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Jul 05 2019

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: Trump Is Losing His Trade Wars

The pain is real, but the coercion isn’t.

Donald Trump’s declaration that “trade wars are good, and easy to win” will surely go down in the history books as a classic utterance — but not in a good way. Instead it will go alongside Dick Cheney’s prediction, on the eve of the Iraq war, that “we will, in fact, be welcomed as liberators.” That is, it will be used to illustrate the arrogance and ignorance that so often drives crucial policy decisions.

For the reality is that Trump isn’t winning his trade wars. True, his tariffs have hurt China and other foreign economies. But they’ve hurt America too; economists at the New York Fed estimate that the average household will end up paying more than $1,000 a year in higher prices.

And there’s no hint that the tariffs are achieving Trump’s presumed goal, which is to pressure other countries into making significant policy changes

Timothy Egan: The Founders Would Gag at Today’s Republicans

The cult of Trump has embraced values and beliefs that Jefferson, Washington and Lincoln abhorred.

Kids in cages and tanks for the tyrant. After that dictator-friendly Fourth of July, it’s time for all true patriots to conduct a political gut check.

Like many people, I’m worried about the Democrats. A majority of Americans are desperate for someone to dislodge the despot from the White House. And yet some Democrats are pushing policy positions — such as taking away private health insurance from more than 150 million people — that are deeply unpopular.

The smarter candidates will rethink this, and soon, or otherwise ensure that an awful American aberration is more than a one-off.

But as troubled as I am by the Democrats, I’m terrified of the Republicans. In numerous surveys of a party that has adopted the worst pathologies of President Trump, Republicans have shown themselves to be explicitly anti-American. The Founders would gag. So would Abraham Lincoln.

Eugene Robinson: Trump tried to make Independence Day all about him. He ended up looking small.

President Trump chose the wrong backdrop for his attempt to make Independence Day all about himself. Standing beneath the majestic statue of Abraham Lincoln, occupying a space where great orators have stood, Trump looked and sounded quite small.

He gave a triumphalist speech, of course. “Our nation is stronger today than it ever was. It is its strongest now,” Trump claimed. He went on to give extended salutes to each of the nation’s armed services, punctuated by flyovers by Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Army aircraft and the singing of the corresponding anthems. Anyone who came to see an elaborate military pageant did not go home disappointed.

Trump declared that “we are one people chasing one dream and one magnificent destiny,” but that misses the point. We are, in fact, a nation, bound together not by blood but by our creeds, our institutions and our laws. Trump treats the law like an inconvenience, an annoyance.

Missing, as Trump spoke in Lincoln’s shadow, was any sense of humility as a vital aspect of American greatness. But you might have guessed that.

Justin Amash: Our politics is in a partisan death spiral. That’s why I’m leaving the GOP.

When my dad was 16, America welcomed him as a Palestinian refugee. It wasn’t easy moving to a new country, but it was the greatest blessing of his life.

Throughout my childhood, my dad would remind my brothers and me of the challenges he faced before coming here and how fortunate we were to be Americans. In this country, he told us, everyone has an opportunity to succeed regardless of background.

Growing up, I thought a lot about the brilliance of America. Our country’s founders established a constitutional republic uniquely dedicated to securing the rights of the people. In fact, they designed a political system so ordered around liberty that, in succeeding generations, the Constitution itself would strike back against the biases and blind spots of its authors.

My parents, both immigrants, were Republicans. I supported Republican candidates throughout my early adult life and then successfully ran for office as a Republican. The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family.

In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.

Eric Holder: If the Supreme Court won’t protect our democracy, voters will

Over the past decade, the conservative Supreme Court has reshaped the American political system in ways that fundamentally undermine voting rights and equal representation in our nation. In a trio of cases, the court has unwisely removed protections needed for a well-functioning democracy. These deeply flawed rulings — intentionally or naively — shift power away from the people and toward entrenched special interests and the already powerful.

Most recently, five conservative justices determined last week that federal courts have no role reining in partisan gerrymandering. In doing so, the court has torn at the fabric of our democracy and put the interests of politicians ahead of the voters. Map manipulation allows politicians to pick their voters so a party with minority views and support can illegitimately govern with majority power. As Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her powerful and prescient dissent, the partisan gerrymanders in Maryland and North Carolina “debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people

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