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Jul 05 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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Dean Baker: Republicans Craft Health Care Plan To Screw Trump Voters

After the election last fall many people were furious that enough people had voted for Donald Trump to put him in the White House and allow him to place second in the popular vote. In particular, Trump relied on a larger than usual Republican majority among white working class voters, defined as whites without college degrees.

Trump carried white working class women by a margin of 53 to 39. He carried white working class men 71 to 23 percent, an incredible margin of almost 50 percentage points. This has caused much anger to be directed at the white working class (WWC), at least among people who didn’t want to see Donald Trump in the White House.

Remarkably, if we judge actions over words, it would seem that no one is angrier at the white working class than the Republicans in Congress. How else can someone explain the health care bill approved by the House as well as the one now being considered by the Senate?

Bernie Sanders and James E. Clyburn: American healthcare is in crisis. We must fight for the real needs of the people

Today in America, we have a major crisis in primary healthcare. Tens of millions of people, including many with health insurance, are unable to access a doctor or a dentist when they need one. The result is that patients suffer unnecessarily and become sicker than they should. Some end up at expensive emergency rooms and some in hospitals. Our healthcare system wastes billions of dollars on expensive care that could be avoided with a strong primary care system.

Ask any doctor or nurse, and they will tell you this: having reliable access to high-quality primary healthcare is a big part of what keeps people healthy. This is exactly what the more than 1,400 federally qualified community health centers and their 10,000 delivery sites in this country provide every day.

We know community health centers work. Legislation that we introduced in 2009 greatly expanded community health centers as part of the Affordable Care Act, and we are extremely proud of what they are accomplishing. It is time to build on that success.

Christian Christensen: Trump bullied the press all week. Why do journalists play along?

If you spend enough time exposed to far-right trolls on Twitter, you will come across what is considered to be a witty and stinging insult: accusing someone of “virtue signaling”. In Twitter vernacular, “virtue signaling” is the public expression of a political or social position for the sole purpose of looking good and gaining social status.

In a week that can only be described as unique, Donald Trump and the White House have offered multiple chances for US journalists and citizens to signal their virtue by voicing opposition to a series of attacks on the press. [..]

If anything, the sight of US journalists being bullied by an incompetent, bigoted president should raise the ire of US citizens as much as the press’s disappointing, and weak response.

Peter Dreier: Joe And Mika Owe America An Apology

Most media reports have portrayed Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski as aggrieved victims of Donald Trump’s Thursday Twitter tantrum. It can’t be pleasant to be attacked so personally by the president, but Scarborough and Brzezinski are fighting back. On their MSNBC show “Morning Joe” on Friday and in an op-ed column in the Washington Post entitled “President Trump Is Not Well,” they chastised Trump for his vicious and vulgar attacks on her appearance, for referring to her as “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and him as “Psycho Joe.” They denied Trump’s claim that she had plastic surgery and that she was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when she and Scarborough visited Trump’s private club at Mar-a-Lago in Florida last year. They also levied a serious charge that Trump tried to blackmail them by threatening a negative story about the couple in the National Enquirer unless they asked Trump (who is close to the tabloid’s publisher) to have the story killed.

America is aghast but hardly surprised by Trump’s latest social media assault. It is totally consistent with his regular attacks on women, his efforts to bully and intimidate his critics, and his narcissistic need to get revenge on anyone who does not swear uncompromising loyalty to him. [..]

But Scarborough and Brzezinski are hardly emblems of journalistic integrity or political courage. Let’s not forget that the “Morning Joe” cohosts, particularly Scarborough (a former Republican Congressman from Florida), are partly responsible for Trump becoming president. They’ve known Trump for over a decade and were once among his biggest fans.

David Ignatius: Working with Russia might be the best path to peace in Syria

When Donald Trump meets Vladimir Putin this Friday in Hamburg, the two presidents should have in the back of their minds the insignia worn by the Syrian Democratic Forces militia, which is the United States’ main ally here. The patch shows a map of Syria bisected by the sharp blue line of the Euphrates River.

The Euphrates marks the informal “deconfliction” line between the Russian-backed Syrian regime west of the river, and the U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led SDF to the east. In the past several weeks, the two powers negotiated a useful adjustment of the line — creating a roughly 80-mile arc that stretches south, from near this battlefront city on Lake Assad, to a town called Karama on the Euphrates.

U.S.-Russian agreement on this buffer zone is a promising sign. It allows, in effect, for the United States and its allies to clear the Islamic State’s capital, Raqqa, while Russia and the Syrian regime take the city of Deir al-Zour, to the southeast. The line keeps the combatants focused on the Islamic State, rather than sparring with each other.