Category Archives: PND Opinion

Thanksgiving is NOT the time for political debates

Source: Fox News Forum
by Mitzi Perdue

“Thanksgiving should be a time to reconnect with our families and traditions. But this year may be more difficult than usual. After a politically fraught year, you and all the members of your extended family might not (and this is likely an understatement) be seeing eye-to-eye politically. There’s a practical answer to this problem, and it’s one that I’ve seen work over and over again during my life and much of my career observing and studying families. One pattern that repeatedly emerges is that healthy, high-functioning families focus on what unites them, as opposed to picking at what divides them. There’s some good psychological underpinning for this approach: arguing over politics usually doesn’t do any good. As Nobel Prize-winning behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman points out, the chance of you being able to change someone’s mind on a deeply held political view is close to zero.” (11/21/17)

Sexual harassment and worse will plague politics until we get past tribalism

Source: USA Today
by Jon Gabriel

“At last, a harsh reckoning has come for sexual harassers and abusers. Last month’s outing of the loathsome Harvey Weinstein triggered an avalanche of accusations, fanning out from Hollywood. Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal, George Takei and many lesser-knowns were revealed as alleged sexual predators. The recriminations moved from entertainment to the media at large, as women accused commentator Mark Halperin, editor Michael Oreskes and critic Leon Wieseltier of behavior ranging from the caddish to the criminal. This led to the worlds of sports and gastronomy until finally, right where we all knew it would end: the world of politics. Here in Arizona, several women accused state Rep. Don Shooter of unwanted sexual advances, leading to an official investigation and his suspension as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.” (11/19/17)

Forced anthem adherence antithetical to justice

Source: CounterPunch
by Linn Washington Jr.

“This history-making black Major League Baseball player called out race prejudice in all sectors of American society including prejudice practiced by U.S. presidents, lawmakers, law enforcers and others. This player’s poignant observations about the sinews of the prejudice infecting American society focus antiseptic illumination on toxic stances taken by President Trump on the rights of black pro-football players to protest race-based injustices including police brutality. … This history-making baseball player was Moses Fleetwood Walker. Walker, a University of Michigan graduate, was the first and only black to play in Major League Baseball in the 19th Century before segregation soiled that sport. Walker, a catcher, made his mark on baseball in May 1884, when he played his first MLB game, over sixty years before the barrier shattering feat of Jackie Robinson. Robinson had to break the barrier a second time, because MLB officially banned black players in 1889.” (11/21/17)

The nationalist’s delusion

Source: The Atlantic
by Adam Serwer

“Thirty years ago, nearly half of Louisiana voted for a Klansman, and the media struggled to explain why. It was 1990 and David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, astonished political observers when he came within striking distance of defeating incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator J. Bennett Johnston, earning 43 percent of the vote. … A few days after Duke’s strong showing, the Queens-born businessman Donald Trump appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live. ‘It’s anger. I mean, that’s an anger vote. People are angry about what’s happened. People are angry about the jobs. If you look at Louisiana, they’re really in deep trouble,’ Trump told King. Trump later predicted that Duke, if he ran for president, would siphon most of his votes away from the incumbent, George H. W. Bush — in the process revealing his own understanding of the effectiveness of white-nationalist appeals to the GOP base.” (11/20/17)

People learned to survive disease, we can handle Twitter

Source: USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds

“Society seems to be growing steadily crazier. And maybe it doesn’t just seem to be. Maybe it actually, is growing crazier. I’ve been reading James C. Scott’s Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, and one of the interesting aspects to the earliest civilizations is how fragile they were. A bunch of people and their animals would crowd together in a city, and diseases that weren’t much of a threat when everybody was spread out hunting and gathering would suddenly spread like wildfire and depopulate the town almost overnight. As Scott writes, an early city was more like a refugee resettlement camp than a modern urban area. He observes that ‘the pioneers who created this historically novel ecology could not possibly have known the disease vectors they were inadvertently unleashing.'” (11/20/17)

Has Mueller abandoned the Trump/Russia collusion investigation?

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“Just as the FBI and Justice Department is telling Congress that they haven’t been able to verify anything of importance in the Trump/Russia collusion dossier, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has decided to cast a much wider net in his fishing expedition. Is this a coincidence? Or is it a sign that Mueller also realizes there’s no there there? Shortly after it came to light that the Clinton campaign and the DNC had secretly paid Fusion GPS to assemble the so-called Steele Dossier, which Fusion then tried to fob off on reporters before the election, the press dismissed this bombshell by saying that the source of its financing was irrelevant because much of the dossier ‘checks out’ or has been ‘proven to be accurate.’ But according to the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, FBI and Justice officials recently told congressional investigators that after spending nearly a year and a half looking into it, ‘they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.'” (11/20/17)

Why social democrats have become irrelevant

Source: Reuters
by John Lloyd

“In almost every country in Europe, parties of the center-left struggle to remain competitive in the political arena. Yet social democracy — though it can claim success in creating and developing public services which have improved the lives and health of citizens – can now rarely convince its former supporters that it’s still worth their votes. What’s gone wrong? Of the few in power, only the Portuguese socialists presently enjoy strong ratings. The Swedish social democrats regularly poll fewer than 30 percent and lead a minority government in coalition with the Greens. The Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party is a junior partner in a center-right-led coalition. In Malta, the EU’s smallest state, Labour is in power, but not held in high esteem after Daphne Caruana Galizia, the investigative journalist killed in October, reported extensively on charges of corruption involving Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his allies.” (11/17/17)

Barbara Lee’s war on war

Source: In These Times
by Matthew Cunningham-Cook

“Congressional negotiations over the Pentagon’s annual budget are usually a staid affair, with much of the focus on lawmakers’ favored pork projects. But on June 29, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) won nearly unanimous support on the appropriations committee for her measure to sunset the post-9/11 authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, essentially a blank check for American wars. Though Paul Ryan stripped the measure from the bill later in the summer, Lee singlehandedly launched a debate on the issue in Congress, with Republicans and Democrats alike asking whether the president should have this power. Lee’s success also comes as a vindication; she was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF.” (11/20/17)

It’s different when it’s our guy

Source: Town Hall
by Derek Hunter

“Growing up in Detroit, I was a huge hockey fan. After a long stretch of awful teams, the Red Wings got good, eventually leading to a string of Stanley Cup championships. It was a glorious time to be a Wings fan. In that time there were certain players who annoyed the hell out of me, all of whom played for other teams. Few bothered me more than Chris Chelios …. Chris Chelios was traded to the Red Wings. Suddenly, though not unexpectedly, my hatred for Chelios switched to full-blown fandom. All the animosity I’d carried for years was not only gone, it was forgotten. He was my guy now. This is common among sports fans; their star, hack, goon, utility infielder, quarterback, whatever, is their guy, and their guy can do no wrong, no matter how wrong their guy may be in any given circumstance. This phenomenon was a small part of politics in the Clinton years. Now it has fully taken over both parties. If you’re in someone’s ‘tribe,’ they can do no wrong.” (11/19/17)

How a half-educated tech elite delivered us into chaos

Source: The Guardian
by John Naughton

“One of the biggest puzzles about our current predicament with fake news and the weaponisation of social media is why the folks who built this technology are so taken aback by what has happened. Exhibit A is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, whose political education I recently chronicled. But he’s not alone. In fact I’d say he is quite representative of many of the biggest movers and shakers in the tech world. We have a burgeoning genre of ‘OMG, what have we done?’ angst coming from former Facebook and Google employees who have begun to realise that the cool stuff they worked on might have had, well, antisocial consequences. Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users’ personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves.” (11/19/17)