Daily Archive: 06/17/2013

Jun 17 2013

Punting the Pundits

“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”.

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Paul Krugman: Fight the Future

Last week the International Monetary Fund, whose normal role is that of stern disciplinarian to spendthrift governments, gave the United States some unusual advice. “Lighten up,” urged the fund. “Enjoy life! Seize the day!”

O.K., fund officials didn’t use quite those words, but they came close, with an article in IMF Survey magazine titled “Ease Off Spending Cuts to Boost U.S. Recovery.” In its more formal statement, the fund argued that the sequester and other forms of fiscal contraction will cut this year’s U.S. growth rate by almost half, undermining what might otherwise have been a fairly vigorous recovery. And these spending cuts are both unwise and unnecessary.

Dana Milbank: The left turns compliant on violating civil liberties

President Obama, who as a Democratic senator accused the Bush administration of violating civil liberties in the name of security, now vigorously defends his own administration’s collection of Americans’ phone records and Internet activities.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said he thinks Congress has done sufficient intelligence oversight. His evidence? Opinion polls. [..]

There are a few Democrats who have upheld the party’s tradition of championing civil liberties – such as John Conyers (Mich.), who is introducing a bill with conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to curtail the program, and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation backed by eight senators requiring more disclosure of secret court rulings.

But the Conyers bill is likely to go nowhere in the House, and Reid was cool to the Merkley proposal, saying only that “I’ll be happy to take a look.”

If he does look, he’ll find that they’re doing what progressives should do: Protecting the people from a too-secretive government.

Laura Beth Nielson: Facebook is not the government – here’s the difference

Just because the authorities have taken private data from Facebook doesn’t make it right.

The federal government is not a grocery store or a social networking site. The government has a special relationship with its citizenry. The terms of that relationship in the US are spelled out in the Constitution of the United States of America. The right to be “secure in our persons, homes, and papers” has a long history of protection in the United States. In response to the tyranny of British rule, this country was founded on principles that embody freedom from government intrusion in our lives.

Unless and until the government – in the form of police, federal agents, or a prosecuting attorney – can show that there is probable cause to believe that a person is engaged in criminal activity, we have rights against the government (what legal scholars call “negative rights”). This can be thought of as the list of things that the government may not do to you or take from you without proving to a judge that they may take it from you. And you are entitled to a fair determination on that question – this is your “due process” right.

What can’t the government take from you without due process? Your property, your life, and yes, your privacy. I have argued above that our clicking behaviour is valuable, so you might think of your internet footprint as your property.

Robert Kuttner: Thinking About the Government

I remember a time when liberals were the people who used government as a democratic counterweight to the abuses of capitalism, and conservatives were those close to big business who wanted to limit government. Liberals also recognized, with the Framers of the Constitution, that government had to be strong enough to protect the rights of the weak. Conservatives didn’t like the power of the state, but were fine with concentrated private power.[..]

But, lately the lines have blurred. The old, stylized picture of what liberals and conservatives want of government doesn’t mean much, especially to younger Americans, because they have seldom experienced it.

Richard (RJ) Eskow: 9 Ways the Right’s Cradle to Grave “Randian State” Is An Assault on Millennials

Conservatives keep claiming liberals want a “cradle to grave nanny state.” That rhetoric has distracted us from the real social re-engineering taking place all around us. The right, along with its “centrist” collaborators, is transforming our nation into a bloodless and soulless Randian State.

Their decades-long assault on our core social values is on the verge of consuming its first complete generation of Americans. Born at the dawn of the Reagan era, Millennials were the first to be fully subjected to this all-out attack on the idea that we take care of each other in this country, and they’ll pay for it from the cradle to the grave.

Some of us are the parents of Millennials. On this Father’s Day it’s hard not to wonder: Who’ll fight with them, and for them?

Glen Ford: Rep. Clyburn: Putting Obama First – Civil Liberties, Peace, Justice, and Reality Last

Congressman James Clyburn is supposed to represent the interests of more than half a million South Carolinians, the majority of them Black. One might expect a Black congressman to have more than a passing interest in the Bill of Rights and protection of civil liberties. The revelation that Uncle Sam is building up a dossier on everyone with a telephone and a computer connection should be at least mildly upsetting to anyone that calls himself a Black leader. But Congressman Clyburn has but one priority: to protect the image and legacy of Barack Obama.

Rather than thank whistleblower Edward Snowden for revealing the massive scope of government spying under Obama, Congressman Clyburn sees a conspiracy against the president. Otherwise, how could a 30-year-old white boy who dropped out of high school get in a position to blow the whistle on the Obama administration. “I haven’t gotten to where I am in politics without relying on my gut,” said Clyburn. “And my gut tells me this is an effort to embarrass the president.”

Jun 17 2013

On This Day In History June 17

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

June 17 is the 168th day of the year (169th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 197 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1885, the Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, arrives in New York City’s harbor.

The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World, French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886. The statue, a gift to the United States from the people of France, is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue has become an icon of freedom and of the United States.

Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the pedestal and the site. Bartholdi completed both the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions. The arm was displayed in New York’s Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the World initiated a drive for donations to complete the project, and the campaign inspired over 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.

The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service. The statue was closed for renovation for much of 1938. In the early 1980s, it was found to have deteriorated to such an extent that a major restoration was required. While the statue was closed from 1984 to 1986, the torch and a large part of the internal structure were replaced. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown. The statue is scheduled to close for up to a year beginning in late 2011 so that a secondary staircase can be installed. Public access to the balcony surrounding the torch has been barred for safety reasons since 1916.

Jun 17 2013

Sunday June 16, 2013: FINAL Up With Steve Kornacki Tweets

This is the final #Uppers. It's just not worth my time and Lord knows I tried. They had Rick Perlstein on and didn't go into what I prepared for, via his BS attacks and misrepresentations of Glenn Greenwald's articles on PRISM. It was immigration reform, gun control, and more election demographic crap. It's not policy.

It's all inside Congress baseball and isn't that cool? No it's not. Elections without serious reforms to the process, million dollar campaigns and primaries, reform of all our government on all levels from the filibuster to the SCOTUS. It's just not worth staying up. Steve Kornacki doesn't get it.

I may try to tweet All IN a few nights and post that, but I have had enough. I am not alone either, if you check the feed. I have tired to make it interesting, but I can't do it anymore. I need to go to bed earlier. Enjoy the final #Uppers.

Thank you for everyone who read this series. I wish Chris Hayes was still doing it. Maybe part of me is getting tired of politics and cable news, anyway.

Jun 17 2013

Sunday Train: 2013 ~ the Year of American Bikeshare

New York City gave me Bikeshare for my birthday (June 2):

Citi Bike officially launched to annual members on Monday, May 27. As of 5 p.m., members had made more than 6,000 bike trips, and traveled over 13,000 miles – greater than half the Earth’s circumference! Visit Citi Bike’s blog for more stats, facts and tips.

Membership opens to daily and weekly users on June 2.

Well, it opened to people taking out an annual membership on May 27, but I don’t live anywhere near New York, so if I get to use it, it will be as a “daily or weekly” user.

Jun 17 2013

My rant of the week