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Nov 16 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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Charles M. Blow: Moore, Trump and the Right’s New Religion

I have lived my whole life with a Republican Party with which I disagreed, but at least understood.

The first election I can remember was the presidential election of 1980. I was 10 years old. I didn’t know much about politics or party platforms. I only knew that the former peanut-farmer president, Jimmy Carter, was running against a former actor, Ronald Reagan.

But it was in that election that Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority reintroduced religious activism into American politics. Speaking at a Dallas convention of Christian fundamentalists, Falwell proclaimed: “During the 1980s, preachers, we have a threefold primary responsibility. No. 1: Get people saved. No. 2: Get them baptized. No. 3: Get them registered to vote.”

The religious activism was in many ways a direct response to the strides made in the 1960s and 1970s on racial equality, women’s rights and gay rights.

In a way, their driving motivation was to make religious law into American law, really not so unlike the Shariah law they so fear and despise.

Eugene Robinson: Republicans: Enrage your colleagues

The GOP bill that should be called the Cut Taxes on President Trump and Other Very Rich People Act of 2017 always had a secondary purpose: to jack up the deficit so Republicans could later cry out in horror, “Look at that awful debt!” They would then use the pools of red ink they created to justify deep cuts in social programs.

But people who call themselves conservative are shoveling out so much money so fast to corporations and the privileged that they needed some health-care cuts upfront — at the expense of coverage for millions of our less fortunate brothers and sisters.

And so on Tuesday, the Senate majority took an appalling bill and made it even more atrocious. To their ungainly concoction of tax breaks for the various interests that support them, they added the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, scrapping the mandate would reduce the number of Americans with health insurance by 13 million over a decade. To which the champions of redistributing money to the boardrooms and the yacht clubs say: Oh, goody!

Wilf Mbanga: Even if Mugabe has gone, Zimbabweans won’t be dancing in the streets

Should Zimbabweans be rejoicing today? Robert Mugabe, 93, has ruled them with an iron fist since 1980. He is the only president an entire generation aged under 40 have ever known. Admittedly, the fist was not so iron in the early years – but to millions of Zimbabweans it has become increasingly oppressive since the mid-1990s.

Thousands of people from the Ndebele ethnic group were slaughtered in the Gukurahundi purge of the early 1980s, and in the intervening decades many thousands more have paid with their lives. Women and children dying in childbirth at a faster rate than anywhere else in Africa; opposition activists beaten and tortured to death; journalists kidnapped and never seen again: it is a long and bloody list.

So surely Zimbabweans should be rejoicing at the news that Mugabe is now under house arrest, reported to have done a deal with the military in which he will resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country for himself, his wife, Grace, and his family.

Dean Baker: An Honest Approach To Simplifying Corporate Income Taxes

The Republicans are trying to pitch their tax cut plan as being a major step toward simplifying the tax code. While there is little doubt the plan will mean large tax cuts for corporations and their shareholders it is not clear that there will be much simplification. Corporations will still be able to have large tax savings by hiding profits overseas and other tricks.

However, it is possible to envision a change to the tax code that would genuinely simplify the system. Suppose that instead of paying income taxes each year, corporations were required to turn over a portion of their stock to the government, let’s say 25 percent, in the form of non-voting shares.

The rule would be that these shares are treated just like other shares of the company’s stock. If the company pays a $2 a share dividend to holders of its regular shares, it also pays a $2 dividend on each of the government’s shares. If the company buys back 10 percent of its outstanding shares at $100 per share, it would also buy back 10 percent of the government’s shares at $10 each. If another company wants to take over the company, buying up shares at $150 each, the company also has to buy the government’s shares at $150 each.

Francis Maxwell: ‘Kaep’tain America: This Is What A Patriot Looks Like

When you risk it all for the people, that’s patriotic.

Today “GQ” named Colin Kaepernick the magazine’s Citizen Of The Year. And while many triggered conservatives tossed the magazine off the roof with their Keurigs, as if any of them ever read “GQ” before, I want to tell you exactly why “GQ” is spot on ― why Colin Kaepernick is not only the citizen of the year, but a true American patriot, who risked everything to fight for the people.

Back in 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a stance when no athlete with his profile did. He knelt to protest the unjust killing of Black Americans by the police. He knelt to lend a voice to the voiceless when very few did. Like many Americans, he saw the deaths of Philando Castile, Terrence Crutcher, Alton Sterling, Jordan Edwards and many more, and his heart broke. And even with history the perfect case study as to what happens when a prominent black athlete speaks out against injustice, he still did it, jeopardizing everything for the cause.