Category Archives: PND Opinion

Trump’s budget guts safety net, and other myths

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“President Trump’s budget is taking its share of hits for supposedly indulging in fanciful accounting, unrealistic assumptions and proposing massive cuts to vital safety-net programs. How much of that is true? You decide. Trump’s budget plan proposes to balance the federal budget in 10 years and do so entirely through spending restraint. That alone is enough to raise the hackles of the Washington, D.C., swamp creatures. But critics have other complaints. The main ones: It relies on unrealistic economic projections. Critics say Trump’s budget numbers rest on a rosy scenario of future economic growth. The New York Times describes the economic forecast as ‘wildly optimistic.’ Are they? It’s true that numbers in Trump’s economic forecast are rosier than in other long-term forecasts. But that’s because Trump expects his policies to increase economic growth.” (05/23/17)

Trump’s parental plan will hurt

Source: USA Today
by Ilya Somin

“President Trump’s budget includes a proposal for six weeks of mandated paid family leave for new parents. Despite its superficial appeal, this idea is likely to harm families more than it helps. The initial Trump proposal, floated in September, would have limited mandated leave to mothers, thereby likely engaging in unconstitutional sex discrimination. Key aspects of the new plan are still unclear. But it avoids legal problems by covering fathers, too. Yet it has serious flaws, nonetheless. Mandatory paid leave is not a free lunch. It must somehow be paid for. Any mandated benefit makes the workers in question more costly to employers, who will try to offset the expense in some way. Potential beneficiaries are likely to end up with lower salaries, fewer benefits of other types, or both. Many workers who prefer higher salaries, and non-leave benefits, will lose out.” (05/23/17)

No evidence that “stronger” patents will mean more innovation

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Vera Ranieri

“Right now, the patent lobby — in the form of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the American Intellectual Property Law Association — is demanding ‘stronger’ patent laws. They want to undo Alice v. CLS Bank and return us to a world where ‘do it on a computer’ ideas are eligible for a patent. This would help lawyers file more patent applications and patent litigation. But there’s no evidence that such laws would benefit the public or innovation at all.” (05/24/17)

Why Democrats in 2018 shouldn’t campaign to impeach Trump

Source: The New Republic
by Alex Shephard

“After the 2016 election, Donald Trump and Republicans gloated that the Democratic Party was in its worst shape since the 1920s. Democrats had not only lost the White House and both houses of Congress, but were decimated at the state level. They were in the midst of an existential crisis, stemming from Hillary Clinton blowing her race against the least popular presidential candidate in modern American history. … The Democrats haven’t done much to address this question, failing to even release an autopsy report. And yet, they are poised for massive gains in the 2018, thanks to the fact that the president is an incompetent idiot who keeps doing self-destructive and possibly criminal things. … In this environment, running on impeachment … will be tempting for Democrats in 2018. … But while the legal arguments for impeaching Trump are strong, there are serious pitfalls to impeachment as an electoral approach.” (05/24/17)

Why did Florida become a state?

Source: [email protected]
by Thomas L Knapp

“Florida became a state because the adjacent slave states simply couldn’t tolerate a territory next door where escaped slaves, displaced Native Americans and poor whites looking for land to settle were actually getting along. White supremacy could not be maintained near such a place, so something had to be done. And that something was to bully Spain into giving up Florida so that slavery and racial segregation could be imposed. Not that it worked especially well. Multiple wars had to be fought over it. You may have heard that the Seminoles were an ‘Indian tribe.’ Well, not exactly. The word ‘Seminole’ is a corruption of the Spanish word cimarron (an adjective describing someone as ‘savage, especially if he was domestic and has fled to the countryside’). The Seminoles were a melting pot of displaced Creek Indians, free blacks (especially escaped slaves), and people of mixed race (Osceola, the most famous Seminole leader, was born Billy Powell and was of Creek, Scots-Irish, and English ancestry). The horror! Again, something had to be done.” (05/24/17)

The DJ Trump medicine show comes to Israel

Source: The American Prospect
Gershom Gorenberg

“In the American legend of the confidence man, he arrives in a small town by train or riverboat. He claims to be a professor who can teach children to play expensive musical instruments without effort, or a minister and the heir of the richest man in town. He talks quickly, thinks of lies even faster. He is everything to all people. The legend dates from an era before radio or television. So the confidence man succeeds in fooling the yokels just as long as no one shows up from the last town he took in. When word does catch up with him, as in Mark Twain’s version, he’s likely to be tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail. In the 2017 remake, the American confidence artist arrives in a small country in the Middle East aboard Air Force One. In a plot twist that defies credibility, he actually is the president of the United States.” (05/24/17)

Beyond neoliberal identity politics

Source: CounterPunch
by Paul Street

“Last year, Daniel Denvir insightfully described Hilary [sic] Clinton’s political strategy as ‘peak neoliberalism, where a distorted version of identity politics is used to defend an oligarchy and a national security state, celebrating diversity in the management of exploitation and warfare‘ (emphasis added). This ‘peak’ neoliberal identity politics (NIP) is a great weapon on the hands of the privileged capitalist Few and their mass-murderous global empire. It was central to the Barack Obama phenomenon and presidency. And it is very much alive and kicking atop the corporate Democratic Party and its various media allies more than half a year after Mrs. Clinton’s humiliating defeat.” (05/24/17)

Don’t mine what’s ours

Source: In These Times
by Dayton Martindale

“America’s public lands, Donald Trump told Field and Stream magazine in January 2016, are ‘magnificent. We have to be great stewards,’ he intoned. ‘Keep the lands great.’ He only just restrained himself from adding, ‘Some of my best friends are public lands.’ While he’s ‘very much into fracking and drilling,’ Trump continued, he would only support energy exploration that didn’t ‘damage the land.’ (Of course, extractive industries ‘damage the land’ almost by definition. Even relatively low-impact coal mines leak pollutants into groundwater and can cause sinkholes; fracking, for its part, produces poisonous wastewater and requires habitat-destroying pipelines.) Trump also seemed to suggest increased funding for land maintenance, and (in contrast to many Republican legislator) sopposed transferring federal land to the states, as the states are likely to sell it off.” [editor’s note: Clever headline; less clever conclusions – SAT] (05/24/17)

What Betsy DeVos calls “education transformation” is actually public theft

Source: Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

“Betsy DeVos wants to give your tax dollars to private schools and businesses and tell you it’s an education ‘transformation.’ That’s the main theme of an address she gave this week to a conference held by the organization she helped found and lead, the American Federation for Children. Declaring that ‘the time has expired for ‘reform” she called instead for a ‘transformation … that will open up America’s closed and antiquated education system.’ Her plan also opens your wallet to new moochers of taxpayer dollars.” [editor’s note: Amazing how “public theft” (the basis of ALL government schooling) becomes wrong only when your own agenda is being challenged – SAT] (05/24/17)

What Trump gets wrong about the Middle East

Source: Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi

In his speech before dozens of Muslim leaders who had gathered in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Donald Trump toned down his harsh rhetoric against Islam and urged the leaders to “drive out” Islamic extremists from their societies. Trump even distinguished between the majority of the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims, and the Islamic militants who wreak havoc, at one point noting that most of their victims have been Muslim. ‘This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations,” he said in the Saudi capital. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion, people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil.’ The speech was lauded as a foreign policy success for Trump, but that’s largely because the bar was so low.” (05/23/17)