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Dec 18 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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Charles M. Blow: Omarosa, Sacking of a Sellout

Omarosa. One name is all you need. Madame is mononymous, and for all the wrong reasons: not fame, but infamy.

Her full name is Omarosa Manigault Newman, if you must know. Her claim to fame prior to latching herself onto the Trump campaign was being on Donald Trump’s reality show and being fired by him.

Now, she is in the headlines for again parting ways with the man who made her.

According to reports, she was fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly at a Christmas party and forcibly removed from the building. According to her, she gracefully resigned. As is always the case with this White House, somebody is lying.

But whatever the true nature of her departure, it is important to understand why few will mourn it.

Dean Baker: Bubbles: Are They Back?

There has been much greater concern about the danger of asset bubbles ever since the collapse of the housing bubble sank the economy. While it is good that people in policy positions now recognize that bubbles can pose a real danger, it is unfortunate that there still seems very little understanding of the nature of the problem.

First, an economy-threatening bubble does not just sneak up on us. Often the discussion of bubbles implies that we need some complex measuring tools to uncover an economy-threatening bubble that’s lurking in some far corner of the data.

This is absurd on its face. If a bubble is large enough to threaten the economy, it is hard to miss. This was true of both the stock bubble in the 1990s and the housing bubble in the last decade.

Richard Reeves: Trump’s tax bill has nothing to do with economics. It’s brute-force politics

The Republican party has achieved something nobody thought possible. They have taken the broken, regressive, loophole-riddled US tax code, and made it worse.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has nothing to do with economics. It is pure politics. Economists struggling to understand the unwieldy legislation are like biochemists attempting to explain contemporary ballet. Nobody seriously believes that the bill will boost growth. Everybody knows that it will massively increase the deficit; the only argument is whether it will be by $1.5tn, or just $1tn. The legislation has been drafted at breakneck pace, with few opportunities for costings or analysis: a recipe for errors. Senator Elizabeth Warren joked that she spent more time choosing her new refrigerator than the Senate managed for tax reform.

But for Republican lawmakers, the bill hits some very sweet political spots. Corporations? Check. The wealthy? Check. Obamacare haters? Check? When the deficit balloons, as it must, Republicans will then use that to justify cutting spending, especially on pensions and healthcare. Their cynicism is breathtaking. Their ruthlessness is impressive. Wait for the new Alabama senator, Doug Jones, to take his seat before voting? Are you kidding? There will be no waiting. This is brute force politics.

Richard Wolffe: This man sums up all that is wrong about Trump’s takeover of the courts

It is perhaps understandable that people focus on the global impact of a reckless, petulant and ignorant president. North Korea, Iran, global warming, Jerusalem: there’s plenty to keep you awake at night if you’re at all concerned about the world burning.

But all that means we overlook the smaller fires that will burn for a lifetime, destroying communities and citizens closer to home.

Because it turns out that a boneheaded president has a remarkable ability to nominate boneheaded federal judges who will serve an unlimited term as they undermine public confidence in justice and government. Much like the man who put their names forward in the first place.

For now the focus is on the single most ill-prepared and inexperienced nominee for any federal position in recent times: Matthew Petersen.

Petersen is nominated for a lifetime’s job as a US district judge in Washington DC, where the courts regularly shape the conduct of the federal government.

This columnist may have no legal qualifications whatsoever. But having sat in the E Barrett Prettyman courthouse for months on end, it is our learned opinion that Petersen is an embarrassing fool who has no business wearing a judge’s robes.

Corey Robin: The key takeaways from Doug Jones’s victory in Alabama

Since Tuesday’s Senate election in Alabama, when the mild centrist Doug Jones defeated the menacing racist Roy Moore, social media has been spinning two tunes. Politicians tweeted Lynyrd Skyrnyrd’s Sweet Home, Alabama. Historians tweeted the 1934 classic Stars Fell on Alabama.

My mind’s been drifting to The Alabama Song. Not the obvious reference from The Doors/Bowie version – “Oh, show us the way to the next little girl” – but two other lines that recur throughout the song: “We now must say goodbye … I tell you we must die.”

It’s a lyric for the left, which can’t seem to let go of its sense of defeat, even when the right loses.