May 16 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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New York Times Editorial Board: To Honor Eric Garner’s Life, Reform the PoliceLike so many other black men in the United States, Eric Garner has been denied justice even in death.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is considering, but is expected to reject, federal civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer whose use of a chokehold on Mr. Garner led to his death on a Staten Island street in 2014.

A state grand jury declined to indict Officer Pantaleo on homicide charges in 2014. Obama Justice Department officials sat on the case for nearly a year, as civil rights prosecutors in Washington feuded with federal prosecutors in New York who didn’t think the evidence was strong enough. The Justice Department asked the city to delay police disciplinary proceedings while it was considering the matter. The case landed on Mr. Rosenstein’s desk in recent weeks when civil rights prosecutors recommended bringing charges over the objections of the prosecutors in New York.

Hope for any justice probably lies in Mayor Bill de Blasio and his police commissioner, James O’Neill, doing what should have been done years ago: firing Officer Pantaleo.

Mariyama Scott: When Jewish Americans uphold occupation, it corrodes our souls

On Monday, I joined over a hundred other young American Jews in Washington DC to protest Trump moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As we marched, news rolled in of Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers at the Gaza separation fence. A staggering 37 people had been killed as we blocked Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol. By the time the protest ended, the death toll had passed 40. And at the end of the day, at least 58 people had been killed. It was the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war on Gaza. [..]

Depriving people of basic human rights, demolishing their homes, and indiscriminately killing them, cannot, has not, and will not keep us safe. There can be no peace in the absence of justice. Our Jewish tradition teaches us that life is sacred; it is long past time to reject dehumanization and embrace the call for freedom and dignity for all. The future of both Jews and Palestinians depends on it. In the words of Jewish American poet Emma Lazarus: “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”

Paul Krugman: Just Saying Yes to Drug Companies

Last week we learned that Novartis, the Swiss drug company, had paid Michael Cohen — Donald Trump’s personal lawyer — $1.2 million for what ended up being a single meeting. Then, on Friday, Trump announced a “plan” to reduce drug prices.

Why the scare quotes? Because the “plan” was mostly free of substance, controlled or otherwise. (O.K., there were a few ideas that experts found interesting, but they were fairly marginal.) During the 2016 campaign Trump promised to use the government’s power, including Medicare’s role in paying for prescription drugs, to bring drug prices down. But none of that was in his speech on Friday.

And if someone tries to convince you that Trump really is getting tough on drug companies, there’s a simple response: If he were, his speech wouldn’t have sent drug stocks soaring.

None of this should come as a surprise. At this point, “Trump Breaks Another of His Populist Promises” is very much a dog-bites-man headline. But there are two substantive questions here. First, should the U.S. government actually do what Trump said he would do, but didn’t? And if so, why haven’t we taken action on drug prices?

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Trump’s brutal policies target the most vulnerable Americans

We tend to associate the word “brutality” with physical violence, especially violence at the hands of the state. It calls to mind police shootings, torture and war. But there is another form of brutality that is less apparent to the naked eye — the brutality of policy.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has announced policy proposals that appear to serve little purpose other than cruelty. For example, the Labor Department is apparently planning to roll back child labor protections that limit the hours that teenagers can spend performing dangerous jobs, such as operating chainsaws and trash compactors. The agency risibly described its proposal as an effort to “launch more family-sustaining careers by removing current regulatory restrictions” in a summary of the draft regulation obtained by Bloomberg Law. Worker and child labor advocates, however, credit the rules with significant reductions in the number of teenagers who are injured or killed.

Eugene Robinson: ‘Real’ Americans are a myth. Don’t you dare buy it.

he most offensive and corrosive idea in our politics today is that some Americans are more “real” than others. Don’t you dare buy it.

Republicans are cynically peddling this un-American conceit. “Real Americans” elected and continue to support President Trump, they claim, in defiance of snooty “coastal elites” who are hopelessly out of touch with the country. It’s a total crock, and shame on those using it for political gain.

The whole point of democracy is that every citizen’s voice is supposed to have equal weight — even voices in favor of fair and compassionate immigration policy, universal health care, fighting racism, promoting gender equality, enshrining LGBT rights and other progressive causes. There is no need to be tentative about these views for fear they somehow make you, I suppose, “unreal.” They do not.

Nor does living within some arbitrary distance of an ocean, having a college education or preferring big-city life deprive anyone of standing as an American. A third-generation Kentucky coal miner and a goateed Brooklyn barista should have equal say in charting the course of the nation.