Dec 08 2016

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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Amanda Marcotte: Destroying Roe v. Wade: Ohio’s “unconscionable” Heartbeat Bill is “designed to punish women”

President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that he would help criminalize abortion. In his postelection interview with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes,” Trump doubled down, promising to appoint Supreme Court judges who will vote against abortion rights.

Well, Ohio Republicans clearly believe him and are downright excited about it — so much so that state legislators in both houses used the last few days of the lame duck session to pass a bill banning abortion after the embryo begins pumping blood, at about six weeks of pregnancy. It’s called the “Heartbeat Bill,” but that’s a bit of misnomer, since the circulatory system of an embryo that early in a pregnancy hasn’t really developed what most of us recognize as a proper heart.

Now the abortion ban is headed to the desk of John Kasich, Ohio’s governor and former Republican presidential candidate. Kasich is a hard-line opponent of abortion rights and takes a dim view of women’s health care generally. Since 2011, he has waged all-out war on abortion access, using backdoor regulatory schemes to shut down half of the state’s abortion clinics.

Keith Olbermann: Trump May Have Just Flushed the Economy Down the Toilet

Warning: Viewing NSWF. It’s Keith.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: America will soon be ruled by a minority

Starting next month, the United States will have a minority government.

This assertion flies in the face of just about everything you have read, because the Republicans will control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. But the American system of representation, invented 229 years ago for 13 states that hugged the Atlantic shore, is more than ever out of tune with how the country’s citizens have distributed themselves, across now 50 states and between metropolitan areas and the countryside.

For the next two and probably four years, a majority of Americans will be governed by politicians largely elected by a minority of us. With the country already sharply divided, this is a problem that can no longer be politely ignored. Worse still, a government put in place by the peculiar workings of an outdated system is threatening to pursue quite radical policies destined to arouse considerable resistance from the disempowered majority.

Charles M. Blow: Trump: Madman of the Year

So, Time magazine, ever in search of buzz, this week named Donald Trump Person of the Year. But they did so with a headline that read, “President of the Divided States of America.”

The demi-fascist of Fifth Avenue wasn’t flattered by that wording.

In an interview with the “Today” show, Trump huffed, “When you say divided states of America, I didn’t divide them. They’re divided now.” He added later, “I think putting divided is snarky, but again, it’s divided. I’m not president yet. So I didn’t do anything to divide.”

Donald, thy name is division. You and your campaign of toxicity and intolerance have not only divided this country but also ripped it to tatters.

This comports with an extremely disturbing tendency of Trump’s: Denying responsibility for things of which he is fully culpable, while claiming full praise for things in which he was only partly involved.

As my mother used to say: Don’t try to throw a rock and hide your hand. Own your odiousness.

But Trump delivered the lie with an ease and innocuousness that bespoke a childish innocence and naïveté. In fact, his words disguised cold calculation.

That is the thing about demagogy: It can be charming, even dazzling, and that is what makes it all the more dangerous.

Richard Wolffe: Don’t assume Trump is dumb. He knows exactly what he’s doing

Whatever the Trump era represents, it surely marks the dawn of a golden age of satire. But beware of laughing too much: the joke might be on us. Yes, Trump tweets like a buffoon. But we should not assume that all the missteps by the petulant president-in-waiting are down to ignorance: they aren’t.

Too many of Trump’s troubling tweets aren’t actually gaffes. He is intentionally blowing up global stability for the sake of an extremist agenda concocted by hawkish aides who make Dick Cheney look like Kofi Annan. That’s why the strange case of the Taiwan telephone call is worth examining because it is surely a sign of things to come. [..]

We could argue all day about international taxes, and how the US actually imposes tariffs on Chinese goods. But what’s the point of talking about the facts with a man like Donald Trump?

What matters much more are his motives, and for now they go far beyond the notion that he’s a simpleton. We may have returned to the satirical heyday of Will Ferrell’s George W Bush, but the jokes don’t tell the full story.

Trump has a personal and political agenda that are far from the clueless caricatures that puncture his wafer-thin skin. The sooner we wake up to that punchline, the better.


Norman Solomon: McCarthy’s Ghost Smiles as Dems Point the Finger at Russia

On Tuesday, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and six ranking members of major House committees sent President Obama a letter declaring, “We are deeply concerned by Russian efforts to undermine, interfere with, and even influence the outcome of our recent election.”

A prominent signer of the letter — Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee — is among the Democrats most eager to denounce Russian subversion.

A week ago, when the House approved by a 390-30 margin and sent to the Senate the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal 2017, Schiff praised “important provisions aimed at countering Russia’s destabilizing efforts — including those targeting our elections.” One of those “important provisions,” Section 501, sets up in the executive branch “an interagency committee to counter active measures by the Russian Federation to exert covert influence.”

This high-level committee could easily morph into a protracted real-life nightmare.