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Nov 18 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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Fred Hiatt: While Trump stands by, the world’s tyrants are trying to make the world safe for dictatorship

A strange reversal is taking place across the world.

America — or at least, America’s president — is no longer trying to make the world safe for democracy. But dictators are working hard to make the world safe for dictatorship.

The United States is retreating, almost apologizing for ever having thought about promoting democracy. Everyone from Rand Paul to Bernie Sanders and many in between agrees we should stay home and mind our business.

But the result is not a world in which every country is free to go its own way.

Instead, the world’s tyrants — while still complaining about color revolutions and U.S. interference — roam far and wide, promoting their ideologies and their corporations, bullying and buying and burrowing and shooting their way to influence.

Russia and China, the loudest conjurers of imaginary CIA pro-democracy plots, have become the world’s most active underminers of democracy beyond their borders.

Christine Emba: The new wave of conservatism is dangerous. And it’s all the GOP’s fault.

Promoting his new book, “Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us,” Donald Trump Jr. naturally assumed that any protesters at his event at UCLA on Nov. 11 would be coming at him from the left.

But the hecklers who shouted him offstage last weekend hailed from the right. They were booing his college Republican hosts for not being reactionary enough.

Which means: The next wave of American conservatism is further to the right than President Trump himself. [..]

This emerging conflict is a symbol of how deeply the Republican Party has deteriorated from within. There is no longer enough credibility for the party to remain intact, but it’s not yet clear what comes next or whether the party will ever make its way back to the center.

Jamelle Bouie: Stephen Miller’s Sinister Syllabus

Leaked emails from 2015 and 2016 show one of Trump’s top advisers trying to teach Breitbart editors a thing or two about white nationalism.

Somewhat lost in the frenzy over impeachment this week was a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center on Stephen Miller, a White House speechwriter and close adviser to the president.

An analysis of more than 900 emails from Miller to editors at Breitbart News, the report shows Miller’s single-minded focus on nonwhite immigration and his immersion in an online ecosystem of virulent, unapologetic racism. The Miller of these emails isn’t just an immigration restrictionist, he’s an ideological white nationalist.

It’s tempting to dismiss this as old news. Miller is, after all, the architect behind the Trump administration’s most draconian border and immigration policies, as well as some of its harshest anti-immigrant rhetoric. [..]

But suspecting Miller’s ideological allegiances is quite different than knowing them. In the absence of proof, there was room for plausible deniability. That’s how a conservative magazine editor could praise Miller as a “wunderkind” for his command of the “details” of immigration policy while dismissing evidence that Miller was once close to Richard Spencer, a prominent neo-Nazi.

With the emails — supplied by Katie McHugh, a former editor at Breitbart — we now know what Miller was reading and thinking about in the year before he joined the Trump campaign. And there’s no denying the nature of the material.

Charles M. Blow: Bloomberg’s Bogus, Belated Mea Culpa

His apology for the stop-and-frisk policy is politically convenient.

Last Sunday I wrote a column entitled “You Must Never Vote for Bloomberg” because of Michael Bloomberg’s promotion, advocacy and defense of the racist stop-and-frisk policy that ballooned during his terms as mayor of New York City.

This Sunday, Bloomberg apologized for that policy. [..]

This is a necessary apology, but a hard one to take, coming only now, as he considers a run for the Democratic nomination, a nomination that is nearly impossible to secure without the black vote.

It feels like the very definition of pandering.

It is impossible for me to take seriously Bloomberg’s claim that he didn’t understand the impact that stop-and-frisk was having on the black and brown communities when he was in office. [..]

No, I believe that he knew very well, and understood clearly, the pain that he was causing, but he was making a collateral damage argument: Because there was crime and many of those committing those crimes were born with black or brown skin, all those with that skin should be presumed guilty until proven innocent.

That feels like the very definition of racism.

Heather Cox Richardson: The impeachment hearings are a battle between oligarchy and democracy

Official US policy in Ukraine was to promote rule of law, but the Trump administration sided against it, hearings have shown

Since the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry in late September into the actions of Donald Trump over his withholding of aid to Ukraine, the Republican defenders of the president have dismissed the inquiry on the ground that hearings were held behind closed doors. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee, charged by House speaker Nancy Pelosi with spearheading the investigation, answered those complaints by opening public hearings. Deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs George P Kent and Charge d’Affaires for Ukraine William Taylor were the first public witnesses on Wednesday. On Friday, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the third, testifying about the events surrounding her abrupt removal from her position in May 2019.

For all their complicated names and dates, what has emerged at the hearings is a clear picture of an epic battle between the rule of oligarchs, who pervert government to suit their own interests, and the rule of law, in which everyone has the same right to representation and legal protection.

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