Monday, February 19, 2018
Opinion

Selected readings from the left and from the right

We live in a partisan age, and our news habits can reinforce our own perspectives. Consider this an effort to broaden our collective outlook with essays beyond the range of our typical selections.

FROM THE LEFT

From "The First White President" by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic at http://theatln.tc/2xDS0Ow.

The context, from the author: The foundation of Donald Trump's presidency is the negation of Barack Obama's legacy.

The excerpt: The mind seizes trying to imagine a black man extolling the virtues of sexual assault on tape ("When you're a star, they let you do it"), fending off multiple accusations of such assaults, immersed in multiple lawsuits for allegedly fraudulent business dealings, exhorting his followers to violence, and then strolling into the White House. But that is the point of white supremacy — to ensure that that which all others achieve with maximal effort, white people (particularly white men) achieve with minimal qualification.

From "What Betsy DeVos Gets Wrong About Sexual Assault on Campus" by Elizabeth Adetiba in the Nation at http://bit.ly/2wuLPak.

The context, from the author: The Department of Education secretary's focus on due process shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the dynamics at play in campus rape investigations.

The excerpt: DeVos rail(s) against the treatment of the accused, but the irony of (her) focus on due process is that it assumes society treats the accuser fairly to begin with. Victims and survivors are rarely ever granted dignity — or even trust in their story — from the get-go.

From "The Battle for the Heart and Soul of the Republican Party" by Mike Ervin in the Progressive at http://bit.ly/2h6H4hR.

The context, from the author: So there's this big philosophical battle going on among our nation's most prominent conservatives. They're fighting over how to define the heart and soul of the Republican Party. This is all very fascinating to me because I never knew the Republican Party had a heart or soul. When did that happen? Did I miss something?

The excerpt: (Trump's) more civilized opponents are quick to express their deep dismay over the racist, sexist, and homophobic tone of the his rhetoric. Such blatant bigotry, they proclaim, will ultimately spell doom for the party. That's why they long for a return to the days when Republicans expressed racism, sexism, and homophobia in a much more subtle and coded manner.

FROM THE RIGHT

From "Are You Sure You Want Medicare for All?" by J.D. Tuccille in Reason at http://bit.ly/2y3TH3P.

The context, from the author: Expanding existing government health-care systems would also spread the reach of their already messy problems.

The excerpt: In the case of a single-payer transition, doctors who find the terms of Medicare for All unacceptable may switch entirely to private-pay (if that's still permitted), while some percentage will leave medicine entirely.

From "The U.S. Is Not the Highest-Taxed Nation in the World" by Kevin D. Williamson in the National Review at http://bit.ly/2x1D4Jb.

The context, from the author: Trump on the stump insists that the United States is the highest-taxed nation in the world. That is ... not exactly true, or close to true, or within the realm of things that might be true if you squint a bit and turn your head sideways. It is, in fact, false.

The excerpt: There's more to Sweden and Denmark than higher taxes, but conservatives would do themselves a favor to try to understand progressives on their own terms: Germany and Norway aren't exactly unlivable hellholes; they just have different arrangements from the ones we think would be best for the United States. The problem for the Left is that Democrats cannot, under most circumstances, tell the truth about U.S. taxes, either, because the American middle class does not want to hear that it isn't paying enough in taxes to fund the benefits it wants.

From "How Trump Could Have Used Democrats to Crush the Establishment GOP" by Jonathan V. Last in the Weekly Standard at http://tws.io/2f0mZc7.

The context, from the author: In an alternative universe, President Donald Trump could have partnered with Democrats to push through his populist agenda — and marginalize the Republican establishment.

The excerpt: The sad fact of the Republican party is that it's always talking about limited government and social conservatism and freedom and liberty — but the only thing it ever seems willing to shed blood over is cutting capital gains and the top marginal tax rates. Trump could have changed all of that.

Comments
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Editorial: Scott, Cabinet cannot be trusted on felonsí voting rights

Gov. Rick Scott always has been grudging and imperious about restoring the voting rights of felons, requiring them to wait for years before begging the governor and Cabinet to be recognized again as citizens. That arrogance is on full display in a le...
Published: 02/13/18
Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Another voice: ĎDreamersí donít know whom to trust on immigration

Immigrants brought into this country illegally as children by their parents may be wondering whom to trust. The political theater being played out in Washington hasnít settled the status of either the "Dreamers" or the estimated 11 million other undo...
Published: 02/13/18