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Jul 06 2010

Punting the Pundits: Morning Edition

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Browsing the op-ed pages of the print media  and an open thread to vent. Pour a cup of coffee or brew some tea and contemplate the day.

Paul Krugman came down on Republicans who think they will get elected by punishing the unemployed by blocking Unemployment benefits.

By the heartless, I mean Republicans who have made the cynical calculation that blocking anything President Obama tries to do – including, or perhaps especially, anything that might alleviate the nation’s economic pain – improves their chances in the midterm elections. Don’t pretend to be shocked: you know they’re out there, and make up a large share of the G.O.P. caucus.

By the clueless I mean people like Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for senator from Nevada, who has repeatedly insisted that the unemployed are deliberately choosing to stay jobless, so that they can keep collecting benefits. A sample remark: “You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs that is an honest job but it doesn’t pay as much. We’ve put in so much entitlement into our government that we really have spoiled our citizenry.”

I’m with Atrios who tweeted that the White House must be listening to David Brooks

The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years. There is no way to know for sure how well the last stimulus worked because we don’t know what would have happened without it. But it is certainly true that the fiscal spigots have been wide open. The U.S. and most other countries have run up huge, historic deficits. And while this has helped save public-sector jobs, we certainly haven’t seen much private-sector job growth. It could be that government spending is a weak lever to counter economic cycles. Maybe monetary policy is the only strong tool we have.

(emphasis mine)

Heh. We also don’t know what would have happened if the stimulus bill had been bigger. David, the fiscal spigots have been barely dripping except for funding two wars. Sheesh

Mitt Romney, the man who hopes to be the Republican savior that saves the country, decrying President Obama’s worst foreign policy mistake

the president’s New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New-START) with Russia  could be his worst foreign policy mistake yet. The treaty as submitted to the Senate should not be ratified.

New-START impedes missile defense, our protection from nuclear-proliferating rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. Its preamble links strategic defense with strategic arsenal. It explicitly forbids the United States from converting intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silos into missile defense sites. And Russia has expressly reserved the right to walk away from the treaty if it believes that the United States has significantly increased its missile defense capability.

Boston Globe columnist H. D. L. Greenway compares the doomed Afghanistan war strategy of Generals Petraeus and McChrytal to the titans Prometheus and Epimetheus

(Like the) mythical Titans, the brothers Prometheus and Epimetheus, much was expected of Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal. It was hoped they would provide coherent answers to why their country was doing so badly in its never-ending wars in Muslim lands. As Prometheus had stolen fire from the gods, had not Petraeus snatched, if not victory, at least something better than defeat from the anarchy, insurrection, and civil war that was Iraq? Hadn’t Petraeus provided the gift of light at the end of that particular tunnel?

snip

So it is that the gods have punished Petraeus, too, for his new job will find him, like Prometheus, tied to a rock tortured by the pecking birds of Afghan reality. He and Obama can always hope that something will change for the better, of course. Hope was the last thing left in Pandora’s box that didn’t escape.

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