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May 24 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”

Justin Miller: ‘Spygate’ Is Trump’s Latest Non-Scandal About the Russia Investigation

President Donald Trump’s approach to the Russia investigation seems to be: “If at first you don’t deceive, try, try again.”

On Wednesday, he coined the phrase “spygate” to describe the false claim that the FBI spied on his presidential campaign in 2016.

“We’re calling it spygate,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn, inviting another comparison to the original “-gate” that brought down another president, Watergate.

The claim is based on the reported use of an FBI informant during the campaign who spoke with three campaign officials to suss out whether the Trump team was compromised by the Kremlin or potentially working with it.

Stefan Halper spoke with campaign advisors George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in London where he is an emeritus professor at the University of Cambridge. Halper also spoke to Sam Clovis, a campaign policy advisor who worked with the foreign policy team, in the United States. [..]

Halper never joined or attempted to join the Trump campaign.

And far from trying to infiltrate the campaign, the FBI reportedly shied away from asking it about interactions with Russia for fear the voting public would learn there was an open investigation into Trump’s team.

“Spygate” is the latest effort by Trump and his allies to discredit the Russia investigation, all the while they ignore or downplay the guilty pleas, indictments, and careers it has already cost.

Instead, every time the investigation advances in the public eye, Trump counters with lies, exaggerations, or slander.

Teresa Thomlinson: Just Peachy: A Great Night for Women Candidates in Georgia

As the American political world watched to see which Stacey would make the cut in Georgia’s gubernatorial Democratic primary, an equally interesting story unfolded down ballot.

Diverse, enthusiastically progressive women and men were making a move all across the Georgia ballot in what most of the country has written off as the ruby red, conservative South. White Democratic men, however, did not fare well. Those voters pulling Democratic ballots in Georgia’s open primary have shown they strongly prefer elected leaders that look like them, and with few exceptions that is not older, white men. [..]

As the American political world watched to see which Stacey would make the cut in Georgia’s gubernatorial Democratic primary, an equally interesting story unfolded down ballot.

Diverse, enthusiastically progressive women and men were making a move all across the Georgia ballot in what most of the country has written off as the ruby red, conservative South. White Democratic men, however, did not fare well. Those voters pulling Democratic ballots in Georgia’s open primary have shown they strongly prefer elected leaders that look like them, and with few exceptions that is not older, white men.

Jennifer Rubin: North Korea summit nixed, Trump’s foray into high-stakes diplomacy flops

President Trump has canceled the North Korea summit, sending a bizarrely informal and personal letter. His stated reason — Kim Jong Un’s comments — seems implausible; most likely, Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo figured out the entire exercise was a ruse. North Korea is not contemplating giving up its nukes. But then any casual observer of North Korea would know that. [..]

It is hard to imagine that nasty rhetoric was the decisive factor. That said, Trump is famously thin-skinned, and his letter reflects his personal pique at the tongue-lashing his administration received. His letter spoke in highly personal terms, praising the “wonderful dialogue [that] was building up between you and me” and then thanking Kim for releasing the Americans he never should have detained (“a beautiful gesture“). To complete the unprofessional tone, he threw in a classic Trumpian boast that while Kim talks about his nukes “ours are so massive and powerful.”

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Christian leaders call out the heresy of Trumpism

Maybe it takes a royal wedding to offer lessons in what a good sermon sounds like.

Maybe it takes one of the world’s most elitist institutions — a monarchy, for goodness’ sake — to provide a view of Christianity rooted not in conservative cultural warfare (or unrelenting support for President Trump) but in an egalitarian love that will “let justice roll down like a mighty stream.

And the Most Rev. Michael Curry, who preached for a royal couple and the world last Saturday, isn’t finished with us yet. On Thursday, a group of Christians will march to the White House for a candlelight vigil inspired by a declaration titled “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.”

The presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, Curry is a prime mover of a statement suffused with a sense of urgency about “a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government.”

While Trump lurks behind almost every paragraph of this passionate assertion of faith, he is never mentioned. This reflects the desire of the endorsers to focus on what it means to proclaim that “Jesus is Lord.” The opening paragraph makes this clear: “We believe the soul of the nation and the integrity of faith are now at stake.”

Dean Obeidallah: Watch the GOP Freak Out Over This Muslim Candidate

It was just a few months ago that a GOP activist in Minnesota introduced a resolution calling on the Republican Party there to “minimize and eliminate the influence of Islam.”

The resolution contained the typical BS talking points idiots on the right spew, such as Muslims want to destroy America. (Tell that to the 5,000 plus American Muslims currently serving in the U.S. armed services and the families of those Muslims buried in Arlington National Cemetery.) The resolution even seeks to ban Muslim leaders, religious or otherwise, from ever delivering a speech or invocation at a Republican convention or event. [..]

I think you get the idea: the Minnesota GOP—just like the Republican party’s national leader Donald Trump—demonize Muslims in the hopes it attracts votes. That’s why it’s truly inspiring that one of the three leading Democratic candidate for Minnesota governor, Rebecca Otto, announced on Monday that her running mate as lieutenant governor would be Muslim American Zarina Baber. If the Otto/Baber ticket wins, Baber will make history as the first Muslim woman in U.S. history ever to hold statewide office.

Just the thought of the Minnesota GOP anti-Muslim bigots freaking out over a Muslim lieutenant governor brings me an inappropriate amount of joy. But Baber is not just a Muslim; she holds many of the traits that Trump has lashed out against. She’s also an immigrant (from India), a woman, and brown. Baber is a quadruple threat to Trump and many in his base.