Jul 09 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: How to Lose a Trade War

Trump’s declaration that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” is an instant classic, right up there with Herbert Hoover’s “prosperity is just around the corner.”

Trump obviously believes that trade is a game in which he who runs the biggest surplus wins, and that America, which imports more than it exports, therefore has the upper hand in any conflict. That’s also why Peter Navarro predicted that nobody would retaliate against Trump’s tariffs. Since that’s actually not how trade works, we’re already facing plenty of retaliation and the strong prospect of escalation.

But here’s the thing: Trump’s tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain. Foreign retaliation, by contrast, is far more sophisticated: unlike Trump, the Chinese and other targets of his trade wrath seem to have a clear idea of what they’re trying to accomplish.

Nancy Northrup: Roe isn’t just about women’s rights. It’s about everyone’s personal liberty.

On Monday, President Trump is expected to announce his nominee to replace Justice Anthony M. Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Given the president’s promise to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, it’s widely understood that his nominee will pose a clear danger to women’s reproductive rights. What most don’t realize is that everyone’s personal-liberty rights are on the line.

The constitutional framework of Roe is about far more than abortion. It’s about rearing our children without unwarranted government interference. It’s about choosing whom we want to marry. It’s about deciding with whom we want to create a home. It’s about the right to use contraception. It’s about what the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey explained is the “promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.”

This guarantee of individual liberty is bound together through decades of accumulated legal precedent. Within the interconnected framework of our rights, Roe is a load-bearing element. Knock it down, and the structure falls.

Charles M. Blow: Trump Reeks of Fear

I can smell Donald Trump’s fear from here. His panic. His anxiety.

And yet, I don’t have a full picture of what is causing it.

The only people who know what has been discovered in the Russian election meddling probe are Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, and they aren’t talking.

But President Trump no doubt knows far more about it than the rest of us, and what he knows — or what he fears — appears to be a consuming preoccupation. He tweets about the investigation constantly.

Part of this is an overt play to bend public opinion, to besmirch whatever conclusions the investigation might reach and to ward off any attempt at a possible impeachment. [..]

Trump has done and said many heinous things as president and before, but it is highly unlikely that any would be solid ground for a successful impeachment. However, damning findings from Mueller would create that solid ground.

Yet Trump contends that there’s no there there. If not, why is he acting like there is?

Jonathan Capehart: Why Trump’s Montana rally was scarier than normal

Without question, President Trump’s Catskills roast of a Montana rally on July 5 was a gasp-worthy disaster. Still, it was, as we used to say as kids, just more of the “same old, same old.” An hour-long rant that mixed the greatest hits from his racist and xenophobic campaign for the White House with some flecks of new material. What has changed is the heightened atmosphere of danger in which he delivered them 18 months into his presidency. [..]

All of this chaos swirling at home and abroad was the backdrop for the president’s Montana rally last week. That’s why Trump’s run-of-the-mill rhetorical dumpster fire is rightly viewed as an out-of-control inferno by everyone except those braying in the crowd in Great Falls or those averting their complicit eyes on Capitol Hill.