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Dec 18 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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George T. Conway III, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver and Rick Wilson: We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated

The president and his enablers have replaced conservatism with an empty faith led by a bogus prophet.

Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics. As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character.

That’s why we are announcing the Lincoln Project, an effort to highlight our country’s story and values, and its people’s sacrifices and obligations. This effort transcends partisanship and is dedicated to nothing less than preservation of the principles that so many have fought for, on battlefields far from home and within their own communities.

This effort asks all Americans of all places, creeds and ways of life to join in the seminal task of our generation: restoring to this nation leadership and governance that respects the rule of law, recognizes the dignity of all people and defends the Constitution and American values at home and abroad.

Paul Krugman: How Trump Lost His Trade War

On speaking loudly and carrying a small stick.

Trade wars rarely have victors. They do, however, sometimes have losers. And Donald Trump has definitely turned out to be a loser.

Of course, that’s not the way he and his team are portraying the tentative deal they’ve struck with China, which they’re claiming as a triumph. The reality is that the Trump administration achieved almost none of its goals; it has basically declared victory while going into headlong retreat.

And the Chinese know it. As The Times reports, Chinese officials are “jubilant and even incredulous” at the success of their hard-line negotiating strategy.

To understand what just went down, you need to ask what Trump and company were trying to accomplish with their tariffs, and how that compares with what really happened.

Jon Meacham and Michael E. Shepherd: Republicans face political risks on impeachment. But history shows not all is lost.

Always vanishingly rare, political courage is virtually extinct now. Over and over again, we are told the great fact of our politics in the Age of Trump is that our elected representatives fear crossing the aisle because they will pay a price at the polls — a courageous vote, in other words, will be rapidly followed by defeat and exile from office.

There’s a problem, however, with this prevailing piece of conventional wisdom: It’s wrong. Over the past six decades, courageous high-profile votes have tended not to cost the courageous their seats. From Southern Democrats who supported the Civil Acts Right of 1964 to Republicans who backed Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 through the Clinton impeachment in the 1990s, tough votes have been difficult but not necessarily fatal.

This is not to minimize the political risks of today’s Republicans (and of Democrats who represent pro-Trump territory) who are considering the impeachment and removal of President Trump. But history suggests all was not automatically lost if a lawmaker chose to vote against the prevailing opinion of his party or of his constituents.

Katrina vanden Heuvel: Those who ran the Afghanistan war lied. They must be held to account.

They lied. They lied repeatedly, year after year, about America’s longest war — the Afghanistan fiasco now in its 19th year. They — presidents, department heads, generals, civilians and uniformed military up and down the line — misled the American people, reporting “progress” in a misguided war that they knew was not being won. “At war with the truth” is the stark and inescapable conclusion of the Afghanistan Papers, dubbed this generation’s Pentagon Papers, a trove of documents brought to light by the extraordinary efforts of The Post. The reality, as retired Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, the former White House czar for Afghanistan during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, admitted, “We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

The House of Representatives’ vote this week to impeach President Trump will indict his dangerous abuse of power and his obstruction of the congressional investigation of that abuse. The Afghanistan Papers pose the fundamental question: What will be the accounting for the serial abuses of office that misled the American people about a war for nearly two decades?

Activists in the United States often pledge to “speak truth to power.” The sad reality, as once more exposed in these papers, is that power often knows the truth. The real question is that posed by William Greider, national affairs correspondent for the Nation and a former national political reporter for The Post: Who will tell the people?

Catherine Rampell: Mitt Romney bucks his party. Republicans should follow his leadership.

t’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is bucking his party and endorsing a Democratic initiative that long should have been bipartisan one. This politically courageous stance is raising hopes that more Republicans might follow his lead.

I’m talking about his latest tax proposal, of course.

On Sunday, Romney and Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) unveiled a promising bipartisan proposal that would expand the child tax credit. But more than that, it potentially signals a coming Republican Party realignment over the federal government’s obligations to families. [..]

The Bennet-Romney proposal expands the child tax credit in two key ways. First, it makes the existing credit more generous to families with children under age 6 by raising its maximum value to $2,500 (vs. $2,000 available under current law).

Additionally, and perhaps more historically significant: The proposal would for the first time ever extend the child tax credit to the very poorest children by making the first chunk of the credit available to families regardless of income. That is, families with kids might have very low or even zero earnings (think: a single mom working toward a degree, say, or a retired couple raising their grandchildren) and still get a significant check.

The technical term for this is that the first $1,500 of the credit for children under age 6 (or $1,000 for older kids) would be “fully refundable.” In practical terms, it means parents get money just for being parents, and they don’t have to do anything in exchange for the cash.

Even more astonishing, given Romney’s support, is that this proposal would be paid for largely by closing a capital-gains tax loophole enjoyed by the very wealthy.