Sep 06 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: Affirmative Action Spectacle

Affirmative action is a thorny issue, an imperfect tool to push society toward more perfect equality. It creates a current preference to counterbalance a historical preference.

In this equation, there will always be winners and losers. Many people who have been long excluded because of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation — approve of this system. People who have long benefited from others being excluded — often white and often male, Christian and heterosexual — may even despise this affirmative action as a form of “reverse discrimination.”

That is why I found an exchange on Wednesday between the Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the Republican senator Orrin Hatch so fascinating. [..]

Affirmative action isn’t perfect. But the senator is a die-hard opponent of the tactic, while using praise of it as a tool to shield from criticism that is an even greater threat.

Both Kavanaugh and Hatch demonstrated on Wednesday a staggering inconsistency in the service of a diversionary tactic.

Michael Winship: Sections Where Do We Get Such Men?

Back in 2004, I was involved in giving John McCain an award for his stand against media consolidation. There were several times after that when something outrageous he said or voted for or against made me regret I’d ever been involved!

But say what you will about him—and so much has been said and written this last couple of weeks—McCain had the courage of his conservative convictions and never lowered himself to loud-mouthed insults or petty, bigoted name-calling. [..]

An admiral stands on the bridge of an aircraft carrier, marveling at the self-sacrifice of the brave fighter pilots under his command. In awe, he asks, “Where do we get such men?”

McCain would have been among their ranks. But sadly, you could ask the same question of the clique of moneyed kleptomaniacs with whom Donald Trump has surrounded himself, although the answer would have to come from quite a different movie.

Where do we get such men? To quote Morticia Addams in the gruesomely hilarious Addams Family Values, “It has to be damp.”

Ralph Nader: Stop Brett Kavanaugh — A Corporation Masquerading as a Judge

Observers say that confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to become President Trump’s second pick for a lifetime job on the Supreme Court will make the Court more conservative. It is more accurate to say Kavanaugh will make the Court more corporatist.

With Kavanaugh, it is all about siding with corporations over workers, consumers, patients, motorists, the poor, minority voters, and beleaguered communities.

Repeatedly Kavanaugh’s judicial opinions put corporate interests ahead of the common good—backing the powerful against the weak, the vulnerable, and the defenseless.

Apart from his declared views pouring power and immunity into the Presidency (which is why Trump wants him), Kavanaugh could be the most corporate judge in modern American history. Two meticulous reports on his judicial decisions, one by the Alliance for Justice (AFJ) and one by Public Citizen demonstrate that for him it’s all about corporations uber alles.

Jared Bernstein and Dean Baker: Unions in the 21st Century: A Potent Weapon Against Inequality

The topic of economic inequality can appear complex, with many nuanced causes and outcomes. But while the two of us actively engage in that debate, we also strongly believe that there is one overarching factor that must not be, but often is, overlooked: worker bargaining power. On Labor Day, this problem of the long-term decline in workers’ ability to bargain for a fair share of the growth they have helped generate deserves a closer look.

There is, of course, a direct link between less worker clout and the decline in union coverage. In addition to directly empowering workers at the workplace, unions have played a central role in the drive for a wide variety of policy measures to ensure that everyone benefits from prosperity, which is the opposite outcome of rising inequality. This list includes Social Security, Medicare, paid family leave, civil rights legislation, fairer tax policy and higher minimum wages.

This view has been further buttressed by recent research using new data showing a strong connection between union strength and a more equal distribution of income (see figure), a link that makes the sharp decline in union membership over the past four decades particularly disturbing.

Jesse Jackson: NFL Owners’ Treatment of Colin Kaepernick Disgraces League and Country

Colin Kaepernick may yet get his day in court.

Kaepernick is the talented former NFL quarterback who in 2016 began a protest against police brutality and institutionalized racial discrimination by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Other players joined the protests.

Kaepernick wasn’t protesting the anthem or the flag. He was calling on the country to live up to its principles.

President Trump led the outcry against the protesters, slurring any player who takes a knee as a “son of a bitch.” The league owners panicked. One result was that Kaepernick — one of the most talented quarterbacks in a league that suffers a shortage of skilled players in that position — found himself locked out of a job.

He couldn’t even get a tryout. He filed a grievance against the league and the 32 teams, calling the action against him a violation of the league’s players contract, as well as an affront to free speech.

An arbitrator handed down a decision Thursday to send Kaepernick’s grievance to trial and dismissed the owners’ motion for summary judgment, finding that Kaepernick had raised sufficient evidence that there was an express or implied agreement between the teams to keep him out of the league.

The collusion is obvious. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated in a sworn deposition that Trump instructed him to tell the owners that the president would continue to attack the league as long as the protests continued.