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”.
“I have the absolute right to do national emergency if I want,” Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday.
The wonderful thing about Trump’s presidency (I never thought I’d begin a sentence this way), is he brings us back to basics. The basic difference between a democracy and a dictatorship comes down to means and ends.
Democracy is about means, not ends. If we all agreed on the ends (such as whether to build a wall along the Mexican border) there’d be no need for democracy.
But of course we don’t agree, which is why the means by which we resolve our differences are so important. Those means include a constitution, a system of government based on the rule of law, and an independent judiciary.
A dictatorship, by contrast, is only about ends. Those ends are the goals of the dictator – at a minimum, preserving and accumulating personal power. To achieve those ends, a dictator will use any means necessary.
Which brings us back to Trump.
Gail Collins: Trump Hits the Wall
We need to look at the bright side of Donald Trump’s border wall fixation.
Sure, he’s shut down the government and thrown the nation into chaos. But it could be worse. He could be demanding a fiery moat between us and Canada. Or building a 36,000-foot-deep barrier across the Pacific Ocean to drive home his commitment to tariffs.
See? There’s always a silver lining. [..]
Maybe all this wall obsessing makes Trump tired. He certainly seemed low-energy during his Oval Office address. “He makes Jeb Bush look like a combination of Mighty Mouse and Bruce Springsteen,” a friend of mine said after the president finished his nine-minute speech to the American people.
For every viewer whose response to the talk was “Wow, we should do something about immigration!” there must have been a hundred whose first reaction was “Why does this man keep sniffing?” Deviated septum? Nasal polyps? Trump’s breathing has actually sounded strange for a long time, but most of us have chosen to ignore it rather than engage in a national conversation about the president’s nose.
If you watched the address — and really, you could have, it was only about as long as it takes to microwave popcorn — you saw a 72-year-old guy squinting at the teleprompter and making rather alarming breathing sounds while reading a speech about how we need a wall to protect women who are “sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.”
Thomas B. Edsall: The Lobbyists Blocking Nancy Pelosi and Her New Majority
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the idealistic class of 64 Democratic House freshmen are armed with a reform agenda.
This includes H.R. 1, a 571-page bill that addresses voting rights, corruption, gerrymandering and campaign finance reform as well as the creation of a Select Committee on the Climate Crisis — a first step toward a “Green New Deal.”
Proponents of this ambitious project face a determined adversary, however — the top ranks of the interest group establishment, skilled in co-opting liberal members of Congress and converting initiatives to square with the interests of corporate America.
The upper stratum of the Washington lobbying community often exercises de facto veto power over the legislative process, dominating congressional policymaking, funneling campaign money to both parties and offering lucrative employment to retiring and defeated members of the House and Senate.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has feet. And she washes sometimes. In order to do this she takes off her clothes, the brazen hussy. I presume this to be the case, although the picture of feet in the bath that the Daily Caller published seems to have been falsely ascribed to her. Experts have been brought in to analyse the length of the toes in the image, because this is clearly the biggest issue in America right now.
This quite insane attempt to shame her is so bizarre after the video of her dancing on a rooftop at college backfired and she responded by dancing into her congressional office. She is more popular than ever. She excites the left because of her youth, her passion and her politics. She excites the right because she has a body – and, God knows, she may even enjoy that fact. This must be highlighted as sinful, over and over again.
The world needs to understand what Brazil has become, before it’s too late. Jair Messias Bolsonaro’s Brazil is not just another country that elected a far-right president at a time when the world’s most powerful nation is led by Donald Trump. It’s not just South America’s version of the current trend of countries sliding into authoritarianism, like we’ve seen in Hungary, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines. It’s not simply a peripheral nation with a pathetic leader. Brazil has become the apocalyptic vanguard that signals how radical this moment is – one with the power to worsen the climate crisis at top speed and blight the entire planet.
The election of Bolsonaro is a response to what we might call civilisation’s new discontent. Maybe people can’t identify the source of their anxiety, which has driven up the consumption of tranquillisers and sedatives. The average citizen might apply more familiar labels to the corrosion of their quality of life, air, and water; to a relentless fear of the “other”; to the feeling they’re walking in quicksand. But what’s underpinning this new discontent pervading all areas of human experience is our climate crisis.