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Jan 05 2018

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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Eugene Robinson: Trump was right to hope he’d lose

The White House is being used to stage some kind of dark, dystopian comedy in which all the humor is of the gallows variety. Somebody tell me how we survive three more years of this oppressive, exhausting show.

The revelations about the Trump administration from journalist Michael Wolff are, if true, stunning, jaw-dropping, gobsmacking — but also pretty much what many in Washington expected. The craziness and dysfunction were obvious from the beginning. Wolff simply documents what others say privately about an administration that is dangerously erratic and incompetent.

The central problem, according to Wolff’s forthcoming book, “Fire and Fury,” is President Trump himself. Voters elected to the nation’s highest office a man who is unfit to do the job, who has proved unworthy of the public trust and who seems, to be blunt, increasingly unbalanced.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Attention Economy

On Tuesday, Donald Trump unleashed yet another tweet storm from within his unceasing drought of competence.

In a series of 16 tweets, Trump lied, boasted, lashed out, bemoaned, provoked, belittled and prodded.

In other words, Trump began this year the way he ended the last one: eroding and reducing the office of the presidency on a daily basis.

His most consequential tweet was a boast about destructive power:

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

Sir, this is not a missile-measuring contest. No one wants to think about the size of your button. You seem to think that the effects of a nuclear strike would be the verification of your virility rather than the loss of innumerable lives.

Catherine Rampell: The GOP is sabotaging this sacred mandate

The Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves.

Not because of cavalier threats about nuclear apocalypse and attempted erosion of First Amendment rights (okay, maybe those things, too). Because our federal government is failing to execute one of its most basic constitutional duties: the decennial census.

The decennial census is the country’s largest civilian mobilization. It determines where billions of federal dollars flow each year, and how many congressional and electoral college seats each state gets. The results have enormous influence over the decisions of businesses and local governments, too.

It’s also, yes, mandated by the U.S. Constitution, right there in Article I, Section 2.

Yet despite all the brandishing of pocket Constitutions on the right, the Trump White House and Republican lawmakers are sabotaging this sacred mandate. First they refused to sufficiently fund it. Now they’re taking actions that would severely depress participation.

Michelle Goldberg: Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot

One of the more alarming anecdotes in “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s incendiary new book about Donald Trump’s White House, involves the firing of James Comey, former director of the F.B.I. It’s not Trump’s motives that are scary; Wolff reports that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were “increasingly panicked” and “frenzied” about what Comey would find if he looked into the family finances, which is incriminating but unsurprising. The terrifying part is how, in Wolff’s telling, Trump sneaked around his aides, some of whom thought they’d contained him. [..]

Maybe, at the moment, people in the Trump orbit feel complacent because a year has passed without any epic disaster, unless you count an estimated 1,000 or so deaths in Puerto Rico, which they probably don’t. There’s an old joke, recently cited by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, that describes where we are right now: A guy falls from a 50-story building. As he flies by the 25th floor, someone asks how it’s going. “So far, so good!” he says.

Eventually, we’ll hit the ground, and assuming America survives, there should be a reckoning to dwarf the defenestration of Harvey Weinstein and his fellow ogres. Trump, Wolff’s reporting shows, has no executive function, no ability to process information or weigh consequences. Expecting him to act in the country’s interest is like demanding that your cat do the dishes. His enablers have no such excuse.

Jill Filipovic: You Don’t Need a Daughter to Want a Better World

Last January, Women’s Marches around the world brought protesters to the streets in droves, unified in our opposition to President Trump and all he symbolized: coarse misogyny, unencumbered male entitlement and the unchecked sexual harassment it enabled, threats to women’s rights and freedoms around the globe. Many of those women marched with one message: I’m doing this for my daughter.

It’s a sentiment you often hear from women. We go back to school for our daughters. We alternately drop out of the work force for our daughters or go back to work for them. We eat healthy, lose weight and prioritize self-care to set a good example for our daughters. We vote for particular candidates to ensure a better future for our daughters. We support abortion rights so that our daughters can control their own bodies. We want to save the environment for our daughters.

This is not a bad impulse, and there remains much to do for girls around the world. But it can also undercut women’s progress. A woman’s value doesn’t derive from her status as a mother. We are entitled to rights and liberties by plain virtue of our humanness.

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