Punting the Pundits

“Punting 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 “Punting the Pundits”.

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New York Times Editorial Board: The Anti-Immigrant Binge in Congress

Congress is in danger of taking that most cursed of American political disagreements, the debate over illegal immigration, and dragging it farther toward insanity.

Bills are being rushed to the floor in the House and Senate in response to a woman’s senseless killing in San Francisco by an unauthorized immigrant with a long criminal record. That single crime has energized hard-line Republican lawmakers who have long peddled the false argument that all illegal immigrants are a criminal menace, and that the best way to erase their threat is by new layers of inflexible policing. [..]

Congress should support the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to focus its limited resources on dangerous criminals and national security threats. It should allow the vast majority of immigrants, who pose no threat, to pass background checks, pay fines and back taxes and live and work in this country openly.

That would be a serious solution, one that gives deserving immigrants a foothold in this country and makes it easier to uncover those who come here to do harm. It is called comprehensive reform, which Mr. Smith, Mr. Gowdy and others in their anti-immigrant caucus, now consumed with exploitive fury over the San Francisco tragedy, have fought at every turn.

Paul Krugman: The M.I.T. Gang

Goodbye, Chicago boys. Hello, M.I.T. gang.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the term “Chicago boys” was originally used to refer to Latin American economists, trained at the University of Chicago, who took radical free-market ideology back to their home countries. The influence of these economists was part of a broader phenomenon: The 1970s and 1980s were an era of ascendancy for laissez-faire economic ideas and the Chicago school, which promoted those ideas.

But that was a long time ago. Now a different school is in the ascendant, and deservedly so. [..]

The truth, although nobody will believe it, is that the economic analysis some of us learned at M.I.T. way back when has worked very, very well for the past seven years.

But has the intellectual success of M.I.T. economics led to comparable policy success? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Bruce Dixon: NetRoots Nation Confrontation Wasn’t About #BlackLivesMatter At All

The first thing to know about the #BlackLivesMatter confrontation with Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders is that it didn’t happen on the street or some neutral setting, it didn’t happen at some random campaign appearance. It happened at the annual NetRootsNation gathering, this year in Phoenix.

NetRoots bills itself as “the largest gathering of the progressive movement” in this country. Unless you think the Democratic party IS the progressive movement, or that all “progressives” are Democrats, this is nonsense. I know, I’ve been to NetRoots. [..]

Since Hillary is the all but inevitable Democratic nominee, confronting two minor white male candidates, demanding they “say her name” and come up with solutions that address white supremacy, structural racism and the runaway police state is pretty much a foolproof strategy to get noticed, and as Hillary did not attend NetRoots, they got to do it without antagonizing the Clinton camp. Hillary wisely covered her own ass by releasing a tweet that unequivocally said “black lives DO matter.”

But all in all, the NetRootsNation confrontation wasn’t the stirring of black women activists “taking their rightful place at the front of the progressive movement,” as one breathless tweet called it. It didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know about O’Malley or Sanders, or about hypocritical Hillary.

It was about flying the #BlackLivesMatter flag to jockey for positions inside the machinery that is the Democratic party and its affiliates.

Zoë Carpenter: Five Years After Dodd-Frank, ‘It’s Still a Financial System That Needs Reform’

At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, former North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller found himself searching for answers on Wikipedia. He was looking up “credit default swaps,” which the website defines as “a financial swap agreement that the seller…will compensate the buyer (usually the creditor of the reference loan) in the event of a loan default (by the debtor) or other credit event.” Largely unregulated, those swaps and other complex derivatives both amplified and obscured the risks of all the bad loans that mortgage companies had made and sold-and they bankrupted AIG. Miller was a member of the Financial Services Committee and a critic of the mortgage lending industry, but even he had no idea what they were.

“After I finished reading the Wikipedia entry on credit default swaps, I probably knew more about them than any other member of Congress,” Miller told me recently, on the fifth anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial-reform law. Cleaning up the derivatives market was one of the main pillars of that landmark legislation. On that front, and in many other respects, the law’s legacy is still a work in progress, hampered by repeated attempts by Wall Street and its allies in Congress to undermine implementation, and by foot-dragging in some regulatory agencies.

John Glazer: Critics of the Iranian nuclear deal protest too much

Arguments against the agreement rely on specious assumptions and misinformation

The Barack Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran is historic. It significantly rolls back Iran’s enrichment program and staves off the risk of another calamitous U.S. war in the Middle East.

But the deal’s opponents – notably, all of the 2016 GOP candidates, most Republicans in Congress, hawkish Democrats such as Sen. Robert Menendez, and of course Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – remain doggedly against it.

As demonstrated in yesterday’s Senate hearing on the deal, Republicans and their allies continue to deny the deal’s strong non-proliferation features and reject the notion that it can actually yield real benefits to U.S. interests. The facts contradict their objections: Iran has to reduce its number of centrifuges by about two-thirds and dismantle about 97 percent of its low-enriched uranium stockpile while being subject to one of the most intrusive monitoring regimes in the world. The Additional Protocol, which allows for inspection of suspected but undeclared enrichment sites, is permanently adopted under this deal.

What’s more, few of the deal’s critics have offered any realistic alternatives.

E. J. Dionne: Donald Trump Has the GOP Establishment’s Number

The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.

When Trump gave out Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number on Tuesday at an event in the South Carolina senator’s home state, he did it to show he wasn’t backing down after his outlandish attacks on Sen. John McCain’s status as a war hero. But he was also making clear to the Republicans assailing him that he really does have their number. [..]

NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Perry on “Meet the Press” last Sunday if Republicans are confronting a “reap-what-you-sow issue” with Trump. Perry’s reply was lame: “I’ll suggest to you we’re seeing the real Donald Trump now.”

Sorry, but the real Donald Trump has been in full view for a long time, and Perry’s new glasses can’t explain his newfound clarity. I don’t credit Trump with much. But he deserves an award for exposing the double-standards of Republican politicians. They put their outrage in a blind trust as long as Trump was, in Perry’s words, “throwing invectives in this hyperbolic rhetoric out there” against Obama and the GOP’s other enemies.

Only now are they willing to say: “You’re fired.” No wonder Trump is laughing.