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Dec 12 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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Charles M. Blow: Impeachment in the House Is the Victory

Donald Trump and his supporters need to know that you can be punished for your actions.

It is hard for me to be out in public or on social media without being peppered with questions by people with strained faces about whether there is any chance that the Senate will vote to convict Donald Trump if the House of Representatives impeaches him.

I have to constantly remind people that impeachment in the House is the victory. The Senate is a lost cause, and has been on this issue since Trump rose to office.

The Senate has considered articles of impeachment against two other presidents and refused to convict and remove both times. This time is not likely to be any different. In that sense, impeachment by the House is the strongest rebuke America has ever been willing to give a president.

Trump deserves at least that. [..]

History will not only record Trump as a corrupt, tyrannical demagogue, it will also record his staggering success: How one man with no political experience hijacked a major American political party and its tens of millions of loyalists.

It is as extraordinary as it is horrifying.

Jared Bernstein: Trump’s China Trade War Is Failing. Democrats Should Campaign Against It.

The presidential candidates need to stop demurring and fully reject Trump’s approach.

When it comes to trade policy with China, the Democratic presidential candidates face a conundrum. They don’t want to sign onto President Trump’s endless, chaotic, pain-over-gain trade war, yet they don’t want to appear weak or appeasing of China’s trade practices.

Most of the candidates have rightly called out China for its human rights abuses, and they should continue to do so. But none have clearly and cleanly made rejecting Trump’s trade war a “Day 1” commitment. They need to stop demurring and fully reject Trump’s failing approach. The way to compete with China on trade is neither sweeping tariffs nor the administration’s futile insistence that China change its fundamental economic model. It’s to enhance our own international competitiveness and provide real help to the people and places left behind by globalization.

Max Boot: The Do Something Democrats show they can legislate even while they impeach

Of all the nonsensical impeachment defenses coming from the Republican Party, one of the silliest has to be the constantly repeated refrain that holding President Trump to account for his “high crimes and misdemeanors” is a distraction from the really important issues confronting America. As Trump tweeted on Nov. 24, “Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, AOC and the rest of the Democrats are not getting important legislation done, hence, the Do Nothing Democrats. USMCA, National Defense Authorization Act, Gun Safety, Prescription Drug Prices, & Infrastructure are dead in the water because of the Dems!”

Personally, I can think of nothing more important for Congress to be doing than defending the Constitution by showing that no one — not even the president — is above the law. But Congress has also shown that it can walk and chew gum at the same time. [..]

On issue after issue — whether gun violence, immigration, the deficit, income inequality, election security, health coverage, drug prices or global warming — Trump is part of the problem, not the solution. The only way to make progress in addressing our most serious challenges is to remove him from office. So anyone who is worried about getting things done in Congress should be cheering, not jeering, impeachment.

Tim Wu: How Professors Help Rip Off Students

Textbooks are too expensive.

As the semester ends, instructors at universities and community colleges around the country will begin placing their orders for next year’s textbooks. But not all professors will pay enough attention to something that students complain about: the outlandish prices of the books we assign. Having grown at many times the rate of inflation, the cost of a leading economics book can be over $250; a law school casebook plus supplement can cost $277. Adding to such prices is the dubious trend of requiring students to obtain digital access codes, averaging $100, to complete homework assignments.

Professors love tough questions. Here’s one we need ask ourselves: Are we helping rip off our students?

A good instructor wants to use the best materials, and some of the expensive textbooks are excellent and arguably worth the price. But some really aren’t, especially when there are cheaper or free alternatives of equal quality out there. Basic ethics suggest we have a duty to look for cheaper options before we inflict the $200 or $300 books or the $100 access codes on our students. Professors who write successful textbooks need to think harder about the professional ethics of allowing a book to be sold at exploitative prices to young people.

Jim Hightower: ‘Tax the Rich’ Is No Longer Just a Political Slogan

It’s a national necessity and a moral imperative. And, at long last, it’s actually within our reach.

There’s nothing inevitable about inequality. It’s an injustice that the moneyed powers and their political hirelings have chosen. We the People can choose a brighter path, one that bends toward justice, starting with a wealth tax such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to apply a 2% per annum wealth tax only to net worth over $50 million and another 1% to households worth more than a billion bucks.

But how can we best the billionaires who buy the political clout to push through laws that the great majority opposes (such as 2017’s Donald Trump-Mitch McConnell trillion-dollar tax giveaway to the rich) and best their brawny political blockers? Not by going around them but by pushing right through them.

First, years of rank avarice and arrogance have caught up with the superrich and their enablers, turning “billionaire” into a synonym for “thief” and focusing rising public anger on the inequality they’ve fostered.

Second, that anger has generated a stunning level of popular enthusiasm for the wealth tax.