Dec 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: The Republican War on Children

Let me ask you a question; take your time in answering it. Would you be willing to take health care away from a thousand children with the bad luck to have been born into low-income families so that you could give millions of extra dollars to just one wealthy heir?

You might think that this question is silly, hypothetical and has an obvious answer. But it’s not at all hypothetical, and the answer apparently isn’t obvious. For it’s a literal description of the choice Republicans in Congress seem to be making as you read this. [..]

What’s the problem? The other day Senator Orrin Hatch, asked about the program (which he helped create), once again insisted that it will be funded — but without saying when or how (and there don’t seem to be any signs of movement on the issue). And he further declared, “The reason CHIP’s having trouble is that we don’t have money anymore.” Then he voted for an immense tax cut.

Eugene Robinson: What if Mueller catches Trump — and it isn’t enough?

We need to prepare for the eventuality that the Mueller probe catches President Trump, family members and associates red-handed — and Republicans in Congress refuse to do anything about it. [..]

Given that context, it is naive to assume that anything special counsel Robert S. Mueller III uncovers will lead Republicans to choose principle over political advantage. Trump boasted during the campaign that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose support. As far as the GOP majorities in Congress are concerned, he may be right.

Ultimately, that’s what Trump is counting on. He has been using his Twitter feed to try to create the impression that Mueller — the straightest of straight arrows, and a lifelong Republican — is somehow biased against him. Trump’s aim isn’t so much to pull the wool over the eyes of his base; rather, it’s to give House Republicans an excuse not to start impeachment proceedings, if and when the time comes.

Michelle Goldberg: Franken Is Leaving and Trump Is Still Here

At 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Al Franken, the Democratic senator from Minnesota, stood on the Senate floor and announced his intention to resign. He didn’t admit to allegations of groping and unwanted kisses, but argued that they’d become too great a distraction for him to serve effectively. “Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day,” he said, implying he’ll be replaced with a woman.

While Franken is on his way out of the Senate, Roy Moore, Republican of Alabama, may be on his way in. Moore stands credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old whom he picked up outside her mother’s custody hearing and of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old after offering her a ride home from her waitressing job. Nevertheless, Moore has President Trump’s endorsement. The Republican National Committee, which pulled financial support for Moore in November, has restored it. Recent polls show him leading in the special election set for Tuesday. [..]

This irony reveals the limits of the #MeToo movement. This week, Time magazine named those who’ve spoken out against sexual harassment — collectively called “The Silence Breakers” — as its Person of the Year. “When multiple harassment claims bring down a charmer like former ‘Today’ show host Matt Lauer, women who thought they had no recourse see a new, wide-open door,” the cover article says. In truth, however, this new door is open for only some people — those whose harassers are either personally or professionally susceptible to shame.

Catherine Rampell: China isn’t America’s rival — pinkie swear

The Chinese government would like Americans to know that China has no ambitions to replace the United States as the world’s biggest superpower.

Really! They pinkie-swear!

Sure, maybe the United States has turned its back on globalization. Maybe the U.S. government has said it will withdraw from a 195-country pact on climate change. Maybe it has hollowed out its diplomatic corps and retreated from the international promotion of democracy, human rights and other American values.

Likewise maybe, days before President Trump took office, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a major speech portraying China as the world’s new champion of free trade. Maybe China has also been flexing its geopolitical muscle by developing major infrastructure projects across multiple continents.

Steven W. Thrasher: Ventura county is burning. My hometown is climate change’s latest victim

An unbearable amount of Ventura county in southern California, where I was born and raised, is simply gone. And as I hear about site after site from my childhood simply disappearing into scorched earth, I am realizing that climate change is not only erasing the present, it is also destroying the physical touchstones to my own past.

Victim to hot temperatures and high winds, some 90,000 acres have burned, hundreds of structures have been destroyed, and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated or lost power in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

But it is coastal Ventura, where I was born, that has driven home so personally what climate change looks like.