«

»

Aug 26 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Michelle Goldberg: Mazel Tov, Trump. You’ve Revived the Jewish Left.

‘Only one political party is quite literally inciting white nationalists to shoot up our synagogues.’

On Aug. 11, more than 1,000 people marked Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, by occupying an Amazon Books store in Manhattan, protesting the technology behemoth’s technical support for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sitting on the floor, they read harrowing accounts of people in immigration detention and recited the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning. One of their signs said, “Never again means never again.”

According to organizers, 44 people, including 12 rabbis and a member of New York’s City Council, were arrested. It was one of over 50 Jewish-organized demonstrations against ICE held across the country that day.

A few days later, a corrections officer drove a truck into a row of Jewish protesters who were blocking the entrance to a private prison in Rhode Island where migrants are being detained. Two of the protesters were hospitalized. That demonstration was one of at least 38 organized this summer by Never Again Action, a decentralized group formed two months ago to engage in nonviolent direct action against immigrant detention.

Donald Trump might have thought he was going to lure Jewish voters to the Republican Party with his lock-step alliance with the Israeli right. Instead, by attempting to use American Jews as mascots for an administration that fills most of them with horror, he has spurred a renaissance on the Jewish left.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Paradigm of the Personal

He confuses the way he thinks he is treated with the well-being of the country.

For Donald Trump, all is personal.

And in his view, he is not the executive of the company. He is the embodiment of the country. He runs the country the way he ran his business, as the curating and promotion of his personal brand.

The people who support him are customers — people to be sold a vision and a dream. The people who criticize or oppose him threaten the brand and must be dealt with.

For Trump, everything is image-based and rooted in the appearance of personal relationships. When the Danish prime minister rebuffed his overture about buying Greenland, calling the idea “absurd,” Trump threw a tantrum and canceled his visit to Denmark.

Trump discussed the episode at one of his press gaggles, calling the prime minister’s response “nasty’ and saying, “We can’t treat the United States of America the way they treated us under President Obama.” He went on to say: “She’s not talking to me. She’s talking to the United States of America. You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.”

No, actually, she was talking to him.

America was not being dismissed or disrespected. This proposal, which sounded like a joke, was being laughed at. And this president hates being laughed at.

Everything in Trump’s view is about whether someone is nice or nasty to him. It’s not about the country at all. It’s not about historical precedent or value of continuity.

John Atcheson: Centrists Are Going to Kill Us

Democrats are in danger of dooming the planet and the democracy by adhering to their corporate-friendly, campaign finance-motivated centrist strategy.

The myth of centrism, and the triumph of Trump are inextricably linked.  Trump is President because he won three key states by razor thin margins: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. At the end of the day, he carried these states by just 77,744 votes and it enabled him to win with a minority of the popular vote.

Ask any neoliberal, Third Way Democrat, or centrist why that happened and what should be done about it, and they’ll tell you Democrats lost because they went too far left and if the Party wants to win in 2020, it’ll have to run a centrist in order to peel away a few Republicans.

Here’s the thing. We lost those states because we ran a neoliberal centrist, and doing it again could have the same result. Consider, Bernie Sanders won Michigan and Wisconsin in the primaries, and he also won Indiana. He did it by running on issues working Americans care about – affordable health care, a living minimum wage, a tax structure that doesn’t feed the rich and starve the rest of us, stronger unions, an end to the Wall Street and Big Bank oligarchy that controls both political parties.

Want more proof?  On issue-by-issue basis citizens in these states and in the country at large overwhelmingly support progressive policies like those listed above, as well as gun control, the Green New Deal, campaign finance reform, a more humane immigration policy, and equal rights and equal treatment of minorities, immigrants, and the LGBQT community.

This begs a question or two. How do conservative Republicans and demagogues like Trump win, and why don’t liberals?

Jim Hightower: Just Who Got Trump’s Farm Bailouts?

Rich families cashed in on over half the bailout money set aside for farmers hurt by Trump’s trade policies.

Donald Trump loves farmers. We know this because he says so. “Farmers, I LOVE YOU!” he declared in December.

But he’s been “loving” them to death, with policies that are causing farm prices to tumble, miring our ag economy in the ditch and creating a rising tsunami of farm bankruptcies.

Then came Trump’s doofus of an ag secretary, Sonny Perdue, who publicly insulted farmers by branding them “whiners” for daring to complain about policies causing them to lose income and their farms.

So, as an  “I love you” make-up gesture, Trump has been sending big bouquets of money to some of his beloved farmers. Our money. Lots of it — $28 billion so far in what he cynically (and comically) calls a “Market Facilitation Program,” otherwise known as a taxpayer bailout.

But Trump Love turns out to be highly selective, with more than half of the government payments going to the biggest farm owners.

The Agriculture Department initially announced a $125,000 limit on the amount any one farm could get, but every Trump deal seems to have a gimmick in it to give a special break to the slickest operators.

The slickum in this deal is that assorted members of a family are allowed to claim that they’re owners of the same farm and thus get bailout bucks — even if they do no actual farming and live in New York City!

One Missouri farm family, for example, got $2.8 million worth of subsidy love from Trump, and more than 80 families topped half-a-million in payments.

Meanwhile, the great majority of farmers have gotten zilch from Donald the Dealmaker — and 80 percent of eligible grain farmers (the smaller producers most endangered by his bad policies) have received less than $5,000.

So Trump’s “market facilitation” is squeezing the many who are most in need, while helping a few of the largest get even bigger.

Jill Filipovic: A new poll shows what really interests ‘pro-lifers’: controlling women

According to their own survey responses, anti-abortion voters are hostile to gender equality in practically every aspect

ccording to self-identified “pro-life” advocates, the fundamental divide between those who want to outlaw abortion and those who want to keep it legal comes down to one question: when does life begin? Anti-abortion advocacy pushes the view that life begins at conception; the name of their movement carefully centers the conceit that opposition to abortion rights is simply about wanting to save human lives.

A new poll shows that’s a lie. The “pro-life” movement is fundamentally about misogyny.

A Supermajority/PerryUndem survey released this week divides respondents by their position on abortion, and then tracks their answers to 10 questions on gender equality more generally. On every question, anti-abortion voters were significantly more hostile to gender equity than pro-choice voters.

Do men make better political leaders than women? More than half of anti-abortion voters agreed. Do you want there to be equal numbers of men and women in positions of power in America? Fewer than half of abortion opponents said yes – compared with 80% of pro-choicers, who said they want women to share in power equally.

Anti-abortion voters don’t like the #MeToo movement. They don’t think the lack of women in positions of power impacts women’s equality. They don’t think access to birth control impacts women’s equality. They don’t think the way women are treated in society is an important issue in the 2020 election.

In other words, they don’t believe sexism is a problem, and they’re hostile to women’s rights. Pro-lifers are sexists in denial – yes, the women too.