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Jan 17 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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Eugene Robinson: Trump has absolutely no idea what black America looks like

Rep. John Lewis is the son of sharecroppers. As a child, he wanted to be a preacher; he practiced by delivering fiery sermons to the family’s chickens. But history had other plans for him: lunch counter sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, a seat in Congress representing most of Atlanta. No sane person would accuse such a man of being “all talk, talk, talk — no action or results.”

But that is precisely what Donald Trump said of Lewis. It was not the first time the president-elect raised questions about his own sanity, and I doubt it will be the last.

As I’ve said before, Trump’s compulsion to answer any perceived slight with both barrels blazing is a sign of dangerous insecurity and weakness, not strength. We are about to inaugurate a president with the social maturity of a first-grader.

Dean Baker: Republican Part-Time Nation: Going Involuntary

One of the lines the Republicans often used to attack Obamacare was complaining that it would lead to a massive switch to part-time work. The argument was that employers would cut all their workers to less than 30 hours a week. This would exempt them from the employer mandates in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The line “part-time nation” was a regular refrain on Fox News and other conservative news outlets.

It didn’t turn out that way. The share of workers who are employed part-time is virtually the same today as it was when the ACA was fully implemented at the start of 2014. It turns out that covered employers, those with more than 50 workers, have more important issues to consider in scheduling their workforce than avoiding the ACA requirements. Of course, since more than 90 percent of these employers already provided health care for their workers, it is not surprising that they didn’t change their behavior.

However the aggregate numbers on part-time work conceals an important shift that has largely gone unnoticed. While total part-time employment has changed little over the three years the ACA has been in effect, there has been a huge shift from involuntary part-time work to voluntary part-time work.

Robert Reich: Trump’s Plan To Neuter The White House Press Corps And Neuter Our Democracy

Tyrants don’t allow open questioning, and they hate the free press. They want total control.

That’s why, according to three senior officials on the transition team, the incoming Trump administration is considering evicting the White House press corps from the press room inside the White House and moving them – and news conferences – to a conference center or to the Old Executive Office Building.

This may sound like a small logistic matter. It’s not. The White House “press room” contains work stations and broadcast booths, and the briefing area for presidential news conferences. Reporters have had workspace at the White House since Teddy Roosevelt was president, in 1901.

But we’re in a new era, the reign of King Trump.

Richard Painter and Norman Eisen: Just when you thought the Trump ethics disaster couldn’t get worse, it did

For two weeks now, the majority leadership in the new Congress and the incoming Trump administration have been conducting a war on ethics. This has ranged from the effort to cripple the Office of Congressional Ethics to the Senate’s rush to confirm President-elect Donald Trump’s nominees before their financial conflicts disclosures were complete to Trump’s own inadequate plan to address his ethical problems.

The latest front involves the Office of Government Ethics and its director, Walter Shaub Jr., who has had the temerity to speak up against Trump’s plan to deal with his conflicts of interest as “meaningless.”

Both of us, former ethics counsels for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, respectively, have worked with Shaub, a career public servant who, in our experience, provided nonpartisan and wise advice. Now, Shaub is being pilloried — and may be at risk of losing his job — for doing just that, and asserting correctly that Trump’s approach “doesn’t meet the standards . . . that every president in the last four decades has met.”

Dana Milbank: Trump gets no respect. That’s because he hasn’t earned it.

Kellyanne Conway is walking a Dangerfield line.

“We got no forbearance. We got nothing. We got no respect,” the Trump strategist told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week, complaining about media coverage of her boss. “This man is president of the United States!”

Conway raises a fair question: Why hasn’t the president-elect been given more respect?

Here’s a fair answer: He hasn’t earned any.

To Trump’s many self-assigned superlatives, he can now add another: the sorest winner. With charity for none and with malice toward all but his supporters, he has in the past two months set a new standard for gracelessness in victory.