Feb 16 2018

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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New York Times Editorial Board: The N.R.A. Can Be Beat

Parents throughout the country live with the dread that the next lockdown at their child’s school won’t be a drill and that screams like those we heard on cellphones from classrooms at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will come from their own child’s classroom.

The terror that has gripped their elected officials, however, is fear of the wealthy gun lobby, to which they have let themselves be held hostage for decades.

But standing up to gun rights extremists and industry lobbyists can no longer be seen as an act of heroism that could lead to political suicide. It is an act of common sense that would bring our government under the control of its citizens. [..]

With midterm elections coming up this fall, America has a chance to get that message across. Candidates must realize that reducing gun violence is a winning and moral issue. Aggressive turnout by voters who believe this can defeat the N.R.A. at the polls. Until then, the bloodshed will continue.

Paul Krugman: Budgets, Bad Faith and ‘Balance’

Over the past couple of months Republicans have passed or proposed three big budget initiatives. First, they enacted a springtime-for-plutocrats tax cut that will shower huge benefits on the wealthy while offering a few crumbs for ordinary families — crumbs that will be snatched away after a few years, so that it ends up becoming a middle-class tax hike. Then they signed on to a what-me-worry budget deal that will blow up the budget deficit to levels never before seen except during wars or severe recessions. Finally, the Trump administration released a surpassingly vicious budget proposal that would punish not just the vulnerable but also most working families.

Looking at all of this should make you very angry; it certainly infuriates me. But my anger isn’t mostly directed at Republicans; it’s directed at their enablers, the professional centrists, both-sides pundits, and news organizations that spent years refusing to acknowledge that the modern G.O.P. is what it so clearly is.

Which is not to say that Republicans should be let off the hook.

Max Boot: The Second Amendment is being turned into a suicide pact

There is a long litany of gun-control measures that enjoy majority support from the public. They include banning the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, prohibiting modifications such as bump stocks that allow faster rates of fire, instituting universal background checks for gun and ammunition buyers, barring gun sales to all violent criminals and those deemed dangerous by mental-health professionals, creating a centralized record of gun purchases, and requiring all gun owners to be licensed just as all drivers are.

Ideally we would also rethink the Second Amendment in an age where firearms are far more lethal than in the 18th century and where we no longer require minutemen to protect our liberties from the redcoats. But it’s not necessary to repeal the Second Amendment. The courts have consistently upheld gun regulations in the past, including a federal assault-weapon ban that was in effect from 1994 to 2004 and a Maryland ban that went into effect in 2013. [..]

Politicians, primarily but not exclusively Republicans, are turning their idolatrous worship of the Second Amendment into a suicide pact. If the United States had been under assault from Muslim terrorists, they would have acted long ago. But apparently homegrown mass murderers are of scant concern even though they kill far more people than terrorists do.

Eugene Robinson: The issue is not mental health. The issue is the guns.

Don’t tell me the issue is mental health. Save the nonsense about “good guys” with weapons somehow being the answer. The truth is this: There would have been no tragic shooting Wednesday in Parkland, Fla. , if a troubled young man had not gotten his hands on a military-style assault rifle and as much ammunition as he wanted

Many people knew that Nikolas Cruz was troubled, violent and liable to explode. Yet nothing kept him from acquiring the gun he allegedly used to kill 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in yet another senseless slaughter of the kind that still shocks but no longer surprises. [..]

Apologists for the National Rifle Association will cynically use this circumstance to argue against a common-sense measure that 4 out of 5 Americans support: universal background checks for gun purchases. That wouldn’t have stopped the Parkland massacre, they will claim — diverting attention from the fact that universal checks could have prevented some mass shootings in the past and would surely prevent some in the future.

At the heart of the matter, though, lies the gun.

Catherine Rampell: Why is it so hard for Trump to say that evil things are evil?

“It almost wouldn’t even have to be said.”

That’s how President Trump characterized his views on domestic violence Wednesday. This was a week after photographs of a woman allegedly beaten by a senior White House aide became public.

It was days after a second White House aide resigned, also following allegations of domestic abuse. [..]

If you ask Americans about gun laws, they will overwhelmingly agree that there are some gun-control measures that, it almost needn’t be said, are worth pursuing. Measures such as barring sales of firearms to those with mental illness, requiring gun licenses, having universal background checks, banning the sale and ownership of all semiautomatic and automatic firearms.

It almost wouldn’t even have to be said that, after such a tragedy, our president wants to rethink our nation’s gun policies.

It almost wouldn’t even have to be said, and it wasn’t.