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May 09 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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Katrina vanden Heuvel: Trump’s budget betrays his supporters. Here’s one that doesn’t.

At this point, there is no question that President Trump’s populist campaign image was a sham. Six months after the election, however, Democrats and progressives continue to squabble over why they lost, what they stand for and how to move forward. There is unity in resistance to Trump, but it’s important that Democrats lay out a bold agenda to counter Trump’s reactionary Republican agenda and stand with the millions of Americans who are getting shafted.

In that spirit, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) — led by co-chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) — last week released its annual budget alternative, “The People’s Budget: A Roadmap for the Resistance.” The release was well-timed. With Democrats struggling to find their way out of the wilderness, the CPC budget provides a coherent vision and a comprehensive plan to achieve it. In contrast with Trump’s “skinny budget” and one-page tax blueprint, it is an impressively detailed document, prepared in conjunction with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). It offers common-sense proposals that most Americans want to see enacted. Simply put, it represents a serious commitment to making the economy work again for everyone.

Eugene Robinson: Republicans are accidentally paving the way for single-payer health care

Sooner or later, we will have universal, single-payer health care in this country — sooner if Republicans succeed in destroying the Affordable Care Act, later if they fail.

The repeal-and-replace bill passed by the House last week is nothing short of an abomination. It is so bad that Republicans can defend it only by blowing smoke and telling lies. “You cannot be denied coverage if you have a preexisting condition,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said — true in the narrowest, most technical sense but totally false in the real world, since insurance companies could charge those people astronomically high premiums, pricing them out of the market if, as often happens, they let their coverage lapse. “There are no cuts to the Medicaid program,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said — a bald-faced lie, given that Republicans want to cut $880 billion from Medicaid in order to offset a big tax cut for the rich. [..]

I can’t think of a more effective way to drive the nation toward a single-payer system. In their foolish haste to get rid of Obamacare, Republican ideologues are paving the way for something they will like much less.

David Leonhardt: A French Lesson for the American Media

The hacked emails from Emmanuel Macron’s French campaign appear to be spectacularly mundane, according to people who have read them. They include briefings on issues, personal exchanges and discussions of the weather. No doubt they also include some embarrassing thoughts, but so far they are notably lacking in scandal.

Does this description remind you of anything?

Ah, yes. Last year, Russian agents stole thousands of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and published them via WikiLeaks. The dominant feature of the emails was their ordinariness. [..]

Despite the mundane quality of the Clinton emails, the media covered them as a profound revelation. The tone often suggested a big investigative scoop. But this was no scoop. It was material stolen by a hostile foreign government, posted for all to see, and it was only occasionally revealing. It deserved some coverage, but far less.

I say this as someone who likes journalism so much that I’ve never had another full-time job. I also say it with reverence for the many journalists doing good, hard work that, as Thomas Jefferson explained, is vital to democracy. With a president who lies all the time, often about the media, journalism becomes all the more important. And because it’s so important, those of us practicing it need to be open to reflection and criticism.

Joshua Matz; Yes, the courts ‘second-guessed’ Donald Trump’s motives. That’s their job

Questions about responsibility dominated oral argument on Monday before the US fourth circuit court of appeals, which sat in judgment of Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. By the end of the sitting, it appeared likely that a majority of the court will uphold a ruling against Trump – but that its ruling will draw passionate dissents.

Questions about responsibility dominated oral argument on Monday before the US fourth circuit court of appeals, which sat in judgment of Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. By the end of the sitting, it appeared likely that a majority of the court will uphold a ruling against Trump – but that its ruling will draw passionate dissents.

Steven W. Thrasher: Did Stephen Colbert cross a line? The government doesn’t get to decide that

Stephen Colbert is in trouble for saying that the only thing Donald Trump’s “mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster”. Is that funny? I thought so. That doesn’t mean Colbert, a satirist, shouldn’t be criticized. But that he is being investigated by the federal government – as the FCC is now doing following complaints it received – should alarm us all.

As a gay man, I didn’t find the joke offensive because, to me, fellatio isn’t offensive. I tell and laugh at jokes about oral sex and politics all the time. One of my first cover stories for the Village Voice was called “Who do we have to blow to get gay marriage?” Colbert might not be gay, but he used camp humor – an important part of gay culture – to deride the anti-gay president.

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