May 30 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 Waldman: The debate is over: Of course Trump obstructed justice

You’ve probably had a bad boss or two, but have you ever had a boss who repeatedly told the entire world he wished he had never hired you? That’s the position Attorney General Jeff Sessions is in, and the reason is simple: By recusing himself from the investigation into the Russia scandal, he has rendered himself unable to aid President Trump in obstructing justice.

I say that because we may be thinking of the question of whether Trump has in fact obstructed justice in too narrow a way. If we’re asking “Will Trump be indicted for, and convicted of, this crime?” then the answer is probably no. While scholars are not united on this question, many believe that a sitting president can’t be indicted, and it’s highly unlikely that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will issue an indictment for Trump, no matter what the investigation produces.

The better question is: What has Trump done to obstruct this investigation? The answer to that question is that he has done an extraordinary amount.

Jennifer Rubin: Trey Gowdy exposes the GOP’s cowardice

Elected Republicans, even those (especially those!) in leadership spots, when queried about their refusal to confront President Trump and condemn his racist outbursts, attacks on democratic institutions and obsessive lying, will often respond with a figurative shrug of the shoulders. What do you want me to do? The people elected him. My constituents adore him. In one way or another, they claim they are powerless to stop or influence Trump, and therefore, condone their indulgence of an unfit president.

That is the talk of cowards, and what’s more, it’s blatantly false. We’ve seen that when a small number of people, or even a solitary figure, pipes up, a great deal can change.

Consider the executives at Disney and ABC who canned Roseanne Barr. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey; her boss, Ben Sherwood, president of the Disney-ABC Television Group; and his boss, Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, decided they would not merely slap Barr’s hand or force her to undergo sensitivity training. They labeled her tweet as racist and canceled a show in which they had already invested millions and that was a ratings winner. In doing so, they sent a powerful message and set a new bar for acceptable conduct for their stars and those responsible for Disney entertainment.

Richard Wolffe: Ivanka Trump embodies her father’s family values

George W Bush famously said family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande river. It was his way of answering all those angry questions on the campaign trail about how he would stop “illegal immigrants”.

If moms and dads couldn’t feed their kids in Mexico, he explained, they would try to provide for their families in the United States.

Bush badly misjudged his party, as well as his own powers of persuasion. His efforts at immigration reform died along with his domestic influence. But that wasn’t the end of his party’s long journey away from his values.

Now, under his Republican successor, it is official US policy to deny family values for the undocumented migrants who cross the Rio Grande.

Earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security adopted a new policy to start criminal prosecutions of parents crossing the border illegally, and to place their children in protective custody. It wasn’t enough to deported undocumented people. Now the Trump administration would actively break up their families.

Lloyd Green: Roseanne’s racist tweet got her fired. For Trump, it’s all part of the job

Since General Robert E Lee and the Confederacy surrendered more than 150 years ago, the right to vote has been extended to women and black people, two African Americans have been appointed to the supreme court, and Barack Obama won two consecutive terms as president. Time has not stood still, but the embers of race still glow red hot, and Roseanne Barr is our latest reminder.

On Tuesday, Barr tweeted that the “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” the initials of Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the Obamas and a former senior White House adviser. Within hours, Barr issued an obligatory apology, ABC cancelled her sitcom, and ICM, Barr’s agent, dropped her like a hot potato. By contrast, Donald Trump and his Twitter account remained silent – not like the time he berated professional football players for taking a knee, or when he castigated comedian Michelle Wolf for taking jabs at Sarah Sanders’ mascara. Or, when Trump first praised Barr’s show.

From the look of things, America still stands divided over race, and for this White House race-baiting is far from sinful. At best, it’s a dog whistle; at worst, a moving traffic violation.

Bill McKibben: Say hello to Justin Trudeau, the world’s newest oil executive

In case anyone wondered, this is how the world ends: with the cutest, progressivest, boybandiest leader in the world going fully in the tank for the oil industry.

Justin Trudeau’s government announced on Tuesday that it would nationalize the Kinder Morgan pipeline running from the tar sands of Alberta to the tidewater of British Columbia. It will fork over at least $4.5bn in Canadian taxpayers’ money for the right to own a 60-year-old pipe that springs leaks regularly, and for the right to push through a second pipeline on the same route – a proposal that has provoked strong opposition.

That opposition has come from three main sources. First are many of Canada’s First Nations groups, who don’t want their land used for this purpose without their permission, and who fear the effects of oil spills on the oceans and forests they depend on. Second are the residents of Canada’s west coast, who don’t want hundreds of additional tankers plying the narrow inlets around Vancouver on the theory that eventually there’s going to be an oil spill. And third are climate scientists, who point out that even if Trudeau’s pipeline doesn’t spill oil into the ocean, it will spill carbon into the atmosphere.