Dec 13 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

USA Today Editorial Board: Will Trump’s lows ever hit rock bottom?

With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday dismissed the president’s smear as a misunderstanding because he used similar language about men. Of course, words used about men and women are different. When candidate Trump said a journalist was bleeding from her “wherever,” he didn’t mean her nose.

And as is the case with all of Trump’s digital provocations, the president’s words were deliberate. He pours the gasoline of sexist language and lights the match gleefully knowing how it will burst into flame in a country reeling from the #MeToo moment.

A president who would all but call Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush.

Paul Butler: The rightwing takeover of the US court system will transform America

Donald Trump has nominated an unprecedented number of judges to federal courts since his appointment. These are making steady progress through the Senate confirmation process and yet they have escaped the sort of scrutiny that Trump normally attracts. This is unfortunate, because the impact of Trump’s court picks will be profound, and will help reshape American society for years to come.

Of the nearly 60 judges he has nominated, only one is black, one is Hispanic and three are women. The rest are white men. All of these people are conservatives who will be interpreting and helping (re)write the law for decades.

These appointments reveal Trump for what he truly is: a Republican. His court picks amount to a right-wing takeover of the court system. This has been the objective of every Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Trump is distinguished only by his success at transforming the federal bench so early in his term.

The claim that Trump has not accomplished much in his first year in office is dead wrong. He is fashioning the federal court system of Steve Bannon’s dreams. The president has nominated judges who will cut back the civil rights of racial minorities and LGBT people, expand the power of police and prosecutors, restrict the ability of women to obtain abortions and favor big corporations over consumers.

Jessica Valneti: So men are afraid after #MeToo? Think about what it’s like for women

American men are afraid. They’re fretting over their ability to give a colleague a well-meaning hug without it being interpreted as lecherous, worried that the scores of powerful men being fired is a sign of a full-blown “sex panic”, and that the era of #MeToo is “criminalizing courtship”.

As the women of Saturday Night Live put it: “Welcome to hell, now you’re in our boat.”

You can understand why, during a national reckoning over rape and harassment, women would have a difficult time mustering empathy for men woeful over hugs and dating rituals. We spend our whole lives afraid, but a few months into men not being able to act with sexist impunity and it’s a “witch-hunt”. [..]

Yet no one has gone to jail. No one has been arrested. In fact, no one’s behavior has been “criminalized” even when it appears that it was actually criminal. Harvey Weinstein is accused of decades of abuse, including rape, which he denies, and he jetted to Europe. Lauer, accused of sexual assault, was making $20m a year. Louis CK exposed himself to women, yet no criminal charges have been brought against him.

Catherine Rampell: That special place in hell is getting crowded

That special place in hell everyone keeps talking about is getting mighty crowded.

The ball got rolling last year when former secretary of state Madeleine Albright quipped that there was a “special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” At the time, she was introducing Hillary Clinton at a New Hampshire campaign event.

More recently, Ivanka Trump said the special place was reserved for “people who prey on children.” She was referring to allegations against then-Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore that he had pursued and/or made sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his early 30s.

Next came Stephen K. Bannon, Trump-adviser-turned-freelance-provocateur, who seemed to be mocking the first daughter when he said during a pro-Moore rally that hell’s special spot was reserved for Republicans “who should know better” but weren’t supporting the former judge in the special election.

Whew. Is it just me, or is it getting humid down here?

Jennifer Rubiin: Democrats’ miraculous victory in Alabama

In one of the most remarkable upsets since, well, the presidential race last year, Democrat Doug Jones narrowly defeated Republican Roy Moore, who had been dogged by credible allegations of child sexual predation and openly declared his nostalgia for slavery, his bigotry toward Muslims and his wish to see homosexuality criminalized. Despite Moore’s obvious, flagrant flaws, Jones’s win stands as an impressive — even miraculous — victory in a state Donald Trump won by 28 points last year. Defying both right-wing pleas to preserve a Senate seat and the president’s personal endorsement of Moore (capped off by a rally Friday just over the border in Florida), Alabama voters decided they’d prefer not to perpetuate the stereotype of reactionary, racist Southerners.

Kudos to Jones, who ran a disciplined race, referencing but not exploiting Moore’s alleged victims and positing an affirmative message for his state that included health care and education. Credit should also go to Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), whose last-minute declaration he had not voted for Moore may have swung some voters. In addition, an exceptionally high African American turnout (30 percent of the electorate in early exit polls), as well as overwhelming support among younger voters and a 17-point gender gap — very similar to the coalition that delivered big wins for Democrats in Virginia — made the difference. Certainly, the ultimate responsibility and credit for the defeat of the odious Moore goes to Alabama voters who decided enough was enough.