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Jan 16 2018

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: Know-Nothings for the 21st Century

These days calling someone a “know-nothing” could mean one of two things.

If you’re a student of history, you might be comparing that person to a member of the Know Nothing party of the 1850s, a bigoted, xenophobic, anti-immigrant group that at its peak included more than a hundred members of Congress and eight governors. More likely, however, you’re suggesting that said person is willfully ignorant, someone who rejects facts that might conflict with his or her prejudices.

The sad thing is that America is currently ruled by people who fit both definitions. And the know-nothings in power are doing all they can to undermine the very foundations of American greatness.

The parallels between anti-immigrant agitation in the mid-19th century and Trumpism are obvious. Only the identities of the maligned nationalities have changed.

Eugene Robinson: Republicans, do you want a race-based immigration system, too?

President Trump’s intent could not be more explicit: He wants immigration policies that admit white people and shut the door to black and brown people. That is pure racism — and the Republican Party, which traces its heritage to the Abraham Lincoln era, must decide whether to go along.

Silly me. The GOP seems to have made its choice, judging by the weaselly response from most of the Republicans who were in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump made vile and nakedly racist remarks. [..]

A century ago, there were nativists who railed against Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigration, claiming that unwashed hordes from poor countries were “mongrelizing” the nation. We now have a president who rejects American ideals of diversity and inclusion in favor of racial purity.

Sens. Cotton and Perdue, Secretary Nielsen, Reps. McCarthy and Goodlatte, do you want a race-based immigration system, too? Please don’t pretend you didn’t hear the question.

Catherine Rampell: Trump is hoping you won’t notice his backdoor repeal of Obamacare

One of the bigger, and more heartening, surprises of the past year was just how fervently it turned out Americans supported health care for low-income people.

Republican politicians, after all, had been running against Obamacare — including its Medicaid expansion and income-based subsidies for buying insurance — from the moment the law passed. And the public appeared to back this agenda: The Affordable Care Act polled terribly.

Yet when push came to shove, and Republicans actually tried to dismantle the health-care law last year, Americans fought back. Hard.

Bernie Sanders: Let’s wrench power back from the billionaires

Here is where we are as a planet in 2018: after all of the wars, revolutions and international summits of the past 100 years, we live in a world where a tiny handful of incredibly wealthy individuals exercise disproportionate levels of control over the economic and political life of the global community. [..]

In the midst of all of this economic disparity, the world is witnessing an alarming rise in authoritarianism and rightwing extremism – which feeds off, exploits and amplifies the resentments of those left behind, and fans the flames of ethnic and racial hatred.

Now, more than ever, those of us who believe in democracy and progressive government must bring low-income and working people all over the world together behind an agenda that reflects their needs. Instead of hate and divisiveness, we must offer a message of hope and solidarity. We must develop an international movement that takes on the greed and ideology of the billionaire class and leads us to a world of economic, social and environmental justice. Will this be an easy struggle? Certainly not. But it is a fight that we cannot avoid. The stakes are just too high.

Richard Wolffe: ‘Shithole countries’? Words worthy of a racist-in-chief

Donald Trump knows a thing or two about “shitholes” – the label he apparently bestowed on El Salvador, Haiti and various African nations during an Oval Office meeting about immigration. His own father was reportedly so ashamed of coming from Germany – widely considered to be a “shithole” by Americans fighting in two world wars – that he pretended for most of his life that he was Swedish.

These Aryan dreams glowed all blond and bright through Trump’s seminal book, The Art of the Deal, in which he claimed his father arrived as a child from Sweden like some kind of Nordic dreamer.

And they persist to this day inside the White House, where the 45th president of the United States wonders why oh why can’t we get more Norwegians to restock the racial purity of our immigrant bloodlines?

Before the Finns complain about prejudice, we need to have a frank discussion, Mr President.