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Jun 06 2019

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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Michele Heller: My father served on D-Day. He experienced a leader who spawned hatred.

Seventy-five years ago, my Czech-born father was one of 73,000 U.S. troops who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

It was four years after he had escaped Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and eventually found safety in the United States. It was two years after he and his brother enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight, as many immigrants still do, for their adopted country. It was at the same time his family members who had not gotten out of Europe were being killed in concentration camps.

My dad never talked about fleeing the Nazis as a teenager. He never mentioned his Jewish heritage. He only rarely and reluctantly talked about serving in World War II. He never wore his medals of valor on his sleeve, literally or figuratively.

After he died 15 years ago at the age of 82, I discovered tucked away at the back of his sock drawer the three Bronze Stars he had earned for bravery and a Purple Heart. Then I started digging into his history and discovered that he had also hidden the pain and tragedies of his youth. [..]

He experienced what can happen when leaders spawn hatred rather than condemn it. He also experienced having a great leader when it really matters. In 2002, 58 years after my dad landed on Utah Beach, we persuaded him to return to Normandy for a memorial ceremony at the American cemetery there. He walked by himself among the gravestones of his compatriots from the 4th Infantry Division, and eventually stopped and stood for a long time at the marker of one of his commanders, Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Later we asked my dad why he spent the most time at Roosevelt’s grave, rather than at the resting places of his fellow infantrymen. He said Roosevelt was a great leader who lived by the regiment’s motto of “Deeds, not words.” In one of the few times my dad ever talked about combat, he showed us where he had landed on Utah Beach and described seeing the general standing calmly amid the indescribable chaos of battle and firmly directing the troops ashore. He said Roosevelt’s selfless, honorable leadership heartened him and, he presumed, thousands of other terrified young soldiers on that day.

They all were war heroes — the captured, the killed, the wounded, the mentally maimed, the lucky survivors such as my dad — because of circumstance, not desire. They went to war because of what happened when xenophobia and demagoguery supplanted real leadership.

Lawrence Tribe: Impeach Trump. But don’t necessarily try him in the Senate.

It is possible to argue that impeaching President Trump and removing him from office before the 2020 election would be unwise, even if he did cheat his way into office, and even if he is abusing the powers of that office to enrich himself, cover up his crimes and leave our national security vulnerable to repeated foreign attacks. Those who make this argument rest their case either on the proposition that impeachment would be dangerously divisive in a nation as politically broken as ours, or on the notion that it would be undemocratic to get rid of a president whose flaws were obvious before he was elected.

Rightly or wrongly — I think rightly — much of the House Democratic caucus, at least one Republican member of that chamber (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) and more than a third of the nation’s voters disagree. They treat the impeachment power as a vital constitutional safeguard against a potentially dangerous and fundamentally tyrannical president and view it as a power that would be all but ripped out of the Constitution if it were deemed unavailable against even this president.

That is my view, as well.

Still, there exists concern that impeachment accomplishes nothing concrete, especially if the Senate is poised to quickly kill whatever articles of impeachment the House presents. This apprehension is built on an assumption that impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate are analogous to indictment by a grand jury and trial by a petit jury: Just as a prosecutor might hesitate to ask a grand jury to indict even an obviously guilty defendant if it appeared that no jury is likely to convict, so, it is said, the House of Representatives might properly decline to impeach even an obviously guilty president — and would be wise to do so — if it appeared the Senate was dead-set against convicting him.

But to think of the House of Representatives as akin to a prosecutor or grand jury is misguided.

Roger Cohen: The Donald Thinks D-Day Is About Him

To have Trump commemorate the Normandy landings is to understand the word impostor.

How small he is! Small in spirit, in valor, in dignity, in statecraft, this American president who knows nothing of history and cares still less and now bestrides Europe with his family in tow like some tin-pot dictator with a terrified entourage.

To have Donald Trump — the bone-spur evader of the Vietnam draft, the coddler of autocrats, the would-be destroyer of the European Union, the pay-up-now denigrator of NATO, the apologist for the white supremacists of Charlottesville — commemorate the boys from Kansas City and St. Paul who gave their lives for freedom is to understand the word impostor. You can’t make a sculpture from rotten wood.

It’s worth saying again. If Europe is whole and free and at peace, it’s because of NATO and the European Union; it’s because the United States became a European power after World War II; it’s because America’s word was a solemn pledge; it’s because that word cemented alliances that were not zero-sum games but the foundation for stability and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.

Of this, Trump understands nothing. Therefore he cannot comprehend the sacrifice at Omaha Beach 75 years ago. He cannot see that the postwar trans-Atlantic achievement — undergirded by the institutions and alliances he tramples upon with such crass truculence — was in fact the vindication of those young men who gave everything.

Char;es M. Blow: It’s All Rooted in White Panic

Attempts to hold back inevitable shifts in American power are behind Trump’s politics.

Every so often it’s important to step back from the freak show of the moment so that you can see the whole circle. That has never been more important than at this moment and under this administration.

Everything that has happened during recent years is all about one thing: fear by white people that they will inevitably lose their numerical advantage in this country; and with that loss comes an alteration of American culture and shifting of American power away from white dominance and white control. White people don’t want to become one of many minority groups in America and have others — possibly from Asia, Latin America, Africa or the Middle East — holding the reins of power, and dictating inclusion and equity.

This is manifested in every issue you can imagine: the Confederate monuments fight, opposition to Black Lives Matter, intransigence on gun control, voter suppression laws, the Muslim ban, the hard line on asylum seekers coming across the southern border, calls to abolish the visa lottery, the defaming of majority black countries, efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the addition of a census question that could cause an undercount of Hispanics, the stacking of the courts with far-right judges (the vast majority of whom are white men). You name it, each issue is laced the white panic about displacement.

Karen Tumulty:On abortion, Biden shows he is out of step with his party

Though former vice president Joe Biden is ahead of the crowded 2020 presidential field in every poll, his greatest vulnerability presents itself again and again: He is a man out of step with his party.

His record on crime has already put him at odds with the Democratic base, as has his praise of bipartisan compromise at a time when there is little appetite for appeasement. But Biden has proved surprisingly skillful at balancing the doubts that Democrats have about his record against a presumption that he might be their strongest bet to oust President Trump from the White House next year.

On Wednesday, Biden opened a new breach — this one potentially irreconcilable.

His campaign announced that the former senator and vice president continues to support the Hyde Amendment, a provision of federal law passed in 1976 that bars the use of federal funds for abortion services, except in rare cases.

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