May 08 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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Paul Krugman: Republicans Party Like It’s 1984

There have been many bad laws in U.S. history. Some bills were poorly conceived; some were cruel and unjust; some were sold on false pretenses. Some were all of the above.

But has there ever been anything like Trumpcare, the health legislation Republicans rammed through the House last week? It’s a miserably designed law, full of unintended consequences. It’s a moral disaster, snatching health care from tens of millions mainly to give the very wealthy a near-trillion-dollar tax cut.

What really stands out, however, is the Orwell-level dishonesty of the whole effort. As far as I can tell, every word Republicans, from Trump on down, have said about their bill — about why they want to replace Obamacare, about what their replacement would do, and about how it would work — is a lie, including “a,” “and” and “the.”

And what does it say about the state of American politics that a majority of the representatives of one of our major political parties have gone along with this nightmarish process?

E. J. Dionne Jr.: Macron won. Now comes the hard part.

The voters of France acted responsibly and decently on Sunday. But they also sent a warning.

France’s new president-elect is Emmanuel Macron, a 39-year-old centrist whose 2-to-1 victory over the National Front’s Marine Le Pen offered yet another sign that the rise of President Trump is not the harbinger of a new and unhinged form of nationalism. For now, the center is holding, pluralism is hanging on, and the far right is being held in check. As they had in recent elections in Austria and the Netherlands, the friends of liberal democracy prevailed while Trump, who publicly tilted toward Le Pen, suffered another rebuke.

The fact that hackers went after Macron’s campaign and dumped emails publicly just before the vote underscored the election’s international stakes. Russia strongly favored Le Pen and subsidized her party while ultra-right groups across the West saw a Le Pen victory as a chance to break up an alliance system that includes the European Union and NATO. The latest cyberattack increases the urgency of understanding Russia’s role in the 2016 election in the United States.

Dean Obeidallah: No, Trumpsters, One Colbert Joke Is Not an O’Reilly Equivalent

Stephen Colbert has done it now. He has triggered an army of Donald Trump supporters outraged by one of the late night comic’s jokes about their beloved leader. In fact, these Trump snowflakes are in such a tizzy over Colbert’s politically incorrect joke they now want to silence Colbert by demanding he be fired.

This controversy exploded late Tuesday when Breitbart.com, in between articles demonizing immigrants and Muslims, published an article to whine about Colbert’s joke that sent Trumpers looking for a safe space. So what was this horrific joke that mandates Colbert be silenced in the eyes of Trumpers?

Well it was part of a block of jokes where Colbert quipped: “Sir, you attract more skinheads than free Rogaine. You have more people marching against you than cancer. You talk like a sign-language gorilla that got hit in the head.” And then the line that cause Trumpers to freak out: “In fact, the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s cock holster.”

And cue the outrage. Come Tuesday night the number one topic trending on Twitter was #FireColbert. And the tweets there offered up the biggest display of hypocrisy since the last time Trump opened up his mouth.

Richard RJ Eskow: Polls Show Voters Want More Government Solutions, Not Less

A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that, in the words of NBC’s Carrie Dann, “a record number of Americans say that the government should do more — not less — in order to solve the nation’s problems.”

This is a major change from the 1990s, when most Americans felt that government “does too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

There has even been a significant shift in the last two years alone. In 2015, 50 percent of voters thought the government should do more. Today that figure is 57 percent. 46 percent of those polled that year thought government did too much. That figure is now down to 39 percent.

Paul Waldman: Why Selling the Public on the AHCA Will Not Be Easy

One of the foundational principles of Donald Trump’s business career, one that he transferred over to politics, is to always act like you’re winning whether you actually are or not. So it was that he and House Republicans gathered in the Rose Garden on Thursday to stage a giddy celebration of the passage of a bill through the House that most (if not all) of the assembled legislators hadn’t read, that the Congressional Budget Office hadn’t scored, that was dead on arrival in the Senate (where Republicans will start over to write a new bill), and that every sensible observer agreed was practically a political suicide pact.

You have to give them some credit for successfully passing this malignant tumor of a bill through the House; given his record as a legislative leader, I doubted Paul Ryan was capable of it. But no matter what legislative twists and turns await, the chances that they’re going to be able to convince the public that the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a great idea are somewhere between slim and none, even for a party that has shown itself unusually deft at propaganda.