Opinion Outpost Feb. 23

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Trump and the Pope

Donald Trump once told me, “I always loved to fight.” But even those of us who know him and his fighting mentality have to marvel at his ability to find new battles. I mean really, Donald, you’re going to argue with the Pope? About Christianity?

To be fair, from the Trumpian viewpoint, Pope Francis sort of started it.

—  Michael D’Antonio
CNN

The worst interpretation for Trump: He alienated some Catholic voters…and perhaps raised questions among evangelicals. …Trump seems disrespectful in squaring off against a moral leader.

The best interpretation for Trump: He showed strength by not backing down, even against a pope. He reinforced his signature stance about building a wall at Mexico’s expense. And he stomped on any news that Rubio, Cruz or Bush might make in the closing days.

— Howard Kurtz
Fox News

Pope Francis is correct. Any person who consistently speaks of excluding people…is not walking the Christian way.

… When it comes to these two competing versions of Christianity — one of exclusion and hatred and contempt, and one of inclusion and love and good wishes — I know which one I’d vote for.

—  James Martin
The Washington Post

I saw some suggestions yesterday that this might be politically problematic for Trump.

… The Republican frontrunner has picked plenty of fights over the last several months, but maybe an offensive against the pope will cost Trump votes?

It’s possible, but I wouldn’t count on it.

— Steve Benen
MSNBC

Does the pope even understand that he lives in a community with 36-foot-high walls — walls built in the ninth century by Pope Leo IV to protect Vatican City from savage marauding Arabs who were raping, pillaging and looting their way across Europe. Sound familiar?

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan: “Mr. Pope, tear down this wall!”

How many “migrants” has Vatican City accepted? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

— Howie Carr 
Boston Herald

The point is that power in a democracy should reside in those who stand for election, set out their stall and win over the public in open debate. Appeals to the supernatural should have no part in it.

… Of course the pope is right to champion bridges not walls, compassion not damnation. But he should first examine the beams in his own eye rather than the motes in others.

— Simon Jenkins 
The Guardian

Apple hack

… Americans have a right to privacy, including on cell phones and in new forms of communication and information storage.

But Americans have never had the right to absolute privacy from government intrusion. That’s why courts can issue search warrants in accord with the Constitution.

— Editorial Board 
New York Daily News

Congress would do great harm by requiring such back doors. Criminals and domestic and foreign intelligence agencies could exploit such features to conduct mass surveillance and steal national and trade secrets. There’s a very good chance that such a law, intended to ease the job of law enforcement, would make private citizens, businesses and the government itself far less secure.

— Editorial Board 
New York Times

The CEO has a strong case when he says that backdoors create more problems than they solve. Introducing security vulnerabilities that third parties like cops and spooks can use as needed can also be exploited by hackers, crooks and spies. Nations can mandate backdoors, but there will always be some encrypted channels outside of their jurisdiction where the likes of ISIS can plot.

— Editorial Board
Wall Street Journal

Silicon Valley and privacy advocates everywhere should rally around Apple as it resists helping the FBI to unlock an iPhone belonging to one of the two San Bernardino killers.

The need to gather information about terrorists is undisputed. But there are dangerous precedents at work here, with Americans’ basic privacy rights at stake — as well as national security.

— Editorial Board
San Jose Mercury News

In an open letter published on Apple’s website Wednesday, vowing to appeal the court order, Cook never denies that Apple is capable of doing what the court demands; he merely warns that such a program is “something we consider too dangerous to create.”

… Does anybody believe that this tool will be used just this once?

… By taking a stand now, when it hurts, Cook could go a long way toward protecting Americans’ privacy.

— Hiawatha Bray
Boston Globe 

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