Elections are won and lost, laws adopted and repealed, new stars born and legends carried to their graves. But for all the ordinary business of time passing, the lodestars of culture, society and politics remain the same.

Then there are those short years in which everything changes all at once. Political newcomers storm the stage. Voters clamour for policies that were unthinkable until yesterday. Social tensions that had long simmered under the surface erupt into terrifying explosions. A system of government that had seemed immutable looks as though it might come apart.

This is the kind of moment in which we now find ourselves.

Until recently, liberal democracy reigned triumphant. For all its shortcomings, most citizens seemed deeply committed to their form of government. The economy was growing. Radical parties were insignificant. Political scientists thought that democracy in places like France or the United States had long ago been set in stone, and would change little in the years to come. Politically speaking, it seemed, the future would not be much different from the past.