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Apr 13 2017

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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Robert Reich: Trump is fleecing America, and the Department of Justice is letting it happen

President Donald Trump’s business (now run by his two adult sons) has 157 trademark applications pending in 36 countries, according to The New York Times.

Registered trademarks are huge financial assets for a business like Trump’s, which is now focused on marketing his name rather than building or making anything.

And all these countries depend on decisions Trump will have a hand in making — over trade, foreign policy, international banking, foreign aid and the use of military force.

It’s the art of the deal.

When the Chinese granted Trump preliminary approval of 38 trademarks of his name soon after he was sworn into office — and right after Trump backed off of his brief flirtation with a “two China” policy — China gave Trump the equivalent of a huge amount of money. [..]

Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump has 37 trademark applications pending in 10 countries, covering the sale of leather goods in China, jewelry in the Philippines and beauty products in Indonesia.

Doesn’t all this violate the Constitution? After all, Article I, Section 9 (the so-called “emoluments clause”) prohibits government officials from accepting any economic benefit from a foreign power — presumably including trademark approvals.

Amanda Marcotte: Red-state progressives fight to protect abortion rights: Turning the tables on right-wing lawmakers

In June 2016 the Supreme Court ruled on the biggest abortion case since Roe v. Wade, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. In ruling that regulations for abortion clinics must be rooted in medical necessity and scientific evidence, the court not only struck down two egregious abortion restrictions in Texas; it struck a major blow against the entire anti-choice movement.

It’s good news for pro-choice activists, but there is a wrinkle: No one is quite sure, exactly, what the Whole Woman’s decision means for the dozens of other laws, across dozens of other states, that restrict abortion access using disingenuous claims about women’s health. The Supreme Court’s decision knocked down the Texas laws, but made no specific mention of other states or restrictions such as waiting periods, mandatory ultrasounds, or requirements for doctors to read scripts with scary misinformation to women seeking abortion. Legal experts believe many of those laws would fall under a legal challenge, but so far that hasn’t been tested.

Linda Seabrook: The School Shooting In San Bernardino Reminds Us That Domestic Violence Doesn’t Stay At Home

Unfortunately, San Bernardino is back in the news for yet another horrific tragedy, 17 months later. An 8-year-old student is dead, along with his teacher, Karen Smith, and ultimately, her estranged husband, Cedric Anderson. It’s baffling to me that when a husband comes into his wife’s workplace to kill her and then himself, the media hesitates to characterize it as domestic violence. Is it because it didn’t happen at home, behind closed doors, like it should?

To those of us who work to end violence against women every day, we recognized a tragic, but all too familiar story. We weren’t surprised to learn that that Anderson seemed nice at first to his stepson but slowly grew “paranoid and possessive.” Or that Anderson had a history of domestic violence, arrests on gun-related charges, and a fascination with guns. We understand why Smith recently left Anderson and was planning to divorce him. And we knew that Anderson could easily find and gain access to Smith at the place she spent the majority of her daily time: her workplace.

Larry Eliott: Is business starting to get spooked about Donald Trump?

Financial markets are starting to have doubts about Donald Trump. The euphoria that sent share prices on Wall Street to record levels has quickly dissipated amid fears that the new president is dangerously unpredictable.

Evidence that Trump does not really have a clue about what he is doing is mounting by the day. The failure to get Congress to agree to a repeal of Obamacare was the first sign of trouble, since it raised questions about whether the White House would be able to pass an economic stimulus package.

But there has been more to unsettle investors since then – much more. First there was the U-turn over Syria, then the sabre rattling over North Korea. Now Trump has decided, in flat contradiction of what he said on the campaign trail, that China is not gaining an unfair trade advantage through the manipulation of its currency.

The kindest interpretation of this latest flip-flop is that Trump wants to keep Beijing sweet while the US launches military action against North Korea, although this prospect is not exactly designed to make investors any less nervous. A more accurate assessment of Trump’s first three months in the job is that he is making it up as he goes along.

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