«

»

Oct 12 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”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Nouriel Rubini: Will world growth continue or are we heading for a slowdown?

For the past few years, the global economy has been oscillating between periods of acceleration (when growth is positive and strengthening) and periods of deceleration (when growth is positive but weakening). After more than a year of acceleration, is the world heading towards another slowdown, or will the recovery persist?

The current upswing in growth and equity markets has been going strong since the summer of 2016. Despite a brief hiccup after the Brexit vote, the acceleration endured not only Donald Trump’s election as US president but the heightening policy uncertainty and geopolitical chaos that he has generated. In response to this apparent resilience, the International Monetary Fund, which in recent years had characterised global growth as the “new mediocre”, upgraded its World Economic Outlook in July.

Will the recent growth spurt continue over the next few years? Or is the world experiencing a temporary cyclical upswing that will soon be subdued by new tail risks, such as those that have triggered other slowdowns in recent years? It is enough to recall the summer of 2015 and early 2016, when investors’ fears of a Chinese hard landing, an excessively fast exit from zero policy rates by the US Federal Reserve, a stall in US GDP growth and low oil prices conspired to undercut growth.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s War Games

Don’t say that we weren’t warned.

In a September 2015 speech before the National Press Club in Washington, the Louisiana governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said:

“Donald Trump is dangerous. But not in the way you think. Many people think he’s dangerous. They say, ‘Well, you wouldn’t want somebody like that with such a hot head with his fingers on the nuclear codes.’ And yeah, that’s certainly true. That’s not the real danger. The real danger is that ironically Donald Trump could destroy America’s chance to be great again.”

During the second Republican presidential debate that same month, the CNN anchor Jake Tapper referred to Jindal’s concern about Trump and the nuclear codes, and asked Carly Fiorina, “Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?”

Fiorina hemmed and hawed, deflected and redirected, doing anything not to say what everyone knew — that Trump with the nuclear codes was a horrible idea. Jeb Bush also cowered when the question was put to him. But Rand Paul was forthright and forceful, saying:

“I think really there’s a sophomoric quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about him, having him in charge of the nuclear weapons, because I think his response, his visceral response to attack people on their appearance — short, tall, fat, ugly — my goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”

Robert Kagan: Faster, Steve Bannon. Kill! Kill!

Rarely has a political party more deserved the destruction the Republican Party may be about to suffer at the hands of President Trump’s former strategist, ideological guru and onetime puppeteer Steve Bannon. It was obvious during the earliest days of the campaign that Trump never intended to be either the leader or the protector of the Republican Party. He had contempt for the party. For one thing, it was a proven loser. For another, it crumpled like stick figures under his steamroller. Who could respect people who fell so easily, and so willingly?

Party leaders were especially contemptible in Trump’s eyes. They couldn’t even see what he was doing to them, or if they did, they were too cowardly to stop him. He had contempt for them when they tried to distance themselves from his racist, sexist and all around antisocial behavior. But he had even more contempt for them when they nevertheless came crawling back to him, again and again, pledging their fealty. He knew they came back not because they approved of him but because they feared him and the political following he commanded. He had stolen the hearts of their constituents, and therefore he owned them. He would use them as needed, and dispose of them when he could, knowing they could do nothing about it. “I saw them at Munich,” Hitler said of his British and French counterparts, whom he dubbed “little worms.”

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Hillary Clinton tweets up a reminder of why more Americans chose her

This week, courtesy of Twitter, we were offered a glimpse of why more Americans chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump as the appropriate person to be president of the United States.

On Monday night, Clinton (whose margin, by the way, was 2.9 million votes) tweeted up a storm. “This hasn’t gotten enough attn,” she wrote in her opener . “For the first time, Congress missed the deadline to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

It was the first of seven tweets in which she expressed a proper outrage over the failure of the House and Senate to renew a valuable piece of the government’s health-care safety net that provides insurance to some 9 million Americans under the age of 18.

The next morning, Trump issued a tweet of his own: “The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!”

Quite a contrast, don’t you think? On the one side is Clinton using the attention she commands on behalf of a group that enjoys little political influence or lobbying power. On the other is a self-involved bully who spends much of his time belittling those who dare oppose him. Clinton was fighting for children and teenagers. Trump was acting like one.

Rebecca Solnit: The fall of Harvey Weinstein should be a moment to challenge extreme masculinity

This past week was not a good week for women. In the United States, it was reported that a man who allegedly raped a 12-year-old girl was granted joint custody of the resultant eight-year-old boy being raised by his young mother.

Earlier in the week, the severed head and legs of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who disappeared after entering inventor Peter Madsen’s submarine, were discovered near Copenhagen. A hard drive belonging to Madsen, Danish police said, was loaded with videos showing women being decapitated alive.

A Swedish model received rape threats for posing in an Adidas advertisement with unshaven legs. The University of Southern California’s dean of medicine was dumped after reports resurfaced that he had sexually harrassed a young medical researcher in 2003. A number of men at liberal publications were revealed to have contacted Milo Yiannopoulos, urging him to attack women – “Please mock this fat feminist,” wrote a senior male staff writer at Vice’s women’s channel, since fired. And, of course, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was described by the New York Times as a serial sexual harasser; his alleged offences, according to a TV journalist, including trapping her in a hallway, where he masturbated until he ejaculated into a potted plant.

Leave a Reply