Oct 01 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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Bryce Coverrt: Trump Wants to Turn the Safety Net Into a Trap

The Trump administration wants to change how the government defines who is or is likely to become a “public charge.” The Department of Homeland Security released a draft regulation on Sept. 22, in which it proposed that any immigrant who is likely to use or who has already used Medicaid, public housing or a rent voucher, cash assistance or food stamps could be barred from the country or kept from getting permanent resident status. [..]

This redefinition of self-sufficiency ignores the way that most people use these programs. Even people with jobs often cycle on and off assistance as work comes and goes, or to plug the gaps when it just doesn’t pay enough. These programs allow people to remain healthy and solvent — supporting their independence. This rule therefore hurts everyone, not just immigrants, by stigmatizing the safety net funded by all of us to help people survive when they fall on hard times.

Jennifer Rubin: Reckless Republicans aren’t giving any thought to tomorrow

President Trump reportedly has been frustrated with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for delaying the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. After the Thursday hearing, the White House apparently was vexed that Republicans didn’t hold a snap vote. Trump had a point: Given time for consideration of the facts and the declining public support for Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation becomes a heavier burden to shoulder for Republicans each day it drags on.

Voters didn’t like Kavanaugh before Thursday’s testimony, and now they like him less. According to the most recent CBS News poll, “The net shift in sentiment over the week has been toward opposition. Today 37 percent of Americans do not think the Senate should confirm (up from 30 percent opposed last week) and 35 percent think the Senate should confirm (up from 32 percent last week) as partisan sentiments have hardened.” [..]

But don’t expect Republicans to dump Kavanaugh. Political logic no longer figures into the calculation. Senate Republicans are behaving rashly and recklessly, unable to comprehend how they sound to anyone except the worst partisan.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Can the FBI do its job with Kavanaugh?

In a process already saturated with cynicism and soured by bad faith, it would be shameful but unsurprising if an FBI investigation aimed at shedding light on Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh became the object of political manipulation.

The probe is happening because Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska grasped how hypocritical it would be for their party to claim to take Ford’s heartfelt and credible testimony seriously and then barrel to a confirmation anyway.

But the FBI may be blocked from doing its job properly. Will it be able to provide a basis for judging the relative trustworthiness of the only two witnesses who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week?

An investigation sharply constrained by White House Counsel Donald McGahn — who is overseeing the FBI’s work and just happened to be Kavanaugh’s leading promoter — would turn a brief moment of limited bipartisanship into a new occasion for rage and recrimination.

The good news is that the investigation offers time for one important reality to sink in: It is simply not true, as was so often claimed, that both witnesses were equally “believable.”

Meghan O’Rourke: The Kavanaugh affair is a referendum on the political power of women

The Senate judiciary committee hearing on Thursday was a bizarre set of contradictions. On the one hand, the Republican senators were superficially respectful to Christine Blasey Ford: they repeatedly asked her what she needed, hired a female prosecutor to question her, and largely refrained from the kind of denigrating slurs that allowed the media to label Anita Hill “a little nutty and a little slutty” 27 years ago.

On the other hand, the whole thing also felt strikingly retrograde, with a woman’s emotional testimony all but ignored as Republican senators deferred to the righteous indignation of a white man. It illuminated what a strange moment we’re now in, demonstrating how much has changed for American women, and simultaneously how little has.

Rebecca Solnit: Dear Christine Blasey Ford: you are a welcome earthquake

Dear Dr Christine Blasey Ford

I am writing to thank you. No matter how harrowing your experience, no matter what the US Senate does in the weeks to come, you have achieved something profound in its power and impact, something that benefits all of us. For there are two arenas in which your words will reverberate – the Senate, and the immeasurably vast realm of public discourse and societal values. Even if your words, like Anita Hill’s, are discounted in the former, they will echo in the latter for a long time to come.

You said at the outset of this ordeal: “I was … wondering whether I would just be jumping in front of a train that was headed to where it was headed anyway, and that I would just be personally annihilated.” Testifying in front of that audience, made up in no small part of hostile, disbelieving supporters of the man you told them assaulted you, may have felt like annihilation. Going into your deepest trauma in front of the nation must have been a harsh ordeal. But you were not annihilated; you were amplified in all senses of the word.