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Aug 19 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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Arwa Mahdawi: The misogyny Steve King embodies is very much in the DNA of the Republican party

The party of “family values” is at it again. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Steve King, tried to justify banning abortions even in cases of incest and rape by arguing that rape and incest are good, actually. Without them humans would go extinct! [[.]

While King may have been condemned by some Republicans, let’s not try and pretend that his views are by any means fringe; King absolutely reflects the values and principles of the GOP. Indeed, I suspect the only reason Republicans are losing their patience with King is because he keeps shouting out loud what they prefer to say quietly in private. He keeps speaking the subtext.

Republicans may not normally wax lyrical about incest over breakfast meetings, but the misogyny and racism that King embodies is very much in the GOP’s DNA. This is the party, after all, of pussy grabbers, perverts and hypocrites. It’s the party of men like Roy Moore, Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump. It’s the party of Muslim bans, detention camps and child separation. It’s the party that tries to force teenage immigrants to have their rapist’s babies. It is the party that wants to prevent women from having any autonomy over their own bodies, but gives rapists parental rights. It is very much Steve King’s party. Don’t let any Republican try and pretend otherwise.

Thomas L. Friedman: If You Think Trump Is Helping Israel, You’re a Fool

By barring Representatives Omar and Tlaib, Netanyahu made the president happy. But he has poisoned relations with America.

I am going to say this as simply and clearly as I can: If you’re an American Jew and you’re planning on voting for Donald Trump because you think he is pro-Israel, you’re a damn fool.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Trump has said and done many things that are in the interests of the current Israeli government — and have been widely appreciated by the Israeli public. To deny that would be to deny the obvious. But here’s what’s also obvious. Trump’s way of — and motivation for — expressing his affection for Israel is guided by his political desire to improve his re-election chances by depicting the entire Republican Party as pro-Israel and the entire Democratic Party as anti-Israel.

As a result, Trump — with the knowing help of Israel’s current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu — is doing something no American president and Israeli prime minister have done before: They’re making support for Israel a wedge issue in American politics.

Few things are more dangerous to Israel’s long-term interests than its becoming a partisan matter in America, which is Israel’s vital political, military and economic backer in the world.

James Downie: The Trump economic team: Men without a plan

The United States’ economic outlook is not exactly confidence-inspiring: Manufacturing is flagging, bond yields have turned ominous, and stocks are down (then up a little on Friday, but still very much down). So, faced with the Sunday talk shows, the Trump White House sent out National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and trade adviser Peter Navarro. On Friday, my colleague Catherine Rampell described the pair, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, as Trump’s “dream team” of economic mismanagement; on Sunday, they showed why.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Chuck Todd asked Kudlow to assess Wall Street fears about the economy. “I don’t see a recession,” answered Kudlow. “And let me add just one theme, Chuck. … Let’s not be afraid of optimism.” He cited strong “consumer numbers,” low oil prices and low interest rates and predicted “the economy’s going to be very good in 2019.”

That may sound good. But given that we’re well into 2019, Kudlow’s silence about 2020 is concerning. [..]

Here’s the problem: Kudlow and others failed to see a recession coming because they refused to believe housing and other markets could really collapse. Others learned from that mistake; it seems Kudlow hasn’t.

Sydney Blumethal: Trump’s Statue of Bigotry is not Cuccinelli’s first neo-Confederate assault

In 2010, as Virginia attorney general, the acting USCIS director tried to make his staff wear a symbol of secession

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), is an aspiring literary critic as well as a revisionist historian. After issuing new draconian policies discriminating against poor immigrants resembling his Italian ancestors, he decided to show off the far-ranging interests of his multifaceted mind with his reinterpretation of the poem engraved inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, whose beacon welcomes “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore”. [..]

Cuccinelli’s proposed correction of Lazarus’s poem was not his first attempt to alter patriotic symbols. Nearly a decade ago, he engaged in sleight of hand to shuffle in the Confederate version of the great seal of the commonwealth of Virginia.

In 2010, when he was state attorney general, Cuccinelli distributed lapel pins to members of his staff. “Office of the Attorney General Virginia” circled what purported to be the image of the great seal, the Roman goddess Virtus wearing a breastplate and standing with one foot on a prone tyrant, his crown fallen from his head. Observers noticed that the real great seal features Virtus wearing a toga and with her left breast bared. Was Cuccinelli, a denizen of the religious right, simply covering up the goddess for modesty’s sake? He joked that he was making Virtus “a little more virtuous”.

In fact, the image on his pin was a copy of the great seal adopted by Virginia in 1861 after secession and used on battle flags of Confederate regiments. After the local press caught the replication, Cuccinelli claimed his pin had been copied from another “antique” great seal. But the local “commander” of the Sons of Confederate Veterans praised him, saying: “The state is getting trumped by the federal government.”

Charles M. Blow: Where Went My Empty Nest?

Welcoming your children back home after college is great, but as a parent, the adjustment can also be jarring.

Parenting is rewarding, but it is also challenging. It is a full-time, rest-of-your life job.

You always think — hope — that whatever difficulty you are facing with one period of a child’s life and development will simply be solved when he or she grows out of that phase. Soon, they’ll be potty trained, or be able to retrieve their own snacks, or walk home from school alone, or whatever.

But, what one soon discovers is that one phase of difficulties is only replaced by the difficulties of the next. Parenting doesn’t necessarily get easier, it is simply transformed. There are new joys, but also new headaches.

And, I find that the headache part is the part parents feel tremendous shame disclosing. Our modern, parenting-book, social-media-sharing culture seems to dictate that the only thing that one can say about parenting is that “it is the most important and fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.” That is the only way that one is allowed to signify that one loves his or her children and has made the sufficient level of sacrifice.

I find those constraints ridiculous and impossible. It is possible to love your children complete and simultaneously be exhausted by them. For many parents, that is the truth, and there is nothing shameful about acknowledging that.