Aug 31 2020

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media 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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Margaret Sullivan: Fact-checking Trump’s lies is essential. It’s also increasingly fruitless.

Daniel Dale met President Trump’s convention speech with a tirade of truth Thursday night — a tour de force of fact-checking that left CNN anchor Anderson Cooper looking slightly stunned.

The cable network’s resident fact-checker motored through at least 21 falsehoods and misstatements he had found in Trump’s 70-minute speech, breathlessly debunking them at such a pace that when he finished, Cooper, looking bemused, paused for a moment and then deadpanned, “Oh, that’s it?”

So, so much was simply wrong. Claims about the border wall, about drug prices, about unemployment, about his response to the pandemic, about rival Joe Biden’s supposed desire to defund the police (which Biden has said he opposes). [..]

Dozens of organizations, from Snopes.com to FactCheck.org and many others, are kept busy chasing political lies, so many of which come from the current White House. But here’s the rub. More than a decade after the innovative, Florida-based fact-checking organization Politifact.org won a Pulitzer Prize, fact-checking may make less of a difference than ever.

Charles M. Blow: Trump, Vicar of Fear and Violence

He continues the old practice of stoking white victimhood for votes.

The use of white fear and white victimhood as potent political weapons is as old as the country itself. Donald Trump is just the latest practitioner of this trade.

As Robert G. Parkinson wrote in “The Common Cause,” his book about patriot leaders during the American Revolution, politicians used fears of insurrectionist enslaved people, Indian “massacres” and foreign mercenaries to unite the disparate colonies in a common fight.

Does this sound similar to Trump’s rhetoric on Mexicans, Muslims, immigrants, Black Lives Matter and supposed anarchists?

Even the founding fathers used white fear of the “other” for political benefit. And when they didn’t have the facts, they were not above fabrication.

Robert Reich: Feeling the consequences of Trump’s rotten presidency, first hand

It’s one thing to understand climate change in the abstract. It’s another to live inside it.

My wife and I have been warned that we may need to evacuate because of fires ravaging the Bay Area.

The climate crisis is to blame for these fires, which are growing in number and intensity every year. It’s also to blame for the increasing number and virulence of hurricanes now hitting the Gulf and Southeast, flash floods along the Eastern seaboard, and fierce winds across middle America.

wo hurricanes are now threatening the Gulf coast. The Gulf has never before had two hurricanes at the same time.

In early August, Illinois and Iowa were hit with winds of up to 110 miles per hour. Homes were leveled. At least 10 million acres of crops were destroyed. Many people are still without power.

Trump isn’t singularly responsible for climate change, of course. But he’s done nothing to stop it. In fact, he’s done everything he can to accelerate it.

No one speaking at the Republican convention mentioned Trump’s abandonment of the Paris Agreement, his rollback of environmental regulations, or his boundless generosity to the fossil fuel industry.

Yet, facing possible evacuation, I’ve been thinking about all this in a newly personal way. So have many others, including, I suspect, some people who voted for Trump last time, who reside in the Gulf states, the eastern seaboard, and the Midwest.

It’s one thing to understand climate change in the abstract. It’s another to live inside it.

Amanda Marcotte: Team Trump whines about “cancel culture” — but they’re the ones who want to crush free speech

Trump and his supporters play the victims of “cancel culture,” while urging violent crackdown on peaceful protest

If there was one major takeaway from this week’s Republican National Convention, it’s that conservatives live in mortal terror of “cancel culture,” their shiny new term for what they used to call “political correctness.” Even though Donald Trump controls the White House, conservatives control the courts and Republicans control the Senate, speaker after speaker insisted that the real power in this country belongs to a shadowy liberal elite with all-encompassing powers of censorship.

“The goal of cancel culture is to make decent Americans live in fear of being fired, expelled, shamed, humiliated and driven from society as we know it,” pronounced Donald Trump during his interminable acceptance speech on Thursday night. “The far left wants to coerce you into saying what you know to be FALSE, and scare you out of saying what you know to be TRUE.” [..]

So what is this nefarious “cancel culture” that conservatives believe threatens the basic right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution?

Well, let’s talk about what conservatives don’t mean when they complain about “cancel culture.”

“Cancel culture” is not Trump sending out federal troops to tear-gas a bunch of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square because he’s so afraid of hearing hecklers that he must silence them with violence.

Heather Digby Parton: Trump’s signal to his followers is clear: Violence and chaos are my only hope

Armed men in pickup trucks are “Great Patriots!” according to our president. He’s drooling for mob violence

President Trump was having a normal one on Sunday morning, tweeting and retweeting 89 times over the course of three and a half hours. Many of them were tweets of polling numbers from obscure firms showing him in the lead after the Republican convention. But most of the tweets and retweets were incitement to violence among his true believers and complaints about “Democrat cities,” an ongoing mantra which he seems to think is a slam dunk to get him re-elected.

He repeatedly insulted and mocked Joe Biden, of course, and Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler will undoubtedly have to change his phone number after the president of the United States posted it on Twitter so his followers could call and demand his resignation.

He also showed support for one of his fans in Wisconsin:

It was a manic tweet spree and one that couldn’t have show the president’s state of mind any more clearly. Biden has said Trump is “rooting for violence,” and I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue with that.