“Punting 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 “Punting the Pundits”.
Wednesday is Ladies’ Day.
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Maureen Dowd: Cut the Strings to George III
You see glistening mermaid sightings on Animal Planet more than you catch glimpses of vintage John McCain on Capitol Hill.
But there he was on Tuesday, succinctly saying what needed to be said about the scourge of sexual assault cases in the military. Looking grimly at the ribbon-bedecked white male heads of all the services testifying before the Armed Services Committee, McCain scolded: “Just last night a woman came to me and said her daughter wanted to join the military, and could I give my unqualified support for her doing so. I could not.” [..]
Eugene Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School, told me the arguments of the brass “boiled down to an almost mystical notion of the commanders’ responsibility. Why can’t we cut the strings to the British system we inherited from George III? The British are baffled by us. They gave control over major crimes to professional prosecutors years ago. It’s an institutional structure that has outlived its utility and credibility.”
Katrina vanden Huevel: Building a Progressive Caucus in NYC: Why it Matters
Anthony Weiner is headline gold. Since the ex-congressman made his candidacy official, the New York City mayor’s race is drawing attention from national outlets and local tabloids alike (though unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be Weiner’s policy positions that they’re interested in). While the headline-writers have a field day, New York progressives are grappling with some serious questions (including): Could we finally elect a progressive mayor? Which, if any, of these candidates would qualify? But too few of us are considering an urgent companion question: What about the City Council?
Because of term limits, almost half of New York’s City Council will be replaced in November’s elections, making this a moment of great opportunity for progressives. While a mayor can single-handedly fuel or obstruct progress, the council could play a crucial role in muscling issues onto the agenda, forcing the hand of the mayor, and forging a more just and inclusive New York. The council has historically been a fairly timid body, but it doesn’t have to be. The public is ready for more progressive representation. In a 2012 poll for the Community Service Society, New Yorkers by a three-to-one margin chose “help working New Yorkers and their families get ahead” over “make New York City a good place to do business” as a policy priority for the next mayor. Strong majorities supported raising the state minimum wage, spending more on education, and mandating paid sick leave.
Don’t feed the trolls: it’s probably the most common refrain in online discussions, especially when dealing with misogynists in feminists conversations. The idea is that the best way to deal with sexists is to starve of them of the attention they’re so clearly desperate for. Besides, we think, why sink to their level?
But the high road is overrated. It requires silence in the face of violent misogyny, and a turn-the-other cheek mentality that society has long demanded of women. A vibrant feminist movement has ensured women don’t take injustices laying down offline-so why would we acquiesce on the Internet? [..]
The downside of engaging with sexists is that in an online culture where common knowledge says ignore trolls, speaking out becomes “asking for it.” You don’t get a ton of sympathy for egging on assholes. While ignoring haters can sometimes be the best move, putting the onus on women to stay silent is not. So though I still believe in picking your battles, I’ll continue to get down in the muck with misogynists from time to time-because the low road needs feminism too.
Marjolein van der Veen: Greece and the Crisis of Europe: Which Way Out?
The Greek economy has crashed, and now lies broken on the ground. The causes of the crisis are pretty well understood, but there hasn’t been enough attention to the different possible ways out. Our flight crew has shown us only one emergency exit-one that is just making things worse. But there is more than one way out of the crisis, not just the austerity being pushed by the so-called “Troika” (the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Commission, and European Central Bank (ECB)). We need to look around a bit more, since-as they say on every flight-the nearest exit may not be right in front of us. Can an alternative catch hold? And, if so, will it be Keynesian or socialist?
Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright: Leaving Truth Outside at Bradley Manning’s Trial
It was an early morning, getting out to Ft. Meade, Maryland by 7am to join the group of hearty activists standing out in the rain, greeting the journalists coming into the Bradley Manning hearing with chants of “Whistleblowing is not a crime, Free Bradley Manning.” The activists, many with groups like The Bradley Manning Support Committee, Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK and Iraq Vets Against the War, had come from all over the country to show support for Manning during the upcoming weeks of the trial. [..]
Manning’s trial, which is slated to last three months, is the most stark example of the Obama administration’s relentless stance against whistleblowers. “This president has tried to prosecute six whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, twice as many as all previous presidencies combined,” said Cornell West. “President Obama is determined to stop the public from knowing about government wrongdoing.”
In pretrial proceedings, Manning said his motivation was to “spark a domestic debate over the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” Certainly that debate is long overdue. So is the debate about right of the public to be informed about what our governments are doing in our name.
Tory Field and Beverly Bell: Putting the Culture Back in Agriculture
Reviving Native Food and Farming Traditions
“At one point ‘agriculture’ was about the culture of food. Losing that culture, in favor of an American cultural monocrop, joined with an agricultural monocrop, puts us in a perilous state…” says food and Native activist Winona LaDuke.
Her lament is an agribusiness executive’s dream. The CEO of the H.J. Heinz Company said, “Once television is there, people, whatever shade, culture, or origin, want roughly the same things.” The same things are based on the same technology, same media sources, same global economy, and same food.
Together with the loss of cultural diversity, the growth of industrial agriculture has led to an enormous depletion in biodiversity. [..]
Native peoples’ efforts to protect their crop varieties and agricultural heritage in the US go back 500 years to when the Spanish conquistadors arrived. Today, Native communities throughout the US are reclaiming and reviving land, water, seeds, and traditional food and farming practices, thereby putting the culture back in agriculture and agriculture back in local hands.