Nov 29 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 Waldman: Those Republicans who are ‘undecided’ on the tax bill? Don’t believe them for a minute.

There’s a drama playing out in the Senate right now, but the key to knowing what’s going to happen with this monstrosity of a tax bill is to understand that it’s all theater. All those allegedly wavering Republicans, poring over the details and unsure of whether they’re going to be able to bring themselves to vote for the bill?

They’re full of it. They’re posturing, maneuvering, angling for a few extra concessions and pretending to care deeply about things like the deficit. With perhaps one exception (John McCain), they’re all going to vote for it it in the end.

McCain may wind up voting against it, because he likes being contrary and he doesn’t really seem to care anymore. But the rest of the supposedly undecided votes — as many as ten, depending on whom you include — aren’t really undecided at all.

Ben Tarnoff: Time to release the internet from the free market – and make it a basic right

Say goodbye to net neutrality. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, released a plan to repeal the landmark protections enacted by the agency in 2015. This has long been a top priority for Pai and his fellow Republicans, who now enjoy a majority of commissioners thanks to Trump. The vote is scheduled for 14 December, and is widely expected to pass along party lines.

What does this mean in practice? In a sentence: slower and more expensive internet service. Net neutrality is the principle that internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast should treat all kinds of data the same way. Its repeal means that in the future, your ISP will be able to fleece you in all sorts of new ways.

Richard Wolffw: Yet more proof: Donald Trump is a fascist sympathiser

It was true after the racist mob in Charlottesville three months ago. And it’s still true today: Donald J Trump quite literally sympathizes with fascists.

He shares their worldview as easily as he shares their language and videos. He gives their voice and values the biggest platform in politics. He is a neo-fascist sympathizer in the mainstream of American politics, sitting at the heart of the West Wing and world power.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right Britain First group.

After President Trump shared three of Fransen’s anti-Muslim videos on Twitter on Wednesday morning, the extremist agitator could barely contain herself: “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN’S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!”

You know it’s a big deal with the fascists can’t stop tweeting in ALL CAPS.

Jennifer Rubin: If Trump believes what he’s saying, we really do need to deploy the 25th Amendment

The New York Times reports:

In January, shortly before his inauguration, Mr. Trump told a Republican senator that he wanted to investigate the [“Access Hollywood”] recording that had him boasting about grabbing women’s genitals.

“We don’t think that was my voice,” Mr. Trump told the senator, according to a person familiar with the conversation. Since then, Mr. Trump has continued to suggest that the tape that nearly upended his campaign was not actually him, according to three people close to the president.

He had earlier acknowledged it was his voice and even put out a statement on the topic. He now doesn’t recall or won’t recall what he once thought or said. This is no quirk. It’s wrong to say this is simply a life-long habit or, worse, as Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is quoted as saying, that his compulsive fabrication shows he is a “person of destiny.” No, President Trump’s delusional thinking suggests he’s a menace to the country and utterly unfit to serve.

Tom Levinson: Apropos Of Not Much

So I read the latest over at Talking Points Memo on the slow-rolling Republican “moderate” cave on the tax bill to Trump and the GOP’s I Got Mine/Tongue-Bath-A-Billionaire Caucus.  That led me to a Twitter rant born of despair and rage.

The TL:DR is that dominant-power decline has happened before, will happen to whoever comes next, and is well underway now.  None of this is new; none original.  It just bubbled up, and as misery loves company, I give you a slightly edited version of the rant below.

As the GOP prepares to transfer wealth up and gut national finances in the process, it’s worth reflecting a little on national power. US predominance is no law of nature. It emerged in specific historical circumstances, & it will erode (is eroding) within its historical moment.