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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Emboldened by his attorney general’s summary of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s still-embargoed report, President Trump has shifted from his oft-repeated defense of “No collusion!” to an offensive against the investigation that he has always dismissed as a “witch hunt.”

As the saying goes, it’s not the parts of the Bible I don’t understand that bother me; it’s the parts that I do. As we wait to learn what the Mueller report really says, we need a similar clarity: It’s not what we don’t know that should bother us, but what we do. Whether Trump and his enablers have broken any laws, they are clearly committed to using law to subvert the basic tenets of our social contract: the will of the people, the good of the whole and equal justice under the law. [..]

We cannot wait for the Justice Department to catch this president in a legal misstep, though that may well happen at some point. Our present crisis is much bigger than Trump and his mendacity. It goes to the very heart of who we are as a nation. And history teaches us — from abolition to women’s suffrage to the labor movement to the civil rights era — that reports never saved us. Only deeply committed moral-fusion movements that resisted the lies of oppression have pushed America toward a more perfect union.

Jennifer Rubin: GOP heartlessness is a political loser

You may have already seen the viral video of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) reading Republicans the riot act for pulling a political stunt rather than giving the Green New Deal a respectful hearing:

That’s political gold — and not only because it provides such a glaring contrast to cynical Republican know-nothingism: “During floor debate ahead of a vote on the Green New Deal,” The Post noted, “Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) told his colleagues that if they really want to address environmental concerns they’ll encourage people to couple off and have more babies.” Ocasio-Cortez’s response was politics at its finest because it employs rhetoric and emotion in the service of public policy rooted in values — and it shames the opposition for violating basic human norms of empathy, honesty and rationality.

Catherine Rampell: Stephen Moore says he’s no Trump sycophant. But he sure sounds like one.

Stephen Moore, a Federal Reserve Board nominee, gave an interesting interview to the New York Times on Tuesday. The headline quote: “I don’t think anybody can reasonably say I am a sycophant for Trump, because I’m not.”

Come. On.

Moore has spent the past three years serving as surrogate, spin doctor and sycophant for President Trump, on TV and in the press. Moore suggested in the Times interview that he praises and promotes Trump merely because they “think a lot alike on a lot of things” and “share a lot of the same economic philosophy.” That might be true for their mutual love of tax cuts. But in service to Trump, Moore has also regularly abandoned many of the other issues in his “economic philosophy” he’d reliably advocated pre-Trump. Once a warrior for free trade, Moore now regularly defends Trump’s tariffs. Until recently a champion of undocumented immigrants, he now rails against them.

Moore has also, of course, reversed himself on lots of other policy recommendations and economic views in the age of Trump. Previously an inflation truther who warned that official government statistics were hiding the dangerous hyperinflation just around the corner, he is suddenly a deflation truther. Despite the major price indices showing that prices are rising, Moore says prices are actually falling and therefore the Fed must implement immediate monetary stimulus.

But never mind all that. Consider the personal flattery Moore has showered upon Trump since the latter became the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Kate Aronoff: The Republican party is the political arm of the fossil fuel industry

For Republicans, the climate crisis is a joke. On Tuesday in the Senate, Mike Lee, a Republican senator for Utah, spent several minutes on the floor showing pictures of Luke Skywalker on Hoth, giant seahorses and Ronald Reagan shooting off a machine gun whilst mounted atop a dinosaur. This was his bid to “treat the Green New Deal”, which came up for a vote in that body on Tuesday, “with the seriousness it deserves”.

For a growing stretch of the country, climate change isn’t a joke but a deadly, imminent threat. Biblical flooding in the midwest this past month has left farmlands devastated and at least 20 people dead, all while the country lacks a comprehensive plan to handle such disasters. The Pine Ridge Reservation is experiencing a devastating state of emergency thanks in part to decades of federal neglect of and divestment from indigenous communities. And there are still people struggling to recover in Puerto Rico from 2017’s devastating hurricane season – efforts being actively undermined by a sociopathic indifference to the fate of that island’s residents. Rising temperatures are already a clear and present danger to millions of Americans, and disastrous Republican policy is already making it worse. [..]

With the Green New Deal enjoying 81% support among the American voting public, Senate Republicans’ “no” vote on Tuesday mostly proved how out of touch they are with their nominal constituents. For Democrats, it should also be clarifying. If they ever were, today’s Republican party simply isn’t negotiating in good faith – least of all when it comes to climate change. It’s negotiating on behalf of the world’s most toxic companies, and it’s time for Democrats to start treating Republicans like what they are: the political arm of the fossil fuel industry.

Charles M. Blow: Be Thankful for Mueller’s Timing

Last week special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his findings in the Russia investigation to the Justice Department. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr released his summary of what he said were Mueller’s findings: Donald Trump and his associates were not guilty of conspiring with the Russians in the 2016 presidential election, but a conclusion was not made on whether the president had obstructed justice.

Trumpworld broke into a dance around its golden calf. Trump, in a tweet of course, crowed: “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” Trump supporters across the country celebrated “No Collusion Day.”

While Trump’s supporters were ecstatic, his opponents were crestfallen.

But as one of the people fervently opposed to the abomination of the Trump presidency and Trumpism in general, I saw in Mueller’s timing a dodged bullet.

We don’t know yet what Mueller’s actual report says or the degree to which his findings are damaging or exculpatory to Trump. But, assuming that the report roughly aligns with what Barr wrote, Trump’s opponents should be thanking their lucky stars that Mueller filed his report nearly 600 days before the presidential election, long before all of the Democratic candidates have even declared their candidacy, long before the first debates.