Apr 14 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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Paul Krugman: Can Trump Take Health Care Hostage?

Three weeks have passed since the Trumpcare debacle. After eight years spent denouncing the Affordable Care Act, the G.O.P. finally found itself in a position to do what it had promised, and deliver something better. But it couldn’t.

And Republicans, President Trump very much included, had nobody but themselves to blame. Basically, the party has been lying all this time, and the lies finally caught up with the liars. Mr. Trump promised health care that would be “far less expensive and far better”; in the event, all he and his allies had to offer were surging premiums, higher out-of-pocket expenses and mass loss of coverage.

But Mr. Trump, as you may have noticed, isn’t big on accepting responsibility for his failures. Instead, he has decided to blame Democrats for not cooperating in the destruction of their proudest achievement in decades. And on Wednesday, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he openly threatened to sabotage health care for millions if the opposition party doesn’t give him what he wants.

In that interview, the president of the United States sounded just like a mobster trying to extort protection payments from a shopkeeper.

Eugene Robinson: We don’t know where Trump stands. Neither does he.

So much for Donald Trump, the “America First” populist champion of the forgotten working class. The president now sounds pretty much like a garden-variety globalist, defending the “rigged” system he denounced during the campaign.

Then again, who knows how he’ll sound next week? He hasn’t even been in office for three full months, and Trump may already be the most erratic president we’ve ever seen. We have no idea where he really stands because, well, neither does he.

Remember when Russia was good and President Vladimir Putin was a potential partner in fighting the Islamic State? Now Russia is bad because it continues to support Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, who killed civilians, including “beautiful babies,” with chemical weapons. Russia’s support of Assad, of course, is nothing new. But Putin, who no longer compliments Trump, kept Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cooling his heels before deigning to meet with him. Horrible!

Amanda Marcotte: First fake news, now fake history: Glenn Beck wants to train young people to promote an alternative history

If there are two characteristics that really define Trumpism, they are a total disregard for the importance of facts and a nostalgia for a mythical, vaguely defined time of American “greatness.” That makes the Trump era ripe for Glenn Beck’s ongoing project of creating and promoting his revisionist view of American history — one that valorizes straight white men as humanity’s natural leaders and grants Christian fundamentalism a centrality to American history that it did not, in reality, have.

Beck has been ramping up a program he runs with the pseudo-historian David Barton to peddle Barton’s fake history version of American history.

Barton’s history is one where the Founding Fathers’ idea of government was rooted in fundamentalist Christianity, instead of Enlightenment philosophy, and one which minimizes the contributions of people of color in service of centering Christian white men as the righteous shepherds guiding everyone else. As Kyle Mantyla at Wing Watch reports, the latest move by Barton and Beck is a two-week program, at $375 a head, that will teach high school graduates their fake version of history before heading off to college so “they can then set their ignorant professors straight on the ‘real’ history of America.”

Roger Cohen: France in the End of Days

For some time France has been a country that does not like itself. Somewhere on the road from its humiliation in World War II to its disappointment with European integration to its discomfort with globalization, France slid into moroseness. High-speed trains purred; France pouted. Grumbling became a way of life, the response to lost grandeur. Now France seems ready to vent this slow-ripening anger in an election that could see the extreme right return to power for the first time since the 1940s and Europe revert to a turbulence not seen since that epoch.

If Marine Le Pen of the National Front wins, she says she will take France out of the euro, the shared European currency, and restore the franc. Exit from the European Union could follow. This would constitute an economic and political rupture so violent that even Donald Trump’s victory and Britain’s vote to leave the union would pale beside it. Europe, and not just its markets, would be upended. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has been meddling, would be happy.

Heather Digby Parton: More TrumpRegrets every day: Now the hard-right nationalists are losing their religion

The story of the regretful Donald Trump voter has already become a cliché. It started even before the inauguration, with reporters venturing out into the wilds of real America to talk to the most fascinating people on Earth and find out how they’re feeling on any given day. The Trump voter has a lot of feelings, you see. And we want to know about every single one of them, all the time.

During the transition before his inauguration we learned that a lot of Trump’s voters were upset when their hero declined to arrest Hillary Clinton and “lock her up.” Evidently when they heard him say, “drain the swamp,” they thought that was what he meant. Indeed, the thrill of seeing the much-loathed former secretary of state clapped in handcuffs was the main reason many of them voted for him. For a time they could have put their hopes in House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz but alas even he seems to have lost interest.

It wasn’t long before Trump voters began to complain of other apostasies, so many, in fact, that people began to collect them on social media. A Tumblr called “Trumpgrets” was created shortly after the election to chronicle all the articles about regretful Trump voters, and a Facebook page called “IregretvotingforTrump featured ongoing testimony of remorse. A Twitter feed called Trump Regrets even received national attention for retweeting the posts of people who were upset with one thing or another. It’s amazing how many there were, right from the beginning.