Feb 12 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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Christine Emba: Due process hasn’t changed. Donald Trump should.

President Trump is tweeting again.

This time, it’s to lash out about a lack of “due process.”

The catalyst for this latest outburst would appear to be Rob Porter, the senior White House aide who resigned this week after allegations surfaced that he abused his two ex-wives. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly reportedly knew about the accusations (and his resulting lack of a full security clearance) and kept him on staff anyway — even enthusiastically praising him when initially asked about the charges.

Trump’s tweet is laughable on its face. “Some are true and some are false” — well, yes, that’s why we call them allegations. “Some are old and some are new” — does this have any bearing on whether they are worth listening to?

But it’s his call for “due process” that is most disingenuous: “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone.”

Oh yes, Mr. Trump, you have a point. Alleged abusers are never lent sympathy in the real world. They are never given the benefit of the doubt; they are immediately consigned to the ash heap of history. There is absolutely no chance of recovery. They could never become president of the United States, for instance.

Charles Pierce: The GOP Monster Is Out of the Lab

Folks haven’t been hipped to this yet, but the Texas Republican party is completely outside of its mind at the moment. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is refusing to let Sandra Bullock film her Wendy Davis biopic in the actual chamber where Davis held the floor for 13 hours in 2013 to delay passage of a draconian piece of anti-choice legislation. From The Austin American-Statesman:

“If I have anything to do with that, I’m not going to let them use the Senate chamber to shoot because they have already disgraced it once. I’m not going to let them do it again,” Patrick, who leads the Senate, said in a speech to the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank…After saying that he received a copy of the script but hasn’t read it, Patrick said there was one line in it that irked him: Patrick, who said he is the “villain” of the movie, is portrayed using a curse word while criticizing Davis.

This is hilariously snowflake-y for a two-fisted conservative Christian warrior like Dan Patrick, who, after the massacre in Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016, tweeted, Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Galatians 6:7.” (He later claimed that the tweet was “pre-scheduled.”) But it’s a bit of benign lunacy compared to what’s happening elsewhere with Texas Republicans.

Charles M. Blow: G.O.P. Visions of Tectonic Realignment

Yes, President Trump is vile. That’s a given. [..]

Yes, we should focus on Trump’s breaking of custom and convention, his racism and his reactiveness, his Barack Obama obsession and his autocratic impulses.

But while we are focusing on Trump and what he has wrought, it would behoove us to also focus on the titanic moves by the right to literally realign society for the long haul: stacking the courts with virulent conservatives, suppressing voter access, reducing the inflow of immigrants who might lean Democratic, gerrymandering districts, punishing states that lean Democratic in presidential elections and returning to a failed drug policy that disproportionately jails black and brown people.

In short, conservatives are using every possible means to permanently lock in power, wealth and influence for the existing, predominantly white and predominantly male power structure.

Karen Tumulty: Which is scarier — that Trump doesn’t read his daily intel briefing, or that Jared Kushner does?

It is hard to tell what should be more worrisome: the fact that the commander in chief doesn’t bother to read his daily compilation of the nation’s most urgent intelligence, or the fact that his son-in-law — who has been unable to obtain a security clearance — does.

Those two stories were three pages apart in Saturday’s print edition of The Post.

On the front page, my colleagues Carol D. Leonnig, Shane Harris and Greg Jaffe reported that Donald Trump is the first president since Richard M. Nixon not to regularly review the document known as the President’s Daily Brief, the distillation of information picked up around the world by U.S. intelligence agencies.

And there on Page A4 was the other one, under the bylines of Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey and Devlin Barrett.

Jared Kushner’s inability to get a permanent security clearance, for reasons that are not entirely clear, has become a source of vexation at the White House. But in the meantime, he has a temporary status that allows him to “see materials, including the President’s Daily Brief, that are among the most sensitive in government,” they wrote.

Timothy Snyder: America lost a cyberwar to Russia in 2016. When will we have truth?

Trump’s fantasy of a military parade and Trump’s choice to release or block congressional memos about the Russia investigation were the two big stories of last week. At first glance, they have nothing to do with one another. In fact, they are part of the same story: a grand cover-up of American defeat.

In the past, the United States has organized grand military parades: but always after a victory in war, and always as a way of welcoming soldiers back to civilian life. So it was after the civil war, the first world war and the second world war. Such parades marked a moment and made perfect sense.

The problem today is that the United States has not just won a war, but lost one. Carl von Clausewitz, the great student of war, defined its aim as altering the will of the enemy. In the 21st century, in the age of cyber, this can be achieved without combat.

America lost a cyberwar to Russia in 2016, the result of which was the election of Trump. Defeat is hard to face; but every delay in facing the hard facts makes matters worse. This is no time for parades.