Jul 02 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’s Rage Junkies

It is truly a confounding time to be alive, to be an American.

We are watching as a president of the United States openly lies, fabricates and exaggerates while two-fifths of the population cheers him for it.

He spurns our allies and embraces our adversaries and people shrug.

He, his congressional allies and his propaganda arm are waging open warfare on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in an effort to tarnish it before its inquiry into connections between the Trump campaign, family and associates and Russia can be made public.

He is a racist who disparages black and brown people, whether they be immigrants, Muslims, people from Haiti and Africa, Barack Obama, the mayor of San Juan or Maxine Waters. People equivocate about it and excuse it.

He is attacking the press in the most aggressive of terms so that what they reveal about him will be viewed with skepticism.

He is attempting to weaken our institutions, our protocols and conventions, our faith in the truth, our sense of honor and our respect for the rule of law.

And somehow, many Americans, even those disgusted by what they see, have resigned themselves to this new reality.

James R. Jones: Mexico’s new president is a nationalist, but he’s not anti-American

On Sunday, Mexicans chose Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known nearly universally as AMLO, as their next president. López Obrador has been referred to by many Mexicans and some analysts of Mexico as anti-business and anti-American. In reality, he is neither.

I have known López Obrador for 25 years, since I was U.S. ambassador to Mexico. The words that best describe him are pragmatic and driven. He is driven by a desire to improve the living conditions of the half of Mexicans who remain poor.

Over the years, I’ve discussed and argued with AMLO many times over various issues. While he may have preconceived notions about a correct approach (as all of us do), he will listen and sometimes be persuaded by different facts and opinions. He is not afraid to change his position on an issue if he is convinced that there is a better way. Consider: After seeing improved economic opportunities for Mexicans, he has come to support the North American Free Trade Agreement and other free-trade agreements despite his earlier criticisms.

E.J. Dionne Jr.: This is the fight of our lives. Here’s how we win it.

When Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) quickly tweeted: “This is the fight of our lives.”

She’s right. But how will the fight be defined, and how can it be won?

With Republicans in control of the Senate, the odds favor anyone President Trump picks to fill Kennedy’s seat. But as the mass mobilization to preserve the Affordable Care Act demonstrated, progressives can win battles in the Senate if Democrats hold together, and if a handful of Republicans are convinced that going along with their party will have high political and substantive costs. There is no choice but to mobilize.

Supporters of abortion rights were among the earliest to speak out forcefully against a right-wing nomination from Trump — and his list of possible choices includes only right-wingers. The abortion question takes on a special urgency because Kennedy, while deeply conservative in so many areas, was a relative moderate on social issues. A harder-line conservative could join with the other four conservatives on the court to overturn or substantially roll back Roe v. Wade .

Jill Abramson: Justice Clarence Thomas leading the US supreme court? A scary thought

He is the most silent supreme court Justice. He has written almost no landmark decisions. Perhaps because of this, his extreme, rightwing jurisprudence has not been seen as very influential, unlike that of his ideological clone, the late Antonin Scalia or the court’s newcomer, Neil Gorsuch. But with the retirement of Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas is now the most senior conservative and quite possibly, the most important.

By most measures he is, since Scalia’s death, the furthest right on the court’s ideological spectrum. Already, this most recent court term has been a debacle for the liberal justices who, according to Adam Liptak of the New York Times, largely failed to peel off Kennedy to form a majority in the major cases.

So, unthinkably horrible as it is, we may very well be entering a new era, the era of the Thomas court.

Richard Wollfe: Donald Trump’s only fixed position on abortion is his disdain for women

Donald Trump really doesn’t care about a woman’s right choose. Do U?

How could he care when he’s been all over the place on this core moral question for the entirety of his time in public life?

“I am very pro-choice,” Trump told NBC’s Tim Russert back in 1999. “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still – I just believe in choice.”

Back in those days, Trump was so close to the pro-choice movement that he co-sponsored a dinner for the president emeritus of the National Abortion Rights Action League at the Plaza hotel, which he owned at the time. He didn’t show up because he received death threats from anti-abortion protesters.

It was so much more comfortable for him when he tried to woo those protesters as he started running for president three years ago. He can expect nothing but their prayers as he prepares to hand them their long-desired achievement: rolling back reproductive rights for women with his next pick for the supreme court.

With Justice Kennedy’s retirement, Trump’s next nominee is likely to tip the balance against Roe v Wade, just as soon as one or other state pushes forward with an attempt to ban abortion outright.