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Dec 05 2016

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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Paul Krugman: The Art of the Scam

Remember Donald Trump’s tax returns? It was unheard-of for a presidential candidate to refuse to release returns, since doing so strongly suggests that he has something to hide. And at first the Trump campaign offered excuses, claiming that the returns would eventually be made available once an I.R.S. audit was done, or something. But at this point it’s apparent that Mr. Trump believed, correctly, that he could violate all the norms, stonewall on even the most basic disclosure, and pay no political price. [..]

Take, for example, the budget process. Normally, an incoming administration issues a fiscal plan conveying its priorities soon after taking office. But as the budget expert Stan Collender notes, there are strong indications that the Trump administration will ignore this precedent (and, possibly, the law) and simply refuse to offer any explanation of how its proposals are supposed to add up. All we’ll get, probably, are assurances that it’s going to be great, believe me.

True, we don’t yet know for sure that there will be no budget. But it’s already clear that bait-and-switch — big but empty promises, completely lacking in detail — will be central to Republican strategy on one key issue: the future of health coverage for millions of Americans.

Bernie Sanders: Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump

Today, about 1,000 Carrier workers and their families should be rejoicing. But the rest of our nation’s workers should be very nervous. [..]

In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.

Charles M. Blow: Trump’s Agents of Idiocracy

Last week when Donald Trump began his so-called Thank You Tour in Cincinnati, he had yet another opportunity to be magnanimous and conciliatory, to step beyond the division and acrimony of his campaign and into the unity and healing necessary to be president of a strained nation.

As is his wont, he declined, instead gloating and boasting, playing to the minority of American voters who chose him, relishing his own impenitence.

He is choosing to push America further apart rather than bring it closer together.

And be clear: It is not the job of the defiant to conform to a future president who makes them completely uncomfortable. The burden of unity lies with Trump, not his detractors.

“Just wait and see.” “Give him a chance.” But what if what you’ve already seen is so beyond the pale that it’s irrevocable? What if Trump has already squandered more chances than most of us will ever have?

Aasif Mandvi: The Trump Tweets I Want to Read

White nationalists have been captured on video raising their hands in a Nazi salute while shouting “Hail Trump.” Hate crimes have surged across the country — the Southern Poverty Law Center gathered reports of 867 in just the 10 days after the election. Yet, unlike his predecessors, our president-elect has been mostly silent in condemning the hate talk and violence being done in his name.

In an interview with this paper, Donald J. Trump said that the alt-right is “not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why,” seemingly unable to fathom that the reason they are “energized” is because of him and the thing he needs to “look into” are his own words. [..]

Mr. Trump’s supporters and staff say he has disavowed and condemned these acts and organizations and that should be the end of it. But to many of us, this isn’t enough. It feels disingenuous and forced because we all know that when Mr. Trump has something he really wants to say, he does one thing and one thing only: He spews forth on Twitter.

When the president-elect wants to unleash his disapproval, or his thin skin has been ever so slightly bruised, the people responsible can be sure to find themselves on the receiving end of a Twitter barrage like none other. That’s what I want to see now, and I won’t settle for less. The American people deserve to see Mr. Trump attack these hate groups and the people perpetrating hate crimes in his name the way he attacked the cast of the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” the cast of “Saturday Night Live,” the television personality Rosie O’Donnell, Gold Star families, The New York Times, Miss USA, the Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, women accusing him of sexual misconduct, protesters and the I.R.S.

We don’t want a pro forma apology extracted out of him reluctantly by a reporter. We want him to feel so hurt and angry about Nazis using his name that he is up tweeting at 3 a.m.

Martin Lukacs: Standing Rock is a modern-day Indian war. This time Indians are winning

As Indigenous peoples faced off against armed police and tanks near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Dakota, theirs wasn’t just a battle over a pipeline. It was a battle over a story that could define the future of America.

The Obama administration’s decision yesterday to refuse the Dakota Access pipeline permission to complete its construction has now shaken up that story. Its old version was that Indigenous peoples have always been in the way of progress, their interests a nuisance or threat, their treaties a discardable artifact. In that story, the American heroes forged on these high plains of the west were never the Indians: they were the gold-diggers or gamblers, the cowboys or cavalry.

But over the past months, it became impossible to watch peaceful Indigenous people and supporters attacked by snarling dogs, maced, and shot with rubber bullets and water cannons in freezing conditions, and still see in them a threat. It was impossible to look upon these young Indigenous men and women, in jingle dresses or on horseback, and not observe the courage that America desperately needs. It was impossible to listen to the cry of their slogan and not hear a rallying vision for all of us: Water is Life.