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Oct 17 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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Robert Reich: Should the Supreme Court Be Reformed?

In an era of increasing political polarization, we should rethink how the Court is organized in order to rebuild public trust.

In recent years the legitimacy of the Supreme Court has come under question as Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Senate Republicans have bent the nomination process for their own political gain.

At the same time, the Court has rewritten the rules of our democracy. In just the last few years, it has rolled back the Voting Rights Act, given corporations even greater power over their workers and consumers, and given the green light to partisan gerrymandering.

Many Americans—including several presidential candidates—have begun asking whether the Supreme Court should be reformed.

Here are 5 possibilities for strengthening the Court and rebuilding public trust:

John Lithgow: Trump Is a Bad President. He’s an Even Worse Entertainer.

The performer in chief is forcing us to live in a B-movie horror.

Readers of this page have every reason to be suspicious of the political musings of an actor. I’m suspicious of them myself. But consider this: Our politics and our press are completely dominated by an entertainer president. In recent weeks we’ve even read about our ex-reality-show host president discussing foreign policy over the phone with the ex-TV comedian president of Ukraine.

Entertainment and politics have become bizarrely intertwined. Perhaps it’s time for a working entertainer to weigh in.

I call Donald Trump an “entertainer president” advisedly since he has proved himself to be such an inept public servant. Over the years, he has thrust himself into the public eye with the flamboyant histrionics of a latter-day P.T. Barnum. Part of this is the amoral tradecraft of a New York real estate developer, but a lot of it springs from the appetites of a voracious attention-getter.

Think of Mr. Trump preening at his beauty contests, body-slamming Vince McMahon at W.W.F. events or holding rallies that resemble the arena gigs of an insult comic. These are the antics of a showman, not a statesman.

Charles M. Blow: Democrats, Dream Big but Tell the Whole Truth

Big moves come with hitches. But that’s no reason not to go big and bold.

I am not one of the nervous Nellies who believe that Democratic candidates shouldn’t dream big and pitch big, transformational ideas. I’m not one of those who believe that Democrats should negotiate with themselves, in advance of submitting a proposal, so that they present only incremental half measures in the name of practicality and perceived ability to implement.

“Dream smaller” is a dream killer. And, I believe, an election loser. “I have milquetoast policies that I can massage their way through a contemptuous Congress” is not a motivational message.

Moderate Democrats want to inch toward success; I’m open to the moonshots of the more progressive Democrats.

Conservatives are never going to pat you on the back for your moderation. They will frame every proposal you put forward as a push toward the apocalypse, as an end of the American ideal, as an obvious creep toward socialism.

Start with your grandest ideas, and any eventual compromise is likely to end up in the middle; start with middling ideas, and your compromise will end up as right-lite.

That is not acceptable to me.

So I say to the Democratic field: Give me your biggest, boldest ideas. Almost none of them are policies you could institute by executive action. Almost all require acts of Congress, and Congress would likely produce something vastly different than what you propose, if they pass a bill at all.

Edward Snowden: Without encryption, we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground

The US, UK and Australia are taking on Facebook in a bid to undermine the only method that protects our personal information

In every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war. Your bank balance, the local hospital’s equipment, and the 2020 US presidential election, among many, many other things, all depend on computer safety.

And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe.

Nicholas Kristof: Adam Schiff Is the Congressman Trump Wants You to Hate

Relentless, yes. But “radical left” and “lowlife”? Not at all.

The paradox of Adam Schiff is this: He is depicted by some Republicans as a fanatical partisan, with President Trump suggesting that he is a “radical left” “lowlife” who should be arrested for treason, yet in real life Schiff is a cerebral and mild-mannered moderate.

But perhaps there’s a logic to Trump’s venom: Schiff’s mild persona conceals a relentless determination. That’s why he’s a marathoner and a triathlon athlete. It’s also how he first received attention, as a dogged young federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who won a conviction — after two failed trials led by other prosecutors — against an F.B.I. agent accused of spying for Russia for sex and money.

Now he’s again investigating alleged Russia-related wrongdoing by a federal employee, only this time the employee is the president.