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Nov 07 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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The only reason for evil to triumph is for good men to do noting. Edmund Burke

Stephen COlbert: Gun Violence Makes Us Feel Powerless, But We’re Not

Eugene Robinson: The blood of innocents is on our hands

“Thoughts and prayers” are fine. Locking arms “through the tears and the sadness,” as President Trump prescribed, is all well and good. But none of this does a damn thing to stop, or even slow, the carnage.

On Sunday, in Sutherland Springs, Tex., a disturbed and angry man with a military-style semiautomatic assault rifle opened fire at the First Baptist Church during services, killing 26 people. It was the worst church shooting in modern U.S. history. Think about that: We’ve seen enough mass killings at houses of worship that we can rank them in order.

Why did he do it? We may never be certain; the assailant, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, is dead. But we can say with certainty how he did such an unspeakable thing: with a gun designed for warfare, a weapon that has no business in civilian hands.

I’ve written this column before, and I will have tragic occasion to write it again. I don’t care about that. I’ll keep writing it because we cannot become inured to this horrific gun violence. We cannot allow mass killings to become normalized, even though they happen with increasing and numbing frequency. We can accept the loss of life on the battlefield as the price of freedom but not senseless murder in the church pews.

Catherine Rampell: Who wins biggest in the GOP tax plan? The lazy rich.

The Republican tax bill is often described as being weighted toward “the rich.” But that’s not the full story.

It’s actually weighted toward the loafer, the freeloader, the heir, the passive investor who spends his time yachting and charity-balling.

In short: the idle rich.

Republicans claim the opposite, of course. For years the GOP has argued that we need to cut taxes to incentivize work and job creation. If only today’s allegedly sky-high marginal rates were lower, millions of talented, driven Americans would apply more of their talent and drive toward growing the economy.

Why? Well, if they got to keep more of their hard-earned cash, there would be a greater payoff from clocking that extra hour, taking on that extra project, seeing that extra patient, scoring that extra client, building that extra business, and so on. Working would look more attractive relative to playing an extra round of golf.

David Cay Johnston: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/06/super-rich-tax-rules-paradise-papers

The Paradise Papers, the internal documents of a Bermuda law firm, reveal a problem far more pernicious than the unethical conduct by tens of thousands of wealthy individuals around the world.

Humans will always have to cope with personal dishonesty. What the Paradise Papers show is how dishonesty is being promoted on a mass scale and how corruption is being institutionalized. The 13.4m files show that what are supposed to be windows of disclosure into the finances of high officials are easily covered with blinds made by piecing together business laws from multiple jurisdictions.

As the super-rich increasingly hold the reins of governments in the US and other countries, the rules to make sure they act with integrity and in the public interest fail. That’s because the rules were written to guard against petty corruption among people of little to no wealth.

Richard Wolffe: The heartbreaking stupidity of America’s gun laws

Another year, another church. Another month, another mass killing. Another day, another political shrug about gun massacres across the United States.

There is still some shock left in this uniquely American series of mass killings. And with that shock, maybe a small glimmer of hope that the silent majority of Americans might demand something more than prayers from their lawmakers.

Prayers, sadly, did not save 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Just as they didn’t save nine lives at the Bible study group in Charleston, South Carolina, two years ago.

There’s still some shock left from the faces of the Texas death toll, which included a pregnant woman, a five-year-old child, and the pastor’s teenage daughter. But there was also shock at the toll inside Charleston’s Emanuel AME church, which included the pastor himself. And we have yet to process the shock of the carnage in Las Vegas, that left 58 country music fans dead just last month.

Clara Long: The nominee to replace John Kelly at Homeland Security shouldn’t get a free pass

Senators scarcely asked John F. Kelly about immigration enforcement during his January confirmation hearing to lead the Department of Homeland Security. It was an oversight even then, given President Trump’s campaign promises to ramp up already draconian and inhumane immigration enforcement policies. Perhaps senators hoped that reasonable minds in Trump’s administration would prevail and trusted Kelly to be an “adult in the room.”

If the new administration deserved any benefit of the doubt then, it certainly doesn’t now. We have a 10-month track record of immigration enforcement practices that are as bad as promised. Now that Kelly is White House chief of staff and his deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, has been nominated to replace him at Homeland Security, senators know what to expect. They shouldn’t give Nielsen a pass at her confirmation hearing this week.

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