Sep 25 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: Trapped by Their Own Lies

On Saturday pretty much the entire medical sector — groups representing doctors, hospitals, and insurers — released an extraordinary open letter condemning the Graham-Cassidy health bill. The letter was written in the style of Emile Zola’s “J’accuse”: a series of paragraphs, each beginning with the bolded words “We agree,” pointing out the bill’s many awful features, from the harm it would do to people with pre-existing conditions to the chaos it would cause in insurance markets.

It takes a truly terrible proposal to elicit such eloquent unanimity from organizations that are usually cautious to the point of stodginess. So how did Republicans come up with something that bad, and how did that bad thing get so close to becoming law? Indeed, it still has a chance of being enacted despite John McCain’s “no.”

The answer is that Republicans have spent years routinely lying for the sake of political advantage. And now — not just on health care, but across the board — they are trapped by their own lies, forced into trying to enact policies they know won’t work.

Charles M. Blow: A Rebel, a Warrior and a Race Fiend

Donald Trump is operating the White House as a terror cell of racial grievance in America’s broader culture wars.

He has made his allegiances clear: He’s on the side of white supremacists, white nationalists, ethno-racists, Islamophobes and anti-Semites. He is simpatico with that cesspool.

And nothing gets his goat quite like racial minorities who stand up for themselves or stand up to him.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was asked about the annual rite of championship teams visiting the White House, and Curry made clear that he didn’t want to go because “we basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.”

Trump responded to Curry’s expressed desire not to go by seeming to disinvite the entire team, to which Curry responded with a level of class that is foreign to Trump. Curry said, “It’s surreal, to be honest.” Curry continued: “I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.”

Of course, Curry is correct. Not only is this episode surreal, the entire Trump tenure is surreal. He is not a leader.

Suzanne Moore: The protesting NFL players, not Donald Trump, are the true patriots

“And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”. The words of America’s national anthem, uplifting as they may be, do what all anthems do: they reassure a nation of its own self-image. That image is now being contested by another that asks who really is free, who really is brave and who really is at home in Trump’s America.

The challenge comes from the image of American football players kneeling in protest during the anthem before matches. Their “taking a knee” action has fired the imagination and spread beyond football to baseball and even the world of showbiz, with Stevie Wonder among many stars seen following suit in solidarity. I don’t pretend for one minute to understand American football though I have been to several matches. It looks like rugby with crash helmets. But what I do know is a powerful symbol when I see one. [..]

It started last year with Colin Kaepernick, then a player for the San Francisco 49ers, who knelt rather than stood during the anthem as a protest against police brutality. This sparked a conversation about race and the Black Lives Matter movement, for which Kaepernick sacrificed his career. He has, however, ignited a visible resistance that is spreading.

While there has been endless arguing on the US left about whether Bernie Sanders could have won the White House or whether Hillary Clinton was either too much of a woman or not enough of one to get elected, opposition to Trump still feels like a diffused and disbelieving rage.

Powerful symbols help focus that rage and “taking a knee” is now that symbol.

Robert Kuttner: Can Business Restrain Trump?

Donald Trump still seems to think he can govern by decree. His latest demand, that professional sports franchises fire players who protest racism by refusing to go along with rituals involving the flag or the Pledge of Allegiance, suggests that Trump understands neither the First Amendment nor the American free enterprise system where presidents don’t get to tell corporate executives or professional athletes what to do.

He also seems to be a fool in whom he keeps picking fights with. It’s bad enough to get into a playground insult contest with the one world leader who is even crazier than Trump – Kim Jong-Un. But he topped even that by getting into a fight with LeBron James.

Both Kim and James got the better of our Dear Leader. Kim called Trump mentally deranged ― it takes one to know one ― and quipped that “a frightened dog barks louder.” Kim’s best line, or maybe his translator’s, was calling Trump a “dotard,” which sent editors scurrying for their dictionaries. The word means “a person in a state of senile decay marked by a decline of mental pose and alertness.” That about says it ― and is much more elegant than Trump’s goofy epithet, “Rocket man.”

Trump even made NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell look good ― and that takes some doing. Goodell defended his players, and put out a statement calling Trump divisive. James, perhaps the world’s most revered professional athlete, called Trump a bum.

William Rivers Pitt: Graham-Cassidy Is Evil Incarnate

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “evil” as “morally reprehensible; arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct; causing discomfort or repulsion; disagreeable; causing harm; marked by misfortune.” Synonyms for “evil” include the words wicked, malevolent, sinful, malicious and criminal.

Sounds just about exactly right.

After eleventy billion failed attempts to do away with Obamacare, we have arrived at this latest, last iteration right here at the edge of everything, where the shore gives way to the deep blue sea. I’ve been staring smoking holes in the white space on my screen trying to find a calmly professional way to describe the first-degree murder and grand theft represented by the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Being nice is not appropriate for the current moment. Remaining calm is not an option.

I’m through playing patty cake with these people. Graham-Cassidy is morally reprehensible. It arises from bad character. It causes discomfort and harm, and is marked by misfortune. It is altogether wicked, malevolent, sinful, malicious and criminal. It is evil in every sense of the word, and the fact that it is not only being considered by the US Senate, but could still actually pass, deals a lethal blow to the very theory of evolution itself. We are not evolving; we are merely marking time, meat on a plate for predators with a rich taste for blood.