Oct 01 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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Paul Krugman: Warren Versus the Petty Plutocrats

Why do they hate her? It’s mainly about their egos.

Remember when pundits used to argue that Elizabeth Warren wasn’t likable enough to be president? It was always a lazy take, with a strong element of sexism. And it looks ridiculous now, watching Warren on the campaign trail. Never mind whether she’s someone you’d like to have a beer with, she’s definitely someone thousands of people want to take selfies with.

But there are some people who really, really dislike Warren: the ultrawealthy, especially on Wall Street. They dislike her so much that some longtime Democratic donors are reportedly considering throwing their backing behind Donald Trump, corruption, collusion and all, if Warren is the Democratic presidential nominee. [..]

But why does Warren inspire a level of hatred and fear among the very wealthy that I don’t think we’ve seen directed at a presidential candidate since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

Michelle Goldberg: Trump’s Claims About Biden Aren’t ‘Unsupported.’ They’re Lies.

The president’s accusations turn reality on its head and the media should say so.

Turning this history on its head, Trump has accused Joe Biden of coercing Ukraine to jettison Shokin in order to protect Hunter. He has pressured Ukraine’s current president to open an investigation into the Bidens, which would make Trump’s charges seem more credible. As the president faces impeachment, his surrogates are parroting his attack on Biden, and his campaign is reportedly spending a staggering $10 million on an ad to amplify the smear.

Journalists, perhaps seeking to appear balanced, have sometimes described Trump’s claims about Biden as “unsubstantiated” or “unsupported.” That is misleading, because it suggests more muddiness in the factual record than actually exists. Trump isn’t making unproven charges against Biden. He is blatantly lying about him. He and his defenders are spreading a conspiracy theory that is the precise opposite of the truth.

Susan Rice: We Are in Uncharted Territory

Almost everything about President Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s president violated protocol.

President Trump, his Republican sycophants in Congress, and the right-wing media are working overtime yet again to distract and manipulate the American public. To downplay Mr. Trump’s transgressions, they are drawing a false equivalence between his July phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine and former Vice President Biden’s efforts in 2015 to encourage the replacement of the Ukrainian prosecutor general.

Don’t be confused. These two cases have almost nothing in common. While I was President Obama’s national security adviser, Mr. Biden took repeated steps — at the president’s behest — to advance a widely supported, completely overt United States government policy to encourage Ukrainian officials to aggressively combat endemic corruption and bolster Ukraine’s nascent democracy. [..]

This broadly backed anti-corruption policy had nothing to do with Mr. Biden, his son Hunter, or any other individual. Moreover, the policy was conducted transparently and openly for all to see. As has been widely reported, the prosecutor general also was not pursuing any inquiry of Hunter Biden or the owner of the company whose board he sat on, Burisma, at the time of the vice president’s intervention. Indeed, by pressing for the removal of the corrupt prosecutor general, Mr. Biden backed a policy that increased the likelihood that a responsible replacement might pursue Burisma’s owner and others.

By contrast, President Trump conducted absolutely no government business when he spoke for thirty minutes with Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky. Instead, Mr. Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election to advance his own political interests. Mr. Trump clearly pressured Mr. Zelensky to investigate Mr. Biden, the president’s most formidable and likely political opponent, as well as his son. By withholding almost $400 million in urgently needed military assistance appropriated by Congress for Ukraine, which is still combating the occupation of its eastern territory by Russia, and using it to extort Mr. Zelensky’s cooperation, Mr. Trump again put his personal interests above our national security.

Kara Swisher: Trump Is Too Dangerous for Twitter

The president flagrantly violates the social platform’s rules. It’s time to bar him.

It’s almost as if Donald Trump is trying to get impeached.

By Twitter, I mean.

That’s where the twitchy fingers of the president of the United States have been working overtime to try to get him tossed off the digital communications service by posting all kinds of rule-breaking things and often in all caps with lots of exclamation marks — just so we don’t miss them.

But just as the internet companies have been gifted with a big hug of a law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which extends them broad immunity from controversial content that is posted on their platforms, Mr. Trump has been given an epic pass on Twitter for whatever he does.

Why? Basically, he’s been deemed newsworthy by the company.

True enough. But that means that every day and literally twice on Sunday, it’s more incendiary tweets and rage-filled tweets and appalling tweets and reckless tweets and misleading tweets and inaccurate tweets and really inaccurate tweets. And the many lies as tweets — so, so many tweet lies.

Charles M. Blow: Impeach the Malignant Fraudster

This is how Republicans can redeem themselves.

It is the clarity of Donald Trump’s transgression that is most remarkable.

By his own admission, and backed up by the quasi-transcript released by the White House and by the whistle-blower complaint, he abused the power of the presidency to enlist a foreign government to help him politically.

People don’t have to wade through the tome that Robert Mueller produced, through the murky parts and the fine legal points. This is as clear as a bell. Trump has confessed to the central allegation.

No matter how much his defenders squirm — and they certainly are squirming — to justify or diminish that fact, it is nevertheless a fact. He did it.

Now, they can squabble over whether or not this thing is impeachable, a process over which the founders fretted. That’s Congress’s job. But, the brazen betrayal of his office, the Constitution and the American people is undeniable.