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.

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Charles M. Blow: Trump’s ‘Concentration Camps’

The cruelty of immigrant family separations must not be tolerated.

I have often wondered why good people of good conscience don’t respond to things like slavery or the Holocaust or human rights abuse.

Maybe they simply became numb to the horrific way we now rarely think about or discuss the men still being held at Guantánamo Bay without charge or trial, and who may as well die there.

Maybe people grow weary of wrestling with their anger and helplessness, and shunt the thought to the back of their minds and try to simply go on with life, dealing with spouses and children, making dinner and making beds.

Maybe there is simply this giant, silent, cold thing drifting through the culture like an iceberg that barely pierces the surface.
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I believe that we will one day reflect on this period in American history where migrant children are being separated from their parents, some having been kept in cages, and think to ourselves: How did this happen?

Why were we not in the streets every day demanding an end to this atrocity? How did we just go on with our lives, disgusted but not distracted?

Thousands of migrant children have now been separated from their parents.

Susan E. Rice: How Trump Can Avoid War With Iran

His process of ordering and then canceling military strikes was a mess. But he now has an opening to restart talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

If President Trump is to be believed, the United States just came within 10 minutes of launching war against Iran. Make no mistake, these would not have been pinprick strikes that Iran simply swallowed. They would have marked the beginning of a costly war that put tens of thousands of American service members in the Gulf, our regional partners and Israel directly at risk, while shocking the global economy by choking off shipping through the vital Strait of Hormuz.

Never mind. Mr. Trump claims to have thought better of it. At the last minute, he decided that killing an estimated 150 Iranians was a disproportionate response to the downing of an unmanned American drone, which just might have strayed briefly into Iranian airspace. Let’s stipulate that this 11th-hour decision was correct and far better than the alternative.

But the risk of war remains real.

How on earth did we find ourselves 10 minutes from an idiotic war without the president having weighed the consequences? As a former national security adviser who has participated in many decisions about whether and when to use force, I am more certain than ever that our national security decision-making process is dangerously dysfunctional.

Jamelle Bouie: Will America Make Trump Great Again?

The president, like his opposition, may be underestimating his ability to win.

The night before the 2016 presidential election, I thought Hillary Clinton would win and Donald Trump would go down to a convincing defeat. I was wrong.

Since then, I’ve tried to be humble about my ability to forecast events, which also means taking the other side of a prediction as seriously as the one I’m inclined to believe.

I’m inclined to believe that President Trump is on the path to defeat.

He trails his most well-known rivals. He’s down nearly 9 points against Joe Biden, 6 points against Bernie Sanders, and roughly 3 points for Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

These matchups, in which he rarely lands above the low 40s, reflect Trump’s job approval. More than 53 percent of Americans disapprove of his job performance; 42.5 percent of Americans give him good marks. That’s a relative high for a president who has never reached 50 percent approval, but it’s low compared with most of his predecessors at this point in their first terms.

Robert Reich: Forget China – it’s America’s own economic system that’s broken

US weakness is inbuilt – the big 500 companies owe loyalty only to themselves and the public is shut out from prosperity

Xi Jinping might possibly agree next weekend on further steps to bring down China’s trade imbalance with the US, giving Donald Trump a face-saving way of ending his trade war.

But Xi won’t agree to change China’s economic system. Why should he?

The American economic system is focused on maximizing shareholder returns. And it’s achieving that goal: on Friday, the S&P 500 notched a new all-time high.

But average Americans have seen no significant gains in their incomes for four decades, adjusted for inflation.

China’s economic system, by contrast, is focused on maximizing China. And it’s achieving that goal. Forty years ago China was still backward and agrarian. Today it’s the world’s second-largest economy, home to the world’s biggest auto industry and some of the world’s most powerful technology companies. Over the last four decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty.

Nathan Robinson: The problem with Joe Biden’s ‘chummy’ politics

You can be the best friend of everyone in Washington, or you can move the country towards justice. But you can’t do both

This week, Joe Biden attracted controversy after waxing nostalgic about working alongside segregationists in the Senate. After Cory Booker suggested Biden should apologize, Biden replied, “Apologize for what?” and insisted there wasn’t a “racist bone in his body.” Biden made it clear that he has no regrets.

It wasn’t the first time Biden has offered fond memories of Dixiecrat colleagues. He has consistently cited the era of racists like Strom Thurmond and James Eastland as a time of greater “unity” and “civility” that we could learn lessons from. Back then, he has said, “the political system worked.” Biden gave a warm and effusive eulogy for Thurmond at his 2003 funeral, saying it he had been “honored” to work with a man who once declared that the “nigger race” would never be admitted to Southern institutions.

Thurmond himself said that he had no regrets about his racist history, but Biden called him a “special man” of “grace” and “humility.” Biden infamously worked with James Eastland on anti-busing legislation. Eastland was even worse than Thurmond. He degraded black soldiers who fought Hitler as physically and morally incompetent and said that “racial separation was the correct, self-evident truth” and the “law of God”.