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

Amana Fontanella-Khan: The world saw a grieving mother. Donald Trump saw a Muslim

There are many sinister things in the world. But a mother’s grief isn’t one of them. Yet Donald Trump sees dark undercurrents everywhere – including in the silent homage Ghazala Khan, the mother of the fallen soldier Humayun Khan, paid to her son.

“If you look at his wife, she was standing there,” he said, referring to her appearance at the Democratic national convention, in which she stood alongside her husband as he delivered a searing critique of Donald Trump. “She had nothing to say … Maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”

It shouldn’t be hard to recognize something as universal as grief. Our hearts all break in similar ways, no matter our creed or color. Ms Khan said: “When I was standing there, all of America felt my pain, without a single word. I don’t know how he missed that.” Well, he did because he was blinded by prejudice. Where everyone else saw a mother, Trump saw a Muslim – a faith group Trump wants to ban from entering the United States.

Scott Lemieux: Republicans keep trying to block black votes. That’s why fair judges are crucial

Last Friday was a big day for voting rights in the United States. Federal courts struck down restrictive voting laws in Kansas and Wisconsin. And in a particularly important decision, the fourth circuit court of appeals delivered a stinging rebuke to North Carolina’s egregious vote suppression law. As the court observed, North Carolina legislators didn’t even try to hide the core purpose of the law: to stop African Americans from getting to the polls.

The politics of North Carolina are a perfect illustration of what led the Republican party to nominate Trump. The southern state, which has seen a large influx of people into its prosperous urban centers, is becoming more liberal – Barack Obama carried the state in 2008, and Mitt Romney carried it by only two points in 2012. North Carolina Republicans have not reacted to these trends, however, by becoming more moderate. [..]

These are important victories. But they also underscore the importance of getting a supreme court majority that will fight back against vote suppression rather than facilitating it. Whether this happens will be determined in November, not only in the contest between Clinton and Trump but in the contest to control the Senate.

Robert Reich: DNC’s real problem: The committee is little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money

The shake-up at the Democratic National Committee after an embarrassing breach of its email system continued yesterday with the departure of three senior officials.

But purging the DNC of top officials won’t remedy the DNC’s problems. Those problems aren’t attributable to individuals who didn’t do their jobs. To the contrary, those individuals probably fulfilled their responsibilities exactly as those jobs were intended to be done.

The DNC’s problems are structural.

The Democratic National Committee — like the Republican National Committee — has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

As long as this is its de facto mission, the DNC won’t ever be kindly disposed to a campaign financed by small donations — Bernie Sanders’s, or any others. Nor will it support campaign finance reform. Nor will it be an institutional voice for average working people and the poor. It won’t want to eliminate superdelegates or support open primaries because these reforms would make Democratic candidates vulnerable to non-corporate interests.

Dean Baker: Clinton, Trump, and Budget-Busting Tax Cuts

At the Democratic convention we got some insights into the Clinton campaign’s line of attack on Donald Trump. While they rightfully intend to confront his racism, sexism, and xenophobia, the Clinton campaign also seems prepared to attack Trump’s “budget-busting” tax cuts. This is an area where caution would be advised.

The basic story is that, in the usual Republican tradition, Trump wants to give huge tax cuts targeted primarily to the wealthy. According to calculations from the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, these tax cuts will cost $9.5 trillion in lost revenue over the next decade before accounting for interest. [..]

But before we join the “budget-buster” chorus, it is worth remembering that the economy is suffering from a serious shortfall of demand. This is the concept of “secular stagnation” that is now being embraced by many of the world’s most prominent economists. Before the 2008 recession, most economists did not take seriously the idea that the economy could suffer from a sustained shortfall in demand.

But in the years since the downturn, economists such as Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, and Olivier Blanchard, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, have all raised concerns about secular stagnation. This means that they believe the economy needs additional spending in order to boost demand and employment and bring the economy’s level of output back towards its potential.

Mike Lux: Trump And The Christians

One of the most ironic things about the 2016 campaign is the willingness of the Christian conservative world to so eagerly embrace Donald Trump. This painfully long self-defense of this support is one of the latest examples, and the Jerry Falwell, Jr. speech at the Republican convention praising Trump is another. Sandy Rios from the far right Christian group American Family Association (AFA) leapt to Trump’s defense on the Khan family controversy by saying “From my perspective, it is the responsibility of Mr. Khan to distinguish himself from Islamists, from the Muslim Brotherhood, whose treatise is to destroy us from within,” Rios said. “If he is a patriotic, loyal, American Muslim, then we want to hear that, that’s great, and we grieve with them over the death of their son. But do not disparage Americans or Donald Trump for having concerns about Muslims in our midst.” If that isn’t pure bigotry, I don’t know what would be.

On a purely political level, it isn’t especially surprising that extreme conservative groups and people like these would support Trump. But in thinking about the bigger picture, whether the people who claim to be loyal followers of Jesus of Nazareth could support a man like Donald Trump, this is a puzzle. As numerous commentators such as Jimmy Kimmel have pointed out, Trump is the living embodiment of the seven deadly sins. Even if you limit Christianity to the most traditional conservative version promoted by people like Falwell and the AFA, Trump should be out of bounds.