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Aug 09 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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Jennifer Rubin: Trump is driving progressive and moderate Democrats together, not sparking a civil war

The favorite story line of lazy pundits is to claim there is a “civil war” within the Democratic Party between its center-left and far-left. Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vs. Conor Lamb. The problem, however, is that it’s just not true.

Ocasio-Cortez won her primary in a deep-blue New York district; Democratic moderates generally won on Tuesday in Michigan, Kansas, Ohio and Washington. This is not a civil war; it’s how you win a House majority. Moreover, after the primaries are won by one candidate or the other, there is scant evidence the loser’s supporters are going to stay home in November. (The risk of that happening is on the GOP side, where wacky Trump-backed characters need to worry about losing moderate Republicans.) [..]

The president is arguably helping reunite the Democratic coalition, reminding suburban white women, college-educated voters, minorities, working-class voters (of all races), and young voters that they have shared interests in blocking Trump’s agenda and demanding accountability from the Republicans. The party that has shattered, or shrunk if you prefer, is the GOP — which now consists primarily of the non-college-educated, rural white male voter (and even some of those have left), and evangelicals who are willing to ignore Trump’s conduct, values and rhetoric. Throw in some of the super-rich who simply want to scoop and you have a very limited, Swiss-cheese base. They cannot be too educated, nonwhite, women, young, urban, suburban, believe in objective reality, get their news from some place other than Fox News, get queasy about actual corruption, etc. Separating upscale suburban voters (including those infamous country-club Republicans) from the Trumpized GOP has been an invaluable gift to Democrats.

Michael Daly: Chris Collins Is Just One of the Many Creeps Picnicking on Trump’s Lawn

As the indictment tells it, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was at the White House congressional picnic at 6:50 p.m. on June 27, 2017, when he received the email that presented him with a choice of adhering to the law or breaking it.

Collins had been the first sitting member of Congress to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. Neither that distinction nor Collins’ presence on the historic grounds where our new president lives and works seem to have offered him much inspiration to keep it legal and refrain from insider trading. [..]

On Wednesday evening, Collins held a press conference in which he denied all wrongdoing. He said that he had sold none of his stock, though he failed to say that he had not done so because he could not. The man who had been Trump’s first supporter in Congress vowed to remain in office, and he followed the president’s example when fingering who was to blame for his predicament.

“Political opponents,” he said.

But, unless Chris Collins pleads guilty, the clinical trial will be followed by a criminal trial. And he who made that call from the White House grounds may find himself in a prison yard, where life is no picnic.

Alex Pareene: Donald Trump Talks About a War on the Press. Andrew Cuomo Is Waging One.

On July 19, Zack Fink, the Albany reporter for New York City’s local cable news channel, NY1, asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo about the glaring lack of legitimate small donors to his reelection campaign. Cuomo’s response puzzled many: “I don’t want to argue with you,” he said. “I already have a lawsuit with your station, as you know.”

Except no one knew of any lawsuits against NY1. Cuomo was, his office later said, “joking” about the lawsuit while talking about the state’s ongoing regulatory fight with NY1’s owner, Charter Communications, which runs the cable and internet network that used to be Time Warner Cable, and which is the parent company of NY1. [..]

Spectrum News is one of the largest strictly local news outlets in the state, and its coverage of Albany in particular is vital and important. It is the primary place where millions of New Yorkers learn what is happening in the notoriously corrupt and opaque statehouse (it’s worth noting that Spectrum’s NY1 has scheduled a Democratic gubernatorial primary debate this month, which Cuomo has not committed to attending despite his apparent promise in May to debate progressive challenger Cynthia Nixon). Andrew Cuomo is threatening to blow it up, either because he doesn’t care about the collateral damage of his war against Charter, or because blowing it up is the point of that war. In Spectrum’s newsrooms, many journalists believe it’s the latter.

Ben Howe: Conservatives Should Shed Absolutely No Tears for Alex Jones

Over the past few days, conspiracy theorist and gay frog-hater Alex Jones has been removed from platforms controlled by Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Twitter, so far, is holding out. But it seems possible, if not likely, that it too will follow suit at some point and this will all result in a greatly diminished ability for Alex Jones’ empire to have the type of influence it once enjoyed. After all, Jones primarily reaches audiences via video and these days it is difficult to find a large video platform that is not already controlled by one of these tech giants.

A number of conservatives have expressed their disappointment with this. They’re not fans of Jones’ antics. But many are jumping to his defense out of concern that it is the slippery slope towards their own ousting from what many are referring to as the social media “public square.” [..]

So, after all the posturing of the conservative movement as free market embracers who believed the competitive spirit of American entrepreneurs could overcome any and all perceived unfairness in the marketplace, they’ve decided to shed all that in favor of grudgingly supporting a maniac who screams about gay frogs and sells snake oil while claiming dead children are a government hoax.

They may sincerely worry that, one day, they too may find themselves on the wrong end of a social media shunning—the next, less ridiculous, Alex Jones. But that fear isn’t born out of some idealistic concern for the principle of freedom of speech. Instead, they just really like hopping on Twitter and feeling important. And they will get behind whatever bullshit argument or deranged psychopath they have to in order to protect what they most treasure: relevance.