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Dec 21 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: The Great American Tax Heist

With their tax bill, Donald Trump and the Republicans are raiding the Treasury in plain sight, throwing crumbs to the masses as the millionaires and billionaires make off with the cake.

America should be aghast not only at the looting but also at the brazenness of its execution.

It seems that for as long as I can remember, Republicans have been wringing their hands about deficits. And yet in this budget, they willingly, willfully exploded the deficit, not for public uplift or rebuilding America’s infrastructure but rather on the spurious argument that giving truckloads of money back to businesses will spark their benevolence.

According to the government’s own nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the tax bill will lead to “an increase in the deficit of $1,455 billion over the next 10 years.”

But be sure, when this bill leads to these predicted deficits, Republicans will return to their sidelined deficit rhetoric armed with a sickle, aiming the blade at the social safety net, exacerbating the egregious imbalance of the tax bill’s original sins.

Dana Milbank: Trump just told the truth. He may wish he hadn’t.

On Wednesday, the 335th day of his presidency, Donald J. Trump did something most extraordinary and uncharacteristic. He told the truth.

The president, celebrating his $1.5 trillion tax cut with fellow Republicans at the South Portico of the White House, was midway through his remarks when he veered sharply off message.

“I shouldn’t say this,” Trump said, “but we essentially repealed Obamacare.”

No, he probably shouldn’t have said it. But it’s true. Republicans, in rushing the tax bill to passage, kept fairly quiet about the fact that they were killing the “individual mandate” and thereby removing the engine that made the Affordable Care Act work. In doing so, they threw the health-care system into chaos without offering any remedy. And Trump just claimed paternity of the destruction.

E. J. Dionne Jr.: The age of betrayal is back

Dec. 20, 2017, will live on as a day of disgrace and dishonor.

It will be remembered as the day when a government of, by and for the people became a government of, by and for wealthy campaign donors — and of, by and for wealthy Republican politicians themselves.

We thought the corruption, self-dealing and social indifference of the Gilded Age were long behind us. But we underestimated the raw nerve of President Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

This Triumvirate of Privilege has returned us to the “age of betrayal,” as writer Jack Beatty called the years of the robber barons. The goal has always been to roll back the social advances that the country has made since the Progressive Era. On Wednesday, the demolition crews in the House and Senate struck a devastating blow.

Jill Dawsh: Trump is politicising the courts – and our judiciary is under threat

Almost one year into the Trump administration, we have fallen into a disturbingly familiar pattern of looking on as the daily news cycle tracks and parses the president’s latest tweets, decrying the fact that this is not the way things are done around here. But as we look the other way, it is the Senate that he has chosen to erode norms and conventions in how judges are staffed to the federal courts, and which is breaking down our democracy at every turn.

The constitution requires that the Senate provide “advice and consent” on nominations made by the president. But long before Trump was elected, Senate Republicans crossed the ultimate line when the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, calling it one of his “proudest moments”, led his caucus to refuse to hold a hearing for Chief Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s carefully chosen supreme court nominee who had even won accolades from the right. [..]

hould it be such a surprise, then, that with their party in control of both the House and the Senate, Republicans have chosen to wield their power to control the judicial branch, simply because they can and even if it does potentially irreparable harm to our democracy?

We need not look to the extreme example of refusing to seat a supreme court nominee to see how Senate Republicans are baking the politicization of the courts into the process and threatening the independence of the judiciary.

Tariq Moosa: Neo-Nazis are trying to spread hatred through comedy. This isn’t funny

“The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not.” So states the writing guide of the neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. As expressly outlined by the leaked guide, the goal is to make the site’s ideas digestible, palatable and visible to those outside its toxic sphere. By muddying the waters of Nazis’ hate, a greater number will drink.

While none of this is surprising to those of us who have been targets of Nazis and the alt-right, it’s useful to have their goals so plainly, if disgustingly, outlined. It helps show media sites contemplating profiles of white supremacists – like Mother Jones or the New York Times – that they’re only aiding them by putting forward their unchallenged ideas.