Category Archives: PND Opinion

Now it's time for tax cuts — and Republicans are more divided than ever

Source: The Intercept
by David Dayen

"When presidents fail, it creates a snowball effect. George W. Bush couldn’t privatize Social Security and his legislative agenda never recovered. Bill Clinton’s abandonment of health care reform led it to tackle small-ball measures. Both were punished by voters for their failures in the next midterm, losing control of Congress and the ability to get anything else done. Voters don’t like losers. That’s bad news for House Republicans. Fresh off the (probable) failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they are pivoting to tax cuts. But along the way, for procedural reasons, they need to pass a budget." (07/21/17)

Did Jill Stein help Russia elect Trump?

Source: Raw Story
by Alexander Nazaryan

"She’s back, and nobody knows why. There are 41 names included in the document requests sent to Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan S. Futerfas, and Paul J. Manafort’s lawyer, Reginald Brown, by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The requests include communications involving many individuals known to be ensnared in the Russia investigation, from President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. But while this roster of characters would have made for a fine John Le Carré novel, one name included therein immediately attracted online speculation: that of former Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein. What, exactly, Stein has to do with Trump Jr.’s meeting last summer with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is unclear, as the Senate Judiciary Committee provided no context for its demands, which are to be honored by August 2nd." (07/20/17)

What killed Senate health care bill? Liberal Medicaid alarmism

Source: USA Today
by Chris Jacobs

"The Senate health care bill is dead, and that’s at least in part due to overheated rhetoric from the left about Medicaid. Many of the over-the-top claims lacked important facts or context, and seemed primarily designed to scare people rather than prompt civil debate. For instance, liberals claimed that Republican plans to reduce the growth of Medicaid spending by nearly $800 billion in the next decade would 'unravel' the program, as Clinton administration labor secretary Robert Reich put it. Yet Obamacare did nearly the exact same thing to Medicare. Obamacare reduced Medicare spending by $716 billion, according to a 2012 Congressional Budget Office estimate. And it did so not to improve Medicare’s ability to pay for care for the next generation of seniors, but instead to fund new Obamacare entitlements." (07/18/17)

Once Washington gives a program life, it's hard to kill

Source: Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders

"Has America reached the point where, once Washington has expanded a program, not even the new spending's most vociferous critics dare to cut it back? President Donald Trump's efforts to 'repeal and replace' the Affordable Care Act shout that the answer is yes. Before Trump won in November, the GOP House had voted repeatedly to terminate Obamacare; the Senate passed a repeal measure in 2015. When President Barack Obama was around to veto their handiwork, Republicans saw little downside in voting to repeal Obama's signature legislation. Now that Republicans control the White House, Senate and House, there is no one standing in their way but themselves. House Speaker Paul Ryan corralled the votes needed to pass a measure in the House. It wasn't easy." (07/19/17)

Meet "Brand New Congress": Pursuing a progressive takeover of the GOP

Source: In These Times
by Theo Anderson

"Brand New Congress (BNC), which is the brainchild of four staffers from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, is recruiting candidates to run in House and Senate races in 2018. It distinguishes itself from similar efforts by recruiting both Democrats and Republicans. The unifying thread is that every candidate endorses its platform, which calls for a single-payer healthcare system, nearly $5 trillion in infrastructure investment, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college and trade school, and a major expansion of due process protections. BNC aims to put forward a unified slate of candidates who, by running on the same platform, create synergies and momentum that will transform Congress." [editor's note: So can they find common ground with the RLC? Stay tuned … – SAT] (07/19/17)

Antimonies of democracy

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Shawn P Wilbur

"Perhaps because it has not, in general, been thought of as something that one practiced, anarchy seems bright, shiny and clearly defined in contrast with virtually all of these other potential keywords. If there is as much confusion about anarchy in many circles as there is about democracy (or any number of other political concepts), the source of the uncertainty seems different. After all, even the theoretically sophisticated treatments of anarchy tend to differentiate the concept from its popular connotations of chaos and uncertainty by attempting to show what has been considered chaotic and uncertain in a different light." (07/20/17)

Obama's Iran nuclear deal threatens the US

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

"President Trump has imposed a new bunch of economic sanctions on Iran for its misbehavior, including continuing its military nuclear program and its ongoing acts to destabilize and dominate the Mideast. Good move. We hope it's a first step toward withdrawing from a bad nuclear deal and undoing the damage that President Obama did by lifting sanctions on Tehran. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, 16 entities and individuals have been sanctioned for aiding 'illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity. The United States remains deeply concerned about Iran's malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security and prosperity,' State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. She pointed to Iran's ongoing support for terrorist groups, militias and Syrian President Bashar Assad, its human rights abuses, and its ongoing efforts to build a nuclear bomb as reasons for the sanctions." [editor's note: This "staff" guy is clearly either unacquainted with the facts or unimpressed with the idea of being truthful – TLK] (07/19/17)

European disunion: What the rise of populist movements means for democracy

Source: The New Republic
by Yascha Mounk

"For decades, political scientists have claimed that 'democratic consolidation' is a one-way street. Once a country is affluent and has been ruled in a democratic fashion for a long time, they argued, democracy becomes 'the only game in town.' Citizens become deeply supportive of democracy and reject other regime forms out of hand. Major politicians accept the need to play by democratic rules. Extreme candidates are rejected at the ballot box. It should be clear, however, that this is no longer the case. Many Americans now believe that democracy is a bad system of government, and a striking number are even open to authoritarian alternatives. Over the past two decades, according to data from the World Values Survey, the proportion of Americans who express approval for military rule has more than doubled. Last October, a month before the election, another survey showed that 46 percent either 'never had faith' or have 'lost faith' in American democracy." (07/19/17)

America glimpses the End Times in the Age of Trump

Source: The American Prospect
by Adele M Stan

"In a speech delivered behind closed doors to an anti-LGBT hate group, the attorney general of the United States held forth with his philosophy of religious freedom. It wasn’t 'the government’s job to immanentize the eschaton,' he said. The reason we know that is an actual thing that Jeff Sessions said (or at least planned to say) in his July 11 speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is that BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden prepared a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the speech, which apparently prompted the Department of Justice to release the text, as prepared for delivery, to a right-wing website, The Federalist. The ADF earned is classification as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its work as 'a legal advocacy and training group that specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage, and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBTQ communities in the U.S. and internationally,' according to the SPLC website." [editor's note: "immanentize the eschaton" … hadn't seen that phrase since Illuminatus! – SAT] (07/19/17)

Jeff Sessions treads on the property rights of Americans

Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

"Earlier this year, Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the most conservative jurist on the Supreme Court, attacked a government abuse that shocks many Americans when they first learn about it. In scores of cities and towns, law enforcement simply takes property from citizens, then sells or keeps it. They say that the property is related to a crime. But no one needs to prove that the property owner broke any law. Indeed, there are cases where everyone agrees he or she is innocent. And still the stuff is taken!" (07/19/17)