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.
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Michelle Goldberg: Trump’s Anti-Abortion Incitement
The president’s lies about infanticide could inspire violence.
Last week, The Washington Post’s tally of Donald Trump’s false and misleading claims hit a milestone, topping 10,000. His untruths, which lately average almost two dozen a day, have long since stopped being news, becoming instead irritating background noise. So when, on Saturday, he told a particularly lurid lie about infanticide at a political rally in Wisconsin, it was, like so much in this administration, at once shocking and unsurprising.
As his raucous crowd booed and screamed, Trump described a hideous scenario that he insists Democrats approve of. “The baby is born,” said Trump. “The mother meets with the doctor, they take care of the baby, they wrap the baby beautifully” — at this, he seemed to mime rocking an infant — “and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.” He made a chopping motion with his hand. [..]
It’s tempting to ignore the president’s mendacity, since, as with so much of Trump’s malicious propaganda, it’s hard to counter it without amplifying it. Trump’s lies work to focus public attention on issues of his choosing; if Democrats are trying to explain that they don’t support infanticide, Trump has already won.
But leaving the lie unchallenged is also dangerous. Abortion providers are regular targets of domestic terrorism, and Trump’s lies serve as incitement. In 2016, a man fired an AR-15 inside a Washington pizzeria because he believed right-wing conspiracy theories that it was the epicenter of a child sex trafficking ring involving Hillary Clinton. Now the putative leader of the free world is spreading tales about unimaginable Democratic depravity toward innocent children.
Paul Krugman: The Zombie Style in American Politics
Why bad ideas just won’t stay dead.
Russia didn’t help Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. O.K., it did help him, but the campaign itself wasn’t involved. O.K., the campaign had a lot of Russian contacts and knowingly received information from the Russians, but that was perfectly fine.
If you’ve been trying to follow the Republican response to revelations about what happened in 2016, you may be a bit confused. We’re not even talking about an ever-shifting party line; new excuses keep emerging, but old excuses are never abandoned. On one side, we have Rudy Giuliani saying that “there’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.” On the other side, we have Jared Kushner denying that Russia did anything beyond taking out “a couple of Facebook ads.”
It’s all very strange. Or, more accurately, it can seem very strange if you still think of the G.O.P. as a normal political party, one that adopts policy positions and then defends those positions in more or less good faith.
But if you have been following Republican arguments over the years, you know that the party’s response to evidence of Russian intervention in 2016 is standard operating procedure. On issue after issue, what you see are multiple levels of denial combined with a refusal ever to give up an argument no matter how completely it has been discredited.
Eugene Robinson: Trump’s rhetoric stokes hate. He never thinks of the consequences.
The latest is Lori Gilbert Kaye, 60, fatally shot Saturday at the Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego. The suspected shooter, a 19-year-old gunman armed with a military-style assault rifle, wounded three others. The assailant, who reportedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs during the ]attack, left behind an Internet screed full of the same kind of paranoid vitriol about Jews that was used to motivate the Holocaust. [..}
I should note that both the Pittsburgh and Poway shooters expressed criticism of Trump because they thought him too supportive of Israel. But Trump’s Middle East policy does not get him off the hook. At this point, no one can deny the obvious: The president, primarily through his unconstrained rhetoric, has fostered an atmosphere in which hate-filled white supremacists feel motivated, vindicated and emboldened to act.
In my lifetime, at least, we have never before had a president who deliberately exacerbates racial and religious tensions for political gain. We have had a few who winked at racists to get elected, a few who blew dog whistles about such issues as school desegregation and “inner-city crime.” But I can’t think of one of Trump’s predecessors who might have been capable of looking at a crowd of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members on one side, a diverse crowd of counterprotesters on the other, and saying there were “very fine people on both sides.”
Of course, that does not mean that all of Trump’s supporters are racist. Nor does it mean that Trump somehow generates racism out of thin air. What he does is allow it to surface into the light, where its putrid flowers can bloom.
Stephen Moore wants the media to pay less attention to his idiotic comments about gender and more attention to his idiotic comments about the economy.
Sure thing, bro. Happy to help out.
Moore, whom President Trump wants to appoint to the Federal Reserve Board, has been complaining about a “sleaze campaign” against him. The alleged “sleaze” involves simply repeating the sexist things Moore has publicly said in columns, speeches and on national TV. Such statements include: Women shouldn’t be allowed to report on sports unless they’re hot and wear revealing clothes; it would destabilize society if women became “economically self-sufficient”; and a powerful man should never take a meeting alone with any woman because she might falsely accuse him of sexual harassment.
Moore, who has enlisted the PR firm that helped save Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, argues that his opponents are “pulling a Kavanaugh against me.” Which is odd, because Kavanaugh at least could claim he faced an ultimately unprovable he-said-she-said situation.
Moore’s situation is more like he-said-and-then-he-said-it-again-and-again-ad-nauseam-in-public-for-decades.
In any case, Moore claims that critics focus on the “spoofs” he made about the second sex because they don’t want to grapple with his awesome economic views.
Robert Reich: Packing the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court heard arguments today on the Trump administration’s decision to alter the 2020 Census to ask people if they are American citizens.
In a former life, I argued cases before the Supreme Court. From what I gathered today, it looks as if the five Republican appointees to the Court have already decided this move by Trump is constitutional.
But it’s not. The U.S. Constitution calls for “actual enumeration” of the total population for an explicit purpose: To count the residents – not just citizens, residents – of every state to properly allocate congressional representatives to the states based on population.
Asking whether someone is a citizen is likely to cause some immigrants — not just non-citizens, but also those with family members or close friends who aren’t citizens — not to respond for fear that they or their loved ones would be deported. In the current climate of fear, this isn’t an irrational response.
The result would be a systemic undercounting of immigrant communities. The Census Bureau has already calculated that it’s likely to result in a 5.1 percent undercount of noncitizen households.
This would have two grossly unfair results.