Sep 17 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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Hillary Rodham Clinton: American Democracy Is in Crisis

It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States. On the day after, in my concession speech, I said, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” I hoped that my fears for our future were overblown.

They were not.

In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. According to The New York Times, the administration continues to detain 12,800 children right now, despite all the outcry and court orders. Then there’s the president’s monstrous neglect of Puerto Rico: After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, his administration barely responded. Some 3,000 Americans died. Now Trump flatly denies those deaths were caused by the storm. And, of course, despite the recent indictments of several Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, he continues to dismiss a serious attack on our country by a foreign power as a “hoax.”

Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.

Charles M/ Blow: Not Deranged. Determined!

They told us that we suffered from Trump Derangement Syndrome, an emotional and illogical obsession with opposing and unseating Donald Trump.

They saw our principled stand against corruption and criminality, against immorality and hatred, as born of hyper-partisanship and the bruises of defeat.

They were unable to see that our objection to Trump was an achingly particular phenomenon that transcended party tribalism and went to the core of who we are as a people and a country.

For us, it was clear: This man was wholly unacceptable, as a matter of character. And true patriotism demanded that we say so, without equivocation, and unrelentingly.

Trump had become the president by a complex web of occurrences: white racial anxiety, reaction to the first black president, unease about the possibility of the first female president, voter suppression and voter apathy, and an attack on our elections by the Russians.

This presidency has been haunted by the specter of illegitimacy from its inception.

Judd Legum: How The Weekly Standard Played Facebook and Screwed Think Progress

In late 2017, The Weekly Standard, a right-wing magazine with a long history of pushing false and misleading claims, was anointed by Facebook as an official fact checker for political material that appears on the popular social-media site. The designation gave the outlet extraordinary powers to severely limit the distribution of any article on Facebook it deems “false.”

Facebook approved The Weekly Standard, which had virtually no track record of independent fact-checking, after a pressure campaign from right-wing publishers.

I spoke to the independent evaluator who reviewed the Standard‘s nascent fact-check program to determine if it was qualified. He told me that he concluded that the conservative magazine was not yet ready for the job.

His recommendation was ignored.

Now The Weekly Standard is using its power to limit the reach of an article critical of Brett Kavanaugh, published by ThinkProgress, in the days before his confirmation vote. (Full disclosure: I founded ThinkProgress in 2005.)

Michael Tomasky: Will Enough 2020 Voters Care That Trump’s a Horrible Human Being?

The phrase “new low” has lost all meaning in the Trump era, but those Puerto Rico tweets over the weekend were something else. Our old Beast jefe John Avlon put it well:

These tweets were worse than usual because they were not political per se, as are for example his tweets about Robert Mueller. Yes, there’s a political element to them, but mostly, these Puerto Rico tweets were about President Trump’s character—his petty, vengeful, self-absorbed nature. No boss of any enterprise could tweet like that and keep his job. He’d be fired out of shame and revulsion.

And yet Trump keeps his because there are only two ways to fire him, impeachment and election. Well, we’re not going to impeach him. Fifteen or 17 or whatever Senate Republicans are sooner going to vote to put Barack Obama on Mount Rushmore than they’re going to vote to remove Trump from office. They won’t do it. We have to.