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Sep 14 2017

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.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

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Charles M. Blow: Dispatch From the Resistance

When Congress has to pass a joint resolution condemning white supremacy and plunk it on the desk of the “president” — in an effort to force him to sign it and daring him not to — you know that we as a country are beyond the pale. [..]

I often hear from Trump enthusiasts and accommodators that at some point resistance must submit, that the time for outrage is term-limited, that at a point, complete opposition registers as unfair and unpatriotic.

This always settles on me in a most unsettling way. How is it, precisely, that right becomes less right and wrong less wrong simply by the passage of time and the weariness of repetition?

How is it that morality wavers and weakens, accommodates and acquiesces?

It seems to me the oddest of asks: Surrender what you know to be a principled position because “moving on” and “moderation” are the instruments that polite society uses to browbeat the radical insisting on righteous restoration.

I see no value or honor in this retreat.

Rana Foroohar: The financial system is still blinking red. We need reform more than ever

It’s an amazing fact that a decade on from the financial crisis, Americans are still arguing about how to reform our financial system. Even as the Trump administration argues for a roll-back of the hard-won Dodd-Frank banking regulation, it’s worth noting that disenchantment with Wall Street is, paradoxically, one of the things that brought the president to office.

Since 2008, the markets have soared, but Main Street has suffered. That disconnect was expertly exploited by the president, who, despite his many lies, had the advantage of being a political “outsider” who told some important truths about the economy that resonated with voters.

Months before the election, he proclaimed that there was a “big bubble” in the market, fueled by “cheap money” that could cause a “massive recession” when it bursts. Stripped of their Trumpian embellishments, these statements are fact.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Trump’s voter-fraud propagandist cooks up extremely fuzzy math

It is neither paranoid nor alarmist to begin asking if the Trump administration plans to rationalize blocking a large number of voters who oppose the president from casting ballots in 2018 and 2020. And it is imperative that the civic-minded of all parties demand the disbanding of a government commission whose very existence is based on a lie.

The lying doesn’t stop. Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, is vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Its name reminds us why the adjective “Orwellian” was invented. Kobach chose to use a meeting of the commission held in New Hampshire on Tuesday to continue to cast doubt on the state’s election results even after his charges of voter fraud had fallen apart.

It was an object lesson into how Trumpists will twist, cook and distort facts about voting to manufacture numbers that sound ominous but vanish into the ether as soon as they’re examined.

Lawrence Douglas: How Trump’s most toxic lie is becoming an institutional reality

f the hundreds of whoppers that President Trump has told since his election, an early one remains the most toxic. In days following his electoral college victory, Trump claimed that he would have also won the popular vote “if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Trump later refined this claim, insisting that three to five million undocumented voters threw the popular election for Clinton.

By way of proof, the president waved at an outlandish story: that golfer Bernhard Langer – a German citizen, barred from voting in the in the US – had had his path to the voting booth clogged by men and women, who by skin color and accent were obviously fraudulent voters.

At first, the voter fraud fantasy seemed like no more than a display of the touchiness and extravagant narcissism that led Trump, in the face of undeniable evidence to the contrary, to insist that his inaugural crowds were larger than Obama’s.

In fact, the lie concealed a much more ambitious and insidious political agenda. In May, with the creation of the “Presidential Advisory Committee on Voter Integrity,” Trump bootstrapped the myth of voter fraud into an institutional reality. The goal: to use the allegation of fraud to tighten voting procedures that will suppress the votes of minorities, groups that generally vote Democratic.

Richard Eskow: Medicare For All Can Reshape the ‘Art of the Possible’

Bernie Sanders unveiled his Medicare for All bill this week, and 16 Democratic senators signed on as cosponsors. The last time he introduced a bill like it, not one senator was willing to join him. They considered the idea impossible, utopian.

Times have changed.

The senators who shared a podium with Sanders understand this bill won’t pass in today’s Republican-dominated Congress. They signed on because it’s a good idea, and because they recognize that by doing so they can both reflect and reshape a shifting political landscape.

They’re aware that Sanders’ presidential campaign triggered a wave of energy and activism that continues today. They recognize that this nascent political movement is a powerful political engine, and its diverse millennial base makes it the Democratic engine of the future.

They understand how change happens: as an ongoing dance between street-level activism and electoral politics.