May 21 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.

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Charles M. Blow: Enough Is Enough

The school shooting has become an American motif, a previously unthinkable option for the odd, the alienated and the spurned, a way to find voice through violence.

We had yet another one last week in Santa Fe, Texas, where a student killed 10 people and injured 13 others. After the shooting, Paige Curry, a student at the school, offered a chilling assessment of our current predication.

A television news reporter asked: “Was there a part of you that was like, ‘This isn’t real, this would not happen at my school?’ ”

Paige responded, shaking her head, an uncomfortable, reflexive smile on her face that mocked the naïveté of the question: “No, there wasn’t.” [..]

This is now about the long game. The N.R.A. didn’t amass its clout overnight, and the building of a contingent of politicians committed to gun control also won’t come overnight. But it can, and indeed must, be done.

Students like Paige shouldn’t simply assume that one day a fellow student will show up with a gun and an appetite for death, and that there is nothing Washington is willing to do to prevent it.

Enough is enough!

Jennifer Rubin: Were there any countries Donald Trump Jr. didn’t meet with?

Investigators looking into President Trump and his top associates’ dealing with foreign governments have an embarrassment of riches. For Americans, Trump is simply an embarrassment — and a figure increasingly seen as indifferent to foreign interference in our election. [..]

Once again we see Donald Trump Jr. allegedly seeking assistance from foreign governments to affect the U.S. presidential election. It is not only illegal to solicit such assistance, but it is, let’s be blunt, a betrayal of America. In our democracy Americans elect their leaders. Trump Jr. either knew what he was doing was wrong and chose to proceed anyway, or he had no clue it wasn’t appropriate to let Russians and Gulf States help elect his father — and gain leverage to be cashed in later. (Donald Trump Jr. did not need to know it was a crime, only that these were foreign governments and foreign individuals offering help to influence an election.)

The anecdote does suggest that the Russia secret meeting in Trump Tower in June 2016 was not an isolated event.

E.J. Dionne: No one is an ‘animal’

It’s never right to call other human beings “animals.” It’s not something we should even have to debate. No matter how debased the behavior of a given individual or group, no matter how much legitimate anger that genuinely evil actions might inspire, dehumanizing others always leads us down a dangerous path.

This is why we need to reflect on the controversy over exactly whom President Trump was referring to as “animals” during a roundtable discussion last week at the White House with state and local officials from California on so-called sanctuary laws.

On its face — and this is certainly how Trump wants us to view things — this is an argument about whether the media distorted his intent by reporting what he said out of context.

But Trump is responsible for this problem precisely because he systematically obliterates any distinctions between the overwhelming majority of immigrants who are law-abiding and the violent minority among the foreign-born.

The slippery inexactness of Trump’s language is often ascribed by his detractors to the deficiencies of his verbal skills and his lazy tendency to return again and again to the same stock words and phrases. Trump’s admirers frequently cite his use of colloquial language as key to his success in convincing so many that he is not a traditional politician. After all, the way in which he uses the word “animals” is drawn from common street-corner or barroom talk. It’s not a usage he invented.

Robert Reich: How to End Partisan Gerrymandering

One of the biggest challenges to our democracy occurs when states draw congressional district lines with the principal goal of helping one political party and hurting the other. It’s called “partisan gerrymandering.”

Unlike racial gerrymandering – drawing districts to reduce the political power of racial minorities, which the Supreme Court has found to violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment – partisan gerrymandering would seem to violate the First Amendment because it punishes some voters for their political views.

In North Carolina in 2016, for example, Republicans won 10 of the state’s 13 House seats with just 53 percent of the popular vote.

In the 2018 elections, because of partisan gerrymandering, Democrats will need to win the national popular vote by nearly 11 points to win a majority in the House of Representatives. No party has won this margin in decades.

So what can be done?