Jun 15 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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Michael Pearlerg: Child abuse is now part of America’s official immigration policy

It’s impossible to look at the Trump administration’s practice of migrant family separation and see it as anything other than what it is: institutionalized child abuse.

By now, there have been real horror stories: parents hearing their children screaming in the next room; a man who committed suicide when his three-year-old was taken from him; children kept in what Oregon senator Jeff Merkley described as a “dog kennel”; a woman being told by a border patrol agent: “You will never see your children again. Families don’t exist here. You won’t have a family any more.”

Enough of these stories have come out that any questions of them being isolated incidents have been put to rest. These are not actions by rogue agents. They are systematic, and they come straight from the top. Indeed, attorney general Jeff Sessions has acknowledged as much, announcing in May a policy which had already been in practice for much of the past year.

Paul Krugman: G.O.P. to Americans With Health Problems: Drop Dead

Polls suggest that the public considers health care the most important issue in the midterm elections. This immediately raises the question: Do voters understand what’s at stake? In particular, do they realize that if Republicans hold Congress, they will strip away protections for the 52 million Americans — more than a quarter of nonelderly adults — who have pre-existing conditions that, before passage of the Affordable Care Act, could have led insurers to deny them coverage?

In fact, the Trump administration is already trying to take away those protections via the courts. It probably won’t succeed. But it might, in which case an estimated 17 million Americans would lose their health coverage.

And even if the lawsuit fails, the administration’s support for an incredibly flimsy legal challenge — one so indefensible that three career Justice Department lawyers withdrew from the case — is a clear signal of Republican priorities: G.O.P. to Americans with health problems: Drop dead.

By the way, some people seem surprised by the administration’s moves here, since Donald Trump has promised many times to protect people with pre-existing conditions. But remember: The campaign against the Affordable Care Act has been based on lies every step of the way.

Robert Kagan: Trump’s America does not care

Since the end of the Cold War, it has widely been assumed that U.S. foreign policy would follow one of two courses: Either the United States would continue as primary defender of the international order it created after World War II, or it would pull back from overseas commitments, shed global responsibilities, turn inward and begin transitioning to a post-American world. The second approach was where U.S. foreign policy seemed headed under President Barack Obama, and most saw the election of Donald Trump as another step toward withdrawal.

It turns out there was a third option: the United States as rogue superpower, neither isolationist nor internationalist, neither withdrawing nor in decline, but active, powerful and entirely out for itself. In recent months, on trade, Iran, NATO defense spending and perhaps even North Korea, President Trump has shown that a president willing to throw off the moral, ideological and strategic constraints that limited U.S. action in the past can bend this intractable world to his will, at least for a while.

Trump is not merely neglecting the liberal world order; he is milking it for narrow gain, rapidly destroying the trust and sense of common purpose that have held it together and prevented international chaos for seven decades. The successes he is scoring — if they are successes — derive from his willingness to do what past presidents have refused to do: exploit the great disparities of power built into the postwar order, at the expense of the United States’ allies and partners.

Jill Abramson: Now we know the outrageous scale of the Trumps’ White House dividend

I’m feeling nostalgic for Hillary’s Goldman Sachs speaking fees. Remember when we got our ethical knickers in a twist over Clinton’s $225,000 (£170,000) Wall Street speeches? Those worries seem positively quaint when compared with what’s happening now. At least Bill and Hillary put off their offensive buckraking until after they had left public office. The Trump family shows no such restraint. Why wait? Donald, Ivanka and Jared are getting theirs while serving in the White House. And, as with much scandalous behaviour in Washington these days, they insist their behaviour is perfectly acceptable.

All three are still connected to the highly profitable companies they operated in New York before Trump’s election in 2016. Since their arrival in Washington, the president and Javanka have been reaping profits from the various family businesses in tandem with their public service, while cynically pretending they have suspended their wheeling and dealing. But the president still monitors who stays at the Trump International Hotel down the street from the White House; Ivanka is still winning trademarks for her clothing line in the notoriously difficult to penetrate Chinese market; and Jared Kushner took in more money from his family real estate empire in 2017, the first year of the Trump administration, than he did the previous year. [..]

Here is a modest proposal: Ivanka and Jared should consider contributing a portion of their gains from sweetheart real estate deals and Chinese favours to help restore funds for the few programmes that still contribute to the health and welfare of Americans in need.

It was only two years ago that we were fretting over the Clinton Foundation taking foreign money, Hillary’s paid speeches, and that private email server. Looking back, it seems like a golden period.

Ruth Marcus: Trump is often depressing. This week, he was sickening.

Many weeks — every week? — in the age of Trump are depressing. This last one has been sickening.

That is strong language for a moment that President Trump has declared a triumph, with his historic meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The problem is not the fact of the meeting itself. Diplomacy — even Trump’s brand of slapdash, what-me-prepare diplomacy — is better than the warmongering alternative, and the president deserves credit for putting out even a fire partly of his own creation.


Trump’s consistent, unnecessary, escalating praise for Kim merits the word “sickening.” Diplomacy may entail saying nice things to bad people for good ends, but Trump’s language about Kim represents a nauseating betrayal of American values — and a telling exposure of Trump’s own. [..]

Meanwhile, the president of what was formerly known as the party of Lincoln cheers the election of Corey Stewart, a white-supremacist sympathizer, to be the Republican Senate candidate in Virginia.

The word “sickening” is not strong enough.