Apr 08 2019

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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Michael Tomasky: Kirstjen Nielsen Was Heartless, but Not Heartless Enough for Trump

If there’s any justice in this world, she will think twice before traveling overseas for fear of being arrested for crimes against humanity. Her successor will surely be worse.

So Kirstjen Nielsen, whose legacy will be the most heartless and lawbreaking immigration policy this nation has known in at least 70 years, wasn’t heartless and lawbreaky enough for Donald Trump, who accepted her resignation Sunday evening so he can move immigration policy in “a tougher direction.” [..]

A while back, you’ll recall, Trump shut down the government for the longest period in American history (remember? Everyone’s forgotten!) because there was a “crisis” at the border that existed in his head but not in real life. But that was then. Now, there actually is a crisis at the border, as you may have read. Detentions are way up, to highs not seen in many years.

But it’s a crisis largely of Trump’s making. We—yes, we; you and I, in whose name these hideous people are acting—are spending billions of dollars separating families and keeping kids in cages, billions that could have been spent trying to fix the asylum system. Trump is, we must concede, right about that—the asylum processing system is horrible, with a million-case backlog. But he has just made it worse. We could have been spending those billions trying to speed the process along.

But that’s no fun. That’s called governing. That’s making responsible decisions and treating human beings with some basic minimum level of dignity. And Trump has no time for nonsense like that.

Jill Filipovic: Joe Biden’s policies are as troubling as his inappropriate touching

As the Democratic primary heats up, Joe Biden, who hasn’t even formally declared yet, is the latest candidate in the hot seat. At issue: his handsiness, which is generally notorious and specifically detailed by Nevada politician Lucy Flores; his moderate policies, which seem painfully out of touch in today’s Democratic party and the promise that his supporters make, which is that he’s the only candidate who can defeat Donald Trump.

One thing is clear. Joe Biden is the wrong candidate for 2020. [..]

Biden was anti-abortion before he was pro-choice; his record shows that he is still highly ambivalent and unreliable in his support for a woman’s right to choose. In response to the supreme court legalizing abortion for American women in 1973’s Roe v Wade, Biden said they went “too far” and that a woman shouldn’t have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body”.

Robert Reich: Mitch McConnell is destroying the Senate – and American government

No person has done more in living memory to undermine the functioning of the US government than the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell.

Yes, Donald Trump has debased and defiled the presidency. He has launched blistering attacks on Democrats, on judges he disagrees with, journalists who criticize him and the intelligence community.

But McConnell is actively and willfully destroying the Senate.

Last Wednesday he used his Republican majority to cut the time for debating Trump’s court appointees from 30 hours to two – thereby enabling Republicans to ram through even more Trump judges.

McConnell doesn’t give a fig about the Senate, or about democracy. He cares only about winning. On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections he famously declared that his top priority was for Barack Obama “to be a one-term president”.

Richard Wolffe: Why did Trump say his dad was German? He lies so much he doesn’t know the truth

The world can be a confusing place for Donald Trump.

There are so many countries, some of them of the shithole variety, some less so. It can be fiendishly hard to keep track of all the comings and goings, of all the people who just show up at the door of your golf club or your border, claiming to have a good reason to enter.

This is, after all, a president who struggles to locate his own father’s place of birth: the Bronx, New York City. On Tuesday, Trump declared in the presence of the Nato secretary general that this was just one more alternative fact in a universe of unknowable infinities.

“My father is German,” he said in the Oval Office. “Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany, and so I have a great feeling for Germany.”

It is a particularly Trumpian move to deny your father’s Bronx birth while also denying your predecessor’s Hawaiian birth. Origin stories seem to be a particular challenge for Donald Trump, not least because they sound like orange stories.

Charles M. Blow: Trumpism Extols Its Folk Hero

The president’s devoted supporters have turned him into a legend of sorts.

My mother is a devout Democrat, but also one of the most socially conservative people I know. This is typical of our home state of Louisiana among black citizens — they can be as conservative as any Republican, but are also completely convinced, by dint of history and experience, that the Republican Party not only abides racists, it courts them, and therefore they would die rather than vote red. [..]

And yet, through my time growing up there and going to college there, she took a devilish pride in enthusiastically supporting and voting for the four-term Democratic governor, Edwin Edwards, a cocksure, gambling womanizer who would end up in federal prison in 2002 for bribery and extortion.

On the surface, it doesn’t make sense that my mother, who thought herself a moralist, would find a champion in a flaunting immoralist, but she did as did many other Louisiana voters. And I believe this was possible because Edwards achieved something that few politicians achieve: He transcended the political, and on some level even the rules of the workaday world, and entered the astral league of folk heroes.

The rules don’t apply to the folk hero. People don’t measure them by the same tape. Behavior that people would never condone in their personal lives, they relish in the folk hero.