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Mar 12 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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Jeff Biggers: The West Virginia teachers’ strike is what real resistance looks like

The victorious strike by teachers in West Virginia did not only result in a long overdue pay raise. With the exuberance of a nine-day teach-in, the teachers and their supporters have taught the nation a compelling lesson on the historical role of a true resistance.

Taking to the streets, picketing on the sidewalks, and charging into the Capitol itself, the strike turned the public commons into a counter space for “we the people.”

One by one, the roughly 20,000 teachers in West Virginia essentially forced lawmakers – and the nation – to stop our daily routine and address the growing education crisis on the terms of those most devoted to ensuring the best outcomes for our children: our teachers.

This is why strikes, more than one-day protests, often bring lasting victories. It took an uncompromising walk-out to get West Virginia lawmakers to recognize that our inability to commit to a living wage and decent health benefits for our teachers mirrors our negligence in investing in classrooms for our children.

Richard Wolffe: Trump meeting Kim Jong-un is a half-baked idea – and a dangerous one

One is an egomaniacally unhinged, nuclear-armed neophyte, who scares his allies and enemies alike. So is the other.

The extraordinary prospect of direct talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un would be a delicious moment of karma among kooky world leaders. If it weren’t for their ability to destroy half the planet.

They say we get the leaders we deserve, and these two leaders surely deserve one another. But does the world really deserve its fate to be settled by two Little Rocket Men?

Let’s size up this epic summit, shall we?

The North Korean dictator has already achieved most of what his Stalinist regime has long desired: to be seen as an equal of the almighty United States of America. By sitting opposite Trump, Kim need concede nothing to still come out as a winner. [..]

One thing is already clear about this half-baked idea: Trump is more likely to spill his guts about classified intelligence than he is to get the upper hand with any kind of meaningful deal.

Ruth Marcus: I would’ve aborted a fetus with Down syndome. Women need that right.

There is a new push in antiabortion circles to pass state laws aimed at barring women from terminating their pregnancies after the fetus has been determined to have Down syndrome. These laws are unconstitutional, unenforceable — and wrong. [..]

I have had two children; I was old enough, when I became pregnant, that it made sense to do the testing for Down syndrome. Back then, it was amniocentesis, performed after 15 weeks; now, chorionic villus sampling can provide a conclusive determination as early as nine weeks. I can say without hesitation that, tragic as it would have felt and ghastly as a second-trimester abortion would have been, I would have terminated those pregnancies had the testing come back positive. I would have grieved the loss and moved on.

And I am not alone. More than two-thirds of American women choose abortion in such circumstances. Isn’t that the point — or at least inherent in the point — of prenatal testing in the first place?

If you believe that abortion is equivalent to murder, the taking of a human life, then of course you would make a different choice. But that is not my belief, and the Supreme Court has affirmed my freedom to have that belief and act accordingly.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: The needy salesman in chief

One of President Trump’s favorite words is “strong.” His obsession with strength leads him to a love for unilateral announcements, denunciations of staff members by way of showing who is in charge, and Twitter wars designed to prove that he will not back down from any fight. [..]

Yet Trump is also a pleaser who likes to make those in his immediate company happy by convincing them that he is absolutely on their wavelength. You could see this in his flip-flopping on policy toward both guns and immigration. Recall that the positions he took on any given day depended upon who was in the room with him.

Eventually, he will default to preserving his electoral standing. He was never likely to break with either the National Rifle Association or the hard-line nativists who are at the heart of his administration and his political base. Trump has interests. He doesn’t have a philosophy.

But above all, he has needs, and the erratic nature of the Trump presidency can be explained by the interaction of his two compulsions: looking strong and being liked. They sometimes seem to collide, but they are actually of a piece. Both speak of a man for whom the personal is the only kind of political. It is impossible to know what his true policy commitments are because they are secondary. On any given day and at any given moment, his actions are dictated by what, in his eyes, will make him look forceful and bring him accolades.