Jul 11 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: Brexit Meets Gravity

These days I’m writing a lot about trade policy. I know there are more crucial topics, like Alan Dershowitz. Maybe a few other things? But getting and spending go on; and to be honest, in a way I’m doing trade issues as a form of therapy and/or escapism, focusing on stuff I know as a break from the grim political news.

Anyway, as Britain’s self-inflicted Brexit crisis (self-inflicted with some help from Putin, it seems) comes to a head, it seems to me worth trying to explain some aspects of the economics involved that should be obvious – surely are obvious to many British economists – but aren’t, apparently, as obvious either to Brexiteers or to the general public.

These aspects explain why Theresa May is trying to do a soft Brexit or even, as some say, BINO – Brexit In Name Only; and why the favored alternative of Brexiteers, trade agreements with the United States and perhaps others to replace the EU, won’t fly.

Now, many of the arguments for Brexit were lies pure and simple. But their claims about trade, both before and after the vote, may arguably be seen as misunderstandings rather than sheer dishonesty.

Katha Politt: Roe Isn’t Going Down Without a Fight

President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court is bad news for reproductive rights.

That Judge Kavanaugh’s record on abortion and contraception is slim will be used by his supporters to paint his views as moderate, but let’s get real: The president promised to nominate only justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and his potential nominees were vetted by a committed abortion opponent, Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. There is no reason not to take Mr. Trump at his word.

What should the pro-choice movement be doing — right now and in the months and years to come?

First of all, we mustn’t give up in advance. The learned helplessness of too many Democrats in the face of Republican intransigence is one reason we’ve ended up in this awful place.

So tattoo this on your brain: Abortion rights is the majority position. Sixty-seven percent of Americans do not want Roe to be overturned. Moreover, nearly one in four women will have an abortion by age 45, and most of those women will have had people — family, partners, friends — who helped them. That gives us a very large potential base to resist President Trump’s pick. If we can get all 47 Democrats, the two independents and two Republicans to push the nomination vote until after the midterms and then use the issue (and so many others) to take back the Senate, we can hold out for a nominee who will promise to preserve Roe. Unlikely? Definitely, especially given that three Democrats (Senators Heidi Heitkamp, Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly) voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch, but let’s not start out pre-defeated.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Progressive insurgents are propelling Democrats into the future

The past month has delivered a series of devastating blows to the progressive soul. In late June, in the span of 24 hours, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s travel ban and undercut public-sector unions, the latter of which was followed almost immediately by the announcement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement. The onslaught of dreadful news, on top of the controversy over Trump’s cruel family-separation policy, left many feeling a sense of overwhelming despair.

Yet as Columbia journalism and sociology professor Todd Gitlin writes, “The left has known demoralizing, mind-bending, gut-wrenching times” in the past and has endured. The past month has undoubtedly been bleak, but the same news cycle that brought terrible news from the court also delivered thrilling Democratic primary victories by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th Congressional District and Ben Jealous in the Maryland gubernatorial race. And these victories are powerful evidence of the young, progressive energy that is propelling the Democratic Party — and the country — into the future.

Jill Abramson: Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is a victory for ‘originalists’

Ed Meese was the cherry on top.

The 86-year-old former attorney general was one of the first dignitaries Donald Trump trotted out at his carefully orchestrated, prime-time roll-out of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the US supreme court. Meese, Ronald Reagan’s right-hand man from California, is the godfather of “original intent”, the crackpot, rightwing legal theory that will, if Kavanaugh is confirmed, be enshrined for decades to come. For the first time since Reagan began stacking the court with originalists like the late justice Antonin Scalia, they will, if Kavanaugh is confirmed, have a solid, unbending court majority.

Kavanaugh’s nomination, no surprise, is a huge victory for the originalists, conservative legal thinkers who believe in a strict, textual interpretation of the constitution. They believe in adhering to the intent of framers of the constitution, white men whose outlook reflected 18th-century realities and whose thinking the originalists believe they have a unique ability to divine.

Lola Okolosie: Breastfeeding is still political – as Donald Trump’s bullying tactics prove

There is a wonder food available across the globe that can prevent and fight infection. Requiring no packaging, created on demand and relatively cheap (depending on your work commitments), it is a sustainability dream come true. Let me introduce you to breast milk. Decades of scientific research have again and again cited it as the healthiest option for babies. Meanwhile, countries where some people don’t have access to clean water have been encouraged to halt disingenuous advertising from corporate giants of formula milk. Until Donald Trump, that is.

As scores of governments sought to approve a World Health Organization resolution calling on countries to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding” while limiting the promotion of milk substitutes, Trump’s administration tried (unsuccessfully) to stop them. Breastfeeding remains political. Not least because companies such as Abbott Laboratories, one of the funders of Trump’s inauguration and a feature in the $70bn (£53bn) baby food market, would lose out.