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Aug 01 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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Catherine Rampell: The most dangerous man in Washington

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most dangerous White House official of them all?

The Mooch may be out of the running, but there’s still a lot of competition. [..]

To be sure, all these aides and bureaucrats are doing damage. They are degrading norms, enacting bad policy and putting our country and planet at grave risk.

But right now the “most dangerous” title belongs — aside from the tweeter in chief, of course — to someone in a much less sexy job, with a much less scandalous background.

It’s Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

In terms of both immensity and immediacy, the threat Mulvaney presents is far greater than any of the slow-motion train wrecks happening elsewhere in the administration. That’s because he seems hell-bent on wreaking a global crisis within the next two months.

Yascha Mounk: The Past Week Proves That Trump Is Destroying Our Democracy

America is on its way to a full-blown constitutional crisis.

Over just a few days last week, President Trump and his allies stepped up attacks on Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the campaign’s connections to Russia. They tried to push Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of office. They thought out loud about whether the president can pardon himself.

This all points to the same conclusion: Mr. Trump is willing to deal a major blow to the rule of law — and the American Republic — in order to end an independent investigation into his Russia ties.

It is tempting to picture the demise of democracy as a Manichaean drama in which the stakes are clear from the start and the main actors fully understand their roles: Would-be dictators rail against democracy, hire violent thugs to do their bidding and vow to destroy the opposition. When they demand expanded powers or attack independent institutions, their supporters and opponents alike realize that authoritarianism has arrived.

Robert Reich: The Republican Failure to Repeal Obamacare Is Hardly the End of the Story

The demise of the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act is hardly the end of the story. Donald Trump will not let this loss stand. [..]

Now, having lost that fight, Trump will try to subvert the Act by delaying subsidies so some insurance companies won’t be able to participate, failing to enforce the individual mandate so funding won’t be adequate, not informing those who are eligible about when to sign up and how to do so, and looking the other way when states don’t comply.

But that’s not all. Trump doesn’t want his base to perceive him as a loser.

So be prepared for scorched-earth politics from the Oval Office, including more savage verbal attacks on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, more baseless charges of voter fraud in the 2016 election, and further escalation of the culture wars.

Eugene Robinson: Ivanka Trump is part of the problem

Foolish optimists expected Ivanka Trump to be a moderating force in the White House. But by now it should be clear that she’s not part of any solution, which by definition means she’s part of the problem.

Can anyone tell me why, other than nepotism, she has an office in the White House and a back-bench seat at meetings of the Cabinet? Washington is full of people who are smart, successful, well-educated — and actually have experience in developing and implementing government policy, which Ivanka completely lacks. [,..]

Ivanka promised to champion issues of concern to women, including paid family leave. And it was hoped that she could hold President Trump to his former live-and-let-live views when it came to issues such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Wrong, apparently.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: An even better deal

At the 1932 Democratic National Convention, Franklin D. Roosevelt declared, “Never before in modern history have the essential differences between the two major American parties stood out in such striking contrast as they do today.” Arguing that Republicans had offered “no path for the people below to climb back to places of security and of safety in our American life,” he called for a “new deal” to “restore America to its own people.”

Under President Trump, the differences between the parties on domestic politics are similarly stark. Yet as the GOP fights to advance an extremist agenda that would take the nation backward, Democrats have struggled to offer a clear vision for the future or a path to security for struggling Americans. To that end, the “Better Deal” agenda that Democratic leaders introduced last week may not live up to Roosevelt’s lofty standard or the bold 21st-century populism that fueled Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) insurgent presidential campaign, but it is a promising step in the right direction.

At the core of the Better Deal is a crackdown on corporate monopolies that represents a genuine shift for the party establishment.