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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Marcy Wheeler: Mueller has already issued most of his report, one indictment at a time

Speculation has been building for months about the report that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is obligated to write under the regulation governing his appointment. When will it come out? Will Rudolph W. Giuliani really write a “rebuttal” on President Trump’s behalf? Can the acting attorney general — whom Trump seems to have named to the job in a bid to exert more control over Mueller — or his replacement prevent the report from being made public, effectively burying whatever the investigation has found?

But Mueller has already been submitting his report, piece by piece, in indictments and other charging documents. He has hidden it in plain sight in the court dockets of individuals and organizations he has prosecuted. Many of those court papers have included far more detail than necessary to prove the culpability of defendants who have agreed to plead guilty. This isn’t just legal overkill on Mueller’s part — it’s the outlines of a sweeping narrative about the 2016 election.

Russ Feingold: Republicans are undermining democracy state by state

What Republican legislators just did in Wisconsin – passing bills to strip key powers from the governor-elect, Tony Evers, and other newly elected Democratic officials – is a total betrayal of the people of Wisconsin and our nation’s democratic ideals.

Michigan is passing a similar set of bills and North Carolina Republicans are accused of paying someone to steal absentee ballots and commit election fraud for a US House candidate. In Ohio, other undemocratic efforts are under way. It seems that Republicans officials nationwide from Donald Trump to Mitch McConnell and right down the line don’t have a problem assaulting our democracy if it means holding onto their power.

This is not how democracy works, and these maneuvers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina are not just power grabs. They are deliberate efforts to undermine democracy and our faith in it. And these efforts are getting more brazen and desperate every year.

I am enraged and, frankly, sick of the shenanigans.

Zephyr Teachout and Ron Kim: Amazon’s HQ2 deal represents what’s wrong with American politics

Political and business leaders often say that conflict creates opportunities.

A few weeks ago, Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio announced plans to give Amazon – one of the three most valuable companies in the world – over $2bn in taxpayer subsidies to locate a major operation in Queens.

The response to the deal, and resulting conflict, was fast and ferocious.

State senator Michael Gianaris, who represents the affected district, said: “Ideally [the deal] should be torn up and thrown in the garbage.”

Local residents, community groups and activists staged multiple rallies around the city, including near the proposed site, protesting against the decision.

Unions expressed deep concerns about offering massive tax subsidies to help a company accused of aggressive anti-union tactics set up shop in New York.

The newly elected member of Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said her Queens constituents responded with outrage to the deal, and she expressed skepticism over the lack of progress offered on good healthcare, living wages and affordable rent.

Julian Brave Noisecat: If Democrats want to seek the truth, they must investigate ExxonMobil

Now that Democrats have won control of the House of Representatives, the days of unchecked conservative power and liberal despair may be waning. Congressional committees vested with the authority to hold hearings, conduct investigations and serve subpoenas are likely to look into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, Donald Trump’s tax returns, the bungled hurricane response in Puerto Rico, the firing of former FBI director James Comey and resignation of attorney general Jeff Sessions, and much more.

“We are coming to do something that is very important for our country: a more open Congress with accountability to the public,” California representative Nancy Pelosi, the once and probably future speaker of the House, said on Face the Nation. “We are not doing any investigation for a political purpose, but to seek the truth.”

If Pelosi and House Democrats are sincere about restoring integrity to Congress, uncovering threats to democracy and seeking the truth, they should also investigate a corporation that has done long-term and probably irrevocable damage to our politics and planet: ExxonMobil.

Our era is defined by interlocking crises of truth, democracy and ecology. ExxonMobil is a major actor at that intersection.

Richard Wolffe: John Kelly is just the latest victim of Trump’s dumpster fire of calamities

It has been a busy few days for Donald Trump. A new attorney general here, a new UN ambassador there. All that legal stuff about his felonies in the 2016 election and “synergy” with the Russian government.

What’s a guy to do?

Fire someone, obviously. If there’s one thing Trump knows how to do, it’s pretending like he knows how to wield power in front of the gawking media. It worked pretty well on The Apprentice, projecting the image of power onto the boss of a small-time real-estate business with multiple bankruptcies.

But at this mid-life crisis stage of a catastrophically doomed presidency, there aren’t that many people worth firing anymore.

So it came to pass that John Kelly found himself dumped on the Trump sidewalk of history, a throwaway tidbit of news in a dumpster fire of calamities. Trump’s face-palming chief of staff was just another casualty of this president’s dismal need to destroy the reputations of those who come too close.