Aug 03 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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Richard Eskow: Kochs and Trump Team Up to Cut Billionaires’ Taxes

This headline appeared on Monday, July 31, 2017, at precisely 4:00 am: “Koch Brothers Move to Back White House’s Tax-Cut Plan.” This one appeared less than twelve hours later: “White House sees tax reform zipping through Congress in October, November.”

That’s what you get when you combine the Kochs’ money and influence with Trump’s executive power and support from the Republican base: a unified Republican Party marching in lockstep toward a destructive goal.

The Kochs’ much-publicized hostility toward Donald Trump has been replaced by a strategic alliance between the ideologically extreme billionaire brothers and the ideologically fluid but equally self-serving businessman/president. They have reached “new-found unity” around an issue that is guaranteed to excite all Republican politicians; tax cuts that would benefit Trump, most members of his cabinet — and, of course, the Koch brothers themselves.

They don’t call them “cuts,” of course. That would sound crass. Instead, in time-worn Republican fashion, they hide their selfishness behind a more refined word: “reform.”

Charles M. Blow: Feasting on False and Fake

Donald Trump continues his savage assault on truth, honesty and candor.

In two weeks time, one of Trump’s lawyers has been proven a liar for repeatedly claiming that Trump had not been involved at all in the drafting of the misleading statement that his son Donald Jr. issued about his now-infamous meeting with Russians in Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.

As The Washington Post reported Monday: [..]

Then, on Tuesday, the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the elder Trump had played a role, saying, “The president weighed in, as any father would, based on the limited information that he had.”

In short, this whole line of defense that White House had maintained for weeks was a complete fairy tale, another blatant lie from the perpetual fountain of lies.

Heather Cox Richardson: Democrats have a historic opportunity. They must not make the rich richer

After seven months of polling and soul-searching, the Democratic leadership has unveiled its program for moving forward past the debacle of 2016.

In a New York Times op-ed on 24 July, the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, placed the blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss in the electoral college on the Democrats: they had been too timid and vague in articulating a vision for the country. But that, he promised, was changing. The Democrats had devised a program – a Better Deal for the American Worker – to offer to the American people. That deal had three legs: better pay, lower expenses, and investments in programs that would give workers tools to compete in the21st-century economy.

Critics immediately pointed out that these policy proposals were hardly new for the Democrats, who have called for similar programs in the past, and that calling their plan a “better deal” presumed that the current deal was good.

And therein lies the rub. The shocking rise of Donald Trump on the right and Bernie Sanders on the left signaled that Americans hate the current deal. While Trump and Sanders each had distinctive supporters, both spoke to the reality that since 1980, the political policies of neoliberalism have concentrated wealth in the pockets of a tiny elite.

Bernie Sanders: Nissan dispute could go down as most vicious anti-union crusade in decades

A few months before the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail: “We know from painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

This week, thousands of courageous workers at a Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, are doing just that. They are voting for the right to join a union, the right to make a living wage and the right to job security and pensions. And they are doing so by connecting workers’ rights with civil rights, as the plant’s workforce is over 80% African American.

But Nissan, like other large corporations, is doing everything it can to stop these workers from forming a union. In the lead up to the vote, Nissan management has been deluging employees with anti-union literature and is threatening to close the plant if a majority of its workers vote to establish a union.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: How Trump could lose his base

John F. Kelly, President Trump’s new chief of staff, is focused on ending chaos in the White House. Given that his boss is the self-disrupter in chief, good luck with that.

And Trump world’s vicious backstabbing is not, in any event, the administration’s most important problem. A devotion to lying is a far graver danger to this presidency, and military efficiency will not dispel it.

The Post’s report, essentially confirmed by the White House, that the president was the prime mover behind Donald Trump Jr.’s misleading statement about his meeting with a Russian lawyer peddling derogatory information about Hillary Clinton ratifies the pattern of deceit and misdirection on all matters Russian. Behaving as if you are guilty won’t convince others that you are innocent.

The president seems convinced that he can survive whatever comes his way as long as he keeps his much-celebrated political base with him. But this is not as easy as it sounds for either Trump or his party because his base is fundamentally divided.