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Jul 26 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”.

Elizabeth Warren: Forward Together With the Poor People’s Campaign

On June 12th, 2018, Reverend William J. Barber II hosted a discussion on poverty for members of Congress. People living in poverty across the United States — from California to Kentucky to Michigan to West Virginia — told us their stories. We heard from a victim of a predatory loan who lives in a trailer home infested with mold. We heard from an undocumented immigrant who struggles to afford rent in Los Angeles. We heard from a retired coal miner who is still fighting for fair benefits from greedy corporations.

As Americans struggle to pay their bills, the Trump Administration continues to spit in the face of poor people. Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court — a judge who poses a real threat to historically disadvantaged communities, including people of color, LGBTQ Americans, workers and the poor. The president has also crammed his administration with officials who care more about making money for themselves than protecting our environment, keeping our workers safe, and advocating for the rights of unions and consumers. Poor people are under attack from those in power, and the Poor People’s Campaign is on the forefront of this fight.

Robert Reich: We’re Living a Constitutional Crisis

I keep hearing that if Trump fires Mueller, we’ll face a “constitutional crisis.” Or if Mueller subpoenas Trump to testify and Trump defies the subpoena, it’s a “constitutional crisis”. Or if Mueller delivers substantial evidence that Trump is guilty of colluding with Russia or of obstructing justice, and the House does nothing to impeach him, we have a “constitutional crisis.”

Well, I have news for you. We’re already in a “constitutional crisis.”

You see, the Constitution is a tiny document. It requires that presidents and others in positions of power be bound by norms, unwritten rules, and long-established understandings of their constitutional responsibilities. [..]

There is no exact definition of a constitutional crisis. Presumably it’s when the United States Constitution is in crisis. And it is in crisis now, today, because the president of the United States is abusing it to entrench his power.

As long as he can get away with it, as long as Republicans who control Congress won’t stand up to him, as long as Americans who oppose this have no capacity to stop him, even though they may be in the majority, this rogue president will do more and more damage to our system of government. And the constitutional crisis will worsen.

A malignant megalomaniac facing no countervailing power will continue to expand his terrain until he is stopped.

The best response is to vote for a Congress this November that will constrain him. And then, in November 2020, vote him and his regime out of office.

If he refuses to accept the results of that election – as he threatened to do if he lost the 2016 election – he must be removed from office.

Jessica Valenti: What Feminists Can Do for Boys

One of the many political ironies of our time is that feminism’s most powerful cultural moment has coincided with the rise of extreme misogyny. While women protest, run for office and embrace the movement for gender equality in record numbers, a generation of young, mostly white men are being radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women’s progress.

Whether it’s misogynist terrorism, the rash of young men feeling sexually entitled to women or the persistent stereotype of “real men” as powerful and violent, it’s never been clearer that American boys are in desperate need of intervention.

Though feminists have always recognized the anguish that boys face in a patriarchal system, we haven’t built the same structures of support for boys that we have for girls. If we want to stop young men from being taken in by sexism, that has to change.

Emily Yoffe: Zero Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

This Thursday the Trump administration faces a deadline handed down earlier this summer by a United States District Court judge: reunite the children separated from their parents at the border by federal law enforcement. There’s no way the White House will pull it off. Reports indicate that hundreds of parents will not be seeing their children because the government can’t locate the parents or has already deported them.

This entire catastrophe isn’t just the result of a deliberately cruel and incompetently implemented policy, though it is certainly that. These sundered families are the latest casualty of “zero tolerance” — a misguided mind-set that bludgeons the people it targets, no matter how vulnerable. [..]

There is nothing like audio of terrified children, accounts of their deplorable detention conditions and the realization some families may never be reunited to cause national revulsion at this iteration of the Trump administration’s touted zero-tolerance stance. What happened is not only a moral outrage, but, in following the zero-tolerance playbook, has been a huge diversion of resources. The Department of Health and Human Services has “burned through at least $40 million in the past two months for the care and reunification of migrant children,” according to Politico.

To prevent such future injustices, and to address the many continuing ones, we should adopt a new approach: zero tolerance for zero tolerance.

John Nichols: These Are the Worst of Times for American Journalism

Every once in a while we still hear the bizarre claim that this is a good, or at least adventurous, time for journalism—that this moment of chaos and change, of Trump tweets and investigations, is in some mysterious way healthy for the craft that is supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

The optimism is appealing. But the theory is scorchingly false. Journalism is more necessary than ever at a time when the president of the United States treats media outlets as punching bags. Yet, in a country where even the billionaire-sustained Washington Post acknowledges that “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” the necessary sense of urgency is sorely missing.

People who care about the future of journalism need to recognize that the clock is ticking rapidly toward midnight. The Post’s slogan represents a vaguely poetic embrace of a truth that’s as American as the freedom of the press protection in the Bill of Rights: independent, questioning, and challenging journalism is essential to self-governance.

Unfortunately, a line from Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” serves as a more genuinely poetic expression of the truth of journalism’s current circumstance: “It’s getting dark, too dark to see.”