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Dec 07 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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Eugene Robinson: Bulldoze the ‘blue wall’ of silence — or black men will keep dying

This just in: Black men are still being killed by police officers for no good reason.

But you knew that. Anyone who has remotely been paying attention should be aware that unjustified police killings of African American men continue unabated. In far too many police departments, the unwritten rule for encounters with black men is shoot first, ask questions later.

The most recent tragic example is the Thanksgiving night slaying of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford Jr., 21, at the Riverchase Galleria shopping mall in Hoover, Ala., a Birmingham suburb. The city has been roiled by protests since Bradford’s killing — for good reason. [..]

There are some truths, however, that we have long known.

It remains true that almost any activity is dangerous if you are African American and male. Walking home from a Florida convenience store. Standing on a Staten Island sidewalk. Playing with a toy at a Cleveland playground. Driving with a broken taillight in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

To the long list of capital offenses — for black men only — we must now add deciding, after Thanksgiving dinner, to get a jump on Black Friday deals at an Alabama mall. Bradford appears to have been guilty of shopping while black, and he paid for that transgression with his life.

Paul Krugman: The Art of the Imaginary Deal

Are we going to have a full-blown trade war with China, and maybe the rest of the world? Nobody knows — because it all depends on the whims of one man. And Tariff Man is ignorant, volatile and delusional.

Why do I say that it’s all about one man? After all, after the 2016 U.S. election and the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a lot of talk about a broad popular backlash against globalization. Over the past two years, however, it has become clear that this backlash was both smaller and shallower than advertised.

Where, after all, is the major constituency supporting Donald Trump’s tariffs and threats to exit international agreements? Big business hates the prospect of a trade war, and stocks plunge whenever that prospect becomes more likely. Labor hasn’t rallied behind Trumpist protectionism either. [..]

But if there’s no strong constituency for protectionism, why are we teetering on the brink of a trade war? Blame U.S. trade law.

Sylvie Kauffmann: Macron’s Moment of Truth

He was the savior of Europe. A 39-year-old maverick who rescued France from the populist tide, the newcomer who crushed his far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in a TV debate on the eve of a presidential election. The leader who would make liberal democracy great again. The visionary who had a plan to jump start the European Union. A 21st-century John Kennedy. Some joked that he could walk on water.

That was 2017. Eighteen months into his presidential term, Emmanuel Macron, faced with an uprising by a leaderless army of working poor in yellow vests and by violence unseen since the student riots of May 1968, is struggling to take back control of his country. The charismatic young president was jeered by protesters who tried to chase his car this week when he visited a public building set afire by rioters in Le Puy-en-Velay, in south-central France. “Macron, démission” — “Macron, resign” — has become the rallying cry of these modern-day sans-culottes, whose anger is directed at him, personally.

Charles M. Blow: Republican Efforts to End Democracy

Do not believe that we are still living in a functioning democracy. We are not. Republicans across this country are doing everything they can to impede, alter and override the power of the personal vote. This strikes at the very heart of democracy, both undermining people’s faith in it and contorting it until it no long resembles what it claims to be.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Republicans succeeded in their wish:

“After hours of mysterious closed-door meetings that went past midnight, the Wisconsin Senate convened at 4:30 on Wednesday morning and passed by one vote a package of bills devised to curb the powers of the incoming Democratic leaders.”

And Wisconsin is not alone. As the The Washington Post reported Monday:

“In Michigan, where Democrats last month won the governor’s mansion as well as the races for attorney general and secretary of state, Republican lawmakers last week introduced measures that would water down the authority of those positions on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters.”

Altering the structure of power in a state to limit the influence of an incoming executive of an opposing party wasn’t something I thought I’d ever see in America, but unfortunately this isn’t even the first time we’ve seen it. This is not the first time Republicans have done it.

Catherine Rampell: Millennials aren’t breaking traditions. They’re just broke.

Millennials are a murderous bunch, a generation of homicidal maniacs.

At least that’s the impression you get from reading news stories about my generation.

According to the headlines, we’ve wreaked carnage across the economy with our fickle, selfish tastes. So far we have “killed” or are “killing” dinner dates, hotels, credit cards, grocery stores, cinemas, Home Depot, diamonds, banks, gyms, department stores, vacations, cruises and casinos, the car industry, homeownership and even Buffalo Wild Wings.

The explanations for our butchery are manifold, and sometimes contradictory. [..]

Well, a research paper published last month by economists at the Federal Reserve comes to a different conclusion: Millennials aren’t choosing to break economic traditions. Instead, we’re just broke.

The report, “Are Millennials Different?,” looks at financial and cultural milestones for the cohort born between 1981 and 1997, and how it compares with earlier generations at a similar life stage. Contrary to stereotypes that kids these days have sharply different tastes and aspirations than did kids of yore, the report concludes that “millennials do not appear to have preferences for consumption that differ significantly from those of earlier generations.”

We simply lack the earnings or assets to make those same consumption preferences happen.