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Sep 07 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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Paul Krugman: Kavanaugh Will Kill the Constitution

At a fundamental level, the attempt to jam Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court closely resembles the way Republicans passed a tax cut last year. Once again we see a rushed, nakedly partisan process, with G.O.P. leaders withholding much of the information that’s supposed to go into congressional deliberations. Once again the outcome is all too likely to rest on pure tribalism: Unless some Republicans develop a very late case of conscience, they will vote along party lines with the full knowledge that they’re abdicating their constitutional duty to provide advice and consent.

True, Kavanaugh is at least getting a hearing, which the tax bill never did. But he’s bobbing and weaving his way through, refusing to answer even straightforward questions, displaying an evasiveness utterly at odds with the probity we used to expect of Supreme Court justices.

No, the real difference from the tax bill story is that last year we were talking only about a couple of trillion dollars. This year we’re talking about the future of the Republic. For a Kavanaugh confirmation will set us up for multiple constitutional crises.

Eugene Robinson: We’re in a constitutional crisis. Only voters can save us now.

Journalist Bob Woodward’s new book and an op-ed by an anonymous administration official portray President Trump as dangerously capricious and amoral, exhibiting textbook symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and behaving in ways that suggest, to some, early signs of age-related dementia.

>We’ve all known about Trump from the beginning. We’ve known that he was entirely unfit to hold any public office, much less wield the awesome powers of the presidency, regardless of what political views he might have. Trump demonstrates this fact every single day. [..]

After this week, however, it’s clear that we’re already in a constitutional crisis of frightening proportions. The Cabinet will not act. Congress, under GOP control, will not act. The internal “resistance” can only do so much.

Voters are the last line of defense. You must save the day.

Michelle Goldberg: The Corrupt Bargain of the Adults in the Room

On Wednesday, the second day of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, asked him a straightforward question about Robert Mueller, the special counsel. “Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson and Torres, the law firm founded by Marc Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?” Harris asked.

Kavanaugh stumbled. He repeated the firm’s name as if he wasn’t sure he’d ever heard it before. He told Harris he didn’t know everyone who works there, and asked her, in several different ways, who she was thinking of. “I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us,” said Harris, a former prosecutor. “Who did you have a conversation with?” Throughout the exchange, which continued for several minutes, Kavanaugh was evasive.

Entering the hearing room on Thursday, Harris told reporters, “I have good reason to believe there was a conversation. Information that I’ve received is reliable and I asked him a clear question and he couldn’t give a clear answer.” [..]

What we have here, in miniature, is the corrupt bargain Washington Republicans have made with a president many of them privately despise. They know Trump is unfit, but he gives them tax cuts and right-wing judges. Those tax cuts and right-wing judges, in turn, strengthen the president’s hand, buying him gratitude from rich donors and potential legal cover. Republicans who participate in this cycle seem convinced that the situation is, and will remain, under their control.

Jennifer Rubin: Stop looking for the anonymous writer. Start looking at Trump.

In true Washington fashion, the anonymous New York Times op-ed sparked an irrational, unproductive search for the author’s identity. If an unnamed “senior official” told us WWIII was about to break out, we wouldn’t spend our waking hours trying to find the official; we’d be trying to figure out whether he was right, what the consequences might be and how to stop it or ameliorate its ill effects.

Nevertheless, the fruitless search for the op-ed writer distracts us from the calamity. The president, we are repeatedly told by people close to him, is nonfunctioning, irrational and unfit to such a degree that he’s not fulfilling his job in a meaningful way. I’m inclined to agree with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who told CNN: “If senior administration officials think the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment.” She said, “The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the Vice President and senior officials think the President can’t do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the President — take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds. … Every one of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It’s time for them to do their job.”

Jess Davidson: Betsy DeVos is trying to sweep rape back under the rug

When I was in college, another student sexually assaulted me after an off-campus party that took place just two blocks from the nearest dorm.

Yet if the assault had occurred under a draft proposal from the Education Department, as reported by the New York Times on Aug. 29, my university wouldn’t have been required to investigate and hold my assailant accountable — because the assault didn’t happen on campus property.

That I was sexually assaulted off campus didn’t make me any less traumatized. And it didn’t make my assault any less of a roadblock to my equal access to education. This leaked rule is as dangerous as it is cruel, as are many aspects of the draft proposal.

If implemented, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s drafted rule would deprive the thousands of survivors of sexual assault like me of the right to use the Title IX process to seek justice and healing. At best, DeVos’s drafted rule would discourage students from reporting sexual violence; at worst, it would deny student survivors their civil rights. This would be especially harmful to survivors from currently and historically underserved communities, making the Title IX process even more inaccessible to marginalized students.