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: For Trump, Impeachment Is a Show

Washington is Hollywood and Trump is the leading man.

The point is proven. The corruption has been established.

It’s rather simple: Donald Trump abused his power as president to extort a foreign country into investigating a political rival.

There is no remaining doubt that this happened.

Furthermore, the conspiracy of people involved in the execution of this plan, as well as pursuing the debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election to help Hillary Clinton, rather than Russia interfering to help Trump, is also coming more into focus.

It is clear that Trump has committed impeachable offenses. (Some people around him may also have committed prosecutable crimes.) The only remaining question is whether some honorable Republicans might join Democrats in voting for whichever articles of impeachment might be drawn up in the House of Representatives.

At present, it appears that few or none would do so. That is a sad indictment of our country and of the Republican Party.

Jamelle Bouie: The Racism Right Before Our Eyes

There is implicit bias — and then there is behavior like this.

Most of our public discourse about racism — when it’s not about violence or monuments or presidential rhetoric — is about white privilege, implicit bias and structural racism. Instead of specific actors, we tend to focus on forces that don’t actually implicate anyone in particular.

Those forces are real. And those conversations are important. Racial inequality is about the structure of our society. But it’s also about more ordinary bias and discrimination.

There are still racist individuals. They still act in racist ways. And in the aggregate, their actions still work to disadvantage entire groups on the basis of race. It’s not as visible as it once was, but it is real, and it still weighs on the lives — and the livelihoods — of millions of people.

Joseph Stiglitz: It’s time to retire metrics like GDP. They don’t measure everything that matters

The way we assess economic performance and social progress is fundamentally wrong, and the climate crisis has brought these concerns to the fore

The world is facing three existential crises: a climate crisis, an inequality crisis and a crisis in democracy. Will we be able to prosper within our planetary boundaries? Can a modern economy deliver shared prosperity? And can democracies thrive if our economies fail to deliver shared prosperity? These are critical questions, yet the accepted ways by which we measure economic performance give absolutely no hint that we might be facing a problem. Each of these crises has reinforced the fact that we need better tools to assess economic performance and social progress.

The standard measure of economic performance is gross domestic product (GDP), which is the sum of the value of goods and services produced within a country over a given period. GDP was humming along nicely, rising year after year, until the 2008 global financial crisis hit. The global financial crisis was the ultimate illustration of the deficiencies in commonly used metrics. None of those metrics gave policymakers or markets adequate warning that something was amiss. Though a few astute economists had sounded the alarm, the standard measures seemed to suggest everything was fine.

Robert Reich: Trump’s impeachment shows US officials at their best and his allies at their worst

Fiona Hill, Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch and more stand against the rot in the White House. They must be saluted

As a candidate in 2015, Donald Trump said he would surround himself “only with the best and most serious people”.

Not quite. [..]

Trump has surrounded himself not with the best and most serious but with the worst and most dangerous: thugs, liars and white supremacists.

And yet in recent weeks, others in the Trump administration have shown themselves to be among the best and most honorable public servants in America, though Trump doesn’t see them that way.

’m talking about the career officials who have come before the House intelligence committee and, with dignity and restraint, confirmed Trump’s abuses of power. [..]

The contrast could not be starker. On one side are dedicated public servants seeking to protect America. On the other side are Trump and his thugs, seeking to protect Trump.

Those who put loyalty to Trump above their duty to the United States are contemptible. Even if they don’t end up in prison like other Trump toadies, they have dishonored themselves and the nation.

But those who have devoted their lives to this country and are now risking everything by telling the truth are among America’s best. They deserve our deepest gratitude.

Michael Gerson: The GOP’s galling accommodation of Trump

“Thank God no one is accusing us anymore of interfering in the U.S. elections,” Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said. “Now, they’re accusing Ukraine. Well, they should figure it out among themselves.”

Putin has every reason to gloat. The most successful intelligence operations are not only destructive but deniable. And this has been Putin’s masterstroke — to disrupt the United States’ electoral system while framing a country that Russia has invaded, dismembered and seeks to destroy.

How does Putin measure his success? Well, there is the July 25 call between the leaders of the United States and Ukraine in which President Trump regurgitated the fabricated Russian charge. That was quite a coup. And then there is the case of Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), who, over the weekend, told a Fox News audience that Ukraine might have been responsible for the hacking of Democratic emails in 2016. “I don’t know, nor do you, nor do any others,” he explained. [..]

Of all the flips by the GOP during the Trump era, this ranks among the most extraordinary. And disappointing. And disgraceful. The accommodation of Russian aggression serves as an embossed, White House invitation for future interference. And it reveals a Republican administration and party determined to end, not with a bang, but a simper.