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.

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Charles M. Blow: Criminal Justice Is a State Issue

State power is the path to racial equality and liberation.

This week, Illinois became the first state to eliminate its cash bail system, and Virginia became the first Southern state to abolish the death penalty. These developments illustrate that many of the most impactful criminal justice reforms can and must be enacted by states, not by the federal government. [..]

The social justice position on criminal justice isn’t only that the system is constructed in destructively punitive ways, but also that there is inherent racial inequality in the way laws are applied.

The true frontier of criminal justice equality is on the state level. States have the power to write their own criminal codes. Those codes are riddled with racial biases, often intentional. But too many have done too little to change those laws and right the wrongs.

If the criminal justice system is to move toward racial equality and liberation, this change will have to start with the states.

Jennifer Rubin: Republicans don’t get to talk about bipartisanship

The height of hypocrisy for the partisan MAGA crowd.

If Republicans such as Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) — who complains that the administration has not entered into endless negotiations with a group of Republicans who have yet to recognize the magnitude of the crises facing the country — were truly interested in being bipartisan, they would be acting very differently than they have since President Biden won the election.

Republicans have had no shortage of opportunities for bipartisanship. They could have immediately recognized Biden as the winner — not let the Big Lie that the election was stolen fester. They could have declined to object to any electoral votes. They could have voted to impeach, convict and disqualify the disgraced insurrectionist in chief from holding future office. [..]

n every way imaginable, Republicans have declared themselves as not only unwilling to meet Biden on popular, urgent matters but also unwilling to put aside the lies and conspiracy theories. Instead, they genuflect to the disgraced former president. Imagine Southern lawmakers still honoring Jefferson Davis after the Confederacy’s defeat. They would be shunned and labeled traitors.

Republicans have zero — none, nada — ground to stand on in complaining about bipartisanship. They have shown scant sign they are interested in that sort of politics. Perhaps they should start with more fundamental values: Decency and honesty. Both are in short supply.

Alejandro Mayorkas: How my DHS will combat domestic extremism

Alejandro N. Mayorkas is secretary of homeland security.

Domestic violent extremism poses the most lethal and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country today. The Department of Homeland Security, working with its many partners at the local, state and federal levels, is taking immediate action to address it.

For several years, the United States has been suffering an upsurge in domestic violent extremism. The horror of seeing the U.S. Capitol, one of the pillars of our democracy, attacked on Jan. 6 was a brutal example of our suffering, and it compels us all to action. [..]

That is why I have designated domestic violent extremism as a National Priority Area for the first time, and will require state and local governments to spend 7.5 percent of their DHS grant awards combating this threat. In practice, this means state and local governments nationwide will spend at least $77 million to prevent, prepare for, protect against and respond to domestic violent extremism. Well-established grant guidance clarifies eligible expenses for building these important capabilities. It also ensures the funds are spent in ways that demonstrably contribute to identifiable security needs while upholding our nation’s values.

Amanda Marcotte: Trump’s failed coup continues: CPAC set to be a celebration of the Capitol insurrection

CPAC sets out to defend Trump’s coup, celebrate his election lies and paint him as the real victim

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicks off on Thursday, seven weeks and one day after Donald Trump sent a murderous mob to rampage through the Capitol in a final, violence-soaked bid to overturn the presidential election. The annual confab — which has become the central event of the year for Republican politics — not only has no distance from the events of Jan. 6, it is basically shaping up to be a celebration of both the man and the movement that inspired a fascist insurrection. [..]

CPAC will be awash in rhetorical games meant to put a palatable spin on this pro-insurrectionist sentiment. Fascists will be painted as victims of “cancel culture.” Efforts to throw out millions of legal votes will be framed as “concerns” about “fraud.” Trump will be given all the time he wants for a self-pitying stemwinder about how he’s the real victim here — not the Americans he attempted to disenfranchise, nor the Capitol police who died or were injured as a result of his lies, nor the congressional staff traumatized by his mob. And the Republican Party will continue its march away from democracy and towards blatant authoritarianism.

Greg Sargent: Stephen Miller’s shadow war against the Biden agenda, explained

Are we really seeing “kids in cages” redux? Nope. It’s a lie.

When the administration reopened a warehouse-like facility for migrant children in Texas this week, it caused a huge controversy on all sides. It inspired claims, mostly from the right, that President Biden is reverting to former president Donald Trump’s policies, proving Trump right all along.

But those claims are wrong. As such, this controversy reveals something else as well: the shadow war that former Trump adviser Stephen Miller is running against the new administration. [..]

Central to this will be the public battle over migrant children. When the new Texas facility opened, conservatives (Miller included) scoffed that Biden is being forced to resume Trump policies, because efforts to reverse them have collided with reality, vindicating Trump.

All this is nonsense. On migrant children, Biden has not restarted Trump’s policies. What Biden is doing has nothing in common with “kids in cages.” And none of this proves Trump was right in any way. Here’s a quick corrective.