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Sep 20 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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Thom Hartman: Alexander Hamilton was obsessed with the threat a presidency like Trump’s poses for America

Presidential economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested to the Economic Club of New York that, after the elections, Republicans will target “spending” on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with “reforms” (cuts) to help pay for the massive deficits created by Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut for billionaires.

Conservatives have controlled our government for three definable periods in recent history—the Gilded Age of the last three decades of the 1800s (progressives followed from 1901 to 1920), the Roaring 20s (progressives followed from 1933 to 1980), and the Reagan Era that started in 1981 and continues to this day.

Each conservative era has led to terrible suffering among working people, each ended in a wipeout financial disaster, and this one will probably be no different. Republicans have already radically cut long-term unemployment insurance, killed “welfare as we know it” (with the help of Bill Clinton), and cut the budgets of Social Security and Medicare to the point where it’s hard to get anybody on the phone. They’ve deregulated much of the fossil fuel industry, sold off public lands to mining and drilling interests, and slashed away at the EPA.

But this time, there’s a larger concern than the survival of the economy, the environment, and the middle class. This time, democracy itself may well be at stake.

The 2016 takeover of our government by Trump and his billionaire oligarch cronies could be the nightmare that Alexander Hamilton identified, warned us about, and then refused to believe could ever come to pass.

Mimi Rocah, Barbara McQuade, Jill Wine-Banks, Joyce White Vance and Maya Wiley: The Allegations Against Brett Kavanaugh Are Not Simply a ‘He Said, She Said’ Situation

Allegations of sexual assault are deserving of a full and fair investigation, particularly when a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court is at stake.

We now have the specifics of an alleged attack Christine Blasey Ford, a California professor, says occurred in the 1980s when she and Judge Brett Kavanaugh were in high school in Maryland. Speaking to The Washington Post, Ford claims that Kavanaugh “physically and sexually assaulted” her and provided very specific details about how he allegedly pinned her to a bed, groped her and covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming — with such force that she was afraid he might suffocate her.

So now the question is: What’s next? The latest proposal is for Ford and Kavanaugh to testify under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday. However, these allegations are extremely serious and we — five former federal prosecutors with a combined experience of many decades — believe that a Senate hearing, if it indeed occurs, is not enough. It will not adequately provide the American public with the full facts and truth about these allegations, nor, importantly, will it allow the Senate to fulfill its constitutional role of “advice and consent” in the context of potential Supreme Court justices. Rather, there must be a thorough, unrushed investigation by the FBI or by another independent investigator and a full and fair public hearing, including all relevant witnesses and not just Kavanaugh and his accuser.

Because, if true, the allegation alone should disqualify Kavanaugh from serving on the Supreme Court.

Charles M. Blow: The Kavanaugh Charade

Donald Trump and Senate Republicans have no interest whatsoever in revealing the whole truth about Brett Kavanaugh.>

Their plan was to perform a rush-job confirmation that installed him on the Supreme Court over all objections well enough in advance of the midterm elections to provide a shield to Republicans worried about what feels like an imminent blue wave.

That is why his hearings were scheduled so quickly. That is why more than 42,000 pages of documents were released the night before his confirmation hearings started — all of which were to be treated as “committee-confidential” at the time.

The New York Times editorial board wrote then, Republicans are “now running the most secretive and incomplete confirmation process in modern history.” [..]

What are Republicans hiding about Kavanaugh? What don’t they want you to know?

There is absolutely no rush here, no timeline that must be adhered to, no deadline that must be met. We are talking about a lifetime appointment here, and if Blasey is telling the truth and Kavanaugh has lied, there is absolutely no way he should be confirmed.

We can’t have a Supreme Court on which a third of the men have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct. Thomas and Kavanaugh, if confirmed, would be two of the six.

Paul Buccheit: The Capitalist Manifesto: Let Poor People Die

The original Capitalist Manifesto was a 1958 book by economist Louis O. Kelso and philosopher Mortimer J. Adler. In their view of a properly conducted democratic capitalist society, a sort of modern-day Homestead Act was envisioned, in which all Americans would participate in the “capitalist revolution” of growing stock portfolios. This would be possible because of great technologies (energy in the 1950s, AI now) that would allow all of us, in Aristotelian and Jeffersonian property-owning ways, to become ‘free’ to pursue the arts & sciences and to enjoy more leisure time. Today, this form of democratic capitalism could be realized through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan promoted by the “Just Third Way” movement. [..]

The root of the problem is the condemnation of anything ‘social’ as un-American, which has helped modern-day capitalists to justify their belief in individual gain by any means. Wealthy conservatives know that social responsibility might take away some of their riches by providing opportunities and jobs and a decent standard of living for all Americans. In their minds, the poor have only themselves to blame for being poor, and for dying. But it is capitalism that is killing them. The Capitalist Manifesto has been twisted into an assault on poor people.

Leo Gerard: Plutocrats Are Planning a Stealth Coup

Democracy is tough for 1 percenters.

They’ve got all that money but, hypothetically, no more voting power than their chauffeur or yacht captain or nanny in a one-person, one-vote democracy.

In this one-person, one-vote democracy, though, they’ve got a plan to fix all that for themselves. They’re paying for it. And they’re accomplishing it, even though that means stripping voting rights from non-rich minority groups. Their goal is to make America more of a one-dollar, one-vote plutocracy.

Their scheme is deeply offensive to democratic ideals. In a perfect democracy, each citizen possesses the same power of self-governance as all other individuals, no matter how poor or rich, no matter their religion or skin color, no matter their country of origin or ancestry.

This equity is unnerving to some 1 percenters who believe their wealth proves their inherent higher value than other human beings, which they feel gives them the right to rule or, at least, the absolute right to choose who rules.